Jimin exhales loud and slowly, head lolling back, trying to work out the strain on his shoulders before he concentrates on the computer screen before him again.
He’s been in front of the computer for a solid 7 hours now and he would very much like to leave already. Both of the head-nurses had already come in twice to tell him the time.
I know- there’s a clock right there, please don’t remind me, do you think I want to be here? Jimin wants to ask, groaning despondently. But the head-nurses were really nice, and Jimin has relied on them for a lot and they didn’t deserve to be snapped at. Jungkook had already left a few hours ago, complaining about his back the entire time. Jimin just wants to catch a break honestly. But he has internship hours to complete and as long as he’s not in the clean-up duty, Jimin will take cataloging all of their paper records into the digital logs any time. Jimin is grateful that he had the foresight to add “proficient with basic programming” as part of his CV when he applied for the compulsory internship program. But he also wants to know why they were still using paper notes to catalogue and archive medical records in 2018.
But so far it was proving to be useful and very educational. After all, nursing was not a trivial matter and Jimin has always wanted to work in a professional environment where he can help others. A doctor, he felt, carried too much responsibility and honestly the program was too expensive. Which is why Jimin chose nursing.
While Jungkook was training to be an emergency nurse practitioner, Jimin was training to work in a regular hospital and to be part of a physician’s team. Jimin’s primary goal was to finish his studies, be certified Registered Nurse, have a few years of experience, and then apply to work in organizations like Doctors Without Borders or other non-profit medical organizations.
It was no doubt exhausting, but Jimin was happy in the knowledge that what he did, his actions, his aid, benefited people far beyond what he could see or be aware of.
There’s a knock on the door before it slides open to reveal one of the head-nurses, Namjoon. He was a senior staff and a few years older than Jimin. And though he was a nurse, Namjoon worked more frequently as part of the reception/front desk staff because of his organized and effective communication skills.
‘Hey, your shift is over for today,’ he smiles. ‘Just leave a bookmark where you’ve finished and someone else will continue tomorrow.’
‘All right,’ Jimin smiles back in return and adds a little loudly just in case Namjoon doesn’t hear him, ‘Thank you!’
Namjoon just lifts a hand in acknowledgment before the door slides shut completely. Stretching his arms over his head, Jimin yawns loudly and indulgently. Saving the excel sheet twice and making sure to save a copy in the hospital’s archive domain as well, Jimin waits for the computer to shut down. He’d gone through 3 whole folders of records and was halfway through the 4th one. He doesn’t have anything to use as a bookmark and he’s pretty sure the next intern (probably Jungkook, or maybe even Youngjae) wouldn’t appreciate a random dog-ear to indicate where he left off. Hoping to find a sticky notepad somewhere, Jimin digs around the drawers of the desks nearby.
He’s pretty sure none of these desks were personal desks or anything of the sort but he still feels vaguely guilty. The drawers are filled with incomplete medical files, old bills that look like they were printed in 1996, and an alarming amount of dried super-glue tubes. Jimin is thinking of maybe using one of the old bills and folding it up into an origami boat for a bookmark when unearths a simple yet beautiful journal.
It had to be a journal- it definitely wasn’t a published book; it lacked any actual print on the cover and the binding had a distinctly hand-drawn look to it. It’s old, and Jimin guesses it’s black, though it could have been a dark brown before. And normally Jimin would ignore it, but there’s something strangely intriguing about it.
Actually, the first word that comes to Jimin’s mind when he looks closer at it is “magical”.
Carefully pulling it out of the drawer, Jimin studies the cover carefully. He’s not sure if it’s the fabric or a trick of light, or something, but it was almost as though the colours within the dark leather shifted under his fingers. It was odd, and Jimin is about a second away from dropping this book but he doesn’t. It’s almost as though he can’t look away.
Jimin loved stories and lore and myths. He loved anything magic-related and used to tell his parents he wanted to be a witch when he grew up. And while he was a bit of a scaredy cat, Jimin was fascinated with all sides of “magic”.
This book looked like what he’s read about grimoires. Or a witch’s handbook. He’s not sure if it was maybe just an artist’s doodle-book or god forbid, an art-student’s art-project. He carefully turns it over, hoping to find a name or something on the back. But there’s no indication of name or address in the back. Apologizing silently, Jimin opens the book to the front page. There’s still no name but instead intricate designs in an almost hypnotic pattern all over the pages. In addition, beautiful illustrations that Jimin recognizes as some form of sacred geometry is painstakingly illustrated across the pages.
Each page is covered and the further Jimin looks into them, he realizes that the pattern was actually writing. It repetitive but not in a symmetrical fashion. He could see sentence breaks, punctuation, and paragraphs. Jimin wonders if it’s some sort of rune or maybe even Hebrew. Somewhere closer to the end of the pages, Jimin comes across a page, where the writing sections off into different parts, separating so that the middle of the page remained blank in the outline of a hand.
It was exquisite, illustrated in gold and black ink. At the very center of the “palm” was a simple symbol of a thin ring, and what appeared to be two separate lines entwined around it like a helix.
It’s pretty and the size of the hand seemed exactly his size. Laying the grimoire flat on the desk, Jimin presses his palm against the paper, appreciating the beauty of the words around his hand. The paper is surprisingly warm on his palm and again, wondering if he was just really tired or if it was a trick of the light, the colours within the dark ink seems to shift and twirl.
Out of nowhere, Jimin is filled with a sense of anticipation. The hair on the back of his neck stands and he shivers a little.
His pulse is loud in his ear and Jimin can’t look away from his palm- and now he knows for sure that the ink within the patterns/writing was shifting.
