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Blood Rites

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Far away from anything interesting, in a remote patch of wilderness, there lay a small village. The whole town scarcely covered five miles, and its inhabitants had little to do but tend gardens and flocks, and whisper about each other. A deep river came north from the mountains, curving around the woods and past the village, and went straight on for many miles to the sea. No carriages came through to trade, and nobody disappeared on great adventures. Change came slowly, or not at all.

The homes along the river bank were simple thatched wooden houses, and as the hills sloped away towards the trees, bigger stone houses sprung up out of the grass, with little farms attached. One sat on the far edge of town, a little older than the others. It took a few extra minutes to get there. Chickens and geese ran about the property, and the fields burst with vegetable patches and wildflowers. Berry bushes grew over the low rock wall that ran the length of the road.

A young man lived here, with his family. His name was Jimin, and he spent most of his days at home, working on the farm. He would inherit the land someday, and had to be responsible. He couldn't help but wonder, though, what his life would be like if he had more freedom.

Sunday morning rolled in with the fog, and Jimin put on his best clothes to go to church. Black coat, white shirt underneath. Black pants. Most of the other men in the village would be dressed the same. When his family arrived and took their seats, he sat upright on the pew, his breath slow and even. He hated church Sunday.

Normally he wanted to run through the fields, feed the animals, dream of escape down the river to an imaginary future. But he was stuck listening to an old man tell him that he was born unclean, and only sacrificing himself to an angry God would make him clean. It was ridiculous to him, but he still had faith. At least he still wanted to go to heaven with everyone else.

Out of the fog of sleep that laid itself over the bored parishioners, a sound came and caught Jimin's attention. The ring of a bell far away, and the smell of heavy incense. He looked up and saw him walking past in the aisle. A young man about his age, with a soft face, and curved lips like a doll. He looked intensely focused on what he was doing, and didn't notice him.

After a few minutes the priest could tell everyone was wavering, and in his desire to save their souls he got louder, and pounded his fist on the podium. Jimin rolled his eyes and sighed, not caring if his parents saw. He looked for the man with the incense, and actually caught his eye across the church. The man gazed at him with his eyes narrowed, and he smiled. Jimin wanted to look away, but that little smile made him want to melt right there. He had to talk to him someday. He wanted nothing more.

Eventually the service ended, the fog lifted, and Jimin was being shuffled towards the door. He turned around in the crowd but the man was gone. He had always hated church, but now he couldn't wait to get back. He had to talk to him. It took over his mind, and he didn't know why but it felt so important in that moment. But the day went on like it always did.

That night Jimin lay awake and stared at the ceiling. Moonlight poured in through his window and kept him up. Tomorrow he could go and ask about the young man with the pouty lips and sleepy eyes. He felt like he was going mad, but maybe the truth would be enough to end his curiosity. Maybe the truth was that the mysterious man was boring or unremarkable, and he could get to sleep and nothing in his life would change.

The next morning, after collecting the eggs and leaving a note on the table, Jimin set out towards the village, carrying a little bundle of food. He thought it might make an awkward situation more normal if he had something to offer. When he arrived at the large stone church, probably the largest building in town, he stood in front of the dark wooden door, hesitating to knock or do anything. This whole thing felt like a mistake.

The loud chirping of birds interrupted his thoughts, so he decided to wander off and look for the source. To the side of the church was a big vegetable garden in a courtyard, and in the center stood a birdcage holding a few songbirds. Someone was feeding them. He came closer, and saw it was the man from yesterday that he couldn't stop thinking about, wearing white robes tied at his waist and a huge cross necklace. He looked at him and called out, wondering what he wanted.

Jimin approached him, trying to act normal. He gestured at the birds. "Why do you keep them in a cage out here? Aren't they sad?"

"I didn't put them in there. I'm just supposed to feed them." The man's voice was low, and he had an air of sleepiness about him. Jimin came even closer.

"Do you live here?"

"Do you always ask questions?"

Jimin kicked at the dirt. He held on tightly to his parcel and didn’t speak for a moment.

“What do you have there?” The man took a step forward, and Jimin could smell the incense again. The sun beat down on them in the garden, and he was getting increasingly anxious.

“It’s nothing. Just some stuff we made at home. I live on a farm, over there.” He pointed away across the fields. “I’ll share with you if you tell me your name,” he said. This seemed like a rather stupid thing to say, and he looked down, expecting to see the same disinterested look on the man's face. He looked back up and to his surprise, he saw him smiling at him again.

"Let's go sit in the shade." He followed him and they sat in the grass under a tree. The flowers bloomed around their legs. "My name is Yoongi. I live here, and take care of the church. And the birds." He stuck out his hand. Jimin didn't shake it properly, but he held Yoongi's fingers for a moment and inhaled his perfume.

"I'm Jimin." He handed over his offerings, and Yoongi unwrapped it and pulled out an apple. Jimin watched him eat it while absentmindedly pulling out the grass. He felt awful and he didn't know why. It was like his whole body being slowly heated up from the inside. He took a deep breath to relax, but the church bells rang loudly and startled him. The two stood up and Yoongi handed over the food.

"I have to go."

Jimin shook his head. "You keep it."

"Wait here one second," Yoongi said, and stuck the apple back in his mouth and retreated into the church.

The burning sensation from before dissipated, and Jimin stomped his feet around to get rid of the nervous energy. This had to be a mistake, he was sure of it, but meeting this man didn't make his curiosity go away. The desire to be around him was intense and unfamiliar. He had been so desperate for something to be excited about, even if it was sudden and made him feel foolish. He hoped that Yoongi didn't think he was just an odd stranger bothering him.

Yoongi returned after a moment and slipped a piece of paper into his hand. They said goodbye to each other, and Jimin watched him leave again before walking away and back down the road towards home. Panic welled up in his throat as he unfolded the note. The handwriting was thin and scratchy.

Come see me again sometime. I'm always here.

Jimin sped home, somehow relieved, confused and nervous all at the same time. He would wait until next Sunday, and try to talk to him again.

The week that followed felt unbearably slow. The hard work wasn't enough to distract him, and it made him mad that he couldn't stop thinking about Yoongi. Did he want to be friends? Did he always smell like incense? Did he ever wear different clothes? It made his head hurt. That Saturday night, even his parents could tell there was something on his mind. He was almost visibly shaking with nerves at the dinner table.

"Are you doing alright?" His mom asked. "You look like you're about to jump out of your skin."

"I'm fine," he replied, and shoved a whole half of a potato in his mouth. He didn't want to talk to her about Yoongi. She looked at him suspiciously, but didn't press him. The night went on like normal, they all stayed up late talking and his mom kept glancing at him as if she could figure it out by reading his mind. Thankfully, Jimin managed to get to bed without any questions asked, and finally slept all night.

The next morning it felt like somebody had stepped on his chest. His heart beat uncomfortably as he got ready. This was getting to be exhausting. He wanted to see him and he didn't know why and every minute he was hoping more that Yoongi would reject him or ignore him so he could make it stop.

As everyone got ready, Jimin noticed his dad outside with a carriage. His little brother was excited and went out to climb on it, but he stood in the doorway and sighed.

"Why are we taking this? It's only half an hour to walk."

"Because, dear," his mom said as she squeezed past him. "It's a holiday, remember? Let's all be on our best behavior."

The thought had completely slipped his mind. So there would be an extra long service today. He groaned into his hands and didn't move until his parents rushed him to leave.

He didn't like riding in the carriage. It began to rain in sheets, and the shaking on the uneven ground made him nauseous. His brother leaned out the window and begged their dad to let him drive, to no avail. He slumped back in his seat grumbling, and Jimin sat as still as possible resting his forehead on the cold glass.

"What has gotten into you boys today? We're almost there, and we're going to have a good time." Their mom clicked her tongue at them. "You're both adults now, so start acting like it."

The carriage rattled to a stop outside the church, which was crowded with people trying to get out of the rain. Jimin's heart was in his throat as they took their places inside. All of the priests, visiting friars from other counties, monks, nuns, and even the youngest altar boys were crammed into the church, along with nearly the entire village. Between the bells ringing, people chattering, and his heartbeat pounding in his ears, he couldn’t focus at all. He scanned the altars up ahead, but didn’t see Yoongi anywhere. It was probably for the better.

By the time everyone had settled down and the sermon began, it was already sweltering in there. The priest stressed the importance of being good and kind to each other on holidays, and told a few stories Jimin was sure he’d heard before, with different names put in. He felt his attention drifting, and would have fallen asleep if it weren’t for the noise, and his brother shaking him and saying something in his ear. His family got up with everyone else, and the congregation flowed back outside through the heavy doors. He had little choice but to follow in confusion. They were led around to the back of the church, where many canvas tents had been erected in the yard. Jimin’s mood improved when he realized today was a feast day, and the village had gotten together to have a massive potluck. Even the rain let up, and a group of nuns filed out of the back door carrying pots full of soup, roast beef and lambs, and an endless array of casseroles and fresh vegetables.

Jimin was excited, but that nagging feeling returned and he wandered around the yard in a daze, looking at all the food. Maybe his mom would bring him something later. He felt pulled in all directions, and he forced himself to think about the different smells, what people were wearing, if he recognized anyone, anything that wasn’t Yoongi. Maybe he could just never come to church again. He went and sat down against the back wall, closing his eyes and trying to ignore the anxiety rushing up into his chest.

The pressure building inside him made him push his face into his knees until he saw white spots. He couldn’t hear the clamour of the people anymore. The light drizzle of rain wasn’t cooling him down, and he hoped nobody came over and asked him if he was okay. Before it got so overwhelming that he’d have to leave, it disappeared. He could breathe again, and his whole body relaxed. He stuck his legs out in front of him and leaned his head back on the stone wall. When he opened his eyes after a minute, Yoongi was sitting next to him holding a big plate of food.

“You’re here,” Jimin said, and he couldn’t even mask his relief. Yoongi handed him the food, which looked delicious, and covered up the powerful scent of incense.

“I told you. I’m always here,” he said with that little smile.

“I don’t know what to say.” He set his plate on the grass next to him. “Thank you, but--”

“Let me guess. No appetite?”

Jimin nodded at him and tried to keep his breathing even. He was still relieved, but now he was frustrated as well. Why couldn’t he control himself when it came to Yoongi? He was a total stranger, but being away from him was awful. He had to get a grip and not scare him away.

“Can I say something weird?” he asked. “It’s just hard to explain.” Yoongi looked at him patiently. “I know we just met, but-- there’s something about you. I really like being around you. Sorry, I know it’s weird, but it’s like I can’t control it. I don’t know, I guess…. I want to be friends…” His voice trailed off and he looked at his lap in embarrassment.

“It’s okay." He put his hand over Jimin’s. “I know, I’m just fascinating, right?” They both laughed. “Eat your food, it’ll make you feel better.”

As he ate, all the tension and frustration faded away, and he was happy. Yoongi was close to him, the sun started to break through the clouds, and nobody took notice of them. Jimin suddenly didn’t mind how stressed he was all week, if he could spend a few minutes here with him. It was like coming up for a breath of air after being stuck underwater.

“Do you ever have any time off? I don’t know what the training is, but priests get vacations, right?” Jimin was pushing his luck, he knew it, but it seemed like he was nice enough to answer all of his dumb questions.

Yoongi laughed again. “I’m not in training to be a priest. I’m a monk. I live here all year, and I took vows and everything. I won’t have to give sermons. I look after the church, I pray, and I live a life of hermetical solitude and reflection, or whatever the book says.”
“Wow.” Jimin kept eating, hoping Yoongi would keep talking. He liked his deep, soft voice and the little “shh” noises he made when he was thinking about what to say.

“I guess I get time off though, if I ask for it. What about you though?”

Jimin put his empty plate back down. “Oh no, my life is really boring. I work really hard all day, and I only get breaks in the winter when we’ve stocked up on everything. The coolest thing I get to do is drive the plow, and that’s not even cool.”

“I want to come see your farm someday. If you’ll let me.”

“If you want…” he felt shy all of a sudden. He couldn’t look away from his dark eyes, like he was being pulled in. Resisting was useless now. Yoongi had captivated him. He felt thin fingers over his own again, and he looked down and held his hand, but he could only enjoy it for a second before he heard his name being called from far away.

“I don’t want to go,” he mumbled, but then Yoongi pulled him up anyway. The crowd was slowly dispersing, and before he could say anything else Yoongi threw his arms around him in a hug. Jimin froze, but he still carefully put his hands on his back. He was bathed in his heavy sweet smell, and he had to fight the urge to press his face against his neck.

“God bless you, Jimin. Come back to me,” he whispered in his ear. He left a tiny kiss on his cheek, and then he was gone. Jimin shuddered uncontrollably when a wave of energy went straight through him into the ground. He stood still, almost in shock. His parents called for him again, and he ran off to find them. On the way home, he stared out the window in a trance, ignoring the conversation. The spot where Yoongi had kissed him burned when he touched it, and it didn’t stop burning until he went to sleep that night.

Chapter Text

Now Sundays were no longer full of dread for Jimin, but excitement. It was becoming a familiar cycle. Jimin spent the weekdays powering through his chores, play-fighting with his brother, and living the same kind of life he always had. But the strong bouts of anxiety, headaches, and restlessness didn’t get any easier. It was like a magnet dragging him around until Sunday, when it peaked in a frenzy of nerves and readiness to see his friend and get some relief. He was used to it after a few weeks, and tried not to let whatever it was interfere with his work. His parents gave him a few strange looks, but they must have assumed it was only regular stress.

One Sunday, Jimin didn’t see Yoongi at all, and he was so jittery that his mom pinched him to get him to calm down. He couldn’t seem to focus, or relax, or do anything. His knuckles turned white from holding his legs still. He gave up on feeling better by the end, and they left the church that afternoon with Jimin sure that he’d have to put up with another week of this overwhelming energy, making him hot and tired during the day and keeping him up at night.

When his family came out of the church, Jimin felt someone tugging him away from the group and around the corner. It was Yoongi, but his normally gentle, sort of bored expression had been replaced with worry.

“Jimin, talk to me. Please.”

Jimin reached for his hand to calm him, but Yoongi pulled it back.

“I-- I know you like me. But I can’t be around you. It’s wrong.”

Jimin’s heart started racing with fear. “What do you mean? Is it because… we’re both guys? I won’t do anything bad.”

“That’s not it, Jimin. It’s not, but, I can’t even be your friend. I shouldn’t be talking to you.”

“Why?” Jimin thought about the agonizing desire of Saturday nights, and how amazing he felt when he finally got to see Yoongi again. He couldn’t let it build up inside him, or he’d go mad for real. “Why?” he repeated.

“I can’t explain it, Jimin. I couldn’t hurt you like that. We really shouldn’t be together at all.”

Jimin’s face was warm, and his eyes stung from holding back the urge to cry. This was the only thing that made him happy anymore. “Yoongi, wait. I know it sounds crazy, but I feel horrible when I’m not near you. It hurts and I can’t sleep or do anything, and then I see you and I get so happy. I don’t know what I would do if I couldn’t see you anymore.”

“That’s just what I’m afraid of, Jimin. Stop it before you do something stupid. I’m not good for you. You’re only going to end up hurting worse if we let this go on.”

“I don’t understand.” Jimin sniffled and put his hands in his hair. “I won’t let you go until you tell me why.”

Yoongi sighed. "I can't tell you why. I guess you should know that, before I came here, I was a bad person. And you're so sweet and you have a good future ahead of you. I couldn't do it, Jimin. I have to be alone."

"I don't care what you did in the past, though. You're so nice to me. You're my only friend. Please, Yoongi, I'll do anything. I need you. I promise, if anything happens, I'll leave you alone, okay? Just give me a chance. I'll do a-anything you want." He was crying now, he couldn't help it, and snot was coming out of his nose. "Please, I won't d-do anything bad. God, it hurts being away from you."

Yoongi's face fell. He felt terrible, but it was too late. This was it. He pulled Jimin close and hugged him. Jimin stopped crying, and just made little "hngh" noises into Yoongi's shoulder.

"Shh, it's okay. I won't make you go, Jimin. I won't make you go. I won't hurt you. It'll be okay." Finally, Jimin pulled away from him.

"I'm sorry. I don't want to get you in trouble. C-can I come see you still?" He rubbed his sleeves on his face.

"I don't have much of a choice, do I?" He smiled at him softly, but his eyes were sad. "Your family is probably looking for you. I'll see you soon, okay?"

"Okay." He leaned forward and left a shaky, wet kiss on Yoongi's cheek, before rushing away to get home before his parents got mad. After he rounded the corner, Yoongi sighed deeply and brushed off his cheek with his fingertips before going back inside.

Jimin came home late and stayed outside all day, avoiding his family. He remembered wishing Yoongi would cut him off so the pain of missing him went away. Now Jimin thought he could handle it. Just one more day with him would be worth it. He'd have to apologise for his outburst later, but the week would be fine. Now Jimin was determined to let his work be enough. He would still be responsible, and mature enough to be close to Yoongi.

His mind ran like this all week as he went through the motions, suppressing every sleepless night and every ache to prove himself.

By the time Sunday came around again, Yoongi was the nervous one. He didn't like how quickly Jimin got attached to him. Yoongi should have been more forceful and ignored him. But Jimin was so good. Yoongi couldn't help but like him back. And that was the part making him nervous. He had to talk to Jimin as soon as possible and stay in control of the situation.

The sun rose over the village, warming up the wet grass. It was quieter than usual. The only sounds that morning were the birds and the church bells. Yoongi had always appreciated these silent mornings. It was peaceful, and he got a moment to think about what he was going to do later.

Jimin and his family entered the church at the regular time, waiting patiently for the seats to fill around them. Yoongi felt silly doing it, but he hastily wrote another note to Jimin to sneak to him when he went by.

Let's talk again. I'll tell you the truth this time. Find me in the far right hall later.

During the service Yoongi stayed out of sight. The opportunity came for him to go through the chapel and out the side door on an errand. Carrying a box of books and other detritus to be unpacked upstairs, he stopped near Jimin and shifted the load in his arms, dropping the scrap of paper on the edge of the pew as if by accident. He refused to make eye contact with Jimin. He was risking enough as it was.

Jimin, of course, glanced at him as he went by and slipped the note out of sight. When church was over, he told his parents he'd stay behind and go to the center of town. He needed more than a few minutes this time, but he didn't want to admit it to himself.

The hallway Yoongi spoke of was empty, as if nobody used it at all. Jimin turned a corner and the soothing feeling went through him. His heart and head stopped pounding, and he could hear himself think. Yoongi took his hand and led him further down, into an empty room full of old furniture. They sat in a couple of chairs and Jimin didn't know how to feel. He wanted to be happy, to be strong for Yoongi. The look on Yoongi's face was so sad, though. He decided to sit and wait.

"Jimin, this isn't easy."

"I'm just going to listen this time. I'm sorry about… all the noise I made before," Jimin said.

"No, I understand. I know what you're going through. I just wanted to be your friend. I thought I could make it work. But you should know the truth. I wish I could make you go away and never remember me, but… it's too late now."

"Yoongi, I've always felt alone, even with my family around. If I have to deal with a little pain to be happy with you, than I'll do it."

"Don't you want to know why? Don't you care? I never wanted to hurt you and now I have no choice. It's only going to get worse and this is the last thing I wanted." He put his hands over his face and sighed. "Promise you won't think I'm crazy until I'm finished."

"I told you, I'll listen." Jimin looked down at his hands.

"When I was younger, I started having this… problem. Sometimes someone would want to get to know me, but then they couldn't get enough. It made them obsessed with the pleasure they felt."

"Do… do you control it?" Jimin couldn't help asking questions.

"No, it's like it lives inside me. It seduces people and," he paused and took a deep breath. "It makes me hurt them. That's why I came here, to be alone. I don't want to hurt such a good person. I really like you, Jimin, and it's making everything worse. I'm sorry, I know it's too hard to believe, but I'm trying to make it better and I don't know if I can."

"Yoongi… I told you. I can handle it. I'll do whatever you want. I'm sorry I'm not strong enough to stay away but I don't want to ruin what we have either."

"I just don't want this thing to take over me again. I'm trying so hard to be dedicated to this life so I won't have the chance to slip up. I don't know what to do. I'm afraid to be with you, but I want to make you happy. I have to fight it, Jimin." Yoongi wrapped his arms around his waist and leaned forward. He felt sick and anxious.

Jimin stood up and put his arms around Yoongi's shoulders and let him lean into his stomach. He hugged Yoongi like this a long time, touching his soft black hair and waiting for the air to feel lighter.

After a while they left the room and reached the end of the hall.

"You know, I pray for you sometimes," Yoongi said.

"Really? I should pray for you too. I'm kind of bad at it."

Yoongi stood and looked at him. "There's no such thing."

Jimin smiled. "I'll take care of you, Yoongi. I'll be strong for us." He had to do something to make it easier on him. The incense smell got stronger as they approached the side door out. He wanted to stay longer, but it wasn't possible. An idea came to him then.

"Yoongi, next time you have a day or two, you should come to my house. We'll basically be alone. I'll call for you, maybe."

Yoongi nodded and bit his lip. He wished he could go back in time, but the fact that Jimin was being better about this than he ever could embarrassed him. "Okay, I'll go with you," he said softly. The tension was coming back and making him shy and angry with himself. He needed to get back to his routine.

"Don't worry about me anymore. I'll come get you soon, okay? Try to have a good night." Jimin was genuinely trying to make Yoongi feel better, but he could tell he was retreating. The urge to hold him and comfort him and the desire to go away and let him have the solitude he wanted were fighting inside Jimin. But he was raised to be respectful, and obedient. This was Yoongi's sanctuary, and Jimin wasn't going to ruin that for him.

"Goodbye, Yoongi. Tell me if you need anything," and he turned to leave. Yoongi grabbed his hand and held him back.

"Thank you… for believing me. Thank you for staying." He squeezed Jimin's fingers. "I'll be good to you."

"I know. It's really okay," Jimin said. Yoongi tugged on his hand as if he couldn't bear to let him go yet. They were about to get caught by the Abbot. His breathing got shallower, as if he was trying not to cry. Before he could wrench himself away and leave in a panic, Jimin kissed him right there in the church.

The pressure on Jimin lessened, and he felt Yoongi's grip on his fingers relax. The dark clouds between them turned to light, and in that moment they both felt safe, and all the pain and distress vanished for a second. It didn't even feel real, that sharing one touch could have that kind of power. They were normal and happy, for one second. They parted and waved goodbye, and everything was okay.

That night Jimin finally slept soundly all night, and in the morning he woke up and didn't feel anything for a while. He could breathe, and he laid in bed thinking about how Yoongi let him kiss him. There was a part of Jimin deep down that believed it was probably bad that he kissed another man. Certainly he'd never let his family find out. He wanted to protect whatever good thing they had together, even if it made him a sinner. Yoongi had to go through a lot worse.

