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a quiet kind of thunder

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a storm is brewing as min yoongi sips his coffee.

it’s a little cool—his coffee. the air, too, although that is charged with something electric that tingles all the way down yoongi’s fingers, a charge winding over the pads of his fingers and down to his knuckles, over the lines of his palms and into the blue blue blue veins that disappear under his sleeves. it’s a sort of power that yoongi relishes in both exuding and thriving on, breathing it in and breathing it out, until he’s one with the nightmarish green of the sky and the early smell of petrichor that wafts onto his porch.

it rained earlier, soaking the empty fields in puddles and runoff. when it stopped, yoongi finally rose from his seat at the kitchen table and, taking his coffee with him, moved to the porch. he’s been watching the horizon since then, the sky slowly turning darker beneath his watchful gaze. then: the green. it’s always green. the wind picked up, whipping faster and faster around yoongi’s farmhouse, but he knows despite the storm that nothing will tear the nails from the wind in which they are embedded. yoongi has muttered his protection over them too many times for that.

when the hail begins, yoongi squints up at the sky. huge lumps of ice plummet to the earth, hurling from the angry stormclouds overhead, and yoongi sniffs when one smashes against the wood of his porch, mere inches from his feet. yoongi sips his coffee again.

the world is flat as far as his eyes will reach, and it is because of this that yoongi will see it when it comes: the tornado. despite any amount of careful planning, there’s always an element of uncertainty in things like this—but yoongi has watched enough storms to stop being even remotely excited by them. for centuries, he ceased to watch them at all, instead listening to the pounding of rain and hail against his roof, feeling the crackling of energy and magic in the air as the storms swept through the countryside week after week, always miraculously leaving the farmhouse safe from harm.

this time, yoongi stands on his porch and he feels the pull of the storm; it calls to something deeper within him, this chasm of power buried in yoongi’s very bones. good—it knows its creator. but even as something primal in yoongi yearns to shed his outer layers and scamper into the chaos, he keeps his feet firmly rooted on the porch. there’s only one reason yoongi watches the storms these days.

and any second now—

the wind suddenly—stops. yoongi inhales sharply through his nose, magic filling his lungs until they overflow, and the air goes… still. it’s strange: the silence. the dark wall cloud still swirls above him, and on the horizon, he can barely make out where the sky touches the earth. there might be something moving out there, a looming beast preparing to strike. for a time, for now, there is absolutely nothing at all. yoongi feels as though a single breath would break whatever silent spell has fallen over the fields, and should he disturb it, he’d be at the mercy of only the old gods, the titans, the creators of the very storm from which the earth came to be.

yoongi’s phone rings.

he picks up on the third ring, without bothering to check caller ID, and doesn’t even say anything. there’s no need—the line is immediately alive with ecstatic shouting, too eager to have real meaning, and yoongi winces at the sheer volume even as he listens. he always listens to the chattering and the questions and most of all, to this:

holy shit, hyung! it’s gonna be huge! do you see the size of that wall cloud? that’s gotta be the biggest one in the past few months at least. people are gonna go nuts over this one.” jeongguk’s voice is tinny in his ear, occasionally breaking up as the reception falters in the storm. yoongi hums to show he’s listening and sips at his coffee once more. “i almost got hit in the face with a huge chunk of hail too! i put it in my truck so i can take a video of it later.” yoongi hums again. “and—ah, look! funnel cloud!”

yoongi squints at the sky near the wall cloud that has descended from the mass of other clouds stretching across the sky, and sees that jeongguk is right: a funnel cloud has finally begun to form, spinning and turning around itself. it is huge, as jeongguk rightfully guessed, and it seems to take ages for the funnel cloud to begin extending toward the ground as jeongguk continues to excitedly chatter in his ear.

yoongi tunes all the way in only when he hears jeongguk say, “i wanna go in now! i could get such a cool reading right now—”

“no,” yoongi snaps immediately. “not yet.”

