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#4: witches and kisses

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To be honest, Jungkook's not a morning person. It takes him three alarms to crack through the haze of sleep and even then usually Taehyung, the hyung he bumped into again after high school, needs to send him a bajillion morning texts to get him going. It's thanks to Taehyung that he makes it to his 8 am (who the hell is even awake enough to concentrate that early) lecture. 

He rolls out of bed and stumbles to the bathroom before he can give into the urge to jump under his covers again. He's missed exactly four lectures already and he isn't close to anyone in the class, meaning he has no one to write his name down for him on the roll call sheet to keep him from failing. 

Jungkook goes through the motions with his eyes barely cracked, brushing his teeth, slapping water on his face, grabbing a shirt that looks vaguely clean and doesn't smell funny off the floor and pulling it on. He's poor enough that he doesn't even have a toaster in his tiny single apartment so he sticks a slice of bread straight in his mouth and drinks water from the sink. 

If Jungkook had been a little more awake, he might have noticed the little palm-sized figure behind his glass ducking away from the spill of bread crumbs from the slice in his mouth. 

If he had been paying more attention, he might have heard the tinny giggle that came from behind him when he walked out the door. 

"This kid, making a mess as always," the figure sighs before grabbing a paper towel large enough to wrap around his body several times and using it to wipe off the counter of breadcrumbs as big around as his fist. 

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One night, after being dragged out by Taehyung-hyung to celebrate the end of midterm season, Jungkook barely manages to get through the door. He spends a full twenty minutes scratching at the keyhole with his keys because none of them fit even though he knows one of them should.  

When he stumbles through, he kicks off his shoes and weaves his way to his bedroom. He never makes it, he ends up tipping onto the ratty little couch that Hoseok-hyung gifted him when he moved in. 

Jungkook's place is filled with old second-hand items, like the water pitcher from Taehyung which is useless since Jungkook doesn't have a water filter, and the kitchen table from Yoongi which is covered in pen marks and water cup rings and even a tiny scrawl of lyrics from when he must have gotten inspired and drawn on the wood for lack of anything else to write on.

He's so out of it that he thinks he's dreaming when someone tsks near his ear, and when an ibuprofen pill pushes through his lips, he obediently swallows it dry. It reminds him of his mother, the scolding tone and the soft touch at his forehead pushing back sweat-damp bangs out of his eyes. His adam's apple bounces as he swallows several more times, his throat feeling terribly dry and itchy. In contrast, his face starts to feel wet, inching from his eyes over his cheeks to dangle off the side of his face.

The couch cushion under his head grows a big dark spot. 

"Oh no, oh no, don't cry!" Jungkook hears near his ear, and the panicked tone should make him laugh, but what comes out of his mouth is a wet sob. Now that he's started he can't stop, and Jungkook cries and cries under the arm he throws over his flooding eyes. He hardly notices the light pats at his cheeks, like someone tapping at his face with a cotton swab. 

When he finally falls asleep, breath slowed down to hiccuping gasps, he hears, in between gasps, the thrumming murmur near his ear. A whisper of a lullaby sung by a voice so delicate that Jungkook knows, even as drunk as he is, that its not coming from his mp3 player. He can't make out the words exactly, but he knows the tune and it makes him laugh a little through his tears.  

It's Taeyang's Eyes, Nose, Lips. 

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Jungkook wakes up the next day near noon and looks around muzzily, squinting from the sunlight coming through the blinds he didn't get a chance to close the night before. When he sees what time it is on his phone, he swears and jumps up. It's the spot of white he sees out of the corner of his eye that makes him freeze mid-step and turn back toward the couch. 

The boy stares at the ibuprofen bottle lying innocently beside the couch, and when he picks it up he fingers it thoughtfully. The apartment is silent except for the sounds of street traffic leaking in from outside, but to Jungkook, it feels as if someone's holding their breath. 

