There’s nothing Yoongi both loves and hates more than brewing potions.
It’s just something about the way that everything needs to be precise and has its place - there’s no room for improvisations, or mishaps, or unpredictableness. Everything is accurate and deliberate and Yoongi likes that. It can be a chore, sure, but there’s something about the entire process that leaves him extremely satisfied.
Customers, however, can suck his dick.
Some people truly don’t appreciate that the art of potion making takes time, sometimes a lot of it, and really - they should know better. He is tired of explaining for the nth time how some potions require extremely specific care and instructions, and that they can’t just be made the day they’re ordered.
Like this extremely difficult and intricate potion of infatuation he’s currently brewing, that is not only strong enough to make any man or woman fall under a powerful love spell but is also hella difficult to make and is outlawed in at least three communities.
The recipe is tricky, calling for rare ingredients and specific conditions. Yoongi has waited for 3 weeks for the weather to become just right, he's not about to let anything mess this potion up. He takes extreme care with each ingredient, making sure to put in exactly how much he needs and not a pinch more.
The potion simmers, turning a pale pink as he adds the rose water. It hisses and proceeds to turn into the fuchsia colour it is supposed to be when he adds the crushed moonstone and stirs counter-clockwise. It bubbles, making low sputtering sounds, and Yoongi turns down the flame and retrieves a glass vial and a rack.
Concentrating, he cautiously transfers the potion from the cauldron to the vial, making sure he doesn't spill anything in fear of the consequences. Grinning triumphantly at the successful transfer, the witch turns away to grab a bottle stopper for the vial when he hears a loud caw and then the sound of wings beating.
Faster than Yoongi can react, a black crow swoops down, grabbing the vial and taking off down the hillside. Yoongi curses and sets off after it, cork clutched tightly in hand. He can't let that potion spill.
The crow glides down the hills before disappearing into the forest, making Yoongi quicken his pace. He's only seconds behind it, the pink liquid clearly visible in front of him, and he pushes himself to go faster as they run into a clearing. There's a lake in front of them, and Yoongi watches dreadfully as the crow heads towards it, gaining height as it does.
The moment the crow is above the lake it lets go, Yoongi watching in horror as the vial with the potion falls through the air. It feels like time slows as he moves toward the lake, lunging across the water and managing to wrap his hand around the vial, thumb quickly blocking the opening as he's plunged into the water.
He focuses on keeping his thumb over the bottle opening, using his left hand to push himself upwards until he breaks the surface again. He gets to the shore, dragging himself up and making sure no water mixes with the potion as he replaces his thumb with the bottle stopper. Finally, he flops down, breathing harshly and letting his heart return to a normal pace.
He spends a second to examine the vial, noting with slight relief that it seems like only a couple of drops spilled out of the flask during the chase, much less than he had expected. He lays the vial down again before closing his eyes, the adrenaline from what just happened ebbing out of him.
He doesn't know how long he lays there, but suddenly, Yoongi feels the prickling sensation of being watched come over him. It starts in the area around his stomach, moving up his chest and neck until the hairs at the back of his nape are standing up. He opens his eyes and sits up, eyes landing on a face just a couple of feet away from him. He startles, hurrying to stand up as curious eyes watch him, hiding the potion behind his back.
Wide brown eyes follow him, accompanied by long, wet, black hair that sticks to the (boy's? man's?) forehead and pink lips. Yoongi follows the sight of his curious observer’s neck down into the water, and in the blue depths, he catches the sight of a tail.
Now, Yoongi has no problems with mermen whatsoever, but there is something about this one’s gaze that unsettles him. He looks dazed, almost. Dreaming.
"Hi," the merman sighs, and Yoongi finds the tone of his voice weird.
It sounds strange - Yoongi has never heard of mermen speaking any differently than other humanoid species, but the tone of the merman's voice unsettles him. It sounds kind of dreamy, or - if Yoongi was going to be completely honest - infatuated.
"Hello," he replies back, cautiously. The merman blinks at him with hazy eyes before swimming even closer to the shore. He plants his elbows on the ground and props his head up, moving his tail and creating ripples in the clear, blue water. Yoongi observes him, noting the way the merman’s arms bulge out a bit and the way his dark scales reflect the sunlight like small mirrors.
"You're really pretty."
Yoongi is taken by surprise by the compliment, feeling a blush spread on his cheeks at the bluntness. There is a nagging voice in the back of his mind telling him something, but Yoongi can't make out what it's trying to say.
"Uh... Thank you?" It comes out as a question and the merman giggles, his tail splashing the water behind him as he leans even closer. Their eyes meet and there's something off, something extremely wrong, because the merman's eyes are cloudy and he looks completely gone as he looks at Yoongi.
"Do you compliment every stranger that falls into your lake?"
The merman giggles, smiling up at the witch.
"You're really funny, too." Yoongi hadn't intended to be funny. He feels his stomach twist uncomfortably, the voice at the back of his head raising in volume.
He crouches down to be at eye level with the merman, ignoring how much the other's expression lights up at their proximity.
"What's your name, kid?" he asks, looking at the smiling boy in the water. The merman bats his lashes at him.
"Jungkook," he says sweetly.
"Nice to meet you, Jungkook." The voice in his head is loud now, yelling in alarm, but Yoongi doesn't know exactly what makes him feel uneasy. Still, he knows when to listen to his gut so he excuses himself, straightening up and taking a step away when the other cries out, almost in pain, for him to stay.
He freezes, turning back towards the merman. Jungkook's face is twisted in despair, pleading, but his eyes are still cloudy and emotionless. It’s such a contrast to his actions that it makes a shiver run down the witch’s spine.
Yoongi looks down at the flask, the dots connecting.
Some of the potion must have spilled out as the crow dropped it, the potion somehow reaching the merman and managing to throw him under the potion’s spell.
It shouldn't have been possible, really - it's not a love potion designed for mermen. And if it's as strong as it is for mere humans, who knows what it could do to a magical being's system.
Judging by the cloudiness of his eyes, the way they keep trailing Yoongi’s every move and how obviously he’s not acting normally, it must be affecting him strongly. Extremely strongly. The other shouldn’t be in pain when Yoongi tries to leave.
His mind is racing.
Jungkook must currently be affected by the love potion, and Yoongi just so happens to be the only person or creature in a mile’s radius that can become what seems to be the recipient of the merman’s magically-induced devotion. Yoongi deduces that the merman must not be thinking clearly, blinded by whatever emotions the potion makes him feel, and having Yoongi within reach surely couldn't be helping.
In fact, Yoongi thought as he looked down at Jungkook's dreamy expression and happy smile, he was probably making things worse.
"Hey, Jungkook?" he said, mind quickly working on creating a plan to distract the other so he wouldn't be too affected by the witch leaving. "I have to run up and finish a potion. You don't mind, do you?"
