A comprehensive list of things Seokjin expected when he took a summer position at the small sleepy library an hour away from Seoul proper:
- a decent paycheck to mitigate his growing student loan debt
- the possibility of buying that limited edition Mario figurine he's been eying for three months
- time to catch up on his reading
- and by "reading" he means his DS. He's going to play video games.
- admittedly this is bordering on ironic seeing as he's a librarian but a chef's life isn't all about food, so he figures a librarian can enjoy other pursuits.
- his would be, though. If he was a chef, it would be all food, all the time.
An incomprehensive list of things Seokjin did not expect when he took a summer position at the small sleepy library an hour away from Seoul proper:
- a talking seagull.
- a co-librarian/part-time prophet who constantly breaks all the things.
- a different and much grumpier co-librarian/potions master who can be found sleeping in the stacks at any hour, a pillow of books under his head.
- did he mention the talking seagull, because he feels like no one is properly panicking about a talking seagull?
- oh, and also a wizard places him under a curse.
- sorry, correction, a wizard places him under a spell. There is obviously a very significant difference, apologies Jimin. A spell is so much better than a curse.
Hoseok is one of those friends that Seokjin has known forever. Not literally, of course. He can pinpoint their friendship to somewhere around Seokjin's last year of high school, where they began a casual kind of relationship full of periodic gatherings and superficial but entertaining conversations. They are the kind of friends who know all the big things in each others' lives and pop in just when they are needed.
Seokjin has known Hoseok forever and therefore he knows Hoseok has a tendency to get a little over excited about things and leave out important, decision-altering details. Like how the cute little restaurant stuffed into an alleyway in downtown Seoul only took cash when he had 3,000 won in his wallet. Or how the drama course Hoseok swore Seokjin just had to take was actually a musical theatre course, which consisted of more dancing than Seokjin had dreamed of in his entire life.
When Hoseok calls him up and tells him about this fantastic summer position at a library an hour out of Seoul, Seokjin is sceptical. The pay is decent. They offer room and board so he won't have to commute too far every day. The job itself fits into his intended career path and doesn't seem overly demanding.
"What's the catch?" Seokjin asks, narrowing his eyes and shifting the phone over his ear.
"No catch, hyung, it's seriously the best summer job out there. I would take it myself if I wasn't leaving for the break," Hoseok says, his voice crackling as the line tries to handle his enthusiasm unsuccessfully. "Trust me, I wouldn't steer you wrong."
"Uh-huh," Seokjin says, his tone flat and unconvinced. "Like all the other times you didn't steer me wrong."
"There's honestly nothing! I haven't forgotten to tell you anything! I even know all the people who work there. Namjoonie is really smart, you'll learn a lot. Yoongi-hyung is a lot of fun too. Come on, just go to the interview."
Seokjin sighs and finally agrees, ignoring the warning bells that ring in his ears with the sound of Hoseok's excited screaming.
He meets Namjoon, the head librarian. Namjoon is tall and lanky, his hair a unique pastel pink that Seokjin is honestly a little jealous of. Namjoon's a little awkward and definitely a rambler, but Seokjin likes him immediately. He tries to tell himself it's Namjoon's obvious passion for books and reading, his vast knowledge, his dimpled cheeks, but Seokjin knows in reality it's the pink hair. Anyone who would dye their hair pink must be a good person.
Seokjin even asks to see the room he'll be staying in, sure it is infested with rodents or maybe it's a tent in a backyard or something equally ridiculous. It's a small room about five minutes away in a family home, one single bed, a nightstand with a lamp, a small closet and a windowseat. Seokjin nearly clutches his chest when he sees the windowseat, soft pillows padding the spot, sunrays slipping through the thin white curtains.
Seokjin's second mistake is taking the job right then, watching the sunlight warm the pale blue blanket on the windowseat while visions of an idyllic, quiet summer float through his head.
"I wish you weren't working the whole summer. You finally have some free time away from school." She sighs and reaches a hand out to brush his bangs away from his forehead. "Can't you stay with your mom this time?"
Seokjin swallows a large mouthful of rice and shakes his head. "I'll come visit some weekends."
His mom pouts and leans back in her chair. "Did you have to take a job so far away?"
Seokjin's older brother snorts from behind them, rummaging through the fridge. "He's literally an hour away, Mom."
She narrows her eyes in the direction of her older son. "What are you searching for in there? I just organized it, if even one item is out of place-"
"Where's the banana milk? I need banana milk to focus."
"It's in the side door. Where it always is and always has been since you were five years old."
"Ah, found it."
She frowns. "Aren't you at all concerned about your little brother going off into the world, alone?" She sniffles. "Scared. Without a proper kitchen." Her eyes widen and she leans forward again. "Will they feed you? Do they know how much food you need? I should come with you, make sure they can sustain you."
"Mom, please, he's twenty-five years old. He can survive just fine." Seokjin's brother plops into the seat beside him, sipping his banana milk. He ruffles Seokjin's hair as Seokjin spoons more rice into his mouth.
"Oh, how cute!" Seokjin's mother pulls out her phone. "Let me get a picture of you two together for when I'm lonely. Say 'kimchi'!"
Seokjin smiles, his cheeks puffed up with food, and lifts his fingers to the side of his face in the form of a 'v'. He swallows as the camera shutter sounds. "Don't worry too much, Mom. It's only one summer." He grins at her. "Nothing happens in one summer."
"How old are you? What's your favorite color? Do you believe in aliens? What are your thoughts on doorknobs?"
Seokjin pauses at the last question, tilting his head to the side in confusion while watching the boy bounce his suitcase onto the top floor landing. "What kind of thoughts on doorknobs?"
The boy shrugs and rolls the suitcase to the room at the end of the hall. "Just in general."
Seokjin purses his lips and tries to figure out if he's amused or wary. Probably a combination of both. "I think they're good? In general. Quite useful."
The boy nods in agreement.
"Kim Taehyung, are you bothering our guest?" a voice floats up from downstairs.
"Nuh-uh, I'm helping our guest," the boy, Taehyung, shouts down, running back down the hall to the staircase and leaning over the banister.
A short woman with dark hair appears, climbing up the last few stairs to bow at Seokjin. "Sorry, I didn't even hear you come in. I'm Yoo Taehee, I'll be taking care of you. This is my son, Taehyung."
"Ah hello," Seokjin greets, smiling politely and bowing.
"Dinner will be ready in about an hour. We'll leave you to unpack and settle in."
"I'll help!" Taehyung says, stepping back toward Seokjin. He stops suddenly, his foot mid air as his mother grabs the back of his shirt and pulls him back. "What?"
Taehee tsks and frowns. "Seokjin is probably very tired and wants some quiet time. Why don't you find Jimin and go out somewhere?"
Taehyung scowls. "Jiminie is always at the library these days and Yoongi-hyung always kicks me out for being too loud."
"Well what about Jungkook?"
"Jungkook is acting weird. He's been avoiding me for like three weeks." Taehyung sighs mournfully and turns to look at Seokjin again, eyes wide and lips pouted, resembling a puppy. "I've been abandoned by all my friends, hyung. Will you be my friend?"
Seokjin feels his lips tug up into a soft smile. He nods his head toward the door of his room. "You can help me unpack. I'd enjoy the company."
Taehyung grins and skips through the door, whooping in delight.
"Yah, what is this? How could you leave the books like this?" he asks, sighing heavily and brushing lightly at the dust. "Have you no respect for the written word?"
Namjoon rubs the back of his neck sheepishly and ducks his head. "We kind of just put them away and don't think about it afterwards." Seokjin narrows his eyes and Namjoon has the decency to blush.
Aside from the blatant disregard for dusting, the rest of the library is relatively organized. The books are all in order. The hardwood floors are old and scratched but show no major damages. The scattering of area rugs are faded in color but at least there are no tripping hazards on them. The wide wooden staircase that leads upstairs to the offices and break room is creaky but sturdy.
Twenty minutes before the library is set to open, there is a loud, rapid series of knocks on the entrance doors. Namjoon frowns and stops explaining how the fax machine works, glancing at his watch.
"It's too early for Yoongi-hyung," he mutters, walking towards the door.
Seokjin follows silently behind him, curious.
Namjoon peeks through the small window in the door and sighs heavily. "You've got to be kidding me." He unlocks the door and it swings open, revealing a boy around twenty, with bright orange hair and a brighter smile. The boy's eyes are nearly closed into crescents, his cheeks puffing out in a grin.
"Good morning, hyung!" he calls, voice soft and cheerful.
"Jimin, the library doesn't open for another twenty minutes," Namjoon says, trying to appear firm.
The boy - Jimin - smiles wider and tilts his head to the side, his fringe flopping across his forehead with the movement. "I'm already here, hyung. And you already opened the door. Please? Pretty please? With a cherry on top?" He places a hand over his heart. "I promise to be quiet and I won't get in your way. Huh? Please?"
Namjoon tries to shake his head 'no' but Jimin grabs Namjoon's hand in both of his and inches closer.
Namjoon sighs and hangs his head, nodding to the ground and stepping aside to let Jimin through the door. "Last time, Jimin."
"Thank you!" Jimin pushes through the doorway, pausing when he spots Seokjin. He tilts his head in question but bows politely. "Hello."
"Jimin, this is Kim Seokjin. He'll be helping us this summer. Hyung, this is Jimin. You'll see him here every day. Even when you tell him to go home."
Seokjin raises an eyebrow but bows politely. "Are you a book enthusiast?" he asks, still a little lost.
Jimin glances between Namjoon and Seokjin before answering slowly, "No, just. Working on a project. Of sorts." He steps away from them, gesturing to the study area lined with identical desks. "I'll just leave you to your work. Nice meeting you." He hitches his backpack higher on his back before half-jogging into the library and down an aisle.
Seokjin swings his gaze back up to Namjoon but he just shakes his head. "It's a really long story."
Seokjin shrugs and decides it is none of his business. He smiles charmingly and points to the stairs. "Finish showing me the fax machine?"
