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Kyungsoo has a hungover.

He wakes up in his couch; his back hurts, he’s using just one shoe and he’s reeking of alcohol. He looks up to his wood ceiling and the spiders are laughing off his face. He sits up and notices that he left all the windows open – now the nocturnal animals are walking around like it’s their home. He stands up, picks the broom behind the couch and shakes it angrily.

“Get out! All creatures,” he screams, causing a storm inside of his tiny home. Frogs jump off the window, butterflies are flying around and snakes are leaving the holes. “I’m talking to spirits too, don’t think I can’t sense you!”

A ghost leaves his old family picture hanging on the wall. Kyungsoo sighs and sits again. It’s already noon, by the sun’s shadow on his wood clock. He hadn’t eaten anything since the party and he’s the one who must cook for himself and the others.

“I need help,” he says, holding his head, which is about to explode. “I can’t do magic like that.”

He walks around looking for ingredients. His cauldron is in the middle of the room, under the roof garden and over the fire… well, the wood. He looks for any salamander and can’t find one.

“Hekate,” he sighs again. “Look at me… I need the fairies today.”

He walks to the open window, where wild roses are trying to grow in and coughs, warming his throat, then he sings an old, beautiful song.

Aureum solaris, detrahet me in avium,” he sings loudly. He knows that his friends must be flying around and it doesn’t take long until the blue bird takes his warm spot (Kyungsoo made the softest bird nest in case they wanted to spend the night).

“Good morning, Kyungsoo,” the bird sings. “How are you feeling?”

“Good morning, Minseok. Not very great,” he confesses. “I drank too much elixir at the party. Where are the other two?”

“Oh, they’re in the same situation… I would say they’re even worse since they can’t take as much as you,” the fluffy bird says. “Why did you call me?”

“I need to cook,” Kyungsoo says, showing the current state of his house. “But I can’t even make fire. I feel very weak.”

“It wasn’t the best night for drinking,” Minseok agrees. “A Pisces moon conjunct Saturn sure is great for their compromise, but it hurts the digestion and the mood. A full moon, also…”

“I didn’t remember it,” Kyungsoo sighs. “I guess if it’s under the influence, I can cook some old recipes, then. Will you help me?”

“Oh, of course,” Minseok laughs with his golden beak. “As long as you share your meal.”

Kyungsoo smiles. He never ever cooks for himself only. He has plenty of friends in the woods that help him and often visit him to eat warm meals and spend the night. That’s why his house has a bedroom, otherwise, he would have a kitchen only. He sleeps on the floor or the couch, most of the time. Just a nice spell and any surface can look as soft as a bed.

Minseok creates fire and brings fresh ingredients from the woods. Kyungsoo mixes them in his caldron, reading on the paper so he doesn’t get wrong.

“Tangerines… root pepper… passion fruit… cream…” he counts on the paper. “I guess now there’s only pink salt left to cook the sauce.”

He fries one of the big fishes Junmyeon gave him when Kyungsoo traveled by sea. He takes mental notes to visit his old friend and bring gifts too. The smell attracts some passerby creatures and Kyungsoo searches for his tiny bowls so he can give some to them. On the table, he puts two big plates and reserves some space in case someone wants to join them.

“Oh, I forgot to tell you,” Minseok says, stretching his wings. “I’ll be eating while on my true form. I can’t take my human form because of a curse. That’s why they went to the party without me last night…”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo takes one plate off the table and replaces it with a smaller bowl. “Thank Hekate it’s you, then.”

Last time they showed Kyungsoo their true form, Kyungsoo found out that Baekhyun was just a bunch of iridescent light and Jongdae was a lightning storm – Kyungsoo never judged anyone for being different, but the mess they caused in his home…

Minseok turns into a snowcat, purring happily to the sight of his fish on the table. Kyungsoo snorts and sits down to eat. Outside, the rain is starting to fall. Kyungsoo thinks about the nymphs, who must be seeking refuge within the sea people.

“How was the party,” Minseok asked, jumping on the table. “You had fun, right?”

“I don’t remember much,” Kyungsoo says, serving them both. “They summoned Dionysus, so you can imagine that it wasn’t… a quiet celebration.”

Minseok makes a fun sound while eating.

“The ritual was interesting, though,” Kyungsoo mumbles. “It was my first time seeing two covens become one.”

“I’m still surprised that you didn’t join them,” Minseok points, but he’s not implying anything. Like Kyungsoo, he used to be a lone cat, before joining the other creatures to live together. The Red Coven had invited Kyungsoo several times and he really liked them; their temple wasn’t very far, too. Kyungsoo could be one of them, even if they didn’t share a roof. But… they were all women and Kyungsoo couldn’t imagine himself performing rituals with menstrual blood and naked boobs everywhere. He was already a weirdo being by himself, he wouldn’t join a coven to be the ‘different’ one, again.

That’s probably why the Red coven fitted so well with the Black and Pink Coven. They were just a bunch of powerful and attractive women living their full life when Kyungsoo was the only witch in his Silver Coven.

“I wish them all the good,” Kyungsoo says sincerely. “But I will remain as an ally.”

“Are you sure you can live your life like that forever?” Minseok asks. "The boys and I will emigrate in the winter. The nymphs will hide and the forest creatures and the fairies will live inside their holes. How will you live alone like that?”

“It’s just for a season,” Kyungsoo rolls his eyes. “There is always some wanderer around, though. And even if I were here alone, I don’t need people.”

“You’re getting old,” Minseok smiles. “You won’t be seven hundred forever.”

“Well, just because you settled down before your thousands, that doesn’t mean I have to do the same,” Kyungsoo says. “I still have lots of things to do! I haven’t even published my own spell book!”

“You already made a name for yourself,” Minseok’s long tongue moved to clean his mouth. “You won’t die if you join a coven or take a lover.”

“I’ve had lovers,” Kyungsoo protests.

“Sleeping with nymphs doesn’t count,” Minseok meows.

“Well,” Kyungsoo is defeated. “I guess. You’re not my parental figure, so I don’t care.”

“He also had slept with a satyr, I’ve heard,” a voice comes from the window. Kyungsoo turns to see a very wet Yixing, naked as every Nymph that walks around. “Sehun smelled your food.”

Kyungsoo curses loud and runs inside to grab some clothes. He knows Yixing will discard them as soon as he’s not in the rain, but at least for a while, he’ll be covered. Kyungsoo enchants the fabric to not let the water touch it and makes Yixing wear the clothes.

“Unnecessary,” he says, smiling. “It makes my dancing slower. Oh, hello, Minseok.”

“Hello, Yixing,” Minseok licks his paw. “Did you go to the party?”

“Oh, of course. It was really nice,” he says politely, waiting while Kyungsoo prepares the bows. “The red witches always treat us nicely… they even gave us a luck bag. We’re using it to travel today.”

“Where are you going?” Kyungsoo asks worriedly, sealing the bowls.

“To a safe place to stay,” Yixing looks outside. “There’s a huge storm coming. Someone pissed off a rain goddess, I think. Junmyeon is taking us to a safe Island.”

“Here, for you and Sehun,” Kyungsoo gives him the pile of bowls carefully. “You should take care of them. Mermaids can be our friends but they’re devilish.”

Every time Kyungsoo visits Junmyeon, the mermaid makes sure to show the bodies of the people he drowned with his sweet voice. He is so purely proud that Kyungsoo can’t help but think about how people were prejudicial to witches but loved mermaids. Humans are a dumb race.

“I’m sure,” Yixing says and he kisses Kyungsoo loudly on the mouth. Kyungsoo isn’t surprised, but a bit annoyed.

“What did I tell you about kissing me like that,” he sighs. “I’m not your doll.”

“Cute witch,” Yixing smiles. “I’ll miss you, Kyungsoo!”

Kyungsoo always forgives them. Nymphs can’t help but treat everyone like their lovers; it’s in their nature, like dancing, singing and being pretty. Kyungsoo’s heart hurts a bit. He’s going to miss his friends too.

 

 

 

 

The storm comes, but Kyungsoo’s house is in the middle of the forest. The long, tall trees protect his roof and the spells create a barrier that only allows peaceful creatures and good spirits in. Kyungsoo makes tea on his cauldron: cinnamon, apple, and ginger. He wants to read before sleeping and he still feels like someone punched his head many times.

He hears a meow and he opens the door. Jongin comes in, wet, running, shaking his body.

“I thought you left with the nymphs,” Kyungsoo was confused. “What are you doing here?”

“I don’t like the ocean,” the brown cat says. “I like my bedroom!”

Kyungsoo takes a towel and dries his familiar’s fur. Jongin isn’t the best cat since he was just a nymph that was cursed. Once in a while, Kyungsoo allows him to drink an elixir, assume his old form and wander.

“Are you going to stay with me during the storm?” Kyungsoo asks gently. He doesn’t like to keep his pets locked; since he took Jongin in, he makes sure the cat is free to leave as he likes.

Jongin sniffs him. Kyungsoo frowns.

“Am I stinking or you forgot my scent?”

“You’re different,” the cat looks up. “What happened?”

“I drank too much elixir and I don’t remember anything,” Kyungsoo says, petting him. “I guess I could have eaten something bad.”

“No,” Jongin says, serious. “You smell like someone else. Are you sure no one cursed you or that you’re not under a spell?”

Kyungsoo blinks. He couldn’t say so, even if most people can recognize him easily. He looks at his reflex on the mirror and there’s nothing different. He tries to remember the previous night and he just remembers drinking, watching the ritual… he doesn’t even remember coming back home. He just guessed one of his friends did it.

“Well, just go eat your fish,” Kyungsoo sighs. “Don’t go to the bed wet like that… and don’t worry about me.”

Jongin does as he’s told. He’s a very obedient and calm familiar. He likes sleeping, being around the nymphs and eating, mostly. Kyungsoo picks his tarot on his altar and spreads it. The sound of the rain is strong outside. A sound of lighting crosses the room and it could be the storm or Jongdae waking up from his nap.

He takes the first card. The Devil. The black and red card shows Satan holding a naked man and woman by two collars. It’s Magic.

“Oh, great,” Kyungsoo whines. “I really am under magic? Fuck.”

He takes the second card. The Hierophant. The figure of a pope-like person raises their hand, sitting on a chair. Good Magic.

“At least it’s not evil,” he mumbles. Maybe he accidentally walked on a group of witches playing with spells. There were too many people celebrating, of course, he could be under someone’s spell.

The third card: the Empress. Kyungsoo stares at the pregnant woman with the crown and frowns.

“Fertility spells? Prosperity spell?” He smiles. “I don’t have to worry.”

The window opens with the wind; water comes in and the cards on the altar fly away. Kyungsoo puts the hand on his face and growls.

“Do Kyungsoo,” a heavenly voice says slowly. “Silver Witch, born in the year of the monkey, earth devotee, blessed by Ceres and nature, I have good news!”

Kyungsoo looks around for a while, but there is nothing but light.

“What?”

“According to—”

“Who are you?” Kyungsoo crosses his arms. “I put a spell on his house and I sure didn’t invite you.”

“I don’t… need you to invite me,” the voice says. “I’m a messenger. An angel.”

“And I’m a witch,” Kyungsoo raises one eyebrow. “I think it’s rude to not introduce yourself first.”

The heavenly voice sighs and a man materializes with a harper sound, the room getting darker again even under the candles’ light.

“Hello,” the man says. He’s using a long white tunic with a black Adidas logo. “My name is Lu Han and I’m an angel. I come from the Unintended magical pregnancy department at the spiritual realm and I come to announce… well, you know. It’s implicit.”

“You’re familiar,” Kyungsoo notices. “Didn’t you date Minseok?”

Lu Han sighs.

“Well, he still calls me when he’s drunk—”

“What?” Kyungsoo screams suddenly. “You’re from where?!”

“Unintended Magical—”

Kyungsoo almost falls down. He breaths deeply and raises a hand, stopping the angel from saying the rest.

“You’re in the wrong place,” he says. “I’m sure.”

“No,” Lu Han smiles. “I’ve been in this job for two thousand years and I never got a wrong address. And today people have GPS, let me tell you when we had nothing but maps—”

“Go straight to the point,” Kyungsoo pleads. “I have a headache.”

“Oh,” Lu Han nods to no one, making a small pout with his pretty lips. “So it’s a head pregnancy… you must be an over-rational man. The last time I saw a magical baby in someone’s head was in ancient Greek. Ah, it was a man too!”

“I’m not pregnant,” Kyungsoo whines. He’s out of control. “I can’t be pregnant!”

“Oh, honey,” Lu Han laughs while a parchment appears on his hand. “Of course, you can. Didn’t you have intercourse with a fertile creature during a Pisces moon while under Dionysus magic? I mean, the god that was gestated in a leg…”

Kyungsoo only stares, mortified.

“Oh,” Lu Han makes a face. “So, you really didn’t know… there’s a small possibility that you were… drunk?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods.

“Well, that’s on you for being drunk around Dionysus during a celebration,” he rolls his eyes. “Anyways, congratulations. The kid will be born in the spring.”

“Who’s the… oh, I’m the father… the other person… involved in this…?” Kyungsoo asks, completely confused and in pain.

“Let me see,” Luhan reads the parchment. “Hmmm. A Satyr, of course. People call him Chan-yeol.”

“A satyr? Ew,” Kyungsoo is disgusted. “Please tell me he’s not interested in parenting.”

“Why would a Satyr be interested in raising a kid,” Lu Han snorts. “All they do is play the flute, prank people and show their big dicks around. You don’t have to worry about that, I suppose.”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo sighs in relief. He couldn’t deal with the embarrassment of people knowing it. “Thanks for warning me.”

“That’s my job,” Lu Han winks. “Bye!”

Kyungsoo doesn’t even wait until the light disappears and runs to the bedroom, where Jongin is sleeping on the bed (while still wet).

“Wake up,” Kyungsoo says, clapping. “I have a mission for you!”

Jongin stretches slowly, showing his cute, fluffy paws.

“Does it have to be now…?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says impatiently. “I have a baby somewhere in my head and I need help!”

Jongin widens his eyes and sits in bed, on his paws.

“You’re expecting?”

“Long story,” Kyungsoo sighs, rubbing his face, “that I just found out. I need you to bring someone to help me.”

“I could see Irene,” Jongin says. “She had Yeri just like that.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo remembers it; Irene thought she had the flu, but one day she sneezed and a baby fell on her lap. “I forgot about it. I really thought that could only happen with female witches. But no… she won’t see anyone now. They’re in a transition!”

“Yeah,” Jongin yawns. “Then what you expect me to do? I’m a cursed nymph. The only thing I can do is pretend to be a person.”

Kyungsoo sits on the bed.

“I don’t know.”

Jongin jumps on the bed, his fur is going everywhere and his eyes are focused on the room’s door. Kyungsoo only sees him like that when he’s hunting cockroaches.

“What?” Kyungsoo asks, not very interested since he’s still digesting the news. “Please don’t bring me dead cockroaches. I know you love me.”

“Someone… at the door,” he sniffs. “I don’t know this scent!”

Kyungsoo sighs.

“Stay there,” he says. “If it crossed my barrier, it has good intentions.”

“I know,” Jongin meows. “But I’ll go with you.”

Kyungsoo picks the cat up and walks through his tiny place to get into the front door. He opens it and the wind and the rain hits his face for a second, before a massive figure occupies the entire space, blocking anything from coming in.

“Hello,” Kyungsoo looks up. It’s a tall human.

“Hello,” the man smiles. “It’s nice to see you again. It makes me happy to see you’re well.”

Kyungsoo inspects the man’s face. He doesn’t remember anyone like him. He’s tall and attractive, with big ears and big eyes and soft looks. His clothes are big and baggy, modern like he’s just a random human who got lost in the forest, but Kyungsoo knows really well that only magical creatures are allowed to see it. 

“Do we know each other?”

Jongin meows.

“Ah, cute kitty,” the man smiles. “Yes. I guess you can’t recognize me in my human form? But I know you witches don’t like naked people on your doors.”

Kyungsoo keeps staring. Jongin is licking his paw. The man takes a bouquet of roses and extends to Kyungsoo.

“My name is Chanyeol,” he says. “I’m a half-human satyr. I work for Dionysus and yesterday I was on the BlackVelvet celebration.”

Jongin stops licking his paw. Kyungsoo mentally conjures a more violent storm, but his headache doesn’t allow him to do magic.

“This is… small,” Chanyeol says, looking around. “We’ll need a bigger place for the baby. But don’t worry, that’s on me.”

 

 

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Chapter Text

 

 

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Kyungsoo is still hungover when he sits down and watches Chanyeol carrying wood outside. Jongin is playing with a caterpillar, the rain is still there, yet it’s not very strong and his entire life seems like  (bad) poetry sang by Apollo. He drinks his tea and sighs to no one. Once in a while, Chanyeol waves to him, smiling, and Kyungsoo waves back, somehow relieved that he decided to start “the hard work” before the rain and allowed them to “have the talk” when the storm gets stronger. Kyungsoo asks no question about the work… or anything, really. He just asks the birds to fetch the first witch he sees in the Red—BlackVelvet coven temple and bring her to their house as soon as possible.

He’s not bad for a Satyr, Kyungsoo thinks, watching how the drizzle gets on Chanyeol’s clothes, revealing his strong arms. Of course, Kyungsoo needs to wait to see how he would look like with horns and goat legs, but that can wait.

“I thought every Satyr was half human,” Jongin says, too loud, and Kyungsoo almost forgets that since he took the cat as his familiar, they can share deep thoughts.

“No, a satyr is a satyr, a human is a human, no matter their similarities,” Chanyeol answers, now picking a heavy-looking axe from the ground. “Since I’m half human, I can be in both forms without having to bother or… to spend too much energy.”

“So are you saying that you’re a half human satyr and not a half satyr human because you identify as a satyr?” Kyungsoo frowns. It’s hard to understand when he’s already dizzied because of his headache.

Chanyeol stares at him, supporting the axe on his shoulder. His wet hair is glued on his forehead and he seems confused.

“I just thought it sounded… better,” he shrugs.

“That’s okay,” Kyungsoo mumbles. He has no idea of what to say to this guy; no matter how hard he tries to remember what happened between them, he simply can’t. Kyungsoo finishes his tea and walks slowly to the sink. If he had the energy to so do, he would look for a nice spell to sleep through his entire magical pregnancy.

“A bunch of butterflies is asking permission to hide in your hidden garden,” Jongin says. “Should I take them there?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo waves his hand. “Of course.”

He closes his eyes and takes a nap on his couch; his body is tired. He wakes up with an intense sulfur smell. He looks straight to the window and sees a wood structure and sounds of hammering; Jongin isn’t around.

“He’s a good carpenter,” Seungwan says, right next to him. Kyungsoo isn’t surprised since the Red Witches never knock or announce their presence. He looks at her and she’s pouring something in his cauldron. She’s using pink, as they normally use in public events, and she looks younger with short hair, not a day older than five hundred years.

“I don’t know what he’s building,” Kyungsoo says, rubbing his face. “Amazing. I’m nauseous.”

“It’s a place for the baby to play,” Seungwan pushes her bangs out of her face and starts stirring whatever she’s cooking. “I thought it was cute. He was really polite for a Satyr. I was expecting at least a little prank, but… I guess being half human has its perks.”

“Did the birds…” Kyungsoo tries to stand but he’s taken by dizziness. “For every goddamn soul in Pluto’s basement!”

“Yeah, be careful,” she sighs, already sweating around the hot cauldron. “Magical pregnancies are the most chaotic body condition ever. We can’t predict the symptoms.”

“Great,” Kyungsoo mumbles. “Absolutely great.”

“You’re taking this well,” she smiles, taking a bottle from a snake around her shoulders. “We want to apologize formally for this situation. Of course, we knew that inviting gods would cause a mess, but… a powerful witch like you being the victim… it was a surprise.”

“Thank you,” Kyungsoo says politely, lying on the couch again. She approaches him with a warm liquid, which he believes it’s the cauldron’s content. “What’s that?”

“Calming herbs, calming spells, and a liquified heart,” she explains calmly. “You’ll feel a little better for some time, I think.”

“Thank you,” he whispers before drinking. It tastes like stinky tofu and Kyungsoo tries his best to swallow it. Seungwan takes the cup from his hands after he finishes it and he burps loudly. “Sorry.”

“It’s normal,” she laughs nervously. “Your cat explained… what happened. Quite a surprise, huh?”

“Please tell me there’s a way I can end this,” Kyungsoo pleads. “I can’t… I can’t deal with it.”

“Well, there are few ways to kill a magical fetus, I think, but they’re not safe… especially if the kid is growing inside your mind,” she makes a face. “It could harm you. Besides, your bond is already formed, right?”

She points to the window, where they can see the wood structure becoming bigger.

“What bond?” Kyungsoo asks suspiciously.

“The… the bond between the conceivers?” Seungwan crosses her arms. “You don’t know a thing about magical birth? Please don’t tell me you thought it was a girl’s subject.”

“No,” Kyungsoo lies. “It’s not my main focus when I’m studying. You know I’m a Ph.D. in transfiguration spells and I have two specializations in cooking—”

“I know,” she interrupts him – which is bad since Seungwan is usually very polite. “But the thing is, that can happen to anyone, you know? It’s basic knowledge.”

Kyungsoo shrugs. He can’t do anything else; it’s something he learned with Jongdae.

“You two,” she points to the window. “Are now official lovers and it’s pretty much written in some mythology book by now. You won’t get rid of this Satyr unless a god decides they’re jealous and kill one of you. Or maybe you two.”

“He’s a Satyr,” Kyungsoo says slowly. “And I’m a witch. I’m pretty sure that every witch’s love story in myths ends up in blood and tears.”

“First, I like to think that we became less prejudicial and open to the outer community,” Seungwan raises a finger. “Second, he’s half Satyr. You know what happens in miscegenation, right?”

Magical’s creature blood is probably the most chaotic element in nature. Gods could fuck humans and have okay children, but if they changed their appearance, things were different – that happens because magical miscegenation doesn’t have any rules, genetic doesn’t apply. Mythical history is proof that even the prettiest creatures could birth monsters with just a bit of miscegenation or transfiguration.

Chanyeol himself is lucky to have been born okay, Kyungsoo thinks. He could be a whale or something.

“Oh god,” he realizes. “I have no idea what this baby is.”

“Don’t think about that,” Seungwan says enthusiastically. “Yeri was a mixed baby too, and look, she’s fine!”

“She summoned the seventh circle of hell’s devil by herself,” Kyungsoo said dryly. “And she’s only five.”

“She’s healthy and that’s all that matters,” Seungwan says quickly. “Like I’ve been saying, why do you think we became one coven? Yeri’s biological mother is that elf from the Pink Coven.”

“Oh, no,” Kyungsoo makes a disgusted face. “An elf? Yuck.”

“Kind of racist but… yeah,” she sighs. “We’re doing fine, I bet you’ll be just fine with… your new partner.”

“I don’t know him,” Kyungsoo closes his eyes.

“Did you want a dating app?” She asks, annoyed. “You’re a witch, Kyungsoo. You don’t choose things, fate chooses it for you. At least he’s useful and he’s there. Be grateful!”

They stare at each other for three seconds before exploding in laughter.

“I almost fell for it,” Kyungsoo sighs in relief.

Be grateful,” Seungwan mocked, shaking her head. “I mean, curse the hell out of him. Use your powerful spells and turn him into a full goat!”

They laugh until Kyungsoo feels nauseous again. Seungwan gives him a glass of water and Kyungsoo drinks it slowly.

“This is a nightmare,” he cries.

“That would never happen if you joined us in the first place,” she complains, but at least rubs his arm gently. “Listen, I’ll leave some potions that may help you function normally until the... birth. I say ‘may’ because let’s be honest, we don’t know what to expect. Irene had wild symptoms… we thought she was really sick since angels don’t come to visit a demonic coven…”

Kyungsoo looks at his house and it’s messy like his life.

“I want to know what happened during the party,” he says confidently. “I can’t just simply face it without knowing what was the reason…”

“You were under a dionysiac trance and was the horniest version of himself?” She shrugs, stating like it's obvious. “I mean, we all went full drunk, under some magic influence and had unprotected sex, Kyungsoo. You’re just… a bit late to live your crazy phase.”

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes; he knows people think he’s an old boring farmer that lives in the middle of the forest. He likes the old way and he has no interest in technology, but he lives a good, quiet life and that’s what makes him happy.

“I’m serious,” he makes the glass disappear. “Why… him? Why not another creature? I need to know.”

Seungwan rubs her face, sighing. She stands up and takes a big, golden medallion with a red stone from her shirt. Kyungsoo lies down on the couch because he knows what’s coming.

“You know the drill,” she points to the stone. “Look at the medallion and the medallion only. Listen to my voice and my voice only."

Kyungsoo does every step as always. He’s used to hypnosis in his life; he forgets some things and he refuses to get technological phones to warn him about stuff. His body gets relaxed and her voice is more and more distant, almost a whisper. She gives him an order, but he’s falling asleep.

 

 

 

The sound is loud. It’s night and there’s a light going everywhere, matching the beats. Kyungsoo is holding a jar full of elixir and moving to the song – it’s a spell.

“I hate this,” he complains to Jongdae, who’s also dancing next to him. He’s probably the only friend that isn’t that fond of parties, even if he’s easily excited about… most things. The party is full of people and, despite witches having the fame of being elitists and quite antisocial, they’re all very different from each other there.

“Go home, then,” Jongdae says simply because he’s very simple… every time.  He’s overdressed for his lazy self – he's not very fond of his own human form – and Baekhyun turned into one of the party’s lights after the third glass of elixir, so he’s stuck there… it’s easy for Kyungsoo to leave, unlike him.

“Maybe I will,” Kyungsoo drinks the elixir and looks at the creatures dancing. The Nymphs invade the dancefloor, running, and they’re generally the best dancers, so it’s over for everyone. They look a bit startled, though, and Jongdae, born a worrier, grabs the first familiar face to ask,

“Hey, what’s going on?”

The long figure turns to them. It’s Zitao, their only Elf friend. He’s using a pink velvet tunic and long, shining boots, which isn’t as shocking it should be, plus it fits his brand-new gray hair and shining eyeliner. If they weren’t in a party, he would mock Kyungsoo and his closet full of the same old, black clothes.

“Hello, you two,” he smiles, a bit drunk. “Oh, Dionysus arrived and… all the creatures and demigods that follow him around too.”

“Oh,” Jongdae nods. “Cool.”

“Yeah… cool, of course,” Zitao frowns. “If you’re looking to get crazy, stoned or fucked, this is your time. I’ll go home so I can play with my dog.”

Kyungsoo has a neutral opinion on Dionysus. Despite being a chaotic, drunk god that once made an entire city’s female population go crazy and kill their children in a hysteric crisis, he’s fond of actors and plays and Kyungsoo thinks it’s a nice artistic manifestation.

He looks around to see if the god is in a visible human form, but instead, he sees a group of magical creatures playing musical instruments. A nymph is playing the harp, a cyclops is playing the drum, a centaur is playing the guitar… but Kyungsoo’s eyes stop on the Satyr playing the pan flute happily. He’s taller than any other Satyr Kyungsoo has ever seen and he has no beard, showing a pretty face. His hair is full and pretty, tied on a tiny ponytail and two big, shining horns are rising on the top of his forehead. But the most impressive thing for Kyungsoo is that the Satyr isn’t showing around his penis, as most of them do. Instead, he’s using a leather bag across his chest, falling right on his crotch, hiding it.

“It’s very respectful,” Kyungsoo mumbles. “It’s getting hot in here or…”

“Zitao can give you a ride,” Jongdae says, but Kyungsoo isn’t listening, ogling the Satyr’s shining muscles and soft smile. Kyungsoo drinks the rest of his elixir and throws it on Jongdae.

“Hold this,” he says, moving to the dancefloor.

“What?” Jongdae asks, confused. “Kyungsoo! What are—”

Kyungsoo is feeling weird. He has to touch that creature or he’s going to burst. He pushes everyone in his way – a monster complained about ‘those cocky witches!’ – and goes straight to the clueless musician.

“Hello,” he says, getting close. The Satyr is visibly taller than him and looks down to see who’s around. “Can I blow it like a flute…?”

“Please tell me you’re talking about the actual flute,” the Satyr says and his voice makes Kyungsoo’s body to shiver. “I mean, that angel’s song about blowing flutes… that’s a bad catcall, you see…”

“It can be anything you want,” Kyungsoo says, struggling to keep standing. His body seems to be melting. “As long as it involves us… kissing.”

The Satyr looks genuinely taken aback. It's hilarious.

“But you’re a witch?”

“And?” Kyungsoo wipes his sweaty forehead. “Don’t you like witches? I can do magic in bed.”

“I… don’t know,” the Satyr looks around, and it’s ironic that he thinks he’s being pranked. “But you guys are mean? And you’re never around magical creatures… are you going to turn me into a frog…?”

“Why would I waste those… amazing biceps…” Kyungsoo takes a long breath. “I have plenty of frogs.”

“Hmmm…” the creature seems embarrassed but interested. “Are you okay with… doing… the thing in front of people?”

“Right now I couldn’t care less,” Kyungsoo confessed – his body was burning. “Let’s go to a nice tree and find out, right?”

“I don’t understand,” the Satyr gulps and maybe Kyungsoo is really sick because he never thought he would see a Satyr blushing. “Why me?”

“I don’t know,” Kyungsoo grabs his arm. “But it’s you.”

 

 

Kyungsoo opens his eyes slowly. Seungwan is waiting patiently, petting Jongin, who’s sprawled on the floor. She looks up while he’s sitting on the couch.

“That was,” he sighs, “deeply embarrassing.”

“You didn’t even get to the part where you two had sex and you rode him while holding on the horns,” she says calmly, rubbing Jongin’s ear. “Did you?”

“No,” Kyungsoo coughs. “The first part was traumatizing enough. I wasn’t acting like myself.”

“That’s the whole point,” she laughs. “It’s a trance? Though it shows the… darkest sides… of yourself… so… hmmm, it’s still you.”

“I refuse to believe that,” Kyungsoo affirms.

“Fine,” she stands up and dusts off her long skirt. “I left the potions in your garden. Warn if the… baby causes you trouble.”

“I’ll try,” he smiles. “Thanks for helping me.”

 

 

Kyungsoo picks the ‘painless evening’ potion and walks outside to see what’s going on. He takes his big, black umbrella since the rain is still there. This doesn’t seem to bother Chanyeol, that already finished building the wood room and is now decorating it, carving things on the walls. Kyungsoo sits on a cut wood that looks like it was designed as a seat.

He drinks the potion and waits until Chanyeol notices him; because of his clothes and his human form, only his face resembles Kyungsoo’s memories.

“Oh,” Chanyeol says, holding flowers and colorful stones. “You’re there. Are you feeling better?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods. “I can do magic now, so I guess I’m back to normal… besides the…”

He gestures to his head, but he knows there will be nothing to be seen.

“You have to protect your head… don’t you have a wool cap?” Chanyeol asks, staring at him.

“No,” Kyungsoo thinks loud. “I just… use magic.”

“I see,” Chanyeol nods, going back to his work. “I’ll fix this. My nana taught me how to embroider.”

Kyungsoo frowns. This is really a weird creature, after all, but well, he had seen many things in his life.

“Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo says slowly, getting used to the name. “Can I ask you a few things?”

“Of course,” he says happily, now arranging the stones around the house. “I’m sorry if I didn’t do things… in the right order. I’m just too excited and worried about the baby. But yes, I think we should know each other deeply.”

Poor choice of words, Kyungsoo thinks.

“I can’t help but notice that you’re… dedicated to this… baby thing,” Kyungsoo starts carefully, being polite. “Please don’t mind if I say something ignorant. Creatures aren’t my specialization.”

“That’s okay,” Chanyeol says simply.

“Satyrs aren’t known… for being paternal beings…”

Chanyeol stands up; his hands are dirty and he’s still holding some rocks. He looks at Kyungsoo with his wet face and sighs.

“I know what you want to ask.”

“Do you?”

“Yes,” Chanyeol smiles. “You want to know why I’m here doing all those things. I think the shorter explanation is that I was originally raised by my human family and I go back to live with humans, sometimes. So I’m used to their ways.”

“Ah,” Kyungsoo agrees, but he’s not sure since he’s not used to humans himself. “Of course. How about the… longer explanation?”

“We’re soulmates,” Chanyeol says easily, his wet face is a bit rosy on the cheeks.

“Soulmates,” Kyungsoo repeats.

“Yes,” Chanyeol nods giggly and then turns to finish his task. Kyungsoo is speechless for a moment, and he realizes that he reached his intellectual work for the day. He can’t just take information anymore.

“How do you know that?” He asks anyway, because well, he’s stubborn.

“I just know it,” Chanyeol says quietly, his t-shirt gluing to his strong back as he squats. “I’m magical, after all.”

“But I’m a witch,” Kyungsoo argues, shaking his umbrella. “I could’ve sold my soul to Satan… or other divinities.”

“But you didn’t,” Chanyeol almost sings.

He’s right, Kyungsoo thinks bitterly.

“Well,” Kyungsoo crosses his legs, refusing to be defeated. “If you know things just… by… knowing it, I guess you’ll be useful.”

“I know your cat is not a cat,” Chanyeol continues. “And I know you shouldn’t be sitting here. You may not be wet but it’s too humid. Stay inside, please. The rain can get stronger at any moment.”

Kyungsoo opens his mouth to argue, but health is probably the stronger argument that anyone can use. And, to be more specific, now he’s under an unstable condition and he should at least know more about it before exposing himself to the weather.

He comes back home and goes straight to the bedroom, where Jongin is sitting prettily.

“Now I really have a mission for you,” he says and then closes the door, afraid that Chanyeol could hear them.  “I need you to bring a few books to me.”

“Why is that a secret?” Jongin asks. “I do that all the time.”

“Because…” Kyungsoo checks if they’re alone. “They’re… forbidden books.”

Jongin’s ears are up.

“You never use dark magic,” he meows, scared.

“Just bring me the book,” Kyungsoo whispers. “And I’ll allow you to be in your human form for an entire month.”

Jongin purrs excitedly. Kyungsoo smiles, feeling the magic returning to his body. He’s a witch, after all.

 

 

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Chapter Text

 

 

 

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The tiny caterpillar is eating Kyungsoo’s rose’s leaf slowly; the roses are sleeping under the group of butterflies that flew away from the rain. The storm is already there and a few animals are protected under Kyungsoo’s garden roof, as they did many times before. They are quiet and observant since an important conversation is happening on the outside, where the only two beings in the main room are sitting and drinking tea.

The main room is dry thanks to Chanyeol, who cleaned it after closing the windows and the doors; Kyungsoo’s headache wasn’t allowing him to cast a spell to keep the place safe from the water.

“It’s chamomile, jasmine, lemon balm and a bit of sleeping fairy dust,” Kyungsoo says, walking in with his old teapot. He put a different table cloth since he was a bit afraid that Chanyeol wouldn’t be comfortable in a place surrounded by black things, so he chose a blood red one. “They will help us to fall asleep.”

“I’m grateful,” Chanyeol holds his mug and stares at him expectantly. He’s tall and Kyungsoo’s chairs are smaller than the regular ones to fit his tiny room, so he’s not very comfortable.

Kyungsoo pours the tea on the mug and tries his best to smile and look unharmful. Chanyeol tastes the tea immediately and Kyungsoo is shocked – only an ignorant creature would eat something that a witch offered without questioning if it wasn’t poisoned or enchanted. Wasn’t he raised by humans? They have fairy tales for a reason.

“Tastes good,” he smiles and drinks the rest of it.

Kyungsoo pours a little on his own mug and sits on the couch. It’s late at night and he thinks about the birds outside. The old fabric that covers the couch glues on his skin when he sits more comfortably, his socked feet on the couch.

“… Is that thing that you’re building safe from the storm? It’s a strong rain,” Kyungsoo asks carefully.

“Yes,” Chanyeol says, wiping his mouth. “I used strong wood and even if it’s not finished yet, it can resist even an earthquake.”

Kyungsoo nods; a silence fills the room.

“Where’s your cat?” Chanyeol asks.

“Left on a mission,” Kyungsoo says, blowing on the tea.

“Isn’t that dangerous?” Chanyeol sounds genuinely worried.

“No,” Kyungsoo says dismissively. “He’s only in danger when he takes his true form because, well… people and creatures fall in love with him and love is a dangerous thing.”

Chanyeol blinks and Kyungsoo feels completely ignorant for choosing those words. He tries to make the atmosphere a bit lighter, after all, they’re alone and stuck together – in many ways.

“So… your… people… build things?” He asks before taking a sip. “Or it’s just a hobby of yours?”

“If you mean humans, yes,” Chanyeol shakes his head. “If you mean Satyrs, no, not at all.”

Kyungsoo keeps forgetting that Chanyeol is mixed; he looks disturbingly human, no one would tell otherwise.

“Oh,” he nods again.

“Actually, I barely live with Satyrs because of that,” Chanyeol says, stretching. “They like to sleep in the forest, keep nothing with them… that’s not me. I like to keep things and sleep on a bed… but on the other side, human legs are quite… fragile and not very useful? Especially the feet.”

Kyungsoo isn’t sure if he should be offended. During the witch hunt era, in the dark ages, only the witches that could blend between humans survived; most witches that live now are the ones that survived, thus from human descent, like him. He may not be human, of course, because he has magical blood and other descend, but his body is just like theirs. He stares at his feet, moving his toes inside the socks.

“… so…” Kyungsoo coughs. “Do you prefer goat legs?”

Chanyeol frowns.

“They’re not ‘goat legs’,” he complains, and he sounds sad. “They’re mine. They are just similar to the goats’.”

“I’m sorry,” Kyungsoo says – Hekate, this is so hard, - with his polite tone. “I didn’t mean to offend you. I’m a lonely witch and I don’t know much about this. Forgive me.”

Chanyeol smiles and looks down; his huge hands twist the fabric of his wet t-shit, splashing water on the floor.

“You don’t have to apologize. You’re really nice,” he says softly. “Humans always tell us stories about mean and ugly witches that curse them but you’re rather the opposite…”

Oh no, Kyungsoo thought, this is flirting. He’s terrified.

“You need to change your clothes,” Kyungsoo is quick to change the subject. “They’re wet.”

“I don’t have more clothes,” Chanyeol blinks. “I mean, I don’t use clothes normally… only when I’m around humans.”

The last thing Kyungsoo needs is to see him naked. He makes a sound and a snake comes in his direction.

“Fetch me something big,” Kyungsoo orders her and stares back at the other. “You’re lucky that I like baggy clothes.”

“Can I bring my things here? I have lots of stuff in an rented apartment… when we have space, of course,” Chanyeol is wondering, eyes scanning the whole room. “We’ll change a few things before the baby comes, right?”

“We,” Kyungsoo repeats, numb. “We.”

“Us,” Chanyeol points with the finger, probably thinking that Kyungsoo was just confused. “Me and you.”

Kyungsoo drinks his tea and takes a long breath. He looks around his room, his old books, and his old belongings, stones, and jars full of things he collected; everything in his house was made to fit his life and his witchery ways; the last time he shared a space with someone was when he was a child.

“I didn’t think about… the baby yet,” he’s sincere. “You see… Chanyeol. I’m a coven on my own. I’ve been alone here for centuries. I’m what humans call… a lone wolf.”

“So was I,” Chanyeol says. “Except I didn’t have a house, unless when I lived with my family and… a dorm? I lived in a dorm once. Uni stuff.”

Kyungsoo can’t understand, but he smiles politely. The snake comes back, carrying the clothes inside of a knot she made with her body. Kyungsoo points to it.

“You can take them. It must fit you.”

Chanyeol is afraid of the snake, so he takes the clothes carefully and then holds it against his chest as if the snake was about to bite his hand. Kyungsoo rolls his eyes but his head hurts even more. He presses his forehead gently with eyes shut, trying to calm down the creature there.

“Baby, it’s fine,” he whispers.

“What?” Chanyeol asks, confused. Kyungsoo opens his eyes and almost throws his mug on the floor. Chanyeol is changing in the middle of the room. Kyungsoo watches with horror the tall half-human and gapes.

“Oh, no,” Chanyeol says and he drops the shirt he’s holding, walking to Kyungsoo. “Are you okay? Is that some weird symptom like nausea—”

Kyungsoo stops listening; he stares at the human’s naked chest and he has intense flashbacks; in his confusion of what’s real and what’s not, he throws the mug on Chanyeol, just to check.

“—aw!” He screams, touching the shoulder area where the mug hit him. “Why?”

“I need to sleep,” Kyungsoo declares. “Put on a shirt. This is the longest day of my life.”

Chanyeol’s expression softens and he seems to be empathetic to Kyungsoo’s hardships.

“I’m sorry,” he says. “I know I can be… a little too much—”

Oh Hekate, Kyungsoo sighs, more dirty flashbacks.

“—but I’m so happy,” he smiles like a little child. “I’ve always wanted a family of my own. Being a mixed creature is very lonely. You don’t feel like you belong anywhere, at least completely. As a Satyr, I have to wander and have no place of mine… as a human, I have to leave from time to time because people notice I don’t get older. My nephews are now grandpas… and I’ll finally have a baby!”

Kyungsoo feels… slightly touched.

“That’s… nice,” he says, rubbing his knees. “You don’t have to apologize, though. I am responsible for my actions; therefore, I don’t blame you.”

“Thank you,” Chanyeol says. “Where are we going to sleep?”

For a few seconds, the room is taken by a silence so deep that they can hear the animals moving under the rain. Kyungsoo wants to find a spell that gives him the ability to react a bit faster around this… being.

“I… normally sleep on the couch,” Kyungsoo finally answers. “There’s a bed on the room at the end of the corridor, in case you want to sleep there.”

