Chapter 1: Prologue
There was magic in everything.
That's what Hoseok believed.
When he was younger, holding onto his mother as she held him and read him one of his favourite storybooks, Labyrinth, the stories seemed so real. He could almost see the Goblin King before him, proclaiming his love to dear Sarah, Hoggle as he begrudgingly aided her into finding her way to the castle, and all of the other characters who made the story flow.
Although, there was something he always didn't like.
"Mama?" He remembered asking her. They were both cuddled up on his bed. The book laid on the bedside table, the worn red cover closed. Hoseok longed to pick it up and read it again.
"Yes, baby?" His mother murmured from where her hands were in his hair, gently massaging his scalp. His eyes fluttered shut and he leant against her chest, exhaling a soft breath. "Why didn't Sarah stay with the Goblin King?" He mumbled, a yawn muddling his words.
His mother huffed out a quiet laugh, "because she wanted to be home, and she wanted her brother to be safe," she replied. Hoseok snuffled, burying his face into his pillow and rubbing his face on the soft covers.
"If I was here," he mumbled, "I wouldn't ever leave."
His mother laughed softly, "oh yeah?" She asked, "well, what about me? Would you take me with you?" She asked before her fingers dove in for a tickle attack at his sides. Hoseok squealed, kicking out his legs and laughing loudly. He squirmed on the bed, howling with laughter until his mother wrapped her arms around him and hushed his loud yells.
"I would take you with me," Hoseok panted, looking at his mother, "o-or I would go to find you if the Goblin King ever took you!" He gasped.
His mother snickered softly and kissed his forehead, "my lovely baby," she cooed, "you have such a wonderful heart. Make sure no one ever takes the light out of your eyes," she whispered, bushing his hair away from his forehead. "Sleep now. I'll see you in the morning."
Hoseok yawned, snuggling under the blankets, "Goodnight, Mama," he mumbled, watching as she stood up and walked to the door, closing it just enough so there was just a sliver of light peering through. He waited, watching the crack in the door and listened for her footsteps until he couldn't hear them.
He sat up, grabbing the book from the side table and diving under his covers with a flashlight he had on the floor by his bed. Quietly, so his mother wouldn't hear him, he opened the book and quietly began to read to himself.
"Give me the child," he whispered under his breath, his eyes traversing over the words, "through dangers untold and hardships unnumbered, I have fought my way here to the castle beyond the Goblin City," the wind outside started to pick up, and raindrops rained down upon their house. Hoseok ignored them.
"To take by the child that you have stolen."
Thunder rumbled, and a flash of bright lightning lit up Hoseok's room beyond the covers. Hoseok's breath stuttered when his window trembled with the force of the storm. He clutched his book and his flashlight closer to his body and continued to read.
"For my will is as strong as yours, and my kingdom is as great."
The wind howled and his window burst open. Hoseok threw his blankets off of him as he stared at the windows before him. In the window, was a large barn owl. It hooted at him, spreading its wings before it lept from the window ledge, and dropped into the room.
As the owl touched the ground, it started to transform. A man formed from the owl's form, tall and thin with beautiful dark eyes. He reached out to Hoseok, his hand coming down to touch the end of Hoseok's bed. Hoseok clutched his book, taking a deep breath.
"You," he gasped, "you have no power over me."
The man's eyes narrowed and he took a step back, "perhaps," he whispered, "perhaps I do not now." He raised his arm, swiping up his long dark cape and scattering glitter throughout the room, "but as soon as those words are uttered," he swirled around, the cape wrapping around him.
He flew up into the air, seeming to shrink as he turned into a ball of swirling air.
"I will come to claim what is mine."
Hoseok blinked, and he was awake.
He sat up in bed, gasping for breath as he looked around his room.
There...There was nothing there. No glitter, no Goblin King. No rain, no thunder, no storm.
Outside, the moon shone brightly onto his bed. Everything was calm. He exhaled, looking around his room. Had that just been a dream? The book was on the side table again, and his flashlight was no longer in his hand. He looked out the window again, but after a moment exhaustion took hold of him and he fell into a deep, soothing slumber.
In his dreams, he dreamt of dancing. Of crystal balls and winding passageways. He dreamt of beauty, and he dreamt of magic. He dreamt of his mother holding him in her arms and brushing his hair away from his face, and he dreamt of an owl that sat on his window sill and peered into his window.
Chapter 2: Chapter 0
TW for domestic violence in the beginning!!
The bruises should have been the first sign. Hoseok knew all about red flags, he knew what to look for, and how to avoid them. He knew about dating etiquette, and how to know if the person you were with wasn’t “The One.”
He knew all of these things, and he was so careful so why ?
Why now, as he stood in the small bathroom of his and his boyfriend’s shared apartment, was he looking at someone that he didn’t know.
His face was swollen on the right side. Dark purple bruises marred his bare, clean skin, and his right eye was almost all the way shut.
It was his fault. That’s what his boyfriend screamed after he had slammed Hoseok’s head into the coffee table. There had been glass breaking, but thankfully none of it was in his face.
His boyfriend cried, sobbed, and wailed, and yelled at him and told him that it was his fault.
If it had been the first time, maybe he would have left. But it was not the first time.
He lifted his hand, heavily bandaged from where the glass had entered his palm, and carefully spread soothing creme across his battered face. His breath hitched every time his fingers met the damaged area and pain bloomed wherever his fingers trailed.
His boyfriend wasn’t home. He was out getting drinks with friends. He had left hours ago, after punching and kicking Hoseok in the ribs and yelling at him so loudly it was a wonder why the neighbours hadn’t called the police.
Tears started to well up in his eyes and he hiccupped, cupping his hands to his chest and bowing his head. No, he couldn’t cry. He just...He just needed to work his way around this. He could figure it out!
He sniffled, each hard breath making his face ache, and quietly exited the bathroom.
The apartment was silent. It was dark out, which meant that it was late. Especially in the sunny summer months. He carefully stepped over a broken chair leg, wincing at the memory of how his boyfriend had broken it off when he threw the chair against the ground.
He continued down the hallway, quietly turning into his bedroom and entering. Although it was their shared bedroom, over the past few months it didn’t feel like anyone's bedroom.