Then quite anti-climactically, everything stops.
Carefully, Jimin pulls his palm away from the book. Nothing happens.
Quickly packing away the notebook and burying it with the other old bills he had found, Jimin shoves it all back inside the drawer and slides it shut.
By the time Jimin is opening the door to his small but cozy one-bedroom apartment, he’s exhausted to his core. And same like every night, Jimin refuses to think about how tired he is and pushes himself into his bathroom and showers with the water at maximum heat. His apartment was small yes, but the bathroom was what won him over. Jimin prioritized a good shower, so when he had first walked into this empty unit that had no added furnishing and saw the shower system, he was already signing the contract.
Little luxuries, Jimin thinks.
Skin tingling and warm, muscles eased up and relaxed, Jimin goes and falls straight into his futon. His stomach grumbles at him but fuck that he needs to sleep. Rolling onto his side, Jimin prepares to simply fall asleep, hair wet, damp towel still hanging on his door knob; who cares when your mattress is this comfy Jimin thinks, hand hanging off of the edge of the raised futon.
It’s almost instinct at this point.
And Jimin’s not sure if it’s media or his own paranoia, but he instantly makes to pull back his hand away from the edge and back into the safety of his mattress. It’s dumb, considering whatever monster-under-the-bed he’s afraid of in some primitive manner shouldn’t even exist because he doesn’t even sleep on a bed.
But he does anyway.
The only problem is his hand won’t budge.
Jimin scrambles off of his futon shrieking on top of his lungs, doing his best to release his hand from- from another hand?!
‘Jesus fuck stop screaming!’
This makes Jimin scream even more because this wasn’t a hallucination.
Someone- something suddenly held his hand.
Someone/something that wasn’t there when he walked into his apartment. Someone/something that wasn’t there when he had showered. Someone/something that wasn’t there when he collapsed into his bed.
Jimin is sure, because there’s literally no hiding place inside his small apartment.
Jimin only stops screaming after he’s literally run out of the lung capacity to do so.
‘Are you done?’
The voice is gruff and irritated, sharp despite the drawl in his words.
‘Please- oh my god, please don’t-‘
‘I’m not going to hurt you,’ the voice huffs in annoyance, hand twitching in Jimin’s.
‘Why are you holding my hand- please, I just- I don’t have money, I’m not- I’m just a student- I’m an intern- oh fuck,- do you- are you looking for drugs-‘ Jimin doesn’t care if he’s sobbing at this point. He doesn’t care if he needs to beg.
He was too young to die like this.
‘What?!’ the voice hisses, tugging at their hands and Jimin is now at the verge of an emotional breakdown. His knees, legs, back, arms, everything numb and weak from pure unadulterated fear.
‘Oh fuck, are you passing out-‘
Jimin blacks out for a solid minute and when his vision clears, a worried and confused face is looming above him.
It’s a very…normal face.
Nothing out of the ordinary.
Fair skin that’s slightly pasty in a way that suggests he hasn’t really exposed himself to direct sunlight in a long while. Sharp but sleepy eyes that are pitch black. Thin lips that are currently pursed as though caught between feeling worried and annoyed. Messy dark hair that’s almost unnaturally black.
All in all, a completely normal looking person. A normal looking stranger.
A stranger who has not only somehow managed to sneak into his apartment, but also managed to hide the entire time.
It doesn’t help that there’s a sudden clap of thunder that serves as the most violent alarm in the history of alarms.
Jimin rips his hand away and crawls backwards all the way to the bathroom door, back colliding heavily and painfully.
‘Fuck,’ the stranger curses under his breath, watching him with wide and slightly panicked eyes now.
‘Fuck-‘ he repeats himself.
‘Please leave- oh god, just- just please leave me alone-‘ Jimin’s not sure how long he passed out- it felt like a minute, it could have been longer. Fuck, what happened? Did he drug him? Try to steal a kidney? He’s heard enough stories about people waking up in their bathtubs surrounded in ice, missing kidneys.
‘You- you don’t know me?’ the stranger asks instead.
Jimin is so shocked he’s speechless. Then the next thing he knows, anger like he’s never known floods him.
‘The fuck do you think you asshole?!’ Jimin yells, standing up forcefully. ‘Get the fuck out right now!’
Jimin suddenly feels unexplainably brave and reckless.
‘Woah hey calm down-!’
‘I won’t calm down- you come to my house!’ Jimin roars, never in his life believing he would be quoting a meme. But he meant it.
‘You invited me!’ the stranger yells back.
‘I fucking did no such thing-!’ Jimin hopes his neighbour would have heard by now and would at least report him to the guards even if it was to complain about being noisy. That would mean someone would come up to check.
‘You summoned me! You broke the seal and summoned me!’ the strange hisses, holding up his palm which is completely blank-
Jimin thinks it’s the bad lighting- a trick of his eye. But when the stranger tilts his palm, he sees it again.
A familiar swirling black pattern, just as beautiful as it was when Jimin saw it on paper.
‘What the fuck-!?’ Jimin’s palm is suddenly hot. Jumping as though scalded, Jimin gingerly holds his hand up and feeling woozy for the second time that night, finds himself looking down at his scribbled hand in horror.
‘What is this- some sick prank?’ Jimin whispers, hands shaking, bravado gone. ‘What did you do to me?!’
‘Nothing!! Look- I don’t know- but you broke the seal, and summoned me,’ the stranger huffs, stance relaxing a little.
Jimin looks up from his palm, room spinning slowly around this stranger. And the longer Jimin stares, the stranger this feels- the stranger he feels.
Broke the seal.
‘What are you?’ he manages to choke out weakly.