“No,” Chanyeol shakes his head. “I need to sleep beside you, in case you need protection.”

Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow.

“You think that… you,” he points to Chanyeol then to himself, “can protect me?”

“That’s my duty, now,” the creature says proudly. “As a dad.”

That’s it.

“Do you have any idea of who I am?” Kyungsoo asks, sitting straight. “I have a coven myself. My work in kitchen magic is read in nineteen languages and it’s referenced in the test to be accepted in the Traditional Magic Academy for Lone Witches.”

“Nice,” Chanyeol nods.

“I don’t often flatter myself and I’m not snobbish, but in my seven hundred years of existence, not a single soul that offered me harm has survived to preach their actions,” Kyungsoo is truly offended.

“And?” Chanyeol frowns. “That doesn’t make you immortal or protect the baby in any way.”

They stare at each other.

“Maybe not,” Kyungsoo says. “But what you could offer that I don’t have myself?”

“Physical force? I mean, I’m not carrying a baby on my head, so that helps,” Chanyeol says as if it’s the simplest thing on earth. “I can make fire with my hands.”

Kyungsoo makes a face. Of course, he can make fire, something that Kyungsoo can’t because he has weak fire energy.

“Well, as the humans say, have intercourse with yourself,” Kyungsoo crosses his arms.

“You mean, fuck you?” He’s confused. “Right?”

Kyungsoo is tired of this, so he lays down on the couch and recites a spell.

Detrahet stratum meum,” he sighs, turning his back to Chanyeol. A blanket falls on him and he thanks the universe for still being able to do small magic. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

Kyungsoo wakes up and it’s still raining.

He can hear the force of the water and he silently prays to the water spirits to keep his friends safe and well. He moves comfortably on the couch and thinks about what he needs to do, but he likes the idea of being alone for a while, warm on his couch. Maybe he’ll burn some old meat and make himself a good dinner. He deserves it and he’s so insanely hungry—

Oh, for all the gods and goddesses, he’s pregnant.

Kyungsoo sits up when he remembers it, making his calmness evaporate. He steps on the floor – wow, it’s already cold, - and runs to the room, just to check if he wasn’t dreaming the day before. The ants are already gone, hiding in some hole of heir own. Kyungsoo opens the door and gapes.

Chanyeol is there. The bed, normally a mess of cat fur and scratched pillows, is now clean and looking cozy with a soft blanket. Chanyeol is sitting on it, like Buddha, crocheting a hat.

“Good evening,” he notices Kyungsoo. “You slept a lot! You must have been tired.”

Kyungsoo blinks. This creature is too happy for his tastes; witches hate daytime and Kyungsoo doesn’t escape this rule, but Chanyeol looks happy like it’s summer.

“Did I?” He’s genuinely curious.

“Yes,” Chanyeol nods, now looking at the hat. “I hunted a rabbit and made some rice cakes. You have lots of wine, which could warm us, but I’m not sure if it’s nice due to your… situation.”

“I need wine,” Kyungsoo mumbles and then, realizes that he’s not being nice to his guest. “Good evening. I want to apologize for my behavior. It was a difficult day and I didn’t mean to offend you.”

“You didn’t offend me… maybe when you asked me to fuck myself,” Chanyeol makes a face but doesn’t stop his work. “By the way, how did you know that humans say that?”

“That’s irrelevant,” Kyungsoo licks his lips. “Maybe now we can start off on the right foot.”

Chanyeol looks up at him; his face is symmetrical and attractive and Kyungsoo is a bit uncomfortable with how pretty he looks while dressed in black from head to toe.

“I would like that.”

“Good,” Kyungsoo makes a gesture, putting on a space between him and the door. “Sharing a meal is a good start.”

Chanyeol takes the hint and jumps off the bed, leaving the hat and the crochet needles behind. He seems to be happier with Kyungsoo’s openness. To Kyungsoo’s surprise, Chanyeol really made a dinner; there is nothing else to do but eat. He helps himself to a generous plate – he feels like he could eat a whole bull.

“There is also a vegetable soup,” Chanyeol informs him and he sits next to Kyungsoo on the couch, mirroring him. “Do you like it?”

Kyungsoo takes the first bite and he’s sent to heaven – the spices on the rabbit are delicious. He nods because he doesn’t want to stop eating. Chanyeol moves his feet happily. It’s not bad, Kyungsoo thinks, to have a company to share a meal. After all, most of his friends are hibernating or hiding.

Also, now that he accepted that he’s pregnant, his straight-to-the-point soul needs to take action.

“We have things to decide,” he stares at the creature.

Chanyeol looks at him and moves his hand to wipe Kyungsoo’s chin, where the sauce is dripping.

“I imagine so…”

“We must be prepared to face anything,” Kyungsoo says fiercely, shaking the meat. “After all, this baby can be a magical aberration.”

“Oh, for Dionysus,” Chanyeol laughs. “No, they won’t! I’m cute and you’re cute, so they can’t be any different than that.”

“I’m not cute,” Kyungsoo gapes – is there any limit to this being’s disrespect?

Many have fallen after facing my scary frown,” Chanyeol says, mimicking Kyungsoo. “That’s how you talk. I’m familiar with it since you’re my soulmate.”

Kyungsoo is speechless.

“But yeah,” Chanyeol sips the soup loudly. “We have to think about a lot of stuff. Like the name.”

“Naming is a magical powerful task,” Kyungsoo warns him. “I’ll do it at the appropriate moment.”

“Okay,” Chanyeol agrees; his body is touching Kyungsoo’s and it’s quite warm. “When the baby’s room gets done, I’ll make a nice wall.”

“There’s a magic wall,” Kyungsoo says. “No evil can enter.”

“I don’t want them to leave,” Chanyeol snorts. “The baby.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo gasps. He never thought that a baby could run away.

“We need to choose the godfather or the godmother… or both?” Chanyeol frowns. “Is this important for you witches?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says in a dark voice. “That’s… really important.”

The witch narrows his eyes at the perspective of choosing a pair of powerful people to bless his baby. It never occurred him that possibility – if they got someone good enough, then they could have an alliance…

“Your face… is scary,” Chanyeol mumbles.

“I was thinking about witchy things,” Kyungsoo coughs and sits straight. “Yes. You brought up an important point. I will devote my thoughts to that matter.”

“Do you have friends? We can have a baby shower.”

Kyungsoo turns his body to face Chanyeol. Chanyeol looks down, holding his bowl. The wind makes a whistling noise and Kyungsoo forgets for a second of what he was supposed to say. 

“…What’s a baby shower?”

“Oh,” the creature laughs. “It’s like… a party to give presents to the baby.”

“Yes, that interests me,” Kyungsoo nods. “I have plenty of friends. Powerful covens. A few creatures and nymphs, besides animals.”

Chanyeol shakes his colorful hair; he seems satisfied.

“I also have many friends! But do you have really close friends?”

Kyungsoo considers the expression for a little while.

“Three little birds,” he concludes.

“Like Bob Marley?” Chanyeol blinks.

“Who’s Bob Marley?” Kyungsoo asks. “A witch?”

Chanyeol laughs; his long, wide shoulders are shaking.

“Yeah, he was powerful… with words. A pacifist. He also advocates the use… of some herbs.”

“This man seems reasonable,” Kyungsoo murmurs and keeps eating. His cheeks are full but his belly isn’t. He’s beyond hungry and somehow, he likes the taste of the blood on the meat. When he finishes his meal, he licks his fingers without thinking about how unpolite that was.

Chanyeol washes their dishes, even in that cold weather; Kyungsoo misses his warmness.

“I could clean them with a spell,” Kyungsoo warns, stretching on the couch. “For you.”

“No,” Chanyeol doesn’t mind. “Stop doing unnecessary magic and keep your energy to yourself. You need to rest.”

Kyungsoo feels sleepy again, which is odd since he just woke up. Chanyeol is babbling, talking incessantly, and he rubs his eyes.

“… I’ll take you to meet my best friends, then you take me to yours,” he says. “The baby needs a lot of blessings. Also, while the rain is strong, maybe we should rearrange the furniture and I’ll make some blankets for the baby, right? You don’t mind if I use your stuff, right?”

“No,” Kyungsoo yawns.

“Good, I’ll also try to make some juice because you need vitamin c…”

Kyungsoo ignores him and casts a spell, as always,

Detrahet stratum meum,” he whispered.

There’s a loud noise before a black hole appears on the ceiling; it’s helicoidal and hot, warming the room in a second. Kyungsoo widens his eyes and Chanyeol runs to him, holding a pan. A few things on the room, like Kyungsoo’s beloved book, that he recently bought on an open store, ‘The Devil Wears Apron”, flies and it’s sucked by the vortex. Chanyeol looks up, his hair going everywhere and a bit of fire comes out of the hole.

“Did you just open a portal to the hell?” He stares at Kyungsoo in disbelief.

Kyungsoo is petrified – he doesn’t know what he possibly did wrong. He always uses that spell to get his blanket when he’s too tired to pick it.

“It wasn’t me,” he explains quickly.

“Well,” Chanyeol says, raising his pan like a knife. “It wasn’t me, either.”

A big head pops up from the hole. It’s a red devil with big silver horns and yellow, snake-like eyes; from his nose, instead of air, he breathes fire. The entire room smells like sulfur and fart.

“Who… the… fuck… called me…” he yawned and his voice was heavy and terrifying. Kyungsoo was shivering. “Oh… You…”

Chanyeol hit the devil with the pan. It hit his nose and he made a loud, cavernous sound.

“Ouch,” he complained, rubbing his burning nose. 

“What are you doing here, creature of Satan?” Chanyeol screams, angry. He seems ready to hit the devil again. 

“I have a name and it's too powerful for you to pronounce,” the devil says. “Your fetus wants to try the soup, smartass.”

Kyungsoo and Chanyeol have similar expressions of horror. The devil shows him the middle finger and the black hole disappears; the flying objects fall on the floor and Kyungsoo’s ceramic mug breaks in a thousand pieces.

“He stole my book,” Kyungsoo says in disbelief.

Chanyeol turns to him, still holding the pan. Now Kyungsoo sees that it’s wet and covered in soap.

“He talked to our baby,” he is shocked. Kyungsoo is not – at least not because of that information.

“It means that the baby can be a devil,” he informs Chanyeol. “I don’t have devil blood on my bloodline. Do you?”

“I don’t know. I mean, once I met Satan and he called me bro,” he says nonchalantly, fixing his hair.

Kyungsoo raises one eyebrow.

“You met Satan?”

“Everybody goes to Dionysus’ parties,” Chanyeol shrugs, finally relaxing. “The Backstreet Boys and Girls Generation signed an exclusive contract since last year so they became really popular. Once I met Keanu Reeves and he offered me his wine. Cool guy.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t even try to understand what it means; he just stands up and goes after his blanket. The paintings on the wall are all crooked and he doesn’t pay attention to that. When he comes back to the couch, Chanyeol is waiting for him with a bowl of soup.

“Sorry for the human references. You house don’t have a tv or WIFI, so… I guess you didn’t get what I said,” he says, offering the bowl. “Please drink the soup… and maybe we can share the bed. You never know when the baby can open another portal.”

Kyungsoo sighs. His head stops hurting at the moment he says ‘yes’.

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

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Kyungsoo opens his eyes slowly, watching the ceiling. He knows it’s probably freezing outside – the last time Chanyeol left to hunt, he came back with blue lips. It’s a silence that he’s never truly used to; most animals are sleeping or waiting for a better moment to leave their lairs. And Kyungsoo? Well, Kyungsoo is being snuggled like a teddy bear in the arms of a damned half-human Satyr.

“Good morning,” Chanyeol whispers and he kisses the space between Kyungsoo’s eyebrows because the wool hat is covering the forehead. “Baby.”

Kyungsoo can’t complain. He’s warm and he’s well fed, so he can tolerate spending a few days playing the cool guy. The bed is soft, the blankets Chanyeol made are cozy and Kyungsoo is too sleepy to find a good reason to argue about anything.

“Good morning,” Chanyeol now kisses the tip of his nose. “My witch.”

Oh, yes. Kyungsoo also has to deal with the usage of possessive adjectives.

“Good morning,” Kyungsoo says, because he earned a reputation of being polite, even during his evil acts; also, Chanyeol smells good.

“Your nose is cold,” Chanyeol lays his head on the pillow, staring at Kyungsoo with his sleepy, but still huge eyes. “How’s your head?”

“Nice,” Kyungsoo notices as he speaks. It seems that the baby is happy when Chanyeol is around. It could be also related to the fact that Kyungsoo is getting actual sleep and plenty of food by not overworking anymore. He needs to know which exactly makes that thing satisfied because he hates when demons pop around.

“I’ll make breakfast,” Chanyeol almost sings, too happy. He’s always happy and excited and Kyungsoo needs time to adjust before expressing emotions. “Do you want anything?”

No, Kyungsoo thinks. He’s… really okay. Yet he should be studying since he can’t do magic.

“Fetch me a book,” he asks, yawning. “Any book on the top shelf.”

“As you wish,” Chanyeol sets him free and leaves the bed, not using enough clothes, but for a creature that walks around naked, the weather must be irrelevant. Kyungsoo moves on the bed, smashing the pillows behind him to make it more comfortable. Before he lies down, he searches for his glasses and put them on his face. Chanyeol comes back and now Kyungsoo can see that his human legs have a slightly different shape; much like his big ears, hands and shining eyes, it seems clear that even in his human form, he still looks like something magical.

“Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo says calmly, taking the book. “Remember when I said: ‘do not walk around naked?’”

“Yes,” Chanyeol asks, confused. “I do.”

“Using only someone’s else underwear won’t solve the problem,” Kyungsoo presses his body down to shape the pillows into a nice position for him to sit. “Please, put my clothes on and return this tiny piece of clothing to Mr. Calvin Klein.”

Chanyeol laughs and Kyungsoo already gave up on understanding what’s so funny.

“Okay,” he says. “Is it the correct book? I chose the most colorful one. I think the baby will like it.”

It was a blue cover with candies on it. ‘THE COOKIE JAR: DRUGS, POISON & OTHER SWEET RECIPES’, written by Irene & The Red Coven. Kyungsoo sighs; he suddenly remembers that he promised to write his spellbook on this century. Nineteen years have gone by and he hadn’t even started his research yet – now, with a baby on the way, maybe Kyungsoo would end up like some of his talented colleagues that decided to leave their careers for whatever reason. If the baby is a human – the biggest probability since it’s the genetic convergence between Chanyeol and him – maybe he’ll be an adult in a couple of decades and die very soon. If the baby is a Satyr, just a couple of years for them to leave home and start playing the flute and seducing Nymphs. If the baby is a witch… well, then Kyungsoo will have to raise them well, and he’ll need at least two hundred years to do so. If the baby is a monst—

“You’re scaring me,” Chanyeol says. “Are you feeling okay?”

Kyungsoo shakes his thought away.

“Overthinking,” Kyungsoo sighs. “You can leave now. I’ll read and I need silence. I appreciate your effort and I’m grateful for your service.”

Chanyeol seems disappointed. He grabs the clothes on the floor with pouty lips.

“I sense your distress,” Kyungsoo frowns.

“I would be happier if you were less formal around me,” Chanyeol says. “I don’t want to feel like a stranger…”

“So would you like more displays of intimacy?” Kyungsoo asks carefully, opening the book. “As humans do?”

“Yes,” Chanyeol says quickly, staring at him expectantly. “I would like it very much.”

“I understand,” Kyungsoo says. “Forgive me. I thought sex was the highest intimacy level between humans and the rest wasn’t that important after reaching that stage.”

Chanyeol stops by the door. He’s tall enough that he has to lean down to get to the corridor.

“Well, some humans are like that, but I’m a romantic guy. So, it means that sex is the same as the rest.”

“I’ll adjust to your preferences to make our relationship easier,” Kyungsoo nods, staring at the first page of the book. “My sweet pumpkin pie.”

He hears Chanyeol giggling sounds before he starts reading the first line. He’s not reading as focused as he wants to, and he has to read the same line over and over again. After ten minutes of being a failure – Kyungsoo isn’t feeling all that sugar, - he has a slight headache.

“I know you’re just a magical fetus or whatever,” Kyungsoo says, turning the page. “But I need to be productive while you’re not here crying and vomiting.”

Kyungsoo smells apple and cinnamon and he starts being more receptive to the recipes that he’s trying to read, but his headache gets worse. He rubs his forehead and closes his eyes. It’s not raining anymore and he’s just enjoying the quietness.

“Let me see… Ice cream cake…” he wonders. “It doesn’t fit the winter.”

He’s actually getting warm. He shakes the book on his hands to focus. Chanyeol sings something while cooking and his voice enters the room like a whisper. There’s an entire parade on Kyungsoo’s head.

“For the seven hells, what do you want…” he grunts, tired. “You’ve been quiet for days!”

To Kyungsoo’s absolute surprise, he only gets warmer. He takes his hat off and pushes the blanket down. He wants to open the windows and see if the winter storm is already ending and somehow Kyungsoo slept through the rest of the season, but it seems a bit tiring.

And he doesn’t have to, since he finds the reason quite soon, as his hands burn the book that he’s holding, involving it in black, loud flames. Kyungsoo jumps off the bed, afraid that it could burn the whole room, but the flames disappear as soon as the book is destroyed by the fire.

He stares at his own hands and there is nothing but the book’s dust.

No signal of creating fires or burning things anymore.

“Oh, yes,” Kyungsoo says, excited. “Oh, yes!”

Kyungsoo is an earth witch – he never had strong fire energy. He usually relies on salamanders or some long-lasting flames (he can’t have ever-lasting flames since he would have to pray to Vesta and she’s a prude goddess that only talks to virgins or married people), hardly finding good magic to make fire.

And he just did it with his hands.

He walks to the main room like he’s possessed. Chanyeol is cooking on his caldron, sweating and calm while chopping some garlic. Kyungsoo stands in front of him and grabs his arms; Chanyeol is so surprised that he just gapes.

“Blessed be your semen,” Kyungsoo says ceremoniously.

“That’s… too much… romance… for my tastes…” Chanyeol answers slowly.

“The baby,” Kyungsoo ignores him, “incinerated Irene’s book.”

Chanyeol frowns and Kyungsoo allows him to think for a while before answering – that’s a piece of hard information to digest.

“If you didn’t like the book, I could’ve picked another,” he complains. “You didn’t have to stress you two reading it.”

“That’s not the point,” Kyungsoo says impatiently. “I made a fire with my hands. I projected fire magic energy.”

“You mean the baby,” Chanyeol corrects him. “Is that hard? I do that too.”

“Exactly, but I don’t have any affinity with fire. That’s why I live in a rain forest,” Kyungsoo explains. “But now my body is capable of doing it.”

“Congratulations, I guess?” Chanyeol goes back to chopping. Kyungsoo can’t feel any smell due to his excitement. “You should put your hat on.”

Kyungsoo sighs; it’s like talking to a wall. Why did he expect a magic creature to know how much that meant to a witch?

“If I have a strong four element energy, I could be even stronger,” Kyungsoo tries to explain. “That would guarantee me nice alliances and blessings. It would open doors. I bet my spellbook would sell as fast as unicorn’s hair.”

Chanyeol isn’t slightly interested. His hair is pulled up on a ponytail and he’s now pouring Kyungsoo’s strongest pepper extract like it’s nothing. Kyungsoo crosses his arms and his witches’ senses are tingling.

“Why are you so invested in creating a family?” He asks carefully. “Besides your… human motivations.”

“Well, I want to be a good dad,” he says calmly. “And a good partner.”

“You can’t omit the truth from me,” Kyungsoo warns. “I know this is a partial sincerity.”

Chanyeol picks the wooden spoon and mixes whatever he’s cooking; he’s not in a hurry, apparently.

“Dionysius promoted me when he heard about the pregnancy,” he says casually. “He was congratulating me for impregnating a witch, since this is… unprecedented.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo rolls his eyes, annoyed. “Good to know that I’m a joke even to a God.”

“Don’t feel special, everything is a joke to him,” Chanyeol shrugs. “Even me, because they all found hilarious that I wanted to be a dad. They do find me an aberration, as they think every mixed creature is.”

Kyungsoo blinks – his eyes are burning due to the pepper’s smoke. Chanyeol is unbothered.

“I wasn’t lying before, it’s just… I feel like I have to prove I can be a decent dad, so I guess I’ll have to be the best dad ever and humiliate them all,” Chanyeol says, his expression getting darker and his voice getting thicker. “Or I’m not Bellona’s gran-gran-gran-son.”

Kyungsoo gapes, his eyes are now teary and hot.

“Do—Do you descend from a Roman Goddess of War and you didn’t even bother to tell me?” He almost screams, but he coughs midway.

“Well, my dad’s family is a mess, you never know what you'll find,” Chanyeol finally looks at Kyungsoo, touching his arm. “Wash your face and go back to the room. I’ll make the baby a nice soup and calm them down.”

Kyungsoo is crying; it’s not just the pepper. He touches his wet cheeks and stares at his fingers.

“If you’re sad, the baby is sad,” Kyungsoo notices.

“What?” Chanyeol asks.

Kyungsoo stares at him; it just hits him how little he knows about this… being… that simply entered his life. The fact is, if Chanyeol wants to stay and create a family, then Kyungsoo needs to know more about him. It seems that Kyungsoo will have to wait for another decade before writing his spellbook; he now has another subject to study.

He touches Chanyeol’s face.

“My sweet pumpkin pie, my destined one,” he says solemnly. “I think that due to my… pregnancy, we should make our relationship status official to our beloved ones.”

“I assume that you’re not talking about the Facebook one,” Chanyeol blinks. “It’s… not a book with faces, by the way. Just, just forget it. What do you have in mind…?”

“I would prefer if we took a little medieval path and threw a ball, but let’s face it, it’s winter. I assume that it’ll be comfortable if we visit our families and friends and introduce each other, asking for blessings. It would help us to get along,” Kyungsoo caresses Chanyeol’s cheek and he presses his face back against his hand. “And maybe give us a clue about the baby. If your bloodline is that complex, I guess we’ll have to figure it out by ourselves how to deal with the possibilities.”

“I really like your voice,” Chanyeol says, smiling. “You should talk more.”

“I’m not used to this since I live by myself. Sometimes only the animals and the spirits are there to listen to me,” Kyungsoo retreats his hand, fixing his posture. “The soup…”

“Oh,” Chanyeol says, shaking the wooden spoon. “I’m sorry. I’ll finish it.”

Kyungsoo feels cold, so he rubs his arms and tries not to step on any creature on the floor. There are no broken things or pieces there anymore, but the house is still messy after the devil’s entrance. Kyungsoo stops before he gets on the corridor and he looks back to Chanyeol, staring at his focused face while tasting the soup.

“Enough spice,” he sings and then keeps mixing. He’s quite attractive while sweaty and the ponytail makes him younger, like a big child. Kyungsoo can’t wrap his mind around what made him choose Chanyeol as his potential sexual partner.

“Chanyeol,” he gulps.

“Yes,” Chanyeol looks at him.

“Do you remember… what happened that night… at the celebration?”

“Hummm, just flashbacks, because of well, trance issues and elixir,” he seems calm about it. “It’s normal to forget things, I mean. Why?”

“Nothing,” Kyungsoo mumbles. “I was just curious.”

“I remember that you said that you had a thing for horns and that you cast an analgesic spell because you wanted to ‘ride me like it’s 1600,’” Chanyeol wipes his sweaty face.

“Spare me from the details,” Kyungsoo walks out of the room, embarrassed. “Please, rush! I don’t want demons invading this house again.”

“I thought your house was safe from evil,” Chanyeol says and Kyungsoo listens to him while sitting on the bed again.

“That’s a trick. They’re evil but they come with no evil intention, so that’s why they get in,” Kyungsoo explains, raising his voice. “Unfortunately, morality can’t be read by spells, only intentions.”

“That’s very complex,” Chanyeol’s voice is kind of relaxing, Kyungsoo thinks and he’s getting so sleepy that all he needs is to put his hat on to take a nap. He has a soft dream, pink clouds like cotton and a baby blue sky, bird songs and a quiet atmosphere. He also feels warm and cozy, like he’s tucked on a small lair himself.

He awakens slowly, feeling calm and comfortable like he hadn’t been having intense headaches since the whole pregnant thing started. He stays on the bed, stretching lazily and he feels Chanyeol sleeping next to him; it’s a comforting sight because he’s in a fetal position, head on the pillow and his face is calm, relaxed. For a small moment, it feels like they have been together for eternity.

Kyungsoo’s nose smells the soup, and he leaves the bed carefully, puts his slippers on and leaves the room before something weird happens. It’s raining outside, but not too much, so he looks around to see if another creature entered his house to protect themselves from the storm. Instead of a creature, he finds a witch.

A serious, calm and well-dressed witch staring at him.

“Irene,” Kyungsoo bows, because she’s a senior and at least half a century older than him.  

“Kyungsoo,” she nods, still sitting on the chair elegantly; her shining boots are clean and her long straight hair is dry. She must have been there for a while. The cauldron is still warm and the soup is there.

“What brings you to my humble place in this stormy day?” He asks politely. “Can I offer you something? A drink?”

“I was… I wanted soup,” she says, a bit confused. “But then a demon appeared on the couch and warned me that it belonged to your… baby.”

“Oh, sorry,” Kyungsoo hurries to pick the bowls, embarrassed. “They have been invading this space because the fetus wants to tell us things. It’s been an annoyance.”

“I can imagine,” she says empathetically, fixing the table cloth. That isn’t uncommon – Irene has a thing for organizing and cleaning. The Red Temple is made of glass and marble and it shines like an emerald. “They lack discipline and sure have a dirty mouth.”

Kyungsoo serves the soup to both of them before sitting down to eat. Irene tastes the soup on her spoon and lickes her lips with narrowed eyes.

“What is this for?” She asks. It’s implicit that she’s asking about the magical purposes.

“Nothing, I think,” Kyungsoo says, wiping his mouth. “It’s a human soup. They just cook… for fun. No purposes besides… well, to eat?”

“Very… rustic,” she says slowly. “But it tastes good.”

“Chanyeol is a good cook,” he smiles.

“You mean the Satyr?” Irene blinks. “He… cooked… this?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says and he keeps drinking peacefully.

Irene is just staring at the soup. Kyungsoo finishes it and wipes his mouth again. It fits his taste for spicy food.

She coughs.

“The girls told me you needed advice… due to your situation,” she seems to be thinking about something and she’s still holding her spoon. “So, I’ve decided to offer help since you’re probably having trouble with magic and to move around.”

“I’m grateful. This is very thoughtful,” Kyungsoo says. “I can do magic and move, however. If that’s not draining… The baby is located in my mind.”

“Oh,” Irene is surprised. “Yeri was in my throat. You see why I thought that it was the flu. Of course, I also imagined that it could have been a curse, but… I have strong protection.”

“An angel warned me,” Kyungsoo sighs. “My house has been… crowded lately.”

Irene nods; she must be in the same situation since her coven is now twice the size it used to be.

“I could make a good banishing spell,” she considers. “It certainly would make it free from angels, demons and the Satyr.”

Kyungsoo frowns.

“What?”

She seems to be as much confused as he is.

“I don’t want to banish Chanyeol,” he explains quickly. “I need him here to raise this child. He’s helping me a lot and the baby is deeply connected to him.”

She seems to be taken aback; she fixes her short black dress and puts the spoon down.

“Are you… going to… keep the creature?” She asks slowly, seeking confirmation. “And the baby.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says resolutely. Only a butterfly flying around the room is heard. “Do you think that this isn’t an appropriate decision?”

“No,” she answers quickly. “That’s your decision and I respect that. I’m just surprised since you always talked about being a lonely witch and living on your own.”

Kyungsoo can’t blame her for being shocked. It’s reasonable.

“I changed my mind,” he stands up, grabbing his bowl. “There are plenty of benefits on keeping them. After all, fate is never wrong.”

“Fate is never wrong,” Irene repeats as a law. “But we can find shortcuts out of it.”

“Aren’t you going to drink your soup?” He asks dryly. 

“Of course,” she mumbles, staring at it. Kyungsoo waits until she starts drinking it and then smiles. “It’s really good.”

“I know you must be thinking about the witch community and how they would react to this,” Kyungsoo says, throwing the bowl on the kitchen. “But I don’t care about what they say. If they ask questions, I can say that he’s my new familiar.”

“Where’s Jongin?” She looks around.

“Mission,” Kyungsoo changes the subject. “I also want you to know that I’ll look for the right pair to bless this kid as godfather and godmother.”

“Oh,” she seems interested. “That’s interesting. I couldn’t bless Yeri since she’s a demonic creature, but I imagine this is a great honor.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says casually. “Eventually I’ll visit your cover. I’m introducing Chanyeol to my acquaintances.”

“As your familiar?” She asks.

“I’m not sure,” Kyungsoo rubs his own arm. “Let’s see.”

“Do you have a designed midwife?” Irene sips the soup again.

“No, the angel warned me that they’re due to arrive in the spring,” Kyungsoo sighs. “I’m not even sure what it is, to be honest with you, my friend.”

“You must be careful,” Irene warns. “If that thing is in your mind, they can mess with your perception and magic capacity. They can also need someone to open your head so they can be born.”

Kyungsoo thinks about the burned book, but he doesn’t tell her – a witch must be secretive about their powers. Irene gives him the empty bowl.

“Thank you,” she says. “That was an exotic meal.”

“Is there any soup left,” a demon says; they were so concentrated on the topic they didn’t notice a tiny portal, that barely made a wind or warmness in the room. Only a fraction of the face of the demon is showing.

Kyungsoo and Irene stare at him in silence.

“Well, this soup thing is getting popular down here, but we only have barbecues,” the demon explains. “So we wanted to try some. Maybe?”

 

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

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Kyungsoo wakes up and he’s still sleepy.

He’s spending his days sleeping or eating between naps – he’s almost sure he gained a few pounds since his cheeks are fuller and his tummy is visibly bigger and softer. Chanyeol spends his days (from what Kyungsoo can see when he’s awake), building things, fixing problems and cooking. A storm comes and leaves and the only thing Kyungsoo notices is the wet floor while he’s walking to the bathroom to take a piss. Once in a while, there’s some weird creature sleeping on the bed (raccoons, dogs, demons…) but Kyungsoo doesn’t mind them unless it’s Chanyeol and his very comfortable six-pack.

“Chronos, what day is today…” Kyungsoo mumbles, stretching up. There’s no one around to mock him or to annoy him, so it’s weird. He gets out of the bed, yawning and rubbing his slippers on the floor. The house is clean and Kyungsoo hears a familiar meow.

“Jongin?” He’s a bit startled. The main room’s furniture is reordered, except for the cauldron that remains on the center, boiling something.

The cat is sitting on the couch, using a wool hat and a sweater. Kyungsoo is so surprised that he doesn’t know how to react.

“Your partner,” Jongin says, blinking slowly. “I like him.”

“He’s not my partner,” Kyungsoo answers, offended. “For the seven hells, what’s that?”

“Well, I was cold and he doesn’t know any warming spells, so…” Jongin’s tail moves slowly. “I brought the book.”

Kyungsoo looks around.

“Where’s Chanyeol?”

“Left to hunt,” Jongin yawns. “I said I was hungry… That library is so far! And really, the storm is a mess out there! Pet me!”

“Where’s the book?” Kyungsoo looks over his shoulders; Chanyeol put all the things in different places and now he doesn’t even know where the books are.

“Under your bed, I had to hide it before he noticed me,” Jongin says and then he stares at Kyungsoo, his pupils dilatating. “Please tell me you’re not going to kill the human or harm him. He’s adorable…”

“Do not get attached,” Kyungsoo raises his finger. “I won’t end his life and this was never my intention. I’ll wait until the kid is born and… depending on what comes from this head… I’ll use the book.”

Jongin doesn’t seem happy.

“I want the baby too,” he meows sadly. “I like babies…”

“Listen, weren’t you excited to be in your human form again?” Kyungsoo crosses his arms. “Maybe you should focus on that.”

“Being human is never like being a Nymph. Humans stink, literally,” Jongin rubs his face with a paw. “They sweat, poop, fart, and their body makes weird noises. When I was a Nymph, I smelled like roses and my ass never produced any impurity.”

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes.

“Did you want to be abused by a god and then murdered by another god or their partner?” Kyungsoo warns. “That’s what happens to unaware Nymphs and their shinning, perfumed skins. You should be grateful to be able to be a human, at least. They’re ordinary, die easily and no God will care about you, because humans are annoying as hell!”

Jongin keeps licking his paw. Kyungsoo walks to the window and opens it a little to check if Chanyeol is around. The baby place that he built is in the same place, even the adornment. It’s cute and a nice addition to the house, so Kyungsoo feels bad to be planning evil things.

“There’s a storm coming, so I would appreciate if you allowed me to leave before it hits us,” Jongin says.

“Go pick your clothes first, I’m done with naked men in my house,” Kyungsoo says, distracted, still looking for Chanyeol. He can hear Jongin leaving to the room, so he whispers. “Felis non plus, humanum est.”

It takes a minute or two before he hears Jongin’s human laugh, but Kyungsoo is genuinely worried about Chanyeol in the forest. He can’t see any creature passing by and that’s a bad signal; they’re already hidden, waiting for the storm to come. The winds are strong and Kyungsoo closes the window.

“Foolish Satyr,” he mumbles.

“Now I’m really hungry,” Jongin walks out of the room, using appropriate clothes. Kyungsoo feels bad for not offering his clothes to Chanyeol before – he forgot that Jongin’s human form was taller than his… well, witch body.

“Feed from the soup,” Kyungsoo waves his hand, dismissing him. “Even the demons do that now.”

“So I’ve heard,” Jongin smiles, sitting on the floor like a cat. “Rumor has it that your fetus is the Antichrist. Even the angels can hear them complaining about things.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, the Antichrist has been elected to a political position very recently between the humans, everybody knows it,” Kyungsoo sighs. “At least the antichrist wouldn’t annoy me, but humanity. And they sure deserve.”

Jongin stares at Kyungsoo. Kyungsoo stares back.

“My food,” he says.

“You’re not a cat anymore,” Kyungsoo complains.

“Oh, yes,” he stands up again slowly. “Sorry.”

Kyungsoo sits on the couch with his arms crossed; he’s not even hungry. He’s worried about Chanyeol and his wandering. Jongin is sipping loudly, licking straight from the plate and Kyungsoo used to find this hilarious, but now he’s not even entertained.

“Look for him, if you’re that stressed,” Jongin says, licking his lips. “He couldn’t be that far…”

Kyungsoo rubs his own arms, feeling the cold weather even inside of the house. Jongin finishes his meal and warms up, jumping and waving his arms around.

“I will open a portal for you and for me,” Kyungsoo decides. “Where do you want to go?”

“Oh, New York,” he says, excited, shaking his hand. “Better, Paris… or maybe—no, L.A!”

“Please don’t come back with weird human clothes,” Kyungsoo stands up, raising his hands. “Don’t seduce dangerous people, do not get famous again and I swear for god, Jongin, do not get cursed!”

“It’s hard to do that with this face,” he points to himself. “You’re basically asking me to not hip thrust?”

“That’s exactly what I’m asking you not to do,” Kyungsoo grabs his face. “Come back before spring! I need you around in case my head splits open!”

Jongin nods; they know they have to be focused to sing the Gregorian Chant correctly. Kyungsoo isn’t a fan of opening portals, but at least he can try to find Chanyeol safely. It’s a cold sensation and it gives vertigo as soon as the ground under him disappears and they’re swallowed by it. It’s a bit painful, mostly because the “portal” isn’t a “way”, but just a tool to disintegrate into tiny particles to move faster and then rearrange them somewhere they desire to be. Kyungsoo sometimes mistakes the place and direction, but at least, he never rearranges him and Jongin wrongly. He heard stories about people ending up with their feet replaced by their hands.

Kyungsoo drops Jongin first and gets weak immediately after; without Jongin, his energies are significantly dispersed. He tries to focus on Chanyeol’s face and where he’s supposed to be, if not hunting. His head hurts and he knows that the baby is probably afraid of that travel, so he just… drops himself.

He falls on the ground, on his butt. He stands up slowly, dusting off his clothes and fixing his slippers. Then he looks around and he’s still on the forest.

There are at least a hundred creatures looking at him. Centaurs, Nymphs, Fairies, Spirits, Monsters and, of course, Satyrs. Kyungsoo steps back, surprised, and they all get startled too.

“A witch,” a tiny, sparkling fairy mumbles. “… why?”

“Errr… Hello,” Kyungsoo says. It’s a domino effect; the centaurs get their bow and arrows, the fairies and spirits fly away, the monsters run and the Satyrs jump. It’s so orchestrated that Kyungsoo freezes.

There’s a deep silence that allows them to hear the wind messing up with the leaves.

“Sorry,” Kyungsoo hears a familiar voice. “Sorry, excuse me, excuse me.”

He waits, standing on the same spot and watches Chanyeol passing through the Satyrs. Not human Chanyeol, but his Satyr version, that was significantly bigger and… scarier? Kyungsoo stares at his horns and his shining eyes when they finally face each other.

“Ahn… the witch is here for me… he won’t curse anyone…” He warns, turning slowly to the creatures, raising his hands to calm them down. “He’s carrying my child, so… they have no evil purposes here.”

Kyungsoo wants to look over Chanyeol’s shoulder, but… it’s too tall, so he doesn’t move to not scare them. The creatures seem to accept the Satyr’s words and turn their faces to the center, where something must be happening.

Chanyeol looks at Kyungsoo and he looks… mad.

“What… what are you doing here?” Chanyeol says, crossing his arms. Kyungsoo can’t feel the winter breeze since his pants are on fire. “How the hell you got here, that’s the real question, I guess.”

“I…” Kyungsoo tries to find words. Chanyeol’s hair is so pretty, it’s long and his horns are absolutely stunning – Kyungsoo doesn’t even mind the goat legs. He’s okay with hairy bodies. “Portal…”

Chanyeol face falls and there is horror in his eyes.

“You disintegrated with a baby inside your mind?”

“Yes?” Kyungsoo frowns.

“Are you insane?” Chanyeol asks, exasperated. “Did you lose—Kyungsoo, is the kid okay?”

“How could I know such a thing?” Kyungsoo asks and maybe he’s not horny enough, because his legs are trembling. “You were taking too long…!”

“I had a work emergency…” Chanyeol points to the group behind him. They’re talking and discussing, Kyungsoo realizes. “I only left the house because your cat had returned. I would never leave you alone. That’s… just taking too long because… well, it’s hard to find a nice translator to monster language. Some people here only speak in old Latin.”

“I happen to be fluent in old Latin,” Kyungsoo says. “It’s not that hard to find a witch who knows it.”

“Okay, let me just say the obvious,” Chanyeol says. “Creatures don’t like witches, just like humans, because you’re mean to us.”

Kyungsoo can’t find a good argument to fight back, so he just nods.

“I’m sorry if I’m being a nuisance to you,” he says and he doesn’t know why he’s so angry. “I was just worried because there’s a storm coming and—”

“And you decided to disintegrate your body and come to a forest in pajamas and slippers to find me?”

Kyungsoo blinks. He didn’t think about the fact that he was, well, pregnant. Some creatures are looking back at them and he shrinks to hide better. Chanyeol sighs and in a simple movement lifts Kyungsoo off the ground and throws him on his shoulder like the bag he’s carrying – Kyungsoo can see that it’s not only to cover his manly parts.

“You need a coat, a bit of soup and to rest,” he says, walking from the group; Kyungsoo holds on his shoulder, shocked. “No more portals! You’ll end up messing this baby up more than they’re already messed up.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t say anything. For a scary second, he thinks about the possibility that he could have damaged the kid and he feels like he should apologize, but he knows it won’t change a thing. It’s already done. He looks down while Chanyeol is walking and he realizes that if there’s no baby, there’s no connection between them anymore. Chanyeol will leave.

But that’s not a bad thing, right?

“Sorry,” Kyungsoo whispers.

“That’s okay,” Chanyeol says softly. “How are you feeling…?”

“Okay,” Kyungsoo says. A drizzle hits his face and he feels comfortable in the forest, so he just rubs the leather on Chanyeol’s bag strap. “What’s in the bag?”

“Ah, I hunted a chicken, your cat said he likes it,” Chanyeol rubs Kyungsoo’s back, instead of just holding it. “Normally I carry only my cellphone, some money… err, human stuff and… well, use it so I don’t be a walking dick pic.”

Kyungsoo sniffs and he can smell the dead animal.

“Jongin left to be with the humans,” Kyungsoo tells him. “It’s going to be only the two of us again.”

“You can invite your closest friends for a dinner,” Chanyeol suggests. “I can cook for them.”

“You’ll need more than a chicken to feed my friends, no matter which forms they assume,” he chuckles. “If you hunt me a big animal, then I ask them to come.”

“How about the witches?”

Kyungsoo rests his head on Chanyeol’s shoulder. It’s a nice way to travel and he loves how the forest smell before a storm like they’re sharing a secret. He’s not even cold, because Chanyeol’s body is warm enough for both.

“We can visit their temple, the five of them won’t be comfortable on my house,” Kyungsoo explains simply.

“How are you going to introduce me to them?” Chanyeol asks suspiciously.

Kyungsoo takes a deep breath and lets the wind play with his short hair. He doesn’t have an answer to that question yet.

“I don’t know,” he says sincerely.

“Do witches marry?” Chanyeol seems thoughtful.

“Of course not,” Kyungsoo raises his head, annoyed. “Marriage is a human ritual made for human males to control money and properties by treating females as property themselves, tying them into a vicious circle of emotional and financial dependence and making reproduction their only life purpose!”

“Ok first wave of feminism, I get it,” Chanyeol giggles. “So what do you do when you want to… live with someone you love and… kinda tell everyone about it?”