It might be a dirty trick but Yoongi bats his lashes, pushing out his bottom lip slightly for extra measure. He can see the conflicting emotions on the merman's face, the way he seems to battle with himself for a moment before nodding, a cute smile taking over his face.
"Will you be back soon?" he asks, eyes wide and innocent.
"As soon as I can," Yoongi lies. It works, Jungkook nodding again with a relieved smile and smacking his tail against the surface.
"I'll be waiting, then."
Yoongi gives him a small smile and a wave before scurrying away, feeling the merman's eyes on him as he walks into the trees. He chances a glance back, immediately turning when Jungkook's eyes meet his and hurrying out of sight, leaving the merman behind.
He just hopes the potion wanes off quickly.
It's about midday the next day when a distressed bird flies into Yoongi's window, the loud thunking sound making the witch drop his pestle in alarm. He hurries towards the door, trying to see if the bird is alright, but as soon as he opens the door it flies right in front of him, chirping loudly.
Yoongi can hear the alarm in it's tone. It's urging the witch to follow it and Yoongi complies, hurrying after the small bird as it flies down the hills and then following it through the forest.
Yoongi feels his entire body fill with dread as the lake comes into view.
The scene in front of him is horrible. Jungkook is sitting on the shore, tail end in the water, with a sharp rock in his hand. A huge gash stretches down the expanse of where his thighs would be if he was human, blood dirtying the dark scales of his tail. The merman looks up when he hears Yoongi approach, a smile immediately appearing on his face and his entire body straightening up.
"You came back!" he yells happily.
Yoongi can barely speak. His eyes are glued to the horrible wound on the merman's tail, the way the muscles in his tail strain and the way the blood runs down his sides. Yoongi almost screams as Jungkook makes an attempt to move towards him, rushing towards the merman to prevent him from moving.
"What are you doing, Jungkook?" he bites out. Jungkook is smiling at him, no trace of pain on his face. It doesn't seem like he feels anything at all, if the dreamy look on his face is to go by.
"I was waiting for you." He grins, eyes cloudy and smile directed at Yoongi. "I waited the entire morning actually, but you never appeared. So I decided I had to go to you instead!"
Jungkook smiles brightly as Yoongi's stomach drops, his entire body swirling with fear and horror and... guilt.
This is his fault.
Before he can register his own movements, Yoongi is reaching towards the pocket of his robe and pulling out a piece of parchment and a pen, scribbling down a note for Seokjin about what items he needs and whistling loudly. The small bird from earlier lands in front of him, snatching the note and setting off as soon as Seokjin's name leaves his lips.
He watches the bird fly before he turns back to the merman, whose gaze hasn't left Yoongi and whose eyes remain hazy. Jungkook still has a loving, adoring expression on his face and it makes Yoongi's stomach twist.
Why is he still affected by the potion? Yoongi was sure that the effect would dull as time passed, and the fact that he hasn't been in the merman's presence at all in what would soon be 24 hours should've weakened the love spell.
Then again, it didn't make sense that Jungkook had been affected either. The potion wasn't designed for non-human creatures, so part-humans shouldn't be affected. Why is the merman cursed?
Yoongi looks down at Jungkook, whose expression hasn't wavered a bit. In fact, it's so eerily unchanged that Yoongi feels worry bubbling in his chest. How affected is the merman, exactly? Another thought popped into his head. If Jungkook didn't notice the pain from the wound, did he notice anything else?
"Jungkook," he starts, a shiver going up his spine as the other sighs dreamily. It's so wrong. "Have you eaten?"
The merman shakes his head, giggling. Yoongi feels his stomach turn.
"What about sleep? Did you sleep, Jungkook?"
The merman giggles, batting his lashes up at the witch. "You're so cute," he answers.
Yoongi feels sick as he meets Jungkook's adoring gaze, expression infatuated but eyes glazed over. It's so wrong. So, so wrong.
Yoongi doesn't have time to ask Jungkook more questions as he hears a chirp, making him look up in time to see the small bird from earlier flying towards them, Seokjin in tow. He almost jumps up in his eagerness as his fellow witch hobbles towards them, making sure not to stray too far from Jungkook as he grabs the jars Seokjin brought with him.
"Yoongi?" the other witch starts, flinching when he spots Jungkook, injured and lying on the shore. "What happened?!"
Yoongi is already down on his knees beside the merman, putting down two of the jars and opening a third one.
"It's a long story," he replies.
Yoongi scoops out a fair amount of disinfectant balm and gets to work, Jungkook hissing as he touches the wound. The merman's features are twisted in pain, and Yoongi duly notes that this is the first time he's expressed real emotion. A whimper escapes the other’s throat.
"I'm sorry, baby."
The words leave Yoongi's mouth automatically, the pet name appearing out of nowhere. He doesn't have the time to think about it though, because almost instantly Jungkook's body relaxes in his hold and the sweet, dreamy look is back on his face.
Jungkooks stays still as Yoongi finishes cleaning the cut, lathering it with healing salves and soothing balms. Carefully, he bandages over the wound, making sure it's all covered.
Jungkook doesn't say a word, and when Yoongi looks at the younger's face, he looks calm.
Content with the job Yoongi stands up and steps away, only for Jungkook to scream out louder than he did when he was in actual pain. Yoongi drops down beside him immediately, ignoring the pain shooting through his knees as he gets closer to the merman again. He can feel Seokjin's concerned stare on him, but luckily, the elder witch says nothing.
"You need to be careful, Jungkook. You need to rest now."
Jungkook is looking up at him with cloudy eyes. He looks forlorn.
"Are you leaving me again?" he whispers. Yoongi's heart breaks at the sad tone of his voice.
“I won’t. I’ll stay right here, ok? Don’t worry about it.” He gives the younger what he hopes is a reassuring smile, and the merman sighs contentedly as his eyes slide shut. The witch watches as the merman’s features relax, body becoming almost unnaturally still. It makes him wonder exactly how much the potion controls him, if it even keeps him from sleeping when he is clearly exhausted. Yoongi barely dares to breathe for the next few minutes until he’s assured that Jungkook is completely out. Jin breaks the silence.
“What the fuck, Yoongi?!” he hisses, careful not to wake the sleeping man. “What’s going on?”
Yoongi is careful to not change the distance between them as he re-adjusts himself, sitting down with his legs crossed. He keeps his eyes on Jungkook, eyes gliding over his soft, relaxed features and his glimmering tail.
He’d look truly stunning, ethereal almost, if it weren’t for the ghastly bandage covering the upper part of his tail. It’s a contrast to the beautiful way his scales reflect the sunlight, giving them a shining appearance.
“Jungkook,” Yoongi sighs, moving his gaze to the boy’s soft features, “was exposed to an extremely potent love potion yesterday. I thought the effect of it would fade if he was alone but clearly, it didn’t.”
He reaches up to brush the merman’s hair, worried when he feels how dry it is. How long has the man been out of water? Jungkook’s nose scrunches in his sleep before his features soften again, barely audible puffs of air leaving his mouth.
