The road into town was long, winding, and completely uninhabited. That, of course, was to be expected of a place so remote--so removed from the rest of the world. Yoongi was curious to see whether he even had neighbors or not. Deep in the country, what you find-- besides many, many, mice-- is solitude. Which is exactly what Yoongi expected from the move. He’d never even been to his uncle’s house before he heard news of his inheritance.
Needless to say, a few months later and he decided that it was high time he got out of the city and left the confines of his closet sized apartment to move to his uncle’s.
His hands grip the pen firmly, eyes focusing on the page even when the cab goes over more than a few potholes. The road ahead of him is clouded with fog, and he can’t help but note how absurdly dark the skies are despite the time of day. Yoongi rolls down his window and expects to be hit with the air’s crisp freshness. He stiffens against the door, letting the wind send wisps of his hair flying across his face.
“It smells really weird here,” Yoongi says to his driver. “Do they have farms around here? It smells like some sort of weird herb--”
“Pot, probably. And lots of it, by the smell of it,” the cabbie says quickly, his fingers drumming on his steering wheel quickly, nervously almost. “You know the new-age, hippy types with their weeds and memes.”
Yoongi nods expertly, tuning out his driver, but he can’t get the scent out of his head. It’s familiar, he knows it. And it takes a moment for him to pinpoint it, but then it clicks. He can almost recall white lab coats and spilt fluids all over countertops, the data tables, the screeching professor telling him not to pour the iodine in that beaker ‘ for the love of God, Min Yoongi’ . He knows the driver is wrong. He knows that smell, he remembers the not-so-subtle scent from when he went to his Uncle’s wake: it smells like formaldehyde.
He scrunches his nose in disgust, trying to keep himself from gagging as he quickly rolls up his window. Hopefully his house isn’t near the mortuary.
Come here and spin with me
He lets out a huff of breath, jotting down a line in his notebook, knowing that what looks like a garbled mess could potentially be the start of a hit. An idea to spark what little there seems to be of his creativity. A sigh escapes his lips before his fingers trace over the chicken scratch on the page. The cab screeches to a stop. Yoongi looks up, eyeing his cab driver warily.
“Something up?” he asks, voice cracking from lack of use. Yoongi clears his throat, embarrassed as the cab driver raises a brow, looking at Yoongi from his rearview mirror.
“Nothing out of the ordinary here,” the cab driver mumbles. “Listen, you sure this is the right place? We don’t get a lot of city folk out here.”
Yoongi scrunches his eyebrows together, considering it for a moment before flipping his journal to the page with the address written down on it. “I’m sure it’s right.”
The man shrugs, before he reluctantly continues down the unpaved road. Yoongi’s eyes fall back onto the page, when he sees a flash of black in his peripherals. A blinding pain shoots through his temple. He hisses, digging his nails into his palms, then whips his head to look out into the thick forest, the cypress trees swaying back and forth together. There is something spectacularly eerie about the sight, but that’s mainly because cypress trees are creepy by nature.
Yoongi furrows his brows, turning toward his driver. “Did you hear that?” Everything suddenly becomes a bit too much for Yoongi, the car becomes too small-- his throat constricts a little as he feels beads of sweat on his forehead. It’s too hot. He wants desperately to get out, but his body is taut--seemingly locked in place as panic pools in his stomach. His fingers reach to roll down his window, but he remembers the dreadful, nausea-inducing stench and quickly retracts his hand before he even thinks to make the mistake. He steadies himself then decides to let his head fall against the leather seat and wait it out.
The driver looks at Yoongi through his mirror and chuckles. “Must be the trees talking again.”
Yoongi makes a noise of agreement-- he assumes that was a metaphor and nods, his eyes narrowing before he turns his attention back to his notebook once more, his interest with the strange trees waning.
The cab pulls up to the driveway.Yoongi looks at the poorly maintained fountain dropped right in front of the manor, riddled with moss and lined with half-wilted chrysanthemums at the base. It’s a bit gaudy for his tastes, if he’s being honest.
The house is at the very edge of town, lodged between the safety of civilization and the large expanse of the unknown, uncharted forest.
(“You mean to tell me that no one’s ever gone into the forest?” Yoongi scoffs at his driver disbelievingly.
“That’s not what I’m saying.” The driver raises a brow at him. “No one knows what’s in there because no one has ever come back out.”)
Yoongi grimaces at the sight of his new home. The place is old--beyond old, actually-- and it’s painted corpse gray, a painfully dull color that fits very well into the ominous theme of the whole town. It’s Victorian-style and looks like it hasn’t been remodelled since Queen Elizabeth died, probably. Yoongi feels like he’s in the beginning of a really bad horror movie. At least I’ll have inspiration for the next novel, he thinks grimly as he trudges up the porch, the wooden steps creaking as he makes his way to the front door.
And now Yoongi admits, that he might just be a little bit spooked.
Just a bit.
Not that he would ever say it out loud.
He looks over his shoulder to watch the cab retreat from his driveway. Well. Guess I can’t leave now.
He pulls at his rolling luggage and hitches his backpack further up before reaching for the key in his pocket. Suddenly, the front door creaks open. Yoongi is scared now, and he’s willing to admit it. His throat grates out a squeak, when two faces burst out the door.
“Surprise!” Yoongi jumps back, hands going up to defend himself when he realizes that the two men in front of him are holding out a cake, perplexed at the defensive stance he’s taking. The two of them are dishevelled, their hair sticking up in different directions. The taller of the two looks at him with wide, excited eyes, his body jittery as if he’s about to spontaneously combust. The shorter one has his eyes downcast for a moment, before his eyes lock on Yoongi’s, and for a split second, Yoongi feels faint.
Yoongi looks back down at the cake once more and feels a surge of awkwardness. “Oh.” He relaxes just a bit, before he eyes them curiously. “Who are you?”
“I’m Taehyung,” the taller says, before nodding at the other man who is watching Yoongi with a certain intensity Yoongi...isn’t too sure he’s comfortable with. “That’s Jimin! We’ve kinda been expecting you!”
“No, I mean…” Yoongi pinches the bridge of his nose, huffing a bit as he glares at the two. “Why are you in my home?”
Taehyung seems to deflate a little, before he exclaims. “We’re the other tenants!” He giggles, much to Yoongi’s chagrin, stepping closer to take one of Yoongi’s luggages.
“Other tenants?” Yoongi sputters. “What do you mean other tenants? I own this house, my uncle left it for me in his will--”
Jimin speaks this time, eyebrows scrunching together before he speaks. “You know that you don’t own this house. You read it multiple times, didn’t you?” Yoongi stills: he’s almost transfixed by the way Jimin’s words unnaturally spill out of his mouth--his eyes are lifeless as he tells Yoongi this information, as if he’s reading Yoongi like a fucking book.
Regardless, Jimin isn’t lying.
Yoongi had read the document over and over again. It said that he was only to get the left wing of the house--mansion? Manor? Whatever the fuck it was, half of it was his. But it never mentioned anything about being occupied by two men.
“Even if I own half of it, there shouldn’t be anyone living here. The other person my uncle left it to was Jeon Jungkook, and I did my research.” Yoongi is irritated now. “Jeon Jungkook is dead.”
He isn’t stupid. He knows there is something very, very off about these two.
“Of course he’s dead! He died a few years ago and left his share of the house to Tae and I.” Jimin smiles at him now, his eyes crinkling a bit in a way that gives Yoongi an unsettling feeling. “Min Yoongi-ssi, you have a lot to catch up on.”
He feels incredibly cold. “How do you know my name?”
“It was on your uncle’s will,” Jimin shrugs absentmindedly, turning away from him to pull Taehyung back into the house. “Come in! We’ll show you where your room is.”
“Hyung is fine,” Yoongi mumbles reluctantly, making a mental note to try and avoid the two unwelcomed new people in his life as much as he physically can.
It proves to be a difficult task, trust him. He tries everything-- from avoiding them when he goes into the kitchen, to cooping himself up in his room--nothing works. He figures it would be easier to accept the fact that Taehyung and Jimin are a part of his life, albeit huge nuisances, but fighting them would only make matters worse. It takes Yoongi much longer than he would have liked to get his two housemates out of his hair, but now that he’s gotten past the initial shock of-- well, having housemates, he realizes shortly that their presence could be something he can get used to.
If Yoongi believes that his new living situation is strange, a few days after settling in, he finds out just how strange the town is as well. The thing about this place is that it’s almost never bright out. It’s like the sun is afraid to come out, Yoongi thinks as he takes the paved road into town, sliding in his headphones to drown out the white noise. As he nears the town center, Yoongi grows restless. The town is dead; the roads are empty, devoid of any signs of life. But he can’t shake the feeling that there’s someone (or something), somewhere, watching him make his every move. He gulps as he continues his exploration, turning up the volume on his phone to distract himself from the distressing paranoia eating at him.
He looks around at the stores, and for the most part, every sign is flipped over reading ‘closed’. Yoongi groans, going up to a music store that he had Yelped just before coming into town, then goes up to the door to see their hours. Weird. They should be open right now? Yoongi catches a glimpse of something moving on the inside. He presses his face against the glass to peer inside, looking around the empty shop to see a person behind the counter. They’re staring at him dead on with wide, black eyes.
He quickly turns around and walks away. Maybe he could try coming back into town another day.
Yoongi doesn’t make the mistake of going into town alone again, at least not until he gets the feel of it. When Taehyung has a day off, Yoongi asks him to tag along with him, and Taehyung nearly vomits in excitement, enthralled with the fact that Yoongi had graced him with the offer to hang out together.
Taehyung bounces out of his room, throwing on a giant, cut up sweater, a pair of black culottes, and a raincoat in record time. Yoongi thinks it’s refreshing, the way Taehyung speaks unabashedly, uncaringly. He watches the way Taehyung forms his sentences-- in short, clipped phrases, stopping abruptly before moving onto a different subject completely. It’s fun, new. He thinks they could probably be friends, if Yoongi gets used to him.
He smiles at the thought.
When they walk into town, it’s a bit brighter this time, but maybe it’s because Taehyung has that effect on everything he comes into contact with. The brick roads are still empty, the stores down the block of the main road are still closed. Taehyung is talking about something his friend had told him just hours before during his shift at the hospital, something about philosophy-- (“‘the dichotomy of good and evil’, Namjoon-hyung called it...”) when he pauses, realizing that the shops are all closed. He tilts his head curiously, before laughter bubbles out of him.
“Olly olly oxen free!” he shouts, cupping his mouth with his large hands. Yoongi gives him a funny look, but then, the damndest thing happens. People emerge from their shops, coming out of them to stare at the two. And like a curse has been lifted, the town is lively, people walking around freely and chatting with each other as they all work their way through the stores. Taehyung continues talking to Yoongi, as if nothing had happened--completely unfazed.
Even with Taehyung by his side, Yoongi still gets stares from the townsfolk like he’s some circus attraction. “What am I? A zoo animal?” He spits out at a man who stares at him for particularly too long, like he’s ready to sink his teeth into Yoongi. The man’s...appearance is unsettling, to say the least. His skin is a sickly green, his skin porous and oily, slick with sweat, and he’s unnaturally tall, towering over Yoongi like a giant. His fingernails are clawlike, stiff and red. His nose juts out as he leans in, like he’s trying to catch a whiff of Yoongi. It’s the strangest form of harassment Yoongi has ever received before and he’s absolutely not going to stand for it. The man literally stares at him like he’s on the McDonald’s dollar menu. Yoongi promptly steps on his foot, but the man barely flinches. His foot is rock solid. And now, he’s pissed. The man glowers at Yoongi, until Taehyung whispers quietly into Yoongi’s ear.
“They’re an ogre, let me handle it.” Taehyung pats his shoulder sympathetically, then tells the man to leave Yoongi alone (or at least that’s what Yoongi thinks he says) in a language that Yoongi can’t really decipher.