“but hyung—”

“jeongguk, not yet. you know the rules.”

“but look at it.”

“i don’t need to fucking look at it, jeongguk. i made it.”

he can practically hear jeongguk pouting on the other end, but there’s no sound of the truck revving as he tears down the road like an idiot. but there are rules, and jeongguk has to follow them. there are things that yoongi puts up in this relationship—namely the incessant chatting and questions and jeongguk’s general presence in his life—and so there are things that jeongguk must put up with, too. such as the rules.

rule number one: wait.

still, yoongi can understand jeongguk’s eagerness. as he watches the funnel cloud form, he can feel the humming in the air. a roar is beginning to form through the fields as the funnel cloud grows and grows stronger, steadily stretching toward the ground. it yearns for the earth as yoongi yearns for it—as jeongguk yearns for it, too, albeit in a different way. a way that yoongi can never quite understand despite knowing how the storm calls to him, too. it’s just: the storm calls to yoongi because, in more ways than one, the storm is part of him. there’s a bit of yoongi in every storm he creates. it would be impossible not to feel moved by it as he watches the funnel cloud.

but jeon jeongguk? he’s just an idiotic mortal. yoongi wants to run into the storm because he’s a fucking weather god.

jeongguk wants to run into the storm because he has a fucking death wish—as far as yoongi is concerned, anyway.

and yet—“now?” jeongguk asks, breathless. yoongi can imagine him sitting in his truck just beyond the storm’s reach, not far from yoongi’s own farmhouse, staring out of the windshield at the growing funnel cloud. he can imagine the way jeongguk’s knee won’t stop bouncing in anticipation, body thrumming with adrenaline. he can imagine the stars in jeongguk’s eyes as he watches the growing storm, wanting nothing more to run after it like a puppy runs after a ball. despite yoongi begrudgingly accepting this relationship, he can’t deny the strange power it gives him to have his hand on the leash.

“wait,” says yoongi, eyes narrowing as he watches the funnel cloud. it’s almost at the ground now, and it’s only once it touches down that it will be considered a tornado. it’s only then that yoongi can release his hold. it’s only then that, for a brief period of time as yoongi’s power swirling through the storm ripples out from the tornado like a drop of water in a pond, jeongguk will be protected from whatever comes next.

that’s their deal: yoongi allows jeongguk to chase the storms so long as he goes in only when and where yoongi tells him to, where yoongi can ensure his safety. it’s a finicky thing, trying to protect a mortal from these storms, the ones used as offerings to appease the old gods. but yoongi does it. he loves making his storms. and jeongguk loves chasing them.

so—

so.

“now?”

“wait.”

the funnel cloud makes its final reach, the bare wisps of wind stirring up the dirt below.

now?

yoongi holds his breath. it seems like the whole world holds its breath and—he feels it, the moment the tornado touches down. it’s like a surge of power that scatters through the ground and the air, the electricity in yoongi’s veins snapping all at once. far from the farmhouse, in the middle of a field where there will be little serious damage, the heavens touch the earth in a monster of wind and warmth and cloud. somewhere, a young man with a penchant for risking his life waits to run, but not away—toward. always toward.

see, a storm is brewing as min yoongi sips his coffee.

he watches the tornado for just a moment, the pull almost too great to resist. but yoongi is no stormchaser. he’ll leave that to jeongguk.

taking a seat on the old rocking chair before the stairs, yoongi sets his coffee mug down on the porch’s wooden floor. he gets comfortable. then—and only then—he presses his phone to his ear once more and, with a smirk of his own, says, “now.”

the first time jeon jeongguk drives headfirst into one of yoongi’s storms, he is eighteen years old and almost gets killed by flying debris. yoongi thinks it is an accident. and then it happens again—and again and again and again. no matter where or when or what kind of storm yoongi concocts, pulling lightning and tornados and sheets of rain from the sky, the boy is always there. what yoongi first sees as bad timing and sheer terrible luck quickly becomes something much more—and much worse. soon, yoongi sees the truth for what it is:

he’s doing it on purpose.