“We create a coven together,” Kyungsoo says. “We witches don’t care about the rules as you do with your marriage. A coven celebration is much better because the guests bring gifts and we promise to love, take care and respect each other until fate decides it’s the end of the line for us.”

“Oh, not like a marriage at all,” Chanyeol says dryly.

“Yes,” Kyungsoo agrees mindlessly.

“I’ve been to one of those,” Chanyeol mumbles. “I think.”

“We met during one of those celebrations,” Kyungsoo explains. “The Black Velvet coven.”

“Oh,” Chanyeol nods. “Of course.”

“They have invited me to join them,” Kyungsoo says. “But I refused.”

Chanyeol stops walking.

“They asked you to marry them?!”

“No, didn’t I just tell you that this isn’t a marriage,” Kyungsoo rolls his eyes. “Marriage is all about reproduction. A coven is about being powerful! So it’s an honor to be invited to one!”

“Ah, that’s not what I want,” Chanyeol says. “When I introduce you to my human friends, I’ll have to tell them that you’re my fiancé, we’re getting married and adopting a child.”

“Don’t be ridiculous, I’m not a female to be a bride,” Kyungsoo frowns. “Also, why would we adopt a child when I’m pregnant with our own child inside my head?”

“Maybe I shouldn’t introduce you to my human friends,” Chanyeol sighs. “It’s going to be a cultural shock for both parts.”

“Are you ashamed of me?” Kyungsoo inquires.

“No, not at all, I’m very proud of you, my cute witch,” he says happily. “How about you?”

“I’m not ashamed of anything,” Kyungsoo says. “Except for that oral sex reference that I made with that flute commentary.”

Chanyeol laughs loudly, the sound echoing in the empty forest.

 

 

 

They arrive home quickly because Chanyeol is fast – Kyungsoo now understands why he thinks that human legs are not that great. The rain isn’t that strong, but the sky is grey and no other creature is around the house. Chanyeol puts Kyungsoo on the ground and Kyungsoo cast the door opening spell:

Aperio,” he mumbles, tired, raising his hands high. The door opens and Kyungsoo stares at it, raindrops falling on his face. He moves his hands down slowly.

“What’s wrong?” Chanyeol gets closer, confused.

Kyungsoo walks in instead of answering and he gets closer to the cauldron to warm himself. Chanyeol enters the house and closes the door slowly. Kyungsoo watches as he tries to fit inside with his new height.

“Where’s your cat…?” He asks. “Oh, he left… right?”

Kyungsoo just points to a pile of magazines. Chanyeol picks one of them and holds it, with no clue.

“I put those things here,” he says. “He’s inside the magazines?”

“He’s on the cover of this human publishing named Vogue,” Kyungsoo finally explains. “He’s the half-naked man there.”

Chanyeol stares at the magazine in disbelief. Kyungsoo thinks about the book under the bed.

“Well, if this is his human form, don’t you think it’s a waste to keep him as a cat?” Chanyeol laughs, amused.

“Don’t be a fool,” Kyungsoo sighs, annoyed. “Look at how tall and broad he is! He would be all over the place… My house is made to fit me.”

Chanyeol gapes a little and then explodes in laughter. “You’re so funny,” he says. “So cute, I swear.”

Kyungsoo looks into his cauldron and he doesn’t feel anything when he smells the boiling soup. He just feels tired and disconnected, so Chanyeol’s light mood isn’t helping.

“No,” he says weakly. “I’m not.”

“What’s wrong?” Chanyeol asks quickly, moving his big body carelessly through the room. “Are you sleepy? Dizzy?”

“I don’t know. I think I’m worried,” Kyungsoo answers quietly, eyes searching for something. “Magical pregnancies don’t give any physical assurance that the baby is there. No visible change. If the demons didn’t come or my head didn’t hurt, I wouldn’t know if they’re… okay.”

Chanyeol’s face reflects his serious tone,

“I know,” he nods. “But there’s nothing we can’t do but wait until they decide to come out. We can’t open your head to check if they’re alive. This isn’t Schrödinger’s baby.”

“No,” Kyungsoo is offended. “That’s my baby!”

Chanyeol’s smile is soft; it seems that he won’t mock Kyungsoo this time.

“Yes, it’s our baby. I like how you said it,” he touches Kyungsoo’s shoulder. “I’ll be by your side, anyway, soulmate.”

Kyungsoo wants to protest, but he’s actually feeling sleepy. He spent too much energy during the day; the last time he was that exhausted was during the last human war. Chanyeol is slowly caressing his neck and Kyungsoo doesn’t think that anyone did it before.

“I need to rest my body,” Kyungsoo says, a bit embarrassed. “Excuse me.”

Chanyeol seems to be disappointed. He takes the bag that he’s carrying and nods.

“I understand,” he smiles sadly and his big shinning eyes are now opaque. “I’ll cook the food, then.”

“You don’t have to keep cooking,” Kyungsoo says. “I don’t even eat that often… and I can cook myself.”

“Maybe I can build—”

“Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo asks, being careful. “You don’t have to do anything.”

“I’m restless. I don’t like to do nothing.”

“Then…” Kyungsoo avoids his eyes. “Stay with me. It’s getting cold and I would enjoy your body warmness.”

Chanyeol seems to be taken aback by the offer. He lets his hand fall and leans to hold Kyungsoo’s hand gently, fingers slowly interlacing. It feels natural, so Kyungsoo allows him to guide them to the room. Chanyeol turns back to his human form otherwise, he wouldn’t fit on the bed. Kyungsoo changes his wet clothes to warm, comfortable ones.

“Can I stay like this?” Chanyeol asks before sitting on the bed. He’s naked.

“That’s okay,” the witch says weakly – he feels exhausted, - and then lies down. “My sweet pumpkin pie.”

“Do you like pumpkin pies?” He asks, smiling, head on the pillow.

“Very much,” Kyungsoo yawns. Chanyeol giggles loudly, rubbing his face on the pillow that they’re sharing.

“Ah, I’m happy,” he moves closer to Kyungsoo. At this point, their noses are almost touching. Kyungsoo is struggling to keep his eyes open.

“The candle lights…” the witch mumbles, but before he can ask Chanyeol to fix it, an odd breeze blows out the candles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

 

It’s freezing outside.

There is sepulchral silence and the rain isn’t that strong anymore, but it never stops, so the wind gets colder and everything feels humid. Kyungsoo can feel the humidity even inside of his thick blanket, even with Chanyeol hugging him tightly. Kyungsoo stares at his now human face; he’s drooling and snoring and he still gets to mumble something incomprehensible. Kyungsoo touches his face to wake him up gently.

“Wake up,” he whispers.

It takes a while until Chanyeol opens his eyes completely. Now, the smooching starts.

“Good morning, baby,” he kisses Kyungsoo’s head and then his mouth. “Good morning, my witch.”

“Good morning,” Kyungsoo answers as always. “I’m hungry.”

“I can hunt,” Chanyeol yawns. “It’s been a while since you wanted to eat, right?”

Yes. Kyungsoo spent a few days sleeping and feeling nauseous, but nothing too hard to deal. He could at least read the letters and take care of his garden. The demons and devils weren’t visiting anymore and Kyungsoo could at least take a bath without some of them complimenting his ass.

“There’s no animal wandering,” Kyungsoo says. “The winter is ending and now it’s the coldest time.”

“I can hear birds,” Chanyeol frowns. “Pretty sure.”

Kyungsoo blinks – Chanyeol has better hearing than him, of course. He’s not stuck in a human body forever. He looks at the window and checks if the weather has drastically changed, but no. It’s raining and it feels cold.

“I don’t see—” Kyungsoo gapes. “Oh, of course. Put some clothes on.”

“Why?”

“Because your wish came true,” Kyungsoo sighs. “My friends are here.”

Chanyeol smiles excitedly and Kyungsoo doesn’t even change his pajamas, only puts on pants, because he knows Baekhyun and Jongdae better than that. Chanyeol seems to be in good mood and he runs to open the door… and there’s just freezing wind there.

“They’re birds,” Kyungsoo says, and goes to pick his bowl. “The window…”

“Oh, of course,” he says, using his strong physique to close the door against the strong wind. It makes Kyungsoo a bit thirstier for the soup. “There it goes.”

The window opens and he can see their bird forms shaking their tiny bodies to get warm. Baekhyun is still a pink slim bird and Jongdae has the same tone of green and the chubby belly. Looking like that, they barely resemble the forces of nature that they are.

“Good morning~” they sing in harmony. “What a beautiful day~”

“Cute,” Chanyeol says. “Ah, do we have birdseed?”

“Thank you~” Baekhyun sings. “But we eat on our human forms~ so we can eat more~”

“And when he says ‘eat more’~” Jongdae sings back, wriggling. “He means until we can’t eat anymore~”

“So cute,” Chanyeol’s eyes are shinning, so Kyungsoo can’t help but smile.

A loud sound of thunder and a flash of light makes them temporarily blind. When Kyungsoo can see again – he thought he would be used by it after three hundred years – they’re sitting on the window on their suits.

“Hello,” Baekhyun jumps down. “I leave for a minute and you’re pregnant, Kyungsoo. You’re like Beyoncé of the witches.”

“He didn’t change a thing during the pregnancy too,” Jongdae agrees, doing the same. “So yeah, pretty accurate.”

“Hello,” Kyungsoo says, tasting the boiling soup on his bowl. “Make yourself comfortable, I guess.”

“You must be Chanyeol,” Jongdae inspects the half-human Satyr while his partner runs to the cauldron. “I must say, you do look different when you’re not engaging in sodomy.”

Kyungsoo spits the soup he was drinking on Baekhyun’s face. Baekhyun licks around his mouth.

“Oh, chicken soup,” he says. “My favorite.”

“What do you mean…?” Chanyeol frowns.

“It means that I can actually see you now that you’re not fucking Kyungsoo’s ass,” Jongdae says, poking Chanyeol’s chest. “You look a human celebrity… is that your true form?”

“Both are. I’m mixed,” Chanyeol says quietly.

“Oh, I see,” Jongdae smiles, unbothered. “Best of both worlds, Hannah Montana.”

Chanyeol snorts; Kyungsoo is used to Baekhyun and Jongdae’s human ways, especially after they turned their house into a technological mess. They liked to watch ‘cable’ and checked ‘social media’ and talked in a specific modern world dialect that Kyungsoo blatantly ignored.

“You guys are young, right?” Chanyeol asks, amused.

It’s the turn for them to laugh. Kyungsoo almost drops his bowl from laughing. Baekhyun is wiping his face and shaking his body.

“That was… fun,” he wiped his eyes too. “No, we’re not. We are much older than Kyungsoo. Not that it matters, of course. He’s still smarter.”

“Baekhyun here betted on the dinosaurs surviving,” Jongdae says, mocking. “Ah, I miss my t-rex form.”

“You betted on the gorillas evolving to the top,” Baekhyun argues, shaking the empty bowl he grabbed.

“I still think they’re better than humans,” Jongdae shrugs and joins them near the cauldron. Chanyeol is definitely confused.

“Oh, it was just because… you guys knew some things from the modern age. Kyungsoo doesn’t have a place for me to charge my phone.”

“Oh, don’t worry,” Jongdae gestures, smiling. “I can do that just fine. Gimme your phone.”

They find a way to sit down and eat, the four of them in Kyungsoo’s small room. Because the cauldron is always boiling, the place is warm.

“This tastes de-li-ci-ous, ” Jongdae sings, licking his lips. “Have you cooked this yourself?”

“Yes,” Chanyeol says proudly. “That’s a family recipe.”

“You say shit about humans, but their food is great… remember when Kyungsoo cooked with animal brains in the food?” Baekhyun complains to Jongdae. “I mean, we never faced this problem on Starbucks.”

“Shut up or I’ll never cook for you again,” Kyungsoo says, annoyed.

“So, are you guys like… nature spirits or…” Chanyeol asks, fitting on the tiny chair and facing them. “Not sure.”

“We are nature,” Baekhyun says. “A part of, but… well, nature.”

“I see,” Chanyeol nods and Kyungsoo already knows that he didn’t get a thing. “You change forms just like Kyungsoo’s cat.”

“By the way, Jongin’s new photoshoot…” Baekhyun closes his eyes to emphasize his feelings. “Bought two Elles just to keep one clean.”

“That’s absolutely disgusting,” Jongdae slaps him. “You didn’t even invite me.”

“That’s your fault, you know I’m a light and I’m always turned on,” he winks and wriggles his eyebrows and Chanyeol laughs but Kyungsoo will never find this joke funny.

“Don’t you guys have a cat of your own?” Kyungsoo looks around. “Where’s Minseok?”

“You should know that we can’t keep a cat home for a long time,” Jongdae sighs. “He probably found a tall man to chase this winter… or he’s with…”

“You-know-who,” Baekhyun sighs too.

“Then what are you doing here?” He’s licking his bowl.

“We came to meet your soulmate,” Baekhyun says like it’s the simplest thing on the earth. “And let’s not talk about the cute baby, right?”

“How do you know he’s my soulmate…” Kyungsoo sighs. “I don’t even know that.”

“You don’t believe that soulmates exist, how could you notice your soulmate right in front of you,” Jongdae laughs. “But really, your baby is adorable.”

Kyungsoo and Chanyeol look at each other.

“Uhn… how do you guys know that the baby is… cute?” Chanyeol asks carefully. “Based on our faces?”

“No,” Baekhyun laughs, eating a chicken wing. “Because you guys may not see it but there’s something like an umbilical cord coming out of Kyungsoo’s head and the spectrum of the baby is growing…”

Baekhyun and Jongdae look up, smiling, and Chanyeol and Kyungsoo do the same, but they clearly have no idea of what exactly they’re looking for, except for the roof and the spiders living under it.

“So the kid is fine…” Chanyeol asks, scratching his ear.

“They look fine… I mean, for a spectrum,” Jongdae says. “They’re probably annoying the angels right now. You two have a really long cord there.”

Kyungsoo throws the bowl on the floor and holds Jongdae’s shoulders.

“What the baby is like?” Kyungsoo asks threateningly, with a deep, low voice. “You can tell me, I’m ready.”

“No idea,” Jongdae says. “I think they have horns, but we can’t see it for sure. They look cute, though.”

“Oh, Hekate, they’re a Satyr…” Kyungsoo lets his hands fall. “My kid will have goat legs.”

“They’re not goat legs,” Chanyeol rolls his eyes.

“Not to interrupt, but do you guys know that your kid is very famous, right?” Baekhyun asks.

“A full celebrity,” Jongdae adds. “There will be lots of beings interested in blessing them.”

“I bet they’ll come to your house with gifts like it’s a medieval royalty party again,” Baekhyun nods, distracted by his thoughts. “Good times.”

“But now is even better,” Jongdae points. “Because today people take showers and wipe their asses.”

“True,” Baekhyun laughs.

Kyungsoo is… done. He takes a deep breath to recompose himself. He really lost control of his life in a blink of an eye and it’ll be a lot worse if foolish creatures decide to camp on his door. He lives in a rain forest, he’s a coven on his own and since he had one (just one!) night of good Dionysiac trance intercourse, he has no peace. He needs to turn this situation around and make this a way to become a better witch.

“Well, I see,” he says. “Then I guess I’ll accept those gifts and the people who please me the most will be the powerful beings to bless this child.”

“Oh,” Baekhyun says in awe. “I love competitions.”

“That’s not a competition,” he lies. “Do you guys want more soup?”

 

 

 

 

 

The night comes and his friends leave. They really like Chanyeol and the three of them even decide to hunt. Kyungsoo takes a nap and he only notices that it’s late and they left when he wakes up and sees Chanyeol typing on his phone, the only light on the main room.

Lūmae,” Kyungsoo whispers and the candles light up. Chanyeol looks up, startled.

“Oh,” he smiles. “You woke up.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo pushes his blanket away and stretches. “How was the hunt?”

“We caught an eagle,” he says proudly, moving to sit near Kyungsoo at the couch. “They’re super nice.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo looks at the window. “Get yourself ready. We’ll visit some friends.”

“More?” Chanyeol is surprised. “Why?”

“Because they’re witches and they do not awaken in the daylight,” Kyungsoo answers. “We should bring something as a gift too.”

“No, I mean, why are you so invested on this?” Chanyeol asks. “I feel like you’ve been hiding things from me.”

Kyungsoo stares at him. He could argue – that would be easy because he knows for a fact that Chanyeol isn’t only motivated by true love wishes. He’s also competitive and greedy, after all. Kyungsoo could point out that. But he thinks about the book under the bed and he’s ready to not consider himself a victim of the circumstances and go back to be the simple witch he was. That one who used magic to get what he wanted.

“Chanyeol,” Kyungsoo whispers, getting closer to him. Chanyeol widens his eyes as Kyungsoo hugs his naked chest and looks up at him. “Can I ask you something?”

“Yes,” he says, gulping. “Yes…”

Kyungsoo rubs his face on his neck slowly, whispering ‘lenis’ to make him softer. Chanyeol hugs him back slowly.

“Can you please meet my friends and behave nicely around them?” Kyungsoo asks, pressing his lips against Chanyeol’s neck. He feels powerful when the half Satyr gets chills.

“Of course,” the poor creature says.

Kyungsoo looks up and holds his face.

“That would make me very happy, my sweet pumpkin pie,” he whispers, smiling and to show that he’s satisfied, he stretches to give Chanyeol a kiss on the lips. Chanyeol’s body trembles a little and to Kyungsoo’s surprise, he kisses back a bit more… intense than Kyungsoo planned his kiss to be. The witch opens his mouth and allows him to rub their tongues against each other.

Kyungsoo really hates how good that feels – damn human body and human needs – and he rubs Chanyeol’s face gently, enjoying the hot breath on his cheek and the comfort of the hug.

“Fine,” Chanyeol breaks the kiss but doesn’t let Kyungsoo go. “Anything for you, my cute witch.”

Kyungsoo moves away from his hold, recomposing himself.

“Excuse me,” Kyungsoo says, picking his blanket and leaving the main room. He chooses formal clothes and velvet because the Red Coven likes those aesthetic aspects. Kyungsoo makes sure he chooses the prettiest adornments to gift them and he casts a spell so they'll be safe on Chanyeol’s messy bag.

Chanyeol doesn’t have many clothes to wear, so Kyungsoo has to steal a few of Jongin’s expensive human clothes.

“Oh, for Dionysus,” Chanyeol looks down at himself after wearing. “This is from Gucci.”

“His name is spelled Jong-in,” Kyungsoo says slowly. “From Jong-In.”

“Do I look good?” Chanyeol asks. “It feels a bit tight…”

“Well,” Kyungsoo gulps, inspecting how the button black shirt and the black jeans fit perfectly. “I guess it’s not bad. Let’s go.”

Kyungsoo locks the door and whispers ‘protego’. Chanyeol waits for him patiently.

“Don’t you witches have brooms to fly to places?”

“No,” Kyungsoo says, walking. “That’s a myth. Some witches rubbed drugs on brooms and they rubbed their vaginas on it to absorb the drugs. It’s a really sensible place.”

Chanyeol is gaping at him; the winter weather and the house behind him make it look like a painting.

“That’s crazy,” he says.

“No, it’s not.”

“Do want a piggyback?” Chanyeol offers. “We could get there faster.”

“You’re human,” Kyungsoo frowns.

“Still bigger and faster than you,” Chanyeol shrugs.

Kyungsoo considers it. He can’t open a portal, so maybe it’s not that bad. He raises his arms and Chanyeol snorts.

“Cute.”

The forest is like a desert, now. Kyungsoo’s arms are now resting around Chanyeol’s neck, but Chanyeol keeps carrying him without a struggle. Kyungsoo guides him, pointing the direction and warning about the traps on the way. He knows the other witches already felt his presence, so he’s not surprised when they wait for him before the temple.

“Wow,” Chanyeol whistles in awe. “That’s pretty.”

The temple is indeed something to admire. Kyungsoo knows they have servants to keep it clean and perfect, but still, it was beautifully built to shine in the middle of the forest. Joy is the main guest for the night, and she stands next to the marble stairs using a beautiful red glitter dress and velvet gloves. Kyungsoo jumps off Chanyeol’s back to properly greet her.

“Hello, Kyungsoo,” she smiles and bows. “It’s been a long time since we met."

“Yes,” he nods. “I hope it’s not inconvenient.”

“No, not at all,” she waves dismissively. “The cards told us that you were coming.”

“Of course,” Kyungsoo grabs Chanyeol’s arm. “I was talking about him.”

“Oh, no, we’ll make him feel welcome too,” she stares at Chanyeol curiously. “How can we address you…?”

“Just Chanyeol is fine,” he says nervously. He must feel the strong energy coming from her. Joy turns back and takes the lead. Chanyeol holds Kyungsoo’s hand, looking up. The temple stands tall and there are eyes everywhere staring at them. The candles on the way are all inside of carved pumpkins; Joy’s high heels against the marble is the only audible sound.

“This is scary,” Chanyeol whispers. “They’re really evil witches, aren’t they?”

Kyungsoo looks at him, slightly offended.

“You’ve met them before,” he whispers back. “And every witch is evil…”

“Not you, my cute witch…”

“This isn’t a compliment at all.”

Joy claps elegantly and the beautiful glass door opens for them. She casts a spell and Kyungsoo waits until it’s done so they can enter. Kyungsoo pulls Chanyeol.

“Do not accept or eat candies before I do it,” he whispered. “Do not touch the red witches, do not stare directly at their eyes or don't do anything without permission and never, I mean, ever, interact with Yeri.”

“Yeri?”

“It’s the kid,” Kyungsoo says, letting him go. “If you look inside her eyes, you'll see Hell.”

It’s even prettier inside, full of pastel colors and candies everywhere. The place is cozy and it looks like 50’s human decoration. The long main room is almost empty and Seungwan comes running to greet them.

“Oh, hello, Kyungsoo and…”

“Chanyeol,” the creature says, smiling awkwardly.

“Chanyeol, yes, of course,” Seungwan says and she’s a sweet witch, so it’s easy for him to not feel threatened. “Why don’t you sit here and we’ll play you a song? Irene wants to talk to Kyungsoo in private just for a minute or so.”

Chanyeol looks terrified and he doesn’t even know that Joy used to be a siren with a particular appetite for a human meal.

“Don’t worry,” Kyungsoo rubs his arm. “You’re safe here, my sweet pumpkin pie.”

“Oh, that’s cute,” Joy said, smiling like a fool. “If Kyungsoo found himself a soulmate, I guess there’s hope for everyone out there.”

Kyungsoo rolls his eyes, but he keeps glancing back, just to make sure Chanyeol’s fine. He enters Irene’s private room and passes by Yeri’s bed, where a monster is singing her a lullaby. He crosses the room and opens another door, finding her in a protected room, reading a book.

“Oh, you’re here,” she says, closing her book. “I’m glad you came to me, Kyungsoo.”

He bows and she offers him a seat.

“Thank you,” he says. “What did you want to talk to me?”

She puts the book on the little table between their chairs and sighs.

“I’ve heard that you are now searching for the right being to bless your child,” she says casually. “And there’s been a little competition towards your baby.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods. “I’ve heard it too.”

“Not that I’m a competitive witch,” she says slowly in her small voice and Kyungsoo knows it’s a big fat lie. “But I may be interested in being a Godmother. You know I have great parenting skills, here, from parent to parent.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo frowns.

“And I could offer a few things for the baby,” she continues. “Or maybe for you. In case if you want to…”

“I’m not sure if I could accept it now,” Kyungsoo says carefully. “I haven’t made my mind about this baby thing.”

“Oh,” Irene is surprised. “But now you even bring the creature with you. I thought you have decided to keep… whatever you have.”

“Chanyeol is… he’s very functional,” Kyungsoo gulps. “He’s being very helpful, despite the circumstances. I do favor him over the other beings.”

“Isn’t he a chaotic creature?” Irene asks, curious. The floating candles around her are moving faster. “What do you do to tame him?”

“I noticed that his human side is very attached to displays of affection,” he crosses his legs. “Skinship is more effective than magic. He doesn’t even realize that he’s being manipulated.”

“Clever,” Irene smiles. “Very clever. Humans love foolish concepts as romantic love.”

“Yeah,” Kyungsoo coughs. “But I would like him to be treated respectfully since from now on we’ve tied to each other.”

“Of course,” Irene says smiling. “Let’s have dinner and have a good time.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joy opens the glass door for them and they wave before taking the stairs. Chanyeol holds Kyungsoo’s hand again, but now he seems to be satisfied and not just scared.

“They’re sweet,” he says. “The dinner was great. I ate a lot.”

“I noticed,” Kyungsoo says dryly. “You should have been more careful.”

“That meat was delicious. It tasted like chicken, but it wasn’t chicken, right?”

Kyungsoo widens his eyes but he pretends that he’s just coughing.

“No… probably lamb,” he gulps. “Do you want to go home? I need to take a nap.”

“Well, since you’ve been so nice introducing me to your friends, I think I could do the same.”

“You didn’t even meet the Nymphs or the Mermaids…” Kyungsoo thinks out loud. “Wait, you mean your human friends?”

“No, not yet,” Chanyeol giggled. “You need a full makeover to avoid drawing attention between humans.”

“Don’t be foolish,” Kyungsoo protests. “I look just like them!”

“You look like a vampire from a low budget movie, but I was thinking about a cultural makeover,” Chanyeol smiles, rubbing Kyungsoo’s hand. “But it’s my best friend. And he can come to us, instead. He can fly. And I just need to send him a message…”

“I see, another magical creature,” Kyungsoo yawns. “That’s tolerable, I suppose.”

“Want me to carry you home?” Chanyeol offers. Kyungsoo accepts because he knows that he’s lacking energy since the baby is also feeding on it. After all, he’s starting to get used to Chanyeol’s smell and hold, so it feels comfortable to rest his head on his shoulder and fall asleep while listening to the wind.

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

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Kyungsoo is counting on his fingers. A week left to the end of the winter. He looks at the window and he knows that today is the coldest day of them all. Tomorrow, it’ll look the same, but not that cold, not that windy. In a few days, all the animals will be back, so they’re leaving their lairs slowly, waking up from the sleepy time. Kyungsoo can barely believe it’s been months since that eventful night brought Chanyeol to his home (mostly because he slept through many days or maybe because the pregnancy was just a deep mess).

“Snake,” he calls from the couch, where he’s covered by his blanket. “Come here…”

The animals that took his home as a shelter are getting ready to leave, which doesn’t affect his life much. He just hopes that now his garden will grow again and he has enough supply to create his spells and potion, his precious flowers and plants.

The snake pops from a hole on the wall.

“More wood,” he points to the cauldron. Chanyeol left to get wood and milk. Kyungsoo didn’t ask where exactly he would find milk, but he’s almost sure it’s between the humans. He’s taking too long, but this time Kyungsoo won’t look after him like a fool. It’s too cold for that.

While he rubs his cold feet, he hears a knock on the door.

“Come in,” Kyungsoo says, tired. “You’ve been taking too long.”

The door opens but it’s not Chanyeol.

“Hello,” Zitao says, looking around. He’s wearing human clothes and lots of shiny jewelry. His long, grey hair is now short and his long elf ears look like human ears.

“Hello,” Kyungsoo blinks. He’s not sure if Zitao ever visited him. “Come in, take a seat.”

Kyungsoo isn’t in the mood for a guest but he’s curious and he would never be mean to an elf. They live for a long time and they never forget an offense. And, not that important but also not meaningless, they are rich and powerful. The highest class between magical creatures, if you consider that angels are often poor.

“Your house suits you,” he smiles and it’s hard to Kyungsoo to take that as a simple compliment when the elf has to lean down to get in. “What a nice smell!”

He’s also always hungry.

“We have soup,” Kyungsoo tries to stand to serve him, but he raises a hand.

“You must be freezing,” he says. “I’ll do it myself. I wouldn’t make a pregnant being do anything for me. It’s an elf law.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo nods. “Thank you.”

“I left my horse outside,” Zitao points before grabbing a bowl. “They are really popular among humans because of a song.”

“Oh, so you were with humans?”

“Yes,” he smiles. “I met Jongin at the Gucci Cruise and that’s why I’m here today.”

“Of course,” Kyungsoo says. “Is he okay? He’s my familiar but he simply disappears…”

“Nymphs,” Zitao rolls his eyes. “They do what they want to do. No rules to follow. And since he was cursed, it got worse, because cats also are anarchists.”

“I know,” Kyungsoo says passionately. It’s hard to find a being that values the good and polite way to live. He feels good when someone— oh, no. “What do you want?”

Zitao sits down with his bowl, happy. For a second, he doesn’t notice that Kyungsoo already knows that he came with a hidden intention.

“Oh,” he says. “I heard about the baby news and I wanted to congratulate you.”

Kyungsoo tries his best to not show any discontentment.

“And you took your horse to my house only to tell me that,” Kyungsoo narrows his eyes. “I know you’re busy.”

“I wanted to show you my friendship and affection,” he says. “The soup tastes good.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t say anything. The snake finishes her job and instead of hiding, climbs the couch and stays next to him. Zitao stares at him. He stares back.

“I’m not good at this,” Zitao sighs. “I want to be chosen to bless the kid.”

“Oh, I see,” Kyungsoo says, allowing the snake to cuddle him under the blanket. “What do you have to offer? Blessing a child means that you’ll have to look after them.”

“I have gold,” Zitao says simply. “I have lands, horses and amazing hair.”

“True,” Kyungsoo agrees. “If the kid is a human, I see the appeal. But what if they’re a monster?”

“I would love them anyway,” Zitao says passionately. “I have no child of my own, so I can offer my true affection!”

“I don’t care about that,” Kyungsoo deadpans.

“But maybe they do,” Zitao shrugs, licking his lips, apparently unaffected. “Maybe they’ll need a good, nurturing parental figure and let’s be honest, you’re what the humans call a “workaholic”. All you think about is becoming a powerful witch. You didn’t even want to share your coven with someone else. Have you ever taken a vacation in your life?”

He has a point, Kyungsoo sees.

“Chanyeol will be the nurturing figure,” Kyungsoo argues. “I’ll protect the child with my power and I’ll provide what they need.”

“A Satyr?” Zitao laughs genuinely, slapping his own thigh. “Those Dionysian creatures that are born to have fun and prank beings? Oh, Kyungsoo, you’re an absolute delight.”

“He’s not like that,” Kyungsoo whispers; yet, he doesn’t have a good argument. Chanyeol build a nice baby room and he’s generally useful but Kyungsoo can’t affirm anything until the kid is born.

“Do they have another child?” Zitao asks.

“Who?” Kyungsoo is confused.

“Your partner,” Zitao finally finishes his soup. “I mean, Satyrs do fornicate a lot, right?”

Kyungsoo gapes and he stops petting the snake, frozen. He has no idea.

“I…” he starts, but the door opens and someone throws a piece of wood inside. And then another.

“Well, now it’s just…” Chanyeol walks in; his face is red and he’s probably using every piece of clothing Kyungsoo gave him besides thick gloves. His bag is full, as always. He stares at the two men, breathing fast.

“Hello,” Zitao says simply, waving.

“Hello,” Chanyeol says. “You look familiar.”

“I don’t remember you,” Zitao narrows his eyes. “You look human.”

“Oh, you’re Z.tao,” Chanyeol almost screams, clapping. “I bought your LP, man. It was fire!”

“Oh,” Zitao stands up, happy to be recognized. “So you’re a fan? Did we meet in a human place or so? If not, it’s a pleasure to officially meet you.”

“Not really,” Chanyeol smiles and they hold hands as humans do. “I have to be chill if I want to live with the humans… and I try to change as much as I can.”

“Oh, me too,” Zitao makes a painful expression. “And some still compare me to an elf…”

They start to talk about human things and a dialect full of words that he can’t understand as ‘SoundCloud’, ‘mp-three’ and ‘wi-fi’. Kyungsoo tolerates it for a few minutes and then he coughs loudly.

They stare at him.

“I’m cold,” Kyungsoo announces.

“Oh, of course,” Chanyeol takes off his gloves in just a second. “Let me put some fire here… I brought you warm milk also...”

“What do you have to say about my offer?” Zitao turns to Kyungsoo.

“I can not answer you before the baby is born,” Kyungsoo says. “But I’ll think about that. You may leave now.”

Zitao bows to Kyungsoo and Chanyeol and leaves, because he has lived time enough to know that you shouldn’t mess with a witch. Chanyeol creates a ball of fire and he’s so shocked that Tao is leaving that he forgets to burn the wood.

“That was rude,” he says to Kyungsoo.

“No,” Kyungsoo says. “I asked him to leave as a friend. I didn’t even push him away using my broom.”

Chanyeol sighs but in a second, he seems happy again. Kyungsoo isn’t surprised. He has an infinite source of energy and he doesn’t stop for a second. He sits next to Kyungsoo on the couch, wiping his hands.

“Is there a snake under the blanket or are you happy to see me?” Chanyeol asks seductively, wriggling his eyebrows.

“It’s a snake,” Kyungsoo says dryly, throwing the blanket away. The poor snake gets out of the couch, startled.

“Why are you in such a bad mood?” Chanyeol asks, touching Kyungsoo’s chin. “I brought a gift to you.”

“I’m not interested in your gifts,” Kyungsoo states, not amused. “Have you ever procreated before?”

Chanyeol stares at him, blinking. Kyungsoo can hear Zitao’s horse walking away.

“What?” Chanyeol reacts, gaping. “No!”

“Are you sure?” Kyungsoo narrows his eyes. “You may have impregnated a poor Nymph and have no idea of your current child’s existence.”

Chanyeol rolls his eyes.

“I never… let me say in a way that you’ll understand better,” Chanyeol sighs. “I have never laid with a magical being and I don’t go after women, I’m what humans call ‘a big homo’,” Chanyeol says slowly, gesturing. “So nope, no.”

“That sounds like a derogatory term,” Kyungsoo says.

“Nah, I’m okay with it,” Chanyeol says. “So, is that why you’re mad? Because you’re jealous of my imaginary original family?”

“I’m not mad,” Kyungsoo says and he picks his blanket from the floor. “I just had to be sure about it.”

Chanyeol smiles confidently and he reaches Kyungsoo with his long arms, grabbing the witch and pulling towards him easily.

“So, you were really jealous,” he mumbles, hugging Kyungsoo. “Huh? My cute witch doesn’t like to share…”

“Stop,” Kyungsoo says, moving while Chanyeol’s face is pressed against his neck. He wants to push Chanyeol away but he also enjoys Chanyeol’s never-ending body warmness. “This is foolish nonsense.”

Chanyeol kisses him in the neck and Kyungsoo has chills; it’s just a normal body response, but it makes him even more irritated.

“Why do you humans are so touchy,” Kyungsoo grunts. “Let me go!”

“You’re cold,” Chanyeol says. “You need hugs.”

Kyungsoo sighs. Chanyeol brings woods and tolerates his bad moods, so Kyungsoo should at least indulge him in his human-related needs. He hugs Chanyeol back and hears his happy hum, both accommodating themselves on Kyungsoo’s old couch.

“You’re so soft,” Chanyeol says, rubbing his face on Kyungsoo’s skin.

“You have an agreeable face,” Kyungsoo says, staring at the ceiling. “And an arousal-inducing body.”

Chanyeol moves a little to look at him.

“You’re saying that I’m hot?” Chanyeol is curious.

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods, distracted. “You’re warm.”

Chanyeol kisses him, a loud “smack” on his mouth. Kyungsoo already knows what will follow: Chanyeol will call him cute and squeeze him like a fruit, two things that he loves to do, Hekate knows why. Kyungsoo stops him, pushing him away.

“You’re still in a bad mood,” Chanyeol sighs. “I bet my gift will make you happy!”

“I doubt it,” Kyungsoo says, covering himself with the blanket again. “Spring is near and I feel exhausted. Why did you take so long?”

“I was contacting my best friend,” Chanyeol opens his bag. “He said he can meet us, but he won’t probably fit here… he’s not tiny like you and your friends.”

Kyungsoo’s energy is so low that he registers the word but doesn’t get mad at Chanyeol. Chanyeol takes a whole cat from inside the bag.

“Here,” he holds the cat with both hands. “I got you a temporary cat while yours isn’t here! Look how chubby and cute it is!”

“That’s…” Kyungsoo rubs his eyes. “That’s… Minseok.”

“Hello, Kyungsoo,” Minseok says. “Can this human put me on the ground, please?”

“Oh, sorry,” Chanyeol takes him to Kyungsoo, who holds Minseok on his arms. “I just saw him wandering and I thought you would like to have a friend to cuddle…”

“That’s sweet,” Minseok said, licking his white, fluffy paw. “Is that your partner? He’s tall.”

“Ah, I see why you let him abduct you,” Kyungsoo says and he pets his friend. “Are you returning home?”

“Yes,” Minseok purrs. “The winter is almost over… you… don’t look… pregnant. Are the… rumors… true…?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo uses his dark voice. “I suppose I was ready for the deadliest of the curses… but not something so evil… I escaped the Plague but was taken down by this!”

“You know that I can hear you, right?” Chanyeol asks loud enough to both creatures to look back at him. “Please do not compare our child to the Plague.”

“Well, you’re right,” Kyungsoo sighs. “The Plague would have ended my suffering in less than a week and I’m attached to this baby forever, I guess.”

“You get a lot sassier in front of your friends,” Chanyeol crosses his arms defiantly. “Despite the inconvenience, you seemed pretty worried about the baby’s life when you thought that you disintegrated them. He also calls me Sweet Pumpkin Pie.”

“That’s adorable,” Minseok giggles, his furry years moving happily. “I can’t believe I left for a season and Kyungsoo is that changed already!”

“I… I…” Kyungsoo mumbles. “Don’t you have things to do, Chanyeol? I will lay down to rest and I’ll take Minseok with me. Please stop bringing stray animals home.”

“Hey,” Minseok meows, but he still accepts to be carried by Kyungsoo.

“You should have been aware that evil church people kill cats,” Kyungsoo says, but he still can hear Chanyeol complaining, grunting something while cutting wood. “You’re too reckless for a house cat.”

“Ah, being a bird this time of the year is worse,” Minseok yawns. “Also, Chanyeol, his name is Chanyeol, right? He has a good heart and such good energy! You hit the jackpot this time, Kyungsoo. He’ll be a great dad, I can feel it.”

“Really?” Kyungsoo asks, putting Minseok on the bed. “I am worried about his parenting skills.”

“He’s great,” Minseok walks in circles until he lies down. “But do you want the child?”

“Let’s talk about something else,” Kyungsoo coughs. “Hmmm… about that… soulmates… fairytale… do you believe that?”

“I’m a fairy,” Minseok says dryly. “Of course.”

“Well I don’t,” Kyungsoo falls on the bed next to him, grabbing a pillow. “But do you think he’s my soulmate?”

Minseok just laughs and he doesn’t give Kyungsoo a good answer.

 

 

 

 

Kyungsoo wakes up and the soup is ready. He and Minseok must have slept for more than a day because Kyungsoo can hear a few birds and it’s a little warmer. He knows it’s just a matter of time until the Nymphs are back and he has to cook for people again.

He and Minseok have breakfast and Kyungsoo casts a spell to protect Minseok on his way home.

“Be careful,” Kyungsoo says, wrapped in his blanket.

“That’s fine,” Minseok blinks slowly. “The boys must be aware I’m coming back. They’re probably doing a Netflix Marathon.”

“In this cold time…?” Kyungsoo frowns.

“No,” Minseok laughs. “That thing where we watch dramas. Remember that time when we all watched—”

“Shhh,” Kyungsoo says, looking around. “I don’t want Chanyeol to know the sources of my research on humans.”

“Fine,” Minseok giggles. “See you, Kyungsoo!”

Kyungsoo watches him leaving and noticed that Chanyeol isn’t at home. He’s now used to Chanyeol’s human smell. A bit tired of being locked at home, sleeping and not being productive. He changes his clothes and decides to check on the room that Chanyeol built for the baby. It’s taller than the house and a bit more ample, with plants and rocks still there resisting the winter. Kyungsoo opens the door and finds nothing but empty furniture. He looks at the tiny bed and touches the wood. For the first time, the baby feels real and not just a simple idea.

Kyungsoo retreats his hand, coughs and leaves the room the faster he can. He closes the door and sighs, relieved. For just a fraction of second, he—

Wait. He looks around. It’s dark already.

“Hekate,” Kyungsoo blinks. “Is it nighttime? The day has passed in a blink of an eye!”

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol says somewhere; it sounds like he’s screaming, but his voice is barely heard. Kyungsoo narrows his eyes.

“Chanyeol?”

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol repeats. “Look up!”

Kyungsoo doesn’t look up immediately since at this point he’s almost sure he has been cursed and he’s experiencing a delirium.

“Kyungsoo!”

He looks up and gapes. It’s still daylight, but there’s a huge, black, flying dragon over them. To Kyungsoo’s absolute horror, Chanyeol is just sitting on the dragon, as if he’s picking flowers or something.

“… for every God and Goddess on earth,” Kyungsoo says, frozen in place. “Chanyeol, get down!”

“Wait,” he screams. Kyungsoo is paralyzed, watching how the dragon lands easily, getting smaller as he reached the ground until he’s the same size of a white shark. Chanyeol jumps off the dragon, smiling. He’s in his Satyr form, carrying his bag, sweaty and energetic. The dragon closes his wings; he’s black but shines as if there were diamonds encrusted in his skin. His face and his eyes are covered by the wings and with a loud noise and a ball of dust, he turns into a human.

Kyungsoo finally moves, slowly walking to them. The dragon stands up and looks down at the witch. He’s using a suit and it looks like the human’s fashion magazines that Jongin collects.

“Hello,” the dragon says, his red eyes burning.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you,” Kyungsoo bows. Every dragon on earth is an ancient being.

