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eyes of the night

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as a witch himself, yoongi is almost positive that it goes against some witchly moral code that he doesn’t like halloween.

maybe it makes sense, if you think about it. people wearing obnoxious pointy hats and covering their skin with sticky green paint, sometimes going as far as to give themselves elongated noses and ugly warts, as if any witch with a brain wouldn’t use a veneer to cover such trivial things. the whole thing is rather offensive. yoongi is sick of it.

october in and of itself is a good month; the magic in the air always feels stronger. yoongi’s potions always come out just a tad bit better. yoongi’s shop always gets a little more traffic than normal. october, living up to all of it’s stereotypes, is good for witches. generally awful for witches who don’t like halloween, though. being a staple image for the entire brand of halloween isn’t really a good look for young, recently graduated witches trying to make a living running an apothecary potions shop in a city that’s slowly, slowly teaching itself that all the things in the movies they watched and the books they read as kids really do exist.

but, yoongi digresses. like, really digresses. he can’t expend anymore energy getting up in arms about the whole subject when it’s just the first of october and his bloodroot is ready for harvest.

he’s elbow deep in soft, moist soil when he hears the bell above the stores front door tinkle. there’s an entire plate of bloodroot gathered next to the sink, and yoongi leans back away from the counter to peer around the door frame and levitate the small digital clock from where it was buried beneath a stack of burlap bags.

2:03 P.M. the clock falls back down to the burlap. it’s just after the typical afternoon rush and a few hours before the usual evening customers, and judging by the soothing, borderline overwhelming, aura, yoongi throws caution to the wind and keeps his hands buried in the soil.

“taehyung?”

“lucky guess. or did you use witch-y intuition?”

yoongi smiles down at the near-black clumps of soil. “what do you think?”

taehyung suddenly appears around the edge of the door frame, his hand braced against it, upper body leaning forwards. his dark hair is pushed off his forehead by sunglasses, he’s wearing a oversized denim jacket, and he smells strongly of coffee beans. raw, unfiltered coffee beans. “oblivion is bliss.”

“not how the saying goes.”

yoongi hears taehyung shrug—denim scratching against denim, some jewelry pieces clanking—more than he sees it. “close enough. happy october, by the way. the witching month.”

“thanks. you, too.”

“what’re you doing?”

“harvesting my bloodroot.” yoongi nods to the circular plate of gathered bulbs. “i need to prepare for a big potion shipment.”

“jeez. how deep is that pot?” taehyung, unnecessarily so, rises to the tips of his toes to get a better view of yoongi’s labor.

“however deep i want it to be.”

taehyung sighs. he fully crosses the threshold into yoongi’s ‘workshop’, a separate room off of the main store, seperated by nothing but a thick wooden door frame and a scary looking venus fly trap that fends off nosy customers. yoongi won't tell them it’s there solely for looks.

“so, you know kim namjoon?”

“mm, yeah.” yoongi pulls out another plant, fingers wrapped gently around the root as he tugs it up from the depths of the soil and shakes it clean, laying it flat on the plate.

“he’s throwing a halloween party.”

yoongi scoffs. he pauses his ministrations to glance at taehyung. “this early?”

“no. it’s not until the 11th. he’s going out of town for the actual week of halloween, so, he had to make do—i just know you like being notified as early as possible when it comes to our social plans.”

“our social plans.”

“yes. our. as in, me and you. taehyung and yoongi.”

“i wonder, where does this ‘yoongi’ character come into play here?”

“this ‘yoongi’ character will be attending this party with me. my plus-one, if you will.”

“why?” is all yoongi asks. taehyung knows—yoongi knows he knows because it’s his favorite topic to go off on a spiel about, drunk or sober—how much yoongi dislikes halloween. that, paired with an outrageous amount of drunk college kids all in cheap party city costumes with makeup melting off their faces and some remixed, dub-stepped halloween playlist playing; yoongi can’t think of a more fitting setting for his personal hell.

“your personal hell. is that actually a thing? like, in american horror story?”

sometimes, when he’s deeply focused on a task that requires some extent of magical ability, yoongi forgets to turn off his mouth. “yeah, it is. it’s only ever really a thing in dark witchcraft though.”

“oh.” taehyung sags against the wall. “that’s so cool. i wonder what mine would be.”

(yoongi has never told taehyung that being a witch comes with certain abilities—certain clairvoyant abilities, to put it into simpler terms—that allow you, depending on your level of growth and power, to see that sort of thing. yoongi will never tell taehyung that the night he turned twenty-one he woke up from a nightmare that wasn’t his with taehyung’s name on his tongue).

“you’re weird. most people never want to know.”

“yeah, but i do. that way i know exactly what to avoid.”

yoongi almost is naive enough to think he has successfully driven taehyung away from his focal point. “anyways, c’mon, yoongi. wouldn’t it be so cute if we went in couple costumes?”

taehyung, though yoongi can no longer see him, is fiddling with some trinket on one of the back bookshelves. with a great sigh yoongi pulls his arms out of the pot, cleans them in one fell swoop, and turns around. with his butt against the counter and his arms crossed against his chest, he regards taehyung with a look that he hopes is more serious and threatening than taehyung’s reaction is painting it to be.

“it would be fun. seokjin is going, you got along with him.”

yoongi had gotten along with seokjin the various times they’ve met. he has no idea what their tentative friendship would look like outside of a party scene, but it doesn’t really matter. “what would we even go as?”

“i didn’t think this far ahead. you a witch, me the broomstick? or maybe the other way around. or, wait—theoretically, who would top who in this relationship? i mean, we’re both to—“

“taehyung.”

“so, no witches or broomsticks. sorry for suggesting—that was insensitive of me.”

yoongi waves it off with a shake of his head. “if you, somehow, can manage to come up with a good couples costume, i’ll go. namjoon always provides really good snacking foods. don’t get your hopes up. i really don’t have that much faith in your abilities.”

taehyung shoots into the air like he’s won the lottery, promises yoongi he won’t let him down, and leaves with a thousand-watt smile. yoongi can’t believe he even gave taehyung the benefit of the doubt, but—october. guaranteed to put the stubbornest of witches in high spirits.

the rest of yoongi’s day passes normally. the 5 P.M. crowd comes and goes, an impressive one that took yoongi all of a year to build back up after a nasty Yelp review had dropped his store rating from a clean 5.0 to a 4.2. it had been nasty, and, to this day, yoongi is convinced that the (wrongfully) unsatisfied customer went so far as to create multiple fake accounts to leave similar reviews. he hasn’t heard a peep from iamnotawitch97 for an entire year and then some. he’s never gotten a bad review before or after that one.

at 8 P.M. on the dot, the sign on the front door flips over to closed, the latch fastens, and yoongi parts a thick, heavy curtain concealing the door to his apartment that sits directly above the shop. he checks all the lids on his potions, reties a few bundles of cinnamon and dusts off an open book or two before retiring for the night. the lights in the shop turn themselves off, and yoongi sleeps.

 

 

in the end, yoongi ends up going as the naruto to taehyung’s sasuke.

yoongi has no idea why, or how he agreed to this. his rather strict rules were that he wouldn’t go unless taehyung could come up with a creative, inventive couples costume. this is neither creative nor inventive, seeing as how they went as the same exact thing five years ago. taehyung’s sasuke shorts ride threateningly high up on his thighs; yoongi thinks that was probably his intention.

the party is in a long two-story house on SNU campus. yoongi drives around the block twice before he finds a decent parking space, and he makes sure to adjust his konoha headband before stepping out of the car. he makes a good naruto, if you can look past the fact that his hair is inky black and his eyes are the color of uncreamed coffee. he even has the whiskers and orange and black jumpsuit to boot, zipped down to his sternum, as recommended by taehyung. he didn’t think it was possible to make naruto sexy, but it apparently is.

they hear the music before the house is even in view. an EDM remix of spooky scary skeletons, playing loud enough for the entirety of seoul to hear, an entire two weeks before the actual day of halloween. yoongi finds the whole thing laughable. all in all it’s a nice house, painted a subdued pale yellow with white shutters and cheesy halloween decorations. all down the street, as far as the eye can see, there’s toilet paper covered trees, white sheet ghosts, cotton ball spider webs and green witches shrouded in black cloth. even the street lights have decorations. yoongi could appreciate the effort if it didn’t give him a minor headache.

“come on, jimin’s already inside.” taehyung says, grabbing yoongi’s wrist and tugging him along into the house. his hair is spiked up in a pretty accurate rendition of sasuke’s, and he’s got pale foundation, flawlessly applied, with low, barely there winged eyeliner and a konoha headband tied carelessly around his bare thigh. yoongi rolls his eyes.

the inside of the house is noticeably less packed than yoongi was expecting. he suspects that it has something to do with the large backyard, accessible through the opened back doors, which usher in and out a consistent stream of people. yoongi ogles at the costumes, in varying degrees of creativity and effort. he sees a really good scarecrow, a scarily on point madonna, and he gets two compliments and three fire style jutsu’s all before he makes it into the kitchen.

taehyung has already disappeared. he’s no doubt searching for jimin, who had ended their text thread with a ‘find me if you can’ just as taehyung and yoongi made it onto the highway. taehyung complained about it the whole rest of the drive there. yoongi thinks he may hate jimin a little bit, but he doesn’t like to be presumptuous.

yoongi grabs a cup and spoons whatever is in the bubbling cauldron into it, snickering to himself all the while. it’s a pretty nice cauldron, actually. it seems weirdly legit—yoongi can hear the spoon scraping against the brass. he feels a little wronged that such a nice cauldron is being used for such unimportant purposes, and then makes a serious vow to himself that he won’t let his inherent distaste for halloween dampen the mood of the party, which is exceptionally happy.

he finds namjoon first. sitting on the sunken brown couch in the living room, he has a red cup in one hand and a long, wooden warlock staff with a clear ball on the top in the other. it contradicts his costume, which is a weirdly cute version of rembrandt himself. knowing namjoon, he probably dressed up with the intention that nobody would recognize his costume, and therefore ask him about it. but yoongi has to admit—it is really well done.

“yoongi!” he exclaims excitedly. yoongi hurries over to the couch before namjoon has the opportunity to stand.

“hey.” yoongi smiles and ducks his head. he looks at namjoon’s royal blue apron. “rembrandt, right? i like it.”

namjoon’s mouth falls open. “you recognize it?”

