Directions on how to properly store a memory:
- Get a clean, see-through container (preferably glass).
- Sleep with it pressed to your chest for 3-5 days.
- Add a couple drops of rosehip oil — not required, but memories like the way it smells.
- Close your eyes, think of the memory in every vivid detail, the feeling that was living in your stomach at the time, how hungry you were, the color of the light filtering through the trees, the taste that was settled on your tongue, and then —
Jimin is flying for the first time.
His body is lighter and smaller and so are the worries that now build skyscraper homes inside of his head.
But here — then — Jimin is flying.
Soaring through cottonbud clouds and tasting the sky like rolling a blue jollyrancher on his tongue, the wind tickles at his stomach like a playful father blowing raspberries on his skin. He laughs and the wind is so loud he can’t hear himself so it makes him laugh even harder, full-bodied, feeling that happiness through every inch of his being.
Head-to-toe euphoria, he likes to call it.
When every inch of him feels like it is buzzing, an entire hive of bees humming in unison, under his fingertips and along the corners of his lips and deep within the roots of his hair.
Jimin slowly drifts towards the ground.
The carnival ride is over, and now he can feel the bite of the plastic swing chair against the fragile underside of his knees, can feel the weight of the heavy seatbelt holding him in place.
Jimin looks over, cherry cheeked, searching for him.
The memory cuts off, black.
Surrounded by his happiest moments safely bottled up, Jimin went through life for the past four years in this town as best as he could.
Here, so far from his hometown, at least there were no reminders.
Here, even though Jimin was lonely, sometimes he could go for a few hours before remembering to feel sad, or guilty.
Back in the private storage room of his shop, Serendipity, Jimin let out a heavy sigh. Large wooden shelves pressed up against the walls were lined with bottles, mercury rainbow memories swirling within them like beta fish, airy and beautiful and alive. Reverently, he stroked his fingers across the glass, looking into the bottles as if he were looking into a mirror.
His reflection was distorted on the rounded surfaces, eyes too big and cheeks sunken in and hair a mess.
Or was that really what he looked like, now?
There were times when Jimin lost the line that kept memory and reality separate, buzzed off of bottled happiness, some days a constant wobbly balancing act.
Of course, during those days, Jimin would lean towards the light, towards his bottled memories rather than the chill that reality brought to the insides of his very bones.
Jimin was always leaning towards the light, tilting his face towards the warmth, pretending there were hands cupping his cheeks, lips pressed to his skin, the soft golden sun comforting him when he felt his coldest.
All Jimin needed was that warmth.
Even if he knew that warmth was fake.
“What are you two up to today?” Hoseok asked as he, Yoongi and Jeongguk sat down for a quick lunch. Instead of walking to the water dispensers by the back of the restaurant, Jeongguk filled their cups with a graceful flick of his hand.
The marée then immediately dug into his steaming bowl of rice noodles, and Yoongi reached out to grab a handful of basil, throwing it into his bowl.
“One of my clients is sick,” Yoongi said, worry digging its way into his empty stomach. “She developed Mélancolie, and very suddenly too. The ahjumma who gives us discounts on our bungeoppang told me to go to a shop called Serendipity for—”
“Serendipity? Are you crazy?”
Yoongi looked up, startled. “What?”
“Hyung, no,” Hoseok said. “You can’t—you can’t go there.”
Tilting his head to the side in confusion, Yoongi slowly picked up his wooden chopsticks and broke them apart. “Why?”
Since Yoongi had just moved to this town a few months ago, he often felt a bit out of the loop with things. But he was happy to come here and live so close to his childhood friends again. Life had been a little less bright without them in it, and so when job and living opportunities seemed to line themselves up in the same town as Hoseok and Jeongguk, who he’s known for his whole life, Yoongi had jumped at the chance to go.
“I—you just can’t.”
“I need supplies from this shop for my client,” Yoongi said slowly, still confused. “I have to go.”
“Then wait for me,” Hoseok said. “I’ll go with you after work. But you—you can’t go alone.”
Yoongi squinted his eyes at his friend. “Why not, Hoseok? What’s wrong with the place?”
When Hoseok shut his mouth and looked to Jeongguk for help, the youngest just averted his eyes and slurped his noodles loudly.
“Just wait for me,” Hoseok said firmly. “I’ll be off by six.”
“The shop closes at five,” Yoongi shook his head. “I’m going right after this.”
“Hyung…” Jeongguk spoke up. “I agree with Hoseok-hyung. Let’s just all go together over the weekend, yea?”
“I can’t,” Yoongi stressed, looking at the two of them with frustration. “I need a cure for my client as soon as possible.”
Jeongguk got that little crinkle between his brows then, the one he got when he was extremely stressed, his teeth gnawing at the inside of his cheek.
“What?” Yoongi asked. “Why? What's wrong with this shop?”
“It’s not what’s wrong with the shop,” Hoseok said. “It’s what’s wrong with the witch who owns it.”
Yoongi blinked. “Do they practice dark magic or something?”
Hoseok shook his head. “He’s a félicité, actually.”
At that, Yoongi couldn’t help but laugh. “Fuck, okay. You got me for a moment, you really did.”
He picked up his chopsticks and heaped noodles into his mouth, the steam curling up and around his cheeks, filling him with pleasant warmth.
“…What?” Hoseok asked.
Yoongi quirked a brow at his friend. “You’re telling me you think a félicité is…what? Dangerous? A witch of joy?”
“We’re being serious, hyung,” Jeongguk said. “This one…he’s not like other félicités.”
Yoongi sat a bit straighter at the tone Jeongguk was using. Solemn, not at all joking like he thought they were.
His friends were both staring at him now, and it felt as if thick clouds had settled over their eyes, over their entire table.
“You're serious? What makes him different? What’s…wrong with him?”
His two friends exchanged a long, uncomfortable glance.
Hoseok let out a long sigh.
“He’s a murderer, Yoongi.”
Min Yoongi came into Jimin’s life carrying dawn in his chest.
At first, Jimin did not notice him.
He was in a muddled place of his brain that came to life on particularly hard days, and he hadn’t even heard the door of his shop jingle open, hadn’t heard his plants greeting the customer.
Then something brushed against Jimin’s arm.
With a start, Jimin looked down, thinking it was one of his plants again, a squirming leafy vine that had made its venture from one of the many hanging pots he had around the shop.
But he found that it wasn’t being nudged by his plants at all. A hand, noticeably larger and tanner than his own, was resting against the counter right next to Jimin’s arm, not quite holding it, but pressing against him in quiet, solid way that had Jimin holding back a shiver.
“You’re crying,” a voice said.
Jimin came back to himself and blinked.
The man standing in front of him was all glowing skin and honey hair and guarded eyes, and upon looking closer, Jimin realized the man was wrapped in gold.
Like tree roots carving their history across the expanse of his body, swirling gold was swimming on his skin, faint and delicate like sunlight stretching its limbs through a canopy of trees before the world truly awakens.
Jimin stared, enraptured.
There were points along the exposed skin where Jimin could find that the myriad of twisting golden swirls met up to make a picture — a tiny sun right on the man’s left cheekbone. A bold, blooming flower, placed over his collarbone. What seemed to be the head of a cat, blinking at Jimin lazily from a point underneath the man’s ear.
“You’re a soleil,” Jimin murmured.
A sun witch.
Bright and gorgeous and comforting in the way all soleils were.
The man tilted his head to the side, a silver cross earring kissing the side of his jawbone. Jimin’s eyes followed the axis of its swing, finding himself suddenly filled with timidity in the face of someone so beautiful, so out of his reach.
“Are you okay?” the other witch’s voice was low and quiet, and the plants in Jimin’s shop shifted to listen closer. There was something wary in the soleil’s voice that had a part of Jimin tensing, but underneath it Jimin could hear genuine concern.
Something twisted in Jimin’s stomach and he pulled away, taking his arms off the counter and immediately losing the warmth of the man’s touch.
“Can I help you with something?” Jimin asked instead, sweeping over his shop with his eyes to make sure everything was still in place.
His plants were waving lazily from the ceiling, and Jimin threw a pointed look at a particularly flirty wisteria that came a bit too close to the back of the soleil’s head.
The man paused at Jimin’s obvious change of subject, but answered anyway. “One of my clients has a bad bout of Mélancolie. I heard that you could help.”
“How bad?” Jimin was already out from behind the counter, working his way towards his shelves.
He tried to ignore how the soleil shifted to give him much more room to pass by than necessary.
“Pretty bad,” the soleil followed after him, still keeping his distance. “She won’t stop vomiting shadows.”
“Mmm, poor thing,” Jimin murmured, stretching up on his toes and reaching for a jar.
One of his plants reached out to help him, plucking it from the top shelf and placing it in his hands. Jimin leaned over and gave a quick kiss on its shiny green leaf in thanks.
He could sense the soleil staring at him.
“What is that? I’ve tried spoon-feeding her some bottled light, but it didn’t seem to make a difference,” the soleil trailed after Jimin again, the both of them making their way back towards the counter.
“It’s euphoria, just a small concentration of it,” Jimin explained. “The comedown can sometimes be a bit stressful, so I don’t recommend others to use it unless absolutely necessary. But your client seems to be out of options.”
“What happens during the comedown?” the soleil asked.
“She’ll feel a bit emotionless after taking such a strong hit of euphoria, which can sometimes make people panic. But that doesn’t last forever, and her Mélancolie will be gone. Just tell her to take it easy afterwards and she’ll be right as rain in a few days.”
Jimin carefully wrapped up the bottle in kraft paper and handed it over to the other, still feeling a bit tingly and shy at the way the witch was staring at him, his skin prickling like ice cream under the hot sun.
Taking the bottle and carefully sliding it into his bag, the soleil opened his mouth as if to say something, and Jimin tensed.
Thinking better of it, the witch simply nodded, and with a quick and quiet thank you, was turning on his heels and rushing out of the shop.
For some strange reason, his plants sagged with disappointment, and a small, secret part within Jimin drooped with them.
As Yoongi left the shop, his friends’ words wouldn’t stop ringing in his head.
He’s dangerous, Yoongi.
You don’t know what he could do.
He’s a murderer.
He’s a murderer.
Coming to a stop, Yoongi turned to look back at Serendipity.
He had left lunch with the promise that he would wait to go with Hoseok and Jeongguk another day, but his client truly couldn’t wait.
And as a soleil, who were naturally nurturing and healing, Yoongi didn’t have to think twice about taking the risk and going to the shop.
Now, after the surprisingly uneventful visit, he tried to get it through his mind that the shop in front of him belonged to someone who was a killer.
He glanced up at the sunny, yellow sign, the overgrown plants that seemed to take up every inch of the doorway, beckoning him in with friendly waves, and couldn’t make the connection click in his mind.
What was even harder, however, was trying to picture the félicité with blood on his hands.
All he saw was a shell of a witch, with sad eyes and pale skin and frown lines that seemed permanently etched into the witch’s tear-stained cheeks.
All he saw was the way the witch treated his plants so gently, pressing kisses to them like they were children and carefully skirting around them when they got in his way.
Biting his lip, Yoongi felt a strange yearning start within his chest, but he didn’t know what exactly he was yearning for.
All he knew was that he couldn’t see the félicité being a cold-blooded killer.
Not when Yoongi looked into his eyes and saw nothing but sadness, so opposite to the typical witch of joy.
During his walk home, all Yoongi could think of was spring in reverse — cold seeping into the cracks of something that had once been in full bloom.
When you love somebody, almost every moment with them is beautiful.
But there are times in which you’re reminded of just how much you love them, and those moments often leave you completely and utterly breathless.
It could be after a movie marathon, when your brain is drunk off hot cheeto dust and faerie lights, sitting on crumb-filled bed sheets, and everything is just so comfortable and warm and good that when you look over towards your loved one you can hardly hold back tears, filled to the brim with everything safe and warm.
It could be singing in the car, the bass of the music making the seats vibrate, and you look over and watch the way the lines of their cheeks move as they sing, and they’re beaming, happy, completely in the moment, all wind-swept and sun-kissed and your heart does an extra little jump.
It could be when you watch them stumble home from a long day at school or work, a little extra lag in their steps, their shadows seeming a bit more tangible, and you stand up to make them tea and warm up dinner even though you’ve had a long day, as well.
Love is a funny thing.
Sometimes it lays quiet, constant, the hum of the refrigerator at night or the clicking of the water heater through the walls.
Other times, it will flare up in sudden bursts, overwhelm you for a split second, so much so that your eyes well up and your stomach drops.
Strangely enough, sadness is often the same way.
Jimin lived with it in the back of his mind, and most days he truly didn’t think of it, not really. It wasn’t something that needed paying attention to, in his opinion. It wasn’t an itch he needed to scratch, not a void he felt he had to fill.
It was just there.
But there were days when it made itself known.
There were days when Jimin woke up and he just didn’t know what to do with himself, didn’t know if he wanted to curl up in bed and sleep for the rest of the day or take off running and running until he couldn’t run anymore, chased by something invisible that he couldn’t even name.
But more often than not, on these days, Jimin would go straight for his storage room, reach for the nearest memory, and escape.
Racing the sun, two pairs of bare feet fly over the forest floor.
Patches of dirt are squishing in-between their toes, pine needles pricking at their calloused heels.
They get to their spot by the river and strip down naked, laughing and slapping at each other with their twisted shirts. Discarding their clothes on the bed of rocks, they wade into the water.
A shock of cold.
Jimin always loses his breath for the first few seconds of their swims because of the severe temperature change, and he braces himself before dunking his entire head under the water.
Aged trees that have seen centuries fly by in the form of tangerine sunrises and azure twilights slant sideways in Jimin’s vision as he swims, familiar friends.
He stands and feels the current push at his arms and there was never a place on earth where he felt more free, more himself, than in that river.
Even though there are sticks digging into his feet and the water is so cold that his fingers physically ache and the sun is making its slow descent, Jimin is happy.
Jimin is so, incredibly happy.
If they chopped down any tree surrounding that river they would see a hundred rings circling around and around in the trunk, each one a laughter line that appeared at the sound of Jimin’s joy.
Back then, he was full of joy.
Incandescent with it.
So much so that it seemed as if the entire world around him was absorbing it, and he had so much more to give.
With a smile so large it felt as if it were about to burst at the seams, Jimin turns his head, rubbing water out of his eyes, wanting to see him, wanting to see lips shaped just like his own stretched into its own grin, wanting to see—
When Yoongi spotted the félicité walking home from the market one evening, he couldn’t help but pause.
Unsure if he wanted to call out to the witch or not, he opened his mouth, hesitating. Despite all of the nasty rumors about him, despite Hoseok and Jeongguk’s warnings, the witch hadn’t been hostile or mean towards Yoongi when he was in his shop.
In fact, he had been…shy?
His internal battle went on for so long, however, that by the time he gathered up the courage to say hello, the félicité was already out of earshot.
Yoongi was about to let it go and turn in the direction of his home when the other witch suddenly stopped.
For a quick moment, he thought that the félicité had seen him. Stepping forward, Yoongi was about to call out when suddenly the other dropped to his knees.
Yoongi watched as the félicité fiddled with something on the floor, and when he strained his ears he could hear the low cadence of the other’s crooning.
Shifting to the side, something twinged within Yoongi when he saw that the félicité was now holding a wet, injured kitten. It meowled weakly, and he cradled it gently in the crook of his elbow and then pressed a little peck to the crown of its small, muddy head.
The poor thing had gotten stuck in the drain, and the félicité had pulled it out.
He stood up with it in his arms, and, forgetting his groceries that he had set down onto the street, began running towards the direction of their town’s animal hospital.
Breaking free from his shock, Yoongi quietly went over and collected the grocery bags, walking over to Serendipity and dropping them off in front of the shop.
How? Yoongi thought to himself. How could he be a killer when he was this…this kind?
Something about all of the talk against the félicité didn’t settle well in his stomach.
Ever since he was small, he had been the type to never go along with the typical answers to things. He liked asking questions, asking why, and are you sure?
Shoving his hands into his pockets, Yoongi tilted his head to the side as the plants within the shop somehow sensed him, leafy vines suddenly swarming towards the window to say hello.
Waving back, Yoongi huffed out a laugh.
He decided he would wait and make his own judgment on the owner of Serendipity.
Yoongi couldn’t even explain to himself what was going through his mind that morning.
