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We bloom until we ache

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As with most things in magic, the first step in working with plants, and all the energy their spirits possess, is attention.

Especially a lot as opinionated as Jimin’s.

Often his plants have much to share and try to get his attention, especially the jasmine and the climbing roses crawling through his window, who are finicky and won’t bloom for him even when it’s their time to do so, but lately he just isn’t picking up on their signals.

Disheartened, he tries everything he can think of. Rituals to promote fertility and prosperous crops during a Libra moon, meditating near the plants so they’ll feed off his serene energy and replenish, an array of spells meant to enrich soil and enhance his connection between the earth and his magic, and finally, when all else fails, Jimin resorts to begging.

Today he’s having no luck with the roses. They’ve shunned him ever since that one incident where Jeongguk set them ablaze during a spell gone wrong and only serve to give him lip about everything. But today they’re being especially nasty, the stems wrapping around his fingers and pricking him with those sharp thorns when he tries trimming the dead vines weighing them down.

“Hey, hey, there’s no need to be so moody, alright? I’m trying here.” Jimin mutters, cradling his poor finger to his chest whilst casting a stern look towards the flowers, who have seen better days, but remain steadfast in their attitude. “Please just work with me? You won’t get any prettier if you don’t bloom.”

the vines twist around his wrist, dipping beneath the sleeve of Jimin’s cloak. They feel sad, and a little desperate, mirroring how Jimin’s been feeling lately, too.

A green witch is supposed to embrace nature and all it's powers and draw energy from that, and yet, Maybe the earth has had it with Jimin, because she hasn’t heeded his calls for help and guidance of any kind.

With a disheartened sigh, Jimin spends the rest of his morning divided between trying to talk some sense into the gentianas and finish labeling jars so that nobody that comes stumbling into his house picks the wrong vial and ends up losing their memory, or worse, dying on him.

He’s in the middle of a heated argument with the geraniums, who get upset when they’re deadheaded in order for new flowers to bloom when he hears, “They won’t bloom for you with that attitude. Try being a little gentler.”

Jimin stills. Namjoon’s got the kind of voice that hits the way a fresh breeze touches a person's skin after a warm summer day. The kind that makes his plants a little less sad and less dreadful.

Movement out of the corner of Jimin’s eye has him chuckling. The roses have once again begun to tangle around every surface they can manage in order to reach Namjoon. On a wooden table near the grimoire, where a few of Jimin’s orders of packed herbs and healing crystals await to be sent out, the vines weave and twist between jars and boxes in order to greet him, as though he wasn’t here the day before.

“Easy for you to say, they don't give you any lip, or prick you with their thorns.” Jimin mumbles as he glances around the shop and finds Namjoon. He’s by the front door, near the window and making nice with the Belladonna's; a capricious and temperamental plant that’s choosy on who it’ll dance for, and yet has no qualms about letting Namjoon stroke a gentle finger across it's petals.

Jimin’s chest feels warm and syrupy as though he’s made up of honey. Across his neck, snug against the hollow of his throat he feels heat, where the opal pendant that’s attune to his feelings burns bright red llike burning rubies whenever Namjoon is near; He’s red with love and embarrassment.

It’s not his fault that Namjoon is a statuesque, yet gentle eyed and soft spoken warlock with gleaming hair that emulates moonlight, a smooth voice that eases aches deep within, and much to Jimin’s horrified enamorment, has dimples.

And good looks aside, Namjoon, unlike him, doesn’t have a problem communicating with his plants, nor understanding what they want. Contrary to Jimin, who struggles at mastering his technique, Namjoon is a jack of all trades kind of warlock. The kind who’s spent years in different covens all there is to know about everything, because he says it’s best to be well-rounded rather than know nothing at all.

Jimin usually doesn’t follow much of what he’s saying, because at his core he’s weak for beautiful men and Namjoon is so beautiful that concentrating on everything he’s doing or talking about sometimes is difficult, but he’s been trying to adhere to this way of learning with little to no success at all. Thank god he’s good with spell-casting, otherwise he’d be out of business and back with his parents learning the basics of botany, which he’s not keen on.

“Put her in the deck where the sun’ll hit her directly, and it’ll make her less hostile.” Namjoon murmurs, leaning close in order to hear whatever the Belladonna is saying. It's likely a complaint about Jimin. Namjoon’s smiling, and it makes Jimin’s chest tight. He looks away, just as he hears, “You’ve just gotta have some patience with each other.”

Scandalized, Jimin casts a withering look towards the belladonna, who promptly ignores him in favor of letting Namjoon continue to preen over them. He’d like to remind Namjoon that he does have patience, but given his earlier argument with the roses, he’s not too sure he’ll be given any sympathy either, so he sticks to shrugging.

He goes towards the kitchen, where after a few unsuccessful tries at pyromancy, He simply waits for the gas to catch the burner so that he can brew some tea. Namjoon has an odd obsession with the way Jimin brews tea. Whilst waiting for the kettle, Jimin says in response to Namjoon’s former statement, “We’ve been at odds lately, as you know.”

Namjoon must sense how tired Jimin is. The kind that runs bones weary and makes everything that much harder. He’s never been good at masking what he’s feeling when it becomes too heavy. So its no surprise to jimin to see that his smile falters, and after whispering something to the Belladonna’s, he’s moving towards him with purpose, like he’s got the solution up his sleeve.