the mortal is chasing his storms.

in truth, yoongi cares little for the life of one mortal—but yoongi has been stationed on this lightly populated island for a reason. as a weather god, he must produce the storms. he must produce the storms to appease the old gods, who require them, who demand them. storms rage throughout the world every day, but the most violent ones are what the gods wish for. it was decided at the dawn of this all, then, that the weather gods would search the far reaches of the earth for the places where they could safely call down destruction and disaster from the sky without devastating entire cities. even then, it can’t always be helped. and even then, these uninhabited nooks and crannies were slowly discovered.

the island yoongi once claimed as his own is no longer just his own. there are towns here, albeit relatively small ones, who thrive on food and tools of their own making. in order to maintain a minimal death or destruction rate, yoongi unleashes his storms as far from civilization on the island as possible. for thousands of years, it worked. some mortals still died in the storms, as they are wont to do—when even yoongi’s power couldn’t control them, or when one of the old gods was displeased with the offering the weather gods had given and decided to exact revenge instead. but yoongi has gotten very good at exerting his power over the skies, at planning each storm as though it might be his last, at keeping these silly mortals safe.

until, of course—

jeon jeongguk.

yoongi could care less about jeongguk as a person. but if jeongguk died in one of his storms, the old gods would be displeased. and yoongi has a fucking track record to uphold.

he catches the mortal before he can get into the storm this time, after nearly a year of watching the human throw himself at the winds and rain and tornadoes like they call to him the way they call to yoongi.

yoongi is waiting this time, concocting the perfect storm to lure jeongguk out into the field in front of yoongi’s old farmhouse, and then, when he sees that stupid truck come barreling down the road toward where the funnel cloud is just beginning to form, yoongi moves. in an instant, he moves from his porch to the middle of the road before the mortal’s truck, and he can see the pure panic and surprise on the mortal’s face as he slams on the brakes. still, the truck rams directly into yoongi and it’s only through his own power that he stays upright, instead watching as the truck seems to bounce off of him like rubber.

the mortal’s head smacks into the steering wheel, and yoongi can’t find it in himself to be sorry. rather, he stalks around the (now smoking) truck and wrenches the door open before reaching inside and pulling the mortal out. the boy—man—whatever—stumbles out of the truck, clearly disoriented, and yoongi feels power in being smaller than this idiot as he shoves the mortal against the side of the truck.

“what the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he snaps. he’s felt annoyance at watching the mortal chase his storms—he’s felt frustration and disbelief and vague horror. but it’s only now, when they’re face to face, when yoongi can finally confront him, that he feels anger.

the mortal finally seems to gain his bearings, blinking rapidly at yoongi. “what the fuck do you think you’re doing?” he grits. “you can’t run out into the road like that!” he tries shoving yoongi away, but even his larger arms and longer limbs are no match for the power of a god who keeps his ground, pinning the mortal to the side of the truck with a single hand on his chest. “what the—christ—” he wheezes, now trying to tear yoongi’s hand from him. “what kind of monster are you?”

“why are you chasing the storms?”

“how are you fucking—doing this—”

why are you chasing the storms?

“why do you care?” the mortal snaps, dropping his hands. “they’re not yours.

yoongi almost laughs. “actually, they are,” he says. he sees surprise on the mortal’s face, his movements stilling as he finally looks at yoongi for the first time. it’s no secret that gods roam the earth, after all, although many of them keep to themselves and it’s considered to be inevitable doom if a mortal is to get mixed up with one. considering the extreme weather on the island, it’s no surprise that its inhabitants believe there to be a weather god hiding amongst them. but yoongi has always been careful to keep his distance.

it seems this mortal is fucking up more than one thing in yoongi’s life these days.