“You speak Portuguese?” Yoongi asks Taehyung after the man disappears.
Taehyung lets out a startlingly loud laugh, patting Yoongi on his back. “You’re funny, hyung.”
Most of the stores are new age places, organic shops, and locally run. There isn’t a single corporate run place in town because as Taehyung states, no one should support the imperialistic, capitalist society.
Yoongi nods his head along sarcastically. “Fight the power, man.”
They pass the fifth vegan juice bar on Main Street, and Yoongi sighs. “I’m surprised you guys don’t use the barter system here."
“Some shops here actually do that!” Taehyung perks up, “The shop on Fifth--”
“Oh my God, I moved to hippie central,” Yoongi mutters under his breath. He looks down at the watch on his wrist and sees that it’s around lunch time. Taehyung is speaking to a street vendor, bargaining over a couple of bracelets. He inspects the jewelry, the beads glimmering in Yoongi’s eyes unnaturally bright. Taehyung leaves the vendor, looking a little peeved, but he shakes it off quickly. “Do you know any good places to eat that aren’t vegan? I swear, not a single place here sells meat. Will I have to settle for Tofurky? That shit doesn’t taste good, Taehyung.”
“Why do you need meat?” Taehyung asks, quirking a brow. Yoongi senses mischief in the air, he looks at Taehyung who’s looking right back at him with wild eyes. “You going to sacrifice something?”
Taehyung throws his hands up in the air in defense. “No judgement, no judgement here.” Taehyung’s head snaps up as he sees an ice cream truck (dairy free, of course) and runs up to it, leaving Yoongi to contemplate his existence in this strange, strange place.
He lets a few days pass, surviving mostly on pizza deliveries and take out that Jimin and Tae leave at his door when he’s cooped up in his room for hours on end writing ideas down. But they’re just ideas that lead to half-assed plots that lead to nowhere. Yoongi tears yet another page out of his notebook, flinging it across the room before he hears a soft rasp at his door.
“You should probably eat.” It doesn’t sound like Taehyung, but it’s flu season. Maybe Taehyung is coming down with a cold. Yoongi furrows his brows together, pulling his jacket on tighter before he turns toward his nosy housemate.
“Taehyung, I thought I told you--”
When he turns, however, Taehyung isn’t standing there. No one is.
The door is still closed, but the room grows colder. The notebook on Yoongi’s desk is being lifted, the pages being flipped through by itself--like someone’s reading through his pages.
“Hyung,” the voice comes softer this time. It sounds youthful. “You write so well.” Yoongi pales, eyes widening with fear before he lets out an ear splitting scream.
He jumps out of his chair and flings the door open. Running down the stairs, he grabs his keys and wallet and practically catapults out of the house.
Yoongi doesn’t know how long he runs for, but by the time he realizes what’s happened, he’s lost.
Looking around, Yoongi realizes that a) he’s in the very forest that the cab driver had implored him never to go into and also b) his phone has absolutely no reception.
Except he sees a notification on his phone.
freakass jimin 12:47 pm
don’t panic! just ask the trees for directions. :)
He wants desperately to message Jimin back and ask what the fuck he means by that, but he can’t. “Shitty service… I’m switching back to fucking T-Mobile.” Yoongi walks around in circles for what seems to him like hours, not knowing where to turn or what Jimin meant by his message. He looks at it again, wondering if maybe he can pick up some clues if he stares at Jimin’s message long enough when he realizes something.
Jimin sent that message to him before he even ran out of the house.
He paces around for a few moments, wondering if this is all just an elaborate prank that Jimin and Taehyung are playing.
“Alright guys, real funny,” he says, hoping to get an answer.
He waits a moment, then another, before he lets out an exasperated sigh.
If it’s a game they’re playing, then maybe Yoongi should just play along.
He looks around at the cypress trees, swaying back and forth with the wind, like they’re waiting for him to make a move.
“Can you,” he starts, then looks down at his feet before he turns toward the nearest tree, “tell me where to go?” Yoongi tries not to get embarrassed, but there he is--standing in the middle of a forest speaking to a fucking tree. It’s so bizarre, he almost laughs.
He turns around, about to stomp off and try to find another way to go, when he feels something tap on his shoulder. He freezes, turning his head over his shoulder to see the cracks on the cypress forming a smile. He’s terrified, to be honest. Yoongi’s about to shit his pants when he hears the deep, groggy voice.
“Sure. What exactly are you looking for?” It’s as if the tree weren’t actually speaking itself.
“Oh...my fucking --” Yoongi crouches down, pulling his knees to his chest to gape at the seemingly sentient tree. He slaps himself once, then watches as the tree’s smile only widens in amusement. “Is this real life? Why are you talking?”
The tree laughs in response and Yoongi pales. “I knew hanging around Taehyung and Jimin would eventually make me crazy--”
Leaning in closer, the tree makes a noise of glee. “Ah, so you know Jimin and Tae!”
Yoongi looks up at it warily. “Unfortunately.”
“I’m a friend of theirs!” The tree leans forward, its branches drawing closer to Yoongi. “My name is Seokjin.”
“You’re friends with them?” Yoongi deadpans. “You? The tree?”
“I’m not a tree,” the tree says, “well, I am right now, I guess, but I swear I’m just a normal guy being a bro, controlling trees.”
“Of course, a normal guy just controlling trees.” Yoongi scoffs. “And my name is fucking Gandalf.” Yoongi is fed up at this point. He huffs, “Can you please just tell me how to get somewhere with reception?”
“Just follow the cypress tunnel, it’ll lead you to a safe place.” Seokjin (Seokjin’s tree?) straightens up, the bark that formed its mouth seaming back together. It continues to move with the wind once more.
Yoongi stares at it for a few moments then turns on his heel toward the muddy path. He waddles in place for a moment, wondering what Seokjin meant by a tunnel, when the cypress trees seem to lean together, merging to create a canopy above him.
“What is this fairy tale shit?” He tries not to think about how he had a conversation with a tree, but focuses on how he’s going to be asking Jimin and Taehyung a hell of a lot of questions when he gets back home.
The tunnel only takes him deeper and deeper into the forest. It wreaks of the same formaldehyde smell that he remembers from the day he moved into town. Yoongi’s fists are clenched tight at his sides, ignoring the awful aroma and the bizarre sense that someone is watching him from behind the branches of the strange sycamores peering through the holes of the canopy. He keeps his eyes trained on the dark path, riddled with murky, purplish, bubbling puddles. Yoongi swats away countless bugs, only to hear them squeak.
“ The fuck is your problem? ” He hears once, and promptly ignores the high pitched voice because holy fuck , a little person with wings did not try to talk to him--not today, when he’d already had a run in with a fucking ghost and a talking tree named Seokjin.
He’s not going to think about this anymore.
All Yoongi wants is peace of mind, cell reception, some coffee, and maybe a psychiatrist.
After what seems like hours of trudging through the depths of foliage, Yoongi begins to wonder about the legitimacy of the directions he received from Seokjin. Was he really losing his head? He stops for a moment to think about it, running his hand through his hair.
Just as he’s about to continue down the path, he realizes that it has suddenly ended. The cypress trees detach from each other, slowly flicking their branches back into place until they stand completely erect. The forest itself completely reforms, trees suddenly closer, suffocatingly closer. Yoongi sees eyes peering at him, from all sides, shining through the thick leaves.
He calls out weakly, “Seokjin?” Yoongi can’t say he’s surprised that he isn’t receiving an answer. “Can you give me back the tunnel?” He tries again, almost jumping at the sound of rustling leaves.
So there he is. In a forest that apparently no one came out of, trying to ask a tree for help.
“What’s wrong with me?”
“Beside the fact that you’re talking to yourself?”
Yoongi turns to look at the person whose voice he’d just heard.
One thousand mega-watts shine directly at Yoongi, and he fights the urge to cover his eyes because the man in front of him is bright. He’s ethereal; his hair softly frames his face, his lips full and cute, curling upward into a cute heart shape and Yoongi is sure that the man is speaking, but his words go right through Yoongi’s ears. He really makes a valiant attempt not to make it obvious that he’s checking the guy out, but his efforts prove futile when the man smirks. His arms are crossed over his chest, and he must be trying to look masculine, but Yoongi can’t help but think cutecutecutecute at the oversized knit sweater he’s wearing and how his cheeks seem to darken under Yoongi’s attention. And his legs, holy shit. Something deep, deep down is telling him that this is too good to be true. That there just happens to be a handsome man living in this uncharted forest is something that he probably shouldn’t be getting involved with. But the talking tree did guide him here, so what’s the worst that could happen?
“Hi.” Is all that manages to come out of his mouth. Yoongi mentally kicks himself, watching the other tilt his head to the side. He looks like he came straight out of a picture book.
The man nods, a giant grin --which must be laced with pixie dust or glitter or something because it’s making Yoongi’s stomach do somersaults--still gracing his face. “Oh, so you can speak!” The man laughs. Yoongi makes a mental note to store the noise in his memory under lock and key. It’s the most pleasing sound that he’s ever come by: a delicate, breathy tone that somehow shakes the man’s whole body.
“I can do a lot of other things too.” He shrugs, feigning nonchalance and tries to ignore the way his face burns under the attention of the handsome man.
This draws out a curious look from the other, but before he embarrasses himself any further, he continues coyly this time, “But they’re not exactly things I should do to a stranger.” Yoongi is sure that he’s being way too forward, but what the hell, right? He justifies it by telling himself that he’s had a shit day and he could use something to brighten his spirits up.
“Get to know me then.” The man is practically glowing with amusement and Yoongi is pretty sure he’s getting lightheaded. He’s not sure if it’s from the breathtakingly beautiful man in front of him or from the increased scent of formaldehyde. “I’m Hoseok, and you’re…?”
“Lost,” Yoongi ducks his head regretfully. “Very, very lost.”
There’s a change in Hoseok’s demeanor. “Oh my fucking God -- Of course you are,” he whispers, then looks at Yoongi with narrowed eyes. “Seokjin sent you here, didn’t he?” Hoseok doesn’t bother to wait for a response before he straightens his posture, then reaches for the stone dangling from his necklace. The amethyst, dull just moments ago, seems to glisten in Hoseok’s grasp. He bites his bottom lip, then turns toward Yoongi with a sigh. His cheerful smile has been wiped clean off of his face as he turns around with a mumbled, “Follow me.”
The ground beneath him shifts and Yoongi is quick to follow behind Hoseok, quiet as ever as Hoseok mutters something incoherent under his breath and the trees begin to separate. The branches crack loud and harsh, a sound akin to bones breaking and Yoongi hears groans of pain, agony.
His skin tingles, his body goes numb and at this point Yoongi’s not sure if he’s actually alive or not. He just desperately wants to go home.
I’ll take my chances with the fucking ghost at this point.
Yoongi is jolted out of his thoughts at the ghoulish noises, and he almost clings to Hoseok, before he’s shrugged off. Yoongi wonders about the mercurial change in Hoseok for a split second, but he’s already too shaken up to ponder the thought a second longer. The forest seems to contort itself, guiding the two of them to the hidden, private property of Hoseok’s. It’s filled with strange, miraculous things, but there in all its glory is nothing but a picturesque cottage. Hoseok looks over his shoulder, pink dusting his cheeks as he gives Yoongi a shy, reluctant smile. “Uh, I’ll give you something in my house that’ll take you back into town.” Hoseok seems to contemplate something as he opens the door. “You can, uh, come in if you want?”
“Yeah, please.” Yoongi nods. “I’m not gonna lie, I was a bit spooked before you came along.”