Jimin wills himself to remain composed, and for his hardassed necklace to simmer down and not give everything he’s feeling away, as Namjoon leans against his cauldron and stares at him. With a flick of his fingers, and a wispy thin travail of smoke following, his grimoire appears. It is by far much larger than Jimin’s and made of sturdier stuff than his simple leather skin, and yet looks oddly fragile poised between Namjoon’s open palm as its pages turn.

“I’ve been thinking about that,” Namjoon says. Perhaps he’s unaware of it, but when he stands there, so imposing against Jimin’s humble little cauldron, larger than life, the stained glass window catches across his skin. A shade of amber, a shimmer of emerald and a tumble of blue and lilac. It makes focusing on him that much harder, but Jimin digresses.

He hums to himself, as two porcelain mugs come out from their hiding place inside the glass cabinet where Jimin keeps everything, finding that theyre less intimidating to stare at. The kettle warms up easily, and within seconds, Jimin watches as it tips over, and pours. The tea bags follow. All of this is better than making eyes at Namjoon. Though not as fun.

“And what exactly have you been thinking about, hm?”

“Well, I think your issue with the plants is partially my fault,” He explains after a pregnant pause, wherein he spends the silence reading whatever has caught his attention inside the grimoire.

Jimin disagrees with this, seeing as one witch’s problem has nothing to do with another’s, especially if theyre not involved. He tells Namjoon this over tea, smile thin. “I dont see how that’s true. Its not your fault I’m not attune to the plants lately, that’ts on me.”

“Its on me too, because I put a protective spell and a ban on your house,” Namjoon tells him over his own serving of tea. He takes a moment to smell it, as he usually does whenever Jimin makes...anything, because that’s just a Namjoon quirk that’s impossible to shake. Much like how he leaves his windows open at night, and Jimin, as his neighbor, has had the misfortune of seein—

“You did what?” Jimin pauses, like he’s expecting this to be some sort of joke. Namjoon looks horrifically apologetic about whatever he’s done, and so Jimin realizes he’s not joking and has intact, done such a thing. “Why should you do that? Nobody comes here. Its just us up here these days.”

Namjoon’s grimoire dissipates into thin air once he snaps his fingers, leaving a thin trail of wispy smoke in its wake. He looks out of his element whilst flustered, seeing as Namjoon is never anything other than perfectly composed. “Well, you remember when Jeongguk got possessed after doing that reading for that old couple down in Jeju?”

Jimin shudders at the memory.

For a brief stint he and Namjoon had taken to housing young magicals during their first training year in order to show them a little of what coven life was like without the formalities. One of these students is named Jeongguk, a young hedgewitch with a reckless streak and an overwhelmingly big heart for sad stories. He’d done a reading for an elderly couple who’d lost their son, and said son’s spirit had possessed and nearly killed him had Jimin and Namjoon not come together to exorcise it out and bring Jeongguk back.

Jimin knew the consequences of breaking the taboo, and so did Namjoon, but if Namjoon wasn’t worried and was determined to do whatever it took to save their boy, then who was Jimin to argue? He’d done what needed to be done and doesn’t regret a thing.

Jeongguk is now living in Seoul, surrounded by the hustle and bustle of people and all they have to offer, very much alive and very much happy in his own coven. He sends them crystals from time to time when he can’t make the visit.  

“Yeah, I remember that. It’s kind of hard not to,” he whispers, still carrying a small modicum of guilt regardless. He’d gone against his own boundaries of his kind, and made Jeongguk’s heart start beating against when he should’ve been dead. Ever since then, his magic has never been the same.

“Bad spirits tend to cling to potent sources of energy, and I panicked after the Jeongguk situation.” Namjoon explains, casual as can be on the outside, and yet Jimin sees the way his hands shake. He too, carries a lot of guilt over that day. “So, I went ahead and took some liberties I shouldn’t have taken, and did so over your house specifically, which is why your plants aren’t reacting to your magic.”

“Right, because this is where it happened and I tainted the grounds,” as Jimin says it the room becomes silent. Even the plants have stopped what they’re doing, and that in itself speaks volumes. Every place a witch settles down in absorbs their energies, both good and bad. “Its funny,” he says softly, “I can’t get my plants to grow, but I have no problem bringing a man back to life.”

Namjoon sucks in a sharp breath, Jimin’s words weighing in. Its as though the room is holding its breath, taking with it all sounds save for the gentle clink of porcelain mugs. “Jiminah.” He murmurs, and its so heavy, so loaded with intent and bathed in an array of colors, that Jimin has to look away. “You’re going to get them back.”

“Dont really see how,” Jimin mutters. He’s grateful for the vines snaking around his boots at once, for at least they keep him grounded enough that he can’t run away. “Seeing as I’m kinda cursed these days. That’s what it feels like, y’kno? That disconnect with the earth is like she’s punishing me for stealing from her by bringing Jeongguk back.”

“I’m sorry,” Namjoon says. He’s set the tea aside, and comes close to where Jimin has taken up residence, near his plants. Because they might hate him and be dying, but a green witch is nothing without their plants and without nature, and he clings to it as much as he can even though they’re all a little sad.

Up close like this though, as the rose vines begin to unravel and twist around his ankles and up his legs, Jimin thinks hes never seen Namjoon look as helpless, and as beautiful. The opal pendant feels like ice against his throat as it bleeds out from a vivid scarlet into an achingly painful shade of blue. The exact color of loneliness, and loss. Its hard to love a man who’s too oblivious to take notice.

