Jimin stretched his body out in order to reach the godforsaken top shelf; even with the step-stool, he still struggled to properly place the heavy, dust-covered books onto the highest shelves. A strained groan rumbled up his throat, his frustration reaching its peak after trying for a solid five minutes--five long, painful minutes.
He held the book high above his head, ready to just chuck the thing, when his mirror suddenly went off, the loud ring echoing across the vast library. He got startled so badly he lost his balance on the thin platform, blindly reaching out for the nearest object to regain his balance on, which happened to be the shelf in front of him.
The minute his fingertips gripped the dusty surface, he could already tell he was going to go down, fingers slipping further and further away from the books in front of him. Now, he would grab onto the shelf with his other hand, but it was busy dealing with the book that was freaking out from the annoyingly loud ringing coming from his mirror.
Yes, the book was alive.
Well, sort of.
Anyways, to say the least, Jimin was being pulled off both the shelf and step-stool because the book wouldn't stop squirming in his hand, making his life harder--and he's already landing on the ground with a resounding thud. The book wriggled out of Jimin's grasp and slid underneath one of the bookshelves, a low groan escaping the bookshelf it hid under.
"Yes," Jimin spat, wincing at the slight throb that came from his ass as he slowly sat up, "I do realize that the book is underneath you, and not on you. Thanks for being concerned for my well-being, by the way."
The bookshelf simply let out another low groan.
Jimin rolled his eyes and struggled to stand up, his legs weak from the startling fall. A shaky sigh escaped his lips as he hobbled his way over to the corner that held his mirror, a scowl forming across his face. He practically punched the button to reply to the call, eye twitching from annoyance--both from being interrupted during his work hours, and the fact that he knew that there was only one person in the entire universe that would dare bother him during his work hours.
"What do you want, Jungkook-ah?" Jimin questioned, voice heated and borderline yelling. "I have work to do, you brat."
Jungkook's reflection let out an offended gasp. "Jeez, is it such a crime to call my favorite hyung, who I love and adore and--"
"Get on with it." Jimin folded his arms across his chest, embarrassed by the fact that he actually enjoyed it whenever Jungkook praised him.
"Right." Jungkook paused, eyes roaming across his side of the mirror, as though he didn't want to directly look Jimin in the eyes. "Hyung, I got an interesting customer today."
Jimin rose an eyebrow, not used to Jungkook talking about his own business.
See, Jungkook was a transporter of sorts: people, cargo--you name it, he'll deliver it. Only, he doesn't use a vehicle or actually travel to the place to drop the people or items off. He'll teleport them. Sure, doesn't sound too hard. But, the problem with it is that people often go to him because his service is cheap, and it's one of the only ways they can travel between different realms without breaking any laws.
So when he said that he got an interesting customer, Jimin became simultaneously worried and intrigued.
"Alright," Jimin said slowly, gulping down a lump in his throat. "Is it good interesting, or...?"
Jungkook nibbled on his bottom lip, glancing over at Jimin before shrugging. "I mean, they aren't necessarily bad, it's just...they're rare?"
Now, that got Jimin going.
He was an absolute nerd when it came to the different species that were hidden in their own realm, being but a simple human who had little to no magical abilities himself. Whenever people weren't trying to rob the library of his precious books, he read about the various realms and their inhabitants: Saelarhia, The Ancient Ocean (which he found out was an entire realm that got flooded by one of the mighty gods), Driokiorea, The Ancestor Fields (as the name says, it's a realm haunted by ancient civilians that got caught it one of the many gods' wars), Iohudran, The Immortal Country (a realm that the gods dedicated to the children they had with various humans over the years).
Jimin realized long ago that almost all of the realms had been infected, or created, by the gods in some way. A shiver ran down his spine just thinking about such powerful beings, his excitement always getting the best of him when anything involving those ancient beings popped up in one of his readings.
"Well?" Jimin asked, his eyes alight with joy. "Tell me what species they are! Oh, and what realm they went to! I wanna meet them myself if they're rare enough to have you calling me."
Jungkook hesitated, mouth slightly agape. "Uh, I-I mean, don't get me wrong, hyung, they--he--isn't bad, i-it's just"--he took a deep breath, slightly closing his eyes--"he's a mixture of so many different species that I couldn't even keep count of how many different forms he took on while just paying me."
Jimin's eyes grew impossibly large. "Y-you mean, he-he's"--he lowered his voice, as though someone else could be in the library--"he's been Tampered with?"
It's well-known throughout all realms (yeah, all one hundred of them, or however many there are) that Tampering with another being is highly dangerous, and highly illegal. The very first case of Tampering happened around one million years ago. The product from that case was a being so powerful, even the gods had to struggle to seal it. No one knows where the gods had managed to put the thing, but it was the first time people realized that you could actually mess with somebody's genetics and make a very powerful creature.
There have been hundreds of thousands of Tampering cases, all that have ended with nothing more than a quick squabble with the realm's police and the creature that had been Tampered with. The government of the realms all agreed that Tampering cases are one of the most dangerous cases they could get, never knowing what they would be dealing with before they came face-to-face with the creature because gods know what goes through the minds of their creators.
Anyways, back to the conversation.
"W-well," Jungkook mumbled, staring hard at whatever was to his left (or Jimin's right?), "I can't exactly call it a Tampered, since he was calm-headed enough to, y'know, ask to travel somewhere without ripping my face off."
Jimin's eyebrows furrowed in confusion. "You mean...he's naturally like that? No Tampering, no nothing?"
Jungkook shrugged. "I mean, I partially called you about it because I figured you would have a book about a creature like him lying around somewhere..."
Jimin placed his hand on his chin, thinking hard about whether he read any sort of book like that. Though, it's highly possible it could also be hidden away in the other eleven-fourteenths of the library he had yet to even touch; believe it or not, even after spending his entire life living in the very library he worked at, he had yet to finish reading all the books that laid willingly (or, at least most of them) open and ready for him to get lost in.
"Uh, gimme a sec," Jimin mumbled, jogging over to the stand that held up the Main Gear of the library. "I gotta call for it and see if it actually exists..."
He heard Jungkook snort at that. "What? If a book isn't in your library, then it doesn't exist?"
"Actually, yeah." Jimin fumbled with the Main Gear, the Gear bulky and awkward in his hold for not having been used in years. "This library contains all of the realms' stories and books, which is why I have to guard it because people become hungry for the knowledge."
"I'm pretty sure that's just you, hyung."
Jimin spared him a harmless glare before turning back to the Main Gear; the Main Gear was what it was called, a giant-ass gear. If used by the librarian, then the librarian would be able to quickly scan over the rows of books by turning the gear, and as the Gear turned, it's able to show all of the books in one row of a shelf directly into the librarian's mind. If used by anybody else, it would most likely physically harm them whenever the person touched it, or cause the books to go flying at them until they ran away.
Jimin jolted when he spotted a book in a row on the other side of the library, the side he hadn't even come close to. "Well, it exists," he huffed, carefully placing the Gear back onto the stand. "Just have to turn the entire place inside out to find it."
"Then what the hell is the point in having that gear if it doesn't even tell you where the book is?" Jungkook questioned, a hint of annoyance in his voice.
"Gee, I don't know. Maybe because the library doesn't like the fact I've been ignoring over half of it since I took over?"
He spun around toward the mirror, eyebrows raised in an unamused manner when he saw the frown on Jungkook's face.
"And that's my fault how?" Jungkook questioned.