“i took art history my sophomore and junior years.” yoongi falls onto the couch next to namjoon. “i wasn’t aware that rembrandt was a warlock, though.”

namjoon looks down at the staff in his hand like he suddenly remembered it’s existence. “oh. no, this is my roommates. he’s not a huge halloween fan—or a huge partier. this was part of his costume. he left it with me ten minutes ago and hasn’t returned. i guess the least i can do is hold it for him, right? i mean i practically forced him to attend this party. it’s in our house.”

yoongi looks down at the cup in his hand. not a huge halloween fan or a huge partier. he sympathizes. “what’s his costume?”

namjoon snorts at this question, like yoongi made a joke. “a witch. it’s a horrible play on irony. he thinks he’s hilarious.”

yoongi is just about to ask what namjoon means by that when a figure comes all but stumbling into the living room, falling over the back of the couch and onto namjoon. the entire top half of their body slouches over namjoon’s shoulder and he quickly moves his drink out of the way, raising his arms a bit for a more comfortable fit. the entire thing seems routine, like it’s happened many times before. their head of chestnut hair contrasts nicely against namjoon’s grey.

“speak of the devil.” namjoon tries to sound exasperated, but misses the mark by about one hundred feet. he taps the staff against the ground, as if summoning something, and the chestnut head lifts and his gaze instantly flits to yoongi, who flinches just slightly.

“oh.” he unwinds his arms from namjoon’s shoulders and stands up. the witch costume is, actually, pretty amazing and lowkey. he’s got a sheer black shirt with ruffles all along the sleeves and the front, a translucent black shroud, and a floor long black skirt. there’s a black pointy hat hanging from his neck by a thin string and he’s got hundreds of rings and bracelets and other witchy amendments—he looks good.

“your staff.” namjoon presents it to him. he breaks his stare with yoongi and crosses to the front of the couch, grabbing the staff and letting it rest against the floor. yoongi frowns. warlocks and witches don’t mix, like, ever. things were going so well.

“jeongguk, this is yoongi.”

jeongguk smiles at yoongi. his mouth is pretty; pink, lips curved enticingly. his skin is the color of toffee cream and his hair is warm and brown, nearly the same shade as his big eyes. jeongguk’s nose is large and rounded rather adorably, and yoongi finds himself smiling back.

“hi. something about you tells me you should’ve been sasuke instead.”

for a split second, yoongi completely forgets about what he’s dressed as. completely forgets that he’s at a halloween party. and it’s all because of jeongguk—precisely, the aura surrounding him, the way it makes the air vibrate like a taut wire. he’s—something. yoongi is hesitant to say anything; he’s met magically inclined people who would rather blend into the masses of humans than ever be referred to as that, and he’s met magically inclined people who didn’t even know. but jeongguk seems pretty in-control and self-assured, and yoongi’s never had great control over his brain to mouth function anyways.

“you’re a witch.”

jeongguk’s eyes flicker to namjoon’s. yoongi thinks about what namjoon said, about how jeongguk’s costume was ironic, about how jeongguk thinks he’s hilarious. yoongi inhales.

“i am. how’s my costume?” he gives a little twirl, the skirt spinning with him. yoongi takes a quick sip of his drink.

“good. you look really good.”

jeongguk abruptly stops spinning. yoongi feels like he said something wrong, but he didn’t—he meant it. namjoon looks over at him, and to escape the terrifying weight of jeongguk’s stare, he looks back.

“you do seem more like a sasuke.”

yoongi smirks. “my sasuke is somewhere around here.”

“i think i saw taehyung going upstairs a few minutes ago, if you wanna find him.”

namjoon looks consideringly at yoongi, who, for reasons unknown, glances at jeongguk. “i’m good. he’s probably doing something gross and illicit with jimin.”

jeongguk makes a small sound that yoongi thinks may be a laugh, but the music is too loud to tell. i put a spell on you is playing now, one of the many covers, and yoongi finishes the rest of his drink. namjoon is nodding empathetically.

“i’m gonna go step outside. nice meeting you, jeongguk,” yoongi nods at him with a smile. jeongguk watches him stand, watches him adjust his jumpsuit and right his headband, before responding.

“yeah, you too. yoongi.”

yoongi has to walk all the way to the front of the house and a little ways down the street before it’s silent enough for him to sit down and breathe. the curb is harsh and unforgiving beneath his ass, and when he splays his palms out behind himself so he can lean back, gravel digs into the inside of his hand. it’s a nice night, though. he doesn’t have to cast a warming charm or anything, even though the sun has long since gone down and there’s a quick breeze playing at the hairs at the back of his neck.

jeongguk, namjoon’s roommate of two years, who yoongi thinks he has heard of in passing, is a witch. dressed up as a witch, at a halloween party, two things he isn’t a fan of combined into one. yoongi wonders what he actually dresses like, because despite popular belief, most witches don’t wear sheer shawls and outrageous amounts of jewelry and chalky eyeliner. or maybe jeongguk does. yoongi would like to find out.

a long strand of toilet paper sits on the sidewalk next to him, abandoned after whoever had tee-pee’d all the trees finished. yoongi can still hear the music coming from the house and figures that it’s lucky everyone who lives on the surrounding streets is at namjoon’s party. yoongi isn’t even slightly buzzed; stone cold sober, in fact, and he’s not even sure that punch had any alcohol in it. not that it matters either way; yoongi has already named himself designated driver of the night. he brought along a few vials of a sobering potion just to be sure, though.

he only sits there in silence for a few minutes longer when he hears shoes scraping against the sidewalk, and though he can’t be assed to lift his head and look, he can tell it’s jeongguk by the way his aura vibrates and makes yoongi’s skin prickle. the swish of fabric and clanging of bracelets really signals his arrival. yoongi feels it would be rude not to look at this point, so he does, once jeongguk has stopped beside him.

he has to crane his neck back to see jeongguk’s face, and he’s extremely glad he does so; jeongguk is looking down at him with a sparkle in his eyes and his mouth cracked open in a grin. his teeth are large and bunny-like, contributing to his overall factor of cuteness, and yoongi smiles tentatively back in response.

“needed some fresh air?” he asks.

“not really. i was looking for you.” jeongguk responds bluntly. yoongi watches as he sits down on the curb about a foot or so away from yoongi, but close enough for yoongi to feel the warmth radiating from his body.

“why?”

“what you said, back there, about me being a witch. i am one. you already know, though. i’m assuming you are too? i mean, clearly you were able to sense me being one. i know if you’re strong enough you can do that but--i’m not. not really. i can’t tell. you are one though, right? a witch?”

yoongi blinks. the black whiskers painted on his face with taehyung’s eyeliner are starting to crack and itch. “yeah.”

“that’s so cool. you’re the first witch i’ve ever met.”

yoongi startles slightly. “really? there’s a lot in seoul.”

“i know.” jeongguk nods and looks down at his knees, covered by the skirt. “i don’t really use my magic for anything beyond, like, homework. or when i have a nasty cold, or something. nothing special.”

something in his tone makes yoongi’s lips quirk downwards. “i’ve met witches who didn’t even use their magic. just let all that energy stay pent up inside of them and die.”

“why would anyone want to do that?” jeongguk asks, genuinely, like it’s a wonder to him that someone would have magic and not want to use it. yoongi shrugs.

“stigmas, i guess. i can’t imagine that being a witch does anything to boost your social standing.”

“usually, i’d agree. but you’re like, a cool witch. bad-ass. i’d say it probably boosts your social standing.”

yoongi looks dubiously at jeongguk, but he’s beaming. “you didn’t even know i was a witch until about two minutes ago.”

“true. but i can tell you’re a cool one.”

“what if i wasn’t? what if i was a dark witch? what if, right now, as we speak, i was draining your life force to add to my collection of souls back at home?”

“why on earth would you have any reason to do that?” jeongguk wonders. there’s a laugh hidden somewhere in the beauty of his voice. “the soul of a caffeine riddled college kid who isn’t even sure he has a soul most days wouldn’t be beneficial to you.”

yoongi tips his head to the side. “point taken. the souls of cute boys are always beneficial, though.”

he doesn’t really know where it came from. yoongi could dig through the archives of his mind, find the specific thought that, for some reason, made him think it was wise to be so forward and bold with his cheesy lines, but he would find nothing. his mouth is an entity of its own. he’s grateful for it, though, because the way jeongguk blushes and the color carries down below the collar of his shirt is adorable.

“how so?”

“hm.” yoongi pauses to think about it. “does it really need a reason? cute boys are just cute boys. able to boost anyone’s moral. even the oldest and grumpiest of dark witches.”

“and that’s you?” jeongguk seemingly works up enough courage to make direct eye contact with yoongi, his dark eyebrows quirked. they’re barely visible through his messy fringe. “old, grumpy dark witch? connoisseur of cute boys and their souls?”

“you give a startlingly good character analysis. not just any cute boys, though. only the special ones.”

yoongi watches as jeongguk’s ears visibly tinge pink. he thinks something in his chest shrivels up and dies. “only the special ones.”

yoongi nods in affirmation. it’s a moment before jeongguk speaks again. “and would that apply to me? you know, considering you were talking about collecting my soul earlier. am i a cute, special boy?”

yoongi thinks he’s going to die. he’s amazed at himself--amazed that he’s gotten this far without imploding. “definitely. maybe even the cutest and the most special.”

“wow,” jeongguk murmurs. yoongi absolutely refuses to look at him. “big words for someone you met an hour ago.”

“i’m a witch, jeongguk. i have a knack for telling these things.”

jeongguk snorts. “i’m sure you do.”

yoongi’s heart hammers in the silence that follows. it’s so loud that he’s positive jeongguk can hear it, and is listening to it with intent. he speaks up again. “are you really a dark witch?”

the question is, firstly, answered by silence. it kind of stuns yoongi, until he breaks off into a laugh so loud that he can see jeongguk jolt in his peripheral. “no, jeongguk, no. i--”

jeongguk laughs nervously, like he’s not sure what’s going on, like he’s actually worried that yoongi is a dark witch. “i’m not a dark witch. i’m a normal witch. and not really that grumpy, either.”

“so you’re not going to steal my soul?”

yoongi can’t fight back a smile. “no. you’re still cute, though.”

yoongi’s never considered himself, or been considered, a flirter. he knows how to talk, to let people know he’s interested, but he’s never been what one could call an active participant in this level of casual flirting, of letting someone know you are interested bluntly but keeping it masked under a level of sarcasm, so it’s in their hands whether or not they take it seriously. it shocks yoongi how easily it comes to him with jeongguk, how well their energies play off each other.

jeongguk’s head shakes, and a strand of hair falls into his forehead. “oh? did i lose my specialness, then?”

yoongi looks sidelong at jeongguk, who is already staring. “no. i’m still trying to figure that one out.”

jeongguk frowns, and his mouth opens, even though it seems like he hadn’t intended for it to. “i’d be offended if i didn’t want you to kiss me so badly right now.”

his eyes go record-breaking wide, if it was possible for them to get any rounder than they already were. his mouth is still open and he’s staring at yoongi like yoongi isn’t really there. yoongi finds the whole thing terribly endearing, and ignores the flutter in his stomach, tossing around this new information in his head instead.