I’m-‘ the stranger huffs out irritably, wiping at his face. ‘I’m a demon.’
It’s delayed, but Jimin’s laughter isn’t out of humor.
It’s pure panic.
‘Oh my god I think I’m having a stroke- this is a hallucination,’ Jimin grabs at his hair.
‘For fuck’s sake-‘
‘Oh my god I’m dying- I always knew this would somehow killing me-‘
‘-I’m not going to kill you or hurt you do you even know what you’ve done?!’
‘I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING WHY DO YOU THINK I’M FREAKING OUT!’ Jimin screeches, ‘I’M YELLING AT A HALLUCINATION-‘
‘I’M NOT A HALLUCINATION-‘
‘STEP THE FUCK AWAY FROM ME DON’T YOU DARE YELL AT ME I KNOW NOTHING-‘
‘I’M TRYING TO EXPLAIN-‘
‘YOU’RE NOT YOU’RE JUST GETTING FRUSTRATED-‘
‘OH MY GOD STOP SCREAMING-‘
‘YOU’RE SCREAMING TOO-‘
The neighbours should have heard by now. Surely.
‘I broke no seal,’ Jimin manages to get out, his voice shaky and coming out unexpectedly in a whisper. ‘I don’t understand.’
The stranger looks at him, his expression changing from frustration and panic to something a little gentler.
‘Look- I- I’m not good at this sort of thing-‘
‘-what does that even mean?’ Jimin walks back until he’s leaning on the wall. Good. He needs the energy.
‘I’ll just-‘ he struggles a little. ‘I’ll just explain from the beginning. Will you listen to me?’ he adds carefully, apprehension in his tone. He hasn’t moved from where he’s been standing, clearly trying not to alarm Jimin.
‘I’d appreciate if you told me how you got in so that I know how to stop this from happening again,’ Jimin whispers.
The stranger-demon doesn’t respond to this but instead clears his throat and asks, ‘What year is it?’
The stranger-demon takes a moment to calculate, very normal hands and fingers counting and adding numbers. No talons or elongated nails.
This is fine.
‘My name is Yoongi,’ he introduces himself finally. ‘And I am what humans refer to a demon.’
He pauses, as though waiting for Jimin to say something. Honestly, Jimin just wants to go to sleep and wake up and realize this is all a nightmare.
‘I was sealed by force against my will in a form bound in dead material-‘
Oh god- he’s crazy.
‘-so I had no escape. I was supposed to have been sealed for much longer- but…I guess this is where you come in and you released me by giving me your life-‘
‘No-! Not like that!’ Yoongi is quick to explain. ‘Life as in- as in like, blood or, tears- eh, some people it’s cum-‘
‘What the fuck?!’
‘Okay so none of those? Are you sure-‘
‘I don’t even know what you’re talking about-!?’
‘Dead material dead material- uh, paper- yeah, paper-‘ the demon is rambling now. ‘Fuck- do- do you know a djinn by chance?’
Jimin just gives up. And maybe that freaks the demon out a bit because Jimin is just exhausted now.
‘Please leave,’ Jimin says quietly. ‘I don’t- I don’t know what you’re trying to do. What you’re trying to achieve here but- but I’m just really tired. And I just want to sleep- just please leave.’
The demon just stares at him, lips pressed tight, eyes wide and…worried?
‘Okay. I’m sorry for scaring you, and for screaming,’ the demon says after a moment. ‘I uh- where’s the door?’
Jimin points out of the bedroom, too tired to argue or even question the “demon”.
‘Um- aren’t you going to lock up?’ he asks as he makes his way to the door.
Jimin just nods, not moving.
Pausing by the doorway, the demon studies him carefully.
‘I uh-‘ he stops.
He’s unsure, nervous. He looks worried.
‘I’ll explain um- I’ll make this right,’ he says slowly.
‘Please, just go.’
He looks extremely worried.
‘Please eat or something-‘ and he walks out.
Jimin listens to his footsteps, all the way to the door which opens quietly. The footsteps lead out and the door closes with a click again.
Moving faster than he ever has, Jimin scrambles to the next room and colliding heavily with the door, locks it shut. For extra precaution he goes and slides shut all of his windows, locking them all before he collapses in his bedroom, body shaking and hyperventilating just the slightest.
He didn’t have any family here- they were all too far. Jimin had no very close friends to rely on either, preferring to stick to his own company. Sure he knew a lot of people, but he didn’t trust anyone enough to not freak them out and have them call the police on him or something.
An intense bout of dizziness takes over and Jimin collapses, exhaustion in the form of sleep taking over.
When Jimin wakes up he wishes what happened was a dream but he’s not allowed such luxuries.
His entire body strung up, his nerves on edge, Jimin exits his apartment in his nursing uniform and warm jacket. Controlling the tremor in his limbs, Jimin makes his way down the hallway that’s never felt this long. He eyes his neighbour’s doors with irritation. Had none of them cared? Had they chosen to ignore his yelling?
Getting to the hospital is not as tense- there’s a lot of people and Jimin needs to report himself to the Head Nurses before taking up his duty. He would start taking on the residential patients in the wards from today- so he was given more time to relax in between slotted rounds.
‘Oh! Jimin,’ Namjoon pokes his head out from inside the welcome-booth. ‘Seokjin told me to send you to him – he’s in the office.’
‘Ok, thank you hyung,’ Jimin smiles, hoping it wasn’t too strained. But Namjoon just waves him off as usual.
Jimin makes his way towards the “office”- it’s not really an office but more of a meeting room of sorts turned nurses station, turned emergency nap station, turned study/research room. It had great WiFi connection and the air-conditioning in there was really good.
