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Till Death Do Us Part

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    It was lonely all by himself. Jimin felt like he was always in pain with what was basically death coursing through his veins. No one was allowed to see him, except Healer Min. The High Lord had ordered it himself in fear of starting another epidemic. The kingdom was barely recovering from the last one. 

    Even though he knew it was for everyone else’s good, Jimin still felt pity for himself. Pity because he couldn’t see his brother or mother ever again, pity because he was getting sicker every miserable minute. He already lost both his wings to it. They had basically rotted away, constantly cracking open like chapped lips and pouring out blackened blood all over the cot and floor until they were nothing but long, black sticks. It was happening to his arm, too. Blood was soaking through the bandage, drying and making it very uncomfortable. 

    Jimin coughed quietly in the empty room. He was so lonely. There wasn’t anything that he could hold on to except the thought that maybe, just maybe, he could see his family again. Quite painfully, Jimin rolled onto his side. His red hair fanned over his eyes as he stared at the wall. He was tired but he couldn’t sleep. His stomach was crying out in hunger but whenever he tried to eat something, he’d throw it back up. Jimin nestled his face into the soft cushion, wincing slightly. A burning feeling started up through his body again, making Jimin groan. He moved his arm and let out a whimper when a cut reopened along his shoulder. It hurt. A lot.

    He went limp and drew in a ragged breath. Jimin was tired but he couldn’t sleep. Over the past week, he had only slept around two and a half hours. His eyelids were heavy and he couldn’t keep them closed. Whenever Healer Min came to give him her concoction of herbs and broth to battle the symptoms, it’d keep some of them off for a few hours before he’d heave it all up again. She would try different mixtures for him and spend hours on them. Jimin knew because he would hear her moving around outside the room. The only reason she was able to treat him and not contract the illness as well was because she immune. Only a handful of people out of thousands were like her. It was a genetic thing, whatever that meant. Jimin never got the chance to go past the ninth year. 

    Personally, Jimin liked to think it was a big handful, like when he would make a mountain of bird seed in his cupped hands and laugh as birds flocked to him. Or how he could fit dozens of wildflowers in his fist. Jimin liked to think it was a big handful in a big hand. It made him feel less lonely. Less like a threat.

    Patterns of light moved on the wall above him and trees rustled outside. Jimin didn't bother to look. He had seen the view in every season, the way the light fell on the floor in the early morning. Jimin used to be able to sit next to the windowsill and watch the birds flutter about. A deerling even stalked by once. It had a big, fluffy, white coat and a large tuft of fur around its neck. Beautiful golden antlers sprouted from its head and curved elegantly. Jimin had waited for it to come back for three months after that, but it never did. Healer Min had found him curled up in a ball, crying. 

      Jimin let out a small cough, feeling bile rise in his throat. He pursed his lips, feeling too hot but too weak to push off the sheet covering him. His lips cracked and started bleeding. Jimin sighed and forced his eyes shut. His eyes felt too hot and it was uncomfortable. Jimin whimpered, rubbing his irritated eyes.

    Someone was coming up to the door. It was a bit louder than usual, but Jimin didn't care. When he was younger, he would excitedly wait by the door because every single time. Jimin believed one of his friends was coming to see him. And every time, he was disappointed when only Healer Min came to the door. Jimin knew how hard she worked for him. She would stay with him at night when he would vomit up nothing and burn up with fever. She would tell him stories and bring him things she could afford. Healer Min was a wonderful lady. But Jimin really only wanted to go outside and talk to his family. Spend a few hours with his friends that he had not seen in a long time.

    The illness he had was slow. Jimin had had it for eight blooming seasons, symptoms developing sluggishly as he aged. It was terrible. His chest was starting to hurt. Jimin grimaced, but made no move to try to make himself feel better. He heard the door creaked open, so he rolled over. The skin on his arm started cracking open, making him wince. Healer Min was in the doorway with someone behind her. She gave him a warm smile and stepped towards him.

    "Hello, Jimin-ssi," she said, touching his small hand. "How are you feeling?" Jimin glanced at the person behind her that he couldn't really see.

    "I'm fine," he rasped, throat screaming in protest with each syllable. The person behind her shifted. 

    "Drink some water, dear," Healer Min said in a kind but firm tone. She held the wooden bowl full of water to his lips and patiently waited for him to start drinking. Jimin was able to see the person behind Healer Min better. The person was male, with light blue hair and curved black wings. He looked very uncomfortable. Jimin couldn't blame him. Healer Min pulled the bowl away and took his bleeding arm into her grasp.

    "W-who's that?" Jimin mumbled, staring up at the male. Healer Min chuckled softly as she started undoing the blood-soaked bandage. "Oh, him? That's my son. His name is Min Yoongi." She turned and ushered him forward. "Yoongi, dear, come say hello."

    Yoongi just stared at him. His eyes were shaped like haelun nuts. Jimin’s mother used to make stew with them. They grew all over the Syu Kain woods because the haelun tree was most common there. Jihyun’s eyes would light up when their mother made it for them. It was his favorite. Jimin didn’t know if he still liked it now. After all, he hadn’t seen him in eight blooming seasons. Healer Min frowned at Yoongi and nudged him with her ivory wings. The man gulped and hesitantly held out his hand. There was a silver band around his wrist, something carved into the metal. “Yoongi,” Healer Min warned, giving him a stern look. He inhaled sharply and mumbled, “Hi.”

    Instead of giving a coherent answer, Jimin coughed violently. He sputtered dark blood all over Yoongi’s extended hand. He jerked back, quickly wiping the blood off onto his trousers. Jimin wiped his mouth with the back of his hand, smearing it everywhere. Yoongi moved back, face twisting up into an expression of disgust. His mother glared at him and smacked his arm. Yoongi opened his mouth to protest, but Healer Min interrupted him.

    “You came here to help me, not run away from a patient. Now sit down and change Jimin’s bandages before I hit you,” she hissed. Jimin flinched, while Yoongi just looked at her. He reluctantly sat on the small stool next to his cot and started undoing the rest of the bloody bandages. Jimin cringed at the blackened skin that was oozing blood and puss. Yoongi just stared at him for a second, holding the soaked bandages in his palms. He blinked a few times and silently reached for the basket Healer Min left on the floor. She was off fixing something on a small desk. Jimin bit his lower lip as his left leg started spasming violently. Yoongi reluctantly rubbed medicine into the splitting skin, stretching the skin and causing it to start bleeding. Jimin hissed in pain. Yoongi pulled his hands away and wrapped bandages around his arm hastily. He collapsed onto the bed, red blossoming onto the off-white. Yoongi inched away and looked over at his mother. Jimin whimpered, digging his nails into his rotting palm.

      Healer Min turned around and glared at her son. She got up, settling down next to him. Jimin felt his throat start to close up, making him squirm. Healer Min lift a bowl to his lips again. Yoongi watched from the side, shifting his black wings that glimmered in the light. It tasted like minesa and sugar clovers. Jimin used to collect the clovers for his mother because she liked them with her tea. He tensed as tears started pricking at his eyes. Jimin wouldn't cry. He'd done it one too many times and he refused to do it again. Yoongi tilted his head and shuffled forward. 

Jimin started to feel sick, like his stomach had been burned and was bleeding from the inside. He made a soft noise, tightly gripping the sheet. Healer Min pulled away, giving him a small smile. Yoongi put a hand on his shoulder, making Jimin flinch. The skin started to flake and break away. The male just looked at him, which made him a little uncomfortable. Only having contact with one person for eight blooming seasons messes with your social skills, duh, a voice in Jimin’s head whispered bitterly. He pursed his lips, fidgeting with the stiff sheet. His arm started to hurt intensely, so he attempted to shrug off Yoongi's hand. Yoongi raised a brow and retracted. Jimin let out a sigh of relief, feel blood start to drip out of thin cuts where Yoongi had touched him.

"Um…" the other male mumbled awkwardly. "Are- wait, uh- are you feeling… um, alright?" His brown eyes darted up to look at Jimin and then quickly looked down. Jimin coughed and mewled, "M'fine." Healer Min gave the younger a subtle smile before clearing her throat, getting the two's attention.

"I have a few more patients to tend to. Yoongi, dear, please look after Jimin-ssi for me," she said, setting a few bottles and jars of ointments and herbs on the small desk. Yoongi nodded wordlessly. Healer Min picked up her basket and turned to the doorway. "You remember everything I told you, right, dear?" Yoongi nodded again. She gave Jimin a small wave and left the room.

Chapter Text

    Jimin was having trouble breathing that day. His loud coughing and wet breaths had filled the room and it was making obviously Yoongi uncomfortable. Yoongi was awkwardly holding him upright while he was spitting up bloody mucus and phlegm into a cloth. Jimin choked on his saliva and felt bile start to rise in his throat.

    He felt bad for constantly making a mess. The other had been looking after him for a week and they barely talked, mostly because Jimin could hardly speak up without feeling like he tore a hole in his throat. Yoongi kept his distance and just seemed like he didn’t want to be there. It made Jimin feel lonely. When Healer Min looked after him, she would talk to him and smile and seem at least a little interested in him, which made him feel better. 

    Jimin swallowed harshly and leaned into the other’s chest. Yoongi grunted, making him tense up. A foul taste filled his mouth and he cringed. Yoongi bent down and started fishing through a bag he brought with him every time he came. He pulled out a book with a leather binding and set it on the bed next to them. Jimin looked at it for a second and looked back at Yoongi. There were some words pressed into the leather that read Hyjumani . Jimin remembered that his mother used to read that to him and Jihyun every night when they were little. He felt tears pricking at his eyes. Yoongi silently used one hand to open the book and lift it up so he could read it. Jimin hadn’t really come in contact with a piece of literature for a while, except for when Healer Min would bring a paper with a recipe or whatever it was. Usually, he couldn’t read it. 

“Uh- why’d- why’d you bring that?” Jimin whispered, jerking his stiff neck to the side to crack it. He felt Yoongi shrug. “I figured you get bored,” the other said simply. After a few minutes of slightly uncomfortable silence Yoongi began to read.