Hoseok slept here every night, but his boyfriend rarely did. He was out almost every night, coming home in the morning smelling like sex and someone else.
Hoseok was used to it. But no more.
He took a deep breath and walked over to the closet, reaching up and taking down his suitcase. It was one that his mother had given to him when he was younger. It was large, beautiful, and was slightly worn at the corners but Hoseok loved it.
He placed the suitcase onto his bed and started to shovel clothes into it. If he was fast enough, he could be finished packing before his boyfriend was home. If he was fast enough, he could call his mother and ask her to pick him up.
If he was quick enough, he could escape.
As he was shoving underwear and socks into his suitcase, his fingers brushed against something. He paused, looking at the dresser drawer and at what was inside.
It was a book. The letters were slightly faded, but Hoseok could still read the writing.
Hoseok’s heart clenched and he hugged the book close to his chest. From this book, only good things came.
He turned around to put it into the suitcase and came face to face with his very drunk and very angry boyfriend.
“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” He snarled. He was staggered in the doorway, leaning on it for support. His face was bright red, and he was drooling.
“I...I’m leaving,” Hoseok fought out, his hands starting to shake, “I’m sick of you hurting me, and-and you can’t stop me!”
His boyfriend stared at him for a few moments, his face blank. Then, a wicked smile broke out onto his face.
He threw his head back and roared with laughter.
Hoseok bit his lip, watching as his boyfriend cackled and stumbled into the room. “Yeah,” he growled, grabbing Hoseok by the arm, “like hell you are!”
Hoseok wrenched his arm from his grip, “I’m serious!” He cried, “you’re abuse and I-I can’t stand it anymore! I’m leaving!”
His boyfriend seemed to realize that Hoseok was serious, and a dark look took over his face. He growled, grabbing Hoseok’s arm again in a near bone-breaking grip.
“And I said that you aren’t!” He hissed, “you have been nothing but a pain in my side ever since we got together!” He raised his hand, bringing it down hard on Hoseok’s already bruised cheek.
Hoseok screamed in pain, recoiling in pain and putting his arm up, the book still clutched in his hand as he tried to protect himself.
“And this!” His boyfriend roared, ripping the book from Hoseok’s hand, “this-this stupid fairy tale shit!”
“Stop! Please!” Hoseok yelled, trying to wrench his hand from his boyfriend’s grip, but he was held fast.
“Fucking immature,” his boyfriend snarled, “you think that this will end up like the end of this stupid book!” He hissed, throwing open the pages and holding it up so he could read.
“You want to act like a child?” He snarled, “well, let’s see if this works, so then I can be rid of you!”
In a dark place, a pair of eyes snapped open. They were bright red, startlingly so, and looked straight forward. The small figure sat up, gasping.
He was back! The Goblin Queen!
The figure, a small Goblin, smacked the other Goblins around him. They snorted awake, grumbling and grunting in frustration.
“Shut up!” He hissed, “the words! They’re gonna be said!”
The other Goblins, well the ones who were awake anyway, stopped grumbling and chattering and listened closely.
“Goblin King!” His boyfriend crowed. Hoseok slumped, a brief puddle of relief filling him. It wasn’t the words!
He whimpered when his boyfriend wrenched at his arm, nearly popping his shoulder out of the socket, “shut up!” He hissed, “if you say one more word or make another sound, I’ll cut your fucking tongue out.”
Hoseok stared up at his boyfriend, his eyes wide in fear. His boyfriend’s features seemed to warp and muddle. No longer was he looking at the man he once loved.
He was a monster.
“Take this stupid-”
Hoseok gasped as a kick landed in his stomach.
Another kick, this time on his thigh.
This kick was at his chest. He gasped for air, heaving in agony.
“Stupid thing away from me!”
“What’s that rubbish!” the Goblin hissed, “not even the right words!”
“He’s being kinda mean,” a large Goblin in the back muttered, prompting the surrounding Goblins to loudly hush him.
The Goblin yelped and covered his mouth.
The surrounding Goblins went back to eagerly watching the fight happen.
Hoseok sobbed quietly as he kept his head bowed. His ex snorted, tossing the book onto Hoseok’s head. It bounced off and landed open in front of him.
“I wish the Goblins would take you away from me,” he hissed, dropping Hoseok’s arm. Hoseok cried out, sobbing and wailing as fear and agony took over. Those words, to him they felt as horrible as a death sentence.
He felt a thousand little hands grabbing him, pulling him down, down, down...
He was floating. His body was in horrible pain, but he couldn’t help but feel warm as a soft hand brushed against his cheek.
“Oh, my dear,” a deep voice murmured, “my poor, poor dear.”
Hoseok couldn’t open his eyes and laid very still as a soft cold feeling took over his most pained spots. Slowly, but surely, he found that he was no longer in pain.
Was he dead?
“How could anyone have done this to you?” The voice whispered, “such an innocent one,” the hand returned to gently touch his cheek and Hoseok turned his face away, moaning softly in pain.
“Hush, my dear,” the voice continued, “you’re safe now. Sleep, and when you awaken, the fun will begin.”
Hoseok didn’t dwell on his thoughts, and followed the voice's commands and slowly slipped into a wonderful, comfortable, and safe sleep.
Hoseok woke up slowly. He was lying on a comfortable surface, and as he slowly opened his eyes, he found a bright blue sky above him.
He breathed deeply, inhaling the sweet smell of ripened fruit. He slowly moved up his arm and found that it didn’t hurt. He held his hand out in front of him, looking at it.
There were no bandages, no scrapes or scars to be seen. He slowly sat up, feeling more refreshed and simply more healed than he had in years.
Hoseok took a deep breath, sitting up. He was sitting on a sandy hill, looking down at a massive city. He slowly got up, standing and looking down.
There was a large labyrinth before him, after the city, and after that, a castle sat in the distance. It was incredibly beautiful, bathed in soft orange light. Hoseok immediately knew where he was.
“Labyrinth,” he whispered, “it’s real?”
“Of course it’s real, my dear.”