“What are you going to do?” Jin asks. Yoongi turns his attention to the older, finger’s still brushing through the merman’s hair. He thinks about it for a moment.
“Could you get Joon-ah for me?” he asks, watching the elder frown in confusion as he nods. “I need him to fix the wound.”
He watches the realisation dawn on his friend’s face, Jin already nodding again.
“Right. Do you want me to get Hoseok too?”
Yoongi considers it. If he’s planning on transporting Jungkook back to his cabin he needs all the help he can get. Besides, the forest nymph could probably clear the way for them and make the trip through the forest slightly easier, so he nods.
“Sure. Did you get here by broom?”
When Jin shakes his head, Yoongi nods. “Take the one from my shed. I don’t think Jungkook is going to wake up anytime soon, but we need to get him out of the sun and into some water real quick.”
“Will you be ok?” Jin looks worried, his eyes shifting between looking at the sleeping merman and his friend. He doesn’t miss the way Yoongi is still stroking Jungkook’s hair. The other witch nods.
“Positive. Just hurry.”
They share a look and then Jin takes off in the direction of Yoongi’s hut, disappearing into the forest and leaving the witch and the merman alone. Yoongi takes a closer look at the boy, then.
His hair is light brown now that it’s dry, soft to the touch and a bit messy after all the times Yoongi has ran his hand through it. His skin is tan, almost looking a bit red, and the witch carefully touches his cheek to make sure his skin isn’t getting burnt. He trails his finger down the side of the merman’s face before pulling his hand away.
He looks so young, so innocent as he sleeps, and Yoongi feels like a creep for staring. The merman’s chest rises, then falls, then rises again, and it captivates Yoongi. He feels like he’s being hypnotised, unable to remove his gaze from the sleeping boy.
His eyes trail down his tail - beautiful, glimmering scales contrasting the ugly, ugly bandage covering an even uglier wound. The thought makes him queasy and sends his mind spinning again.
Exactly how strongly did the potion affect Jungkook? And how much time would it take before the effect faded? He’s afraid of what he’ll find out, and the thoughts make his head spin.
It seems like he disassociates after that, because the next thing the witch knows Jin is entering the clearing, Hoseok and Namjoon in tow. The expressions on their faces would be almost comical if the situation wasn’t so deadly serious.
“Hyung,” Hoseok chokes out, staring in horror at the bandage on Jungkook’s tail as Namjoon makes his way to them, “What happened? Oh Demeter, is he ok?”
Yoongi smiles at him, but his attention quickly turns to Namjoon when he speaks,
“He’s fine, Hobi-ah. But we need to heal his wound.”
Namjoon nods, already understanding what he needs to do. He kneels next to Yoongi, looking the merman up and down before placing his hands lightly on top of the white bandage. Jungkook shudders, his body reacting to the touch, and Yoongi reaches out to hold his hand. Immediately the younger grasps it, holding it tightly despite still being asleep, and his body relaxes again.
Namjoon unwraps the bandage, slowly, removing it to make his magic work better. Yoongi hears the gasps of shock, horror and disgust that Jin and Hoseok make when the gash becomes visible, the sight makes his own stomach knot. He rubs the back of Jungkook’s hand as Namjoon places his hands on the younger’s scales, the wound starting to glow faintly.
Yoongi watches the merman’s face while the other witch works, noting the small scrunches of his nose and the ever reappearing frown between his brows. Every time his mouth twitches Yoongi squeezes his hand tighter, just a bit, until the boy’s features relax again. He doesn’t look away until Namjoon clears his throat, noticing that his hands are off Jungkook’s tail and that the gash is now replaced with a long scar. Yoongi smiles thankfully at Namjoon before his expression turns serious
“We need to get him transported to my place,” he says. The younger nods.
Together, all four of them maneuver Jungkook’s sleeping body through the forest. Yoongi and Seokjin are working their levitation charms and spells, Namjoon walking right by the merman and making sure the gash is completely sealed and that he stays flat on his back and Hoseok leading the pack, using his powers to clear the way and make it as smooth as possible.
When they finally get up the hill to Yoongi’s hut, everyone feels a bit faint. Namjoon shrinks down to look after Hoseok, who is completely drained and has crumpled to the ground. The nymph is sickly pale, almost shaking, and Yoongi can’t have two creatures dying in his house so he orders Namjoon to get Hoseok situated on his couch while he and Jin get Jungkook hydrated again.
“Yoongi,” Jin says, and Yoongi realises the same thing as Jin must have, because he voices the thought a second later. “You have no place to put him.”
“Shit. Just a second. Do you think you can keep him floating?”
Jin nods, and Yoongi carefully lets his focus wander from keeping Jungkook soaring. Sure enough, the merman doesn’t even budge, so Yoongi hurries to one of his cabinets. He grabs a small, rectangular glass container and then some malt up rubies, smearing the red powder over his hand and chanting an enlargement spell.
It drains him more than it should, but considering he’s just used levitation magic all the way from the lake and now this, he disregards it.
He grabs some powdered amethyst and begins chanting a new spell, watching as the now huge glass tank in the middle of his living room fills up with water.
Jin gets the hint, manoeuvring Jungkook into the tank and lowering the boy into the water. Yoongi doesn’t want the water to cover his head while the boy is sleeping so he pauses the flow, watching as Jungkook’s nose twitches and then as his eyes fly open.
He almost shoots upright and Yoongi moves quickly, leaning over and pressing a hand on the boy’s chest to make him stay down. Their eyes meet, and Yoongi watches in horror as Jungkook’s eyes get hazier.
“Hi,” he giggles, voice absolutely enchanted, and Yoongi quickly retracts his hand. Luckily, the merman stays down.
“Hello,” he says back. In the corner of his eye, he sees all three of his friends staring at them, but he ignores them in favour of the boy in front of him. “How are you feeling, Jungkook?”
The boy bats his eyelashes at him.
“I’m wonderful,” he smiles. “Everything is wonderful around you.”
Yoongi hates that answer, battling his frown and forcing himself to smile instead. It seems like nothing has changed. The effect hasn’t faded. He sighs internally.
“I want to fill up the rest of the tank with water. Is that okay, Jungkook?” He waits until the boy nods before continuing his chanting, letting the water fill up. The tank is long enough so that Jungkook can lie comfortably and tall enough to reach Yoongi’s chest, the water filling about ¾ of the tank. Jungkook is looking at the water filling, eyes wide, before his dreamy gaze is back focusing on the witch.
“Is it alright?” he asks, only getting a romantic sigh in response. Yoongi pouts at the tank. He wishes the boy was back to normal already. Instead of focusing on that thought, however, he needs him to get some rest.
“Are you hungry?” he asks, watching Jungkook shake his head. “Are you sure? When was the last time you ate?”
The merman seems to think for a second before he shrugs, admiring Yoongi seemingly his number one priority at the moment. The witch sighs.
