“Are you sure about adding tannis root to this?” Yoongi asked, watching Jungkook’s bubbling potion skeptically.
“No. That’s why it’s an experiment,” Jungkook said. He tipped more of the ground up root into his potion and it shifted from an ocean blue to the inky darkness of the night sky. Nearly perfect for his memory potion.
“Is this because of Kim Seokjin’s empathy potion?”
“No,” Jungkook said quickly.
It was absolutely because of Kim Seokjin’s empathy potion, but he wasn’t about to tell Yoongi that. Maybe pulling this off would prove that Jungkook was the superior potion brewer and cement his ingredient shop as the superior store in the neighborhood. And maybe, maybe, maybe it would impress Seokjin too.
Jungkook turned the stove’s heat off and his hands trembled a little as he portioned his potion into a vial. Seokjin had gotten the drop on him with his empathy potion but this would certainly make up for it and Jungkook could hardly wait.
“Jungkook, you -" Yoongi started but Jungkook had already tipped the potion into his mouth and swallowed. Yoongi looked on in mild horror, his hands raised in surrender to Jungkook’s bad ideas. “You know you shouldn’t have done that.”
The potion went down Jungkook’s throat like a shot of whiskey, warm all the way into his chest. He had just opened his mouth to gloat at Yoongi when a strange knot formed in his stomach. Jungkook took a deep breath, trying to calm whatever was changing inside of him, but his abdomen just clenched tighter and tighter. He wheezed and flattened his palm against his stomach.
“Shit, are you ok?” Yoongi asked. He touched Jungkook’s forehead and then his cheek. “You’re hot.”
“Thanks,” Jungkook replied but he was still grimacing against the strange pressure inside his body.
“I’m calling Taehyung.”
“No!” Jungkook said quickly. “He’ll be here soon anyway. And I’m fine! Totally fine. See - look how fine I’m feeling.”
He tried to school his face into a normal charming grin but Yoongi seemed entirely unmoved. Luckily for Jungkook, Yoongi had a big soft spot for him and frequently let him get away with spells he should have been more careful about.
“If you’re not normal in the next hour I’m calling Taehyung no matter where he is,” Yoongi said and brushed past Jungkook to sit on the couch.
Jungkook felt a little better when Taehyung finally let himself into Jungkook and Yoongi’s apartment. He was ready to whip up an anti-nausea potion and get to bed without having to talk about unfortunate side-effects.
“Hey, Jungkook. Hi, blueberry,” Taehyung placed his hand on Yoongi’s blue hair and Yoongi leaned into the touch with a soft smile. He truly had the grossest crush Jungkook had ever seen. “How are my best boys?”
“Jungkook drank a potion that he didn’t test first and now he’s sick,” Yoongi tattled immediately.
“Wha - I -” Jungkook grasped for words while Taehyung looked alarmed. “I mostly knew what I was doing. I’m not sick.” He neglected to mention the uncomfortable roiling in his stomach or the fever crawling across his skin. Taehyung was a healer at one of the biggest hospitals in the city and if he examined Jungkook he would know something was wrong immediately.
“Let me take a look at you,” Taehyung was already coming towards him and Jungkook stood up from the couch quickly and blinked hard at the way his brain seemed to slosh against his skull.
“I’m fine,” he insisted and held his hands out. “I just -" Spots appeared in his vision and Jungkook felt too light headed to continue. His next step ended with him falling to his knees but he barely registered the pain of hitting the ground. He could vaguely feel Taehyung and Yoongi’s hands on him but it seemed they were somehow very far away. Jungkook closed his eyes and tried to keep breathing, the heat in his body almost burning now, until his next breath came easily and pain free. He realized that he was on the ground with his friends staring down at him, twin expressions of shock on their faces.
Jungkook opened his mouth to tell them that he was fine now but nothing came out. Everything about his mouth felt sort of off, like the size was wrong or something.
“Jungkook…” Taehyung said slowly, reaching towards him. “Don’t freak out, ok?”
Before Jungkook could ask what he meant, Taehyung was touching him and his hands seemed to cover Jungkook’s whole body before he actually lifted Jungkook up like he weighed nothing. Then they were standing in front of the full length mirror near the hallway and Jungkook saw Taehyung holding - a rabbit? A little fluffy gray thing with ears sticking straight up. When Jungkook tried to cock his head the rabbit in the mirror moved its head too. Then it moved the other way at the same time he did.
“Isn’t he so cute though? Look at his little white tummy,” Taehyung said and tried to rub Jungkook’s belly. Jungkook squirmed, kicking out his back legs wildly.
“Tae, you’re scaring him,” Yoongi said and took Jungkook away. He set Jungkook on the floor with a quick pat on the head and let him hop back towards the mirror.
A rabbit. A tiny one too. He looked like a stuffed animal come to life and Jungkook had no idea how he had fucked up so tremendously. He closed his eyes and tried to focus on being a human, his fingers, his muscles, his height. When he opened his eyes he was still looking back at a bunny in the mirror.
“Are you still Jungkook?” Taehyung asked. Jungkook whipped his head around and hoped his sweet round face was glaring hard enough. Taehyung held up his hands. “Ok, I guess so. Well now what?”
Unfortunately, his friends could barely brew a cup of tea, much less the kind of potion that could reverse whatever had happened. So they waited.
Jungkook sat on the couch with his front paws and chin on Yoongi’s thigh and pouted miserably while his friends watched TV. Maybe the syrup of celodia had acted poorly with the baneberry? Or could he have turned the heat up too high while Yoongi was fretting and distracting him?
After an hour or so of thinking about his possible mistakes and receiving tiny pets from his friends, Jungkook started to feel warm again and a little dizzy. He scrunched up his face against the odd sensations and when he opened his eyes he had two arms and legs again and was stretched out across Taehyung and Yoongi’s laps.
“Hey, you fixed it!” Taehyung said as he pat Jungkook’s shin.
“I didn’t fix anything,” Jungkook said and he tried to sit upright on the couch. “I don’t even know how that happened. Taehyung, you have to help me.”
Taehyung looked Jungkook up and down with a thoughtful pout. “Kook, I fix broken bones. You drank a janked up potion that reacted badly. You need a janked up potions expert.”
“Where am I going to find a potions exp - oh crap.”
“Yup!” Taehyung leaned back and kicked his feet up on the coffee table.
Jungkook almost thought he liked Seokjin when he first met him. He had come into the store looking for unicorn hair, something so specific and rare that Jungkook had to know what he was using it for and then they got into talking about potions. Seokjin seemed to know so much about brewing that Jungkook was equal parts jealous and impressed. Jungkook thought maybe he had found someone just like him. Until Seokjin mentioned that he was opening his own potions store two blocks away.
He tried not to let it show on in face too much, but inside Jungkook was seething. This guy had the gall to walk into Jungkook’s store and basically announce he was going to be poaching Jungkook’s customers. It didn’t help that he made unique and difficult potions, a praise once heaped on Jungkook. He decided his initial assessment of Seokjin was just because of his pretty face and nothing more.
He could see Seokjin through the window of his store now, writing something on a notepad and looking tall, and stupid, and broad, and dumb, and handsome, or whatever.
Just suck it up. Just ask someone else for help. Just - be a grown up. Swallow your pride. Just. Ask.
As he walked into Kim’s Potion Cellar an uncomfortable heat settled under Jungkook’s skin, like standing unprotected in the blazing summer sun. He thought the feeling was just discomfort or shame until he got a little dizzy, an instant headrush. In the second it took to close his eyes and recover he was suddenly looking up at all the tall shelves in Seokjin’s shop.
Nooooo no no no. Jungkook had transformed, right when he finally decided to ask for help with said transformation. Now Seokjin was walking around the store curiously, probably wondering if he had really heard the door open at all. Jungkook thought about hopping to safety and hiding somewhere when Seokjin looked right at him and smiled.
