jungkook has voodoo eyes, that's his best description of him. voodoo eyes, rattling the lungs inside yoongi's body when they shouldn't. he dips his head, swinging his body in a perfect allegra, feet touching heights and dusty air. a few bills are thrown around him, as he spins around the pole — the angel, that's how they call that (that's how yoongi calls him, in his mind) (lucifer was an angel, too). jungkook's barely dressed, the most interesting parts of his body hiding secretly behind cheap fabric. the room smells of tacky perfume and smoke, the music is questionable; his show goes on, slightly sleazy, deliberately slow.
nobody claps when he's done, as another faceless dancer takes his place. jungkook picks up the fifty-six bucks spread around his feet in crooked bills. yoongi watches him disappear behind ugly curtains, any leftover charm leaving his bony hips, eyes facing the other way, devoid, devoid, devoid. yoongi shouldn't be there at all, but jungkook is a hurricane, scary and alluring, destroyer of worlds with black magic for eyes, and yoongi is irrationally attracted to it — he has been, for a while now.
yoongi stands and leaves, too.
"you need a ride home?" he says as soon as jungkook steps out to the bar's parking lot. a crystalline layer of ice makes everything glow in the shady background. everything smells like grease and dirt.
he's all wrapped in a sweater, black, twice as big as his body, a hoodie covering raven strokes of hair. jungkook's jeans are ripped despite the biting breeze, old converse shoes on his feet, gray and common. he doesn't stall and keeps walking, seemingly unaware of the darkness around him. yoongi knows jungkook has been dipping his feet into it for a while anyway. he's seen it.
"i'll give you money, if you let me take you home." yoongi means it, tugging at his collar, the weight of the clergy suffocating him even when not there, pocket full of his religion's money.
jungkook stops, a small smile curling his lips up. "i'm expensive, ahjussi."
there's a pause in which jungkook takes a pack of camel n.9s from the hoodie's pocket, the pink box a contrast to his looks, too soft for all the scary edges. he lights it himself, and stares at him through the smoke. "two hundred," jungkook says then, tapping his shoes' welts on the dirt, voice childish. yoongi lets out a short laugh, jungkook smiles, blowing smoke out of his nostrils. "student loans."
"come on, then."
("i'm min yoongi," he says as he drives. "jungkook," the younger replies, but yoongi already knew that. jungkook lives in a house with a porch that seems to be falling apart by the road, not too far from the bar's exit, woods all around it. yoongi sends him away with a nod, two bills and a bleeding heart. jungkook waves the bills at him before going inside.)
the rural town they're in is an empty space in the middle of nowhere, on the outskirts of ugly industrial towns full of pollution. no one comes in, no one gets out. it's made of alcohol and rice crops, dirt and churches and temples, holy and horror. jungkook likes it best, yoongi likes it less. he dreams of jungkook sometimes, walking through crops made of darkness with antlers on his head and voodoo eyes apothic and cruel. so he goes back to the bar, every night, and watches jungkook dance, being watched in return.
yoongi spends too much tithe money on rides before he gets an invitation to go inside. he likes to think they're intimate, by then. jungkook doesn't seem to care about personal relationships at all. there's something very wrong inside his eyes, like staring into a silent abyss, waiting for the darkness to look back at you. he lets him in, so yoongi sticks around. jungkook's old house is decorated with jesus and death, eerie, cold and dark. they become a thing — empty of rational feelings, bound by sulky lust.
faces of saints stare at yoongi as jungkook takes his clothes off again. he holds yoongi's wrist, loosely, thumb pressing against his vein as if to feel his pulse, brushing against the blurry tattoo — 23:4.
"what does it mean?"
"si ambulavero in valle mortis non timebo malum quoniam tu mecum es," yoongi mutters as jungkook crawls on top of him, breath getting caught in his throat, and words come out in dead languages. jungkook feels like a thorn crown, yoongi watches himself bleed through a dirty mirror. “it's a psalm. chapter twenty-three, verse four.”
"— are you a priest or something?"
"yeah. i am."