But he found himself waking up with the sun and walking over to the town’s animal shelter, getting there right as it opened.
He smiled at the witch at the front desk, who waved back.
Yoongi found the little black kitten almost immediately, curled up with a few bandages wrapped around its thin body.
The description taped to her cage stated that she was a girl.
She looked small, smaller than Yoongi remembered from when he had seen her in the félicité’s arms the night before.
Yoongi had never really wanted a cat.
He always thought that if he did get a pet, it would be a dog, or maybe a fish.
But then the kitten opened her pretty gold eyes, and Yoongi was done for.
Now, back in his apartment with cat food and cat toys and many other items that the employee at the pet store had most likely tricked him into buying (it was probably written all over Yoongi’s face that this was his first cat and he had no idea what he was doing), Yoongi looked over at the little thing, who was watching him with eyes that shone with more intelligence than Yoongi thought normal felines had.
“So,” he sat down on the floor in front of her. “What should we name you?”
She blinked at him, ignored the way he held out his hand for her to sniff and familiarize with.
“Sunshine?” he asked.
If kittens could roll their eyes, Yoongi would have sworn she did.
This time, a firm head shake.
“Okay,” Yoongi nodded, trying very hard to pretend that this cat did not seem to completely understand him. “What about…Luxe?”
The cat didn’t even bother reacting to that one.
Huffing, Yoongi rolled his eyes. “What, do you not like the sun or something? Your new dad is a soleil, hate to break it to you, brat.”
Letting out a cute little meow, she finally walked over and gracefully laid down in Yoongi’s lap, purring, nuzzling at his hand until he began to pet her.
Yoongi placed his hand on top of her fragile head and threw his own back, eyes looking up at the ceiling with exasperation.
“Luna. Fine. Of course.”
The plants felt him before Jimin heard him.
They all simultaneously perked up, and one climbing hydrangea hurriedly twisted its way over to Jimin and began fixing his hair.
“Quit it,” he grouched, swatting at its flowers.
It retreated right as the door to his shop opened, the little bell attached to it chiming, and in came the soleil.
The soleil again, whom Jimin never thought he’d see again, with the honeysuckle skin and warm hands and ocean abyss voice.
The witch went and stood right in front of Jimin, the only thing separating them the wood of Jimin’s counter.
“Did the euphoria not work?” Jimin worried, reaching up to block a boston ivy just before it crashed into the other witch’s face in excitement.
It wasn’t typical that customers came back unless absolutely necessary, especially after only two days.
The soleil shook his head.
“No, it worked. She’s on the way to recovery now. I’m…actually here to thank you.”
“Oh. You don’t have to thank me,” Jimin’s eyes widened. “I’m happy to help. I’m glad she’s feeling better.”
The soleil stared at him for an awkward beat, as if considering something, then reached into his bag, seeming to search for something.
Jimin didn’t know what he expected to come out of it — a drop of sunlight? Leftover euphoria that he didn’t use? A handwritten thank you note?
Out came a takeout box full of food.
Jimin stared, shocked. Was this a trick?
“It’s not much,” the soleil said, and there were sudden solar flares on his cheeks, embarrassment obvious in his features as he brought a hand up and rubbed the back of his neck.
“You didn’t have to,” Jimin said again, suddenly overwhelmed with gratitude, gritting his teeth and sucking in a breath because god damn it he was not going to cry over this witch just buying him lunch.
The soleil just shook his head and kept holding the box out, so Jimin reached out and took it, hoping the other witch didn’t see his trembling fingers.
The cardboard box was warm in his hands.
“I hope it’s okay,” the witch said. Strangely, Jimin felt as if there were something deeper running along the underside of those words.
Unsure of whether or not he wanted to unearth what it was, Jimin simply nodded, still feeling a bit choked up.
“Thank you,” he whispered.
A silkvine wound its way around the soleil’s waist in lieu of a hug, and Jimin grimaced, putting the takeout box down and reaching out to remove it.
“It’s fine,” the soleil let out a warm laugh, one that caught all of his plants’ attention, as well as Jimin’s own. The sound of laughter was a guest that did not stop by his shop often — if at all. Jimin found himself itching to bottle the sound up, place it right next to some of his happiest memories.
“Your plants are some of the friendliest I’ve ever met.”
Jimin swallowed, still a bit stunned at the fact that the soleil was even here.
Was he new in town?
Did he not know about what everybody said about Jimin?
“They’re usually not so…affectionate with strangers. I don’t know what’s going on,” Jimin admitted.
The soleil smiled, and something melted away in his eyes.
Looking into them now, Jimin felt as if he were looking into the mouth of a cave and finding a startling beam of light.
The witch held out his hand, the gold on his skin pulsing. “I’m Min Yoongi.”
Jimin stared, dumbfounded.
Why was the soleil being so…nice?
And why did he look so comfortable within Jimin’s shop, one that rarely got any customers because of his reputation?
Why did Jimin’s plants warm up to him so quickly, wrapping around him the way they usually only did with Jimin, when they were typically wary of new people?
“No longer a stranger,” the soleil said, still holding out his hand. “Your plants can cuddle up to me as much as they want.”
Finally reaching out, Jimin hesitantly grasped Yoongi’s hand.
Since soleils naturally ran warmer than other witches, it felt like placing his hand on top of a blanket that just came out of the dryer, or sticking his hand into heated bathwater.
A small piece of Jimin relaxed.
“Jimin,” he responded shyly. “Park Jimin.”
The soleil smiled, then, all teeth and gums and sunbeam eyes. “It’s nice to meet you, Park Jimin. I hope we can be friends.”
Afterwards, when Yoongi had left and his stomach was full of bibimbap, Jimin clutched the hand Yoongi had shook to his chest.
Didn’t know if the heat left behind was real or if Jimin was so deprived of affection that he was simply imagining it.
I need it, Jimin.
Please, help me.
I feel so empty.
I’m begging you.
Jimin awoke in his bed covered in sweat, a sob immediately coming up to choke him, like phantom hands around his throat, squeezing and squeezing until his vision went dizzy.
Throwing his sheets to the side, he stumbled over to his window and swung it open, and the chilly night air came in as if waiting for invitation.
I need it, Jimin.
Jimin set his head down on the windowsill.
Opened his eyes to the darkness and saw nothing but cold hands and tears clinging to little lashes and a familiar smile and blood-stained asphalt and the blinking lights of so many cars.
There were so many cars.
Yoongi kept coming back.
For some reason, Yoongi kept coming back.
Sometimes with lunch, sometimes with coffee, sometimes with nothing but his summer skin and low, soothing voice.
Jimin slowly become comfortable with the witch’s company, still confused as to why the soleil kept coming back but not wanting to ask in case it ruined their sacred little moments together.
The soleil seemed determined to get to know Jimin, often asking him questions and telling him stories about his own life in return.
He helped Jimin water the plants and restock the shelves.
But neither of them addressed the elephant in the room.
Neither of them brought up Jimin’s reputation, and Jimin was afraid that somehow, it would all come out and everything would blow up in his face.
Were their moments together simply a ticking time bomb disguised with shy words and quick glances?
Jimin was afraid of opening himself up to Yoongi only to have the soleil eventually leave.
So he kept distance between them, still held himself a bit guarded, hesitant.
Didn’t miss the way that Yoongi never asked about his past.
Something was off that day, with Jimin.
The félicité, though always calm and a little guarded and a lot wary, was even more subdued than usual.
He would spend entire minutes staring out into space, not moving until Yoongi called his name several times.
“What’s wrong?” Yoongi asked quietly, concerned.
When he touched Jimin’s hand briefly, it was cold.
He was always cold.
“Nothing,” Jimin brushed him off.
Yoongi bit his lip and stayed silent.
He knew that he and Jimin had a…strange relationship. Could he even call it friendship? He didn’t know.
All he knew was that he liked the way the félicité smiled when he wasn’t trying so hard to hold himself back. Knew that Jimin was gentle with his plants and kind in the way he treated Yoongi, often making him tea or tucking the tag of Yoongi’s shirts back in when they stuck out. Knew that there was something about Park Jimin that had Yoongi gravitating towards him, despite what the rest of the world said about him.
When it was the third time Yoongi had to pull Jimin from his stupor, Yoongi set his jaw stubbornly.
“Jimin,” he said. “Are you okay? Are you sick?”
Jimin just shook his head, looking away.
“Did someone hurt you? You can tell me, Jimin, I’ll—”
“Why do you care?” Jimin cut him off. “Yoongi, why do you care?”
Yoongi looked at him then, gold on his skin pulsing.
It looked molten, almost alive, as if everything within Yoongi were pushing him forward, towards Jimin.
Always towards Jimin.
“I just do, Jimin,” he said quietly. “Is it so strange a thought? That somebody cares about your wellbeing?”
Jimin didn’t respond, just sighed heavily, and looked back down to the jars in front of him, placing his palms over each of their openings and filling them with his rainbow magic.
Yoongi looked down at the labels he was helping fill out.
When Yoongi left Jimin’s shop that day, something sad and anxious growing in the pit of his stomach, he walked straight past his apartment and into Jeongguk’s.
“Hyung?” the marée was standing in the middle of millions of droplets of floating water, all suspended in the air in his living room, looking like a liquid chandelier mid-shatter.
“Are you in the middle of a spell?” Yoongi asked, pausing in the doorway, peering around the water to get a look Jeongguk’s face.
“Finishing up, just wait there please,” Jeongguk replied. He exhaled slowly then brought his hands out and twisted, like he was twisting two shower knobs, and the droplets were suddenly moving, spinning around the marée, quicker and quicker until all of the individual drops blurred together and they became an enormous, reeling wall of water. With a large arc of his right arm, Jeongguk directed the liquid mass towards a milk-bottle sized vial, and as the water squeezed in, Yoongi was worried because there was no way it was all going to fit in there.
But he should have known better than to doubt Jeongguk’s magic, because before he knew it the room was dry and Jeongguk was capping the small vial and then bounding his way over to Yoongi, all happy smiles and starry eyes, and swooped the soleil into a big hug.
“Hyung! You haven’t visited me in forever.”
The pout was prominent in Jeongguk’s voice, and Yoongi immediately felt himself relaxing, just a bit.
“Hyung’s sorry, Jeongguk,” Yoongi patted him on the back, grimacing a bit when he felt the back of Jeongguk’s shirt was completely soaked through. “I’ve been busy.”
Jeongguk pulled back, one of his brows raised, water diamonds resting on the tips of his eyelashes.
Yoongi thought of his infirmary that he only kept open three days a week.
Soleils were rare, which made their healing services even rarer.
Most of Yoongi’s magic and treatments sold for a substantial amount of money, so it was never like Yoongi had to work himself to the bone.
“No,” he confessed.
Jeongguk tilted his head to the side. “Then with what?”
Yoongi opened his mouth, but nothing came out.
Jeongguk’s brows furrowed. “Hyung?”
Sighing, Yoongi ran a hand over his face. “I’ve been…seeing Jimin. The félicité.”
“What?” Jeongguk asked, all the water in the room jumping into the air and dropping back into their respective containers with a sharp slap at the marée’s shock. “You—what? Hyung, are you crazy?”
“No, listen,” Yoongi said. “I went that one day when I needed some euphoria—”
“I knew your patient didn’t just get better on her own, why—”
“And when I came in, he looked so sad, and so different to how everyone describes him—”
“You can’t just know how a person is on the inside by how they look, Yoongi—”
“And I don’t know why I’m so pulled towards him, but I like talking to him, and I think he’s sweet, and—”
“Wait,” Jeongguk holds up a palm. “Exactly how often have you been alone with him?”
Yoongi shrugs. “A couple times, now. Maybe around 10, or a little more. I—I visit his shop, a lot. His plants are sweet.”
“His plants are sweet,” Jeongguk repeated, voice thin. “His plants are sweet.”
The marée looked like he was two seconds away from fainting.
“Does Hoseok-hyung know?” he demanded.
“No,” Yoongi said. “Jeongguk, I just…he’s not evil. I promise you. There’s no way he could be.”
“You don’t really know him, though, hyung,” Jeongguk tried to reason. “He could be. Everybody says he is. You don’t know.”
A burst of sadness suddenly hit Yoongi then, because — because he didn’t, he realized. He didn’t know Jimin.
But he wanted to — with everything in him, he wanted to know the félicité.
He wanted to trace out the path of Jimin’s almost indiscernible freckles the way explorers discovered new constellations. Wanted to befriend his plants and know them by name, wanted to lean over and give their leaves affectionate strokes the way Jimin did absentmindedly at times. Wanted to learn the rhythm of Jimin’s heart, wanted to understand the taste of Jimin’s lips, memorize and come back to it like his favorite flavored tea. Wanted to become familiar with Jimin’s magic, feel rainbows envelop him, like living within a kaleidoscope.
Wanted to know why the félicité was so cold. So sad.
For a witch of joy, that was almost unheard of.
Félicité witches could feel sadness, of course, but typically it was in their nature to not dwell on the negatives. Every other félicité that Yoongi has met was as warm as could be, practically oozing love and euphoria and kindness.
But with Jimin, it was different.
There was something a little bit haunting about the way he held himself that probably wouldn’t be disturbing on any other witch, but on him it looked like a star undressing, tearing itself apart layer by layer, throwing years and years worth of brightness away until it was naked and vulnerable and gave into the endless expanse of darkness surrounding it.
“Yoongi-hyung?” Jeongguk tilted his head to the side when he saw the soleil dim, and he followed Yoongi into the kitchen.
“There’s something…off about him, Jeongguk,” Yoongi admitted. “And I don’t know what it is. Not in the way you think — he’s not violent, or aggressive. And I don’t know why I care so much, but…he just feels so cold, and…sad. He always, always feels sad.”
When Yoongi sat down at the kitchen table, Jeongguk silently sat across from him.
“You’re really caught up in this, aren’t you,” Jeongguk murmured. “Caught up in him.”
Letting out a sigh, Yoongi nodded.
He really, really was.
Someone was singing in the shower.
A low crooning that could be heard over the steady stream of water.
The voice was familiar.
So, so familiar.
Eyes flying open, hope collecting like sea glass on the shore of a mourning ocean that toiled inside his stomach, Jimin flew off his bed and towards the bathroom.
Threw open the door and flicked on the light, panting, wishing, yearning.
The bathroom was empty of everything but Jimin’s grief, making its home in-between the tiles.
They’re all together.
The five of them, childhood best friends, who have each others’ dreams and fears and quirks all memorized.
They’re singing that evening, coming back from the beach, the sun a sinking sunflower in the sky.
Sand is stuck uncomfortably between Jimin’s toes and on the inside of his elbow, but he doesn’t notice.
He basks in the smell of sunblock and salt, grasping onto the open covers of his completely soaked book that he had to rescue from the sea after a particularly large wave came and drenched their things. The curling pages are flapping wildly in the wind, and even though Jimin knows they wouldn’t dry by the time they’re home, he lets the pages play with the wind anyway.
He laughs as one of his hyungs try to hit a high note and fails.
Shutting his eyes and tilting his head back, he lets the warm air blowing in from the car windows ruffle his hair, stretch out his damp shirt.
Feeling an arm sling around his shoulders, sticky with dried salt, Jimin opens his eyes and tilts his head to the left.
Sees familiar, happy brown eyes.
Jimin quickly caps the bottle.
Jimin and Yoongi were in Serendipity again, the both of them sitting side by side as Yoongi helped Jimin dry off some bottles he had just cleaned.
They sat in comfortable silence, their arms occasionally brushing, the plants waving contentedly from their various hanging pots above them.
Jimin’s phone began buzzing on the counter.
They both looked over at it on instinct, and Jimin cringed when he saw the familiar name lighting up the screen.
Jimin stared at the phone, letting it ring before it went to voicemail.
Soon after, it began ringing again.
“You’re not going to pick up?” Yoongi asked.
After a moment of hesitation, Jimin reached out to silence it, then flipped it to lay on its screen.
“It’s not important.”
Jimin typically tried not to actively listen to what people said about him.
Not because he was afraid that they would be spreading false rumors, but because he was afraid that he would have to face the truth spilling from a stranger’s lips.
But it was harder to ignore when a witch built up their superiority in their own minds and believed they had the right to confront Jimin on the street, in broad daylight.