Hoseok turned to see a tall man. He was leant against a tree, his arms crossed and a smirk on his face. He had soft curly black hair that trailed down his neck in a mullet.
His eyes were wide, with long eyelashes that framed sea green eyes. He was dressed oddly, like something out of a fairy tale. A large flowing dark cape with a high collar, leather gloves, and knee-high boots with tall heels.
Hoseok swallowed thickly, his heart beating hard in his chest. “T-this can’t be real,” he insisted, “it’s only a story!”
The man’s smirk widened, “only a story?” He mockingly repeated, “well, if its only a story, then how are you here?”
“I’m not here,” Hoseok snapped, “I...I’m dreaming! Or-or I’m-” his breath caught in his throat, and a chill went through his body.
“Oh god, am I dead?” He whispered.
The man chuckled, “of course you’re not dead,” he said, “you’re alive and well, and in my Labyrinth.”
Hoseok stared at him, his mouth open in agape. “A-are you the Goblin King?” He asked, “I didn’t call for you.”
The Goblin King hummed, “yes, I am the Goblin King. Maybe you did not call for me but,” he rolled a glass ball in his hand that had appeared out of nowhere, “but someone you know did.”
Hoseok stumbled back in terror as his boyfriend’s face appeared in the ball. He was standing in their apartment still, stumbling around and drunk.
“He sent you here,” the Goblin King purred, taking a step forward towards Hoseok. Hoseok took steps back, his back soon meeting the brick wall.
“And I know that you are aware of my terms,” he said, waving his hand and causing the glass ball to roll around his hand in a mesmerizing way, “you read the stories, didn’t you?”
Hoseok nodded. He felt scared, numb. He really was in the labyrinth. This wasn’t a dream. He wished it was just a dream.
“Although, I must do something that will throw you off,” the Goblin King continued, “since you know so well how to get out of here. Although,” he cocked his head to the side, “something tells me that you don’t remember much.”
Hoseok’s cheeks went pink. Of course, it was true. It had been so long since he had read the book or seen the movie, and only bits and pieces were coming back to him as he thought.
The Goblin King seemed thrilled by this and laughed softly.
He reached forward, his fingertips skimming Hoseok’s cheek. Hoseok flinched away, expecting pain from his cheek, but there was no pain. He stared at the Goblin King and watched as his eyes took a sort of pitying look.
It only flashed for a second before his eyes turned hard and teasing once more.
“You have thirteen hours to come to my castle. At the end of that time, if you have not reached me, you will remain here.”
“Will you turn me into a Goblin?” Hoseok asked tentatively.
The Goblin King scoffed. “Of course not!” He spat, “a king like me,” he raised his hand, twirling his wrist and then cupping his hand. A silver ring appeared in his palm.
A wedding band.
“Requires a Queen to be able to rule,” he said.
Hoseok swallowed, looking up at the Goblin King. His heart beat hard, but determination swirled through him.
“I’ll beat your labyrinth,” he said, clenching his fists, “I know all of the tricks. You can’t keep me here.”
The Goblin King smirked, tapping the tip of Hoseok’s nose. “We’ll see, my dear,” he purred.
His form started to shimmer and fade. “Remember, my love,” he said, his voice echoing, “not everything is as it seems down here.”
As soon as the Goblin King was gone, Hoseok turned to the sandy hill and quickly started down it.
He ran down, passing withered and dead trees until he reached the massive walls of the labyrinth. He paused, looking around carefully, but there was no door to be seen.
He walked by the walls, trailing his hands over the stone walls. Where was the door? He walked quickly along, pausing when he saw something glittery on the ground.
A fairy. He gasped, kneeling down and scooping the small thing into his hands. “Oh, you poor thing,” he whispered, very gently holding the fairy. It looked up at him, with wide pale eyes and dark red lips.
“I wouldn’t touch that if I were you,” a voice snapped.
Hoseok looked up at the person who had spoken, and then cried out in pain when the fairy dug its little teeth into his finger. He dropped the thing, and it laid lifeless on the ground.
A man with bright pink hair stood before him. He wore almost all beige clothing, except for a vest coat and some shoes. His face was dirty, and his eyes narrowed.
“Oh, are you Hoggle?” Hoseok asked.
The man’s face twisted, “who the fuck is Higgle?” He spat, “I’m Jimin.”
Hoseok’s face flushed, “I’m sorry, I mistook you for someone,” he said.
Jimin huffed, holding a large exterminator syringe in his hand. He puffed it out on a fairy, and then carried on down the labyrinth’s edge.
“W-wait!” Hoseok called, running after them, “do you know the entrance to the labyrinth?” He asked.
“Why should I tell you?” Jimin spat, “why do you even want to know?”
“I need to find the entrance so I can find the Goblin King and get out of here,” Hoseok explained, still following Jimin as the man puffed another thing at a fairy.
“Why would you want to do that?” Jimin asked, looking at him with a grimace on his face, “the Goblin King is nothing but trouble for the likes of you.”
Hoseok bit back a retort. “Because if I don’t get out of here, I’ll become the Goblin Queen!”
Jimin seemed taken aback by that, then his face cleared into recognition. “Oh, so it is you?” He asked, “well, then,” he nodded to the wall, “the entrance is right there.”
Hoseok turned to see large open doors. “That wasn’t there before,” he said softly, looking back at Jimin who shrugged.
“It was, but I guess you couldn’t see it,” he said, and then continued down the labyrinth walls puffing at other fairies as he continued.
“Thank you!” Hoseok called after him and then ran into the labyrinth.
Jimin watched Hoseok run into the labyrinth. After a moment of consideration, he ran after the human. He had seen what the Goblin King was capable of, and if this human truly wished to escape, he would need Jimin’s help.
“Hey! Human!” Jimin called as he followed the human.
Hoseok paused, turning his head to see Jimin running after him. “Oh, did you need something?” He asked.
Jimin crossed his arms, willing down a blush with a clear of his throat, “if you wanna get through the labyrinth, you’ll need an expert,” he said, “I’ve lived in this city for my entire life.”
“Are you going to help me?!” Hoseok gasped, a smile growing on his face.