"the exorcist kind."
jungkook chuckles, face close to yoongi's, never allowing a kiss. when he speaks again, his pupils are wickedly blown, and his voice is lacking warmth: "take me to church, then, hyung."
yoongi whispers prayers as they make love, but love it's what it's not — they fuck and it's blissfully painful and inhumane, dirt crawling under their skin, red like jungkook's moans. "even the darkness is not dark to you," yoongi breathes, eyes closed, as jungkook groans into his chest, leaving marks all over the whiteness of his collarbones. some people call it love bites, yoongi calls them bullet holes. “darkness is as light—”
"fuck, fuck—" jungkook cries as he comes, heaving like crazy, and his voice sounds deranged. yoongi watches the wreckage and how it consumes jungkook, and it tips him entirely, a hand around jungkook's neck, feeling his carotid, pushing him down, down, down. jungkook whimpers, shuddering, too resposive, too sensitive, too much. "hyung, please." yoongi comes undone, prayers under his breath.
when it gets too quiet, jungkook puts his head on yoongi's chest in odd gentleness, listening as his furious heartbeat dies out. the prayers linger in the stale air. from a decrepit coffee table, an image of the virgin mary looks back at them, mockingly. one of her eyes is chipped. they don't stay like that for too long. jungkook is the first to leave the bed, as it often is, pulling jeans over his naked legs, a stained white shirt over his torso. yoongi copies his movements.
"do you need to work tonight?"
"i need the money," jungkook says, hoarsely, stopping by the open porch door, watching the woods where red foxes roam and scream deep within layers of trees and filth, making the chilly air around them reverb. he searches behind the door, until he's holding an old rifle, going outside.
yoongi watches the woods too, but he can't see what jungkook sees. the red foxes scream again, jungkook shoots twice, yoongi flinches, ears hurting. "what the fuck, jungkook—" he starts, hissing, but jungkook is already disappearing into the woods, barefoot and tousled from sex, coming back ten minutes later with a hare over his shoulder, blood all over his shirt. yoongi feels sick to his stomach.
"do you cook, hyung?"
"then let's eat."
(the hare stares at yoongi with dead eyes, he chops off the head.)
yoongi likes to watch jungkook dance. it turns him on as much as it chokes the breath on his throat, like it's poisoned. it's a terrifying feeling he seems to enjoy — being that close to death. jungkook strips, catcalls are thrown in the air, hands feeling up his thighs, and his thighs are full of the marks yoongi has left on them. he swallows watery whiskey, jungkook strikes his last pose before leaving the stage.
the whiskey renders his footsteps wrong, but yoongi finds his way backstage, grabbing jungkook by the waist, pushing him against the wall, and jungkook seems to burn him with a smile on his face.
"i never kissed you," yoongi points out, biting at jungkook's neck.
"you never asked, hyung."
"— can i kiss you?"
"that's two hundred."
"brat," yoongi whispers as he kisses jungkook, harder than he should, and it tastes like the lollipop jungkook was sucking on stage, and woods, and cheap whiskey. jungkook is eager to receive.
(he prays later, hands shaking, entwined with a rosary, and the filth doesn't wash out with holy water, nor does feelings.)
jungkook grew up on that same house, according to himself, and that's a lie, yoongi thinks. his neighbors are foxes, rice crops and old ladies that smell of formaldehyde and poverty. yoongi grew up at a house with too many foster kids and unwelcoming hands. he wanted to be holy, jungkook wanted to be left alone. none got their wish.
"where do you get your money from?"
the question is an oddity by itself, as jungkook isn't very interested in yoongi's life. he has the rifle with him and sharpness in his stare. there's game somewhere in the woods, but he's aiming at yoongi, instead, playfully (or not, and there's eagerness all over yoongi's soul for being so close to the muzzle).
"i steal," yoongi replies, simply. he does rob tithe money from churches he doesn't belong to. "i'm pretty good at it, too."
"you're like a fox, then, hyung."
jungkook grins, pointing another way, shooting five times, getting up and coming back with game on his shoulder like the other times, fresh corpses to be eaten. yoongi barely flinches this time, used to the carnage. they dine on duck meat, potatoes and cheap beer, and later they lay together on the sofa, jungkook watches some random late night movie on tv, yoongi strokes his hair, kissing his neck every other minute. they fall asleep like that, as if they're normal.
it's morning when jungkook speaks, blowing his smoke under the faded sunlight: "hyung, i want you to take my confession."
yoongi stops. the request stains the air around them, the sound of the television inside the house rings on yoongi's ears, bothering. "—why?"
the sentence remains unfinished, lost syllables unspoken. yoongi gives in and takes jungkook to church, eventually, literally, this time. he wears his clergy collar, jungkook doesn't have sunday clothes — he's the prodigal lamb from parables, walking the short aisle with a slow pace, eyes wide. it isn't a big church, the few images of saints dirty, shifty eyes following them quietly. yoongi feels slightly off.
the confessional is empty, and it smells of wood and old age. jungkook kneels, and yoongi watches him from the other side of the latticed opening. it's too dark to make up his expression. "forgive me, father, for i have sinned," jungkook starts, yoongi feels hot all over. "i've been fucking a priest and taking more money than i should at the bar."