Jyani i coeyan taishi muli. Alsin moi qui nao py’lui, huenam Ervi sanna tju wonu,” he muttered. Jimin bit his cheeks harshly to keep himself from crying due to nostalgia. “ Ervi yuman colik sorien i qui tuoyno nama sujame. ” He let himself relax, snuggling his head into Yoongi’s dirty tunic. Yoongi didn’t seem to notice and continued reciting the story. It was the first time Jimin had actually felt calm enough to sleep in two blooming seasons. Jimin listened to Yoongi peacefully. His throat didn’t feel as clogged up as before, but he would probably vomit anyway. There had been several times when he’d felt… decent , but he still spit up his insides until he had passed out. Jimin coughed lightly.

Suji jyani ty nama eruzu i Ervi juelna m’iam nou. Haja corvea muli huen kuym oppi hiwo. Ervi jutan’mi qu. Soloa i huji tundrea moloia. Ervi caeulo nou muli,” Yoongi recited in monotone. Jimin closed his eyes and clung to the other’s tunic. His mouth felt dry, but he didn’t particularly care. Light danced across the tan wall, the shadow of the tree outside breaking up the light. Yoongi moved his hand up to his bony shoulder and gently kneaded his flaking skin. Warmth made its way to Jimin’s cheeks as he slowly started to fall asleep. 

* ★*

    He was pressed against something warm. Jimin slowly opened his eyes and noticed his face was tucked into a crevice. He made a face and pulled away slowly. Jimin froze and nearly screamed.

    Laying in his small bed, wings haphazardly thrown over Jimin's torso, was Yoongi. The other male was just staring at him, making him feel scared. His ebony feathers tickled his sides as he wiggled away. Jimin opened his mouth to say something but no sound came out. Yoongi's expression didn't falter as the other was internally freaking out. His head was starting to hurt, so Jimin went limp and pursed his lips harshly.

    “Do you need some water?” Yoongi asked, like there wasn’t anything strange going on. He gulped and nodded, wincing at the movement of his head. 

    “U-uh,” he stuttered softly, “why are y-you, um, lying in b-bed with me?” The other blinked and shrugged. Yoongi sat up and got off the bed. He grabbed a pretty glass bottle off the desk that Jimin hadn’t noticed before. It looked pretty expensive from what Jimin remembered. Before he had died, his father used to blow glass into models of animals and fancy vases. Whenever his father had extra time, he’d make little toys or colorful beads for Jihyun and him. Jimin always loved them. His father had sold them for hundreds of coins and always gave all of it to his mother so she could take care of them. Even though it had been over a decade ago, Jimin still missed him. His mother still had a statue of a vahana in their bedroom. 

    He swallowed nervously as Yoongi gave it to him. “Are you sure?” Jimin muttered, turning it around in his hands. “You won’t be able to take it out of this room because I touched it.” Yoongi raised a brow. “So? I don’t care,” he replied. The male sat on the edge of the bed and watched Jimin awkwardly (and quite painfully) try to pull the cork out. He finally managed to yank it out and spilled water on himself. Jimin whimpered when some of the water seeped into a few minor cuts. Yoongi started talking.

    “Where did you go to school?” he asked nonchalantly. Jimin thought for a moment. His head still hurt but it better.

“Uhm, I went to a governess in the town right next to this one with my brother. Her name is Kim Hayun, I think. I don’t know, it’s been a while,” he whispered.  Yoongi tilted his head slightly. “Why didn’t you go here? Isn’t it closer?”

“I went because my mother was friends with her. They went to… secondary school together, I think. And I made friends with her son. I think he moved here. We haven’t talked in a while. His name is Kim Taehyung.” Yoongi nodded and looked towards the window. Jimin didn’t want to admit that he actually hadn’t heard from Taehyung because messengers refused to deliver to the building, even though Healer Min kept everything clean and disinfected. He had seen it himself. When he had first been brought there by his brother, who he had heard had to be quarantined, the front room had been spotless. There were a few other patients in there when he arrived, but Healer Min seemed to be handling herself just fine. Even though there was a small child vomiting onto the floor, it still seemed like the cleanest place Jimin had ever seen.

After a couple minutes of silence, Yoongi started to speak again. “I went to school in a different island. It was a school that specializes in music. I want to be a composer. However, my family moved to this town after my brother married and I became my mother’s apprentice instead.” Jimin’s eyes widened in surprise. He had never met someone who wanted to do that. Taehyung just wanted a family. He wanted to become a dancer for the Sudi Mul-en festival. One of his other friends, named Jeon Jeongguk, was extremely good at sculpting and wanted to make sculptures for a living. 

Jimin had a sudden fit of coughing and doubled over. The metallic taste of blood filled his mouth. Before he could do anything, Jimin vomited all over himself. He felt severely lightheaded as he retched up the contents of his stomach. He saw Yoongi jump up and run out of the room out of the corner of his eye and felt a little betrayed. Jimin started choking on his vomit, clawing at his throat violently. 

Yoongi came back into the room with Healer Min in tow. Skin flaked off his neck as he scratched at it in an effort to quit choking. Healer Min immediately ran up to Jimin, placing a hand on his back and pulling his hands away from his throat. There wasn’t anything she could do about his vomiting. Jimin stopped choking and spit up a mouthful of blood. Yoongi was still standing near the doorway, ebony wings pinned tightly to his back. Jimin felt a lump build up in his throat. He pursed his lips and whimpered. 

Jimin slumped down. His mouth tasted acidic and bitter with a hint of blood. Healer Min pulled a small wooden vial out of her cloak and popped it open. She pressed it to Jimin’s trembling lips and forced him to drink it. His throat was stinging as he swallowed the sour liquid. Yoongi shuffled closer, cringing at something. The other pulled away, sputtering. The skin on his back around the base of where his wings were started to split. It was terribly painful, since they had just started to heal.

He had a splitting headache and he whimpered. Healer Min simply laid him down and put a damp cloth on his forehead. Where is she even getting all this stuff from? Jimin thought groggily. She went up to the other male and started talking to him in a hushed voice. His chest felt like it was collapsing with every breath and his lips had cracked and started bleeding.  Jimin lolled his head to the side, staring at the tree outside. Its beautiful, light violet leaves swayed in the slight breeze. Whenever he felt especially sick, he liked to just look out the window.

A few other trees were scattered along the plains outside. Healer Min’s building was at the edge of town, with nothing but a few kilometers between her and the edge of the island. His favorite was a tree that had leaves that changed from a soft pink to a soft yellow. Jimin couldn’t remember what it was called, but he knew that his father had gotten his mother a sapling of the same tree. It was still growing in their small garden to his knowledge.

Jimin was so busy burying himself in memories that he didn’t notice Yoongi sitting at the edge of his bed. Healer Min had given him some items in a satchel before leaving. He flinched when Yoongi put a hand on his rotting thigh. Jimin lifted his head, feeling very tired. 

“Is there something wrong?” he murmured. Yoongi shrugged. He got up and started cleaning the vomit off the floor and mattress. Jimin felt guilty as he watched. 

After the other finished, he started mumbling. “So… Mother thinks it would be best to… amputate your calf. On your left leg.” Jimin immediately forced himself to sit up, the cloth on his forehead sliding off. Admittedly, he hadn’t been able to move his calf for about two months then. It had gotten extremely thin and seemed to just be black skin laid over bone. Jimin hadn’t thought about it much since he couldn’t feel it anymore. 

“...why?” he whispered, fumbling with the sheets. Yoongi scratched the nape of his neck. “It’s.. basically just rotten flesh from what I’ve seen. It’d be for the best, Jimin-ssi.” Jimin bit his lower lip, tasting blood. 

”It seems fine," he huffed, laying back down. It felt too hot for Jimin to be in his own skin. Sweat started to bead along his forehead as he squirmed around in the bed. Yoongi got up and hesitantly put the cloth back onto the other. Jimin whined, twisting and kicking. The other male just watched, as if he could do nothing. “ Hnng, ” he groaned, “It’s so hot .”

Yoongi swallowed. He grabbed the glass bottle that had, gratefully, not fallen onto the floor when Jimin had suddenly started vomiting. It had spilled water everywhere, but there was still some in it. Yoongi hesitantly pressed it to Jimin’s lips. He enthusiastically started gulping down the blissfully cool liquid, ignoring the screaming of his throat. The other gently brushed the hair out of Jimin’s face.

His hair hadn’t really been cut in a few blooming seasons. Healer Min had gotten more busy recently and didn’t have as much time for him. Jimin didn’t mind at all. Sometimes, it got in the way when he was heaving up everything he ate or was suffering from a terribly high fevers. But, that was okay. Jimin liked it. It was at his shoulders and seemed perfectly unaffected by his illness. Jimin’s hair was still perfectly red like it had been the day he was brought it. On days he wasn’t feeling as sick (or, boring days), he’d braid his hair and play with it or just stare out the window. 

Jimin rubbed his eyes and twisted. Yoongi sat him up and held him up with one arm. His cheeks were red and sweat was rolling down his body. The other just watched him breathe heavily and twist around. After he tried to stay conscious for a few miserable minutes, he just gave up and went limp in Yoongi’s grasp. It was basically guaranteed that he’d have a very strange fever dream.

Chapter Text

    “Jimin? Jimin, get up!” Jimin whined and batted at the hand tugging on his sleeves.

    “Aish, Jihyun, just a little more,” he groaned, turning away to face his small window. The small gyumkai outside had attracted a small flock of tjuaris. They jumped in and out of the small body of water, peeping cheerfully. Jimin watched the tiny, yellow birds wiggle and flutter around for a bit before Jihyun jumped on top of him. His brother’s small, silvery wings slapped his thighs and he shook Jimin around. “Get up!” Jihyun squealed, playfully hitting his cheeks.

    Jimin rolled over, successfully throwing Jihyun off him. The younger jumped back on him and started pulling on the base of his wings. “Ow! I’ll get up! Get off of me you desukai!” Jimin yelled. Jihyun laughed, got off him, and sat on the bed. Jimin scowled at him, folding his arms. His hair fell into his eyes, ruining his scornful expression. They stared at each other for a minute before Jimin cracked and started giggling. Then Jihyun started laughing. The two ended up laughing hysterically, rolling around in Jimin’s sheets and whacking each other with their wings.

    “Boys?” their mother called from the main room. They untangled themselves and Jimin yelled, “Yes? What is it, Eomma?” 