Keeping his face straight, he carefully sets down the bottle on the kitchen counter, under the cabinet he was sure he left it in beside the ginseng pills his mother sent him, and heads for the bathroom to wash up. There's a strange tension in the air that he just knows he's not imagining, a feeling like bated breath and bitten knuckles that doesn't disappear until he's out of the apartment, clean and slightly hungover and book bag in hand. 

Jungkook has always been quick for his age. 

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He starts noticing the lack of crumbs. Then, how his ipod always seems to run out of battery sooner than it should, and how every so often when he reaches for it it's stopped on a Big Bang song when he was sure he had been listening to Crush the last time he used it. When he orders pizza, the next day some of the pepperoni seems to be suspiciously missing, and when he watches something funny off his laptop Jungkook could swear he hears his laughter echoed in a higher pitch. 

Jungkook is either losing his mind, or he's not alone in this apartment. And he's not certain which outcome he's more afraid of. 

The paranoia weighs on him. Jungkook starts losing sleep, too nervous to fall asleep at his usual time. He spends his nights smothered under his blankets, eyes growing tired from the glow of his laptop. His friends tease him for the panda circles under his eyes, though on the plus side, it gets him some free pity meals from them.

Finally, it all ends the day Jungkook's comes back an hour early from a canceled class. 

He's about to throw his bag on the table when he realizes there's something already on it. At first he thinks its a figurine because of how still it is. Then he realizes his mistake. There's no toy maker in the world that could make something this realistic. 

The tiny shirtless boy on his tabletop, clearly in the middle of doing sit ups, clears his throat and says, in a familiarly high-pitched voice, "So. You're back early."

Jungkook tries to say something but his throat closes up. He ends up making a weird squeaky sound like a mouse being stepped on. 

The tiny boy laughs and Jungkook turns red. 

"Shut up, you're like two inches tall," Jungkook sputters reflexively, falling back on old habits from a childhood growing up with a teasing older brother. 

"Excuse me! I'm four inches tall thank you very much," the boy throws back, standing up to show off his full height. "I measured myself with that ruler on your desk," the boy boasts, like its something to be proud of, and minuscule though they are, the neat set of abs that flexes as he stands draw a second glance from Jungkook. 

Embarrassed, Jungkook coughs and says, "What the hell are you even? And what are you doing on my kitchen table?" 

"Ahhh, well, that's a bit of a long story," the tiny boy hedges. It's ridiculous but when his pen tip eyes crinkle sheepishly, Jungkook's stomach seems to swoop with a hundred butterflies.

This can't be good, Jungkook thinks morosely. This can't be good at all.  

.

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The tiny boy is Park Jimin, also known as the tenant who mysteriously disappeared a month before Jungkook took his apartment. Long story short, Jimin accidentally pissed off a witch that turned him four inches tall to teach him a lesson. 

"And what lesson is that? That you've got height issues?" 

"Hey, I'm a respectable 175 centimeters! When I'm not, err, small." 

"I'm 178 centimeters."

"...."

Jimin had survived thus far by eating up the food he had left in the cupboards, and then when Jungkook moved in, by taking small bits of his food here and there. 

"I knew you were eating all the pepperoni off my pizza!"

"You should eat more vegetables anyways! Who eats pizza that often? You're a growing boy." 

"Are you sure you're my hyung?" 

"I've lived two years longer and eaten 2130 more bowls of rice than you, Jeon Jungkook!" 

Jungkook also learned that Jimin graduated from college last year and was working as a part-time dance instructor before the shrinking incident occurred.

"But I've probably lost my job by now," Jimin says sadly over the top of his butter cracker, which he's holding with both hands to eat because it's three times his width. 

"Shouldn't you be more worried about the fact that you're four inches tall?" Jungkook asks, motioning at Jimin with his own cracker. 

Jimin shrugs. "Namjoon-hyung did say that the spell would wear off. He just didn't tell me when or how." 

It's amazing how positive Jimin is being over the whole affair. "And you guys were friends?" Jungkook says with such heavy skepticism that Jimin tries to throw his cracker at him. The cracker ends up falling to the table top and Jungkook generously picks it back up for him. 