Its quiet for a moment, Just Namjoon staring at Jimin, as though he’d like to come even closer and maybe touch him. Jimin holds his breath, aching and hollow on the inside, much like his poor flowers, who can’t be how they’re supposed to be because of him.

“It’s alright, you were just looking out for me, I appreciate it,” Jimin breathes. While he would’ve liked a heads up, he’s also grateful that at least there’s someone who looks after his best interest. It’s been a long time since Jimin has felt cared for like that, without having to give anything in return.

Namjoon’s eyes are tender as he comes to terms with a decision and comes closer, taking Jimin’s hand and linking their fingers and brings their foreheads together. They’ve done this before under different circumstances. Drunk dancing in the forest between friends during Solstice whilst cicadas and fireflies circled around them.

During a frightful evening when they’d been convinced they’d lose on of their own to the forces of dark magic with nothing to hope for except a chance and a risk. And yet, none of these occurrences have ever left a lingering impression on Jimin like today. His hand’s feel warm and small, trapped against the heat permeating from Namjoon’s palm. Its no wonder the Belladonna likes being touched by him.

“Jiminah, listen,” Namjoon says, and his voice drips like wax off a candle. Jimin can’t quite think clearly when he’s so close to where he can smell the tea lingering on his breath, as well as fresh basil and lavender. There’s a determined set of Namjoon’s chin when he says, “I’m going to help you. I promise.”

Jimin nods, because he’s kind of run out of words and out of thoughts, and time has run away with him and with them. Dusk soon approaches, and his house begins to wake from its slumber, the lights turning dewy and low, bathing Namjoon in a rich shade of honey and gold.

He doesnt know how Namjoon can help him when his problems run so severely, but Jimin is all out of options. He figures that letting Namjoon, a specialist attune to all things magical, make things a little easier on him, isn’t the worst idea he’s ever had.



———



There is a spell set around their homes so that nobody will ill intentions may find them. It’s how they do business in a place full of non magicals that thrive on superstition, and also how they can maintain a stress free life without mortals hunting them for profit.

Jimin usually finds the spell a bit daunting, as it can get lonely sometimes surrounded by nothing but towering trees, damp earth and balmy light filtering through, but on days like these where he can be alone and meditate in peace, surrounded by his flowers that haven’t died on him yet, Jimin doesnt mind it one bit.

His garden isn’t as grand or well kept as Namjoon’s but it gets the job done well enough, when he’s not a raging failure as he’s been lately, that is. He’s been doing all he can to keep these plants alive, otherwise he’d be zapped of all his magic, but its dwindling and Jimin can feel it. There’s a few apple trees, as well as some shrubs, but Jimin’s always had a soft spot for flowers and keeps them everywhere, and near the backdoor is a storage shed where he keeps his shears and gardening tools for hands-on work.

He’s sitting on a moss covered stone, enjoying an Angelica treat to curve anxiety and stress and reading a passage off one of his former teacher’s spellbooks, when he spies movement on the other side of the gate. It is of course, Namjoon, clad in overalls without his regal looking cloak covered in soil from tending to his garden; a contrast that makes him look odd and endearing at once. His hair is windswept and he’s got a monarch butterfly perched on the tip of his nose. His windows are open and from where Jimin is sitting he can spie Namjoon’s familiar: an elegant Siamese cat named Hoseok, having a nap on top of the steps.

He’s also waving at Jimin, and holding up a basket brimming with tightly wrapped lavender and nasturtium, dark runes inked across his arms and disappearing under the sleeve of his t-shirt.

Whatever Jimin had been thinking melts off his thoughts like warm butter on top of freshly basked bread. He feels stuffy and hot underneath the clothes he’s trapped under, much more modest and old fashioned, multiple pendants dangling from his throat, as well as a flimsy black tunic.

Heat flares up around his cheeks, and his pendant shimmers baked bronze, a color akin to Namjoon’s skin under the sun. Goddamn it, how embarrassing. Even his plants find this ordeal hilarious, the flowerbeds all have something to say about it, like how they can smell the scent of infatuation thick in the air.

Jimin mumbles low enough that Namjoon won’t hear and scold him for, but high enough for his plants to get the message. “Maybe it’s time for deadheading again, huh? Wouldn’t that be nice, too? A fresh haircut for all my pretty girls.”

The flowers scream at him, not out of anger, but out of shock, and he giggles behind his palm.

He looks ahead and finds that Namjoon is crossing the short distance between their gates and heading towards him, basket in hand. A few vines curl around his feet as he tries getting closer, and instead of prying them off, Namjoon is gentle in speaking with them until they depart with a sigh.

Jimin pouts. “My plants have a crush on you.”

Namjoon hums a little song that makes the daisies and peonies dance with the catching wind. Their leaves are looking a little greener today, and they don’t feel as ugly when Namjoon comes around to sing for them.

“Well, atleast something does.” He laughs, a little less distraught as he was the other day, the light in his eyes has returned. He’s got such a potent energy about him, brimming with old magic, that the air ripples with it. “Oh, the peonies think you look beautiful when you smile, and wish you’d do it more. I think theyre right.”

Jimin presses a hand to his chest, because one day he’s certain it’ll swell up and burst from his chest and take flight, and it’ll all be Namjoon’s fault.

“Oh,” Jimin breathes, waving the compliment aside. “They’re just being nice to me because I watered them this morning.”

Namjoon casts him an amused look, lips curving at the edges. Damned dimples when they make an appearance at a time like this. “Then you really aren’t listening to them at all, huh?”