“Aww, where’d you come from, little guy?”
Suddenly, horribly, mortifyingly - Seokjin slipped one hand under Jungkook’s tummy and lifted him straight off the ground. Jungkook’s tiny heart beat wildly as the floor got further away and Seokjin must have felt it because he cooed again and settled Jungkook against his chest.
“Hey, it’s ok. I’m not gonna hurt you.”
He stroked Jungkook’s head, smoothing his ears down with every pat and letting his hand travel the length of Jungkook’s body before returning to his head. Jungkook thought about kicking him, or sinking those big bunny teeth into Seokjin’s arm before scurrying away. But Seokjin smiled at him softly, palm still gently petting his fur and all Jungkook could do was stare up into his dark eyes.
“There you go. Everything’s alright. You’re just the cutest thing, aren’t you?”
Jungkook wanted so badly to take offense but instead he pressed his soft forehead against Seokjin’s chest and flattened his ears, refusing to acknowledge Seokjin for another second. Of course it didn’t stop Seokjin from petting him. He even lifted Jungkook a little higher to cradle him to his cheek for a moment. As a rabbit, Jungkook was so small that he easily fit in both of Seokjin’s hands and was totally trapped.
He thought things couldn’t get any worse until Seokjin turned Jungkook onto his back and held him in his arms like a baby. For a moment Jungkook was too stunned to move. He felt surrounded on all sides by the warmth of Seokjin’s body as Seokjin rubbed Jungkook’s paws with his fingertips. Finally Jungkook realized what was happening - what he was allowing to happen - and wriggled and squirmed in Seokjin’s hold.
“Ok, ok, sorry sweetheart,” Seokjin held him upright again and Jungkook bumped his head against Seokjin’s fingers in protest.
Seokjin was still holding him when Hoseok, one of Seokjin’s workers that Jungkook had met a few times, walked in from the shop’s backroom carrying a large box, several more hovering behind him. He gave Jungkook a curious look as he set down his box and the rest gently floated to the floor.
“Who’s your friend?” Hoseok asked.
“Dunno,” Seokjin answered, rubbing under Jungkook’s chin. “I think Namjoon has been trying to get animals to talk again and this little experiment got loose.”
“Ah, sorry. I’ll ask Joonie to be more careful.”
“Aw, he’s ‘Joonie’ already?”
“No. I don’t know. Shut up.”
He waved his hand and the tape on the box split apart like it had been sliced by a knife. Jungkook wanted to see what kind of ingredients he was unpacking but Seokjin started scratching at the base of his ears and god it felt better than every massage Jungkook had ever received all at once. He couldn’t help his eyes fluttering closed and tilting his head for an even better scratch. Taehyung and Yoongi could absolutely never find out about this.
“I’m glad that it’s going well with you two,” Seokjin said.
Hoseok ducked his head as if he was looking into his box but Jungkook could see the flush on his cheeks from across the room.
“Thanks,” he said simply, glass vials clinking together as he unpacked them.
Jungkook could feel the rumbling in Seokjin’s chest as he chuckled softly and it nearly made him shiver. He stopped listening to the other witches talking as he looked around the store, privately impressed at the number of fresh potion ingredients on the tall shelves. He itched to get his hands on the moon seeds straight across from him and try out a new recipe for positive dreams he had been thinking of.
“What are you working on for the rest of the day?” he heard Hoseok ask.
“I’m just hanging out with this cutie.” Seokjin lifted Jungkook up with both hands and rubbed their noses together before kissing the top of his head, right between his long bunny ears.
This was it. This was what dying felt like. A slow warmth blooming out from Jungkook’s chest and engulfing his whole body, heat pumping through his veins.
Oh. No, that wasn’t dying. That was transforming.
Jungkook had squeezed his eyes closed when Seokjin nuzzled him and when he opened them now Seokjin was staring back at him with wide eyes, both hands cradling his cheeks, still almost nose to nose. They were both frozen for a moment, Seokjin’s breath ghosting across his lips, until Seokjin smiled, slow and playful and said, “Hey there, bunny.”
It took a moment for Jungkook to react - still processing the cuddling, the kissing, their proximity, “bunny” - before he shoved Seokjin in the chest.
“Get off,” he grumbled.
Seokjin took a step back but still laughed and rubbed his chest where Jungkook had pushed him.
“Was that really you?” he asked. “I didn’t know you were a shapeshifter.”
“I’m not,” Jungkook said hotly and suddenly very unsure of where to put his hands.
“Hoseok, did that rabbit just turn into Jeon Jungkook or not?”
“Sure looked like it from where I’m standing,” Hoseok replied, not seeming surprised at all.
“It was an accident,” Jungkook protested. “And who just picks up strange animals?”
Seokjin shrugged. “You seemed pretty harmless.”
Jungkook really had no smart response to that so he just balled his hands into fists at his sides and tried to stop his cheeks from burning.
“Can I talk to you? Alone?” Jungkook ground out.
“Sure!” Seokjin said brightly, like a loose rabbit in his store hadn’t just transformed into a rival witch and gravely asked to speak with him. “You can come into my office.”
Jungkook desperately avoided eye contact with Hoseok as Seokjin led him into a small office against the back wall. The office was immaculate, desk neat and free of piles of order forms and spell ideas unlike Jungkook’s own desk. Jungkook seated himself in a chair next to an unassuming plant until the leaves bent themselves towards Jungkook’s arm and glided across his skin.
“Hey,” Seokjin said sharply and flicked the branch away. “We talked about this.” The plant shivered like it was shaken by a strong wind before sitting still. “Sorry about that. It’s...touchy. Anyway, what can I help you with?” He settled into his desk chair and looked at Jungkook expectantly.
“I need you,” Jungkook said and Seokjin’s eyes widened. “I mean your help! I need you to help me. I don’t - I mean -”
The more flustered he felt, the happier Seokjin seemed to be, absolutely beaming as Jungkook sputtered.
“So you didn’t just come by just to show off your flashy transfiguring powers?”
“That’s actually sort of the problem. I drank an...experimental potion and now I just turn into a rabbit sometimes.”
Seokjin touched his own heart. “I recognize this as a big problem for you but it’s a really precious, adorable problem to have. I’m surprised you’re not pink like your hair.” At Jungkook’s pouting, Seokjin tried to make his expression serious. “Ok, ok. Well. What kind of potion was it?”
“Memory enhancing,” Jungkook explained.
“Hmm. Yeah I can see where they could be tricky. Does anything bring on the transformation? Like when you’re scared or emotional?”
Jungkook shrugged. “I don’t think so. It’s happened four times in the last two days and nothing about it is the same. One second I’m me and the next I’m a rabbit. Don’t say aww.” He held up a finger and Seokjin’s mouth snapped shut but he still seemed to be biting back a smile. His eyes always seemed to be glittering with something mischievous and it made Jungkook squirm in his chair.
“Well it’s not a lot to work with but I can try and help you,” Seokjin said. “I’m sure together we can manage something.”
“I can pay you,” Jungkook told him.
“That’s ridiculous,” Seokjin waved his hand. “You’re my friend and friends get their spell goof ups fixed for free.”
It seemed like a bad time to point out that they were technically rivals when Seokjin had kindly offered to help him so Jungkook just nodded and muttered a quick, “Thanks.”
“Is this safe to drink?” Jungkook asked, holding up a bottle filled with purple liquid that could have been juice or something dangerous.
“Yes,” Seokjin said and then looked up quickly from his book. “No - wait. Uh...no, I don’t think so. Better stick with water.”
Jungkook sighed and went to get a clean glass from the cabinet. He had come over to Seokjin’s apartment every night this week to research possible solutions and every time they had come up with nothing. Part of it was just bad luck. The spell reversal potion Seokjin whipped up had done nothing. They also couldn’t determine what had gone wrong with Jungkook’s original spell.