When the witch, Yunho, Jimin’s mind supplied, had first stepped in Jimin’s way, the félicité stepped to the side, wanting to pass.
After he realized that Yunho was purposely blocking his path, Jimin looked up, eyebrows raised.
“Can I…help you with something?”
Yunho was familiar to Jimin — he was a well-liked witch around town, and Jimin often saw him dining with his friends and family at the local cafe.
Jimin internally sighed. Though he hated that he was subdued by such an apparent method of intimidation, the mere fact that Yunho had height and probably strength over him was a cause for his heart to pick up.
“My little sister said something to me the other day that didn’t sit right,” Yunho said, tilting his head to the side, eyes narrowed.
Jimin stayed silent, unsure of where he was going.
“She said, one night, she was walking home from her apprenticeship,” Yunho stepped closer, voice lowering. “And she saw you. Right outside the supermarket, with a bleeding cat in your hands.”
Jimin blinked in shock.
He hadn’t been aware anybody had seen him pull the kitten from the drain, but then again, he had wondered who had left the groceries at his doorstep.
“We know what you are,” the witch spat, reaching out and gripping Jimin’s collar. “You’re fucking sick. You act like the perfect little félicité by day, and then once the sun rises you go around killing animals, killing people.”
The reality of the situation set in, then.
They thought that Jimin had purposely hurt that poor cat?
“I didn’t hurt the kitten,” Jimin was quick to defend himself, ears turning hot, mind racing to try to keep up with the situation. “She was stuck in a drain, so I pulled her out. I brought her to the vet afterwards.”
Yunho tsked. “We checked the animal hospital the day after. There was no cat.”
“W-What?” Jimin’s mind was racing. He did bring the cat to the animal hospital. Where could she have gone?
Or was Yunho lying?
Was he just searching for any excuse to spew ugly words towards Jimin?
“You’re not welcome in this town, demon,” Yonho shoved him back with the hold he had on Jimin’s collar, and suddenly Jimin was pressed against a wall. “I don’t know what kind of black magic you’ve been using to disguise yourself as a félicité, but we see right through you. Once a murderer, always a murderer.”
Jimin’s breaths were coming quicker now, and the face in front of him blurred. Yunho kept on talking, tone angry and getting louder by the minute, but his words became indiscernible within Jimin’s mind.
“Get off him,” a low voice said. “Get your hands off him.”
Suddenly the air around them was warm.
Jimin gasped, feeling as if he had just stepped into a sauna.
Looking over, he saw Yoongi, burning bright, gold on his skin pulsing, and Jimin just knew that he was angry. Saw the way the gold coiled over his skin like flames, licking and ravenous and furious.
“Yoongi-ssi?” Yunho clearly recognized him, though it shouldn’t have been surprising.
Outside of Jimin, their town was a close-knit community of witches.
Everybody knew everybody, especially a soleil.
Everybody had something to say, had an opinion about you.
It just so happened that everybody hated Jimin.
Yoongi didn’t answer, just came over and knocked the witch’s hands off Jimin’s chest. He searched Jimin’s eyes for a split second, eyebrows knitted together in concern. His hand reached out, as if wanting to touch, cup Jimin’s cheek, check for further injuries, but it clenched into a fist mid-air and fell back down to his side.
Whirling, he stepped forward, placing himself nose to nose with the witch who had shoved Jimin back.
“He didn’t hurt that cat,” Yoongi ground out. “I saw him pull it out of the drain. He was helping it.”
“Then where is it?” the witch demanded. “It wasn’t at the animal hospital, it wasn’t at the shelter. You want me to believe that they just let the injured cat back out onto the street?”
“I took it,” Yoongi said. “I adopted her, you asshole. Next time think before you fucking assume shit.”
Before anybody had a chance to react at Yoongi’s news, another body came rushing towards them.
“What the fuck is going on? Jimin?”
Shocked, Jimin turned wide eyes towards the direction of the voice.
The first thing he saw was tattoos.
Animated, moving across tan skin, the reflections in Monet’s Water Lilies winking up at him on one arm, the cypress in Starry Night swaying from side to side on the other.
Jimin knew these tattoos, the ones that moved and danced so gently, like tiny motion pictures playing on smooth skin.
Jimin knew that voice.
Looking up, Jimin locked eyes with Taehyung, then collapsed.
Yoongi reached out for the félicité, saw the magic beneath his own skin pulse with fright, but the strange new witch was there before him, catching Jimin in his arms before Yoongi could.
“Fuck,” the witch said under their breath.
“What happened to him? Is he hurt?” Yoongi couldn’t quell the panic rising in his throat.
When Yunho made a noise akin to a scoff, Yoongi whirled on the witch, feeling heat pooling in the palms of his hands.
“Leave,” he spat out.
When Yunho didn’t move, Yoongi couldn’t help the sudden burst of light that escaped him, hot and furious and molten, forcing Yunho to scurry backwards so that he wouldn’t be completely burnt. “Never come near Jimin again.”
Looking at him then, Yoongi was so furious even his own skin felt hot, and the light he was emitting was suddenly too bright, out of control.
But all he could think about was Jimin’s sad eyes and gentle hands, hands that had handled Luna so carefully, hands that supposedly belonged to a killer.
Yoongi couldn’t add things up in his brain, and this frustration made him even angrier.
“Hey. You need to calm down.”
The voice of the strange witch broke through his haze, but Yoongi kept staring after Yunho, who was looking back at him from his new distance with suspicious, arrogant eyes as he retreated from Yoongi’s burning light.
“Jimin needs you to calm down, okay? Can you tell me where he lives so I can take him home?” the new witch said.
Yoongi turned, forcibly cooling himself down and feeling the magic within his veins settling.
He took a moment to look at the newcomer.
The witch with the moving tattoos — an anamateur, his mind supplied — held Jimin tightly in his arms, and it had Yoongi cocking his head in confusion, and a little bit something like defensiveness.
Yoongi’s never seen the anamateur before, and in a town as small as this — especially in the community of witches — he knew mostly everybody.
This made him suspicious, and a deep part of him wanted to take Jimin and cradle the félicité against his own chest, didn’t trust the stranger that had turned up out of nowhere and suddenly demanded to know Jimin’s address.
Crossing his arms instead, Yoongi frowned. “Who are you?”
A muscle in the anamateur’s jaw jumped at the sudden defensive question. “Where does he live?” he asked again, tone firmer now.
This, in turn, sparked Yoongi’s temper again, and the soleil stepped closer to the strange witch.
“I’ll take him home,” Yoongi reached out for Jimin, but the anamateur stepped back, the tattoos on his exposed arms and neck crashing against each other violently, like waves right before a black storm.
“Who are you?” the witch shot back. “I’ll take him home. Give me his address.”
The two stared each other down until Yoongi realized that neither of them were going to completely give in.
Glancing down towards Jimin in concern, he sighed.
“I’ll take you there, anamateur.”
With that, he spun on his heels and marched towards Jimin’s shop, the strange witch trailing behind him with Jimin in his arms.
The walk seemed to calm both of their anger a bit, and they both shed their frustrations like rain-soaked coats by the time they stepped into Serendipity.
Now, things between them were subdued, quiet in a way that reminded Yoongi of the end of one thing, or the very beginning of another.
The plants immediately reacted when they entered the door, reaching out for Jimin and running their leafy vines along his arms and legs in concern.
The anamateur looked around at the shop, towards the walls lined with floor-to-ceiling shelves, all stuffed full of jars that were filled with swimming, rainbow magic. He looked towards the plants, which Yoongi noticed were avoiding touching the strange witch, and then finally towards Yoongi.
“This is…his shop?”
Yoongi crinkled his brows. The way the witch was holding Jimin was…so familiar. So why did the witch not know that Jimin owned this shop? Why did he not know where Jimin lived?
Pushing down his discomfort in favor of tending towards Jimin, Yoongi nodded with his chin towards the set of wooden stairs leading up to Jimin’s apartment.
“Go up,” he said, stroking a soothing hand over the wisteria that was winding around his waist in panic. “His bedroom is up there.”
The anamateur cast heavy eyes on him, glancing down at the plants that avoided him but were nuzzling up against Yoongi.
After a beat, he followed Yoongi’s directions and climbed the stairs.
In a way, Yoongi knew that it seemed as if he knew Jimin better than he actually did.
But in reality, he didn’t know the félicité well at all, past the surface-level.
Sighing, Yoongi made his way up the stairs as well, trying to ignore the fact that it was his first time in Jimin’s apartment.
He found his way into the kitchen and poured a mug of water, mixing in a few drops of healing sunlight and heating the drink in-between his hands.
Yoongi went to the open bedroom door and stood in the frame, watching as the anamateur gently tucked Jimin’s limbs underneath the duvet.
“Has this happened before? I mean…does this happen often? Here?” the witch turned his face towards Yoongi, and the soleil was stunned to find unshed tears brimming in his eyes.
Moving into the room and placing the cup on the bedside table, he shook his head.
“No. I…this is the first time this has happened. What’s wrong with him?”
Yoongi had simply assumed it was a combination of dehydration and stress, but the anamateur seemed to know something more.
“Burnout,” he answered.
Yoongi exhaled sharply.
Every witch experienced burnouts, when they were going against something that was the very opposite of their magic, experiencing something that was completely wrong to them. For Yoongi, it was being exposed to too much cold water, for Jeongguk, it was summers that were too hot.
“He’s a félicité,” the anamateur shrugged as if that explained everything.
Having never known a félicité before Jimin, Yoongi stayed silent, tilting his head in question.
“No félicités do well under large amounts of stress, or unhappiness, especially large bursts of it that take them by surprise,” the witch explained. He moved one of his hands and began tracing his moving tattoos with an unseeing finger. “It’s against their nature. If they let negativity build up within them for too long, it can make them physically sick. Then, burnout.”
Fear bit at the back of Yoongi’s neck now, goosebumps running down his spine underneath his shirt.
Whenever Yoongi saw him, Jimin never seemed especially…happy.
The thought made something sink in Yoongi’s stomach.
“I didn’t know that,” Yoongi admitted.
The anamateur looked at him then, from where he was sitting on the side of Jimin’s bed.
“Who are you?”
“Min Yoongi. I’m his…I’m a friend.”
When Yoongi held out a hand for the other to shake, the witch contemplated for a moment before he grasped it.
“Kim Taehyung. Jimin and I have known each other since we were babies.”
A pang of familiarity hit Yoongi.
The contact on Jimin’s phone.
“You’re from his hometown, then? Did you come to visit?”
Something lightened in Yoongi’s heart at the thought.
This meant that Jimin couldn’t be as evil as the rumors said — his childhood friend was coming to visit him. Surely, that meant Jimin was a good person. Surely, that meant Jimin was someone who loved and was loved.
“Something like that,” Taehyung murmured, looking back down towards Jimin and reaching out to brush the fringe from the félicité’s lashes.
At his touch, Jimin’s eyes fluttered open.
Confused for a moment, Jimin made a quiet sound in the back of his throat that had Yoongi wanting to reach out and soothe.
A few moments passed, and Jimin’s eyes locked onto Yoongi’s, recognition flooding into them. When he looked over at Taehyung, however, a painful sounding gasp left his throat, and Jimin sat up so quickly he had to catch himself from falling back with his hands, swaying dangerously.
“What are you doing here?” Jimin whispered, staring at Taehyung as if he were a ghost.
And maybe he was, a ghost that held painful secrets from Jimin’s past, suddenly turning up in his life again.
Taehyung, in his defense, looked concerned, a bit guilty.
“You can’t be here,” Jimin shook his head rapidly, and Yoongi could see the witch growing frantic again. “You can’t.”
When Taehyung reached out again, Jimin cringed back, and Yoongi moved in to block the anamateur’s hand.
“He doesn’t want you here,” Yoongi said. “You should leave. You’re making him worse.”
Taehyung looked angry then, and he yanked his arm from Yoongi’s grip.
“Stay out of it, soleil,” Taehyung hissed. “You don’t even know anything that’s been going on, you—”
“Maybe I don’t,” Yoongi interrupted. “But for now, all I know is that your presence is freaking Jimin out even more. You say you’ve been friends since you were babies, so if you truly do care about him, then leave. You’re just going to make him burnout again if you stay.”
Taehyung’s breath seemed to catch in his throat, and this time Yoongi knew he didn’t imagine the shine of tears that suddenly made their way over his eyes.
Jaw clenched, Taehyung stood and stepped back.
Jimin stared at him, eyes still wild, still curled up in bed, as far from Taehyung as he could be.
Which meant he was pressed to Yoongi’s side from where the soleil was standing next to the bed, Jimin’s head pressing into his stomach, hand having reached out to grip onto the material of Yoongi’s sweater.
Taehyung looked at the two of them together, and nodded once.
“I’m staying at the inn down the street,” Taehyung said, voice considerably weaker now. Considerably sadder. “I’ll be there when you’re ready to talk, Jimin-ah. But please…please. Don’t…”
Taehyung cut himself off, bit his lip.
Decided to whisper instead, “I miss you.”
With that, he left the room, shutting Jimin’s bedroom door quietly.
When they heard the jingle of the front door open and close, Yoongi looked down towards Jimin, who was still resting his head on Yoongi’s stomach, eyes glazed over in thought.
“Sorry,” Jimin pulled back abruptly, eyes lowered. “Sorry.”
“You’re fine,” Yoongi reassured him. “I made you a hot drink. Do you me to help you drink it?”
Jimin shook his head, just slumped over and pulled the blanket over him.
“Could you just…turn out the light? I’m tired.”
Yoongi still stood there, though, curiosity and concern both burning in his veins. “Jimin?”
“I know it’s not my business, but…I think you should talk to your Taehyung. He loves you a lot.”
Jimin flipped over to stare up at him then.
“…How do you know? How do you know he loves me?”
Yoongi reached out, unable to help himself, and brushed a stray hair from Jimin’s eyes.
“He wouldn’t let me carry you home.”
The soleil turned out the light then, and lingered in the doorway for a brief moment to spot Jimin wiping his eyes, before turning and going home, lugging along the burden of his heavy heart.
It was funny how time could erode away at a person, make someone who knew every pretty and ugly thing that lived within your heart a complete stranger.
When Jimin looked at Taehyung then, he felt sadness creep in at the sight of his best friend’s familiar features.
After four years, Taehyung’s grown without Jimin being there to witness it. And Jimin’s done the same.
Taehyung’s hair was dark and long all around now, going down past his shirt collar and flopping in wild waves towards his lashes. He had filled out — shoulders no longer that of the scrawny nineteen year old that Jimin knew, but broad underneath his shirt now. Even the way Taehyung carried himself was a bit different — he was calmer, a bit more serious with age, biting at his lip and seeming to assess Jimin the way Jimin had been assessing him.
Somehow, even though it was Taehyung, with the same uneven eyelids and deep voice and long fingers, Jimin realized he didn’t know him.
Not this Taehyung.
Not adult Taehyung, that had been just as affected by grief as Jimin had.
Not the Taehyung who Jimin ran away from when they both had needed each other the most.
“Hi,” Jimin said finally.
At the sound of Jimin’s voice, a tiny piece of Taehyung softened imperceptibly. “Hi.”
Jimin looked down at the plate of food in front of him, fiddling with the chopsticks in his hand. People moved around them in blurs at the small cafe, but in that moment, Jimin could only focus on Taehyung.
“How did you find me?” he asked quietly.
“A chercheur,” Taehyung answered.
A tracking witch.
Jimin nodded once. “Oh.”
“I couldn’t…wait any longer, Jimin-ah,” Taehyung confessed. He swiped a hand over his face, and Jimin’s shoulders slumped at how tired Taehyung looked.
“I told you not to wait for me,” Jimin whispered. “That I wasn’t coming back.”
“I didn’t know you meant it,” Taehyung shot back. “You…I just…how could you?”
Before either of them knew what was happening, Taehyung was crying.
Sobbing, chest heaving, hands shaking.
“How could you leave us like that? How could you leave me? I needed you, and you left,” Taehyung cried. “I really fucking needed you, Jimin.”
Jimin was crying then, too. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry. I just…I couldn’t be there anymore, Taehyung. I couldn’t stay.”
Taehyung didn’t respond, just sucked in a gasping breath and then held it, looking to the side to try and regain composure.
“I’m sorry,” Jimin repeated. “For everything. I miss you. I miss you all.”