Jimin wrinkles his nose, and flicks his fingers. A cluster of flower petals hit Namjoon across the face, some falling into his open mouth. Jimin’s too busy grinning to notice anything else, like the fact that his daisies flourish with color, as though they’ve begun to bloom all over again. When he does notice, he falls silent, breathless and surprised.

“See?” Namjoon coughs, dusting away the petals and setting the basket he’s brought for Jimin aside. “Listen to the plants more, sometimes the vague things they’re saying are hints.”

Jimin purposely shoves another Angelica treat into his mouth, using it to bide his time. It’s been quite a long time since his laughter caused anything to happen inside his house, but then again it’s also been quite a while since he’s had anything to laugh about, too.

“I’m trying my best,” Jimin says, though it sounds like a cop-out even to him. “It’s just feels like theyre speaking in another language and I can’t learn it fast enough.” He adds on a quiet sigh, looking up at the sky, where through the trees, light filters in. It smells like rain, which marks the end of the summer season.

Namjoon promptly ignores that; it seems he believes in Jimin and his power much more than Jimin could ever do so for himself. He takes a side beside Jimin, as the rock is large enough to fit two, and hums. “If anyone can re-learn the language i think it’s you. You’re just painfully hard on yourself and stubborn.”

“Well thanks, not as if I didn’t know this already,” Jimin smiles wry. He carefully peers inside the basket Namjoon has given him, chest awful and tight when he spies little glass jars of jams and an array of crystals wrapped in silky ribbons. His heart clenches. As a witch he’s more than aware of the fact that magic is as real as he is alive, and that he’s learned all he can learn, and yet everytime Namjoon does these little things, he’s certain he’s discovering another part of it that didn’t exist to him before.

Namjoon sees what Jimin is looking at and has the grace to blush, sheepishly rubbing a hand over the back of his neck. “The jam is obviously for you to eat when you’re craving something sweet. crystals are to reinforce positive energy in your house. Y’know, citrine to spark creativity and boost concentration, quartz to ease your anxieties and frustration, amazonite for—

“Confidence,” Jimin breathes. Can anything be as sweet as Namjoon? While he’s sure the jam is delicious, he’s also sure it doesnt compare to the man beside him. He looks at Namjoon, finding something unreadable in his expression. Jimin is unnerved by it and looks away. “You’re very kind, Namjoon, Thank you.”

Namjoon waves that off. “Just being a friend, Jiminah.”

Jimin tries not to wince. Of course they’re friends.

Why would they be anything else? Namjoon is a worldly warlock with countless of affinities under his belt, composed and thriving as a warlock, selling dreams in a bottle, and making plants sing, whereas Jimin can barely keep his plants alive and barely scrapes by selling potions. Of course Namjoon views him as a friend, and thats enough. Jimin repeats this to himself often, because he rather have Namjoon as a friend than not have him at all.

He lays a hand across the stone, over the damp moss, and feels a dull thrum beneath his fingertips akin to a weakened heartbeat that reminds him so painfully about Jeongguk’s. And yet, unlike that one time, no matter how hard he tries, Jimin can’t get the earth to beat any louder for him.

It all stings raw, but Jimin buries it down. Slaps on a smile, because things could be worse, and they’re not just yet. He flashes Namjoon a small smile, and rests his head on his shoulder, watching the forest from his garden. The air is thick and humid with impending rain, clashing with the sun.

“It will rain a lot tonight,” Jimin tells Namjoon, breaking the silence they’d been comfortable in, all too aware of his warm skin and the way he never questions Jimin’s sudden bouts of seeking out physical affection.

Namjoon nods, still focused on the forest where up ahead, the sound of small children can be heard playing hide and seek. “Perfect time for a fresh start. Rain washes all negative energy away, kind of wiping the slate clean. I’m going to lift the ban on your house tonight.”

Jimin blinks owlishly, running a trembling hand through his hair. Overgrown and unruly blond strands fall over his brow, refusing to be tamed no matter how hard Jimin tries. He thinks about what Namjoon is saying and the weight of it hits him with a traitorous burst of hope. He’d love nothing more than to be free of whatever has been keeping him stuck in this stagnant sort of uselessness with his plants, and despite the hell they give, he misses feeling them.

“I miss them. I can barely hear them sometimes,” he says very softly, keeping a steady grip around the wicker basket. The plants fall silent, and then there's the faintest of response. A petal brushes up against his bare toes, gently, as though the peonies are saying: We miss you too.

Namjoon’s lips feel soft and pillowy against Jimin’s forehead, his breath warm. “I know, and they miss you too. After tonight, hopefully all should return to normal.”

“And if it doesn’t?” Jimin whispers, still so uncertain and terrified. What good is he if left without his magic? What use can he be to the earth if all he’s good at doing is stealing those she wishes to take, away? “Namjoon,” he asks again, turning slight, enough that his nose brushes alongs his jaw. “What if it doesn't work?”

There’s a fierce determination blazing in Namjoon’s eyes when he tells JImin, “It'll work,” that reminds jimin of how he’d been equally as certain when it came to saving Jeongguk. “I will make it work. This spell will yield to me.”

Jimin’s stomach crawls up his throat and its kind of hard to breathe, but he trusts Namjoon, even when he doesnt trust himself as much.

They stare at each other for a long moment, and Jimin finds it so unfair that Namjoon is so beautiful on the outside as well as the inside. He’s made up enetrily of sunlight, and it gleams off his hair and his smile. The wind rustles around them, faint but enough for the smell of rain to become thicker.