“you want me to kiss you? someone you just met an hour ago?” yoongi throws his words back at him, which is what he does best in the midst of all consuming panic, because he hadn’t known jeongguk wanted it too.

“please. haven’t you ever had a drunken makeout at a party? with someone whose name you didn’t even know?” jeongguk argues, looking away from yoongi for a moment before shyly glancing back. yoongi furrows his eyebrows.

“actually, no. and i’m sober.”

with a sigh of defeat, jeongguk deflates. “me either. and so am i.”

yoongi smiles to himself, since jeongguk has resorted to staring at the street with determination. his ears are a fiery red. “jeongguk.”

“hmph.” jeongguk doesn’t look up. the sound comes from the back of his throat.

“jeongguk.”

“yeah?” he still won’t look up, though his eyes twitched over to yoongi’s figure for a moment. yoongi tells himself one more try.

“jeongguk.”

jeongguk looks up, and yoongi clamps an iron boot down onto his trembling nerves and leans in, capturing the softness of jeongguk’s cheek in the curve of his palm and slotting their lips together.

his lips taste like cinnamon. a little spicy and sweet, and yoongi wonders if it’s a chapstick (his lips are addictingly soft) or just jeongguk. as far as kisses go it’s sweet and innocent—they stay pressed together for a handful of seconds, jeongguk’s hands twitching up from where they had been limp in his lap but not settling anywhere. he puts a little more pressure into the kiss and yoongi’s head bobs back slightly, and he pulls away and readjusts his position so his back isn’t as strained.

jeongguk is looking at him with an expression that’s equal parts shock and confusion.

“what’re you looking at me like that for?”

“i didn’t think you’d actually do it.” jeongguk blurts. yoongi feels an inkling of panic that threatens to override his entire system.

“oh, god. did you not actually want me to? i’m—”

“no. no, i did. i wanted you to kiss me. still do, in fact. and like—not stop, maybe. preferably. i just—“

yoongi blames the way he leans in again and cuts jeongguk off mid-sentence solely on jeongguk’s endearing-ness and the way he so clearly rambles when he’s nervous.

jeongguk instantly responds this time around. his hands fly to yoongi’s shoulders and he grips them tightly, steadying himself before pushing back into the kiss. when yoongi digs his fingers into the soft flesh in the curve of jeongguk’s waist his mouth just seems to fall open, like it was on a hinge and yoongi found the secret lever.

kissing jeongguk is, best put, like christmas day. around every corner, in every nook and cranny, yoongi feels like there’s a new gift awaiting him. when he swipes his tongue swiftly along the roof of jeongguk’s mouth he’s awarded with a full body shiver. when he rubs his palm down the back of jeongguk’s neck he’s surprised with jeongguk’s weight, the way his body leans into yoongi’s chest and his arms snake around yoongi’s neck. when he drags his fingers through the hair behind jeongguk’s ears, he—

he finds a stark difference in texture. there’s a very noticeable chunk of hair that is much rougher than the rest, hidden behind his left ear, and yoongi pulls back just to see what it is, ignoring the string of saliva running between his and jeongguk’s bottom lips.

“what is this?” yoongi tugs at the rougher section of hair. jeongguk sighs.

“faulty potion.”

yoongi twists his neck around jeongguk’s face to see it. jeongguk instantly peppers the column of his throat with small kisses, and yoongi cards his fingers through the random patch of blonde hair amidst all the chestnut.

“what happened?”

jeongguk speaks between tiny kisses. “i had a big presentation in my creative writing class. like, huge. the one my grade for the rest of that semester was counting on. i came down with a nasty cold the day before and brought this potion from some apothecary store. it was supposed to remedy my cold, but it dyed all the hair follicles on my body neon yellow. like, highlighter yellow. dehydrated piss yellow. it’s been a year and i still have patches like that. one of my eyebrows has seven blonde hairs.”

yoongi can’t help the laugh that bubbles out of him. jeongguk nips his earlobe in response, and yoongi twitches his head away and laughs a bit more. “god. how did your presentation go?”

“i was hyped off cold medicine and my hair was blinding under the fluorescent lights, but i got a one-hundred.”

“what a good student.” yoongi quips. he eyes the patch of blonde hair once more before pulling his head back around to face jeongguk, who is smiling at him.

“what store did you say it was?”

“something about a cat.” jeongguk looks away and up to the right. thinking. yoongi can’t really process anything right now, except for the next words that come out of jeongguk’s mouth. “calico cat? black cat. black cat! that was it.”

yoongi’s hands fall from where they were cradling jeongguk’s head. “that’s my shop.”

ideally, he would’ve liked to handle the situation with a bit more tact, but—

what?”

“the one on 54th, right? that’s my shop. i literally own black cat.”

jeongguk takes a large scoot back so that he and yoongi are no longer intertwined. “you’re kidding me.”

it all makes sense, now. yoongi thinks if his life were a movie, this is where the laughing track would be put to good use, because the only person who ever left a bad review and tarnished his stores reputation for weeks—iamnotawitch97—had mentioned something about a potion going horribly wrong. yoongi feels a bit like slapping himself.

“are you iamnotawitch97?”

“i—yes?” jeongguk is growing more and more confused by the second.

“you ruined my store’s reputation for weeks.” yoongi scoots back even further. “you dropped me from 5 stars to barely 4.”

jeongguk’s expression is thoroughly affronted. “it wasn’t misplaced. your potion didn’t exactly do what it said on the label.”

my potion was perfectly fine. the cold remedy is my best seller. clearly, there was something wrong with your preparation.”

yoongi hadn’t meant for it to come out so snappily. in fact, if he were anybody else, a person who had better control over their mouth and didn’t let it just run off from him, he’s sure the situation could’ve been easily resolved with a laugh and a ‘what a coincidence’. but he sees the way jeongguk’s eyebrows pull down low over his eyes and he suddenly stands. yoongi follows suit.

“oh, of course there was something wrong with my preparation, because i’m the inexperienced one, right? the stupid college student who doesn’t even know how to use a simple cold remedy potion. of course, you, the five-hundred year old, all knowing witch, couldn’t have possibly made a mistake. how unthinkable.”

yoongi scoffs in disbelief. “five-hundred? i’m twenty-five. and have been making that potion for for longer than you can even imagine. don’t blame me for your mistake.”

“i did everything it said to!” jeongguk exclaims, his body jolting. “it took two months for my hair color to even fade to a platinum blonde!”

“that’s a clear indicator you did something wrong.” yoongi crosses his arms. “all my hair dye potions are temporary.”

“oh, screw you.” jeongguk throws his arms up and turns as if to walk away. “no, fuck you. my yelp reviews were all extremely well-deserved. and i suddenly just remembered my password.”

“you wouldn’t.” yoongi says. jeongguk looks more angry than he had anticipated.

“i would. did you know they called me piss-head for weeks? weeks, yoongi. seriously, fuck you. you’re a disgrace to naruto.”

and with that, jeongguk stomps off back in the direction of his house.

it’s pretty difficult to make a threatening image when you’ve got a skirt and a sheer shawl billowing behind you, but jeongguk manages. yoongi can’t believe what just occurred. he went through such rapid changes of starkly different emotions that he can feel a headache building behind his eyes.

he stands motionless on the sidewalk for a few minutes before robotically walking down the remaining blocks to his car. his lips are still wet with jeongguk’s saliva, his body still warm with his weight, and he gets his keys in the ignition and all the way down the street when he suddenly remembers taehyung.

yoongi contemplates on whether he should even bother going back. he doesn’t want to risk walking back through the house and bumping into jeongguk, because he had felt the angry flare in jeongguk’s energy, and while dangerously alluring, yoongi would rather not be on the receiving end. in the end, he decides to circle back and pull up directly outside of the house, laying on the horn until taehyung comes out.

it’s a dick move. yoongi knows it’s a dick move, which is why he does it. he’s still a bit shell shocked and offended. so when jeongguk throws open the window to what yoongi presumes is his bedroom and flips him off without much grace, yoongi feels more gratification than he should. jeongguk looks cute when he’s angry, even amidst the double handed flip off and the spew of profanities. yoongi just presses his palm heavier against the horn.

finally, taehyung stomps out of the house, looking scarily sober and rightfully embarrassed. he slams the passenger door closed and doesn’t utter a single word the entire drive back. yoongi knows it could be one of two things; something happened with jimin, or he’s angry that yoongi caused such a scene. he’s not placing bets or anything, but it’s the former--yoongi can tell.

when yoongi slows to a stop outside of taehyung’s apartment and he doesn’t get out of the car right away, he shifts into park and waits expectantly, the radio turned down to a subtle hum. after four minutes taehyung swallows audibly and speaks with his head leaned against the passenger window.

“why do i always mess it up?”

yoongi hates to say this was to be expected, but it was. more often than not taehyung seems to be having some array of jimin problems, almost always relating back to the issue that he’s too terrified to suck it up and ask jimin out. or maybe it’s the reverse; jimin is too terrified, and taehyung is tired. he’s so tired that it weighs his bones down like rocks. yoongi hates both of them equally and doesn’t respond as he drives them all the way back to his apartment in stony silence, because taehyung doesn’t really need an answer. he never does.

 

 

yoongi is walking—not driving, no, walking—to the local library when he sees the coffee shop a few streets down from his shop.

he’s lived in this area since he was seventeen, been working in it since he was eighteen, and weirdly enough he’s never seen it before. it’s very obviously not new; the sign hanging over the front door is faded and peeling, and there’s a steady flow of traffic heading in and out, but he’s never seen it. he’s always driven the extra five miles to the nearest starbucks for his random and unexpected cravings, even farther away when he needs a few bags of raw coffee beans for some potion.

but this place looks locally owned and run. which means they probably roast their own coffee beans, which means they probably sell their own coffee beans, which means yoongi’s life just got a hell of a lot easier.

he’s not in any big rush; he was mainly traveling to the library to look for a book on the misuse of ginger root in potions. because he is who he is and he hasn’t stopped thinking about the whole jeongguk fiasco since it happened, six days ago. he’s going to get to the bottom of this issue.