Taehyung reached over and grabbed Jimin’s hand, then, and the familiar lines of his best friend’s palm pressed against his own mended something that had long ago broken inside of the félicité.
“Come home,” Taehyung rasped. “We’re waiting for you. We’ve been waiting for you, since the moment you left.”
Jimin bit his lip.
Go back home?
A few months ago, maybe he would have considered it.
Though he had ran away from his hometown to escape the grief, the guilt, the sadness that threatened to drown him every single day, maybe Jimin could have given it another chance.
Looking into the safety of Taehyung’s eyes, maybe he could have done it with his best friend there to support him, and to support his best friend.
But now, in this town…there was Yoongi.
Yoongi, who’s shown Jimin more kindness than he deserved.
Yoongi, who was always warm, and gentle, and understanding, and patient.
Yoongi, who had cast a little light on Jimin’s petals, and coaxed him to unfurl, just a tiny bit.
And his shop.
His plants were attached to it already, and helping people with his magic was what brought Jimin fulfillment.
“I…I can’t,” Jimin said.
Taehyung’s face dropped.
“I just…there’s things that are tying me down here, now, too.”
Understanding flickered across Taehyung’s face.
“Is it that soleil?”
An undertone of teasing.
Something Jimin had heard his entire life growing up, and the feeling of familiarity hit Jimin so hard he had to swallow back tears once again.
With Taehyung, he could be candid.
He always could be.
“Yea,” Jimin half-laughed. “Yea, I think it is.”
Taehyung grinned at him then, all teeth and happy watery eyes, and Jimin let himself smile back.
A feeling he had spent the past four years reliving through bottled memories washed over him.
But this time, the real thing, true happiness in the moment — Jimin realized that the bottles couldn’t compare, magic or not.
They spent a long time hugging after they finished their lunch, in which neither of them had let the other shut up.
Catching your best friend up on the past four years of your life was — a lot.
But looking at Taehyung then, Jimin knew that they’d see each other again soon. Regretted distancing himself in the first place.
Regretted a lot of things.
“Come visit us, all of us,” Taehyung whispered into Jimin’s hair. “We need you.”
“They’re not mad?” Jimin asked.
“Oh, they’re mad,” Taehyung half-laughed. “So was I. But…that doesn’t matter. The only thing that does is that we love you.”
Jimin squeezed his eyes tight. “Love you too. More than you know.”
Taehyung squeezed him in-between his arms, swaying them side to side.
“I’m really sorry,” Jimin confessed to the lapel of Taehyung’s jacket, where his face was pressed against the metal hardware adorning it. “I’m so sorry.”
“You can fix things, Jimin,” Taehyung said. “I know you can.”
Pulling back, Taehyung cupped his hands on either side of Jimin’s cheeks.
“I’ll see you soon, okay?” Taehyung asked.
Jimin nodded, bringing a hand up and hooking his pinky around one Taehyung’s.
When Yoongi let himself into Serendipity that day, Jimin was nowhere to be seen.
The plants greeted him enthusiastically as usual, winding around him and tickling him, and he smiled and gave them all a little extra burst of light, which had them positively preening.
After spending a few moments with the plants that he had somehow become overwhelmingly fond of, he made his way deeper into the shop.
Yoongi hummed under his breath, setting the takeout he had gotten for the both of them down on the counter.
He was concerned — he hadn’t been able to find time away from his clinic recently, and he hadn’t seen Jimin since their run-in with Taehyung. He had wanted so many times to come by and check up on the félicité, but time just kept on running off without his permission. It’s been almost a week now.
Strangely, the shop began to feel a bit eerie, despite the plants’ comforting presence. Yoongi spied a small slip of light spilling from a barely-open door of one of the back rooms, and without thinking he let himself behind the counter and followed it, walking on the golden strip illuminated across the floor like a tightrope.
“Jimin?” he asked again, gently nudging the door open with his hand.
The félicité was sitting on a stool in the middle of the room with his back to him, completely still.
Yoongi crept closer, concerned at the stiffness of Jimin’s spine.
When he caught sight of Jimin’s face, Yoongi’s heart stopped.
Jimin’s eyes were open, but they were glazed, unseeing. When Yoongi placed a hand on the side of the félicité’s cold neck, instinctively trying to warm him with his light, Jimin was unresponsive.
“Jimin-ah,” Yoongi shook him gently. “Are you okay? What’s wrong?”
He was shaking him harder now, scared at how Jimin felt colder than he typically did.
At Yoongi’s shout, the félicité startled and came to with a harsh gasp, stuttering halfway through and beginning to cough. The blond witch clutched a hand to his chest, lowering his head.
“What happened? Jimin, are you okay?”
When Jimin looked back up, Yoongi was surprised to see pure rage within the félicité’s eyes.
“What the hell are you doing back here?” Jimin spat out.
Yoongi blinked, stunned at the harshness in Jimin’s voice.
“Who said you could come back here?” Jimin stood, voice echoing off the enclosed walls of the room.
“I…what were you doing?” Yoongi asked. “You weren’t responding, and I was—”
I was worried.
I was really, really worried.
“It’s none of your business, Yoongi,” Jimin said. “This is a private room, it’s not like any other part of the shop that you can wander in and out of whenever you please.”
Looking down, Yoongi noticed that Jimin was clutching a small glass bottle tightly in his hands.
“What are you doing to yourself, Jimin?” he whispered.
“Nothing,” Jimin said.
“That didn’t look like nothing,” Yoongi argued back. “Your skin is ice-cold, and that look in your eyes—it looked like you were d—”
“Get out,” Jimin’s voice was trembling with rage.
“I’m trying to help you,” Yoongi flared bright for a split second, fists clenching.
Why couldn’t Jimin see that?
Why couldn’t Jimin accept that he was just trying to help?
“I don’t need your fucking help!” Jimin screamed. “Just leave, Yoongi!”
Sunlight pulsing beneath his skin like a lion pacing at the edge of its cage, Yoongi stood.
“Fine,” he spat. “Your lunch is on the counter.”
Without looking back, he stormed from the back room, mind too hazy with anger and confusion to even process the way the plants reached for him, concerned.
He barely remembered the trip home, but when he made it to his apartment he found Hoseok and Jeongguk at the door, searching around underneath his mat for his spare key.
“Oh, Yoongi, just in time!” Hoseok flashed a grin at him, which had Jeongguk swiveling from his crouch to face him as well.
Both of their expressions dropped at the sight of Yoongi’s angry expression and burning skin.
Yoongi didn’t answer, just stormed past them and opened his apartment, silently seething.
What had Jimin been doing?
Why was Jimin so angry that he had been in that room, anyway?
There was nothing special about it — it was just a room full of colorful jars.
Full of magic, Yoongi was sure, but Yoongi was a witch too. It wasn’t anything out of the ordinary for him.
“Hyung,” Jeongguk caught Yoongi by the inside of his elbow, and suddenly Yoongi felt significantly cooler. Looking up, he found that Jeongguk had begun ‘misting’ him with warm water, something he often did when they were younger and Yoongi was more prone to losing his temper. It had exactly same effect as those misters restaurants had on their patios for summer days — it cooled Yoongi down a bit when his magic became a little too much to cap, calming his sunlight-flushed skin.
Catching the marée’s eyes in thanks, Yoongi took a deep, shuddering breath.
“What happened?” Hoseok asked again, voice and expression serious. His lips were pressed together tightly, and Yoongi hated the fact that he had put this expression on his friend’s face.
He knew that neither of them would take ‘nothing’ as an answer, so he said, “Jimin.”
“Jimin? The félicité? What did he do?” Hoseok growled out, already growing defensive. “Did he hurt you?”
“No,” Yoongi shook his head. “He—”
But did Yoongi know that?
Were all of the rumors about Jimin correct?
Yoongi wouldn’t have thought so before this, but now, remembering that pure anger that lived within Jimin’s eyes…
“Listen, hyung, I don’t think it’s a good idea for you to keep going over there,” Jeongguk said seriously, mist still falling over all three of them now, given how closely they were standing together. “Jimin’s dangerous. And clearly, he’s done something to upset you. I don’t know what kind of…connection you had with him before, but…”
“Jeongguk is right, Yoongi-hyung,” Hoseok agreed. “He’s a…”
“He’s a murderer, yes, I know,” Yoongi was frustrated. Torn in two because the Jimin he knew, or thought he knew, and the Jimin everybody else had built up in their minds were two completely different people.
“Yoongi, it’s not just that,” Hoseok caught his face gently then in one hand, stroking Yoongi’s cheek to soften the next blow.
“He’s not just a murderer. The person he killed…it was his own brother.”
Jimin knew he had messed up.
Even without his plants acting coldly towards him as a reminder, Jimin knew that he was in the wrong.
After Yoongi had left the shop, Jimin had collapsed back onto the stool, carefully placing the bottled memory back on the shelf in front of him before burying his face in his hands.
He hadn’t meant to blow up at Yoongi that way — he knew the soleil had done nothing wrong. But Jimin had been so caught up in reliving the memory, so unused to being pulled from them before he was ready, that the shock and the sudden loss of happiness set him off.
And seeing Yoongi there, in a space so personal…seeing Jimin while he was within a memory from his past that he tried so hard to keep secret…he had just snapped.
Jimin walked towards the counter of his shop in a haze, guilt swarming in the pit of his belly.
He tried to contain it, didn’t want to cause a burnout, but…the look on Yoongi’s face when Jimin had yelled at him…
Jimin opened the container of takeout that was sitting there, cold now.
The smell of sundubu jjigae wafted out, and Jimin let out a shaky exhale.
It was Jimin’s favorite.
Yoongi couldn’t tolerate spicy foods as well as Jimin, but the soleil had gotten them the jjigae anyway.
Plunking down onto his stool, Jimin let out a quiet groan and knocked his forehead against the countertop.
“I’m an idiot,” he muttered to himself.
When he looked to the side, he could have sworn the trumpet vine moved as if nodding in agreement.
When the wisteria moved over to whack him over the head as if saying, what are you going to do about it?, Jimin sat up straight and squared his shoulders.
Yoongi was the only witch in this town that had shown him even an ounce of kindness.
And thinking about Yoongi’s golden warmth, the way he would feed Jimin’s plants drops of sunlight, the way he had stood up for Jimin against Yunho, the way he never asked anything of Jimin other than his company, Jimin realized that he had unexpectedly found a true friend in Yoongi.
And despite his original desire of moving out here to get away from the people he loved, to escape the guilt that he felt every time he looked into their eyes, Jimin thought that maybe he could let himself have Yoongi.
Maybe he could let himself feel Yoongi’s warmth, look into the golden brown of Yoongi’s eyes and not feel anything but comfort.
Maybe he could let himself trace the patterns on Yoongi’s skin, and, for once, not feel an ounce of guilt.
Yoongi went through the rest of the night feeling a bit listless.
He murdered his brother.
Jimin murdered his own brother.
But how, and why?
There were so many unanswered questions, so many spaces within the story that Yoongi couldn’t find it in himself to completely believe it.
Despite this, however, the newfound information coupled with the wild anger that he had seen in the félicité today had Yoongi wary.
He thought again of how he barely knew anything about Jimin beyond the surface level, had just kept coming back to Serendipity because of his intrinsic desire to help, only to then realize that Jimin was actually nice to be around, was beautiful during the brief moments he let himself smile. And the soleil couldn’t miss the way he stared at the sunlight beneath Yoongi’s skin like it was something he’d never get tired of looking at. Didn’t miss the way Jimin’s typically tense shoulders seem to relax a little bit whenever he caught sight of Yoongi walking into his shop.
Huffing and pulling the blanket completely over his head in his dark bedroom, Yoongi watched as the magic brimming just underneath his skin illuminated the little cocoon he had made for himself in the shelter of his sheets.
Surrounded by his own warmth and light, Yoongi couldn’t help but wonder how long Jimin’s been leading himself into the dark.
When Yoongi awoke the next morning, he went outside to greet the sun, and found a glass jar sitting on his doorstep, a sticky note with a doodle of a sun placed on top.
Crouching down to pick it up, Yoongi flipped the attached paper around.
Deciding to fully sit down now, Yoongi let out a happy hum as the warmth of the sunlit pavement seeped into his skin through his jeans.
He opened the jar, and out came little rainbow wisps of magic, moving like thick steam in the air around him.
And with them came a soft voice, just loud enough for Yoongi to hear, crooning its way through a gentle song.
You are my sunshine,
my only sunshine
you make me happy
when skies are grey…
Yoongi let out a laugh at the cheesy choice of song, but the way Jimin’s voice wrapped around those words, clear and high-pitched and beautiful, had a tiny piece of Yoongi softening.
When the song ended, Yoongi let out a sigh, looking at the now-empty bottle.
He didn’t completely forgive Jimin, despite the butterflies that had seemed to have been born from the félicité’s rainbow magic fluttering their way in-between the spaces of his ribs.
Yoongi didn’t forgive him entirely yet, but now, he was sure, there was so much more of Jimin that he wanted to discover.
The jars kept coming.
A different tune that sang Yoongi awake every morning.
The same sweet, familiar voice and multicolored magic.
With them came little notes.
I’m sorry for yelling at you.
Thank you for the lunches.
The plants miss you.
The next day, Yoongi got up extra early and waited by the inside of his front door.
When he heard footsteps making their way up his steps, he wrenched the door open and came face to face with Jimin, who startled at his sudden appearance.
Wide-eyed and rosy-cheeked from the morning chill, Jimin looked adorable bundled up in his thick scarf and chunky boots, expression unsure.
Yoongi, feeling less adorable in his sweatpants, threadbare sweater and sleep-mussed hair, crossed his arms across his chest.
Neither of them said anything for a while.
Then as the foggy morning gave in to the sun’s rays, Jimin held out the jar in his hands silently.
Yoongi looked at it, saw the essence of Jimin’s magic swirling around in the glass happily, and instead of reaching out for it, he stepped back so that Jimin had space to enter his home.
It was strange seeing Jimin in his home.
The félicité looked strangely small buried into the corner of Yoongi’s leather couch, and seeing someone new in such a familiar space threw Yoongi off a little bit.
Yoongi handed Jimin a mug filled with golden liquid, and Jimin sniffed it.
“What is it?”
“Honey tea,” Yoongi answered.
Jimin squinted into the cup. “It’s glowing.”
Grinning, Yoongi reached out to flick the félicité on the cheek. “Hey, don’t be ungrateful. I might have added a few drops of sunlight, too. To warm it up. Makes it a bit thicker, as well.”
Jimin took a sip and let out a satisfied hum.
“Jimin,” Yoongi said after the félicité had taken a few more sips. Yoongi’s hands tightened around his own mug, feeling tingly with nerves. “I’ve heard a lot of things being said about you. Around town.”
Jimin stiffened then, but then let out a resigned sigh, as if knowing that this was coming.
“I want to trust you,” Yoongi continued. “But…in order to do that I need to know your version of the story. Your story.”
Yoongi wanted to pick Jimin apart solely so he could find the pieces within him that made him hurt, cup them in the warmth of his hands until their pain eased a little bit.
More than anything, he wanted Jimin to be happy.
But before he could do any of that, Yoongi had to understand.
Jimin held eye contact with him then, seeming to debate something in his mind.
“And what if I told you that their story was true? That I am a murderer? That I…that I murdered my own little brother?”
Yoongi licked his lips.
What would he do then?
Would he be okay with it? Befriending a murderer?
And if the tiny little growing pains in Yoongi’s heart were anything to go by, it might go beyond friendship, too. Park Jimin had squirmed his way in there and began building rainbow skyscrapers, singing songs all the while.
And Yoongi had let him.
“I don’t know,” he confessed. “All I know is that the Jimin I see…and the Jimin they tell me about seem to be two completely different people. I just want to understand. I don’t want to be kept in the dark anymore.”
Jimin swallowed thickly, then averted his gaze to his tea, infused with Yoongi’s warmth.
“Well, they’re right. I did kill my brother,” he choked out. “It was my fault.”
Yoongi’s throat constricted.
Of course, he had heard this fact so many times, but hearing it from Jimin’s actual mouth, in the same voice that sang him little songs and crooned sweetly to his plants…
“How?” he choked out. “What happened, Jimin?”
Jimin let out a little noise akin to a whimper, taking a moment to regain his voice.