The weekdays dragged, but when Jimin's chest got tight and he remembered that kiss, it made him forget everything else. His headache diminished, and the soreness in his legs didn't keep him from crossing the fields all day. He could do anything, if he could handle this for Yoongi. It was all worth it.

It was a cloudy Thursday afternoon when his mom said she'd be taking them all to the next town to get supplies and clothes. Jimin begged to stay behind to finish his extra work. Occasionally she still tried to figure out why her son was acting strange, but it wasn't enough to worry her. She told him that he could stay home as long as he got everything done.

When the carriage left down the road and out of sight the next morning, Jimin didn't waste any time. He put on a nice pair of jeans and his slouchy knitted sweater and took off from home.

When Jimin arrived at the church, he checked in the yard first to see if Yoongi was out feeding the birds. It wasn't him, but an older woman, a nun by the way she was dressed. Jimin didn't quite know what to ask her, but this could be his only chance for a long time.

"Excuse me, I'm looking for someone," he called from the road. The woman came up to him and dusted off her hands.

"Can I help you?"

"I'm, uh, looking for someone here. He lives here, his name's Yoongi. I'm sorry, I just wanted to show him around. Is it okay?"

"I don't see a problem with it, as long as he's not busy. I'll go ask."

"Thank you," Jimin said, feeling self-conscious. He didn't like standing around outside the church too much. After a few minutes, Yoongi came outside and walked towards him. The dull ache in Jimin's body faded away as soon as he was close enough to look him in the eyes.

"Did you come to get me? Do I get to see your farm?" Yoongi was smiling at him, and Jimin couldn't process how good it made him feel to see Yoongi happy.

"Yeah, I've got the place to myself at least until tomorrow night. Are you ready?"

"I'll go get my bag," Yoongi said.

"Wait. Can I ask you something really lame? The stuff you wear, that incense. Could you steal me some?" Jimin picked at his fingernails so he wouldn't have to look up. Yoongi could tell he was embarrassed, but it was endearing, in a way.

"Jimin, it's not a big deal. Give me a second." Jimin tried to act serious, but he couldn't stop smiling. He felt so lucky, right then. When Yoongi came back and they started walking through town together, the excitement was making it hard to breathe.

"What do you grow on your farm?" Yoongi asked as they went down the long road to Jimin's house.

"Everything, I guess. We have vegetables and apple trees and chickens. There's no cows or horses, though. I think the neighbors got all those."

"It sounds nice."

"It's a lot of work, and kind of boring. But I'm doing a good job so I can get the whole farm someday."

"Wow," was all Yoongi said. They didn't say much more to each other until they reached his front door. The sun climbed in the sky behind them and shone through the front windows. Yoongi hesitated when Jimin opened the door.

"I got all dusty from walking. I don't want to make your house dirty."

"My mom would love you. I've got clothes you can wear, come on." He led Yoongi inside and gave him the grand tour. “Living room, we don’t really spend a lot of time here. Kitchen’s through there on the left.” They walked straight forward up to the back door that led to a porch and the farm fields. Jimin pointed to their left at a smaller door. “See this? This is my brother’s room. Don’t go in here unless you want to die.”

Yoongi laughed. They turned around and went down a short hallway with only two doors. “This is my parents’ room. They got the biggest room in the house. And,” he said opening the other door, “my room. It’s not that special.” He went over to a banged-up chest of drawers and found something comfortable. Tossing it on his bed, he smiled at Yoongi and went off to get them some food.

The room was small, but it had more in it than Yoongi’s sparse room in the monastery. On a shelf along one wall were a few hand-carved toys like little horses and boats. His bed had a thick crocheted blanket on it, and there was a landscape painting on the opposite wall above a bookshelf. Yoongi scanned a few of the titles, but he realized he should probably hurry up and get out of there. He picked up Jimin’s clothes and he couldn’t resist pressing the soft fabric to his face and smelling them. They only smelled like soap, though. He pulled his robes off, putting his cross into his bag. Jimin’s clothes fit him well, and it felt strange to wear something normal. It had been a long time.

In the corner from the left side of Jimin’s bed, something shiny caught Yoongi’s eye. It was a large gun, and Yoongi impulsively wanted to touch it. It looked heavy. He shook his head and left the room with his things, his heart pounding. He wanted to know more about Jimin, who he was, what he liked. It scared him, how badly he wanted him now.

Chapter Text

“Here, try this,” Jimin said. They were sitting around his kitchen table, and Yoongi took a bite from Jimin of some mystery salad his mom had made. Yoongi nodded in approval, but his eyes grew wide in a second.

“Oh, no, Jimin, it’s really hot,” he said as his eyes started watering. He fanned his mouth.

“I’m sorry!” Jimin was laughing. “There’s milk in the ice box over there.” Yoongi glared at him from across the kitchen as he chugged a glass of milk. “I swear, I didn’t know it was going to be spicy,” and he was still laughing. He dragged everything on the table closer to him and started making sandwiches to take outside.

“I’ll show you the yard, when you’re done being mad at me.”

Yoongi sat back down, gasping after drinking so fast. “I think you gave me third degree burns.”

“It’s payback,” Jimin said. “Now we’re even. You hurt me, I hurt you, even on accident.”

“You’re not funny, Jimin.” But he still let Jimin take his hand and bring him outside into the shade of the porch. Cicadas buzzed constantly in the background, and the day was starting to heat up. Sunlight flooded the fields and made it hard to see out into the distance. They wandered out into the rows of plants, and Yoongi was surprised at how big the farm really was. All kinds of fruits and vegetables spread their leaves over acres, and farther along there was a cornfield and an orchard. Yoongi stopped every few feet to pick strawberries.

When they reached the cornfield Jimin pointed to their right. "The river goes back there through the woods. I want to show you something." Yoongi followed him into the trees, and they walked for a while on the soft ground. Soon they came upon a clearing where the river ran past. It was deep and the banks were slippery. Children in the village were taught not to go near it, or they'd be pulled into the current and drown. Jimin brought them over to a huge tree with low branches that acted like a seating area. Hung up in the tree branches were wind chimes and sparkly bits of metal.

"Is this your place to get away?" Yoongi asked.

"Yeah, I don't think anyone comes here but me. It's good to be alone sometimes."

"You're telling me," Yoongi said. "But why bring me here?"

"I don't know, I just thought it would be special."

"It is. I like it." They sat there in silence for a minute, listening to the river rush by.

"Yoongi," Jimin said after they'd eaten their sandwiches and way too many strawberries. "Are you mad at me?"

"Why would I be mad at you?"

"Because I wouldn't let you be alone. Because I'm weird and boring and needy, and I kissed you when I shouldn't have."

"Jimin, you're not like that. You're kind, and caring, and I want to know you better. I want to be close to you, even if it's hard to control myself. I want to try, for you. You're the only one who really cares about me."

"So… that's it, then. We'll be together now. As long as it makes us happy, I don't think the details matter."

Yoongi didn't say anything more.

"Let's go back, before the sun sets and the mosquitoes get us." They returned to Jimin's house, holding hands the whole way back. Yoongi couldn't help being nervous. He was about to spend the night with Jimin, and he had no idea how it would go.

For a while they sat on the couch in the living room reading, and it was nice not feeling awkward and filling the silence with small talk. Jimin was especially glad that Yoongi was there, and he hadn't felt any pain or pressure all day. He remembered the incense Yoongi had brought, and asked if he could go get it.

"Yeah, it's in my bag in the kitchen," Yoongi said.

Jimin went in there and crouched on the floor. He dug through the leather bag, curiosity getting the better of him. Inside there was more than Jimin expected. A Bible, his big cross necklace and a smaller crucifix. A tiny vial of holy water. A little notebook. Underneath all this was a small knife and some kind of cloth. Jimin found the incense and lit one, trailing it through the air into the living room.

"I love the way you smell," Jimin said, wandering around the room. "Wait, that sounded better in my head." He stopped and put a hand over his face.

Yoongi laughed quietly. "You're funny."

Jimin sat on the floor at his feet. "I thought you said I wasn't funny." The incense was thick in the air and he just wanted to be closer to Yoongi.

"Okay, fine, you're not. You're dull and annoying." Yoongi was making the same face he had when they'd met, that teasing smile. Jimin didn't have anything to say next. His muscles were getting tense, and he shifted around trying to get comfortable. He was afraid Yoongi would pick up on his energy. Whatever drew him to Yoongi was strong, and it made it hard to look at him.

"Jimin," Yoongi said as he leaned forward. Their faces were so close. "What do you need?" He felt it too, not just because Jimin was awful at hiding his feelings. The air between them felt heavy and charged with electricity. Jimin didn't say anything, just let out a few shaky breaths. Yoongi closed the sliver of space, and pushed his lips against Jimin's soft round ones. There should have been a static crackle, or a flash of light, but nothing happened. Yoongi didn't want to be careful anymore. He ran his fingers through Jimin's sandy brown hair, finally brave enough to let himself take what he wanted.

Jimin got up off the floor and climbed on the couch. He laid on top of Yoongi, letting him pull lightly on his hair, and tasting strawberries on his tongue. The rush of pleasure went through him, and it was clouding his mind to everything but this moment. Jimin didn't want to be too eager, but Yoongi was warm, and the way he kissed him deeply, the way he smelled so enticing, and his soft pale skin under his hands was overwhelming. He moaned into Yoongi's mouth, and without thinking he slid his hands under Yoongi's lower back and bucked his hips into his.

Yoongi felt it stirring inside him. Not just normal arousal, because God, Jimin knew how to make him feel good-- but the growing desire to grab him, bite him, make him beg to let go. Yoongi tried desperately to just let Jimin lay there and grind on him, but it was pushing at him and making his breath short. He bit Jimin's lower lip, hard. A drop of his blood touched Yoongi's tongue, and he knew he'd gone too far.

"Ow," Jimin whined softly, and he sat up. Yoongi backed out from underneath him and sat with his knees drawn up.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to. I can't-- I'm sorry." Yoongi put his hands over his face. He had so little self-control, and he was ashamed. It was already happening, and he knew it would only get harder to stop.

"Hey, it's okay." Jimin reached over and hugged him. "Let's wait until you're ready."

"I don't think I'll ever be ready. I feel terrible."

"No, don't feel bad. It's okay." Jimin didn't mind. He was still okay with letting Yoongi hurt him, if it was the only way they could be together. But he didn't want to push Yoongi past his limits. "Do you want to go to bed?"

Yoongi nodded, but he seemed reluctant to move. Jimin pulled him up carefully and brought him into his room. He shut the door, pulled back the blankets, and closed the curtains. Yoongi stood there still in a kind of stupor, watching Jimin take his clothes off. He was muscular and tanned from working outside, but Yoongi was too out of it to appreciate his body. He got undressed as well, rubbing a hand on his soft, flat stomach. It comforted him a little.

They got into bed together, and as lucky as Yoongi felt, he was having a hard time enjoying it. Jimin snuggled up to him under the covers and kissed his temple, his cheek, little reassurances.

"Jimin, I want to be good."

"You're good. Everything's okay."

"Are you sure?" Yoongi nuzzled his face into the crook of Jimin's neck. "I don't know what to do."

"Don't do anything, right now. Try to sleep. We can always do it again later. I'm not afraid, Yoongi." He stroked Yoongi's bare back to relax him, the way a mother might do for a small child.

"Okay," Yoongi said quietly. Jimin kissed his forehead, and soon they both drifted off to sleep.

Jimin woke up before the sun rose as usual. He admired how serene Yoongi looked in his sleep, like he wasn't fighting an inward battle every day. He got up on one elbow and watched him for a little bit. His hair fell across his face and showed his eyebrows for once. Jimin noticed a tiny beauty mark on his nose, and one on his cheek. He loved the curve of his lips and deep cupid's bow. He was perfect to Jimin.

Yoongi rolled over and curled up facing Jimin, throwing one of his slender arms over his waist. Jimin only wanted this, to see Yoongi comfortable with him. He ran a finger from Yoongi's shoulder down to his elbow, slowly. His hand went to Yoongi's forearm laying on him, and he felt something under his thumb. Jimin turned his arm over. There was a pattern of scars along his inner arm, all the way to his wrist. They criss-crossed in little lines, dozens of them. Some were still pink, and couldn't have been older than a week. Jimin inhaled, and with a sinking feeling he suddenly knew what the knife was for.

Yoongi woke up and saw Jimin, and yanked his arm away, clutching his hands to his chest. There was a look of deep hurt in his eyes. He got up out of bed and hugged himself, shaking his head.

“Yoongi, what is that?” Jimin asked as he got up as well. He came around to the other side of the bed, but Yoongi backed away.

“It’s nothing,” he said.

“Why would you do that? How could you hurt yourself like this?”

“I-- If I hurt myself, it makes it easier. It-it makes the pressure go away and then I won’t want to hurt other people. Or you.”

“You can’t do that. Please don’t do it anymore,” Jimin pleaded. Yoongi just stared at him. Jimin went out of his room and Yoongi could hear his bare feet thudding on the hardwood. He returned with the little knife in his hand. “Hurt me instead. I don’t care.” Jimin held the knife out at him, trembling.

“Jimin, don’t.”

“Do it. Hurt me instead.” His voice faltered. Yoongi came up to him and grabbed his wrist so Jimin would drop the knife. It clattered to the floor, and Yoongi wrapped his arms around him.

“No, Jimin. I’ll be good, like you said. I won’t do it anymore. I promise. I’m sorry,” and he wouldn’t let him go. Jimin buried his face in his neck, and they stood there like that as the sun came up. Yoongi promised, over and over. When he finally let go, Jimin sniffled and brushed his hair out of his face. He went around picking up all the clothes off the floor, and carried them out to the backyard. Yoongi could only follow him.

The sunrise over the farm was beautiful that morning, and turned everything pink and gold. Yoongi sat on the porch step, leaning against the post. The air was cold on his bare skin, but he wanted to watch Jimin. He had thrown all the clothes in a pile nearby, and was dragging a large tub over from behind the shed. Jimin scrubbed the dirt out of their clothes, humming tunelessly. It took a while, and when he stood up he wiped sweat off his forehead.

“Here, look,” Jimin said, looking proud of himself. “Let’s go hang them up.” Yoongi helped him carry the heavy wet laundry over to their huge clothesline, and they pinned them up together. It was kind of cute the way his robes blew in the wind, Yoongi thought. Satisfied, the two young men went inside, still just in their underwear.

“Are you hungry yet?” Jimin asked. “We have eggs and stuff, whatever you want.”

“Not really, but I should probably eat.” Yoongi flopped into a chair at the table and pushed his bag underneath it with his foot. Jimin went around the kitchen taking things out, peering at unlabeled jars, and clanging pans around. “Do you need any help?”

“Here, I’m not good at this part. It’s like ham, or something.” Yoongi took the package and looked at it.

“Jimin, this is bacon.” Yoongi fed a bit more wood into the stove and put the thick slabs in a pan.

“I’ve never seen bacon that looked like that.” Yoongi snickered at him. Jimin went across the kitchen to chop vegetables and whip a bunch of eggs together. “It’s not my fault I don’t know. My mom doesn’t let us in here when she’s cooking, she’ll take our heads off if we mess up dinner.” He heard Yoongi laugh softly over the sizzle of bacon. Soon the kitchen started to smell amazing, and Jimin got everything cooked. “I made a scramble, ‘cause that’s the only thing I can’t ruin.”

“Good,” Yoongi said, and he moved the pan off the heat. Jimin brought plates out and set everything up. He heard a fork drop behind him and turned around.

“Ahh, shit! God, that’s hot,” and Jimin laughed in shock at hearing him swear. “I burned myself,” Yoongi whined.

“Where?” Jimin asked, and came over to him, stifling his laughter.

Yoongi didn’t want to show him his arms again, but he still cautiously held up his arm for Jimin and pointed at it. Jimin kissed him there a few times. “I’ll take care of breakfast. Go run it under the cold water.” Eventually they were sat at the table eating, chatting and generally feeling much better.
As the day grew longer, Yoongi was worried about leaving. He almost wished he could stay here with Jimin forever, but it was still hard. Now that he’d had a taste of what it could be like, it only made him more upset. Jimin was too good for him, and was willing to do anything to make Yoongi happy. It was dangerous, but Yoongi couldn’t stop now. He wanted it so badly. He vowed to try as hard as he could not to drive Jimin away.

By mid-afternoon, the sun was at its peak and their clothes were dry. Jimin brought them inside, and they got dressed in the living room. Yoongi’s robes were warm, and smelled a little bit like Jimin now. It made him smile. He grabbed his bag out of the kitchen and slung it over his shoulder.

“I guess I should get going. If I’m back too late they’ll raise an alarm like I’m an intruder.”

“Okay. Do you need me to walk you home?”

“No, that’s okay. Probably best if I show up alone. You can walk me to the porch, though.” Yoongi went outside with him, and turned around when he reached the dirt road. “Come here,” and he stuck his arms out. Jimin ran into his hug, squeezing him. Yoongi kissed him again, gently this time, and he was glad there weren’t any neighbours around to see them. “I promise, Jimin. I’ll be good for you.”

“I know. I’ll see you soon.” Jimin let him go, smiling and waving. He stood on the porch and watched Yoongi go down the road in the sunlight, until he couldn’t see him anymore. He had a feeling it would be alright from now on.

Chapter Text

The hot summer days were becoming a humid dirty autumn. The townsfolk isolated themselves. They all prayed for a good harvest. Jimin only asked God to let him keep his family, and his farm, and that Yoongi could find peace. Once he spent a night with Yoongi in his bed, it was even harder to sleep without him. Jimin laid awake for hours and couldn't remember his dreams anymore. Working on the farm was rewarding, but the lack of sleep messed with him.

"Jimin, you need to talk to me." His mother stood in the back doorway one night and wouldn't let him past. "Are you okay?"

He kept assuring her like he always had. He was doing too much. He was just tired. Seasons changing and all that. It didn't feel good to lie to his mom, but Jimin was getting better at hiding everything when he worked outside. The aching muscles and headaches didn't bother him at first. Now that he could hardly sleep, the pain was almost constant and it was all he could do to ignore it.

One day Yoongi sat in his room, intending to write a letter to Jimin. He wouldn't be secretive this time. He wanted them to start acting like normal friends. Not just for their sake, but sneaking around and not letting anyone know that they were out together would raise suspicion. Their relationship was difficult with their different lifestyles, forbidden by their strictly religious town in general, and on top of that Yoongi had to hurt the one he cared about most. The being inside him craved blood, and he knew if he didn't satiate it, Jimin's suffering and longing would start chipping away at him. He promised Jimin he wouldn't cut himself anymore, though. He had to figure something out.

Jimin,
Can you get away for a weekend? I want to take you out, and do something nice for you. Sorry we don't have enough time to see each other. I want to make it up to you. You deserve better. Save me the clothes you let me wear, I want to hide for a day. We'll go do something fun.
Yoongi

It was the worst letter he'd ever written, but it got the point across. Yoongi paid a boy on the road ten cents to run the mile to Jimin's farm. Later he saw him pass by the other way with his little friends, carrying a large bag of candy. Yoongi was pretty sure Jimin would come see him soon.

The Abbot told Yoongi he was allowed the time off, and Jimin showed up the next Friday and milled around on the road, avoiding the church. He was wearing a black flat-brimmed hat and brown pants hemmed just above his boots. He wanted to look nice, even if the dust stuck to everything. Yoongi met up with him in a few minutes, and they disappeared into the tall grass.

"Of course it starts raining as soon as I get out here," Yoongi said as he tugged his robes off. Jimin handed him the clothes he'd brought and just watched him, chewing on a piece of grass.

Yoongi was the same height, but a little bit thinner. He had broad shoulders and chest and a nice ass, but Jimin loved his long thin hands that could wrap around Jimin's completely. His delicate ankles and wrists. His milk and honey skin. Jimin had given him the best shirt he could find, made of soft cotton with sleeves that hung down over his wrists.

"It's black," Yoongi said.

"I think you look good in black." Jimin smiled and threw away his grass. "Where are we going?"

"You'll see. Somewhere far away."

They walked through the field towards the edge of the village. There was one road that led straight out of the area, away from the river. The nearest large town was a day's trip by carriage, and Jimin knew that was the only place they could be going. He had never been there, but his mom said he was born in their hospital. What waited for them wasn't a carriage though. It had a folding roof and round headlights, and it was painted black with little gold letters on the door.

"Yoongi, is that a car? Where'd you get the money for this?"

"I'm allowed to have my secrets. Anyway, I didn't buy it. This man here is going to drive us there and back. I wanted us to be comfortable."

Jimin got in the back seat and stuck his feet out. It was plush inside, and roomy. The rain couldn't get in through the windows. Yoongi had a word with the driver and got in next to Jimin.

"Wow, this is fancy. I'm getting one of these someday," Jimin said.

"I'm supposed to live without material possessions and money, but I had some stashed away from when I first came here. Wanted to do something special for you." Yoongi closed his eyes and smiled. He was proud of himself.

It took a few hours by car, and Jimin was grateful for a chance to sleep. He was more than comfortable around Yoongi. It wasn't just that he stopped hurting, it was better than that. A waking dream where his mind was clear and everything felt clean and good. Jimin couldn't put it into words, but it wasn't the burning, demanding energy from before. It settled into a warm glow coming from inside him like embers. Yoongi was a part of him now, and he never wanted it to end. Jimin laid his head down on Yoongi's thigh and slept the whole way there.

When Jimin awoke, the car was stopped on the outskirts of town in front of an old white inn covered in ivy. The buildings here were mostly wood, but they all had tall storefronts with signs everywhere, and cars lined the road. Women with big dresses and even bigger hair strolled around arm in arm, and the men stood on the wooden sidewalks, spitting chew and drinking expensive whiskey. Jimin would love to live in a place like this, with real things to do, but he was too attached to his farm. Maybe someday.

"Yoongi, what are we going to do?" Jimin asked, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.

"Whatever you want, after we check in here."

They grabbed their bags and climbed out of the car. Jimin heard a tiny voice whispering in the back of his mind. You've gone too far, and now you can never return. He ignored it. This was a once in a lifetime chance to have a real good time.

After checking in and dropping their stuff off in their room, it was already dusk outside. The street filled with people off work, and the lights in the big windows made the whole town glow yellow and orange against the dark sky. The strong smell of tobacco smoke and perfume was inescapable. Jimin was in awe. If his parents found out he was here, they'd lose their minds. He was an adult now, but they wanted him to stay a nice small town boy. Jimin didn't want to let them down when it came to the farm, but he should be allowed to have a personal life.

"Jimin, what are we doing? You make the rules tonight."

"Mmm, let's go down there. I want to see the tavern. I'm finally old enough."

"You've never been to a bar ever?"

"Have you?" He looked at Yoongi, eyes wide.

"No, I'm not really supposed to."

"You know, for a clergyman you're surprisingly open to having new vices."