(the night after the party, yoongi had woken up to a singular yelp notification,from an anonymous poster. all it contained was a half of a star, an obscene amount of middle finger emojis, and a frowny face).

through pure curiosity and a newfound craving for an americano, yoongi pulls open the front door of the coffee shop and steps inside. it’s sparsely crowded for the time of day, a few people typing away on laptops, mug after mug crowding the table around them. there’s nobody behind the counter but yoongi can see bodies moving through the translucent kitchen doors, so he steps up in front of the cash register and reads the overhead menu boards.

when someone finally pushes through the kitchen doors and idles up to the cash register, yoongi is scrolling through some news article on his phone. he’s got his thumb on the home button when he hears what sounds like a startled cough, or maybe a choke, like stepping on the back of a cat’s tail when it has a hairball in its throat, and he immediately looks up.

there’s a head of chestnut hair to greet him, adorned by a forest green ball cap. jeongguk has got his back to yoongi and he’s making gestures to someone in the kitchen behind the bar, and yoongi can see his blonde patch, as clear as day. it shouldn’t be as weirdly endearing as it is. it shouldn’t bring a smile to yoongi’s face, but it does.

almost as if he could sense yoongi’s smile, jeongguk turns back around and glares at him. it’s more amusing than menacing, but yoongi lets his smile drop and watches jeongguk’s index finger as it stabs dangerously into the register’s screen.

“hello. welcome to cold drip. how can i help you?” his voice is surprisingly monotone, in a way yoongi never would have expected jeongguk’s lively voice to be. he’s already drafting a customer review as he recites his order and watches jeongguk input it.

“a barista, huh?”

jeongguk looks up. his features are dully illuminated by the faint light of the register, and his hair is pushed low into his eyes due to the ball-cap. he’s wearing a plain long sleeve covered with a matching green apron, and that’s all yoongi can see of him. he looks like a completely different person than what yoongi remembers.

“all that drink mixing and you still don’t know how to properly prepare a potion.”

yoongi finishes swiping his card. jeongguk rips the receipt out of the machine so violently that the paper tears, and he balls it up and throws it directly into yoongi’s chest, turning on his heel to make yoongi’s drink. from the way he has his apron tied tightly around his waist, yoongi can see just how narrow and sculpted it is, can practically feel the expansion of jeongguk’s rib cage beneath his palms as he shudders through an inhale. yoongi turns and walks to the end of the counter, waiting patiently under the ‘pick-up’ sign.

a minute or two later, jeongguk slides the plastic cup along the counter without much fanfare and doesn’t even spare yoongi a second glance as he walks back into the kitchen. the doors swing shut behind him, and yoongi thinks he can hear hushed whispering. he pays it no mind as he pokes a straw through the lid and takes an enthusiastic sip.

clearly, he should’ve stepped back and assessed the situation. pissing off your barista is probably not the best thing to do; yoongi gets hit with that realization as clear as day when he has a mouthful of what tastes like pure acetone. he has no idea what jeongguk did--as far as yoongi saw, he did everything as he was supposed to--but there’s definitely some potion in this, or perhaps rotten coffee beans, or something just truly awful that yoongi wasted four dollars on.

just to be spiteful to a jeongguk who isn’t even watching him, yoongi sips on it happily until he’s all the way out of the door and down the street. until he’s out of sight.

 

 

he doesn’t find much on the misuse of ginger root in potions, which happens to be the main ingredient in his cold remedy. he doesn’t really find anything that helps strengthen his case, so after three hours of aimless searching and reading, yoongi all but stomps all the way back to his shop.

he feels as though he should be a bit thankful that jeongguk isn’t as evil as he is, because he didn’t add any sort of malicious potion to yoongi’s drink. he hasn’t experienced any sort of adverse side effects, despite thinking that by now he’d be sweating toads or growing hair out of his ears.

when yoongi lets himself into the dark shop and makes a beeline for his apartment, his phone begins buzzing in his back pocket. he’s shouldering open his door and leaning back against it to close it as he fishes it out, holding it between a thumb and a forefinger and not bothering to check the caller id as he answers.

“‘ello?”

“what? are you british now?” taehyung’s laugh crackles over the phone line. “are you just getting home?”

yoongi slows the phone between his shoulder and ear as he hooks a finger in the back of his chelseas and slides them off. “how could you tell?”

“you sound busy. i would offer to call back later, but this is time-sensitive.”

once yoongi’s got his shoes off, he holds the phone properly against his ear and flicks the overhead lights on as he crosses the living room into the kitchen. “what’s up?”

“is it a date if the other person asks if they can bring a friend?”

“no. that sounds like the exact opposite of what a date is, actually.” yoongi directs a kettle towards the sink and fills it up with water, leaning back against the opposite counter and crossing his arms. he watches the tremble of the kettle as it hangs midair. after a few moments, the stove next to him alights, and the kettle carries itself to the heat.

“shit.” taehyung exclaims, like he didn’t already know that. yoongi rolls his eyes. he doesn’t ask taehyung why, because he doesn’t really care to know about the inner workings of taehyung’s romantic life, but he knows he’s going to hear about it regardless of what he wants.

“jimin and i have had these plans for weeks. all of a sudden he wants to ‘bring a friend along’? what does that even mean?”

yoongi really thinks he should start placing some kind of bet on these things. his taehyung-jimin intuition has never failed him. “maybe he was scared to be alone with you. who is he bringing?”

“jeongguk. jeongguk, who i actually like, who is actually really sweet and funny, who i fear may have already gotten to jimin. i mean, why else would he invite the neighborhood bambi to our date?”

throughout the duration of taehyung’s rant, yoongi had completely forgotten to keep track of his boiling kettle, which has now become so hot that an ear piercing scream rattles throughout the apartment. yoongi takes it off heat and considers taehyung’s words.

“he looks more like a bunny.” he decided to say, rather than, i’m pretty sure he and jimin aren’t a thing. trust me.

“who, jeongguk? you know him?”

“no.” yoongi says, which technically isn’t a lie. he doesn’t really know jeongguk. he just knows how the shape of his lips feel, what he tastes like, the curve of his waist and the softness of his hair. but he doesn’t know jeongguk.

“i guess he does kind of look like a bunny.” taehyung ponders on this for a moment before yoongi hears what sounds like him flopping backwards onto his bed. “that’s not what i called you to talk about though.”

a teabag digs itself out of the cabinet and plops into an awaiting mug, and yoongi takes the liberty of pouring the steaming water into it himself. he doesn’t want to ask taehyung his reason.

“i need you to come with me.”

yoongi sets the kettle down on the stove and dunks his teabag in a few times before answering. “no.”

“why not?” taehyung whines. yoongi could give him an entire list of reasons why not, number one being he fears that jeongguk may poison him. number sixty-four being he still hasn’t figured out a sound explanation for jeongguk’s yellow hair mishap.

“i’m busy that day.” yoongi says. he levitates the phone next to his ear and wraps both hands around his mug, taking a sip of the diluted tea.

“i didn’t even tell you when. you’re awful.”

“i know.” yoongi heaves a faux-sympathetic sigh and shuffles into the living room. “why do you even need me there? just cancel on him.”

“i’m so glad to see that five years of friendship has taught you so much about me, yoongi.”

“funny.” yoongi fails to see taehyung’s overarching point. “are you going to actually give me a reason, or can i go?”

“do you know how awful it’d be if i showed up to our date-turned-hangout alone? i’d become the third wheel in my own plans. it’s only three hours, yoongi. i’ll even pay for your food. just come with me.”

“i hope you realize that i’m keeping full tabs on all the things i’ve done for you, and i’m preparing to cash it in very soon.”

“you’re so dramatic. i’m taking that as a yes, you’ll come, so i’m going to hang up before you can argue. i’ll text you the details. bye!”

taehyung does, in fact, hang up before yoongi can argue. yoongi spends the next fifteen minutes awaiting taehyung’s incoming text messages and forgetting to drink his tea until it’s too cold, mind preoccupied.

 

 

two days later finds yoongi outside of a restaurant, hands shoved deep inside the pockets of a black overcoat. he’s got his hair parted down the middle with a black beanie pulled low over his ears, waiting for taehyung, even though these were his plans.

he’s got a simple warming charm casted around his hands. halloween is a week away and the october chill is finally starting to set in, nipping at the tip of yoongi’s nose, blowing his lips dry. he bounces from leg to leg and checks routinely up and down the street, waiting for taehyung’s lanky figure.

he sees jeongguk before anyone, much to his disappointment.

“yoongi?” he calls in disbelief, once he and jimin are close enough. he’s wearing black skinny jeans and a caramel colored knit sweater, covered with a denim jacket, pulled low over his hands. yoongi can’t tell if the heavy black docs make him that much taller than jimin or if he actually is just that tall.

his hair is coffee colored in the low overhead lights. the sun is already on the way to setting, and jeongguk’s eyes are doing that thing where they sparkle, glinting at yoongi in a way that he can’t read. yoongi looks to jimin instead, with his rosy cheeks and wind ruffled hair, wrapped in a thick scarf. he smiles at yoongi with his eyes alone.

“hey, yoongi.”

“jimin,” yoongi nods with a small smile. despite his and taehyung’s back and forth relationship that makes yoongi want to strangle them both more times than not, he does genuinely like jimin.

yoongi tries not to notice the way jeongguk’s hair looks a bit wavy, messy fringe atop his forehead. when he steps in front of them with a deft eye roll and yoongi sees his flash of blonde hair behind his ear, he seemingly forgets about the fact that taehyung still hasn’t arrived and follows in behind them.

he makes it all the way to their booth, sitting in the center across from jimin and jeongguk, when it hits him. “fuck.”

jeongguk peers up at him from where he was looking at the menu. jimin frowns. “what?”

“taehyung still isn’t here.”

something shifts in jimin’s eyebrows. his eyes slip away from yoongi and stare at something over his shoulder—yoongi is just about to turn and see what it is when jimin straightens like he was struck by a sudden thought and exclaims. “i should probably step out and call him! yeah. i’ll be right back.”

he gathers his coat and scarf, shooting jeongguk a sheepish smile. jeongguk watches the entire fiasco with a blank expression and follows jimin’s figure all the way out. yoongi’s eyes follow him.

through some random stroke of self-awareness, yoongi realizes how terribly sweaty his palms are. he quickly and quietly undoes the warming charm and shrugs the jacket off of his shoulders. he does all of this in silence; when jeongguk speaks, he nearly jumps out of his skin.

“aren’t you going to take the beanie off?”

yoongi looks across the table at him. there’s a low hanging light directly above them, washing jeongguk’s features in a warm glow. yoongi almost wants to tell him that he looks good, but he doesn’t. he fingers the fabric of the beanie pulled low over his ears instead. “why?”

“you look—“ jeongguk waves a hand in the empty space in front of him. yoongi doesn’t follow. he had known the black of the beanie blended in perfectly with the black of his hair and looked a bit wonky in bad lighting, but would jeongguk really go so far as to say he looked—ugly?

“distracting.” jeongguk eventually finds the word he was seemingly looking for. yoongi leans back into the booth and raises his eyebrows.

“my beanie is distracting you? i thought it looked fine.”

“it does.” jeongguk responds, quickly enough to raise suspicion. he seems to come to this same realization, because he picks up his glass of water and drinks down the very last drop. when he sets the empty glass back down with a thud, yoongi fills it back up to the brim and watches how jeongguk’s eyes track the rising water.