Hoseok presses his body against the door, meeting some resistance, before he pops it open. Yoongi is met with a shock of a pleasant aroma, a freshness that contrasts the outside--funnily enough. He steps in and is greeted by a room filled with life. The plants hanging from the ceiling spring to life as Hoseok walks by them, the leaves on the walls preening under Hoseok’s touch as he maneuvers his way through the organized chaos of his home. Clear flasks of strange liquids are littered across his kitchen table, while a plethora opalescent stones are suspended in the air. Yoongi spins around on his heel, examining Hoseok’s living space: Hoseok has piles of books lining his walls, branches twisting and curling around them them to form a makeshift bookshelf. Hoseok props himself on a stool, gesturing for Yoongi to sit on the couch (that doesn’t want to stay in place for that matter), before letting out a soft incantation. A stone flies into Hoseok’s palm, and he sticks his tongue out in concentration. Yoongi watches, half struck by how fucking adorable Hoseok looks and half struck by how insane he must be for conjuring something up like this in his head.
Hoseok relaxes a little, he clicks his tongue. “Of course you were.” He says, understandingly, before he looks at Yoongi, almost assessing him. Yoongi already feels ten times warmer with Hoseok’s eyes on him. His palms sweat a little bit and his knee begins to buck up and down as he taps his foot softly against the wooden floors. He barely hears Hoseok when he says quietly, “You’re...taking this really well, you know.”
“I’m trying to convince myself this is just something fictional that my mind’s constructed." Yoongi pats down the couch, petting it lightly when he realizes that that’s the only way to keep the damn thing from moving. “I think it’s working.”
Yoongi watches Hoseok’s expression carefully. Hoseok shuts his lips together, a smile barely there but enough that Yoongi recognizes that he’s trying to hide his laughter. Yoongi bites. “Is my mental deterioration funny to you?”
Hoseok breaks and Yoongi puffs his chest proudly. Seeing Hoseok smile is one thing, but being the person to make him smile feels infinitely better. “You’re not crazy you know,” Hoseok says after a beat, eyes still trained on the foreign words in his book. “It’s kind of refreshing, that you’re not… you know, freaking out.” He darts his eyes at Yoongi, before his expression turns stoic. “But I guess that’s probably because Seokjin sent you here.”
Yoongi scrunches his brows together. “What do you mean?”
Hoseok sighs, shutting his book. “Why did you come to the forest, Yoongi?”
Yoongi freezes. “How do you know my name? Why does everyone know my name?”
“The trees talk,” Hoseok waves his hand dismissively. “They’re huge gossipers, can’t keep a single secret from anyone. And it’s going to be hard for you to have any privacy, you live with Jimin .”
“Huh.” Yoongi’s jaw hangs slack. He stares blankly at the pot filled with a grimy fluid that somehow manages to solidify before his very eyes, and it’s...climbing out of its container. He sighs as he recounts the very situation to that drove him to his current predicament. “I think I have a ghost in my manor, and I got freaked out and ran.” Yoongi coughs into his hand, pointedly ignoring the snickers from the potted plants on Hoseok’s windowsill. Hoseok shoots them a look, before leaning toward Yoongi.
“Of course you have a ghost in your house, Yoongi.” Hoseok places a hand on Yoongi’s knee, patting it lightly as he looks at Yoongi with pity in his eyes.
“Jeon Jungkook, he died there. Trust me, I’ve talked to him about passing on, but...he seems content staying in the middle realm.” Hoseok leans back, vines of leaves coming up from behind him to support his back. Yoongi watches Hoseok, completely fascinated by the way he effortlessly manipulates them. Or at least, he thinks Hoseok is manipulating them. “He’s really shy though, if you talk to him more maybe he’ll show you his form.”
Yoongi shakes his head, then opens his mouth. He closes it. Then he scoffs. “What the fuck is this place? Like...this whole town is fucking bizarre, can you please just...tell me what’s going on?”
“I’m surprised Jimin hasn’t told you yet, he has a knack for spilling personal information about people,” Hoseok spits bitterly, his eyes going dark for a second. Yoongi is sure he isn’t meant to see what he saw, but he did and he has another question to tack onto his list of things for Jimin to answer when he finally gets back to his house.
“Put whatever beef you have with him aside and answer the fucking question,” Yoongi rolls his eyes. “At least tell me what the fuck Seokjin was! And what you are... ”
Hoseok pouts. He legitimately pouts. “Fine.” Yoongi bites the inside of his cheek and keeps a serious face on, trying (and failing) not to coo at the sight. “Seokjin is a green witch. Basically he just controls plants and befriends them because he’s incapable of befriending humans like a normal person.” Hoseok rubs his temple. “But he’s a good person and an even better friend. He mostly just likes fucking with my…” He trails off, then looks at Yoongi uncomfortably, a blush sprouting on his cheeks before he finishes lamely, “...personal life.”
“Oh,” Yoongi says with a relieved sigh, “so he’s not actually a tree? Just to be clear: I wasn’t hallucinating?”
“No, you’re fine.” Hoseok smiles shyly.
“And you’re a green witch too?”
Hoseok shakes his head. “My mom was a traditional witch and my dad was a kitchen witch. I guess you could say I’m a cross between the two,” he shrugs. “I brew potions for health and help spirits pass on to the next life, if they’re willing, of course.”
It makes sense to Yoongi now. His head begins to throb at the overwhelming amount of information. Witches? Ghosts? What’s next? Is Hoseok going to reveal he’s actually half vampire too and drain his blood supply? “Is that why people come into this forest and like,” he pauses, “never come back? You’re guiding them to the spirit world?”
“Something like that,” Hoseok says. “Some spirits choose to become one with the forest too. You might have heard them earlier, they don’t get to see people very often.” He stands up, coming closer to Yoongi as he plops down onto the couch next to him. Yoongi jerks back reflexively, and if Hoseok notices he doesn’t let the hurt cross his face. “You want to get back home, right?”
“Y-Yeah,” Yoongi breaths out, eyes fixated on Hoseok’s mouth and how fucking close Hoseok is to him. He hates how affected he is by the witch so shortly after meeting him. As if this whole situation isn’t bizarre enough as it is.
Hoseok watches him, eyes boring into Yoongi’s, before he flicks a finger out, the motion somehow pulls Yoongi’s body toward him. Yoongi nearly falls against him, leaning into Hoseok’s warmth for a moment before his head jerks up to give Hoseok a glare. “What the hell was that for?” They stare at each other for a beat, ignoring the plants on the windowsill who are now cooing at the two with their earthy voices. The books on Hoseok’s counter flutter open, their pages whipping around wildly until Hoseok shoots them a look that immediately makes them still. Yoongi’s hand reaches down to grip firmly at the couch--or what he thinks is a couch. Seriously, it keeps moving and Yoongi isn’t too sure what’s what anymore--to ground himself before Hoseok leans into him.
“Close your eyes,” Hoseok whispers. The sound sends shivers down Yoongi’s neck, and he wonders for a split second if it’s because of Hoseok’s magic because there’s no logical explanation for anything else.
“Relax,” he hears. Hoseok’s voice is all around him, his chest constricts. Yoongi knows he probably shouldn’t trust someone he just met--let alone someone who could probably kill him with the blink of an eye-- but something in his gut is telling him trust him, trust him so he gives in. Yoongi hesitates for only a moment, his eyebrows drawing together before he shuts his eyes. He feels the soft palms cup his cheeks, oddly warm, but not unpleasantly so.
Hoseok’s breath dusts over Yoongi’s cheeks, and he’s sure he’s blushing embarrassingly hard (for the nth time today). Yoongi can’t bring himself to care. Especially not when Hoseok presses his lips to one of Yoongi’s eyelids ever so gently. The kiss feels like the press of flower petals against his skin, light and velvety. Fuck, this is not good for my blood pressure.
And just as quick as it comes, it goes.
Yoongi cracks his eyes when he hears Hoseok’s breath hitch, but he shuts them when he sees Hoseok ducking his head, his cheeks completely flushed, before he’s coming closer to Yoongi again. Yoongi cherishes the split second once more, before Hoseok pulls away.
“There,” Hoseok clears his throat. “I gave you the gift of temporary foresight. You can get back home easily now. But hold on, you should take something with you to get back safely.”
Hoseok hops onto his feet, bounding over to a cabin in his cramped kitchen. Yoongi follows him, stepping carefully over vines that hiss at him when he narrowly avoids crushing one. He eyes the kitchen warily, the pots on the stove bubbling profusely. Hoseok goes to turn down the heat on one, telling the pot to calm down, before he moves expertly through his kitchen.
He opens a cabinet to pull out a large leather bag then rummages through it. Yoongi notices that the walls are lined with recipes, charts and maps, and the counter is littered with pots of herbs and fruits that Yoongi never knew even existed, all perfect and filled with color. There’s a skylight in the center, illuminating the area completely, bringing more life that Yoongi even thinks is possible. Yoongi is so enraptured by the unfamiliar. He wishes he could explore more of the cottage, but Hoseok makes a noise of delight, startling him out of his reverie. “Here we go.” He turns to Yoongi with a bright smile, and places a necklace on Yoongi.
Yoongi takes the rough stone hanging from the necklace into his palms. It’s a chiseled, finely cut, iridescent stone that lays flat in his hand. “What is it?”
“It’s a charm that’ll keep things away from you. It makes you...invisible to all senses, except sight.” Hoseok’s smile seems to diminish. “But everything will probably just mistake you for a wandering spirit and leave you be.”
Yoongi nods, examining the object before he blurts out, “I’m not going to see you again, am I?” His eyes widen at his words, hands almost reflexively coming up to cover his mouth. Yoongi doesn’t know what’s wrong with himself. He’s so exponentially drawn to Hoseok, he can’t help but have an unstoppable, unexplainable urge to know him. He’s fascinating, and Yoongi is longing for more.
If he thought that Hoseok’s smile was gone before, it’s definitely gone now. His expression is completely devoid of emotion. “We shouldn’t,” Hoseok says impassively.
And that is enough. If Hoseok is apathetic, Yoongi can be too. If there’s one thing about Yoongi, it’s that he loves to get even. He can be soft, but he can be just as ruthless when it comes to guarding his emotions, and he isn’t about to let someone he just met ruffle his feathers. His face is serene when he gives Hoseok a polite thank you and a bow, and he lets Hoseok guide him out the door. But not without one last word.
“Doesn’t it get lonely out here by yourself?”
“It’s...not like I don’t have friends who come to visit me,” Hoseok hesitates for a second. “I have the trees and the spirits here.”
Yoongi stares at Hoseok, hoping he can get his point across with his knowing look. “Are you pitying me?” Hoseok sputters out, his face heating up with annoyance. “You don’t even know me!”
“I think I know people enough to know a lonely face when I see one.” Hook, line, and sinker. He watches a myriad of emotions flicker across Hoseok’s face as he scoffs. Yoongi moves closer to him. “I’m not pitying you, I promise. I’m just saying that maybe I’m a little lonely too.”
Hoseok watches him carefully, expression softening just a little. Yoongi smiles at that, watching Hoseok’s expression change is like unwrapping a Christmas gift early. They step outside the cottage, the door to the place disappearing once more behind the foliage.
“I want to see you again, if you’ll let me,” he says. “But if not, you can probably figure out where to find me.” Yoongi wraps a slim finger around the stone hanging over his chest. “I hear that the trees talk.”
And so he goes, leaving behind one perplexed witch.
When he gets back to the house, he immediately goes to find Jimin. The task proves to be fairly simple when his soulmate is one (incredibly loud) Kim Taehyung, who evidently is attached to Jimin at the hip. He hears Taehyung’s laughter from the entrance of the manor. He walks toward the sound that reverberates throughout the house. Yoongi eyes the paint peeling off their walls, the dusty windows, and the cold, creaking floorboards. His pads through to their living room to find Taehyung sitting on the couch, surprisingly alone. Taehyung doubles over in laughter, until he hears the same voice that drove him out of his home that very moment.