    “Come out here and eat!”Jihyun ran out of the room. Jimin rolled his eyes and went to look through their shared wardrobe. He pulled off his white night tunic and tucked it into the laundry basket. Most of the clothes there were Jihyun’s. He pulled on a brown tunic and loose trousers. Jimin’s head felt a little light and he had some sores that wouldn’t quite go away. He combed through his hair quickly and rushed out of the room. 

    Jihyun was eating some porridge at the table. Their mother was patching up a hole in one of the younger’s tunics after he had ripped it on a thorn bush. The flowers in the vase on the table were a little wilted. Jimin would have to pick some more. “Oh, Jimin, there you are,” Mother said, pausing her sewing. “Your porridge is on the table over there.” He nodded and took a seat next to his brother.

    The drapes rustled in the light breeze and silhouettes of birds twirled around outside. Jimin watched the drapes move for a bit before Jihyun nudged him. “You’re supposed to eat, not stare at a big piece of fabric,” he scolded playfully, making Jimin roll his eyes. 

“Yah, you can’t tell me what to do. I’m older than you!” he giggled, nipping at his food. His brother’s small wings subtly whacked his arm.  

Jihyun’s wings were a little deformed. They were a bit too small to carry his weight and his right one was slightly twisted inward. It wasn’t that big of a problem. Most of the time, Jimin would just carry him to wherever they needed to go. Recently, he hadn’t been feeling too well. He had a constant headache and often neglected eating. His mother had gotten very concerned, but nothing the town Healer gave them really did anything. Jimin was sure it was nothing. 

Jimin managed to finish his porridge and went to go clean the bowl. He dunked it in the bucket of water in the corner a few times and washed it with junama soap. It smelled nice and eased his headache. “You boys have to go soon. Jimin, dear, if you don’t feel too well, asked Miss Jeon for her manha. I made an arrangement with her,” Mother said softly, resting her metallic wings on the armrests. Jimin nodded. 

“I think I’ll be fine today, Eomma. Don’t worry,” he replied. Jihyun cleaned his bowl and pounced on the older. “Aish! Jihyun, you brat! Get off me before I throw your books into the river!” Jihyun laughed, setting his chin on the older’s shoulder. Their mother had already gathered all their stuff they needed for their tutor. Jihyun continued to annoy Jimin until Mother shooed them out the door. 

The two walked down the cobblestone path that led to the end of the town. They already lived near the edge of Kina, so it wasn’t a problem to go to the next town over, Jusyami, for education instead of heading into town. Large trees created a thin canopy over them, a blend of pastel yellows and pinks and deep indigos and purple. Jimin always loved how it looked, with beams of sunlight shining through small holes in the thin blanket of colorful leaves. Jihyun’s brown hair blew in the breeze. Jimin felt a sharp pain in his stomach, but he didn’t think much of it. He had been having them for multiple blooming seasons and had slowly got more intense over time. 

Jimin had a small black welt on his arm, but it didn’t hurt and didn’t seem to do anything. As they walked, Jimin felt more and more lightheaded. Suddenly, he felt as if someone had punched him in the stomach and he collapsed on the ground. Blood bubbled from his mouth and poured onto the cobblestone. Jihyun screamed. The older rolled over, blood dripping from the corner of his mouth. Jihyun jerked away and fell, staring at him. Jimin cried out, hearing the cracking of something that sounded like skin ripping. “Ji-Jihyun!” he gasped, beating his wings violently. Pain shot through his body and seemed to pooled in his throat. Jihyun stared at him helplessly. 

Blood ran down his chin and throat. He tried to call out to his brother, but instead choked on his blood. Jimin started vomiting onto himself. Jihyun scrambled up and grabbed his hand. “Hyung! What’s going on?” he squeaked. Jimin moaned and coughed up a mixture of blood and bile. He shut his eyes for a second, and when he opened them, Jihyun was gone. Jimin started panicking more. 

He forced himself to stand up, leaning against a tree trunk to keep his balance. Jimin starting shaking violently and he vomited again. He collapsed again, groaning as he made contact with the ground. The world went black as Jimin curled up in his own blood and vomit.

Jimin woke up sweating. He rubbed his eyes and whimpered. Jimin looked at his arms and chest and was happy to see there were clean bandages wrapped around him. Dirty bandages were beyond uncomfortable, but he never complained. Jimin felt bad about it. He had never really complained about anything since it seemed like he was ungrateful. He looked around and saw Yoongi digging through a bag. 

He cleared his throat awkwardly, getting the other’s attention. “Oh, hey,” Yoongi mumbled, barely looking up. Jimin coughed softly and buried his face in his pillow. His body was aching for no reason he could think of and he just wanted to sleep. “Found it,” Yoongi murmured, pulling out something wrapped in thin, white paper. It was tied up with a neat little string. It smelled really good, like sugar and yuanniam. Jimin perked up. Sometimes, his mother would go to the bakery and buy them cyluo rolls, and, on the anniversary of his father’s death, small mint cakes. They were great. Jihyun loved them. 

Yoongi unwrapped the little blob, revealing a small pastry topped with a blue blossom. Jimin was very confused. The other went over to him and sat him up. Yoongi set the pastry in his lap silently. Jimin opened his mouth but didn’t say anything. He was beyond confused. The other cleared his throat and mumbled, “My friend Seokjin made it. For you.”

Jimin yawned quietly, tilting his head. He was feeling a bit dizzy. Before he had slept, Yoongi had made him drink a lot of water and attempted to get him to eat some strips of dried meat. Jimin had nibbled one for an hour. “For me?” he muttered, rubbing the mucus away from his eyes. “Yeah,” Yoongi hummed, putting a hand on the small of his back. “He wrote you a letter, too.”

Jimin was getting very confused. Taehyung had stopped writing to him after two blooming seasons, and Jihyun stopped after one. He never got any gifts, unless it was from Healer Min. After he had read everything his brother or Taehyung wrote him, Healer Min would have to burn the paper. Jimin couldn’t write him back, either. Anything he touched couldn’t leave the room. It had made him really sad when Jihyun stopped writing him, and even more sad when Taehyung stopped. Yoongi handed him a neatly folded piece of paper. Jimin squinted at it and stuck his tongue out.

Dear Park Jimin,

Hi! My name is Kim Seokjin. I made you a juisun. I hope you enjoy it! It was really hard to convince my parents to let me make one without charging you. 

From what Yoongi has told me, you must feel awful. I’d like to visit you some time, but I don’t think I’d be allowed to. You must feel lonely. 

Do you know Kim Taehyung? He happened to come in while I was talking to Yoongi and overheard your name. Were you two friends? He seemed very interested in you. Taehyung also wanted to come see you. He said something about feeling bad about not contacting you. 

I know you’re not allowed to write back, but maybe you could tell Yoongi what you’d like to say back and he could write it down for you. Taehyung wants to give you something that his betrothed made. It sounds very pretty from how he described it. 

When you get better, perhaps we could go hallan riding together. We could meet at my bakery and all get together. Has Yoongi talked about Jung Hoseok yet? They’re best friends. But, Yoongi is a grumpy little male and probably doesn’t bring up anything about himself. He probably hasn’t told you anything about him. Yoongi knows a lot about you, though. Through his mother, I suppose. He says you’re only twenty-three blooming seasons and you’ve been in that same room for eight of those. It must be terribly boring. When we get to meet, I’ll try to make the bakery as interesting as possible for you. My father has agreed to let you try all the pastries. He pities you. My mother isn’t so kind, but she doesn’t fight my father. 

Anyway, you seem very sweet. I’m surprised Yoongi thinks so highly of you. He isn’t even nice to Hoseok. I’ll tell you about that brat.

Yoongi is twenty-six blooming seasons. He’s from the capital of the North Island, Hwarean, but he moved to the Main Island at seven. He has a frive named Holly. He has an older brother. He wanted to become a composer, but moved, so he’s now a Healer. A bit tragic, don’t you agree? Anway, his favorite season is the falling season. Yoongi’s favorite number is three. He says he likes the color black, but he actually likes midnight blue. Do you know that color? Have you seen it recently? I think it looks nice. 

That’s all, I suppose. Taehyung won’t stop pestering me.


Kim Seokjin

    Jimin just stared at it after he finished reading it. Yoongi had been reading it with him and looked a little mad. “That bastard,” he huffed. The older started grumbling to himself. Jimin turned around and saw his cheeks dusted pink. He picked the juisun up and started nibbling on it. It tasted very sweet. Jimin liked it. 

    “Anyway, is it alright if Mother amputates your calf- what did she say- next week? I don’t think it will hurt,” Yoongi said hastily. Jimin pursed his lips and continued to nip at the pastry. The older rubbed his bony back, fixating on something making noise outside. Yoongi squinted and got up, whispering something to himself. Jimin tilted his head and tried to look out at what Yoongi was interested in. The older was in the way, so he couldn’t quite see what was happening.

    “By the Spirits- Seokjin?” Jimin instantly became interested. He heard a shout in return. Yoongi sighed and turned to glance at him. “What do you want? Why in the deepest pits of the Viper’s burrow are you here?” There were a couple more shouts, and a few in a deeper voice. Jimin felt like he recognized it, but his memory was foggy. Perhaps it was just some other person. The older pinched the bridge of his nose and muttered, “oh, fuck me.” Jimin’s cheeks blossomed red and he pouted. “D-don’t talk like that!” he squeaked, voice scratchy like he had been shrieking. But, he was certain he hadn’t. Yoongi turned again and just looked at him for a moment. He then shouted, “Do you really want me to carry him over here? He needs to rest- oh, shut it, Hoseok! Go kiss Jin-hyung or something.” Yoongi then turned and stalked up to his bed, quite grumpily, and scooped Jimin up like he was nothing.

    Jimin yelped in a way that felt as if he had just ripped out his throat and rubbed it against some sandpaper. He began coughing and the older apologetically rubbed his shoulder. He split some skin, but it didn’t really hurt too much. Jimin couldn’t remember the last time he had been able to get up and sit by the window. Last time he did that, he had been eighteen blooming seasons, and Healer Min said he had been lying in a pool of his own vomit and blood. Jimin clung to Yoongi’s slightly dirty, dark brown tunic. Yoongi shrugged off his unnecessarily heavy cloak and draped it over his small frame. Jimin had forgotten he wasn’t wearing any clothes. Usually, he would ruin them in an hour, so Healer Min just opted for him to stay nude. It was easier for her to check if he was alright, as well. Jimin wasn’t sure he believed that, but he made no protests.