"father," jungkook copies yoongi's tone, staring at him through the holes on the wood and the whites of his eyes is all yoongi can see. "i think there's a demon in my house."
yoongi holds his breath. "what?"
"i think there's a demon in my house."
"why do you think that?"
"because you're there," they're silent for a while. jungkook seems to shift on his weight, knees probably hurting. penitence. yoongi likes when jungkook is on his knees, and the thoughts scatter around his brain, blurring his vision, making his breath shallow.
"pray the rosary, twice a day for thirty days," yoongi clears his throat, averting his eyes, the air stuffy. "give thanks to the lord for he is good, for his mercy endures forever." they go back home, just to pretend the confession never happened. yoongi tosses him a rosary, but jungkook doesn't know how to pray.
(yoongi runs through the woods that night, and his cries are howls, screams, shattering the stale, dark air. there's blood on his teeth, on his eyes, on his hands, bad, bad blood. he wakes up screaming, jungkook has the riffle pointed to his head — as he always does, in one way or another.)
he hears three shots from inside of jungkook's house, echoing inside his head. jungkook's out hunting again, hares and badgers, food for his carnivore needs. he doesn't bring back small game this time, though. "hyung—!"
yoongi is up and running outside before the word is done echoing. jungkook is at the edge of the woods, jeans and t-shirt dirt with splatters of blood. he's dragging a red fox, a boyish, proud smile on his lips. there's a demon in my house.
"jungkook, why did you kill it?"
"i didn't," jungkook replies, shrugging. "i found it dead already."
jungkook skins the fox, and a week later he's wearing its fur. it's horrifying, yoongi thinks, how someone so beautiful could be so cruel. there's a demon in my house. when jungkook leaves to work, he burns whatever remains of the fox he can find, and prays the rosemary twice, thrice, a million times, until the words are burnt on the roof of his mouth.
"i want you to be with me, always."
they're at jungkook's bedroom, the walls around them fickle. it's ugly and it smells like hairspray like the rest of the house. there are old pictures on the walls and mirrors, of old newspaper cuts, of men and women, old lives that might have turned to grime by then. yoongi wonders if jungkook has been all of them already. jungkook looks up, still on his knees, lips swollen. "why are you saying that now?"
"because i'm in love with you."
"you're a priest, hyung."
"i know that."
"so," jungkook smiles almost tenderly, eyes almost kind, almost, almost, almost. he gets up, cleaning his mouth with the back of his hand, and yoongi zips his pants up, legs slightly weak. "your god hates people like us."
"i don't care."
jungkook doesn't say anything for a while, hands going through drawers mindlessly. yoongi waits by the bed. "i want you to take my confession again, hyung."
there's rustling of fabric as jungkook sits on the bed. "forgive me, father, for i—"
"jungkook, stop," yoongi says, and the air comes out stiff, as if he's breathing poison. he tries to hold onto jungkook's arms, but jungkook shakes him off, and yoongi settles for sitting beside him, the distance between their bodies too blatant. "kook—"
"i'm a demon, father."
yoongi stops breathing altogether, his words stumbling on slight horror. still, he knew, of course. jungkook points an invisible gun to his head, and there's sweetness in his stare, sweetness that yoongi has never seen before. there's a demon in my house. yoongi wonders if jungkook will ever do it, shoot him, clean his remains afterwards. "i know."
"i thought so."
of course, yoongi thinks. jungkook probably feeds on human liver, deep within the woods he goes hunting, a gumiho in disguise. "why?" why did you tell me? why are you here? why do you allow me to stay?
"feelings are complicated, father," jungkook sighs.
"i can help you," jungkook's hair looks like it's made of petroleum when yoongi brushes away from his eyes, sticky, oily, thick. he's perfect, yoongi thinks briefly, in an awful, god-blinding way, with his dark magic eyes and lanky bones and boyish, youthful angles. he wears the fox vest, yoongi wears his soul out. "i've been trying to."
"i don't want you to."
"do you think i'd be afraid?" yoongi almost smiles. jungkook finally gets closer, looking feline and lazy, to rest his head on his shoulder. they sit there for a while, and jungkook holds yoongi's wrist, pressing fingertips against the tattoo on it, as if hoping it could burn.