Namjoon smiles, and nods. "Yeah, follow me."
Namjoon glares back at him but doesn't deny it. "You should be thanking me. I'm the reason you're employed full-time."
"You're the reason I'm losing my hair."
"You're losing your hair because you can't decide on a damn color and bleach it every other week."
Yoongi rolls his eyes and turns to Seokjin again, leaning close to say, "Try to keep him away from anything that could catch on fire."
Seokjin smiles uncertainly. "I'll try?"
"I'm speaking from experience. Keep him away from fire."
"That was like one time," Namjoon complains, also turning to look at Seokjin. "The flames went this high," he exclaims, demonstrating with his hands.
"I'm in fear for my life every day," Yoongi sighs before walking away, shaking his head.
Seokjin blinks at his retreating form, flicking his eyes to Namjoon.
"Yoongi-hyung's exaggerating. I won't kill anyone." Namjoon waits a beat before adding, "Probably." Namjoon grins at him, a wide, closed-mouth spread of lips that does nothing to quell the wariness growing in Seokjin's stomach.
"Jungkook!" a voice sounds from behind them, startling Seokjin from his thoughts of what impending doom Namjoon could conjure up.
Seokjin peers over his shoulder to see Jimin dragging a tall, lean teenage boy to the desk he's been glued to since the morning. The boy opens his mouth in a wide yawn and stumbles after Jimin.
"Where have you been?" Jimin demands, pulling out a chair and forcing Jungkook to sit at the table. He shoves a stack of books towards him. "I told you to meet me here as soon as you woke up."
Jungkook scowls at the books, inching them down the table and as far from him as possible. "I did just wake up."
Jimin pauses and raises an eyebrow. "It's nearly noon."
"I know, I got up early."
Jimin shakes his head in judgment. "I feel bad for you mother."
Jungkook shrugs and smirks.
Jimin grabs the stack of books Jungkook has managed to edge halfway across the desk and slides them back in front of Jungkook. "Start with these."
Jungkook sighs and hangs his head over the back of his chair. "Are you sure it's in one of these books? I'd rather not spend my entire summer in here."
"This is your fault to begin with." Jimin flips through his own book, skimming the pages quickly. "And Joonie-hyung says the answer is in the library." He gestures to the stack again. "Start reading."
"The answer couldn't be in, like, the arcade or something?" Jungkook grumbles, sitting up and opening his first book.
Seokjin tilts his head and wonders what kind of project requires Jimin to skim through presumably all the books in the library, barely pausing to read even one page.
Just like clockwork, every morning, Jimin shows up way too early with a brilliant smile, begging to be let in just a few minutes sooner, please, please. The bright early sun makes his orange hair almost sparkle as he pushes it off his forehead absentmindedly and Seokjin finds it very difficult to deny him. He ends up sighing lightly and letting him in, rewarded with a sweet "thanks, hyung!" as Jimin finds his usual desk.
Seokjin is supposed to learn closing with Yoongi next week, and he's been warned he will probably have to drag Jimin out kicking and screaming. Seokjin can't imagine Jimin - who has been nothing but cute, sweet, and soft-spoken - throwing a tantrum.
Yoongi just kind of smirks and shrugs his shoulders, warning darkly, "You'll see."
Seokjin frowns and pauses on his way to the information desk, glancing down an aisle to see Jimin bounce on his heels with his arms stretched over his head. He jumps in little spurts, reaching his fingers to graze the books on the top shelf in a vain attempt to knock them down. Seokjin resolves that Min Yoongi is a damn liar because there is no possible way Jimin could be anything other than adorable. He's like Seokjin's puppy at home, a little hyper-active at times, but always charming. He has to resist the urge to pet his hair and coo.
"Need some help?" Seokjin asks, approaching Jimin.
Jimin stops bouncing and turns to look at Seokjin. He brightens and smiles. "Would you?"
Seokjin finds himself smiling back without much thought. "Which one do you need?"
"All of them."
Seokjin blinks, his brows furrowing. "All...of them?"
Jimin nods and smiles, eyes disappearing into crescents again.
"All of them?" Seokjin repeats, sure he is misunderstanding something.
"Yeah, the whole shelf. I need the other shelves too, but I can reach those myself, no need to bother you."
Seokjin opens and closes his mouth a few times, attempting to formulate his thoughts from floating questions marks to actual words. "Why?" he finally asks, unable to string more words onto the question.
Jimin blinks and purses his lips. "My project?"
"You need to read every book in this library for your project?"
Jimin considers for a moment before nodding in agreement. "Sort of."
Seokjin wants to ask more questions, like why would anyone need to skim hundreds of books, and why doesn't Jimin ever take notes on them, and does Jimin really think the puppy dog eyes will work on him? But it's almost lunch and Seokjin's stomach nearly growls at him to wrap up this interaction and find the lunch Taehyung's mother kindly prepared for him.
"Okay," he finally says, and reaches up to grab at the books.
Jimin grins at him, looking slightly relieved, and holds out his hands as Seokjin piles the books one-by-one in his arms. "Thanks, hyung, you're the best."
Seokjin smiles and tilts his head back and forth happily. "I know." Jimin laughs, a breathless burst of giggles that trails off into nearly silent squeaks.
Once Jimin is loaded up with a half of the shelf, Seokjin sends him on his way and heads outside to enjoy his lunch in the garden situated at the back of the library. The instant slap of heat on his skin as soon as he steps out the backdoor nearly makes him regret his decision. June hit all of Seoul and the surrounding areas with a sudden heatwave, the days an endless repeat of cloudless skies and nonexistent breezes.
Seokjin scans the garden, small rows of vibrant flowers along the library walls, gravel pathways leading to the park, separated by green bushes in a circular pattern. In the middle of the garden sits a small, decorative fountain. There are children sitting at the edge, laughing and pointing excitedly at the seagull that flaps in the water to cool off. He smiles and waves at the children when he walks by them. He heads to a tree large enough to provide a decent amount of shade, settling in for a relaxing lunch.
He's halfway through his sandwich when the kids run off to the playground, yelling goodbye to "Kookie", who he assumes is the seagull still wading in the fountain, ducking its head into the water periodically. The bird keeps glancing his way, and Seokjin tilts his head in confusion until he realizes the seagull probably wants a bite of his sandwich. He tears off a bit of crust and throws it a few feet in front of him, far enough away that the bird might feel comfortable approaching.
The seagull flaps out of the fountain, shaking its wings slightly, and waddles up to the bread. To Seokjin's surprise, "Kookie" glances briefly at the bread before waddling past in disinterest. It jump-hops until it settles next to him.
Seokjin jumps in shock, bringing his hands close to his chest. His heartrate spikes and he has to take a couple breaths to calm himself. "You're certainly not afraid of humans, are you?" he mutters to the bird, peeling off another piece of bread. He holds it by the tip of his fingers in the seagull's direction. "Kookie, was it?"
Kookie takes the bread, snatching it quickly from Seokjin's fingertips and craning his neck back to swallow.
Seokjin giggles. "You're cute."
Seokjin freezes, his eyes going wide and his heartrate jumping up again. He tries to talk to himself logically, there was no way the seagull just-
"You're the new librarian, right?" the seagull says. The seagull says.
Seokjin hears a high-pitched keening noise and realizes it's coming from his own throat, the air in his lungs trying to escape past his lips clenched tightly shut.
"Are you okay?" the seagull asks.
Seokjin whips his head around, searching for the real source of the voice he's hearing. "Haha, very funny. Where are you?" he says, eyes scanning the garden frantically.
The seagull glares at him - and Seokjin didn't know birds could glare but here he is, staring at a glaring seagull who can apparently talk. Nothing about this is normal and absolutely none of this is okay.
"I'm right here," the seagull says, bending to take a bite of Seokjin's sandwich. "Did Taehyung's mom make this?"
"This isn't happening," Seokjin says quietly, squeezing his eyes shut. "You're suffering from heatstroke, Jinnie, yes, that's it. Okay." He opens his eyes again and the seagull is still staring at him but thankfully its not talking. "Okay, yeah, just a hallucination. Just need some air conditioning."
The seagull tilts its head. "You gonna finish that sandwich or can I have it?"
Seokjin places the remains of the sandwich on the grass, snatching his hands back to his chest as soon as he can. "You can have it, imaginary bird who isn't really talking to me."
The bird scoffs. It scoffs and Seokjin brings his hands to his temples, trying to ward off the dizziness that swirls around his head.
Seokjin startles from his research as Namjoon flops into the chair next to him noisily. Namjoon fumbles with the edge of the desk to keep from rolling away, pulling himself back to the table with a satisfied smile.
"If that chair breaks, you're sitting on the floor," Yoongi calls from some unseen place in the bookstacks.
"How do you even know it's me? It could be Seokjin-hyung," Namjoon calls back, craning his neck to spot Yoongi.
Seokjin briefly thinks he should probably remind them that they are librarians in a library and they are the guardians of peace and quiet, but then he remembers the talking seagull. He brings the back of his hands to his cheeks again, checking his temperature.
"Seokjin-hyung is too busy zoning out to break a chair," Yoongi says, emerging from an aisle. He ambles over to the information desk and slides onto the top so his legs dangle over the edge. He gestures to Seokjin. "He's been feeling his cheeks for fifteen minutes."
Namjoon flicks his gaze to Seokjin and frowns, leaning forward towards him. "Are you okay?"
Seokjin furrows his brow and shifts his eyes between an obviously concerned Namjoon and a subtly concerned Yoongi, both of them staring at him. He opens his mouth, then closes it and lets out a short whine, trying to find the words to explain a talking seagull without sounding crazy. Finally he manages to say quietly, "Birds aren't supposed to talk, right? Like actual words and sentences. I mean like a bird-bird, not a parrot."
He is met with silence and blank stares and he nods to himself. "Right, that would be crazy. Nevermind." He pushes back from the desk. "Maybe I'll go lie down upstairs for a bit."