Jimin hissed, shushing him loudly. “Do you want the entire kingdom to hear you?!” He spat, reaching up and smacking a hand over Hoseok’s mouth, ‘I can’t be seen helping you at all. The goblin king will send me to the Bog of Eternal Stench if he sees us!”
Hoseok nodded, and Jimin uncovered his mouth. “Thank you so much,” he said, “I really would be lost without you.”
Jimin huffed, “whatever,” he grumbled, “let’s just get you to the castle so I can go back to work.”
Hoseok smiled, walking beside Jimin, “is your work exterminating faeries?” He asked curiously.
Jimin shrugged, “more of just cleaning out vermin.”
“Oh Jimin!” Hoseok gasped, cupping a hand over his mouth, “you shouldn’t call yourself vermin!”
Jimin paused, his eyebrows furrowing before he seemed to understand what Hoseok’s was saying. His face went bright red and he smacked Hoseok’s arm hard.
“Shut up!” He cried, “how dare you compare me to such horrible beings!” He howled.
Hoseok cackled loudly, and the pair continued down the path of the labyrinth as it began to twist and turn, quietly bickering. Behind them, a small Goblin peered from behind a corner, a glass ball in hand.
He tucked the ball into his coat and scurried away, clawing at the walls until he found a loose brick. He tucked himself into the tight passageway and scampered through the halls as fast as his little legs could go.
The Goblin King was far too busy to look after such silly things like humans who passed into the labyrinth, but this was news!
He grinned to himself as he reached the castle, scrambling up the steps. He passed other Goblins, giggling to himself quietly as he ran up to the Goblin king’s throne room.
In the throne room, Goblins ran left and right around the room. Some of them were screaming, others were fighting, but a lot of them were just drinking and laughing.
The Goblin scrambled past them and ran to the throne where the Goblin King was draped across the throne, his hand on his forehead and massaging his temples with his fingertips.
“Your Majesty!” The Goblin squeaked, rushing forward to the throne, panting loudly, “I have news on the human!”
The Goblin King grunted, removing his hand from his face and looking at the tiny Goblin with a glare.
“What news?” He growled, “I did not tell anyone to track the human.”
The Goblin trembled, taking the glass ball from his coat and holding it up. “Here!” He cried, “look!”
The Goblin King looked at the ball with disdain, but he took the ball from the Goblin and observed it.
The Goblin rubbed his hands together, watching the Goblin King quietly observe the globe. After a few seconds, a look of rage overtook the Goblin King’s face.
The room began to rumble, making the Goblins in the room scream and scatter fearfully. The Goblin King got to his feet and stomped his foot on the floor. He let out a roar of fury.
“That wench!” He snarled, “how dare he help him?!” He paced back and forth, with each footfall, the castle shook.
The Goblin fearfully watched as his King paced, hissing under his breath. For a second, he felt pity for the poor human. If he was able to envoke such a horrible rage from the King, what would happen to him?
After a few seconds, the Goblin King came to a stop. His face suddenly became relaxed, as if he was realizing something. A smile crept onto his face, and he started to chuckle.
The chuckle rose into a laugh, and then from a laugh a cackle, and then to a screeching roar that had the other Goblin’s joining in.
“Oh, how wonderful!” The Goblin King panted, falling back onto his throne and covering his eyes with his hand, “how tricky he is. How he turns my world,” he grinned. It was a horrible wicked grin, and the small Goblin could only guess what the human had in store.
“A hopeless quest,” the Goblin King murmured, rolling the glass ball around his hands with a content hum, a drunken grin on his face, “oh, he does not play fair, so why should I?”
He laughed again, tossing the glass ball into the air and letting it fall to the ground and shatter into tiny pieces.
“How big is this labyrinth?” Hoseok asked Jimin.
Both of them had been walking for a while along the stone paths of the labyrinth, and it seemed like they weren’t really getting anywhere.
“Dunno,” Jimin replied, “Taehyung is always expanding or changing it.”
“Taehyung?” Hoseok repeated, curiously looking at Jimin who was fiddling with a rock, extracting a shiny gem from the rough stone.
“The Goblin King,” Jimin said, “although, don’t say his name-”
“Why?” Hoseok interrupted, “it’s just a name.”
“Just a name?” Jimin hissed, “names have power. If he hears you say his name, especially in here, he’ll know exactly where you are!”
Hoseok stared at Jimin, “really?” He asked, “then, won’t he come to find us since you said his name?”
Jimin shrugged, “we’ll have to see,” he murmured, continuing to walk through the paths, but came to a stop before a large clearing.
“What is it?” Hoseok asked, peeking over Jimin’s head.
He looked through the large arch to see a tall man hunched over himself. He must have been at least 10 feet tall, and he was sobbing into his hands.
“It’s just a giant,” Jimin hissed, “let’s leave! Giants are known to be nasty fucks.” He grabbed Hoseok’s arm and tugged on it, but Hoseok didn’t move.
“He looks so sad though,” he said, “can’t I ask him what’s wrong?”
Jimin’s face twisted into a grimace again, “if you want to, you can. But it’s your funeral.”
Hoseok scoffed a little and turned away, rushing to the large man who was still sobbing.
“Hey,” he said gently, holding out his hands and touching the man’s bare arm. The man paused his crying and tilted his head up, sniffling wetly.
His eyes were large and soulful and soaked with tears. He messily wiped his nose, snot trailing on his knuckles.
“Y...Yeah?” He mumbled.
Hoseok kindly smiled, “are you alright? I could hear you crying and came to see what was wrong.”
The large man shook his head, “I’m just kinda sad,” he whimpered, “those mean Goblins took my things.”
“Your things?” Hoseok repeated, “what things?”
The giant wiped his nose again, sniffling loudly. “My glasses,” the giant said, “I can’t see without them.”
“Do you want me to go find them?” Hoseok asked, “I’m sure they can’t have gone far!”
The giant nodded, “t-that’s okay,” he said, “but what can I do for you in return?” He asked.
“Well, do you know the way to the castle?” Hoseok asked, “you can come and help us find it?”
The giant nodded, wiping his eyes again. “I think I know where it is. Just find my glasses and I’ll help you.”