“is that filtered?”

“you tell me.” yoongi nods for him to take a sip. tentatively, jeongguk does, smacking his lips a bit obnoxiously before shrugging.

“whatever. if i get tetanus, i’ll sue you.”

“that isn’t how either of those things work. also, there’s a potion for that.”

jeongguk snorts. the way his nose scrunches makes yoongi’s stomach turn inside out. “i’d never use another one of your potions if my life depended on it.”

“that’s a loaded statement.” yoongi tilts his head and chews on the inside of his cheek before continuing. “why is this such a—thing for you, anyways? there’s no way you could’ve looked that bad.”

this is what they keep doing—complimenting each other behind thinly veiled insults, trying desperately to stay angry each other over things that could so easily be resolved. yoongi isn’t even angry anymore. he got over the harsh comment months ago, once he had built back up a steady stream of customers and raised his rating back to a steady 4.8. it was more of jeongguk referring to him as a five-hundred year old witch that riled him up, but yoongi isn’t one to hold grudges. he’s over that one, too. he can’t imagine why the hair is still such an issue for jeongguk.

yoongi watches the way jeongguk’s face shutters, like pulling blinds closed. “it’s not a thing for me. it’s nothing.”

with his mouth open and the words already on his tongue, yoongi is ready to refute when he hears taehyung’s booming voice over the crowd.

“yoongi! i’m sorry i’m so late. i got stuck in traffic.”

“you don’t even have a car.” yoongi doesn’t turn around to address taehyung; he stays staring at jeongguk, who only holds the eye contact for a few moments before turning away when taehyung calls his name.

the dinner is wildly uneventful. taehyung and jimin tiptoe around each other as usual. yoongi catches jeongguk staring a grand total of four times, and each time he does that weird thing where he didn’t look away. he looks beautiful, and he’d just keep staring when yoongi made eye contact, only looking away once jimin and taehyung started noticing their prolonged periods of silence.

yoongi and taehyung walk back together. the sky is deep, dark shade of blue, dotted with even darker clouds and a few stars, like tiny pinpoints of light. he keeps his hands balled in fists and shoved into the deep pockets of his overcoat the entire trip back. yoongi doesn’t cast a warming charm. he’d rather feel the bite.

 

 

on october 27th, with four days to go until halloween, the pinnacle of october, taehyung throws a house party.

it’s not so much a party as a dinner, with their weirdly intermixed but still respective group of friends. taehyung invites yoongi, who invites namjoon, who invites hoseok. taehyung also invites jimin, who invites jeongguk, who invites seokjin, as yoongi heard through some random grapevine. he wonders when jeongguk started being considered a part of his friends group. it seemed to happened so fast that yoongi blinked and he missed it.

taehyung tells them all he’ll be cooking, in the impromptu group chat he created. anybody with half a brain cell can tell just how bad of an idea that is, so hoseok creates a separate group chat, minus taehyung, and they create a plan for who will bring what food. it’s practically a pre-thanksgiving feast.

yoongi shows up to taehyung’s apartment two hours early, two bags hanging off his elbows and a bottle of white wine levitated in front of him. he only bought it because namjoon loves it, and a little birdy may have told him that jeongguk likes it, too. not that that matters.

he lets himself in because it’s likely taehyung wouldn’t have heard him if the music blaring from behind the door is anything to go by. yoongi walks through the entryway and into the apartment and—he finds it funny, that taehyung offered to cook, even though he likely knew that everybody would bring food rather than trust anything that comes out of his kitchen, because there’s absolutely
nothing cooking. nothing on the stove, nothing in the oven or the microwave. yoongi takes out his store-bought pumpkin pie and sets the oven to heat while he packs the rest of the food in the fridge.

“yoongi?” he hears the music turn down and taehyung’s feet coming down the hallway, towards the kitchen.

yoongi pulls his head out from the fridge and closes the door. taehyung is standing in the entryway. “so, you do know jeongguk.”

the topic completely throws yoongi. “what?”

“i had my suspicions. but the restaurant really confirmed them.”

“what?” yoongi repeats.

“i’m not accusing you of anything. there’s no reason to get so defensive. i’m just wondering why you lied.”

he really has no idea what’s going on at this point, but he never does where taehyung is involved. “taehyung—“

a firm knock at the door stops yoongi in his muddled tracks. taehyung squints at him before pivoting on his socked heel to answer it.

it turns out to be hoseok, who apparently had the same idea of arriving early and preparing as yoongi. the two hours flys by, with hoseok and yoongi in the kitchen, yoongi casting charms to keep food warm and gathering all the dishes taehyung has in his house. hoseok mainly watches, and talks. taehyung doesn’t do much of either.

when someone knocks again, so much later that yoongi had even forgotten they were expecting other people, he jumps and nearly drops the wine glass he was holding. actually, he does drop it—it slips right from his fingers, but yoongi has the brain capacity to stop it midair just as the door opens on its own and jimin and seokjin tumble in. yoongi lifts the glass with his eyes and doesn’t look away until it’s settled firmly on the counter.

“impressive, yoongi,” seokjin notes. he doesn’t really sound all that impressed, but yoongi smiles anyways and greets him.

they’re getting the table set up when the final pair arrives, a handful of minutes late. yoongi sees namjoon first: his lanky, woolen-clad figure, nearly covering the entirety of jeongguk, who’s standing behind him. but yoongi can see.

jeongguk meets yoongi’s eyes before anyone else's. a small smile startles out of him, but he catches himself and settles it down into a flat line, nodding curtly as he pushes his palm against the small of namjoon’s back so he stumbles the rest of the way into the door.

once everyone has gone through the mandatory rounds of greetings and jeongguk has successfully avoided any direct interaction with yoongi, he has time to think. the last conversation he had with jeongguk was the stilted conversation they had at the restaurant, when yoongi had wanted to (still wants to) know why the whole hair fiasco was such a big deal. he hadn’t really been sure it actually meant something for jeongguk, but yoongi could read his reaction. he was uncomfortable.

yoongi—weirdly—feels like he has a right to know. it was his fault, and he wants to know what exactly went down so that he can properly apologize and he and jeongguk can hopefully move on from this and get back to how they were in their first few hours of friendship. seeing as to how jeongguk himself won’t be telling him, yoongi thinks of the second best person, the one who probably knows jeongguk the most.

“namjoon,” he catches him in the hallway as he’s coming out of the bathroom. yoongi wasn’t waiting; he didn’t even know namjoon was in there, but yoongi isn’t going to look a gift horse in the mouth. “can we talk?”

namjoon looks dazedly at him before nodding once. yoongi turns and tilts his head towards taehyung’s bedroom, feeling like they have to be weirdly lowkey about this. it’s likely to raise suspicion if yoongi is seen sneaking into taehyung’s bedroom with namjoon. all of his friends are degenerates.

“am i even allowed to be in here?”

namjoon is stuck in taehyung’s doorway, looking around the shockingly tidy room with wonder. yoongi sighs bone deep.

“yes.”

tentatively, namjoon crosses the room and settles onto the edge of the bed next to yoongi. they both stare at taehyung’s whiteboard, hanging on the wall opposite of his bed, before namjoon clears his throat.

“this is about jeongguk.”

yoongi barely manages to avoid flinching. “are you telling me?”

“you may be the witch, yoongi, but i can practically read your mind. you’re an open book.” namjoon leans in until their shoulders bump. yoongi snorts. “and it’s kind of obvious.”

“what’s ‘it’?” yoongi asks seriously, because even he doesn’t know what this unnameable tension between he and jeongguk is.

namjoon shrugs, and yoongi feels it against his shoulder. “there’s something there.”

yoongi doesn’t know how to respond to that, so he switches back to his original course of action instead. “were you there for jeongguk’s yellow hair?”

the energy shift in the room is palpable. yoongi bets even non-sensitive people could sense it, the way namjoon leans just a fraction away so their shoulders aren’t touching anymore, the way the temperature suddenly drops a few degrees, as though yoongi had said voldemort or something.

“yeah, i was.” namjoon eventually answers. “why do you ask?”

where do i even start, yoongi thinks. he rubs the palms of his hands together nervously and inhales, preparing himself for the worst of namjoon’s reactions. “well, um. i guess—he brought that potion from me.”

yoongi resolutely does not look at namjoon. he knows that namjoon and jeongguk have some extreme bond, some blood oath, that they would probably take multiple bullets for eachother or go to war for the sake of the other. so when namjoon looks at yoongi, he already has an apology letter drafted in his head, and some amendments he’d like to make to his nonexistent will.

“yoongi.”

“yeah?” yoongi whispers.

“why are you frozen?”

just like that, yoongi unfreezes. “aren’t you angry?”

“no?” namjoon sounds just as confused as yoongi feels. “don’t tell him this, but the whole yellow hair thing really was his fault.”

yoongi knew it was. deep down he knew, because he uses the exact potion that jeongguk brought once a month and has never had any bad reactions towards it. weirdly enough, this knowledge doesn’t make him feel any better.

“why is he so—upset, over it?”

this quiets namjoon. they settle into a lull of silence for a minute or two, during which yoongi stews in his thoughts and feelings. he’s anticipating namjoon’s answer.

“i was the first friend jeongguk made when he moved here. that entire thing happened not long after. he was still considered really new, and he’s a writer, so this presentation was really important to him. i—i wouldn’t say jeongguk’s ever been insecure. he’s pretty confident, actually. he’s just especially sensitive to things that have to do with his… face. he doesn’t think he’s ugly, he just doesn’t think much of it at all. doesn’t really want to? so when everyone started calling him piss-head and all these other really cheesy nicknames, it hurt him. he was hurt, and embarrassed, and he closed in on himself for a while after that. religiously dyed his hair black every single night until the yellow finally started fading.”

yoongi doesn’t even know what to say. he feels like someone grabbed his heart and put it in a food processor, or like the time he used live slugs in a potion and was violently sick for two weeks straight. he never even considered jeongguk may not be the most secure in his appearance, because he is one of the most beautiful people yoongi has ever seen. it was horribly insensitive, the way yoongi poked at him over the incident, and he feels like an awful, awful person. like that soul harvesting dark witch.