Taehyung whips his head toward Yoongi, a bright smile plastered on his face as he jumps out of his seat on their vintage sofa. He’s layered in multiple blankets, a thick scarf wrapped around his neck. “Yoongi! Jungkookie tells me you freaked out earlier!”
“Jungkookie,” Yoongi deadpans. “The dead dude?”
“Be nice, Yoongi.” Taehyung winces, then turn towards Jungkook (Yoongi thinks he turns toward the ghost) with an apologetic expression. “Jungkook is shy around strangers.”
“Oh, my bad. Sorry for startling the ghost who came into my room--without permission, I might add.”
Taehyung furrows his brows. “He says he’s sorry, he just didn’t know how to introduce himself.” There’s a mumble of words exchanged between the two, before Taehyung nods. “Min Yoongi, meet Jeon Jungkook.” The air shifts a bit, and Yoongi waits a second for something exponentially grand to happen. He half expects something to blow up, but all he gets is the light tap on the shoulder. Quite honestly, all he feels is incredibly cold. But turning around, he doesn’t know what to think.
There’s Jeon Jungkook, in all his teenage boy glory.
“Sup?” He says with a shit eating grin.
And for a moment, Yoongi feels like he’s been jipped. He gives Jungkook a once-over, examining his regular skinny jeans and black t-shirt. His hair falls over his eyebrows, parted at the side to swoop down into a little comma. His teeth and eyes are bold, bright, and big--he looks like a slightly muscled bunny. But like, a regular person.
“You’re a sham,” Yoongi scoffs, rolling his eyes. “You don’t even look like a ghost! You’re not see through at all.” He presses a finger to Jungkook’s chest, finding it firm.
Jungkook shrugs, “Honestly man, I don’t even know.”
“Well now that that’s settled, Jiminie told me that you would come home and you’d have a list of questions that you want to ask him. He didn’t want you to be upset, so he went into town to buy you a few of your favorite foods to make you...not grumpy!” Taehyung rambles on, then hops over to their kitchen to hand Yoongi the neat envelope with the small note on it.
TaeTae, don’t forget to give Yoongi this envelope!
He opens it, revealing a long list of... answers.
Hi hyung! Don’t be mad at me okay? Here are the answers you’re looking for.
- Yes I’m psychic.
- Yes, I’ve been reading your mind (sorry ><)
- Yes, Hoseok is single
- No. Tae and I didn’t eat the sandwich on your side of the fridge, you sleepwalked to the kitchen.
- Seokjin is not a tree, stop asking everyone. He’s just a witch.
- No, you’re not losing your mind.
- Yes, Jungkook was in your room when you were doing /THAT/ and he was emotionally scarred for a few days.
- This one is too long to write, but I’m home now so just open the door and help me carry in the groceries.
He hears the knock on the door, and Taehyung bounds toward the door like an eager puppy, throwing it open to press quick kisses to the side of Jimin’s mouth. “How was the market?” He asks, grabbing the bags out of Jimin’s arms.
Yoongi sits on the counter, waiting for Jimin to settle in. He opens his mouth, but Jimin cuts him off.
“I know that this won’t stop you from being upset,” Jimin says. “I get that we haven’t been completely honest with you, although we were never dishonest, but I understand that it’s… unconventional for you. So, you can ask me whatever you want now.”
Taehyung watches Yoongi with a curious look, putting away the groceries. He turns to Jimin. “He’s not going to explode, is he?”
Jimin clicks his tongue at Taehyung and Yoongi just then notices the matching rings on their fingers. Yoongi is tired, so he settles for something relatively normal, something obvious that he probably should have realized sooner. And maybe Yoongi didn’t give them that much of a chance to be honest. Here they are, treating Yoongi with nothing but kindness, nothing but welcoming, open arms--and Yoongi’s been nothing but a class act dick.
“How long have you guys been married?” He asks, finally. This seems to catch Taehyung by surprise, but the smile that blossoms on his face makes Yoongi feel warmer, even with Jungkook standing next to him.
Taehyung is cheerful. He has a personality that’s loud in itself-- but Yoongi watches his expression soften as he turns to Jimin. “Five years in a few months,” he answers softly.
Yoongi gags and Jungkook next to him pats his back sympathetically. “Alright, I regret asking. That was too sweet, please never again.”
“You’re telling me. I’ve been dead to witness all five of those years,” Jungkook speaks in monotone. “But speaking of traumatizing things, what you subjected me to seeing the other night was way worse--”
Yoongi slaps a hand over Jungkook’s mouth. “Watch it.”
Jungkook unlatches Yoongi’s hand from his mouth, then chokes on his laughter, “You really don’t strike me as the type to be into--”
“I can’t believe you came into my room without permission, you’re making the wrong enemy Jeon Jungkook.”
“I just wanted to say ‘hi’!” His eyes widen as he lets out a guffaw, his hand clutching his stomach. Yoongi reaches his hand to swat at Jungkook, his mouth going slack when his hand goes right through him. Huh. “I can’t believe you slapped your meat to that.” Jungkook hops onto the countertop.
“Oh my God .” Yoongi’s face burns with embarrassment. “Can we please have a seance and get rid of him?” He asks, then immediately regrets it because Jimin and Taehyung are still making googly eyes at each other. “I take it back. Jungkook, it’s them we need to get rid of.”
“I agree,” He says, placing his arm on Yoongi’s shoulder. Then he turns his face toward Yoongi and it’s like the kid completely does a one-eighty. His expression is bashful, completely unlike the playful personality he just exuded. “I’m glad you’re here now. It gets kinda boring when they do lovey-dovey stuff and I have to find a way to entertain myself.” He ducks his head.
Yoongi is shocked at Jungkook’s words, but he nods with a smile. “I’m glad I’m here too.”
He saves the last answer to his question on Jimin’s list for another time.
A few weeks pass since Yoongi’s run in with a ghost and two witches. Yoongi would be lying if he were to say that he hasn’t tried to find Hoseok’s cottage, only to get lost in the forest, and of course, he has way too much pride to ask Seokjin the Tree for help a second time. If Jimin knows this information (which he does), then he hasn’t mentioned it to anyone else, otherwise he would have Taehyung and Jungkook asking him way too many questions to handle.
He’s grateful, but Jimin still hasn’t approached him about his other question, but thankfully for him, the ghost is incredibly friendly (albeit, also incredibly annoying) but he and Jungkook get along even better than he would have ever hoped. Jungkook loves being with him while he writes, often times humming something prettily under his breath. Yoongi has to admit, it’s nice being in the company of someone, even if the other person is dead. And it does take his mind off the dainty cottage he stumbled upon and the bewitching... witch that he’s been trying to avoid thinking about since his little forest fiasco.
His fingers tap quietly at the keys on his laptop before he stops for a moment. Yoongi probably hasn’t had a break in hours. He looks over the page once, then twice, before he resigns and shuts his laptop. Yoongi stares at the pictures he’d hung up on his wall just above his desk. For someone who has been living in this house for a month, his room is oddly empty. Maybe he should get some plants. He recalls Hoseok--the way his cottage is a living nursery, the walls covered in flowers and vines and everything beautifully magical, the way Hoseok fit so perfectly with it all. But then again, Yoongi thinks, Hoseok seems to belong there. In a place so untouched by reality, surrounded by unfathomable things, unblemished and soft and so, so , warm. Why is he so damn cute? Yoongi groans, shaking his head before letting it fall onto his desk with a thump.
“You okay?” Jungkook asks, suddenly appearing right in front of him. He’s in the middle of Yoongi’s desk, his body split between upper and lower halves by the wooden table.
Yoongi jumps back. “Fuck! Kookie, what the hell did I say about walking through furniture?”
“Don’t do it ever or else you’ll bring me back to life and kill me again.” Jungkook laughs.
“Good. Now come with me to the market, I want to get some food.”
Jungkook deflates. “I can’t. My spirit is bound to the house, remember?”
“What? Since when?”
“Since I died.”
“What? When’d you die?”
“Like, seven or eight years ago?” Jungkook doesn’t look too affected by this, but Yoongi can’t help but feel the guilt rise up.
“Oh. Sorry about that.”
“It was my fault anyway, I really thought I could backflip off three flights of stairs and land on my feet.” Jungkook shrugs, then leans in to whisper to Yoongi, “Spoiler alert: I landed on my neck instead.”
Yoongi coughs, trying not to laugh at the morbid joke, but he can’t help it. “You’re such a weird kid. Anyway, I’ll be back in a bit. Do you want anything while I’m gone?”
Jungkook hums. “Can you bring back something from Seokjin’s shop? It’s off of main street. You can’t miss it.”
“Seokjin? The tree ?”
Rolling his eyes, Jungkook disappears mid air then makes a noise of disapproval. “He’s not a tree! He’s painfully hot and painfully taken by an even hotter necromancer.”
“Okay, okay, take your ghost boner somewhere else.” Yoongi rolls his eyes now. “Seokjin(not a tree)’s shop off of main street. What do you need?”
Jungkook reappears, flopping onto Yoongi’s bed. “Just a vial of Dragon’s breath.”
“What the hell do you need that for?”
Jungkook shrugs, looking at Yoongi innocently. “Maybe I want to play a prank on Taehyung for putting parental controls on our Netflix account. Maybe I don’t.”
Yoongi smirks. “God, I love you, kid.” He ruffles Jungkook’s hair on the way out, shouting at him to behave while he’s gone. As he leaves, he slips on the necklace Hoseok gave to him just weeks before, then walks out.
Thankfully for Yoongi, Main Street isn’t too far from him, which is great, because Min Yoongi does not just walk places. A step further and he’s sure he would have just called a cab. He goes into a small, dimly lit cafe, thankful that no one is staring at him with the intensity they normally would give an outsider. He begins to wonder if it’s the effect of the necklace that Hoseok gave him or if he was just being particularly anxious the last time he walked into town. Either way, Yoongi sits down at a table and flags down a waiter. He examines the rest of the cafe patrons, quietly asking himself are they all magic? As the waiter places his food in front of him, he feels silly.
Yoongi eats and leaves, thinking quietly about how little he seems to know about the world. He pads down the town’s main street, eyes on the paved floor. A man is watching him from a few feet away, but Yoongi pays him no mind, and continues down the street, head turning to a store when he remembers to go buy Jungkook some dragon’s breath.
The store is small and quaint. Much like Hoseok’s cottage, plants hang from the ceiling, but they seem normal. The shop is properly organized--books lining the actual shelves and displays propped up by the windows. The man who was watching him earlier comes in behind him, and places a firm hand on his shoulder. “Min Yoongi,” he says, voice bright, and confident. Yoongi finally looks at him and somehow he just knows that this is Seokjin.
“Tree guy,” Yoongi greets with a smirk, watching Seokjin’s expression falter a little at the nickname before he lets out a laugh. His eyes are wide and bright and he suddenly recalls what Jungkook said about Seokjin being hot. Jungkook is not wrong.
“Yeah, that’s me. I told you, right?” Seokjin laughs, “What can I help you with?”
“Dragon’s breath.” There’s nothing too magical about the place, Yoongi finds it oddly comforting, knowing that there’s just a bit of normalcy in this town--until he actually looks at the titles of the books. Dark Magic: The Ethics of Necromancy is clear on display on the bestseller shelf.
Seokjin nods. “How much of it do you need, exactly?”
Yoongi pauses by the section labeled ‘Witches’, and lo and behold, he picks up Beginner’s Guide to Witchcraft . “Uh, one vial?”
Seokjin whistles, going behind the counter of the store to look at his stock. “That’ll cost you quite a pretty penny.”
Yoongi stiffens. “How much for a vial?” Yoongi picks up the book subconsciously, bringing it up to the counter. He leans over the counter, looking at Seokjin.
“Two grand,” Seokjin answers, sending Yoongi a knowing look.
Yoongi is going to kill Jungkook. “Nevermind then.”