Hoseok grinned and nodded, “I’ll find them!” He said, turning around to see Jimin poking out from behind a wall, his eyes narrowed a little.
“Come on, Jimin!” He called, “we have to go find his glasses!”
“What?” Jimin snapped, “why? We don’t need to help him! If we wanna get to the castle, we don’t have time to help everyone we see.”
Hoseok pouted, “come on, he just needs his glasses. Please, let me help him.”
Jimin rolled his eyes, scoffing and shaking his head. “Fine. But make this quick.”
Hoseok nodded and ran off into the labyrinth, where he could already hear some voices. He slowed his run to a jog and peeked from out behind a wall.
He could see four small goblins, they were crouched around a leather bag, and wearing the giant's glasses was one of the goblins.
Hoseok bit his lower lip, trying to think about how to get the glasses back from him.
Suddenly, something knocked against his ankle. He looked to the side to see a small rock. He picked it up, looking to the Goblins again.
Could he do it?
He reared back, squinting a little, and then threw the rock at one of the Goblins. It hit the Goblin in the back of the head, causing the metal helmet that he was wearing to ring like a bell and twist around.
“Huh?!” The Goblin screeched, “what?! Who turned off the lights?!” He ran around in circles, running into one of the other Goblins who screeched in anger and shoved him.
“Watch where you’re going!” He growled, smacking another one of the Goblins’s on his arm hard enough for the Goblin to let out a screech of pain.
Hoseok muffled a laugh behind his hand and leant down again to grab another rock that rolled nearby him. He reeled back again and tossed the rock at another one of the Goblins.
The Goblin wearing the glasses squealed and dropped them and then ran off as his friends stumbled around.
“Retreat!” One of them screeched, “enemy attacking! Retreat !”
Hoseok watched them flee and quickly ran into the clearing and picked up the glasses. He blew on them gently and dusted them off, thankfully they weren’t scratched.
He grinned. The giant would be so happy!
As he turned around, he bumped into a chest.
When he looked up, the Goblin King was in front of him.
“Oh, Taehyung,” he gasped, and then covered his mouth. He wasn’t supposed to say that!
Taehyung’s eyes danced with mirth and he cocked his head to the side. “Ah,” he murmured, “so you know my name? How precious .”
Hoseok couldn’t speak, taking a step away from Taehyung only to stop when he realized that there was a stone wall behind him.
“Don’t try to run from me, Hosoek,” Taehyung said, placing his hand on Hoseok’s side and leaning in, “you won’t get very far.”
“You can’t trap me here,” Hoseok said, keeping his face straight, “I’m going to escape.”
Taehyung chuckled, “how curious,” he purred, leaning in and brushing their noses together, “I’ve never had a human so determined. Perhaps a Goblin King before me did,” he hummed, nuzzling his nose over Hoseok’s cheek.
Hoseok suppressed a shudder and clenched his fists tight. Taehyung pulled away and snorted, smirking.
“Are you not afraid of me?” He asked snarkily, “oh, how adorable.” He coyly stroked the tips of his fingers up Hoseok’s arm and then pulled away, crossing his arms.
“I shall see you when the thirteenth hour is up,” he said, still smirking, “or would you rather give up? It only gets harder from here.”
“Hard?” Hoseok scoffed before he could stop himself, “you call this hard? I could solve this labyrinth with my eyes closed!”
“Oh, is that so?” Taehyung’s voice took a darker tone, and Hoseok immediately regretted being so snarky. He was just about to take back his words when Taehyung lifted his hand, a glass ball appearing at his fingertips.
“Then perhaps I shall up the difficulty,” he snarled, waving his fingers. Suddenly, the bright sunny labyrinth around them turned dark and Hoseok screamed as he fell into pitch blackness.
Taehyung fell with him, seemingly calm as they rocketed down into the void. Hosoek scrambled, shooting out his legs and arms to try to gain some sort of purchase on the walls but to no avail.
There was a horrible wailing sound, and as he turned his head he saw horrible monsters and beasts writhing in the void. They screamed, reaching out to him with horrible claws, their mouths open with sharp teeth covered in blood and saliva.
He felt their claws all over his body, felt teeth dig into his neck and spill his blood. The monsters and beasts screamed and wailed as he tore at his body in an animalistic manner.
He screamed, finding himself spinning uncontrollably as he fell. He heard Taehyung start to laugh, and just as he thought he was about to go mad from fear...
He stopped falling. He landed on something warm and slightly soft with a yelp and found that he had landed on the giant’s head.
“Oh!” The giant yelped, his hands coming up and patting at his head until he felt Hoseok. He took him into his hand and helped him down from his head, blinking owlishly at the human.
“How did you get there?” the giant asked, blinking wide brown eyes at him. He looked genuinely confused like he had no idea where Hoseok had come from or what he had witnessed.
Hoseok panted, his eyes wide with fear as adrenaline pounded through his veins. Finally, he caught his breath and with a sob of relief, he slouched in the giant’s hands.
“Hoseok? What’s wrong?” Jimin’s worried voice came from below. Hoseok didn’t remove his hands from his face, still trembling.
He had been so scared that he was going to die. Or be trapped in a forever-falling limbo that never stopped.
He let out another sob and grabbed the giant in a hug as best he could, even though his hands only just went around his torso.
Jimin’s hand came to rest on his arm as he pulled himself up to the giant and sat on his arm, looking down at the crying human in concern.
“Hoseok? What happened to you?” Jimin asked, his voice soft with worry. His hands came onto Hoseok’s head, gently running small fingers through his hair until he looked up at the goblin, tears streaming down his cheeks and huffing for breath.
“Was it the Goblin King?” The giant whispered, “did he do something to you?”
Jimin sucked in an enraged breath, “he better not have!” He hissed, “o-or else I’ll-”
“You’ll do what , Jimin?”
Hoseok’s heart leapt into his throat and without looking at Taehyung, he buried his face into the giant’s neck. He continued to cry, not caring that he sounded like a scared little baby and just wept. God, he had been so scared!
Being in that void, in the darkness with Taehyung still smirking at him, unable to get purchase and hearing those horrible noises... He could feel the teeth and claws all over his body, scraping and tearing him apart.