"Thanks," Jimin grumbles, looking like an angry chipmunk as his cheeks puff out, "And yes, we were friends, sort of. We went to the same high school. How was I supposed to know that he could do witchy things to get back at me for borrowing his car without asking?" 

"Some friend. He didn't even notice you disappeared," Jungkook says, and then bites his tongue. Jimin looks like a kicked puppy as he holds his butter cracker to his chest and gets the greasy residue all over his tiny shirt. 

"Here, have some water," Jungkook blabbers, pushing the bottle cap full of water at Jimin. 

The way Jimin beams tearily at him makes him feel like he did something right for once. 

.

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With Jimin's instructions, Jungkook tracks down the music store that Namjoon supposedly worked at. Unfortunately, to their disappointment all Jungkook can find is a bemused shop keeper and a number that leads straight to voicemail when he tries it. 

"They said he went on a trip to, and I quote, 'repent and cleanse himself of his sins'," Jungkook relays, looking as bewildered as he sounds as he air quotes the words with his fingers.

"He probably thinks I died somewhere," Jimin groans, rubbing a hand over his face. "Stupid hyung, no wonder Seokjin-hyung always had to organize his school schedules for him." 

Jungkook shifts awkwardly. "Does this mean that you can't get back to normal?" he asks and then frowns when Jimin aww's and coos 'Jungkookie, you care~' up at him for the concerned crease in his forehead. "I'm just saying, you're basically stuck here until I go home next and take you with me." Jimin is apparently from Busan like he is, though his Seoul accent is much better than Jungkook's. 

Jungkook still can't help his distinctive Busan slur, and every now and then when he's talking Jungkook catches Jimin staring at him with a weird look on his face, the gentle kind one would afford to orphans and cuddly animals. 

"It's okay, it's not like I have anywhere else to go," Jimin replies with an easy grin. "I know Namjoon-hyung wouldn't make the spell or whatever he cast on me permanent, so we just have to wait it out. Or find the trigger." 

"Like, like holy water?" Jungkook guesses stupidly. 

Jungkook scowls but can't find it in himself to really get annoyed when Jimin bursts out laughing at him, as bright and carefree as sunbeams bouncing off clouds. 

.

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Since now Jungkook knows there's another person living with him, he makes a conscious effort to wear more clothes where before he would have flopped around watching youtube videos in his boxers. He stops singing out loud. Once when he starts dancing spontaneously to a song he likes, he stops mid-hip thrust when he realizes Jimin is watching him from the counter with his mouth agape. 

This continues for a few days until Jimin starts making a point of doing his exercise routines on the kitchen table every morning while Jungkook's eating breakfast. So in the morning, the first thing Jungkook finally cracks his eyes open to see, a little more wakened by the bread in his mouth, is Jimin's toned figure, bare to the waist and gleaming. Jungkook feels like he should be ashamed that a boy shorter than his ipod is in so much better shape than he is but he feels a little awed more than anything. 

It turns out Jimin likes singing as much as Jungkook does as well, and proves he knows all of Taeyang's songs by heart by singing them loudly whenever Jungkook is in earshot of his small voice.

Then next time Jungkook is watching a girl group video, with Jimin on his laptop standing carefully with his feet in the spaces between the keys b, n, m, Jimin challenges Jungkook to a dance off and somehow ends up winning

"You're a thousand years too early to beat me!" Jimin sings with his eyes curved so gleefully Jungkook has to look away, flustered. 

Slowly but surely, Jimin's efforts pay off as Jungkook starts to become more comfortable around him. Jungkook had forgotten that Jimin had been living with him for a while already, and that he had already seen all the embarrassing, loud, 4d parts of Jungkook that he doesn't show outside the apartment walls. 

They fall into a rhythm that is altogether new and uncertain but comfortable.  

Usually between his second or third alarm, Jimin wakes Jungkook up by whacking at his cheek with a pencil. 

"Rise and shine, sleeping baby!" 

"Mmrghhh. Five more minutes, hyung."