“Jihyun…he got sad a lot. Just had the type of personality that…was sensitive to the rest of the world. We were opposite, in that way. As a félicité, I would radiate joy, but he just seemed to…suck in a lot of negative things. He couldn’t help it. Jihyun was just affected by sadness more often than other people.”
“Was he a witch?”
Jimin shook his head. “No, the magic skipped over him. Maybe that was part of it, too. Being the only human in a family of witches. I’m sure he felt left out, at times.”
“So,” Jimin continued. “I grew up thinking that we were born as siblings for a reason. Me, a félicité, and Jihyun, who had thin skin and an emotional heart. Even as a child, he cried so easily. It was my job to protect him, to give him as much of my happiness as I could. I had extra. I had more than enough to pass around. I just…I just wanted him happy.”
“So what happened? What went wrong?” Yoongi asked.
“I…when I was nineteen. Jihyun was seventeen. And for that entire month he was just…a shell of himself. Didn’t want to go to school, or hangout with me and the others…I just missed him. Hyung, I really…”
Yoongi stayed silent, unsure of where this story was going to go.
A shaking breath.
“And he asked me…he asked me to help him. So I said yes, Yoongi-hyung. What else could I say? I said yes.”
“What did he ask you for, Jimin?”
“Euphoria,” Jimin whispered. “I gave him euphoria.”
“…And that…killed him?”
Jimin shook his head. “It wasn’t…euphoria itself can’t kill you. Doing this…it’s part of being a félicité. Spreading joy. Giving it to others when they need it. It was what I gave your client with the Mélancolie.”
Slotting his fingers together, Jimin swallowed thickly.
“But this time…I had just wanted to help. I had wanted his happiness to last. So I gave him more than I normally did. And…and in the beginning, I thought it was working. He was laughing, we went out to dinner with our friends that night. Jihyun kept on singing along to the songs playing through the diner’s speakers…everything seemed fine. I should have known, though. I should have been able to tell that…”
“That what?” Yoongi prompted gently.
“It was too much,” Jimin whispered. “When you ingest too much euphoria, it…you become almost drunk. You aren’t within a sensible mindset. In a way, you become so happy that you completely forget that bad can happen in the world, and you begin to do things without thought towards consequence.”
Yoongi’s heart raced, unsure of where this was going, unsure if he was ready to know.
“So Jihyun…he was so high off of my euphoria that he forgot to watch for traffic as we were about to cross the street. He was so happy, telling us all about something that had happened at school the other day, and he was too far ahead for any of us to grab him, and so he just…the cars just…”
Jimin’s entire body shuddered then, shaking with the force of his guilt and pain.
“And we were right there,” Jimin said, voice muffled now from his palm pressing into his mouth. “Seokjin hyung called an ambulance but it was too late and Jihyun was laying on the asphalt and we were all there, helpless, unable to do anything…”
“I should have known,” Jimin’s voice was wrecked with grief. “I should have known not to give him so much. I knew what it could do to people, and yet I—”
“Park Jimin, look at me,” Yoongi commanded.
Reaching over, the soleil pulled Jimin’s hands from his face, feeling the wetness of the félicité’s tears as their palms slid together.
When Jimin still didn’t raise his head to meet Yoongi’s eyes, the witch moved closer and cupped his face with a hand.
“You did not murder Jihyun,” Yoongi said vehemently. “You did not.”
Jimin squeezed his eyes shut, shook his head, his cheeks wet under Yoongi’s palm. “I did, though, hyung. I…”
“Did you push him out into the coming traffic?”
“Did you give him that euphoria with the intent to kill him?”
“Then you. Did not. Murder your dongsaeng, Jimin. You didn’t know. You were just a kid.”
“I was his older brother,” Jimin said resolutely. “I was old enough to know.”
Yoongi shook his head. “People make mistakes, Jimin. Not all of them come with consequences as devastating as this, yes, but…you’re not a murderer. Please believe me. You’re not.”
Jimin paused. “You don’t think badly of me?” His voice was shaking, and in Jimin’s eyes Yoongi saw genuine fear. Fear that Yoongi would leave, fear that Yoongi wouldn’t stay to let whatever was building between them grow. “You don’t…hate me now?”
“No. I knew I saw light in you, Park Jimin. I knew that what everybody was saying about you was wrong. You are good, and you are trying, and you’re just somebody who made a mistake.”
Jimin stayed silent, so Yoongi gathered up his courage, took one of the félicité’s hands in his own and brought it up to his lips, pressing a chaste kiss against small knuckles.
“Thank you for telling me,” he whispered against the cool skin. “Thank you for trusting me.”
Jimin sank into him then, and Yoongi held him safe in his arms as he shook with the relief of finally letting it all pour out — his worries, his grief, his guilt.
The félicité fell into the hollow of Yoongi’s chest, imprinted a piece of himself there, and let himself rest.
Jimin fell into a fitful nap for the rest of the morning, and Yoongi watched as the sun rose higher and higher in the sky through his window, highlighting the delicate curve of Jimin’s cheekbones and the dainty slope of his nose.
Looking at the félicité then, Yoongi felt as if he was finally seeing Jimin.
The fog had cleared away, and had finally made room for the sun.
Things shifted after that morning.
Not drastically, but enough for the both of them to take notice.
It was as if the world had tilted just the slightest bit, tipping them a tiny bit off balance, leaving them a bit clumsy, a bit rosy-cheeked, a bit more aware than before.
But it was in a good way.
Now, Jimin liked to shyly reach out and lock their hands together whenever they walked next to each other.
Now, Jimin played with his magic in front of Yoongi openly, laughing as he cast rainbows around Yoongi’s head, making them swim in dizzying kaleidoscope circles as Yoongi tried his best to catch hold of the beauty.
Now, Jimin melted into Yoongi’s warmth, traced his fingers shyly over the sunlight that shone through the soleil’s skin with slowly warming fingertips.
They were back in the félicité’s storage room then, and Yoongi watched as Jimin meticulously picked up the bottles one by one to dust them and the shelves off.
“So what exactly are these?” Yoongi asked from where he sat, out of the way.
Jimin bit his lip.
“They’re my memories. Some of my happiest memories, from before.”
“…From when Jihyun was still alive?” Yoongi asked gently.
“What were you doing, that day? The day that I found you and we fought? What do you do with them in the bottles like this?”
“I was reliving one of my memories, then.”
“Reliving?” Yoongi asked as his eyes roamed around Jimin’s private storage room, the one that held dozens upon dozens of the félicité’s happiest moments, noticed now the way they were all squirming to get a better look at the soleil that had somehow made his way into their home.
“Yes,” Jimin nodded. “Part of my magic is the ability to capture any happy memory and preserve them, so when you go back to them, it feels as if you’re truly back in that moment.”
“Can you still remember them naturally, without your magic then? After you preserve them?”
“Mmm,” Jimin answered affirmatively. “But it’s not…it’s not the same.”
“What makes it so special? I mean…what’s the difference between recalling a memory naturally and recalling them through your magic?”
Jimin didn’t respond for a while, pretending to fiddle with some of the bottles within his reach.
“It…the ones that I preserve with my magic are…purer,” Jimin said. “When you recall a memory normally, you lose more and more of it with each passing day. Suddenly, you’ll try to look back on your favorite day and realize you can’t remember the color shirt you were wearing, or what the weather was like, or how the breeze felt on your skin. With my magic, though…when you bottle them up like this, you’re there again. You taste what you were tasting, you see exactly what you were seeing, the way the clouds were shaped in the sky down to the lines on your own palms. It’s just…there. Exactly as it was.”
Yoongi hummed, soaking in the new information.
“How often do you lose yourself in these bottles, Jimin? How often do you look back?”
Jimin swallowed thickly.
“More often than I should, I think. More often than I should.”
“….Is this who I think it is?” surprised colored Jimin’s voice as he stood still, Luna curiously padding her way over to him, nosing at his socked feet.
The last time Jimin had been over, she had been sleeping in Yoongi’s room the entire time.
“Yea,” Yoongi admitted. “I came and got her the morning after you pulled her from the drain.
“So you were the one who brought my groceries back,” Jimin said.
Yoongi made a noise of agreement, a light blush still dusting his cheeks. “Her name is Luna.”
Jimin laughed at that, crouching down to hold out a hand to the cat and completely missing the way Yoongi’s entire body shifted towards him at his happy sound.
“Funny, a soleil naming their cat after the moon.”
Luna nuzzled her face into Jimin’s palm, and Jimin’s heart clenched. He reached out and gently picked her up to cradle her in his arms, and he laughed again when she tilted her head up and licked the underside of his chin. He nuzzled his face into the soft fur of her neck, then set her down when she began batting at his head with her paws.
“Tell that to my sofa,” Yoongi said, exasperated. Jimin looked over and found scratch marks decorating black leather, and when he looked back at Luna, she blinked at him with shiny, innocent eyes.
“She says she didn’t do it,” Jimin playfully pouted up at the soleil, to which Yoongi raised his eyebrows in surprise.
“Oh? I wasn’t aware she could talk now.”
Jimin pouted even further. “She can. She told me, just now.”
Yoongi was looking at him then, in a way that made Jimin feel observed and hot and fidgety in a strangely exhilarating way, and so the félicité didn’t say anything as Yoongi reached out with a slow hand and ran his fingers through Jimin’s hair, pushing it back from falling into his eyes.
“You’re fucking cute, Park Jimin,” Yoongi whispered, as if relaying a secret.
Shy happiness began bubbling its way into Jimin’s stomach and he ducked his head to hide his blush, instead focusing his attention on petting Luna’s soft ears.
Yoongi chuckled at that, hand falling away and feet moving him towards the kitchen.
“Cute,” the soleil murmured again under his breath, and Jimin allowed himself a tiny wriggle of delight while the other witch’s back was turned, staring after Yoongi’s broad back, the gold on his skin shining through the thin material of his sweater.
The way Yoongi looked at him and talked to him filled him with a light that he’s never felt before. The strangeness of it all should have been scary to him, but instead, all Jimin could think was he wouldn’t mind spending every day after this one listening to the cadence of Yoongi’s deep voice, feeling the witch’s warm, golden hands tracing along the curve of his cheeks, trailing down his neck, dipping into the small of his back…
Luna meowed up at him then, and for a moment Jimin swore she had a knowing glint in her eyes.
Showing her a questioning face, he mouthed, what?
She simply blinked, looked over her shoulder at Yoongi, then back at Jimin.
Starting to believe that the cat did know more than she let on, Jimin huffed. “I don’t know what you want from me,” he told her, then stood and followed Yoongi into the kitchen to help prep dinner.
He pretended he didn’t hear the laugh-like noise that escaped from her feline lips.
Bottled memories were a lot like flowers.
They loved sunlight and fresh air, and the occasional rainstorm did them good as well, kept them healthy and alive.
When Jimin woke up one Saturday morning and saw that it was raining, he decided that it would be nice to let his memories soak up the rain for the day.
Whenever he did this, set the bottles carefully outside of his shop, let them take in sun or fresh air or rain or wind, the memories always seemed a little brighter the next time he went back, just a little bit more happy.
Jimin should have been more careful.
He should have worn shoes with better grip, or walked a bit more slowly, but the rain was getting in his eyes and his sweater was getting soaked and the next thing he knew he was on his hands and knees on the ground, skin scraped from the uneven pavement.
But he didn’t pay any mind to the hurt that was beginning to sting on the surface of his skin.
All he could see was the bottle he was carrying in his hands, shattered on the ground in front of him.
His memory leaked out like a rainbow oil slick, the rain quickly washing it away. Soon, all that was left behind were the shards of glass and the tape that he used to label it.
A panicked sob escaping him, he sat himself up on his knees and reached a shaking hand out, picking up the now soggy tape and flipping it around.
The last time we said goodbye.
“No,” Jimin whimpered. “Fuck, please, no.”
Sobs wracked through him painfully now, and it felt like a hammer taking its frustration out on every single one of his bones, piercing him with spiderweb cracks. He was completely soaked through now, but Jimin didn’t care. He had lost this memory. He had been careless and dropped it and lost it.
He’d lost it.
Bottling memories with his magic was a lot like making photocopies — the first one turned out nicely, vibrant and colorful and clear. But after the first one, if one makes a copy of a copy, the quality will get worse and worse, nowhere near as nice as the first. Now, however, Jimin didn’t have any hope of even restoring it, as the rain had quickly destroyed everything that was within the bottle.
“I’m sorry,” Jimin sobbed out. Clenching the tape in his fist, the félicité sucked in a gasp, the rain falling into his eyes and ears and running down his shirt and squelching within his shoes.
He felt a burnout happening, felt the sorrow and guilt that he tried to keep contained on a day to day basis fizzling and spreading like poison, and soon everything was painful and cold and the raindrops began to feel like needles on his skin.
The poison consumed him, and he let himself fall.
As a soleil, Yoongi hated the rain.
With a passion.
It made his joints ache and his toes freeze and he didn’t like the smell of the days following a storm. It made the sunlight burning in his veins uneasy, and he always glowed a little less bright on rainy days.
Looking out the window, the soleil watched as wind tore its way violently through the trees, ripping at branches and bouncing off power lines. The clouds were so grey and thick that the sun had no chance of peeking through, and the rainfall was relentless.
When Yoongi heard a ping from his phone, he looked down and found that Jeongguk had texted a picture of him outside, every single bucket and vial and bottle the marée owned splayed out on his front lawn.
‘Collecting rainwater for future potions!’ Jeongguk had captioned the picture. He was soaking wet, but his excitement was clear on his face. It had Yoongi’s mood lightening a little bit — at least someone was happy with the sudden torrential weather.
But as a soleil, the gloominess automatically had Yoongi just feeling off.
He went about his day with the feeling that there just wasn’t something right, but he brushed it off to his rainy-day blues.
Typically, on days like this, he would stay within his apartment or clinic all day long, not even stepping out to buy food or coffee.
But by late afternoon, Yoongi couldn’t ignore the itch underneath his skin anymore. Pulling on two layers of sweaters, thick pants and chunky boots, Yoongi didn’t know what he was doing as he grabbed his mostly unused umbrella and made his way outside.
Something felt wrong, in his gut, and it was more than the queasiness that came hand in hand with rainy days.
Before he was even aware of it, he was splashing his way towards Jimin’s shop.
Just to check up on the witch.
Just to give his affectionate plants a quick hello kiss.
But when he got there, the uneasy feeling that sat like a stone in his stomach suddenly made sense.
Sprinting now, Yoongi slid on his knees in front of Jimin’s prone body, quickly noting the bottled memories lining the front steps and the broken glass right by Jimin’s hands.
The félicité was pale and breathing shallowly, looking the way he did when he last had a burnout.
“Jimin,” Yoongi let go of his umbrella, balancing it in the space where his neck and shoulder met, the wires digging into the top of his head. “Jimin, can you hear me?”
Yoongi ignored the cold seeping into his pants from the ground, instead focused on the way Jimin’s skin was alarmingly cold, and the pinpricks of blood dotting Jimin’s hands and knees.
Bright, blinding lighting suddenly illuminated the sky, and immediately after the clap of thunder was rumbling violently through the neighborhood, and Yoongi swore he felt the ground shake. Soon after, the wind picked up, and a particularly large gust grabbed onto Yoongi’s umbrella and was carrying it down the street before the soleil could even react.
“Shit,” Yoongi ducked his head down, shielding his face from the downpour, trying to calm his racing heart and ignore the sudden dangerous cold that seemed to suddenly devour him.
“Jimin,” Yoongi tried one more time, shaking the witch with frantic hands, then bundling him up in his arms when Jimin didn’t respond.
Yoongi gathered all of the warmth inside of him and pushed it out towards Jimin, hoping that it would calm the félicité’s shivering, but he felt as if his light weren’t enough.
It wasn’t enough.
When Jimin didn’t even make a noise, Yoongi decided that he had to take care of Jimin as fast as he could, already feeling himself grow weaker under the direct rain.
The sunlight wrapping around his skin was barely existent now, and Yoongi watched as one of the golden spirals around his wrists completely flickered out.
Yoongi moved quickly, rising into a crouch and shuffling Jimin so that he had his arms behind the félicité’s back and knees.
He rose, stumbling a bit over the glass and rainwater and newfound fatigue.