"I'm just doing it for you." The two of them went in the tavern and sat in the corner where they could watch people. It was all dark wood interior that had been scrubbed to death, but nothing could get ancient bloodstains out of the floor. There was a well stocked bar, a piano, and a stuffed bear in the opposite corner. The place was crowded with working-class folks.

"Can I buy you a drink?" Jimin asked, making a mischievous sort of face at Yoongi.

"I mean, we're already here. If you don't tell on me," he said.

"I won't." Jimin went over to get them drinks. He'd brought all the money he'd been saving under a floorboard in his room. Yoongi leaned his head back on the wall and watched him. He loved sweet and innocent Jimin. He wanted to protect him and care for him. But the other part of Yoongi, deep down, wanted to put his hands on Jimin's perfect ass, push his thick legs up against that bar and destroy him. Yoongi was terrified of it. He was endangering his entire way of life and his security. But he, like Jimin, found it impossible to resist.

Jimin came back with two large pints and set them on the table. "What did you get?" Yoongi asked.

"I don't know, I never snuck booze or anything before. I was a good kid. I just asked for whatever's best."

Yoongi gave him a look. "Okay, cheers, then." They both took a big drink. Yoongi immediately coughed, and Jimin coughed so hard he had to put his fist in his mouth to keep it down.

"Jimin, what in the world? Go ask the lady what she gave you." Yoongi could barely speak. Jimin did so, and came back and sat down again.

"She says it's shiny or something. It's hard to hear."

"Shine?? Jimin, this is moonshine, it's like the strongest thing on the planet! God in Heaven, this stuff is going to kill us."

"I don't think we have this at home," Jimin said.

"This is crazy backwoods drink. It's not for everyone."

"I'm brave enough." He took another big gulp and scrunched up his face, pounding his hand on the table. "I forgot how bad it was," he said, straining to breathe.

"We… are going to have a night for sure." Yoongi gave up on being good on this trip. By the time they left the tavern, they had to walk together for balance. They stumbled back to the inn and both dropped on the bed.

"Yoongi… why did you bring me here? What-- what makes it so special anyway?"

"I don't know, I'm-- seriously didn't plan this. Oh my goodness."

Jimin got up and took his shirt off. "Do you want to touch me?"

"I can't. I want to but it-- it wants me to hurt you. I'm drunk and I can't do that."

"Okay let's just… let's sleep. I'll touch you instead." Jimin got back on the bed and dragged Yoongi up straight. It took a minute, but he pulled Yoongi's shirt off too and wrapped his arms around him. They laid there on top of the covers, the room swaying them to sleep.

In the morning they both woke up with screaming headaches, but they were also still a little tipsy from last night. Yoongi was up first, and he put his shirt back on, groaning. He had to pick the drinks after that, if there was ever another time. After Jimin woke up, they sat on the bed and didn't talk to each other.

"Hey," Jimin said after a while. "Sorry about last night."

"It's fine. I still want you to have a good time."

"What do you want?"

"It's not important, Jimin. I thought… I would try to help you."

"Help me have a real life?" Jimin took Yoongi's hand.

"No." Yoongi stroked the back of Jimin's hand with his thumb. He wanted to be honest and get it over with. "I know how to get it to stop hurting when you're away from me."

"I'm better at dealing with it now," Jimin said.

"I know, and it doesn't make sense. I don't want you to deal with it. But the only way to make it stop… you made me promise. I can't hurt myself. I need to get it from you. A minute of sharp pain to make the dull pain go away. Don't ask how I know, I just…"

"Yoongi. I'm not afraid, remember? This thing, it doesn't make me want to be with you less. I mean, I think even if our relationship was normal, I would still want to be with you. Just because you have to satisfy something you can't control doesn't mean you don't genuinely care about me. I like you the way you are, and you're a good person and you're gentle with me. We both have to work a little harder, but I want to be yours."

Jimin laid back on the bed and ran his hands down his bare chest. Yoongi came over, kneeled in front of him and put his head on his knees, and Jimin pet his hair.

"I'm ready. Only if you are," Jimin said. Yoongi picked his head up and looked Jimin in the eyes. His face was apologetic, but there was nothing else left to do. Jimin smiled at him softly. "Take me."

"Promise we'll do something nice together after?" Yoongi said quietly.

"Yeah. Come on, I want to wake up anyway." Jimin shifted and stood up, stretching his arms over his head. He went over and grabbed his bag. He didn't want to assume anything, but he was prepared when he left his house.

Outside, the town was different in the early morning. The whole place was soaked and smelled like wet earth, but the sunrise was warm and pale yellow. The streets were empty. Behind the main road, the town was surrounded by a towering forest that went back for miles into darkness. Jimin and Yoongi went around the back of the inn and the land sloped down into a muddy tangle of branches, underbrush, and rotted wood hiding deep holes in the ground. There wasn't a path to speak of. As they trudged deeper in the woods, an eerie silence came about them. They couldn't hear any birds or rustling leaves.

The trees parted to reveal a small patch of grass alongside a stream, and even that seemed too quiet. Jimin sat down and pushed the twigs and rocks out of the way. He opened his bag and the only thing in it was a wrapped-up blanket. This was spread out underneath him, and several small objects set up on the corner. Jimin threw his empty bag a few feet away and rolled over onto his back.

Yoongi’s heart was in his stomach, and his mouth was dry. Seeing Jimin like this, so calm and willing. The tension inside him rose to the surface, and he couldn’t wait anymore. He pushed Jimin’s shirt up over his small waist, tracing the line where his muscles dipped down over his hipbones.

Jimin wanted to help him. He hooked his thumbs on the edge of his pants, and pushed them down around his knees. Being exposed to the cold air made it feel real. He grabbed his cock and started stroking it, daring Yoongi to come closer. Yoongi could feel his willpower ebbing away. He tugged his shirt off over his head and straddled Jimin’s legs, leaning down to kiss his chest, his neck, anything he could reach. He could feel Jimin moving underneath him, his breaths quickening. Yoongi groaned and got back off Jimin’s legs, running his hands over the things Jimin brought with them.

“Grab that little bottle,” he heard Jimin say. He handed it to him, and picked up the knife, realizing he’d left it at his house. When Yoongi turned back around, Jimin had emptied the contents on his hands, some kind of soft oil. His pretty fingers were shining, and he rubbed it all over his hard, pretty cock. Yoongi tried to breathe, but it just came out in ragged gasps. His whole body was trembling, and his own growing erection pressed tight against his pants. He laid his hands on Jimin’s thigh and watched him pleasure himself. Jimin’s lips were parted slightly, a blush spreading across his cheeks. He was moaning, a high frantic sound that drove Yoongi over the edge.

The knife opened with a “shk” and Yoongi pressed the blade against the tender skin of Jimin’s upper thigh. Jimin’s muscles tensed and released, his hips rocking harder. When he pushed down and dragged it across in a straight line, the energy inside him ran through him like a shock. Jimin let out a tiny whimper, and Yoongi’s cock throbbed painfully. It was too much. He had never felt it so powerfully. Little drops of blood sprang up and rolled down Jimin’s leg.

Jimin was getting close. The sharp stinging in his leg was nothing compared to the rolling waves inside him. He pulled Yoongi closer with one hand, and with the other he pressed two fingers against his cut. He held them up.

“Come get me,” he said. Yoongi obeyed, and sucked his fingers clean. He put his hands on either side of Jimin’s shoulders, the taste of blood like dirty coins. He kissed Jimin hard, greedily, as if he could devour him. He felt quick hands unbuttoning his pants and pulling at his cock with firm, swift movements. He gasped into Jimin’s mouth, a euphoric high spreading through him. Jimin was everything then, tense underneath him, soft skin and sweet smells, bleeding for him. He was hardly aware of it, but Jimin had started touching himself again, pushing his hips up against Yoongi’s, bringing them both to a climax. They got into a rhythm, and time slowed down for the next few minutes.

“Jimin-- I can’t hold it, I need you--” Yoongi moaned, a low growl in Jimin’s ear.

“Does that feel good? Do you want to fuck me? Want to make me come?” He nipped at Yoongi’s lip, his eyes big and dark.

Yoongi nodded, fully shaking now, trying to hold himself up over Jimin. Jimin moved to support him, and took one of Yoongi’s hands and put it on his cock. “Do it hard. M-make me come for you,” and he kept stroking Yoongi.

Yoongi could barely move, and put the last of his energy into it. He thought about everything he wanted to do to him. Push him into the dirt, make him scream and cry. But this Jimin was better. He was confident, and unafraid, and could get Yoongi to do anything.

“Ahh, God, don’t stop-- it feels so good--” Jimin closed his eyes and squeezed Yoongi’s cock, his other hand clutching at the blanket beneath them. His moans were raspy, staccato little whines now. He arched his whole back, letting out a long cry.

Yoongi had to bite his lip when Jimin came, he was so beautiful, his flushed face when his come spilled out over Yoongi’s fingers… his pretty hands making him feel better than he ever had. Jimin was still reeling from his orgasm, panting as he worked his hands as fast as he could manage. Yoongi squeezed his eyes shut.

Jimin took up the little knife and put it in Yoongi’s wet hand. “One more,” he said. “Hurt me again.” Yoongi maneuvered so Jimin could finish, and with one quick swipe he put a deep cut below the first one. A fire was deep inside him, flooding his veins. He tossed the knife aside, and kissed Jimin again. Then it tore through him, a sob escaping as he came. He couldn’t stop shaking, and Jimin touched him so gently now, letting the last few drops out. He let go and Yoongi rolled over on his back. They lay there for a while, breathing heavily and staring up at the forest canopy in disbelief.

Several long minutes passed. Jimin sat up, wincing slightly. As he came down from his ecstasy, reality crept back into his mind. His thigh was pulsing uncomfortably. He was happy, and tired, but he was covered in come, and lube, and blood. At least he’d thought to bring a blanket.

“Come here,” he said to Yoongi, who looked like he was a million miles away. “I’ll clean you up.” Yoongi got up and sat in front of Jimin, his eyes nearly closed. He must have been totally spent. Jimin carefully cleaned him off and buttoned his pants for him. He picked up Yoongi’s shirt and shook it off, pulling it over his arms for him. Yoongi whined softly, not a plaintive sound, more like he was tired and didn’t want to move. Jimin looked at him fondly. He then picked up the blanket’s edge and pressed it against his thigh, sucking in through his teeth when it hurt. As long as it stopped bleeding for now.

Jimin pulled his pants back on and stood up. He pulled Yoongi up and grabbed the blanket along with everything else, and shoved it all in his bag. Yoongi groaned and shook his head, waking up from his trance. He looked around to get his bearings. Jimin smiled at him, holding his hand and slinging his bag over his other shoulder. “Let’s go.”

“Yeah…” Yoongi was slowly coming down as well, and he took deep breaths as Jimin led him out of the woods.

“Jimin,” he said as they emerged into the bright morning. “Um… thank you.”

“It’s no big deal. I had fun. I’ll do whatever you want,” and he kissed Yoongi on the cheek. “Let’s go get something to eat, yeah?” They walked back into town, both a little tired and sore, the air feeling different. They both had changed irrevocably, and neither one knew what would happen now. It seemed pointless to talk about it any time soon.

Chapter Text

The short amount of time it took to get to the place was enough to make the mood lower considerably. Jimin could feel his leg stinging badly now, and both of them were shy and self-conscious. What they did in the woods was supposed to be a chance to get out of their lives and just exist to make each other feel better. Now they couldn't make eye contact. The time they spent wasn't real in the moment. It was a necessary good. But now the gravity of the situation set in, and it was awkward and painful. Risking their futures for some incomprehensible thing forcing them to do it. Committing a sin that could get them run out of town if not killed. They needed each other, but they would end up with nothing.

Physically they felt amazing, but what did they have to show for it? Yoongi closed his eyes in his seat and thought back to his Bible verses, trying to remember one that could help him.

To the Lord our God belong mercies and forgivenesses, though we have rebelled against him.

It would have to be good enough for now. He opened his eyes and finally looked at Jimin.

"Are you okay?" he asked.

"Yeah. I'm starving, but I also want to go back to the room for a second and then come back here." Jimin was pouting.

"I know what you mean. Let me take care of it." Yoongi took Jimin's bag and lead the way down the street to the inn. A few people were up now and may have taken notice, but this town didn't seem to mind if two men were hanging out together.

Back in the room, Yoongi set Jimin's things aside and rifled through his own bag. Bandages, scissors, iodine, healing salve the nuns made. He put everything on the side table and whipped the blankets to the end of the bed.

Jimin stood near him, nursing a very small bottle of booze he'd bought last night. Yoongi carefully took his pants down for him, and Jimin kicked them off and sat on the edge of the bed.

"Do you want any?" Jimin asked, brandishing the bottle.

"No, I'm okay. You just sit still and drink that."

He poured the iodine over Jimin's leg, and Jimin gritted his teeth, took a deep breath and a drink.

"Here, it's over." Yoongi grabbed a washcloth from the hot water basin and gently cleaned his cuts. "Here…" he rubbed the salve on and wrapped up his thigh.

Jimin watched him with interest. "I don't even feel it," he said. He looked up at Yoongi and gave him a genuine smile. Yoongi smiled back, and took the last drink from Jimin.

"You know what I just realized?" Yoongi said.

"What?"

"Nothing matters, does it? A bunch of bullshit and then we die."

He wasn't smiling anymore, but Jimin started laughing. "It's true. What are we doing?" He stood up and put his pants back on, and now Yoongi had to stifle his laughter.

"Jimin, I don't care anymore. Let's just do what we always have and nothing bad will happen. And if it does then, oh well."

"Let's go eat. We can worry about hell later. This is still our weekend."

Yoongi rubbed his neck and shoulders, following Jimin down the stairs and out into the midday sun. When they returned to the restaurant, the curtains had been opened and light streamed in. It was more like a lounge, with a stage in the back. The food must have been better than the entertainment, because even in broad daylight the place was pretty full.

"Jimin," Yoongi said after a minute. "I hope you feel better."

"What about you? I worry about you, you know."

"I'm okay. Sometimes it feels like I'm burning up, and it's more than I can handle. But now it's gone. It might come back, but I feel… cleaner, somehow. I don't really know what I'm saying."

The silence wasn't awkward anymore. It was calming, and the guilt turned into some kind of perverted hope that what they were doing was better than any other way. It didn't make sense to panic over something that brought them so much relief.

"You know, I can't remember the last time I spent this many days without hurting all over. This is good for both of us," Jimin said.

"Yeah, guess you're right."

Eventually a young woman came by to see what they wanted. She was pretty, but she looked bored out of her mind.

"What can I get for you?" She drawled it so slowly in her impressive disinterest that Jimin snorted with laughter and had to pretend he was sneezing.

"Just get us the best thing you have, doesn't matter," Yoongi said. He looked at Jimin, who had his head down, still trying not to laugh.

"Are you broken?"

"Just tell me when the food gets here," he said quietly. It took a few seconds for him to calm down, but Yoongi was in a much better mood now. He was glad Jimin came with him on this trip, and did so much for him. The fact that Jimin was happy, not in pain anymore, was the whole point but Yoongi felt like Jimin was spoiling him at the same time. He didn't expect it to work out at all between them, and Jimin was the one proving him wrong.

The bored girl came back and dropped off the food in a couple minutes. It was steaming hot, some kind of stew with huge chunks of meat in it. Jimin was brave enough to try it first. He stared at Yoongi and wanted to tell him it was good but he was too busy shoveling it into his mouth. They both ate the whole thing and even got seconds.

Some time passed before they could speak to each other. They could only make satisfied noises and whine about how full they were.

"I can't move," Jimin said. "You're going to have to drag me out of here."

Yoongi yawned loudly and sighed. He put his head on his arms on the table. Jimin went up and paid, and he had to pull Yoongi's arm to get him to stand up. They left with the sun almost blinding them. It was much hotter than it should have been for this time of year.

"Let's go take a nap," Yoongi said. Jimin was in agreement. This was the longest, strangest day he'd ever had. But he'd never felt this good, either. When they got to the inn they didn't waste any time taking off their clothes and crawling into bed.

Jimin hummed softly and ran a finger down Yoongi's forearm, touching his scars. It didn't bother Yoongi anymore, and he was too tired to care.

"It's better this way. I don't mind it. I'd rather let you do it to me," Jimin said.

Yoongi was falling asleep. "I don't like it. But we're okay now... that's all that matters. As long… as," and he couldn't finish. Jimin made sure to kiss him before they fell asleep, content for now.

If you stood on the side of the street where the hotel was and faced away from the forest, with the sun rising on your left, ahead would be an endless sea of wheatgrass. Yellow and gold as far as the eye could see, and the trees only dotted the landscape before fading away. There weren’t cold mountains like in the village. The earth mounted in a great hill and everything beyond was invisible.

When Jimin woke up, he got dressed and slipped out of the room. He only wanted to do one more thing while they were there. He went down the stairs on his toes, crossed the place in two strides and left. He kept choking in his excitement, and he actually had to stop and breathe a few times. He wasn’t afraid of his parents, or punishment, corporal or spiritual. He just wanted this. He was young, and had a long life ahead of him. He thought, this is all I ever need. Just to be with Yoongi and make him feel good. Nothing else matters. Nothing will stop me now.

Jimin ducked into a general store and bought everything he thought they'd need. A little bit of jerky, some candy, more of his oils and another small bottle of alcohol. He wasn't aiming to do anything else, he just wanted to be ready for next time.

***

The room in the inn was bright as daylight, and Jimin was surprised they slept through it. Yoongi woke up in a while, sitting up to watch Jimin. He had put his purchases into Yoongi's bag, as his was too full. Then he came over to Yoongi's side of the bed, kissing his hair and face.

"Mmf. Morning."

"It's late afternoon," Jimin said.

"Good, I got some sleep."

"Will you come do one more thing with me?"

"Okay." Yoongi rubbed his eyes and stood up, swaying slightly. He got dressed and followed Jimin, yawning. Jimin took him across the street and out of town.

"My mom told me about this place. She said I was born here, and she took me to this hill. I guess I wanted to see it again so I can remember it," Jimin said. They walked for a while, the town only a hazy brown patch behind them. Slowly they ascended the hill, and the sun dropping behind them cast long shadows for them to follow.

As they reached the top, the dirt beneath them was soft and crumbly. The other side wasn't another gentle slope down. It went on for maybe another hundred feet and dropped off a cliff. Far away they could see the ground, all green tendrils and swampy islands covered in shadows and mist. Following the sunset streaking rose gold clouds ahead, there was a faint blue line. It covered the entire expanse of the far horizon.

"It's the ocean. I didn't think I'd ever see it," Yoongi said.

"Me neither." Jimin took his hand. They watched the sky darken, and let the wind cool them down.

"I hate to say it, but we should probably go home soon." Yoongi put his head on Jimin's shoulder.

"I know. I'm ready, though. It'll be better when we get back."

"I hope you're right."

Once the darkness was behind them as well the two young men returned to the inn, packed their belongings and got in the car. It wasn't too late to get home before Sunday morning. At least they didn't have to worry about seeing each other. It would be the first normal Sunday for a long time. They could be in the same space and not seek the other out or need to be together. It was finally peaceful.

The car bumped along the dusty road in the nighttime, stars scattered all the way to the ground. It was unearthly quiet other than the rumbling engine. Yoongi was the one to sleep this time, laying all the way across Jimin's lap and using their bags as a pillow. Jimin stayed awake and watched the stars, thought up little melodies in his head, and counted trees as they passed by.

Every once in a while he prayed that they could stay like this.

Home was all the same, but Jimin didn't want to be back. He didn't know if he could get away with being with Yoongi in public, or find a place to be private. It was pitch black outside, and Yoongi had to get out first.

"See you tomorrow," Yoongi said, standing outside the car.

"All the stuff I put in there, hang on to it," Jimin said. He wanted to kiss Yoongi goodnight, but it wasn't possible.

"I will." Yoongi took his hand, threading their fingers together. "It's going to be good from now on."

"I believe you." Jimin just said it, he had no idea really.

As the car pulled away, he watched Yoongi standing in the yard, in the deep black, wearing his black shirt. Jimin wanted to hide his feelings even from himself, but he wore his heart on his sleeve. He pouted the whole way home, thinking hard. When he was in town with Yoongi, he didn't care. He didn't care about his family, his church, his soul, and now that he was back it was like crashing down to earth.

Yoongi never communicated to him that he'd like to act as friends at home. Jimin was still afraid to be seen together. But no matter how nervous he was, no matter what horrible scenarios he thought up in his head, the underlying thought was always the same. He had to be with Yoongi by any means.

The next morning, Jimin woke up and didn’t feel a thing. His head was clear, and his cramps and aches were gone. The first thing he did was take off his bandages. His cuts were already healing, and he touched one lightly. These still hurt a bit, but it was worth it to finally have some energy and feel relaxed. As he and his family walked to church in the misty cold, his mom watched him for a second and combed his hair with her fingers.

"Did you have a good weekend? I didn't see you at all, I figured you just wanted alone time."

"I was hanging out with my new friend," Jimin said.

"That's nice. Maybe I can meet them someday. You still feeling tired?"

"I'm better now. I think I was just stressed out about the farm and working too much. Sorry I was gone so long."

"Well, as long as you feel better. I'm happy you made a friend, there's not many your age around here. You just tell me when you want to bring them over, okay?"

"Okay, mom." Jimin knew she was trying to be nice and supportive, but he still felt guilty about lying to her so much. Yoongi had already been in her house and Jimin snuck off to do bad things with him and she'd never find out. It weighed on his shoulders, but Yoongi made him feel so good it didn't matter. Jimin was addicted to it. He didn't want to be the perfect son anymore. He would put the effort into the farm to make sure he had a chance of a future, but he didn't really care about what his parents wanted. If he got caught and thrown out, he and Yoongi could go somewhere else. They could figure it out together.

The church was cold inside as well, and Jimin pulled his coat tighter around himself. He didn’t need to look for Yoongi because he was finally calm without him. When the service was almost over, his heartbeat quickened as that familiar smell enveloped him. Yoongi had come by and sat right next to him.

“What are you doing here?” he whispered.

“Did you forget I live here?” Yoongi asked with that annoying little smile. Jimin opened his mouth to say something, but then his mom spoke up.

“Jimin, who’s this? Is this your friend you were telling me about?”

“Hi, I’m Yoongi.” They shook hands in front of him, and Jimin just sat still, wishing he could disappear.

“I’m glad he’s got someone to hang out with. I wasn’t expecting someone with religious orders. Maybe you’ll be a good influence on him.”

Yoongi held back the urge to laugh, and cleared his throat. He liked Jimin’s mom. She was friendlier than most people in the village, and seeing Jimin get so embarrassed and shy was hilarious.

“Oh, I just remembered. In a week or two we’re having a big old cookout, I’m just bringing some friends and family, it won’t be too crowded. I’m sure Jimin would like it if you came. Only if you can get away, of course.”

