The flowers talk to Taehyung, and he talks back, humming happy tunes to chase their blue moods away. He caresses ivy leaves and sings lullabies to the figs. They whisper their love, their appreciation. When he asks their permission to nip and harvest, they allow him joyfully. Taehyung loves his plants, his woods, his home. He loves the way the stars twinkle in the sky, maybe just for him. He loves the way the trees creak, the oak beneath his feet and under calloused hands, sturdy and strong. He loves what he creates, what nature offers so generously for him. Everything he needs, he has. But, there are few wants that have him traverse to the small town near six miles through the wood.
His trips there are few, but he does love to chat with the townsfolk, no matter how weary some of them are of his secluded nature. The journey is scenic, perfect for early mornings when he attaches a thick wicker basket to the back of his bike, and a trug to the front. He loads them with goodies that will last him weeks, sometimes months, and enjoys the way smells from the small town’s bakery will linger on his corduroy cap for days to come. Jimin is a lovely baker, and he is kind through the years, whipping Taehyung up treats that will keep his belly full for nights to come.
Hoseok and Seokjin sell him new vinyls to listen to, and Namjoon graciously gives him seeds to sow for his growing garden, and Jungkook always has the greatest paints to add to Taehyung’s collection. Sometimes Jungkook will even buy his art, and Taehyung will leave with his pocket heavier than when he’d arrived. Today should be no different, but it is.
There, just at the beginnings of his trail back home, a Munchkin cat lays, the white fur matted and dark with blood. Taehyung slows to a halt on his bike and leaves it upright, making his way toward the injured creature. There’s static in the air, magic . This is not just a cat, Taehyung realizes just before the small animal tries to get up and hiss at him. Injured , the trees whisper to Taehyung. Attacked. Prey. Nature is beautiful, but there’s a reality to it as well. He crouches slowly, not wanting to scare off the small familiar. He reaches into his pocket and pulls a half eaten jerky he’d been working on and sticks a tiny piece out. “Here,” he offers quietly, kindly. “I won’t hurt you, I promise.”
The cat isn’t interested, though he does lean forward just a bit, peering into Taehyung’s eyes before his own close and he lays back down oh so slowly, exhausted and hurt. Taehyung takes his coat off and wraps the small cat gently before laying him beside the breads in his trug. His flowers understand his rush when he finally arrives home, they offer what he needs for healing, graciously. Taehyung works quickly, brewing what he can to soothe then large gash in the small creature’s hind leg. He cleans it thoroughly, frowning in worry when the kitten blinks awake, and looks at him with such sad eyes. There is no more fight in him as Taehyung spends the night tending to his injury, cleaning him up and brushing his fur until the white and light tuffs of color unseen before are soft to the touch. When dawn breaks the next morning, Taehyung aches from the uncomfortable position he’d fallen asleep in on the couch, arms holding the Munchkin staring at him warily.
“Oh!” He says in surprise, wincing when his neck creaks and his bones pop into place. He lowers the bundled animal to the cushion and exhales. “I’m going to lift your leg right now. Just to check the healing process, so it might sting a bit.” Though the animal hisses at the warned movement, there is no real aggression. It tugs from Taehyung’s grip stubbornly, leaning over to lick the tender pink flesh. “No, no!” Taehyung says, only hesitating when it hisses again when he reaches to stop him. “You’re going to make it worse. I’m sorry, I—my brewing skills are not very…” he scratches his cheek sheepishly. “I’m better at keeping plants alive. Not, um, people or you know, kitties.”
There’s a long pause, and Taehyung feels it again. The static in the air, the magic. He swallows thickly. He’s never had a familiar before, but his mother had spoken fondly of her own before she passed. They are a part of your magic, and when you know, you know . Taehyung thinks he feels that now, what else could it be? He thinks, too, the kitty knows as well. Knows by the somewhat brattish way his tail flicks and his nose turns upward before he purrs quietly.
“I know you have a name.” Taehyung says, standing up as the Munchkin startles as if being abandoned. Taehyung picks him up gently and moves him to the counter where he begins his daily task of watering the plants that need it. “But you obviously can’t tell me. Yet.”
He finishes quickly and begins to start breakfast, eggs over rice and some sweet bread Jimin had baked him. A few speckles of sugar fall onto the table, and the kitten hesitates briefly before leaning forward to lick at them. Taehyung smiles, feeling accomplished as he tears a piece from his loaf off and sets it in front of the animal. “You like sugar?” he giggles before his smile widens. “Oh! Sugar! How about that? I can call you that until you feel comfortable communicating. Hm?”