“Do you need anything else?” Yoongi looks at Seokjin, searching for something. But Seokjin only sighs in response, pointing down at the book. “You’re curious, aren’t you? About Hoseok?”
Yoongi wants to hesitate, he wants to scoff at him and turn on his heel and leave, but he sighs out an embarrassingly quick, “yes”, before he wants to throw himself off his balcony window and maybe spend an eternity shooting shit at passersby with Jungkook.
Seokjin smiles. “Alright, I close shop around 5:30, I’ll swing by your house a little later, sound good?”
A few customers come in, greeting Seokjin with familiar smiles. Yoongi only nods, then quickly makes his exit. It’s only after he gets home that he realizes he’s still holding the book in his arms.
He reads the book while he waits for Seokjin to arrive, ignoring Jungkook who’s currently whining in his ear.
“You said you would bring back the dragon’s breath.”
Yoongi huffs, rereading a passage about the some simple spells before he turns to Jungkook with exasperation clear in his tone. “ You didn’t say that a vial of dragon’s breath would cost me my fucking kidney.”
Jungkook pouts, mumbling something about Yoongi being cheap, before he leaves Yoongi’s room, hopefully to go bug Jimin and Tae instead.
Hours pass by before Yoongi knows it when there’s a knock on his door. Jimin leans against his doorframe, then he shakes his head. “No, they’re not here. Jin-hyung said he won’t be able to come over tonight. Namjoon accidentally killed their cat so they’re going to do some pretty wicked necromancy shit to bring it back.”
“Well,” Yoongi sighs. “Can you answer--”
Jimin holds a hand up, and his eyes go lifeless again. Yoongi watches as Jimin’s eyes flicker, his mouth moving incoherently before he blinks and they return to normal. “Nevermind, the cat just choked on a chip. They’ll be here in ten.” He smiles at Yoongi and turns to go back downstairs.
Yoongi raises a brow. “Alright then,” he mutters.
Jungkook nearly screams when he sees Seokjin and Namjoon, going completely invisible as the couple step in. He pulls Yoongi to the bathroom. “Why didn’t you tell me they were coming? I look awful ,” Jungkook says, looking at himself in the mirror. “I thought you loved me, hyung. I thought you cared about me and my wet, aching hard-on for those two.” Jungkook pants, knuckles gripping the collar of Yoongi’s shirt.
“Are we done?” Yoongi gives him a blank look. “Newsflash, Jungkook: you’re dead. Is it even physically possible for you to have sex?”
“Is it--is it even ?? The nerve --” Jungkook sputters. He double takes at Yoongi before he scoffs out, “I have never had sex in my life or afterlife, I don’t know!” Jungkook throws his hands in the air as he lets out a loud groan.
“Oh my God, just talk to them.” Yoongi face palms, grabs Jungkook by the sleeve and drags him out to the living room.
Namjoon is exactly how Jungkook describes him-- he’s tall with--and Yoongi quotes-- “really hot, plump lips perfect for sucking dick” with long limbs and a horrible sense of fashion. Except Yoongi disagrees with the last bit, because he really does like large, circular glasses and the striped overalls and gray t-shirt the man is wearing, it suits him. Namjoon is laughing at something Taehyung says to him, but his eyes lock on Yoongi and now he’s smiling politely.
“You must be the infamous Min Yoongi, I’ve been wanting to meet you for some time now.” The timbre of Namjoon’s voice is deep, and if Yoongi is to classify it, it vaguely reminds him of melted chocolate. Jimin snorts out a laugh at his thoughts, sending him weird, questioning looks that he dutifully ignores. “Hoseok talks about you quite a bit.”
“Has he?” Yoongi perks up, plopping himself down right next to Namjoon. “For someone who told me I shouldn’t see him again, I find that kind of strange.” Yoongi looks to his side to see that Jungkook, the easily flustered ghost, has disappeared yet again at the sight of his crushes. Figures.
The atmosphere of the room changes and everyone seems to be shifting in their seats uncomfortably at Yoongi’s comment.
“He’s just a bit guarded, that’s all,” Namjoon says and Yoongi detects a hint of regret lacing his voice.
“That’s...probably our fault,” Seokjin admits, looking down at his lap.
Yoongi raises a brow. “What do you mean it’s your fault?”
Taehyung’s knee bounces fast, Yoongi turns toward him and Taehyung blurts out. “It was me. I’m just a carrier, I didn’t know shit about potions...I didn’t realize--”
Jimin shushes his husband, placing a soothing hand on Tae’s knee to keep it from jittering. “It was my fault,” he whispers, looking ashamed. “I avoided telling you this because I was stupid and I forgot to tell Tae that he had the measurements wrong and we--”
“God, it was my fault! I shouldn’t have come up with such a dumb idea to begin with!”
“And I kept setting him up on dates he clearly didn’t want to go on,” Namjoon sighed. “We all made mistakes, alright? But it happened and all we can do now is try to make it up to Hobi the best we can,” Namjoon said, gaining everyone’s attention. “Hoseok is our best fr--”
There’s a crash in front of them. The marble coffee table splits in two right before their eyes. The TV in the living room cracks a little bit, and right at its epipoint is one beet red Jeon Jungkook. “Hi,” he proclaims loudly to Namjoon and Seokjin. “I’m Jungkook.”
Yoongi pinches the bridge of his nose.
Namjoon and Seokjin stare up at him with literal stars in their fucking eyes and Yoongi cannot believe it. Jimin and Tae look at Jungkook proudly, as if Jungkook didn’t just destroy nearly half of their living room. And then Jin smiles at Jungkook--all teeth and crescented eyes. “Hi there, Kookie. We’ve waited a long time to meet you.”
“It’s nice to finally meet you,” Namjoon says, and Yoongi swears he sees Jungkook shiver.
The rest of the night progresses with Namjoon and Jin getting to know the suddenly shy, reserved ghost, while Jimin and Taehyung encourage him. Yoongi seethes in his spot on the couch. He was so, so close to figuring out what happened between them. Yoongi wants to see Hoseok--he has an urge to know more about the witch, the unknown, but more so he wants to resolve the unexplainable sense of warmth he has when he looks at the witch. Hoseok is different, and not just because he can use magic. He looks at Jimin, who turns to him. Yoongi nods toward the kitchen, getting up and hoping Jimin follows him.
“What is it?” Jimin asks. “I’m messing with you, of course I know what you’re thinking and no, you can’t use the spell to open up the cypress tunnel. You’re not a green witch.”
“Jimin, stop reading my mind. It’s really unsettling.” Yoongi taps his foot, his mind racing a thousand miles a minute. “Can I get Seokjin to let me in?”
“If Seokjin lets you in then Hoseok will be really suspicious,” Jimin sighs. “We have a history of interfering with his love life and...he’s kind of really upset with all of us right now. As in, he hasn’t talked to any of us except Namjoon in months.”
Yoongi opens his mouth but Jimin cuts him off. “I don’t know how he gets there. Trust me, reading Namjoon’s mind is like reading an eight-hundred page textbook all at once. I don’t know how he functions.” Jimin looks at Yoongi, then he smiles softly. “If you’re serious about wanting to know Hoseok, which I know for a fact that you are, you’ll have to ask Namjoon yourself.”
Jimin turns around to go back to the rest of their group, when he stops and looks at Yoongi expectantly. “Go on, ask me.”
Yoongi flips him off. “Why isn’t Hoseok talking to you anymore?”
“That’s something that you should discuss with him.” Yoongi grabs the nearest thing on the countertop (which happens to be an orange from the fruit platter Jimin had put out) and throws it at Jimin. Of course, the psychic catches it with ease, placing it back on the counter with a smug grin.
Jimin leaves him in the kitchen and Yoongi is even more frustrated than he was before.
It’s well past sun down by the time Namjoon and Seokjin decide to leave, much to Jungkook’s dismay, so Yoongi figures he only has one shot to talk to Namjoon. He pulls Jungkook to the side while Namjoon and Seokjin are speaking to Jimin and Taehyung.
“What’s up, hyung?” Jungkook asks, eyes still stuck on Seokjin’s face.
“Focus.” Yoongi snaps his fingers in front of him. “Distract Seokjin while I talk to Namjoon, yeah?”
Jungkook lets out a lovestruck sigh. “Honestly, he’d probably be the one to distract me.”
“Shut up,” Yoongi shakes his head, watching as Jungkook suddenly materializes behind Seokjin to wrap him in a hug. Jungkook says something in Seokjin’s ear that earns him a funny look, and Jin, Jimin and Taehyung are being ushered back into the kitchen by one not-so-subtle Jungkook, who winks at Yoongi while he does so. So maybe it isn’t the most discreet plan, but it works. Yoongi approaches Namjoon and almost touches Namjoon when Namjoon jumps away from him.
“ Don’t touch me,” Namjoon’s eyes are wide with fear, pupils blown wide as he lets out a relieved breath. Yoongi flinches backward, nearly falling onto the hardwood when he catches himself at the last moment. He let out a shameful squeal in the process and wants to cover his face with his hands, but the damage is done and Namjoon pretends not to notice. “Sorry,” Namjoon says sheepishly, “I was cursed a few weeks back. All my friends have to wear charms to keep themselves from being affected. I’ll have Jin give you one or something too.”
“Oh. Don’t worry about it,” Yoongi says, hoping his tone comes off friendly instead of confused. He shuffles his feet a little, before he starts. Yoongi is not one to ask people for favors, especially people he’d just met. For a moment, he thinks about the cottage, Hoseok’s smooth voice, and the warmth of his lips, and pushes his pride aside. “Listen, Namjoon--”
“You want to see Hobi, right?” Namjoon asks, his mouth quirking upward. Yoongi presses his lips together in a tight line, trying not to let his feelings show, but Namjoon seems to see past his facade and laughs. “I figured this would happen, so here,” he gives Yoongi a folded piece of parchment paper that’s rough against his fingertips. “It’s the map of the forest, just follow the trail and you’ll find it.” Namjoon watches Yoongi unfold the paper, and he traces the poorly drawn trail that he had made himself. “But I’m warning you, don’t stray from the path. You will not like what you see.”
Yoongi looks up at him, and gives him a solemn word of thanks.
“Why did you do that for me?” Yoongi asks, as the other comes back into the house’s foyer.
“I think that you’re the kind of person he needs,” Namjoon says simply. Just like that.
And as they wave goodbye from the their rolled down windows, Yoongi thinks Namjoon and Seokjin aren’t so bad.
Yoongi looks over the map a few more times before he packs his backpack with a few bottles of water, the necklace Hoseok had given him, as well as the book from Seokjin’s shop (which he eventually pays Seokjin for, he isn’t a thief). Jimin watches him over his cup of coffee. “Morning, you going to Hoseok’s?”
“You already know the answer to that question,” Yoongi says, grabbing a piece of bread from the loaf on the counter. “Do I get there safely?”
Jimin smirks into his mug. “You’ll have to wait and see, won’t you?” Taehyung comes into the kitchen, decked in a onesie as he groggily tracks over to Jimin to give him a sloppy kiss on the cheek. “Good luck Yoongi, I hope you survive,” He says, voice laced with sleep. “And I hope you have fun at work, baby.” Yoongi watches Taehyung steal a sip of his coffee and he can’t help but feel a tinge of jealousy.
Yoongi wants that. He wants the sleepy mornings kisses and gross, cheesy moments that make everyone in the vicinity vomit--he wants it all, and sure, maybe he won’t have it with Hoseok, but he’d be a fool not to try, right?
He wills himself to look away and finally leaves, taking the few steps into the forest, hoping he’ll find his way back.
It takes him two hours to finally reach what he believes to be Hoseok’s hidden street. He deals with a handful of fairies--who apparently are the forest’s neighborhood watch?--, a pair of ogres--Yoongi literally jumps into a bush to hide from them--, and various trees who grossly catcall at him--to which he promptly flips them off respectively. He looks down at the map that Namjoon had given him and stares at it. Yoongi is at the end of it, but there are no more instructions left. He’s at an impasse. He reaches out at the leaves that reel away from his touch. “Min Yoongi is here! Min Yoongi is here!” They scream out excitedly.