"Because you won't leave me alone, you brat!" He stomped over to the mirror, and leaned in so close to it that his nose bumped against the cool glass. "I tell you time after time to let me be so I can get my work done, but you always have some sort of excuse to just come and bother me!"
Jungkook blew his bangs out of his face, giving Jimin a look so dark it actually made him sober up from his anger.
"You know what?" Jungkook said, voice shockingly cold. "Whatever. Go fuck around in your stupid library. It's not like I care about your well-being and was just making sure you didn't accidentally starve yourself, or anything."
Jimin's heart broke at that.
"No, I get it. Don't want some annoying brat to bother you while you're, what was it again? Ah, yes. 'Working.'" Jungkook scowled at Jimin. "Not like you've been doing that for the past seven years."
And with that, Jungkook switched his mirror off, causing Jimin to simply stare at his devastated reflection. Guilt immediately took over his entire body, hand hovering over the call button, desperate to say "I'm sorry!" or "You know I didn't mean it!" But the damage was done, and the best thing Jimin could do right now was give Jungkook some space and lose himself into the mysterious book that single-handedly damaged his wavering relationship with Jungkook.
Jimin shook his head, determined to not let it get to him and to relieve himself by learning something new.
He turned toward the back of the library. Well, what he would have considered the back of the library if he could actually see the wall at the end; the library was so vast that he couldn't actually see all the way down to the end if he simply stood at the entrance.
Heaving a heavy sigh, Jimin began his journey to the opposite end of the library that was (in his opinion) shrouded in mystery. He past by the bookshelves he had become acquainted with over the years, glaring at the bookshelf that didn't help him in his time of need earlier that day. (He swore that the bookshelf's glimmering wood twisted up into a wicked smile.)
A feeling of uneasiness settled into his stomach the moment he stepped out of the familiar area of his three-fourteenths of the library, and into the ominous looking rest of the library, the aisle somehow looking much longer and the bookshelves seeming to grow before his very eyes.
That's when he realized he wasn't hallucinating and that the bookshelves were actually growing high above his head, reaching the high-ceiling in mere seconds.
"Um, h-hi," Jimin gulped, neck straining upward to look up at the top of the closest bookshelf. "I-I know you guys don't really know me, but m-my name's Park Jimin, an-and I'm the librarian of the library."
He could notice a slight change in the bookshelf's demeanor, as though it were studying him, trying to see if he was telling the truth.
Jimin cleared his throat and continued. "I know I'm not doing a v-very good job, since I haven't really been over on this side that much..."
The bookshelves creaked and groaned, as though agreeing with the fact that he was a terrible librarian.
"B-but, I just need to--need to get past you guys to get to, um..." He trailed off, grasping to remember where exactly the book was. "Um, I think it's a bookshelf with blue oak that's from the Antiquorum Tree, somewhere"--he made a small motion with his arm, attempting to point to the far side of the library without brushing against the bookshelf--"o-over there..."
He nearly jumped out of his skin when a screech echoed from the far end of the library.
"Uh, I-I'm guessing that's the one?"
The bookshelves parted, as though that screech were an order from their boss to let him through. Jimin quickly shuffled past the bookshelves and tried his hardest to not look them in the eyes, that being the only way Jimin could describe the knots on the top of the shelves.
The further he walked, the more unwelcomed he felt. Out of the corner of his eyes, he could see the bookshelves eyeing him with narrowed eyes. He was slowly starting to regret not having visited the rest of the library sooner.
A bright blue caught his eye, completely stopping him in his tracks as he stared at the wonderfully gorgeous bookshelf that seemingly beckoned him to come closer. He stumbled over to it, still caught in the trance that the mystical bookshelf had put him in.
He instantly snapped out of the trance when he noticed a book wiggle its way off the shelf, flopping over to him and landing directly in front of his feet. He bent down and picked the ancient book up, blowing off the dust that laid over its leather-bound cover. He waited for the dust to clear from the air before peeking at the title that was stitched onto the front of it, eyes widening at the boldness the author had to be able to name an informative book such as this something so...unpretentious.
A Guide to Kearx and How to Avoid Them.
Like he said, unpretentious.
Jimin settled down onto the floor, crossing his legs, before flipping open the first page of the book. He skimmed over the table of content, glanced up to the bookshelf with raised eyebrows, and looked back down at the table of content.
Chapter 1: The Basics of
and Why They're Dangerous
Chapter 2: My Run-In with a Zearx
Chapter 3: Distinguishing a Zearx Between an Elf
The list could go on and on, but it was obvious to Jimin that the author was trying their best to be humorous when writing this.
I mean, Jimin scoffed, how the hell could you mix anything up with an elf?
Moving on from the table of content, Jimin scanned through the first chapter and found out that zearx were actually a species created from the coming together of a Tampered creature and another species. Of course, that would mean that zearx were technically an illegal species since Tampered creatures were not to interact with any other being--being highly lethal and all.
Jimin took his time with the second chapter, studying the way the author would describe the zearx's behavior; he was trying to figure out if they had the natural instincts of an animal, or were more refined and logical like a human. He soon found out that the zearx the author ran into was more beastly and savage, attacking the author even though they were trying to avoid the beast with all their might.
Jimin nibbled on his bottom lip, having second thoughts on trying to find Jungkook's customer. But it was obvious to him that hostility ranged from each zearx, and that the one Jungkook had served was much more humane.
He skipped over to the third chapter and paid closer attention to how the author described its physical appearance, gasping at the detailed drawing in the corner of the page. The author had took it upon themselves to put drawings of a zearx and elf next to each other, pointing out the minute difference between the two.
To Jimin's surprise, the zearx was shockingly close to looking exactly like an elf; it had the same pointed ears (as did numerous other species), but they had a tinge of color on the tips; it looked to have the same grace and elegance in its facial features, if only it hadn't been drawn to be showing off its rather impressive fangs.
Jimin squinted, disbelieving his own eyes when he saw that he could hardly tell the difference between the two when looking at another drawing, one that showed a zearx that was standing peacefully, looking off to the side. Jimin gulped, imagination running wild, coming up with scenarios that showed him passing by a zearx without his realizing.
Jimin paused, remembering Jungkook's words.
He's a mixture of so many different species that I couldn't even keep count of how many different forms he took on while just paying me.
Could that be because one of his parents were Tampered with multiple different species? Jimin wondered, flipping over to the fourth chapter.
He had just begun reading the first sentence, when the entrance door suddenly open with a loud bang, echoing across the entire library. Jimin jumped up and off the floor, and began sprinting all the way back to the opposite side of the library, book tucked underneath his arm.
He slid around the corner of the final bookshelf, a feeling of giddy happiness suddenly overtaking him, and stared wide-eyed at the man who stood in front of him; he looked to be around the same age as Jimin (but with all the different eternal species who knew what his real age was) and was stunningly gorgeous--gray-silver hair shining in the sunlight that shone through the open entranceway, deep brown eyes gazing at Jimin with mild interest, long body casually leaning against the counter with such ease and grace it would put nymphs to shame.
Jimin cleared his throat and shuffled behind the front counter, offering the beautiful man a tense smile. "How can I help you today, sir?" he questioned, the service question practically burned into his memory from over usage.
A shiver went down Jimin's spine from how deep and husky the man's voice was.
"--for a book about my species," he said, eyeing Jimin with glazed eyes, as though he were bored out of his mind.
Jimin offered him a wry smile and tried his best not to melt under his gaze. "I'm sorry, sir, but I can't quite tell what species you are. Would you mind telling me?"