"Hyung, was it...a seagull?" Namjoon asks, stopping Seokjin with a light hand on his wrist.
Seokjin's eyes widen. "You saw it too?"
Yoongi snorts. "What, never seen a shape shifter before?"
Seokjin blinks and stares at Yoongi, trying to figure out if it's sarcasm or derision in his tone. Finally Seokjin nods, a slow, exaggerated movement.
Yoongi's lips part in disbelief. "You've seriously never seen a shape shifter before?"
"Never," Seokjin confirms, flicking his eyes to Namjoon to see his face mirroring Yoongi's. "Isn't that, uh, normal?" he asks, his voice trailing off weakly at the end of his sentence.
"How much did Hoseok actually explain to you about this job?" Yoongi asks, eyes narrowing. He leans forward, using his position on the desk to loom above Seokjin intrusively.
Seokjin inches his chair a little further away and frowns. "He said there was a summer position available at a small community library and he would have taken it himself if - " He stops and huffs out a sigh, realization dawning. "What did Hoseok get me into this time?"
"It's nothing bad, hyung," Namjoon says, wheeling his chair closer to Seokjin. "I mean, technically the job is exactly what Hoseok said. A nice, quiet librarian position."
Seokjin purses his lips and considers Namjoon for a moment, his pink hair and dimpled cheeks and earnest expression. He thinks about talking seagulls in the garden and that strange Park Jimin who needs to read every book in the entire library, how Yoongi always smells like rosemary, and how all the books have odd titles that he's never heard of before. "What," he starts slowly, "kind of library is this, exactly?"
"A library for magicians."
"And the general public," Namjoon adds quickly. "Anyone with a thirst for knowledge."
Yoongi glares at him. "Who in the general public wants to read about the economic impact of government regulated distribution of rabbit feet?"
Seokjin shifts his gaze back and forth rapidly between the two, bouncing between believing them and knowing there is no such thing as magic. He squeezes his eyes shut when he starts to feel lightheaded. "You're pranking me," he says. "This is all a sick joke and I honestly don't find it funny." He opens his eyes again and glares.
Namjoon holds his hands up in a peaceful gesture. "I know it's a shock, but it's real. Didn't Hoseok ever mention that he's a woods wizard?"
Seokjin scoffs. "Okay now I know you're lying. I've known Hoseok for half my life. If he was a wizard, I would know."
Yoongi huffs in frustration. He shifts on the desk, half-turning to peer over his shoulder into the library study area. "Jungkook!" he calls loudly to the only occupied desk in the space, where Jimin and Jungkook are huddled over roughly thirty books.
Seokjin frowns because - again - this is a library and quiet is kind of one of the important aspects of such an institution.
Jungkook's head pops up from his book, his eyes wide and curious. Jimin turns in his chair and tilts his head.
"Come here," Yoongi says, beckoning with his hand.
Jimin frowns and places a hand on Jungkook's wrist to stay him. "What do you want with my study buddy?"
"Hurry up," Yoongi says, ignoring Jimin.
"He has books to read," Jimin says through clenched teeth. "Half of this whole thing is his fault and I'm the only one trying to sort it all out."
Jungkook scowls. "I've helped! I've been helping every single day."
"Hardly," Jimin mutters.
"None of this would have happened if you weren't so handsy all the damn time."
"That is part of my charm," Jimin says, scowl deepening.
Namjoon stands and leans over the desk to call out, "Okay, okay, we get it. We just need to borrow Jungkookie for a minute. We'll send him right back to you."
Jimin huffs but flops back into his chair and shrugs. "Fine." He points a finger at Jungkook and then points to a pile of books. "You'd better finish your task today." He points again at Jungkook to emphasize his determination.
Jungkook rolls his eyes and skips over to the information desk. "What's up?" he says when he reaches the trio.
"Transform," Yoongi says bluntly, gesturing with his hands.
Jungkook makes a face. "You told me not to do that inside."
"Just, show Seokjin-hyung," Namjoon says, defeat in his voice.
Jungkook shrugs. "Fine." He removes his watch and hands it to Yoongi before putting his hands together. He closes his eyes and says some words Seokjin cannot make out.
Seokjin stares, slack-jawed and speechless, because right in front of his eyes there now stands a seagull. The seagull he saw in the garden. Poof, just like magic. He points, eyes blinking rapidly to try to clear his vision. "Wah?"
The seagull looks at Yoongi. "It's like he never saw a shape shifter before."
Yoongi nods sagely. "I know."
Seokjin makes a high pitched sound in the back of his throat and thinks about every possible direction he life could have gone. He wonders how, out of all the outcomes, he ended up here, in a magical library, with a talking seagull.
"Are you guys done yet?" Jimin calls petulantly from his desk.
Seokjin whines and bends forward to thump his head onto the desk.
"Uh, yeah, I think we're done," Namjoon replies back, awkwardly patting Seokjin's shoulder.
Seokjin sighs and thumps his head against the window. He hates that he kind of fell in love with the library and the people in it already. He pouts. Not fair.
He calls Hoseok to complain.
"I can't believe you never told me you were a wizard," he says when he's finally explained the situation to Hoseok.
Hoseok hiccups out laughter, trying to complete his sentences, but the only sound Seokjin hears is sorry-laughter-sorry-giggles-I never realized-giggle-giggle-giggle.
"Hobi," Seokjin whines, pouting again. "I'm never trusting you again. I can't believe you kept this from me."
"Hyung, I'm sorry," Hoseok manages. "It honestly never came up, so I didn't know you didn't know."
"You practice actual magic, it's not something I generally ask my friends."
Hoseok hiccups on a giggle again. "I'm like sixth generation, hyung, the most I can do is light some dry leaves on fire with my mind. I don't really even use it mostly."
Seokjin makes a frustrated noise in the back of his throat. "Like that's no big deal, sure, okay. I'm hanging up now."
"Bye hyung, I lo-"
Seokjin hits the red hang-up button on his screen with more force than necessary. He closes his eyes and frowns. He leans his head against the window, knowing there's not really any debate. He's going to stay, if only because he hasn't won Taehyung at Mario Kart yet.
"That's ridiculous," Yoongi scoffs. "No one uses wands."
"Some people do," Namjoon supplies helpfully, shuffling his chair to the end of the information desk for a file. "They don't have any power in themselves, but it helps people with concentration problems to focus their-"
"No one. Uses. Wands," Yoongi says with a roll of his eyes. "Besides, I don't do spells."
Seokjin tilts his head in confusion. "But you said you did magic."
"I make potions, I can't cast spells." Yoongi shifts on the desk, one leg hitched to dangle on the edge. "I'm a genius with potions."
Namjoon makes a face.
"Okay," Seokjin says, smiling at Yoongi's smug look. He angles his head to Namjoon. "What do you do?"
"Prophet," he says easily. "It's a lot more intellectual than you'd think. There are signs, but they need to be read in context, and interpreted. It's a science."
Seokjin nods, trying to wrap his head around it all. "And Jungkook is a shape shifter?"
"He's pretty much anything magical you could ever think of," Namjoon says. "Golden magician. Transformation, spells, curses, visions. The kid's a prodigy."
"He's cute," Yoongi agrees, smiling proudly.
Seokjin peeks over the information desk to the study area. It is, like always, occupied by only one, orange-haired, smiling-eyed patron. Jimin closes a book and places it on top of his finished stack. He stretches over the back of his chair, reaching his arms out and flexing his hands. He shakes his head and straightens again, grabbing another book and flipping it open to the first page.
Seokjin thinks he hears a soft fighting! escape Jimin's lips.
He nods his head in Jimin's direction. "What about Jimin? What does he do?"
"Our Jiminie?" Namjoon glances over to the study area. "He's an apprentice wizard."
"Spells and charms, that kind of magic," Yoongi supplies.
"Ah." Seokjin nods, thinking it makes sense. Jimin is studying and probably using some kind of speed-reading spell to absorb all the information so quickly. "Is that why he's reading every book in the library?"
Yoongi hops off the desk and yawns. "Nah, it's 'cause he's cursed." He stuffs his hands into his hoodie pockets. "I'm heading upstairs for a nap. Don't try to find me."
Seokjin gapes at Yoongi's retreating form. He spins to Namjoon. "Cursed?"
Namjoon shrugs and scrolls through his computer screen, squinting at the letters on the screen. "Don't worry too much about it. It's not like it's contagious."
"How was he cursed? What kind of curse? Is he going to die?" Seokjin squeaks out but Namjoon ignores him, apparently engrossed by his research. "Namjoon. Are you listening to me?"
Namjoon makes a low sound in his throat, not glancing away from his screen.
Seokjin scowls and finally gives up, slumping back into his chair.
"I'm heading home now," he says around a yawn.
Seokjin looks up from his DS and smiles. "Goodnight, Yoongi."
Yoongi nods his head toward Jimin in the study area. The boy's torso sprawls across his desk, head laying on his arms, reading a book sideways. "Careful when you kick Jimin out tonight. He's wily."
Seokjin purses his lips to keep a giggle from escaping his mouth. He flicks his eyes to Jimin, his cheeks squished where he rests against his arm. He returns his gaze to Yoongi and nods in mock seriousness. "Oh yes, he's absolutely terrifying."
Yoongi scowls and points a finger at Seokjin. "I warned you," he says, sauntering to the exit.
Seokjin smiles and waves his hand. "Bye, Yoongi."
Seokjin doesn't wander from his desk the rest of the night, occasionally glancing at Jimin. Seokjin smiles and shakes his head, dismissing Yoongi's warning. No way Jimin could ever cause a problem. The worst he could do is cling to Seokjin's legs and beg.
Seokjin stands and stretches when his phone beeps a cute alarm, letting him know it's time to close and head home. He tilts his head to get the kinks out of his neck and glances to the empty study area. He smiles when he sees Jimin has diligently cleaned off his table, not one book left in the space.
He wanders through the stacks, calling out softly, "Jimin. Jiminie."