“you’re—” the mortal begins, faltering. “you’re the weather god.” it’s not a question. but there’s no question about it—yoongi has laid claim to the storms and coupled with his show of strength and protection over his own body, there can’t be many other explanations. not to mention now that the mortal is close enough, he’ll be able to see the gold rim around yoongi’s irises, the only physical sign of his immortality and power.

“i’m the weather god,” agrees yoongi. “and you keep trying to die in my fucking storms. so stop.

“i’m jeon jeongguk, actually,” says the mortal, and his eyes flicker past yoongi’s head. yoongi knows without having to look—the funnel cloud is growing, threatening to turn into a full twister as it moves closer to the ground. the wind has grown immensely since they’ve been standing here, and weak rain is moving over the road. “and i won’t stop. sorry.”

sorry? do you understand what could happen if you died in a storm?”

“i’m not going to die. i’ve never gotten hurt before and i’m well-trained for this.”

“well—well-trained?” yoongi is in disbelief. “why would you train for something so reckless and stupid?”

jeongguk makes this little derisive noise, like yoongi is a child who can’t understand grown-up things. his eyes narrow as jeongguk gestures to the open door of his truck and, when yoongi glances inside, he sees an array of different equipment, mostly cameras, computers, and other technological gear. it takes him a long second, and then the horror descends upon yoongi once more.

christ, don’t tell me—”

“i chase storms for a living,” says jeongguk proudly. yoongi has half a mind to let him die in this storm, punishment from the old gods be damned. “i record everything and have a youtube channel where i upload my content. i have several million subscribers, thank you very much. i even have my own agent. i’ve been featured on many websites and in many magazines and on the news. so no, your highness, i won’t stop chasing the storms. this is what i do.

yoongi drops his hand from jeongguk’s chest out of sheer defeat, and he turns to look at the storm. it’s meant to be a good one, albeit it containing a weak tornado. he’d been hoping to catch the mortal here and solve this once and for all, to make sure that he would never have to worry about this idiot running toward a tornado again so long as he dealt blow after blow to this island.

and now, this.

“why would you ever choose to chase storms for a living?” yoongi asks without turning around. he feels jeongguk step up beside him, hands on his hips as his elbow brushes yoongi’s arm. “you’re a fucking idiot. a reckless, irresponsible idiot. you’re going to get yourself killed for the attention and praise of people holed up in their pretty houses pretending that they actually give a shit about you. you’re going to fuck up my work, my life, and cause the old gods to wreak havoc on this entire island. you’re going to indirectly kill everyone. i hope you know that.”

he thinks perhaps this will work. if jeongguk understands the gravity of his decisions—if he knows what he’s risking every time he turns on his camera and starts driving into a storm, then he’ll have no choice but to stop. he’ll see reason.

and then the funnel cloud touches the ground. it’s far enough away that they’re both safe, but close enough that they can see the twist and turn of the wind and clouds, the dust and dirt that swirls up into the air, and the trees that immediately succumb to the strength of the tornado.

and jeongguk sighs—this content little sigh, like he’s watching a sunrise for the first time or seeing his child take their first steps. “yeah,” he says, and yoongi realizes—this problem isn’t going away. “but look at it. why would you ever choose not to chase something like that?”

later that night, after the storm has passed—and yoongi forced jeongguk to go home, even threatening to fling his truck into the tornado so that it could be ripped to shreds—yoongi sits on his porch and stares out at the dark fields before him, and he hates that he understands. the storm calls to him. it calls to him because he made it. but maybe it calls to jeongguk, too. maybe he chases the storms not only to make money and to provide entertainment for people across the world. maybe he just loves it. maybe he found the thing that makes him feel most alive and, despite the danger and risk it poses, he’s not about to let it go.

but even as much as yoongi understands, he’s never going to agree.

and so the stalemate begins: yoongi refuses to let jeongguk chase his storms, but jeongguk refuses to stop. but yoongi can’t stop summoning storms, and jeongguk can’t stop providing content for his channel or he’ll lose the very thing that lets him eat.