At that, the man's eyebrows furrowed and a low growl rumbled up his throat. "Of course you do. Everyone, including humans, should be able to recognize such a simple creature."
Jimin's mouth parted in surprise, both at how the man basically dissed whatever species he was claiming to be, and how he had the sudden urge to laugh just for the sake of it. He could feel a smile working its way up his face, but managed to keep his cool.
"Um, sir, I hate to tell you this, but a lot of species have pointed ears--"
Jimin froze, just now noticing the tinge of red in the man's ears. He quickly refocused his eyes back onto his face, and gulped thickly when he saw how delicate and elegant his facial features were.
"What?" the man growled, lips turned down into a frown. "Is there something on my face?"
A laugh bubbled up Jimin's throat and fell from his lips, flustering both Jimin and the hot-headed customer. Jimin cleared his throat and went on, pretending that he hadn't just laughed for no reason. "You wouldn't happen to be a zearx, would you?"
The man's eyes widened considerably, and before Jimin could even move, he pulled out a knife and held it to Jimin's throat. Jimin choked on his own saliva and attempted to back away from the painfully sharp blade, but the man reached out and grabbed him by the cloak, tugging him over the counter. Jimin's eyes bulged out of their sockets, panic rushing throughout his body and clouding his mind.
"How the fuck are you able to see through my ability?" the man growled, pressing the blade directly into Jimin's skin.
Jimin's breath hitched, both from the burn of the blade and the urge to laugh getting much more stronger than before. "Wh-what ability?" he stammered, shifting his arms, which his entire body was now laying on top of thanks to the awkward position the man had forced him into.
The man clicked his tongue against the roof of his mouth. "Must be some stupid effect this library has."
He pulled the knife away from Jimin's throat, but still held on tight to his cloak. "So," he drawled, eyes gazing over Jimin's body, "you know what my species is then?"
"Y-yeah..." Jimin croaked, choking back a giggle. "Just read about you guys."
"Oh?" Jimin noticed the man's eyes alight with interest. "So you do have a book about my species?"
"I-if you want it, you'll have to get a library card and check it out," Jimin explained, failing to bite back a chuckle.
"Stupid libraries and their rules," the man muttered, releasing Jimin's cloak and stepping away from the counter. "Well? Go on, register me or whatever."
Jimin pushed himself off the counter, rubbing at his injured neck, and strode over to the Book of Register. He flipped through the pages until he came across a completely blank page. He glanced up to the man, shuffling his feet slightly out of nerves.
"If you wouldn't mind, could you tell me your name?" Jimin asked. "I-I need it so that I can register you into the library's system..."
The man let out a grunt and approached the Book of Register, eyes gazing over it before looking Jimin directly in the eyes. "Kim Taehyung," he said, crossing his arms across his chest. "And you better not try to get me arrested."
Jimin stared at Taehyung, lips turned down into a frown, but he struggled to do that for very long because he just wanted to smile. "Why would I call the cops on you? It's not like I have a personal grudge against you for what you just did; it happens all the time."
Taehyung eyed him, eyes wide with surprise. "Um, well, that's slightly worrying. But, no, that's not what I'm worried about; I don't want you telling people that I'm a zearx."
"Ah." Jimin nodded, lowering his gaze down to the Book of Register and writing down Taehyung's name. "Well, yes. That would be a problem. But don't worry, I don't really care about what your parents are." He allowed himself to chuckle. "Just make sure you turn your books back in on time, or pay your fees, and we'll be fine."
He could hear Taehyung scoff at that and failed to hide the grin that overtook his face. He cleared his throat and tapped his pen against Taehyung's name once, twice, thrice--and a long, wispy trail of pure white smoke floated up from the page and formed into a rectangular shape; Taehyung's library card.
Jimin handed the card over to Taehyung, smile still stubbornly plastered across his face. "Well, I haven't finished reading the book that you want, but I suppose that means you'll just have to tell me about the rest of it."
Taehyung scoffed and smirked at him, ears now tinged a lovely shade of green. "Well, we'll see about that."
Jimin nodded dumbly, enthralled by the zearx's unique features. "Yeah...I guess we will."
Jimin slowly waved Taehyung goodbye, the giddy feeling slowly disappearing along with the zearx's figure. The entrance door slammed close and all was silent.
"What the fuck," he breathed, twitching again.
What were the odds of him meeting a zearx the exact day he was aware they existed?
Jimin didn't see Taehyung for another week. During that week, Jimin took it upon himself to apologize to Jungkook; he felt awful about snapping at the poor kid--all he wanted to do was make sure he was alive and kicking.
With a shaky breath, Jimin pushed the call button and whispered, "Jeon Jungkook."
A moment later, Jungkook's face popped up on the mirror's screen. Though, Jimin noticed something was off; his eyes were rimmed red and his hair was a complete mess. Jimin nibbled on his bottom lip, unsure if he should point out how Jungkook wasn't looking all that great.
Jungkook saved him the trouble by saying, "Don't point out my appearance and just--talk."
Jimin let his rudeness slide, considering the fact he wasn't in the best position to scold him about it. "Kookie," he murmured, placing his hand against the mirror's glass, "I...I'm sorry; I was wrong, I shouldn't have taken my anger out on you." He closed his eyes and leaned his forehead against the cool glass surface. "I didn't realize you were just checking up on me. I'm sorry."
Deafening silence came from Jungkook's side of the mirror.
Jimin felt uneasy and could feel the familiar burn in the back of his eyes. He cleared his throat before mumbling, "Y-you don't have to accept my apology--"
"Hyung," Jungkook breathed, a heavy sigh following shortly after. "Hyung, I'm sorry as well."
Jimin's head snapped upward, staring disbelieving at Jungkook's reflection.
"I know that you've always told me to leave you alone, but I disregarded your wishes and, um, bothered the living shit out of you."
"So," Jimin drawled, leaning away from the mirror with a small grin, "we cool? 'Cause I have something to share with you."
"Oh?" Jungkook leaned forward in his seat, resting his elbows on the desk in front of him. "Do tell."
Jimin tilted his head and lifted his fingers to his lips. "I think I might've bumped into your interesting customer last week. Like, the same day you told me about him."
Jungkook gasped and clapped his hands together giddily. "Did you find out what he was!? Oh my gods, I've been dying to ask you about him!"
Jimin explained what little information he read in the book and the actual encounter with Taehyung, leaving out the strange sensation of happiness that overtook him.
"Woah," Jungkook breathed, leaning back into his chair. "He almost killed you and you just handed the book over to him?"
Jimin shrugged. "Business is business. I'm not about to let my personal feelings ruin my job."
Jungkook rolled his eyes and opened his mouth (probably to make a sarcastic remark), when the entrance door suddenly swung open, a strong gust of wind blowing across the vast library. Jimin whirled around and smiled when he saw that Taehyung had come back, book in hand and same frown on his face.
"Gotta go, business calls," Jimin said before pushing the end call button.
Jimin turned his attention back to Taehyung, slowly walking toward the back of the front counter. "Glad to see you managed to bring the book back in one piece," he commented, gently pulling the book out of Taehyung's hold.
He heard Taehyung scoff at that. "Please, I'm not violent enough to ruin a perfectly good book."
The sudden feeling of giddiness returned and Jimin had to stop himself from laughing. "Oh? You're telling me that a book that basically disses your entire species is good?"
Taehyung hummed, leaning his arm against the counter. "Well, it was definitely biased since the author ran into a violent zearx. But other than that, it was pretty okay."