Namjoon senses the same shift and nods, resolute now that his mind is made up.  He gives jimin a smile that makes his heart twist the way vines do around his ankles. Unforgiving and tight.

He thinks about plants, and people, and how they both just want to feel cared for and realizes theyre not that different afterall.



————-


Its late afternoon by the time Jimin makes dinner for Namjoon, the kitchen bathed in multicolor lights reflecting off the stained glass window.

Its simple kimchi jjigae, because Jimin knows Namjoon likes simplicity. He also knows that Namjoon will blush when he arrives at his home carrying a warm plate, because that is just how Namjoon is—easily flustered by little things. He’ll tell Jimin how he doesnt have to cook for him and that he is more than capable of making his own meals, and yet will open the door and lead them to the kitchen so that they can go about eating.

Its routine by now, and Jimin likes routines, finds comfort in them. In Namjoon, and his cozy house with mismatch furniture and odd baubles and gadgets from his short stint delving into alchemy. He also likes that Hoseok the cat always curls around his ankles and bites his socks, and he really really likes watching Namjoon eat his food as though its the best he’s ever had.

(Jimin just really likes Namjoon, and there’s no hope for him to stop doing so anytime soon.)

Namjoon eats with gusto, savoring each bite. He dimples when catching Jimin giving Hoseok small bites of food under the table, looking amused and a little annoyed. “Jiminah, you’re spoiling him rotten.”

Hoseok the cat peers up at Jimin, nudging his palms with the tip of his small black nose, as though saying ‘that’s not true!’ Which only makes it all the more true.

Jimin huffs and purposely lets Hoseok luck his fingers. “Payback is a bitch. You spoil my flowers. The belladonna’s pleased to bits since you moved her into the sun.”

Namjoon’s got these dull, warm lights inside his house, but  despite that, Jimin can make out the pleased flush on his cheeks perfectly. “That’s fair, I guess. I’m also really happy to hear about the belladonna’s. I hope she’s but being kind to you now.”

Jimin thinks about the temperamental flower and hides a smile. They’re not on the best terms, but at least they’re not as bad as before. “They’re tolerable, which is a start.”

They fall into comfortable chit-chat from then, as they usually do. Namjoon asks Jimin about his orders and how they’re shaping up, whilst at the same time sharing stories about the customers who came to visit him that day, two half-demons and a forest nymph.

Namjoon’s shop houses a different kind of customer than Jimin’s. He helps them find what they’ve lost, and guides them back, whereas Jimin’s shop is attune to whatever each person’s needs are and they must find it themselves.

They get by well enough to survive.

They purposely steer clear of what’s to happen later on, and Jimin is grateful for the reprieve, though what’s he said not as he’s gratefulnfor the way way Namjoon stares him.

“Do I have something on my face?”

Namjoon’s smile is slow, but very tender. Wildly intimate for a couple of friends sharing some kimchi. It wavers a bit when he sweeps his gaze lower, settling on Jimin’s throat.

“I never noticed that necklace on you before,” Namjoon murmurs. Jimin’s breath hitches and out of reflex, he curls his fingers around the opal. Its hot to the touch. Namjoon follows them, too. “I love the color red. It’s pretty on you.”

That’s the thing about Namjoon that makes him a little intimidating. He tends to stare at things, at people specifically, as though theyre complex equations he has to study and perfect. Jimin’s not sure why he’s have to look at him that way, and flounders under the scrutiny.

“My mother gave it to me before I left home to start my training. She said every young witchling needs an heirloom to remind them of where they came from,” Jimin’s rambling and nervous, because Namjoon is still watching him, hand cured beneath his chin. “I always have it on,” he says quietly, “Maybe you haven’t been paying attention.”

Namjoon hums, his dimple betraying his composure. He’s trying very hard not to laugh, and yet, there it is. A tiny one, but something. His house reacts to his good mood, everything becoming warmer and livelier. Namjoon doesnt have as many indoor plants as Jimin does, but the few succulents around respond with joy; the air around them shimmering off his laugh.

“Maybe I haven’t, you’re right, But tonight’s all about changes, so...we’ll see how far that runs.” He says, holding Jimin’s gaze for a moment before he resumes eating.

Once dinner is done, and Jimin has shoved leftovers inside Namjoon’s refrigerator, much to the warlock’s grumbling, they retire to the living room, where a fire crackles steadily from the fireplace, and a bottle of wine, followed by two glasses, keep them company.

Jimin feels warm all over, melted and soft on the inside like gooey chocolate whilst watching Namjoon go out of his way to serve him a glass rather than let it happen by way of magic. Their fingers brush and Jimin inhales sharply, well aware that his pendant is reacting to such intense, whiplash emotions, lightening from its vivid red to a soft touch of violet; subdued pleasure and anticipation... He hopes Namjoon isn’t well versed in colostrology.

The mood grows lighter, the house mirrors its owner’s mood, brightening up and becoming festive. A record player from across the room creaks, then smooths out into a lovely little song that makes Jimin’s cheeks hurt from the weight of smiling so frequently. It makes him happy to be a part of something so homey, makes him feel light in the chest, as though one wrong move and he’po soar away.

Alcohol makes him bolder, and one glass turns to so and then blurs into another, the third prompting him to rise to his feet and begin to dance. Its silly, and he’s giggling at the look Namjoon gives him, but JImin cant quite bring himself to care. He feels it deep in his bones, this longing to reach out and touch Namjoon, if just for a moment.