“This is my best friend, Yifan,” Chanyeol says proudly, holding the dragon’s shoulder. “I brought him to meet you. Yifan, this is Kyungsoo.”

“Hello, Kyungsoo,” Yifan repeats.

They stare at each other in silence, so Chanyeol says,

“He’s my cute little witch,” he points to Kyungsoo. “That’s the surprise I told you about.”

“So you have a witch,” Yifan leans down to inspect Kyungsoo. “He’s indeed cute. How much do you want for him?”

Both Chanyeol and Kyungsoo stay in silence for a second. Kyungsoo frowns, glancing at Chanyeol.

“He’s not for sale,” Chanyeol sighs. “Why do you dragons think you can buy everything...?”

“You say it’s yours,” Yifan explains.

“Not like that,” Chanyeol slaps his own face, frustrated. “We belong to each other because we’re in love!”

“Don’t embarrass me in front of dragons with your human nonsense,” Kyungsoo pleads.

“I don’t understand,” Yifan repeats, pushing back his flawless long hair.

“I like you, we’re friends, so you’re my friend,” Chanyeol explains slowly, gesturing wildly. “I don’t own you, but you’re my friend.”

“It’s an affectionate possession,” Yifan says, smiling as if he finally understands. “I can pay in gold and unicorn hair.”

“Please, do you think you even have enough to buy me?” Kyungsoo crosses his arms. “I am a seven hundred years old witch! I own a coven. I bring fear to my enemies’ eyes!”

Yifan stares at him and moves his hand to grab Kyungsoo’s cheek.

“Cute,” he smiles to the witch. “I can pay in dragon’s eggs.”

“Yifan,” Chanyeol whines, exasperated.

“That’s actually a nice offer,” Kyungsoo mumbles, thinking about having his own dragons.

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol whines, shocked.

“Oh,” Yifan stops holding Kyungsoo’s cheek and snaps his fingers. “You’re saying he’s your witch because you’re mentioning human monogamy.”

“Yes,” Chanyeol sighs tiredly. “Of course, Yifan. I don’t own creatures. That's actually against the law!”

“Forgive me,” Yifan bows. “It didn’t cross my mind that a Satyr and a witch could have been together like this. That was prejudicial. I apologize.”

“That’s okay, buddy,” Chanyeol slaps his friend’s back. “I know you’re trying. Let’s start again: this is Kyungsoo, my soulmate and he’s expecting my child.”

“Congratulations,” Yifan says, smiling. “I feel happy for you, my friend. You always wanted a family of your own.”

“Are you interested in blessing the child?” Kyungsoo asks cautiously. “As the church people say, to be the Godfather?”

“That would be an honor,” Yifan says. “If you want to lock them in a castle, I can clean my schedules for the next eighteen years.”

“Ow, ow, ow…” Chanyeol says, holding Kyungsoo by the shoulders and pulling him closer. “Let’s… discuss this later. Why don’t we drink some tea and talk about it inside? It’s cold here.”

“Yes, we can,” Yifan nods. “But before, let me stretch and warm up. It’s been a while since I stood in my human form.”

Chanyeol pulls Kyungsoo even closer.

“Hey, what was that?”

“I don’t intend on locking the kid,” Kyungsoo explains, whispering. “Don’t worry. I just think that a dragon is a good ally to have. They are the mightiest protectors.”

“Not that,” Chanyeol shakes his hand dismissively. “I was talking about you being a golddigger?”

“That’s not correct,” Kyungsoo says. “I have no interest in gold.”

Chanyeol just stares at him; behind them, Yifan does push-ups in a full suit.

“You mean the dragon’s egg offer?” Kyungsoo just blinks. “They are one of the most valuable things on this universe.”

“So you were ready to sell yourself for those?” Chanyeol stops hugging him and crosses his arms (it’s always a struggle for Kyungsoo to watch that).

“Well,” Kyungsoo gulps. “I didn't say yes. I just said it was nice… that someone thought I am worthy of a dragon’s egg.”

Chanyeol’s frown slowly turned into a blank face.

“What?” He whispered.

“People and beings aren’t very nice to witches,” Kyungsoo says calmly. “I escaped a couple of witch hunts during my young years, you know. ”

Chanyeol holds Kyungsoo’s face, staring at him.

“You mean the whole universe to me, now,” Chanyeol says, slow and clear. “I wouldn’t give you up for anything in this world.”

Kyungsoo holds a breath. Chanyeol leans down to kiss him gently. When they part the kiss, Kyungsoo pulls Chanyeol back and kisses him again. It’s a soft touch of lips since he feels weird – his heart is beating very fast, his hands are sweating and he can’t think straight.

“I think the baby is doing something to me,” Kyungsoo whispers.

“Let’s go,” Chanyeol asks gently. “Come on, Yifan, bring your old ass here!”

Kyungsoo is feeling truly different, but he can’t explain how. He starts walking and Chanyeol holds his hand.

“Can he stay? He’s a weird dragon but I swear he has a heart of gold.”

“He must be great,” Kyungsoo says, distracted. “It’s hard for a dragon to form a bond in their adult years. They just get lonelier and crueler, generally.”

Saying that makes Kyungsoo’s mouth taste odd. He holds Chanyeol’s hand back and stares at the Satyr’s happy face.

“I think I understand now,” Kyungsoo realizes.

 

 

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

 

 

 

 

 

Chanyeol ties Kyungsoo’s shoelaces.  

“Isn’t that comfortable,” he looks up, happy. “I bet it’s better than those old shoes and slippers you kept wearing.”

“They’re fine,” Kyungsoo says, moving his feet, even if Chanyeol’s new brand haircut draws his attention. The half-Satyr, now in his human form, stands up, smiling proudly, holding a backpack instead of his bag.

“Are you sure you don’t want to change clothes?” He asks Kyungsoo. “You look like you just left a gothic rock concert.”

“Can’t I blend like this?” Kyungsoo looks down. He always dresses simply and plain, maybe that could offend humans and their constant changing fashion.

“Yes, of course,” Chanyeol says, cupping his own face as an example. “But you could get a bit more… human-like.”

“Oh, I had an idea,” he leaves the room quickly and picks his reading glasses on the bed. He adjusts them on his face and then goes back to show it to Chanyeol. “How about now?”

“Ah, cute,” Chanyeol thumbs up. “Now it’s great!”

Yifan is finishing his soup. He’s a quiet guy, but really gentle – he offered to take Chanyeol and Kyungsoo to Chanyeol’s home city. It’s been a long time since Kyungsoo socialized with humans, but Chanyeol promised then they would be back in the same day; Kyungsoo wouldn’t have to create a portal or do any magic.

“I think I have a suitcase in my apartment to bring back a few things,” Chanyeol checks something on his phone. Kyungsoo knows that ‘phones’ are the closest thing from a magic wand that humans have. “I hope it’s still there. I was robbed once…”

“Who did it?” Kyungsoo says, serious. “Let me curse them.”

“No, no, no,” Chanyeol holds Kyungsoo’s shoulders and leans to look him in the eye. “We have to talk about that.”

“Listening,” the witch says.

“No curses, no magic, no death threats, no stories about middle ages, you’re a human now,” Chanyeol says slowly. “Your name is Do Kyungsoo, you’re twenty-seven and you’re a chef.”

“Yes, I’m very good at cooking potions,” Kyungsoo says proudly.

“Nope, wrong, out, you’re out,” Chanyeol sighs. “You can’t say that! You have to say that you cook cute cakes.”

“Irene taught me how to cook pretty cakes,” Kyungsoo nods. “They’re very poisonous.”

“Oh, for Dionysus,” Chanyeol rolls his eyes, letting his arms fall. “Yifan, please help me!”

“I have a tip for you if you want humans to think that you’re one of them,” Yifan licks his lips, shaking the bowl. “Be good at a few things, but also convince them you’re dumb.”

“Huh,” Kyungsoo narrows his eyes. “Interesting.”

“For example,” Yifan continues, “if they ask me to fry an egg, I do it perfectly, then, when I finish, I let the egg slide off the pan and fall to the ground, so no one can eat it. They think I’m clumsy, therefore, just like them.”

“That was a bit offensive,” Chanyeol mumbles. “But it may work.”

“I must pretend that I’m not as skilled as I am…” Kyungsoo thinks out loud. “It makes sense. They live such a short life; they can’t be very good at anything.”

“Also, say that you’re shy,” Yifan adds. “Don’t talk much, just… try to look handsome and polite. That will do.”

“Noted,” the witch announces. “I’m ready to meet the humans.”

“Before we go, let’s not forget,” Chanyeol fumbles in his jeans’ pocket and takes two metal, shinning objects. “Here, we’re engaged.”

They’re rings. Chanyeol puts one of them on Kyungsoo’s finger.

“It fits, I’m glad,” Chanyeol sighs in relieved. “I knew you had tiny fingers.”

“Tiny fingers can rip your eyes out of your head,” Kyungsoo starts, annoyed, but then Chanyeol glares at him. “Forgive me. I forgot. I will speak nicely from now on.”

To show that he’s serious, Kyungsoo picks the other ring and puts it on Chanyeol’s finger. Chanyeol beams and Kyungsoo smiles because it’s too easy to trick him.

“Let’s go,” Chanyeol checks his modern watch. “We have to be back tomorrow before spring comes…”

Chanyeol leaves to get ‘signal’ for his ‘GPS’; Kyungsoo follows Yifan to the kitchen, where he’s going to wash his bowl.

“Do you enjoy living with humans?” Kyungsoo asks sincerely.

“They’re fun. Some of them are nice,” Yifan shrugs. “Unfortunately, they are too weak… die easily.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods. “But Chanyeol likes them.”

“Chanyeol is still young. After seeing generations of humans die, you lose interest on them,” Yifan says. “But he’s half-human, so that place is his home, too. We met there.”

“Oh. Really?”

“Yes,” the dragon laughs. “He’s a good guy, yes. A reliable friend. You must be careful with him and never hurt his heart.”

Kyungsoo is silent. For an uncomfortable moment, he just watches Yifan doing the dishes. He’ll have to do it, as a human. They don’t use magic, but they probably built something to do things for them.

“I know you still have doubts about this family thing,” Yifan says carefully. “And I won’t advise Chanyeol about your hidden intentions since he firmly believes you two are soulmates and that will work out.”

“And you don’t?” Kyungsoo is curious.

“I don’t give it much thought,” the dragon yawns. “Those are little matters for me. No offense.”

Kyungsoo feels slightly offended but he enjoys living peacefully – only a fool would fight a dragon. He waits for Yifan so he can lock his home before leaving; it’s been a while since he traveled so far and that he spent time between humans. Yifan turns into a dragon, dark-and-shinning skin and fire breath, and bends in front of them. Chanyeol helps Kyungsoo to accommodate himself on the dragon’s back.

“Now I’m the one who will smash you like an orange,” Kyungsoo whispers, already tired, clinging to Chanyeol.

“You’re missing the best part,” Chanyeol says, but Kyungsoo is now with his eyes closed, just feeling the strong wind. “Everything is so pretty from here…”

“I will take a long nap,” Kyungsoo warns. “I hope you only wake me up when we’re there.”

“It’ll be quick,” Chanyeol says gently. “If we got into a plane, we would take a long time to arrive.”

“Planes were designed by the devil,” Kyungsoo says with a dark voice.

“You said you would try not to sound like a Dark Age religious man,” Chanyeol points.

“It’s a known fact,” Kyungsoo answers frustratedly. “Let me sleep. My head hurts here.”

“I’m sorry, it’s a bit hard to breathe,” Chanyeol says and he hugs Kyungsoo back, allowing the witch to rest.

 

 

Kyungsoo has a dream. It’s a confusing dream where he’s holding an egg, alone, standing in a soft pink atmosphere with nothing else but him and the egg. It’s big but he can hold it with both hands. The egg starts to break. A tiny, little wing comes out.

“Hey,” Chanyeol’s voice says. “Wake up.”

Kyungsoo opens his eyes. It’s not windy anymore and the sky is far, far away. It takes him a moment to understand that he’s back on land since he’s being carried. Chanyeol and Yifan are walking calmly as if the humans around them aren’t confused about seeing a whole man sleeping on another’s arms in the middle of the streets.

“I will find a cab,” Yifan says, fixing his button shirt.

Kyungsoo blinks and tries to react. His head isn’t hurting anymore but he feels weird, dizzy.

“Please put me on the ground,” Kyungsoo asks, gulping. “I need grounding.”

Chanyeol helps him to stand up; it’s loud, Kyungsoo notices. The air is grossly polluted, everything is dirty and everyone is running around. Humans hardly change as they think they do.

Yifan whistles and a car stops by. Kyungsoo turns around checking the place – it’s just like the dramas but painfully real. He’s not a fan of it.

“Let’s go,” Yifan calls them.

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol holds his arm. Kyungsoo is reading the picture on a giant painting. It says, ‘I’m loving it’ and there’s a woman eating bread with plants and meat.

“Do they put their opinions on everything to the world to see?” Kyungsoo asks because it seems weird to hang something just to compliment a meal.

Chanyeol looks back and sighs. “Yes, they do, but you’ll have time to see that, okay? Let’s go.”

“Do you want me to enter that human's machine?” Kyungsoo stares in disbelief as Yifan disappears inside the car. “No. I refuse.”

“Kyungsoo, it’s just a car,” Chanyeol sighs. “That’s how we get in places! It won’t hurt you!”

“Do you think I’m afraid of it?” Kyungsoo blinks, slightly offended. “I could destroy it with a simple spell.”

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol says, narrowing his eyes. “No evil—”

“That is an evil thing,” Kyungsoo says slowly, pointing with a finger. “It spits poisoning gas and kills plants, water, and even you, humans!”

Chanyeol gapes. Kyungsoo crosses his arms, looking at him defiantly.

“Well, I didn’t expect you to have such a strong argument,” Chanyeol is disconcerted. “But you can join Greenpeace later, now I need you to get in the car.”

Kyungsoo agrees because he’s hungry. The baby seems to be very active, doing Hekate knows what, so he doesn’t want to stand in the middle of a street full of humans in a moment like this. He enters the car, sits on the back seat and greets the driver.

“Hello, fellow human,” he smiles politely, trying to blend in the friendly atmosphere. “Have a good day. I hope your descendants live a good life after your passing.”

Yifan looks back at him from the passenger seat and thumbs up.

“Hey, bro, do you know the apartment complex near the uni?” Chanyeol enters with his backpack on his arms and closes the door.

“Yes,” the driver says, a bit scared. “Of-f course.”

“Take us there,” Chanyeol winks, throwing an arm around Kyungsoo. “Is it your first time here?”

“I don’t think so,” Kyungsoo touches the window. “But those cities change so much.”

“Well, the city was destroyed just decades ago,” Chanyeol says, caressing his shoulder. “But I still think it’s a nice place to live.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t say anything because he disagrees but Chanyeol probably knows it. Instead, he enjoys being cozy; he’s enjoying Chanyeol’s touchy ways, which is an absolute proof that the baby is fine and probably driving him crazy.

“I will go to my own house,” Yifan announces. “After you leave.”

“Oh, man, all my friends will be there,” Chanyeol seems disappointed. “There will be cake!”

Kyungsoo gets a bit more excited suddenly.

“My manager is waiting for me,” Yifan explains. “I’m sorry, Chanyeol.”

“That’s okay,” Chanyeol pouts. “I’m already happy to see you and I’m grateful that you helped us…”

Kyungsoo looks up to Chanyeol and rubs his cheeks to give him emotional support. Chanyeol smiles at him, happy, and again, Kyungsoo's heart beats faster. Now, it even seems like the background is turning pink; Kyungsoo feels his body going softer and sighs.

“If you’re curious about something, you just need to ask,” Chanyeol whispers, leaning to press their foreheads together for a moment.

“Oh,” Kyungsoo says and proceeds to spend the next minutes pointing at random things and asking Chanyeol about them. The driver stops the car by a huge complex and they leave; Kyungsoo forgets to wish the driver a good time in his few remaining years of life, since he’s so impressed with the building.

Chanyeol takes his hand and guides him in. Every human seems to know him and Chanyeol always smiles to them and touches them, asking about things Kyungsoo doesn’t understand. He also introduces Kyungsoo as a friend and that bothers Kyungsoo.

“Why are you calling me your friend?” Kyungsoo asks when they get inside of the rising metal box that he always forgets the name. “Do you procreate with friends?”

“I mean, it’s possible,” Chanyeol says, laughing. “But we should only tell people we’re close with… about us.”

“Why?” Kyungsoo asks.

“People here don’t like same-sex couples,” Chanyeol sighs. “So it’s better for us to be low key. But don’t worry, I survived awful times, today is a lot more liberating for us, gay people.”

Kyungsoo looks at him.

“I’m… a ‘big homo’… too?”

Chanyeol laughs loud, leaning to give him a peck on the lips.

“Yes,” he says. “We’re a couple of big homos.”

The metal door opens and they’re welcomed by a bunch of screaming humans. They are raising their arms and throwing pieces of paper in the air and Kyungsoo can’t help but hiss.

Humans stop screaming. It’s effective.

Chanyeol laughs again. “Hello, everyone!”

The humans scream again.

“Calm down, don’t scare Kyungsoo,” he says, pulling Kyungsoo gently before the door closes again. “He’s from a distant farm and he met like… fifteen people during his life.”

All the humans are looking at him expectantly. There are men and women and even children, and to Kyungsoo’s horror, there are even more inside of the apartment. He gulps and tries to smile, bowing, his sweaty hand holding Chanyeol’s.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, I’m Kyungsoo.”

“Your fiancé, right?” A tall man asks. “He’s shy…"

“Yes, give Kyungsoo space,” Chanyeol pleads. “We had a difficult journey here. And please don’t get too close to him holding a candle or any fire. It’s a sensitive memory.”

Humans obey Chanyeol easily. They are gentle and they offer Kyungsoo food, which he gladly accepts. They are smiley and touchy, some of them are already drunk. There’s loud music coming from machines, but Kyungsoo just wants cake and to inspect Chanyeol’s human house (looks like isn’t very much a home, more like a huge closet, full of boxes and confusing things).

The humans keep asking about the baby.

“Was the adoption easy?” One girl with pink hair asks. “You guys are so lucky to get to adopt a baby. They are giving us a hard time with the papers. My girlfriend is about to give up.”

“We talked to the mother personally,” Chanyeol lies. He’s lying a lot and doing it very naturally like he simply doesn’t care, and that makes Kyungsoo both suspicious and aroused. He’s very popular, apparently, because there is always someone new coming in to greet him. Kyungsoo is enjoying human food more than he should and he takes a nap between eating cake slices and noodles. The party continues and Kyungsoo suspects that some of the ‘humans’ he met are actual magic creatures disguised to blend in the city. 

“You’re eating way too much,” a familiar voice says. Kyungsoo turns his body fast to see who’s there and he gapes.

“Jongin,” he says, relieved. “What are you doing here?”

“You told me to find you when spring comes,” he says simply, spinning his human body like a ballerina. “Now I’m here. Baekhyun and Jongdae are here too, they helped me to find you.”

Jongin points to a corner and Kyungsoo isn’t surprised at all that Baekhyun is in the middle of screaming humans, drinking something from a long pipe.

“Of course,” Kyungsoo sighs. “Wait. Is it spring already?”

Jongin shows a shining, big watch on his wrist.

“The first day of Spring,” he announces. “I got here five minutes ago, at midnight.”

“We should leave,” Kyungsoo realizes. He didn’t notice that they spent all day long there. At this point, he’s barely grasping the concept of time.

Jongin holds his arm carefully.

“Are you okay?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo rubs his eyes under the glasses. “I just… need to go back home.”

“Why don’t you stay for a while?” Jongin suggests. “Maybe you shouldn't leave now. I bet you spent all the time locked at home.”

“I… well, I was sleepy,” Kyungsoo says, already defeated. “Maybe it’s not that bad to stay…”

He’s thinking about how happy Chanyeol looks around his human friends, more than what he’s supposed to do. To entertain himself while Chanyeol is chatting, Kyungsoo finds Jongdae and watches him playing ‘video games’, a simulation of reality where humans can pretend that they are murderers or have a healthy family.

“What’s that?” Kyungsoo points to the screen.

“I’m a girl in this game,” Jongdae says. “And this is Baekhyun. I will kill him, but he won’t die for real, only in the game.”

“That seems fun,” Kyungsoo nods. “Not very useful, though.”

He ends up finding an empty room to take a nap. His head is spinning with the noise, so he picks a blanket and wraps himself, sleeping on the floor. It’s not a good nap. Kyungsoo has another dream. He’s in the same pink atmosphere, like a pink sky, but this time, he’s not holding the egg. The egg is in the ‘floor’, the same non-existent ground he’s stepping on, cracked and empty.

Kyungsoo wakes up feeling lighter. It doesn’t seem like he ate seven slices of cake and a bowl of ramen. His head doesn’t hurt and despite the annoying dream, he feels okay, not sleepy, hungry or tired. He stretches and leaves the room; there are few humans left, some sleeping. Jongdae is eating, Baekhyun is yawning and stretching too and Chanyeol, Jongin and a random girl are talking.

“Oh, Kyungsoo woke up,” Chanyeol notices him. “Hey, Kyungsoo, come meet my coworker—”

Chanyeol stares at him again and stops mid-sentence. Everyone in the room stares at him, a bit surprised. Jongdae looks at him and stops moving while the fork is right in front of his mouth.

“Is there something wrong?” Kyungsoo asks, frowning. He touches his own face, trying to see if everything is okay there. 

“Hmmm…” Jongin sniffs. “You smell weird. Why did you shave your hair?”

“What?” Kyungsoo blinks.

“Kyungsoo,” Baekhyun smiles. “You’re bald.”

He moves his hand and rubs his head. There’s still hair but it’s ridiculously short – although it feels fresh, there’s not hair enough to protect the head.

“I didn’t do anything,” Kyungsoo says. “I don’t know how this happened.”

“You look good,” Jongdae winks and eats the cake.

“Do you think your hair fell while you were sleeping?” Chanyeol asks, worried, walking to him. He rubs Kyungsoo’s bald head. “It’s not hurt. Also, this is nice.”

“I feel very energetic,” Kyungsoo points a finger to Jongin and says, “humanum non plus, felis est.

Jongin turns into a cat, disappearing under his human clothes and accessories. Chanyeol’s coworker doesn’t seem to be surprised—oh, a coworker. She’s a Satyr. Kyungsoo looks around and he now knows that there are only magical creatures left.

“Can I get his Rolex?” Baekhyun asks, kneeling to help Jongin to disentangle from the clothes. “I mean, he doesn’t have a wrist anymore.”

“Nope,” Chanyeol says. “It’s in my house, it’s mine.”

“Hey guys,” Jongdae says, loud, interrupting the conversation. “Can you hear it?”

They get quiet immediately. There’s only a machine sound, but there’s… another distinctive sound coming from the kitchen.

Chanyeol and Kyungsoo stare at each other in panic. It’s a baby’s cry.

It only takes a second before they start to run; Jongdae throws his plate on the floor, Baekhyun holds Jongin and the other creatures look at the four guys (and a cat) running to the kitchen, confused.

The kitchen is full of empty beer bottles, trash, and dirty plates. No one but a baby eating the cake and crying—

“The baby is eating the cake,” Jongdae points, shocked.

It looks almost like a human baby must look like when they have about one year of life. They’re small but chubby, with rosy, heavy cheeks, four tiny teeth, and dark, curly hair… right behind their shinning horns. They’re sitting in the middle of the cake, dirty with it and smashing it with their tiny hands while crying.

“Do you think it’s our baby?” Chanyeol whispers because the baby hasn’t noticed them yet.

“What are they doing there?” Kyungsoo asks, frustrated. “They look like you, but…”

“Let me try,” Baekhyun steps in. “Hey, baby?”

The baby stops crying and turns his little neck to the side to look at Baekhyun. They look serious, his hands still balled in fists and there’s a small resemblance to Kyungsoo’s blank face for just a second – the baby doesn’t seem to be happy about Baekhyun being there and his face twists, turning into a grimace. Their skin gets red and their horns grow, similar to demons'.

The baby screams in a devilish way and everyone screams back in horror. Jongin jumps from Baekhyun’s arms and climbs on the table, meowing.

The baby looks at him and smiles slowly. In a blink of an eye, the baby turns into a kitty, mirroring Jongin and meowing excitedly.

Chanyeol coos, as if he wasn’t screaming a few seconds before.

“It’s a kitty,” he says, melting.

“No, it’s not,” Kyungsoo walks in, straight to the table, and picks the kitty. “Are you my baby?”

The kitty makes a happy, long noise. They seem to notice that Chanyeol is there too and moves happily on Kyungsoo’s hands, returning to their first form, but now with cute, pinky wings and a cute halo over their horned head.

“Yup,” Jongin meows. “It’s a shapeshifter.”

The baby makes lovely sounds, their face now bright and happy, despite being completely dirty with cake and chantilly. They have no external reproductive organs, Kyungsoo notices, but they seem healthy.

“They’re taking a cherub’s form,” Jongdae says. “That’s probably not their original form.”

“Who cares,” Chanyeol says, clapping loud. “Come here baby, come to dad!”

The baby flies away from Kyungsoo’s hands to Chanyeol’s arms, lying there, tiny legs moving excitedly. Chanyeol kisses them loudly on the cheeks, beaming. 

“So cute,” Baekhyun coos.

“Who’s my baby? You’re my baby,” Chanyeol sings to the creature on his arms and he looks ecstatic, his eyes are teary, shinning. “My cute baby!”

Kyungsoo sits on a chair and sighs. Jongin licks the cake and meows at him.

“That’s why he wasn’t in your body… imagine this kid shapeshifting inside you,” he licks chantilly off his paw. “Are you feeling okay?”

Kyungsoo touches the corner of his eyes.

“I’m…” he looks at his wet fingers. “I think so.”

 

 

 

 

.

 

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

.

They don’t think that his request is weird and when they before come back with baby cribs, tiny clothes, food, and other human accessories, Kyungsoo opens a portal and goes back home. Apparently, he shouldn’t – he just “gave birth” or whatever, – but he needs a few things if he wants to survive in the human world for a few days. He comes back safely and he finds Jongin on the couch.

“Stop licking your private parts,” Kyungsoo says. “I need you to hide these for me.”

“Magical supplies?” Jongin asks, but he finds a way to keep them safe. Kyungsoo is relieved; he couldn’t live without cooking his potions, at least.

“Thank you,” he pets his familiar, satisfied.

“How about the book?” Jongin asks.

Kyungsoo gasps. He forgot about the book’s existence and he’s too exhausted to open another portal.

“It’s on the same place,” He gulps. “I haven’t touched it.”

“Yes, but you can’t keep it forever,” Jongin meows, frustrated. “The Dark Magic Library has a strict returning policy and I don’t think you should mess with them.”

“I know, I know,” Kyungsoo sighs, rubbing the turtleneck. Since he got bald, Chanyeol makes him dress like it’s still winter since “Kyungsoo doesn’t have body hair anymore”. Which is not true, but Kyungsoo understands that Chanyeol is looking from a “I have goat legs” perspective and he probably thinks Kyungsoo is like a baby.

“Then make a choice,” Jongin says. “You never had trouble with it. Are your heart still filled with doubts?”

Kyungsoo doesn’t know. He likes Chanyeol and he hasn’t an opinion about the baby yet. Shapeshifters are rare creatures and pretty much neutral in most things. They live way longer than humans but they have basically the same needs.

Under his bed, there’s a Dark Magic book named “How to erase bonds: release yourself from curses, annoying creatures, and horrible fate”. Kyungsoo read that a long time ago when he was researching to create his coven and to protect it from jealous witches. He knew that in one of the pages must have a spell or curse to ban any creature from his life and, if he wanted to go further, to erase completely their presence from his history. There’s a powerful curse that allows any witch to erase a certain event from their lives – it’s dangerous and full of consequences, but he could deal with them better than a baby. At least, that was he thought when he asked Jongin to fetch the book for him.

“I am—”

A flying creature enters the room. It’s the baby, still a cherub, and they don’t look happy. His face resembles Chanyeol so much when he’s sad, with their big shining eyes, pouty lips, and heavy cheeks that Kyungsoo is taken aback for a second.

The creature spots him. Kyungsoo freezes.

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaah,” they say in their baby language before flying down to grab Kyungsoo.

“What do you wish for?” Kyungsoo asks carefully, watching the cherub grabbing his shirt and looking up at him. They have Chanyeol’s sole dimple. “I’m sorry for disturbing your sleep.”

“Ahhhhh,” they say happily, closing their eyes.

“I don’t understand,” Kyungsoo sighs. “How come demons understand you and I can’t? Am I not your genitor?”

“I think they want you to hold them,” Jongin suggests, yawning. “Babies just want to nap, poop, pee, eat and be held and they only need help with the last two.”

Kyungsoo holds the tiny creature and moves them, adjusting the baby's position so they can stop flying and just rest on his arms. The baby yawns, closing their hands in fists.

“See?” Jongin flops on the couch. “They’re sleepy but they don’t want to be alone.”

“I thought Chanyeol had put you under a sleeping tent,” Kyungsoo whispers to the sleepy baby. “Did he expect me to keep an eye on you?”

The baby doesn’t answer and falls asleep again. Kyungsoo looks to the couch and Jongin is sleeping too.

“What—” he gulps. “What am I supposed to do?”

The baby turns into a human as they sleep. They have a penis, Kyungsoo notices – maybe they’re a boy. Kyungsoo sits down and waits for something to happen.

Eventually, the boys come back. A flashing light blinds him for a second and they appear inside the room. Baekhyun is carrying a crib full of things, Jongdae is carrying sacks and Chanyeol brings what Kyungsoo asked for – and also Minseok.

“Finally,” Baekhyun sighs. “This is super heavy!”

“Shhhhhh,” Kyungsoo complains.

“Hello,” Chanyeol says, putting the cat on the floor. “Oh, wait…”

Kyungsoo stares at him, ready to shush him, but Chanyeol just takes his phone from the pockets at aims at him with the camera.

“My new wallpaper,” he says. “How’s my cute baby behaving?”

“Oh,” Minseok jumps on the couch. “It’s a boy!”

“Not sure,” Kyungsoo whispers, looking at the sleeping baby.

“We’re never sure with shapeshifters,” Minseok laughs. “They can be anything. I was just kidding.”

“Did my tiny baby behave?” Chanyeol says with an odd voice. Kyungsoo doesn’t like it. “That’s a cute cutie naughty baby!”

“Stop this human nonsense,” Kyungsoo pleads. “Can you hold them for me?”

“Ah,” Minseok sighs. “I wish I could take my human form again so I could hold the baby… Being cursed sucks.”

Chanyeol puts the tiny bag on the table and then kneels in front of Kyungsoo, extending his arms. Kyungsoo gives him the baby, that simply rolled to his arms, moving their tiny mouth. Kyungsoo’s body gets cold immediately.

“I didn’t get all the soup ingredients,” Chanyeol said, doing a weird dancing while holding the baby. “Just a few. Brought rabbit meat and the things you asked for… they were really hard to find!”

“Really,” Kyungsoo avoids looking at him. “I didn’t know.”

Chanyeol doesn’t seem to care much about it. He loves to stare at the baby, feed them and to spend time playing with the creature. Last time Kyungsoo saw them playing, the baby turned into a snake and bit him, but Chanyeol just laughed.

“I’m sleepy too,” Chanyeol says. “Wanna sleep?”

Kyungsoo nods. He’s exhausted because of the portal and even Minseok is already cuddling Jongin to take a nap. Maybe it’s the human atmosphere, but Kyungsoo feels more adjusted to Chanyeol’s routine. The cats are on the couch and Baekhyun and Jongdae help with the crib before they leave (Kyungsoo finds out what they do when they’re not in their over technological house… “gaming”). The crib is pink and there are hearts and tiny moons as decorations so Kyungsoo isn’t sure of his opinion about it, especially in the middle of Chanyeol’s mess.

“I think we should put it in our room,” Chanyeol says.

“Do we have a room?” Kyungsoo asks, confused.

“Well, I made a bed in my old room,” he explains. “I don’t use this place to live, but I do have a mattress.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo nods. “Well, I think it’s okay.”

The witch is confused. At this point, he should be able to just… take a stand. Yet, he feels powerless as he was when he was expecting.

“I bought baby human food,” Chanyeol says before kissing the baby’s face. “I bet they’ll be super hungry when they wake up.”

Kyungsoo can’t find a good explanation to be still that attached to Chanyeol. He would understand his attachment to the baby, as his creation, but—

“Maybe we should let the baby sleep here and go outside,” Kyungsoo suggests. “It’s a full moon and I feel drained. A good moonlight bath can help me.”

Chanyeol seems so surprised that he gapes.

“Oh,” he mumbles. “That’s nice. Of course. I think we can go… they’re sleeping, anyway.”

Kyungsoo tries to hide his nervousness, but it’s hard since his hands are sweating. Chanyeol puts the baby on the crib and leaves the room. Kyungsoo walks to the crib and casts a protection spell, just to be sure.

They leave the house in silence.

“I’m happy,” Chanyeol declares. “I’m really happy.”

“I’m glad,” Kyungsoo says sincerely. He’s not even distracted by the building and the weird human things. They pass through a room with weird machines and Kyungsoo tries to chat, to find a light subject. “Nice place. It looks like the inquisition’s torture devices.”

“It’s a gym,” Chanyeol says. “But you’re right. It probably does.”

They stop by a pool, which Kyungsoo knows very well since he watched a couple kissing inside a couple in a drama, so he looks at Chanyeol and waits for the moment they’ll accidentally fall in the water.

Chanyeol just stands there, watching the moon reflected on the water.

“I’m happy that you suggested that,” he says to Kyungsoo. “I’m happy that you want to spend time with me.”

Kyungsoo feels bad. There’s a bad taste in his mouth, so he just gulps and stares at Chanyeol, his pretty face and weird hair, his human clothes, and large shoulders.

“I have something to confess,” Kyungsoo starts.

Chanyeol looks at him, curious.

“When you came to my house, I wasn’t comfortable with your presence,” Kyungsoo says, pulling the long sleeves of his sweater. “And I thought about… Well, I didn’t want you or the baby.”

“I know,” Chanyeol says simply.

“You do?” Kyungsoo asks, genuinely shocked.

“Of course,” he laughs softly. “I have something to confess too. I think it’s… something scarier.”

“Oh, I doubt it,” Kyungsoo whispers, but Chanyeol doesn’t hear.

“Our first encounter… it wasn’t accidental,” the Satyr reaches to hold his lover’s hands. “That’s we can’t remember very well. We were under magic.”

Kyungsoo frowns.

“I know you know that,” Chanyeol says quickly. “What you don’t know is that I asked Dionysus to create that atmosphere. I asked him to bring you to me.”

The witch is speechless for a moment. The full moon is shining over them and the place is empty and quiet.

“You wanted to… meet me?”

“Yes, but I didn’t know you,” Chanyeol smiles. “I asked Dionysus to bring me my soulmate, to bring us together. And that night… you came to me.”

Kyungsoo can’t help but gasp, thinking about the implications of that. If a god… If a god brought them together as soulmates… then… could Kyungsoo question their knowledge?

“I’m sorry,” Chanyeol says, too serious. “I manipulated the destiny and… your life. I was so tired of being alone and I just wanted to find you. So yes, I understand if you didn’t want to have me in your life at that moment. I understand that you weren’t ready for me.”

Kyungsoo feels twice as horrible, but a bit relieved. He’s a terrible witch, yes, but Chanyeol at least understands that. Kyungsoo thinks about the book and how fruitless would be to try to erase a god’s desire… since the beginning, he wouldn’t be able to change what was done.

“It’s okay,” Kyungsoo nods. “You didn’t know it was me.”

“Aren’t you mad?” Chanyeol asks, surprised. “I expected you to turn me into a frog!”

“Stop reading human’s fairy tales!” Kyungsoo complains. “It’s literally named ‘fairy’ tales because the humans are biased! They hate us witches! Also, why would I turn you into a frog? Frogs are useless and—”

Chanyeol leans down and kisses him. Kyungsoo feels softer as if his flesh is being slowly boiled, so he grabs Chanyeol’s face and kisses him back. Chanyeol hums happily and holds him closer, giving him that open mouth kiss that makes him feel… things.

“Why do you do that with your tongue?” Kyungsoo breaks the kiss, uncomfortable in certain areas of his body. “It makes no sense at all.”

“It’s nice,” Chanyeol laughs. “Don’t you like that?”

“It’s… okay,” Kyungsoo coughs. “But if you want to lay with me, then go straight to the point!”

“Nah,” the Satyr shakes his head. “What’s the fun on doing things like that? Kissing is fun.”

Kyungsoo gives up. It seems that he will have the whole Human Sex Experience, instead of a punctual and well-executed copula. It’s not bad, of course. He likes when Chanyeol’s hand rubs his skin, giving him chills. He likes when they part the kiss but there’s still a trail of saliva between their mouths. And he certainly doesn’t hate the unnecessary kissing on his neck.

“When are we going to get on the pool?” Kyungsoo asks, eyes closed because of the chills. Chanyeol looks at him, curious.

“Do you want to get in the pool?”

“I watched a historical piece on human sex in Baekhyun and Jongdae’s home,” Kyungsoo tries to recompose himself, but he’s hard already. “A man delivers food to a lady’s home and she’s in the pool. He accidentally fall—”

“That’s porn,” Chanyeol says. “That’s definitely porn.”

Kyungsoo stares at him, helpless.

“You don’t know what it is,” Chanyeol sighs and takes his shirt off. “But if you want porn, I’ll give you porn.”

Kyungsoo takes his many layers of clothes off too. He’s a bit uncomfortable because he has seen Chanyeol naked, but Kyungsoo himself is hardly seen without clothes. Chanyeol helps him and he kisses Kyungsoo’s skin so quickly and softly that Kyungsoo gets more relaxed.

“Come here,” the Satyr says. “Let’s kiss again.”

The kiss is different this time; Chanyeol’s hands aren’t rubbing but grabbing. Kyungsoo himself is pressing his tongue against Chanyeol’s, holding him tighter.

“You’re shy today,” Chanyeol whispers, breaking the kiss. “That’s cute.”

Kyungsoo is slightly offended.

“Can we get in the pool, now?” He complains, embarrassed. “I won’t waste a good analgesic spell if you’re going to waste my time.”

“Demanding,” Chanyeol grabs him in a blink of an eye and jumps on the pool. They fall with a loud noise, water spilling everywhere. Kyungsoo could complain, but Chanyeol kisses him quickly, when they’re still underwater, making the witch quiet.

Kissing is indeed fun and addicting but their bodies are too close to make this an innocent treat. Kyungsoo pushes Chanyeol just a little bit, grabbing his wet hair and pulling it just enough so he can reach his lover’s ear and suck the earlobe.

Chanyeol makes a weird noise and grinds immediately. Kyungsoo smiles.

“You witch,” Chanyeol whispers and he takes a deep breath before turning into his Satyr full form. Kyungsoo’s heart skips a beat.

“I know you have a thing for horns,” Chanyeol whispers, grinning. Kyungsoo thinks about a good answer, but the Satyr grabs him and pulls him up; at this point, Kyungsoo can look down at him while hugging his neck.

Lubricus facere,” Kyungsoo casts a spell. He’s over-excited and he’s feeling Chanyeol’s excitement, too.

“Straight to the point again, I see,” Chanyeol says just before pressing him against the pool wall.

“Oh, I can change that,” Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow. “Aqua respirare!

“What—”

Kyungsoo pushes him roughly and gets underwater. He looks up and sees the blurred image of Chanyeol and the moon; he grabs Chanyeol hips gently. It’s been a while since he lost his composure like that – since he barely remembers the baby-making night – so he’s clearly enjoying to grab a dick underwater and swallow it whole. It’s nice to feel the weight on his tongues and how air escapes his lungs during the slow movement of his mouth tightly around Chanyeol’s cock. Too bad Kyungsoo can’t see how he’s reacting, but he can feel by the contraction of his muscles, how his hips are moving unconsciously, that he’s liking it.

Chanyeol leans down and pulls him up by the armpits, hugging him close.

“You’re crazy,” he says, breathing fast.

“I wasn’t going to suffocate,” Kyungsoo says and he wants to kiss Chanyeol again, but he’s so horny that he’s confused.

“Turn back,” Chanyeol whispers, still a bit breathless. Kyungsoo obeys, putting his hands on the pool border; it’s cold, but he’s warm, his skin is so hot that he feels like he can boil the water. He wonders if he felt that way last time they were together, because when Chanyeol kisses his shoulder, it’s a familiar touch. He lets his head fall back and their cheeks rub and Kyungsoo can’t remember if he even felt something so tender in his life. Chanyeol grabs his waist and pulls him up; Kyungsoo lays on the pool border, face on the cold marble.

“Can I touch you?” Chanyeol whispers gently, his hands already ghosting Kyungsoo’s ass cheeks.

“Yes,” Kyungsoo gulps, feeling the cold air against his wet skin. “Yes, please.”

Kyungsoo is surprised when instead of Chanyeol’s hands, there’s a warm breath on him. His eyes almost pop out of his face when Chanyeol licks himself… there.

“W-What are you doing?” Kyungsoo asks, trembling. “I already cast a spell?”

“And?” Chanyeol says and he’s still licking his asshole, tongue lasciviously moving in circles then sliding in, like a demon would do. “That’s for fun.”

Kyungsoo grabs the pool border so tightly that his knuckles are white. It’s good and uncomfortably arousing since it feels like he’s melting. He moves his body and his dick rubs against the wet marble – Kyungsoo’s body shakes due to the unexpected wave of pleasure.

“Calm down,” Chanyeol laughs—he laughs, that tongue demon. “If you can't handle that, then we can do it in your old ways, grandpa.”