so yoongi creates the storms. and jeongguk chases them. and almost every day, they find a way to fight. sometimes it’s physical (yoongi does occasionally try to physically stop jeongguk from driving into the storm, but all that does is force jeongguk to get more creative with how he films his content) and sometimes it’s verbal (yoongi, despite hating it, does have a phone for various purposes, and somehow jeongguk finds his phone number, which translates to the two of them screaming at each other every time a storm rolls around about which one of them needs to back the fuck up about the whole situation) but mostly it’s things like—

jeongguk driving past yoongi’s farmhouse in the middle of the night with a blowhorn and a megaphone telling him to fuck off back to whichever circle of hell he came from.

or yoongi slicing jeongguk’s tires every time he replaces them with new ones for an entire month straight.

or yoongi standing between jeongguk and the storm, arms crossed over his chest, daring jeongguk to try and get past him and into the heart of the tornado. it works for a time, until jeongguk decides that if he’s not able to get the full content with stormchasing that he wants, he’ll just make the most of the situation, and he starts filming yoongi instead, adding him into his stupid youtube videos as the petty weather god who won’t let the world enjoy his work. this serves only to infuriate yoongi even more.

but as time goes on and neither of them agrees to back down, one thing becomes clear—they’re never going to find common ground. it’s extremely begrudgingly and by swallowing far too much pride that yoongi comes to a decision that will, in the long run, benefit the both of them, despite wanting nothing more than to see that stupid look wiped off of jeongguk’s face every time he gets past yoongi and into a storm.

but yoongi must summon the storms. and jeongguk must chase them. and if the issue is jeongguk’s safety, then yoongi must admit that there’s a way to just… get around that.

he calls jeongguk on a friday, the skies already grey as a storm brews for the middle of the night. (even summoning the storms for odd hours of the night has done nothing to deter jeongguk, he’s learned, but it does help to keep other people away.) when jeongguk picks up, it’s with an immediate, “fuck you.”

“i didn’t even say anything,” scowls yoongi.

“just hearing you breathe makes me want to punch myself.”

“be my guest.”

“did you call me just to say that?”

yoongi digs his nails into his palm to calm himself down, and then he says, “clearly this isn’t working. and i’m tired of being exasperated and frustrated over how thick your head is.”

“thanks, i love you, too, hyung.”

“i don’t remember ever agreeing to let you call me that.”

“that’s exactly why i do it.”

“i—fuck. whatever. listen.” yoongi takes a deep breath. “i have a compromise.”

he wouldn’t blame jeongguk for not wanting to listen; they’ve been at each other’s throats for a long time, nearly nine months. but the truth is that if yoongi really wanted to, he could have found a way to stop jeongguk. he’s a god, after all. his powers don’t reach much further than the skies, but he can manipulate himself, and power is power. there would have been a way. but perhaps some part of yoongi, the deepest part of himself, found something fascinating about jeongguk. and despite his better judgement, that part of himself couldn’t help wanting jeongguk to stick around, if only to know there’s someone else who feels as called to the storms as yoongi himself.

but jeongguk doesn’t argue. he doesn’t hang up. he just says, “and?”

yoongi takes a deep breath. “there’s a brief period, maybe ten or so minutes, during every storm where my power surges through the entire island. it’s always been like that. everything i put into the storm builds up as the storm does and then, at its peak, it’s like an overfilled balloon bursting. all of that power has to go somewhere. but up until now, i’ve never thought about what that could actually mean.

jeongguk lets out a breath into the phone, static filling yoongi’s ear. “so you’re almighty and powerful,” he says. “where’s the compromise?”

“i’m getting there.” yoongi almost rolls his eyes. “the point is that i’ve been experimenting over the last few storms, to see what i could do. and as you know from the numerous times you’ve tried to run me over with that ridiculous machine of yours—”

“her name is jolene, hyung. don’t insult her.”