Yoongi crouches down beside them, looks around to see if anyone is watching, then asks in a low whisper, “Can you help me get to Hoseok?”
“Of course we can! Of course we can!” The quake of the ground doesn’t startle Yoongi this time.
Okay, it does, but certainly not as badly as the last time. He hears the pained groans of the spirits embedded in the trees as their branches crackle and divide to reveal the cottage. The chimney is lit, and Yoongi hears a familiar voice humming something to the tune of the vibrant forest. “ He’s been waiting for you, you know!” The leaves whisper to him encouragingly before the branches join together once more.
Yoongi takes his time outside. He figures he hadn’t had the chance to peacefully take it all in, so he sits down on the patch of grass outside of Hoseok’s home. The cottage is homely, a cream color that shouts warmth to the rest of the world, the potted plants dance on the windowsill, the daffodils moving freely with the breeze. They smile at him and he smiles back. He’s in tune with the soft buzzing of bees and the chirping of the blue jays, building a nest on Hoseok’s roof. He feels like he can get used to this. He hopes Hoseok will give him the chance to.
As the humming from inside gets louder, the faster his heart beats in his chest. He breathes deeply to calm himself down. Then the humming stops. Hoseok, the very Hoseok that plagues his thoughts is standing right in front of him, and every thought he had, every idea that he’d spent hours meticulously planning on proposing flies right out of his head at the sight of the man. If Hoseok looked lovely the first time Yoongi saw him, he looks even more so now. Small, dainty flowers are scattered throughout his hair, his shirt dips down low below his defined collarbones, and he’s wearing an oversized knit cardigan and some of the tightest, ripped jeans Yoongi has ever seen. His breath comes quickly, his cheeks are glowing, and his eyes are wild.
“Hi,” is all he manages to say, lamely enough, and he kicks himself internally once again for having a second chance and leading with the exact same thing. Hi?? You fucking idiot.
“You’re back,” Hoseok replies in a small, shaken voice that completely contradicts Yoongi’s first impression of him. He looks at Yoongi with wide, doe eyes and Yoongi’s chest aches at the sight.
“I told you I wanted to see you again.” Yoongi stands up from his comfortable spot on the grass and passes Hoseok what he hopes is a stern look.
“I recall a ‘if you’ll let me’ which I didn’t reply to,” Hoseok retorts, his lips draw together in a tight grimace. He reaches up to his hair to pull out one of the small flowers, twiddling it around between his fingertips in what appears to be a nervous fashion. “How do you know if I wanted to see you or not?”
Yoongi takes his time replying, humming as he steps around Hoseok, careful not to get too comfortable. “You said it yourself, the trees talk.” Yoongi walks toward Hoseok’s windowsill, before touching one of the daffodils that preens under his attention. Then he looks at Hoseok and shrugs honestly. “Also, Namjoon may have mentioned you’ve been talking about me.”
“That asshole!” Hoseok makes a disgruntled noise. “Okay, I don’t know what he told you, but--” He stops himself, shaking his head before his shoulders slump. Hoseok breathes deeply, eyes closing as he takes his time to think over his words. “You think you’re into me, but you’re not.”
Yoongi is affronted, how could Hoseok say that? “Oh, so you’re the mind reader now? Don’t tell me how I feel.”
“You don’t understand,” Hoseok lets out a frustrated groan. “Jimin’s psychic, he should know better than to let this happen again . Last time this happened--” He brings his hand up to his face, covering his eyes. “I’m not worth the trouble, alright?”
Yoongi doesn’t want to get too close, he feels evasive enough just standing in front of Hoseok’s home. “Look, I don’t do stupid things for people I don’t think are worth it. And this is like, the dumbest thing I’ve done. I bought a book about Witchcraft, something i thought was completely fictional until a few weeks ago, I tried coming back into the forest without Namjoon’s trashass map, multiple times and almost got mauled by a werewolf twice , by the way--” He pauses, letting out a giant breath of air.
His voice is quieter this time. “I’m not saying I’m in love with you, and I don’t even know you well enough to say I even like you for sure.” Hoseok crosses his arms over his chest self-consciously, and Yoongi eyes him curiously, gauging his reaction. “If you really don’t want me here, I’ll go and you won’t hear from me again.”
Yoongi lifts his hand up to grab the necklace, “But I think you’re cute and my heart keeps pounding when I look at you and my stomach keeps doing Olympic flips inside my body. And I think that’s enough for me, at least enough for me to try to do something about it. I...I just really, really want to get to know you.”
Hoseok’s throat bobs. “Wow.” His hands are shaking, but he gives Yoongi a lopsided grin. “Sounds like you have a bit of a crush.” The way his voice nearly cracks tells Yoongi he doesn’t feel nearly as confident as he seems at the moment.
“I’m glad your ears work,” Yoongi shoots back, a grin growing on his face.
Hoseok bites his lower lip, glancing around his sanctuary in the forest. “The trees are being quiet because they’re trying to eavesdrop.” He whispers to Yoongi. “Come inside?”
Yoongi nods and Hoseok ushers them into his house.
The interior of the house is a lot gloomier than Yoongi remembers. The walls are dripping with purplish liquids, the vines weeping sullenly while the herbs in the kitchen hiss something nasty at them.
“Oh shit, shit!” Hoseok looks at Yoongi apologetically. “I’ve been out in the garden all day, I forgot to feed them! Can you hold on for a second? I just need to--” He’s walking into his kitchen with Yoongi trailing behind him.
“I can help you feed them if you want.”
Hoseok turns to Yoongi and raises a brow. “Unless you can make sycamore solution --” Yoongi shuts him up by pulling out his copy of Witchcraft Beginner’s Guide pointedly. “I can’t, but I can read.”
A laugh bubbles out of Hoseok’s mouth and he shrugs his shoulders. “Alright, get to it then.”
They work around each other, Hoseok leaving the kitchen to water the other plants in the house only when he knows for certain that Yoongi is indeed way more skilled in the kitchen than his best friend Namjoon will ever be. (“He’s so bad. He gets cursed by his cranky downstairs neighbor like every week--everything he touches breaks.”) It’s after Hoseok says he’s going to go up to the attic to bring down an ingredient for the lunch he’s making for them that Yoongi grabs a hint of polylickle (what the fuck is it? He still doesn’t know) when It happens.
The solution he had been doing just fine making nearly begins to boil at rapid speed, gasses spewing out of it like missiles. His eyes widen as he lowers the heat on the stovetop. “Hoseok,” he calls out weakly. “I think I messed up.” The solution is solid now--rock solid, and seems to have a life of its own. Yoongi begins to hyperventilate, Oh no, ohhh no, wondering to himself if he’d accidentally summoned some sort of demonic presence. Hoseok comes running down his stairs and sees the situation. His jaw drops at the sight, as he laughs out a spell to ease the solution back into the cauldron.
He doesn’t let Yoongi back into the kitchen.
When Hoseok comes back out of the kitchen, Yoongi expects there to be some tension--some sort of awkwardness or stilt in the way they speak to each other. But there’s not. Hoseok is the epitome of vibrancy; everything that slips out of his lips is passionate but harmonious, he’s bold but incredibly timid anytime Yoongi so much as breathes too close to him. It doesn’t surprise him when he looks down at his phone to see that he’s spent hours talking with Hoseok, latching onto every story the witch tells him about his time in the forest and his encounters with the magical and supernatural. He’s soft and Yoongi’s breath catches in his throat when Hoseok’s nose scrunches up with laughter.
“You’re saying you don’t actually wear a pointy black hat and robe then?” Yoongi asks with doubt in his voice.
“Only on special occasions, actually.”
Yoongi snorts. “You’re joking, right?”
Hoseok shrugs his shoulders in response. “I’ve talked enough about myself, you say something about yourself.”
Yoongi shifts in his seat, “I don’t think I’m anywhere near as interesting as a witch. I’m just a person living in my own head.”
“Oh come on!” Hoseok exclaims, rolling his eyes. “You’re plenty interesting. You’ve had a quarter of a lifetime to do at least one thing interesting. What do you do for work?”
“I’m a writer. I ghost write novels for a few big names but I also have a couple of novels of my own… nothing too fancy.” Yoongi feels achingly incompetent. He’s sitting next to someone so dynamic, so spirited--and he can’t help but feel a little dull in comparison. But of course, wonderful Hoseok gasps, his eyes sparkling at Yoongi.
“You write novels about ghosts? Oh my gosh, please tell me I made it into your next book--did I inspire you?” Hoseok is vibrating with excitement. “I can see it now: Jung Hoseok the Ghost Whisperer, but you’ll have to give me credit for the title.”
Yoongi bites his lip because Hoseok is so cute, but he’s also so, so wrong. “I’m sorry to disappoint you but I don’t write novels about ghosts,” he laughs. “People pay me to write novels about ideas that they have. Some people just need someone to translate their voice into like...novel form. So some guides and self-help books are ‘ghost written’ by people.”
“I didn’t even know that job existed, to be honest.” Hoseok sucks in a breath, then looks at Yoongi bashfully. “See? There are some things you don’t know about my world and there are things I don’t know about yours! You don’t have to feel so bad about fucking up the sycamore solution now.”
“I’m still sorry--” Yoongi tries to say, but Hoseok only laughs in response.
“What original novels have you published?”
And so it goes. Yoongi tells Hoseok about his books while Hoseok sits on eagerly, clinging onto Yoongi’s words like a lifeline. Yoongi eats it up; he’s not too fond of people watching him so intensely, but he can’t stop the happiness from budding up in his chest. He loves the attention that Hoseok is giving him, he loves how responsive Hoseok is. “If you’re ever free…” Yoongi is careful how he suggests it, watching Hoseok tilt his head, waiting for him. “...you know you could, uh, come over and read them? Or I could bring you a copy if you want me to come back.”
Hoseok’s eyes crinkle as he ducks his head. He looks up at Yoongi with a breathtakingly stunning smile, and the tiny dimples forming in the corners of his lips make Yoongi weak in the knees. He wants to kiss him so badly. “I would love that.” Hoseok’s face is practically glowing. “Both sound good.”
Yoongi blushes, then tries to hide his smile with a cough. “Yeah, sounds...good.”
They exchange numbers after the meeting and have been texting each other nonstop for weeks now. Jungkook watches him with hawkeyes, peering over his shoulder to invade his privacy, even going as far as to ‘go ghost’ as to not be caught spying. Yoongi rolls his eyes at Jungkook. “You know my body gets like ten degrees cooler when you’re next to me, right? I don’t know who you’re trying to fool, Jeon Jungkook.”
Jungkook shows himself, huffing as he crosses his arms over his chest. “You’re no fun now that you have a boyfriend--and don’t say he’s not your boyfriend, Jimin told me it’s going to happen.”
“Jimin said that Seokseok and I will be boyfriends?” Yoongi’s heart rate picks up, his eyes going wide with excitement. (“Seokseok?” Jungkook gags, “Ew, hyung, what the actual fuck?”) “ Are you serious ? Why were you withholding that information from me, you ungrateful brat! I bought you half a vial of dragon’s breath just to be disrespected like this?” Yoongi grabs him by the collar, shaking the ghost--half in happiness, half in exasperation.
“I asked for a full vial and you skimped out on me, alright?” Jungkook spits back. “But half a vial was just enough to burn off Tae’s eyebrows--”
Yoongi hears his phone buzz and he quickly reaches for his phone on the table, ignoring Jungkook completely. Hearts practically fly out of his mouth when he lets out a sigh as he reads the text.