“It’s not a problem.” Yoongi stood up to leave when everyone else did. “Thank you for the invitation, ma’am.”

“Aren’t you sweet. Okay, well you take care now, and maybe we’ll see you there.” She left the church with her husband and son, leaving Jimin behind to say goodbye.

“Your mom’s nice,” Yoongi said.

Jimin put his face in his hands and groaned. “I’m going to die,” he said.

“No you won’t.” Yoongi took one of his hands and held it, and they were all alone now. “Do you really not want me there?”

“You can come, I don’t care. I just don’t want my mom to find us out. She’s nice to you, but she watches me like a hawk. Sorry, I just… that threw me off.” He smiled at Yoongi now, grateful that he was so confident when Jimin just wanted to run and hide.

Yoongi smiled back and squeezed his hand. “I guess we should go now.”

“Yeah… I’ll see you later.” They stood in the aisle behind the front doors, and Yoongi glanced around for anyone still in the chapel. The sunrise filtering through the long dusty windows cast a glow around them, and he couldn’t resist. He kissed Jimin softly, lingering for one second. Then he turned and hurried away. Jimin stood there confused, elated, worried.

When Jimin came outside, his family had waited for him and they set off down the road again. Jimin’s heart was beating rapidly and he couldn’t make it stop. He felt like he was falling deeper and deeper into a torrent of emotions, and strange sensations, and he hated being out of control, but he wanted more all the time. He had to prove that he could make it work, and not get them in trouble. He couldn’t imagine a life without Yoongi anymore.

Chapter Text

The day of the event came faster than Jimin expected. It was getting colder every day, and every time the heavy rains poured down his mom ran around the property in a panic, trying to figure out how she could make it stop before her party. It seemed clear enough on the actual day, and she wrung her hands with relief whenever a distant family member arrived. The harvest had gone well for them that year, and Jimin was shuffled outside with his brother and cousins while the women began the work in the kitchen.

The whole house and the backyard burst at the seams with food. Jimin's father took up his post at the barbecue pit and hardly moved ten feet from it. The men would drift past him in a cloud of tobacco smoke, giving him unwarranted advice and admiring the cuts of meat he'd acquired from the neighbors. Jimin sat at a table and put his head down, watching everyone around him and letting the rich smells and sounds wash over him. He didn’t feel like participating just yet.

A few minutes passed, and his brother stopped in front of him, carrying his own shotgun. A group of younger boys trailed behind him like baby ducks, a few carrying small .22 rifles. “You want to go shoot pumpkins with us?”

“Nah, that’s okay. I’m kind of tired,” Jimin said.

“Suit yourself.” He crossed the gardens and disappeared into the cornfield. What Jimin said had some truth to it. He wasn’t sleepy, but the pain he’d almost forgotten about started to creep back into his body. It twinged like a sunburn when he moved, and his head throbbed faintly. He felt heavy and tense, so he just closed his eyes and listened to the people and the incessant birdsongs in the trees.

Meanwhile, Yoongi walked down the long muddy road to Jimin’s house. He picked and ate blackberries as he went, gazing up at the pale yellow overcast sky. Maybe there would be a thunderstorm tonight. From the kitchen window Jimin's mom watched him come up and she opened the door for him.

"Hello, come in, everyone's out back," she said. When he was in the living room she stopped him. "Hold on, come here for a second." He followed her into the kitchen. It felt strange that he'd been there before, but it wasn't empty now. Women sat around the table talking all at once and there were some younger girls in the back making pastries, and a huge mess. Jimin's mom put a warm cloth in his hands. "You've got blackberries all over you, dear."

Yoongi hurriedly wiped his face and gave it back. He became aware that the other ladies had stopped talking to look at him.

"Who's this?" one of them asked. Yoongi just stood in the doorway, his face turning red. Jimin's mom tutted at her playfully and shooed Yoongi out of there. The loud chattering started up again. He slipped out the back door and didn't know what to do next. Luckily Jimin was close by, and it looked like he was sleeping, all by himself at the big table. Yoongi sat down next to him, and put his head down as well.

"You're here," Jimin said quietly.

"Hi.” Yoongi looked behind him at the crowd around the barbecue. “It smells nice out here.”

Jimin smiled. “Yeah, it’ll be good. I’m excited, I guess.” They sat up straight. “You know, I hate to say it, but your clothes are going to get ruined. I don’t want to feel like I’m making you, though.”

“Oh, please, Jimin. I’m honestly way more comfortable in your stuff. I just wear this because I have to.” They got up to continue the conversation in Jimin’s room.

“I thought it was supposed to be a symbol of devotion, or something.” Jimin laid on his bed and put his hands behind his head.

“You’re supposed to reject everything of the world for God.” Yoongi stripped and set his robes on the dresser, stashing his bag nearby. “I wish I was doing this because I wanted to. I figured it was the only way to atone for… everything.” Once he was dressed, he pressed his face into his shirt. “Your mom cleans your stuff too well. It doesn’t smell like you.” Yoongi laid down on top of Jimin, pouting.

“Really? Sorry,” Jimin said, laughing. He left a little kiss on Yoongi’s nose. The sound of his mom yelling came from outside, and Jimin rolled Yoongi off of him. “Come on, it’s probably food time.” The yard was full now, and Yoongi was surprised he had such a big family. A booming shot rent the air, startling him. “That’s just my brother. He finally got a big gun and he won’t stop shooting the damn thing. At least mine is just in case of a robber. I’m not much into hunting, even though I should be.” Yoongi hummed in acknowledgment, but he didn’t have anything to say. He wanted to take every little thing he learned about Jimin and store it in his memory. He wanted to keep him forever.

It wasn't easy finding a place to sit in the chaos of the moms herding their kids around, food being brought out of the house and men hollering while they carried scalding plates of meat over everyone's heads.

"Your mom said it was only a couple of friends and family," Yoongi said after they finally found a spot that wasn't right in the middle.

"She likes to go overboard when she entertains. We don't get company so she just has them all at once."

"I know what that's like," Yoongi said. "This is just a feast day for you guys."

After this, their attention was taken over by the dishes being passed around. They made small talk with the others to be polite, but the sheer number of things to eat overwhelmed them. Grilled vegetables, racks of ribs and steaks, salads, fruit pies, even sandwiches for the picky kids. It felt like hours before they were done.

“I’m so stuffed. I don’t think I’ll ever eat again,” Jimin said. He looked at Yoongi, who was spacing out, staring at the table. “What are you thinking about?”

“Whose end is destruction, whose God is their stomach, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things,” he said.

“I don’t think it’s as serious as all that.” Jimin took his hand under the table for a second. The truth was that Yoongi didn’t care much. He might have been a holy man in appearance, but he felt further from God every day. The people in the church didn’t seem to mind when he disappeared, and they didn’t ask what he was up to. Yoongi just wanted to take and take and take, and he was sure he was going to Hell anyway, so why bother denying himself his earthly desires? He could count his sins on his fingers. Lust, gluttony, sloth. Probably something else he couldn't think of. He might have fulfilled his obligations, but he didn't honor his vows. It was just going through the motions. Maybe Jimin was right, though.

Another long time passed while everyone gathered up the remnants of the party. It was slow work, and the sun was starting to go down when the women dragged their kids inside, armed with loads of dishes. The men retreated into the living room to drink and play cards. Jimin’s mother looked completely worn out, her hair falling down, looking around the yard like she’d forgotten something. She spotted Jimin on his way in and called out to him.

“Hey, son, you’re taking a bath tonight.”

“Are you serious?” Jimin threw his arms up.

“Yes,” she said sternly. She pointed at Yoongi. “You too, I’m not sending you home in any state besides perfect. I don’t want to hear a word out of anyone for the rest of the night, understand?”

Yoongi and Jimin both nodded. She looked dead serious. When they came into the house, the noise was just as loud as it was before. People squashed themselves into every available space in the front rooms. Jimin crept up to the kitchen doorway while Yoongi watched the men in the living room. They must have been sneaking drinks throughout the day because they were awfully raucous for a game of poker. The smoke was thick and the air smelled like beer and cologne.

"Mom, do you need anything?" Jimin had to yell to be heard. One or two small children were crying, food was wrapped up and stuffed wherever it would fit, and his mom was standing over a large pot of boiling water.

"I love you, Jimin, but you better get out of here unless you're on fire."

Jimin took the hint and he and Yoongi went to his bedroom quickly. They both threw themselves on his bed, exhausted. The sound dimmed to a bearable level behind the closed door. Jimin was anxious, feeling needy again. A buzz of nerves went through him, and he looked at Yoongi, trying to communicate with just his eyes. At least Yoongi understood on some level, and he pressed himself up against Jimin, kissing him gently. He wanted to tease him, just a little. He knew Jimin couldn’t resist, and he loved the way he whined when he pulled away.

Jimin was getting frustrated. Yoongi would only barely open his mouth, smiling because he knew what he was doing. In his impatience, he tugged at his shirt, and Yoongi let him take it off. Jimin gave up on trying to kiss him and started pulling their clothes off, his body taking over. He gasped when Yoongi started sucking on his neck, and touching him all over with his fingertips. Jimin couldn't take it, he was uncomfortably hard now, and he could tell Yoongi was too. Why didn’t he just do something, anything so he could stop whining and shifting underneath him?

“Jimin,” Yoongi whispered in his ear. “You’re pushing it. I don’t know what I’m gonna do with you.”

With one swift movement, Jimin leaned over the edge of his bed, grabbed Yoongi's bag from under it, and pulled out his lube and the knife, which he set on the end table. He poured a generous amount on his hands and started working Yoongi’s cock. He loved the way it felt, loved that he could wrap both hands around it. Yoongi's breath hitched as he kept trying to kiss Jimin's neck.

“Please,” Jimin said. “I need you. I w-want you to fuck me."

This was enough. Yoongi thrust into Jimin’s soft hands for a second, but those words were enough. He growled, his voice low and thick in his throat, and he flipped Jimin over onto his stomach. He ran his hands down Jimin’s back, admired the little dimples in the dip of his lower back, curving up to his perfect round ass. Yoongi had to be careful now, had to use all his strength to control himself. He kissed Jimin’s shoulders and neck still, distracting him while he got more lube on his fingers and pressed them against Jimin’s opening. Jimin gasped again and clenched instinctively, more because it was cold than anything else.

Yoongi held his cock there, rubbing it in tiny circles. He steadied himself despite how nervous he was. “You have to say yes, Jimin. Tell me you want me to.”

“Yes,” Jimin said, desperate now. He tilted his hips up, matching Yoongi’s movements. “P-please, please fuck me.”

Yoongi touched his back again. “Breathe in, okay?” Jimin did so. “Now breathe out.” Jimin exhaled, his hips relaxing slightly, and Yoongi pushed the tip of his cock into Jimin. It was warm, and so tight, he couldn’t believe it. Jimin whimpered, but he kept taking deep breaths. Slowly, the resistance lessened, and Yoongi slid it in, centimeters at a time. He didn’t want to hurt him, but trying to control the fire inside him took every last bit of strength he had.

Jimin ignored the strange feeling, the sting as he was pushed open. He could handle it. After a minute or so, he was used to it, and pleasure stirred from somewhere he didn’t recognize. He felt the warmth pulsing through him from the center of his being, every time Yoongi thrust into him it got stronger. He moaned, and turned his face down into the bed.

“You’re so good, Jimin. You’re doing so good,” Yoongi said. He let himself go a bit faster, Jimin squeezing around his cock, overwhelming him. He let go of it now, putting his hands on either side of Jimin and fucking him into the bed. The only sound either of them could hear was Yoongi’s heavy breathing, and Jimin’s moans, getting louder and longer. It felt so good, and Yoongi had to stop for a second to release some of the pressure. He didn’t want to lose it, no matter how badly he wanted to go harder.

Jimin pushed his whole body back, getting them both to their knees. He picked up the knife and held it in his fist. He carefully maneuvered on top of Yoongi, leaning back and settling down on his cock. Yoongi hid his face on Jimin’s shoulder, squeezing his eyes shut as Jimin started bouncing slowly on him. This was too much to handle. His cock throbbed inside Jimin, his orgasm creeping up on him sooner than he wanted. “Fuck, Jimin-- you’re so tight, I’m g-gonna come,” and he panted as Jimin put the knife in his hand. His other hand wrapped around Jimin’s chest. He was shaking uncontrollably, and Jimin held his hand steady against his thigh.

“Do it,” Jimin said, his voice raspy. “I want this side to match.” He rolled his hips up and down, feeling that warmth building up in him. Yoongi kept fucking him as long as he could, until he reached his limit. He cut into Jimin, hearing him hiss from the pain. He did it again, quickly dropping the knife on the floor. He grabbed Jimin and shoved his cock deep inside him, making Jimin cry out. He held him still, spilling inside him with a loud groan.

Jimin slid off him, wincing in pain as he rolled over onto his back. Now in his delirious state, he wanted revenge for Yoongi hurting him. He was so close now. “Come here,” he said. “I want you… suck on it.” Yoongi’s limbs felt like concrete, but he did as Jimin said, crouching over him and he licked and sucked at his cock, pressing his tongue on the sensitive part right below his head. Jimin put his hands in Yoongi’s hair, bucking hard, making Yoongi choke. Yoongi’s mouth was warm and wet, spit dripping down his shaft. Jimin groaned and put his head back. Finally he came, one last high moan bursting from him. Yoongi sat up and closed his eyes, swallowing Jimin’s bitter come. He laid down next to Jimin, and they stayed like that for a while, the world crawling back up to normal speed around them. The sounds of the party drifted back through the door. At least nobody had heard them, as far as they could tell. They laid there together, naked, shaking, a little bit sweaty. Jimin didn’t even care if he bled all over his blankets.

After a few minutes, their breathing slowed, and Jimin became aware of his surroundings. His mouth was awfully dry, and he struggled to sit up on his elbows. “Yoongi,” he gasped. “That was… I can't even think."

Yoongi moaned softly in response. He was beat. His heart thudded rapidly, the room spinning around him. Just then there was a knock at the door, and he curled up as if trying to hide himself. The sound of footsteps retreating, and then nothing.

"Hey," Jimin said, stroking his hair. "You want to go get clean?"

"Mhmm." Yoongi hugged his side, putting his face up against Jimin's warm skin. They got up and got dressed with some difficulty on shaky legs. Jimin pushed his window open to clear the air, and before they went out he made sure to kiss Yoongi long enough for him to know he appreciated him.

The yard was pitch black, and all you could see from the porch was the silver tub, steaming hot. Jimin ran out and pulled his clothes off, but Yoongi stood barefoot in the grass, hesitating.

“Are we taking turns?” he asked.

“And waste all the hot water?” Jimin scoffed. “Come on.”

So they climbed in together, facing each other with their knees up. They didn’t feel like speaking for a long while, and Jimin watched the drops of blood come into the water and tinge it pink. Yoongi glanced at the back of the house, thankful that the curtains had been drawn. They were totally alone.

“I’m sorry,” he said.

“Why would you be sorry?” Jimin smiled at him, which only made it worse.

“You know why.” Yoongi pouted the whole rest of the time, as they scrubbed themselves clean.

“Have… have you ever done anything like that?” Jimin asked.

“No,” Yoongi said. “Sorry,” he repeated. Jimin didn’t pester him about it. He was sore, but he didn’t mind. Maybe they could talk about it later. When they were done, he had Yoongi help him push the tub over, flooding the lawn with water. They went to bed shortly after, wrapped in towels and feeling well, but they both knew tomorrow would bring the shame and regret, unfortunately. They fell asleep on Jimin’s bed, snuggled up and praying for each other. The future was a blurry mess, and they prayed for happiness, health, whatever would keep them together.

Chapter Text

The next morning, Yoongi got dressed and left early, kissing Jimin goodbye and leaving him in bed. He didn’t want to stick around too long. Jimin’s mom wouldn’t let him leave without taking some food home with him. It was a long time before Jimin got to see Yoongi again. Well, he saw him sometimes in church, but it seemed like Yoongi was ignoring him on purpose. He didn’t know why, and it worried him. After they slept together, Jimin was rather sore the next day, but despite that he was riding a high, full of happiness and energy. His parents were impressed by how much his mood improved, and how quickly he ran around the farm getting everything done.

After a couple of days he was back to normal, but after a few weeks he crashed, hard. Yoongi wasn’t speaking to him, and his regular aches and pains came back in full force, making it difficult to do just about anything. To make it worse, his birthday was coming up, and he wasn’t excited about it at all. He tried to ignore how hurt he was, inside and out, but it was getting to him badly.

In fact, Yoongi hadn't been faring much better. He wanted to be with Jimin more than anything, but the fear of the future hung over his head and ruined his ideas from before. He couldn't risk it, not to save himself, but to protect Jimin. It was better if he cut it off now before everything went wrong. Yoongi was certain that it would never be okay, that they needed separate lives. If he stayed away long enough, Jimin could stop missing him, and needing him. Yoongi had a terrible thought running through his head all the time, that it wasn't Jimin who truly liked him. It was only the evil spirit making him act that way. But it was still his own fault for leading Jimin on. He was so sweet.

Yoongi wished he could taste him again.

The day before Jimin's birthday fell on a Sunday. His father had been keeping him busy, presumably so his mom could get things ready in the house. Jimin didn't let it show on his face, but he was miserable. When his family arrived at church, Jimin closed his eyes and waited. The bells rang, people settled down around him, and when the incense permeated the room, he opened his eyes. Yoongi was coming past, that serious look on his face from when Jimin saw him for the first time.

This was his only chance. He reached out and grabbed him by the wrist as he walked. Yoongi stood still so he didn't draw attention to them, and looked at him, his expression unreadable.

"Talk to me, please," Jimin mouthed at him. He let go of his wrist. Slowly, and so slightly he could barely tell, Yoongi nodded. Then he simply walked away. Jimin slumped back in his seat, sighing in relief. It was nice that he could get a few moments to not feel any pain when Yoongi was around, but the pain of thinking he'd done something to make Yoongi hate him was far worse.

The sermon today had to have been the longest, most tiring thing Jimin had ever sat through, and as soon as it was over he immediately whispered to his mom that he'd be staying behind, and it was important, and he didn't have time to explain but it just was. She was fine with it, because she still had a pie to bake, a hundred other little things to do, and she didn't want him to get in the way.

Yoongi waited for the congregation to leave, and then he stood in the hallway, biting his fingernails. He wasn't looking forward to this. Then he heard it, that lovely high voice that he was dreading.

"Are you going to tell me why you've been avoiding me?"

Yoongi thought carefully about what to say next. "I can't do this anymore. I won't be able to hold it back again, and I'm so afraid of hurting you, Jimin. You deserve better."

"But I don't want better. I want you. Don't make me feel like you used me, because I know you wouldn't be that mean." Jimin was having a hard time looking at him. "I don't care if we get in trouble. We can go somewhere else, I don't even care about the farm."

"I don't think you mean that," Yoongi said, his heart sinking. "You can still have a life, marry a nice woman, and raise kids. I'm going to be stuck in this monastery forever. I'm not good for you. I tried, but I can't do it. You're too precious for me to ruin."

"Yoongi, listen. Please, I can take it. I would do anything for you. You can't just get rid of me. I'm tougher than I look. I can deal with whatever the devil or this town puts us through." He was starting to get angry. "It's my birthday tomorrow, and I'm coming to get you. I'm not letting you go that easily."

"Jimin, I'm serious. You're making a huge mistake. It's not even me you want to be with! It's this stupid fucking nasty thing inside me making you feel better! You have to stay away from me."

"No!" Jimin had to lower his voice. "You don't get to do what you did and then throw me away like it didn't matter. I'm going to figure it out, and be with you. I don't care what I have to do. I love you, and I want you there tomorrow."

"You don't love me... I'm not worth it. God doesn't even love me." Yoongi sniffled and blinked back tears. "I'm so tired of being fucked up."

"Please don't get rid of me. I want you for my birthday. Please," and he couldn't help getting a bit choked up too. He hugged Yoongi tightly, wishing there was more he could do. "You're not fucked up. Please let me help. I love you, I c-can't live without you."

Yoongi sighed and pulled on Jimin's shirt, kissing his neck and trying not to cry on him. "You're so spoiled, you get everything you want."

"So you'll come?" Jimin asked quietly.

"Yeah. I'm sorry. I'll let you do whatever you want, okay? I just want you to be happy." He put his hands on Jimin's chest, and gazed at his mouth, his lips full and pink. His cute thin nose, and the faint freckles on his cheek bones. He hated that he couldn't stay away from him. He hated that he caused him so much pain. But he was so weak. Jimin was perfect, and beautiful, and did everything with conviction. Yoongi felt like he was drowning, and the only thing pulling him out of the darkness was Jimin's hand.

"Jimin, I… I'll be there."

“Good.” Jimin backed up a little. “Look, I’m sorry for being pushy. I guess I’m just too stubborn to let you go.”

“Don’t worry about it. I shouldn’t have avoided you like that, it wasn’t fair. I know you’re only trying to help. I’ll do better.” Yoongi was still afraid, but he knew he couldn’t deal with all this alone, and leave Jimin to face torment alone, either.

“Okay,” Jimin said, and he wanted to keep reassuring him, but the sound of footsteps echoing off the stone made him pause.

“Go,” Yoongi said. “I’ll see you tomorrow.” He kissed Jimin once as quick as he could and turned to leave. After Jimin was gone, Yoongi worked hard that day. There was no point in his religious life if it didn’t bring him peace. He swept and scrubbed the floors, lit dozens of candles on the altars, prayed earnestly and paid attention to the readings when they ate together. He fed the birds, which were being kept indoors from the inclement weather. He even helped the nuns bake bread, which was pretty fun. His Brothers in the church treated him with mild indifference and were sometimes stern, but the nuns were nice to him. It helped that he was the youngest one in the clergy.

When Yoongi fell into bed that night, he was feeling a bit better. He was still running through what had happened that morning, wishing he could be tougher. Jimin convinced him that he really wanted to be with him, but Yoongi was anxious about tomorrow. There was no use worrying about their relationship anymore, it would only spoil what fleeting happiness they had together. Yoongi still hoped that one day, he could stop being afraid and just have Jimin by his side. He sighed and pulled the blankets up over his head, letting the warm darkness comfort him until he finally fell asleep.

Yoongi's morning routine was business as usual, but after that he sat down in the workshop and thought hard about what he was going to make for Jimin's birthday. They called it a workshop, but it was more like a storage space with a big table in it. Sewing projects, book repairs, making decorations, painting and other random things were done here, with a big window looking out on the fields for daydreaming purposes.

Yoongi didn't consider himself much of an artist, but he tried to make something special for Jimin. It took a long time, but he was satisfied enough when he was done. He ran back through the church, up the stairs and into his room. Putting everything carefully in his bag, he finished getting ready and went outside to wait for Jimin. The sun was out, but dark storm clouds loomed in the distance. Yoongi watched the people going by, trying to ignore the way his heart pounded for no reason.