And so he does.

Namjoon, too, is smiling, all tongue and teeth, when Jimin approaches him slowly, faux predatory and smirking. He tries his best in getting aaway, but too long limbs make him clumsy and he topples into jimin, instead of away from him, a warm, but heavy weight pressed up against his chest.

Jimin inhales the scent of rosemary, sage and a touch of lavender that clings to nanmjoon like a second skin. Bravery and a reckless, eager heart prompts him to catch Namjoon’s hand between his, fingers entwining tightly.

“Jiminah, this is a horrible idea,” Namjoon’s voice is low, but amused. He must not believe too much in his powers, if something like lost balance is enough to make him nervous. Or maybe, Jimin’s being hopeful and wishing its him thats making the guy so flustered.

“Maybe you’re just a horrible dancer,” Jimin laughs, much more air than sound. He sways them so fast he’s certain they’ll take flight anytime, and Namjoon is always heavy on his feet, but he lets Jimin lead the way, content in this blissful little bubble they’ve formed, where nothing can break past it. Not the memory of weakened heartbeats, or dying floaters, or negative energy. Just them, two magicals, trying their best to make it.

There are no words he can possibly express the sensation that stores beneath Jimin’s ribs, over his racing heart when he finds Namjoon staring at him so softly. All he knows is that Namjoon makes him feel as though he can do great things on his own if only he believes a little harder in himself.

And maybe thats why JImin does it, but he can’t help himself. If he doesnt do something he will implode, and then what? He buries his head against Namjoon’s shoulder, and feels him stiffen for a moment, before expelling a deep shudder, the good kind, the kind that eases tension and leaves room for you to breathe.

“Jiminah,” Namjoon murmurs, voice tinged with something he hasn’t heard in Namjoon before but longs to chase after.  His gaze is half lidded when soft fingers smooth up and brush the nape of Jimin’s neck and give the gentlest of nudges. Jimin goes so easy, tipping his chin until he and Namjoon’s noses brush together , so close and yet so very far.

“Namjoon,” he breathes, careless that once morning comes and dawn breaks he might regret this. The lights flicker, and the song comes to a slow, but Jimin feels so inexplicably warm and safe in Namjoon’s arms that he never wants it to end.

It takes a single moment of hesitation, but as soon as it comes its gone, and Namjoon makes his choice; he leans in, so tenderly that Jimin trembles with anticipation until he finally brings his lips closer.

At first it’s nothing but a soft brush of lips against lips familiarizing with each other, but Jimin, ever so impatient, pouts his out, catching Namjoon’s lower lip between his own and suckling it.

Namjoon makes a breathless sound low in his throat, but doesn’t pull away. On the contrary, he parts his lips and groans when Jimin’s tongue presses inside, licking hungrily, as though he cant get enough. (He can’t.)

He’s been wanting this, waiting for so long, his bones ached from the weight of carrying such intense longing.

Jimin melts in namjoon’s hold, pressing in closer and closer, until he can feel te thrum of Namjoon’s heartbeat tight against his chest,. His breath takes off and runs away without him, leaving Jimin floating, held up only by Namjoon.

He kisses Jmin gently once more, lips lingering for a moment before he pulls away, panting slowly. So beautiful it hurts to look at him, and yet Jimin still does.

“I...I’ve Wanted to do that for a long time,” Namjoon sighs, resting his chin against Jimin’s hair , arms slipping around his neck to keep him close and held tightly.

Jimin huffs, moving away in time to stare up at Namjoon and find his guilty, sheepish grin. He smacks him hard in the chest, scowling. “Why didn’t you ever do anything then?” He cries out, and now that he’s started smacking Namjoon he can't quite stop. “God, you dumb, naive warlock—what the fuck is wrong with you? I thought you friend-zoned me.”

Namjoon is gracious enough not to complain about Jimin attacking him, but eventually he does reach for Jimin's hands, and laces their fingers together. Brings them towards his lips and presses a kiss against each finger. “I just...we’ve always worked well together and i didnt wanna’ ruin that, just in case you didn't feel the same,” a shadow flickers across his face, “Then the Jeongguk situation happened, and i thought you hated me for a while there, because I made you bring him back. I guess I just lost the courage to tell you how I was feeling after that.”

Jimin inhales sharply, his lower lip wobbles. Partly frustrated with himself and with Namjoon, because this could’ve been sorted had they spoken to each other instead of skirting around the situation as though it never happened and as though it didn’t leave behind a trail of consequences.

Regardless of circumstances, Jimin runs a hand through his hair. “It’s impossible that of all people to be such idiots, it has to be us. The all seeing warlock, and me, the green witch that used to be top of his class. Incredible.”

The air around them ripples with Namjoon’s laugh, and a breeze that’s heavy with the scent of an upcoming storm winds through the open window. Namjoon looks adorably apologetic. “Yeah, I guess you’re right. But in my defense you never said anything either!”

Jimin would smack him if his hands weren’t otherwise busy being held against Namjoon’s pretty lips. “Because you’re Namjoon! Powerful, and smart, and sexy and—just,” wild gesturing, jimin scowls, “Why would I ever try anything when that was so out of my reach? Don't laugh about this, Kim Namjoon!”

“Well then you’re not only ignoring the plants, but also me.” Namjoon remarks, not in the least put off by Jimin and his glare. Softer, he regards Jimin as though he’s now just realized how delicate the situation is, and brings a hand back to his nape, fingers warm and comforting.