"Well, you gonna go into more detail or are you just gonna leave me hanging?" Jimin teased, a hint of a smile on his lips.
He glanced up to Taehyung and lost his breath, having forgotten just how astoundingly beautiful the man was. His guard was down after that shock and a breathless giggle escaped his lips before he could have time to react. He noticed Taehyung raise an eyebrow at him and could feel heat creeping up to his face. He cleared his throat and placed the book onto the cart that held all the books that needed putting away.
"Anyways," he muttered, signing off Taehyung's name from the list of books that were checked out, "you gonna tell me, or is that too much effort?"
He leaned his chin into the palm of his hand and stared up at Taehyung, smile still tugging up his lips. He watched as Taehyung scrunched up his face, most likely thinking about if he had time to share the story.
After a couple seconds of silence, Taehyung shrugged and said, "I don't see why not."
Jimin's smile widened and he walked around from behind the front counter, making sure to grab the book just in case, and dragged Taehyung over to one of the many tables and chairs that sat empty and untouched.
"Sorry if it's a little dusty," Jimin apologized, feeling a bit bashful from not having cleaned up recently. "Not many people visit."
Taehyung simply offered him a lazy smile and shook his head, grabbing the book out of Jimin's hands and flipping it open to the first chapter. "Which chapter did you stop at?" he questioned, glancing up at Jimin with a raised eyebrow.
"Chapter four," he responded, scooting his chair closer to Taehyung's. "But you can just skip to whichever chapter held the most interesting information; I don't really care about the author's opinion on your species."
His blunt statement earned him a surprised scoff, but Taehyung skipped over chapter four and went straight to chapter six: The History Behind Them.
"As I have said many times," Taehyung read, eyes scanning over the boldly printed words, "zearx are beings that can only be created when a Tampered creature and a powerful being make an offspring."
He paused and Jimin could feel his gaze on him. Jimin lifted his head, presuming Taehyung was just checking to make sure he got all that, and nodded.
"I just realized I never caught your name," Taehyung muttered, surprising Jimin by his sudden realization.
Jimin let out a nervous giggle, silently cursing this random giddiness, and mumbled, "Park Jimin, at your service."
Taehyung offered him a boxy grin before saying, "Charmed."
And he went back to reading out loud just like that, causing Jimin to chuckle at how random he was.
Taehyung's deep voice lulled Jimin into a sense of relaxation, challenging even his persistent giddiness, and he found himself not even reading along anymore; rather, he had caught himself numerous times simply staring off into space or right at Taehyung's gorgeous side-profile. He was frustrated with himself, refusing to believe he had fallen for someone he'd hadn't even known for an entire day--since they only met for half an hour last week and had been reading aloud for an hour, which was quickly dipping into two.
Jimin should tell the poor guy to go home, that he didn't need to stay with him any longer. It was just that he couldn't find it in himself to do so; Taehyung's voice was far too addictive, and he hadn't felt this at peace and blissful since, well, ever.
So when Taehyung's soothing voice suddenly came to a halt, Jimin was a little more than disappointed.
"Jimin-ah?" Taehyung murmured, gently bumping his elbow against Jimin's arm. "You okay? You look...really tired."
Jimin's eyes rapidly blinked open, hand coming up to wipe away the drool that was dripping out of the corner of his mouth. "Shit..." he mumbled. "Uh, sorry. It's not that I found the information of your species boring, it's just that--" your voice almost lulled me to sleep. He cleared his throat and ignored the burning in his cheeks. "It's just that I became so relaxed I ended up almost falling asleep."
He could hear Taehyung scoff in amusement. "You're telling me you're usually stressed out?"
Jimin shrugged and tilted his neck, a low sigh escaping his lips when he felt it pop. "Not so much stressed, just busy doing work and taking in information on my own, so I never really had any time to relax like this."
Taehyung slowly closed the book and placed it in the middle of the table, a puff of dust blowing through the air from the book. Jimin watched as Taehyung stretched his arms above his head, an obscenely loud groan escaping him as he did so. Jimin rolled his eyes and rolled his shoulders back, rubbing at his nose from breathing in a little bit of the dust.
A sudden giggle bubbled its way out of Jimin's throat, and Jimin didn't have the energy to hold it back nor get embarrassed about it. He could feel Taehyung's curious gaze burn into the side of his skull, most likely questioning the sudden laughter.
"Listen," Jimin sighed, shoulders sagging, "I don't know why I keep on getting giddy and giggly, but I would appreciate it if you didn't look at me like I'm an insane person."
He glanced over to Taehyung, lips tugged up into a half-forced smile, and heaved a sigh through his nose. "If you don't mind, that is," he added, blinking slowly at him, eyelids still heavy from his almost nap.
Taehyung's eyebrows raised, but he still nodded his head anyways. "Well, I'm not gonna deny that it's unusual for someone to be so giddy all the time. But that wasn't what I was staring at you for."
Jimin allowed his eyes to fully shut, soft snort escaping him. "Oh? Then what other reason do you have for staring at me?"
He listened as Taehyung cleared his throat, as though he were about to either say something embarrassing or serious. Jimin couldn't quite tell. "Well, you know how you were able to see my true form?"
"Uh-huh," Jimin murmured, smacking his lips together. "Can't really forget the time when someone tries to kill me."
Taehyung chuckled. "Yeah, sorry about that." A pause. "Well, I was just thinking that maybe it's some sort of protection spell that this library has. Y'know, so that if a seemingly normal human being came in, you would be able to tell if they were a beast, or something."
Jimin cleared his throat and leaned his cheek into the palm of his hand. "Hate to break it to ya, Taehyungie--"
"Taehyungie?" Taehyung questioned, a touch of laughter in his voice.
"--but this library is only as powerful as its librarian," Jimin continued, ignoring Taehyung's comment with a wave of his free hand. "And as you can see, the only powers I have are the basics: being able to communicate and interact with the library and its contents, and a lesser power, being able to change features in my facial region."
He spread the arm that he wasn't currently leaning against wide open, as though he were showing off his pathetic skills. "That's it; I highly doubt the library would be powerful enough to forcibly remove a person's disguise."
Taehyung made a sound of frustration. "That doesn't make any sense. A human, such as yourself, that's that weak shouldn't be able to see my true form so easily."
Jimin's eyebrows furrowed. "Hey, just because I don't have that many powers doesn't make me weak; being able to control an entire library has its perks, y'know?"
"Oh yeah?" Taehyung scoffed. "Didn't really seem all that powerful when I was trying to attack you."
Jimin's eyes snapped open as he glared at Taehyung. "You wanna try me? I bet I could make the library throw every single last book directly at you."
Taehyung stood up, the chair he sat in scraping noisily against the hardwood floor, and towered over Jimin challengingly. "Go ahead. Do you worst," he purred, hand hovering above Jimin's shoulder.
From the corner of his eye, Jimin could see a faint spark come from the hand Taehyung held above his shoulder. He gulped thickly, praying to the gods that Taehyung wasn't seriously about to electrocute him just because of a stupid bluff he made up.
"W-well," Jimin stammered, scooting backwards in his chair, eyes not once leaving Taehyung's hand, "I'm a li-little out of practice, so--"
"A person never forgets the powers they've already learned," Taehyung interrupted, hooking his foot with the leg of Jimin's chair, causing him to halt in his attempted escape. "That's common knowledge for anyone who's learning magic."
Jimin shuddered, the sharp gaze that Taehyung was giving him sending shivers down his spine. "O-okay, yeah. Um, gimme a sec..."