His pulse was going so fast when Jimin pulled up that he thought he'd fall over and die from sheer panic. He climbed up on the front seat of the carriage next to Jimin, who smiled at him and didn't say anything yet, to his relief.

They were about halfway there when Yoongi managed to calm down, but he couldn't bring himself to speak up. He didn't know why he felt so shy, and it annoyed him.

"I'm happy you're here," Jimin said. He noticed that Yoongi had tied a tiny blue ribbon in a tiny bow around his neck. "What is that?" he asked with an even bigger smile.

"It's nothing," Yoongi said.

"Is that because you're my birthday present?"

"No…" Yoongi huffed and looked away.

"It is. You're blushing."

"I am not." Yoongi crossed his arms and pouted the rest of the way. He wasn't really mad, of course. He just hated that Jimin was making him feel this way. He wasn't used to it.

Soon they came up to the side of the house. Jimin helped him down and brought him inside. It was a habit by now that the first thing they did was go to Jimin's room and Yoongi changed.

"Isn't it weird that I'm always wearing your clothes?" he asked.

"Nah, nobody cares. Anyway it gives me an excuse to see you undressed."

Yoongi sighed loudly and put his stuff away. He stood in front of the door, wearing the long black shirt and pouting still. He couldn't hold it, though, and cracked a smile.

Jimin came close and touched the little ribbon, trying not to laugh. "So you'll let me untie you later?" he said quietly in Yoongi's ear.

"No," Yoongi said, his shoulders shaking slightly. "I'm mad at you."

They were trying to out-tease each other, and they finally burst out laughing at how dumb it was. Jimin hugged him and kissed his cheek and jaw, still giggling quietly.

"Happy birthday," Yoongi mumbled, running his hands through Jimin's hair. "Come on, let's go act normal now," he said, trying to escape.

"Okay. I promise not to embarrass you." Jimin let him lead the way out.

Yoongi wandered towards the kitchen, the smell of dinner drawing him in. He leaned on the doorframe, watching Jimin's mom put the finishing touches on everything.

"I had a feeling you'd be here," she said. He didn't feel like asking her why.

"It smells good," he said.

"I made a roast." She smiled at it, and Yoongi got a weird vibe when he could see where Jimin got his personality. He left her to it and went to sit by Jimin on the couch. It was only the afternoon, but he felt like he'd gone through a whole day already.

"So, how old are you today?" he asked, leaning back and crossing his ankles.

"Twenty," Jimin said.

"Ha. I'm two years older than you."

"Like that means anything."

Yoongi smiled and stuck the tip of his tongue through his teeth. He was glad that he was here, and that he couldn't stay away. Jimin made him too happy. He hadn't felt loved in a long time. Hopefully today he could repay him, somehow.

"I got all my other gifts already. Want to see?"

"Yeah, why not." Yoongi was just getting comfortable, but he got up and followed Jimin back to his room. He laid down sideways across his bed, watching him. Jimin gathered everything up in his arms and dumped it all on the bed next to Yoongi.

“Here, look.” Jimin handed him a leather-bound book, with a long gold ribbon for a bookmark. “My dad got me this book I really wanted, except it’s signed by the author.”

“Neat.” Yoongi opened it and read the inscription. There was the signature, large under the title. In smaller handwriting underneath, Jimin’s dad had written him something.

To Jimin-- Curiosity is a kernel of the forbidden fruit, which still sticketh in the throat of a natural man, sometimes to the danger of his choking.

“Kind of a strange quote,” Yoongi said as he set it back down. “No offense.”

“No, my dad thinks it’s weird that I like to read so much. He’s very… efficient. He’d rather I work all day.”

“Don’t you basically do that already?”

Jimin smiled at him. “Speaking of work, my brother got me new tools. I’m amazed he could afford them, tools are not cheap.” Jimin picked up a large silver hammer, tossed it in the air and caught it again. “Feel.”

Yoongi took it and his hand dropped to the bed. It was so heavy. He touched the forked end with his fingertips. Why did everything Jimin owned need to be so heavy and dangerous? “Hmm. Do you think Jesus needed a hammer this big?”

“You know Jesus was most likely a stonemason and not an actual carpenter, right?”

Yoongi sat up on one elbow. “Excuse me?”

Jimin giggled at him. “And I thought you were the educated one.”

Yoongi was at a loss for words. “I went to school!”

“Obviously not long enough, then.”

“No, I’m much better off here. If I didn’t come here, I never would have met you.”

Jimin moved his stuff off to the side, and picked up a shiny black shirt with black pinstripes embroidered in. “Oh, and my mom got me some fancy shirts. She’s obsessed with buying clothes.” He set it down with the other things, laying down next to Yoongi. “When did you come here, anyway?”

“I was fourteen, so… eight years ago.” He thought for a second. “1905, then.”

“No way you left home by yourself at fourteen.”

“No, I kind of lied about that part. My parents sent me here, and I didn’t know what I would be doing. They said I’d be going to a ‘Catholic boarding school’, which was bull. They dropped me off at the church as far away from home as possible, and I haven’t heard from them since. Took my vows when I was eighteen.” Yoongi played with a loose thread on the blanket.

“Why would somebody do that to their own kid? That’s the saddest thing I ever heard.”

“Trust me, it was better than being in school.”

Jimin snuggled up to Yoongi, putting his head on his chest. “I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. It’s your birthday, I’m not about to ruin it with my drama.” He sighed and kissed Jimin’s head. They laid there in silence for a minute, just enjoying the physical contact. Then Jimin heard his mom’s heels clicking on the hardwood, and he bolted up straight before she opened the door. She ran in and squeezed him in a hug.

“Happy birthday, favorite boy,” she said. Before Yoongi knew what was happening, she bent down and hugged him too. "My third favorite boy," and Yoongi screeched and tried to swat her away. She laughed and went to the door. Jimin started laughing so hard he doubled over.

"I can't breathe," he said in between laughing.

"Have either of you seen my second favorite boy?" Jimin's mom asked.

"And the Lord said unto Cain, where is thy brother Abel? And he said, I know not, am I my brother's keeper?" Yoongi said.

"Very funny. I swear, one of these days he'll disappear and I'll find out he's joined the circus. Anyway, dinner's done soon." She left and closed the door behind her.

"Wow," Yoongi said. Jimin wiped a tear from his eye.

"Poor mom is probably starved for attention. My dad's been gone all day."

"On your birthday?"

"Yeah, it doesn't matter. He's not the most social person. I think I'm getting old enough now that birthdays aren't really a big deal."

Yoongi got up and dug through his bag. "Here, I'll give you your gifts one at a time." He pulled out a necklace and handed it to Jimin, who put it on and looked at it closely. It was a tiny wooden crucifix on thick black string.

"I love it. Did you make this yourself?"

"Yeah, I carved it. I'm not great but I thought it'd be nice."

"I really love it," Jimin said again. He leaned down and kissed Yoongi on the cheek. "Thank you."

"There's more, but I guess we should go eat."

"Will you do something for me first? Only if you want to."

"Mm, what?" Yoongi sat up and stretched his arms out.

Jimin reached over to his end table and took the little knife out of the drawer. "I want you to give me something special. To remember my birthday."

"Are you sure?" Yoongi asked, but he still took the knife. Jimin stood in front of him and pushed his pants down to his knees. The four lines on his thighs were thin white scars now. He pointed at the spot below them.

"Will you do a little heart?" Jimin put his hands over his face, slightly embarrassed.

"I'll do anything for you, you know that." Yoongi kissed Jimin's stomach and hips. He held his hands steady and exhaled, pressing down lightly on his skin. He carefully cut a heart there, and only tiny blood drops came to the surface. He heard a quiet whine, and it was done.

"Thank you," Jimin said, and pulled his pants back up. He put the knife away and kissed Yoongi a few times, short and sweet. "Now we can go." They went out to eat, Yoongi's heart pounding again. He was sure that he loved Jimin too, but he didn't know how to say it yet. His heart had settled itself into the cuts on Jimin's leg, and he felt like he belonged to him now, maybe forever.

Chapter Text

Dinner was a nice simple affair. The food was delicious, a gramophone had been propped up in a corner and played ragtime quietly, and they were in good spirits. At sunset Jimin's brother came in carrying his gun.

"I killed that coyote," he announced.

"Finally," Jimin said.

"Get your muddy boots off my floor and get cleaned up!" Their mom rushed outside, dragging him out with her. "Late for dinner again, you're just like your father…"

She could be heard berating him all the way through the back yard. Yoongi looked up with wide eyes and Jimin snickered. "Don't worry," he said. "She'll be happy in the morning. Coyotes eat the chickens and she gets really upset every time."

Just then his mom returned and leaned against the stove. "Did you leave room for dessert?"

"I was going to wait for Dad, can we do it tomorrow?" Jimin looked at Yoongi. "Do you care?" Yoongi shook his head.

"Alright then, that's fine. You two do whatever you want, I'm having a drink and a lie-down before your father gets home."

The house was quiet that night, and it rained hard, tapping at the windows. Yoongi had pulled his bag up onto the bed for Jimin to rummage through for the rest of his things, because he was feeling lazy and almost everything in there was his anyway. It felt strange when he realized he'd been carrying Jimin around with him for a month, even when he was trying to avoid him. Now he laid down next to him on his stomach, watching him and idly flipping through his new book.

"Another thing you made?" Jimin asked, taking out another book that was much thinner.

"Yeah, but don't expect the Book of Kells or anything."

"I don't know what that means," Jimin said, opening it with a crackling noise. The whole thing had been hand-bound with thread, and the cover was repurposed, stamped in silver with the word "devotionals" on it. Every page was essentially blank, so Jimin could put in whatever he wanted. Around the edges wove vines dotted with berries and flowers, animals appeared in the corners with red and gold eyes, and other small illustrations throughout. The church from across the road. A little Virgin Mary in one corner. One page was full with random colorful designs as if for practice, and every so often a Bible verse would appear in carefully printed letters.

Jimin sat there with his mouth open in surprise, and clutched it to his chest. "How long did it take you to make this?"

"Oh, ages and ages. I figured it's done enough, and you'd probably appreciate it more."

"If I put anything in this, it would ruin it."

Yoongi put the other book down and settled himself at Jimin's side, one hand resting on his chest. "Finish it for me. I want to see it in a year or so." Jimin kissed the top of his head.

"Just the other morning you told me I could have a better future without you." Yoongi didn't respond. "I could find the nicest woman, who is beautiful and makes me happy. Gives me five kids and never complains." He took Yoongi's hand, lacing their fingers together. "But it wouldn't be the same… I don't want a long happy life if you're not in it."

Yoongi looked up into his eyes. "You don't really mean that."

"I promise. I'll always mean it. You're the only one I want."

"If you say so," Yoongi said, but he still smiled. Jimin pulled out the tiny bottle of iodine, the other with the special healing salve in it, and there was a slightly bigger bottle of this in there, with a proper label. He set the smaller one back in its place, and put the full one on his table next to the pretty book. Besides Yoongi’s belongings, there wasn’t anything left. He checked underneath, and discovered the candy and booze he’d bought in town. It seemed so long ago.

Jimin laughed. “I forgot about these. Didn’t I have some beef jerky in here too?” He pulled a stick of incense from the bottom and brought it over to his dresser to light. When he turned back around, Yoongi was sitting back up, looking shy again. “What is with you today? I’d swear you were hiding something."

"No, I'm not." He rubbed his neck and looked at his lap. "I ate your jerky though."

"You're seriously cute sometimes, you know."

"Am not." Yoongi blushed angrily. He felt vulnerable, and he didn't like it. He tried to keep his hard exterior all the time to protect himself, but Jimin broke it down and reached right into him. He hadn't felt this sensitive for as long as he could remember. "I'm taking this," he said, holding up the whiskey, or whatever it was.

"Go ahead," Jimin said, holding his hand over his smile. "I'm not trying to make you nervous. Maybe it's just me."

"No, it's not you. I don't know why I'm being like this either." Yoongi took a big drink and laid back on the bed. He put his arms up in the air, inviting Jimin in. "I missed you."

Jimin stood still for a moment. He thought about that day in town again. When he'd laid down for Yoongi for the first time and how nervous they were. Now he was doing it for him, on his bed, on his birthday. It didn't feel real again, and silence smothered them. He went and turned the light off, and they stripped in the dark out of instinct.

Despite how cold it was, Yoongi's skin was so warm underneath him. Jimin took his time to show he was serious, kissing and massaging him all over. He wanted to memorize every inch of his body. He loved that Yoongi was the impatient one now, rocking his hips against him and whining quietly in his ear.

"Mm, wait. I'm not ready yet," Jimin said. He leaned over as far as he could and grabbed the lube from the table, putting it in Yoongi's hand. "Here. Let me see," and he sat back on his heels. Even in the dark, he could watch Yoongi touch himself, one hand squeezing the end of his cock, already hard. He tilted his hips to the side and the other hand went down to his ass, getting himself nice and wet.

Jimin breathed in sharply when Yoongi brushed his slick fingers over the tip of his cock, clumsy and urgent. He kneeled over him, capturing his mouth in a deep kiss. His hands went under Yoongi’s lower back, shifting him up onto his thighs, and Yoongi drew his knees up, wrapping himself around Jimin. It took a second of moving around, but they found a comfortable position.

Yoongi kept making little whining sounds, trying to ride Jimin and getting nowhere. His muscles tensed up, and he reached an arm out, clawing at the edge of the bed. The knife was too far away, and the heat was unbearable. “No, come here,” Jimin said softly, pulling Yoongi’s wrists together and holding them with one hand on his chest. He pressed up on his entrance, feeling Yoongi squirm underneath him in anticipation, hardly able to move.

“I’ll wait as long as I have to. Say what you want.”

“I want to be yours. Please, I’ll never leave you again. I n-need you,” and his voice was breaking. Jimin decided not to torture him anymore, and pushed inside him slowly. Yoongi moaned, but it caught in his throat. He tried to get his hands free, and when Jimin let go Yoongi clung to him, digging his nails into his back.

Jimin kissed him hard, and he was so warm, and so tight around him, that he struggled to keep a steady rhythm. There was nothing else now, just Yoongi, no sounds but his breathing and little whimpers of pain and pleasure as Jimin fucked him. Yoongi sucked on his neck, and he didn't care if it bruised. But there was a sharp pain there. He'd drawn blood, and he still scratched down his back.

Jimin took both his hands and shoved them up above his head. He knew he couldn't move now, and thrust deeper into him until they were both panting. "Every time... you hurt me… I'm gonna fuck you harder."

The pressure built up deep inside him and rushed to the surface. This was all he ever wanted, and he wouldn't let anyone take it away. As he got closer to his climax he backed up a little and started going slow and even, taking his time until Yoongi was a hot desperate mess underneath him.

"Right there, you feel so good--" Yoongi couldn't think anymore, couldn't move, and stopped fighting it. Then it hit him, a powerful wave went through him and he had to bite his lip to keep from crying out loud. Jimin hugged him, holding him still as he came, and Yoongi could feel his cock pulse as he filled him up. His eyes squinted shut, his whole body tensed and burning under Jimin's weight.

Then he was alone for a brief second, feeling completely overwhelmed. A rattling noise, Jimin's hand around his cock, and then he held his breath.

"You're mine," Jimin said. He worked him quickly, and Yoongi couldn't take it anymore. He put his hands over his mouth as he finally came, and he thought it wouldn't stop, pleasure rushing over him again and again. Then a pinch, fire in his leg, and it hurt. He looked down, trying to catch his breath, and Jimin had cut into his thigh, three little lines.

Yoongi put his head back and moaned one last time, and suddenly he realized he was crying. He'd never felt so good and hurt so bad at the same time. Then it was done, and Jimin hugged him for a long time, breathing hard, their shining wet skin pressed together.

It took a few minutes to come back to normal. Jimin kissed his face, brushed his hair back for him, and staggered up out of bed. He took Yoongi's hands and pulled him up gently. "Come on, let's go get cleaned up." He checked the hallway, and the house was dark and silent. Jimin tugged his pants on in a hurry and wrapped a blanket around Yoongi's shoulders. "It's okay," he said.

They crept into the kitchen and Jimin lit a candle over the stove. There was still warm water, and he washed them both carefully. Yoongi felt weird being naked in the openness of the house, but he could hardly care either. When they got back to the bedroom, Jimin collapsed onto his back on the bed, sighing deeply in satisfaction. Yoongi sat down near him and looked closely at his thigh. Jimin had carved a square little "J" there, marking him forever with his name.

"I really am yours now," he said. Jimin sat up and hugged him again from the side, peppering him with kisses.

"Oh, I almost forgot," he said, touching Yoongi's neck. He grabbed one end of the little ribbon and pulled, it coming away easily, and he wrapped it up in his hand. They both laid down together, naked in the cold night air. There was nothing left to talk about. All they could do was yawn and hold each other as they fell asleep.

The storm passed through the night, and in the morning the sun broke through the clouds, although it was still freezing. The grass was covered in frost, and it was eerily quiet in the village without the sound of birds and insects. The rain turned to ice and made the wooden porches deathly slippery, and people stayed in their homes, refusing to work outside. Being creatures of habit, Jimin’s parents were up early, and their footsteps near the door snapped Jimin awake. He shivered, wishing he had a lock on his door. He tugged the blankets out from under Yoongi, who whined softly in his sleep. Wrapping them both up, he rubbed Yoongi’s arms to warm him up, and Yoongi stuck his leg between Jimin’s and kissed his chest, exhaling heavily. He didn’t want to get up yet.

“Hey. sleepy. You want to get breakfast soon?”

“No…” Yoongi smushed his face into Jimin’s chest, grumbling.

Jimin smiled, stroking his hair. “Are you sure?”

“I really hate you for waking me up,” he said, muffled.

“You do not. You love me.” Jimin thought he couldn’t get any happier. He just wanted to share it.

“Mmf… no I don’t.” Yoongi’s eyes opened, and he yawned. Jimin kept petting his hair, until Yoongi looked up at him.

“Say it,” he said softly. “Then I’ll let you sleep.”

Yoongi blinked, and whatever was happening in his dreams faded. He saw Jimin now, smiling so close to him, and he remembered what he’d looked like last night. He couldn’t describe it if you asked him to, but he would never forget the way Jimin looked at him, with dark eyes full of determination, and tenderness, and fear all wrapped up together. It felt like he had torn away everything inside him, all the black thorns, and replaced it with himself, curled up warm and soft in Yoongi’s stomach. There was no way he could convey all this with just a look, but he still tried.

“...I love you,” Yoongi said. “More than anything.”

"Good." Jimin kissed him. "I love you too." He got up and tucked Yoongi in. "See you soon." Then Jimin stretched, got dressed and left his room, closing the door softly behind him. The house already smelled like food again, and he went and sat down at the kitchen table. His dad was in the living room reading the paper with his feet on the coffee table, and his mom was cooking, humming to herself. His brother was almost certainly sleeping in.

"Can I make coffee?" he asked.

"You don't have to ask, love. You live here." Jimin busied himself with it, still thinking about last night. "Did you have a good birthday?"

"Yeah. It was great." He smiled as he brewed the coffee.

Yoongi couldn't fall back asleep. He laid under the warm blankets, staring at the ceiling and trying to get enough courage to move. Eventually he groaned in frustration and flung the covers off, immediately regretting it for how cold it was. He sat on the edge of the bed and sighed. His new cuts were small, but Jimin made sure they were deep enough to scar. He put the healing stuff on it, and the stinging went away. When he got dressed, he was grateful to find a sweater in the dresser. He hugged himself, feeling safe and happy, and went to join Jimin.

When Yoongi came into the kitchen, he froze, staring at Jimin. "Is that coffee?"

"Yeah, here." He held out a cup. Yoongi almost tripped over himself getting to it, drinking it quickly.

"Don't you have coffee at the monastery?" Jimin's mom asked, filling up plates.

"M-mm," Yoongi said. He drained his cup and gave it back to Jimin, who refilled it for him. After a while, everyone was gathered around the table eating. They didn't need to talk much, enjoying the peaceful morning. Jimin's mom brought out the pie she'd made, stuffed with fresh berries and warmed in the oven.

"I couldn't find one small enough to stick in it, so you'll have to make do." She plonked a candle down on the table and went to get his brother out of bed. They reappeared, his brother rubbing his eyes and yawning. She put a big plate of breakfast in his hands to take to his room.

"Happy birthday, son. Make a wish," his mom said, beaming. Jimin closed his eyes and blew it out. A chorus of tired "yay" and polite clapping went around. It was still early. They all had pie, which was pretty good and felt indulgent. Then everyone left to finish waking up, and Jimin and Yoongi were alone again. Jimin laid his head on his shoulder.

"I'm happy. I don't know if I've ever been this happy."

Yoongi took his hand and sighed. "I know how you feel. I don't want to go home."

"Here, come with me." He took Yoongi to back to his room, holding his hand the whole way. Jimin opened the bottom drawer of his dresser and hauled something out. It was a long wool peacoat, dark green with carved wood buttons. "You should wear this so you don't get cold."

"Jimin, I don't think--"

"Don't say anything. You just stand there." Jimin got everything ready, put the coat on Yoongi and set his bag with his robes in it over his shoulder. He put Yoongi's cross necklace on him, and wore his smaller one to match.

This small gesture did make Yoongi feel better. Going home was inevitable, but it surprised him that he didn't want to. Normally this was when he took the walk home full of doubt and dreading how to end it with Jimin. Today was different. He didn't feel alone anymore. The future was clear, although he didn't know what would happen still, now he trusted Jimin. It would be good for them, and he truly believed it. A sense of relief and calmness that he'd never known, in eight years of trying to find it.

"I love you," he said from under the scarf Jimin had wrapped around him.

"Do you feel better now?"

Yoongi nodded and tugged the scarf down. "I'm ready."

They made the familiar short trip to the front yard. It began to warm up a bit in the sunlight, where the grass shone with dew, but frost lingered in the shadow of the house. The thick layers made it hard for Yoongi to move, but he still let Jimin hug and kiss him plenty before he left. Nobody could see them, but if they did, neither of them cared anymore. Before he left, Yoongi turned around to look at Jimin, standing on the porch, his hair messy and cheeks flushed.

"You know, I don't think it's the devil keeping us together." He paused, feeling silly for saying it, but it was the truth. "It's God now, right? Do you think He wants us to be together?"

Jimin came back down off the porch, looking at Yoongi closely. His face was actually serious, but not angry. Yoongi couldn't help but watch his lips when he spoke.

"Why does it matter what God wants? What do you want?" Jimin wasn't lying when he said how happy he was, but a small part of him would stay sad and angry and confused, until he could help Yoongi and get them out of the whole situation.

"I'll see you soon, okay?" Yoongi said quietly. He kissed Jimin on the cheek. He couldn't afford to stay any longer. "What do you think I want?"