Under his touch Jmin feels incredibly small, and scared. Feelings have always been difficult waters to wade through, especially when one doesn't know how to swim.

He could very much not say anything, and continue going on with how things are. Namjoon had a point, things between them are good, always have been. Ever since Jimin moved into this quaint little forest to escape the hash demand city life expected from him and realized his house wasn’t the only one up here. They don’t have to make anything out of this—a confession sometimes doesn’t necessarily lead to anything ground-breaking, and yet whilst Jimin could be content with that, he doesn’t think they deserve an open ending; he wants them to bloom.

So it's hard to get the words past, especially when Jimin he’s kept them so close to the chest for such a long time, but Jimin can’t hide any longer.  

 

“Well, I hate to be the bearer of bad news, Namjoon,” he breathes, chest impossibly full and hurting. “But I like you. I might even be a little in love with you at this point, if I’m honest.”

Namjoon’s eyes go hooded and so so soft. He leans in, stealing Jimin's breath when he brings their foreheads together once more. “Jiminah,” he says, “You aren’t listening.”

“Then say it louder,” Jimin whispers, tongue coming out to wet his Ipa. He feels intoxicated, and or once it’s not because of side effects of nightshade, or from an excess of alcohol. For once its the good kind.

Namjoon’s lips feel even softer this time around when he kisses Jimin, dissolving away every doubt he’s ever had. The lights dim for a moment, until they brighten abruptly, and then give out, casting them in the dark, illuminated by the faint flicker of fire.

Abruptly they pull away once they realize, and Namjoon blushes furiously. His cheeks feel hot under Jimin’s fingertips. “Stupid fucking house,” he mutters, “Embarrassing me in front of the guy I like.”

Jimin stills, his surprise making his nostrils flare. “Say it again.” He urges, “Namjoon forget about the house and say it again.”

There’s silence for a moment, where the only sound comes from their mingled breaths, until a soft snap of fingers bring the lights back on. Namjoon looks fiercely determined now, but also very cute.

He takes a deep breath, and on the exhale, says, “Jiminah, I have been a little in love with you ever since I first saw you mowing the lawn by hand instead of letting your powers do the work for you. You used to sing to the plans in the morning, and they’d always bloom for you. It’s just been a constant after that. You’re easy to fall for.”

Jimin’s tongue feels inexplicably heavy inside his mouth when he tries to swallow. “Namjoon.” He murmurs, staring up into his gentle face.

Namjoon says something else, but Jimin’s too busy coasting on the high of it all to really focus. Dazed, he leans in and kisses Namjoon again and again, until he’s breathless and shivering and Namjoon has to pull away in order to keep them focused.

“I will fix this.” He says, resolute amidst it all. he brushes soft fingers between the ridges of Jimin’s knuckles, holding his gaze. “Do you trust me?”

“Yes.”

“Then leave the rest to me.”


—-

It’s as Jimin predicted.

 

The skies pitch grey and soon, heavy clouds cast overhead, stealing the evening’s warmth and replacing it with mild chills and at first, a light drizzle. Jimin watches from his perch on the porch swing, Hoseok curled on his lap and hiding against his stomach, whilst Namjoon stands against the steps and looks ahead.

The wind picks up, and yet not a single candle they’ve lit up burns out, burning steadily. Jimin’s mother has alway been strict about there needing to be candles during any kind of ritual, something Namjoon doesnt practice but indulged in for Jimin’s peace of mind. It also ruffles their clothing, billowing around Namjoon’s cape so that it parts to reveal his silken emerald shirt and leather trousers. On his fingers are a pair of lace gloves, which Jimin stares at them, so very daunting in size, but delicate.

He’d love to hold Namjoon’s hand once more, but chastises himself for the thought. He’s meant to concentrate on a ritual, not about his ridiculous crush on Namjoon.

The wind whispers as Namjoon’s grimoire makes its appearance, and a thin plume of iridescent smoke curls around his legs. The forest is not quiet about this disturbance, and retaliates, especially his house. Jimin watches in silent terror as his humble home begins to tremble from the force of the wind and the booming echo of Namjoon’s voice.

He’s speaking hushed, but quickly, using a dead language only familiar to those who attune with the craft. His hair gleams under dim lights, and the candles paint shadows across his skin. Thunder claps near, and the ground shivers in response, rattling all around them.

Namjoon remains composed, and takes a step into the downpour, instantly slick from moisture, but hauntingly beautiful as nature seems to bend to his will, surrendering to what he wants.

“Shit,” Jimin groans when Hoseok digs sharp nails past his tunic and into his thigh before clambering off to dart across the porch and hiss at whatever he and Namjoon can see within his house. Jimin follows after the cat, heavy wind ruffling his hair, and peers past the porch. The moon is out and she’s heavy and big, a touch threatening given the circumstances, as though it will give under the pressure and crush them.

Some rituals are stronger than others, the same way as some spells are too. What makes them different is the person wielding their powers and the intent they carry in their heart throughout. If Jimin had any doubts over how desperately Namjoon is determined to right his wrong, he’s absolved of said doubt the moment he bares witness to the man confronting whatever has taken over his home full-frontal.

Jimin can’t see, as he’s not attuned with negative energy and spirits the way a hedge witch would, but Namjoon can. And whatever it is, He’s unphased by the sheer force of their rage, and the hot, pulsing energy that puts the plants in an uproar.