“Jungkook,” he says, as kindly as he can despite his frustration, “you need to eat something, and then you need to rest. Do you get that?” The merman shakes his head.
“I’m not hungry,” he giggles. Yoongi wants to scream.
He feels the concerned stares of his friend boring into his back.
“Jungkookie,” he says, making his voice softer. He sees the merman’s clouded eyes dilate. “Eat something for me, alright? You don’t want me to worry, do you?”
Jungkook shakes his head, but Yoongi knows it’s in response to his words. The other’s words confirm it.
“Of course not! Please don’t worry!”
Yoongi smiles at him.
“Let me get you something to eat, then. Do you like salmon?” When the younger nods, Yoongi heads to the kitchen, getting the salmon from the fridge and not even bothering to plate it before he heads back to the tank.
Jungkook is already holding his hands out, expectantly, devouring the fish in seconds. The witch is almost worried he’s going to choke but the merman just swallows it down smoothly, sweet eyes looking at Yoongi.
The witch smiles at him.
“Do you want more, Jungkook-ah? I have some sardines as well.”
“Yes, please,” the younger answers, eagerly. Yoongi feels relieved that the merman seems eager to eat, but a small voice at the back of his mind suspects it’s because he likes that Yoongi is feeding him. Still - he’s eating, so it’s better than nothing.
Jungkook devours the sardines. And the mackerel. And even the spinach Yoongi gives him. The witch wonders how much the boy usually eats, if mermen have some kind of never-ending black hole in their stomach where all the food disappears.
The boy pouts when Yoongi tells him he can’t have anymore and that he needs to rest, but with a flutter of the witch’s eyelashes and some sweet words he reluctantly agrees.
As soon as the boy is asleep, his friends pounce. Yoongi makes sure to cast a muffling spell over where the merman is sleeping in the tank before he lets any of them talk.
“What the fuck, Yoongi?” Hoseok is the first to speak, unsurprisingly. “What was that? What happened to him?”
Before Yoongi can answer, it seems like Namjoon has already guessed.
“Does this have anything to do with the love potion you were brewing?” he asks, worried frown on his face. Yoongi nods.
“Yeah,” he affirms, glancing at the glass tank before facing his friends again. “A bird stole the vial while it was still unstoppered, and some of the potion spilt out. Poor kid thinks he’s in love with me, now.”
“Why were you even brewing a love potion, anyways?” Hoseok asks, genuinely curious. “Do you have someone you want to…” He trails off, casting an unsure gaze at Namjoon, as if his boyfriend can help him out. Yoongi shakes his head.
“It was for a client,” he explains. “I thought it would calm down if I stayed away from him, but it seems like the effect is too strong. He’s completely gone.”
“Where did you learn that?” Jin asks. When he sees the look of confusion on the younger’s face, he elaborates, “the way you’re speaking to him. How you manipulate him into doing stuff.”
Despite the very grim situation, Yoongi cracks a smile.
“Met a succubus in Incheon a couple of years ago, she taught me some tricks,” he grins, making the others smile a bit too. Their smiles disappear the very next second though, when Hoseok voices the question everyone is thinking.
“What are you going to do now?”
When Jungkook wakes up, it takes him a couple of seconds to realise where he is and what he’s doing there.
There’s water around him, yes, but he can see directly into a living space that is definitely not under water. There are things everywhere, things Jungkook has no idea what are, in different shapes and colours. He swims upwards, surprised to break the surface so quickly, and he blinks to get the water out of his eyes.
Where is he?
He hears a noise, twisting around quickly to spot a man with beautiful black hair and pale skin walking into the room. Jungkook feels his stomach twist and then a rush of feelings overwhelm him, drowning him in the sheer amount of everything he is feeling: love, adoration, fascination, lust, devotion, confusion, dedication.
He can’t rip his eyes away from the other - his pale, glowing skin, his dark eyes, his pretty lips, his cute nose, his stunning jaw, his long neck and his lean, gorgeous body. The merman is powerless as his gaze stays glued to the man, mind giving up control over his own body as everything in him screams that it wants the stranger closer, that it needs him closer.
He almost doesn’t feel like himself.
“Yoongi,” he cheers, greeting the handsome man. Yoongi? Who is Yoongi?
“Hi, Jungkook-ah,” the man smiles, and Jungkook feels his heart beat erratically. “Did you sleep well?”
He feels himself nod, body flushing and mind racing happily when the man - Yoongi? - smiles at him again. He really likes Yoongi’s smile. Likes being the cause of it.
Since when has he-
“That’s great, Jungkook-ah.” Jungkook loves the way he says his name. His voice makes it sound so much prettier. Yoongi has the prettiest voice. Yoongi has the prettiest face, too.
Yoongi is the prettiest.
Yoongi also walks straight past him to get something and Jungkook whines at the lack of attention. He watches as the witch walks over to a huge shelf filled with small, rectangular objects and chooses one. Then, still not really paying attention to the merman in the room, he sits down on some kind of weirdly shaped and oddly coloured rock. The rock sinks a bit under his weight. How is that possible?
“What are you doing?” Jungkook asks, looking at the witch. He wants to help Yoongi. Somehow. He wants to be useful.
“Reading,” the elder replies, opening the rectangular object to make it a bigger rectangle. Jungkook frowns.
“Reading?” he questions, the word foreign on his tongue. “What is that?”
At his question, Yoongi looks up, and Jungkook momentarily gets lost in his eyes. He focuses again when the other speaks.
“Do you not know what reading is?” When Jungkook shakes his head, the other moves closer. The merman’s heart skips a beat. “It’s a way for people to understand, get and share information. Do you see these symbols here?”
Yoongi shows him the rectangle, and Jungkook tries to focus on the little rows of symbols in front of him. He nods, looking at Yoongi again and seeing him smile.
“They’re called letters. Put them together, like they’re written on the page, and they make up words and sentences. Looking at these symbols and understanding them is what reading is.”
Jungkook looks at the witch with wide eyes. He’s so cool. Jungkook is in love.
“You’re so cool,” he says, and Yoongi laughs. His laugh is the prettiest thing Jungkook has heard. It sounds better than the way the young ones sing lullabies to the river dolphins and small fish. It’s prettier than the sound of sea shells clicking together in a gentle stream. He falls even more. “You can understand all the symbols on those rectangles?”
“Rectangles? You mean this?” He giggles, holding up the rectangle once more. “This is a book,” he explains. Then, with a curious glance, he adds: “How do you not know what a book is, but you know what a rectangle is?”
Jungkook scoffs. He’s not offended - Yoongi could never offend him - but he feels the need to prove something to the witch. He needs to prove that he is worthy of his love.
“I finished my education,” he says as he crosses his arms. “Of course I know what a rectangle is.”
The witch looks amused, but he’s smiling and that’s all that matters. Jungkook wants his love to talk to him more. He looks curiously at the symbols - letters, they were called - in the book.