Jungkook eats his breakfast while Jimin works out, and leaves behind a small portion plus a bowl of water for Jimin to wash himself with after he's done. He starts to leave behind his ipod or his laptop more often so Jimin has something to watch or listen to during the day and usually later, during class, gets an email notification on his phone from the older boy, with a ridiculous amount of emoticons, telling him what funny shows he's watching or the most recent news on Big Bang's ever promised comeback. 

Jimin doesn't exactly eat healthy, (he can finish an entire cheeto by himself faster than Jungkook can reach for his first), but he eats more balanced meals than Jungkook and practically orders (begs) the boy to buy and cook more 'real' food. As a result, Jungkook starts eating out less and cooking more food at home. 

Jungkook's skinny frame starts to fill out some, and his skin clears up with less greasy food in his diet.

He's observing himself in his phone camera when Jimin pipes up, "Like what you see?" He's standing on Jungkook's statistics homework, hair mussed from all the head scratching he did while trying to decipher the equations laid out across the paper. 

His sudden scrutiny makes Jungkook immediately click out of the camera app. "Just checking if I had something in my teeth," he lies, eyes darting away when Jimin looks a little too knowingly at him. 

"Sure," Jimin smirks. 

"What's the first thing you would do if you were back to normal?" Jungkook asks.

It's late. Jungkook's got raccoon circles and chapped lips from biting them so often. The study notes splayed out around him on the carpet look undecipherable in this light, and hopelessness hangs in the air, eau de cramming.

"Honestly? I would go outside and walk to the nearby park," Jimin admits, lying somewhere over Jungkook's history notes, bare feet smudging the letters as he rubs them over the college ruled paper. "I used to run around it every morning."

Jungkook's face scrunches in distaste. "Why do you work out so much?" 

"I like it, and it's good to be in shape when you're a dance instructor," Jimin raises one of his toothpick arms and flexes it. "I can do some awesome flips with these." 

That actually catches Jungkook's interest. "Can you do some now?" he asks hesitantly, raising his head just slightly from his lying position on the couch so one bleary eye can be seen from under his lank bangs. He doesn't know why but Jimin seems to still, watching him. 

"Jimin-hyung?" 

That spurs Jimin into life again. "Brat. You only call me hyung when you want something from me," Jimin says, though his happy look belies his tone. 

Jungkook claps when he breaks out into a series of tumbles through the air, so light and balanced on his feet it makes Jungkook wonder what he would look like flipping in his natural form. 

"I want to go to one of your dance performances," Jungkook says impulsively, remembering how Jimin told him he and his dance team would perform next to the Hangang sometimes to attract more recruits. "I mean, I--I just, want to see you dance on stage...," Jungkook trails off awkwardly as Jimin straightens up and all of a sudden he wishes he hadn't said anything. 

After a pause, Jimin says, sincerely, "I'd like that," and Jungkook breaks eye contact to finger at the couch cushion under his head. 

As Jungkook continues his cramming for finals, Jimin grows tired of quizzing him and takes over Jungkook's ipod to play music so softly that he can press his head into an earbud like a pillow and fall asleep like that. Jungkook eventually passes out too, face smushed into his notes after he set it down for a quick rest. He was only going to close his eyes for a minute, but before he knows it he's waking up with his whole body as heavy as lead and the corner of his mouth wet with drool.

He's still half-asleep and willing himself to open his eyes when he feels the delicate touch at the plush edge of his lower lip. Like a cotton swab. 

Jungkook's eyes snap open and he gasps at the same time that Jimin yelps and jumps backward. His arms pinwheel and Jungkook instinctively grabs for him before he can fall off the edge of the couch. 

"Hyung!" 

What happens next is something Jungkook will never forget. Instead of catching Jimin's tiny form, his hand is caught around something much larger and he's pulled off the couch along with the body that pops into existence out of nowhere. He lands hard on the other body, practically belly-flopping, and they both end up groaning on the floor, splayed out like two starfish stuck to one another. 

"That total asshole," a high-pitched voice grates out below him, much louder and fuller than Jungkook is used to. "I'm going to kill Namjoon-hyung the next time I see him." 