It made his skin crawl.
“What the fuck did you do, you bastard?!” Jimin was yelling. He heard Taehyung shout something, but he couldn’t hear it over the roar of blood in his ears. The yelling, the violence, reminded him of his boyfriend.
It was like he was back home, back in his apartment. Waiting for something to hurt. His eyes went wide and his back arched and his fingers clawed into the Giant’s arm and let out a strangled whimpering noise.
He didn’t like this! He was scared!
He felt his body being picked up, and a cool wind began to rush by him as the giant lept to his feet and took off bounding into the labyrinth.
Hoseok kept his eyes closed, just holding onto the giant’s neck as he ran. He lost himself in the feeling of the giant running, soothed by the constant warmth and heartbeat that thudded consistently.
As the giant slowly came to a stop, Hoseok’s tears had dried as well. He felt the giant sit down and huff quietly as he panted. He felt a smaller body shove beside him, feeling it to be Jimin and relaxed when the Goblin wrapped his arm around Hoseok’s middle.
“Hobi?” Jimin’s voice was soft. Almost vulnerable. He sounded frightened. Hoseok pulled his head a little out of the giant’s neck, sniffling quietly as he looked at the Goblin.
Jimin was slightly hunched over as he looked up at Hoseok. His eyes were scared and wide and gleaming.
“Did he hurt you?” He whispered, “please, Hoseok, please tell me what happened so I can help you.”
Hoseok swallowed, the feeling of nausea welling up when he tried to think of it. “I don’t know,” he whispered after a moment of trying to gather his mind together.
“It was dark,” he said, grabbing Jimin’s hand and squeezing it tight. “It was so dark. I couldn’t see and I was falling and Taehyung-” he swallowed down a sob, “he just laughed! He watched me scream and he-he didn’t do anything-"
A sob formed behind his tongue and this time he couldn’t stop it. It forced its way out of him in a gut-wrenching and violent display of agony and sadness and suffering.
Jimin and the giant didn’t say anything, just curled around Hoseok. They shielded him from the outside world, from a world that he had read and seen before. It was a familiar world, but at the same time, he didn’t know it at all.
It was completely foreign to him. He didn’t know how to react to it or how to deal with it at all. So, he sat there with his new friends holding him tight and he cried.
He wanted out. This wasn’t just a fairytale any more, and he needed to escape. Now.
He voiced this to Jimin and watched the Goblin’s face twist in pity.
“If we can get to Taehyung before the thirteenth hour is up,” he said quietly, “there’s a chance you’ll be able to leave.”
“How long do I have left?” Hoseok asked through hiccups. He looked up at the giant who was adjusting his glasses on his face.
“I would say,” the giant murmured, “nine hours?” He looked up at the sky. The sky was still bright, the midday sun streaming down on them through the thick trees.
Wait, where were they?
Hoseok popped his head out, looking around curiously. They were in a densely forested area, and the Giant-wait, what was his name?
“Um, this is kind of late, but what is your name?” He asked, looking back to the giant.
The giant blinked, his long lashes fluttering against his cheeks. “Namjoon,” he replied, “did I not tell you?”
When Hoseok shook his head, Namjoon’s cheeks went pink. He shrugged a little, “well,” he said, “my name is Namjoon. Sorry that I didn’t tell you earlier.”
“It’s fine,” Jimin interrupted, “we can’t sit around all day! We only have nine hours left, and the castle is-”
He looked around, his face pinched in irritation, “where the hell are we?” He asked Namjoon.
Namjoon looked around, keeping a large hand covering the two of them as he peered at the forest around them.
“We seem to be near the swamp of Eternal Stench,” he said, his nose scrunching up. Hosoek mirrored his face. He knew just how disgusting the swamp of Eternal Stench was, and he wasn’t looking forward to smelling it.
“Ugh,” Jimin groaned, wriggling in Namjoon’s hold, “that means that we’re just on the outskirts of the castle.”
Hoseok rubbed his face a little, wiping the tears away from his face. “We should go, then,” he said, “we don’t have a lot of time left.”
Namjoon nodded, “if I try, I can carry you over closer to the castle?” He offered.
Hoseok nodded, holding onto Namjoon’s arm tightly. “That’s a good plan, is that okay, Jimin?” He asked.
Jimin bit his lip, looking up at the sky. His eyes narrowed in nervousness. “It’s getting dark, if we keep going on there’s some pretty scary stuff going around at night. We should hunker down for a bit."
“Won’t we run out of time?” Hoseok asked, “we only have a few hours left!”
“We have time,” Jimin said, “I’ll let you sleep for two hours, and we’ll have enough time to get to the castle.”
Hosoek watched him for a few seconds, looking at his face. Jimin’s face was open, he wasn’t lying to him.
“Okay,” he said hesitantly, looking up at Namjoon, “do you wanna find a spot to lay down?”
Namjoon hummed, climbing to his feet out of his sitting position and carefully picking through the trees. He kneeled down beside a large tree and after patting the ground into a flat soft surface, he set Hoseok and Jimin down.
Hoseok followed Namjoon as the giant laid down on the grass. As he settled down beside the giant, tucked under his arm and close to his chest, he drifted off into a slow slumber with the warmth of Namjoon around him.
Jimin quietly watched as Namjoon and Hoseok fell asleep, fumbling nervously with his fingers. As soon as both of them were asleep, he turned and wandered into the forest.
As he got further into the forest, the sounds of monsters around him got louder and louder. He ignored them and continued until he walked into a large clearing.
And in the clearing, there was Taehyung.
Jimin inhaled a deep breath, bowing to Taehyung deeply. “Hello, my king,” he said softly.
“Jimin,” Taehyung said gruffly, starting to pace around the clearing. “Do you realize what you have done?”
Jimin looked up, his teeth were bared in fury and made the Goblin start to sweat nervously.
“I don’t want him to end up like the rest,” Jimin forced out, “I know that you don’t either, Tae.”
Taehyung hissed, “I don’t think you are in the place to be calling me that name,” he growled lowly.