The office also had a great view of the hospital park and Jimin liked to eat in here, watching the tree tops that lead up towards a cityscape. It was hypnotic almost, especially at night, and Jimin liked to unwind in here when he could.
Already feeling better, Jimin walks up and knocks twice before entering.
‘Seokjin hyung I’m here-‘
If Jimin hadn’t been as exhausted or had been prepared, he would have bolted.
Because inside the office is Yoongi, sitting on a chair, nursing a cup of something in his hands, next to Seokjin.
The Head Nurse stands at once and moves faster than Jimin can keep up with and is pulled inside the office.
‘H-hyung please-‘ Jimin stammers out, pulling away.
‘There’s been a great misunderstanding,’ Seokjin declares at once. ‘And I am going to explain everything.’
‘First of all, I want to apologize to you. To both of you. This was my fault- I was careless. I left my grimoire out in the open- I take full responsibility.’ Seokjin actually bows in front of Jimin.
‘Jimin I know this will be difficult to understand- but please believe me that I am telling you the truth,’ Seokjin continues, a pleading tone to his voice.
‘Hyung please I don’t understand-‘ Jimin tries to make his way back to the door but there’s no way. So he moves to the far end of the room, behind the couch he’s slept on several times.
‘You’re not helping,’ Yoongi mumbles, watching Seokjin and Jimin with a look akin to exasperation, apprehension, and worry.
Jimin’s mind is reeling.
Did he just somehow get involved in a cult? Was his kidney about to be harvested? Wait- was Namjoon involved in this?
‘We’re not in cult! Yoongi! The term demon doesn’t apply anymore! For fuck’s sake couldn’t you have done some research before-‘
‘He looked like he was about to pass out- I was worried-!’
‘-and no Jimin, please, we’re not going to hurt you or anything I just want to explain!’ Seokjin looks genuinely upset as he faces Jimin again. ‘But before that I need to know one thing-‘
Jimin flinches when Seokjin reaches into his bag that had been atop of the table behind him. But instead of some weapon or something disturbing, Seokjin fishes out the black notebook Jimin had pulled out yesterday.
‘Did you open this?’
It takes Jimin a few moments before he nods slowly.
‘This wouldn’t have been an issue if you hadn’t decided to release yourself from it-‘
‘Yoongi will you shut the fuck up, I made the choice by myself without any influence-‘ Seokjin snaps while Yoongi rolls his eyes and mumbles, ‘Sure- that’s what he would tell you.’
‘Leave Namjoon out of this,’ Seokjin hisses.
It’s terrifying because Seokjin has always been a little (too) dorky, gentle, and ridiculously kind. Seeing him like this, with this supposed “demon” was really starting to overwhelm Jimin.
‘It still doesn’t explain anything,’ Yoongi mumbles over his cup, as he gestures at Jimin though his eyes are determinedly lowered.
‘But at least now we know where to start from-‘ Seokjin snaps at Yoongi who looks away disinterestedly.
‘Start from?’ Jimin whispers, more to himself than anything. He’s certain now that this was going to end with his death. Or worse.
‘Okay Jimin-ah, sit down here, I’ll explain everything to you. I swear to you nothing is going to happen- actually, will you feel better if we spoke in a public place-‘
‘What the fuck?!’ Yoongi hisses, ‘That’s dumb-‘
‘-you’re dumb!’ Seokjin hisses back before rounding up on Jimin again who flinches back. ‘How about we go to the lounge downstairs? Will you feel better? I swear to you we won’t do anything- it’s just me Jimin-ah.’
‘Me too,’ Yoongi grumbles and Seokjin actually closes his eyes, exhaling quietly before saying, ‘Just me. Yoongi will stay here and behave.’
Yoongi grunts in response and turns on his seat, presumably to look out of the window.
Seokjin stands up, gesturing to the door.
‘Uh- hyung you first,’ Jimin manages to get out as politely as he can, not eager to get jumped from the back by the head-nurse who believed they were some sort of supernatural entity.
Seokjin nods, opening the door and letting himself out first. He makes his movements intentionally obvious and a bit slow, as though he knew what Jimin was thinking.
Jimin pauses, catching the door and looking back at Yoongi who has his back turned to him. He looked nothing like a demon. No horns, no tail, no black aura, no red eyes. He looked completely normal.
But then again, that really didn’t mean much.
Mentally gathering himself, Jimin leaves the makeshift station and follows Seokjin out.
The lobby is just an open area on the first floor of the hospital building where people waited in line for payment, writing up appointments and waiting for their appointments as well as access to the pharmacist. The canteen isn’t far either, so there’s always plenty of people in this area.
Seokjin leads them to an area that’s decently away from the crowd so they have some privacy but not so isolated that Jimin would panic.
Well. Panic more.
‘I am sorry for all of this Jimin-ah,’ Seokjin tells him again the moment they’re seated.
Jimin fidgets uncomfortably in his seat. He fiddles with his bag, holding it before him on his lap almost defensively.
‘I want you to know, that nothing will happen to you. No harm, nothing. I am still me- I’m still your head-nurse, I’m still your hyung.’ Seokjin tells him earnestly, looking upset. ‘This- this started wrong and fuck-‘
Seokjin sighs heavily, wiping at his face for a moment before slumping a little, mumbling to himself.
‘A-are you a demon? Too?’ Jimin asks hesitantly.
Honestly being out here or in there made no difference. Jimin’s entire concept of reality/normality has flipped. His location had no effect on that whatsoever. His apartment didn’t feel safe anymore; workplace be damned.
‘No- no I’m not-‘ Seokjin sighs, looking uncomfortable before he says carefully, ‘I’m a djinn.’