The other thing holding them back was Jungkook being a very unreliable research partner. One minute he was sitting at Seokjin’s dining table poring over a heavy spell book, the next he was a little gray rabbit, just clinging onto Seokjin’s leg with his front paws. Seokjin was always quick enough to get his hand under Jungkook’s flailing back legs and scoop him up into his lap.
Today had been particularly frustrating with three transformations before lunch, by far the most Jungkook had experienced so far. They left him feeling exhausted and grouchy and he was ready to get under the covers and pout.
“Have you looked at the book Namjoon suggested yet?” Jungkook asked as he filled his glass with perfectly safe tap water.
“Not yet,” Seokjin called back. He still seemed deeply focused on the tome about medicinal herbs open on his kitchen table.
Jungkook barely made it out of the kitchen before he felt the wave of warmth and dizziness that signaled a transformation. One more step and he was small and fluffy with his glass shattered on the floor beside him.
“Don’t move!” Seokjin shouted and Jungkook suddenly found that he couldn’t. His body froze on its own, magic rooting him in place. When Seokjin lifted him up from the floor his muscles seemed to break free of the spell, legs dangling high above the floor.
“Are you ok?” Seokjin tipped Jungkook onto his back and gently combed his fur for any broken glass. He peered closely at Jungkook’s paws and Seokjin’s face was alarmingly close and his touch was so delicate that Jungkook squirmed in his arms.
“Just one more second, ok?” Seokjin sounded so earnest that Jungkook took one calming breath and laid still in Seokjin’s arms while he tended to him.
“You better be careful,” Seokjin said before he set Jungkook down on the table. He used the opportunity to hop across Seokjin’s books and flop down on to the table, distraught, and tired, and ready to be done with all of this. At least Seokjin seemed undeterred while Jungkook was moping, getting right back to his book and studying the words carefully.
“Hm, maybe mint could be the ingredient we need,” Seokjin said and placed his hand on Jungkook’s exposed tummy. Jungkook froze but Seokjin didn’t seem to notice, still absorbed in his book but idly petting Jungkook’s fur as he read more.
“What do you think, bunny?” Seokjin asked and Jungkook thanked all the gods that rabbits couldn’t blush.
Running the store was impossible in Jungkook’s condition so he put up a sign that said he was on vacation. He would have given anything to actually be relaxing on a beach but instead he spent most days at Seokjin’s apartment. It had been almost two weeks spent reading hundreds of books, or curled up in Seokjin’s lap as a rabbit and brooding. Jungkook was brewing calming potions as fast as he could and still barely kept up with what he and Seokjin needed.
“I can’t read anymore, I need a break,” Seokjin slammed his spell book closed and threw himself onto his couch dramatically. “Make sure you clean everything up.”
Jungkook had been reading a book and doing him damndest to turn the page with his nose and wasn’t going to be left researching alone. He hopped up onto Seokjin’s chest, intending to get in his face and somehow convey there was no time for breaks as long as he was still a rabbit - until Seokjin started stroking the top of his head.
“Aw, hey bunny. How come you’re so sweet and cuddly when you’re a rabbit and you sulk at me all day when you’re human? Huh?” He rubbed Jungkook’s cheek gently. “What made you so bratty?”
At that moment Jungkook was actually glad he was voiceless because he has no idea what to say. He didn’t know how to explain their easy physical bond when he was a bunny. Jungkook wanted to stay mad, alert, on the hunt for an answer. But when Seokjin pet him, gently smoothing down his fur, scratching under his chin - Jungkook couldn’t help getting carried away. He lowered his chin against Seokjin’s chest so he was pressed completely against him and closed his eyes.
“See, you like me, don’t you?” Seokjin’s hand continued its soothing path over Jungkook’s fur.
He couldn’t answer so Jungkook just lay still and drifted off into a comfortable nap.
“I always thought if I figured out animal transformation I would be something cool like a dragon or a panther but instead I got this little cotton ball.”
Jungkook sullenly flipped another page in his spell book. He was pretty sure he had looked at this one already. The couch was so comfortable he felt like just sinking into it and sleeping for the rest of the evening.
“Panthers would be impractical,” Seokjin said without looking up. “And dragons are just huge lizards.”
“Dragons fly .”
“Bunnies are fast, and discrete, and cute,” Seokjin said. “You want to be a bunny.”
Jungkook rubbed at the rising flush on his cheek with his sleeve. “Whatever. Yoongi is a shapeshifter and he got stuck with a cat.”
Yoongi never seemed to really mind changing into a sleek black cat instead of something interesting and powerful. He mostly used the time to hop around dangerous ledges or rub his face against Taehyung’s and sleep in his lap.
“Min Yoongi is a shapeshifter?” Seokjin asked, a little more interested than Jungkook expected. It was hard work but plenty of witches had figured out transforming themselves into animals. A witch losing their mind in the body of the animal hadn’t been a concern for centuries.
“Yeah,” Jungkook said with a shrug. “I’m pretty sure someone helped him though.”
Seokjin gave Jungkook a searching look for a moment that made him feel breathlessly exposed until he left the couch and went to his bookshelf.
“Maybe we’ve been looking at this the wrong way,” Seokjin inspected the spines of his books until he selected one. He returned with the book brandished in front of him like a shield - Modification Through the Ages . “Instead of reversing it, what if you could just control it.”
“You mean like -”
“Turning you into a shapeshifter? Yeah, like that.”
Jungkook felt properly alive for the first time in days. They’d never come this close to a lead before.
“Could we manage something like that?”
Seokjin sat down beside Jungkook, knee against Jungkook’s thigh, and smiled as he flipped a little frantically through the pages of his book. “You and me together could brew any potion we wanted. I think I have the recipe but it’s such a pain in the ass, I never bothered to try it. And the magic is pretty complicated so even if we have the proper ingredients, the transformation might not work.”
“Yoongi told me it hurt,” Jungkook said cautiously.
That got Seokjin’s attention long enough to make him look up from the book.
“Yeah...I’ve heard that,” he said and it was the first time Jungkook had ever seen him troubled, pouting and looking at Jungkook with big sympathetic eyes.
Jungkook shrugged, trying not to show any fear. “Whatever, it’s ok.” He still let Seokjin pet his hair without complaint. Just another indulgence.
Seokjin let his hand settle on Jungkook’s shoulder and looked at him seriously.
“There’s a tiny problem though. You’d have to drink it during the next full moon.”
Jungkook was always, always up to date on the phases of the moon and -
“That’s not for another three weeks,” he said slowly, pulling away from Seokjin’s touch.
“I can’t be stuck like this for another three weeks!”
“We’re sort of out of other options right now.”
Jungkook groaned and dragged his fingers through his hair. “There has to be something else. I can’t take another three weeks of this.”
“Three weeks is better than forever.”
“You don’t get it,” Jungkook said mulishly and stood up from the couch. He didn’t know where he wanted to go but he felt like he should storm off somewhere.
“You’re lucky!” Seokjin insisted, also rising from the couch to argue. “If it took us another two days to come up with this we’d miss the brewing period and have to wait for the next full moon.”
“I don’t feel very lucky turning into a helpless animal against my will.”
“You’re not helpless.”
“How could that possibly be true?”
“Because you have me.”
Jungkook nearly gasped, all his breath pushed out by Seokjin’s words. They stood facing each other in silence, the tension a thick wall between them. Jungkook was never really sure what to say in the face of Seokjin’s kindness.
He opened his mouth to respond without actually knowing what he was going to say before warmth overtook his body. He couldn’t even say sorry before he was small and fluffy again, a bunny sitting at Seokjin’s feet.