He blinked rapidly as he summoned up what little energy he had left to order the bookshelves to launch their books at Taehyung. He scrunched his face up as the energy he summoned coursed through his veins, trying to concentrate it on the bookshelf they were sat next to.
Admittedly, Jimin had completely lied about having any sort of control over the library. For as long as he could remember, the library just never answered to his calls. It would sometimes even through a "temper tantrum", as Jimin liked to call it, and would basically make Jimin's life a living Hell: tossing books directly into his back whenever he bent over, slamming the window shutters open and close, lock him outside whenever he would pick up a new delivery of books, etc.
So when a book flopped to the ground at Jimin's command, he was stunned.
Of course, Taehyung was unimpressed and turned his attention back toward Jimin, eyebrow raised expectantly. Jimin chuckled, the giddiness not once wavering--even when he was being threatened with electricity. Clearing his throat, Jimin refocused his energy back onto the single book, pouring everything he had into it; he silently begged it to move, even a little nudge would be enough to prove to himself that maybe he was beginning to have some control over the godforsaken library.
The noise of a thousand books falling to the ground filled the air, startling Jimin so bad he actually jumped in his chair and managed to bump his shoulder directly into Taehyung's electrified hand. A blinding flash of light filled Jimin's eyes and searing pain was all he could feel for a solid two seconds; he could hear a faint screaming in the distance, though he couldn't quite tell if that was from him or Taehyung, considering the zearx was being brutally attacked by hundreds of thousands of books.
It turned out that Jimin had finally gained proper control of the library after seven unsuccessful years of doing so. He was still unsure of what caused the sudden change of heart in the stubborn library, but he was just grateful that it had decided to take pity on him. Albeit it took him getting electrocuted for it to happen, he's still glad.
"Alright," Jimin heaved, head spinning and body still twitching from the shock, "I think he's learned his lesson."
It was quite a sight watching millions of books whizz past him and into their proper places after just having beating a man half to death. That giddy feeling still stood strong, and only got stronger as Jimin laughed so hard he fell out of the chair and onto the hardwood floor, landing right next to Taehyung, who laid still and simply stared at Jimin with wide eyes.
"So," Jimin wheezed, turning onto his side and toward Taehyung, "you were saying something about me being weak?"
Jimin could see Taehyung clench his jaw as he struggled to admit he was wrong. "Fine," he huffed. "You're not weak." A cheeky grin grew across his face. "Well, as long as you're in the library, you aren't."
Jimin's head was clouded and he couldn't quite tell if he was laughing at Taehyung or just laughing to laugh at that point. "It's not like I leave this place, so I'm technically strong all the time."
Taehyung's eyebrows shot up. "Never? Like, you seriously spend all day in here?"
Jimin smiled dumbly at him, resting his head atop his arm and snuggling into his sleeve. "Why wouldn't I? I don't have anywhere else to go--I live here--and the library needs me. I can't just let random thieves steal these priceless books whenever they please."
Jimin giggled. "That rhymed."
Jimin jolted when Taehyung suddenly reached a hand out and placed it atop of his forehead. "Are you drunk or something?" Taehyung questioned, eyebrows furrowed in concern. "You sound a hell of a lot more...happy than you did last time."
Jimin wouldn't admit it, but this whole overpowering giddiness was beginning to worry him.
He slapped Taehyung's hand away, a shiver running down his spine when he remembered what power his hands held, and pouted. "What? I can't be happy about the fact that I beat you up after you threatened me?"
Taehyung rolled his eyes and, with a bit of a struggle, lifted himself off the floor, wiping off the dust that clung to his robes. "Whatever. Why do I even bother?"
Jimin lifted his upper body off the floor, but made no effort to actually stand up. With at teasing grin, he said, "What? Embarrassed to admit the fact that I, a lowly human, managed to beat you, an almighty zearx?"
Taehyung snapped his head toward Jimin, lips curled up into a snarl--so much so Jimin could actually see the beginnings of his fangs. "Please. I wasn't even using half of my power, and yet you were wailing like a child when I barely brushed against your shoulder."
"Alright, asshole," Jimin grumbled, warily watching him as he fumbled with the buttons on his silk shirt, "believe it or not, humans aren't fucking immune to electricity. So, yeah, it hurt like hell when you sent--what? Two hundred volts of lightning--"
"Fifty volts," Taehyung corrected quietly, a hint of a grin on his lips.
"--directly into my system," Jimin hissed, face flaring up at how smug Taehyung managed to look after receiving a beating from millions of books.
Jimin let out a huff of aggravation before sighing, the stupid feeling of giddiness not once leaving him--even as he was trying his best to stay mad at Taehyung. He coughed up a weak chuckle and just hung his head in defeat.
"Seriously," Taehyung muttered, "you wanna go to a doctor for that? You might've been cursed or something."
Jimin shrugged and drew circles into the floor with his finger. "I mean, I guess. But it wouldn't make sense if it were a curse; I haven't had to leave the library in a couple months. So even if I had been cursed then, it wouldn't make sense for the effects to be taking place now."
Taehyung simply hummed and patted his head as he walked past him. "Well, just make sure you see a doctor anyways. I've gotta get going--been here way longer than I thought I would be."
Jimin glanced behind him and watched as Taehyung turned around the last bookshelf, waving him a silent goodbye.
The giddiness took a little while longer to go away than last week, but the minute it did Jimin felt utterly exhausted. He figured that the unnatural giddiness disguised the fact that he used up way more energy than he thought he had, and when it went away he felt the full impact of draining his energy.
With a loud yawn, Jimin dragged his heavy limbs up the stairs that lead to his little living area; he had figured that it would be easier to protect the library if he lived in it, and thus the attic was transformed into a quaint, cramped bedroom.
The previous librarian, his mentor, had said that he also decided to live in the library for his first few years of taking over. But after gaining more and more powerful magic, he figured he could protect the library just as well from far away.
Jimin had questioned his mentor long ago about how he had managed to gain such powerful magic, since the man was a fully grown adult and most adults his age would have completely stopped in any further developments of their powers. His mentor had a simple reason--a reason so simple it still baffled Jimin to this day--and that reason was because he finally found his soulmate.
Jimin scoffed, blaming his tired mind for bringing up such old memories.
Jimin woke with a start, head throbbing and body aching. He blinked blearily around his bedroom, unsure of what exactly woke him up because the library was having one of those rare moments where all was still and quiet.
And then he heard it: a loud bang that somehow echoed all the way up to the attic.
Warily, Jimin threw his legs out of the bed and onto the cool, hardwood floor. It creaked under his weight, causing him to flinch because he was trying to be sneaky. With a huff, he decided to give up and sprint down the stairs, practically stomping his feet against the wooden steps to try and show his unwelcomed visitor that he was awake and coming.
Clearing his throat and ruffling his hair, Jimin snapped his fingers and watched as the entrance door flew open, a spray of water blowing into the library. Jimin frowned as he watched a cloaked man stumble into the library, soaking wet and panting.
"Sir," Jimin sighed, hand on his hip, "I know it's raining and all, but that doesn't mean you can just walk in here for shelter."
The man chuckled, sending a familiar shiver down Jimin's spine.
"Please," the man rasped, leaning against the counter. "I believe I have the right to enter my own building."
Jimin's eyes widened and his lips parted. "H-hyung...?"
The man lifted his hood and slowly let it fall, revealing his dashing face. "Good to see you haven't burned the place down, Jimin-ah," Seokjin mused, wide grin on his face.