“i don’t think he really blames you. you’re just an easy outlet.”

at this point, namjoon sounds like he’s speaking to yoongi from across a football field. yoongi is debating on how he should even begin to respond when taehyung’s bedroom door flies open.

jimin is standing on the other end. when he sees yoongi and namjoon, sitting a foot apart on the edge of the king bed, he quirks an eyebrow. “sorry to interrupt the therapy session. the food is ready.”

the autopilot switch in yoongi’s empty hole of a head flicks on. he rises, follows behind jimin and namjoon all the way into the dining room, feeling like an absolute robot the entire way. the only empty seat is in the far right corner, diagonally across from jeongguk, who has this head tipped down against his chest. yoongi’s bones feel like sludge as he slinks down into the seat.

yoongi pushes his food around on his plate. there’s five separate conversations going on at once, but he’s only halfway paying attention to either of them. he wants to talk to jeongguk.

speak of the devil. when he finally looks up jeongguk is staring directly at him, burning holes into his skull. everyone else at the table is deeply absorbed in conversation and jeongguk is staring at yoongi like yoongi is the answer to a question jeongguk has been trying to solve for years.

it takes a few seconds for jeongguk to look away when jimin calls his name. yoongi doesn’t look away—he keeps his eyes trained on the hinge of jeongguk’s jaw, the way it moves as he speaks and smiles and shovels food into his mouth.

“yoongi?” hoseok calls. when yoongi comes to, the tone of his voice suggests he’s been calling his name for quite a while. yoongi blinks.

“yeah?”

“i was asking about your shop. how’s it going?”

“oh. uh,” yoongi sets down his fork with a loud clatter. he takes a sip of his water and looks around the table briefly, feeling like he’s about to present a fucking dissertation that contains his life's work. in a way, he guesses he is.

“it’s good. busy. october is always a busy time for witches, so i’ve been making double all the potions i usually would.”

all the various heads at the table bob. yoongi undergoes a few more questions before they’re done and moving onto the next topic. yoongi sighs.

eventually, everyone grabs their plates and stands. yoongi follows suit, his plate still 75% full of untouched food. he robotically scrapes it into the trash can and somehow gets defaulted to dish duty, which he doesn’t really mind. it gives him some down time to think. clearly, the next plan of action would be to approach jeongguk and apologize for being a complete ass and hope for the best.

jeongguk seems like a relatively reasonable person, under the right circumstances. yoongi has to catch him at the right time, has to really think about what he’s going to say so that he doesn’t do that thing where he just speaks without actually thinking about it. he doesn’t want to mess this up.

when he finishes all the dishes, jeongguk is already gone.

yoongi stands in the doorway to the living room, looking at his friends all piled onto each other on the couch. he doesn’t want to make it seem like he only really cares about one person right now, but—

“where’s jeongguk?”

seokjin pulls his head out from where it was buried under hoseok’s shoulder. “he just left. he said he has an 8 a.m. exam, so he was going to sleep.”

yoongi doesn’t say anything. seokjin doesn’t say anything. they’re all staring at yoongi from the couch in silence, and yoongi looks between each of their faces and shifts on his feet.

“right. yeah, i’m really tired, so like. i’m gonna go home. so i can sleep, yeah.”

taehyung rolls his eyes. “just go.”

“go.” namjoon seconds. soon, yoongi has an entire chorus of go’s, and he knows they all know why he’s leaving and it’s truly a scene out of a coming-of-age romcom. he’s sprinting out of taehyung’s apartment, throwing open the door to the stairs and taking them a lot faster than he really should at his age. his shoulder bumps so violently into a passing by man that he stumbles over his own feet, and then he’s pushing out of the glass doors and into the freezing night. the sky is pitch black and there’s minimal lighting but yoongi thinks he can see jeongguk—a lone figure walking up the street, getting smaller and smaller under the passing overhead street lights.

yoongi runs.

he feels so cheesily cliche. his boots are pounding heavily onto the concrete—his form really is terrible. jeongguk looks like he works out; he’d probably be ashamed. yoongi is being so noisy that jeongguk turns around a lot earlier than he was anticipating, so he has to watch yoongi run all the rest of the way up to him with furrowed eyebrows.

it’s more mortifying than yoongi thought it would be. he stops two feet away from jeongguk and has to physically bend and place his hands on his knees to regain his breath.

“pull something there?” jeongguk asks from somewhere above yoongi’s head.

“just—give me a second.”

jeongguk gives him many seconds. once yoongi stops feeling like he’s dying, he rises and takes an extra step back away from jeongguk. he doesn’t want to make him uncomfortable.

when a minute passes and yoongi doesn’t say anything, jeongguk raises his eyebrows. yoongi notices that the dark green sweater he’s wearing really warms his skin tone and makes his hair look deeper and softer where it’s parted messily on his forehead. yoongi licks his lips.

“i think you’re beautiful.”

there goes yoongi’s mouth. yoongi’s trusty, smart mouth. yoongi’s mouth which has never failed him in the history of life. ever.

jeongguk’s mouth is open. yoongi can’t even bring himself to really regret his words because jeongguk truly is beautiful.

“you don’t need me to tell you that. or anyone. you’re beautiful on your own, but—god. you could be bald or something and still one of the most magnificent people i’ve ever seen. not that your looks are the only magnificent thing about you. that’s like, one bullet on a very long list.”

jeongguk’s swallows. “what is this?”

“i’m sorry. i shouldn’t have been such a dickhead about the potion thing when it clearly upset you.”

“oh?” jeongguk’s chin juts. “so you’re apologizing because namjoon told you i’m insecure, or something?”

yoongi is amazed that he’s managing to fuck even this up. “no. no, that’s not what this is at all. how did you even know i talked to namjoon?”

jeongguk looks away. he does this weird thing where he crosses his arms and shifts his weight to his left leg. “i saw you sneaking into that room with him.”

he must actually be tired, because yoongi thinks he hears a tinge of jealousy in jeongguk’s voice. that wouldn’t make any sense, though. none at all.

“i’m apologizing because i feel bad. and namjoon did tell me more about the whole.. hair incident, but i’m apologizing because i want to.”

“why all of a sudden?”

yoongi doesn’t know if he has an adequate answer for this. “you deserve an apology. i was a dickhead. and you’re just really beautiful, in every sense of the word. i’m sick of admiring from afar.”

jeongguk blushes, pretty and high on the arch of his cheekbones. he looks down at yoongi’s feet.

“can i—“ the rest of his sentence turns into incoherent mumbling. yoongi takes half a step forward and cocks his head.

“what?”

“can i tellyousomething?”

he sounds nervous, which in turn makes yoongi nervous, so he just nods once jeongguk looks up and takes a deep breath.

“you know the day you came into the coffee shop? and i made your drink?”

yoongi nods again. “i, um, may have put something into it.”

yoongi furrows his eyebrows. he hadn’t experienced any sort of reactions to the drink. when he tells jeongguk this, the color in his cheeks deepens.

“it was. well. it was supposed to give you a headache. something small and annoying, you know? but i may have forgotten that it’d be mixed in with coffee, and certain properties of the charm would change, and it did. it changed.”

the panic starts as a cool trickle down the curve of yoongi’s spine. he’s going to die, or turn into a toad, or something horribly adverse that only comes from potions gone wrong. maybe all the hair follicles on his body will be dyed neon yellow.

“what did it do? am i going to die?”

jeongguk widens his eyes and frantically shakes his hands. “no! i didn’t want to cause you any actual harm. i just wanted to annoy you, but things didn’t go accordingly.”

yoongi wonders if jeongguk thinks this is making him feel better. “what happened?”

“um. i could like, hear your thoughts, i guess?”

jeongguk keeps his eyes averted. carefully hidden from yoongi’s, whose are widening rapidly. jeongguk must sense his panic because his head snaps up.

“only when i looked at you! and a lot of it was just. um.”

“was just what, jeongguk?”

“about me.” jeongguk whispers. “whenever i looked at you, you were thinking about me.”

if the ground could just open up into a vast black hole and swallow yoongi entirely, he’d be the happiest man on earth. he’s never experienced such precise dread as he is in this exact moment. his mouth flounders, opening and closing like he’s a fish out of water. “at the restaurant—“

he cuts himself off, thinking he’d really rather not know that jeongguk knows just how beautiful yoongi finds him. he feels a bit queasy.

“i—i mean, i don’t mind or anything. it didn’t make me uncomfortable.”

“can you now? can you still?” yoongi questions. jeongguk isn’t looking at him. maybe to give him privacy, or maybe he’s equally as embarrassed. yoongi doesn’t know which option is worse.

“no. it stopped as soon as you—called me beautiful.”

some part of yoongi’s brain, some rational part of yoongi’s brain that has the ability to step back and look at the grand scheme of things, tells him that this makes perfect sense. he may have even heard of a potion like this before. jeongguk was able to read his every thought until yoongi came out and said what was on his mind. it may not have been jeongguk’s original intention, but yoongi supposes it worked out in the end.

the part of yoongi’s brain that usually holds the reins, however, can’t seem to comprehend this. it spirals. it spirals into a deep abyss of panic that doesn’t have any foreseeable end.

“oh, god.” yoongi thinks of how he was waxing poetic about jeongguk’s waist after he had already taken a sip of the coffee. jeongguk could’ve been watching from behind the counter in the kitchen—yoongi has never felt so ashamed with himself. “i swear—i’m sorry—“

“shouldn’t i be the one apologizing? i potion-ed you.”

“potion-ed me?”

“like poisoned. but with a potion.”

yoongi shakes his head with his eyes clenched shut. “no. that’s the least of my worries right now, honestly.”

jeongguk purses his lips. they’re standing just out of reach from the dome of the streetlight, and jeongguk’s features looked hollowed out and haunting. their breath is coming out in white puffs before them, but yoongi realizes he doesn’t feel cold. he also didn’t cast a warming charm.

“do you have a warming charm casted?”

jeongguk’s head automatically goes to shake, but he pauses, drawing the center of his lower lip behind his teeth before he nods. “earlier. you were shivering, so…”

yoongi hadn’t even noticed, which is kind of terrifying. he must be so used to jeongguk’s magic despite their relatively short amount of time spent together that he doesn’t even feel it anymore.

they fall into a prolonged period of awkward silence. now that yoongi has apologized, and jeongguk hasn’t explicitly accepted his apology but rather took twenty years off yoongi’s lifespan, he doesn’t know where to go. or what to do.

“well. you have that 8am, right? i’ll let you go.”

jeongguk laughs to himself. it’s more a rough exhalation of air, but. “i lied. i had my last class of the week today.”

well, this makes things even more awkward and hard for yoongi to move around. how is he supposed to make a quick escape without a convenient excuse? before he can turn and walk back to taehyung’s apartment with his tail between his legs, jeongguk scratches the back of his neck and calls yoongi’s name.

“do you want to get something to eat? i didn’t really touch my food, and i noticed you didn’t either. only if you want too though.”

yoongi smiles, slow and sweet like honey. this moment feels like a budding flower, the unadulterated euphoria that overruns his entire body when he successfully completes a hard potion, the magic humming and vibrating in the air around them. when yoongi nods, jeongguk turns, and he follows him the entire way.

