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Paying the Mab

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“It happened again.” Jungkook kneels with his face bowed even though Yoongi keeps telling him he doesn’t have to. Hoseok bites back the smile since they’re in the throne room and they’re supposed to be formal here. “No gifts were left out.”

Yoongi cocks his head the way he does when he focuses on a puzzle. “The same house in the town has gone two weeks with no gifts? The house on the farm over the node?”

“Correct, Lord Suga.” Jungkook keeps his head bowed. At this point, Hoseok thinks he’s doing it to hide his own smile. He’s never been super formal.

“Any gifts for the Light?”

“No, Lord Suga.”

“In that case, we will visit this house to see what the human is thinking.” Yoongi stands with a subtle stretch. “We will go after night fall in our own forms.”

Many of the fae, Light and Dark, prefer to travel the human world as ‘fairies,’ the little winged creatures of human myth. To travel as themselves, human-sized with pointed ears and feline eyes is a statement, but Hoseok isn’t quite sure what that statement is.

Jungkook stands, finally raising his head although keeping his eyes just slightly lowered. Someone’s been practicing his etiquette. “How many horses shall I prepare, Lord Suga?”

“Three. You shall lead the way, and my consort will join us.” Yoongi steps off the dais and throws an arm around Jungkook’s should, effectively ending the formal atmosphere. “How many humans live in this house?”

Hoseok follows them as Jungkook talks about the small family there. Two parents, three children, and apparently the eldest is cute, if Jungkook’s focus on him is anything to go by. Anything beyond a short fling between human and faerie doesn’t tend to happen, but Hoseok hopes Jungkook has a chance at some fun. He’s been working too hard recently.

 Once on horses, Jungkook takes the lead. He has no idea what the humans will say when they see the faerie, and he’s really curious. The eldest son is cute, really cute, and he’d like to get to know him. Hobi keeps sending him little looks, so apparently he talked about him a little too much while reporting.

He just hopes that no one else gets there before they do.


 

“Remind me where we’re going?” Seokjin asks while playing with the mane of his horse, trying to braid flowers into it.

Jimin shakes his head but obeys. “We’re going to the house on the farm near the node. It’s been two weeks since they left out any gifts, so we can visit without breaking the accords. Two parents, three children.”

Jin nods, and Jimin knows he’s listening even if he looks more focused on the flowers. “And have they been saying anything nasty?”

“Not that I’ve heard,” Namjoon says, stepping in. As consort, he has more flexibility to visit and be around humans than Lord Jin does. “The parents haven’t left the farm in months, but while the children were in town, they did nothing more than school, errands, and relaxing with friends. Normal human activities.”

That’s what Jimin has noticed as well, so he doesn’t add anything. Instead he makes sure his mare guides Seokjin’s mare just right to cross over into the human world. It feels weird, moving around in his true form rather than the small ‘fairy’ form he normally uses in the human world, but it’s also rather freeing.

“Well, they must have a reason for it,” Seokjin announces, finally looking up at where they’re going instead of the horse. “Is the father sick and maybe the son doesn’t understand the full importance of the gifts and rituals?”

Jimin wants to give the son the benefit of the doubt, wants a chance to get to know him since he’s pretty cute, but he knows better. “The son has been in charge of the gifts for several years. Unless they have literally nothing to give, this is a deliberate decision. They don’t appear to be starving although it is a simple life, so I believe it is deliberate.”

Seokjin frowns with a little shrug. “Then we need to figure out what the reason is. If they want to maintain sovereignty of their home, they need to provide the gifts.”

That’s the way it’s always been, and that’s the way it will always be.


 

Taehyung makes sure that everyone’s doors are shut before heading back down stairs to sit at the table. Sweets for the Dark Fae, fruits for the Light Fae, truffles and origami paper to take back with them. He knows the importance of the gifts, and he’d like to pay them back for missed gifts.

But not offering was the only way he knew to get their attention.

With his family upstairs, he knows they won’t hear anything. There’s a letter on his pillow in case he isn’t here in the morning, but really hopes he’ll have a chance to shred it tonight. Waiting in silence is terrible, but he needs to hear when they arrive.

He jumps at the knock on the back door then pops his neck twisting to look away when he hears the knock on the front door. Perfect timing, arriving together, but which door should he open first?

“The doors are open. Please, let yourselves in.” He doesn’t raise his voice above a normal volume; his guests should be able to hear him with ease.

There’s a moment of stillness then both doors open to reveal three men each. At first glance, they appear human, but then Taehyung notices their eyes, feline instead of human. He always wondered how they could use all the gifts that people left out if they really were teeny tiny all the time.

He gestures at the empty chairs, and four sit down. They sit in two pairs, each with another behind them like a guard. Everything he knows says he won’t be able to lay a finger on them, but perhaps it’s just for show.

“This is Lord Suga,” the wavy-haired brunet says, gesturing to the man on his right with the cat ears. Taehyung isn’t entirely sure what he expected from the fae, but it certainly wasn’t this. He wonders which set of ears works, the human or feline, or if they both do. The human ones aren't even that human, too pointed for that. Either way, he likes the look.

“This is Lord Jin,” the business-looking man says, laying a hand on the broad shoulder of the man on his left. His hair seems like a faded pink, and he reminds Taehyung of the model who visited town for a photoshoot a few years ago.

“Welcome to my home.” He doesn’t give his name, not quite ready to give them that power over him.