Jimin huffed, “I remember when you used to love it when I called you that,” he said, “I was your best friend, Taetae.”
“You still are,” Taehyung said quietly, “but I am your king, and you are my servant. So, I want you to do this for me.”
He produced a small peach from his shirt. It glimmered softly with light, and when he handed it out to Jimin the Goblin could feel the power.
“What is this?” Jimin asked, looking at the fruit with frightened eyes, “you’re not gonna hurt him, are you?”
Taehyung chuckled softly, “no,” he said, “it won’t hurt as much as it could. But, he will not remember you well.”
“You’re wiping his memory?!” Jimin cried, now wanting to throw the peach away out of both disgust and fear.
“Not at all,” Taehyung said, “he’ll simply be asleep for a while.”
Jimin looked at his friend, his jaw clenched before he nodded. “You owe me,” he said, “you owe me big time.”
Taehyung simply smiled and then vanished in a cloud of dust and sparkles.
Jimin moved back from the clearing and close to where Hoseok and Namjoon were still sleeping. He looked up at the sky, to the moon, and sat down next to his friends.
He only had a little bit of time before they woke up, and then Hoseok had to eat. He looked at the peach, rubbing at his nose.
He didn’t want to do this, but he had to. He leant against Hoseok, pressing a small kiss against Hoseok’s forehead and then Namjoon’s.
“I’m sorry,” he whispered softly, “I’m so, so sorry. I don’t wanna do this to you.” He gently pushed Hoseok’s hair away from his forehead and looked at him. He really was a beautiful human, and it was going to be a shame to see Hoseok be trapped here for the rest of his life.
Hoseok woke up to the sound of Namjoon talking. The giant was hunched over him, Hoseok was moved into his lap with his head on his lap.
He sat up, bumping into the giant’s palm with a soft huff. “What’s going on?” He mumbled, peeking between Namjoon’s fingers sleepily.
“You’re up?” Jimin asked from where he was hunched over a pile of peaches and other fruit, “do you want to eat something? You were out for a bit, and you must be hungry.”
Hoseok hummed, pushing himself up out of Namjoon’s hold and tumbled onto the ground. He landed on his bottom painlessly and scooted over to Jimin.
“Where did you find fruit?” Hoseok asked, taking the peach that Jimin handed to him. He sniffed it. It was fragrant and smelled sweet, but he didn’t bite into it yet. There was some glitter on the skin that made him pause.
“They were on a tree nearby,” Jimin said quickly, he fiddled with an apple, twisting the stem back and forth in a nervous tick. Hoseok pulled the peach away from his mouth, looking at the Goblin.
“Was...Was Taehyung here?” He asked in a hushed tone. Jimin seemed to deflate under his stare, still not looking Hoseok in the eye.
“He was,” he said slowly. Hoseok felt Namjoon sit up behind him, looming over him. Not in a threatening way, but in a more protective way.
“Why?” The giant rumbled. Hoseok put down the peach and shield back away from Jimin. Namjoon curled a large hand around him, tugging him a bit closer to his chest.
“I don't know,” Jimin replied, now looking up from the apple, “he just wanted to talk to me.”
“What did he want?” Hoseok asked, “did he do something to you? Are you hurt?!” He leant a little over Namjoon’s hand, but the giant held him back.
“Don’t,” Namjoon murmured, “something doesn’t seem right.”
“What do you mean?” Hoseok asked, looking up at Namjoon. Namjoon didn’t reply, keeping his eyes on Jimin.
“What did Taehyung do,” Namjoon’s voice was nearly a growl it was so low. Hoseok could feel the vibrations on his back and turned his face back to Jimin who grabbed the peach that Hoseok had dropped.
“He asked me to poison Hoseok,” Jimin admitted, “he wanted me to give you this apple,” he held up the apple that he was holding and looked at it, “and he wanted me to poison you.”
The trio was quiet for a moment. The sound of the birds that surrounded them went quiet as well, as if the entire forest was listening for him.
Hosoek sat still, his mind racing and his heart thudded. Taehyung wanted him dead? Did he really? It made sense if he thought about it. The horrible pit with the monsters, glowering, snarling and the hate in Taehyung’s eyes...
He suddenly felt sick to his stomach.
“What do we do now?” He asked, clutching onto Namjoon’s hand tightly. His hand just barely wrapped around Namjoon’s thumb, which felt rather odd. Namjoon very carefully cupped his hand around Hoseok’s, barely touching.
“We continue on,” Jimin said, “we need to get to-to the castle. If Taehyung really wants you dead, then we should get you back to your world as fast as possible.”
Hoseok nodded, “okay, let’s go.”
Yeah. He was done with this world. He wanted to go home. He wanted to go back to his apartment and sleep in his bed.
God, he wanted his boyfriend back. A terrifying thought, but it was something he was longing for nonetheless. He just wanted something that was familiar. He wanted to go home!
They all got to their feet, Jimin tossed the apple into the woods and then pressed the peach into his hand.
“Please,” he whispered, clenching his fingers around Hoseok’s, “eat.”
Hoseok looked at the peach with careful eyes and then sunk his teeth into the fruit. It was sweet and juicy, the skin melted in his mouth and juice trailed from the outer corners of his mouth.
The taste was so sweet, he couldn’t get enough of it. He gulped down the juice and found that he couldn’t get enough of it. He took another bite, then paused when he hit something hard. He opened his mouth and let it fall onto his hand, and froze at what he saw.
A small glass ball. He looked up at Jimin who looked away, his eyes were wet with tears and his nose red. “I’m sorry,” he said to Hoseok, “I’m so, so sorry.”
Namjoon said something, but it was lost in the haze that covered Hoseok’s mind. His head was muddled, and as he stumbled backwards the peach and the glass ball fell from his hands and onto the soft grass.
He didn’t remember being caught, and as he fell back, back, back, he lost his mind. He was gone, asleep and floating in darkness. He looked around the darkness, simply drifting about.
It was soft and warm, and he was comforted by the touch of the darkness. It was warm and soft, and he smiled as tendrils of darkness wrapped around his body, holding him tight and keeping him stuck and safe in the darkness.