Jimin just stood there, transfixed. They waved goodbye and he watched Yoongi disappear down the road. He didn't even notice that he was shivering in the cold, standing in the yard with no shoes on. He had seen that same smart, gentle, mysterious man he was so curious about, and watched him go home where he met him. It hadn't been that long ago, but now they loved each other, and had done all that two people could together. It hit him like a train, but now there was no shame or anxiety. This was his life now, and Jimin would do anything to protect it.

Chapter Text

The next time Jimin saw Yoongi alone, the first snowfall touched down on the village, leaving a thin white layer of ice on the fields and rooftops. There was little to do outside, so Jimin laid around the house, writing in the book Yoongi made for him. It kept the anxiety at bay while he waited for him to arrive. The energy in the house didn't help. His father spent most of the day at the kitchen table, poring over stacks of paperwork while his mother hovered nearby, putting endless small dishes of food in front of him and wringing her hands. They spoke in whispers and it made Jimin nervous.

When Yoongi walked to the farm, he was surprised to see Jimin waiting outside for him. With some difficulty that morning he'd managed to pull the long coat Jimin gave him over his robes. If a crown of red flowers were on his head he'd look the picture of Christmas, but that was still many weeks away. Jimin smiled and came up to him.

"Let's go somewhere. I can't stand to be in the house."

"It's so cold, though." Yoongi's cheeks were pink, and his face was full. In his good mood he must have been eating better than usual.

"I'll keep you warm." Jimin held his hand and led him past the farm, into the deep grass that grew over their heads.

It looked like any other field of grass, all tan and gray in the overcast light. Eventually they came upon a clearing, made by hand. A great pile of wood was there, topped with broken furniture and magazine papers. Some men lulled about in their worn black suits, smoking to kill time and drinking to stave away the cold.

"You ever been to a burn?" Jimin asked as he pulled Yoongi deeper into the grass.

"No, but I know what they are. You can see the smoke from across the village."

“My dad usually goes, but he’s been busy a lot.”

The pair continued walking until they were out of earshot of the others. They crawled around in a circle, smashing the grass into their own little clearing. They sat and talked about nothing as the sky grew darker and the damp ground soaked into their clothes. The fire had been built, and the flames reached above the grass, large enough to shine orange on their faces.

“I said I’d keep you warm,” Jimin said, shivering. “I’m doing a t-terrible job at it.”

“Here, get up for a second.” Yoongi proceeded to take his coat off and lay it down, and then his robes as well. Jimin stood there perplexed, but now Yoongi was looking past him, at the fire overhead. If he craned his neck back, he could see the stars, thousands of fires in the sky. When he looked back down, Jimin had sat down again and was tugging his shoes off. Neither of them fully understood why they impulsively slept together. It felt good, and that was all they needed. They could get emotional connections elsewhere. This was just something they did.

When Yoongi pulled him into his arms, the first thing Jimin felt was the familiar rush. It was like being turned on and having an adrenaline spike at the same time. He was drawn in harder than ever. The second thing he felt was warmth surrounding him, and he actually looked over towards the fire to see if it had spread. But it was coming from Yoongi, and Jimin took it in, kissing him for a long time and losing himself in his warm soft skin. Yoongi loved when Jimin touched him, and it got harder to ignore the pressure. He struggled against his own hands, digging into Jimin and pulling at his hair.

A moment to breathe, and Jimin took a small velvet bag from his jacket, and poured out their kit. He spent a few minutes straddling Yoongi, getting them ready. Way too much lube later, and Jimin carefully set one finger on his hole, waiting for Yoongi to focus on him. He leaned forward, rubbing their cocks together with his other hand.

While Jimin did this, Yoongi was so wrapped up in it that his body acted by itself, and he couldn't think. He was making soft growling noises, but the only sound he could hear was Jimin. The sweet, high moan as he slowly pushed himself open on Yoongi's cock. The last thing he saw was Jimin's face over him, framed by the stars and glowing in the firelight.

He faded in and out of consciousness, and every time he came to, he could feel the weight of Jimin on him, rolling his hips the way he liked, fucking him harder than he thought possible. He heard Jimin's raspy breathing, felt the sweat on his lower back. It was so hot, and he couldn't speak.

Jimin didn't care how overheated he was, or the ache in his legs as he bounced up and down. He didn't even mind the way his ass hurt, he knew he was pushing it but he wanted to give Yoongi everything. It felt so amazing otherwise that the pain didn't matter, and the warmth was in him too. He leaned over Yoongi, hugging him close and letting him claw at him.

The fire burned through them, as if they were in the bonfire themselves. Yoongi came inside Jimin, and he wasn't there, but he felt every second of his orgasm speeding through him, blasting every other sensation out of its way. He didn't hear them both yelling in each other's ears, or feel the way Jimin slammed into him, all soaking wet and shaking.

When he woke up, the earth was hard underneath him, and it was finally cold. His back, ass and pelvis were sore, and he groaned. Opening his eyes, it took a while to see properly. Jimin was there, panting and holding his arm over his head. Not more than half an hour had passed, but to Yoongi he'd been out for much longer.

"What happened?" Yoongi asked.

"You don't remember?" said Jimin. Yoongi shook his head. His stomach cramped up when he realized that he'd lost control, and didn't even try to fight it.

"It was nice. You came, and I was okay with finishing myself off. I wanted to come, and let you cut me. 'Make it pretty this time.'"

Yoongi didn't want to speak yet, so Jimin continued, his voice low.

"I came, but the pain didn't stop. I looked at you and there was... so much blood everywhere. It startled me, and I couldn't get you to stop. I took the knife away, and you got mad and hit me. You bashed me in the face, and I had to get a hold of your wrists. I just laid here with you and held on until you calmed down."

Yoongi tried to say something, anything to apologize, but he couldn't find the words. He glanced down at Jimin's leg, which had stopped bleeding but looked a mess. Dry blood streaked across his thigh, and Yoongi's white robes were stained red. He had to do something, so he stood up, trembling with panic. Jimin stayed calm the whole time, and got up close to Yoongi. From another pocket somewhere he had procured a flask of water and a bandana, cleaning them off none too gently. They got dressed, and Jimin buttoned up Yoongi's pretty green coat to hide the blood.

"I'm sorry," Yoongi choked out as they went back through the field in the dark. "I should go."

"Hell no," Jimin said. "You're coming home with me. I won't leave you alone like this." Yoongi felt awful, but still grateful to him. It didn't make sense that he was so patient with him, even after all that. They walked past the fire, through the wet grass towards the farm. They didn't say a word to each other on the way.

The lights were on in the house, illuminating the frosty yard. Yoongi hung back behind Jimin, guilt strangling his ribs and making him walk slowly. Jimin brought him inside, hollering to his mom that he'd brought him here. She made a disinterested noise from the kitchen, and they went to his bedroom. Jimin was glad she didn't care enough to come look at them.

"Come here. I'm going to take care of us, and I don't want you to say anything," Jimin said. Yoongi didn't. "Stay in here for a little bit. I'm going to make us a bath."

In the kitchen, Jimin's mom was making pastries. He tried to sneak behind her, but she turned around and saw him.

"Oh, Jimin, what happened to you?" She touched the bruise on his face.

"It's nothing. I fell down," he said. "Anyway I'm making us a bath, so I have to get in your way." Jimin's mom hummed in a discontented way, but she didn't press the issue.

It took a while, but Jimin was immensely satisfied when he was done. By this point he ached everywhere, and the hot water looked so inviting. But Yoongi was still in his room, and Jimin didn't want to leave him alone tonight. When he returned, Yoongi was sitting on the edge of his bed, looking down.

"Hey," Jimin said, crouched in front of him. "Are you ready?"

Yoongi spoke softly and didn't look up at him. "I-- I have blood on my hands."

Jimin sighed and decided that he wouldn't try to hold a real conversation yet. He pulled Yoongi up and led him out of the house, their bare feet crunching over the frozen grass. When he was done scrubbing off the blood and dirt, he helped Yoongi a little bit, who was still slow and unresponsive. Then he brought him inside, dried him off and gave him his softest flannels. After he bandaged his leg they went to bed right away, Jimin stroking Yoongi's hair to help him sleep. He hoped tomorrow would be better.

Yoongi awoke the next morning in blackness. He blinked a few times, and everything faded to dark blue. As he came around, he realized it was the ceiling, and not the sky. This wasn’t his room, either. He’d had a terrible dream.

He looked over and saw Jimin, fast asleep, and realized it wasn’t a dream.

I’m sorry,” he whispered. He gingerly touched the mark he’d left on his face. Memories of last night hung on the edge of his mind, only appearing in flashes. He remembered the stars, and all that blood. Something like the sensation of hot water. Whatever it was, all he knew was he felt deeply depressed, and hopeless to stop it. Just then he saw Jimin stir, and before he could turn over and pretend to be asleep Jimin pulled him closer. Yoongi felt his bad mood drag him further down, but he still liked the way Jimin’s rough fingertips were so gentle on his back. Maybe he didn’t deserve to be loved, but there was nothing he could do now. The future was unknown and terrifying, but at least they would have each other.

“Good morning,” Jimin said.

Yoongi closed his eyes. “It’s not.” Then the sadness overwhelmed him, and he had to hide his face against Jimin’s collarbone. Everything he’d ever done, every bad thing he’d ever felt welled up inside him and he couldn’t breathe. Jimin just kept touching him, humming softly as Yoongi sobbed into his chest.

After a while he was able to calm down a bit, and he sniffled and hiccuped as Jimin wiped the tears from under his eyes. “It’ll be okay,” he said.

“How do you know?” Yoongi asked when he could finally breathe again.

“‘Cause I’m going to make it okay.” He looked Yoongi in his eyes, leaving tiny kisses on his wet cheeks. “Just trust me,” he said.

"I will," Yoongi said quietly.

"Will you just stay here with me? I just want to make sure you're alright."

Yoongi whined and shuffled farther under the blankets, so Jimin took that as a yes for the moment, and got up. He dressed in layers, picked up all their clothes and brought them outside. The sun was still low in the sky, so the backyard was still dark and freezing in the shadow of the house. Jimin's teeth chattered and his whole body clenched up in the cold to keep from shivering. He quickly ran down the steps and threw the laundry in the tub.

Back in the house, he built a fire in the stove and the fireplace as quickly as possible to warm up the house before everyone else woke up. When he was done, he sat heavily on the couch and put his feet up on the table. His leg had started to ache, and he didn't like putting weight on it.

Is it still worth it? he thought, watching the sun drift in slowly through the front curtains. Is being with him worth all this?

"...Yes," he muttered. Jimin sighed and laid down, falling asleep almost instantly. The house slowly grew warmer as the sun rose through the glass windows and give everything that cozy morning glow. It was utterly silent, and they all slept soundly together for a minute. It was as if the Holy Spirit itself came in to bless them with the comfort of a nice morning. Even Yoongi, who sometimes felt like he was in a place so dark that even the light of Christ couldn't reach.

Jimin woke up to his dad nudging him out of the way. He sat up and threw his hand up to block the sun in his eyes.

"Your brother and I are taking the train into the city today. We have some errands to run and we'll be gone for a day or two. Do you want to come?" his dad asked.

"I can't, I have stuff to do. Have a good time, though," Jimin said sleepily.

"Don't give your mother too much trouble while I'm gone. And keep it running smoothly around here."

"I always do." His dad clapped him on the leg as he stood up and Jimin had to hold his breath to keep from making a sound. The pain made him grit his teeth. He exhaled slowly, and waited for it to subside. Soon he heard the shuffling sounds of people waking up and getting ready.

The second time Yoongi woke up that morning, he wasn't upset anymore, his sadness settling into his chest. But he was calm, not thinking about anything. Jimin came in and sat by him, and Yoongi held his hand.

"You hungry?" Jimin asked.

"A little," Yoongi said quietly. "Do I have to go back home?"

"Only if you want to." Yoongi shook his head in response. "Is it okay if I tell them where you are?" Jimin touched each of his fingers.

"Yeah," Yoongi said. He didn't care all that much. In his mind the best thing for him right now was this bed, and he was reluctant to leave it. Jimin left the room and came back carrying something. One of those little pastries his mom had made last night, left on the stove to heat up. He set it on the side table.

"I love you." He crossed the room and looked back from the doorway. Yoongi had already taken his gift, and the way he sat there nibbling on it, wrapped up in bed, made Jimin smile.

"Love you too," Yoongi said sheepishly.

Jimin left then, and despite the early hour he had a lot he wanted to do today. He joined his family in the front yard to say goodbye to his dad and brother. He had no idea what they needed to do in the city for two days, but he didn't think he was missing out on much. The carriage rolled away, leaving tracks in the white ground. The frost still clung to everything despite the clear sky. He shivered and went back inside with his mom.

"Can I ask you a favour?" He asked her as they retreated into the warm house. She made an affirmative sound as she went in to start breakfast. The constant cooking relaxed her and kept her focused. "Um… Yoongi's still here. Is it okay if he stays over until they get back?"

"Yeah, you know I don't mind. I like having him around."

"Me too, mom." Jimin meant to keep him around, and he sat at the table and laid his head down, waiting for his love to come find him. He had a plan to take care of him and make everything right in their little world, and today was the first day.

Chapter Text

It didn’t take long for Jimin to get bored, watching his mom putter around the kitchen, making more of a mess than actual food at this point. His mom had never been the kind of person to get antsy, but Jimin had enough to think about today. He gave up on waiting for Yoongi, and went off to the church, dragging his feet slightly.

The view outside wasn't very welcoming. The sun was in his eyes, and the land was all yellow and gray, overgrown with dead bushes. The grass in the yard was mercifully still alive, but it wouldn't last long before snow covered it. Jimin sighed and held his coat on even tighter as he walked. The sunlight was nice, but it didn't stop the icy wind from making him shiver, even if he was bundled up. He wanted to jog and get there quickly, but his thigh was killing him by the time he was out of sight of the farm.

The village was quiet and empty, and it made Jimin feel as if he were the only one there. The church was in sight, and it still seemed so wrong to be there when he wasn't meant to. He stood in front of the door, wondering whether to knock. He shook his head angrily because he had been here a million times, what was he so nervous about? He slipped inside the chapel, which was just as empty and silent. He knew that the office couldn't be down that hallway he'd seen Yoongi in, so he wandered down the left side of the pews, through a doorway and nearly ran into someone.

It startled Jimin so badly he clutched his chest. The man was a younger priest he didn't recognize, and he sighed loudly in relief.

"Hi. Sorry, I'm just here to tell you something."

The priest stood there bewildered for a second, and gave a swift glance at the bruise near his eye. "Can I help you?"

"You know Yoongi, right?"

"Well… yes," the priest said. He didn't know him personally, but he knew to relay the message to the Abbot.

"He-- um, he's at my house, he doesn't really feel good, I don't know, he might be sick but I just had to tell you where he was." Jimin said this all in one breath.

"That's alright. I hope he feels better soon. As long as we know he's in good hands, he can come and go as he wishes."

A reason existed for such a flippant attitude in the church about Yoongi leaving. For years, he'd hardly left anyway. It was the odd feeling the clergymen shared that Yoongi wasn't meant to be there. It wasn't a negative thing. They didn't want him gone or mistreat him. They could tell he secretly dreamed of doing something different.

Usually, leaving the life to join the world again was a painful process, with a lot of prayer and consultation. But Yoongi had gone through the last eight years doing what he was supposed to, devoted but detached. Nobody knew what was inside him, or why he was still there all those years later. They only assumed he would leave someday without a fuss.

"Okay, thank you," Jimin said. "He's safe and everything, I promise. I'm sorry, I'm not trying to be weird, I know I'm a total stranger, but…"

The priest looked at him calmly. "I trust you. Let us know if anything changes," he said.

"I will." Jimin felt horribly awkward, so he said goodbye and got out of there before he made himself look any more foolish. The priest watched him as he left, a bit curious. Nobody had taken leave before without them knowing well in advance, so he went to tell the Abbot right away. He was sure everything was fine, though.

On the way home, the cold seemed to bite deeper after being in the cozy church. Jimin's mind was going in circles, about Yoongi, about how they could be together, if he could keep it a secret, if he could even help him. Jimin promised he could do it for him, but now he was ashamed of saying it. What if he couldn't do anything at all? What if they were doomed to hurt-- Jimin's train of thought derailed when he remembered that he'd left their clothes out in the yard. If his mom found Yoongi's robes, covered in blood, there'd be no end to the questions. She would panic and ruin everything. Despite the pain he was in, Jimin ran the rest of the way.

To his relief, after bolting through the house and out the back door, Yoongi was sitting on a blanket on the grass. He was already washing everything. Jimin felt strange that he was getting used to seeing pink water. He sat next to Yoongi with a sigh, putting his sore leg out in front of him and holding his other ankle.

"Thanks. I feel kind of dumb for running home."

Yoongi was too tired to mess with him. "Did they say anything?"

"Not really. I guess they don't care if you're here, as long as I make sure you're okay."

Yoongi scoffed and pushed harder at his robes. It seemed pointless now. He sighed as well and helped Jimin up. "I'm okay," he said. "It's my turn to take care of you." His hand went to Jimin's hip, and he pushed his thumb into the ticklish spot that made him squirm.

"Ahh, quit it," Jimin whined. "I'll let you, but… I don't know. You'll see." They went to the bedroom, but first Jimin stopped by the kitchen to grab more bandages and a few random bottles. His mom was still doing God knows what in there, so she didn't stop to ask questions. When everything was ready, he laid on the edge of his bed, Yoongi sitting nearby with a pile of first aid. He closed his eyes, trying to stop being nervous. He hummed to himself as Yoongi unwrapped his bandages, stopping at the last layer.

“I’ll be right back,” Yoongi said. He waited at the doorway as he listened to Jimin’s mom going out the back door, and he rushed into the kitchen before she came back. He spent a few panicked seconds finding a pitcher of water and the salt, and closed the bedroom door behind him just in time.

Yoongi took off his soft flannel shirt and handed it to Jimin. “What do I need this for?”

“Just hold on to it,” Yoongi said. He had filled the little flask on the table with salt water and shook it up. “I’m sorry, but this is going to hurt a little.”

“I’m used to it,” Jimin said with his eyes still shut. Yoongi went slowly, soaking his thigh and carefully lifting the edges of his bandage. Every time it caught on one of his cuts, he would add more water and wait. Now Jimin could feel it, stinging so badly that he bit down on his shirt fabric. He didn’t dare make a sound. Yoongi was being gentle, but when the bandages came off, a few tiny streams of blood curved around Jimin’s thigh and dripped on the floor.

Now Yoongi could see the full extent of the damage he’d inflicted, frowning at it. A pang of guilt made him pause and look at it closely. Nothing was so bad that it needed stitches, but he couldn’t even tell what he was trying to do in the first place. It could have been a drawing of something, or the start of a word. But it was obscured by the inches of nasty claw marks, deep cuts that crossed over each other and turned his beautiful thigh into a mangled, bloody wreck. Yoongi was distraught. The sound of Jimin whimpering snapped him out of it, and he grabbed the antiseptic and inhaled. He poured a ton of it over his half-open wounds.
The shock made Jimin groan through his clenched jaw and push his hands against his face. He gasped for air, and immediately started crying. His shoulders shook with the effort of keeping still and quiet. “I know, I’m sorry,” Yoongi said. He rummaged around for the healing salve, and spread a generous amount on, barely touching him with his fingertips. When he was sure that everything looked alright, he wrapped up Jimin’s leg, leaving just enough room to move around. “You’re done. That’s it.”

Jimin sniffled hard and coughed. “Sorry,” he said. He rubbed his tears away and tossed his shirt next to him. Then he pulled himself up to where he was laying straight on his bed, taking a couple deep breaths as Yoongi picked everything up and cleaned the blood off the floor. His hands were a shiny red mess though, and he went away to submerge them in the tub outside. He’d have to come back and finish the laundry anyway. Finally he was able to return to Jimin, throw a white t-shirt on and snuggle up next to him in bed.

“Great. Now both of us have cried today,” Jimin said with a little smile. Yoongi huffed sadly and kept his eyes down. In the last twelve hours, if he had felt anything at all, it was regret, and some kind of self-loathing. The thing he hated the most was seeing blood on his hands. Irrefutable evidence of his mistakes, his lack of discipline.

“I don’t want to hurt you anymore,” he mumbled. Jimin just pulled him closer so he was laying on his chest. The two of them laid together in silence and ached for a while, waiting for sleep to get them through the day faster. It never came for Yoongi, though. He had lost all track of time, so he watched the ceiling, focused on replacing every bad memory with a happy one. He couldn’t stop his mind from going back to the one place he didn’t want to be. It didn’t happen often anymore, but every time Jimin moved underneath him and trapped him in a hug, Yoongi felt a bit better and grounded himself. He thought of them eating together, holding hands, sneaking a kiss in the church. He wondered what it would be like if they could live without fear or pain. Maybe someday.

It was snowing when Jimin woke up. Yoongi clung to him, dreaming fitfully. Jimin took hold of his hands and whispered at him, kissed his face a few times to wake him up. His eyes opened, and it was all normal again.

“Hey,” Jimin whispered. “Sure you’re okay now?”

Yoongi nodded. “Yeah,” he whispered back. He was being truthful; his third time waking up today was successful, and he was warm, and Jimin was holding him still. He had missed being happy, or something close to it. “What about you?”

“I’m fine,” Jimin said. “I’m starving though. Want to get up with me?”

“I can’t spend all day in bed.”

Jimin kissed him, and it was the only time Yoongi felt everything else disappear. He was so soft, and sweet, and he loved him. It didn’t matter if Yoongi deserved it or not. If he gave himself to Jimin, he could keep living. Neither God nor all the powers in Hell could control him. He was safe here. He sighed contentedly, the first time in so long he could relax.

“Come here,” Jimin said after getting dressed. He wore a long tan shirt that was in danger of slipping off his shoulder, and he smiled at Yoongi. “I don’t know if I can walk straight. You have to hide me from my mom. Be my human shield.”

“Fine,” Yoongi said, and he got up and let Jimin wrap his arms around his waist. They went out and Yoongi almost immediately lost his balance. They staggered down the hallway, bumping into the walls. By the time they reached the kitchen, they were tripping over each other, yelling and laughing. Jimin collapsed into a chair, holding his hands over his face until he could stop.

“You seriously almost dropped me on the floor,” he said, still giggling.

“You put all your weight on me!” Yoongi tried to look stern, but he couldn’t keep a straight face. He breathed heavily and sat across the table, laying his head down.

“Feed me,” Jimin said, touching Yoongi’s hair.

“You’re crazy,” Yoongi said into his arm.

“I know. My mom was in here all morning. There’ll be something around.”