‘Ah, of course.’
Jimin could scream.
‘Actually when I chose my name I thought it would be quite funny- Seokjin, djinn- you know?’ Seokjin laughs nervously, ears burning bright red.
Jimin smiles weakly though he’s sure he looks like he’s about to cry any given second.
‘Is- is there…a difference?’
‘I’m not doing a good job at this I-‘ Seokjin sighs before he catches sight of something behind Jimin.
Jimin jumps, clutching at his bag defensively before catching sight of Namjoon jogging towards them.
‘He’s not- he’s not a demon or anything-‘ Seokjin states immediately and hurriedly. ‘But he knows-‘
‘Hyung! Doctor Lim is calling for you,’ Namjoon says the moment he’s earshot. He looks at the two of them confused. But then again, Jimin is pretty sure he looks a little mad, and Seokjin himself didn’t look entirely calm or put together.
‘Namjoon um-‘ Seokjin looks torn.
‘I got it,’ Namjoon smiles, holding his hand out to Seokjin who takes it slowly. ‘Go to Doctor Lim before you’re fired or something.’
Seokjin looks at Jimin and then at Namjoon.
They do that thing again where it’s like they’re communicating with just their eyes. At first Jimin thought it was cute. But now he’s freaking the fuck out.
Seokjin nods and Namjoon takes his place.
‘So,’ Namjoon smiles.
And Jimin knows he’s fucked now.
Because Namjoon is just a really really nice person. He could make any panicked/annoyed/hysterical/angry patient/guest/doctor/nurse calm and compliant in minutes. He was the person you went to when you had foreign patients and miming could only get you so far especially when the unfortunate tourist was delirious with pain. You went to Namjoon to complain about your reports and your professors, and he would listen, never in a condescending way or in a way that made you feel like what you felt was invalid or lame.
‘I uh, heard about your situation,’ Namjoon says with a small smile.
His dimples show and it’s annoying.
Jimin can fully admit that he had a tiny crush (literally everyone has had a crush on Namjoon at one point- Jimin’s pretty sure Jungkook still has one and he was “straight”) on Namjoon when he first started his internship here. That crush then manifested into respect and it’s probably the only reason why Jimin is still sitting here.
‘I can see that you’re…just about keeping it together,’ Namjoon chuckles a bit.
Jimin lets out a hysterical giggle.
‘You’re doing a much better job than me though,’ he smiles, ‘I think I fainted every few minutes. I think it’s why Jin’s in this field anyways.’
Jimin manages to tone down the hysteria.
‘I don’t understand anything,’ he manages to get out.
Namjoon nods to that, his expression turning a bit more serious, ‘I’ll explain to you the way I wish it had been explained to me at first. Took me a long while to really understand- almost too long.’
Namjoon’s expression turns a little regretful, sighing out before he asks, ‘Did they keep telling you that you were completely safe?’
‘Doesn’t help does it.’
Jimin shakes his head.
Namjoon chuckles before he clears his throat.
‘When you first study biology, and you start on classification- what’s one of the first things you’re made to read?’ Namjoon asks and Jimin is getting severe middle-school science class triggers. He remembers the shiny plastic-covered charts of the classification of living things.
‘Uh- classification of living things? How we separate and divide living things into hierarchy?’ Jimin replies, feeling very much like he was back in middle school.
‘Right- and where do you place humans?’
Jimin sort of gapes at Namjoon for a moment. But Namjoon just gives him a look that translates to indulge me for a moment. Jimin reaches deep into his basic science knowledge and slowly recites.
‘Uh- Kingdom Animalia, phylum Chordata, class Mammalia, order Primates, family Hominidae, genus Homo, species type Homo sapiens?’
‘How many species under the Hominidae family? Do you remember?’
Jimin did not come to work today to be grilled on the details of the hierarchy of human classification.
‘According to what we study, there are 8 extant species under the Hominidae family,’ Namjoon answers. ‘So basically, 8 living species under this family.’
‘So there’s technically 9? Is that what you’re saying?’ Jimin asks faintly.
‘A different species, but the same family. We’re literally identical, except for how we adapted to evolution.’ Namjoon looks thoughtful before he says, ‘I’m not too clear on the science of it- a lot is theory, but I’m sure it’s somewhat something like that. Like most of science is anyways.’
That does nothing to calm Jimin down but he’s starting to see what Namjoon is saying.
‘So what you’re saying is that…there are…there is a whole species of uh- humans, who basically look like us, are just like us- but aren’t?’
‘That doesn’t explain the demon thing or the djinn thing.’
Jimin could cry.
‘The same way we are divided into races- they have their own races. Demons and djinns are races within their species.’ Namjoon explains.
‘Okay but how was- how was that demon-‘ Jimin clenches his jaw a moment, ‘-Yoongi, in my room?’
‘So remember what I said about adapting to evolution?’ Namjoon asks.
Jimin nods slowly.
‘Humans evolved to what we are today as a result of habitat, changes in environment, adapting to survive.’ Namjoon summarizes briefly, ‘We evolved our skill sets, we used our body as more than a tool, we developed tools to further our survival, to strengthen community, for protection.’
Jimin sort of nods helplessly, unsure where this was headed.
‘But they…their evolution was different. They adapted differently- rather than use their bodies to develop and create tools- they abandoned it, and adapted to integrate into something else.’
Jimin holds a hand up, as though to pause Namjoon. And the latter does pause.
‘No offence- but this is some bullshit-!’ Jimin begins in a whisper, ending with a hiss. ‘This makes no sense-!’