“What is it about?” he wonders. Yoongi’s answer surprises him.
“Why do you need to read about that?” Jungkook wrinkles his nose before pouting. That doesn’t make sense. “I’m here! Why don’t you ask me, Yoongi?”
The witch laughs, and Jungkook smiles again because the sound is so pretty! He loves Yoongi’s laugh! Yoongi laughed because of him!
“I need to find out how to fix you,” the witch says. Jungkook makes a questioning sound, furrowing his brows.
“Fix me? What’s wrong with me?” Insecurity starts taking over him. Is there something in him Yoongi doesn’t like? That needs to change? Jungkook needs to change to make Yoongi love him. He needs to be fixed.
“Nothing’s wrong, Jungkookie, not like that. You might just be a bit sick, acting less like yourself,” Yoongi says, and his eyes are gentle. Jungkook finds himself nodding along. Whatever Yoongi says.
He still sulks when the witch goes back to his book, leaving Jungkook to float around in his tank and do nothing. Well, not nothing. Jungkook spends his time studying Yoongi - his pretty face, cute body, the way he looks extremely concentrated as he reads the book.
Jungkook could look at him forever. He’s so pretty.
The other keeps frowning the more he reads, and it makes Jungkook sad. He leans further over the side of the tank.
“Can I help?”
“Hmm?” Yoongi looks up, eyes widening when he sees that Jungkook has moved closer. “Help with what?”
“Anything,” Jungkook says eagerly. Yoongi looks at him, seemingly thinking, and the merman really hopes he can be useful.
“Well,” the other begins and Jungkook lights up, because that sounds like he can be of help! Yoongi might need his help! “I do have potions I need to finish for clients. Would you mind being my assistant, Jungkook?”
The merman shakes his head, quickly.
“Of course not! I want to help!” He looks Yoongi in the eyes and his heart does a thing. “Anything for you.”
“Ok,” Yoongi smiles, and Jungkook loves him. He loves him so much. He wants to give him the world. Yoongi is so pretty. “Let’s get started, then?”
Three days have passed since the merman arrived and Yoongi is worried. Extremely so. Because the boy is still as whipped as cream.
The only thing keeping Yoongi from calling the Council for help is the fact that Jungkook is slowly improving, even if it’s extremely small.
First things first: He senses again. Yoongi almost cried in relief when Jungkook asked him for food, happily feeding the merman and extremely relieved that he felt something other than what the potion made him feel. He was still pretty bad at going to bed unless Yoongi specifically instructed him to, the other wanting to enjoy the witch’s company in his muddled brain, but still - it was an improvement. An improvement Yoongi was extremely happy with.
Even so, his behaviour after being affected four days ago was worrying. Most of his actions revolved around Yoongi - either doing things because the witch told him to or because they were helpful, in a way. Jungkook had taken to observing Yoongi while he worked - keeping track of when different potions were cooking, watching with wide eyes as the witch expertly made amulets and charms and (as helpfully as he could) keeping him company while Yoongi worked.
The merman seemed to be regaining more and more control over himself and his thoughts, because by the fourth day, Yoongi is almost sure the effect has faded drastically due to the amount of questions the merman asks.
“What about that?” he points, wide-eyed. Yoongi follows his gaze, chuckling when he realises the merman is pointing at a lamp.
“It’s a lamp. It’s a human invention. It gives you light in the dark.”
Jungkook blinks up at him, eyes still wide and amazed.
“But where does the light come from if it’s dark?”
“It has its own energy source, so it doesn’t depend on anything else. As long as it gets energy, it can turn on and give light.”
Jungkook makes a little woah sound as he looks back at the lamp.
“Can you show me?”
Yoongi smiles, fondness bubbling in his chest.
In a way, he already cares for Jungkook deeply - not only because the merman is, at the moment, his responsibility, but also because he’s very sweet and adorable in general. He knows it’s the potion influencing Jungkook -- prompting him to ask Yoongi about every little thing, driving him to help Yoongi with his daily tasks (as much as he can from the enchanted tank, anyways) -- but he can’t control the tiny part of him that wants to keep the merman close.
He’ll just have to do his best to ignore it.
“Sure, when it gets dark,” he replies, watching the beautiful smile that blooms on the merman’s face as he looks at him. There is a question that comes to his mind, though, a question he really should have asked earlier. Yoongi simply got too distracted by the fact that the merman was acting closer to normal.
“Hey, Jungkook-ah? Why are you asking me about all of this?”
It is strange, the way Jungkook suddenly showed an interest in everything in Yoongi’s home, from the potions and spell books to the householding appliances. He wonders if it is Jungkook’s actual curiosity about where he is and how things work on land, if he wants to know because the items are new and foreign and exciting.
Jungkook smiles at him, pretty and dazzling.
“I need to know what everything is, silly,” he giggles, and Yoongi’s heart might have skipped a beat. “Or else, I’m gonna be a really bad husband when we get married.”
Yoongi chokes on nothing. It seems like the potion is still affecting the merman strongly, after all.
“Husband?” he questions, and Jungkook giggles before nodding.
“Isn’t that what you guys call them?” he blinks, innocently, and Yoongi wonders if he’s having a stroke because... marriage? “I’d be a terrible mate if I couldn’t even make you… What was it called again? Kofi?”
“Coffee,” Yoongi supplies weakly.
“Yes! That! I’d be a terrible mate if I couldn’t manage to make you coffee.”
Jungkook is smiling at him, eyes crinkled, and Yoongi realises that the potion is still working as strongly as ever. That’s bad. Very bad.
So is the way Yoongi’s heart skips a beat as he imagines a future where the curse never breaks. Because he doesn’t really mind. He doesn’t really mind at all.
Yoongi doesn’t know how it began, or when it began, but he does know that at some point, Jungkook became a familiar presence in his house.
It’s been a week, a full week since he found Jungkook bleeding out down by the lake and brought the merman back home, a week and a day since that wretched bird stole his potion and some of it spilt into the merman’s lake, a week and a day since he first met the other.
Jungkook keeps helping him out, eager smile on his face and excited eyes whenever Yoongi talks to him. The witch hates how much he likes the attention, how much he likes Jungkook’s adoring state.
It makes him feel sick, twisted, but the merman’s smile and loving eyes are burnt into his memory and he can’t forget it, no matter how much he wants to wipe the image from his mind.
The adoration and admiration is just temporary, he reminds himself. It’s fake. Fabricated.
The words sting, but they help keep him grounded. He can’t be selfish. Jungkook isn’t acting like himself. Yoongi needs to stop enjoying it. Still, he finds it really difficult to resist the cute merman and his adorable antics.
Maybe that is why his friends confronting him is a wake up call.
“You’ve grown awfully close,” Jin comments, one eyebrow raised from where he’s sitting on Yoongi’s bed. They’ve all gathered at Yoongi’s cabin for a group meeting, getting distracted from their original mission to discuss what to do and steering the conversation towards Yoongi and the merman. The dark haired witch shrugs.