Jimin rolled his eyes and assisted Seokjin with taking his soaked cloak off, revealing his completely dry robes and pendent. He placed the cloak onto the coat rack and turned his attention back toward Seokjin, but found that the elf had taken it upon himself to tour around the library he once owned.
Yes, Seokjin was (still kind of is) Jimin's mentor. He had brought Jimin up when he was but a teenager--hardly the appropriate age to become a loner that lived inside the realms' most precious library--and just kind of taught him his ways: treat the library as you would any other person, basic magic (they both were rubbish at magic back then), and so on and so forth.
Jimin had a falling out with Seokjin, so to speak. The elf had just up and decided to separate himself from both Jimin and the library after meeting his soulmate, saying something along the lines of, "This is the perfect opportunity to increase my magical abilities!"
Jimin knew that the poor guy probably just wanted to get laid after twenty-seven hundred years of not doing so.
"Jimin-ah!" Seokjin shouted, voice echoing across the empty space. "What have you done with Odengie and Eomukie?!"
Jimin rolled his eyes and followed after where Seokjin's voice came from, soon finding the elf flipping over a table, supposedly looking for his pets.
Odengie was an all-seeing snake that Jimin tended to avoid, since he didn't really feel pleasant whenever he saw his own death in the reptile's glossy eyes. Eomukie was this ghastly miniature dragon that took a liking to Seokjin after bumping into him during one of his searching-for-a-purpose-in-life trips.
Jimin never said Seokjin was the wisest nor most pleasant mentor.
"I don't know," Jimin drawled, flipping the table back onto its legs once Seokjin stopped snooping around underneath it. "They just disappeared after you left, so I always thought they went after you or something to that effect."
Seokjin huffed, plopping down into a chair, pout on his face. "Well, they didn't. I didn't bump into them once while I was training with Yoongi-ah."
"Sounds truly tragic," Jimin sighed, sitting himself next to Seokjin. "Anyways, how'd training go? I sent you letters, but you never replied to any of them."
Seokjin brightened up and began gushing about how sweet and charming Yoongi turned out to be, and Jimin could only smile at how in love Seokjin sounded.
"...and then he pushed me into the river--and why're you looking at me like that?" Seokjin questioned, hands stopping mid-motion.
Jimin hummed, tilting his head in response. "I'm not looking at you like anything, hyung."
Seokjin frowned. "Yeah, you are. You were smiling at me all creepily and stuff."
Jimin shrugged and rolled his shoulders. "Dunno, just been feeling giddy lately."
Seokjin snorted and leaned back in his chair. "What? You somehow managed to get cursed while I was away?"
Jimin sighed and leaned his chin into the palm of his hand, lips turned down into a frown. "That's what Taehyung-ah said, but I don't know. I haven't left the library in a couple months, nor have I met anyone threatening during that time. So a curse suddenly taking its effect on me is kinda strange, no?"
"Wait, hold up. Who the hell is Taehyung?"
Jimin's lips parted in realization; he hadn't updated Seokjin since last month, so none of his recent letters talked about his meeting with the zearx.
He bit his lip, conflicted on whether he should expose Taehyung to Seokjin like that, since he basically promised Taehyung he wasn't going to get him arrested. Then again, he knew Seokjin wasn't the type of elf to go exposing people just because they aren't supposed to exist; he was the one who had taught Jimin that, after all.
So he told him everything: the book, Taehyung, and the random feeling of giddiness.
"You've been a busy person, huh?" Seokjin murmured, creating himself a cup of tea and sipping at it. "Well, I can tell you that I've already read that book, so that much doesn't bother me."
He frowned. "Though, I was a bit concerned when you said that your friend is actually a zearx, going with what the author wrote about them and all."
Jimin pouted. "That person was clearly biased since they had happened to only meet a violent one! Taehyung-ah isn't like that."
Seokjin raised an eyebrow and sipped at his tea. "I'm not accusing Taehyung-ah of being anything like that, Jiminnie."
Jimin flushed, ashamed he had let his emotions take control of him like that.
Seokjin smiled at him and placed his tea back down onto the table. "Your little outburst helps me move onto the next subject quite smoothly: the giddiness."
Jimin gulped and waited for Seokjin to explain this sudden attack on his emotions with bated breath.
"It's quite simple, really," Seokjin said, clearly trying to drag out the suspense. "But, I suppose someone as young as you wouldn't be able to understand the signs at first; I'm sure you'll understand them after a few more days, no?"
Jimin whined. "C'mon, hyung, just tell me already!"
Seokjin let out an overdramatic sigh. "Fine. It's the sign your body shows you whenever you're around your soulmate."
Jimin shot up from his seat and stared at Seokjin with disbelieving eyes. "No..."
Seokjin shrugged his shoulders and took another sip from his tea. "Fine, don't believe your mentor. It's not like I've experienced the exact same signs when I first met Yoongi-ah."
"But...Taehyung-ah...?" Jimin whispered, falling back down into his seat and putting his head into his hands. "The zearx? One of the few creatures that are illegal to make...is my soulmate?"
"Sorry, ChimChim," Seokjin sighed, patting his shoulder. "I guess the gods have it out for you."
"Ah-ah, don't lose your composure, now."
Seokjin rubbed his neck until Jimin could feel his muscles relaxing underneath his magical touch.
"See? Just relax and don't overthink. It'll be fine."
Seokjin gave him one last pat on the neck before removing his hand.
"Now, what're you gonna do with this information, hmm?"
Jimin heaved a heavy sigh before peeking over to Seokjin. "I dunno...." Another sigh. "I can't just up and say, 'Hey, found out you're my soulmate!' Isn't that a bit strange?"
Seokjin shrugged. "It worked out rather well for me; Yoongi just kinda went with it." He puffed his lips out. "I think it's because he felt the same, but I can't be too sure with that eternal mind of his."
That doesn't help me, Jimin thought bitterly.
"Well," Jimin sighed, lifting his head from his hands, "I guess I'll just wait until I know he's aware that we're actually soulmates."
Seokjin snorted. "And how do you suppose that? From what you've told me, the poor boy doesn't even experience the normal side-effects."
"Do you know if eternal creatures experience the soulmate side-effects?" Jimin questioned, trying his best to keep his cool.
Seokjin hummed and rubbed his thumb against his chin. "I don't recall reading anything that hinted at eternal creatures experiencing anything soulmate related. But I'm guessing it's because they're, y'know, eternal; numerous amounts of supposed soulmates in their lifetime."
"This sucks," Jimin pouted.
Seokjin chuckled and walked past him, robe brushing up against the back of Jimin's neck. "Don't worry, you'll end up together eventually."
Jimin couldn't help but worry.
Scratch that, he was full out panicking.
Taehyung was continuing from where they last left off in the book, surprising Jimin since he had thought he scared him off by attacking him with books.
When he voiced this, Taehyung simply smiled and said, "Then who else could I go to and talk about my species' history?"
To say the least, Jimin had fallen, and he had fallen hard.
It didn't make Jimin's situation any easier when Seokjin suddenly popped into their little reading session. He would keep on teasing Jimin and try to make him seem appealing to Taehyung by bragging about him, like he was his mom who just wanted to see her son happy and with grandchildren.
Jimin couldn't help but blush at the last thought.
Jimin, eventually, shooed Seokjin away and out of the library, apologizing to Taehyung for his mentor's behavior.
"Nah, it's okay," Taehyung laughed. "He's pretty cool, actually."