Yoongi quickly made his way into the shop, the happy bell that greeted his arrival sounding distant in his ears.
The plants reached out for them, concerned, but Yoongi didn’t have time to reassure them the way he wanted to. He walked quickly, gasping for breath, and all he could feel was the cold, it was so cold, he was soaked to the bone and his eyesight was beginning to blur.
Fueled by pure adrenaline and stubborn determination, he made his way up the stairs and to Jimin’s room, placing the félicité on his bed and quickly ridding him of his soaked shirt and pants, too tired to even be embarrassed at the newfound smooth expanse skin that greeted him.
Throwing Jimin’s clothes into the corner, he wrestled with the blankets until they were tucked around the félicité. Stumbling back, Yoongi lost his footing and cursed as he landed on his ass on the floor.
He was trembling violently, and when he looked down to fish his phone from his back pocket, his skin was unlit.
The screen of his phone was wet, and it took him multiple tries to tap in his passcode.
He frantically clicked on his most recent call, clicked the ‘speaker’ button before the phone slipped from his grip and fell face-up on Jimin’s bedroom floor.
Yoongi was shucking his own layers, then, threw his soggy sweater as far as he could from him, but found that he was too weak to raise himself to take off his sodden jeans.
“Jeongguk-ah,” he rasped. “Serendipity. Y’need to come.”
“Yoongi-hyung? Are you out in this storm? Hyung?”
“Serendipity,” Yoongi croaked out again. His vision was swimming now, and the room looked as if he were looking at it from inside a fish bowl.
He slumped towards the ground, teeth chattering, and closed his eyes when his head finally rested on the wood.
Finally, he could rest.
He could hear his dongsaeng’s frantic words through the speaker, but didn’t have the energy to open his lips to reassure him.
Jimin was warm and safe from the rain, and that was all that mattered. So now, Yoongi could finally rest.
The first thing Jimin saw when he opened his eyes was a floating ocean.
Dazed, he watched in awe as waves toiled over him, as gently and calmly as gauze blowing in the breeze.
As he gained more and more of his senses, he realized that he was laying in his bed, tucked in so tightly that the only thing he could move was his head.
With heavy eyes, Jimin tilted his head to the left, and startled silently at the sight of a stranger standing in the middle of his room.
The witch seemed to be a few years younger than Jimin himself, sporting a shock of blue hair and large eyes.
The stranger wasn’t looking at Jimin — his eyes were focused upwards, arms moving in slow, graceful, purposeful motions. It took Jimin a moment to see that the witch was taking the dampness from his hair, from the soggy bundle of clothing in the corner, from—
Jimin sat up with a gasp, eyes trained on Yoongi’s still figure laying on his floor, dressed in what seemed to be…Jimin’s clothing?
He tried to stumble out of bed to get to the soleil, but his legs were shaking so badly he immediately collapsed back down.
“Hey, don’t move. You’re still weak,” the blue-haired witch ordered. But all Jimin could do was stare at Yoongi.
Yoongi, who was pale, the sunlight that typically burned patterns and beauty into his skin nowhere to be seen.
Jimin watched as the witch, a marée, a water witch, his mind supplied, extracted the rainwater from Yoongi’s soaking hair, adding the droplets to his collection floating near the ceiling, which Jimin had originally believed to be an ocean built from his own dreams.
Looking down, Jimin realized that he had changed outfits, as well, now snug in a warm sweater and sweats.
The marée did a quick check around the room, seemed to be satisfied that all unneeded water was under his magic’s control, then flicked his right hand as if throwing a rope towards his left, which moved as if to catch it. Walking slowly to Jimin’s window, left arm extended up and out as if holding a cloud on a leash, the marée opened the window and quickly and confidently whipped his left arm, directing the floating ocean out of the room and back outside.
Once every last drop was gone, he quickly shut the window again and turned towards Jimin.
Jimin opened his mouth, intending to ask the strange witch who he was, but instead, he said, “Yoongi’s light. It’s gone.”
The marée stared at him for a beat, and then nodded once.
“As a soleil, he can’t be under cold water for too long, or he burns out. Being out in the storm weakened him a lot.”
“Why would he go out in it, if he knew…?”
The witch kept staring at him, in a way that had Jimin shifting uncomfortably.
“Is he going to be okay?” he whispered.
Letting out a sigh, the witch nodded. “Yes. Once his body regulates its temperature again, he’ll be fine. Just gotta warm him up. Do you have any extra blankets?”
Jimin’s shoulders slumped. “No, I don’t. But take this one.”
He ripped his duvet off his bed and held it out towards the witch, wanting Yoongi to get better immediately.
“You’re still weak and cold, I can’t take it from you,” the marée shook his head. “Trust you two to both experience a burnout at the same damn time.”
Jimin bit his lip.
“You can…you can put him in the bed. I’ll move to the couch.”
The marée stared at him, expression deadpan.
“I’m not going to separate you from this blanket, Jimin-ssi. Your apartment is fucking freezing, and you’re still shaking. But…”
Jimin started at the use of his name, but said nothing as the blue-haired witch went over to Yoongi. Effortlessly scooping the soleil into his arms, he made his way over and gently placed Yoongi into Jimin’s bed, right next to Jimin.
Jimin tried to stifle the shocked gasp.
The marée was all business as he reached out and brought a hand to Jimin’s shoulder, gently but firmly making him lean back until he was reclined again. The marée took the thick duvet and flicked it over the both of them, the warm material settling on top of their bodies gently, the way butterflies brush their wings against flower petals.
“Rest some more,” the marée said, no room for argument in his tone. “Don’t leave this bed, Jimin-ssi. Yoongi-hyung would kill me if he woke up to find you in an even worse state.”
Jimin stayed silent, mind still tired and confused at the strange events happening. The witch must have taken his silence for agreement, because soon after Jimin felt the witch moving closer, then actually tucking the blanket in around him like a mother. He reached over, pulled the pillow so that it was more comfortably shared between him and Yoongi, then made his way to the other side of the bed and promptly tucked Yoongi in, as well.
If Jimin were in a different state of mind, he would find the entire situation hilarious.
Two fully grown witches being tucked in by another fully grown witch, who had such a serious and concerned look on his face it was almost endearing. The marée touched the back of his hand to Yoongi’s forehead, and bit the inside of his cheek.
“He’s warming up,” he murmured quietly. “I’m going to make you both some tea, maybe find some food. Don’t worry when you wake up, okay? Everything’s okay.”
“Why?” Jimin found himself asking. “Why are you doing this? You don’t…you don’t even know me. You could just take Yoongi back to your place and go.”
The marée was silent from where he stood on the side of the bed.
“I’ve heard what they say about you around town, Park Jimin,” he said.
Waited for disdain, fear, or anger to paint its way across the witch’s face.
“But I’ve also heard the things Yoongi-hyung says about you. And I trust his word over the word of a thousand others.”
With that, the witch made his way out of the room, leaving the door open a crack, and soon Jimin could hear the sound of his kettle.
Now that they were alone, Jimin was only too aware of Yoongi lying next to him.
Sharing his pillow.
Turning to his side to face the soleil, Jimin couldn’t help but stare.
The rain was still pounding outside, and for a moment his room seemed like its own world in and of itself, made up of only him and Yoongi.
Thinking back on it now, Jimin realized that Yoongi had probably burnt himself out under the cold rain trying to help him.
And this thought overwhelmed him, completely. He sucked in a shuddering breath, feeling all too undeserving.
“Why?” he whispered.
Why had Yoongi risked his own health to help him?
Why was Yoongi so kind to him right from the very beginning, before he knew the truth of what happened with Jihyun?
Why was he so kind even after knowing the truth?
Why did Yoongi keep coming back?
Silently, Jimin reached out, and let himself lightly press the pad of his thumb against the apple of Yoongi’s cheek, right where the tiny golden sun typically glowed.
As soon as he touched the soleil, like a lightbulb after a power outage, Yoongi’s skin flickered on, sunlight slowly making its way back into the witch’s veins.
Enraptured, Jimin shifted closer to the warmth that continued to build.
Found himself, not for the first time, unable to look away from Yoongi’s beauty.
The sunlight moved slow like a honey river, and a little part of Jimin wondered if Yoongi would taste just as sweet.
Feeling the fatigue catch once more onto every inch of his being, Jimin let his eyes fall shut, his hand laying limp against Yoongi’s cheek.
He let himself have this moment, in which he felt none of his usual despair or guilt or sorrow.
In this moment, Jimin simply felt…safe.
Yoongi woke up with an ache in his bones.
He let out a put-out sigh, keeping his eyes closed, wracking his brain for an explanation for his sluggishness.
The sound of the rain on the windowsill triggered his memories.
The storm, Jimin on the floor, the glass, the burnout, the fear.
Yoongi opened his eyes with a small gasp.
was right there.
Asleep, inches away from Yoongi.
It was then Yoongi noticed that Jimin’s hand was resting on the side of his neck.
Swallowing thickly, Yoongi let his eyes roam over the curve of Jimin’s cheek, the way it smushed cutely against the pillow, the way his lips were parted in sleep.
Found himself wishing he had the right to reach out and pull Jimin flush against him, feel his heart against his own.
When Jimin’s eyes fluttered open, as if feeling Yoongi’s gaze, Yoongi didn’t look away.
Jimin flushed a bit, hand tightening for a brief moment on Yoongi’s neck, but he didn’t pull away. Their heads resting on the same pillow, sharing the room’s quiet, sharing their own breaths, they laid in silence for a few minutes.
“You okay?” Yoongi finally rasped out, daring to bring a hand up the rest it on Jimin’s hair.
Jimin nodded. “I’m okay,” he whispered. “You okay?”
Yoongi mimicked his nod, smiling. “M’okay.”
“You had a burnout,” Jimin’s eyebrows pushed together. “Why’d you stay in the rain for so long?”
Yoongi shrugged lightly, moving his hand to take hold of Jimin’s, moving it from his neck and to the space in-between them. He waited for Jimin to pull away, but Jimin simply threaded their fingers together.
“You were unconscious,” Yoongi said. “I was scared.”
Jimin shook his head. “Rain doesn’t hurt me the way it hurts you. You should have—”
“What? Left you there?” Yoongi interrupted, frustration in his eyes. “No.”
Jimin didn’t respond, just squeezed his hand.
Yoongi bit his lip.
Within the safety and comfort of Jimin’s room, watching the light from his own veins illuminate Jimin’s pretty features with soft light, Yoongi was hit with how much he wanted Jimin.
He wanted the félicité’s smiles, his tomorrows, his fears and his doubts. He wanted anything that Jimin would be willing to give him, and he wanted to give pieces of himself in return.
“Can I kiss you?” Yoongi whispered.
When Jimin closed the distance himself with a soft noise, Yoongi finally let himself reach out and tug the félicité close, arms around his waist, legs tangling together.
Jimin’s lips were soft and tasted like strawberry Vaseline, and Yoongi found his head swimming as they kissed, hands running over skin, coming closer and closer and then closer still.
When Yoongi was tired of the pain in his neck, he broke the kiss and let out a little chuckle at Jimin’s whine, raised himself up on his arms and rolled to hold himself above Jimin, who looked up at him with puffy lips and pink cheeks.
“Is this okay?” Yoongi asked, voice ragged.
Jimin pulled him back down in answer, arms winding around his neck.
“You two are supposed to be resting,” a voice hissed at them from the doorway.
Breaking apart with a start, Yoongi blinked over at the familiar voice.
“Don’t Jeongguk me, hyung, what?” Jeongguk asked, coming in carrying two steaming mugs of tea. “You literally called me here. Now stop making out before you both pass out again.”
Jimin let out an embarrassed groan, burying his face in the crook of Yoongi’s neck.
Yoongi coaxed him out and gave him one last peck, ignoring Jeongguk’s squawk of indignation, then sat the both of them up.
They took their tea from the marée gratefully, and Jeongguk sat on the side of the bed as they sipped the warm liquid.
Suddenly, Jimin sat up straighter with a little cry.
“My plants!” he said. “Oh no.”
“What’s the matter?”
“They must be so scared,” Jimin moved to put his mug down on the bedside table, then swung his legs over to begin to stand. “Stress isn’t good for them, I need to go let them know I’m okay—”
“Jimin-ssi, it’s okay,” Jeongguk moved to grab onto Jimin’s elbow, stopping him from standing fully. “I’ve already went down and soothed them. They’re fine.”
Jimin looked over at him in shock, relief.
Jeongguk smiled gently. “I did,” he affirmed. “Gave them a little water, too. They’re okay. A little shaken, but okay.”
“Thank you so much,” Jimin breathed out. “You have no idea…”
What that means to me.
How much your kindness affects me.
Things not said outloud, but heard nonetheless.
Jeongguk reached out and squeezed Jimin’s hand once.
“I’ve got to get going,” Jeongguk said then, standing. “Gonna use up the last of this rainy day.”
Yoongi winced. “Your potions…I didn’t mean to pull you away from them. I know you were excited for the rain.”
Jeongguk rolled his eyes. “I would have been mad if you hadn’t called me, hyung. My potions can wait, and there’ll be more rainy days. You know I’m here for you. Always.”
Yoongi melted a bit at that, smiled up at his dongsaeng gently.
“Yea,” he agreed.
“Hopefully we can meet under less scary circumstances next time, Jimin-ssi,” Jeongguk bowed, ever-polite, now looking a bit shy.
Jimin smiled up at him, hesitant. “You can call me hyung, if you want.”
Jeongguk straightened and grinned, flashing his little dimples. “Hyung.”
“Thank you for everything,” Jimin said earnestly.
Jeongguk waved him off, then, and before he turned on his heel and left, a tiny little drop of water formed right in front of Jimin’s cheek, then flew forward and collided with the soft skin.
A bit startled, Jimin jumped at the sudden drip of water on his cheek and stared with wide eyes at Jeongguk’s retreating back.
Yoongi laughed. “He likes you.”
“What was that?”
Yoongi reached out and wiped the water from his cheek. “A marée kiss. It’s a little thing marées do to show their affection. They like to greet and say goodbye to their loved ones with a little water peck.”
Jimin absolutely melted then, holding a hand up to his own cheek and beaming.
“I liked it.”
Yoongi laughed again. “If you see him again, you’ll probably get more.”
Jimin shuffled until he was able to lean his face into Yoongi’s neck, breath huffing against the soleil’s collarbone.
“Liked your kiss better,” Jimin muttered.
Yoongi’s brows shot up in surprise. “Park Jimin, are you flirting with me?”
When Jimin pulled back with a bashful, but mischievous grin, Yoongi shook his head fondly and pulled him in again, magic beginning to glow bright again underneath his skin.
They spent the rest of the night together, under the shelter of Jimin’s sheets, talking and kissing and discovering new little dusty corners that made up the other person, finding beauty in all the little things that made the other person them.
And there was so much of it, Jimin thought to himself. So much beauty, everywhere.
Taehyung picked Jimin up from the train station.
His tattoos were dancing with happiness at the sight of Jimin at the familiar stop.
They’d been in this exact position countless times before, growing up: Jimin arriving back home after a trip to his grandparent’s home, the metro doors opening to a fidgeting, impatient Taehyung, who would always immediately break into a grin at sight of his best friend.
This time was the same.
They were older, carried a little bit more grief inside of them than before, heavy with rainy days that built up in the divot of their collarbones, along the edges of their ribs, both a little weather-worn.
But still, the doors opened, and the best friends locked eyes, and Taehyung beamed.
Jimin smiled back, as he always did.
As he always will.
Jimin’s hands shook as he stood in front of Seokjin and Namjoon’s door.
He braced himself for the worst — for what he, quite frankly, deserved.
He had pictured it all in his head — Jin would open the door, immediately begin yelling.
Namjoon would be behind him, silent, but looking at Jimin in the way that would somehow be worse than their oldest hyung’s exclamations.
Taehyung placed a steady hand on his back, but even that wasn’t enough to quell Jimin’s nerves.
The door swung open.
Jin and Namjoon stood there, side by side, broader and older and taller than Jimin remembered.
The two humans stared at their old friend, one they haven’t seen or heard from in four years.
Seokjin reached out and grabbed Jimin into a hug.
He buried his face into the félicité’s neck and cried, arms tightening around the witch when he finally felt Jimin’s arms come up and wind around his waist.