Seokjin usually carried Jungkook everywhere or let him sit in the front pouch of his hoodies so it was almost shocking when he muttered, “I’ll get started on the potion,” and walked into the kitchen alone. Jungkook could hear him set the spell book down on the counter with a loud bang and then pots and pans crashing against each other.
Jungkook followed him into the kitchen, hopping along slowly as he thought about turning back with each step. He settled near Seokjin’s feet as he worked, just watching from the floor.
Seokjin had spent days researching spell reversals and brewing potions whenever they had a new theory. Now he carefully measured out ingredients, making sure each new scoop was level before adding it to the potion, meticulously checking each step to ensure it was perfect. He was working so hard trying to help Jungkook and make him happy - and all Jungkook had ever done was be kind of a dick to him.
Jungkook stood up on his back legs and placed his paws against Seokjin’s shin, gently patting him with one little foot. Seokjin glanced down at him without pausing in his stirring but at least Jungkook had his attention. It was hard for Jungkook to make any sounds but he managed one tiny squeak that he hoped said, “Please forgive me and hold me again.”
Seokjin sighed dramatically and slapped his wooden stirring spoon onto the counter. He took a deep, slow breath before he grumbled, “Come here,” and bent down to pick Jungkook up. Jungkook immediately rubbed his face against Seokjin’s cheek and jaw, burrowing against his shoulder as Seokjin held him.
“You drive me crazy,” Seokjin said but he nuzzled the top of Jungkook’s head and gave him a quick scratch under the chin before depositing him on the counter.
It must have taken an hour for Seokjin to get through the preliminary stage of the potion, working quietly and petting Jungkook as he watched from the counter. He muttered incantations along with some of the ingredients and checked his spell book between each addition, careful not to make a single mistake. Eventually the potion bubbled into a thick and pale purple liquid.
“You have to drink some of this every day until the full moon,” Seokjin said. He used a dropper to pull up some of the potion and feed it to Jungkook. At first it tasted sweet, like juice from a ripe melon, before the taste seemed to crumble to bitterness in his mouth and he gagged. Seokjin smiled a little as Jungkook rubbed his face with his front paws, ruffling his fur.
“It should get better the longer it brews. Come on. It’s late, bunny.”
Jungkook was just pleased to be in Seokjin’s good graces again so he allowed Seokjin to carry him to his room and place him gently on the bed.
“You don’t mind sleeping here, right?” Jungkook hopped onto one of Seokjin’s pillows and laid down, much happier in a bed than stuck on the couch. He had nearly drifted off when Seokjin finally came to bed, wearing comfortable pajamas and smelling of some green tea face product.
Seokjin nestled his head on the opposite pillow and stroked one of Jungkook’s ears from the base to the tip and smiled at him.
“I really do want to help you. I’m sorry if I was shitty before.”
Jungkook tried to convey “me too” by pointing at himself but all he managed to do was get up on his hind legs and topple over onto the mattress. Seokjin laughed and his eyes were so soft and full of affection that Jungkook felt adored all the way down to his fluffy tail.
“You’re silly. C’mere.”
He put his arm around Jungkook to pull him in close and Jungkook let himself be moved across the bed until he and Seokjin were eye to eye. Seokjin gave him a gentle pat on the back.
“We’ll get up early tomorrow and spend the whole day working on this, ok?”
Jungkook answered by pressing his nose to Seokjin’s and feeling his heart soar at the cute way Seokjin’s face scrunched up before he smiled.
Jungkook took one more tiny hop to settle under Seokjin’s chin and fell asleep soaking up his warmth.
By morning, Jungkook was human and still very entangled in a cuddle, Seokjin’s arm around his body ensuring they stayed together. It was the first time they had been so close when they were both human and Jungkook found it a little hard to breathe. Every inhale brought the clean smell of Seokjin’s soap and part of Jungkook’s brain wanted him to press forward into Seokjin’s collar for more. He clenched his hands into fists against his chest and tried very hard not to move.
“Seokjin,” he said quietly and poked one finger into Seokjin’s chest. “Hey. You’re kind of - hey. Wake up.”
Seokjin groaned and kept his eyes firmly closed.
“Absolutely not. Sleep more.”
“No, please, can we talk?”
“Mmmm,” Seokjin grumbled. “You may talk at me while I sleep.”
“I’m really sorry,” Jungkook said quickly, his palms on Seokjin’s chest. “I couldn’t tell you last night but I’m sorry that I snapped at you. It’s not your fault.”
“Hey, it’s ok,” Seokjin pat Jungkook’s hip. “I’m sorry too. Let’s get back -”
“No, I feel really terrible about what happened,” Jungkook protested.
“No, no, come here. Put your face in my hand.”
Seokjin held his hand up in the space between them, eyes still barely open, and Jungkook gingerly placed his cheek against Seokjin’s palm.
“It’s ok,” Seokjin said, stroking Jungkook’s cheekbone with his thumb. “I know you’re under a lot of pressure. I’m sorry I was an asshole.”
“No, I’m sorry,” Jungkook pulled away from Seokjin’s hand. “I was the one being a brat.”
“No, no, come on,” Seokjin dragged Jungkook closer until his face was pressed against Seokjin’s neck, effectively silencing him. “It’s ok, Kookie. We’re both sorry - you slightly more so. I know you didn’t mean it and you still adore me. Can we go back to sleep now?”
Seokjin seemed to be on his way there already, eyes closed and breathing softly. It didn’t seem fair that he could sleep soundly with Jungkook wrapped up in his arms while Jungkook felt pure adrenaline pumping through his veins. He planned on staying awake until Seokjin got up but then he blinked and opened his eyes an hour later to Seokjin ruffling his hair and murmuring, “Morning, sleepy.”
Yoongi hadn’t made his own shapeshifting potion but asking him questions about it seemed like a good place to start. Seokjin took dutiful notes while they spoke in Yoongi and Jungkook’s apartment.
“I’ve always been good at cosmetic magic like my hair,” Yoongi ran his fingers through his bangs, now pink after Taehyung had mentioned it was one of his favorite colors on Yoongi. “I thought shapeshifting was like the next step up.”
“Did you worry that it was dangerous?” Seokjin asked.
Yoongi merely shrugged. “I guess. But I was young and dumb and it seemed exciting.”
“And the change is easy?” Jungkook asked, leaning forward in his seat with interest.
“Sure. After the first catalyst, it’s nothing. I just kind of - want it to happen and it does.”
“Yeah, you need something to make the spell take effect. Like -” Yoongi waved his hand around, casting about for the right words. “Like a shock? Something that gets your blood moving and gets everything started. I don’t know, that’s what Kihyun explained right before he shoved me. He’s the one who made the potion and knew everything about it.”
“I think we’ve got it,” Seokjin said and flipped his notebook closed. He seemed so confident that this would all work and Jungkook found himself trying to copy Seokjin to seem less afraid.
Nothing got past Yoongi, who reached over and touched Jungkook’s leg that had been bouncing up and down incessantly. “Hey. Don’t worry so much. It’s just one more potion, right?”
“Yeah,” Jungkook said, trying to convince himself. “I’m not scared.”
Yoongi pouted, doubtful of Jungkook’s words, but instead of calling him on it, he gently tucked some of Jungkook’s hair behind his ear and let him keep his secrets.
Since Jungkook couldn’t run his own potion shop, he spent most of his time at Kim’s Potion Cellar. While he was a human, Jungkook could help Seokjin brew potions for sale, test new ingredients, read up on recipes and spells. When he inevitably turned into a rabbit, Seokjin carried him around the store or let him sit on the counter and pet his ears when things were slow.
One afternoon a customer came into the shop while Jungkook was nibbling some kale on the counter (he found that any rabbit inappropriate food didn’t appeal to him at all when he shifted). Seokjin immediately stepped out to greet the other witch, a shorter man with striking silver hair.