“Shut up,” Kyungsoo plans to growl, but it comes like a moan. Chanyeol pulls his body down easily and the witch gasps when he feels the dick sliding between his ass cheeks, teasing him. The ring on Kyungsoo’s fingers slip, rolling away, but he doesn’t care – he grinds back as a warning.

Chanyeol enters him easily, arms around Kyungsoo, mouth aligning with the witch’s ear. Kyungsoo closes his eyes and relaxes his grip – he feels calm and the movement of Chanyeol’s thrusts are as fluid as the tiny waves forming around them. His mouth is suddenly dry and he licks it, trying to move back too, just listening to the slapping sound of their hips bumping. He’s having chills and everything is a delight, from their bodies rubbing to the sensation of being slowly and so deliciously open.

“Ah, this is so good,” Kyungsoo whispers, sighing. One of Chanyeol’s hands slipped down his chest and he grabbed Kyungsoo’s cock roughly, jerking him off easily with his huge Satyr hands. Kyungsoo was taken aback with the amount of pleasure he could take – Chanyeol jerking him off at the same time he was pressing his whole length inside him was a bomb for his senses. He gets chills from head to toe and a moan was pushed out of his lungs.

“This is… you’re tasty…” Chanyeol breathes out. “If I could…”

Kyungsoo bites his lips, just to have a tiny bit of control, a little pain to distracted his body, overwhelmed by stimulation.

“I would fuck you every day, you know,” Chanyeol says casually and Kyungsoo almost feels humiliated for being on the edge. “You feel so fucking good… you’re so hot…”

There’s a limit for everything and Kyungsoo tries to slap Chanyeol’s hand away, but it’s too late. Chanyeol is fucking him so well, and his hands are warm and efficiently tight around him that Kyungsoo… comes. It’s just like being struck by a lightning. He lets out a long, loud moan and there’s a slight tremor around them. The marble is a mess of cum and water; it’s somehow beautiful to look at.

Chanyeol stops moving. Kyungsoo is grateful for that second of compassion but the Satyr seems more surprised than worried about oversensitivity issues.

Kyungsoo opens his eyes, breathing deep. He’s mad and embarrassed – what if he was this squirming mess last time too? Moaning and crying like a…

He contracts his walls around Chanyeol and pushes his hips against him; Chanyeol hisses.

“What,” he grunts, grabbing Kyungsoo’s waist. “You’re not—”

Kyungsoo doesn’t stop. Chanyeol leans over him and Kyungsoo bends, face against the marble again. It’s easier now after Kyungsoo exorcised the horny feelings he was containing during the pregnancy. Chanyeol thrusts insisde him hard and Kyungsoo enjoys being not the one losing control.

Chanyeol slides off him and Kyungsoo feels empty, cold. He turns back to look at his lover and Chanyeol is trembling, hit by orgasm. A visible and impressive amount of semen emerges on the water.

“Full moon,” he gulps, staring at Kyungsoo. “Unprotected sex.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo says, a bit disappointed. People didn’t care about those things a few centuries ago. “That’s… nice of you…”

Chanyeol pushes his wet hair back and smiles. Kyungsoo is a bit mesmerized by how pretty he is, how beautiful he looks in every form.

“It’s a mess,” he says. “We have to clean the pool. Do you have a good spell?”

“If I use my energy,” Kyungsoo warns. “You’ll have to carry me home.”

“That’s okay,” Chanyeol says. “I like that.”

Kyungsoo blames himself for the amount of magic he used – he wanted to have more fun, but cleaning the pool definitely, make his body heavy and tired. Chanyeol gets them towels and he even helps Kyungsoo to get dressed.

“Where’s your ring?” He frowns, holding Kyungsoo’s hand.

“I don’t know…” Kyungsoo says, exhausted. “Where’s yours…?”

“Must have fallen in the pool…” Chanyeol mumbles. “That’s okay, let’s go home.”

He decides to throw Kyungsoo on his shoulder. Kyungsoo thinks about the rings and he feels sad. Now that he knows they’re together by the gods’ will and fate’s hand, he doesn’t want to be careless with their symbolic gestures.

“I’m sorry for the rings,” Kyungsoo says. “I know humans value their meaning.”

“I can buy another,” Chanyeol smiles. “Don’t worry.”

Everyone is still sleeping in the apartment and Kyungsoo is too tired to bathe or to do anything, but before he goes to bed, he passes by the tiny creature’s crib top watch them sleeping. They’re now so relaxed that a few parts of their body resemble a sloth. Chanyeol hugs him from behind and smiles, looking down at the baby.

Kyungsoo looks at the moon shining on the closed window and sighs. Hekate really allowed him to be in such a place and such a position.

He looks down at the baby.

“It could be worse,” he whispers.

 

 

 

Kyungsoo wakes up and hears loud noises. Baekhyun and Jongdae are laughing, Jongin (or Minseok) are meowing and he can distinctly hear Chanyeol saying:

“Do not turn into a demon! You won’t eat cake!”

Before joining his family and friends in another cursed day between the humans, Kyungsoo checks his supplies and the things he asked Chanyeol for, trying to remember the correct spell. He steals a flower pot (with a dead flower) from a corner and the right ingredients to do it.

Jongin must be aware of the magic, because he enters the room, startled.

“Shhh,” Kyungsoo winks.

“What are you doing?” The cat moves his ears, alert.

“A simple spell,” Kyungsoo shows him, taking the necklace from the dirt in the pot. “What are you afraid of?”

“The book…” he meows, confused.

“You can go back home and get rid of it,” Kyungsoo orders. “I don’t need it anymore.”

Jongin sits, his tail moving slowly.

“So you made up your mind.”

“You can say so… but it wasn’t my will,” the witch cleans the necklace in his long shirt of a human basketball team named Chicago Bulls.

“Open the portal for me,” Jongin says and Kyungsoo does it quietly, watching the cat disappearing. He’s already tired, so he walks straight to the kitchen to eat.

It’s a mess.

Half of the table is burned; a few plates are broken and there are feathers everywhere. Chanyeol is standing, full human form with his arms crossed, looking down. On the floor, the baby is now shaped like a gorgon with snakes instead of hair.

Chanyeol looks at Kyungsoo and smiles.

“Good morning, my cute witch.”

“Good morning, my sweet pumpkin pie,” Kyungsoo says. “What’s happening?”

“They’re mad because they can’t eat cake.”

Kyungsoo looks at the child and the snakes look back at him. He’s not afraid, so he grabs his baby off the floor and carries it, keeping a distance from his body. He can’t look in the baby’s eyes now, but he can hold them.

“If you don’t eat, I’ll let you starve to death,” Kyungsoo says threateningly, the place getting darker with his voice. “Then I’ll use your guts to feed my carnivore plants.”

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol sighs. “That’s not—”

The baby turns into a human, laughing with their tiny teeth. They’re so excitedly happy that the horns pop up on their forehead.

“What’s that?” Kyungsoo frowns.

“They think that your evil aura is comical,” Minseok warns, slowly passing by the door.

Kyungsoo stares at the baby. The baby claps, giggling.

“Are you laughing in the face of the evil?” He narrows his eyes.

“My love, calm down,” Chanyeol pleads. “They’re just—”

“So you’re really my child,” Kyungsoo says proudly. “I birthed no coward.”

Chanyeol is speechless, gaping at him. Minseok sits on the floor and licks himself.

“The baby needs to eat,” the Satyr sighs.

“Eat the food too,” Baekhyun suggests, far away from the kitchen for safety reasons, probably. “Shapeshifters like to mirror the others. Maybe they like cake because they saw people eating cake only.”

It works. Kyungsoo eats the human baby food that tastes like fruit and nothing else and the baby eats it happily after seeing their dads eating it. Chanyeol feeds him with a tiny spoon and then dresses the baby in some weird underwear.

“It’s a diaper,” Chanyeol tells Kyungsoo after applying white dust on the baby’s bum. “So they don’t shit on anyone’s head while they’re flying.”

“A wise choice,” Kyungsoo says, watching the baby suck their finger, looking at them with big eyes. The creature flies away as soon as Chanyeol stops touching them.

“Close the windows,” Chanyeol screams. “They’re a cherub again!”

Kyungsoo waits.

Chanyeol sighs tiredly and looks at him. Kyungsoo shoves the necklace on his dusty hands and looks down.

“I made it for you,” he says.

“For me?” Chanyeol asks before he even sees what it is.

“I lost the rings,” Kyungsoo explains. “People used to give that to their lovers, too.”

“Oh, a locket,” Chanyeol smiles. “That’s… That’s nice.”

“You don’t have to wear it,” Kyungsoo says quickly. “I just wanted to apologize. For everything…”

“I’m the one who has to apologize,” Chanyeol whispers and then he kisses Kyungsoo’s forehead.

A loud crash is heard. Minseok comes running to them, startled.

“You have guests,” he announces.

 

 

 

 

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Chapter Text

 

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Kyungsoo can’t believe his eyes.

“You don’t have a very accessible place here,” Junmyeon says, pushing his white mask down. Yixing is holding the wheelchair and Sehun is holding the packages. They all are dressed alike – button white long-sleeved shirt and black pants, - so Seulgi, right behind them, is certainly eye-catching with her glitter dress.

“Sorry for that,” Chanyeol says, frowning. “I’ve never had a disabled person here as a guest. I don’t have any guests… usually.”

Junmyeon smiles with his shark teeth.

“A mermaid, sir,” he says. “Not a person.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo says excitedly, running to hug his friends. He has missed them very much, much more than he thought that he would.

“What’s the fish smell?” Jongin runs to the room and then meows loud. “The nymphs!”

“Love being a witch,” Seulgi says, sighing. “No one is happy when we’re guests.”

Jongdae hugs her, just to comfort the witch. The entire room is full of great energy since it's a fateful reunion… so the baby creature joins them, flying to the room with their cherub wings. It startles everyone but Chanyeol, that raises his arms high and grabs the baby.

“Uh, you’re curious, baby?” Chanyeol holds them down against his chest; the baby rests their heavy cheeks on his arm, probably drooling all over his dad's shirt. “They’re new friends for you.”

“Oh, for Neptune,” Junmyeon says, looking up with big eyes. “So it’s true… you gave birth to a magical creature…”

“Oh, yes,” Kyungsoo fixed his posture, pointing to Chanyeol. “This is Chanyeol… my… what’s the word?”

“Fiancé,” Chanyeol says.

“My Fiancé,” Kyungsoo continues. “And that’s our creation, the shapeshifter.”

“Nice to meet you,” the Satyr bows.

The baby grows a tail to move it excitedly. It seems that they like the attention and so the nymphs coo in unison.

“Wait until you see how they look like when they’re hungry,” Baekhyun says casually.

“Oh, honey, I raised Yeri, I've seen seven hells,” Seulgi points, winking. “Can I hold them?”

All she needs to do is open her arms and the baby escapes Chanyeol's and flies to hers. They mirror her appearance and become almost completely human-like again.

“Show me your original form,” Seulgi says intently and Kyungsoo knows it’s a spell – he could stop her from doing it, but he trusts Seulgi and he is curious about that aspect too. The whole room stares at her and the baby that slowly changes their form.

They’re a redhead. Their face looks like someone printed Kyungsoo’s eyes and mouth on Chanyeol’s face and they also have freckles all over their face and shoulders. Their fat belly is reddish and they have deep dark eyes and tiny, tiny horns.

“Aaaaaa,” the baby says, giggling when Yixing holds their cheeks.

“What’s the name of this cute little thing?” He asks, making faces to the baby.

“My mom waited a year to see if I could survive before she named me,” Kyungsoo says.

“Oh, no, not the Plague talk again,” Jongdae rolls his eyes.

“Well, let the kid be blessed at least,” Seulgi nods. “A bit of protection isn’t bad. I mean, anyone with a name can be cursed.”

“Tell me about it,” Minseok sighs. “Seulgi, can’t you help me with this curse? I want to eat churros again.”

“Yes, but we came for the blessing,” she explains. “Don’t we have a party to attend?”

Kyungsoo and Chanyeol share a glance.

“It was an unexpected birth,” Chanyeol pouts. “We haven’t decided many things yet…”

“Ah, we dressed up for the occasion…” Sehun sighs. “What are we going to do now?”

“It’s a sunny day outside,” Jongin meows. “Maybe we should spend a nice day at the pool?”

“Ah, a pool,” Junmyeon blinks. “Please take me there! My skin is so dry here!”

“It seems like a great idea,” Baekhyun points. “We could grab some bubble tea, too!”

“Maybe a barbecue?” Jongdae suggests.

Kyungsoo watches how they start talking at the same time, grabbing things and opening portals. He’s overwhelmed with the noise and the fact they are so excited to spend a day in such an odd place.

“Let’s divide into teams,” Baekhyun suggests. “We need to get swimsuits, food, and accessories. Don’t forget the lotion!”

They seem to understand each other pretty quickly; Seulgi directs them to a portal and helps them to leave. Kyungsoo is probably the one who’s just standing, quiet.

“What do I do?” He asks Chanyeol.

“You can come with me,” Chanyeol smiles. “We can buy matching couple t-shirts and walk around to socialize with humans.”

Kyungsoo stares at him.

“Or maybe you could stay with the baby,” Chanyeol says quickly. “I can’t take them around until they learn how to look human… and don’t change their appearance randomly.”

Kyungsoo blinks, watching even the cats leaving with the group.

“But what do I do with them?”

“I don’t know,” Chanyeol leans down and kisses him on the lips. “Show them a few tricks, maybe.”

“What?” Kyungsoo almost hisses. “I hope you’re not calling my magic “a few—”

“Your baby,” Seulgi gives him the creature. “They’re super cute, by the way.”

“Wait,” Kyungsoo tries to say, but they’re not listening anymore. The room is almost empty and when Seulgi closes the portal, Kyungsoo is alone in the apartment - except for the baby, who’s staring at him and moving their fingers.

“Hello,” Kyungsoo says. They don’t answer. “Are you in need of something?”

The baby smiles.

“I take that as a no,” the witches sighs. “I can’t smell feces, at least. You’re clean.”

He lifts the baby high, inspecting their tiny body.

“Do you want to practice old magic?”

The baby emits a tiny noise, shaking their legs. Kyungsoo gives up on that conversation and follows his routine. Now that he’s alone, he can finally practice his potions – that spellbook won’t write itself. He places the baby on the table and puts a pillow under them so it’s not that uncomfortable, grabs his plants and supplies and uses Chanyeol’s pan to work.

“… no venomous herbs,” he says to himself. It would make Chanyeol mad. “I guess I can make a softer potion with flowers…”

He leaves the kitchen to grab flowers and when he returns, the baby is trying to reach the pans; Kyungsoo has to hold them to stop them from falling right on the potion.

“You have little concern for danger,” the witch warns. “This isn’t something to play with. Take some roses without thorns, instead.”

As soon as Kyungsoo handles them the flowers, the baby puts them on their mouth.

“That’s edible,” he nods. “Not the best choice for a meal. Now be quiet, please.”

They disobey by laughing hard every time the potion reacts to the ingredients or trying to eat more roses. Kyungsoo needs to keep an eye on the potion and the baby at the same time, catching the baby when they fly away or try to interact with magical ingredients.

“You’re not very wise,” Kyungsoo says, holding the baby against his chest. “But you’re curious. That’s not bad.”

The baby makes a happy sound. They keep grabbing Kyungsoo’s shirt, drooling and blinking while Kyungsoo is trying to establish a nice conversation.

“You’re human too,” Kyungsoo realizes. “So you must like what Chanyeol likes, huh?”

He kisses the kid on the forehead. The baby giggles, clinging on him.

“I know your weak points now,” the witch threatens. “So I’m going to control you with hugs and kisses too!”

The creature isn’t scared at all; Kyungsoo must admit they are really brave, considering their size. The group returns home as loudly as they left. They have no longer the same clothes, but tiny, colorful ones. Chanyeol is the only one fully dressed, with a long shirt with #1 DAD written on it.

“Poor party!” Junmyeon screams happily.

 

 

 

 

 

Kyungsoo sits on the corner, under the huge sunshade. He’s still using his dark clothes and also some 'designer' sunglasses they lend him. He’s holding a book with a fake cover so the humans think he’s reading recipes when he’s actually reading about hexing them. There’s goat meat on the grill and some energy elixirs – especially for poor Seulgi, who kept opening portals, – but he prefers to be sitting, reading and watching the creature swimming in their mini pool.

“It’s a paddling pool,” Chanyeol explains, sitting on the floor, next to them. “Don’t let them take the hat off. It’ll be hard to explain the horns.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods.

“Are you sure you don’t want to join us?” Chanyeol asks. “Your friends are here…”

“I’m fine,” Kyungsoo says. “The creature needs to be supervised.”

“Aren’t you a mama bear?” Chanyeol laughs, amused. “Okay, I’ll be back soon.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t read a lot. He’s quite enjoying the environment. Junmyeon swings to the pool border near them and informs Kyungsoo about the sea news. The baby finds the mermaid’s tail funny and giggles uncontrollably.

“It’s really hard for me to believe that this baby is real,” Junmyeon says. “What a fateful encounter you had!”

“You can say so,” Kyungsoo says, a bit distracted by Chanyeol walking around in that small shorts that he uses as a swimsuit. “I myself find hard to believe that my Goddess Hekate has given me such a destiny.”

“Having a family is a privilege,” Junmyeon looks up, serious. “Most creatures can’t find any place to call home. You’re blessed.”

Kyungsoo looks at the baby slapping the water.

“I agree that it could have been worse,” he says.

Seulgi comes to join them, picking a plastic chair. She’s using a ‘swimsuit’ too, black and very exposing, in Kyungsoo’s modest opinion (he can't understand why they all don't swin naked, after all).

“If we want to uncurse your friends, we must find out who cursed them in the first place,” she states, drinking from her energy elixir, which is boiling inside the pineapple-shaped glass. “Do you have an oracle, for sure?”

“Ask for an angel’s help,” Junmyeon suggests. “They know everything, anyway.”

“I’m from a demonic coven, they don’t interact with us,” Seulgi shruggs. “I’m problematic or something. We were canceled by their God.”

“I can do it,” Kyungsoo says. “I think the creature is good in summoning others. Wait, you said friends? Who else is cursed?"

“Jongin,” she frowns. “Of course.”

“But he doesn’t want to become a Nymph again,” Kyungsoo blinks. “He suffered a lot while being chased by horny Gods.”

“No, he wants to be human,” Seulgi tells him. “He told me that now he wants to start a family of his own.”

“It must be a very intense desire,” Junmyeon thinks out loud. “Humans are so fragile and weak… this conversation is making me hungry.”

Kyungsoo stares at the cats sprawled on the floor. Why would his familiar choose to be a human, with so many problems and limitations?

He sips his energy elixir and looks down at the baby.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The wet sound of their bodies bumping in is louder than Kyungsoo’s muffled words since Chanyeol is pressing his hand against Kyungsoo’s mouth, silencing him – at least, trying to. Because of that, they’re having the Whole Medieval Sex Experience. They’re in the dark, in the corner of the room, under a giant blanket, not seeing anything, especially each other.

Kyungsoo bites Chanyeol’s finger and the Satyr cries.

“Do it harder,” he says. “Or I’ll curse you to become a flaming bird!”

“Stop cursing me during sex,” Chanyeol whispers, but he moves his hips harder as he was requested, pressing Kyungsoo against the mattress. It’s almost suffocating and it’s so good. So Kyungsoo hugs him with his legs and arms.

“That’s good,” Kyungsoo pants in his ear. “Keep… this… pace…”

Chanyeol is close, Kyungsoo knows, because he stopped babbling nonsense and it’s trying to kiss him again. Kyungsoo kisses him back and accepts whatever he’s doing with that tongue; it’s nasty but it makes the whole experience more interesting. Chanyeol is thrusting into him a bit deeper now and Kyungsoo curses a bit before coming.

Chanyeol giggles.

“What, tongue devil?” Kyungsoo asks, annoyed.

“You’re cute,” Chanyeol kisses him again then, slips off him gently.

“Haven’t you finished?” Kyungsoo can only feel his own torso dirty with the sticky liquid.

“Condom, granny,” Chanyeol laughs in the dark. “It holds the semen. It’s called safe sex.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo says. “The plastic penis bag.”

“You’re not wrong, I guess,” Chanyeol uncovers them. “We need to see how are we going to raise a shapeshifter before we get another baby, right?”

“Do you think I’m a cow?” Kyungsoo tries to slap him on the dark. “I have better things to do than carrying your chaotic children. If you want another baby, you must get pregnant yourself!”

“So you’re okay with another baby,” Chanyeol teases, “as long as you don’t get pregnant? We can adopt kids.”

“Shut up,” Kyungsoo wipes his torso with the blanket. “I will supervise the baby. They’re alone for too long and they have no clue about self-protection.”

Kyungsoo covers himself with a blanket and leaves the room to check on the baby. The house is quiet now since Baekhyun and Jongdae offered their place for them to stay – only Kyungsoo and Chanyeol stayed in Chanyeol’s apartment, sensing that it was too early to keep dragging the baby around. The crib is on the living room, with a lot of space for them to fly, if they want to.

Kyungsoo turns the lights off.

“Arrrgggghh,” a demon screams, walking away from the crib. There are more of them sitting on the couch. Kyungsoo raises his hands to curse them straight back to hell.

“No, please,” an angel comes from the kitchen. “They’re not doing anything wrong! I’m supervising them!"

Kyungsoo turns to the angel.

“I know you,” he says.

“Yes,” Luhan nods. “You do.”

“You were the messenger,” Kyungsoo says dryly. “The angel.”

“Luhan, if you want my modern name, and if you want to know, after three thousand years, I’ve finally decided to leave my job and embrace a new side of me,” he says and he raises a glass of wine.

“I don’t want to know,” Kyungsoo says, side-eyeing the demons on the couch.

“I’m a guardian angel now,” he ignores the witch. “And taking care of your child is one of my duties.”

“And then why are there demons here?” Kyungsoo says, loud and clear. Chanyeol walks in, also wrapped in a blanket.

“Your child is the first shapeshifter to exist in three hundred years, they’re a celebrity,” Luhan explains. “Many desire to meet the kid. I’m just watching out so they don’t burn the crib in excitement.”

Chanyeol isn’t overreacting; they sure had to deal with worse things during the pregnancy time. He just holds Kyungsoo, resting his chin on the top of the witch’s head.

“So they’re fans?” The Satyr asks.

One demon turns to them and shows them a shirt with ‘I’m in love with the shapeS of you’ written on it.

“Is that… an Ed Sheeran reference?” Chanyeol asks slowly.

“One of the many human forms of Satan,” Luhan shakes his head, disgusted. “Always beware of the popular red-heads.”

“My kid is ginger too,” Kyungsoo uses his dark voice. “Respect them.”

“Well, I’m here to protect them, so you can go back to your…” Luhan wriggles his eyebrows.

“Mind your business,” Chanyeol warns.

“I would love to but ‘my business’ is to keep an eye on humans, so…” Luhan sighs and drinks his wine. “It’s not an easy job, let me tell you.”

“You’re an angel,” Kyungsoo blinks, finally remembering Junmyeon's advice. “I need you to help me uncurse my friends.”

“Oh, hell no,” Luhan says. “Oh, sorry, heavens, no! I can’t interfere with human destiny unless they’re my protégé. So, if I’m not someone’s guardian angel, I can’t help them.”

“It’s to uncurse Minseok,” Kyungsoo says and Chanyeol runs to slap a demon that tries to touch the sleeping creature.

“And you want me to uncurse him, from all the creatures? He never calls me back after our fun times.”

“Yes,” the witch says, crossing his arms. “I want you to tell me who cursed him. He wants to take his human form again and he can’t.”

“I have no reason to help that… fairy,” Luhan drinks again. “It’s again the rules and it’s not something you could argue about. I’m not a corrupt angel and this is such a useless thing to do. Why would I help him to take a human form?”

“His human form is pretty hot,” Kyungsoo says.

“Well, damn, I’ll do it,” Luhan sighs. “Let me just… open a small portal to heaven.”

He puts the glass on the table and pulls the sleeves of his white tunic; when he opens a portal to the other side, the light that comes off heaven makes the demons evaporate in a second – and, even worse… it wakes the baby up.

“Oh, my love,” Chanyeol takes them from the crib; they’re complaining with little angry sounds. “Calm down…”

“Oh, here it is,” Luhan enters the portal for a second, then falls back with a parchment. “Let me see…”

Chanyeol is singing and rocking the baby slowly. Kyungsoo checks the names with the angel.

“Here…” Luhan points. “That’s the person who cursed Minseok.”

“I think I know her…” Kyungsoo licks his lips, reading the name.

“Too bad she died last week from cursing her own reflex in the mirror,” Luhan points to the date. “Oh, it seems that she also cursed your cat familiar.”

“She had a cursing addiction,” Kyungsoo explains seriously. “It could happen to anyone.”

“Well, I guess it can’t be helped, then,” Luhan sighs. “I’ll miss his human form. Very much.”

“That won’t stop me,” Kyungsoo says simply. “I can’t break the curse, but someone else can find a way to help them. I could ask a God.”

“It had to be a really crazy god to be convinced to uncurse two cats,” Luhan says. “My boss won’t move a finger, just warning you. I’m certain that Hekate, the Goddess of the Witches, won’t do it either.”

Luhan and Kyungsoo turn to Chanyeol slowly; the Satyr is unaware for a moment, focused on making the child sleep.

He notices them and blinks.

“Oh… so you want me to talk to my boss?” He snorts quietly. “He won’t go anywhere without a good party and fine wine… that's what he's the god of! But if we get to talk to him, of course. He does anything if it sounds fun.”

“I guess it’s time for us to settle a date for the blessing,” Kyungsoo suggests. “I could throw a party for this occasion. It’s not something I would do without a good reason to, but my friends are quite skilled in that.”

“Can we talk about that later, babe?” Chanyeol asks, putting the sleepy baby back on the crib. “Now we have a nanny—a guardian angel, then maybe we could go somewhere else, huh?”

Kyungsoo takes the glass from Luhan’s hands.

“Of course,” the witch says.

 

 

 

 

Kyungsoo looks down at his sneakers and Chanyeol’s sandals against the shiny floor. There are lights everywhere – how can humans walk around with so many artificial lights on their faces? They have different hair colors, clothing and accessories, but they’re always on their phone, hypnotized by it. There are so many types of food, so many, that Kyungsoo wishes that he had enough appetite to eat them all.

“Did you like your ice-cream?” Chanyeol asks, holding his hand.

“Yes, mint is good,” Kyungsoo says, getting closer. The city is too loud and once in a while someone bumps on him, so he prefers to be next to Chanyeol.

“That’s the worst flavor,” Chanyeol shakes his head. “But I’m glad you enjoyed. We have to go… the movie is about to start.”

Chanyeol gives two tiny papers to a man and they’re allowed to enter a dark room. Kyungsoo is ready to curse someone since he can’t see much, but Chanyeol guides him to sit on a chair. A huge screen is in front of them, like a tv, but a lot bigger.

“I forgot to buy popcorn and soda, just wait for a second, babe,” Chanyeol says, standing up. Kyungsoo tries to stop him from leaving, but he jumps over the chair with his long legs. Humans are taking the seats, holding tiny bags and long cups. Kyungsoo refuses to be intimidated and stays there, in silence.

The scream shines and then shows two people talking inside a house as if it’s a huge crystal ball. Kyungsoo watches it mesmerized, shocked. Chanyeol comes back, holding the same items that the humans brought to the room. It smells good and he offers it to Kyungsoo before he sits down too.

“Oh, it’s just the trailers,” he says, grabbing Kyungsoo’s hand. “The movie hasn’t started yet.”

Kyungsoo is still looking at the screen with big eyes.

“Are you okay?” Chanyeol asks.

“Is that magic?” Kyungsoo asks with a tiny voice. “It’s not like dramas…”

“No, it’s cinema,” he explains, smiling, his long arm embracing Kyungsoo. “This is a movie theater… you don’t have to be that tense, my love. Just relax, there’s no threat here, I promise.”

Kyungsoo leans his head on Chanyeol’s shoulder, slowly relaxing his body. It’s quiet and agreeable.

“Yes, my sweet pumpkin pie.”

 

 

 .

Chapter Text

 

 

 

.

“I thought you were enjoying the human world,” Chanyeol says with his arms open, frozen to the spot. Kyungsoo throws another parchment on the human, getting closer while fixing his reading glasses. The baby is watching something on TV about a shark and it’s annoying, but at least it keeps them from flying around.

“Well, yes, but you don’t expect me to invite actual Goddesses and Gods here, in this tiny human living box,” Kyungsoo says, unbothered. “Also, I don’t think we should invite so many magical creatures.”

“They’re my friends,” Chanyeol cries, looking down at the parchments hanging on his arms. “I want them to come!”

“I already allowed your friend to bless the child,” Kyungsoo warns. “You should at least invite fewer people than me.”

“This is impossible,” Chanyeol sighs, frustrated. “You think that having thirty beings as friends is a lot! I have thirty friends just here, in this neighborhood! Also, you chose him because he’s a dragon, not because you trust me.”

Kyungsoo looks up.

“I trust you,” he says simply. Chanyeol is taken aback for a moment.

“Oh, honey—” he smiles.

“I’ll cut half of your friends from the list,” the witch says dryly. “And I trust you so much that I’ll allow you to choose the ones.”

Chanyeol’s smile dies in his face.

“Evil witch,” he grunts.

“Did you say anything, my sweet pumpkin pie?” Kyungsoo asks dryly.

“No, my love,” Chanyeol mumbles, a bit scared. “I was just… saying… of course.”

The baby giggles, rolling on the couch. Kyungsoo doesn’t understand what’s so fun about repetitive songs and animals, but it’s helping the poor (exhausted) parents.

“I need to make the soup for them,” Chanyeol complains, still not moving. “Can’t we decide that later?”

Kyungsoo takes off his glasses. He’s focused on finishing his task but he nods, helping Chanyeol to take the parchments off his arms. While he’s collecting them, the baby flies to him; Kyungsoo catches the creature in the air.

“What do you want, tiny thing?” He asks, fixing the baby’s hair.

“Aaaaaaaa,” they answer, shaking their arms. Kyungsoo hugs the baby and walks around, shaking his body to calm them down – since the baby likes it very much. When Kyungsoo is around, the baby’s hair is dark like he’s trying to resemble Kyungsoo more. The witch is slightly touched by those small things, after all, raising a shapeshifter is hard but the baby is smart and cute, far different from the terrible possibilities that Kyungsoo built inside his mind.

They are still very restless. Their soft belly is growling.

“Just a second,” Kyungsoo says but he feels an urge to feed the baby immediately. He’s used to taking care of plants and stray animals, not… that, but he feeds each one of them.

“Aaaaaaaa,” the baby answers, distressed.

“Do not send demons, I know you’re hungry,” Kyungsoo says softly and, to distract the baby, he kisses them on the face several times. The baby laughs with their four teeth, surprised. He goes to the kitchen to wait and sits on the chair with the baby on his lap.

“Almost ready,” Chanyeol says, putting a colorful tissue on his shoulder. “How’s my cupcake?”

“Aaaaaaaaaaaa,” the baby screams.

“Ah, so hungry,” Chanyeol smiles. “Dad will give you a big bowl of soup!”

Kyungsoo smiles too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

They return to Kyungsoo’s house; the flowers bloomed beautifully around the baby’s room and the animals are back, running around. Inside Kyungsoo’s place, there’s no sign of the winter rain. Kyungsoo takes care of his garden and Chanyeol fills the room with the things that they bought. His friends take care of the baby while they’re busy but when the night comes, the baby is back to sleep with them.

“Goodnight, my cute witch,” Chanyeol kisses Kyungsoo. “Goodnight, baby.”

The baby is already between them when Chanyeol kisses their face.

 

 

 

 

 

The next days are busy days; Kyungsoo sends the invitation to every guest (he has to use ten owls!) despite Chanyeol saying that they could use ‘Facebook’. He decides to host the party around the house and only with the help of the forces of nature (in this case, Baekhyun and Jongdae) and a few magic creatures (the Nymphs), they finish it on time.

Kyungsoo chooses a black tunic and a nice long black hat and Chanyeol wears… his bag. He’s a full Satyr for the party. To Kyungsoo’s surprise, he’s using the heart locket too. The baby is dressed in a white dress and a flower crown. There are gallons of wine and a few cauldrons of soup.

The Red Witches are the first group to arrive – they seem to be excited about it. Kyungsoo’s friends come after and magical creatures join them. Chanyeol introduces Kyungsoo to a dozen of coworkers and old friends. Luhan is in his position, taking care of the baby, and so are the cats (in between naps).

It’s truly a magic night, Kyungsoo thinks, looking up at the new moon. He never imagined himself in such a situation but he hopes that Hekate hears his prays and come to say hello. She’s not very accessible, unlike some gods and entities that like to fool around on Earth.

“Yifan,” Chanyeol says excitedly as soon as he sees his friend coming.

“Hello,” the dragon bows, elegantly dressed like Chanyeol. “I’m here. Can we start?”

“Are we all here?” Chanyeol asks. Kyungsoo brings Luhan and the baby closer, just in case.

“No, not every guest arrived,” the witch warns. “But I guess we could at least bless the baby. Soon the beings will want to drink…”

Kyungsoo doesn’t want to curse a guest and he will do it if they don’t behave as they should, so he wants to leave before everyone gets drunk.

“I want to drink now,” Luhan says, rocking the baby in his arms. “I don’t know why, but I feel like I can drink a whole bottle of wine…”

“I feel the same way,” Yifan frowns. A couple of guests asks for drinks.

“Oh, I see what’s going on,” Chanyeol gulps. “Are you feeling like dancing now?”

“Maybe,” Kyungsoo realizes and the beings look at the same spot – a man is arriving. Well, not… a man. He’s kind of purple. He’s not using any pants, but a long shirt (‘I watched Cats on Broadway’ in a human language is written on it) is trying to cover his really big belly. He’s drinking something and singing, completely careless.

A few beings, including Chanyeol, look down in respect. Kyungsoo is confused.

“That’s the God of Wine, Dionysus,” Luhan informs him. “I don’t respond to him, of course, but I think you should look down and avoid staring at him, just in case.”

Kyungsoo obeys immediately. The God walks to them – it’s hard not to see because of the belly – and laughs, happy. No one dares to look up.

So that’s the baby,” the God says and his voice seems to be everywhere. “What a cute creature! And a shapeshifter, what a blessing!”

“Yes, my God,” Chanyeol says politely. “I’m grateful for your presence here.”

I’m content that one of my Satyrs started a family… and a mixed one,” He laughs louder and hiccups. “I’m not one to visit family parties, but I’m proud of you Chanyeol. Most of my Satyrs die during a prank… you’re here, safe and sound and with a baby!”

“That wouldn’t happen without your help, my God,” Chanyeol bows and some creatures do the same but the baby is restless as always. “You helped me to find my other half.”

In this case, quite literally.”

Kyungsoo takes a deep breath to not fight a literal god. Luhan is unbothered next to him.

“I’m honored to meet you,” Kyungsoo says.

I thought this witch would kill you…” Dionysus walks closer. “I did a little prank, my dear. I hope you don’t mind.”

Chanyeol looks up. Between the many creatures, he’s the only one to do so.

“What, my God?”

Well, I’m not a Love God and I’m certainly not Cupid, so I’m not like, that great at finding soulmates… humans have Tinder for that,” the God complains, shaking his drink. “So I was like… so, who in this party would be in need of a good lay? And them bang! I made you two get together. Genius, right?”

Kyungsoo takes a moment to digest these words and he raises his head, shocked.

“What?”

Dionysus looks at him and his face is really purple, like his curly hair.

It had been a while since you got some, huh? But I got you a fine man and a baby! Isn’t that great?”

Kyungsoo is blushing – not in a good way. Chanyeol blinks many times and even Luhan seems shocked.

“Can we bless the kid now?” Yifan asks quietly, probably sensing danger. There’s this awkward silence as if the whole party got to the same conclusion. Kyungsoo just stares at that odd human version of a God and he’s disgusted and defeated.

“Kyungsoo,” Chanyeol whispers, reading his lover’s mind.

“A prank?” Kyungsoo repeats. He’s no longer shocked, he’s angry, dangerously angry. “Is that what all of this mean?”

The baby tries to escape Luhan’s arms and reach Kyungsoo – they must be aware something wrong is happening and maybe they’re seeking for familiar arms. Kyungsoo looks at them and he feels… betrayed.

“My love,” Chanyeol says and that’s it.

“Don’t call me that,” Kyungsoo says, looking around at the guests’ faces. He never felt so humiliated before, so… ridiculed. He doesn’t want them to see this, though. He doesn’t want those beings to know that he’s affected by it – that he’s… so affected by it. He can’t fight a God or face those people, so he runs to the forest. He’s not even thinking right, he just wants some privacy to think, to understand whatever just happened.

He hears Chanyeol’s voice and then some others’, but he doesn’t look back. He’s running so fast that the branches cut him on his way and he barely notices since it’s too dark inside of the forest. Maybe also because he’s not feeling anything but anger. When he finds an empty spot, he falls to the ground, not even looking to see if there’s any animal or plant there. He just kneels and grabs the dirt, cursing.

“My Goddess, how did you allow this to happen,” he screams to the moon. “I’ve never failed you.”

He hears his own name but it’s not Chanyeol. Kyungsoo doesn’t even turn to see; he just raises his dirty hands and casts a spell,

Umbraculum,” he says, summoning a huge energy shelter. He can feel the moment when someone hits it, but he can’t hear anything else. He’s protected inside of his bubble, away from everyone and everything.

He looks up to the new moon and he just wants everything else to disappear. He wants to erase everything and pretend that it was just a bad memory, an inoffensive nightmare.

“Kyungsoo,” Seulgi pleads.

“Leave me alone,” he asks with his eyes closed.

“Kyungsoo…” It’s now Seungwan.

“Can you—” Kyungsoo says, annoyed, when he realizes he’s not supposed to listen to them. He opens his eyes and sees how they’re looking down. There is no shelter anymore.

“What?” He mumbles. When he looks up, he gasps loudly, eyes widening.

It’s Hekate. The Goddess of Magic, plants, moon phases and all witches. She’s using a long dark mantle, but her three faces – the maiden, the mother and the elder - are uncovered, staring down at him with her silver eyes. She’s floating just a meter from him. Kyungsoo forgets whatever he was thinking. After seven hundred years, Hekate presented herself to him.

“My Goddess,” he whispers, mesmerized.

I’ve heard your prayers, my child,” the three faces say at the same time. “And I’ve come to you.”

He tears up, happy and sad at the same time.

“I… I was… tricked…” he gulps, incapable of finding the right words. “I was wronged.”

I know,” she says, raising her hands. “I’m aware of your fate and I understand that you blame me. You’re right indeed. I could’ve stopped that drunk… kid.

Kyungsoo assumes she’s talking about Dionysus.

“Why didn’t you, My Goddess?” Kyungsoo is confused and he feels even more betrayed. “Why do I deserve such punishment?”

This isn’t a punishment, my child. This is a lesson,” she rises higher and the sky is suddenly clear. “You’re a witch, you worship the moon, you grow and use plants and you refuse to learn about changing, about seasons, about phases. You’ve been living the same way for a long, long time. How do you expect to become powerful if you don’t open yourself to life?”

Kyungsoo is speechless.

“You can blame me for your destiny but I didn’t intervene because I knew that this God misguided actions would bring you good blessings. And it did. You accepted a new face of yours,” she points to her ‘mother’ face. “I am proud of you, my child.”

Kyungsoo knows that he should have been basking in happiness. That’s a blessing that every witch dreams to listen. Yet, he still wants to cry.

“I was tricked, used and mislead. I suffered through this whole thing,” Kyungsoo says dryly. “None of this was my choice, how do you expect me to go back and pretend that I don’t know that this is a lie?”

Is an existence a lie?” Her three mouths smile. “You’ve created life, like us, but still have much to learn.”

“I don’t wish to learn this way,” Kyungsoo shakes his head, disgusted. “I do not deserve to be a puppet for the Gods.”

And then will you refuse to live? Or will you erase your past? If you do so, the baby will cease to exist,” Hekate warns, her faces now showing distress. “I won’t teach you any other lesson, Kyungsoo. You’ve right to say that you’ve been a good devotee and if my blessings have been taken as curses, perhaps I should let fate decide this time.”

Kyungsoo is quiet. He couldn’t even think about the kid disappearing, not in a million years. The baby is innocent, they have nothing to do with that mess. Despite the short time they spent together, Kyungsoo likes the baby more than any other being.

When he looks up again, Hekate is no longer there. Now, only the dark new moon is seen. Kyungsoo wipes his eyes, tired.

“Please,” he hears Seungwan saying. “Do not decide anything now. You’re taken by anger.”

He turns to them. Seulgi is visibly crying and Kyungsoo thinks about the centuries that they have spent together as allies and realizes that he never saw her being so terrified.

“Please… please…” she begs. “Do not erase the child. Please…”

“I won’t,” Kyungsoo says simply. “I don’t desire to hurt them.”

She sighs in relief, falling to the floor. She has a kind heart, Kyungsoo thinks, but that is no good for a witch. Kyungsoo looks at his dirty hands. Witches are supposed to be strong, powerful and merciless. He’s weak as she is.

“I will not return,” he declares. “I no longer desire to live with them… I want to forget.”

“What do you mean?” Seungwan asks, alert.

“I want you to cast a forgetting spell on me,” he says fiercely, staring at the dark moon. “And then to curse everyone in this place with a silence pact.”

She gapes.

“Why would I do such a thing?”

“I will give you my whole house and my belongings,” Kyungsoo says. “And then I’ll join your coven.”

“That doesn’t interest us,” Seulgi says, a bit offended. “We’re demonic, not soulless.”