 

 

on halloween evening, yoongi is buried deep into the slouch of his sofa, reruns of halloween baking championship playing on an endless loop on t.v., when he hears the front door to the shop being pounded on by an impatient fist.

yoongi has a set plan to ignore it. he never accepts trick-or-treaters, because who even goes to store fronts hunting for candy anymore? but when it pounds throughout the entire duration of the commercial break and doesn’t stop through the intro to a new episode, yoongi pulls himself out of the cushions, readjusts his glasses on his nose, and takes his time crossing the stairs down into his shop.

things are spinning, twinkling in the energy of halloween night. there’s a constant rustling somewhere deep in his drawers, the sound of pen on paper, tinkling of unseen bells. yoongi has three potions being made at once due solely to the fact that the best potions are brewed on halloween night, and the ingredients are practically begging to be used. when he shuffles through the chaos and swings the heavy door open, the sight of a breathless, windblown jeongguk in a cheesy ‘resting witch face’ t-shirt and two bags of store-bought candy in his arms nearly causes him to slip on a loose palm leaf.

as fate would have it, he goes careening out of the front door.

jeongguk’s chest is, in fact, more sturdy than it looks. yoongi nearly breaks his nose against jeongguk’s sternum, and his glasses pinch the center of his forehead and his exposed face is cold in the chilly breeze. his elbow crushes the bags of candy cradled in the crook of jeongguk’s elbows, and a hand wraps around his shoulder and jeongguk’s chest vibrates. he’s laughing.

“are you that excited to see me?”

yoongi physically pushes himself off of jeongguk, grabbing his elbow and tugging him into the store to escape the frigid cold. he latches it shut behind him and turns back to jeongguk.

“what are you doing?”

“jeez. you’re brewing all these?” jeongguk peeks in the various cauldrons spread all around the room. he has to duck to avoid the low hanging ceiling plants.

“not manually.”

“that’s kinda sexy.” jeongguk remarks. yoongi hears him shift the bags of candy, which he chooses to focus on, rather than what jeongguk just said.

“what are you doing here?”

jeongguk is poking at a loose lizard eye with his pinky finger. he recoils in disgust, muttering something about hygiene, and sighs through his nose. it’s a rather interesting gesture. yoongi rubs the bridge of his nose.

“my witch-y intuition told me you were probably alone, and a witch spending halloween alone is a crime. i couldn’t live with myself if i didn’t come spend it with you, in witch solidarity.”

yoongi doesn’t have a problem with this plan. not at all. in fact, he’s been debating on calling jeongguk since their impromptu dinner (date?) after the party at taehyung’s. “and the candy?”

“it’s halloween, dude.”

“i don’t like sweet things.”

jeongguk’s smile is beatific, and it makes yoongi’s toes curl in his socks. “i had a feeling you would say that.”

“you’re unbelievable.” yoongi can’t take looking at jeongguk for any longer, not in his resting witch face t-shirt and his ruffled coconut hair. instead, he watches the ladle stirring idly in his cauldron. “i was just watching halloween baking championship. this is your out. take it.”

“i love that show.” jeongguk says. “unless you want me to go, i’m staying.”

“no, i don’t want you to go.”

jeongguk smiles at him again, and this time, yoongi can’t help but look.

 

“that sugar ball is going to break,” jeongguk speaks through a mouthful of fun size snickers.

“would it kill you to have some faith?”

“probably.” yoongi audibly hears jeongguk swallow. “besides, i have five dollars riding on their sugar ball breaking. they have to lose. it would literally kill me to have to pay you.”

“they won’t lose.” yoongi assures himself. maybe it is a bit evil of him, to place a bet with jeongguk on which team will win when he’s already seen the episode. but a determined jeongguk is a cute jeongguk—a competitive jeongguk is an adorable jeongguk.

when it cuts to a commercial, yoongi turns his head to look at jeongguk, who is sitting next to him with his sweatpant clad legs propped on yoongi’s coffee table. he leans over and pokes jeongguk’s candy-packed cheek. “you’re going to get cavities.”

“can’t you just potion them away?”

“that’s too much work to fix a problem you knowingly created.”

jeongguk pinches yoongi’s right thigh. “a simple no would have sufficed.”

i would, yoongi doesn’t say, because jeongguk’s pride does not need that feeding. a comfortable silence lulls between them as the show comes back on. jeongguk sighs when the sugar ball does stay in tact, and when his team runs out of icing for their cake. yoongi laughs when he shoves another piece of candy in his mouth and refuses to comment.

“you’re really going to take five dollars from a broke, sleep-deprived college student?” jeongguk whines when the episode has five minutes left and the cards most definitely aren’t in his favor.

“the bet was literally your idea.” yoongi reminds him passively. jeongguk throws his head back against the couch cushion with a theatrical groan.

in the end, yoongi doesn’t end up taking the five dollars from jeongguk. jeongguk suddenly has a random burst of altruism and pushes yoongi to accept it, but yoongi refuses. jeongguk shoves the bill back into his wallet with a pout and a side eye directed to yoongi.

“oh, yoongi,” jeongguk sounds as though he suddenly remembered something, in the midst of picking up all the loose candy wrappers decorating yoongi’s couch. “i wanted to tell you that i accept your apology. and thank you, i forgot to tell you the other night.”

yoongi pauses from where he was sweeping crumbs off of his coffee table. he’s kneeling on the hardwood floor, knees bent underneath himself, and he looks up at jeongguk and feels his glasses slide a fraction down the slope of his nose.

jeongguk steps forward with a snort, his index finger extended to push yoongi’s glasses back up. “these make you look like a professor.”

yoongi comes back to himself. sometime between jeongguk’s soft thank you and the professor comment, yoongi’s very soul was very forcefully ejected from his body. “shut up.”

jeongguk closes a fist around the plastic candy wrappers. weirdly, he seems to know his way around yoongi’s apartment well enough. he wanders into the kitchen, and yoongi hears the trash can lid opening and closing and jeongguk’s soft footsteps as he approaches the living room once again. yoongi watches the commercial on t.v, one of those prescription medicines with a symptoms list longer than the united states constitution.

they’re in the midst of telling yoongi not to take the advertised medicine if he’s allergic to the advertised medicine when the couch beside him bounces with jeongguk’s weight. “thanks for tonight. it was fun.”

“what are you thanking me for? we did nothing.”

yoongi sees jeongguk’s shoulders shrug up and down in his peripheral. “i like that, though. my life is so much. i feel like i’m always doing something, but i like doing nothing. especially with you, you’re fun to be with.”

that makes yoongi look over with a raised eyebrow. “thanks. you are too.”

jeongguk shoots him an easy grin. his nose scrunches and yoongi sighs, low in the back of his throat. he grins back.

jeongguk leaves nearing midnight. yoongi would be worried if he weren’t so ridiculously jacked—his biceps had strained unnecessarily against his stupid shirt the entire night. it was quite sickening. though yoongi knows jeongguk never would, he could beat somebody to a pulp if he truly wanted. yoongi watches him go from the doorstep until jeongguk is completely out of sight and his ears are fully numb.

 

 

the first week of november, it snows.

it’s the kind of snow that dusts over everything like powdered sugar. it lasts all week, though it never sticks around for very long, and yoongi has to wrap a humongous scarf around his neck five times before he can even step away from his heater.

by some stroke of fate (see: yoongi making the conscious decision to) he ends up back in jeongguk’s coffee shop.

the bell above his head tinkles. jeongguk is wiping down the closest table to the door, and yoongi really doesn’t mean to let his eyes linger on the curve of jeongguk’s ass. “hi, welcome to--oh!”

“‘oh’? interesting name for a coffee shop.” yoongi remarks. jeongguk’s rag is hanging limply from his hand, and he has a palm balanced on the table he was just cleaning. it stands between them, and jeongguk smiles foolishly at him and balls up the rag in his fist.

“it’s weird seeing you in here.”

yoongi begins the daunting task of unwinding his scarf. “how so?”

“well. last time you were here, i poisoned your drink.”

yoongi looks around with wide eyes. there’s a woman sitting at a table a few spaces down from them, and two men sitting at the table pressed against the far window. other than that, it’s just them. “shouldn’t you be worried about saying that out loud here?”

“nah. i’ve known the owner since i was like, eight. we’re cool.” jeongguk shrugs and wipes off the spot where his palm was on the table.

“so nepotism excuses poisoning customers.”

jeongguk throws his head back and laughs, even though yoongi didn’t say anything particularly funny. “only mean customers.”

“stop being an awful employee and make me my drink. customer comes first. didn’t they teach you that?” yoongi hits jeongguk with one end of his scarf, which is now hanging freely around his neck. jeongguk whines and trudges behind the counter with dull eyes.

“i’ll poison you for real this time.”

“that doesn’t scare me as much as it probably should.” yoongi grabs his wallet from his back pocket. “an americano with no potions, please.”

“you’re so boring,” jeongguk swipes yoongi’s card and hands it back to him, tearing the receipt off the machine and, again, balling it up. yoongi opens his mouth to protest that, and jeongguk must sense it coming, because he scurries away from the register and towards the back bar, where yoongi would have to raise a scene for jeongguk to hear him.

the americano, when it’s finished and steaming between yoongi’s palms, is one of the best he’s ever had. he goes to tell jeongguk this but the look on his face suggests that he already knows, so yoongi drinks in silence, jeongguk’s eyes on him like a branding.

“you have snow in your hair.” jeongguk blurts randomly. yoongi pulls the cup away from his mouth, wiping at the leftover foam, and frowns. “i--it kind of looks like dandruff.”

“what? how long has it been there?”

“since you walked in, obviously?”

yoongi rolls his eyes and goes to brush it out, but jeongguk stops him with a gentle hand clasped around his wrist. “i got it.”

everything jeongguk does is so painfully gentle that yoongi can’t help but believe he’s doing it to harm him, in some cruel, reverse psychology kind of way. when his fingers sift through yoongi’s hair and brush his scalp, pushing his fringe back and ruffling it a bit before withdrawing, he’s warm enough that yoongi can feel his touch even when he’s already pulled away and crossed over to the back bar.

yoongi leaves feeling warm, not even realizing he’d forgotten to re-wind his scarf until he was already three blocks away.