‘And it makes no sense that theoretically we’re all descended from one lizard-creature that learnt how to directly breathe oxygen,’ Namjoon shrugs. ‘Don’t think of this as something that has taken place in a short period of time. The Earth is young sure, but that’s in comparison to how old the rest of the universe is. Life as we know and see it now, is a product of movement and changes from a time we cannot even begin to fathom except theoretically.’
‘You believe them?’ Jimin asks incredulously. ‘Hyung- this is like, a weird science cult- are they Scientologists gone mad?’
‘Scientology isn’t actually scientific despite having “science” in their name but that’s besides the point,’ Namjoon rolls his eyes. ‘They’re not a cult. This is not a cult thing- or some weird religion. You are also not losing your mind.’ Namjoon adds. ‘I’m telling you everything that I know.’
‘So-…how…real, are they?’ Jimin asks hesitantly.
‘If you’re wondering how they’re alive,’ Namjoon leans back to sit more comfortably. And no that’s not what Jimin was getting at but sure, he’ll take it for now. ‘Like I said before, evolution change their forms- their species is unique because it’s almost…well, basically, parasite like.’
Jimin tries not to shudder but he fails hilariously.
‘In my case, Jin is alive and here because of me,’ Namjoon tells him casually, ‘We’re bound to each other, more or less.’
‘Are…-are you saying, that Yoongi is bound to me?’ Jimin asks with a tight throat and dry mouth.
Namjoon nods before he continues, ‘Evolution took away their physical form- and in the end came to be what they are now.’
‘…parasites?’ Jimin replies weakly, feeling faint. ‘Hyung this- this doesn’t sound realistic-‘
‘People worshipped the sun and the moon, believed they were living gods and goddesses until science came along and explained it,’ Namjoon smiles. ‘People believed volcanoes were acts of wrath and displeasure until we learnt more about tectonic plates and the Earth’s crust. People believed that the Earth was the center of the universe. Just because we don’t have an explanation set in chemical equations or mathematical algorithms doesn’t mean it can’t be real.’
‘Does that mean you believe in magic?’ Jimin wheezes out a chuckle, his vision sort of swimming because fuck this was starting to make sense. And now he’s panicking because what if this is a cult. His mum warned him about this sort of thing- next thing he knows he’ll be picked as a sacrifice or something-
‘Of course I do,’ Namjoon grins, ‘Magic is in everything we don’t understand. That’s why it’s sometimes more beautiful to not know.’
Jimin should have maybe had an actual breakfast or something because his blood sugar is definitely low and his stress definitely high.
‘So- are you gonna tell me that faeries are real too?’ is all he says before he slumps sideways on his chair and slips into a weird state of unconsciousness. He hears Namjoon’s quiet but worried voice calling his name. And somehow quite close, another voice calling Namjoon and a few curses thrown about.
‘-e’ll be fine, this is a huge shock of course-‘
‘-ust a kid, you’re both so reckless and careless this wouldn’t have happened-‘
Darkness swims before his eyes and Jimin struggles to push it back.
‘-ust talk to him when he wakes up. Try and talk-‘
‘-nd say what? He didn’t ask for this-‘
‘-iether did you. You’re going to have to work together to figure things ou-‘
It’s hard to keep your head afloat the darkness when it was so much more comfortable to just drift off. So Jimin just lets go, the arguing voices drifting off.
When he wakes up he’s inside the actual nurses station. He can hear the ticking of the standard wall-clock over the doorway. He’s on one of the beds that’s been kept there for the sole purpose of housing fatigued nurses who were on the verge of collapsing on their feet. And sitting on a chair, back rigid, and expression unfathomable is Yoongi.
He doesn’t seem to know that Jimin was awake. He’s just staring down at- …he was holding Jimin’s hand in his, palm up. He’s holding it the way Jimin held his first syringe: afraid, nervous, and also somehow awed.
There’s a ripple of light, a small ring thin and shifting in colours that slowly pulses out into the air, like a heat mirage. Jimin blinks a few times before he realizes it’s not a trick of his eyes or the lighting. As clear as day, a clear ring of light pulses out from where Yoongi is cradling his hand.
Involuntarily, his hand twitches.
Yoongi’s eyes widen and he looks up immediately.
The light vanishes, as though aware of the change.
Yoongi just stares at him for a solid 5 seconds before he sighs, as though exhausted. Letting go of his hand, Yoongi leans back and wipes at his face.
‘Been called worse,’ is all he says.
They remain in silence for a few minutes: Jimin slowly recovering his strength and surroundings, Yoongi apparently reigning himself in and keeping calm.
‘I’m sorry about last night,’ Yoongi breaks the silence, still not looking up from his hands. ‘It’s been a while- and that’s…-that’s not how things normally go.’
‘How does it normally go?’ Jimin asks.
He’s not sure if it was losing consciousness twice in 24 hours or him being a millennials with and “eh” attitude towards everything that was making him react like this.
‘I’m summoned- or well, whatever I’m manifesting in is called upon and an exchange is given and I appear,’ Yoongi says carefully. ‘Last time this happened…I think it was nearly 3 centuries ago.’
Yoongi looks away from his hands, a scowl on his face. Clearly whatever happened 3 centuries ago wasn’t exactly a great memory. Speaking of 3 centuries.
‘Uh- how old are you?’
Yoongi raises an eyebrow, before snorting, not amused.
‘Not 3 centuries,’ Yoongi snorts again. ‘I only age when I’m summoned. Guess that puts me at…28? 29? Somewhere there.’
‘He’s older,’ Yoongi shrugs. ‘Djinns are always older. They’re better adapters and stronger too.’
‘…can you do magic?’