Namjoon enveloped both of them into his warm chest, his cheek against the top of Jimin’s head, breathing in the scent of his hair as all three of them shook with the force of Jin’s tears.
“I’m so sorry,” Jimin whispered into the safety of their skin. “I’m so sorry.”
Hated himself a little, realizing that he’d forgotten what they’d smelled like, forgotten what their arms felt like around his shoulders, pulling him in when he’d needed a comfortable place to just be.
Hated the way that he’d forgotten that despite their rigid morals and tendency to fight for what they believed in, his hyungs were kind. They wouldn’t have yelled at him, never in a thousand years.
They were most likely hurt, most likely angry, but Taehyung was right — in the end, their love for each other overcame any of that.
When Taehyung wrapped around them on Jimin’s other side, the four of them sank to their knees, relishing in the feeling of coming home, for their homes were in the hearts of those three other people.
Missing the arms of the fifth person who would complete them, they cried.
The weekend in Busan was kind to Jimin.
The beaches smelled exactly the way he remembered them, and the salty air that lingered sticky on his skin and in his hair made him feel like a child again.
He and Taehyung and Jin and Namjoon talked for nonstop, laughing over some félicité wine Jimin had made, hiccuping out bubbles that stuck to the ceiling for hours.
They remembered old times, of dirty feet and sandy shoes and sunburnt summers. Of teachers they used to hate and songs they used to sing and foods they used to eat.
The only thing Jimin couldn’t bring himself to do was go to Jihyun’s grave.
Maybe someday soon, but not yet.
Seokjin rolled over in the bed he was sharing with Jimin during the witch’s last night there.
Namjoon and Taehyung were outside in the living room, where Jimin and Seokjin had left them after their movie marathon to crawl into Jin and Namjoon’s warm bed.
The moon cast a blue light over the félicité’s face, allowing Jin to see that the witch was awake, blinking slowly.
“You know none of us blame you for Jihyun’s death, don’t you?” Seokjin whispered. The words, though all-quiet in their silent room, were strong. Said with conviction. “Nobody does.”
“Some people do,” Jimin whispered back. “The witches in my town…somehow word got over there. That I’m a murderer. Nobody really accepts me there.”
Seokjin’s eyebrows furrowed, the way they did when he was angry. “Damn witches have nothing better to do other than gossip,” he huffed.
Jimin raised an eyebrow.
“Except for you, of course, honey,” Seokjin soothed with a teasing laugh, smoothing his hand over Jimin’s messy hair.
“But there’s someone that makes that town feel like home,” Seokjin said. “Isn’t there?”
Ever the all-knowing hyung.
Letting himself go, Jimin smiled, tired of hiding, tired of repressing his desires.
Jimin just wanted to live.
To rediscover what living meant.
“He’s sunshine on your rainiest day,” Jimin said, voice soft. “Surprising and soft, a golden ray of relief. You would…you’d really like him, hyung.”
Seokjin smiled. “I can’t wait to meet him, then, Jimin-ah.”
They wake up that morning to summery skies.
But perhaps the sun feels a bit ill, or is tired from having to shine all the time, because as soon as late afternoon hits it starts storming.
Raindrops fall from the sky in huge, fat drops, and the five of them are running down a hill, screaming merrily, the exhilaration of being caught in an unannounced storm nipping at their heels, mud splattering their shoes and pants.
A huge crack of thunder makes them jump, but instead of feeling fear, they all tip their heads back and laugh, soaking in the rain the way only carefree teenagers do.
“Come on!” Jimin screams, laughing and breathless.
He catches onto Namjoon and Seokjin’s hands as he passes in-between them, and begins pulling them along with him.
They’re laughing too, riding the wave of adrenaline and euphoria that the storm seems to pour into them. They all find cover underneath the small awning of a building, and they huddle together, shivering and giggling, pressing their cold lips into each others’ exposed necks and playfully blowing raspberries.
“I don’t think it’s stopping anytime soon,” Taehyung shouts over the wind and the rain. His voice carries into the storm and is drowned out by a bolt of lightning that suddenly strikes the sky.
“Make a run for it?” Namjoon suggests.
“It’s the only way,” Seokjin laughs.
Jimin looks over at Jihyun, smiling even though rainwater is trickling from his hair and into his eyes. “Ready?”
“Let’s go!” Jihyun beams back.
They take off running again towards home, and Jimin feels like he’s flying, feels like his stomach is filled with nothing but the promise of a million beautiful tomorrows.
Jimin feels free.
Here, with these people who he loves and who love him back, knowing that they are all probably going to wake up tomorrow morning sick, knowing that their parents are going to scold them for coming home soaking wet, Jimin is free.
He takes his feeling, holds it close to his heart, so he doesn’t forget.
He never wants to forget.
Jimin was brimming with excitement.
All of his favorite people, in the same place — he hadn’t had a get-together like this in a long time, and since he and Yoongi had planned to get their friends together for a dinner, Jimin hadn’t been able to stop thinking about it.
He was looking forward to seeing Jeongguk again, on better terms, and to finally meet Hoseok, who Yoongi talked so much about. He was excited to share his friends with Yoongi as well, who had made the trip down from Busan, proud to show off the people he loved.
He hummed as he helped Taehyung set up the table, placing the dishes of food in the middle and feeling the warmth of the steam tickle at the underside of his chin. Seokjin and Namjoon were opening wine bottles in the kitchen, and the quiet clinking of glasses along with their low conversation were familiar sounds that had Jimin’s shoulders relaxing.
Taehyung seemed to be able to tell, too, because he leaned over and placed a quick peck on the side of Jimin’s head.
“You look happy.”
Jimin just hummed, heart swelling with something that he hadn’t felt a lot of outside of his bottled memories.
Not for a long time.
Biting the inside of his cheek, Jimin huffed out a tiny, fond laugh.
Taehyung looked at him then, closely, the way only a best friend can do, picking gently at his seams and peeking inside just to check if he was truly alright. What he saw had him beaming, the tattoos showing on his bare arms and neck moving around happily.
“I love you,” was all Taehyung said, voice low and meaning so much more than what he said with those tiny three words.
I’m here for you. Please stay this way forever, happy and healthy and humming. Please smile the way you used to again. I’d do anything to remind you what it feels like to touch the sun.
“Love you more,” Jimin responded quietly, throat tightening for a brief moment.
His friends were so good to him, all the time, put up with him during his lowest moments, forgave him for leaving them when they had needed each other the most, and he recognized their selflessness. Found beauty and grace and pure love dangling from all of their fingertips, affecting everything they touched.
Jimin was endlessly grateful to have been touched by their love even once.
There was a knock on the door that separated his shop from his apartment, and Jimin perked up.
“I’ll get it!” he said, shuffling over on socked feet, his smile growing without him even noticing.
He pulled open the door and saw Yoongi first.
Always saw Yoongi first, the brightest star in his ragtag constellation.
“Yoongi-hyung,” Jimin greeted, suddenly a little shy but a lot happy when Yoongi grinned in return, stepping forward to pull him in for a quick, firm hug, a kiss pressed to his forehead. The soleil kept his arm around Jimin’s waist as he turned towards his friends who had come with him.
“Jimin, you know Jeonggukie already,” Yoongi began.
“Nice to see you again, Jimin-hyung,” Jeongguk sing-songed, something light and teasing already in his voice and eyes as he glanced at the nonexistent space between Jimin and Yoongi’s bodies. “Please don’t let me catch you and Yoongi-hyung making out again tonight.”
Yoongi protested, embarrassed, but he paused to lisen when he felt Jimin’s frame shake with laughter a moment before he heard it.
It was like stumbling upon your favorite song in a playlist that belonged to somebody else — startling and familiar at the same time.
Jeongguk winked at Jimin, and conjured up a tiny water droplet to peck one of Jimin’s cheeks.
It had Jimin smiling even wider, and it had Yoongi’s gold burning bright in happiness, the sun on his cheek pulsing with joy.
Jeongguk found his way inside, and then Yoongi was beckoning another man forward, who had the brightest, biggest smile Jimin’s ever seen as he walked right up to Jimin and pulled him in for a hug.
Jimin felt the witch gasp before he pulled back, jostling him with the suddenness of it.
Jimin’s brows crinkled in confusion as their eyes met, the other’s suddenly filled with tears.
“Hoseok?” Yoongi questioned, voice sounding alarmed. “What’s the matter?”
Hoseok just kept on staring at Jimin, wetness streaming down his cheeks and face morphed into something so opposite from the smile that had adorned his face just seconds before.
“Are you okay?” Jimin whispered, tentative.
Hoseok’s voice was shaking when he spoke.
“He’s so sad, Jimin,” Hoseok said.
There was silence, then Yoongi sucked in a sharp breath, grip tightening around Jimin’s waist.
“What? Who?” Jimin asked.
Hoseok brought trembling a hand up to his mouth, and made a noise like he was choking back a sob. “He wants you to be happy so badly, he wants you to know that it’s not your fault, Jimin, it’s not your fault, please—”
“—you’re making him so sad he wants you to be as happy as you were when you two were younger he wants you to visit the river and go to the amusement park—”
“—and talk to your parents and laugh again he doesn’t remember what your laugh sounds like anymore he’s been unable to leave your side for the past four years because he’s so worried, your brother’s so worried—”
“Stop!” Jimin screamed, stumbling back, breaking free from Yoongi’s arm and pressing his hands to his ears, confused and scared and suddenly it felt like he was too small for this room, everything too loud and too bright and too much.
Distantly, he heard his friends shouting and he felt arms wrap around him but he was shaking so hard he couldn’t register anything but his own gasping breaths. He tried to ground himself, squatted right there on the ground of his apartment and placed his hands on the floor, but it didn’t help.
All he could hear within his mind was your brother’s so worried and unable to leave your side and please and you’re making him so sad please Jimin please Jimin please—!
His head was resting on a patch of sunlight.
Like a cat curling up for a nap, Jimin tried to press closer.
Felt a rhythmic beat, and suddenly the sun was crying.
Jimin shook his head, reached out.
The sun should never cry.
The sun should always be shining, happy, beautiful.
Jimin shouldn’t dim the sun with his sadness.
When he tried to pull away, wanting with everything in him for the sun to be happy again, the sun reached out and wrapped its arms around him.
And Jimin collapsed, full of relief, remorse, pain, hope, fear.
Everything was too much all at once.
The terrible and violent pounding of his own heart was a supernova.
A disastrous eruption, all stardust shrapnel and light gorging on itself, eating away at its own core.
When Jimin opened his eyes and found that he was being clutched to Yoongi’s chest, snug in the circle of his legs, the soleil’s cheeks streaked with his own tears, Jimin closed his eyes and exhaled, resting his forehead on Yoongi’s left cheekbone, right where the sun began to pulse in relief.
Jimin’s friends were protective in their own right.
So after Jimin collapsed and Yoongi flew after him, the three of them suddenly turned on Hoseok, anger distinct in their features.
And Jeongguk didn’t like the way Hoseok had began shaking, looking guilty and overwhelmed and so unlike his usual self.
“What the fuck did you do to him?” one of them snarled, the tattoos on his arm moving violently, sharply.
“Stop,” Jeongguk intervened, stepping in front of his hyung. “ Please calm down. It wasn’t his fault. He lost control.”
“I’m so sorry,” Hoseok whispered from behind him.
“What are you?” another one snapped at him, anger still heavy within the lines of his brow.
“I’m a spectre.”
The three of them sucked in a breath.
A spectre. A clairvoyant. A spirit-seer.
These witches had many names, and their powers all varied, but they all had a special connection with the other world, the one in which spirits resided.
“His brother…Jihyun…” Hoseok continued.
“You saw him?” the one with tattoos asked, shock and emotion now brimming in his eyes, now empty of the previous anger. “You saw Jihyun?”
Hoseok hesitated before answering.
“Jihyun’s here. He’s been with Jimin ever since he passed.”
“Spirits are unable to leave the mortal realm if there’s something tethering them here. One of the strongest tethers is a loved one drowning in their own guilt, their own sorrow. Unable to let go. Jihyun’s tether to Jimin…it’s powerful.”
“Because he feels so guilty over Jihyun’s death,” Jeongguk whispered, sadness filling his heart for the félicité.
“Neither of them have been able to let go of each other,” Hoseok whispered sadly.
“Will they ever? Be able to let go?”
Hoseok bit his lip. “It depends on whether or not Jimin will ever forgive himself.”
“I’m so sorry, hyung,” Hoseok said, sounding quieter than Yoongi’s ever heard him.
Yoongi looked up from where he was staring at his cup of tea sitting on the coffee table. He was sitting on Jimin’s couch, and everything was hushed and quiet and somber.
The spectre sat down beside Yoongi and his eyes immediately honed in on the damp sweater sleeves rucked over Hoseok’s hands, the way he curled into himself in an attempt to make himself smaller. “I didn’t mean to…his presence was just so strong. He was desperate to reach Jimin, to communicate with him, and I…”
“It’s not your fault, Hobi,” Yoongi said firmly, tired but reaching out and tangling his fingers with Hoseok’s anyway, sending a small burst of warmth through that connection of tear-stained palms. “It’s not your fault.”
Hoseok shook his head, shifting closer. “I haven’t lost control over myself like that in…in years. It was frightening, hyung. I—I was screaming at myself to stop talking but the words kept on spilling out, and…and the look on Jimin’s face…”
“It’s okay, Hoseok-ah,” Yoongi squeezed their entwined hands.
“…He’s not what everybody says he is,” Hoseok confessed. “I saw it. His brother—he showed me the truth. I feel terrible.”
“It’s okay,” Yoongi repeated himself.
Felt as if he were half saying it to console himself, as well.
“Will it be? Do you think Jimin be okay?” Hoseok whispered.
The two of them looked over towards the rooms, where through the open door they could see Taehyung laying Jimin down, pulling the thick sheets over his body, tucking him in tight.
Jimin looked small and pale, and Yoongi couldn’t help but remember the weight of the félicité’s body as he pulled him to his chest, trying to absorb every sob and gasp that was rattling Jimin apart, petting at his hair and extending so much of his warmth towards Jimin that now Yoongi was glowing dim. He remembered Jimin’s trembling slowly calming down, remembered Jimin opening his eyes and looking up at him and something, something in his eyes shifting before they shut again and Jimin all but collapsed.
Remembered gathering Jimin closer, but then Taehyung was there and gently taking Jimin from Yoongi’s arms and he could do nothing but sit there and clench his fists and watch, knowing he’d be better resting in bed.
“I hope so,” Yoongi’s voice was small as he answered. “I really hope so.”
Now that Jimin knew Jihyun was tethered to this realm and unable to find peace because of him, it was like a slap in the face.
This was proof that, yes, something was wrong, and, yes, something has been wrong for a long time now.
He could no longer deny the weight of his sadness, no longer turn the other cheek when his friends told him that the way he had been living wasn’t living.
“You were living in the past, Jiminie,” Namjoon whispered to him in the dark of his room. “You ran from Busan to escape the reminders of Jihyun. You escape into your memories and you find joy there. But you can’t live your life constantly running, Jimin. You haven’t even bothered trying to find happiness outside of those old memories.”
“I miss him,” Jimin confessed to the dark room, running his hands slowly over the material of the duvet draped over him. “I go back because I miss him.”
“Oh, Jimin-ah,” Namjoon sunk to his knees beside the bed and rested his head right next to Jimin’s, hand reaching out and stroking Jimin’s cheek tenderly. “Of course you do. We miss him too. But he was…he is your brother. He would want you to let go. Find new things that make you happy.”
“I don’t know if I can,” Jimin whimpered. “It’s hard.”
“I know,” Namjoon soothed. “I know.”
The two breathed together for long minutes, and Namjoon didn’t care about the ache in his knees. All he cared about was the puff of Jimin’s breath on his cheek, the way Jimin reached out and curled his hand into Namjoon’s dyed purple hair.
“You and Tae and Jin…you make me happy. Yoongi, too. I don’t need to find new things when I have you right here.”
Namjoon swallowed thickly, and the both of them could hear it in the quiet stillness of the room.
“You make us happy, too,” Namjoon whispered.
With those words, a small piece of an unseen tether began to fray away.
Jimin swallowed bravery and decided to go back home to Busan with his childhood friends the morning after.
Though his heart wouldn’t stop attempting to leap out of his throat the entire ride there, Jimin knew he had to do this.