The younger’s cheeks turned redder and he looked at the floor. Yoongi’s cloak was heavy a little course, which was alright. His ebony wings tickled his cheeks as he wrapped him in them. It was a soft dome of messy feathers. Jimin’s mother used to do that whenever he or Jihyun would get hurt. However, her’s was a shield of metallic grey that let little beams of sunlight through. Yoongi’s seemed to shimmer even though it was dark. It reminded Jimin of the night sky. Faintly.

Once he was close enough, he could understand the shouting. “What are you hiding, you brat?” a sweet, angelic voice snapped. A deep laugh followed. Jimin looked around, very confused. 

He heard Yoongi sigh and pull his wings back, revealing the sight the younger hadn’t seen up close in a long time. The beautiful purple tree that sat outside swayed easily in the wind, like it had no care in the world. There were faint hills under the rolling grey grass that shimmered under the sun. Wisps of clouds danced in the sky, twirling around the few birds that soared. A path of cobble and dirt was like a snake slithering through his back garden. 

And, standing there, were five people. Only two of which he recognized.

Kim Taehyung and Jeon Jeongguk.

Chapter Text

    He could only stare at them. People he hadn’t seen in so long, it was like they were nothing but myths. Like the High Spirits that were said to dance in the skies and the sun and moon. Seokjin’s letter had seemed like nothing but a story, like the story Yoongi had read to him whenever he wasn’t vomiting or having fits of coughing. It seemed surreal to see them there. To see that they were real . Jimin didn’t know how to react. 

    Taehyung still had ashy grey hair that he had gotten from his mother. His wings were still big and tinted brown at the edge of each feather like the feather art an old man sold in the square. Jeongguk still had big eyes that stared at everything curiously like the halona that constantly tried to nip and feed on their garden. His wings were still perfectly white and he still had a tattoo along his collar. They looked the same and different at the same time. 

    Am I dreaming? he thought foggily. Jimin clutched the fabric of Yoongi’s tunic tighter. Surely, this was fake. Not once had anyone visited him and it certainly wasn’t happening now. 

    “Hello?” the male with a sweet voice called. “Are you Jimin?” Jimin swallowed and hesitantly nodded. He was suddenly aware of how horrid he must have looked. Jimin whimpered and attempted to bury himself in Yoongi’s chest. The older yelled, “He said yes,” while threading his fingers through his messy hair. Jimin hadn’t combed it in ages. He just hadn’t had the energy.

Jeongguk stared at him, tilting his head curiously. Jimin scratched at a piece of flaking skin quietly, not really knowing what to do. He definitely couldn’t answer them. They weren’t even that high up. Why was everyone shouting? Jimin started squirming around, suddenly not wanting to be there. Yoongi huffed in annoyance. 

“What do you want?” he snapped at the one which might have been Seokjin, but Jimin wasn’t sure. The two others next to him stifled a laugh. One was a little taller than the rest of them and the other had a heart-shaped smile. Jimin was starting to feel like he was going to vomit and started squirming more. Yoongi shifted.

“We came by to say hello,” possibly Seokjin said, putting his hands on his hips. “What? Am I, the worldwide handsome Kim Seokjin, not enough for you?” The one with a heart smile giggled. Yoongi rolled his eyes. Taehyung and Jeongguk had said nothing. 

“Did you really have to? I was doing something,” he growled. Jimin swallowed the lump in his throat and decided to memorize the floorboards. The slightly taller one wiggled his eyebrows and said, “What things, Yoongi?” Jimin was thoroughly confused. The older scowled deeply. Jeongguk whispered something in Taehyung’s ear. 

“Are you done?” he sighed. Seokjin smirked. “No. We haven’t even met your new friend properly. What gives, Yoongi-ssi? Can’t we be friends, too?” Jimin twisted around and managed to get a foot on the floor. Yoongi made a face and muttered, “What are you doing?” Jimin didn’t answer, instead focusing on getting both feet on the ground. The older was quick to scoop him again, making him pout. So what if he couldn’t support his own body weight? Jimin never got to do anything himself, anyway. He started impatiently kicking his feet. 

“The fuck has gotten into you?” Yoongi grumbled, setting him on the floor but held him up by the waist. Jimin got a little dizzy and leaned on the windowsill. His head was hurting a little and he wanted to sit down. Taehyung was wiping his eyes on his sleeves. Jimin tilted his head and felt blood in his mouth. He leaned back and tried to spit it out. Yoongi got a cloth out of nowhere and made him cough into it. Jimin squeaked. Jeongguk cleared his throat, getting everyone’s attention. “Uh… Jimin-hyung?” Jeongguk murmured. Jimin just looked at him. Yoongi pulled him a little more upright. The younger coughed, rubbing his eyes. Yoongi quietly pulled his small hands away from his face and set them on the windowsill.

“Uh- c-can you tell him I said hi?” Jimin croaked. The older nodded without looking at him and said, “He said hi.” Jeongguk shifted around, glancing at Taehyung. He was blowing his nose on a handkerchief. Jimin was feeling a little woozy and his legs were wobbling. He wanted to go lie down, but it felt like that would be rude. After all, he hadn’t seen Taehyung and Jeongguk in almost ten blooming seasons. Maybe he could just stand there and just stare a little longer. 

Jimin noticed a small, silver band on Jeongguk’s finger. There was an identical one of Taehyung’s hand. Were they like the necklaces Jimin had gotten for them in fourth year? He didn’t have his anymore, as it would get covered in blood and vomit and was a pain to clean. Jimin assumed the other two discarded them as well. Jeongguk opened his mouth and was about to speak when Jimin suddenly lurched forward. He spit up mouthfuls of blood onto the windowsill, knees buckling and nearly falling to the floor. Yoongi immediately pulled him away and set him on the bed. Jimin wrapped his arms around his stomach, bending forward. Seokjin was yelling about something again, but Yoongi didn’t answer. 

The older waited until he stopped sputtering up blood to push a small vial between his cracked lips. Jimin mewled weakly. The liquid was very bitter, making Jimin cringe. He turned away, nearly spitting it out. Yoongi sat him in his lap, holding him up straight by his shoulders. Jimin lolled his head to the side.

His head was throbbing and he squeezed his eyes shut. Jimin slumped down against the older’s torso. Maybe he should have just sat down and not have said anything. He twisted around uncomfortably. Jimin went limp and lost consciousness.

* ★*  

His mouth tasted like blood. There was something warm gripping Jimin’s small hand. He opened his eyes slowly and saw Yoongi staring at him while holding his hand. He coughed harshly and met the older’s gaze. Jimin picked the mucus around his eyes away silently while Yoongi didn’t say anything. Jimin wiped the dried blood from his bottom lip.

“You’re awake,” the older said simply. Jimin nodded weakly. “I can see that,” he giggled, glancing to the hand Yoongi was holding. “Are you feeling alright?” he asked. Jimin nodded again.

“Does your throat feel better?” Now that Yoongi had mentioned it, it did feel a little better than usual. Jimin absently ghosted his fingers over his neck. “Mhm.” The older nodded and looked around. His light blue hair swept over his eyes as he looked toward the doorway. “Would you like to hear about the capital of the Main Island?” 

Jimin shifted his head to face Yoongi better. That came out of nowhere, he thought idly. He hesitantly nodded, making the other squeeze his hand. “It’s called Halluan. It’s really beautiful there. There’s so many places that it’d be hard to describe them all, so I’ll only tell you about the most well-known ones.

“There’s these four large gardens around the Palace. They’re beautiful. They’re called Pyanna, Tjuu, Hailo, and Norika. The gardens are named after the rarest flowers in the Isles. All of them are amazingly beautiful. They’re planted so that one garden will always be in bloom. Pyanna is full of soft pinks and yellows and whites for the entire blooming seasons. Tjuu is full of vibrant blues and yellows and all the trees look like colored glass spheres during the sun season. Hailo has reds and browns and oranges during the falling season.” Jimin furrowed his brow.

“Brown… flowers?” he asked quietly. Yoongi nodded. “I know they sound unappealing, but they truly are gorgeous. You’d love them.” There was a moment of silence before the older cleared his throat and continued.

“Personally, I think Norika looks the best. In the cold season, it turns white like snow. It even has the largest number of norika in the Isles. Do you know what they look like? The plants are white and the leaves are tinted silver, but the flowers are the best. The blossoms are the richest purple you could have ever seen. It’s amazing. 

“Every garden has a stage. They aren’t as big as the theatres scattered around the city, but they are still large. Half an orchestra could play on there. I always wanted to play there. It’s wonderful. Anyone would love to live there.”

Yoongi took a deep breath and looked at the floor. Jimin stared at him curiously. He took another breath and continued. “There’s another place. It’s called the Markets. It’s made of several streets and meets in a square. There are so many shops and restaurants, it’s really awesome. I liked this one that repaired any instrument you could think of. And there was this restaurant that made amazing uama. I don’t know if it’s still open. Not many knew about it. It was owned by an artist that painted murals along the walls. Sometimes, there’d be little fairs along the streets. There’s lots of little holidays that I haven’t seen anyone else celebrate.

“The capital always looked best during sunset. Everything is so sparkly and the murals everywhere shine when the sun goes down. It- it doesn’t make sense until you see it. But it’s wonderful. Sometimes it feels a bit claustrophobic, but you get used to it. Sort of. 

“Every blooming season, the High Lord hosts a ball in the Palace. I went there a couple times. It was very fancy and expensive looking. Not really a place for children like me. They were free to enter, though. It was always themed. On rare occasions, they’d bring in trained frives to perform in the center of the ballroom. The frives looked very happy to be there, so I suppose they were well cared for. That was always my favorite part.”

Yoongi went silent. Jimin waited for him to say more, but he didn’t. It seemed very nice, although the younger was never one for big cities. He had never worried about performing as a dancer since everyone knew everyone in Kina. Being in a crowded place with so many eyes on you just made him uncomfortable. Jimin wiggled around so his legs were sticking out of the sheet. His left leg felt numb and he didn’t dare look at it. Not many things made him feel repulsed anymore, but it just looked so disgusting Jimin was afraid he was going to vomit at the sight. Yoongi’s eyes flickered down to look at his calf and winced. The younger blushed, biting the inside of his cheek. 