"then why not?"
"i think you'd kill me, hyung."
yoongi thinks for a second, breath held inside his lungs. "perhaps."
god hates me, jungkook said once.
(yoongi runs away with the moonlight and jungkook follows. he is a coyote, jungkook is something else. something very old, inhuman, unearthly, bad, bad blood. they run together, breathing in the woodlands around them, the poverty and insanity, death and mud. jungkook dresses in yellow and holds his gun, and for a moment there he has antlers on his head, and his doe eyes are lopsided and empty. you, sir, jungkook's voice whispers, should unmask. jungkook shoots yoongi and he skins him and wears him like a vest.)
but it's just a dream — a nightmare. jungkook is asleep next to him when yoongi wakes up, clean and human, hair like pitch all over his face, serene expression on his face. they go to church the next sunday, and when jungkook sings the hallelujah, yoongi sings it too. rituals come and past, his head grows darker, he holds jungkook's hand, everything feels thin as paper. he loved us at our darkest, he remembers faintly, hanging to the thread of his faith, while we were still sinners, christ died for us. romans 5:8.
"whatever you are wouldn't make me love you less — you know that by now."
they knock the virgin mary from the table at some point during the night, and yoongi thinks love is dripping out of his body, staining the moldy carpet the deepest shade of red — love like his blood, bad, bad love. "are you going to fuck it out of me, hyung?" jungkook is grinning under him, arms pinned besides his head. "exorcise whatever i am?"
"you're jeon jungkook," yoongi holds his wrists a bit tighter. "i don't want to fuck it out of you."
"i want to make love to you."
the shift happens inside jungkook's eyes, the shift yoongi has seen before. the undisclosed violence in his soul dissipating into softer hues, until he's more like boy jungkook, soul hollow, demons gone. it isn't realistic — jungkook is a demon, not a boy, a being, not possessed. and yoongi loves him too much. "is your god that merciful?" jungkook asks, voice small, young.
"yes," yoongi replies, and they stare at each other.
"show me, hyung."
it's slow, almost painfully so. the kisses they share aren't angry or sharp like shards of glass, but soft, tepid. yoongi never felt so deeply infatuated with someone, and he shows it on the way he treats jungkook's body — like it's holy on its own, divine. he pours love onto him, feeding off jungkook's strangely longing sighs, his moans like prayers. it's alluring to watch jungkook come undone on his fingers, curling them inside him, touching jungkook in ways that make him writhe in prayer. "hyung," jungkook breathes out, jittery, sweaty. yoongi is fond of the way he says the word, how it started as mockery and now it's sang amidst raspy moans lovingly, even. "there, please—"
"here?" yoongi kisses jungkook when he lets out a loud yelp, eyes closing. he keeps rubbing the tips of his fingers against the one thing that makes jungkook shudder, but whenever he's close to collapse, yoongi stops. "do you love me?"
"— yes," jungkook's voice is strangled, as if yoongi has his hands on his throat. he doesn't, not this time.
"were you going to kill me?"
"yes," they stare at each other, eyes seeing, measuring their sins. "i was going to eat your liver, too, hyung."
"my liver is shit," yoongi smiles, dabbing his fingers slightly, making jungkook's eyes flutter close, nose scrunching, a growl escaping his lips. "i was going to kill you, too. but then i saw you."
they kiss again, and yoongi presses and presses and presses, grinding against jungkook while making him squirm. when jungkook comes, he doesn't stop, not until jungkook is a crying, sensitive mess, body shaking rapidly, please stop, oh god, please, hyung, ugh, and maybe that's what exorcism looks like from the above.
"i want to see you whole."
"aren't you afraid?"
yoongi's barefoot, yes, but his body is covered by a sweater too big for his frame — the one jungkook was wearing the first time they met. summer has given space to a chilly fall, and the leaves crack under their weight in the woodlands. jungkook stands next to him, eyes too clear, darkness giving in to unrealistic blues. yoongi prays under his breath, like a chant, like magic. even though i walk through the valley of the shadow of death, i fear no evil, for you are with me — for you are with me, for you are with me, he repeats, and his hands find the knuckles on jungkook's hands, pressing down on them, their fingers searching for each other. human and demon, preacher and sinner, hunter and pray, yoongi and jungkook. the woods are dead, silent.
yoongi sprints, jungkook follows.
jungkook unmasks, yoongi isn't afraid.