“Hi,” he said brightly. “I’m Seokjin, I’m the owner here. Can I help you with anything?”
“Oh, hi. I’m Jimin -” the other witch started before he made eye contact with Jungkook and smiled. “Oh my god, your bunny is so cute.”
Jungkook dropped his snack on the counter and sniffed the air. Jimin smelled sweet like sugar and cinnamon and it put Jungkook a little more at ease with this stranger.
“Thanks!” Seokjin said, and lifted Jungkook up with gentle hands. “This is my familiar Kookie.”
Jungkook hoped he could still scowl as a rabbit while Seokjin cuddled him to his cheek and Jimin cooed at them both.
“Do you think I can pet him?” he asked.
“Of course, Kookie’s a little angel.”
Before Jungkook could wriggle out of Seokjin’s hands, Jimin had reached out and found the perfect spot behind Jungkook’s ear that turned him into putty in Seokjin’s hands. He let himself relax in Seokjin’s hold as Jimin pet him and called him a sweetheart. Jungkook did have to admit that people were very complimentary to him as a bunny. And it did feel pretty nice to be pet all the time.
“So what can I help you with?” Seokjin asked as he drew Jungkook closer to his chest. Jungkook was still so relaxed that he bumped the top of his head under Seokjin’s jaw and let his eyes drift closed.
“It’s actually my skin,” Jimin said. “I’ve been using Madame Marie’s tea tree concoction for months but lately I have all these dry spots on my face.”
“Yeah, they changed the formula earlier this year. Started using essense of fiolla which is really just a cheap version of genuine bee venom.” Seokjin sighed, ruffling the fur on the top of Jungkook’s head. “You know it’s a lot cheaper to just get the raw ingredients and make your own.”
Jimin scratched the back of his head. “I’m not sure I’d be able to do something like that.”
“It’s easy,” Seokjin told him. “I can tell you everything you need.”
“Oh. Thank you so much,” Jimin smiled. “I’ve never been very good at potions. My specialty is charms.”
“I should have known since you’re so charming.”
Jimin’s laugh sounded like music and his eyes curved sweetly like pretty crescent moons and Jungkook felt like pouting. His mood took an even worse turn when Jimin touched Seokjin’s arm while he laughed. For reasons he couldn’t explain (and didn’t care to examine), Jungkook leaned over and nudged Jimin’s fingers away from where they were resting near Seokjin’s elbow.
“Oh, sorry little guy,” Jimin still smiled kindly.
“Aw, hey,” Seokjin said quietly, just for Jungkook. “What’s wrong, bunny?”
Jungkook didn’t want to put a name to the sour feeling in his stomach so he burrowed his face between Seokjin’s arm and his chest and felt the steady rhythm of his heart.
“He gets shy,” Seokjin explained and pat Jungkook’s back.
He knew he should have been paying attention and trying to learn something as Seokjin lead Jimin around the store and picked out ingredients for him. Instead he sulked in Seokjin’s arms and bumped against his fingers when he was feeling particularly ignored. Jungkook hoped his weird mood was subtle until Jimin looked at him and frowned.
“Is Kookie ok?”
Seokjin looked down, concerned. “Maybe. He was ok this morning.”
“If you’re having a bad day maybe Kookie is responding to you. Familiars are very intuitive. Do you mind if I hold him to check him out?”
It should have set Jungkook’s heart racing but he was too worn down to care. He was completely at the whim of Seokjin’s teasing. If Seokjin wanted to let him be handled by a stranger, then what could Jungkook even do about it? But Seokjin looked down at him with a frown, his eyes searching for something in Jungkook’s.
“Uh - sorry. I don’t think he’d like that.”
He cradled Jungkook close to his chest, almost protective as he nuzzled the top of Jungkook’s head.
After Jimin had purchased his ingredients, Jungkook poked his head out from the comfort of Seokjin’s arm to watch him go.
“Feel better, Kookie,” Jimin said with a warm smile that brought Jungkook nothing but shame.
Jimin hadn’t done anything except buy potion ingredients and pet Jungkook’s ears but Jungkook had been ice cold to him. He reached one tiny paw out towards Jimin and waved it up and down a bit, having no idea how to convey his peace offering.
“You need something?” Jimin asked and leaned down so Jungkook could reach out and gently place his paw on Jimin’s nose.
Jimin gasped and clutched his chest. “Oh my god, I think I’m in love.”
Jungkook didn’t even really notice the warmth of his transformation, too full of heat from being complimented and pet and doted on. He just knew that in his next breath he was a man again, with Seokjin’s arms wrapped around his waist.
“I can’t believe you’re so cute with other people and not me,” Seokjin said but his tone was light and Jungkook laughed when he rubbed his forehead hard against Jungkook’s hair.
It took him a moment to remember to glance over at Jimin, his bag of supplies barely hanging off his slack fingers and his mouth open wide.
“Wow,” he breathed. “If that’s Kookie, I’m still pretty sure I’m in love.”
The world felt a little too big when Jungkook was a bunny. Everything was tall and fast and loud compared to him, so he appreciated calm. Taehyung startled him sometimes with his boisterous personality and sudden bursts of energy. He always coaxed Jungkook out from under the couch afterwards and cuddled him to make up for it.
Yoongi was gentle and quiet and sometimes Jungkook felt comfortable enough to curl up in his lap and fall asleep with Yoongi’s fingers behind his ears. Sometimes Yoongi would hold little one sided conversations with him, Jungkook always listening patiently. Once Yoongi mumbled something about being too afraid to tell Taehyung that he had feelings for him and Jungkook just softly touched his nose to Yoongi’s pink cheek.
With Seokjin everything was different. He could lift Jungkook up above his head, roll Jungkook onto his back and rub his tummy, laugh loudly and often, but Jungkook never felt nervous. As long as Seokjin was nearby he felt calm and safe. Jungkook tried to downplay some of his closeness when he talked to his friends but he suspected they might already know.
“If you transform at Seokjin’s I don’t mind coming to get you,” Yoongi told him once.
Jungkook shrugged, already thinking of excuses for some reason. “It’s ok. Seokjin says he doesn’t mind if I stay.”
Yoongi raised his eyebrows like he wanted to say something but just smiled instead.
Jungkook didn’t mention the way he and Seokjin were around each other. He didn’t mention the petting, the cuddling, the compliments.
He definitely didn’t mention the treats.
When Jungkook was a rabbit, he could only stomach fruits and vegetables (he drew the line at rabbit pellets). One day Seokjin had reached out with a little piece of banana and Jungkook had balked at the idea of eating out of someone’s hand. Seokjin didn’t seem to be teasing him, he just smiled as he offered the fruit on his palm.
Well, Jungkook thought. It’s nice that he would be thinking of me. And I like bananas.
So he cautiously took a nibble of the banana and then Seokjin had held him close and nuzzled into the soft fur around his neck so maybe it wasn’t that bad. After that, Jungkook would happily eat little treats out of Seokjin’s hand - but he had enough sense to know that he shouldn’t mention it to his friends. They were already asking him very nosy questions about all the time he was spending at Seokjin’s apartment. If they knew Seokjin was feeding him by hand it would be like throwing a deer to two busybody wolves.
Even though he tried to keep them separate, Seokjin seemed to blend into the rest of Jungkook’s life without him realizing it. He wanted to celebrate the shapeshifting potion nearing its end so he brought Jungkook and his friends to a cafe and offered to pay for everything - an unmissable invitation.
“I just want coffee. Small,” Jungkook said, hovering by Seokjin’s side.
“It’s supposed to be a treat day,” Seokjin replied.