He had to stop every few minutes to let himself hurt, but Jimin managed to limp carefully around the kitchen and make a pile of food on the table. Yoongi would have offered to help him, but he knew how stubborn Jimin could be. He tried to keep his mind empty, and to accidentally fall asleep right now, happy, would be a blessing. But he’d slept so much already, and his contentment started to fade away. Shadows filled the edge of his vision, and the harder he tried to go back to ten minutes ago, the farther away it became. For many years he’d managed to achieve a good baseline, letting himself ignore the world and enjoy little things. But since the fiasco at the bonfire he’d dipped lower and lower. He was so relieved and calm with Jimin, but he couldn’t keep a tight hold on it.

Why couldn’t he just feel good for a while? It had been so long since he’d felt this down. A persistent unease followed him everywhere, and while he’d been with Jimin it faded away, and he was almost normal. Now it was relentless, forcing him deeper where he knew he couldn’t get out, where his thoughts were the scariest. Sometimes Yoongi entertained the idea that in this dark place, along with his worst memories, was where the creature lived. When it came to the surface, Yoongi wasn’t himself anymore.

Yoongi didn’t even notice that Jimin was in front of him again.

“You want any? You must be hungry.” Yoongi thought yes, I am, I want to stay with you, but I can’t. He could tell he was losing it, his whole body holding completely still so he wouldn’t start panicking. It was embarrassing, and he didn’t want Jimin to notice. He stood up abruptly, not really knowing why.

“I can’t. I have to finish the laundry,” he said, and sped out the back door. Jimin put his head against the wall, a little sad and confused. Yoongi said he was fine a while ago. He didn’t want to eat without him, and at the very least Yoongi had gone out without a coat or shoes on. Leaning his chair backwards, Jimin could see his mom on the couch, knitting something. If he was quiet enough, he could sneak out the other doorway and she wouldn’t notice. So he crept into his room, found what he needed and went into the backyard.

“Don’t catch a cold,” he said as he sat near Yoongi, who didn’t seem fazed by the frosty ground. He didn’t look up or respond, and Jimin became frustrated. He set his coat and shoes next to him and watched Yoongi for a minute. “What’s the matter? You said you were okay, but I can tell you’re not. I thought you’d be over last night anyway, it wasn’t that bad.”

“That’s the problem. I tried to tell you. It doesn’t get better or easier. It only gets worse.” Yoongi kept aggressively rinsing their clothes out, and he still didn’t look up.

“You don’t even know that,” Jimin said. He felt a bit bad for bringing it up, but he just wanted to make Yoongi feel better. There had to be something he could do.

“Why wouldn’t I? You’re not the one who has to live with it. You have no idea what it’s like having to hurt people.”

Jimin sat back. He was only making Yoongi more upset. But he lingered on that word. People. He’d heard it long ago, in the dingy room in the church. It makes me hurt people. The wheels turned in Jimin’s head. I was a bad person before I came here. They sent me away.

“Yoongi,” Jimin said after a few moments of silence. “You do know, don’t you?” He waited for a reply, and Yoongi stopped what he was doing, taking his arms out of the freezing water. It made Jimin’s stomach churn, and he couldn’t decide whether he was hungry or nauseous. “There was someone else before, wasn’t there? Like me.”

“No!” Yoongi said at once. “....Not like you,” he added quietly.

Jimin ignored the mounting dread. He thought back to when they sat in this very tub together. He didn’t think much of it when they slept together, but the possibility that Yoongi might have lied and done it before with somebody made him feel inexplicably disgusted. He pressed forward, despite knowing he might not like the answer.

"Did you sleep with them?" The words seemed like dirt in his mouth. The look Yoongi gave him was one he'd never seen, and wished he'd never see again. Full of disappointment, bordering on anger. Jimin craved eye contact, but not like this. He looked down, wishing he'd never followed him out here.

"No," Yoongi said. "I didn't." Jimin didn't say anything. "Do you want to know what happened? You'd be the only one who knows the truth."

Jimin shook his head, but he looked back up at Yoongi. He had always been too curious for his own good. "I'm not sure."

"Finish that, and I'll tell you. And you can't ask questions."

Jimin gasped when he put his hands in the icy water, but it was a welcome distraction. He waited, squeezing the last pink suds out.

"It started when I was in school. I went to a one room schoolhouse in the middle of nowhere. I had a couple of friends, and I got good grades. The girls mostly ignored me. As long as I kept my head down, everything was good. But the year I turned thirteen, that's when it started." He took a deep breath and continued. "She was pretty. She was tall, and had wavy blonde hair. That's all I can remember, her hair. She'd walk past me and get my attention. She talked to me more than anyone else. I thought she liked me because I worked hard."

Realization dawned on Jimin, but he kept at what he was doing. He didn't need to say it out loud. Yoongi was talking about his teacher.

"At first, nothing felt off. But then she would try to find ways to touch me. Just a brush against my shoulder or neck every once in a while. I don't think anyone saw or cared. But then she'd make excuses to keep me after class. My dad started getting mad that I was always home late. He thought I was sneaking off."

"Every time she came near, I wanted to hurt her and I didn't know why. I'd smack her hand away or scratch her, kick at her legs. The longer it went on, the less she minded. It got to the point where we were alone and she couldn't stay away from me. I didn't dare tell."

Jimin kept breathing slowly, splashing around mindlessly in the cold water. His arms had gone numb.

"Sometimes she would kiss me. I felt so detached because I didn't love her. I'm sorry that I liked it a little, but I still didn't feel anything. It just burned me up inside and I didn't know what to do. It went on for a long time, until right before summer break. I was fourteen. I'd been thinking about leaving to find work somewhere. I made up my mind to tell her, but I never got the chance. It was still the last time I ever saw her. It…"

Yoongi paused. The yard was quiet. Jimin sat there unmoving, and even the water was still.

"I don't remember much of that day. All the other kids had left. It was so hot in there. We were sitting on the floor, behind her desk. I remember the smell of her perfume, and how soft her hair was. But the more she touched me, trying to take off our clothes and stuff, the harder I pushed her away. Then… nothing. Just darkness, like I had fallen asleep. The only image that stayed with me was after I woke up. I had to be told what happened. She was laying there on the floor, and I couldn't see her face. Her pretty blonde hair was black, covered her up. She was soaked in blood, it was everywhere. In the carpet, all over my hands. That's all I can remember."

At this point Jimin was watching him intently, his fingertips in his mouth from sheer nervousness.

"My dad was the one who found me. Had to drag me out of there. He gave me a good whipping when we got home. Apparently, I took a big heavy paperweight or something and I'd smashed her head in. I found out later that by some miracle she had lived, and I guess she's still there. To keep people from talking and starting a scandal, he and my mom brought me here to the church. And that was it."

Yoongi cleared his throat. "I talked too much," he said, his voice crackly.

An ache went through Jimin's body, and he thought it was fear, maybe worry, but then he came around and noticed they were both sitting there in their bare feet. Even Yoongi was shivering.

"H-here," Jimin said, pulling his coat around Yoongi's shoulders. "Do you want to go inside?"

"Mhm," he nodded, and let Jimin lead him to the living room. His mom must have gone out or went to bed. Yoongi sat on the couch and watched Jimin go back and forth. He laid several layers of towels on the floor, returned all the bottles in his room to the medicine shelf, brought their clothes in to dry, and stoked the fire. Then he took his place next to Yoongi.

"I'm sorry," he said after they had finally warmed up. "I'm sorry I made you talk about it."

"It's okay. I don't even think about it anymore. Only when it was really bad, and… it doesn't get like that now. I just want to be with you. I don't want you to think differently of me."

"I don't. I just feel bad."

"Well, stop it. You're just hungry." Yoongi coughed. "I can't talk anymore." He got up and went to the kitchen, bringing back the armload of snacks Jimin had gathered. The sun was beginning to go down, and the sky outside the window was a beautiful pink color. Yoongi could feel his mind clearing, and the darkness was gone. Now he could sit there with Jimin, eating good food, and sticking his toes close to the fire. It was as if a weight had been lifted, and he was grateful.

Jimin sighed heavily to get rid of any lingering anxiety and picked bites out with his fingers. If Yoongi wanted him to act normal, like nothing happened, then he wouldn't dwell on it. "Are we going to church tomorrow?" he asked.

"Hell no," Yoongi said with a breathy laugh. He looked over at Jimin, who had a tiny shy smile on his face. He kissed him on the cheek. "Let's stay home."

Home. Jimin could get used to hearing that word.

Chapter Text

The rest of the weekend passed with little fanfare. Jimin's mom didn't care if he stayed home from church, as long as it didn't become a habit. Yoongi felt a bit weird not doing anything on Sunday, so he lit some candles and took the time for morning prayers. He and Jimin spent most of the day lounging around, reading and keeping to themselves. As the day went on, a palpable excitement filled the house, because nobody knew what Jimin’s dad would bring home from the city.

Yoongi had trouble sleeping that night. He laid with his eyes closed, pressed up against Jimin’s back, waiting for dreams to pull him under but it wouldn’t happen. He kissed the nape of Jimin’s neck and got up out of bed. He went slowly down the hall, holding his arms out in the pitch black. The shadows seemed foreboding, even though he knew it was ridiculous. He was far too old to be afraid of the dark.

Moonlight illuminated the kitchen just enough to see, and he got himself a glass of water. Outside the window, he could see stars filling the sky. It would be even colder tomorrow. He heard footsteps behind him and waited for Jimin to bring him back to bed. Arms wrapped around his waist, and he felt a soft breath by his ear.

“Mm, I knew you’d come find me,” he said. When he turned around, instead of Jimin’s soft skin he was faced with a thick mass of hair. His teacher was right up against him, the hair on her forehead matted down with blood, which poured down her face. She cooed softly at him, and Yoongi screamed out loud and dropped the glass from his hand. He slammed his eyes shut, sitting down in front of the stove. He was in such a panic that he started choking, and in kicking his legs out instinctively he pushed his feet through the shards of broken glass.

Jimin's mom woke up from all the commotion and hurried into the kitchen. She saw Yoongi sitting there, hyperventilating and rubbing his hands on his face as if he'd run into a spiderweb. She crouched next to him and took hold of his wrists.

"Shh, you're okay. It's me." She stroked his palms with her thumbs. "Look, it's me." Yoongi opened his eyes and saw her, and he was so relieved he almost burst into tears. "Come on, up you get. All the way up on your toes." She helped him over to the couch and put his feet on the table.

After she finished picking all the glass out and bandaging him up, he had relaxed somewhat. "Wait right there, I know what will make you feel better," she said, and went to her room. On the way out, she saw Jimin standing in his doorway.

"What happened?"

"Nothing, dear. Just a bad dream."

Jimin grumbled at her and went straight back to sleep, hardly noticing that Yoongi wasn't next to him. His mom returned to the couch and sat on the floor.

"Here, I made these a long time ago. They live in a chest in my room, and I don't think Jimin will mind." She was holding a big quilt and a stuffed bear, both soft and careworn. They smelled sweet rather than musty, like she took special care of them over the years. Jimin's brother had them too, in different colors. She wrapped him up in the blanket and stuck a throw pillow under his head, and he snuggled that little bear to his chest, now feeling like he wanted to cry from how nice she was being. It made him miss his own mom.

"Get some sleep, okay? There's nothing out there." Before she could get up and leave, Yoongi mumbled something. She brushed his hair away from his face, and he didn't even mind. "Hmm?"

"Are you going to make me leave?" Yoongi asked quietly.

"You're always welcome here. You help out and you're good company. We have plenty of food. I don't see why you should have to. What about your people in the church?"

"They don't like me. I'm lonely. And I always act like it's okay, but I'm scared. I'm always scared. I just… feel really bad all the time, and I can't make it stop." He sniffled and tried to hide. He kept seeing the horrific images in the back of his mind, and it was overwhelming. Having a woman like Jimin's mom nearby, who cared about him and tried to make him feel better, was more than he was used to, something he didn't know he needed until now. Jimin made him feel loved, and his mom made him feel safe.

He held his arms out a bit awkwardly, and she hugged him. Her scent, her hair, her skin and the solidity of her chest and arms were so different from his memories. There was nothing familiar about her, which comforted him the most. He hated crying, hated feeling weak and it had just happened too much lately. He didn't want to, but he cried and clung to her dress.

"Oh, you're okay," she said. She rocked him slightly. "Don't be sad. You can stay right here as long as you want. I like having you around. I know Jimin is happy when you're here. So you're not alone, and you don't have to be scared. Nothing's going to get you."

Yoongi nodded at her, wiping his tears. He held onto Jimin's bear and curled up, letting out a yawn. He felt a bit silly, as if he was acting like a child, but the truth was that he felt better now than he had for days. For once, he wasn't afraid of his past or future or anything. Jimin's mom sat there and stroked his hair a little longer, until he at last fell asleep.

"No more bad dreams," she whispered, and she kissed his head and went to her own room.

Jimin was the first one awake in the morning, and he got up right away to look for Yoongi, afraid he might have left. To his surprise, he was on the couch in a little ball, under his baby blanket. He snuck up to him and peeked under the edge of the blanket. His bear was in there too, and Yoongi held on tightly even when he rolled over.

"Aww." Jimin thought it was awfully sweet, but he wondered why he was out here. He went to the kitchen to get a few things done before everyone was up, and saw the mess from last night. He quickly got to work, sweeping and scrubbing the floor and tidying everything before his dad came home. He went out and fed the chickens and geese, put the tub away, and checked on the winter crops. It began to snow, and by the time he got back in the house it was already piling up.

It was early afternoon when Jimin's dad and brother came home. His dad went to their bedroom to talk to his wife, and Jimin was left alone with his brother. Yoongi had retreated to Jimin's room earlier, so they sat on the couch.

"What did you do in the city?" he asked.

"Nothing much. Dad was busy the whole time. I talked to some recruiters. Been thinking about joining the army."

"Are you serious?" Jimin hadn't thought much about what his brother wanted to do in the future. Whatever it was, he assumed he wouldn't want to stay on the farm. Jimin had believed it for a long time, but now he was almost certain his brother would be the first one married, with a good job and children.

"Yeah, but I'm not sure if I will or not. I don't know."

"I think it's a good idea," Jimin said. "I'm not cut out for that kind of thing. Anyway, take your time. It's not an easy decision."

"I know. I'll probably figure it out by spring."

Jimin sighed. "You want coffee?" He didn't wait for a response to start making it, and he wanted more to do anyway. If he kept himself busy, he wouldn't have to worry about how his dad would react when he found out Yoongi was still there. Jimin didn't want him to go back to the church yet.

In a little while, his mom came into the living room. "Jimin, your dad wants to talk to you."

"Okay, I'm going." It wasn't often that his dad wanted to talk alone. He sat on the bed in his parents' room, which made him feel small. He hadn't been in there in a long time. His dad handed him a thick envelope full of paper. He scanned the first page, but he couldn't make sense of the long words.

"What's this about?" he asked.

"When I was in town, I spent almost the whole time at the bank. I talked to a lot of different people. I needed advice about how I would have you inherit the farm."

"Okay…" Jimin wasn't sure where this was going.

"They told me, without a secondary source of income, that it would be impossible for you to keep it on your own. I'm not going to be able to just hand everything over to you without putting you in debt."

"I could figure it out."

"I know you're capable. But it's not that easy. There's men who can see what's happened before and what will happen again. It comes in waves. Right now, the land is at a premium, and if you couldn't handle it and tried to get rid of it later, you wouldn't have enough to get by. The only way I can make sure that you have a stable future is if we all leave now and take what we can get. All the farmers right now are feeling the strain and I don't know if we can survive another year."

As his dad went on, Jimin felt his heart rising up into his throat. He couldn't believe what he was hearing.

"Wait, you're selling the farm?"

"Look, I don't want to sit here all night explaining it. There's a lot of other reasons, but we can work it out tomorrow--"

"You're selling the farm?" Jimin repeated louder, standing up and glaring at his dad. "And you didn't even talk to me about it first? All my hard work, all that pain I went through was for nothing?!"

"Just listen, okay, relax, I haven't made anything official yet."

Jimin's blood was boiling. He stood there with his fists clenched for a second, but he couldn't stop himself.

"You really don't care about me at all! You told me it would be worth it and that I was doing the right thing, and you took it all away! Fuck you!" he shouted at him, and stormed out of the house, slamming the doors. His mom got up to see what all the noise was about, and watched him from the back door.

Jimin paced around the yard, sure he'd never been so angry in his life. He looked around, not knowing what to do. His head was pounding. He almost tripped over a stone about the size of his hand, and in a split second without thinking, he picked it up and threw it as hard as he could at his parents' bedroom window. It made a loud splintering noise and cracked the whole thing all over, but it didn't shatter the glass.

Before he realized it, his mom had crossed the yard and grabbed him by the arm. "Jimin! I know you're upset but that does not give you permission to wreck my house! Get inside right now!" She hauled him on the porch and pushed him through the door. "You can come talk to us when you're ready to be an adult." She had that face on that Jimin knew meant if he didn't listen, she would probably thrash him. He went to his room and shut the door silently, and threw himself on his bed. He wanted to cry and scream at his parents, but now he had a splitting headache and just curled up on his side, giving up for the moment.

Slowly, the tension in the air lessened. The noise had awoken Yoongi, who pretended to be asleep until Jimin was breathing calmly and the place was quiet again. He put his hand out and waited for Jimin to take hold of his fingers.

"Are you okay?"

"No, but I don't want to talk about it yet." Jimin came closer, and Yoongi did what he hoped he would and covered them both up, snuggling up to him like nothing was wrong, and he could sleep in his arms if it made him feel better.

"I'm sorry," Jimin said, putting his hands on Yoongi's warm back. "I wish I could stay here with you. It's bad right now."

Yoongi could tell between his own issues and whatever Jimin had been yelling about, the mood in the little bedroom was pretty low. He had worried so much that it burned him out, and now he couldn't find the energy to care. He wanted to help Jimin, but this was all he had.

"Everything's kind of bad, isn't it?" he said quietly.

"...Yeah," Jimin said. He pouted and nuzzled up by Yoongi's chin. "Can I kiss you?"

"Mmm, I guess." Yoongi held him and stayed there as long as Jimin needed, and they both felt a little bit better. Jimin liked it when he backed up slightly and Yoongi whined and put his tongue in his mouth. He trailed his fingertips along the curve of his waist, settling down and forgetting why he was so mad. It didn't matter.

"I have to do a couple things before I can be lazy with you," Jimin said.

"I'm not lazy. I just don't have anything to do."

"Trust me, you're better off in here anyway. I'm in trouble."

"What did you do?” Yoongi asked, smirking at him. Jimin frowned.

"Told my dad to fuck off and broke his window. Can't believe I'm not dead. He said he was going to sell the farm, but he's crazy if he thinks I'm leaving the village without you."

Yoongi didn't know what to say. The thought of it terrified him as much as Jimin, but he was so tired. It wasn't a real problem yet, just talk. He knew this was something he couldn't involve himself in. Family business. He stretched out and got comfortable again.

"Okay, I'll see you in a while," Jimin said. The fresh air would help him think clearly. He hugged Yoongi and got bundled up for the snow. Luckily, as he went through the house, he didn't see his family anywhere. He shut the front door without a sound and jogged off down the road. He had one more errand to run.

Jimin meant to talk to the Abbot this time. He had to explain why Yoongi was staying with him. Even if his dad decided to mess up Jimin's idea of the future, he could still figure it out. His plans for being with Yoongi were all he had left to focus on, and today was the second day.

Inside the church, it wasn't as warm as usual. That familiar incense aroma flooded in, and Jimin realized that Yoongi didn't smell like it anymore. It was rather dark and cold that day, and quiet. Jimin went down the hall and stopped in front of the right door, with a little gold plaque. He exhaled and knocked hard.

The person who answered wasn't quite what Jimin expected, maybe a bit younger and thinner than he imagined. But he was still a tall, serious looking man, and Jimin steeled himself.

"I need to talk to you… about someone in your church." He looked down at his hands.

The Abbot stared at him for a minute, and Jimin was certain he could see right through him, and knew exactly what he was there for. The man beckoned him inside in silence, and shut the heavy door behind them.

After he and Jimin were seated across from one another, he cleared his throat. "So, what exactly do you need?"

Jimin was nervous, and the Abbot's voice wasn't what he was expecting either, and the whole situation felt like a bad impulsive decision. This was his only chance, though. He hoped to God that he wasn't making a stupid mistake.

"I'm Jimin. I live on the farm at the very end of the road. I'm assuming you know why I'm here…" He felt the words get stuck in his throat.

"I know that one of our Brothers is staying with you. I was told that he'd fallen ill."

"Yeah, he's at my house." Jimin took a deep breath. He had to calm down.

"So... he's not really sick, is he?" The Abbot leaned back in his chair, his expression flat.

Jimin decided to give up all pretense and just spit it out before he had time to regret it. "Kind of. I mean, I'm not trying to keep him away or anything. I'm worried about him. There's, um, something wrong."

Well, you don't need to worry about him being there. He needed the vacation, to be honest. You can tell me what's going on. I'm not here to judge anyone. Or punish them."

Suddenly Jimin didn't know how he could explain it. "It's… it's like something evil. It makes him do bad things. He can't control it."

The Abbot laced his fingers over his chest.

"It-- it hurts people. It makes them suffer when he's away, and he has to hurt himself and other people and--" Jimin was getting distressed. "He can't remember. It's not him, I'm just trying to protect him." He hid his face behind his hands in shame. It wasn't his secret to tell.

As he was saying all this, the look on the other man's face had darkened slightly. The reality was that Yoongi had kept his secret from the entire church, and was so quiet and calm as to be unnoticeable. The Abbot didn't understand what he was hearing at all.

"Wait, I want to help you but I'm totally in the dark," he said.

"I've told you all of it, the truth. I went through months of pain and I have actual scars. But it's not him. He says it lives inside him, and it's like he doesn't know what he's doing, and can't remember it. I just want him to be okay, and be happy again." Jimin sighed.

The two sat there for a long minute without a word.

"So," the Abbot said, sitting back up straight. "If you're telling the truth, then why hasn't he exhibited any of this behavior around us?"

Jimin squirmed in his seat, wrestling over whether he could tell the truth and get away with it. "It only shows up for certain people. I know this all sounds unbelievable but I wouldn't be here if I wasn't desperate."

The Abbot stared at him. He relaxed and lowered his voice, trying to be as neutral as possible. "It sounds like our Yoongi has a demon. But if it's true, it's not as easy as just asking it to leave."

"Didn't Jesus make demons go out of people?" Jimin had said what he needed, thankfully not exposing their relationship, but now he was afraid. Demon sounded so definitively evil and invasive. Something from Hell living on Earth.

"He did. And He gave us the power to also overcome them. But again, it's not easy or quick like in the Bible. First, you need solid proof that it really is a demon. Many cases of demonic possession are simply mental issues run rampant. It's important now to make the distinction. To perform an exorcism, you need permission from the highest level church authority in the area."

"You can't just-- help him? Why get permission?"

"It's the way things are done now. Exorcisms can be dangerous, and cause harm to someone that may have never had a demon to begin with. The practicing exorcist only comes out here if all the boxes are checked."