Yoongi laughs at this.
Not a derisive laugh or a mocking one.
‘Not in the way you would think was magic,’ Yoongi continues to snort. ‘It’s…I guess how we exist here. And how here exists around us.’
‘Makes no sense.’
Yoongi snorts again, this time actually looking at Jimin.
It’s not awkward or tense. There’s a vulnerability and a sense of fear that Jimin is sure is reflected in his eyes too.
‘This is your last chance to tell me if this is all some elaborate plan or hoax,’ Jimin says, his voice a little raspy. He needed water. ‘I won’t call the police, I won’t press charges. If this is…some strange initiation ceremony you have in the hospital- or some sort of hazing, just please don’t do it to Jungkook- he might actually physically hurt you.’
Yoongi doesn’t look away, blinking slowly only.
‘It’s not,’ he says quietly. ‘I’m sorry.’
It’s quiet again and Jimin is the one who looks away.
‘So you’re a…parasite-like demon…and you’re bound to me because I apparently summoned you.’ Jimin summarizes. ‘You’re basically another species of the human family- you and Seokjin-hyung are the same, different races though.’
He sees Yoongi nodding from his peripheral vision.
‘I’m…like an extension of who you are,’ Yoongi says slowly, looking uncomfortable. ‘Like you said- parasitic. What I am right now…is basically almost what you want.’
‘…what I want…’
Yoongi shrugs at that before heaving out a sigh.
‘It’s complicated to explain.’
It’s Jimin’s turn to shrug.
‘How were you…bound to Seokjin hyung’s book-thing?’ Jimin asks.
‘I asked to be bound,’ Yoongi replies, ‘Previously things weren’t great. It…’ he shrugs again, as though trying to dismiss it. ‘It wasn’t ideal for anyone involved. So I asked Jin to seal me up appropriately.’
‘You can bind yourself to anything?’
‘I guess- depends on the summoner,’ Yoongi’s leg starts to jump a little, as though agitated. He clearly didn’t like talking all too much or explaining all too much. He was starting to get fidgety by just looking at Yoongi.
‘So Seokjin-hyung chose to bind you on paper?’
‘Djinns have a more complicated but somehow better form of existing,’ Yoongi blurts out. ‘His is his book- he can choose to stay within it, or it can be bound or owned by someone.’
Something randomly clicks in Jimin’s mind.
‘Like…like a genie lamp?’
Yoongi frowns a bit at that before nodding, and then snorting, ‘Yeah- something like that. They have their consciousness the entire time. They don’t…they don’t sleep like us. They’re always aware.’
‘So…the age thing.’
Another random thing comes to mind.
‘Are…are witches familiars…also a thing with demons and djinns?’ Jimin asks curiously.
It takes a while before Yoongi replies, nodding slowly.
‘Yeah- familiars were a thing when having random family members conveniently popping in wasn’t applicable anymore. A pet made more sense. But then again…”witches” had a bad rep- a lot of us were killed at the time.’
‘It’s not the greatest moment in human history,’ Jimin agrees quietly.
‘Not a lot to be honest, no offence.’
There’s another question in Jimin’s mind- actually a lot. He was really starting to wake up; and though he refused to acknowledge that he sort of maybe kinda accepted this entire thing, he also wants to fool/full-proof it by asking every and all sorts of questions. If this was a hoax, how elaborate was it?
‘I can feel you have a question,’ Yoongi states in a deadpan. ‘What is it.’
‘So…the whole thing about possession…’
‘That’s just a ton of bullshit,’ Yoongi shakes his head speaking quickly as though offended. ‘We’re bound to people, and I guess you could say it’s almost parasitic,’ he scowls, ‘-we absorb what you know, how you grow, everything. You age, we age. The shit about possession is just dumb. There was a time when artists and philosophers summoned us- simply to have something of an extension of themselves – almost like slaves, to work for them.’
That…was a lot to process. And if it was true, a lot for Yoongi to process too because this was approximately 24 years of information he was literally downloading into his brain.
‘And if we are no longer bound?’
‘I go free,’ Yoongi shrugs. ‘I continue to be as I am. A non-form, just thought, just energy- maybe bound to a rock this time. Can finally fucking sleep.’ He adds with a weary sigh.
‘…this still sounds very new-age,’ Jimin frowns. ‘Just…”energy”?’
‘I can’t explain it because you don’t know it.’ Yoongi frowns.
Namjoon’s explanation was…more of a theory than actual information. Guesswork rather than something concrete Jimin can depend on.
‘…you’re saying you can’t explain it to me because I don’t know anything about it?’
‘…are you calling me stupid.’
Yoongi looks away shiftily.
‘This isn’t the time to discuss this,’ Yoongi’s legs bounce with higher frequency. He looks very agitated.
‘…are you uncomfortable?’
The demon gives him an unimpressed look before sighing and saying, ‘Look- neither of us want to be in this position like this but-‘
He stops abruptly, lips set into a thin line.
‘There’s something else,’ Jimin guesses, ‘Just tell me everything. If I’m going to pass out, might as well do it now.’
‘I-…’ Yoongi grits out. ‘I need to- I need to stay with you.’
Jimin blinks a few times, his mind rather pleasantly blank. The way it is right before a maths exam you know you’re going to fail in, like you’re already aware of the inevitable failure that awaits you and the odd surety that comes with knowing that nothing you can do will ever help you understand logarithmic functions.
‘Our bond,’ Yoongi explains, holding his hand up, making that ring of light flare up momentarily. ‘I’m a parasite remember? Can’t stay away from my source for too long.’
‘So you’re saying…you need to live with me.’ Jimin asks, voice still surprisingly stable, mind still very calm.