“Do it,” a voice coming from the woods says; it’s Irene, walking out of the dark. “The alternatives are worse.”

“What other alternative does he have besides erasing the past or his memories?” Seungwan asks her leader.

“If you refuse, I’ll erase the memory from everyone in this event,” Kyungsoo says simply.

Seungwan is so shocked with that answer that she laughs in disbelief.

“You don’t have the energy to do it,” she screams. “You would die trying!”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo sighs. “I’m willing to take that risk.”

The red witches are quiet after that. They have known Kyungsoo for too long to deny that he’s lying. He’s stubborn and he’s loyal to his words and after that fiasco, they understand his feelings, at least.

Seulgi stands up and dusts her knees.

“I understand,” she says. “If he’s the only one to forget, at least everyone is safe.”

“You can’t be serious…!” Seungwan gasps. “That’s insane!”

“No, it’s not,” Irene crosses her arms. “We accept it, but we’re not included in the silence pact.”

“It’s a deal,” Kyungsoo stands up too. “I’m ready.”

“Now?” Seungwan asks. “That’s not appropriate for anyone! They’re waiting for you!”

“That’s not my problem anymore,” Kyungsoo says slowly. He feels completely numb now that he’s finally standing up for himself and his witch pride. “I’m sorry.”

“Bring the others,” Irene orders. “This ritual must be finished before dawn.”

Kyungsoo stands in the same spot and stays like that while he has the energy to remember. From all of the memories from the past season, tainted with the humiliation of being fooled, he has a few that he doesn’t want to lose completely. He thinks about Chanyeol and the baby.

“I’m not going back,” he says firmly. “It’s decided.”

The new moon seems to get darker.

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

Kyungsoo has a headache.

He sits on the bed and coughs, confused. Where is he? Marble and glass, a big window, everything is so bright and clear… he inspects the place. Some of his books, his cauldron and clothes are in a big box. Kyungsoo looks at himself; he’s using his dark mantle.  What happened?

“Jongin…?” He calls. “Jongin…”

No answer.

“Snake?” Kyungsoo tries.

Nothing but silence. The witch gets out of the bed and stretches; the place is too familiar and his intuition tells that he’s not in danger. He takes off the dark mantle and stays with the soft, light clothes underneath it, of course, it’s Spring. He checks his books, lying around and tries to remember anything, but all he can think of is how he was getting ready to a celebration and… nothing. A black hole.

Kyungsoo walks out of the room and he has to walk down the long stairs at the entry of the room.

“Am I a Fairy Tale Princess now?” Kyungsoo asks, touching the marble walls. He finally gets to the hall and realizes that he’s at the Red Temple—BlackVelvet Temple. They put him in a very, very secluded room, he thinks, walking alone through the long corridor. Someone comes running, he senses.

“Oh, Kyungsoo,” Joy smiles, walking in dressed in pink pajamas. “You’re finally awake.”

“And confused, I must say,” he sighs, a bit relieved. “Where are everyone? It’s Spring! Yet I can’t remember anything…”

“They left for a group activity, but someone has to keep an eye on Yeri,” she shrugs. “And you, of course. It’s been a while and we didn’t know when you would wake up.”

“Did I overstay my welcome for an entire season?” Kyungsoo is terrified – this breaks each one of his politeness rules.

“No, I mean, yes, I mean, no,” Joy points to a sign and Kyungsoo can’t believe his eyes when he reads:

 

BlackVelvet (and Silver)

 

The Silver part isn’t carved on marble. It’s just regular wood and it messes with the aesthetic of the whole thing. If Kyungsoo is annoyed by that, imagine how the Red Witches must be.

“Did I…?” Kyungsoo blinks, completely lost.

“Come on, let’s drink some tea,” Joy runs to him and grabs his arm. “I got a lot to explain.”

Kyungsoo allows himself to be guided and takes his seat at the main table. Joy serves him a Rose Tea and sits down next to him.

“So…” she says, holding a golden spoon. “You’re kinda… a part of us now?”

“I joined you at the ritual?” Kyungsoo frowns. “That sounds a bit impulsive. I don’t understand.”

“It’s not a part like… a part… you’re like an appendix,” she nods to no one.

“Appendix are useless,” Kyungsoo points.

“Exactly, like men,” Joy continues, blowing on her tea. “But we did perform a ritual and you kinda blanked out after it and slept for a week— whole season, I mean, a whole season since… winter. Your hair fell out-”

Kyungsoo rubs his scalp – she’s right.

“And I guess you’re now some of a wiser witch?” She says, impressed. “Hekate presented herself to you, too.”

Kyungsoo almost drops his mug, standing and gasping in shock.

“What?” He gulps. “No… My Goddess…”

“That’s the truth,” Joy smiles.

“And I can’t remember anything…” Kyungsoo feels like he can’t breathe – how he could forget such a blessing? He’s…

“She said she was proud of you,” Joy says. “I mean, that’s what Seulgi said. I wasn’t there.”

Kyungsoo feels warm in his chest and smiles brightly. He was finally recognized. He’s a true son of Hers.

“I see…” He smiled. “It’s obvious that I would do anything to please My Goddess. Is that why I joined your coven, right?”

“Urrrhnnn…” Joy scratches her neck. “Yeah, sure. She wanted you to grow… I wasn’t there so I don’t know the whole speech but uhnn… she wanted you to change your ways and be more receptive to the world?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo mumbles, sitting down.

“So uhn, maybe you should, I don’t know, move on?” Joy sips her tea and sighs. “You made a serious decision that day and… it affected a lot of people. You have to keep moving now.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo repeats, too distracted by the good news. “I will finally write my spellbook.”

“If it makes you happy,” she raises her mug. “Also, your cat is full human now.”

Kyungsoo does feel happy but he also feels something that he can’t put into words. He calls it That Feeling.

 

.

 

When Seulgi returns, she explains to him how it happened. How Hekate showed up to him and Kyungsoo learned her lesson and then he joined their coven. Kyungsoo is so grateful that he doesn’t ask for the details, only for her speech, her words. He feels motivated to write his book and to please his Goddess by offering her a true piece of art.

The Red Witches aren’t very much affected by his presence, after all. They follow their routine of being a demonic coven and sometimes Kyungsoo joins them for dinner (when the meat is… appropriate for him).

He becomes obsessed with his book.

It may be a symptom of being taken away from his old house, where he was pretty much comfortable, or the fact that his friends seem to be… different. Baekhyun and Jongdae are quite secretive around him and Minseok rarely visits Kyungsoo (maybe he’s scared of the Red Witches). His Nymph friends are clearly mad at him for some reason they never explain and Jongin sends him cards with pictures of dogs that he calls ‘his children’.

Kyungsoo is buried deep in books about spells, hexes, potions, curses, and recipes. Once in awhile, he’s hit by That Feeling.

It’s a mix of nostalgy, sadness and anxiousness as if he forgot something very important and his body remembers the feelings, not what happened. Kyungsoo supposes that this is a collateral effect of whatever happened during the ritual.

  

The first four seasons pass by in the blink of an eye. Kyungsoo writes the introduction. Two years later, he finishes chapter one and Minseok is uncursed, and yet, he refuses to see Kyungsoo. Another year goes by and Kyungsoo writes two more chapters. Jongin kindly informs him that he has a human partner. Kyungsoo travels through the magical world and finds out that Baekhyun and Jongdae are selected to the ‘Armageddon Commission’, made entirely to end humanity in a couple of centuries because they’re fucking parasites. About time, Kyungsoo thinks. Junmyeon is crowned King of one of the seven seas but Kyungsoo is too busy to attend the party.

After almost five years later, he finishes chapter four. He passes out after writing down the last sentence.

“It’s not even half of the book…” he sighs when he wakes up. An owl enters the room and gives him a letter. Kyungsoo thanks it and gives himself a break to read.

It’s from Jongin. He has a son and he wants Kyungsoo to bless the child.

“Oh,” he says, holding the picture of a small baby. He doesn’t know why, but it awakens That Feeling.

His emotions are all mixed up. Kyungsoo leaves his room to walk in the garden and think for a while. He needs air and, to be honest to himself, he needs a break. He can’t believe he’s getting emotional over a baby picture.

He finds Yeri sitting by the rose garden. She’s eating raw meat, dressed in a long, red dress. She’s almost a teenager and she’s so powerful that sometimes bogeymen crawl out of her room, scared of her.

“Good evening,” he says politely. “Yeri.”

“Good evening, Kyungsoo,” she bows. “Why are you here? You haven’t left your room in two months.”

“I think I need a break but I also feel the need to be devoted to my work,” he says, touching his chest. “Jongin asked me to bless his kid.”

“Oh, what a great honor,” Yeri smiles, wiping her bloody chin. “You must be happy.”

“I’m not sure if I want to walk on the human world,” he says. “They’re savages. Besides, I won’t find anything good there to contribute to my work.”

“That’s not true,” she says. “There are many magical creatures in the human world. Especially angels and demons.”

“What demons and angels can teach me about magic?” Kyungsoo asks, frustrated and looks up to the starry sky.

“I’m not sure about angels, but demons…” she whistles. “I mean, for example, there’s this human dude that cooks a soup that demons love.”

“I don’t follow,” Kyungsoo stares at her.

“Demons do everything to get that soup,” Yeri says. “Like everything. It means you can control them, right?”

Kyungsoo considers it. The night wind messes up his hair, that now is so long that covers his entire forehead.

“That falls on the ‘Accidental Magic’ category, that’s my next chapter,” Kyungsoo nods. “Yes, that would be very interesting to put on my book. It brings diversity and that’s all that matters now, apparently. Can you give me more information about it?”

“Yes, but let me finish this snack,” she smiles. “You don’t look any happier, though.”

“It feels like nothing has happened since I joined this coven,” he confesses, crossing his arms. He feels cold. “Time goes by and I feel nothing at all. I’m not happy or sad. I feel stuck.”

“Maybe it’s because of the book?” She suggests.

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods, but he’s not convinced. “It must be because of that. I must finish the book. I guess I’ll go see the humans and get this soup recipe, for now.”

He sighs. It’s That Feeling again.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

Chapter Text

 

 

 

.

 

Kyungsoo is shocked.

“Come on, Honey Bear,” Jongin shakes the toothless baby gently. “Say hello to Uncle Kyungsoo.”

“Uncle,” Kyungsoo repeats, too scared to move inside that mess of a house (to run away). “My brother was a victim of the Plague Epidemic.”

“That’s just a way to say it,” Jongin gives him the child. “Hold him.”

Kyungsoo holds the child like an ancient book he just borrowed and he’s afraid it may pulverize in his hands. The kid is cute, after all. Kyungsoo is just taken aback of how human Jongin looks now, even after years of complaining about the human condition. He lives on a really high place (“a penthouse”) with a pool in the middle of it – which must be nice when the mermaids come to visit, the witch admits – and dozens of things that look extraterrestrial and… magical, but they’re not. Kyungsoo had a hard time moving on the streets because his portal was miscalculated and left him close, but not close enough. All he wants is the quietness of his room.

“SHhhsssssssss,” Honey Bear says, blinking.

“I don’t understand this human language,” Kyungsoo answers. “Can I bless him now?”

“Of course not,” Jongin shakes his head. “Tomorrow is a full moon night, it’s more appropriate. There’s a room here so you can accommodate yourself.”

Kyungsoo wants to argue, but the human who he’s looking for lives on the other side of the world and he needs a lot more of energy if he wants to open another portal.

“You don’t even have to have dinner with us,” Jongin takes Honey Bear from the witch’s arms. “Eat there and watch a bit of tv, like it’s research.”

The baby tries to eat the white shirt that Jongin is using, but the human doesn’t mind. Kyungsoo looks at the view through the windows and sighs.

“The air here is so polluted,” Kyungsoo complains. “Are you truly satisfied with this life, Jongin?”

“You can say so,” Jongin smiles to the baby. “It’s being fun. The dogs, my job and the baby… sometimes I forget how humans have to do a lot of things because I have an assistant and he takes care of those details for me. My human experience is better than most because I have money and having money here is pretty much like being a magical being, you can do almost everything.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo thinks about it, looking at how healthy Jongin looks. “I see… but you’ll die soon.”

“Yes,” Jongin nods, unbothered. “Maybe in sixty years, eighty years if much… but I’ll die before my child, which is good, so I don’t have to suffer without them. That’s the good thing about having a family.”

“I don’t get how this desire emerged,” the witch confesses. “Have you always wished for a family? Did you nurture this feeling while being a Nymph?”

Jongin looks at him and for the first time since Kyungsoo arrived, he’s serious. He looks older, mature and different.

“No,” he says and then walks away. Kyungsoo looks around, noticing the portraits and tiny details around the place. Besides being too open to be a safe home and full of useless stuff, that environment certainly fits Jongin better than his old, wood house or the Red Temple. Kyungsoo feels happy for him, after all.

“Who uncursed you?” Kyungsoo asks, suddenly. The Red Witches never mentioned it.

“I convinced Dionysus to free me from that curse,” Jongin says, reappearing with a baby bottle. “But I can’t talk about it.”

“Sometimes I feel like everyone is hiding something from me,” Kyungsoo complains. Jongin coughs loud.

“Maybe you just don’t get things because you’re too distant,” the human says, shrugging. “If you stick around, you’ll get our jokes and you won’t run away when I say that I’ll spill the tea.”

“It’s a hot drink, Jongin,” the witch warns. “It’s dangerous.”

“Go take a nap,” Jongin suggests, feeding the child. “You get cranky when your energy level is low.”

Kyungsoo hates to agree, but… He tries to get comfortable around the place. He’s not a fan of artificial lights but the shower is good (baths are… more ritualistic, though) and the food is absolutely amazing. He watches a drama before sleeping, just like he used to do on Baekhyun and Jongdae’s place.

“…Please don’t leave me, I beg,” The pregnant woman on the screens says. For some reasons, humans are very insistently in boy-girl couples and they seem to not know any other gender, apparently. “I know I have lied to you so we could be together… but what we lived as a couple… it was real—”

“Boring,” Kyungsoo mumbles before turning the tv off. He takes his old blanket from the bag and gets ready for a night of recovering sleep.

 

 

 

 

.

In the night of the full moon, every magic energy is stronger, but in a Friday the 13th… Kyungsoo feels twice as powerful. It’s a private moment, as blessing ceremonies should be, and there’s only a few Nymphs and the parents around. No decoration, just a few candles, and bottles of wine. Jongin gives him Honey Bear, who’s adorably dressed in a white mantle. Kyungsoo walks outside, where he can be under the moon, and holds the baby in his arms.

“Hekate, my Goddess, I brought you a child,” he says quietly. “He’s a newborn human.”

The wind messes up Kyungsoo’s hair and mantle. She must be listening.

“You’re just a human,” Kyungsoo whispers to the sleepy baby. “So fragile… what should I give to you?”

Intelligence, so he could master any art. Braveness, to become a fierce leader. Beauty, to conquer many hearts. Wealthy, to rise above the people. Protection, so his enemies never reach him.

Honey bear yawns and smiles, raising his tiny arm to grab Kyungsoo. The magic is too strong and seeing that sweet baby, Kyungsoo wants to cry. That’s a kind human, he senses, not very ambitious, but with a heart of gold.

“Happiness,” Kyungsoo decides. “The moon is my witness. I’m reclaiming a happy fate to this child… The Gift of Happiness. No matter how dark your path may be, true happiness will find you.”

Honey Bear laughs as if he knows what’s going on. Kyungsoo feels an urge to kiss the baby – now, he finally is someone’s mentor and guide. He feels softer, somehow. He never accepted to be a godfather, since he knew that emotional ties like these could make him weaker but now he feels like he already loves this tiny human.

What an odd feeling! Loving a being that can’t even talk…

He gives the baby to his dad and excuses himself to wipe his eyes.

“Do you want some wine?” A random Nymph offers. “It’s magical.”

Kyungsoo nods. She opens the bottle and before she could grab a glass, Kyungsoo takes the whole bottle and drinks from it.

“Thank you,” he says, wiping his mouth.

“No… problem…” the Nymph says, a bit shocked. Kyungsoo reads the name on the bottle: Winery Park. There’s this drawing of a satyr under the full moon. Kyungsoo blinks many times.

“That’s… I think that’s…” He runs to his room and checks the parchment with the information that Yeri got from the demons.

 

PARK CHANYEOL, WINE CONNOISSEUR, OWNER OF WINERY PARK

INFORMATION: “29” HUMAN YEARS, FATHER OF A “DAUGHTER” (5), SINGLE, OWNS BUSINESS, PLAYS THE FLUTE PROFESSIONALLY (NO LONGER IN THE BUSINESS), SEEMS NICE, A BIT TOO TALL, GOOD COOK, DOESN’T LIKE WITCHES VERY MUCH, BEST FRIEND IS A DRAGON SO BEWARE, GENERALLY TRADES THE SOUP FOR SMALL FAVORS AS PROTECTION OR BABYSITTING (HE’S A SINGLE FATHER, LIKE, SINGLE SINGLE).  HE’S KIND OF HOT. HE’S POPULAR BETWEEN HUMANS AND MAGICAL CREATURES, SO DON’T THREATEN HIM WITH CURSES. ( PUT THAT BLUE FLANNEL AND THE CONVERSE I GAVE YOU, THIS ALL-BLACK FASHION IS NOT HUMAN-FRIENDLY, THEY THINK YOU’RE EMO )

 

He checks the bottle again, ignoring Yeri’s addendum. Yes, it's the same winery.

“Is this a warn that I should continue my path, Hekate?” Kyungsoo sighs. Coincidences are trivialities to witches – there are no coincidences, only synchronicity. He drinks the rest of the wine and feels weak, suddenly hit by That Feeling.

“It’s a fine wine,” he mumbles.

 

 

 

 

Jongin insists that Kyungsoo should stay.

“You gave a life-time bless to a kid last night,” the human pleads, dressed in his pajamas. “You should rest before opening a portal!”

“I’m fine,” he says, putting on his modern backpack (Joy’s gift). “I can handle it.”

“Where are you going?” Jongin crosses his arms. They’re both speaking very quietly because of the child. “If it’s too far—”

“It’s a secret, only another witch knows,” Kyungsoo pushes a couch to get more space. “I’m researching for my book, I can guarantee you it’s not dangerous. I still will be in the human world.”

“What if something happens to you? I’m not your familiar anymore. You don’t have someone to find you if you’re in danger,” Jongin argues and it’s humiliating to hear such strong argument from a man using a bear costume (they call it ‘onesie’).

“You forget that I’m a part of a coven now,” Kyungsoo says, distracted. He’s measuring how he can do it without breaking anything.

“Those cannibalism devil worshippers aren’t going to save your ass,” the human says, frustrated. Kyungsoo has a great idea.

“I don’t need anyone to save me,” Kyungsoo points, proud, before opening the portal on the pool. “Are you going to sing with me?”

“Fine,” Jongin rolls his eyes.

Gregorian Chants are fun. Disintegrating is no fun. He focuses on where he must arrive and it takes a few seconds, but it’s long enough to give him a persistent feeling of Vertigo. Kyungsoo falls from the portal in the middle of the street, landing on his feet.

It’s noisy and crowded, but people are running and looking at their phones and they simply don’t notice him. Except for a man, sitting on the floor, in front of a bowl full of coins.

Kyungsoo stares at him.

“Am I in the UN Village’s Vila?” The witch asks.

“N-no…” the man covers his mouth with his dirty hands. “But it’s near…”

“Thank you,” Kyungsoo says, raising his hands high.

“I… need… to stop drinking…” The man says while watching Kyungsoo’s chanting.

This time he falls on a garden, hitting the ground loudly.

“For the moons,” he groans in pain, looking up. The backpack cushioned him and yet he feels dizzy and nauseous. He tries to sit up, but the world keeps spinning. Kyungsoo can smell roses and sunflowers, hear voices and those car machines that the humans drive. He takes a long breath, closing his eyes.

He hears a being approaching him. He looks to the side and sees that he’s inside someone’s property, a rosé-painted big house in a place full of similar houses. The grass under him is healthy and humid, so maybe he’s in the right place now. The being stops next to him.

It’s a kid, based on how tiny their shoes are.

“Hello,” Kyungsoo groans and the kid runs away. He must be looking like a mad man, trying to get up with no success. He gives up and stays there, just breathing. It’s getting dark—Kyungsoo forgot that he traveled around the world. Maybe he should’ve stayed with Jongin just for another night, enjoyed his new protégé’s presence and cute face.

The being returns, running with their pink, doll shoes. Kyungsoo looks up and tries to focus on their face.

“Here,” they say with a small, worried face. “Water!”

Kyungsoo sits up fast and rubs his face. He feels slightly better after the fall, even if he’s severely drained. The kid is offering him water.

“Thank you,” Kyungsoo takes the glass since his intuition told him so. The kid waits patiently and when Kyungsoo drinks it, he sighs in relief, feeling his pain evaporate.

“Water help,” the kid says. “Water help plants too.”

Kyungsoo takes a look at the child. It looks like a human girl, with ginger, curly hair, bangs so long that almost cover her eyes. She’s using a green, pretty and fluffy dress and a pink bow on the top of her head. She takes the glass and runs inside and Kyungsoo almost screams to stop her from running with something breakable.  

Kyungsoo gets up and dusts off his clothes. He can hear the girl saying,

“There’s a witch outside!”

Amazing. Kyungsoo put the flannel and the converse and he’s still exposed by a child. He shouldn’t have listened to Yeri. Well, at least he won’t waste his time with small talk.

A tall man leaves the house and Kyungsoo looks up.

“Hello—”

“Who allowed you to come here,” the man says from far. “No magical creatures are allowed without—”

He’s not a man, Kyungsoo realizes when they stare at each other. His eyes are inhuman, almost like a snake… he’s a dragon, Kyungsoo understands, feeling the energy boost, mostly from adrenaline. He’s in no condition to fight a dragon.

But he doesn’t have to, because the creature stops, staring at him like he just saw a ghost.

“Hello,” Kyungsoo tries again. “I meant no harm. I’m here for business. My name is Kyungsoo and I’m from the BlackVelvet and Silver coven.”

The dragon is still staring and gaping at him. Kyungsoo is now scared of his appearance because he must have not reintegrated his face right (at least, it must have been something like that to create such a reaction from an ancient being).

“Does Chanyeol know you’re here?” The dragon asks without introducing himself first.

“Huh…no,” Kyungsoo is confused. “He’s unaware of my presence and I never met him before… Assuming… Should I have warned him first? It’s just a simple offer.”

“Oh, I see…” he says slowly. “Who gave you this address?”

“Demons,” Kyungsoo say simply. “As I say, it’s just a deal. It won’t waste his time. Do you think he’ll be able to talk to me?”

The dragon laughs.

“Oh, I don’t know if he’s going to be able to talk to you…” he nods. “But you can certainly try.”

“Thank you,” the witch bows. “You didn’t introduce yourself.”

“It’s Yifan,” he points to the house, walking like he’s just scared to get too close to Kyungsoo. “Come in.”

Kyungsoo accepts the invitation, even if he’s not sure of what just happened. He walks slowly and looks at every detail in the entrance before walking inside. The place is fancy and well-kept, designed as a cozy house Kyungsoo used to see when he visited human world many decades ago. The first thing he sees when he enters the place is a long line of portraits hanging on the wall, just over a long couch. The walls are tall, like real old buildings, and there are wide stairs leading to the second floor. Kyungsoo feels dizzy and looking up makes him dizzier, so he sits on the couch and holds his head, in a futile attempt to make the world stop spinning.

“Are you feeling okay?” Yifan asks.

“Just… I need a moment,” Kyungsoo says.

“He need food,” the child’s voice is heard. “He weak, uncle.”

“Yeah, baby, can you bring those chocolates for him? I bet it’ll make him stronger.”

“Yes!”

Kyungsoo takes a long breath and sits straight. Yifan is standing and he seems to not be comfortable around Kyungsoo for whatever reason.

“You can wait for Chanyeol here,” he says. “He’s working today, that’s why I’m taking care of his child, my protégé.”

“Why a human girl needs the blessing of a dragon?” Kyungsoo thinks out loud.

“They’re not a girl, nor human,” the dragon explains. “They’re a shapeshifter.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo’s eyes widen. A shapeshifter is a rare creature.

“Unfortunately, humans work primarily with a gender binary, so they want to categorize everyone in ‘boy’ and ‘girl’ and we were worried that people may have been mean to them if they found out, so we’ve disguised the baby as a girl. They’re fully aware of their condition, though,” Yifan continues, walking around the room. “They’re not only a shapeshifter, also.”

The child comes running, their locks shaking wildly.

“Here,” they show Kyungsoo a heart-shaped box. “Chocolate is energy! It coffee too!”

“They mean that it’s coffee-flavored,” Yifan smiles. “Can you keep company to the witch while I call your daddy, baby?”

They jump to sit next to Kyungsoo on the couch.

“Yes, uncle!”

The long figure walks out of the room so easily that it makes Kyungsoo even more confused. Isn’t he worried about leaving the kid alone with a stranger?

“You pretty,” the kid says, smiling. They have big eyes and a very familiar face, with a heart-shaped mouth and funny, big ears. “Me witch too.”

“You’re a witch?” Kyungsoo blinks, getting free from the weight of his backpack.

“Yes,” the kid shows their hands. “Me make flowers grow. Me say things and things happen.”

“That’s impressive,” Kyungsoo smiles. They’re not afraid of him at all, sitting close and staring at his eyes. “You must be very powerful.”

“No, but me be one day,” the kid wipes their bangs from their eyes and Kyungsoo can see tiny horns in their freckled forehead. “Now me just baby. Daddy not want baby witch.”

They are really cute, Kyungsoo thinks, but they seem to be… too small and naïve. They touch Kyungsoo’s face, trying to check something.

“You pretty,” the kid repeats. “Pretty witch.”

“Thank you, you’re pretty too,” Kyungsoo holds their tiny hand. “What’s your name?”

“It Pumpkin!” The kid says, happy. “Daddy Pumpkin pie!”

“Your name is Pumpkin?” Kyungsoo snorts. “It really fits you. It’s a pleasure to meet you, Pumpkin. My name is Kyungsoo.”

“Kyung-soo…” they seem to test the sound. “Kyungsoo, eat chocolate! Kyungsoo need strong!”

He lets their hand go and opens the box. It’s a fancy box, probably made as a symbol of romantic love since humans are into it. Kyungsoo takes one and eats it, more to make the child happy than to get stronger. It’s delicious.

“Kyungsoo needs to be strong,” Yifan corrects them, walking in again. “Why don’t you go take a bath? Your daddy is going to make dinner and you have to be clean before eating, right?”

“Yes,” the kid nods. “But Kyungsoo alone.”

“He won’t be alone,” Yifan smiled, leaning down to pet the child’s hair. “I’ll be here to talking to him. Go, put comfortable clothes on.”

“Yes, uncle,” they say, jumping off the couch and running up the stairs. Yifan watches until she disappears and then looks at Kyungsoo. “I take care of her, sometimes, when Chanyeol is really busy. She’s a good kid, you know. She has a heart of gold.”

“I can see that,” Kyungsoo says.

“What exactly do you want to talk to Chanyeol? He’s a busy man,” Yifan points to the shift. “He published best-selling books about wine and even a biography. His flute album sold more than twenty thousand copies, which is insane… for a flute album.”

“It must be,” Kyungsoo says, but he’s not sure. “I… want to ask for permission to publish a recipe of his… or maybe buy the copyrights.”

“Is… it about soup?” Yifan asks in disbelief.

“Exactly,” Kyungsoo smiles politely. “I’m writing a book about magic and I believe this is an original content that the magical community would like to read about.”

Yifan is really, really lost.

“So… you have no idea of who he is, right?” Yifan asks cautiously. “About his past…”

“No,” the witch is concerned. “Should I?”

Yifan makes an odd sound, walking with his hands behind his back. He seems to be thinking about something serious, judging by how his face is moving. The room isn’t completely illuminated but Kyungsoo can also feel his distress.

“You must keep this information in secret,” Yifan says. “I’m just sharing because… I know your coven.”

Everybody knows their coven, Kyungsoo thinks. They’re certainly one of the most powerful covens in history.

“Of course,” he raises his right hand to promise. “Silencio.

“Chanyeol lost his partner right after Pumpkin was born,” Yifan says quietly, looking away. “He was really sad.”

“Did they die?” Kyungsoo asks, almost whispering.

“No, they left. No one is to blame but the gods. It was a… mess, as the humans say,” the dragon continues. “But their motivations are not the problem. Chanyeol was alone and quite useless. He stopped playing the flute and his God noticed that he wasn’t going to survive the sadness. You can see… Gods aren’t that sensitive but Chanyeol had a baby to raise.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t have to think about who’s the God of a man who plays the flute and owns a winery house.

“To fix the mistake that He previously had done, this God erased Chanyeol’s memories related to that person in order to restore his inner peace. He doesn’t remember a few months of his life,” Yifan now looks at the window. “And this soup was created to ease the hunger of his partner’s pregnant state, so he can’t remember the process of creating it. He has the recipe and sometimes cooks it, but it became something precious to him since it’s almost the only thing he keeps from that moment.”

“Oh,” the witch nods. “It’s… a sentimental belonging.”

“You can say so… I don’t believe that what you have to offer will appease to him,” Yifan sighs. “He wants no connection with the magical world, that’s why he raises Pumpkin here, between humans. He’s not fully human, also…”

“I… understand,” Kyungsoo mumbles, then looks up, certain. “But let me talk to him. I can be very persuasive but I’ll understand if he doesn’t accept my offer.”

Yifan sighs.

“Rest a little, he will be here soon.” the dragon moves his hand dismissively, before disappearing inside the dark place.

Kyungsoo feels relaxed in the house. He doesn’t feel threatened or uneasy, quite comfortable, actually, as if there’s some familiar smell in the air. Kyungsoo opens his backpack and takes his papers from inside of it, checking the contract. It doesn’t take a while until he hears a car parking; he stands up slowly and walks to the window to check.

It’s a square car. A tall man, dressed like the men from Dramas comes out, holding a briefcase and one of those ‘cellphones’.

“… I can’t do anything today,” he says, on his way to the door. “I’m home already. I’ll take care of that when I get there tomorrow, okay? Bye.

He has a nice voice, a bit rough and really deep. Kyungsoo looks expectantly at the door.

“Where’s my sweet pumpkin pie?” The man screams happily, walking in. There’s no one in the room but Kyungsoo and he seems to realize that in a second.

They stare at each other.

Kyungsoo is speechless. The information hinted at his physical attractiveness, but he’s… probably the most beautiful creature Kyungsoo has ever seen. He’s tall and has this perfect face with big eyes and an innocent expression and his body could be easily an old Greek sculpture; even if he’s fully dressed, it’s obvious.

“… Hello,” Kyungsoo mumbles, petrified.

“Who—who are you?” The man asks, confused. “Where are Yifan and Pumpkin?”

“Upstairs, I believe,” Kyungsoo explains quickly, afraid that his presence could be misunderstood. “I’m—”

“Are you… the nanny they said they would send?” The man closes the door, taking off his shoes by using his own feet. “That’s not an appropriate moment…”

“No,” Kyungsoo stands up and bows. “I’m Kyungsoo from the BlackVelvet and Silver coven and I’m here to offer you a deal, Park Chanyeol.”

Chanyeol seems really confused.

“Are… are you a witch? Did Yifan let you in?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods. “I only came for a deal. You don’t have to worry.”

He doesn’t seem happy. He throws his briefcase on the couch and keeps the phone on his pocket.

“We will have to discuss it after dinner… Kyung-soo,” Chanyeol says. “I’ll cook dinner now. Feel free to join us as a guest, since you’re here. I bet those chocolates aren’t a match to a proper meal.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo whispers, looking at the box. Eating and waiting a little more would help him to recover after the exhaustive day. “I’m grateful.”

“The bathroom is at the end of the corridor, left,” Chanyeol points, passing by him and exhaling a sweet scent.  “Wash your hands and your face. You look pale.”

Kyungsoo nods shyly. His heart is beating fast and his hands are sweating.

“What’s that…” The witch asks himself. Chanyeol stops before entering the kitchen and stares at Kyungsoo again.

“Have we met before?” He asks. “If we did… I’m sorry. I tend to forget things now.”

“No,” Kyungsoo says, rubbing his sweaty hands on his shirt. “I don’t think so.”

“You have a familiar face,” Chanyeol narrows his eyes while he folds the sleeve of his shirt. “Well, I hope you like spaghetti with meatballs.”

Kyungsoo nods shyly and Chanyeol smiles, a single dimple adorning his pretty face. As soon as his host leaves, Kyungsoo looks for the bathroom. He figures out how to find and use those stuff, slightly different from Jongin’s house, and dries off his hands and face. When he comes back, he passes by the same place he was and he can hear the two adults talking about something. Kyungsoo sits on the couch and murmurs:

Audi omnia,” he casts a spell to hear better.

… you shouldn’t let a witch come here, Yifan. It’s dangerous for everyone.”

“No one can harm Pumpkin when I’m around and I know this witch. I guarantee you he’s not dangerous to Pumpkin.”

“That’s not the problem. My neighbors could see those weird things. If magical creatures start coming to my house, then I’ll have to move out and I don’t want that. I want Pumpkin to be a normal child and enjoy her childhood without having to stress out about her condition. Can you pass me the tomato sauce, please?”

“What did you want me to do? Kick him out? Believe me, I can’t do that.”

“You’re a dragon!”

“You don’t understand. Not that witch in particular. That would be cruel.”

“Why? He looks like a trap like any other witch… they’re all soft-looking, pretty and oddly hot, but they’re ready to curse you into a frog. Oh, for Dionysus, where’s the oregano?”

“Listen to his deal and if he creates any problem, then just call me and I kick him out, I promise, but just… talk to him. Hey! Don’t cook that much. I won’t join you for dinner.”

“Why not? The meatballs are fresh…”

“I could come up with some excuse but… it’s just too awkward for me to be here. Don’t ask me why.”

“What if that witch tries something? I mean, you swore to protect Pumpkin.”

“Chanyeol, listen to me. He won’t do any harm, I give you my word. Trust me, okay? I’m a millennial.”

“I told you that millennial doesn’t mean ‘having a thousand years’.”

“Whatever, I’m leaving.”

“Don’t turn into dust in the kitchen, you’re going to ruin my ore— Great. Now I’ll have to get more oregano. Is that market still open…”

Kyungsoo coughs loud and counts until ten before going to the kitchen; it’s big and modern, full of shiny things. He waits by the door until he’s noticed. Chanyeol is using a pink apron and gloves, bending over the sink with a long knife. His hair is tossed up in a ponytail and he looks at Kyungsoo curiously.

“I’m an earth witch,” Kyungsoo announces. “If you need help with herbs…”

“Can you summon some oregano? It’ll take a while if I have to buy it and Pumpkin must be hungry—”

While he's speaking, Kyungsoo walks to the wooden table and hits it.

Mater terra, orīganum creare,” he says, simply, enjoying how wide Chanyeol’s eyes are. He only needed wood and magic to create an oregano plant, alive and well. He ruined a part of the table, of course, but he made oregano.

“…Thanks…” Chanyeol says, still shocked. “That was… nice.”

“No problem,” Kyungsoo smiles. “It’s a… simple…”

Kyungsoo can’t speak for a moment and his legs are weak. He supports himself on the table, closing his eyes. He simply forgot that he shouldn’t be using magic. Chanyeol drops the knife on the sink and runs to him.

“Are you okay?” He touches Kyungsoo’s shoulder.

“Yes,” Kyungsoo mumbles, opening his eyes. “I’m just… tired.”

“Are you sure?” Chanyeol stares at him.

“I spent my energy doing magical acts… in the last days. Now… I need to rest,” Kyungsoo confesses. “But I’m not sick.”

“We have a guest room,” Chanyeol says. “You’re my guest since Yifan let you in. You can stay the night or how long you need.”

“Thank you,” Kyungsoo says, looking up. “You’re kind.”

There’s something, an electric feel, when they stare at each other’s eyes. Kyungsoo doesn’t know how to act appropriately, so he looks down again and reads what’s written in the apron.

“You…” Chanyeol says softly, but he’s interrupted when Kyungsoo looks up, stands on tiptoes and kisses him on the lips.

Chanyeol jumps back, scared. Kyungsoo blinks, frozen in the same spot.

“Why did you do that?” Chanyeol asks, touching his lips.

“You asked me to,” Kyungsoo says simply. “I’m not a fan of those displays of affection, but since I’m your guest, I thought it was appropriate to do so.”

Chanyeol still looks a bit lost.

“What?”

Kyungsoo points to his apron.

“Kiss the cook,” he says.

“That’s… that’s a joke,” Chanyeol mumbles. There’s a loud noise and he checks one of the pans. “You… you can sit down and rest there… if you want to. Please, don’t do this again.”

Kyungsoo pulls a chair and sits down.

“I’m sorry,” he says sincerely. “I’m not versed in human habits…”

“That’s fine,” Chanyeol says, creating a ball of fire with his hands to warm the pan. “I understand.”

“Is your daughter a witch?” Kyungsoo asks, plucking the oregano leaves to help the other man.

“They’re a witch, like their… the person who gave birth to them,” Chanyeol says, boiling something. “Because of that, they took a lot of time to get our language, they still have some problems learning it… but they spoke in Latin when they were a baby… accidentally cursed a man.”

Kyungsoo nods. At least now she won’t be burned to death because of it, he thinks.

“She… They are very sweet.”

“But they’re so serious when they’re in public… they must have liked you, then. They don’t smile a lot around strangers, so people think that they’re mean or angry.”

“That’s very witchy.”

Chanyeol smiles at him. Kyungsoo feels weaker.

He wants to stay.

 

 

 

 

..

Chapter Text

 

 

 

The table is set. By the smell of the food, Chanyeol is certainly a good cook, but he’s not the best at decorating anything. There’s a huge bowl in the center like there are more than two and a half almost-human beings waiting for dinner and it reminds Kyungsoo of one of those big pictures with happy families and, especially, food that – he noticed – they must want to sell.

“Pumpkin,” Chanyeol screams, pouring grape juice in a cute, glittery cup. “Where’s my baby?”

Kyungsoo is sitting, holding the fork and waiting until Chanyeol allows him to eat. The juice is deep purple, the meatballs are shiny and oily and everything seems delicious. They hear the steps before the small figure runs downstairs.

“Baby here,” they smile, shaking their wet hair, wearing green pajamas. Chanyeol kneels and they run to his open arms.

“Ah, what a nice hug,” he stands up, holding them. “You smell like soup.”

“Me bath by myself,” Pumpkin smiles. “Dress too.”

“What a grown-up!” Chanyeol spins, making her laugh. “So now you have to eat a lot, right?”

“Yes,” they clap cutely. “Kyungsoo eat too?”

“Yes, Kyungsoo eats with us,” Chanyeol puts them carefully in a high, but yet quite tiny chair. “Baby needs to behave in front of our guest.”

Pumpkin nods, grabbing their plastic fork like it’s a knife. They look at Kyungsoo and giggles, happy, moving their tiny legs. Kyungsoo smiles too and since Chanyeol is serving his child, he thinks it’s an appropriate moment to eat too.

“Am I allowed to eat?” He asks.

Chanyeol frowns at him, holding Pumpkin’s baby blue plate.

“Yes, you’re my guest, this is your house now,” he says, snorting. “Eat as much as you want.”

“I see,” Kyungsoo says, finally picking the juicy meatballs and putting on his plate. Then, he places his spaghetti over them. Chanyeol looks at it and opens his mouth to argue, then gives up, still helping Pumpkin.

The dinner is lovely, Kyungsoo thinks. He normally cooks for himself and having a meal in his coven is never that warm. Chanyeol helps him with the sauce before Kyungsoo can even ask for anything and he gives him juice and then brings an odd-looking but delicious dessert to the table.

“Daddy… waffles…” Pumpkin asks, rubbing their feet together. “Chocolate waffles…”

“You didn’t finish your meatballs,” Chanyeol says, pointing. Now Kyungsoo sees that he has drawings on his arm’s skin. Maybe it’s a spell for protection, Kyungsoo thinks, narrowing his eyes. “Daddy cut them into small pieces. It’s tasty.”

“Waffles,” they repeat, pouting.

“No, no waffles until you eat your meal,” he says slowly, crossing his arms; Kyungsoo almost spits his last piece of meat. “See? Kyungsoo ate his food. He can eat waffles now.”

The kid seems to be convinced by that and starts to eat the remaining food at their plate. Kyungsoo notices that everything that the child owns is colorful and full of drawings, which must be a regular pattern for kids. He looks around and the house is a lot darker than that – Pumpkin looks like a walking sun inside that place.

Chanyeol cuts the waffle, pours melted chocolate on the top of it and gives it to Kyungsoo.

“Here, it’s not homemade, but it’s good,” Chanyeol smiles and Kyungsoo’s body starts to malfunction. Kyungsoo just takes the plate and nods.

“Daddy me finish,” Pumpkin says, showing the empty plate. “Eat waffle like Kyungsoo.”

“That’s my cupcake,” he grabs the cup with hot chocolate messily and in a second, chocolate is spilled all over his hand. “Fuck!”

“Bad word,” Pumpkin says, angry. Chanyeol doesn’t seem to pay attention, because he looks hurt. There’s chocolate on his shirt and all over the table. Kyungsoo feels like he must do something to help and prepares himself to cast a spell, closing his eyes.

Reparat—”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An annoying song wakes him up. It’s insistent, it’s not very soft and Kyungsoo opens his eyes slowly, moving his body. He turns over and faces a ceiling.