Hobi 4:31 pm
good luck writing hyung!! ^u^
Hoseok attaches an incredibly cute selca of his dimpled smile with his pot of hydrangeas who perk up proudly in the background, completely lit up by the sunshine that is Jung Hoseok.
“God, you’re worse than Tae and Jimin combined . I thought you were better than this.” Jungkook shakes his head. “Deuces, I’m out.” He throws Yoongi a peace sign as he’s about to apparate out the room.
“Like you wouldn’t be doing the same if Namjoon and Jin asked you out, you freak of nature.”
Jungkook makes a feigned noise of offense. “Rude, but true.” And then he’s gone. Just like that.
Yoongi decides to take this time without any distractions to hammer out the last bit of this chapter, he really has to meet his deadline or his editor would really be on his ass this time. He drains down the last of the cold coffee on his (slightly) organized desk and gets to work, but all he can think about is one gorgeous smile, one gorgeous man. Boyfriends...huh. Yoongi has never been more inspired.
He’s just about ready to send his manuscript to his editor when he gets a knock on his door from Taehyung. He’s practically bouncing with delight, his hands jittery by his side.
“You have a visitor,” he says, wiggling what’s left of his brows as he shoots Yoongi a greasy wink. Hoseok pops out from behind him, giving Yoongi a small, shy wave.
“Hi,” he giggles out.
Yoongi’s eyes widen, his hand finding his laptop to shut it. He glances around his room nervously, embarrassed about the mess. “Oh my gosh, hi. Uh, sorry it’s so messy,” Yoongi stammers out, haphazardly throwing his notes together to form a giant pile of paper.
Hoseok laughs in response, and Taehyung (thankfully) takes it as his cue to leave, but of course he makes a few inappropriate hand gestures before doing so. If a condom somehow lands on his desk, both Yoongi and Hoseok choose to ignore it. They also ignore the obnoxious “you’re welcome!” followed by it.
“You’ve seen my place,” Hoseok shrugs. “I don’t mind the mess.” He plops himself down onto Yoongi’s bed, letting his body fall against Yoongi’s pillows. The same pillows that Yoongi usually lays down on when he thinks about Hoseok. The same pillows that Yoongi was rutting against to get off just that morning while thinking about Hoseok. He prays that Hoseok doesn’t have a sixth sense for figuring out how many times people masturbate (or a particularly strong nose) because he’s disgusting and hasn’t had time to wash his sheets this morning. Needless to say, the sight of Hoseok pressed against his mattress makes Yoongi tense up.
Yoongi hums, looking Hoseok up and down. He looks amazing, as usual. Even in a pair of joggers and a plain grey pullover, Yoongi thinks he’s beautiful because...well, he’s Hoseok, how can Yoongi not? “I like your place though, it’s very you.”
“One hot mess?”
Yoongi grins back at him. “Mostly just hot, actually.” He watches the heat crawl up Hoseok’s face with satisfaction.
Hoseok sits up on his bed, then pats the spot next to him. “Come here, yeah?”
Yoongi gets up from his desk and sits down on his bed, surprised that he doesn’t trip over his own feet. He’s nervous. Hoseok lays back down, pulling Yoongi along with him. They turn toward each other, just breathing, just being. Hoseok brings up a finger to boop Yoongi’s nose, and Yoongi furrows his eyes. If Yoongi listens carefully enough, he can hear the hard drumming of Hoseok’s heart. Hoseok’s eyelashes fan against his cheek, fluttering softly as he looks up at Yoongi with stars in his eyes. A soft smile is on his lips, and Yoongi thinks something is on the tip of his tongue. His eyes are telling Yoongi things that Yoongi can’t decipher, but he’ll wait. He’s willing to wait.
“What are you thinking about?” He finally asks, his hand coming up to brush a stray hair out of Hoseok’s face.
“You.” Hoseok sighs, leaning in to press his face against Yoongi’s neck. “You’re all that’s on my mind.”
“Original,” Yoongi grins, but on the inside he’s screaming. He traces his fingers across Hoseok’s smooth skin, fingers dancing across the peach fuzz on Hoseok’s cheeks. He pushes his finger into Hoseok’s dimple, drawing out the best giggle he’s ever heard. “I’ve been thinking about you too.” Hoseok’s chest presses against his, the fabric on his shirt smells like wildflowers, like the earth, like home . “Is that a bad thing?”
“I don’t know.” Hoseok stills, before he looks up at Yoongi. “I’m terrified.”
Yoongi raises a brow at him, concern suddenly sprouting up. “Why?”
Hoseok looks fragile, like a piece of untouched treasure. They lay there in Yoongi’s bright, plain room. Hoseok somehow fits , but Yoongi’s not sure if that’s just because he thinks Hoseok fits with him . “I think I’m falling for you,” Hoseok admits.
Yoongi feels his chest swell with adoration, but he tries to keep his calm. He wills down the blush, but it doesn’t work. “Why does that scare you?” He asks, eyebrows furrowing together. Hoseok shifts uncomfortably so Yoongi pulls away, giving him some space. They sit up, eyes locked on each other. “Is it... because of what happened with everyone?”
“They told you, then?” Hoseok makes a face of disgust, anger, almost.
Yoongi shakes his head quickly. “Jimin told me to ask you.”
“Oh,” Hoseok’s shoulders slump. He tries to display nonchalance, but Yoongi thinks he knows Hoseok well enough to see past the facade. Hoseok toys with the hem of his sleeve, he doesn’t make eye contact with Yoongi when he tells him. “Long story short, they made a love potion and gave it to some guy. I fell in love, and a year into our relationship...well, the love potion wore off. He fell out of love. And that...was that.” Hoseok is staring at his hands, lips drawn together in a tight, bitter smile.
“They did what ?”
“They have some twisted notion that I’m not satisfied by myself-- like...I get that they want me to happy, but...I don’t need someone to be happy.” Hoseok sighs, “I’m always pitied by them to the point where they would send lost people my way to try to set me up with them, then of course they went overboard and fucked up a love potion--” He cradles his head in his hands and groans loudly.
“You thought I was the same…” Yoongi connects the dots and somehow it all makes sense. Hoseok’s standoffish behavior when they first met, the hesitant initial interactions were all telltale signs and he feels guilty for not figuring it out sooner. Yoongi shakes his head, trying to wrap his head around what happened. “I don’t get how they let it happen for a year without telling you?”
“I don’t know, I don’t think they realized it hadn’t worn off by the time he and I were together.” Hoseok’s lips begin to quake, and Yoongi places a hand gingerly on his shoulder, cooing gentle words of consolation. His eyes water and Yoongi watches helplessly as tears come out in small streaks. Yoongi nearly leans in to kiss them away, but he stops himself. Now is not the time.
Hoseok rubs at his eyes. “I thought, for one moment, that someone actually liked me-- That someone actually fell for me for being me but…” He shakes his head. “God, what was I thinking? When it wore off he was terrified. He barely remembered anything --” Hoseok covers his mouth with his hand and his shoulders begin to shake. His eyes are wide and red, his skin is turning pale. Yoongi knows those eyes, Hoseok is traumatized.
A surge of guilt rushes through him for being exasperated over how mercurial Hoseok seemed to be when they first met, but he doesn’t hold himself accountable for what he doesn’t know. All he can do now is apologize and make sure Hoseok doesn’t feel that way again. Yoongi looks at Hoseok, cheerful, luminous Hoseok, and he wants to cry.
Hoseok’s hands shake in his lap, fingers bunching up the jogger’s fabric anxiously. Yoongi reaches out to hold them, pressing away the tension. “--and there I was, with someone I fell in love with and spent nearly a year with...it...it wasn’t right .” Yoongi rubs small circles into Hoseok’s back, trying to ease out the tension.
“He was robbed of his time and I was too.” Hoseok shakes his head. “I think they’re all trying to get me to come out of my shell again but it’s not...it hasn’t been easy and I haven’t exactly forgiven them yet. I feel guilty for not speaking to them, but--”
Yoongi groans out, “Okay, I love Jimin and Tae, and Namjoon and Jin are really nice people, but what they did was shitty and you don’t have to forgive them until you’re ready.”
Hoseok nods, rubbing his eyes with the edge of his sleeve. Yoongi leans in to press his lips to the top of Hoseok’s head, ignoring the way the witch stills against him. “None of it was your fault, don’t blame yourself.” Then Hoseok’s entire body relaxes, he lets out a breath of air and the entire room feels oddly light.
Oh, Yoongi thinks when he looks around his room to see that everything is suspended in the air--from his desk, to his lamp, to his bed--the same bed that they’re currently sitting on. He panics for a split second, his hands instinctively latching onto Hoseok’s arms until Hoseok realizes what he’s done and mumbles out a quick incantation to slowly bring them back to ground.
“You okay?” Yoongi asks with a shaky breath, his hands still trembling as he releases his firm grip from Hoseok’s bicep.
“Yeah.” Hoseok smiles in return. “I’m not ready to forgive them, but...I think I’m ready to start trying.”
“Alright, but no pressure--”
There’s a shift on the bed, another cold presence, when they hear him. “Shitty advice,” Jungkook whispers, hiding himself from them cowardly without manifesting. “Forgive them already, hyung. We miss you.”
Yoongi swats at nothing, trying to figure out where the ghost could be. “Jungkook!” He seethes, “Have you been here this whole fucking time?”
There’s a pause. “Maybe.”
“Oh my God, Jungkook you’re so creepy, get the hell out!” Yoongi swears he loves Jungkook as if he were his own brother. His very own, annoying little brother. The door shuts after a few snickers from Jungkook, and Yoongi looks at Hoseok apologetically. “Sorry about that.”
Hoseok shakes his head, sniffling a little bit as he shrugs. His sweater falls off his shoulder and Yoongi tries not to make his staring too obvious. The knowing look Hoseok passes him tells him that he isn’t doing too good of a job it, but Hoseok makes no move to fix his sweater and it’s driving Yoongi up the fucking wall. “Oh, I knew he was in here. I can see him.”
“And you didn’t say anything?” Yoongi’s voice lilts, voice cracking as he stares at Hoseok with incredulity.
“He thrives off of attention, if you’re ever annoyed with him, just ignore him. He hates it.”
Another thing to tack onto Yoongi’s growing list. Reasons to Love Jung Hoseok: A Comprehensive Study; Reason #138: Pettiness levels are through the fucking roof.
“That is so petty,” Yoongi laughs, and Hoseok grins back. “How could you see him but Namjoon and Jin can’t?”
“I’m half traditional witch, I guide spirits to the afterlife for a living.” He tacks on as an afterthought, “no pun intended.”
“And green witches and necromancers can’t do that?”
“Necromancers are born with the ability,” Hoseok replies, and before Yoongi can even ask, Hoseok answers his question. “I think Namjoon just pretended he couldn’t see Jungkook because he didn’t want to embarrass him.”
Yoongi snorts. He’s saving that piece of information for the next time Jungkook thinks he can sneak into his room.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” Yoongi asks sternly, looking at Hoseok with concern. He notes the way Hoseok’s eyes flit back and forth between him and the door, “I can call them up and tell them that you’re not feeling well if you want?”
The air is thick, and Yoongi can sense Hoseok’s discomfort. Hoseok is so on edge that even his plants notice. They’re all extremely tense, eerily quiet, the once vibrant life of his home a sullen, dark purple. It’s awfully dark. Yoongi stands up to light a few candles, but Hoseok just flicks his wrist out, sitting Yoongi back down. “It’s fine, let me.” He raises his arm to bring the candles out from the drawer in the kitchen, lining them all around the room. “ Luminos. ” The fire ignites, flickering softly.
“Seok-ah?” He says, placing his hands on Hoseok’s thigh. “You sure?”