Jimin snorted. "Seokjin-hyung cool? I think you have him mixed up with a different person."
"Yeah, I think I got him mixed up with you."
A giggle bubbled its way out of Jimin before he had time to stop it.
Taehyung went back to reading, as though he hadn't just flirted with Jimin.
Okay, woah, Jimin thought, shaking his head. I need to stop jumping to conclusions. He probably just said that to make me feel better about the fact that I'm not as powerful as Seokjin.
With that reassuring thought in mind, Jimin went back to reading along with Taehyung's voice, eventually falling back into the rhythm of their usual reading sessions.
"And, to conclude this journey," Taehyung read, putting a dramatic flare in his voice (Jimin managed to bite his tongue before the chuckle escaped him), "I guess, all in all, zearx are unpredictable creatures. Mostly dangerous, but not completely lethal."
Jimin waited for something more, but Taehyung simply closed the book and gently placed it back onto the table.
"Wait, that's it?" Jimin mumbled, glancing up at Taehyung with a pout.
"Afraid so, ChimChim," Taehyung sighed, folding his arms behind his head. "But it was informative, yeah? Enough for your nerdy brain?"
Jimin rolled his eyes and shoved him in the torso. Taehyung giggled and Jimin froze because that was the first time he'd ever heard the zearx laugh.
Perhaps he was being overdramatic, but Jimin could have swore he saw the bookshelves lean in closer, as though they were trying to get a better view of Taehyung laughing.
I guess I'm not the only one in love with this idiot, Jimin scoffed.
"Jimin-ah," Taehyung called out, head now laying atop the table.
"Yeah?" Jimin responded, not bothering to hold back his giggle.
"You still haven't gone to the doctor?"
Jimin slowly closed his eyes and took a deep breath through his nose.
He knew that Taehyung was going to bring it up eventually, considering the fact it's been a couple days since Taehyung recommended he went to the doctor. And here he was, still laughing up a storm.
Even after all that time, he still didn't know what to do if Taehyung ever questioned him. He hadn't even bothered with coming up with an excuse. Yeah, he didn't want to just admit to Taehyung that he was his soulmate, but he also didn't want to straight up lie to him.
So he went with what he was best at: asking questions.
"Why did you come here, Taehyung-ah?" Jimin mumbled, gazing down at the zearx with curious eyes.
Taehyung raised an eyebrow at how he avoided his question, but answered him anyways. "Because I heard about your library and wanted to see if I could learn more about my species."
"Why did you stay?" Jimin pressed on. "Do you not have a family to go back to?"
"Do you?" Taehyung questioned, deep brown eyes gazing up at Jimin with curiosity.
Jimin shrugged. "I guess. Haven't heard from them since they dropped me off here, though."
"When was that?"
Jimin smiled, the damned giddiness converting his actual feelings. "Ten years ago. I was thirteen."
Taehyung's eyes widened. "Shit, Jimin--"
"'I'm sorry?'" Jimin interrupted, all too used to it. "It's okay. Not like I hate them for what they did; I love it here."
A heavy silence settled around them, one that made Jimin's blood boil.
I didn't fucking ask for your sympathy, he would always think, but always knew better than to say out loud.
"You know," Taehyung began, startling Jimin from his thoughts, "I don't even remember what my parents looked like, what their voices sounded like, or even what their names were."
"You're saying all that in past tense..." Jimin murmured. "What happened?"
Taehyung shrugged, causing his cheek to squish further into the table. (Jimin had half the mind to stop the laughter this time.) "Police 'took care of them,' whatever the hell that means."
"You wouldn't happen to remember if your Tampered parent was humane, would you?" Jimin questioned, his curiosity itching him to ask the unthinkable.
"Nah," Taehyung sighed, chuckling toward the end. "I think the police got rid of them the minute I was born."
"Wait, how the hell are you alive?"
Taehyung blinked and then turned his attention back down toward the table. "Well, shit." He laughed weakly. "I don't know. A miracle of some sort?"
And suddenly Jimin's remembering reading a newspaper that was buried in the back of the library last week, its headline reading Tampered Creature Shows Signs of Being Humane? Of course, he never got around to finishing it since the library decided to bully him. But he had a sneaking suspicion that the article was about Taehyung's Tampered parent.
"TaeTae, lemme show you something," he said in a hushed tone, tugging at Taehyung's arm until he finally got up.
He dragged Taehyung to the back of the library, where most of the realms' articles were stored. Yes, there were over a billion in the library's collection at that point, but Jimin's magical abilities and overall control over the library was getting better.
"Nineteen-ninety-five, case sixty-seven, Iohudran edition," Jimin called out, hand held out in front of him.
On command, the newspaper slipped out of the top shelf and slowly fluttered down into Jimin's awaiting hand. Jimin grinned, still not over how the library was finally listening to him.
Jimin cleared his throat and turned his attention back toward Taehyung and held the newspaper out to him. Taehyung gently took it out of his hands and glanced over it, eyes widening when he realized what Jimin was suggesting by this.
"Just read it," Jimin said gently, hesitantly placing a hand onto Taehyung's shoulder, slightly squeezing it. "It might not even be what I think it is, but just in case..."
He trailed off, realizing that Taehyung was no longer listening to him and was instead absorbed in the rather long article written about the incident. Jimin nibbled on his bottom lip, slowly drawing his hand away from Taehyung's shoulder.
Jimin watched as Taehyung silently read the article, although he sometimes mouthed the words and Jimin found himself wanting desperately to be right about this one thing.
I mean, he thought, gulping, it's better knowing your parent died trying to protect you than not, right?
He hoped he was right about both things.
"Jimin-ah," Taehyung murmured.
"Taehyung?" Jimin questioned, watching as the zearx lowered the article to his side.
"You think this is what my Tampered parent did?"
Jimin's heart sunk when he heard the wobble in his usually calm voice.
"...Yeah, I'd like to believe that," he whispered, embracing Taehyung from behind.
He felt Taehyung's body tremble underneath him and heard quiet sniffles.
Eyewitness reported that with its final breath, the Tampered creature cradled its newborn child and whispered, "Tae...hyung..."
To say the least, Jimin wasn't able to confess his secret to Taehyung.
Another week passed by, Taehyung not dropping in for those last three days. Jimin was worried for Taehyung; not having any way to contact the zearx didn't exactly help his growing anxiety.
"Jimin-ah," Seokjin called out, eyebrows furrowed as he read the latest newspaper, "quit pacing the floor already. You'll ruin the coating with the way you drag the back of your heels while you walk."
Jimin let out a groan of frustration but halted in his rushed striding.
"Much better," Seokjin muttered, straightening out the newspaper before resuming his reading.
Jimin glared at the elf's side-profile, in disbelief at how he could care less that the person he was supposed to be mentoring was in a state of complete turmoil.
"Hyung," he huffed, walking over to the table he sat at, "could you spare me some of your amazing guidance so that I don't end up losing all my hair from all of this stress?"
Seokjin spared him a glance before rolling his eyes and placing the newspaper onto the table. Folding his hands on top of his lap, Seokjin studied Jimin with great interest, occasionally chuckling.
"Mind telling me what you're doing?" Jimin questioned, patience wearing thin.
"Reading your emotions based on your body language, and reading your thoughts based on your emotions," Seokjin answered, eyebrows raising. "Wow, you had a sob fest with lover boy last week?"
Jimin's entire body burned.
"Ah, you wanted to keep that a secret to respect Taehyung's privacy?" Seokjin went on, a teasing grin on his face.