They just stared at each other for a minute before Yoongi whispered, “I feel really bad for you.” Jimin made a face at him but didn’t reply. He continued, “Doesn’t it make you sad to know you can never go outside again. Or walk? Even when you do get better-” Jimin’s face faltered when Yoongi said when and not if , “-you'll still be horribly deformed. It breaks my heart, you know?"  Yoongi squeezed Jimin's small hand tightly. The younger was slightly confused. He had accepted he was going to die a very long time ago and never thought he was going to get better. Giving himself false hope would just make reality worse.

"It isn't that bad," Jimin rasped, toying with the edge of the sheet. "But I appreciate that you think I'll live." He smiled at the older, who didn't return. In fact, the gesture had seemed to upset him. Jimin frowned. In almost two months of them being together, Yoongi had never looked as bothered as he did then.

"D-don't talk like that," the older said softly, carefully sitting Jimin up so they were at eye-level. “Don’t talk like that ever, alright?” The younger slowly nodded in confusion.

“But why? It’s not that big of a deal-” Jimin began, but Yoongi cut him off.

Yes it is, ” he hissed, grabbing the younger by the shoulders. Jimin froze, eyes wide. Yoongi pulled him closer so that their faces were uncomfortably close. The older stared at him for a minute before gently pressing their lips together. Jimin squeaked in surprise. Yoongi slid his hands into the younger’s hair. His lips were strangely soft to him. It was very weird and Jimin was too stunned to do anything.

Yoongi pulled away, cupping Jimin’s jaw. “Just don’t. Please,” he murmured. Jimin could barely do anything but nod again. The older gave him a small smile and gave him a small handful of herbs to eat.

He was so confused. Jimin swallowed the sour plants and wiped his mouth. “W-what was t-that?” he mewled. Yoongi rubbed small circles into his shoulder blades, looking out the window. “What do you mean?” Jimin blushed and looked at the crumbled bedsheet. 

“T-the… the k-kiss?” The older turned to him, expression completely calm.

“Because I like you,” he said simply.

Chapter Text

    Ever since Yoongi confessed to him, it had been a little awkward. Jimin would get flustered and confused whenever the older would touch him or get too close to him. He really hoped Yoongi wouldn’t take his actions the wrong way, as no one had ever told him they had feelings for him. Jimin had told a boy named Jihoon he liked him when he was only thirteen blooming seasons. Jihoon had gently rejected him and they remained friends. 

    It had been a week and Jimin wanted to make things less awkward. He laid in the bed, panting quietly. Jimin’s nose had closed up with mucus, so he could barely breathe. The door groaned open and the younger lifted his head. Yoongi entered the room in a sleeveless grey tunic with a large opening on the back for his wings. A small satchel was hanging off his shoulder. Yoongi set the satchel on the desk and pulled up a stool.

    Jimin looked at him shyly, hiding half his face under his duvet. He watched as the older pulled out some vials and a… vase. It was a light purple with indigo birds carved into the sides. The younger furrowed his brow as Yoongi turned to him. He didn’t say anything as he popped open a vial and handed to Jimin. It smelled very sweet. His tongue darted out to taste the substance. Jimin tilted his head at the familiar taste. The liquid tasted the same as the sleeping medication his mother would use whenever Jimin would have fits of fever. He shrugged to himself and continued to sip the substance. 

    He was starting to feel a little sleepy. Yoongi pulled out some flowers wrapped in paper and plopped them into the vase. They were a very pretty white and yellow. Jimin lolled his head to the side, struggling to keep his eyes open. The older silently left the room, leaving the younger by himself. Jimin bit his lower lip and curled into a ball. His eyelids felt like anvils. Wisps of clouds danced in the sky, slowly crawling across the horizon. Jimin closed his eyes and slowly became unconscious. 

* ★*

    There was a slight ache in Jimin’s leg. He was a bit confused and disoriented. Jimin lifted his head to see Healer Min ( where did she come from? ) wrapping something in a cloth. He looked around and saw a couple scalpels lying in an iron tray. Yoongi was holding a bundle of bandages in his hands, looking at the younger with a concerned expression. 

“W-what’s going o-on?” he murmured weakly, the ache in his leg getting stronger. Yoongi glanced over to his mother. “Remember when I mentioned that we were going to… amputate your leg?” he said quietly. Jimin widened his eyes, letting out a small whimper. Healer Min gave him a gentle smile. “Dear, it was rotting. It was for the best,” she soothed. Jimin nodded stiffly and felt tears pricking at his eyes. Yoongi subtly moved forward. He placed a hand on his hip, gently massaging his cracking skin. 

Jimin sniffled. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Healer Min, it was just that he was a little overwhelmed by the fact that he was now missing a part of a limb. Healer Min got up and murmured something to her son before leaving. Yoongi immediately sat next to him and took his small hand. Jimin flushed and looked away. The older offered him a small smile, squeezing his palm.
    “Do you like the flowers I got for you? They’re called tyollans,” Yoongi murmured. Jimin swallowed thickly, nodding slowly. He brought the younger’s hand near his lips, glancing outside the window.

“T-they’re very n-nice,” Jimin rasped, coughing lightly. Yoongi pressed a light kiss to his knuckles, making him blush furiously. The older bent down and pulled out the glass bottle he had gotten for Jimin before. Yoongi pulled the cork out of the neck of the bottle and held it to Jimin’s chapped lips.

The younger sipped the water quietly, watching Yoongi stare out the window. Birds sang cheerfully outside as the wind blew noisily. The older pulled the glass bottle away, ghosting a thumb over Jimin’s knuckles. Jimin pushed himself up to sit up a little higher and try to see what Yoongi was looking at. He tilted his head as he squinted. What’s so interesting? Jimin thought.

As if the older read his mind, he muttered, “The Sudi Mul-en festival is today. Seokjin and Hoseok want me to go with them, but I don’t want to leave you here alone. Since the festival is in the capital, I’d have to leave now in order to make it on time.” Jimin sat there for a minute, then nodded slowly. “I-I went to t-the festival when I w-was young,” the younger whispered, wincing at the pain in his throat. “It was v-very beautiful.” Yoongi nodded.

“Does it mean a lot to you?” he questioned absently. Jimin nodded. “I’d like to bring you with me, but it’s against the law.” The younger nodded. He was well-aware of that, considering that very time he asked to leave the room, Healer Min would remind him. Yoongi set his hand down. The sky was becoming a mix of soft pinks, oranges, and yellows. Dusk was his favorite time. The Sudi Mul-en festival started at the moon’s highest point. It celebrated the High Spirit of the Night because it was on the longest night of the year. Jimin had loved it when he went. 

“Y-you should go. Just te-tell me how it was.” Yoongi nodded and leaned down to his face. Jimin’s cheeks flushed pink as he turned his head to the side. The older chuckled softly and pecked his cheek lightly. Yoongi pulled away with a small smile on his face. “Alright. I’ll see you in a day or two. Goodbye.” And with that, the older picked up his satchel and left.

Jimin watched him go and just stared at the doorway for a moment before resting his head. Healer Min walked in a few minutes after her son had left, smiling gently at him. She moved over to where the older had previously been sitting and sat down. Quietly, Healer Min pulled out some vials from her cloak and opened them. She put them to Jimin’s lips, making him cringe at the foul taste of the herbs inside. He swallowed it gingerly and stared at the older woman.

“I would like to change your bandages, dear,” she said. Jimin nodded and wiggled himself out of the duvet. Healer Min smiled at him approvingly before undoing the slightly bloodied bandages on his thigh. The younger shut his eyes to avoid looking at his severed leg. Jimin held his breath as he felt Healer Min rewrapping his limb in bandages. 

The older woman quickly finished replacing his bandages and moved to his chest and arm. Jimin looked past her and out the window. He wondered how the festival would be this year. Taehyung said that he went every blooming season and it changed every time. It was too much of a hassle for Jimin’s mother so they only went once, for Jihyun’s birthday. Everything about it was wonderful, from the dancers to the hanging lights to the food. Jimin had always wanted to go again, but then he got sick and that was that.

“You and Yoongi have gotten along quite well,” Healer Min said randomly as she set the bloody bandages onto the floor. Jimin blushed subtly and agreed. “My son isn’t very social, so I’m glad you two are friends. It would be awful to have him look after you and not get along with you, dear.” Jimin nodded. “I-it would.”

She secured the new gauze around his chest and patted his shoulder. “I heard that one of Yoongi’s friends came to visit you by shouting at you,” Healer Min chuckled. Jimin giggled awkwardly. “Seokjin is a very sweet boy. Every now and then, he comes over and gives me some pastries. I always make sure to give him a few extra silvers.”

“H-how long have y-yo-you known him?” Jimin asked softly, watching two little birds fight outside. One small black bird smacked the other down and chirped in triumph. “For about two blooming seasons, dear.” The younger hummed. 

“Do y-you just let h-him go where he wa-wants?” Healer Min threw her head back, laughing. “Spirit, no. He always tells me where he’s going or he gets in trouble, even though he’s twenty-six blooming seasons. He’s still my baby.” Jimin held back a giggle as a random headache crept its way into his mind. He moaned and buried his face into his pillow. Healer Min gave him a sympathetic look. She felt around her cloak for a moment before she pulled out a small jar with small, off-white spheres. They reminded the younger of the pearls of sugar his mother liked to put in her tea. 

Healer Min unscrewed the top of the jar and took a sphere out. She set the jar on the floor and used her free hand to gently grip Jimin’s jaw, forcing his mouth open. “Now, dear, these little pills don’t taste very pleasant. Please try not to spit them out, but I understand if you do, dear.” The younger slowly nodded, not very eager to have something else in his mouth that tasted foul. Healer Min placed the pill on his tongue, immediately making him cringe. The pill tasted extremely sour and made his lips pucker up. The older woman let go of his jaw, watching as Jimin reluctantly swallowed. The flavor seemed to stick to his throat.