‘Does this effect me? This bond.’
Yoongi shakes his head, still not looking at him. There’s a hardened look in his eyes, something like anger and fear.
‘Just me. Nothing will happen to you.’
Jimin can still hear the ticking of the clock on the wall.
‘That seems unfair,’ is all Jimin says, unsure why he even said it.
Yoongi looks up, surprised etched all over his features.
‘It’s just…’ Jimin slowly sits up. His head isn’t ringing and his vision isn’t warping- all was good so far. ‘It’s just that it really seems unfair.’
‘I guess,’ Yoongi says, shrugging again, looking down at his hands. ‘Unless you want to depend on someone else just to be able to be alive.’
Jimin manages to sit up, swinging his legs down onto the floor. His crocs are there, his socks rolled up next to them.
‘Well…I guess that’s it then?’ Yoongi says in a very steady and monotonous tone.
‘I guess?’ Jimin sighs, looking up at the clock. It’s nearly noon. Lunch break should be soon.
‘I’m sorry for scaring you last night.’ Yoongi says as he stands abruptly, turning to leave. ‘Stay safe and lock your doors.’
Jimin is only just able to recover from his confusion just in time to call after Yoongi.
‘Where are you going?’ he demands, standing up carefully so as to not trigger any bouts of dizziness.
Yoongi turns sharply at the door, his gaze level and his face emotionless.
‘I don’t know.’
‘…do you know your way back?’ Jimin asks.
‘…way back where?’ Yoongi is starting to look confused.
‘Back to my place?’ Jimin replies, pushing his feet into his crocs.
Yoongi looks even more confused.
‘What are you talking about?’
‘Didn’t you say we have to basically live together from now?’ Jimin asks, wondering if he heard everything wrong. ‘You’re going to have to wait another 5 hours before my hours are over for today, then we can go back.’
Yoongi’s expression levels again and he stares, almost never blinking.
‘Are you out of your mind?’ is all he asks. ‘What happened to thinking we were a cult?’
‘I mean, if you’re gonna kill me at least I won’t have to live through the inevitable climate collapse in the next 20 years or so,’ Jimin shrugs with a small smile.
Yoongi looks legitimately concerned for Jimin’s mental well-being.
‘It’s-…our generation has a weird way of coping with things,’ Jimin explains as he shuffles towards the doorway as well. ‘We’re kinda morbid I guess.’
‘You-…you’re not cutting loose?’ Yoongi asks quietly, unmoving from where he stood by the door. His expression is still level, but his voice has a slight tremor in it.
‘Um- I mean…’ Jimin pauses in front of Yoongi. ‘In science we learn that parasites can survive independently. There’s a lot of factors that play into it of course- but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible. There’s probably a way in which you can…be independent you know? And do what you want.’
Yoongi is still staring unblinkingly.
‘Right? I mean, Seokjin-hyung might know something. Or if not…and if you wanna like, stay alive or something, then-‘ Jimin shrugs. ‘We can figure something out?’
‘Why…why are you saying this?’ Yoongi asks, more like whispers. ‘Why are you…why are you just accepting this? What do you want?’
‘I’m struggling to accept this,’ Jimin replies honestly. ‘I’m doubting every single second but you know what? I’m in that…in that part of my life where honestly all of this happening is just-‘ he waves violently in the air, making Yoongi follow the action with his eyes. ‘-it’s just whatever. I also don’t want anything- I mean I want more sleep, and I’d like to graduate already but- I want to figure out what the fuck this is, and how we can solve it for you.’ Jimin pauses here before addressing Yoongi properly. ‘I’m struggling to understand and accept any of this- but if this is true, if what you’re saying is true and I’m not losing my mind- then this isn’t fair for you at all. And I…’ Jimin shrugs, ‘I want to help you. Help you live how you want. This isn’t fair for you.’
Yoongi is still gawking at him but it’s not for long because he says, ‘You’re an idiot.’
Jimin rolls his eyes.
‘You’re welcome to do whatever you want. But I’m just saying I want to help.’ Jimin shrugs, keeping his hands in his pockets.
‘You are an idiot.’
Jimin sighs before pushing past Yoongi and opening the door to the short hallway that led out into the hospital atrium.
Jimin pauses, turning slightly as Yoongi walks up to him.
Yoongi didn’t look that much older than him, though the way he spoke, the way he seemed to hold himself held an incredibly heavy age to them; as though he had existed lifetimes already. But when he looks at Jimin under the slightly fluorescent dim lighting of the hallway he looks strangely young and almost afraid.
‘You’ll let me stay?’
Jimin nods before asking, ‘Will you stay?’
Yoongi studies him closely, as though he was paranoid over Jimin’s intentions and explanation. Then he looks down for a moment and Jimin realizes he’s staring at his hand.
Jimin raises it up, briefly catching sight of the faint ring of light that pulses from the center of his palm. He tries his best not to freak out too much again.
This was going to take some time to get used to.
He holds his hand out towards Yoongi.
‘You won’t start screaming again?’ Yoongi asks almost breathlessly, his own hand twitching by his side.
Jimin just gives him a smile in return.
Slowly, Yoongi reaches up and shakes Jimin’s hand.
Yoongi said that he didn’t have the sort of magic Jimin was thinking about. Maybe Yoongi couldn’t make the air glitter, or talk to animals and make them work for him. Maybe he couldn’t cast spells and hexes.
But Jimin can’t deny the undeniable something that exudes from their joint hands. He can’t deny the way the faintest ring of light pulses from their hands.
Can't deny the light of hope in Yoongi's eyes.
It feels a little like magic.