Voices surrounded him. Soft warm voices that he didn’t quite understand and as he sunk down further and further into the darkness.
Suddenly, a pair of firmer hands took his own and started to pull. His back arched as he was pulled through the darkness, and burst into a world of shimmering lights and beauty.
He was standing in a massive ballroom, dressed in an elegant yet floofy suit. It was iridescent, and shimmered in the light coming from the beautiful chandeliers that hung from the ceiling, strung up by vines and staying there only by their strength.
There were people all dancing around him, with music that was whimsical and grand. Hoseok looked around, feeling as though his head was full of cotton. He felt like he was dreaming. This...This wasn’t real.
There was a flash of a man he knew. Taehyung, who moved through the crowd like he was made of light. Hoseok was drawn to him, like a moth to a flame. Against his inner instinct screaming for him to run, he followed Taehyung as he vanished into the crowd.
He opened his mouth to shout, but he could not speak as he rushed to follow Taehyung. People parted, allowing him through. He dashed through them, panting as he grabbed onto the sleeve of Taehyung’s shirt.
Taehyung looked back at him, and Hoseok’s legs grew weak. They trembled, and eventually failed underneath him. He sunk to his knees, still clutching Taehyung’s sleeve as he looked up at the Goblin King with wide eyes.
“Oh, my dear,” Taehyung purred, “how soon you have gone on your knees for me,” he grinned, showing off sharp teeth, “of course, I cannot do what I truly please, alas-we are not in the bedroom.”
Hoseok’s stomach turned at the implications of that, and he shook his head. “I-I wasn’t,” he stammered, “I wasn’t thinking of that at all!” He protested weakly.
Taehyung’s grin reminded Hoseok of a shark.
“You will think of it soon,” he purred, “and when you do, my room will be open to allow you to service me,” his finger and thumb firmly grasped Hoseok’s chin, pulling on it slightly until Hoseok got the initiative and got to his feet.
“Do you like what I built for you?” Taehyung asked, taking Hoseok’s hand in his own, his other hand cupping Hoseok’s waist to pull him close. Hoseok jolted, his face pink as Taehyung began to dance.
Hoseok knew how to dance. He had been on a dance team until his boyfriend forced him to quit and had done it for nearly 10 years. Getting back into dancing after two years of being unable to, gave way to foreign feelings that were as unusual as they were familiar.
Hoseok felt as if he wasn’t in control of his body. Taehyung led him around in a wild and swirling dance that Hoseok had no control over. His heart beat wildly in his chest as he stared at Taehyung. Something was stirring in his chest, not his heart, but a feeling.
A feeling so raw and sharp and violent that it made his body want to burst. He recognized this feeling.
The beginnings of love.
He felt lips against his own as Taehyung twirled them around. A sense of vertigo sung through his body as Taehyung grabbed the back of his neck, squeezing the skin and pushing them further together. Hoseok felt ill, his head swimming and colours that he couldn’t comprehend swam through his vision, warping it.
Taehyung deepened the kiss as they continued to dance, swirling, swirling, swirling until Hoseok pulled away with a stuttering gasp.
“My Queen,” Taehyung giggled, “you’re going to be my queen now.”
Hoseok looked at him, his breath catching in his throat. No, wait. He didn’t want this. He put his hands on Taehyung’s chest and shoved as hard as he could before tearing away.
He ran away from Taehyung, through the crowd in horror as he struggled to find a way out of the ballroom. He shrieked as he fell, falling through a darkened pit into an abyss.
He fell down, down, down. Faster and faster as he howled out of fear. There was nothing that he could grab anything to stop himself from falling.
“Give yourself up to me, Hoseok,” Taehyung’s voice whispered huskily into his ear, “ just give in. I will treat you like a diamond, all I ask is that you give into me.”
Hoseok spiralled through the darkness, a rush of light appearing at what seemed to be the bottom of the pit. He let out a scream, covering his eyes as he neared the light at breakneck pace.
He fell into a place of light, landing on an incredibly soft surface. It was white and billowy, rippling and moving in slow motion. It was covered in glitter, and the whole area smelled like cotton candy.
He was no longer dressed in the suit, but the clothing he had been wearing when he was awake.
When he was...
What had he been doing?
He felt a hand touch his shoulder and he looked up. Taehyung was standing behind him, a smile on his face. Hoseok’s stomach turned and he felt afraid, recalling the way Taehyung had been cruel to him and the warning Jimin had sent his way.
“My dear,” Taehyung murmured, crouching down to get to Hoseok’s level, “are you ready to give into me?” He asked, gently moving some of Hoseok’s hair out of his face, fixing it where it had gone askew.
“Never,” Hoseok replied, “I’m still going to win your labyrinth.”
Taehyung hummed at his determination, his face not changing, “is that so?” He whispered, “you don’t have much time left,” he waved his hand, and made a large clock appear in front of them. The hour hand was on the 10 now, with the minute one ticking away.
“Why not give in?” Taehyung whispered into Hoseok’s ear, “I can give you anything you want,” he rested his hands on Hoseok’s shoulders, his nose brushing against Hoseok’s hair, “this world is yours to manipulate.”
“You’ve been cruel to me,” Hoseok replied tartly, “how do I know this isn’t a trick? How do I know that you won’t turn me into a Goblin if I come with you?”
“You don't,” Taehyung replied, “my past incarnations may not have been kind, but I assure you that I am.”
He removed his hands from Hoseok’s shoulders and rounded him to look Hoseok in the eye, “if you come with me, we can negotiate. I may be the Goblin King, but I will not be cruel to my Queen if he so chooses to become mine.”
He touched his fingertips to Hoseok’s chin. Hoseok narrowed his eyes and pushed his hand away, “I will win your labyrinth,” he declared, “I’ll get out.”
Taehyung smiled, albeit a bit sad, “of course, my dear. You can try,” he leant in and pressed his lips to Hoseok’s forehead, humming.
“Remember nothing but me,” he murmured, “you say you can escape my labyrinth, but are you telling yourself a lie?”
He pulled back and pushed Hoseok back into the soft blankets that sucked him in, and pulled him down into an oblivion of soft blankets and cotton candy scents.