 After the younger was done cringing, Healer Min began speaking. “An inventor named Taoi Hyunsoo is almost done building a machine that can heat water. Isn’t that wonderful? He lives in the Northern Isles where it’s much colder. Han Jeonhyuk made a strange thing called a… ‘revolver’? Was that it? It’s a little metal machine that can shoot easier than a bow and arrow. I’ve seen a few in some small shops. They seem a little dangerous, don’t you agree?” Jimin thought for a minute, then agreed with her. He had never been one for violence. Personally, he didn’t think it was necessary to make it easier to kill someone. Jimin had barely understood why the Eastern War had even occurred. From what he understood, two hundred blooming seasons ago, the Minister of the East had become corrupt and attempted to take over the rest of the Isles. All the other islands, as well as the High Lady at the time, attacked the East and defeated the Minister quickly. The entire time Jimin had been learning about it, he had just thought why can’t everyone just get along?

Jimin moved slightly and cried out when he felt his skin pull apart along his shoulder blades. He could feel blood pouring out of him. Jimin wasn’t even aware that area of his body had shriveled up and turned black. Everything just hurt all the time that he hadn’t even noticed. Before, Healer Min tried to stitch his splitting skin together, but it usually never worked. Jimin had a couple scars where it had worked. 

Healer Min sighed and gave him a kiss on the cheek before getting up to go get something. Jimin turned on his side and buried his face into his pillow. The sun was starting to set, turning the sky a soft orange. He found himself wondering where Yoongi was.

Solora was a nice city with lots of statues, museums,  memorials, from what Jimin could remember. There was a bronze statue of the Fallen Sky with the Fallen Ones twirling and swimming through it. Personally, Jimin believed that the Fallen Sky existed. It seemed like an interesting place and it had to be based on something . Who could come up with a massive body of water with large islands in them? A philosopher named Xin Hyunseok claimed that he had jumped off the side of the North Island and flew all the way down until he saw land. He recalled seeing Xiems without any wings, plants that were solely green save for their flowers and fruits, and all the land was surrounded by water. No one else had ever tried to go see what Hyunseok was on about to Jimin’s knowledge, just taking his word for it. The philosopher had also stated that the air was much thicker than up in the Isles. Jimin didn’t know what that meant. 

His headache had subsided noticeably as he watched the sun inch itself down to the horizon. They sky turned a magnificent array of yellow, orange, light purple, and pink. Jimin sighed softly to himself. He listened to the movement below him, watching as the wind whipped grass and leaves around. The flowers next to his bed looked golden in the sunlight. Jimin smiled faintly. 

Jimin thought about how Yoongi would get to the capital. Sure, he could fly there, but it was on the other side of the Southeast and that was forty-six miles away. Maybe he would take a carriage. That would be the most convenient and the fastest way to get to Solora. There really wasn’t any other way. 

His throat felt like it was sticking to itself as he breathed. Jimin coughed and spit up a mouthful of phlegm, which he proceeded to spit into a bucket Healer Min had left for him. He felt tired but couldn’t sleep. It was frustrating to no end. 

* ★*

    Jimin had been staring at the bright, full moon for hours. The moonlight blocked out the twinkling stars around it. Lanterns were being released into the night, beautifully white like the moon’s pale face. He watched as they floated on the wind, further and further until they looked like stars themselves. Jimin had to spit up thick phlegm laced with blood in order to breathe every now and then, but it wasn’t that bad. It didn’t hurt.

    He could hear wild frives howling in the distance. Jimin stared at the moonlight pouring into his room, painting the floor and walls with light. Shadows took up residence in the corners of the room, dark yet inviting. Jimin, against his better judgement, kicked off his duvet and forced himself to sit up. The actions produced piercing pain in all his joints and a pounding headache, but he didn’t care.

    Jimin put his leg on the floor, staring at his bandaged thigh for a moment before pushing himself up. He wobbled around, flailing his arms around for balance. He glanced at the door, shut tight. The brass handle gleamed in the moonlight. Jimin shook his head and stumbled forward a bit. Some floorboards creaked under his flailing. He hopped clumsily over to the window and gripped the windowsill for support. Who knew it was so hard to move with only one leg? Jimin thought as he leaned out the window and peeked out. Further into Kina, Jimin could see faint light. 

    Did his mother even know if he was still alive? Did she care? He felt his chest tighten and felt dizzy. This is a bad idea , Jimin thought as he pulled away from the window and stumbled back to his bed. Pain was stabbing into every part of his body as he collapsed onto the mattress. He grabbed the bucket and vomited into it. Jimin felt a little bad for making so much noise in the middle of the night and most likely waking other patients up. He gasped for breath and vomited again. Jimin dropped the bucket and collapsed. The taste of blood filled his mouth as he coughed it up onto himself. Blood dripped out of the corner of his mouth as he spasmed. 

    Jimin vomited on himself before passing out.

* ★*

    “Jimin? Jimin! Wake up!” Yoongi was harshly shaking his shoulder, jolting him awake. Jimin tried to open his eyes, but mucus had hardened over his eyelids so he couldn’t open them. There was a vile taste coating his tongue as he moved around. Jimin whimpered as he attempted to open his eyes again. “Are you awake?” The younger nodded as he picked at his eyes. Jimin felt Yoongi grabbed at his hands and pull them away. Something warm and damp was pressed against his eyes and the younger relaxed slightly. 

    “Y-Y-Yoongi,” Jimin whispered, twisting around on his mattress. The spot where he had vomited the night before was completely clean from what he could tell. What happened while he was asleep? “Shhh, it’s okay. Can you tell me what happened? There was vomit on the floor and on you, as well as blood. Mother and I cleaned it up before you woke up.” Jimin swallowed, whimpering. Yoongi ran his fingers through the younger’s red hair. “I-I got u-up at ni-night and went t-to the windowsill,” he mewled, going limp on the mattress. “I went back t-to the bed and v-vomited.”

    The older’s made a small noise of disapproval and gently undid a knot in the younger’s hair. “Why did you do that?” Yoongi said in a scolding tone. Jimin tried to open his eyes again and succeeded. The older plucked the cloth off his face. He looked tired, dark circles under his eyes. He was dressed in a loose, cobalt blouse that slid off one of his shoulders. Jimin couldn’t help but think Yoongi looked handsome. The younger blushed as Yoongi combed through his hair with his fingers.

    “B-because I couldn’t- I co-couldn’t s-sleep,” Jimin rasped, throat burning. The older hummed in response. “You shouldn’t have gotten up,” he said. “You could have fallen over and hurt yourself.” The younger nodded shyly. Yoongi picked up a small loaf of bread and a bowl of water Jimin hadn’t noticed before, breaking the bread apart. He held a piece out to him and said, “Eat.”

    Jimin grabbed the piece of bread looked at it curiously. It was glossy and smelled sweet. He nibbled at it, not paying attention to the taste, preferring to watch Yoongi instead. His blue hair rustled in the light breeze, as well as his ebony feathers. He looked amazing. When Jimin finished, Yoongi made him drink some water. The younger was a little reluctant because he knew he was just going to vomit it all up anyway. 

    Yoongi bent down and started to dig around in his bag. He pulled out a leather-bound sketchbook and flipped through it. “Hoseok drew some stuff from the festival for you. He said he was disappointed that you didn’t come. That bastard isn’t very funny.” Jimin giggled softly. “Y-your friends seem n-nice.” Yoongi hummed. The older opened the sketchbook and held it out for Jimin to see. It was a drawing of the flower cakes that were only served during the Sudi Mul-en festival. It was really well-drawn. Yoongi turned the page to reveal a fluffy velloa, eyes bright and all eight tails pointing up. Velloas were Jimin’s favorite animals, besides callas.  

    The older turned the pages a couple more times. There were drawings of trees and insects and the famous lanterns floating into the sky. Jimin smiled warmly at them. Yoongi chuckled softly. “T-the drawings are v-very nice,” the younger said quietly, “Please t-tell H-Hoseok I said t-thank you.” Yoongi nodded. He stuffed the sketchbook back into his bag and gently sat Jimin up. Yoongi pressed the younger’s head to his chest while toying with his hair. Jimin didn’t exactly know what to do. The older smelled nice, like tyri blossoms and saltwater. The younger blushed when Yoongi pressed a kiss to the top of his head. 

    He honestly didn’t understand why Yoongi was so affectionate with him. If he was in the same situation, he would prefer to not touch the person who vomited all over themselves and coughed up mouthfuls of phlegm and blood. Jimin did like that the older thought of him, though. It made him feel less lonely. 

    “W-why you t-touch me so m-much? D-don’t you have to throw away all you clothes and wash e-every time you leave?” Jimin asked softly, face still partially buried in his chest. “I do have to burn my clothes and bathe in disinfectant, but I don’t mind,” Yoongi said, running his fingers through the younger’s hair. “I like spending time with you.” Jimin’s face flushed a bright red. 

    “Why?” The younger asked. He felt Yoongi shrug. “Because I like you.” Jimin squealed and weakly hit his chest. The older laughed. Birds sang outside, trilling proudly. Leaves rustled and Jimin could faintly hear children laughing. Yoongi gently gripped his chin and lifted his face. The younger squeaked. Yoongi cupped his cheeks, pressing his lips to Jimin’s. Jimin tensed, then relaxed slowly. The older pulled away quickly, smiling. His smile showed his gums, making the younger’s heart flutter. 

They stared at each other for a minute, Jimin trying his best to subtly memorize how Yoongi’s face looked. “I had a great time at the festival,” the older said quietly, still holding his face in his large hands. “But, it could have been better. You weren’t there to enjoy it. It was so pretty this year. There were fairy lights strung up in trees and there were trained birds to sing.
It was beautiful. You would have loved it.” Jimin swallowed, feeling bile start to rise in his throat. He started to struggle, twisting around and flailing. Yoongi made a noise of confusion and let him go. Jimin snatched the bucket off the floor, trembling as he bent over and vomited. 

The vomit was stained with blood. Jimin gasped and vomited again. And again. He began to cry as his throat felt like it was getting shredded apart. Yoongi placed a hand on the small of Jimin’s back, not knowing what to do. Jimin coughed and wailed. “Shhh,” the older soothed. “It’s okay. It’s okay.”

Jimin stopped vomiting, trembling and crying. He hadn’t had a vomiting fit in a while. He spit a couple times to get the vile taste out of his mouth and fell limp. Yoongi held his small hand, whispering gentle things into his ear. Jimin sniffled. His stomach felt as if someone had punched it. 