“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”
“Sure,” he teases, grinning. “It’s not like you were extremely wary and uncomfortable around him in the beginning and now you seem like you don’t want to be parted from him.”
Hoseok giggles, and Yoongi glares at him. The nymph pays it no mind, already used to how grumpy the witch can get. Yoongi wishes he was still as nervous around him as he was when they first met - at least he wouldn’t have to face this disrespect.
He huffs, a clever retort at the tip on his tongue, when Jin beat him to it.
“Do you even want him to leave?” the elder teases, the remark easily falling from his mouth.
Yoongi freezes, hesitating a second too long. His friends’ eyes narrow.
“Hyung,” Namjoon begins lowly, but Jin beats him to the question.
“Yoongi, what the fuck do you mean you don’t want him to leave?”
The witch feels both Namjoon’s and Seokjin’s eyes boring into him, gazes hard and accusing. The atmosphere has changed drastically in seconds - Yoongi can almost touch the tension in the air. He gulps.
“Hyung,” Namjoon says, and his tone is so so so cold, “you know he’s affected by a curse, right? You need to help him.”
As if Yoongi doesn’t know. The witch glares at the healer.
“Don’t you think I know? It’s been a fucking week and nothing. Nothing I’ve tried has worked. I don’t know what to do.”
“Well, for starters, maybe not catching feelings for him would be great,” Jin says, sarcasm lacing his tone like venom. “For the love of Artemis, Yoongi, I can’t believe you. What the fuck.”
The younger glares at him.
“The fuck, hyung? It’s not like I’m forcing him to be here. I can’t control my feelings.”
“You shouldn’t be fucking catching them, Yoongi. He’s cursed, for Artemis’ sake! Because of you, nonetheless!”
Yoongi has never heard Jin’s tone so angry, and every word burns his skin like acid.
“I didn’t fucking choose to curse him!” he snaps back, anger rising. “I want him to come back to himself. I’m trying, and I’m sorry if that’s not good enough but I really am.”
“Are you really trying, Yoongi?”
The accusal stings. Yoongi’s eyes are glued to the elder witch, both of them glaring at each other. He knows what the elder is trying to prove, and he won’t stand for it.
“Of course I am! Why wouldn’t I?” Seokjin rolls his eyes, as if it’s obvious.
“I don’t know, Yoongi,” he spits, and the younger witch sees red at the tone the elder is using. “Maybe you like getting the attention? Maybe you don’t want it to end?”
“What are you even talking about?” Yoongi hisses. “Do you think I’m shallow enough to keep someone around just because they give me attention?”
“Well, that’s what Jiyong did to you, so maybe-”
“Stop it!” Hoseok intervenes, voice raised. He looks desperately between the two eldest witches, but the damage has already been done. Yoongi feels like he’s been slapped.
“Get out,” he growls, not once breaking eye contact with the elder witch. Seokjin is glaring right back at him. “Get the fuck out.”
“Yoongi,” Hoseok pleads, and the witch snaps his gaze to look at him.
Jin huffs, turning on his heels, not even bothering to spare Yoongi a second look as he storms out the door. Namjoon quickly follows, jaw set, hand circling Hoseok’s wrist and dragging the other with him. Yoongi sees the nymph looking at him with apologetic eyes before he’s dragged out of sight, the outer door slamming moments later to signal their departure.
He throws himself onto his bed, angrily screaming into the pillow. The adrenaline is still pulsing in his veins, making his body more sensitive to the magic around him, eager to reach out and use it as a way to channel his anger. He presses it down, focusing instead on breathing as his thoughts run around wildly in his head.
There’s a low splash coming from the living room, and then something heavy thuds to the ground. Yoongi springs up.
Jungkook is halfways out of the tank, hands placed on the edge of the couch and supporting the rest of his upper body while his tail is still in the water. He freezes when Yoongi enters the room, like a deer in headlights, before his entire body relaxes and he slides back into the tank. An innocent smile adorns his face.
Yoongi’s eyes trail from where the merman floats in his tank to where his floor lamp has fallen over.
“What were you doing, Kook?” he asks, wandering into the room to pick the fallen object up again. His heart warms a bit as he meets Jungkook’s eyes.
The merman pouts at him.
“Your friends seemed mad,” he says, softly, and Yoongi feels the slight warmth he felt at the sight of Jungkook extinguish as he’s reminded of the recent argument with Jin. “And you didn’t come out after them. I got worried.”
Jungkook is pouting, looking genuinely concerned, and Yoongi’s heart clenches painfully. It’s all false. An illusion.
An illusion he clings to, nonetheless.
“Thank you, Kookie.” He fakes a smile, but it’s not as false as it should be because the other’s concern truly makes him feel a little fuzzy. “I’m tired, though. Would you mind if I headed to bed a little earlier?”
Jungkook shakes his head, reminding Yoongi of a cute puppy, and the witch almost leans over to kiss him. Almost.
Artemis knows what disastrous consequences that would have.
“I’ll see you later?” Jungkook asks, voice small, and Yoongi smiles.
“Of course, Kook-ah. Try to rest too.”
With a small wave he enters his room again, closing the door behind him and flopping down on his mattress.
Yoongi doesn’t sleep, opting to stare at the ceiling for some hours until he loses consciousness. Unfortunately, he keeps waking up, the cycle repeating itself until he hears a soft knock on his door.
The witch furrows his brows. Jungkook can’t move from the tank, so it’s not the merman. Jin and Namjoon don’t seem like they will step foot close to where he lives anytime soon. That leaves...
Before he can move a muscle the door opens, revealing Hoseok with what seems to be a small cloth in his hand. The nymph looks nervous, eyes softening as they land in Yoongi.
“May I come in?”
He looks at the nymph, watching as Hoseok writhes under his gaze for what seems like several minutes before he nods. The younger sighs in relief, carefully stepping inside the room. He unravels the cloth in his hand, offering the sweet bun to Yoongi as he walks closer to the bed.
“A peace offering,” he smiles, and Yoongi snorts as he grabs the treat. He sits up, dangling his legs from the edge of the bed, and motions for Hoseok to sit next to him.
“So,” the younger begins slowly after he has sat down, and Yoongi hates how soft his voice is, “how are you feeling, hyung?”
Yoongi huffs, momentarily unlocking the cage where he stuffs all his feelings just to see what they are.
“I’m mad,” he responds, remembering everything Jin said earlier. “Accusing me like that was just an ass move. And so was bringing up Jiyong.”
At the thought of his ex, a small flame is ignited in his chest, and before he knows it, Yoongi is ranting.
“Because, I’m not him. And I never will be. And just because he played with my feelings because it amused him how I kept trailing after him like a lost puppy doesn’t mean I would ever do the same, especially with someone like Jungkook. I can’t believe he implied I’d ever use Kook like that.”