“Oh, no,” he says. He hopes that he’s not having amnesia again – he just had the weirdest dream ever, in which he traveled because of a bowl of soup and—

“Kyungsoo wake up,” a child’s voice says. Kyungsoo looks to his side, staring at the dark brown walls and the wooden furniture. There are spiders on the corner of the room and several objects laying on the floor or on the surfaces. Kyungsoo could infer that he’s at some witch’s house, but the sheets’ smell is too good. The bed is so comfortable and—

“Daddy,” the child at the door repeats. “Kyungsoo awake!”

“Calm down, calm down,” a man’s voice is heard. “I’m coming.”

Kyungsoo sits up and stares at the child.

“Pumpkin?”

“Me,” they smile. They are using a blue dress and pink shoes, hair combed in two ponytails; their small bag is square and shiny. They run to the bed and try to climb it.

“What… what happened?” Kyungsoo looks down to himself. He’s barefoot.

“Kyungsoo puft! The floor,” they say. “Then daddy carry Kyungsoo like princess. Kyungsoo sleep.”

Chanyeol is also there – it wasn’t a dream. He’s completely wet and wrapped in a towel, carrying clothes. Kyungsoo stares.

“Oh, thank Dionysus you’re awake,” he sighs, staring at his guest. “I don’t know any witch doctor and I thought you were dead or something.”

“Why?” Kyungsoo asks, helping Pumpkin to climb the bed.

“You just… passed out,” Chanyeol opens a big closet. “I mean, you said you were tired, but you just… You scared me. I know nothing about you so I didn’t even know who I should’ve called, for real.”

Kyungsoo watches the drops of water trailing down Chanyeol’s wet back in silence while Pumpkin jumps on the bed right beside him.

“Stop it, Pumpkin,” Chanyeol says, without looking at the kid. “I put you here in my room, just in case. Also, Yifan burned the guest’s room bed, like always. Dragons and their morning breath, I swear…”

“I feel good,” Kyungsoo says. “Better.”

“I’m glad,” Chanyeol mumbles, picking a few pieces of clothing. “Unfortunately, I can’t talk to you right now, so I’m afraid that you’ll have to come with me so we can discuss… whatever you want to, at my office. We’re late for school and Pumpkin just had bananas and juice for breakfast. I’ll buy you coffee and donuts and I’m sure that my assistant can feed you since he makes me buy the whole grocery store for him.”

“Do you still attend school?” Kyungsoo frowns.

“To take Pumpkin to school,” Chanyeol looks at him. “Did you bring any other thing to dress? Something that doesn’t look like you’re twelve or an old priest?”

The insistent song invades the room again.

“Daddy phone,” Pumpkin says, falling on their butt. “Ouch!”

“Stop jumping on the bed,” Chanyeol turns to face the kid. “Go downstairs and wait for us like a good girl.”

“Pumpkin no girl,” they retort. “Humans dumb.”

“Yes, you’re not, but stop hating on humans,” Chanyeol sighs, pointing to the door. The kid jumps off the bed and leaves the room, running. He sighs loudly, staring at the door and pulling his towel. “I shouldn’t have fed them chocolate…”

Kyungsoo is silent and observant while Chanyeol dresses. He has more drawings on his skin… are humans using body magic now?

“I have my mantle,” Kyungsoo finally says, making Chanyeol jump and look back. “It’s dark.”

“Oh my Dionysus,” he clutches his heart. “I forgot you were there!”

“I hide my presence very well,” Kyungsoo adds.

“Well, I don’t have anyone but me and Pumpkin here in my room since…” he gulps, “… ever. So I’m sorry.”

“No problem,” Kyungsoo gets rid of the sheets and sits comfortably.

“I’ll give you a jacket, it’s cold outside and I can’t take a man in a dark mantle to a daycare,” Chanyeol goes back to search things in the closet. “My old college jersey… straight from the ‘80s… it’ll fit you.”

He throws it on Kyungsoo’s arms. It’s a white-and-red jacket with a number and a word; 61, P-A-R-K.

“Why do you dress like men in Dramas and I get this?” Kyungsoo asks sincerely, trying to understand human choices. “Am I… not a Drama man?”

“You mean… I’m formal? Well, I’m a CEO,” Chanyeol points, winking. “Small business, sure… and you look like you’re still in college… or high school. How old are you?”

“I don’t know the exact year I was born,” the witch explains, putting the jacket on to see if it fits. “But around seven hundred years ago. A CEO like Drama’s CEOs?”

Chanyeol stares at him in disbelief for a moment, then slaps his own face.

“I’ve got no time to lose,” he says, picking a pair of shoes. “They are calling me already. Can you just take a bath very quickly? Just grab anything you need in the bathroom. I’ll wait for you downstairs… Fuck! I forgot the winery map…”

“Bad word!” Pumpkin screams somewhere in the house.

Kyungsoo faces the bathroom problem again. Chanyeol’s things are messy but they all smell as nice as him, including the soft towels. Kyungsoo tries to be “quick” (How long humans take to wash their skins and hair? Are all those products needed?) and he gets himself ready, grabs his backpack and leaves the house. Chanyeol and Pumpkin are already inside the “car”. Kyungsoo stops next to the machine and looks at it, disgusted.

“This is murdering the planet,” he says.

Pumpkin is on the back, smiling and waving. Chanyeol, with his window open, grimaces.

“Yeah, I know. And so is meat consumption, but I didn’t see your PETA activist ass complaining about my meatballs,” Chanyeol sighs. “Open the door and take a sit. We’re late.”

“Bad word,” Pumpkin says.

“Sorry, baby,” Chanyeol presses the button and the car makes a horrific sound. “Come on!”

Kyungsoo opens the door – the machine has a simple design – and moves his backpack to sit down.

“Close the door, fasten your seatbelt,” Chanyeol says, starting the engine. “Do you need to carry this huge backpack everywhere?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says, trying to figure out how to use that belt by looking at the driver’s one.

The annoying music… again. Chanyeol groans, frustrated.

“Play the kid’s playlist,” he says, loud and clear. The car starts to sing a song and Kyungsoo looks at it, terrified. That thing is alive. He puts on his seatbelt and tells himself that he’ll never say bad things about the car right next to it.

“Phone… daddy phone,” Pumpkin says because now the car is singing the annoying phone song. Chanyeol presses a button, driving with one hand. Kyungsoo looks out of the window, seeing the other houses and buildings.

Chanyeol,” the song stops and it says, “like… we all need coffee.

“Do you realize that you’re my assistant, right?” Chanyeol says, stopping the car. “Can you give me one good reason why you’re not the one who needs to buy coffee?”

You’re late and I’m not,” the voice says. “Everyone is waiting here for you and there’s no more coffee.”

“Daddy, green light” Pumpkin sings.

“That’s a good reason,” Chanyeol sighs and the car moves again. “Just send me the orders list and be patient, okay? I’m on my way.”

It’s not the car, Kyungsoo concludes. Someone is using the car as a device to communicate. Smart.

Ok… bye Pumpkin!”

“Bye Woozi!” The kid says, laughing.

The car makes a weird sound and the song starts again. Chanyeol looks at his phone while driving and for some reason, Kyungsoo doesn’t like that.

“Oh, no,” Chanyeol gulps. “The tourists are already going there… I should call them…”

It doesn’t take much until he stops the car. It’s in front of a colorful house, full of kids and adults holding more kids. Kyungsoo reads the sign, Happy Sun Daycare.

“Absolutely ridiculous,” Kyungsoo shakes his head. “Stars aren’t happy or sad. They possess no emotions.”

“Daddy needs to make a call, baby, can you walk there on your own?” Chanyeol asks, looking back.

“Kyungsoo carry me?” Pumpkin asks. “Please.”

“Baby, he’s a guest—” Chanyeol starts, but Kyungsoo touches his arm to interrupt him.

“I can guide the child,” he says. “Be attentive to my belongings. They are precious to me.”

Kyungsoo leaves the car ceremoniously and opens the door. Pumpkin jumps into his arms, happy, and Kyungsoo holds her by the waist, mirroring the adults around. The kid grabs their bag.

“What’s inside?” Kyungsoo asks.

“Lunch box,” Pumpkin shakes it. “Food daddy cooked.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo looks at the kid running around and some woman screaming at them. “What do you do in this place?”

“Play, draw, write, take nap,” Pumpkin counts on their finger. “Eat and listen to stories.”

“Couldn’t you do that at home?” The witch is curious. A pregnant lady stops next to them and waves at Pumpkin. They wave back.

“No. Daddy work,” Pumpkin explains. “No time. Me need special class…”

“Special class…?” Kyungsoo asks, but a lady standing in front of the entry intercepts him.

“Good morning, Pumpkin,” she smiles at the kid. “Your dad is late again…”

She has to speak louder than the noise. Kyungsoo already dislikes that place.

“Daddy sorry, teacher,” they say. “Busy.”

A group of women with kids stare at Kyungsoo, from head to toe. Kyungsoo stares back, intimidating them.

“And who’s this handsome man?” The woman – probably the gatekeeper of that place – smiles at Kyungsoo. “I don’t think we have met before. The only person who brings Pumpkin is her dad and sometimes her uncle.”

“I’m Kyungsoo,” he says simply.

“He sleep daddy room,” Pumpkin says. “Daddy carry Kyungsoo bed.”

Kyungsoo isn’t aware of the reason why Pumpkin’s simple explanation causes so much commotion, but the woman is livid, the group next to him seems shocked and a random lady covers a little boy’s ears. He frowns.

“Yes,” Kyungsoo confirms.

“Well, let’s go inside, shall we?” The lady gulps, opening her arms to hold Pumpkin.

“Kyungsoo, kiss,” Pumpkin says, pointing at her rosy cheeks. Kyungsoo kisses her on the cheek and lets the kid go. Pumpkin waves and he waves back. Kyungsoo can feel everyone’s eyes on him while he leaves and he doesn’t like that.

Chanyeol is still talking on the phone.

“… Yes, I know, I know,” he sighs, noticing Kyungsoo and nodding. “Give them some free gifts, you know, serve some wine. I’ll be there in thirty minutes.”

Kyungsoo holds his backpack and waits.

“Sorry,” Chanyeol throws his phone on the floor. “Did they say something about me?”

“They said you’re late again.”

“Well, yeah,” Chanyeol nods. “We’ll stop for coffee… I really hope that those moms and dad aren’t there. It’s hard being a single dad and owning a business, you know? I try my best, but sometimes I can’t handle it.”

“What are special classes?” Kyungsoo asks, frowning. “Why does a child need them?”

“That’s hard to explain… kids are supposed to learn things at a certain age and if they don’t, they need special classes. So if your kid is five and they can’t do the things that the school expect a five-year-old to do, the school and… their system… they think that the kid lacks something,” Chanyeol explains while driving. “They put Pumpkin in one of those because she doesn’t speak ‘correctly’ and she… they think she’s too imaginative and that she lies.”

“Lies?”

“Well, when she says that I have horns, that Yifan is a dragon or that she’s a witch, humans think that she’s lying… oh god, I’m talking like them,” Chanyeol sighs. “It’s contagious.”

“Your kid won’t grow if they have human classes,” Kyungsoo says. “There are magical places where they can learn.”

“Listen,” Chanyeol looks at him. “I didn’t ask for advice. I’m trying, but I have to raise her by myself and that’s hard.”

Kyungsoo is silent. He doesn’t understand why that sounds so personal. He waits until they have to leave the car again (he doesn’t like that machine) and when Chanyeol is guiding him to another place, he says,

“I’m sorry.”

“That’s okay,” Chanyeol holds his arm and opens a glass door with the other hand. “It’s a sensitive subject for me. You’re right… I mean, about the school thing…”

They both walk in and keep talking, even if the place is crowded.

“… but we are safer here and the magical world… gave us nothing but losses.”

“I understand,” Kyungsoo says, trying to look empathetic. He still thinks that the best place for magical creatures is among their kind. Chanyeol grabs a plastic paper and gives to Kyungsoo.

“Choose a flavor,” he says, leaning to be better heard; Kyungsoo tiptoes to sniff his scent unconsciously. “There are lots of options: coffee, chocolate, tea or maybe juice?”

Kyungsoo reads the names and then looks at the cups that people are holding. They’re in a place to serve drinks, he notices. There’s a mermaid drawing everywhere and it gives him a sense of familiarity.

“ChocoMint,” he reads out loud. “Hot chocolate with mint?”

“Yes, it’s awful,” Chanyeol makes an odd face, taking a tiny notebook from his pocket. “I have a list here, let me write that down. Choco… Mint… Maybe some donuts?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo agrees based on his intuition only. “Thank you.”

“Good morning, Chanyeol,” the boy on the other side of the counter says. “Just one coffee or that whole list again?”

“Unfortunately, It’s the whole list,” Chanyeol rips the paper and hands it to the boy. Then, he takes a card from his pocket – it shines bright and it seems to work just like money. “Can you give me a coffee traveler? And a box. And… well, to go.”

“I know,” the boy laughs. “Just wait for your order, man. You’re always rushing.”

Chanyeol sighs and crosses his arms. Kyungsoo can’t pay attention to anything because the place is so noisy and there is so much information from screens, posters, shirts…

“Hey,” Chanyeol says softly. “Are you feeling okay?”

“Yes. The correct feeling is overwhelmed,” the witch explains, looking around. “I feel old.”

“Look who I found,” someone says in a really high voice, right next to them. Kyungsoo leans to see who’s talking but he can’t recognize any of the people who are staring at them. Chanyeol seems to know them, by the way he walks back and fixes his posture. It’s a group of women and a guy and they don’t look threatening at all.

“Hello everyone,” Chanyeol says uncomfortably. “Nice to see… you all here…”

“You haven’t been answering the group messages,” a small lady in the front says. “You must be… so busy.”

They all stare at Kyungsoo at the same time. It’s so orchestrated that Kyungsoo gets startled.

“I’m always busy,” Chanyeol says quickly, moving to stand in front of Kyungsoo protectively. “As all of you know. Raising kids is exhaustive.”

“Yes, we know that very well,” they all nod, agreeing. “But we heard from a friend a funny story today. About a thing that your daughter said at the daycare…”

“If it’s about me having goat legs… it’s just imaginative, not metaphorical, I shave my legs,” he explains quickly.

They laugh and it’s definitely an act. The only guy in the group drinks his coffee and raises his eyebrow in a meaningful gesture.

“Don’t give me mental pictures, Park,” he whispers.

“We were talking about your friend here… using your… jacket…” the same lady says. She seems to be the leader. “Shouldn’t you introduce such a pretty boy to us?”

They giggle and Kyungsoo has lived time enough to notice evilness in its pure form. He steps aside to take a good look at them.

“I’m Kyungsoo,” he says politely, grabbing Chanyeol’s arm. “It’s a displeasure to announce but we can no longer talk since Chanyeol is late for work. I wish that, during your short lifetime, you find happiness and joy to distract you from your meaningless existence.”

It must have worked because they’re silent.

“Uhnnn,” Chanyeol turns slowly. “My order… is ready… goodbye… see ya…”

He sets himself free from Kyungsoo’s hold and grabs the witch, instead, pulling him and whispering,

“Thank you so much.”

“Are those your enemies?” Kyungsoo whispers back, as they get closer to the counter. “I can curse them and their descendants.”

“No, no, no, no,” Chanyeol looks over his shoulder. “They’re not my enemies, they’re probably victims of the system.”

He sighs and passes an arm around Kyungsoo to speak clearer.

“Listen, they’re all moms and dads like me, we have this group to talk about kids’ stuff, but they’re… into me, you get it?”

Kyungsoo blinks.

“No.”

“Listen, I don’t want to brag… I mean, always want to brag, but… that’s important to understand my point. I’m a catch,” he says, half-shrugging. “I am a single, young and successful dad and I’m hot… so of course, they feed their fantasies of getting my d.”

“Your d,” Kyungsoo repeats, confused.

“My… Dedicated and constant love and affection,” Chanyeol coughs. “They want to be my lover… but they’re all married too, including the guy… to another guy. In general, I have no time for this, but they love to gossip about me. That’s probably fun and more entertaining than being a mother and a father and now working… you know… life isn’t… that interesting when you have a child and you have to worry about them all the time.”

“So you’re like them?” Kyungsoo frowns.

“Yes and no,” Chanyeol sighs. “I don’t know what they talk about me. Oh, I think that our order is really ready…”

Chanyeol leaves to get what he bought and Kyungsoo looks at him and then to the group. “Audi omnia.”

It takes a few seconds before he can focus on what they say only.

… I told you that he was a big homo, but did you listen to me?”

“It’s not like he would be single forever… look, just put this in our private group, that one about the hot dads has too many people.”

“Tell them how young that boy looks? He’s probably in college. Tell them Park likes them young.”

“He’s so handsome… I mean, he probably got some surgery done… Those big eyes aren’t natural…”

“If you had an ass like that boy, I bet no one would care about your eyes’ size…”

“Kyungsoo!”

Kyungsoo turns to Chanyeol, startled.

“Your ChocoMint,” Chanyeol gives him a long, white cup. “What… What happened?”

“Nothing,” Kyungsoo says. “Let me help you to carry this.”

“No,” Chanyeol says, almost wrapped on plastic bags. “I’m magically built for this, trust me.”

Kyungsoo smiles, smelling his hot beverage. Chanyeol waves to his ‘friends’ before leaving and Kyungsoo does the same, even if he didn’t understand what kind of odd social exchange happened before.

“We have to run…” Chanyeol says, trying to put all the coffees in a safe position on the backseat. “Please, get in.”

Kyungsoo sits in the same spot that he was before, waiting. Chanyeol drives again, now a bit faster, but he ends up caged between many cars.

“No, I can’t be stuck in traffic,” he sighs, hitting his head on the steering wheel. “Fuck, not today!”

“I feel dizzy,” Kyungsoo says. “I forgot I shouldn’t be using magic again.”

Chanyeol looks at him, worried.

“Please don’t pass out again,” he begs. “I had enough bad surprises.”

“I won’t,” Kyungsoo holds his backpack. “I need to get stronger to go back home.”

“I’m sorry if it’s taking too long for us to have time to talk,” Chanyeol sighs. “I’ve been busy lately. I don’t have time for anything… besides my work and Pumpkin.”

“I thought that it was easier to live in the human world, at least, for magical creatures. If not, what’s the appeal?” Kyungsoo thinks out loud. “Everything has changed. Just a few decades and nothing is like it used to be…”

Chanyeol seems curious.

“I don’t know anything about you,” he says, inspecting Kyungsoo. “I mean, if Yifan trusts you, I don’t ask questions, but… what’s your thing? I met a few witches and they even use the internet for their spells. You look… cartoonish.”

“I’m a traditional earth witch and I’ve lived in the magical world since humans wanted to burn me to death,” Kyungsoo explains. “I joined a coven… recently and I’m writing a book, which is expected from a witch like me. I’m highly educated and very successful in my business, just like you.”

Chanyeol makes an impressed face, nodding.

“Well, nice to meet you, Kyungsoo,” he mocks. “I’m sorry that I’m wasting your time.”

“This isn’t a waste of time…” Kyungsoo says in a dark voice. “Hekate brought me here for a reason. What’s the internet? That online web or something?”

“Yeah,” Chanyeol is driving again; Kyungsoo can see that there was an accident – he smells death. “Car accident… Hey, internet isn’t just the web, it’s the whole thing.”

“Is it dangerous?” Kyungsoo asks.

“What isn’t… My kid is protected by a guardian angel and a dragon and yet I worry,” Chanyeol gulps, looking at the road. “Humans are crazy. They do crazy things, even with children.”

Kyungsoo looks at him, shocked.

“Are there any dangers to children?”

“Many,” Chanyeol says. “Everywhere.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo whispers and he keeps thinking about that until they arrive. The Winery Park isn’t a large, imponent building, but it’s… quite magical. Kyungsoo watches everything with big eyes.

“Don’t waste your ChocoMint,” Chanyeol points. Kyungsoo sips the drink and he falls in love with it immediately, so focused on the sweet and refreshing taste that Chanyeol has to drag him to the elevator.

“I hate this box,” Kyungsoo says.

Chanyeol smiles at him, even if the poor man is carrying a thousand coffees.

“What?” Kyungsoo asks, looking up.

“You’re cute,” Chanyeol blinks, tilting his head like a dog. Kyungsoo frowns.

“I’ll have to go meet the tourists,” Chanyeol warns him. “Go to my office and play some games on my computer. My office is great. There’s everything that you need to distract yourself.”

“I’m never distracted,” Kyungsoo lies.

“Of course,” the door opens. “Woozi, take this man to my office, please. Someone… take those coffees off me! Can someone tell me where the people are—”

Kyungsoo watches how a group of workers surrounds Chanyeol; the place around them is full of plants, wine, and musical instruments. A short guy grabs a coffee and looks at Kyungsoo.

“Woozi, his assistant,” he says simply, blowing on his coffee. “Follow me.”

Kyungsoo holds his backpack and follows the man, even if his eyes are on Chanyeol until the tall man disappears. Woozi takes him to a huge room.

“Are you here for… business?” He inquires.

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods.

“Just for you know,” he shows Kyungsoo a picture of the witch (inside a phone????). “People are saying things about you online.”

“Where’s online?” Kyungsoo is about to fight.

“See that big computer,” Woozi points. “Sit there and type anything, boy. Get that info.”

He leaves Kyungsoo alone in that giant room, full of screens and random objects. It looks like Chanyeol’s bedroom, so Kyungsoo supposes that this also belongs to him. He finds a photo of Pumpkin on the huge wooden table. He sits on the big chair and looks at the screen in front of him.

G O O G L E

 

Kyungsoo looks down at the alphabet buttons attached to the computer and does exactly like he saw people doing in Dramas.

 

Witchcraft internet

 

He searches, not because he disagrees with “I’m feeling lucky”, but because he prefers to trust his abilities instead.

 

The Best Places On The Internet For Cool Witches

10 Spells For The Internet Any Witch Can Do At The Beach

The Rise of the Internet Witch

Top 100 Witchcraft Blogs and Websites for Witches

 

 

Kyungsoo clicks on the links and, he's not ready for what he learns from the internet. 

 

That changes everything. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chapter Text

.

..

 

 

 

 

Woozi opens the door – Kyungsoo doesn’t notice him until the assistant coughs. Kyungsoo raises his head over the pile of paper and books, right beside the screen and the picture of Pumpkin (Kyungsoo likes to look at their cute face). Woozi is holding another white cup with the picture of the Mermaid.

“Your ChocoMint,” he says.

“You were fast,” Kyungsoo says, clicking the modern pen that he was gifted (it clicks) insistently. “Are you human?”

“It was the delivery guy, using an appropriate vehicle,” he explains, closing the door behind him. “But no, I’m not human. Nor are you, right?”

Kyungsoo blinks, shocked. He lost the ability to spot magical creatures around, for sure. They disguise themselves so easily between humans and Kyungsoo wasn’t even paying attention, to start with. The short guy – the witch is happier to find someone shorter than him around – walks to the table and hands him the drink.

“I’m a witch,” Kyungsoo announces.

“Well, I wasn’t expecting any other creature to be researching spells and hexes,” Woozi smiles. “Also, the black thing. You must be a traditional witch… they are more into pastel goth those days.”

“I’ve noticed,” Kyungsoo points to the new research site that he found, Tumblr. “They sure are into things I’ve never imagined before and I’m not sure if those things can express the true magical heritage, to be honest. I’ll have to take a look at it myself.”

“Good luck, that’s what I’m doing and it’s exhausting,” the assistant says. “I’m an ex-harpist angel trying to get my final paper done. It’s an anthropological essay about modern human wine consumption.”

“That’s interesting,” Kyungsoo stops clicking his pen. “What’s your defense? My kitchen magic essay for Traditional Magic Academy for Lone Witches was about Knives, but I am just so enchanted by them, so… I was favorable to their usage.”

“I want to prove that’s now a sin,” he says nonchalantly. “But I’m just starting to collect data. In my first essay, I’ll just say a few things, maybe in a couple of decades, I have enough to get a Ph.D. You, know, fieldwork… it… takes a while.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo stares at the screen, suddenly sad. “Research is the basis of any work and it’s always hard.”

“Drink your ChocoMint,” Woozi shrugs. “Just for you know, today is Friday and that’s a busy day. The tourists are here and they want to drink with Chanyeol because… well, he’s a celebrity and he will be… very drunk by the end of the evening. I normally drive him home and pick his daughter at school, because he’s… normally wasted. You won’t probably get your job done by today.”

“This isn’t an issue,” Kyungsoo sighs. “I have found bigger obstacles in my path. I came here believing that a soup could add more diversity to my writings and now I understood that my research was insufficient. My book content is outdated and archaic.”

“Uh,” Woozi nods. “That… sucks, but you can start over, right? You can use this office as you want, but around seven pm, everyone will be rushing out… so, be fast and don’t get startled by then.”

“Fine,” Kyungsoo nods. “I understand, my friend. I’m grateful for your warnings.”

Kyungsoo drinks his ChocoMint and goes back to work. The internet seems to be a never-ending source of witchcraft content; Kyungsoo finds thousands of answers in just one language. He’s beyond impressed that the humans had the mental capacity to build such an efficient tool. He clearly underestimates their creations.

That makes him both excited and despondent. He thought that he was going to find a nice addition to his book and now he realizes that he was writing something that any other traditional witch could write. Another book that no one would read, unfruitful work. His eyes are open to the fact that locking himself in his room didn’t allow him to see magic in any other place and maybe simply joining a cult wasn’t effort enough for Kyungsoo to “open himself” and “grow” (Seulgi’s words – Kyungsoo trusts his coven partner).

Kyungsoo dives into the internet again, only stopping to admire little Pumpkin’s face. He really likes that tiny being.

A loud woman sings through the boxes on the walls.

It's Friday, Friday, gotta get down on Friday. Everybody's lookin' forward to the weekend, weekend.

Kyungsoo covers his ears, scared and confused.

“What’s this devilish sound?” He mumbles to no one. “Is that a warning?”

The door opens and the boxes are quiet again.

“The workday is over,” a girl says, drinking coffee. “If you stay here, boss will come, drunk, and annoy the hell out of you.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t react. When he sees that he’s not in danger, he returns to his previous activities: reading and writing down any interesting detail. Actually, Kyungsoo enjoys how the place gets quieter and quieter and allows him to focus completely.

He starts to organize the papers by content and to analyze it to start thinking about his next steps; Chanyeol opens the door violently, kicking it.

“Hello,” he says, serious. His button shirt is half-open and he’s holding a bottle of wine. He walks to the middle of the room and falls on the carpet dramatically. “What a nice day.”

Kyungsoo stares at him from the table.

Chanyeol rolls on the floor until he finds a pillow, laying around. He grabs it and puts it under his head.

“Thank you for allowing me to use your machine,” Kyungsoo says politely. “It lighted my way to knowledge.”

Chanyeol rolls on the carpet again, this time to look at Kyungsoo.

“You… I need to go home… Woozi will… drive me,” he says, sighing. “But… but let’s talk about business.”

“You look like you’re under the influence,” Kyungsoo points.

“Friday influences?” Chanyeol does a full-body roll, resembling a worm. “The day of the devil.”

“No,” Kyungsoo says dryly. “Alcohol intoxication.”

“Yes, I’m drunk,” Chanyeol nods, holding the bottle. “Wine is my lover.”

Kyungsoo frowns. Chanyeol stares at him.

“Do you… do you… have someone waiting for you… at home?” Chanyeol asks, pouting.

“Yes,” the witch checks his papers. “Nine women.”

“Nine?!” Chanyeol screams. “Well, fuck, isn’t one enough?”

“No,” Kyungsoo snorts. “The entire objective of a coven is to get bigger and more powerful.”

Chanyeol does his best to sit up – it takes a while.

“Hey… so… uhn,” he scratches his nose. “You look like a cute, pure guy, but you’re not, right?”

“I’m not pure,” Kyungsoo states because it’s obvious. Pureness isn’t an appropriate concept for witches. Witchcraft is about being free, powerful and to seek knowledge, not a static, ignorant and restraining act as pureness.

“Well, good, good,” Chanyeol nods. “I need water. I… I think… you’ll understand that… you know Kyungsoo, between you and me… I feel like I can trust you, I just don’t know why. Well.”

“I am grateful for this honor,” Kyungsoo stands up, to show respect. “I am very trustful, indeed.”

“I’m really sad,” Chanyeol says. “I used to be very positive… but I’m not. I try to be happy because I want Pumpkin to be happy too. So… I get sadder when I see… people being in love or something, you know. Like you and your nine women.”

“They aren’t my lovers,” Kyungsoo says, disgusted. “There’s even a child. Our bond is based on friendship and business. Like you and your assistants, for example.”

“Oooooooooooh,” Chanyeol blinks, nodding. “That’s… good. We… we were talking about our deal?”

“No, but we should,” Kyungsoo says. He spots a glass of water and he takes to Chanyeol. “My intentions… have changed. I no longer desire to possess your soup recipe.”

“My soup recipe…” Chanyeol blinks many times, staring at the glass dumbly. “You mean, Pumpkins’s soup? You wanted that recipe?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says.

Chanyeol starts to laugh, getting himself wet with the water, dripping from the shaking glass. Kyungsoo holds his hand to stop the movement and guides the glass to the man’s mouth. Chanyeol finally drinks the water.

“I would never give you that recipe, no money or treasure in the world would pay Pumpkin’s sixteenth birthday present,” he says, wiping his mouth. “Sixteen is a sacred number for human girls, you see. That’s the special present I’m keeping for them. And when they’re finally nineteen, I’ll give them the locket.”

Kyungsoo puts the glass on the floor and sits on the carpet, right next to Chanyeol. Under the artificial lights, he looks dreamy, dizzy, quite beautiful. He knows, he feels that Chanyeol has an important story to share, so he stays in silence.

“I went back to the magical world after graduating in 86… I couldn’t stay for a while. I decided to become a flutist for Dionysus like I was… in the past. It was a nice time because he’s a terrible boss and I could come back to stay with humans as much as I wanted… but, one day, I met the One,” Chanyeol says, suddenly serious, sober. “I don’t know much about this time. They took my memories… I just remember how I felt and… some unconnected details. My God did that because that person left me alone with Pumpkin.”

“I’m sorry,” Kyungsoo says, not only because he feels that’s appropriate, but also because he can feel Chanyeol’s sadness.

“No, don’t be, just be sorry for them, not for me… I got Pumpkin, so I’m blessed,” Chanyeol closes his eyes. “I never ask any questions, you know. I just know the general story, what they can tell me, there’s this pact… I don’t want to know. But one day, Pumpkin will ask questions. They’ll want to know where they come from or things… like the only stuff that I have are that recipe and a dumb locket. So those things don’t belong to me, they’re Pumpkin’s heritage, the only gifts I can offer… from the other… parent’s side, you see? I can’t trade those things.”

“I understand,” Kyungsoo nods. “This is a sacred thing for you. You must cherish them.”

“I don’t know how to feel. I don’t want to cry about someone that abandoned me, you know? Their loss,” he shrugs but pouts at the same time. “Tons of humans trying to get me. I don’t care about one dumb being.”

“You’re a catch,” Kyungsoo repeats the term. Chanyeol smiles at him.

“Yeah… but it’s not about me, I mean, it’s about Pumpkin too. I’ll never find someone that will love them as much as I do. I love Pumpkin so much…” he clutches his heart. “I don’t want my baby to know how I feel but… I feel stuck. Time goes by and I feel nothing at all. I mean, I’m happy for my baby but… in my personal life… it’s just work and work, I’m numb.”

“I completely understand,” Kyungsoo says. “When we are truly devoted to our task, sometimes we lose ourselves. That’s why I came to the human world… I decided to bless a human child. Now I have personal ties with this place.”

Chanyeol licks his lips, frowning.

“Like Yifan? He blessed Pumpkin.”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods. “I wouldn’t do that before… but now I feel like I must compromise and open myself to new things.”

“That’s good,” Chanyeol says. “That’s… good…”

“I think you should try to stand,” Kyungsoo says gently. “If you feel your body recovering.”

“Yes, Woozi is waiting for us,” Chanyeol nods. “Let’s go…”

“Us?” Kyungsoo repeats, confused. “I’m researching. It may take days or weeks.”

“Okay,” Chanyeol agrees. “But… this building will be closed for the weekend, so… we have to leave.”

“No…” Kyungsoo stands up. “I must research on the internet.”

“Yes, but you can access the internet everywhere,” Chanyeol stands up too, struggling a bit. “You can continue it at home. I have a notebook and papers too… but you can’t stay here. I mean, until Monday.”

Kyungsoo considers it for a moment, in silence. Chanyeol stretches like he just woke up.

“Are you promising me that I can research at your home?” The witch asks, just to be sure. “That I can do it just like I did here.”

“Yes, absolutely,” Chanyeol snorts. “I even have a home office like this. It’s a lot smaller, but it has everything you need.”

“Then I must follow you,” Kyungsoo nods, touching Chanyeol’s arm. “Where did you spend last night if I was placed in your room?”

“Well, I slept with Pumpkin, cuz’ my baby sleeps in a queen-sized bed, they’re a queen,” Chanyeol walks drunkenly, grabbing Kyungsoo’s hand. “I need balance. Uh… what was I saying? Oh, yes. Pumpkin says I snore very loud but at least when I sleep there I don’t have to leave my room to see if she’s okay.”

“Do you supervise your child while they sleep?”

“Yes,” Chanyeol says. “Her guardian angel guards a ton of people. I must protect my baby. They’re all I got now.”

Kyungsoo holds his hand back, thinking about it. Chanyeol seems to do everything very well, despite his drunkenness; his hand is warm and he holds Kyungsoo gently. The building is silent, dark, empty but Kyungsoo feels calm and safe. 

The square car is right in front of the entry and Kyungsoo sits on the backseat, holding his sacred backpack. He absorbs everything he sees through the windows.

“You can’t go there like that,” Woozi says, driving. “The group will have a field day if you show up to pick your daughter drunk like a skunk. They already think that you’re dating Kyungsoo.”

“How the fuck you know that?” Chanyeol almost screams, gesturing wildly. “Holy shit, they don’t have anything better to do?”

“Besides spreading gossips and lusting over hot dads? I doubt it,” Woozi sighs.

“I can bring her to the machine,” Kyungsoo suggests.

“As long as Chanyeol is seen, yeah,” the assistant nods. “Wave for them when I stop, ok?”

“Fine,” Chanyeol grunts.

The car stops and Kyungsoo rushes to pick Pumpkin. The shapeshifter is waiting, their dress tainted with something like juice, their ponytails loose and messy. The teacher waves to Chanyeol and Kyungsoo bows.

“You must be the handsome man who brought Pumpkin here,” the lady says, her glasses sliding down her nose. “You caused a commotion.”

“I apologize,” Kyungsoo says. “I’m helping Pumpkin’s father.”

“Don’t apologize,” the lady laughs. “Goodbye, sweet Pumpkin. See you on Monday.”

“Bye teacher,” the kid waves and runs to grab Kyungsoo’s hand. “Kyungsoo stay for dinner?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says, slowing down to adjust to their walking’s tempo. “If your dad invites me, I’ll be honored to join you. I intend on using the internet, but I would enjoy human food also.”

Pumpkin laughs, excited. Their tiny bag is jumping while they walk to the car – Kyungsoo helps the child to sit comfortably with that belt.

“Hello, my baby,” Chanyeol sings. “What did you do today?”

“Play ball, study numbers, ate pudding,” Pumpkin says, shaking their legs. “Friday fun day.”

Kyungsoo fixes their ponytails, one by one, and wipes the corner of their mouth.

“Chocolate pudding,” Pumpkin smiles at him.

“Dad will cook you something nice,” Chanyeol is still singing. “For my baby.”

“I advise you to go straight to bed,” Woozi says dryly. “You spent the entire day with the tourists and you were supposed to sign a ton of papers. I’ll send them to your email.”

“Fuck, I forgot that,” Chanyeol sighs.

“Bad word,” Kyungsoo says. “Where are you going to spend the night, Woozi?”

“Heaven, like every other night,” he says, simply. “That’s my reward after facing human’s traffic.”

“Aren’t you practicing a complete immersion?” The witch is curious. “Can you leave?”

“Not really, just for the night. Complete immersion may induce us to identify with human emotions and then it can corrupt us and… well, corrupted angels become demons and that’s not my personal future plan. I mean, of course, the full thing is ideal, but not for my kind.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo nods.

After they arrive, he’s not very sure of what he should do. He guides the child while Chanyeol speaks on the phone with someone, but when Pumpkin runs to her room, Kyungsoo sits on the couch with his backpack and stares at Chanyeol.

“Take a shower for real, scrub your whole body,” he screams, covering the phone. “I’ll inspect behind your ears and I’ll smell you!”

Kyungsoo raises his arms and smells himself. Chanyeol walks to the kitchen and Kyungsoo casts a spell to hear his words.

Sorry, I was talking to Pumpkin. I’m still a little drunk, Yifan. No, Woozi drove me home… Kyungsoo? He’s here. Sitting on the couch. He’s fine. I’m fine. No, no problems. No, I promised to take her to the mall. We’re going to watch a movie… maybe next week? Well, I only have the weekends to spend some quality time with my baby, man, also, it would be weird—what the fuck I would do here alone with Kyungsoo. Dionysus, I need more wine. No, we’re doing just fine, what are you suddenly so invested in this? Now, I will cook. What? Of course, I can handle knives—what? Are you serious?”

Chanyeol is back, holding his phone.

“Errr…” he rubs his face. “Yifan wants to talk to you.”

“Me?” Kyungsoo points to himself before accepting the phone. He never used that thing before so he holds it from a safe distance. “Hello.”

Hey man, Yifan here. How are you?”

“Confuse and discontent, but healthy and not exhausted anymore.”

Glad to hear that, can you do me a favor?”

“Yes, if it’s within my possibilities.”

Can you cook dinner? Chanyeol is already clumsy when he’s sober,” Kyungsoo looks up, where Chanyeol is standing and waiting. “Just for tonight, you know.”

“Of course,” Kyungsoo says. “I understand.”

Thank you. Ask him to take a nap… it helps him to get sober. I owe you.

Oh, Kyungsoo realizes. He just won the favor of a dragon. He must be very effective to earn a great favor.

“So,” Chanyeol gulps. “Can you tell me what he said?”

“He wants me to cook you a meal,” Kyungsoo hands him the phone. “And you must sleep for a short amount of time.”

“You don’t have to do that,” Chanyeol says. “I’m not that drunk.”

“It would be a great honor for me,” Kyungsoo stands up. “Allow me to show my kitchen magic—”

“No magic,” Chanyeol raises a finger.

“With no magic,” the witch smiles. “I just have to find the right substitutes to cook properly. That can also be easy. But now you must sleep.”

Chanyeol doesn’t seem to be against that; actually, he grabs a pillow and throws himself on the couch.

“Just thirty minutes… you can ask Pumpkin for help,” he yawns – Hekate, that man has a big mouth.

“Sleep well,” Kyungsoo pats his head.

 

 

 

 

 

 

.

 

The ingredients are all ordered on the table:

Flour, butter, eggs, apples, oil, pan, a few herbs, cinnamon, goat milk, and sugar.

Kyungsoo uses a chair to get a bowl since it’s kept on a higher shelf. When he turns to put the chair on its original place, he notices the kid standing at the door.

“Cook dinner?” Pumpkin asks, rubbing her bare feet on the floor.

Kyungsoo nods slowly.

“Me help,” Pumpkin says, running, wet hair glued on their forehead. Kyungsoo holds them and puts on the chair and the kid stands up on it.

“Give me the ingredients when I ask,” Kyungsoo says simply. To his surprise, they’re very disciplined, being quiet and doing exactly as he says. He puts the pie in the oven, checking the instructions on the book (the first time that he looks for ‘oven time’ and not ‘cauldron time’.

“Who girl?” Pumpkin points to Irene’s face in the back of the book.

“My friend,” Kyungsoo says.

“Girlfriend?” The kid asks, curious. “Kiss lips?”

“No,” Kyungsoo frowns. Why does everyone think he’s romantically involved with the Red Witches?

“Kyungsoo sad? Kyungsoo drink wine too?” Pumpkin rubs their hands on the green pajama. “Kyungsoo sleep alone?”

“What kind of questioning…” The witch sighs. “Why are you asking me that, Pumpkin?”

The kid puts a hand over their mouth.

“When Dad sad, Dad drink wine,” they look behind their shoulder. “Uncle say Dad sad cause Dad sleep alone. No boyfriend.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo says. “Maybe he enjoys wine. He owns a winery.”

Pumpkin shakes their head, angry.

“Dad no holds hand, no kiss lips,” they explain seriously. “Dad only alone, friends have mom and dad. Pumpkin only have one dad.”

Pumpkin shows the number one by raising the index finger.

“Me knows number,” they smile, lightening up their freckled face.

“Does it matter?” Kyungsoo asks sincerely, leaning to be on their eye level. “That you only have one dad?”

“No,” Pumpkin can’t jump, holding on the chair. “But dad sleep alone. Kyungsoo sleep dad bed today?”

“I could,” Kyungsoo helps them to get down. “If that’s requested. Don’t you prefer if your Dad sleep on his own bed and not with you? I can hear his snoring from here.”

At first, Kyungsoo thought it was a strong wind; he almost closed the windows.

“No, Kyungsoo sleep dad bed, dad don’t sleep alone,” they explain like it’s that simple. “Tomorrow Saturday. Dad takes me see movie! Dad happy then.”

“Do you want me to sleep with him?” Kyungsoo frowns. “I don’t think that’s appropriate. Bed-sharing is an intimate act and we don’t know each other very well.”

Pumpkin doesn’t understand, blinking many times. Kyungsoo realizes that they’re just a kid trying to make their dad happy, they can’t think about those small details. They run to their dad, leaving the kitchen and Kyungsoo sighs. Maybe that’s the reason why Pumpkin mentioned to their teacher about Kyungsoo sleeping on Chanyeol’s bed. Maybe Pumpkin doesn’t want Chanyeol to be seem as lonely as he is.