Their energy crackles all around Jimin, causing him to clench his teeth, because he’s spent so long without a steady trace of them, that being hit with every single thing coming from time at once; their anguish and fear, and terror, has him collapse onto the ground; a wild thing hurting deep beneath his ribs as though they’re being cracked open.

He can barely hear over the sound of his own screaming, mingling with the plants and yet, there’s an unmistakable echo ringing loud and clear.

“I release you!” Namjoon thunders, the force of his voice barreling into Jimin’s skull. The air is heavy and bloated with heat and anguish, as well as the sound of a heartbeat on loop. Jimin recognizes it, as he’s felt it beneath his fingertips.

 

It’s an awful and sinister way to mock him, bringing forth the price he’d paid in order to save a life.

 

Nothing happens at first, save for the wind as it howls around them. Thunder roars high up, and everything smells of ash and burnt sage.

 

“I release you! Yield to me or burn.” Namjoon says sharply. Thick black runes spread from the tips of his fingers and up to his throat, enveloping his being. Beyond the safe space of Namjoon’s home, where Jimin is hiding under the awning, Namjoon isn’t affected. “Be gone,” he repeats, softer this time, but with no less intention, panting hard. His skin is slick with rain, sweat and smoke, but even then he’s beautiful. “The forest might protect you, but I, as your caster, do not . Release this home and release him at once .”

 

There’s a loud groan, something Jimin hasn’t ever heard, something he wouldn’t ever try becoming attune with. A whisper moves through the wind, and it sounds as though it’s saying farewell, begrudgingly, but accepting. The way a child responds when they’re backed into a corner and left with no choice but to yield.

 

Silence, cloyed and suffocating, ensues. Jimin sags against the porch, tears pricking his eyes.

 

There’s a moment where JImin feels nothing at all, and worries that the price of this has cost far more than he’d ever imagined. But then, it’s as soft as a whisper, or perhaps a rush of breath after a long day, when Jimin first senses it. The faintest of thrums, akin to a heartbeat. Hesitant, and slow.

 

Namjoon, I think… ” Jimin says quietly, his eyes sting. Trembling hands force him to reach under his tunic in search of his pendant, pleading under his breath for the truth . When he’s met with the dimmest of emerald dusts around the edges of the opal; the color of leaves, damp from morning dew, the color of the green witch, his breath hitches. “ Oh .”

 

“I’m here,” Namjoon breathes, and it’s a miracle to see him still standing after such an ordeal, but Namjoon has always been some kind of miraculous and wonderful, even now post ritual, when most warlocks would have fainted.

 

He’s here, and he’s looking down at Jimin as though he’s seeing him for the first time all over again. “Wow.”

 

Moonlight and the aftermath of a storm that’s begun to wane should’ve cast everything under darkness, and yet everything around Jimin seems to still shimmer in balmy grey light, from Namjoon’s profile, to the forest before them.

 

Jimin tries to come to a stand, but an irritating wave of nausea hits, and leaves him to fall gracelessly into Namjoon’s arms, where everything seems magnified now. The smell of rosemary, lavender and sage, as well as a hint of honeysuckle.

 

“How embarrassing,” Jimin moans weakly. Instead of checking on Namjoon after such a draining ordeal, or even thanking him, Jimin is left feeling heavy and drunk, as though flowers have taken residence inside his stomach and are crawling up His throat.

 

Namjoon however, doesn’t find it nearly as humiliating as Jimin, it seems. He’s gentle and patient in guiding them from the porch and towards his home, keeping a steady hand around Jimin’s shoulder, the other around his waist.

 

There’s a smile in his voice and a flash of dimples when he says, “Really swept you off your feet with that huh? Should be offended my kissing skills didn’t do it first.”

 

Jimin’s much too drained to smack Namjoon, but with renewed connection to the earth, he does summon a wild trail of roots to crawl around his ankles and cause him to stumble.

 

Outside the evening is left with a remnant chill, as well as humidity, but the forest feels enriched with Magic so ancient and untouched, it’s as though a veil has been lifted. Jimin supposes it has .

 

“You’re safe now. They’re all gone,” Namjoon says once they arrive in front of Jimin’s home, a breath of warmth against Jimin’s temple.

 

Jimin’s left speechless, heart hammering a frenetic beat within his chest. Where before, post having lost touch with the earth, his house had been merely surviving on remnant whispers of magic keeping it afloat, now it pulsed with vibrant life. Dim light gleaned from the inside, and the thick scent of foliage permeates the air.

 

“Can I,” softly, Jimin hesitates in stepping forward. He cranes his neck, finding Namjoon staring at him, something inexplicably warm in his eyes. “Is it safe to go inside?”

 

Namjoon leans in, so close that Jimin can feel the brush of his lashes against the curve of his cheek when he leans in to press a chaste kiss against the corner of his lips. “It’s your house.” He says, gesturing towards it.”Go ahead.”

 

Still tentative, as though he’s greeting a stranger for the first time, Jimin peels away from Namjoon and takes a step towards his home. Bypassing the wooden gate, and the curling vines, he stops in the middle of the walkway, because wrapping around his boots, a cluster of vines have gathered to curl around him tightly, As though saying: Welcome home, we’ve missed you .

 

Jimin inhales the fresh scent of earth, holds it in his lungs. When he exhales it aches, deep down in his bones where he’d felt so empty for so long, But is now so full. To the brim, he can’t quite make room for anything else, nevermind someone else, but regardless, Jimin extends his hand.

 

Holding out for Namjoon, who hadn’t given up on Jimin even when it seemed impossible for him to bloom.