Jungkook just shrugged and went to sit with Taehyung and Yoongi at their table. When Seokjin arrived with their drinks and snacks, he settled down with a huge slice of cheesecake adorned with strawberries covered in actual fairy dust. He pushed a second fork towards Jungkook before his mouth even had a chance to water.
Things flowed easily with their small group and Jungkook tried not to think too much about Taehyung and Yoongi also sharing a piece of cake. Seokjin was laughing at one of Taehyung’s theories about body switching when he held up a glittering strawberry for Jungkook to take. Jungkook moved forward automatically to eat the strawberry out of his hand, only thinking about the sweetness of the fruit and Seokjin’s gesture. The edge of his thumb brushed against Jungkook’s lip and Jungkook was so focused on the feeling that he didn’t notice Taehyung staring at him for a moment.
When he glanced over, Taehyung was smiling brightly and even usually stoic Yoongi was staring with wide eyes. Jungkook started coughing with half of the strawberry still in his mouth.
“You need some water?” Seokjin asked and placed his hand on Jungkook’s knee which Taehyung seemed to note with delight.
“‘m fine,” Jungkook choked out. He covered his mouth to hide his hacking coughs and avoided eye contact for the rest of the meal.
The night of the full moon was so important that Jungkook started to feel himself dreading it as the date got closer. Taehyung had asked him about five days before if he was excited and Jungkook had given him such a miserable look that he didn’t ask again.
He felt like someone else when he was finally standing in Seokjin’s kitchen, looking over the finished potion. It seemed like Jungkook was watching someone in a movie about to drink the potion and not his own body.
“Hey,” Seokjin said and placed a grounding hand on Jungkook’s shoulder. “It’ll be fine. You know when you drink a shot and you have no idea what will happen after but you don’t think about it? It’s just like that.”
Jungkook huffed in a sad approximation of a laugh.
“Do you think it’ll work?” Jungkook asked, still looking at the potion.
“I think we’ve taken all the right steps and done as much as we possibly could to make it perfect.” When Jungkook looked up at him, Seokjin’s smile drooped for a moment and he squeezed Jungkook’s shoulder tighter. “Yes, I think it’s going to work.”
“But what if it doesn’t work?” Jungkook could already feel his pulse rising. “What if I lose - lose me and then I’m just an animal forever?”
Seokjin shushed him gently and turned Jungkook away from the potion so he could place his hand on the back of his neck.
“Hey,” Seokjin said softly. “Don’t worry about stuff that hasn’t happened yet, ok? If it doesn’t work then we’re just in the same place we are now.” He massaged a tense muscle in Jungkook’s neck. “I won’t let anything bad happen to you.”
“But I - what if -” Jungkook twisted his sleeves in his fingers. “What if I’m stuck?”
“I’ll take care of you,” Seokjin said. “Buy you lots of leafy greens. A comfy little bed. You’ll be the most pampered bunny in the world.”
Jungkook managed a nervous chuckle and Seokjin looked at him with a half smile before he pulled Jungkook in to press their foreheads together. Any other time this would have been an attack on Jungkook’s heart but instead he felt soothed. He closed his eyes and just focused on the warmth of Seokjin’s hands and his steadying presence.
“I’m ready,” he said quietly.
“Do you want to get the potion?” Seokjin asked as he stepped away. Jungkook immediately wished he hadn’t. “I could pour it for you.”
“No, I can do it,” Jungkook nodded once and straightened his back. “I can do it.”
Jungkook’s hands were steady as he measured out the potion into a vial. It flowed like nearly melted ice cream and had taken on a deep violet color. He looked up at Seokjin, an anchor in the tumultuous seas of Jungkook’s thoughts.
“It’s ok,” Seokjin said kindly. “You’re ok, Kook.”
Jungkook took one more look at the potion and drank it fast before he lost his nerve. The potion fizzled in his sinuses like it had been carbonated and he shook his head at the odd sensation.
“Bleh,” Jungkook stuck his tongue out and squeezed his eyes shut. “Ugh, that’s weird stuff. Ok, we need the catalyst now.” He noticed Seokjin looking at him with a grimace. “What’s wrong?”
“I don’t know,” Seokjin’s face looked pinched. “I don’t really feel good about pushing you.”
“It’s just to make the spell work. I know it’s not personal.”
“Still,” Seokjin shrugged. “I don’t know. What if I just tried to scare you when you’re not expecting it?”
“You could kiss me,” Jungkook said. He tried to laugh - just a silly, breezy joke - but a black hole seemed to have opened up in his chest and swallowed his heart. The potion sat in his stomach like a stone.
Seokjin blinked and tilted his head quickly like he was just seeing Jungkook for the first time. He stared, expression carefully blank as shame crept through Jungkook’s veins. Jungkook opened his mouth to say - something. He really had no idea, just anything to stop the awkward pause. Then - a hand on his wrist, a strong arm around his waist, and Seokjin pulled him close to press his lips firmly to Jungkook’s.
When Jungkook questioned Yoongi about the shapeshifting potion, he asked how he would know the magic had actually worked. Yoongi has simply shrugged and said, “You’ll just know.”
As soon as Seokjin kissed him, a bolt of heat zipped up Jungkook’s spine, igniting a fire in his chest along the way. He whimpered against Seokjin’s lips and pressed his body flush against him. He wasn’t sure he could stand on his own and just let himself melt into Seokjin instead. Jungkook had been so anxious before but now he felt the most serene sense of calm.
Seokjin pulled away much too quickly for Jungkook’s liking and he nearly chased his lips before his brain came back down to Earth.
“Did you feel it?” Seokjin asked.
“Yeah,” Jungkook said breathlessly.
“The magic worked?”
“Oh - yeah. Yeah, the magic worked. I felt that.”
Seokjin sighed with relief and smiled but now Jungkook could only think about leaning forward and kissing that grin.
“Good. That’s - good. You can let go,” Seokjin glanced downwards. “Unless you can’t stand right now?”
Jungkook finally noticed that his hand was still gripping the front of Seokjin’s shirt and he let the material go as soon as his brain caught up with his body.
“I’m fine!” Jungkook’s voice came out strained. “I’m - great.”
Seokjin always seemed to be filling the air with jokes and commentary so it was odd to see him so quiet and awkward now. Jungkook thought about just letting Seokjin go off to bed while they waited for the transformation day tomorrow but he was filled with a strange sort of adrenaline that he wanted to ride into the next reckless decision.
“I’m actually kind of anxious,” Jungkook admitted, quickly pushing out the words. “I’m usually pretty anxious when I transform but - but then I feel better. When you, uh, when we hug.”
Seokjin’s lips parted for a moment and his eyes softened, shoulders sagging under the weight of his feelings. It was the same besotted look that Taehyung gave to puppies and Yoongi, like he was staring at the cutest living creature.
“Oh wow, you’re - “ Seokjin shook his head with a smile. “You’re really sweet.”
Jungkook slipped right back into calm and comfort as Seokjin pulled him into his arms. He inhaled deeply against Seokjin’s collar and gripped the back of his shirt tight, greedy for Seokjin’s affections.
“Do you want to lay down?” Seokjin asked, arms tight around Jungkook’s body. “We can get comfortable there.”
Jungkook nodded and when they untangled Seokjin held Jungkook’s face in his hands. For a moment, Jungkook was sure he was going to kiss him again but Seokjin just smiled and ruffled his hair before pulling away completely.
Neither of them got much sleep that night. Jungkook’s stomach started to cramp uncomfortably and Seokjin confirmed that he felt feverish. While Jungkook couldn’t sleep, Seokjin stayed up with him, rubbing his back and his hair, telling him how strong and wonderful he was.
“How are you doing, bunny?” Seokjin asked, gently petting Jungkook’s head.
“Not too bad. It just sucks.” Jungkook pressed his forehead against Seokjin’s chest and sighed. He could smell the clean scent of Seokjin’s laundry detergent and soap. Of course Seokjin had to smell amazing too.