The candles light Hoseok’s face dimly, he looks down at his bare toes, wiggling them against the wood floor. “No… yes? I don’t know, whatever.” He sighs, “It’s happening already. I can practically feel Namjoon breaking half the forest down to get here. ”
And as if on cue, there’s a knock on his door. The plants by the windowsill let out a collective gasp, turning toward Yoongi and Hoseok. “Calm down,” Hoseok soothes them, flicking a bit of solution over to ease them. Yoongi gets up to open the door, ignoring Hoseok’s silent protest. He’s greeted by Jin’s sheepish face and the earthy smell that lingers around him. Namjoon (not cursed this time, he swears!) pops up behind with a planter with the smallest venus fly trap Yoongi has ever seen. He reaches out to touch it but Namjoon whacks his hand away. “Don’t even try it, this one can actually bite your finger off.”
“Got it, you can set it down inside,” Yoongi replied, quickly retracting his fingers as the couple steps into the cottage.
Taehyung and Jimin bound up to him happily, looking at him with matching smiles. “Sounds like you know your way around hyung’s home now.”
“Jimin, of all people, you should know how well Yoongi’s acquainted with Hobi’s part of the woods.” Taehyung wiggles his eyebrows at Yoongi, earning himself a killer glare.
“What’s with the umbrella? It’s sunny out.” Yoongi looks at Jimin curiously, but Jimin only hums in response.
He darts his eyes, pulling the bright yellow umbrella closer to his side. Yoongi catches it, of course, and feels a little uneasy. “You never know when it might rain, hyung.”
There’s a cough behind him, and the couple in front of Yoongi freeze. “Hey hyung,” Jimin smiles, and Yoongi can feel Jimin’s nerves, which means something bad is going to happen. Jimin apparently hears his apprehension on this, and whips his head up to give Yoongi a deadpan look.
“Sorry we’re late,” Taehyung says. “Jungkook was whining at us about how unfair it was that we’re all meeting without him.”
“It’s fine.” Hoseok gives them both a tight twitch of the lips before he pulls them all into his cottage. Jin and Namjoon are attempting to tame Hoseok’s sofa that thrashes wildly beneath them. Namjoon mutters something in Latin, which only makes the sofa angrier. The venus fly trap that he had brought is gnawing on Hoseok’s kitchen counter while the vines and plants hanging from Hoseok’s ceilings begin to weep down on the whole party, soaking all of them in tears.
“I knew this would happen,” Jimin sighs, shaking the water out of his hair as he opens the umbrella he brought with him. Taehyung ushers closer to his husband, smiling contentedly as the others get drenched.
“We know,” they all chorus back, glowering back at him as he shies away with a sheepish grin.
Hoseok snaps his fingers, willing away the vines.
It’s awkward at first, but the four of them manage to open Hoseok back up. They fall into a comfortable conversation, reminiscing about their time in college.
“Remember when we were at Hogwarts and you two apparated on stage during graduation?” Taehyung bounces next to Hoseok excitedly and Yoongi’s heart nearly explodes. (Yoongi wants to rip his hair out as he yells, “Hogwarts is fucking real and none of you dipshits told me? Friendship cancelled.”) “I thought you guys were so cool, imagine my disappointment when I found out you guys just wanted to get Mcflurries from McDonald’s.”
“Please, nothing compares to that time Joon was so drunk he said he found a dragon when we went out to eat once but just mistook an elderly man for one.” Seokjin laughs into Namjoon’s shoulder. “You really tried to take a sample of his breath ‘for science’.”
They continue like that for a while, until the skies darken and Namjoon yawns against Jin’s neck. Jimin shifts in his seat, and the mood suddenly changes. “Hyung,” he starts, his expression sharp, eyes filled with guilt, and Hoseok holds a hand up.
“You know you’re already forgiven, Jiminie.”
Jimin sighs out a soft, “I know,” when Taehyung comes to bring his arm around his husband’s shoulder. “But just because you forgave us doesn’t mean I’m any less sorry.”
And with one look from Taehyung, all of them get up and tackle Hoseok to the sofa, engulfing him in a group hug. Yoongi watches on from his spot on the chair of vines supporting his weight. He’s happy that Hoseok has his friends back, and he can’t help but feel a little bit proud that he’s the reason for it, but he’s also proud of the capacity that Hoseok has to forgive them all for what happened. Hoseok locks eyes with him from under the human dog-pile, and gives him the brightest smile. He reaches out to Yoongi, and it’s like gravity pulls him toward them. He crashes onto Jin’s broad back with a loud thump, drawing out multiple groans of pain.
Yoongi thinks that this may just be the happiest he’s been in a while.
The rest of them all make their leave, one by one, but Yoongi decides to stay back and help Hoseok clean up. They give him smirks and whistle at him as he stands at Hoseok’s, but he can only roll his eyes. Hoseok is watching him from inside his living room with the barest hint of a smile, and Yoongi can’t help swells of emotion crash against his chest. Every time Yoongi looks at Hoseok it’s like he gets more and more beautiful. (He tells Hoseok that sometime far in the future, and Hoseok looks at him like he hung the stars up in the sky.) But now, now Yoongi just takes in the soft breaths of air that pass between the two and helps Hoseok place the dishes in the sink.
“You know I can do all of this in like, under a minute right?”
Hoseok huffs, “You can go home, you don’t have to stay with me.”
“I want to though,” Yoongi argues back, before he thinks about it for another minute. “Do you want me to leave?”
The plants around Hoseok’s kitchen shout, “ He doesn’t want you to go, he doesn’t! ” And the blush that seems to bloom across Hoseok’s cheeks tells him that they might just be onto something.
“I think there are other things that I’d rather be doing with you than washing dishes,” he admits in a low voice.
Yoongi feels like he can’t breathe, but he forces the words out of his mouth. “Oh yeah? Like what?”
“Like pound your ass--” Hoseok starts and Yoongi really does choke, coughing out a lung, probably before Hoseok crooks a finger and something lands in his hands. A video game rests against his palms and Yoongi bangs his head lightly against the kitchen walls, unbeknownst to Hoseok, who’s still focused on the video game. “--at a game of Super Smash Brothers.”
Yoongi is dead silent, then he walks up to Hoseok with an indecipherable expression.
He doesn’t even realize what he’s doing when he tiptoes up to whisper into Hoseok’s ear, “ Never start a sentence like that again.”
They end up playing the damned game, Hoseok losing every time.
“Thought you said you were going to pound my ass at this game?” Yoongi asks halfway through their seventh match, but Hoseok sits with his legs crossed, pouting as he stares at the screen in concentration. “Fuck you,” he laughs back at Yoongi.
I really, really wish you would. He rolls his eyes.
Hoseok drops his controller. “What did you say?”
“What?” Yoongi turns to him to see Hoseok’s shocked expression, his face flaming red. “Oh, oh. Did I say that out loud?”
Hoseok looks down at his lap and Yoongi thinks that they’re not ready. Of course they aren’t, why did he think they were? He gets up, trying to let his embarrassment show. “Well, it’s getting late, I should head back home.” The vines from the ceiling drop down to loop around his feet, attempting to tug him back down onto the couch, who nuzzles against his thigh.
Hoseok is still sitting on the floor when he processes Yoongi’s words. Hoseok looks at him with panic in his eyes, Yoongi can see his mind working at a thousand miles a minute as he stammers out, “It’s dark outside, are you really going to walk?”
Yoongi waves his hand dismissively, going into Hoseok’s closet to pull on one of Hoseok’s favorite sweaters. “I’ll be fine.”
“I’ll take you back,” Hoseok says quickly and Yoongi immediately protests, but is shut up when Hoseok whistles lowly. Yoongi gives him a weird look, when there seems to be a whirring sound just above him. And then he sees it. Hoseok clutches the broomstick in his hand like a fucking trophy. “I’m ready to go when you are.”
“Huh. Witches really do ride broomsticks.”
Hoseok looks down at his broomstick, embarrassed. “I know, she’s super old school, but she’s mine.”
Hoseok casts a spell on his house, locking it up with an enchantment, before he throws a leg over his broomstick. He looks over his shoulder at Yoongi expectantly, and Yoongi shuffles on it. “Uh, you can, like,” Hoseok searches for the words, “hold onto my waist. Well, actually, you should hold onto my waist if you don’t want to fly off.”
Yoongi looks at him uneasily. “Are you sure it’s safe for me to be on this?”
Hoseok shrugs, and then they take off.
To say that Yoongi is scared is an understatement. His grip on Hoseok’s waist is vice-like. The only upside is that he gets to press his face against the back of Hoseok’s neck and feel the wind tousling his hair. Okay, it’s kind of nice, as long as he doesn’t look down.
But of course he does. He sees the canopy of trees below him, the scent of formaldehyde disappearing with the freshness of the cedarwood and cypress trees. The wind is crisp against his skin to the point of discomfort now, so he ducks back against Hoseok, who’s oddly silent. They pass through a cloud, and Hoseok gets drenched with mist. Yoongi averts the moisture by ducking low, using Hoseok as cover, and giggles against Hoseok’s back when he turns to stick his tongue out at Yoongi, shaking his head to sprinkle water onto Yoongi as punishment.
“This is nice,” Yoongi says, not expecting Hoseok to turn to look at him.
“Yeah?” He asks, a little breathless. “I’ll take you on it more often. We can go sightseeing in the city next time, if you want?”
“I would really like that,” Yoongi whispers back.
They slow to a shaky stop as they approach Yoongi’s house. Hoseok drops him off right on his balcony, lowering the broomstick until they both safely plant their feet on the ground. Hoseok’s legs are wobbly as he stands. He lets out a relieved breath, and it’s then that Yoongi sees how much Hoseok is shaking. “You’re scared of flying, aren’t you?”
“What? Psh, no ? No--” He laughs awkwardly, his eyes dart around shiftily as Yoongi gives him a look.
“Baby, you’re shaking.” The name slips out of his mouth easily and to be frank, Yoongi doesn’t regret it. Especially not when he sees the look on Hoseok’s face.
“No, I’m just a bit dizzy,” Hoseok bites his cheek, then sighs. “Yeah, okay I hate flying.”
Yoongi snorts, “What?” He leans against the rail on his balcony, looking at Hoseok incredulously. “Why?”
“I haven’t flown since I stole my parents’ broom back in high school and crashed into a tree,” he admits, and he plays with the hem of his sweater again, something Yoongi notices Hoseok only does when he’s nervous. “It was not a fun experience.”
“I could have walked, you know.” He tries to speak softer now, more understanding. It’s never been his intention to make Hoseok uncomfortable, that’s the last thing he wants to do.
Hoseok shakes his head, “No, I wanted to. And, I kind of wanted to impress you? I don’t know, it’s stupid--”
“You don’t have to try to impress me.” Yoongi takes Hoseok’s hand in his, rubbing his thumb over the soft, slender fingers. “I’m in pretty deep,” he gives Hoseok a breathy laugh.
Yoongi doesn’t know who leans in first, but there they are, pressed up against each other on his Uncle’s old, bleak balcony like they’re straight out of a corny nineties movie. And it’s perfect. They press their lips together, giggling against each other’s mouths, and Yoongi can’t tell if Hoseok’s face is bright because of how the moon reflects off of it or if it’s from pure happiness. He wants to take credit for it, but he figures he can’t win everything.
“Stay the night?” Yoongi asks, even though he thinks he knows the answer. Hoseok laughs in response, swishing the door open with the flick of his wrist. They move together harmoniously; Yoongi figures he can be the planets as long as Hoseok is his sun.
In the early hours of the morning, with their limbs tangled with the sheets, their even breaths on each other, they’ll sleep ever so soundly, and unbeknownst to them, the story of them is being told just a few meters away.
Taehyung has his head rested in Jimin’s lap. “Tell me what happens with Yoongi and Hoseok?” Jimin closes his eyes and sees the colors, the pictures splayed across time, the different layers to their relationship--he thinks about Yoongi and Hoseok, and a smile tugs at his lips.
“Slowly, surely, they fall in love.”