Jungkook opens his eyes to find himself face to face with another boy with soft, boyish features and gulps. 

"Are you sure you're my hyung?" Jungkook asks again, voice coming out breathier than he expected. 

"Jeon Jungkook, I've eaten 2130―" 

This time Jungkook kisses Jimin, just a quick firm press of lips that lasts about a second and silences Jimin for a good minute after. 

As Jimin works his mouth for something to say, Jungkook curls his head over Jimin's collarbone like he expects to be told off. 

The way Jungkook glances up nervously at him makes Jimin giggle, and Jungkook's lips quirk up hesitantly at the edges. They're both giggling then, quietly, and then harder, humor renewing every time they catch gazes. 

It feels both unexpected and natural when Jimin catches Jungkook's lips next, pressing firm like the edge of a peach, his plump lips and sweet tongue surprising a moan out of Jungkook. They end up sitting as Jimin pushes Jungkook back, off him, up against the couch so his neck hinges on the end of the cushions. 

Jimin straddles him, his hands cradling Jungkook's face so gently he feels like something precious and breakable. Jungkook can't really process anything beyond the warm wet rub of Jimin's mouth, and distantly he hears high thin whining sounds that it takes a minute for him to register as his own. 

"I wanted to do that for such a long time. You have no idea," Jimin says when he finally breaks away. His lips look as red and glassy as Jungkook's probably looks. Jungkook licks his lips absentmindedly, breath shuttering when Jimin's eyes flit down to look at them. 

"Who's the one who kept doing sit-ups in the kitchen practically naked?" Jungkook fires back. Jimin's infectious laughter rings through the apartment, making Jungkook smile despite himself. 

"I should have known Namjoon-hyung would have made the spell end with a kiss," Jimin looks chagrined. "I was thinking about it for the past week and finally decided to test it out now when you fell asleep. He's such a douche, this is so like him." 

Of all the things Jimin said only one part really stuck out to Jungkook. "You thought about kissing me for a week?" 

"This kid, is that all you heard?" Jimin laughs again and presses his lips to Jungkook's again, momentarily stunning him. "Yeah, I thought about it for a while. And not just because of the spell," Jimin admits slyly, and snickers at Jungkook when he looks embarrassed but pleased.  

This is the kind of person Jimin is, someone full of laughter and smiles and spontaneous Big Bang covers. Now that Jimin is larger, though still a full three centimeters shorter than Jungkook as he makes sure to rub in his face, the only big difference is Jungkook has someone to pepper his face with kisses to wake him up in the morning and to curl into to sleep with at night. 

.

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"You know," Jungkook brings up while they're cooking dinner together (which is more like Jimin handing Jungkook things to chop for him while he cooks the food), "Do you think it had to be a special kind of kiss?" 

Jimin raises an eyebrow. He looks ridiculous with the combination of his toned biceps, baseball cap flipped backward and the pink apron that was left behind by a previous tenant. 

"What do you mean?" 

"I mean...," Jungkook busies himself with the squash he's chopping, head bent low so his bangs hide most of his face, "do you think you could have turned back with just any kiss? ...Or do you think it had to come from a specific person?" 

Just from the way Jimin speaks, Jungkook knows that he's got a watermelon-sliced smile taking up his face. "Like true love's first kiss?" 

Before Jungkook can answer, Jimin bounds over to hug him tight from behind and make him gasp.

"Jungkookie!" 

"Hyung, get off me!" Jungkook tries to wriggle away until Jimin speaks again, his tone more serious. 

"I wouldn't put it behind Namjoon-hyung. He's kind of a romantic deep, deep under the asshole persona." 

There's only the sounds of the bubbling pots as they both register that.

"I guess we'll find out sooner or later," Jungkook says finally, decidedly. It's not in his personality to worry too much about stuff like that. 

But when he looks over his shoulder, to his alarm, Jimin's eyes are starting to look a little glassy.

"Jeon Jungkook~" 

"Oh geez, hyung, don't cry!"