“I think I can help,” Seokjin said. “Can I touch you?”
Jungkook knew it wasn’t what Seokjin meant but he suddenly thought about Seokjin actually touching him and his next exhale came out short and high pitched.
“Yeeeah. That’s - fine.”
Seokjin shifted on the bed to kneel between Jungkook’s legs and Jungkook had to keep his eyes firmly on the ceiling so he wouldn’t be affected by the image. He nibbled his bottom lip as Seokjin’s hands drifted under his shirt and he placed his palms flat on Jungkook’s stomach. His hands were warm like he’d just been holding a hot mug of coffee and relief instantly unfurled in Jungkook’s muscles.
“Hmm, that’s nice,” Jungkook hummed and closed his eyes. “How’d you learn to do that?”
“I got lots of headaches before I realized I needed glasses. Had to get creative with remedies.”
They stayed like that for a few minutes, Jungkook briefly drifting off now that he was comfortable.
“Thank you,” Jungkook said softly, sinking even further into the comfortable sheets. “For everything.”
Seokjin leaned his cheek against Jungkook’s bent knee and smiled down at him. “I’m glad I could be there for you.”
The sun had started to creep through the blinds in Seokjin’s bedroom before Jungkook felt good enough to sleep.
“Tired,” he managed around a cracking yawn. He had made his way onto his side, body pressed against Seokjin’s. Jungkook felt no urgency at being so close, only content and warm.
Seokjin smiled fondly even though his eyes were tired. “Go to sleep.”
“You’ll be here when I wake up?”
“Course,” Seokjin leaned his forehead against Jungkook’s and briefly bumped their noses together. “Get some sleep, bun.”
Jungkook nodded before he drifted off in Seokjin’s arms.
“You haven’t transformed all morning. That’s good, right?” Seokjin asked.
Jungkook just hummed and tipped his face up towards the sun. They had come to a small park near Jungkook’s apartment and sat down right on the grass. Apparently after the potion waited for the full moon to brew, it worked best for the first time in direct sunlight.
“Maybe,” Jungkook said offhandedly. It was one of the first warm days of the year and a gentle breeze kept the temperatures from rising too much. There were worse days to maybe be turned into a rabbit forever.
“If someone like me could do it, then you can do it,” Yoongi said and took a moment to rub Jungkook’s shoulders.
Jungkook had been nervous about bringing Yoongi and Taehyung along to see his experiment but he knew his friends would be gentle with him if he failed.
“You’ll be great,” Taehyung added, raking his fingers through Jungkook’s hair. “Besides you changing into a cute bunny isn’t that different from you now.”
Jungkook smiled weakly and picked at some of the grass next to his leg. Seokjin placed his hand over Jungkook’s to stop his minor destruction.
“We already did the hard part,” he assured Jungkook. “Don’t even think about it. Just go for it.”
“Ok,” Jungkook took a deep breath and closed his eyes.
Don’t think about it. Don’t think about it. Just let it happen. Just let go.
When Jungkook started to notice something different, it wasn’t like the blazing heat from his previous transformations. Instead, Jungkook felt like the gentle spring sun in the sky was filling him with warmth from the inside and when he opened his eyes he saw two little rabbit feet in the grass. He could hear his friends celebrating somewhere above him and Jungkook felt a thrilling shiver run through his body. He dashed off through the grass, feeling the cool breeze in his fur and filling his lungs with fresh air. It seemed silly now that he had never appreciated being a rabbit outside like this.
After he sprinted back to his friends, Jungkook hopped right into Seokjin’s waiting arms and let Seokjin snuggle him close to his chest.
“That definitely seems like Jungkook,” Taehyung said.
Jungkook was too happy to be embarrassed and nuzzled his forehead into Seokjin’s palm.
“Ok, bunny,” Seokjin set Jungkook back down on the grass and smoothed his hand over Jungkook’s back. “Do you think you can change back now?”
The last few weeks had been filled with fear and doubt for Jungkook but right now he felt confident he could do anything. He even took a few extra moments for himself to enjoy his rabbit form for now, knowing he could change whenever he wanted. Jungkook let the shapeshifting magic fill him up again with warmth and with an odd sensation of growth in his limbs, he was standing tall as a man again.
Relief washed over Jungkook so powerfully that he stumbled and dropped to his knees on the grass. He wasn’t kneeling for long before Seokjin practically tackled him to the ground in a hug. The sun seemed even warmer now as Yoongi stood smiling down at him and Taehyung chanted “Jeon Jungkook! Jeon Jungkook!” while pumping his arms in the air.
“Holy shit, I was so scared it wasn’t going to work,” Seokjin laughed in Jungkook’s ear. He righted them on the grass but kept his arms around Jungkook from behind. Seokjin hooked his chin over Jungkook’s shoulder and kept laughing until Jungkook laughed too, giddy little butterflies fluttering around his chest.
“I knew it would work,” Jungkook sighed, leaning his head against Seokjin’s and trying to soak up this feeling of accomplishment, and his friends, and the beautiful weather for as long as possible.
Jungkook examined two vials in his hands, unsure of their contents. He was pretty sure the one in his left hand was flux weed and ashamed to admit he had no clue about the other. Yoongi would have had a meltdown if he saw the way Jungkook shrugged and poured the vial from his right hand straight into a bubbling cauldron. The potion immediately boiled over the sides of the stone pot, splashing out onto the stove and countertop.
“Ah, no, no no,” Jungkook clenched his fist and with a little zip of energy through his body the potion was gone. His kitchen was clean again but the pot was empty, three hours of work completely wasted. Jungkook buried his face in his hands and tried to stay calm.
His potions had been awful all week, ever since he’d gotten his shapeshifting under control. He had nearly burned down his store on Monday and on Thursday his headache relief potion had exploded and melted the sleeve of Yoongi’s expensive jacket.
Jungkook knew it was all his fault too. He was distracted and out of touch with the magic he needed for his potions to come out precise and perfect like they had in the past. Ever since he stopped seeing Seokjin every day.
“You should just go see him,” Taehyung told him over lunch in a tiny restaurant. “Friends don’t need a reason to hang out.”
Jungkook pushed his noodles around, uninterested in food lately. “Just - it’s weird. We - a weird thing happened.”
Taehyung sat up straighter and looked at Jungkook intensely. “Did he do something to you?”
“No, nothing. He’s...really nice to me.”
“Ok,” Taehyung said slowly. “That’s...good? Right?”
“He kissed me,” Jungkook blurted out.
He glanced up to see Taehyung smiling and clutching his shirt over his heart.
“Awww, Kookie! That’s great! I knew you liked him but I wasn’t sure if he liked you too. I mean, Yoongi and I were 90% sure but still.” Jungkook could feel the flush rising on his cheeks and Taehyung reached over to touch his arm. “Hey, don’t be embarrassed. Seokjin is sweet, and successful, and hot. There’s worse guys out there to like.”
“I don’t - like him.”
Taehyung snorted. “I hope this isn’t news to you but - yeah, you do.”
Jungkook just sighed and went back to pushing his food around. “Yeah. I do.”
It wasn’t a shocking thing for Jungkook to say. He had known it deep down for a while, before he felt comfortable putting it into words. There didn’t seem to be a point in hiding it now.
Taehyung squeezed Jungkook’s wrist encouragingly. “You have such a big, kind heart and you deserve someone who is nice to you and makes you feel good.”
“He hasn’t talked about the kiss since it’s happened,” Jungkook said, pulling his arm away and tucking it under the table. “Maybe he thinks it was a mistake.”
“Maybe,” Taehyung shrugged. “Maybe he’s just nervous too because someone as cute as you might be into him.”