What’s wrong with me? he thought.

Chapter Text

    Jimin was getting noticeably worse. He was becoming increasingly delirious and lethargic over a few weeks, sobbing and babbling with high fevers or coughing up blood. He laid in bed, twisting and flailing and wailing as pain stabbed into his limbs. Healer Min was trying to get him to eat some mixture of herbs, but he simply turned away from her while wailing. Jimin knew that the woman was getting frustrated. He couldn’t help it. It hurt to sit still and it hurt to move around, so he was desperately trying to find a comfortable spot.

“Dear,” Healer Min said sternly. “Please calm down and just eat this. It’ll make you feel better.” Jimin sniffled, calming down slightly. Yoongi was sitting next to his mother silently, brows furrowed. The younger watched as Healer Min pressed a carved wooden spoon to his lips. He swallowed the strange mixture, cringing at the taste. Jimin twisted around uncomfortably. Yoongi quietly took his hand and squeezed it gently. Jimin looked up at him, whimpering softly. The older mumbled something that he couldn’t quite hear. 

Healer Min managed to get Jimin to eat the rest of the herbs and left to go do something. Yoongi immediately bent down and began to whisper in his ear. “Jimin, I know it hurts. But, you have to relax so we can help you.” The younger inhaled harshly and nodded. Yoongi gave him a small smile, making Jimin smile back weakly.

“‘M sleepy,” he said, voice barely above a whisper. His body was aching and all Jimin wanted to do was fall asleep and never wake up. “Go to sleep, Jimin-ssi.” The younger blushed. He brought Yoongi’s hand up to his face and nuzzled his face into it. Yoongi made a small noise. Jimin closed his eyes, mewling softly. The older used his free hand to pet the younger’s hair like he was a calla cub. Jimin found himself no longer sleepy as he tried to sleep. He moved around, sending jolts of pain into his joints. 

“Jimin-ssi, are you alright?” The younger sniffled, opening his eyes. “I’m- it’s hard t-to fall a-asleep,” he whispered. Yoongi nodded. “Would you like me to get in bed with you?” Jimin’s cheeks heated up as he nodded shyly. The older got up and carefully laid next to him, making sure he still had access to the bucket on the floor. Jimin squeaked when Yoongi wrapped his arms around his waist.

The younger snuggled into his chest and drifted to sleep.

* ★*

    “Mother, what in the Viper’s pit are you talking about? We can’t do that to him!” Jimin wriggled around, finding that he couldn’t open his eyes. They were sealed with dried mucus again. 

    “Yoongi, you know that he’s suffering.” He turned his head towards Healer Min’s voice. “I know. But you can’t just kill him!” Yoongi snapped back. Jimin squeaked in confusion and fear, making both go silent. He struggled to open his eyes as he felt like he was thrown into a fire. The younger started to thrash around with tears pricking at his eyes. A warm hand was placed on his shoulder, making him flinch. 

    “Jimin-ssi, please calm down,” Yoongi said softly. Jimin began to sob. “W-w-what are you t-talking about?” he demanded weakly. He heard the older sigh and card his fingers through his hair. “It’s nothing. Don’t worry about it, Jimin.”

    “I-I wanna k-know!” the younger whined, kicking and flailing his arms like a toddler throwing a tantrum. Yoongi huffed and gently, but forcefully, pushed him down. “Listen to me, Jimin. It’s nothing, alright? Please believe me.” Jimin wrapped his small hands around the older’s wrist, attempting to open his eyes. Something damp was pressed against his eyes and he relaxed. Yoongi stroked his hair, going quiet. The younger turned his head to the side, making  the cloth fall off his face. Jimin blinked several times, vision slightly blurry. He let go of the older’s wrist and relaxed. A small bird had landed on the windowsill, head tilted to the side. It had a pastel orange coat with an off-white underbelly. The bird chirped and hopped around a little. 

    Jimin found himself smiling at it. It whistled loudly, spreading its wings and jumped off the windowsill. Yoongi just stared at it, looking slightly confused. The bird cautiously moved forward, chirping. Jimin remained completely still, watching the bird look around before waltzing closer. It eventually got close enough to flutter up onto the small desk. It pecked at the purple vase curiously. Jimin realized Yoongi had replaced the flowers with sunset plum blossoms. They grew (obviously) on plum shrubs. The blossoms were very beautiful and smelled lovely. 

    The bird hopped to the edge of the desk, preening its wings before staring at the younger with its beady eyes. It whistled, leaning forward to look at him. Yoongi was watching it, a bit wary. The bird jumped off the desk and onto the mattress. It whistled  directly in his face. Its beak was a pretty shade of yellow. Jimin giggled, making the bird jump back. Yoongi loosened and smiled as the bird took off, flying out the window.

    “P-pretty,” he murmured. Yoongi chuckled. “You think so?” Jimin nodded. The older bent down and pressed a kiss to his temple. 

    “I have to go in a bit. I’m meeting up with Hoseok, Seokjin, and Namjoon to go swim at Fytrama lake,” Yoongi said, toying with a lock of red hair. Jimin felt a little disappointed. “Oh. O-okay.” The older hummed.

    “I’ll be back in a bit.” And with that, Yoongi turned away and left Jimin alone.

* ★*

    There was vomit and blood everywhere.

    Thirty minutes after Yoongi had left him, Jimin had started vomiting violently. It had never been that bad in all the blooming seasons he had been sick. He felt terribly weak, trembling as he laid in bed. Jimin sniffled and rubbed his eyes.

    Healer Min had given him some medicine and read him a short story. Jimin’s throat and stomach felt like it had been ripped apart and thrown into a fire. Feeling so terrible was stressing him out greatly. Her soft hand was resting on his shoulder. She had put a damp cloth on his forehead to ease his fever. It felt too hot and too cold at the same time. Was that even possible?

    Jimin sniffled, inhaling the vile scent of vomit. He cringed and turned his head. How could Healer Min even handle it? Jimin twisted around, arching his back off the mattress. His ribs were aching with a dull, pulsing pain. 

    It was incredibly uncomfortable to stay still. Jimin felt hot and sticky, sweat beading on his forehead. The birds, the trees, the wind were too loud, making him whine. Healer Min was watching something outside that Jimin didn’t particularly care about. He forced himself to relax. Stressing out would just make him feel worse. The taste of blood lingered in his mouth, metallic and coppery. He thought about simple legends and stories to ease himself.

    One of Jimin’s favorite stories was about the High Spirit of the West, Kyusi. It was about how she had put the stars and the moon in the sky. Kyusi had felt that the night sky was too dark, letting prowlers creep out from the darkest corners of the night. To fight off the beasts, she begged the Viper to let the purest of the deceased out of its pit. After bartering her diamond crown, the Viper let the spirits out. Kyusi told them that they could live in the sky, with her. The spirits happily complied and settled into their new home, becoming the stars. Kyusi curled into a ball to slumber, becoming the moon.

    His fever had died down a little, and he let out a small sigh of relief. Healer Min gave his bicep a small squeeze, getting Jimin’s attention.  “I’m going to get you some more medicine, dear,” she murmured. “I’ll be right back.” Jimin nodded slightly, wincing at the action. And with that, the woman got up and left him alone, the door closing with a soft creak. Jimin watched the door for a minute and looked outside. The mild warming season was starting to give way to the falling season, leaves on trees turning slightly redder, oranger, or yellower than before. He found himself thinking about how Jihyun and him would jump and run through cool, colorful forests and piles of leaves. Jimin wondered who his brother was doing that with now, if he was as childish and playful as Jimin knew him. Had Jihyun betrothed during the blooming seasons he was gone? His brother had been thirteen bloomings when Jimin had last saw him.

    Jimin laid there, thinking and reminiscing. He heard faint footsteps coming down the hall and he assumed it was Healer Min. The door creaked out, making Jimin look up. It wasn’t Healer Min, though. It was Yoongi.

He didn’t have a tunic on, revealing his pale skin and flat stomach. Jimin’s small amount of unaffected skin turned red from abashment. Yoongi’s trousers were soaking, along with his ebony wings. Water trickled down his face, dripping off his jaw. The younger squeaked, hiding his face. He heard the older chuckled and walked over to him. He sat down next to Jimin and pried a hand away from his face, gripping his palm gently.

“How are you feeling?” Yoongi asked softly. Jimin gave a small mewl in reply. The older smiled softly.

“M-m’fine. J-just have a l-little fever. B-but I-I’m fine,” he whispered. Yoongi slid a hand into the younger’s hair, gently tugging here and there. It felt… good. Jimin nudged a little against him, feeling embarrassed. The older smirked and pressed a small kiss to his temple. “D-d-did you have fun? W-with your f-friends.” Yoongi nodded and squeezed his hand. 

Healer Min came into the room with a basket full of herbs and ointments. The older woman pulled a jar full of yellow pills and unscrewed the cap. Jimin watched as Healer Min dropped it into a thick vial of water. She shook it around a little before walking over to the younger and tipping it to his lips. Jimin obediently opened his mouth and swallowed the odd tasting liquid. He cringed but kept swallowing anyway. Yoongi toyed with his hair sweetly as he finished drinking.

“Yoongi dear,” Healer Min said, pulling away. “I need to talk to you for a minute.” The older nodded  and got up, giving Jimin’s small hand a squeeze. The two left Jimin alone, again. He stared at the closed the door and tried to listen to the faint conversation he could make out. All the younger could really understand was ‘ I spoke to… and… agreed” from Healer Min and “What? How… say that?”  from Yoongi. There was a little more words spoken before the older shoved the door open and stormed into the room. Jimin furrowed his brow in confusion.

“What’s w-wrong?” the younger rasped. Yoongi pinched the bridge of his nose, ignoring what Jimin had said. Jimin repeated himself, getting a little annoyed when the older didn’t reply.

Jimin pouted to himself and turned away.  He winced as he felt his skin split down his spine. The older ran a hand through Jimin’s hair, making him flinch. “It’s… nothing. Don’t worry about it.” The younger turned to look at him, smiling shyly. “Are you hungry?” Jimin nodded. 

Yoongi sat him up and wrapped him in his arms. Jimin blushed, cuddling into his chest. The older sighed, murmuring, “I love you.”

Jimin didn’t know how to reply.