Hoseok is nodding from where he is listening, sympathetic expression on his face.
“That’s true. Hyung overstepped.”
Yoongi feels his anger bubble up again.
“He acts like I’m not capable of thinking, or something,” he vents. “Like, I’m fully aware that developing feelings for someone who is cursed to act like they’re in love with me is a bad idea. I know. Don’t you think I know? It’s just so hard. You have no idea how hard it is.”
Hoseok makes a noise to indicate he’s still listening, tilting his head slightly.
“Love is complicated,” he says, and Yoongi laughs. Complicated. That’s the understatement of the century.
“It’s fucking bullshit. Feelings, crushes, love, whatever this is. It’s so wrong. Messed up. I shouldn’t be feeling like this. He’s just so sweet and cute but for Moon’s sake, Hoseok, he has a tail! He’s a merman, a cursed one nonetheless, how the fuck am I supposed to not freak out about it?”
Yoongi misses the way Hoseok stiffens and frowns at his words. He doesn’t even register how tense the other’s voice is when he speaks.
“Is your issue with Jungkook that he’s a merman?”
Yoongi turns to look at him, finally noticing how tense the nymph is.
“What?” he asks confused. “No? Being a merman is a part of him. I have no issue with that. I just can’t date him.”
“Why not?” Hoseok’s tone is weird - he sounds angry, almost. As far as Yoongi is concerned, Hoseok has only gotten angry thrice in his life.
“...It wouldn’t be right?” He’s not sure why it comes out as a question. Surely it’s glaringly obvious why he and Jungkook can’t be together. Looking past their fundamental differences, which are already an obstacle, Jungkook is cursed. Cursed by Yoongi, nonetheless. Everything about their relationship screams “wrong”.
When he notices the angry frown on Hoseok’s face, he sighs. “Hobi, you know this. The world is a prejudiced place. Even if Jungkook wasn’t cursed, it wouldn’t have worked. It’s just weird, right? Unnatural.”
Before Yoongi can blink Hoseok is standing up, glaring angrily at him. The nymph looks terrifying, eyes burning with fire and face set in a harsh grimace. His voice comes out piercing and strong.
“Unnatural? Weird? Is that really how you think of those kind of relationships? Interspecies relationships?” His voice is full of rage. “Fucked up? Is that how you see me and Joon?”
Yoongi realises too late what exactly his words implied. He tries to reach for the younger’s hand, but the other is already marching towards the door.
“Hoseok! You know I don’t-” He’s cut off by Hoseok snarling, snarling of all things. The sound is beastly and foreign, sending shivers down Yoongi’s spine.
“I don’t want to hear it, Yoongi.”
The witch can only watch as Hoseok storms out the door, much like his other two friends had done earlier. His heart sinks as he hears the door slam again, shutting his eyes when he hears Jungkook softly calling him from the living room.
He shuts his eyes and tries to wipe his mind clean.
Three days pass, and Yoongi hears nothing from Jin, Namjoon or Hoseok.
It shouldn’t hurt him as much as it does. There shouldn’t be a hollow emptiness in his chest but it’s there, hidden. He misses them.
The merman in his living room keeps his mind occupied, though, so he doesn’t have a lot of time to miss them.
It’s a strange thing, he muses as he let’s Jungkook play with his hair, the merman’s fingers twisting his strands and scratching his scalp, how Jungkook feels like he’s becoming more and more himself yet the adoration never fades.
The other has drastically improved since he first arrived, and although he still seems to be kind of in love with Yoongi, the witch can a) hold a decent conversation with him, b) leave him alone and the merman will be able to make up something to do instead of passively waiting for instructions and c) say something and have the merman disagree with him.
Jungkook acts, more or less, normal now. He curiously inquires about Yoongi’s work and asks the other to teach him to read, watching with wide eyes and a slack jaw as Yoongi makes potions and charms.
He argues with him about colours and smells and magic and the fact that you can’t seriously think maple forests are superior when evergreen trees exist. He eats Yoongi’s food and makes the witch laugh so much his stomach hurts and it feels like he’s constantly smiling.
Jungkook brings him so much happiness he feels like he’ll burst.
He tells Yoongi about his own home - about the lake, about his tribe, about the corals and the way he misses the feeling of the currents against his skin. Yoongi listens and smiles and coos and realises that it’s time for the merman to go home.
He doesn’t react to Yoongi’s absence anymore, not physically, at least. The merman still whines about missing him if he’s gone too long, a sweet smile on his features, but it’s nothing like when he was in physical pain after being separated.
Besides, Jungkook is getting homesick - Yoongi can tell. It’s been almost two weeks since he was brought to Yoongi’s home, too. He needs to be let go. Taken back to where he belongs.
Yoongi is being selfish, he knows.
“Why are you pouting?” Jungkook asks, frowning. Yoongi didn’t even realise he was.
“No reason,” he lies, shooting Jungkook a fake smile. The other doesn’t buy it.
“Don’t lie to me,” he frowns, concern evident as his brows furrow. “What’s wrong?”
Yoongi looks at him. He’s so cute, it makes his heart ache. Yoongi doesn’t want to let him go. He doesn’t want him to leave.
“I think it’s time I took you home,” he says instead. He watches the way Jungkook blinks, processing, before a huge smile takes over his face. His eyes glimmer in excitement, features scrunching in happiness, but then his expression falls and he bites his lip.
“Without you?” he asks, voice small and quiet. Yoongi feels a lump forming in his throat.
He nods. The merman frowns, shaking his head before he looks at the witch with wide, earnest eyes.
“I don’t want that.”
“Jungkookie,” Yoongi sighs, and the way his own voice sounds so grave and serious pains him. The words that come out of his mouth pain him. “You need to go home. Back to the lake.”
The merman’s lip wobbles and why him, Yoongi can’t deal with this. Jungkook’s eyes turn glassy.
“But what about you?” His voice is frail and puny, the sound shattering the witch’s heart.
“My home is here.” Yoongi hates himself. Hates the words he’s saying. Hates the way Jungkook looks hurt.
The merman still looks at him with big, teary eyes.
“But what about me?” He sounds near tears. Yoongi’s heart breaks, but he keeps his face still.
“Your home is the lake.”
He sees the moment the merman finally realises exactly what Yoongi means, the other man shakes his head aggressively.
“No,” he chants. “No no no no no! My home is here. My home is with you.”
Yoongi shakes his head but his throat clogs up, unable to bear the sight of the younger crying.
Jungkook reaches for him, fingers slipping around the witch’s wrist and he grips him, tightly.
“Yoongi,” he pleads, desperately wanting the other to look at him. “Yoongi.”
The witch doesn’t look up, his own tears welling in his eyes. He’s being selfish.
“Yoongi,” the merman cries, and Yoongi looks up for a second to see his tear streaked face, the sight shattering his already broken heart. His own tears start falling. “We don’t have to,” Jungkook whispers. “I can stay. I can stay.”