 

--

 

being friends with jeongguk is remarkably easy. he’s always down to hang out, even if that means sitting on the couch for thirteen hours at a time and only getting up to pee, or going on a drive at three a.m. because they both were too tired to sleep. the first time yoongi goes back to his and namjoon’s house since the party, it’s nearly unrecognizable, but achingly jeongguk. his room is all warm reds and greens and browns, with an elaborate computer and multiple sheathes of white paper and it’s very own printer, all crammed onto one oak desk. his closet is an array of black and gray and white with a few random pops of color, and his bed is always unmade with a disturbing amount of pillows piled onto it. it’s messy but organized and it smells warm, like cinnamon, and earthy, like jeongguk, and it thrums with so much magic and energy that yoongi’s hair stands on end.

jeongguk becomes much more of a familiar figure in yoongi’s shop. on his free days, he can be found doing one of three things; sleeping, writing, or sitting in the chair behind the front desk in black cat, tending to basic customer needs and helping yoongi with potions. he’s a rather simple person when it comes to what he likes and doesn’t like, and he rarely wastes his time on the latter. his personality is wonderfully complex, though, and yoongi knows that jeongguk is one of the most brilliant people he’s ever met.

yoongi teaches him a bit of magic. simple stuff--basic potions, bare necessity charms, that kind of thing. one morning he walks downstairs into the shop and comes face to face with a levitating to-go cup of coffee. jeongguk smiles at him from across the store, and yoongi wants to kiss him.

that’s the issue with this whole being friends with jeongguk thing. yoongi wants to kiss him, more often than not, and bad. he can’t get a read on jeongguk, can’t tell if he feels even an inkling of the same things yoongi does. jeongguk is touchy, always slouching off yoongi’s shoulders or cuddling him whenever they’re near enough, but he’s like that with just about everyone. jeongguk spends tons of time in yoongi’s shop, but he doesn’t have much else to do during his free days. jeongguk tells yoongi that he really enjoys being with him, but jeongguk is a sweetheart. he’d enjoy spending time with a rock.

yoongi doesn’t know. yoongi doesn’t know, and then it’s christmas.

 

--

 

second to halloween, christmas is the best time for witches. large gatherings of happy people, festivities, changes in weather and business are all good for witches; it just so happens that christmas has all of these. and more.

christmas has jeongguk in obnoxious sweaters, jeongguk in reindeer headbands and santa hats, jeongguk decorating the shop and pulling a tree out of nowhere to set in the front window. they spend an entire day decorating it. jeongguk shows yoongi that he now knows how to make hot chocolate without ever touching a mug or a kettle. yoongi doesn’t like sweet things, but he drinks the entire thing.

the shop has a surge in customers. potions are a popular gift for witches and humans alike, and if yoongi isn’t tending to said customers, he’s in the back making potions and filling orders. christmas is a good time for witches, but it’s a hectic time, so when it’s nearing christmas eve and hoseok texts their group chat suggesting they all do something together, yoongi can’t agree quickly enough.

they decide on bowling. it’s a retro place, with neon signs and black lights and clown-esque shoes that smell like somebody’s grandfather died in them. it’s christmas eve and they’ve managed to fit seven bodies in one seating area, shooting bowling balls down the skinny lanes, paying more attention to the christmas songs playing on the overhead intercom than the score of the game itself. the sole employee working falls asleep one hour into them being there, despite all the noise they’re causing.

jeongguk is wearing a thick blue turtleneck, and he’s got cheap beer glistening on his lower lip. yoongi has to extract himself from the group and hang around the bowling ball rack before he does something completely irresponsible and, frankly, rude, like kiss it off his lips.

he’s pretending to examine the difference between a 10-pounder and an 11-pounder when someone approaches him from behind. “what are you doing?”

he nearly drops the balls directly onto his feet, but they somehow make it to the rack, clattering there with a loud bang instead. yoongi whips around.

“looking at balls.”

jeongguk raises both eyebrows, because he’s disgusting. “you missed your turn.”

“did you go for me?” somehow, yoongi already knows. but he wants to ask.

jeongguk nods. yoongi smiles, a bit shakily, because under the black lighting, one half of his face illuminated pink by the fluorescent neon sign behind yoongi, jeongguk looks other-wordly. “i may have an actual chance of winning now.”

“you had that on your own.” jeongguk replies. his voice is soft, and they’re standing far away enough from the group that they can’t make out any words they’re saying, just general noise. last christmas, the wham! version, is playing through the shoddy speakers. “yoongi?”

yoongi swallows the lead ball in his throat until it sinks down into his stomach. “yeah?”

jeongguk looks at the ball rack behind yoongi, and then at yoongi himself. his eyes are flickering, shimmering, unreadable as always. “do you remember when i told you how that headache potion went wrong, and i could read your thoughts?”

yoongi’s eyebrows knit. “yes.”

with a nod, as if he had been hoping yoongi would say that, jeongguk continues. “you know, i could hear about how beautiful you thought i was. it was crazy. it didn’t happen every time, but it was a lot.”

yoongi doesn’t know what he’s getting at. “didn’t we already go over this? i’m sorry if it made you uncomfortable.”

jeongguk shakes his head. “no, it didn’t. that’s what i’m trying to say. i liked it alot, yoongi. i liked it when you thought i was beautiful. i liked it even more when you said it outloud.”

yoongi wonders if jeongguk has developed some extreme powers behind his back, ones where he can move without actually moving his body, because yoongi feels like he’s been punched directly in his solar plexus. but if you kissed me now, i know you'd fool me again croons at him from the speaker. yoongi can see the blonde hairs in jeongguk’s eyebrow.

“you like being called beautiful?” yoongi asks dumbly.

“no. yoongi. no. i like it when you call me beautiful. i--” yoongi can tell jeongguk is struggling. his hands are making aborted movements, and his cheeks are rapidly coloring, and he’s stuttering over his words. he cuts himself off and takes two large steps forward, until yoongi is having to step back into the ball rack to get some breathing room.

“i meant it. everytime. still do, actually,” yoongi’s autopilot takes the reigns. subconsciously, all he can focus on is the curl of jeongguk’s eyelashes against his pink cheekbones. “why are you saying this?”

jeongguk pouts. “i like you. i like you, yoongi.”

he speaks confidently, as though he doesn’t doubt yoongi feels the same way. or maybe he has no idea, because he’s tipsy and throwing caution to the wind and keeping his nerves hidden behind that rock solid veneer he has.

“you’re tipsy.” yoongi says. he doesn’t know why he’s seemingly sabotaging this, but he’d rather have jeongguk confess sober than on a random burst of alcohol confidence, if at all. in a weird way, yoongi feels like he’s manipulating jeongguk.

“yoongi, i’m sober. i had three sips of watered down beer. i’ve never been more sober in my entire life.” jeongguk insists. his eyes aren’t wavering from yoongi’s, so yoongi takes a deep breath and meets his gaze equally.

“you’re serious? you want this?”

jeongguk nods. “i want you. whatever it is you’re willing to give.”

he doesn’t think twice about stepping forward to close the little distance between them and press their lips together in a chaste kiss. jeongguk fumbles. “does--does this mean you like me back?”

yoongi nods gently. “yes. so much, jeongguk. i’m sorry for not making it clearer. i like you, and i want you, too.”

jeongguk blinks like he doesn’t believe it for a moment, and then it settles across his face in a glorious, blinding smile, and he whispers, “kiss me again?”

last christmas, i gave you my heart plays on and on, endlessly in yoongi’s mind as their lips meet countless times, again and again, each better than the last. yoongi drags his fingers through jeongguk’s blonde patch and smiles so broadly against jeongguk’s lips that his cheeks ache.

 

--

 

one year later, halloween

yoongi drags his hands down the expanse of skin from underneath jeongguk’s armpit to above his waistband, over and over and over. jeongguk squirms and shivers and tries to press harder into the kiss, but yoongi pushes him down, over and over and over, until jeongguk’s erection is stabbing into yoongi’s thigh and he’s panting more than he is kissing.

“so worked up, so easily,” yoongi murmurs, ghosting his lips over jeongguk’s gooseflesh skin. jeongguk writhes.

yoongi wants to hear his voice, more than just weak whimpers and pants, so he sits up and pushes jeongguk’s thighs apart and presses a palm down roughly into jeongguk’s tented crotch. jeongguk sobs, ending off on a litany of please’s. yoongi smiles, slow and steady.

“you’re beautiful.” yoongi comments, offhandedly. “what do you want?” he doesn’t move his hand away but he greatly lessens the pressure.

“make me feel good,” jeongguk gasps. yoongi loves him like this (loves him in any version, at any time, but this especially) when he gets so riled up and one-track minded that he becomes greedy. “let me make you feel good.”

“that’s pretty broad,” yoongi comments, his voice cracking ever so slightly when jeongguk runs his hands over yoongi’s shoulders and down his back. his composure is rapidly slipping.

“just do what you want.” jeongguk sounds exasperated. his knit sweater is pushed up far enough to expose his dark nipples, and his jeans are riding on the arch of his hip bones, belt already pulled out of the buckle and hanging openly from his front. his thighs are parted and draped over yoongi’s waist, and he can’t stop moving, undulating his body, writhing and running his hands all over yoongi.

yoongi really does feel bad about what he has to do next, but promises are promises. “okay, baby. but later. we have to meet jimin and taehyung for dinner.”

he gently lifts jeongguk’s thighs and scoots out of their embrace, stopping when he’s seated at the edge of the bed. jeongguk is weirdly still, staring at the ceiling, his chest rising and falling with great gusto. his dick is still hard.

yoongi has to will himself to calm down. it takes him a considerably shorter amount of time than jeongguk, who, after three minutes of deep breathing, sits up and lets his sweater fall back down on it’s own. “i’m breaking up with you.”

throwing his head back with a laugh that’s sure to infuriate jeongguk, yoongi responds. “what about later?”

“you’re the worst person i’ve ever met. we have to go sit through a painfully awkward dinner, where taehyung and jimin will continue to dance around each other like everyone with eyes can’t clearly see that they’re fucking, and i’ll have a hard-on. the entire time, probably, because you look really good in white, and i think you’ve been working out on the low, because your chest is thicker. fuck you.”

yoongi thinks he must be some sort of weirdo to find it cute, but he finds just about everything jeongguk does cute, even when he chugs orange juice from the gallon and lets it drip down his chin as he tries to kiss yoongi. disgusting. “like i said. later. come on, we’re going to be late.”

it’s a day from halloween. it’s abnormally cold outside given the season, and yoongi helps jeongguk into his overcoat and pulls the beanie down over his head as they’re walking down the stairs. he drags a hand through jeongguk’s blonde patch and presses a kiss to the back of his neck when they reach the bottom. black cat has been shut down for the night, and yoongi looks over the shop one last time before he steps out the door behind jeongguk and locks it.

halloween is still terribly cheesy. there’s decorations crowding the streets, posters of scary movies with horribly advertised witches and ghouls on them. there’s laughter ringing in the air (partly jeongguk’s; yoongi will always have an ear for jeongguk’s) and it smells like magic, like cinnamon, like everything yoongi loves about this time of year. he takes a breath so deep that the cold burns his nose and smiles to himself.

he grabs jeongguk’s hands, interlaces their fingers, and doesn’t let go the rest of the way.