“No, what? Shut up. That’s - no,” Jungkook stuffed his mouth with food to avoid any more conversation but he could still see Taehyung smiling at him fondly.
The next day, Jungkook walked in on Taehyung and Yoongi about two seconds from kissing on his couch. Their foreheads were touching and Taehyung’s hands were cradling Yoongi’s face but they wrenched away from each other when Jungkook entered the apartment.
“Sorry, sorry!” Jungkook shouted, scrambling for the doorknob behind him. “Please don’t stop because of me. I’m gonna leave for an hour - two hours! Three! I’m gone!”
Jungkook slammed the front door and even ran a few steps down the hallway as if he had been chased away. His friends has spent so long dealing with their feelings that Jungkook was terrified of blowing things for them. He would sleep somewhere else tonight if it meant they had more time to be together. The only problem would be finding a place to go. He knew what his first instinct was, a feeling that he had been trying to tamp down for days.
Most people on the street didn’t noticed a little rabbit running past them and Jungkook was fast enough to outrun anyone who did. He no longer felt any fear or anxiety in his rabbit form. There was something relaxing about it, like all his responsibilities had been left behind. It didn’t take long to shift and run the few blocks to Kim’s Potion Cellar.
He was lucky that Seokjin seemed to have been working late and Jungkook caught him leaving the store. Jungkook crouched down close to the wall beside a trash can, unsure if he should approach.
Seokjin locked the front door of his store behind him with a key. He ran his finger down the length of metal on the door and the lock seemed to melt into the wood and disappear. When he turned to walk away he looked right at Jungkook and his face instantly lit up in a smile.
“Hi, bunny,” Seokjin crouched down in front of him. “What are you doing out here all alone?”
Jungkook stood on his back legs with his paws in the air and Seokjin lifted him up around the middle. As soon as Jungkook was secure, he rubbed his cheek against Seokjin’s chest and closed his eyes. His sense of smell was stronger as a rabbit and he let the scent of Seokjin’s soap cloud his mind.
Seokjin pet the top of Jungkook’s head and scratched between his ears. “I missed you,” he said and Jungkook felt a soaring sense of pride. “Do you want to come over? We can have dinner.”
Jungkook nodded and let himself enjoy the feeling of Seokjin carrying him the rest of the way to his apartment building.
“You’re so spoiled,” Seokjin teased, but he carried Jungkook anyway.
Jungkook placed his paws on Seokjin’s shoulder so he could nuzzle his fluffy forehead against his cheek.
“So cuddly today, bun,” Seokjin said while petting his back. “I bet you missed me too you little troublemaker.”
When they entered the apartment, Jungkook was immediately comforted by the familiar homey scent. Flowers hanging to dry near the window and whatever that great smelling soap was that Seokjin used. He left Jungkook on the couch to go to the kitchen and Jungkook immediately burrowed between a throw pillow and the arm of the couch. It was warm and dark and safe in here, perfect for a moment to relax before he actually had to talk. He hopped down from the couch when he felt ready and easily willed his body back into the shape of a man. Jungkook took a deep breath and began to walk into the kitchen and almost walked straight into Seokjin going the other way.
Seokjin gasped and took a quick step backwards. “God, you scared me. Wear a bell or something.”
Jungkook chuckled nervously and suddenly wished he could pull his arms out of his sleeves and into his shirt. Seokjin just smiled at him pleasantly, seemingly unbothered.
“So how are you doing?”
Jungkook could have said a lot of things. He could have mentioned that he missed talking about potions with Seokjin. That he missed staying up late and researching and learning new things together. He could have told Seokjin he wanted to spend time together as friends, eating good food, practising spells. Enjoying each other’s company.
“I can’t stop thinking about when we kissed,” he said instead.
Seokjin blinked. “Oh. I’m - shit, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to make you uncomfortable.”
“I mean, I can’t stop thinking about doing it again,” Jungkook said because his brain to mouth filter had completely stopped functioning.
“Ohhh,” Seokjin’s eyes widened for a second, taking in Jungkook and everything he was saying. Then he shrugged. “That’s ok, we can do it again if you want.”
Jungkook hadn’t been this confused since he looked into a mirror and saw a rabbit looking back at him. “Are you serious? Were you listening?”
“Of course. You think about me when I’m not around and want to kiss me all day. Which is convenient because -” Seokjin paused, a break in his calm facade. “Because...I want to kiss you all day too.”
Even though what Seokjin was saying was patently absurd, Jungkook couldn’t stop his heart from thumping at the idea that Seokjin liked him at all.
“You know I’m saying that I like you. Right?”
“Oh yeah,” Seokjin said casually. “I liked you the first time you came into my store and were clearly doing recon.”
“Ha, that’s - embarrassing. And a long time ago.”
“To be fair I was pretty sure you hated me the first year I lived here. I just liked flirting with you anyway. You’d get all red like you are right now.” Jungkook moved to cover his cheeks but Seokjin’s hands landed gently on his wrists. “Aw hey, don’t. It’s so cute.”
Jungkook let himself be pulled closer to Seokjin, close enough to feel his body heat and close enough to kiss him if he wanted.
“I just think you’re really interesting and adorable and I’d really like to to take you out somewhere,” Seokjin said softly since Jungkook’s face was so close to him already.
Summoning up a great amount of courage, Jungkook placed his hands on Seokjin’s chest before sliding them up over his shoulders and wrapped his arms around his neck. Seokjin inhaled sharply and his gaze flicked down to Jungkook’s lips.
“Is it ok to kiss me before the first date?” Jungkook asked.
“Well we’ve already kissed,” Seokjin replied, settling his hands on Jungkook’s back. “So it doesn’t matter if we do it again.”
He couldn’t argue with that, so Jungkook used his hold to pull Seokjin into a kiss and lit up with fireworks from the inside as Seokjin pressed back against him. Jungkook felt the same sense of warmth and calm as the first time they had kissed and he wondered if it hadn’t been the spell. Maybe loving Seokjin was just magic.
“Jungkook, did you print those order forms for the the sleeping herbs?”
“And the shipping labels?”
“Thanks, you’re the best.”
“Hey,” Jungkook leaned over the counter of their potion’s shop. “Aren’t you forgetting something from that list?”
Seokjin looked down at his clipboard and flipped the top page over. “Nope, I got everything.” Jungkook pouted until Seokjin finally smiled at him. “Oh, I think you’re right.”
He leaned in and kissed Jungkook over the counter and almost pulled away before he leaned back for a quick peck.
“Was that it?”
“Yup,” Jungkook grinned. “Also I moved the dragon tears away from the instant fire. If something got mixed up we would have blown up the whole block.”
“See, didn’t I say you were the best?”
Jungkook just smirked as he organized a pile of some of their shipping labels that had become messy. The labels all carried the logo from their store, the silhouette of a rabbit reaching up to place its paws on a crescent moon and the name Golden Potions.
“I have to go call the nightshade supplier,” Seokjin said. “Do you think you can handle things on your own until Hoseok comes back from lunch?”
Jungkook looked around at their current customers, a witch whose basket had become so heavy that she was forced to enchant it to float beside her and two teenage girls giggling next to the shelf of fake love potions in the corner.
“Somehow I think I’ll manage.”
Seokjin came behind the counter and kissed Jungkook’s temple as he was passing by.
“Love you, bunny,” he whispered to him and it was still enough to make Jungkook feel tingly all over.
Seokjin only made it another step before he turned back to wrap Jungkook in a tight back hug.
“You’re supposed to be working,” Jungkook said but he leaned back into Seokjin’s arms.
“How am I supposed to work when the sweetest guy in the world is right behind the counter?”
Jungkook knew that if he asked again, Seokjin would leave and get back to work and bills and responsibilities. So instead he closed his eyes, moved Seokjin’s hands so he could hold on tighter, and let himself indulge for just a little bit longer.