Kyungsoo goes back to cooking and he uses what he learned with the Red Witches to decorate the table nicely. The baked sweet potatoes and the meatloaf are in the center and the pie is hidden, so they don’t get seduced by the dessert. He finds a plastic box with juice and pours it in the glass.

He finds Pumpkin cuddling their dad, tucked in his arms while he sleeps.

“Dinner ready?” She whispers. “Hungry…”

“Yes, wake up your dad,” Kyungsoo says.

He sits at the table and cuts the meat in tiny little pieces, so the Pumpkin can eat. He knows that they use colorful objects, so he serves them a cute meal.

“Food, food, food,” Pumpkin sings, running to the chair.

Chanyeol yawns, scratching his back.

“Don’t summon demons, baby,” he mumbles. “What a nice smell…”

He looks at the table in awe. Kyungsoo drinks his juice in silence, while Pumpkin finishes climbing their chair.

“That’s… awesome,” Chanyeol says, sitting and already grabbing a fork to eat. “It looks like a movie or something.”

“My coven partners are very into aesthetic food,” Kyungsoo informs him. “I’ve learned many things from their visionary poisonous cooking methods.”

Chanyeol stops moving, fork touching the meatloaf.

“Poison,” Pumpkin sings happily, eating a piece of the sweet potato. “Tastes good!”

“It’s not poisonous,” Kyungsoo states. “I’ve changed a few ingredients.”

Chanyeol sighs in relief. They eat quickly and Kyungsoo picks the pie; Pumpkin’s eyes shine.

“Apple pie, apple pie,” they scream in joy. Chanyeol laughs, patting their head.

“Don’t eat too much,” he says. “You can’t sleep when you’re too full, right?”

“Do you want juice?” Kyungsoo offers to Chanyeol.

“No, I’ll drink more wine so I can sleep well,” he says, rubbing his face. “I can handle hungover tomorrow, not tonight. Don’t worry, baby, Dad will sleep on the couch, no snoring for you.”

“Actually,” Kyungsoo says, “we can share the bed and maybe tomorrow I’ll be strong enough to use magic to repair the other’s room damage.”

Chanyeol stares at him, chewing.

“Hmmm… okay,” he says, confused. “If you don’t mind… I guess that… one night…”

“I’ll be able to use the internet tomorrow, so I’m helping to compensate for your welcoming,” Kyungsoo explains. “I hope that you’re enjoying your meal.”

“Yes,” Chanyeol nods. “It’s very good. Pumpkin likes it too, isn’t, my baby?”

The kid smiles, sauce all over her freckled face. Chanyeol insists on doing the dishes and Kyungsoo offers to tuck the child in bed. He supervises them while they brush their teeth, wash their face and gets in bed.

“Do you need any form of entertainment to fall asleep?” Kyungsoo asks, looking around. It’s the first time that he sees her wide, colorful room. There are planets hanging around, bookshelves and dolls together with dozens of stuffed animals. To Kyungsoo’s surprise, most of the room’s decoration is a bunch of plastic flowers and plants, that even surround the flower-decorated bed and cute orange closet.

Pumpkin covers herself with an old, soft blanket and shakes her head.

“I’m assuming that you’re sleepy,” Kyungsoo raises an eyebrow.

“No,” the kid says. “Me thinking.”

“About what?” Kyungsoo sits in the corner of the huge bed.

“Serious things,” Pumpkin grimaces. “Very serious things.”

Kyungsoo can’t help but snort.

“Really?” The witch says. “Can you confide me any of those serious matters?”

Pumpkin seems to consider his offer, then covers their mouth with their tiny hand, whispering.

“Keep secret!”

“Keep secret,” Kyungsoo agrees.

Pumpkin looks up and now Kyungsoo can see the horns on their forehead.

“Luhan hiding,” they say, narrowing their eyes. “Luhan guardian angel. He not visit Pumpkin last night.”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo smiles. “Does this guardian angel visit you every night?”

“No,” Pumpkin smiles too. “Moon lady visit too. Bless Pumpkin.”

“Moon lady?” Kyungsoo frowns. He remembers Chanyeol talking about her guardian angel, but not any ‘Moon Lady’. “Which Moon Lady?”

“Moon lady with a key,” Pumpkin explains. “She three face.”

Kyungsoo gapes. For a second, it seems like his body is numb.

“A three-faced Moon Lady with a key?” He repeats, shocked, unconsciously grabbing the blanket. “How often does she appear?”

“Rarely,” Pumpkin yawns. “Moon lady is old. She talks to me because me witch.”

“Hello,” Chanyeol says, entering the room. Kyungsoo almost screams in horror, startled by the sudden appearance, but he wouldn’t display any unnecessary emotional distress. “What’s happening here?”

“Pumpkin tell secret Kyungsoo,” the kid says proudly. “Dad not invited.”

“What… you met him yesterday,” Chanyeol doesn’t take that very well. “If Yifan didn’t swear that he’s not harmful, I wouldn’t even allow him to talk to you and now you two have secrets?!”

“Witch secret,” Pumpkin shrugs. “Dad no witch, dad goat legs.”

“I don’t have goat legs,” Chanyeol sighs, tired. “They’re my legs and you could have had them too, so don’t be full of yourself. You’re one-quarter Satyr and those horns don’t lie.”

“Dad go sleep,” Pumpkin rolls their eyes. “Dad boring.”

“So now you have a new friend and suddenly dad is boring, too…” Chanyeol pouts, nodding. “I see how it is.”

“Don’t be sad…” Pumpkin says. “Kiss…”

Chanyeol forgets that he’s angry and runs to the bed, falling next to his child, like he’s also a kid. Pumpkin laughs and he grabs their face and kisses it many times.

“Stop Dad! Daddy drooling!”

He stops and rubs his face on their small shoulder, now resembling a dog. Pumpkin pats his face.

“Did you have a nice day?”

“Yes,” Pumpkin nods.

“Were the kids nice to you?”

“Yes, no,” Pumpkin counts on their fingers, yawning. “They play with me! But they mock me words.”

Chanyeol looks up at her and sighs. It looks like a recurrent problem.

“Should I talk to your teacher again?” He asks, more to himself than to the others. “That can’t happen all the time.”

“It’s unfruitful to talk to authorities when children have their own social system and internal logic in their agreement,” Kyungsoo explains, surprising them. “Also, Pumpkin is already speaking. When I was her age, I didn’t speak any words. Magic is made through words and no witch is able to speak correctly until they are able to use their magic. Of course, you can’t expect humanity to keep in touch with witchcraft, as they demonize us and our ways.”

“Kyungsoo not speak when baby like me?” Pumpkin blinks – they seem sleepy.

“No, not at all,” Kyungsoo says. “Until today, I don’t speak much. I know my words carry magic within them. You are certainly special for being so talented at dominating human speech without any magical teaching.”

“He’s saying that you’re smart,” Chanyeol says, smiling. “See?”

Pumpkin smiles, covering their eyes with their hands. They seem shy.

“Go sleep,” Chanyeol says, leaving the bed. “Say goodnight to Kyungsoo.”

“Goodnight Kyungsoo,” Pumpkin says. “Goodnight Daddy…”

Kyungsoo follows Chanyeol and waits until he closes Pumpkin’s door. Alone in the corridor, they stare at each other.

“Do you want anything more comfortable to wear?” Chanyeol tries.

“No,” Kyungsoo says. “But I would like to be able to talk about our deal.”

Chanyeol looks back to the closed door.

“Let’s go to my room first.”

 

 

 

.

 

Chanyeol gives him pillows and a blanket, but Kyungsoo refuses the blanket. He picks his own, sitting in the bed, wearing only his shirt and his underwear and covering himself.

“Pumpkin is also obsessed with their blanket,” Chanyeol snorts. “Is that a witch thing?”

“No,” Kyungsoo says. It’s the first time he hears that someone else does the same. Chanyeol walks around kicking things on the floor and checking them. His room is a whole mess compared to Pumpkin, it’s dark and sad. It’s clear that he has been putting his energy and effort on his child and forgetting his own needs.

“So, what’s the deal?” Chanyeol says, taking off his pants. He selected a green pajama that’s similar to Pumpkin’s. “Love to make business before getting some sleep.”

“I was thinking about today,” Kyungsoo says. “And I believe that I must stay here with humans. I have a protégé who I must understand in order to protect and it’s clear that my lack of knowledge in human magic will be a problem if I get to finish this book. I would like to be able to do their magic and incorporate that as content to my book.”

“That’s a smart choice, I mean, have you heard about plastic surgery? That’s the true magic,” he laughs, trying to dress and walk at the same time. “You know, you can stay in the guest room for a while if you need. I mean, not only because Yifan has invited you, but Pumpkin clearly likes you and let me say, they have big problems with strangers. They used to turn into a demon if a stranger approached them… and look how easy it was for you to befriend them… by the way, what’s the secret that they told you?”

“I swore to keep a secret,” Kyungsoo says seriously. “I wouldn’t tell you, not even under torture.”

“Well, damn, calm down,” Chanyeol laughs, fixing his shirt. “Do you want me to build a pillow wall between us?”

“No,” Kyungsoo frowns. “Can I continue to explain my offer or will you interrupt me again with this annoying chatting?”

Chanyeol gapes, shocked.

“Okay, okay,” he sits on the bed. “Go on, sorry.”

“I see that you need help with Pumpkin. Your child won’t develop any longer without guidance; they need someone to teach them how to be a witch, they won’t learn it here.”

“Yes,” Chanyeol mumbles, looking down. “So, do you want to teach her?”

“You can say so,” Kyungsoo licks his lips, trying to find appropriate words. “May I tell what’s my price before I say what I’m offering? Is that what you are eager to find about?”

“Yes…” Chanyeol frowns. "As a businessman, yeah..."

“I want to you to help me to disguise between humans,” Kyungsoo says. “I know that my existence here will be questioned, so I need help to be recognized as one of them. Unlike witches that are magical creatures, like cat or mermaid witches, my body is almost completely human-like, so I just need a place to stay and papers to prove that I’m human.”

“So do you want to stay and a fake Id?” Chanyeol nods. “That’s not hard. I mean, I got my fake papers done like… ten times. I think the hardest part will be your backstory and background. My papers tell people that I’m Yifan’s adopted brother because his family is… a bunch of dragons that are immortal, so he has a family… but you don’t have one… and I don’t think people will believe if I tell them that there’s another adopted brother who just… popped out of nowhere. Maybe we can make you related to—”

“I don’t want to be your second brother,” Kyungsoo says. “It’s easy for me to create and find ways to write a fake past, but the entire narrative is ruined if you say that we’re related.”

“Why?” Chanyeol seems to be slightly offended.

“Because I’m offering you to be Pumpkin’s second dad,” Kyungsoo says simply.

 

 

 

.

 

.

.

 

 

Chapter Text

 

 

 

.

 

Kyungsoo feels warm for the first time in many, many years. It’s a cozy feeling of having strong arms around him; the thick blanket, the soft pillows and the nice smell are also good, but he’s feeling a body warmth and this is something he doesn’t have often.

He opens his eyes, listening to soft giggles. He faces the old furniture and the mess of the room. Definitely not his room or the rest of the Red Temple’s. He moves and sees the human face, babbling something and drooling – and that’s when he’s hit by an intense déjà vu. Except witches don’t believe in things like déjà vu, only in their only intuition.

“Where did I see this before?” He mumbles, staring at Chanyeol’s face, his soft hair. There is something different, but…

He hears the giggling again, so he tries to move enough to look over Chanyeol’s shoulder. It’s Pumpkin standing at the door, laughing, still wearing their pajamas.

“Good morning,” Kyungsoo says.

“Good morning,” Pumpkin blinks many times, excited. “Dad sleep?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo nods, slightly impressed by Chanyeol’s deep sleep. “Also, snoring.”

“Dad snore much,” Pumpkin walks shyly. “Me can go bed too?”

“Do you want to join us?” Kyungsoo frowns. “I suppose you can. This belongs to your dad; it must be yours too.”

Pumpkin runs to the bed, struggling a little to climb. Kyungsoo doesn’t move since Chanyeol is locking him (also, he’s very comfortable). Pumpkin also climbs Chanyeol, landing right between them, so they get inside the sheets to emerge under Chanyeol’s arms too.

“Hello,” Kyungsoo says.

“Hello,” Pumpkin smiles. “Kyungsoo sleep dad bed. Kyungsoo watch movie too?”

The witch sighs, confused. Chanyeol didn’t give him any conclusive answer; he just stared at Kyungsoo and said ‘I’m way too drunk to discuss this insanity’ before lying down and falling asleep almost instantly. Kyungsoo didn’t know what to do next, so he just slept too.

“I don’t know,” Kyungsoo confides. “I want to stay and join your human activities but your dad must allow me to be your second dad first.”

Pumpkin’s eyes shine and they move happily between them.

“Kyungsoo other dad? Me have two dads?” They almost sing. “Need more Halloween cards.”

“Not yet,” Kyungsoo warns them – Chanyeol mumbles something like ‘don’t curse me’ while still sleeping. “Your dad must allow me to stay and give me the papers to be recognized as a legal human. So, he must agree with my deal. We must wait for his resolution.”

“Dad!” Pumpkin screams. “Dad wake up!”

Chanyeol’s eyes almost pop out from his face. He sits up, setting them free, as if his body reacted way too fast while his mind was still asleep. Pumpkin giggles again, grabbing the blanket. Chanyeol turns to them slowly, blinking and frowning.

“Why are you in my bed?” He asks, looking at them. His skin is glowing and even if his face is swollen, he looks beautiful as always.

“Movie,” Pumpkin says simply. “Daddy snore.”

“I spent the night here,” Kyungsoo says. “Since you didn’t give me any other instructions.”

Chanyeol yawns, stretching slowly; he lies down again, sharing his pillow with his child. Kyungsoo feels warmer just by watching them.

“Baby, daddy needs to sign some papers. I’m taking you to watch a movie after lunch, okay?” He caresses their face. It doesn’t work since Pumpkin’s mouth trembles as if they’re about to cry.

“Daddy promise!” They say, moving their arms angrily.

“I know, baby, but I’m keeping my promise,” he grabbed the kid, hugging them. “We’re going! Just—”

Pumpkin starts to cry. It’s not a scream, just some sniffs and tears, still a heartbreaking thing to see. Chanyeol holds them and rocks them, whispering:

“Baby, I told you we’re going, daddy will let you pick any ice-cream you like… we can see the stars too… don’t cry…”

Kyungsoo feels bad; his chest hurts as if he’s sick. It’s been a long time since he felt that wave of empathy towards another being, so hard that he almost feels like them. He touched Pumpkin’s hair, pushing their bangs up gently.

“Do you want to learn some magical things with me while your Dad is busy with human matters, Pumpkin?”

The kid stops crying, turning their head slowly towards Kyungsoo and nods. Kyungsoo stares at Chanyeol, who’s slightly confused by this drastic change of mood.

“Huh… what… magical things?” Chanyeol frowns. “Magical-appropriate things?”

“We can play in the garden,” Kyungsoo suggests. “Maybe cook a little. No poisonous things.”

“No evil things at all,” Chanyeol corrects. “Or dangerous.”

“Pumpkin can?” The kid stares at Chanyeol, blinking. Their cheeks are wet and rosy. 

Chanyeol sighs. “Pumpkin can… but I’ll keep an eye on you.”

Pumpkin rolls to their place on the bed again, escaping from Chanyeol’s arm. They’re giggling, happy and clapping. Kyungsoo doesn’t know why, but being in bed, cozy and calm with those two makes him feel better than he felt… anywhere else.

“Be careful, you two, nothing harmful or—”

“I know which kind of magic is infant-appropriate,” Kyungsoo interrupts Chanyeol, sitting up. “I’m not a fool and your child is stronger than you think, too. You can’t simply notice it because you’re not a witch.”

“Kyungsoo dad too,” Pumpkin claps, wrapped on the blanket. “Witch dad.”

“We haven’t discussed this yet,” Chanyeol sits up too, alarmed. “Pumpkin, don’t call him dad. He’s not your dad. I’m your only dad.”

“Kyungsoo uncle?” Pumpkin asks sincerely. “Kyungsoo mom?”

Chanyeol rubs his face, almost defeated.

“No, baby… he’s… you know what, I need wine,” he leaves the bed. “You two… go do your magic stuff. I need to sign those papers today or Woozi will make me listen to Gospel as a punishment.”

Pumpkin sits up and untangles their legs from the blanket. Kyungsoo picks the child up and allows them to hold him and rest their face on his shoulder while they leave the room. He looks back and the last thing he sees is Chanyeol’s unexcited face staring at the bed.

“What do you want to do first?” Kyungsoo asks them gently. Pumpkin raises their head, smiling.

“Me wants fruits grow!” They say. “Me eat my own strawberries!”

“Really? That is remarkable… I’m amazed.” Kyungsoo asks, impressed. This child is barely five and they’re doing extraordinary things – the new generation is clearly blessed. They laugh and then rub their face on Kyungsoo’s shoulder, happy. Kyungsoo feels happy too.

He walks out on the garden, looking around. There’s a little pool on the corner with cute chairs and a grill that looks old and unused, probably just a decoration. Seulgi’s one is clean and new and she’s almost five hundred years old, so this must mean that Chanyeol doesn’t throw parties often.

Pumpkin jumps to the ground and grabs Kyungsoo’s hand to guide him (their tiny fingers are capable of holding two of his). There are a few plants and vases and Kyungsoo kneels to inspect their condition.

“Do you use magic on this?” He asks, curious.

“Yes,” Pumpkin says proudly. “Me give them magic kisses every day.”

“Pumpkin, listen,” Kyungsoo holds the kid gently. “You can’t use magic all the time.”

They seem to listen, staring at him with big eyes.

“Magic is what keeps us alive,” Kyungsoo says, showing his hand. “We can live for a long time, but we need to conserve our energy. There is magic in our words, eyes, fingers, and veins. If we waste them, we get sick. Do you understand?”

Pumpkin nods slowly.

“You have to take care of them with water and gentle words,” Kyungsoo teaches them. “We can feed them a few things and give the right amount of sunlight, but you need to keep your magic to yourself. We only use magic when it’s an emergency.”

Kyungsoo isn’t following these wise words anymore, but he’s older and stronger. He can deal with the consequences of his actions.

“No magic kiss?” Pumpkin asks.

“Only if the plant is sick,” Kyungsoo says. “We can only use magic if there’s no other option. Magic is a secret, right?”

“Yes,” Pumpkin nods again. “Magic secret. Witches no tell! Me know it!”

“Good,” Kyungsoo sighs. “If you keep a lot of energy, then you can use it to do nice things… bigger and powerful things. Is there anything you wish to do?”

Pumpkin moves their mouth, thinking. Kyungsoo thinks that they have a familiar face.

“Me want daddy happy,” they say simply. “Me ask three face old lady that.”

Kyungsoo holds their tiny hand and interlaces their pinky fingers. Pumpkin thinks it’s funny and smiles.

“What does this lady tell you?” He asks, serious.

“Pumpkin special,” the kid says. “Pumpkin have protection. Dad love Pumpkin. Other dad.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t know what to say. Actually, he’s a bit scared of what that means, so he just suggests that they grab a few strawberries from the garden. It’s not that cold yet, but Kyungsoo takes one of his shirts – he likes to wear more than one – and puts on Pumpkin, just to protect the child.

“Are you sure those things can be eaten?” Chanyeol asks. “I have never seen strawberries that big.”

Kyungsoo looks up and sees him sitting on the window, holding a wine glass, looking down. There’s just a fraction of sunlight and it hits against the glass, making the human’s face glow and illuminating his pretty torso. He’s… really a magical creature, Kyungsoo thinks. No human can look this attractive.

“Well, it depends on what purpose Pumpkin gave them,” Kyungsoo explains. “I thought you were busy.”

“I am, but I had to check if you’re not teaching my baby how to hex someone,” Chanyeol grins. He doesn’t sound truly worried; it sounds like teasing, instead.

“I believe this comes naturally,” Kyungsoo grins back. “That’s a witch’s prerogative.”

“Dad, can me bake strawberry cake?” Pumpkin asks, screaming. “Me clean kitchen after.”

“Yes,” Chanyeol nods. “Just behave yourself, don’t burn things like Uncle Yifan.”

“Uncle Yifan burp fire,” Pumpkin explains. “He mess kitchen. Teacher say he hot.”

Kyungsoo narrows his eyes.

“Are you sure they’re talking about his fire-spitting ability?” Kyungsoo asks.

“Teacher say dad could spit them,” Pumpkin continues, picking strawberries. “Pick salad leaves!”

“That’s not an appropriate thing for a teacher to say,” Kyungsoo sighs.

“Teacher don’t say aloud,” they smile. “Me hear with magic.”

Kyungsoo stares at Pumpkin before laughing; it’s loud and completely foreigner to his old body. It’s been a long, long time since he laughed that loud, he tries to remember. His belly hurts and he can’t help but advise Pumpkin to stop doing something that he does quite a lot.

 

 

 

.

 

 

Chanyeol enters the kitchen after the dinner is ready. He’s washed and fully dressed, using a but pearl silk shirt and tight pants; his bleached hair is pushed back. Kyungsoo and Pumpkin, on the other side, are a complete mess. They cooked a few things and both were a bit messy in the kitchen. Kyungsoo dropped eggs and Pumpkin stirred the strawberry sauce too fast, painting the walls red.

“Oh, for all demonic creatures,” Chanyeol spins to check the damage. “I knew this was going to happen.”

“Cake good,” Pumpkin says, sitting on the floor. Their legs are dirty with flour and the corner of their mouth is red.

“Are you eating the dessert before the actual meal?” Chanyeol gets serious in a fraction of a second. “You know you—”

Kyungsoo offers him a bite; he walks to Chanyeol and raises his arm, bringing the spoon near Chanyeol’s mouth. Chanyeol looks down at him, watching the witch in his barefoot-dirty-pajamas state.

“They were just tasting it,” Kyungsoo says. “You should try.”

Chanyeol accepts it and eats the piece on the spoon, licking his lips after. Kyungsoo feels satisfied.

“It’s good,” Chanyeol says, a bit red. “Magic strawberry, huh?”

Pumpkin laughs and it’s a really delightful sound; Chanyeol looks at the kid and smiles and Kyungsoo smiles without noticing.

“Go take a bath before you sit on the table,” Chanyeol says, authoritative but still fond. “Throw the dirty clothes in the basket, baby. Put nice shoes, ok? Dad won’t carry you all day long.”

It must be a secret code between them because the kid jumps and runs, happy. The witch feels out of the place now that Pumpkin left – he feels a bit… disturbed by Chanyeol’s presence only.

“Pick some clothes from my closed and use my bathroom to take a bath…” he mumbles and he seems a little shy. “Try to look more casual, you know? Humans can see that there’s something different about you.”

“I have glasses,” Kyungsoo suggests. “Does that mean that we have a deal?”

“Not yet,” Chanyeol answers quickly, staring at Kyungsoo’s eyes. “It means that I’m interested, but… we need to talk.”

“Aren’t we talking right now?” He blinks.

“After lunch,” Chanyeol turns his face, gulping. He must be uncomfortable, Kyungsoo thinks, leaving the kitchen. He walks in the house as his own, already, which is confusing – he took a few years to adjust to the Red Temple and it was way more adequate than this human structure. Kyungsoo has to figure out a lot of details while showering and when he’s alone in Chanyeol’s room, he notices how he already knows the smell by heart.

He chooses Chanyeol’s jersey again, too big compared to the rest of his clothes. Kyungsoo touches everything: fabrics, perfumes, jewelry. He can’t figure it out why he’s so fascinated by it. Chanyeol doesn’t say anything when Kyungsoo sits at the table, but when Pumpkin appears, his jaw drops. The kid is using a long black velvet dress and black shoes; their ginger locks are shinning.

“What?” He mumbles, confused. “What are you dressed like that? I bought that dress for you to use in that funer— when your… old teacher… took a long nap in that wooden bed.”

Pumpkin shrugs. “Dress pretty.”

“Well, that cute yellow dress I just gave you is also pretty!” Chanyeol argues, being wildly ignored by the child.

“Me like this dress,” Pumpkin says, climbing to her chair. “Dad say Pumpkin big girl, dress herself to teacher. Dad lie?”

Kyungsoo is so surprised that he almost lets his glass fall. This child really used an argument against their father so simply… He’s slightly proud.

“No, dad doesn’t lie,” Chanyeol sighs, defeated. “You can choose your clothes. You’re growing up.”

Kyungsoo doesn’t feel hungry, but he eats anyway. He likes to hear them talking, even if he doesn’t understand most things.

“Kyungsoo watch movie too?” Pumpkin asks, full cheeks chewing salad.

“Yes,” Chanyeol says, side-eyeing Kyungsoo. “He’s our guest, right? So he’s coming with us. At this point, at least I know he’s not interested in harming us.”

“That was never my intention,” Kyungsoo points, calm. “I just wanted a soup recipe.”

“You see, it’s just very convenient,” Chanyeol says bitterly. “That a good-looking guy, who wants to raise my baby with me, comes to cuddle me at night. I mean, you cook, you know witch stuff, you’re a badass and you’re like… that neat. Five minutes and you fixed all my problems. You know, Kyungsoo, I am a devotee of a prankster God, so I need to be aware of things that look too good to be true.”

“Do you think that Dionysus sent me here?” Kyungsoo concludes. “Is that what are you afraid of?”

“Well, yeah,” Chanyeol laughs nervously. “If you don’t want to pulverize us, then what else it could be? Maybe you just came here to give me some hope and then I’ll found out that my God was just trying to stop me from complaining… or just to laugh at my face.”

“I can guarantee you that my arrival has nothing to do with any God’s will,” Kyungsoo states, loud and clear. “If much, fate brought me here, but it’s my choice to stay.”

Chanyeol’s contained and suspect look is familiar – Kyungsoo often rescued hurt, lost and abandoned animals. During winters, he offered his house as a shelter. He knows it, the fear of being taken care. He must have been the strong one for a long time, not being able to heal himself… The witch looks at the child eating their food. No doubt they look happy, healthy. Their father has been giving his best to keep them safe.

“I don’t trust you that much,” Chanyeol says, defensive. “I just know that Pumpkin is being heavily guarded.”

“You don’t have to trust me,” Kyungsoo smiles. “Just trust your senses. I know what I seek and I have a strong word and therefore, I’m not afraid of being tested.”

Chanyeol gulps and Kyungsoo keeps eating.

 

 

.

 

Pumpkin wants to take the subway; they like to see people, Chanyeol explains. Kyungsoo looks around, amazed by the architecture and the machines. A crowd is moving inside the tunnels that they’re entering and Chanyeol holds his hand; he’s carrying Pumpkin, but it seems easy.

“Don’t go too far, okay?” He points with his chin. “You can jump on the train tracks.”

“I’m not that ignorant,” Kyungsoo says, frowning. “I know what trains are. I once took a train that went through Europe.”

“Yeah, this one doesn’t exist anymore. I think it was because Agatha Christie killed someone inside it,” Chanyeol keeps walking, while Pumpkin is thrilled, looking at everyone’s faces. “It’s just a short ride, it won’t take twenty minutes.”

“That’s… really fast,” Kyungsoo whispers, holding Chanyeol’s hand back – he was a bit intimidated by the number of people walking fast near him.

“Yeah, it’s a subway, not your 1910’s train,” Chanyeol grunts. “Are you okay, baby?”

“Yes,” Kyungsoo says, trying to mask his discomfort.

“I mean Pumpkin,” Chanyeol looks at him, confused.

“I want watch movie,” Pumpkin jumps a little on Chanyeol’s arm. “Frozen?”

“Baby, if you make Dad watch Frozen again, Dad will literally die,” Chanyeol sighs tiredly. “There’s probably another movie for kids there.”

“Me like Frozen,” Pumpkin leans to confide to Kyungsoo. “Elsa witch.”

“Is it a story about a witch?” Kyungsoo asks, suddenly interested. “I would like to see that.”

“Oh, no, no, no, no,” Chanyeol’s eyes widen. “Not anymore. Never. Never again. Also, we can’t, the movie was in the theaters like, years ago.”

“Do you need me to use magic?” Kyungsoo offers. “I can help.”

“No,” Chanyeol is exasperated. “Not at all! No magic, okay? We’re a normal family, no odd powers!”

“Oh,” Kyungsoo stays quiet. “I see.”

Chanyeol guides him to a chair and Pumpkin stays on Chanyeol’s arm. Kyungsoo likes the idea of transportation under the ground.

“It’s like we’re worms,” he concludes, nodding to no one. Something loud seems to be coming and, to Kyungsoo’s absolute horror, a really fast train comes, and people approach the train as it stops.

“Let’s go,” Chanyeol says.

“Inside of that?” Kyungsoo looks up, shocked.

“Yes,” Chanyeol blinks. “Do you want to climb it?”

Kyungsoo gulps. That isn’t what he pictured at all, but he would never be scared of something that humans aren’t, so he follows them and stands inside the train. Pumpkin is used to it and runs in circles around them.

“Baby, sit down there,” Chanyeol says. “Let me and Kyungsoo stand. Hey, Kyungsoo, hold on, man. This thing moves fast.”

The doors close and Kyungsoo analyzes what he’s supposed to hold… the iron bars? The people? The windows? The floor?

Most people are holding the bars—

“Geez,” Chanyeol pulls him close and holds him against his whole body. The train starts to move. “You’re slow.”

Kyungsoo looks up at him and hugs him (so he’s supposed to hold Chanyeol!). Humans are obsessed with physical contact… but this is quite nice.

“We need to buy you a phone,” Chanyeol says. “I mean, do you know how to use a phone?”

“My coven partners have one. It’s a device,” Kyungsoo says, head leaning against Chanyeol’s chest. “But I never used such unnecessary cheap magic.”

“To survive here, you’ll need one, so if you get lost, I can call you… we can do practically everything with our phones,” He says quietly. “And new clothes… and maybe you should attend a class or something. Are there any classes on living in modern cities…?”

Kyungsoo isn’t listening. He waves to Pumpkin, who’s sitting next to an old lady with a dog. Pumpkin pets the dog and then waves back to Kyungsoo, smiling.

“Hey,” Chanyeol says, loud. “How do you introduce yourself to people.”

“Kyungsoo, a witch from The Silver & Black Velvet Coven, I’m a Ph.D. in transfiguration spells and I have two specializations in cooking magic. My basic studies were done in the Traditional Magic Academy for Lone Witches, where I taught a little of kitchen magic and transfiguration in the nineteenth century according to your calendar. I have a few works that are widely known—”

“Okay, educated man,” Chanyeol laughs. “You can’t say that to people here… but… uhn… it’s nice to know a bit more about you. I went to college a few times, but never graduated… to avoid drawing attention. You… must be very smart, huh?”

Your kid is very smart. I’m a terrifying intelligent witch,” Kyungsoo says simply, as if it’s obvious, with no proud at all.

“You have no idea how fun is to watch you say that with your mochi cheeks and cute semblance… no wonder people think you’re a freshman in college."

“Many have fallen after facing my scary frown,” Kyungsoo frowns.

“Okay, okay, keep sharing stuff,” Chanyeol snorts. “I want to know more about you. I need to know who I’m letting in. How long do you want to stay here?”

“A few years,” Kyungsoo thinks. “I think I miscalculated my duties. I planned to write but I have to guard Honey Bear, also. Soon I’ll leave to meet him and see how he’s living. He has no teeth yet, he’s basically a living meatball.”

Chanyeol laughs hard and it echoes everywhere.

“Sorry,” he says. “You’re hilarious.”

“Dad, the stop,” Pumpkin points to the doors, jumping from the seat. Chanyeol lets his arm fall and taps Kyungsoo’s shoulder.

“Let’s go,” he says, smiling. Kyungsoo takes his hand and follows them. They walk to a big, shining structure. There are many families and couples around; Kyungsoo can recognize a few kids and Pumpkin starts running, too excited to walk slowly.

“Baby, don’t run,” Chanyeol almost screams.

Kyungsoo frowns. “Why can’t they run…?”

“Because they may fall and get hurt,” Chanyeol says absently, taking his phone from the pocket. “And I don’t want that?”

“Then how are they going to learn the consequence of their actions?” Kyungsoo snorts, slightly offended. “They’re a witch. Getting hurt and bleeding is nothing compared to what we must go through.”

Chanyeol looks at him and holds his arm, leaning down.

“Listen, I’m tolerating your judgmental ass because you obviously can help me take care of her, but that doesn’t mean that you have to question every parental choice I make.”

Kyungsoo takes a while to answer. “Understood.”

“Good,” Chanyeol says, setting him free. “Now let’s buy a new phone. I’m on the Samsung team, but I feel like you’re an Apple guy.”

“I like fruits,” Kyungsoo agrees.

“Dad,” Pumpkin screams, running back to them. “Enzo here too!”

Chanyeol’s face falls and it’s contrasting with the balloons and the clowns in the background.

“Your friend… Enzo… from school?” Chanyeol asks, gulping.

“Yeah,” Pumpkin points. “There!”

They point to a kid in clothes that are very similar to Chanyeol’s. It’s not that cold, Kyungsoo thinks, looking around to find children using drawings on their clothing, dressed very simply compared to the little boy. The poor kid can barely walk, so Pumpkin has to go back to talk to her friend. Chanyeol pulls Kyungsoo closer again.

“So, I have to talk to his parents, but it’s that guy we met while we were buying coffee,” Chanyeol explains, whispering. “Don’t say anything or threaten them, ok? Let me handle this.”

“You don’t seem happy to encounter this man,” Kyungsoo observes, a bit drunk on Chanyeol’s sweet smell.

“I’m not,” he nods. “But I have to be nice to him.”

“Why?” Kyungsoo asks, putting his glasses on. Time to be social.

“Many reasons… Pumpkin is friends with his son and…” Chanyeol leans more to whisper. “We’re in a conservative group of parents here and he’s gay… I mean, it doesn’t mean that he’s nice, that’s the hard truth, but it means I have to empathize with him, at least.”

“Oh, Chanyeol!”

Kyungsoo recognizes the guy, but not the man who’s with him. They are dressed exactly like the child, just a few differences. Chanyeol smiles and passes an arm around Kyungsoo protectively.

“Hello… Kim…” he says, sounding unsure. “Nice to see you… again.”

“You don’t have to call me by my last name,” the guy says. “It’s nice to see you here. Did you come to get the throwback session?”

“Huh?” Chanyeol blinks.

“Oh, do you know my husband Victorio,” Chanyeol’s friend says. “I don’t think you two have met before.”

“Not really,” Chanyeol almost bows, but the other man offers his hand.

“He’s a Italian life coach, so he’s almost never around,” Chanyeol’s friend says. “And… isn’t this your friend… from last time… he keeps using your clothes, I see.”

“My name is Kyungsoo,” the witch says dryly.

“Just Kyungsoo?” The man winks at him. “See, Chanyeol? That’s how friends talk.”

“I don’t have another—” Kyungsoo starts but Chanyeol pinches him. The two other guys are confused.

“I… think in this case… it’s not necessary since we have the same family name…” Chanyeol gulps, tense. “Since we are… legally… married.”

The guy is so shocked that he lets his big cup fall from his hand. His husband picks it, but tea and little dark balls are all over the floor.

“I can’t believe,” Kim says, gaping.

“It’s… pretty recent,” Chanyeol nods. “You see… You know I have a good reason to not… share… this now.”

“Of course,” the man says, clutching his chest. “I totally understand. Your secret is safe with me and I must say that I’m happy that you finally came out. I mean, everybody already knew but—”

“But… you were talking about a special session…” Chanyeol changes the subject. Kyungsoo looks at him, just observing the situation.

“Yes, Frozen is back in the theaters again this weekend, because the second movie is coming soon,” Kim smiles. “Isn’t that great? It’s Enzo’s favorite movie ever.”

“Yeah… great,” Chanyeol looks like he’s about to cry. “Listen… it was nice to talk, but Kyungsoo and I…”

“The newlyweds want to be alone?” The man winks again. Kyungsoo is really close to hex him.

“Yeah,” Chanyeol is really uncomfortable. “Sorry.”

“No problem, if you want to, I can even keep an eye on Pumpkin, we’re going to catch the next session, she should come with us,” Kim says, surprisingly gentle. “I can also talk about you to the new presidents of our Villa’s LGBT association if you want to. Our book club is so fun and our parties… you would love it!”

“Well, if you want to take Pumpkin to listen to that ‘let it go’ song again, I can’t refuse,” Chanyeol sighs. “You have my number. We need to buy Kyungsoo a new phone, but we won’t leave the mall.”

“Nor are we,” the husband says, with a strong accent. “Pumpkin good girl.”

“She’s absolutely amazing, definitely in my Enzo’s friends top five,” Kim agrees. “Well-behaved, cute and has an amazing taste for clothing.”

“Pumpkin, baby,” Chanyeol ignores them, crouching to talk to his kid. “Come here, don’t run.”

Pumpkin runs.

“Baby, do you want to watch Frozen with Enzo?”

Their eyes shine. “Me can?”

“Yes, but you have to behave,” Chanyeol pulls them close and kisses their cheek. “When the movie is over, Dad will pick you so we can eat ice-cream, right?”

“Thank you, Dad,” they say enthusiastically, clapping. Kyungsoo doesn’t feel satisfied by the whole situation but Chanyeol didn’t like it when he spoke, so he keeps quiet until they leave.

“Are you going to allow those men to take care of Pumpkin?” He asks, confused. “I thought they were your enemies.”

“Ok, calm down, man,” Chanyeol laughs. “Pumpkin already had sleepovers in their house. Enzo is really popular… His B-Day sleepover had like… fifty kids. Imagine that with the babysitters.”

Kyungsoo is still bothered. He simply can’t understand.

“They’re safe, it’s just watching a movie,” Chanyeol says. “Yifan and Luhan allow Pumpkin to stay with them… the whole group. They’re amazing parents, actually, despite putting too many clothes on their child.”

“I thought you hated them,” Kyungsoo blinks.

“I don’t… relationships are very complicated. I may not agree with their lyfestyles, but you see, Kyungsoo, I’m a single dad. Once in a while, we must rely on other parents to survive and… Pumpkin loves their friends. I want them to have plenty of friends and spend time with them and just be… normal,” Chanyeol sighs. “The reason why I tolerate all those things is that I have to. I have to be friends with parents and I had to make my own sleepover once. I have to do all those things on my own—”

“You don’t have to,” Kyungsoo says firmly. “I’m here.”

Chanyeol looks at him and smiles.

“Yeah,” he blushes but shakes his head. “Actually, I have a lot of magical help. Luhan may be a wine lover, but he never lets anything bad happen to Pumpkin and Yifan takes care of them when I’m not there.”

“So… you trust humans? You said they were crazy,” Kyungsoo asks.

“They are… but I’m also a human,” Chanyeol snorts. “Humans are complex beings like any other creature.”

He takes Kyungsoo’s hand and they walk through the mall. Kyungsoo looks at the products and stores.

“Do you see anything you like?” Chanyeol asks, curious. The witch just shakes his head as he walks. It’s even worse when they have to buy the phone, because Kyungsoo is truly lost. Chanyeol buys him that tool and shows him a few features.

“So you put the numbers… like that,” Chanyeol shows him. “And you can call anyone. Actually, I’m saving my number here, okay? You just have to type my name.”

“I can open a portal and meet you,” Kyungsoo frowns.

“No, no, no,” Chanyeol bops his nose. “You’ll call me and I’ll answer.”

“I’ll find a way to decode this,” Kyungsoo promises. “Is that all?”

No. Chanyeol buys him clothes and shoes – they argue in every choice and Kyungsoo can finally choose black clothes. At least some of them.

“We need to make you an id soon,” Chanyeol whispers and his phone makes a noise. “Oh, the movie is over. Let’s get some Ice-cream.”

Kyungsoo’s heart beats faster. He’s happy that he can see Pumpkin again.

 

 

 

 

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They sit on funny chairs, surrounded by bags, and Chanyeol picks the ice-cream in a counter, one by one.

“Then Elsa make ice by hands like,” Pumpkin shows Kyungsoo. “And bum! freeze.”

“She’s an ice witch,” Kyungsoo nods. “Quite rare, I must say.”

“Elsa super strong,” Pumpkin nods, excited. Chanyeol gives her a pink ball on a cone, sitting next to them. Kyungsoo’s one is green, in a cup just like Chanyeol’s dark ball.

“It’s an iced cream, like, literally,” Chanyeol explains. “Strawberry for Pumpkin, Mint for you. There’s chocolate inside.”

Kyungsoo tastes it and it’s as good as every other human food. Chanyeol pets Pumpkin’s head while the kid eats their dessert.

“How was the movie?”

“Cool,” they say. “Me tell Kyungsoo story.”

“Well, he can watch the DVD I bought you,” Chanyeol looks infinitely tired. “Later, when we go home.”

The two witches seem to be interested more in the food than in him. Chanyeol sighs and picks his phone.

Your secret will be safe with me…” He grunts, annoyed. “He told the entire group chat already.”

The witches keep eating.

Hashtag Mr. and Mr. Park…” Chanyeol reads out loud. “There’s even a pic, how in earth—”

“Eat ice cream, Dad,” Pumpkin says. “Melting.”

Chanyeol pouts, shaking his head like a child.

“Kiss first,” he says, turning his face to offer Pumpkin his cheek. Pumpkin snorts and shakes the head. Kyungsoo just has to lean a little to kiss him; just pressing their lips together for a second. Chanyeol watches it, speechless. It’s quite natural.

“This time you really asked for a kiss,” Kyungsoo says simply.

 

 

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