He finally finds Jimin, sprawled on the floor between two stacks, a multitude of books spread between his legs. Jimin looks up and smiles sheepishly.
Seokjin smiles and crouches to Jimin's level. "It's time to go home, Jimin."
"'Kay, goodnight hyung, see you tomorrow." Jimin ducks his head back into a book, flipping the page and refusing to look back at Seokjin.
"It's time for you to go home, Jimin," Seokjin clarifies.
Jimin flicks his head up and pouts. "Just one more hour, please." He holds up a finger and clasps his free hand over his wrist. "Please?"
Seokjin sighs and manoeuvres behind Jimin. He places his hands under Jimin's arms and pulls him up. "Come on, you can come back tomorrow."
Jimin peers over his shoulder at Seokjin, then says something very quickly that Seokjin cannot quite make out. Jimin repeats the foreign words three times and makes small movements of his hands.
Seokjin feels a sharp jolt on the bottom of his feet and drops his hold on Jimin's arms. "What are you doing?"
Jimin shrugs and smiles, smug. "Nothing, hyung." He starts to head out of the aisle. He gestures in front of him. "You wanted to escort me out? Let's go."
Seokjin follows Jimin cautiously, eyes narrowed. "What are you doing?" he repeats, his feet growing heavier as they approach the front entrance.
Jimin pauses at the doors and turns to look at Seokjin, his eyes disappearing into crescents. "I'm going home. Like you wanted." He backs up and opens the door with a hand behind him. "Look, I'm leaving. Oh no!" He dramatically takes a step out the door and gasps in mock surprise. "Oh, I can't leave, look at - wait how come it didn't work?"
Jimin stumbles out the door and flails his hands to keep his balance. He flicks his gaze between the door and his feet and hands. "No, why didn't it work? I wasn't supposed to be able to leave."
Seokjin isn't quite sure what happened, but it's been a long day and he's tired and Jimin is out of the library, so he says, "Goodnight, Jimin," and swings the door closed, locking it with a flick of his wrist.
He can still hear Jimin muttering outside the door, "I said it right, it was supposed to work."
Seokjin spends half an hour tidying up and making sure everything is ready for the next morning before he finally grabs his backpack and heads to the front entrance. He flicks the lock open and fiddles with his keys, trying to find the correct one to lock up. He swings the door open and takes a step out of the threshold.
Or, at least he tries to. It appears that his feet are stuck to the floor. He frowns and tries to step forward again, jerking with the failed movement. He lets out a surprised cry and stumbles back, his feet apparently free to venture back but not forward.
He shakes his head. "You're just tired," he tells himself and takes a large step out the door. He is thrown back into the library, landing on his back. He tries again, trying to slip his shoulders through the empty space first, but he's thrown back just like the first time. He stares in horror at the open door, his heart racing and one thought circling through his mind, growing bigger with each passing moment.
He doesn't know how and he doesn't exactly know why, but he's pretty sure Park Jimin cursed him. He buries his head in his hands and whines. He never should have taken this job.
He finds that after an entire night of crazed terror, he can sit calmly at the information desk, hands folded over his lap, and not scream the moment Namjoon walks in. This, he considers, is a major victory, never mind how his jaw is clenched to the point of throbbing, and the anxious jittering of his knees against the desk.
"Hey hyung, you're here early," Namjoon says with a wide grin. He plops his shoulder bag onto the desk. "Want coffee?"
Seokjin forces a calm smile to his lips that he does not feel and slowly shakes his head. "No, thank you. But maybe you could call Jimin and get him to uncurse me? That sounds like a better idea."
Namjoon blinks. "I'm sorry, what?"
"Jimin cursed me. I can't set foot outside the library."
Namjoon blinks again.
"It happened last night." He sighs. "Look, I've been up all night, I want to take a shower, and I'm hungry. Can you just - " he gestures with a hand - "call Jimin and get him to uncurse me? I don't have his phone number."
Namjoon hurriedly pulls up a chair and scoots until his knees press against Seokjin's. He peers into Seokjin's face, eyes wide and seeking. He grabs Seokjin's hands, and studies them, twisting them in the light to get a better view. Finally he seems satisfied and sighs in relief, leaning back into his chair.
"What was that?" Seokjin asks, bringing his hands back to his lap.
Namjoon smiles. "You haven't been cursed. It's just a spell."
Seokjin pinches his lips together. "Oh wow, what a relief," he says in monotone. "I feel so much better. Can I leave now?"
Namjoon's face falls and he awkwardly scratches the back of his neck. "Ah, no, it's still, uh, preventing you from leaving."
Seokjin raises his eyebrows and looks pointedly at Namjoon.
"Yeah, I'll call Jimin now."
Seokjin squeaks out a distressed noise.
Namjoon holds up his hands quickly. "No, no, it'll be okay. Yoongi's potions are really powerful. He'll be able to mix you one that will dissolve the spell. He's been mixing for Jimin, trying to undo the curse."
"You mean the curse that Jimin is still under? That Yoongi hasn't found a cure for yet?" Seokjin brings a hand to his temple, trying to rub away the headache that still throbs there.
"No, don't worry. Spells are a lot easier. Curses are incredibly powerful and complex."
Seokjin stares blankly at Namjoon.
"I guess that doesn't make you feel much better."
"Not really, no," Seokjin says bluntly.
Before Namjoon can attempt to comfort Seokjin again, there's a rapid tapping at the entrance. "That would be Jimin," Namjoon says and stands, walking the few steps to the door.
Jimin rushes through the door, carrying a tray of iced coffee. He offers one to Namjoon. "Hi hyung! Thanks for letting me come early. Have a coffee!" He spots Seokjin and his grin brightens. "Seokjin-hyung! I thought you were closing today?"
"You're kidding me," Seokjin says, staring blankly at Jimin.
Jimin tilts his head. "Hmm?"
Namjoon extracts the tray of coffee from Jimin's hands and quietly starts, "Last night, Jiminie-"
"Why's everyone here so early?" Yoongi says, ambling through the door and making his way to the empty chair at the information desk. He tosses Jimin a small vial as he passes. "Try this one, Jimin."
Jimin grins. "Thanks!" He uncorks the vial and downs the contents, tipping his head back to get every drop out. He swallows and straightens, blinking for a few moments before his expression falls. He scrunches his nose. "Didn't work."
Yoongi shrugs and slips into the chair. "Hm." He turns to Seokjin and frowns. He shifts forward for a moment before turning to look at Jimin with a raised eyebrow. "Why'd you put a spell on Seokjin-hyung?"
"Eh?" Jimin's eyes widen and he stares at Seokjin. He peers over his shoulder at Namjoon. "Eh?"
"It appears you may have put a spell on Seokjin-hyung last night?" Namjoon says, hesitant.
Jimin shakes his head vehemently. "No, no! I tried to put a spell on me so I could stay but it didn't work."
Yoongi contemplates Seokjin for a moment. "It's conditional. As long as Jimin's curse exists, the spell does too. Clearly set perimeters, a majority of the magic is sourced from strength of will." Yoongi whistles and settles back into his chair. "Jimin's willpower is no joke." He pats Seokjin's arm in sympathy.
"It didn't work," Jimin says again quietly, disbelieving. He stares at Seokjin, terrified. "It didn't work, right hyung?"
Seokjin scowls. "It worked."
Jimin gasps and clasps his hands together, rubbing them for forgiveness. "I'm so sorry. I'll fix it, I swear I'll fix it."
Seokjin tries valiantly to stay mad at Jimin. He's the one who's been cursed. He did nothing wrong. He's the victim here. He has every right to be upset.
But Jimin's eyes are sad and drooping, and his mouth curves down into a frown that seems displaced on his usually cheerful face. Seokjin hangs his head and sighs. "Yeah," he says in defeat, accepting that he's already forgiven Jimin. "We'll fix it, I guess."
Jimin narrows his eyes at Jungkook. "Okay, first of all, I didn't curse Seokjin-hyung. It's a spell."
Seokjin purses his lips. "Yes, that makes all the difference."
"It really does, though!" Jimin insists, his voice trailing higher. "Curses are more complex and nearly impossible to reverse unless broken. Spells can be undone."
Seokjin narrows his eyes. "Then how come you can't undo mine?"
Jimin inches away from and shifts his eyes to the books, shrugging sheepishly. "It's sort of, uh, linked to my desire to break my curse."
Jungkook grins, tilting his head on his hands. "Jimin-hyung is desperate to break his curse, so there's no luck there."
Jimin scowls at Jungkook. "It's your fault."
"I'm a victim too," Jungkook says. He turns wide eyes to Seokjin. "I'm also cursed."
"By your own doing!" Jimin turns to Seokjin and tugs on his arm. "His is a backfire to the curse he placed on me. He did it to himself. I'm the victim."
Seokjin blinks and opens his mouth. "Jungkook put you under a curse?" he asks in disbelief.
Jimin nods vigorously and Jungkook frowns, sitting up properly.
"I thought you guys were friends."
"We are," Jimin says.
Seokjin stares at the boys, trying and failing to understand. He takes a breath and furrows his eyebrows. "Okay, run me through this one more time. From the beginning."
Jungkook flicks his eyes to Jimin. Jimin nods and turns to fully face Seokjin. "So Jungkook put me under a curse because he's an insecure baby who doesn't believe in his hyung."
Jungkook rolls his eyes and opens his mouth to speak, but Jimin holds up a finger and shushes him.
"Curses are tricky and almost always have a negative consequence to the caster, so that put Kookie under a curse too. We went to Namjoon-hyung, and he said the answer is in the library."
"We've been here every day trying to break the curse," Jungkook whines.
"Shh." Jimin shakes his head at Jungkook. "If my curse is broken, then Jungkook's is broken as a consequence. I've been diligently here every day trying to free us both. Then you tried to kick me out and, well, sorry hyung. I never meant to involve you. I just really wanted to stay a little longer."