Chapter Text

    They had been spending every day together for a month. The trees had turned red and yellow, leaves coating the ground. Rodents were scurrying around, collecting nuts and berries. 

Yoongi would come into Jimin’s room in the late morning with gifts and sweets and stories. It confused the younger greatly, but he didn’t complain. His health was steadily deteriorating, so having Yoongi around him made him feel better. It was hard for him to grip objects or form words, but the older didn’t make any comments about it. Jimin really appreciated it. 

He was still thinking about what Yoongi had told him; that he loved him. Jimin felt guilty for not saying it back. The younger was snuggled into the older’s chest, listening to Yoongi talk about how Hoseok had shoved Seokjin’s face into a cake the other day. Jimin’s eyes felt droopy, watching the shadows of leaves dance across the floorboards. 

The older was murmuring softly about how Seokjin looked like a snow sculpture made by a child three bloomings old. Jimin giggled. The two looked up when the door creaked open. Healer Min was standing in the doorway, a grim smile on her face. Yoongi stiffened, making Jimin tilt his head. The older woman had a bowl full of strange, light purple paste. It smelled sweet, from what the younger could tell. He stared at her curiously.

“W-wha- what’s t-that?” Jimin whispered quietly. “It’s.. a pudding. For you, dear. I thought you’d like some,” Healer Min murmured. Yoongi placed a grip on the younger’s shoulder, tense and brittle. Jimin looked up at him. “T-tha-thank you.” The older woman nodded. She went over to the desk and set the bowl down. 

“I’ll leave you two boys alone,” she said, somewhat sadly, and left the room. Yoongi stared at the bowl warily, trembling weakly. Jimin rubbed his nose, mewling softly. The older hesitantly picked the bowl of pudding up after a few moments and held it a couple inches from Jimin’s lips. He gave Yoongi a confused look. 

The older’s hand was trembling as he held it to the younger’s lips. Jimin was hungry, so he was just lapping down the pudding without a second thought. It tasted like sunset plums. The more the younger ate, the sleepier he got. 

“Jimin,” Yoongi said quietly, voice cracking, “how are you feeling?” Jimin wiped his mouth and murmured, “T-tir-tired. I don’ w-wanna sl-sleep.” The older swallowed.

“Don’t worry, Jimin-ssi. Just go to sleep. Tomorrow, we’ll go outside and explore together. You’ll-” Yoongi’s voice cracked, getting progressively quieter, “You’ll get to meet my friends in person. We can go to the capital together and watch the sunset.” Jimin furrowed his brow. His thoughts and movements were becoming increasingly sluggish.

“I-I can’t g-go outside,” Jimin countered, thoroughly confused. “I know. But after today is special. You can- you can go wherever you want,” the older whispered. The younger slowly looked up, surprised to see tears streaming down Yoongi’s face. Jimin struggled to speak and stay conscious. He brushed a thumb along the younger’s cheek, sniffling. Yoongi turned away to pluck some flowers out of the vase on the desk. The older started to weave them into Jimin’s tangled hair. Jimin was starting to panic. He had never felt that tired in his life. 

“Y-Yoongi- wh-what’s going on? I- I’m scared,” Jimin cried, pawing at the older’s arm weakly. The older pressed a kiss to his cheek instead of speaking. “Shh, it’s okay. Don’t worry, little one. Once you wake up tomorrow, we’ll go into town and I’ll get you a necklace,” Yoongi soothed. Jimin began to cry. He was absolutely terrified. Jimin had an inkling that he was dying. And by the way the older was speaking, the younger believed it was true.

Before he had met Yoongi, he was completely accepting of his death. After all, everyone passed some day, and Jimin was just passing sooner than expected. But, now that the younger had someone to talk to and spend time with, it was horrifying to think that he wouldn’t be able to be with him until they met in the night sky, which, hopefully, wasn’t any time soon. There were so many things he could never do or say with the older. Possibly, that was the worst thing he feared.

“It’s alright, Jimin. Calm down. I love you,” Yoongi whispered. He wiped the salty tears from Jimin’s cheeks, pressing a small kiss to his temple. Jimin hiccupped, hiding his face in the crook of the older’s neck. “I love you, Jimin.”

The younger’s eyes shut against his will, thoughts mixing together. His tongue felt like a lump in his mouth. There was no pain, but he was still hurting. Jimin sniffled and slurred, barely even audible, “Love you too, hyung.”

. A tiny smile made its way to Jimin’s mouth as he got the words out. Soft, comforting touches brushed against his skin, along with light kisses peppering his face. As the world slipped away, Jimin felt strangely calm. As he fell into a sleep he would never wake from, he felt happy. Happy that he was with someone who would hold him without being disgusted. Without hating how he looked like he did.

And that person was Min Yoongi.

* ★*

    The falling season had covered the ground in piles of decaying leaves in shades of brown and red and orange and yellow. Yoongi stared at the simple coffin where Jimin’s body was being kept. People he didn’t know were talking with each other is soft voices, wings and hair ruffling in the wind. He stood silently next to Hoseok, Seokjin, and Namjoon. Taehyung and Jungkook, Jimin’s childhood friends were off somewhere else. 

    Yoongi tried his best to keep his tears at bay. He quietly cursed the Viper for its cruel sense of humor. It must have thought making him fall in love with a male doomed to an early and painful death was hilarious. When he had first laid eyes on the younger male, he had been disgusted. Yoongi thoroughly hated his first reaction to Jimin. He had thought the male was just a corpse. When his mother had told him he was to care for him, since she had more patients than usual, Yoongi had put up quite the fit. He cringed at what he had yelled in their small cottage. ‘ Why would I bother looking after a living corpse?’ he had snapped. Yoongi balled his hands into fists. How much of an idiot was he?

    Hoseok noticed his tense state and took his hand, giving him an empathetic smile. Yoongi looked away. Perhaps in a different world, Jimin and he could have been together for longer. His passing would have hurt just as much, but it would have been easier for Yoongi to cope with it. 

    Seokjin murmured, “Yoongi-hyung,” and looked towards a male behind him. His hair was tawny in color and his eyes were a soft brown. The male’s wings were a dark, metallic grey. He must of been Jimin’s brother. The resemblance was uncanny. The small male was clutching a rolled up piece of parchment in his hands. “Excuse me,” he said softly. “Are you Min Yoongi?” Yoongi gave him a curt nod. “My name is Jihyun. I’m Jimin’s brother.”

    “I know,” he muttered, a bit harsher than expected. Jihyun looked at the ground for a second before holding out the roll of parchment. “This is for you.” Yoongi slowly took the paper from the male and thanked him. Jihyun nodded and scampered away. His wings were small and looked like they couldn’t carry him. How did he get around? Yoongi untied the rope holding the parchment together and unfurled the paper. He felt himself get choked up at what he saw, tears pricking at his eyes.

    It was a portrait of Jimin. His face was beautiful, even in a drawing. Who would have known he once had full lips and round cheeks? Of course, that was when Jimin was much younger, but he still looked wonderful. Yoongi’s bottom lip quivered as he clutched the parchment. Hoseok squeezed his shoulder comfortingly. 

    He silently rolled the portrait back up, tucking it into his coat carefully. The trees swayed peacefully in the wind, as if nothing was wrong. As if there wasn’t a deceased male under their branches. Yoongi looked over to where Jihyun had run off to. He was standing next to an eldery woman, wings a soft pewter and hair white. She looked tiredly sad, holding Jihyun’s hand loosely. 

    The sun was lowering below the horizon, painting the sky warm, friendly colors. If only Jimin could be there to see it. It was lovely. A priest dressed in ivory robes that draped over his wings that had been speaking with some guests began making his way to Jimin’s coffin. He silently opened it, revealing a large pile of mixed flowers. Yoongi sucked in a harsh breath, knuckles turning white as he balled them into fists once again. Hoseok put an arm around the older’s shoulders.

    The priest stood at the foot of the coffin, clearing his throat. All the people there turned to him. He pulled an unlit torch from his robes. Slowly, the priest began to speak. “This is the day where this young man, Park Jimin, is let to rest,” he murmured. Yoongi, against his will, started to cry. “Let us pray for him as the High Spirits lead him to his eternal resting place. May he dance in the sky and watch over us, for he has started a new life.” The priest just looked at the coffin, appearing to be a little confused. From what Yoongi had heard, the priest there would usually let the deceased’s closest loved ones take a feather from their wings. Since Jimin didn’t have any, there was nothing to take.

    Finally, the priest said, “Would the loved ones come and take a flower?” Jihyun quickly scurried over there, obviously not wanting the attention, picked a random flower, and ran off. The elderly woman, presumably Jimin’s mother, walked slower. She made her way to the coffin, and picked two flowers. They were both the same as Jimin’s brother had picked. Instead of going to where she stood before, she started towards Yoongi. He stiffened as she paused in front of him, took his hand, silently pressed the tall, layered, purple flower into his palm, and said, “It was his favorite,” before walking away. Yoongi was dumbfounded.

    The priest lit the torch. It burst into flames, white and orange, the tips blue. The fire flickered and waved around, turning the top of the torch black. “May he find happiness in the sky,” the priest said and bent down, setting the torch into the coffin full of flowers. Yoongi sniffled, knowing that Jimin’s body had been burned before to prevent the spread of disease. He still thought of the ashes in the coffin to be his corpse. The fire licked at the blossoms, curling around petals and kissing them black. The smell of smoke filled the air, making some people cough. Yoongi wiped the tears from his eyes. Flowers curled up and turned to ash as flames drained their color. 

He let out a small whimper and buried his face into Hoseok’s chest. How could anyone agree to kill Jimin? He deserved to live for all eternity. Even if his mother consented to his death, it was still terrible. Yoongi let out a choked sob as the fire flickered. 

Hoseok stroked his hair. Perhaps it was for the best. Yoongi always hated looking at his pained eyes and hearing his raspy voice. Jimin was the sweetest person he had ever met. And he deserved to be happy and safe, in life and death. Yoongi peeked out and watched the column of smoke rise into the air, smelling faintly of sunset plum blossoms and winter roses. Perhaps they’d have more time there than they ever could have on the Isles.  He hoped that Jimin would wait for him in the night, shining and smiling.

 And when they met again in the stars, Yoongi would hold him close and never let go.