The cat’s lip seems to curl but his tail flicks and Taehyung could swear he seems to like the sweet nickname. He coos quietly, unable to help himself. “Here, I’m going to make some more balm, okay?” ‘Sugar’ flicks his tail but remains otherwise settled. Taehyung ruffles through his vinyl collection. “How about some Nam Jin while we continue?” he asks, not expecting an answer, but startling when Sugar rumbles a mrowl deep in his chest. Taehyung shakes his head and slips the disc back in its sleeve with a giggle. “Okaaay, that’s a big no to that. Not a fan of trot, huh?”
Sugar flicks his tail and licks at his paw, eyes still following Taehyung’s movements.
“What about Western artists?” Taehyung reaches for one of his newest additions, grabbing it with a bright smile. “Oh! Perfect! Cat Stevens! Cat ! That’s you!” he giggles even harder when noticing Sugar looks less than amused, but shows no other signs of displeasure. The music is calming, perfect for Taehyung to work. Throughout the day, he tends to his plants, Sugar, and his art. The weight in his lap while painting is comforting, something he can get used to. He pets and gives scritches, feeling his heart swell and the air hum with something wonderful when Sugar purrs in contentment.
One day turns to two, and two days turn to three, and after Taehyung loses count of them altogether, his home much more lively with his new friend, and his magic feeling so much more vibrant in his veins, Sugar has secured a home in Taehyung’s heart.
Taehyung sits on the cold wooden floor, fabric squares scattered out as he decides just how he wants the pattern to be once he stitches them all together. Sugar slides up next to him, rubbing against his thigh and purring loudly. Taehyung pets him lovingly. “What do you think, Sugar? Do you think my quilt will look nice with this pattern?”
Of course, Sugar doesn’t answer, but Taehyung thinks he approves.
When he prepares a meal for them both, sits at his table for one, Sugar eating delicately on the table top, Taehyung feels blissful. He realizes he may have been missing something he never knew existed, all in a small little kitten.
When a storm hits some months later, Taehyung rushes outside, drawn to the cries of his flowers. He tries his best to cover them, but petals are ripped in the fierce wind, roots lifting from the ground prematurely, and Taehyung is forced to retreat back inside, soaked to the bone and shaking terribly at the distress from the cries outside. He buries his head in his knees, raindrops falling from the slope of his nose, to the tip, to the floor. He sobs, disappointed in himself for not recognizing the weather’s shift, for not covering his plants in time. Now they cry in the downpour, and Taehyung is to blame. The tea kettle on the stove top begins to whistle and Sugar is fretting beside him, rubbing and pawing at him, clearly unused to seeing Taehyung in this state. But Taehyung pays him no mind, his magic and guilt too shaken in this moment.
He stays there on the hardwood floor, wet and sad, only realizing in the tendril of sleep that there is a pitter patter of footsteps and a click of the stove. The footsteps change and there’s a hand in his hair before Taehyung’s exhaustion takes over.
When he wakes the next morning, memories from the night before come flooding back, and he buries his head in the pillow placed under him. He’s still on the floor, a blanket draped over his body, and his clothes damp and cold. He’s shivering, eyes puffy from crying and body aching in protest to sleeping here. He sniffles, heart heavy in his chest, but not immune to the intrigue and spark of excitement to what this means. Sugar had shifted! Not only that, but he’d cared for Taehyung in his time of need. His heart squeezes and his eyes burn with tears as he sniffles once more.
There’s clinking from behind him in the kitchen, but Taehyung doesn’t dare turn around. He nestles into his blanket and tries to fight away the cold. A teacup is placed in front of him, and suddenly, there’s a man sitting down across from his face. A man wearing some of Taehyung’s clothes. A very handsome man. Taehyung licks his lips, eyes wide and body shivering now in a way that’s unrelated to the cold at all.
“Drink.” The man tells him. Sugar.
Oh , his voice is like beautiful tree bark drenched in its sweet sap. It’s like the first day of fall, like the rustling of crunchy leaves over his patio. It fills Taehyung with longing, makes him blush. He sits up and drinks as instructed, his body immediately filled with warmth. It’s thick and saccharine, with floral undertones. Taehyung can’t help himself, he tips his head back and drinks it all in one go, addicted to its flavor and warmth.