Seokjin sighs and leans back in his chair. "So you've been reading every book because one of them has the answer to your curse?"
"And if your curse is broken, then my spell is broken too?"
Jimin nods again, smiling. "You catch on quick."
Seokjin presses his lips together and grabs a book. "Alright, I'll help."
Jimin brightens and grabs Seokjin's arm. "Really hyung?"
Seokjin hums in agreement and flips open the book. "What am I looking for?"
"We have absolutely no idea," Jungkook says.
Seokjin lifts his head and frowns. "You're kidding."
Jungkook shakes his head and flips a page in his book. "Nope."
"Okay." Seokjin looks to his side at Jimin. "What's the curse, then?"
"Can't tell you," Jimin says, already engrossed in his book.
"You can't talk about curses," Jimin says like it's obvious.
Jungkook nods and his lips quirk up into a smile. "It's the golden rule of love curses."
Jimin snorts. "Nice one, Kookie."
Seokjin opens and closes his mouth, completely lost. "How am I supposed to help break the curse if I don't know what it is, and I don't know what I need to break it?"
Jungkook glances at Jimin. "You never should have involved a nonwizard. They ask too many questions."
Jimin shrugs. "It was a mistake."
Jungkook scowls and pushes his book away. "This is worse than when you turned Yoongi-hyung into a turtle."
Jimin's head pops up. "He hardly noticed!"
"I did notice," Yoongi says, sauntering up from behind them. "I just didn't really mind."
Seokjin jumps in surprise and places a hand over his heart, trying to calm himself. He straightens and looks hopefully at Yoongi. "Did you make a potion?"
Yoongi blinks. "No."
Seokjin frowns. "Why not?"
"Yoongi-hyung only mixes after midnight." Jimin lifts his hands from his book and forms air-quotes with his fingers. "It's 'the most majestic time' to mix or something. That's why he's always sleeping during the day."
"So I'm stuck here at least another night?" Seokjin asks, a whine creeping into his voice.
Yoongi nods and places a hand on Jungkook's shoulder. "Which is why Kookie here needs to go and tell Mrs. Yoo Seokjin-hyung won't be coming home for a few days. You should grab him a change of clothes too."
Jungkook's eyes widen and he spins in his chair to look at Yoongi. "Why do I have to go? What if Taehyung is there?"
"You'll just have to awkwardly avoid him like you've been doing for the last month," Jimin says, a cheeky grin on his lips.
Jungkook scowls but stands when Yoongi tugs him up. He throws one more glare at Jimin before he follows Yoongi.
When they are out of sight, Seokjin peers at Jimin again, his orange hair falling over his eyes, a look of concentration set on his face. Seokjin leans until their shoulders bump softly together. "You really can't tell me anything about the curse?"
Jimin twists to shake his head sadly at Seokjin. "I'm really sorry, hyung. It's impossible. Not even Namjoon-hyung or Yoongi-hyung know the details." He fiddles with the edge of his book and says softly, "I really am sorry I involved you in this. I didn't mean to lock you in here."
Seokjin smiles and reaches to pet Jimin's hair. "I already said it's okay."
Jimin grins at him and Seokjin's smile widens, a burst of affection thumping with his heartbeat. He doesn't think much about the warmth where their shoulders still touch when he returns his attention to his book, a smile still tugging at his lips.
Like every morning, Jimin holds his breath, cheeks puffed out cutely and eyes hopeful, as Seokjin swallows the always oddly-colored potion. And just like every morning, Seokjin tries to step outside and is thrown back into the library. The damage to his backside doesn't hurt as much as watching the crestfallen expression on Jimin's face.
Seokjin stands up, brushes off his pants, and ruffles Jimin's hair until Jimin's smile returns.
They spend the quiet morning in the stacks, warm sunlight streaming through the windows. He watches Jimin frown in concentration, his orange hair glowing, full lips pouted. Dust floats in the space between them, highlighted to a golden shine, and it feels like time is suspended for a brief moment. He won't say it out loud, but Seokjin cherishes mornings with Jimin. They feel like a secret, a small glimpse into something magical that he never thought existed. He wonders if it's the spell he's under or the way Jimin smiles at him suddenly, the corner of his eyes crinkled and his cheeks stretched wide.
The magic is broken when Namjoon arrives, but Seokjin can't really say he minds because Namjoon always brings breakfast. Seokjin finds himself hugging Namjoon in gratefulness as Jimin sets the coffee and pastries on the information desk, laughing at Seokjin's display of affection.
"This hyung is so cute," Jimin says, sniffing at the bag of bagels. "Can we keep him, Namjoon-hyung?"
Namjoon awkwardly pats Seokjin's shoulder and smiles.
Seokjin spends his days searching with Jimin and Jungkook for a way to break the curse. He reads books about the best way to grow witch hazel, how to make an invisibility cloak, and the history of mermaids - which are apparently real. They are nearly two-thirds through the entire library, but progress is slow and tedious.
Seokjin still has to escort Jimin out every night, despite his pleading eyes. Seokjin finds himself laughing as he gently pushes Jimin through the door every night, telling him to go home and sleep.
"I'll be back tomorrow, hyung," Jimin always calls as Seokjin closes the door. "Sleep well."
Seokjin heads upstairs to his makeshift bed, Jimin's voice lingering in the air.
"Shh!" Jungkook says, pressing a finger to his lips firmly.
Jimin pops his head around the corner and blinks. "What was that?"
"Ask Mr. Disrespectful," Seokjin says and gestures to Jungkook.
"Please, please, I'm begging you, can you please be quiet?" Jungkook whispers, frantically pressing a finger to his lips.
Jimin sidles up to Seokjin and cocks his head. "Why?"
Jungkook peeks through the shelves, still creeping low on his hunches. "Taehyung-hyung is here. He can't see me!"
Jimin smiles, teasing and mischievous. "Why don't you just talk to him?" he asks, giggles making the sentence hard to understand by the end of his question.
Jungkook glares at Jimin, eyes narrowed and murderous, which only causes Jimin to laugh louder. Jimin brings a hand up to cover his mouth.
"Found you," a deep voice calls out, sing-song and excited. Taehyung rounds the corner at Jungkook's end of the aisle and waves. He grins, and the thick-rimmed glasses he's wearing slide down his nose with the movement. He pushes them back up. "Hey Kookie, what're you doing down there?" He hunches down to Jungkook's level. "Hi," he says, grinning.
Jungkook loses his balance and flops onto the floor, stammering. His cheeks flush and he looks with wide eyes to Jimin.
Jimin seems to take mercy on him, walking over to hunch down with Taehyung and Jungkook. "Whatcha doing here, Taetae?"
Taehyung makes a face. "Well all my friends have abandoned me for the library. You even stole Seokjin-hyung! He hasn't come home in a week, Chimchim." He places a hand on Jimin's shoulder and shakes his head. "You can't do that to me."
Jimin nods understandingly as Jungkook starts to inch away. "Sorry Tae. It was wrong me of."
"As long as you know," Taehyung says, smiling easily again. "So I've decided to become an intellectual and hang out with everyone here. I even got glasses. They're cute, right Jungkook?" Taehyung frowns as he watches Jungkook dash out of sight. "Yah!"
Taehyung stands quickly. "Jungkook!" He skips down the aisle, pursuing Jungkook's trail. "Bye, hyung," he says as he passes Seokjin and disappears further into the library.
Jimin watches still on crouched low on the ground, a smile stretching his cheeks. He keeps a hand over his mouth to try to swallow his giggles.
"It's so noisy." Yoongi peeks his head through a low shelf, hair a mess and eyes droopy from sleep.
Seokjin grips the bookshelf again to keep himself upright, trying to appear calm.
Jimin's laughter escapes his hand. He shakes his head, his eyes sparkling. Seokjin thinks Jimin looks like he's having trouble breathing.
"Ah, hyung, I needed to ask you," Yoongi starts. "What's your blood type? I need to know for the next potion."
A very bad pun runs through Seokjin's mind. His lips twitch and he tries to dissuade himself from using it, but in the end it slips through. "Well, when I was born they wrote Type-A, but it was a Type-O."
It is perfectly silent for a moment before Seokjin laughs at his own joke and Yoongi stares blankly at him, a sneer of disgust curling his lips. Jimin cackles from his end of the aisle, throwing his head back and collapsing onto the floor in a fit of giggles.
He's almost certain the entire local elementary school has signed up and shows up every Wednesday at four in the afternoon. He is entirely certain it isn't for the books.
Taehyung shows up every week to "help", which consists of him running around with the kids and riling them up even more than they were before. The older kids flock to Namjoon to listen to him talk about philosophy and life, their eyes wide and sparkling with awe. For some strange reason that he hasn't been able to determine, the third graders are in love with Yoongi, climbing on his back and demanding piggyback rides. Seokjin thinks Yoongi cast a spell on them. Jungkook spends his time alternating between turning into a seagull for the children's amusement and avoiding Taehyung. He fails miserably at the latter and is always dragged away stammering by Taehyung and a hoard of jumping children.
Even Jimin takes a break from his quest and holds mini dance sessions.
Seokjin somehow finds himself with fourth graders hanging off his shoulders and a shy first grader clinging to his hip while he hustles around the library, handing out books and talking to the kids about their reading progress.
By the end of reading club, Seokjin collapses into a chair at Jimin's favorite desk, completely exhausted. He swipes a hand through his hair and frowns as sweat sticks to his fingers.
"Hyungie!" Taehyung slides into the chair opposite Seokjin and grins at him. "Want to go get dinner?"
Seokjin's stomach rumbles in agreement but he sighs heavily. He shakes his head. "Sorry, I can't."
Taehyung frowns and leans back into his chair. "Why are you avoiding me too, hyung?"
"No one's avoiding you," Seokjin says. Taehyung makes a face and Seokjin is forced to concede, "Okay, Jungkook is avoiding you."
Taehyung smiles and leans forward again, resting his chin on his hand. "Kookie is cute." He narrows his eyes. "You are not. Why are you avoiding me?"