Yoongi shakes his head, but Jungkook interrupts him before he can speak.
“I can stay.” It sounds like a plea, almost like a question. “Please let me stay.”
Yoongi is going to regret this decision for the rest of his life.
He pulls his arm out of the merman’s grip, making him cry out, and he takes a step back. He can’t even face Jungkook properly as he backs out of the room. Retreating. Running away. Hiding.
“I’m sorry, Kook-ah. I want you to stay. I’m sorry. You have to go.” He can hear Jungkook protesting, crying, calling out to him, but the sounds are muffled, his head ringing.
“I’m sorry,” he repeats. “I’m sorry.”
Jungkook’s cries are loud enough to hear through the door so Yoongi shoves his pillow over his ears, muffling the sounds as best as he can as he sobs.
He has to let him go. And with him, a piece of his heart will leave too.
Jungkook clings to his arm, refusing to let Yoongi’s sleeve go as the witch works on getting the merman airborne.
He’s mad, evident in the way he’s refusing to speak to Yoongi, but he still clings to his sleeve like a lifeline. It’s a bit distracting, truly, but Yoongi understands where he’s coming from so he doesn’t pry the other’s hands off of him.
He wants the other to stay, too.
The magic takes a lot of time and a lot of strength, Yoongi using most of his energy to focus on getting the merman floating. It would be much easier with Jin and Namjoon to help him, surely, but they haven’t spoken since his friends stormed out days ago.
He wonders if they’re alright, before scrapping the thought. Of course they are.
When Jungkook is finally up in the air his hand has moved from Yoongi’s sleeve to the other’s hand, clutching tightly. He’s still not talking but Yoongi can tell the sensation is scary and weird for the merman, so he helps him lay on his stomach and leads him out of the house.
They must look ridiculous, really, but Yoongi can’t force himself to let go of Jungkook’s hand. He focuses on getting them unscathed through the trees instead, careful to make sure the merman doesn’t bump into anything. He feels Jungkook’s grip on his hand tighten as they get closer and closer to the clearing, and the hold is almost crushing as the lake comes into view.
Yoongi stops when he’s at the edge of the water, finally tuning to face the merman. Jungkook’s eyes are glued to the water, shining with unshed tears. He wants to kiss him. He really does.
“Welcome home,” he whispers. It feels like something will shatter if he speaks louder. Jungkook doesn’t turn to look at him, and it stings.
“Home,” he repeats quietly. His tone is soft, and it hurts even more than the way he’s still not looking at Yoongi.
The witch doesn’t know what to say so he stays quiet, feeling sadness welling up in him.
He wants to keep Jungkook with him. He wants to hold the other man close and kiss the top of his head and run his fingers through his hair. He wants to hear Jungkook’s giggles in the morning and hear his soft voice singing along to the way the birds are chirping outside.
He wants to see the merman every day.
After what seems like hours Jungkook finally looks at him. The tears fall from his eyes as his gaze locks with Yoongi’s. The witch doesn’t move.
“It’s not,” the merman chokes out, looking at Yoongi with hopeless, desperate eyes. “It’s not home. It’s not home without you.”
Yoongi chokes on a sob. He loves him. So much.
In an act of both self-sabotage and carelessness, he expresses his feeling out loud.
“”I love you, Kook,” he breathes out. “I love you. I’m sorry.”
The merman looks at him, confused, tears still falling.
“Yoongi,” he sobs, reaching out for the other. “I love you too. Please don’t leave me. Please.”
The witch lets the merman pull him in for a hug, his hot skin scorching even through the material of Yoongi’s shirt. He burrows his face in the other’s neck, memorizing the way he feels.
“I’m sorry,” he whispers, feeling as Jungkook clutches him tighter. “I’m sorry, Kookie.”
The merman pulls away, tear stricken face desperately looking at Yoongi’s face, searching for something.
The witch has no idea if he finds it or not, but the next thing he knows the other is surging forward, his lips colliding with Yoongi’s.
The witch closes his eyes almost immediately, hands moving to grip the merman’s waist, right above where his tail begins. It’s messy and wet, salty because of their tears but they don’t care, Jungkook pulling Yoongi’s hair and bringing the witch even closer to him.
It’s desperate and rough, animalistic, but it’s theirs and Yoongi wouldn’t change it in a heartbeat. He has to pull away though, when it gets hard to breathe.
Jungkook is looking at him with broken, glassy eyes and Yoongi wants to apologize, again and again and again, as many times as it takes for the merman to forgive him. Instead, he just pulls him in for a last kiss.
It’s just a press of their lips, yet it still conveys everything the witch is trying to say. An apology. A confession. A promise.
When he pulls back, Jungkook looks resigned, sadness prominent.
“Do you have to?” he pleads, one last attempt. Yoongi nods.
“I’m sorry. Are you ready?”
The merman shakes his head, but he still lets Yoongi move him until his lower half is submerged in water. The witch concentrates to make the spell weaken, just enough so that Jungkook can break it with a flick of his tail as the merman dives in. Yoongi collapses on the bank, regaining his breath.
He watches as Jungkook reappears, hair wet and body gleaming as the sun is reflected on his wet skin and scales. He swims closer, stopping just shy of the edge, a sad frown on his face.
“Hey,” the witch says softly, trying to bring the merman’s mood back up. It doesn’t work - Jungkook keeps looking at him with sad, longing eyes.
“Is this goodbye?” he asks. Yoongi’s going to miss that voice.
“Yeah.” He doesn’t say anything more.
Jungkook’s shoulders slump. The boy looks resigned, tears uselessly welling up in his eyes.
“I don’t want to,” he whispers.
Yoongi finds himself smiling. He doesn’t want to, either.
“You’ll be fine, Kook. I’ll miss you.”
The merman meets his gaze, warm dark eyes meeting sad light ones. He sniffs, wiping at his cheeks.
“I’ll miss you, too.”
Yoongi stands up then, and Jungkook makes a small sound in protest, sounding like a kicked puppy. It makes him hesitate, just for a moment, but the witch knows - he knows he has to go.
“I’m sorry, Jungkookie,” he says, smiling at the merman for the last time. He looks at him, really looks at him, tries to commit every detail of his face to memory. “Goodbye.”
He doesn’t turn back after he begins walking. If he did, he wouldn’t have the strength to leave. He keeps his eyes forward, refusing to turn around even as his entire being begs him to. Yoongi marches on, and he doesn’t stop moving until the lake is well out of sight.
Still, he feels the ghost of a pair of sad eyes staring after him. He hears the sound of soft cries and sees the silent pleas in his eyes. He feels the desperate longing that keeps growing and growing, until it is all he can think about.
He feels and hears all of this and yet, he doesn’t turn. No matter how much his body and soul tells him to, Yoongi keeps walking forward.
With every step, another broken piece of his heart is left behind.