“It’s an old remedy I made long ago.” Sugar says, drinking his own cup in a slower fashion.
“What’s in it?” Taehyung asks, licking his lips and setting the glass down.
“I’ll show you. Later, when you’re clean and warm.” Sugar tells him, tilting his head thoughtfully. “Don’t worry, I asked them permission.” he adds, referring to the plants.
Taehyung’s chest expands with adoration. This man is still familiar, he’s still his Sugar. His sweet, quiet, little kitten. “Thank you.” Taehyung exhales with gratitude.
“I drew you a bath.” The man continues, a light rose painting the tips of his ears as his toes scrunch. His gaze is downward now, looking shy. “Your paints are set up, too. It’s still raining, but I thought you might like the distraction.”
“Thank you, Sugar.” Taehyung reaches out, positively smitten with how shy the man is at his own caring nature. He caresses Sugar’s cheek and feels his stomach swoop when it heats up right under his touch, the electric charge shooting up his spine until his own face is hot.
“My name is Yoongi.”
Yoongi , Taehyung lets the name roll off his tongue without sound. It’s honey sweet, and so accurate. His kitten who has brought so much light to his life. Fitting.
Over time, Yoongi settles in as well as he had as Sugar, shifting back and forth when he pleases. Taehyung won’t lie and say he doesn’t find it incredibly endearing that Yoongi sometimes waits, looking almost impatient, on the days Taehyung takes a little too long in his garden. He always paints though, every day, and Yoongi somehow has adapted to the schedule, because he waits, looking small and comfy in his wool socks and sweats. Taehyung can’t help but tease him a bit, until the kitten is pouting and standing on the porch with a scrunched face. “Are you painting today?”
Taehyung lowers his head, hoping his straw hat conceals his amused grin. “Yes, I’ll be right in.”
Sugar greets him when he walks inside, and Taehyung knows he’s a lot in love when there’s warm tea and cookies set with his paints, a new canvas seated on its easel. Sugar nestles himself into Taehyung’s lap as he does everyday, and Taehyung pets him gently, feeling strangely peaceful at the revelation. Oh, how he loves him.
“You can sleep in your human body if it’s more comfortable.” Taehyung whispers that night when Sugar jumps onto the pillow next to his own. His bed is large, and he’s never known it to feel anything but comfortable. Somehow though, lately, it’s feeling too big. Too empty. He purses his lips, feeling a bit embarrassed as Sugar blinks at him. “You know, um, if you wanted to. I… I could cuddle you? Or you could cuddle me? Or… there doesn’t have to be cuddling at all. We could just be...here. Together.”
It’s a strange thing to watch Sugar shift into Yoongi, and Taehyung nearly chokes on his own spit when he realizes the man is nude, but Yoongi says nothing. Only grabs a pair of Taehyung’s boxers before sliding inside the quilt. He turns over on his side and there’s silence, strangely nervous. Yoongi huffs then and grabs Taehyung’s frozen hand, tugging it so his arm is tucked securely over Yoongi’s waist. “Well? I thought you were going to cuddle me?”
Taehyung does. He cuddles Yoongi so hard, inhaling his woodsy scent and burying his nose into his nape as his lips brush over porcelain skin. “Best kitty.”
Yoongi shivers under him. Whispers, “Shut up.” with no heat.
In the morning, when Taehyung brings him milk and fruit and matcha bread in bed, Yoongi leans up like it’s the most natural thing in the world, and kisses him. Taehyung’s magic buzzes in the air, his body crackling like wildfire, soul dancing and heart completely devoted to the man in his bed. “Yoongi?”
“I’m glad you found me, Taehyung.” The man confesses nervously, sweetly.
“Me too.” Taehyung says, so low, words difficult to get out.
“Will you keep me?” Yoongi asks, shyly, so shyly.
“For however long you want.” He agrees, doe eyed and sincere, lips still tingling as the rain and wind chimes from outside remind him time hasn’t come to a standstill. He’s here in his home, his familiar in his bed, so soft and lovely.
“What if I want you to keep me forever?” Yoongi looks down, only glancing back up through ebony lashes when Taehyung takes his hand in his.
“Then you’re mine forever.” And Taehyung means it.
The little home of magic sparks with warmth and love forever, and ever.