Seokjin's mouth drops open in offense. "I'm adorable."
"You're pretty, there's a difference."
"If I agree, will you come home?"
Taehyung whines and stomps his feet under the table. "Why won't you come back home?"
"He physically can't leave," Jimin says, appearing behind Seokjin with two large plastic bags in his hands. He lifts and jangles them, a smile spreading over his lips. "I brought jajangmyeon."
"You are my favorite person," Seokjin says, grabbing the bags and spreading the dishes out on the desk.
Jimin shrugs happily and slides into the chair beside Taehyung.
Taehyung grabs Jimin's arm and stares at him. "Why can't Seokjin-hyung leave?"
Jimin leans closer and scrunches up his nose. "I put a spell on him," he fake whispers.
Taehyung's eyes widen and he gasps. After a moment he whispers back, "Can you teach me?"
Jimin giggles and shakes his head. "Nope, hyung is mine now. Get your own."
Taehyung scowls. "I'm trying but he keeps running away." He flicks his eyes around the library and sniffs loudly. "He's in here, I can smell him."
Jimin laughs and shuffles up to Taehyung. He lifts a hand to cup Taehyung's ear and whispers something that Seokjin cannot make out. Taehyung's eyes widen comically and he jerks back to stare at Jimin.
"That'll really work?"
Jimin nods and bites his lips, sobering quickly. "But your pronunciation has to be perfect.
"Okay!" Taehyung stands abruptly, his chair nearly tipping over with the momentum. "Gotta go. Bye hyung, hope you can break your spell." He dashes off to the back of the library.
Seokjin pauses shaking his bowl of jajangmyeon and raises an eyebrow at Jimin. "What did you tell him?"
Jimin brings a hand up to cover his mouth as he laughs, his eyes squinting closed. "I told him to find Kookie and say 'um diddle diddle diddle um diddle ay' five times."
Seokjin blinks. "Is that...Is that the lyrics from Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious?"
Jimin's mouth opens in a big grin and his eyes sparkle. "How did you know, hyung?"
Seokjin laughs and resumes shaking his bowl. "I took a musical theatre class once." He shudders, remembering the endless dance practices.
"Really? You took musical theatre?" Jimin shuffles, pulling his chair further into the desk to lean on the table, his bowl of jajangmyeon forgotten in front of him.
Seokjin hums. "It was an elective." He pulls his chopsticks apart and tilts his head. "So Tae likes Jungkook but Jungkook doesn't feel the same?"
Jimin shakes his head no. "Kookie is in love with Tae." He scrunches his face up. "It's gross to be honest, with his gooey eyes."
Seokjin frowns. "So Kookie is avoiding Tae because he's...shy?"
Jimin shrugs and picks up his chopsticks. "I can't really talk about it."
Seokjin tilts his head and purses his lips. Suddenly his eyes widen and he says, "Ah! It's the curse!"
Jimin jumps and his mouth gapes open. "How..."
Seokjin smiles, satisfied with his deduction. "The golden rule of love curses, right? You can't talk about them." He rips open the plastic on his bowl and bends to smell, sighing happily. He glances up briefly at Jimin. "Now I know Kookie's curse. I just have to figure out yours." He stirs the noodles and lifts them to his lips, shoving as many into his mouth as he can.
He glances up to see Jimin staring, chin resting in both hands, eyes wide and absorbing. Seokjin straightens and swallows. "What?"
"Nothing. Just, you eat really well. It's a good thing."
Seokjin shrugs. "Life is meant for pleasure." He stirs his noodles and lifts them to his mouth again. "And food is pleasure."
Jimin laughs and dips his head, shaking his hair. He finally peels back the plastic on his bowl. "It's cute."
"Ah!" Seokjin clicks his chopsticks together and hurriedly swallows. "I knew I was cute."
Jimin throws his head back, laughing.
Jimin brings breakfast and wide smiles as Seokjin lets him in. He holds up a clear tumbler filled with some green concoction. "It's a protein shake," he says cheerfully. "I made it myself."
Seokjin stares dubiously at beverage but after a moment to contemplate it, takes a sip. It's sweeter than he anticipated, and he smiles. "It's good."
Jimin brightens and bounces on his feet, clasping his hands behind his back. "Really?"
Seokjin nods, taking another sip. "Yeah." He reaches his hand to Jimin's head and ruffles his hair, brushing the orange strands away from his forehead. "I'll cook you a meal to repay you. Once I can leave here, that is."
"It's a promise." Jimin points his finger at Seokjin. "You know to never break a promise to a wizard, right?"
Seokjin snorts. "What, you're going to curse me?"
Jimin tilts his head cutely and shrugs, his lips quirked into a smug smile. "I've been known to throw a spell or two out there."
Seokjin laughs, airy and more breath than sound. He shakes his head and walks to their desk, hopping onto the edge. "I'm pretty sure Namjoon put you on a spell-ban."
Jimin follows and slings his backpack onto the table. "Small details." He slides his fingers around Seokjin's wrist and tugs until he's standing. "Come on, I want to finish the biography section before Yoongi-hyung gets here." He pulls Seokjin into the stacks, grinning over his shoulder as he leads the way. "We're getting close to breaking the curse, I can feel it!"
Seokjin smiles and doesn't say anything, letting Jimin lead him through the stacks, fingers warm around his wrist.
They end up sprawled on the floor, books scattered between them as they attempt to finish the section. Seokjin's book is open on his lap, his left foot tucked under his right knee, back leaning against the bookcase behind him. The library is nearly silent, still early enough in the day that the park outside is empty. The only sound is the quick flick of paper as Jimin turns the pages of his own stack of books, and the occasional chirp of morning birds filtering through the windows.
Seokjin looks up when Jimin starts humming softly under his breath, the melody weaving between floating dust motes, gleaming and warm. Jimin's hangs his head over his book, his lips tugged into a small smile, unconscious and sweet, moving subtly with his song. His fingers play with the edge of the pages, his silver bracelet slipping down his arm to hang loosely at his wrist as he flicks the page again. Seokjin could swear there's a halo around Jimin's head, his hair shimmering in the golden glow of early morning sun.
Jimin peeks up and smiles suddenly at Seokjin, eyes creased into crescents. "What?" he asks, so melodic and sweet that Seokjin thinks Jimin might still be singing.
Seokjin's breath catches in his throat unexpectedly and he coughs suddenly, three great hacks to restart his breathing pattern. He shakes his head, sucking in a deep breath and Jimin drops his book, sliding up to him and patting his back quickly.
"Are you okay?" Jimin asks, his voice tinged with concern, hand rubbing warm circles onto Seokjin's back.
"I'm fine," he manages, still finding his way to a normal breathing pattern. He can feel his ears turning pink, and he knows it has less to do with the lack of oxygen in his body and more to do with the warm heat of Jimin's hand on his back.
Jimin stares at him, eyes narrowing as if evaluating the authenticity of Seokjin's statement, before he smiles and nods in agreement. "Good." He bumps Seokjin's shoulder with his own. "You have to stay healthy."
Seokjin smiles reassuringly and glances back to his book, blinking. He can't focus on the words, his mind spinning with new realizations. He likes Jimin.
He shakes his head, trying to clear his thoughts, but he just rounds back to the same conclusion. He could fall for Jimin. He can picture shopping with Jimin, going to the water park with Jimin, holding hands and strolling through downtown on warm summer evenings with Jimin. He can imagine early morning phone calls because he missed the sound of Jimin's voice. He likes Jimin. Seokjin frowns and blinks at the words he doesn't read in his book, considering the possible perils of falling for a wizard, particularly a cursed one.
He holds out a vial to Seokjin. "This is the one."
Seokjin peers at the liquid, an opaque greyish slug and curls his lips. "Are you absolutely positive? Because I'd rather skip this one."
Yoongi grabs Seokjin's hands and closes them around the vial, successfully handing it off to him. "I haven't slept in thirty-six hours to mix that. You're going to drink it."
Seokjin sighs but nods. "Okay." He unscrews the top and glances around him, raising a brow when he notices everyone has huddled around the information desk to watch, Namjoon in his rolling chair, Jimin leaning on the desk, and Jungkook leaping onto the desk top to swing his legs, expectant.
Seokjin purses his lips and swallows the liquid, shuddering slightly at the taste.
Jimin leans further on the desk, inching closer to Seokjin. "Well?"
Seokjin makes a face. "That tasted horrible."
Yoongi scowls and pushes Seokjin around the desk and toward the entrance. "Just leave so I can sleep."
They all shuffle behind him as he approaches the door and he wants to laugh at the sound of their feet taking quick, small steps. He's reluctant to break the tension, however, so he bites his lip and swallows a smile. He settles his fingers on the door and opens it slowly, glancing behind his shoulder. He raises a hand in a little wave before taking a long step out and preparing to be thrown back into the library.
He nearly stumbles under his own feet as he goes through the door to the landing outside, fingers catching onto the wall to steady himself. He blinks, turning around to stare at the group inside the library.
He's outside. He is actually physically outside, in the fresh air. Outside. Not trapped.
He grins, laughing in relief. "It worked!"
Jimin runs up to him and throws his arms around Seokjin's waist, squeezing him tight. "Congratulations, hyung!"
Seokjin's smile softens and he pats Jimin's back.
Namjoon sighs heavily from inside the library and says, "Yoongi-hyung, you can't sleep here. Hyung! You're in the middle of the floor, you have to move."
"Make me," Yoongi says, voice slow and dulled with fatigue. Seokjin glances up to see Yoongi curled into the fetal position in the middle of the floor, blocking the doorway.
"Seokjin-hyung, help me move Yoongi-hyung," Namjoon calls, exasperated.
Seokjin laughs and squeezes Jimin one last time before releasing him to help Namjoon.
She makes him sit at the kitchen table and immediately fills it with rice and side dishes. "Eat, eat, you lost too much weight," she says sadly, mourning the lack of puff in his cheeks.