“Yes, your home.” Lord Suga leans closer with narrowed eyes. “The home that hasn’t been paying tribute in two weeks according to Kookie here.” He gestures to the redhead behind him. He looks like he could either frown or smile in a heartbeat, and Taehyung really hopes that he smiles. It’ll make him stunning rather than just pretty.

“My Chim has reported the same.” The other fae standing up, another blonde, and Taehyung wonders if his hair is as soft as it looks. “Care to explain why? Your family has been here long enough to know our way.” Lord Jin raises an eyebrow at him like it’ll get answer faster.

Taehyung didn’t bring them here to stay quiet, so there’s no need for the look. “There’s no way to request an audience with you; this was my only option. As we speak, please, these treats are for you.”

The fae study his face before considering the food on the table. Kookie and Chim each take a bite first, and everyone waits to see if they’re okay. When nothing happens, the other four eat as well. “Why did you need an audience?” Mr. Glasses asks once he’s eaten his fill.

“My mother is dying.” Simple as that, the sad truth of his life for the last two years. Slowly but surely, wasting away a little more each day. “No doctor can find a cure for her. I don’t want you to make her live forever, but I’d like to make a trade so that she can live as long as my father. They deserve happiness together, more time than just this.”

He’s seen the look in their eyes, the desperation in his father’s, the resignation in his mother’s. Taehyung never wants to see that again, and he’ll do whatever it takes.

Jimin studies the man’s face and feels his heart break a little. As long as the fae live, even they get sick and can die, and he can’t imagine losing one of his parents. That sort of healing magic is beyond him though. He can’t make this decision.

Seokjin looks at Namjoon to discuss their response. After decades together, they can have an entire conversation in glances. He wants to help the man, for the correct price, and Namjoon’s eyebrows say he’s on the same page.

He looks over at Lord Suga, the closest he has to a friend amongst the Dark fae. Maybe this could be a chance to change things. Lord Suga has a silent conversation with his consort before turning to face Seokjin. They both consider the other for a moment, sizing each other up as counterparts before nodding in unison.

Yoongi faces the human man again. “We can help you. Magic like that requires energy and workers from both the Light and the Dark. You would have to agree to terms on both sides.”

He really, really should think this through a little more, but he did all his thinking before he stopped leaving gifts. “What are your terms?”

Well, he agreed a lot faster than expected. “Repayment of the gifts you have missed,” Seokjin demands, “sexual energy, and access to your home when necessary.”

Yoongi frowns because Lord Jin said it first. “We would demand the same, repayment, sexual energy, and access to your land.”

He’s not too fond of that, and Taehyung wonders why they both want access to his farm. What’s so special about it? “If you can reach an agreement yourselves about sharing the land access, abide by a few conditions, and tell me why, then I can agree to let you come back. Repayment has already been collected to present you. And, um…” he blushes because this isn’t something he’s done before, “sexual energy is acceptable as well.” As long as he gets to pick who he creates it with.

Jungkook hides his smile. He’s going to get a taste of the beautiful, smiling young man. Out of the corner of his eye, he catches Jimin licking his lips clearly already planning his chance to touch the human. Maybe they can share him, at the same time, and maybe Jungkook can finally fulfill that dream, tasting the cute little fae and getting his hands all over him.

Seokjin shares another look with Lord Suga. They both know why they want the land, and their men know it as well. Telling the human won’t hurt, so why not. “Several ley lines meet under your farm creating a node, a well of power for our people. In fact, to heal your mother, we would need to tap it.”

Taehyung nods like that means something to him. Really, all he hears is that it’s useful to them which gives him a bargaining chip. “My conditions are that this farm becomes neutral land. No fighting here, not even arguing. If you come here, you treat each other like you are on the same side of things.

“You can come when you want, but you need to provide at least a day’s warning. No one in my family knows you as anything other than human friends of mine. And only you six come, no one else of your people.” He really hopes this isn’t over stepping, isn’t too far.

Finally. This is exactly what Yoongi’s been waiting for. He misses Jin, spending so much time with him and his companions. A neutral ground gives them an excuse to cooperate, be nice to each other, and the node gives them an excuse to visit. He checks with Hoseok just to make sure and gets a nod. “We can agree to that.”

Namjoon nudges Seokjin’s thigh with his knee to signal his agreement. His Lord smiles and turns to face the human fully. “We can agree to those terms as well. We can agree to share the access as well.” Yoongi nods, and Seokjin starts planning just how soon he can create an excuse to come visit and chat with his old friend.

Taehyung swallows because he’s pretty sure that was just the easy part. “And the sexual energy?” He wants that, wants a chance to share his bed with someone, and these gorgeous fae would be a perfect first. 

Both lords gesture to the men standing behind them. “The three of you spend at least an hour together to build the energy and bind your intentions, bringing Light, Dark, and human together. It makes the agreements binding, prevents you from banning us from coming if we provide notice and us from fighting with each other.”

The human swallows and looks like he wants to agree but isn’t quite there. “And if there’s a specific reason you’d like us not to come on a specific day, we can discuss that as well,” Yoongi adds, hoping to soothe him. “Even with notice, we will still be guests, still need your permission to visit.”

That’s probably the best he can get. Taehyung nods while eyeing the men, the fae he’s about to agree to have sex with. He really couldn't have picked anyone better. “I agree.”

The two men smile, and Taehyung wonders what he just got himself into. “Then we’ll retire to your room for privacy. Lead the way.”