"I don't have any proof." Sadness settled into Jimin's voice, now he didn't know what to do. "I'm not lying though."

"Demons manifest themselves in different ways. The only thing I can do is wait for proof, and write the request. Until then…" he put up his hands.

"So you want to help him, but you can't? Because that's the rules? How am I supposed to prove it?"

"I can't say. Bring him back whenever you decide you're ready." The Abbot stood up, and Jimin knew the conversation had gotten him nowhere. What if they were wrong? What if there was no proof, and he had been letting the man he loved carve him up for no reason? What if Yoongi was simply deluded, and all his violence came from himself? The whole thing made Jimin sick with doubt and worrying.

He stood up as well and looked the Abbot in the eyes. "I'm sorry for bothering you. But I promise, I'll be back. I'm going to help him, even if you can't." He turned and left, strolling out of the church quickly.

As soon as he was out the door and out of sight, he crouched in the road and put his hands on his face. He groaned and wanted to cry, but it just built up pressure and ached. He felt like something was crushing him.

"I'm sorry, Yoongi. I'm sorry," he whispered. "God, please help us." Jimin walked home, praying like this, over and over. Begging that there was something, anything to be done now.

Chapter Text

By the time Christmas was around the corner, the energy on the farm had changed. Heavy snow blanketed the fields, and the village returned to life with kids playing outside and adults decorating everything they could reach. It was busy inside and out, and while Jimin was a lot less sulky since he'd received the news that they were moving, he still avoided his parents when they started packing up the house.

His father had sat him down and explained that they were going to take the family savings and combine it with the money from the land, house, and other things. He'd had his eye on a place in the city that could fit them all, and the boys would be able to find careers and wives and houses and all that. The usual. Jimin had listened to him without saying anything, and agreed, just to get out of the conversation.

They were taking it slow, so it wasn't stressful. Jimin tried to ignore them chipping away at the only home he'd ever had, and absorbed himself in wintertime, dragging Yoongi outside as much as he could. His mom convinced his dad to let him stay, and his dad didn't care, because Yoongi minded his own business, and 'it won't be for a long time anyway'. He'd been living with Jimin for a month, and nobody batted an eye. They hid it well, and liked saving up the glances and innocent touches through the day until everyone was asleep, and they could keep each other warm in bed.

One day, the men of the family were to go east with a few neighbors to the nearest village to sell the animals and some extra food and things. Jimin was supposed to go with them, but he didn't want to say goodbye. They'd never had a dog, so the birds were the closest thing to a pet he had. He hugged his favorite hen and put her in the wagon with the rest, watching sadly as they pulled out of the yard and down the road. "You're too sentimental for your own good," his father had said.

I'd rather be sentimental than selfish, he thought.

To keep himself occupied, he made Yoongi help him decorate the tree in the living room. Armchairs and tables were stashed out on the damp porch because the tree took up nearly the whole space. His mom went back to cooking all day, making many kinds of cakes, cookies and elaborate creations with ham and potatoes, filling the house with mouth-watering smells. It made Jimin feel a little better, and he could hear his mom singing hymns for baby Jesus in the kitchen, slightly off-key.

As they strung the tree with garlands of popcorn and chestnuts that had been painted gold and silver, Jimin heard a low sound. He peeked around and realized it was Yoongi singing under his breath. He'd never heard him sing before, so he inched closer to listen. The song was the same as his mom’s, but he didn't recognize the words. Yoongi stopped and caught his eye. "I only know them in the old language," he said. Jimin stared at him, but he didn't notice.

Years ago, Yoongi had hidden in the doorway of the private chapel when the nuns were in there, singing. Candles reflected off the gold ornaments like many glittering suns, and their voices in harmony echoed together off the high ceiling, and the intense beauty of the music, and that it came from a place of worship, love, and a solemn kind of joy, went straight to Yoongi’s heart. He held his breath, and emotion flooded his body. He knew the Holy Spirit was in that room, however plain their church was. It felt like someone shooting bolts of lightning at him, and he tore himself away. The darkness returned, covering him like a warm cloak.

Christmas with Jimin was special, and made him happy, but he’d never felt the Spirit in him again. He almost wished he could, but it didn’t bother him. Now that he wasn’t staying in the church, the opportunity had passed. His attempt to redeem himself as a servant of God had failed. All he could do was go through the days, slightly numb as he always had been. The words were meaningless now, but he continued quietly, only because Jimin liked the sound of his voice.

Soon enough they were done, and the house shone, and smelled of cinnamon and honey. It was getting dark, and Yoongi was sitting across the couch, with Jimin in front of him. They were both facing the fireplace, with Jimin’s head on his chest, reading a book to him. Jimin’s mom caught a glimpse from the doorway as she passed by, not thinking much of it. But she couldn’t help it, and after a few minutes she looked again, feeling guilty. It’s rude to stare, she told herself. It’s not normal, though.

She shook her head in anger at her own thoughts. Saying something like that about her own son. He was a good boy. They both were. She went around the kitchen in circles, only daring to look one more time. It wasn’t normal, the way they were laying there, or how their fingertips brushed together when one of them laughed.

They're innocent. They care about each other, how could that possibly be a bad thing? She struggled to justify what she saw, and her head spun in confusion. Then she snapped out of it and realized Jimin’s dad would be home any minute.

She might give them the benefit of the doubt, but he would throw a fit if he saw them. In one second, she made it out of the kitchen, hoping her heels were loud enough to get their attention. “Pstt!” she hissed, and waved her hand at them. They sat up, and she disappeared again, leaving all three of them wondering what had just happened.

Sure enough, it wasn’t more than five minutes before the rest of the family came in, tracking snow in the house and each carrying a big crate filled with boxes. The neighbor men came in too, just to escape the cold for a moment. Jimin’s mom squeezed in between the crowd, trying to follow her husband. “You said you were going to get rid of stuff, not bring it back!” She huffed and turned around, faced with a sniffling group of men, including her son, dripping on the wood floor and giving her a pitiful look on purpose. "I'd normally call you beggars and send you home to your own wives, but you're lucky it's Christmas. There's a chicken casserole and plenty else in there. But don't you dare touch my ham!" She escaped to the bedroom and they all cheered and went to eat, now in high spirits.

In the commotion, Jimin had grabbed Yoongi and slipped away into his room. He was too careless, and getting noticed once was enough. If they had to hide, so be it. But it bothered him that he couldn't help himself. He always wanted to be close to him, and touch him, whether it was something making him or not. After the bonfire, and Yoongi's story, Jimin hadn't tried to sleep with him. He wanted to let him be, and love him in other ways.

It was easy to settle into a routine of laying around and talking and reading, until it was too dark to see, then they could snuggle up under the covers. Nobody bothered them, and they were safe while they dreamt.

In the early morning, they'd touch each other, and make a game of who could keep silent. It started about a week or two ago, when Yoongi tried to give Jimin the playful start of a blow job after he'd just woken up. When they went to bed, Jimin had been having a bad day, and so Yoongi wanted to make him laugh, and assure him that they could still be physical. Their relationship was as good as ever, not hesitant or fearful. It was the only thing keeping them going through the frigid winter.

Now it was Christmas morning, and Yoongi was still better at this game than Jimin, making him so flustered that he jumped out of bed early with an excuse about getting things ready. Jimin went out to the living room and to his surprise, his brother was already awake, going through boxes next to the tree.

"Morning," he said idly. He held a thin package out. "This one's yours." At first, Jimin was confused why he was giving him something now, then he remembered what he'd done before they left. He wanted to get something for Yoongi, and asked his brother to find it. He took the box and held it.

"I can't believe you got it."

"It wasn't that hard…" he looked up at Jimin. "Are you sick or something?"

"What?"

His brother went back to what he was doing. "Your face is all red."

Jimin touched his cheek with a finger and suddenly felt embarrassed, even though he knew for sure that his little brother didn't suspect anything. He felt exposed, like he was right on the edge of being discovered. It hadn't crossed his mind in a long time, but it made him worry.

At the same time, he felt a small flutter of happiness that Yoongi could have such an obvious effect on him. He wished he could wear it proudly. When he went back into his room, Yoongi was half asleep, and hummed contentedly when he stroked his hair. Jimin sighed and finished getting ready as everyone else woke up.

Christmas day went nicely for everyone, despite Yoongi's misgivings. He felt guilty for not being at the church on Christmas, most of all, but he also didn't want to get in the way. He wasn't part of this family.

"Yoongi, you have to come with me," Jimin pleaded.

"It's not my place."

In the end, Jimin and his brother sat on the floor against the tree, and Yoongi was squished on the couch next to their mom and dad. He looked so shy and out-of-place, Jimin couldn't make eye contact without smiling and trying not to laugh.

The gifts were distributed, each in a heavy box, wrapped in ribbons and dusted with sparkles. Jimin's mom had stayed up late to finish it all, carefully writing names on and tying on sprigs of holly. She got the largest box, and being the lady of the house she opened hers first. A whistle of surprise went around the room when she pulled out a huge dress. After thanking her husband and kissing his cheek she ran out to put it on.

It took a while, but they waited so she wouldn't miss anything. She returned, holding up the bottom of the skirt to keep from dragging it on the dusty floor. The dress was magnificent, made of pale green silk like spring, with lace across her collarbones and crystal buttons. It was more lavish and expensive than her wedding dress had been.

"Honey, it's too nice, you shouldn't have," she said, but she was drowned out by the rest of them clapping and yelling about how pretty she looked. They were being overenthusiastic on purpose, but it made her happy. "Okay, that's enough. I love it, though." She tried not to blush, and quickly went to change again. It would live next to her wedding dress until she had the right occasion to wear it.

Meanwhile, Jimin's brother had gotten impatient and opened his box. Inside was a heavy thing wrapped in paper, and he set it aside. Underneath was a shiny, sturdy pair of boots. A huge smile broke out on his face. He put them on immediately, sticking his legs out and tapping his heels on the floor.

"Wow. Nice, I've needed new ones forever." He sat there looking pleased until his mom came back.

"Oh, those are fancy," she said. "What's in there?" She pointed at the smaller package. He tore it open, and it was a pair of binoculars. His father had gotten him things that would help him hunt, and keep him busy outside, but his first thought was that he'd try to see the cute girl that lived across the field. Yoongi got down on the floor next to them, and the three played with them for a while.

"Look," Jimin said. "If I want you to go away, I can turn them around and make you tiny." He gave them back, picked up the box next to him, and handed it to Yoongi. "This one's yours."

"You didn't." Yoongi touched it, not sure if he deserved it or not, and chewed on his lip.

"Just open it, you weirdo!" Jimin's brother yelled. Yoongi looked at them both in turn, and gently picked it apart. It was a flat wooden case with a gold clasp. When he opened it, he stared at Jimin with his mouth open.

"Are you serious?" He ran his fingers across it. Inside was a new set of oil paints, tiny tubes in every color you could imagine, and half a dozen brushes with real hog's hair bristles. In the bottom was a thick stack of paper that Jimin had actually stolen from the drawer in his parents' room.

Yoongi gazed at it, and thanked Jimin quietly. He was truly surprised, and suddenly got up and went to the bedroom to admire it. When he didn't come back for a few minutes, Jimin's dad told him to open his own present, the smallest box.

What he found inside was a book, of a similar make to the one he got before, but thicker. It was an anthology of classic stories, and he did appreciate it. There was a note tucked inside from his dad.

Jimin-- this isn't your real gift. It was too big to fit under the tree. I hope you understand. Love, Dad

Jimin was confused, and had no idea what this meant. It couldn't possibly be a car, there was no way they could afford it now. He still thanked his dad, and as it started getting late the boys went their separate ways so their parents could enjoy Christmas night by themselves. Tomorrow they could have a feast and go look at the lights in the village.

Jimin flopped down on his bed, and Yoongi whined at him for shaking his work. "Here, I already made you something." Jimin took it, and his chest was tight. The same thin script he didn't realize he missed.

Merry Christmas
You're The Only One I Want
Love Of My Life

A large red heart was painted underneath. Jimin sighed in a fond sort of way and put it in his side drawer. He didn't know how to respond, so he laid down on Yoongi's lap. "It went well, right?"

"Yeah. I'm really happy. I wish I could repay you."

"You can. I mean, only if you want to." Jimin held out his arm, and hidden under the sleeve of his sweater was a red ribbon tied on his wrist. Yoongi smirked to himself, remembering the "birthday present". He rubbed Jimin's shoulders.

"I could do that."

"Really?"

Yoongi leaned down and nuzzled the side of Jimin's face. "I have to make sure you have a good Christmas too."

"I did," Jimin said. "But… I don't know, it just sounds… really nice, I guess."

Yoongi rolled him over in his lap, and kissed him. He laid his hand on his chest, and Jimin made a sound that he loved. A small, high-pitched moan, that meant "I'm okay now, thank you, I need you."

"I can feel your heart beating," Yoongi said.

Jimin didn't want to show how nervous he was. Still, the night had been good so far. He was happy to lay down together and sleep. Yoongi cleared up his things, and relaxed completely. He was ready to go back to normal. They fell asleep in each other's arms, naked, and dreamt of the sunrise over the snow.

It was still dark when Jimin woke up. He roused Yoongi and got them both some clothes. They kissed as they went, stumbling into the furniture. Jimin stuck the lube and the knife in his pockets, and shushed Yoongi as he led them outside, hoping his parents didn't notice. They always stayed up all night on Christmas, laughing and drinking hard cider.

"Why are we coming out here?" Yoongi asked as they crunched through the snowy farm.

"I'm afraid of getting caught. I said I don't care, but… I don't want to lose you, you know?"

"You won't. We're cautious enough. But aren't you cold?"

Jimin shook his head. "I don't mind. You can keep me warm, right?" Yoongi mumbled "yeah," but he frowned. Traipsing around in the freezing darkness didn't seem very romantic, since it had been so long. Then again, it must have been past midnight, so Christmas was technically over. It didn't need to be that big of a deal, he supposed.

They went on for a long time, stopping in a clearing in the woods. It reminded Yoongi of the first time they'd done this, at dawn outside that town. He could hear the river rushing by in the distance, the only thing breaking the silence.

For how cold and rocky the ground was under them, they managed to find a relatively comfortable spot. Yoongi's heart pounded in excitement as Jimin took their clothes off, welcoming his cold arms around his waist, shivering as Yoongi laid him down and kissed him as long as he was able.

A few minutes later, Jimin had warmed up enough and he was rock-hard in his hand. Yoongi took his time, using all the lube they had left. He got himself ready, letting Jimin stick his tongue in his mouth and pull his hair a bit. He had to focus on what he was doing. When Jimin wriggled around and tried to push Yoongi's hands away, making those cute moans in his ear, it was time. No turning back.

"Roll over for me," he said, and Jimin did so, backing up onto his hands and knees, as if he were presenting himself. Yoongi could never understand how he was so eager, but he couldn’t hesitate this time. Jimin’s sigh of pleasure when Yoongi pressed the tip of his cock inside him was drowned out by Yoongi’s pulse thudding in his ears. He closed his eyes and slid into him easily, the familiar warmth spreading through him. He wanted to wrap his wet hands around Jimin, get him off at the same time, but he just grabbed his hips instead for stability.

He forgot how good it felt, and struggled to keep an even pace. His legs began to shake, and his stomach was tied in a knot. Jimin grinded against him, and Yoongi had to keep rather still, because he was afraid of what might happen if he broke concentration. Just then, Jimin stretched out along the ground, arching his back like a cat, and Yoongi had no choice but to lay on top of him. Jimin turned back to look at him once, biting his lip. "Will you fuck me really hard? It's so good, it doesn't hurt or nothing."

Yoongi almost completely lost it. He planted his hands on either side of him, and kissed the back of his neck. He thrust into him all the way, and realized this was what he wanted back then. To pound Jimin into the dirt. And Jimin had asked for it, and he moaned so loud that Yoongi couldn't take it.

"Jimin… fuck, I can't--" he was dangerously close. His stomach was killing him, and he began to sweat despite the chill.

"Mmf. God, yeah… please, give it to me. Mmm, fuck me," Jimin whined, and Yoongi couldn't control himself. He put his hand in Jimin's hair and pushed his face down. One more ragged breath, and as much as he tried to hold it back, he came deep inside him. His energy spent, he sat back on his heels and panted heavily. Jimin had that lovely expression, looking up at him with half-closed eyes, his full pink lips pushed out like he wanted a kiss. He grabbed one of Yoongi's hands and made him help, and Yoongi felt a shiver go down his spine when Jimin came, and even in the low light he could see it shining on his skin.

"Jimin… you're beautiful, you know that?"

"I'm handsome," he corrected him, and laughed. Yoongi stood up, his legs threatening to give out.

"Be right back," he said, picked up his pants and walked off towards the river to clean up.

"Be careful!" Jimin called after him. He went over to their little pile of clothes and dried himself off with his shirt. He was proud of himself, sure that must have been the best sex they'd had. He hoped Yoongi felt the same.

By the time Yoongi came back, Jimin was sat down with his legs out, running a finger over his scars. There was enough space on his left thigh for more, under the little heart. He handed the knife to Yoongi, who took it reluctantly and sat by him. He was already having a hard time, and this was only making it worse. But he'd said it himself. Anything for Jimin.

Yoongi crouched over him and an idea formed in his mind. He cut into him, long and slow. He gripped the knife so hard to keep it steady that his hand got sweaty. It was important to take his time and not mess up, but the churning in his body got stronger, and the stifling heat wouldn't go away. It made him nauseous, shaky, and angry.

After a few minutes that stretched into eternity, he was done. He backed up quickly, clenching the knife in his fist, and put his head on his knees. It was overwhelming him, and he trembled and moaned in frustration as he felt the last of his willpower drain away. Exhausted, he laid down on his side, and he sunk into the ground, the earth swallowing him. It held him tightly, turning him about, and everywhere it pushed on his skin and burned, hotter than fire. It was nice to relax in this rocking bed, but it caused terrible pain. There was no escape.

"Yoongi?" Jimin scooted closer to him, touching his hair softly. He didn't notice the blood running down his leg, didn't even look at it. "What's wrong?" He was just sitting there in a tense little ball, making strained sounds and didn't respond. Jimin kneeled in front of him and went to take the knife from his hand and comfort him.

In a split second, Yoongi lunged forward and slashed him with the knife, cutting across his chest. "What are you doing?" he asked bitterly, wincing and touching it. Another shock of pain as Yoongi put a deep cut on his upper arm.

"Wait, stop--" but it was no use. He swung at him wildly, and all Jimin could do was fall away from him and try to get up. Scrambling backwards to find his jeans and cover up, he shoved Yoongi away from him. He was still wobbly and delirious, so Jimin had just enough time to pull his jeans on, scraping on his fresh cuts.

He groaned in pain, and Yoongi came at him again. He grappled with him for a minute, trying to get the knife away. There were deep marks on his stomach, arms, and chest now. They struggled down to the ground, and Jimin turned the wrong way. Yoongi sliced him on the side of his face, one long line from his temple down to below his ear.

"Ah, fuck! Get off me!" he hollered, and finally wrenched the knife out of his hand, and threw it as hard as he could into the bushes. He panted and gingerly touched his cheek, but before he could get up again there was a blow to the side of his head and he saw stars.

He didn't want to hit Yoongi back. He knew the person he loved was still in there. He flung his arms up over his head and yelled as Yoongi pummeled him, over and over. He hit him, clawed at him and even tried to bite him a couple of times as Jimin thrashed underneath him, trying to get away. Tears sprang to his eyes and for a second it seemed like he could get free and hold his wrists, make him stop.

Suddenly Yoongi's hands were on his throat, and fear flooded through Jimin. He grabbed Yoongi's arms as hard as he could, his heart racing. He couldn't speak, and the grip around his neck got tighter. It's like falling asleep, he thought. Then it'll be over. He maneuvered himself with the last ounce of energy so his legs were up under Yoongi's chest, and somehow managed to kick him off, and Yoongi hit the ground on his back, coughing. He didn't move after this.

It didn't matter how hurt he was, or what had happened. Jimin crawled to where Yoongi was, watching him. He just stared up at the tree canopy, coughing and not moving. Then he sat up, and Jimin flinched. He coughed one last time, and blood poured from his nose and mouth, dripping onto his chest. He looked at Jimin, his eyes wide with terror. Then he stumbled up and ran away, sprinting out of the woods, and he was gone.

Jimin breathed out hard, and burst into tears. He curled up, defeated, bleeding and with pain shooting through his whole body. He couldn't move a muscle without another stabbing pain, and it nearly took his breath away. The cold didn't even bother him at this point. He wished he could just go to bed, turn back time and stay in bed with Yoongi. This was all his fault.

While all this was going on, Jimin's parents were getting ready to go to bed themselves. His mom opened the door to his room to say goodnight, even if they were asleep. It didn't look quite right, and she squinted into the dark room. No, her eyes weren't tricking her. They weren't there.

"Honey!" she called to her husband. "Do you know where Jimin went?"

"Why would I know, you've been next to me this whole time."

"He never leaves in the middle of the night. Maybe something's wrong."

"I think you're being paranoid," he said. She glared at him fiercely, and he sighed and grabbed a lantern and put his shoes on. "Okay, I'm going. Stay here, alright?"

There were footprints leading off the back porch, and he was more annoyed than concerned. Jimin was old enough to take care of himself, but this was unusual. He followed them out across the farm, muttering under his breath. As he walked, he began to worry just a little bit. It was more of an instinct, a gut feeling, so he quickened his pace. Then he heard crying from far away, and he ran towards the sound.

When he came upon the clearing, he actually froze in shock for a moment. The snow was disturbed, and blood was spilled all over the ground. About ten or fifteen feet away, Jimin was laying there, sobbing like a baby. His father set the lantern down and hurried over there, dropping to his knees. "Jimin," he said, his voice catching. "What happened? Oh, my son," and he carefully scooped him up into his arms.

It was a struggle, but he stood up holding him, and Jimin wailed like a banshee, crying like his father had never heard in his life. He was bleeding all over the place, and his face was slightly swollen. "I got you. It's okay. I'm going to take you home." Jimin's dad was not an emotional man, but there was a lump in his throat as he slowly walked out of the trees.

"No," he heard Jimin say weakly. He stopped for a second. "The church… please. I have to."

"Are you crazy? We're going home and I'm calling the doctor." Jimin whined and cried and squirmed so hard his dad almost dropped him. "Okay! Okay, I'll do whatever it takes to fix this." He sighed, not looking forward to the long mile carrying Jimin, but he had to find out what happened.

It took ages, and when he could see the church around the corner, the sun had just started to rise. He finally made it to the front steps, and a single lonely bell was ringing. Jimin was still and quiet, but he couldn't set him down, so he kicked at the door once with his boot. He wasn't expecting an answer, but it did open, and a nun peeked her head out.

"Ah, come in. We've been expecting you." She led them inside, and shut the heavy door behind them.