Seokjin hums happily, taking several large bites.
His mother leans her elbows on the table and sighs, pouting at him. "You should have visited sooner. You're not eating properly."
Seokjin swallows, shaking his head in apology. "Sorry, I couldn't leave before." His lips quirk into a smile and he adds, "Literally."
"Liar," she says, narrowing her eyes in mock scolding. "You've been playing outside with your friends."
She tsks and reaches over to gently grab a strand of his hair. "Look how light your hair is. It's at least three shades lighter. You've been swimming every day, haven't you? Wear a cap, the chlorine is bad for your hair."
Seokjin frowns and lowers his chopsticks. "I really haven't." He blinks. "Is my hair really lighter?"
She nods, making a noise of affirmation. She pulls out her phone and taps on the screen before holding it out to him. "See? I took this picture the day you left."
Seokjin stares blankly at the picture. He can recall the moment, weeks ago, his brother complaining about banana milk and his mother mournful that he'd be away so long. His frown deepens. His mother is right, his hair was much darker then.
He has no explanation for it. He hasn't seen direct sunlight in weeks and hasn't added any unfamiliar products to his hair. Perhaps one of Yoongi's potions had strange side effects.
Against his more rational judgment, he wonders again about the perils of falling for a cursed wizard.
Seokjin finds him in the history section at the back of the library, reaching to grab at a shelf too high for him.
Seokjin smiles and jogs over, grabbing a handful of books and bringing them down for Jimin. "This shelf, right?" he asks, handing the books to Jimin.
Jimin's eyes brighten in surprise and he beams. "When did you get back?"
"Just today." Seokjin reaches for more books, tucking them under his arm. "Did you finish the geography section already?"
Jimin nods. "I just have history and children's literature and then it's finished. The cure has to be close."
Seokjin grins. "We should be able to finish in less than a week."
Jimin stares up at Seokjin and pauses. "You're, you're still helping me? You don't have to. Your spell is broken, my curse has nothing to do with you."
Seokjin shrugs and starts toward the study area. "We're in this together." He reaches back to tug Jimin along with him.
Jimin throws his free arm around Seokjin's neck and side-hugs him. "Ah, this hyung warms my heart."
Seokjin laughs and pets the back of Jimin's head softly. "You're cute."
Jimin opens his mouth to say something but is interrupted by Jungkook charging down the aisle, panting.
"Park Jimin you lying traitor!"
Jimin jerks back, his arm falling from Seokjin's neck. He adjusts his books and frowns. "Yah, it's hyung. Repeat after me: 'Park Jimin-hyung you lying traitor'."
"Park Jimin traitor." Jungkook advances forward threateningly.
"Yah!" Jimin scurries behind Seokjin for cover, his books falling to the floor in a loud tumble. He peeks around Seokjin's shoulder and says, "You want to die?"
Seokjin places his books on the shelf beside him and holds up his hands, trying to understand the situation. "First, let's all calm down -"
"You said you weren't in love with Taehyung!" Jungkook wails, pointing at Jimin. "You swore you weren't."
Jimin scoffs and Seokjin can imagine his eye roll from behind him. "I'm not."
"Taehyung is blond," Jungkook says, looking squarely at Jimin, his face scrunched up in anger. "Blond."
Jimin's hands clutch at the back of Seokjin's shirt. "He is not, I saw him yesterday -"
"He's right here in this library, blond."
Jungkook advances forward again and Jimin hops onto Seokjin's back, hugging his arms around Seokjin's neck to stay secure.
Seokjin huffs out a surprised breath, his hands automatically reaching back to Jimin's thighs to steady him. He blinks at the still advancing and murderously angry Jungkook. "Whoa, whoa, okay, so Taehyungie is blond, this isn't anything to be upset about."
"He probably dyed his hair," Jimin says from his perch, squeezing his legs tighter around Seokjin's waist.
Jungkook reaches for Jimin, trying to pry him off of Seokjin's back. "Get down here and fight me." Jungkook yanks and Seokjin bends under the pressure, Jimin's arms tightening painfully around his neck.
"Let's stop now," he wheezes out.
"Hyung, save me," Jimin pleads, kicking his leg at Jungkook.
"How come everyone is always having fun in the stacks without me?"
The three of them tumble to the ground in surprise at Taehyung's deep voice. Seokjin lands on his stomach, trapped under the weight of Jimin and Jungkook. He lifts his head and blows his fringe out of his eyes, and sees Taehyung smiling and waving, his hair a light strawberry blond.
"Ah, he really is blond," Jimin says to himself before pushing off of Seokjin.
Seokjin cringes at the sudden influx of pressure on his lower back. "Oof."
Jimin jumps over Seokjin's prone body and runs down the aisle, patting Taehyung on the shoulder as he passes. "Thanks for the distraction, TaeTae."
Jungkook scowls and scrambles to his feet, pressing into Seokjin as he lifts himself up.
"Ow," Seokjin huffs again but Jungkook ignores him and sets off at a run after Jimin.
"We're not finished here, liar!"
"It's dyed," Jimin's voice floats faintly through the stacks, probably already halfway to the entrance.
Seokjin takes a breath and lifts himself up so he's sitting on the floor, leaning his back against the stack. He turns his head to Taehyung. "Your hair looks good," he says, smiling.
Taehyung sighs and slumps to the floor beside Seokjin, frowning in the direction Jimin and Jungkook ran off in. "Hyung," he starts, voice low and depressed.
"Do you think there's something going on between Jimin and Kookie?"
Seokjin lets out a laugh. "Besides the curse? No."
Taehyung turns and blinks owlishly at him. "What curse?"
"You don't know?"
Taehyung shakes his head, frowning.
"Ah, well, I don't know how much I can tell you. I actually don't know much." He smiles reassuringly. "But I'm certain there's nothing romantic between those two."
Taehyung wiggles closer to Seokjin. "Really? Really really? You swear?"
Seokjin nods. "I'm pretty sure Jungkook likes you."
Taehyung pouts. "He hasn't said anything."
"I don't think he can," Seokjin says, tilting his head, unsure how much he can actually divulge. "He's probably shy?"
"Hmm." Taehyung leans back against the stacks and sighs, pensive. After a moment of silence he says, "How can I get Kookie to stay still long enough to ask him on a date?"
Seokjin throws his arm around Taehyung's shoulder and gives him a reassuring squeeze. "I'll help you."
Taehyung's eyes widen and he grins. "You're the best, hyungie!"
Seokjin smiles, pleased. "I know."
Taehyung shows up and waves frantically at Seokjin, trying to catch his attention.
Seokjin makes a shooing motion with his hands, trying to get Taehyung out of sight of Jimin and Jungkook's desk in the study area. He jogs over and manoeuvres Taehyung behind a column and into a crouch.
"What's the plan?" Taehyung asks.
"You go over and sit down by Jungkook. Just follow my lead," Seokjin whispers, pulling him up. "Go."
Taehyung salutes Seokjin and runs over to Jimin and Jungkook, sliding into the chair next to Jungkook and hooking his arm around Jungkook's neck. Seokjin follows and settles behind Jungkook.
Jungkook stammers out a surprised sound and stands to leave but Seokjin places a hand on his shoulder and makes him sit again.
Jimin apparently thinks this is hilarious, and he laughs, eyes twinkling with mischief. "Hey TaeTae," he finally manages, swallowing his giggles.
Taehyung smiles. "Hey ChimChim. Long time no see." He turns to grin at Jungkook. "Hey Kookie."
Jungkook flushes and bends his head in acknowledgement, pressing his lips together.
"Hey, Taehyung," Jimin says, leaning forward. "I like your hair."
Taehyung lifts a hand to fiddle with his fringe. "It's not too light?"
"No, no, it's great. Did you dye it?"
"Yeah, took hours for the bleach to set."
Jimin looks straight at Jungkook, widening his eyes and cocking an eyebrow. "Wow, imagine that, Kookie. He dyed his hair."
Jungkook scowls at Jimin but keeps his mouth closed.
"I was hoping to attract some attention." Taehyung looks pointedly at Jungkook before looking back to Jimin. "Doesn't seem to be working."
Jimin smirks. "Believe me, it's working."
Jungkook tries to stand again but Seokjin leans on his shoulder. "Ah, how nice," Seokjin says, squeezing Jungkook's shoulder. "It's been a long time since I saw all three of you together. It's important to make time for your friends, don't you think?"
Jimin nods seriously, pressing his lips together to stop smiling. "Vital."
"I tell you what, I won some film tickets for tonight but I can't go. Why don't you take them?" He smiles down at Jungkook.
Jungkook's eyes widen and he shakes his head, tugging Seokjin down. "Hyung," he whispers, "what do you think you're doing?"
"What's that, Kookie? You can't think of a better way to spend the evening?" Seokjin grins. "Great." He hands Taehyung the envelope with the tickets and tugs the boys up. "Better hurry, it starts in half an hour."
Jimin grins and waves at them, amused. "Have fun!"
"You're going too," Seokjin says, still smiling.
Jimin's expression falls. "No, hyung, I have to finish."
Seokjin walks around the table and tugs Jimin up, patting his arm comfortingly. "The books will still be here tomorrow. Go have fun with your friends."
Jimin gapes at him. "Hyung," he whines.
Seokjin leans in to whisper to Jimin, "You're the go-between, Jiminie. Think of yourself as the translator. Make some magic, you're a wizard, aren't you?" Seokjin pats Jimin's back and waves the trio off. "Have fun. And don't forget to get dinner. I expect photo proof."
Taehyung squishes between Jimin and Jungkook and links his arms with theirs. "We will. 'Bye!"
When the trio is out of sight, Seokjin settles down at the desk and looks at the expanse of books Jimin and Jungkook didn't get to yet. He lets out a deep sigh and opens the closest one, determined to finish for Jimin.
"What time is it?" he asks, his voice rough and deep, sleep still sticking to his lungs.
"It's a little after midnight," says a soft voice.