"Okay!" Jimin exclaimed, throwing his hands in the air. "Fine! You win! You know what's troubling me!"
"You still want my guidance even though I'm a horrible mentor?" Seokjin questioned, disappointed frown on his face. "I would've hoped that you've grown out of the needy phase by now."
"Oh my fucking gods, what did Yoongi-hyung teach you?" Jimin sighed, collapsing into the chair across from Seokjin.
"We both know you don't want the answer to that," Seokjin said dismissively, studying his nails as though he were bored by the conversation. "Anyways, yes, lover boy is still a problem."
"I swear to the gods if you call him that while he's here, I'm going to shank you."
Seokjin finally looked Jimin in the eyes. "Just"--he heaved a weary sigh--"fucking fuck him already, oh my gods."
"You're the least helpful mentor I've ever known," Jimin spat, face burning at how blunt Seokjin could be.
"Respect your elders," Seokjin sighed, picking his newspaper back up. "But, really, just go for it. The worst that could happen is that--oh no!--he doesn't feel the same about you."
Jimin sighed and let his head fall onto the table, forehead bumping noisily against the hardwood surface. "It's not rejection I'm afraid of; I'm afraid that he wouldn't feel comfortable enough to hang out with me anymore."
Jimin listened as Seokjin fumbled with the newspaper, causing it to crinkle loudly in the empty space.
"Well," Seokjin sighed, nudging his foot against Jimin's shin, "if worst comes to worse, I'll erase his memory for you."
With a shaky breath, Jimin looked up and gazed into Taehyung's confused eyes.
"TaeTae," Jimin giggled, clasping his hands with Taehyung's (heart thumping when he didn't retract them), "I have a secret to tell you."
A month had passed since his chat with Seokjin.
"Oh?" Taehyung mused, familiar, warm smile on his face. "Do tell."
During that month, Jimin had tortured himself with wanting to tell Taehyung and wanting to preserve their friendship.
Jimin let out another nervous giggle, he couldn't tell if it was because he was actually nervous or if it was the cursed soulmate side-effect. "Alright, but promise me you won't freak out? Or...or leave me...?"
Jimin finally had the courage to seek counsel from Jungkook--who freaked out when he realized that Jimin had found his soulmate before him--and was encouraged to go for it, regardless of how nervous he was.
Taehyung's eyes widened, but he nodded slowly. "I promise, Jimin-ah. I would never leave you for no reason."
Taehyung hadn't visited the library until Thursday that same week.
Jimin found comfort from his words.
Jimin had avoided touching upon the soulmate thing, seeking to comfort Taehyung from the recent shocking news.
"O-kay," he breathed, another giggle escaping him.
During that time, Jimin noticed that Taehyung smiled more often than before and allowed himself to laugh a little louder.
"U-um," he stammered, heat rushing to his cheeks, "gimme a moment, please."
Jimin hated noticing it, but loved seeing and hearing it.
Taehyung chuckled and brushed his hand against his cheek. "Of course, ChimChim. Take all the time you need."
He pointed it out to Taehyung one day when the fact that noticing something like that might be a bit strange slipped his mind.
Jimin lowered his gaze away from Taehyung's warm, chocolate eyes and down to their clasped hands, warmth spreading throughout his chest looking at Taehyung's hands intertwined with his.
Taehyung simply smiled and replied with, "I dunno. I guess you're contagious, Jiminnie."
"Taehyung-ah," he whispered, "I'm...your soulmate."
Jimin decided on that day that if he were to live the rest of his days with a smiling Taehyung, then he'd rather live them as lovers.
Time seemed to stop.
Jimin's eyes bulged out of their sockets as he waited for Taehyung to respond; embrace him, push him away, speak--anything.
What he didn't expect was for Taehyung's eyes to start tearing up.
"Ah!" Jimin exclaimed as a tear dripped down from his right eye. "Why're you crying?!"
He quickly let go of Taehyung's hands and carefully brought his hands up to Taehyung's face, wiping his thumb along where the tear would have continued to fall.
"Why're you crying?" Jimin repeated, making sure he asked in a gentler tone. "Hmm? Why're you crying, TaeTae?"
He began to giggle. "I should be the one crying!"
Taehyung giggled right along with him. "Why's that, ChimChim?"
Jimin faltered. "I-I, um, I dunno."
Another giggle. "I guess I was just naturally prepared for rejection."
Taehyung smiled and lifted his arms, placing them on Jimin's shoulders. "Why is that, Jiminnie? Hmm?"
Jimin blinked back the burning in his eyes. "U-uh"--he silently cringed at how his voice wobbled--"because I think I'm really fucking in love with you, but I knew you weren't experiencing the soulmate side-effect and got really, really scared."
Taehyung rubbed at the nape of Jimin's neck, nodding his head and humming. "Well, what if I told you that you don't have to be scared?"
Jimin choked out a sob and giggle. "Well, I would be really happy and probably still cry."
Taehyung pouted. "Why's that?"
"Because whenever the human body goes into too much emotional and/or physical turmoil, their body's natural reaction is to cry," Jimin blurted out, eyes wide with alert as Taehyung simply looked at him with a fond smile.
"Mhmm, whatever you say, ChimChim," Taehyung murmured, leaning forward and pressing his lips awkwardly against Jimin's.
Jimin tensed and his eyes opened impossibly wide. He whined against Taehyung's lips and tilted his head, determined to not bump their noses together. His hands slowly released their hold on Taehyung's face and lowered to his shoulders, grabbing a hold of them before relaxing and resting his wrists on them.
He slowly kissed back, nice and gentle, heart hammering against his chest at the close proximity. His eyes fluttered close as he slowly fell into a rhythm with Taehyung's lips, his lips nice and cool against his heated skin.
Jimin's eyes snapped open when he felt Taehyung's tongue flick out against his lips. He gulped when he saw that Taehyung's eyes were open, staring right into Jimin's eyes, and his pupils were blown up, making his eyes exceptionally dark. With a silent sigh, Jimin parted his lips and squirmed when he felt Taehyung's tongue explore his mouth, a moan escaping him once or twice. He was too embarrassed to keep his eyes open, opting to squeeze them shut.
He whined when Taehyung pulled away, his eyes flying open at the lost contact. He giggled when Taehyung simply smiled at him.
"Wow," Jimin breathed, pushing his hair back with his hand. "Um, you got a lot of experience kissing?"
Taehyung shrugged. "I suppose. That your first kiss?"
"Yeah." Jimin chuckled. "I don't get a lot of action since I'm locked up in the library all of the time."
Taehyung wriggled his eyebrows. "Well, you can certainly expect me to give you all the action you need."
Jimin's face burned.
"Shit, I didn't think lover boy had that much confidence," Seokjin whistled, popping a handful of popcorn into his mouth.
"Was your mentor watching us the entire time?" Taehyung questioned, a frown on his lips.
"If he was, I'll personally escort him all the way down to the underworld," Jimin hissed.
Jimin had never seen Seokjin run faster.
Jimin rolled his eyes and turned his attention back toward Taehyung, another giggle bubbling out of him. "So"--another giggle--"what...are we?"
Taehyung tilted his head. "Isn't that obvious, Jimin-ah? We're soulmates."
Jimin watched as Taehyung intertwined his fingers with his.
"Through and through; nothing can separate us."
"Not even the fact that I might commit a murder within the next hour?" Jimin teased.
"Well," Taehyung chuckled, "I guess I'll be seeing you in Hell."