He had to stop being afraid.
He had to stop running.
Coming off of the train station, they dropped their bags off in Taehyung’s condo.
Then they went to the store, picked up flowers and a little bit of food, and made their way over to Jihyun’s grave.
It was Jimin’s first visit.
When he saw the words ‘loving brother’ engraved on the stone, his knees met dirt. His heart tried to reshape itself into something smaller, something that would be less affected by the arrows of sorrow that wouldn’t stop coming and piercing.
When he finally caught his breath, they picnicked there, subdued and sad but okay.
They were going to be okay.
To grieve together — that was what Jimin had run away from. Been so afraid of.
He was so afraid that they would be angry at him, blame him for his brother’s death, that he had lost his voice of reason, allowed the grief and the fear and the guilt completely blind him.
Spreading the pain out thin between four pairs of hands — it didn’t make it any better, but it made it tolerable.
They shared this pain the way they shared a single sky, the way they shared their childhood, the way they shared Jihyun’s love.
And as time crept up to check on them, a silent friend, it watched as the four of them healed just a little bit. Not completely — the longing and the grief would always stay with them, but together now, they got a little bit stronger. A little bit wiser. Were able to hitch that grief up on their backs and take off running, headfirst, into happier days.
And of course, there would be times when that grief would slow them down.
Be a burden that became a little too heavy again.
But as time watched over the group of friends, with its help, it knew they’d all be okay.
All three of his friends saw Jimin off.
He stood in the train, stared at them through the window.
They all smiled at him, and Jimin smiled back.
Knew that he’d always have a place within them.
Knew that they’d always find a way to come back together.
They already had plans to come visit the next month, and Jimin already missed them.
Raising his right hand, he curled his fingers into a fist save for his pinky, which was extended.
They flashed him their pinkies back, and Jimin felt something good click back into place.
After four years of living in this town, Jimin could now typically go around town without much fuss or bother, save for his incident with Yunho. The novelty of his reputation had worn off, and most people by now just ignored him whenever they saw him.
Though Jeongguk, Yoongi and Hoseok were trying to spread the word that Jimin wasn’t a cold-blooded killer, old rumors were hard to kill.
So sometimes, there were still incidents.
As Jimin was doing his weekly grocery shop, trying to decide between two different brands of chips, he felt more than heard the sudden judgment.
Glancing over from the corner of his eye, he saw a group of three witches looking over at him with disdain, whispering amongst themselves, not subtle at all with the way their lips curled with disgust.
Biting his lip, Jimin let out a breath and ignored them.
This was fine.
He was fine.
They didn’t look malicious, and they were in a public space, so Jimin wasn’t in any danger.
He would just keep shopping and make his way home.
It was fine.
But that didn’t stop the little swooping curl of dread in his stomach, didn’t stop his hands from shaking and his throat closing up just a little bit.
You’re fine, Park Jimin, he thought to himself. Nothing is even happening, you’re fine.
Suddenly, a light arm made its way around Jimin’s shoulders, and he jumped in surprise.
Looking up, he saw Hoseok grinning at him, hair mussed a bit from the wind and cheeks rosy.
“Hi,” Hoseok greeted. His tone was light, but there was a look in the spectre’s eyes that had Jimin knowing the other witch saw what was going on.
“Hi,” Jimin said back weakly.
Giving him a light squeeze, Hoseok steered him down the aisle, away from the offending group.
“Wanna shop together? Whenever I go by myself, I always just end up buying snacks and instant noodle. Yoongi hates it.”
Letting out a surprised giggle, Jimin nodded, still under the shelter of Hoseok’s arm. “Sure, hyung. I’ll help you pick out some vegetables.”
Hoseok fake-gagged, making Jimin laugh again.
By the time they parted ways, arms loaded with bags of produce, Jimin was grinning, feeling high from Hoseok’s infectious laughter and rambunctious stories, having completely forgotten about the small incident with the judgmental witches.
It wasn’t until he was home that he remembered, and was flooded with an intense amount of gratitude.
Hoseok had noticed he was uncomfortable, removed him from the situation and helped him feel better without making any big deal or fuss. He’d taken care of Jimin in such a subtle way that even Jimin didn’t realize what the older witch had been doing until now.
Heart warm, Jimin buried his face in his arms and smiled.
Jimin never typically let himself get too vulnerable.
Not with other people — not even with himself.
But there was something about that night, something about the way the moon made the living room of Yoongi’s apartment glow, something about the way Yoongi kept carding his fingers through Jimin’s hair as he laid his head in the soleil’s lap, something in the way Luna had come up to him and curled up on his stomach, falling asleep.
“I miss him,” Jimin confessed.
He said it like a secret, but it was something that was always on his mind.
He missed Jihyun. He’d always miss Jihyun, like nothing else in the world.
Missed the way his little brother always smelled like the ocean, always smiled at people as if they were about to walk up to him and give him amazing news.
Jimin missed the way Jihyun would wrap his arms around Jimin’s middle as a kid when he went in for a hug, then the way he would playfully knock his shoulder into Jimin’s to jostle him as he hit a growth spurt one summer, suddenly taller than his hyung.
He missed the ‘v’ of his little brother’s hair that always peeked at Jimin from the back of Jihyun’s neck as they walked home from the river, dripping wet.
He missed the way Jihyun stole blankets in his sleep. The way Jihyun would open a packet of candy and offer it up to Jimin first. The way he sang in the shower, with all the plants in the house waking up to listen.
Jimin missed it all.
Missed him so much, constantly felt as if he was turning his head to search for something that, for a split second, he forgot was gone.
But when Yoongi leaned down, pressed a lingering kiss to his forehead, then his nose, then both his cheeks, Jimin’s ache eased a little bit.
When Jimin awoke, he was surprised to see that it was still dark out.
Laying still in bed for a moment, he was ready to curl up and go back to sleep before he heard it.
A little tap-tap-tap at his window.
Sitting up, Jimin stared, confused and groggy.
The noise came again.
Padding his way over to the glass, he cautiously peaked his head out.
And almost got blinded by a pebble.
“Shit,” he yelped, dodging the small rock that came straight for his eye.
Looking down towards the floor, something lifted inside of him when he saw a familiar glow.
“Park Jimin,” Yoongi called, voice echoing down the silent street. “What are you doing right now?”
Incredulous, Jimin let out a laugh, mind racing. “It’s 3 in the morning, Min Yoongi, what do you think I was doing?”
Jimin couldn’t make out Yoongi’s face in the darkness, but he imagined the soleil grinning up at him. “Waiting for me to come over so we can go on a grand adventure?”
“You’re ridiculous,” Jimin called back. “I hope you know that this is ridiculous.”
“Just come down, Jimin,” laughter was curled around every one of Yoongi’s words, and it had something giddy building in Jimin’s stomach.
So he turned, shrugged on the nearest hoodie he could find, stuffed his feet into some shoes and made his way down the stairs.
His plants were surprised when he entered the shop at the late hour, waving at him sleepily, but he hushed them and urged them to go back to sleep, fanning his arms out wide and brushing against as many of them as he could as he hurried towards the front door.
When he opened it, Yoongi was there, and Jimin sucked in a breath.
At night, Yoongi was radiant.
The gold swirling over his skin seemed to practically hum, like molten lava gleaming through the cracks of volcanic rock.
Tracing his eyes over the patterns on Yoongi’s skin, for a moment Jimin felt like a child looking up at the stars, able to see shapes within the confines of made-up constellations.
His eyes found a sun, a heart, a cloud, a peony.
But when he blinked, those shapes disappeared and new gorgeous things took their place.
“Wow,” Jimin breathed. “Your skin…”
Yoongi smiled, looking a bit shy. “Ah, yea…the light is more noticeable in the dark. And even more when I’m happy. It’s a bit strange, I know.”
“No,” Jimin shook his head. “It’s…you’re beautiful.”
Yoongi blinked in surprise. “And here I was, thinking that I was coming over in the dead of night to woo you.”
Embarrassed, Jimin bit his lip.
He felt as if he were lost in a castle in the sky, built from every one of his fantasies coming true.
Yoongi, who was the most beautiful witch Jimin’s ever seen, coming to him in the middle of the night to spend a little extra time with him.
“You’ll bite through your skin,” Yoongi said softly, slowly reaching out and pulling his lip free. Running a soft thumb over the indents of Jimin’s teeth, Yoongi stepped closer when Jimin sucked in a breath, his other hand moving to wind around his waist, pulling them together.
Jimin felt the metal of Yoongi’s belt buckle through the material of his sweater, felt the beating of Yoongi’s heart against his own.
“This okay?” Yoongi checked. He was always so careful with Jimin.
Shivers wracked through Jimin’s body, and he blamed it on the sudden shift of temperature, instantly going from chilled to warm pressed against Yoongi’s high body heat.
Jimin just hummed, overwhelmed, wanting more.
“Is it?” Yoongi let out a chuckle. “Words, my sweet.”
“S’okay,” Jimin mumbled, avoiding Yoongi’s eyes, warm to his very core.
Wrapped up in Yoongi’s light, with his large hand now cupping Jimin’s cheek, Jimin felt as if his entire body was afloat.
He was happy.
Happy and weightless and excited, and he was feeling these emotions outside of his bottled memories.
Pulling back to look at Yoongi, Jimin smiled, eyes crinkling up.
Yoongi squeezed his waist once, then stepped back, reaching out to thread their fingers together instead.
The soleil ended up taking them to the convenience store.
A mundane date to most people — but to the two of them, they found magic in every piece of time they spent together.
Smiled at each other through the steam of their microwavable meals, sitting at the dirty plastic tables settled right outside of the corner shop.
Held hands and pressed close and exhaled their warm breaths into the cold night to see the condensation fly out of their mouths, pretending they were dragon-breaths.
Stopped under a street light that rivaled Yoongi’s glow and kissed, playful and warm.
Looked up at the moon and took turns whispering secrets to it.
They stayed out until the sky became light, erupting in brilliant colors.
Jimin stared up in awe, but when he looked over at Yoongi, the soleil was already looking at him.
“What?” he whispered.
Yoongi reached out, cupped his face in his hand. “It does things to me, seeing you like this.”
“Happy,” Yoongi shrugged. “Just…seeing you happy.”
Jimin leaned over to nuzzle his face into the crook of the soleil’s neck.
Thought to himself, Yes. Happiness isn’t so far out of my reach, here. Not with you by my side.
The sun rose in full.
Yoongi’s magic glowed bright in response.
The soleil kissed Jimin good morning and goodbye at the door, and when Jimin walked up the stairs to his apartment, he didn’t even think of preparing a memory bottle for that night.
He knew that even if, years and years from now, this shining memory faded, he’d always have more to look back on.
It happened naturally, with no big fuss.
It was like watching the sunset.
Beautiful in a way that brought emotion to your stomach, but also in a way that felt right.
The sun was meant to set every evening, the way Jihyun’s spirit was always meant to drift away.
Hoseok was the only one that could see it.
He, Jeongguk, Yoongi and Jimin were in the félicité’s apartment. They had just finished dinner and Jimin had waved Jeongguk and Hoseok over to the couches while he and Yoongi cleared the table.
Jeongguk was flipping through Netflix, granted the responsibility of picking what they watched that night, but Hoseok was watching their two friends.
He watched as they stacked their plates up and put them in the sink, moving around each other like water.
He watched as Jimin threw his head back to laugh as Yoongi just barely caught a glass he lost his grip on, the soleil looking up at Jimin right after the close call with a look of pure panic.
He watched as they finished cleaning but didn’t immediately make their way over to the couch, instead lingering by the table a bit so Yoongi could pull the félicité into his arms, glowing brighter than Hoseok has ever seen him.
He watched as they leaned into each other so naturally, bodies falling with the knowledge that someone was going to be there to catch them at the bottom.
He watched as their lips touched and they kissed through two smiles.
He watched as Jimin let out a long sigh, as if in relief, as if this moment was something he’s been waiting for his entire life, moving back only for Yoongi to follow him to press a long, lingering kiss to Jimin’s forehead, arms secure around his waist.
And Hoseok watched as a third figure only visible to him joined the duo, grey and fuzzy and translucent like rainfall. It came up behind Jimin, seemed to wrap its arms around Jimin and Yoongi both, resting its head against Jimin’s shoulder.
Jihyun’s spirit stayed in that position, holding onto his older brother for the last time, before he finally faded up and away.
Raindrops evaporating after a storm.
A spirit finding peace in knowing that happiness was now easily within Jimin’s reach.
For reasons unknown to him, a tear made its way down Jimin’s cheek.
Yoongi reached out with his warm, sunlit hand, a golden heart forming on his palm, and wiped it away.
Jimin came home that night feeling like he had swallowed champagne stardust.
Everything inside him was light and bubbly and a felt a little bit too good to be true, a little too bright and right.
His stomach was full and his cheeks were a little flushed from the cold but Yoongi had him tucked up into his side, and Jimin knew that the soleil was pushing out some extra heat towards him.
They were quiet, gravel crunching under their boots, arms wound tight around each others’ waists, content with the other’s touch and presence and not needing anything more.
When they got to Jimin’s door, the félicité looked up at him with a shy smile.
Somehow, strangely, Jimin was still getting used to things like this.
Being walked to his door.
Being taken out on dates.
Everything about it had him flushed and a little embarrassed from all the attention, but it was in a good, happy way.
Everything about Yoongi made him happy.
“Good night,” Jimin said softly.
Yoongi walked forward until he was pressing Jimin against his door, warm against Jimin’s front in contrast to the cold wood digging into his back. There, wrapped up in Yoongi’s arms, all Jimin could see was the soleil. His serious eyes and kind smile and broad shoulders. Shining like a beacon in the quiet dark street, beautiful in every way.
Beautiful in the way he kissed Jimin gently, then urgently, a large hand cupping Jimin’s jaw. Beautiful in the way he ran his other hand up and down Jimin’s spine, carefully, but with intention, drawing heat up and down Jimin’s skin even through his shirt.
Beautiful in the way he nipped at Jimin’s bottom lip and then down to the sensitive flesh of his neck as Jimin caught his breath, fingers gripping at the hair growing a bit too long at Yoongi’s nape.
Beautiful in the way he looked at Jimin with nothing but acceptance, a quiet understanding in his eyes.
Beautiful in the way he was always gentle, and careful, and attentive, pulling back when Jimin needed space and moving forward when Jimin needed a familiar heart to curl up in.
Beautiful in the way he looked into the window and waved at Jimin’s plants, who loved him more than Jimin thought was possible.
Beautiful in the way his heart was two times the size of the sun, but somehow, (maybe with a little help from magic), it fit snug inside the safety of his ribs, this heart pumping golden sunshine through his veins and allowing Yoongi to cast light over everything he touched.
Beautiful in the way Yoongi was just…Yoongi.
“Good night, baby,” Yoongi whispered against the skin of his cheek.
A deep ache suddenly took root in Jimin’s stomach, the desire to rush inside and grab a clean bottle and preserve this happy memory.
Jimin never wanted to lose it, how completely and utterly happy he was then. Never wanted to forget the warmth of Yoongi’s body pressed up against his, the moonlight kisses, the honeyed words.
But then Jimin pushed that urge down.
Because he knew that there would be a thousand more moments just like this, in which he would feel this joy again.
He didn’t need his magic to recreate this overwhelming happiness, because he could find it in other things now.
In Taehyung’s laugh, in the way the sun looked gentle and pretty when he opened his shop in the mornings, in Jeongguk’s marée kisses, in the way his plants curled around his waist affectionately, in all of his friend’s hugs, in Yoongi’s steady presence.
Jimin would always, always miss Jihyun.
But he realized that the best way to honor his little brother, to make him proud, was to push past the pain and the guilt and the hardships, and find light when darkness seeped into every inch of his being. To stand up when his feet were torn to shreds. To allow himself to reach out for the hands that were held out for him, and accept help.
To allow himself to finally smile.
To forgive himself.
For the past four years, Jimin’s felt as if he were living with a supernova heart — constantly on the brink of something, always in danger of his body collapsing within itself, but also playing with the possibility of becoming something more.
There are only two outcomes that can result from a supernova: the creation of a black hole, or the birth of a new star.
Within the warmth of Yoongi’s arms, Jimin finally knew which one he wanted to be.