"Jiminie?" Seokjin says, recognizing the voice. He lifts his head and rubs his eyes, craning his neck to ease the ache in his muscles. The fingers brushing his hair fall away and Seokjin frowns, missing their presence.
He finally takes a look around and notices the library is dark, the only illumination is the emergency lights, dim spots that do nothing to counteract the bluish tint of semidarkness. He blinks, squeezing his eyes and opening them in rapid succession. "What-"
"I came back after the movie but you were sleeping. Yoongi-hyung closed up. I said I'd stay here until you woke up." Jimin smiles softly at him. "Were you reading all night for me?"
Seokjin nods, finally looking at Jimin. He frowns. Maybe it's the lack of light, maybe it's the bluish hue that paints everything around them, but Jimin's hair isn't orange anymore. It's a dark, vivid black. He brings his fingers to his eyes to rub them again. "How did the date go?"
Jimin laughs lightly. "After he got over his nerves, Jungkook was really happy. Taehyung didn't even notice that Kookie couldn't say a word to him. I left them to have dinner by themselves."
Seokjin feels Jimin's fingers thread through his hair again and he leans into the touch.
"That was a really nice thing you did for them," Jimin says.
"Hmm." Seokjin opens his eyes again, but Jimin still has black hair. "Why's your hair black?" he asks, too tired to figure it out himself.
Jimin smiles, momentarily surprised. He reaches a hand up to his hair and brushes the strands sheepishly. "Ah. I do a spell every morning to confirm that the curse is still active. If my hair turns orange, it's positive. The spell wears off at midnight."
Seokjin nods sleepily, eyelids growing heavy again. "Oh. That makes sense." He smirks and flops his head back onto the desk. "As much sense as any of the magic stuff."
Jimin grins and his fingers return to brushing Seokjin's hair.
"It suits you," Seokjin yawns, letting his eyes close. "The black hair. I like it." He brings his arm to rest under his head. "I'm going to sleep for five more minutes, 'kay?"
"Okay hyung," Jimin says softly.
"My hair's getting lighter," he slurs out.
"It's lighter than it used to be." He smiles sleepily and giggles. "I might be blond by the end of the summer."
Jimin sighs heavily and his fingers pause in Seokjin's hair. "I'm trying really hard to avoid that, hyung. You just don't make it easy."
Seokjin frowns, but he's too tired to decipher the meaning behind Jimin's words.
Seokjin starts to wonder if Jimin is avoiding him on purpose. Fortunately, he doesn't have much time to fret over whether Jimin is actually avoiding him or not, because he soon wakes up to bigger problems.
Literally. He wakes up late one morning and discovers to his shock when he glances in a mirror that his hair is blond. Bright, golden, nearly platinum blond.
Seokjin takes two minutes to panic in the bathroom before he has the state of mind to wash up and get dressed, grabbing a hat on his way out.
When he arrives at the library, he immediately spots Jimin and Namjoon at the information desk. He approaches, fiddling at his ball cap.
"But I've been through the entire library," Jimin says, pouting at Namjoon. He holds his hand out, palm up. "Check again. The answer cannot possibly be in here."
Namjoon sighs and rubs the bridge of his nose. "I can look a hundred times, but the result will be the same. The answer is in the library."
Jimin whines and grips at the information desk. "Don't tell me I have to read every single book twice."
"I never said it was in a book."
"Well where is it then?"
"I don't know, there's not a map on your hand." Namjoon spots Seokjin and sends him a pleading look. "Hyung, help me out here."
Jimin peers over his shoulder and jumps when he sees Seokjin. He releases the desk and backs away slowly in the direction of the stacks. "Hey hyung, how are you? I was just headed-" he gestures vaguely behind him.
Seokjin smiles threateningly. "Jimin," he says slowly, advancing.
"Is there a reason I woke up to blond hair this morning?" he asks, tugging his ball cap off.
Jimin's mouth falls open and his eyes widen in shock. He lifts two hands to his mouth. "No!" He steps closer to Seokjin, reaching forward to grab his head and pull down so he can inspect the blond strands.
Seokjin stumbles forward in Jimin's grip and swats at his hands until Jimin lets go.
"I'm so sorry, hyung," Jimin says, horrified. "I'm going to fix this. I promise I'll fix it!" He dashes off into the aisles, calling over his shoulder, "I'm sorry!"
Seokjin stares blankly at the space Jimin used to occupy, blinking.
Namjoon sidles up to him and places a tentative hand on his shoulder. "What...was that all about?"
Seokjin turns to look at Namjoon. "Do you know any of the specifics about Jimin's curse?"
Namjoon shakes his head. "He can't talk about it, so I just gathered a few hints here and there. I don't know what the actual curse is, though. Yoongi-hyung doesn't either. If we knew, we could have broken it weeks ago."
Seokjin nods, an idea solidifying in his mind. "Is there such thing as a 'golden rule' of love curses?"
Namjoon laughs and shakes his head again. "Not that I've heard of."
"Ah." Seokjin smiles. "I think I've figured it out."
Seokjin finds Jimin sitting on the floor in the reference section, flipping through three books at the same time. Jimin glances up when he hears Seokjin's approach.
"I'll fix it, I swear," he says, apologetic.
Seokjin crouches to Jimin's eye level and gently removes the books from his hands, placing them to the side. "Jiminie," he starts, keeping his voice soft, "your curse. Does it have something to do with hair color?"
Jimin's eyes widen and he nods hesitantly.
"Hmm." Seokjin taps a finger on his chin. "Does it, maybe, turn a certain someone's hair color blond?"
Again, Jimin nods, shifting his eyes guiltily away.
"Is that someone the person you like?"
Jimin makes a distressed noise in the back of his throat. "I can't talk about it."
"Just nod or shake your head." Seokjin reaches a hand to Jimin's knee and pats it encouragingly.
Jimin huffs out a breath but nods his head. He looks at Seokjin with wide, pleading eyes. "I tried really hard not to like you, I'm sorry! I'll, I'll find a way to break the curse and you can have your regular hair back."
Seokjin opens his mouth to reply but Jimin continues.
"It's all Jungkook's fault. He was convinced I was in love with Taehyung, but I wasn't, so he cursed me to confirm it and now you're blond, so the person you should be mad at is Jungkook."
Seokjin smiles and sits next to Jimin, bumping his shoulder. "I'm not mad, Jiminie."
"Good, because I have no idea how to break the curse." Jimin grins at him and Seokjin laughs. Jimin leans closer to Seokjin, pursing his lips. "You look really good with the blond anyway."
Seokjin shrugs. "I look good always."
Jimin giggles and wraps his arm around Seokjin's shoulders. "I don't know why I like you."
"I like you too, Jimin," Seokjin says, smiling.
Jimin smiles, his eyes creasing into crescents. "Want to go on a date tonight?"
Jimin stares up at him for a moment before he shifts onto his knees and shuffles so he's facing Seokjin. "Hyung, close your eyes."
"Just close your eyes."
Seokjin eyes him suspiciously but he finally indulges and lets his eyelids close. He can feel Jimin's hands settle onto his shoulders, warm and weighty. He hears Jimin shift forward, and his hands come up to Jimin's waist automatically to balance him.
He isn't surprised when Jimin's lips touch his own, soft and warm, a gentle pressure that makes him smile into the kiss. Jimin laughs against his lips and squeezes his shoulder.
"Stop making me laugh, hyung," he whispers against Seokjin's lips. "I'm trying to have a moment here."
Seokjin blinks his eyes open and his smile widens. "Sorry, let me try again." He tugs Jimin into his lap and presses his mouth to Jimin's, angling his head to slide their lips together. He tugs Jimin's bottom lip between his, sucking lightly, his hands stroking up Jimin's sides. "Is that better?" he asks when they part again.
Jimin leans his forehead against Seokjin's and lets out a long breath. "Yeah," he breathes out. "Better."
Seokjin smiles and pulls back. He blinks, frowning at Jimin. "Why is your hair black again?"
Jimin opens his eyes and stares at Seokjin. His mouth falls open and he grabs Seokjin's head again, bending it to inspect his hair. "Hyung, you're not blond anymore!"
Seokjin shakes his head from Jimin's grasp and pulls out his phone, switching on the camera to look at his hair. The strands are a lush brown, the same color he had weeks ago in his mother's kitchen. He blinks owlishly at his image, flicking his eyes to Jimin. "How?"
Jimin gasps and brings a hand up to his mouth, laughing. "I cannot believe." He flops onto his back, curling his legs up in a fit of laughter. "It's so simple."
Seokjin purses his lips and watches Jimin with raised eyebrows. "What?" he finally says, voice admittedly a little more whiny than he intended.
Jimin shakes his head. "It's a love curse," he manages, swallowing his giggles. "Love curses are always broken by a kiss."
Seokjin stares. "Are you kidding me? I've been reading about the taxology of wolfsbane and instructions on cauldron maintenance for weeks and all I had to do was kiss you?"
Jimin nods, placing a hand on his stomach. "Oh, it hurts," he says between giggles.
Seokjin scoffs, and reaches forward to pull Jimin back up. "It's not going to be easy dating you, will it?"
Jimin shakes his head, grinning. "But I'm worth it, right?"
Seokjin tilts his head and smiles. "I guess."
"Kookie!" Jimin calls, running up to the table. He beams and places his hands on the table. "The curse is broken!"
Jungkook's eyes widen. "Really?"
Jimin nods, excited.
Jungkook turns abruptly to Taehyung, taking hold of his arms. He says very seriously, "Hyung, go out with me."
Taehyung blinks at him for a moment, his lips turning down into a frown. He glances at Jimin and Seokjin, then back to Jungkook, confused. "I thought we were already dating?"
Jimin clings onto Seokjin in another fit of giggles. Seokjin wraps his arm around Jimin's waist and kisses the top of his head.
- be spellbound
- learn the intricate history of seven-league boots and other useless magical knowledge
- go blond
- fall in love with a wizard
Seokjin finds he's rather fond of surprises.