“—that i can protect myself from physical harm. god powers. but what i’ve found is that if i channel that protection into the power that i put into the storm, then when the surge happens—when the balloon bursts—my protection remains in that surge, and any living thing on this island is safe from the storm for as long as the surge lasts.”

this time, jeongguk remains silent.

“during a tornado, the surge happens the moment the funnel cloud touches the ground. which means that for ten minutes after the tornado forms, anything in the storm cannot be harmed by it. it can be picked up and thrown around by the tornado, or hit in the face with a huge chunk of hail, or run over by a fucking flying cow. but it will not be harmed. my protection won’t allow it.”

“so…”

“so this is what i suggest: since i can’t stop making the storms and you refuse to stop chasing them, i will exert my protection power over the storms. i will tell you where and when the surge should happen, and you will be allowed to do whatever the fuck you want in that storm for the duration of the surge and only during the duration of the surge.” yoongi can hear jeongguk’s breath picking up, no doubt elated at the idea of being able to literally run into a tornado without getting hurt. “this is the only way i can ensure that you’ll be safe in the storms, and ensure that the old gods won’t smite this entire island for your insolence. i will do this for you, mortal. but if you so much as get your hat wet outside of those ten minutes that you are protected, so help me, jeon jeongguk, i will throw you into a tornado myself.”

“hyung—”

“do you understand, jeongguk? i will allow you to chase my storms so long as i can protect you from them. you are not allowed to chase the storms that i don’t create. you are not allowed to chase the storms before my protection begins and after my protection ends. even if the storm is super cool and you don’t want to miss it.”

hyung.

“i understand—” he takes another breath. “i understand how important stormchasing is to you. i don’t get it and i don’t like it, but i see the way you look at my storms, jeongguk, and i won’t take them away from you. so here. you have my permission. kind of.”

there’s a brief pause, and then, breathy and giddy, jeongguk says, “thank you.”

“you promise?”

“i promise. i’ll stick to the surge.”

yoongi feels like he can breathe for the first time since he saw jeongguk run into a storm. even then, there’s something more there—something nestled below his ribcage, right next to his heart. “good.”

“you’re an asshole, you know. but i like you more now.”

“this does not mean we’re friends, jeongguk.”

“okay, zeus.”

yoongi has the sudden urge to take back the compromise, but jeongguk is already giggling on the other end of the line and then shouting about how the funnel cloud is going to touch down soon, which means the surge, which means he can stormchase. and the pure excitement in jeongguk’s voice keeps yoongi from changing his mind. just barely, but—it’s enough.

what yoongi learns shortly thereafter is that the compromise creates a whole new slough of problems. because now jeongguk has no real reason to be at yoongi’s throat, so despite yoongi still taking pleasure in watching jeongguk suffer, jeongguk stops trying to piss him off all the time.

slowly, their fighting turns to bickering, almost good-naturedly half the time. jeongguk giggles madly when he tries to run yoongi over now instead of having that truly murderous look on his face, which lets yoongi know he doesn’t actually mean it. when jeongguk calls before a storm, it’s to gush about how big the clouds are or to rattle out a thousand new facts about the weather that he learned. he features yoongi more regularly in his videos, albeit against yoongi’s will, but yoongi watches one of them once and he’s horrified to realize the way jeongguk talks about him is almost… fond.

he has no idea what’s happening. but as each storm passes, he feels himself and jeongguk moving steadily toward something that could almost be classified as friends.

truth be told, half the time yoongi really doesn’t mind jeongguk’s presence. he loves storms and loves talking about them, and yoongi, being a weather god, is genuinely happy to chat about the storms. of course, it would be better without jeongguk’s irrational eagerness or video footage of the inside of a tornado, but even that begins to grow on him. after a year of this new and strange relationship, yoongi realizes jeongguk is the only person on the island that he regularly talks to and regularly sees in person. he’s spent so much of his time here secluded in his little farmhouse, brewing his storms, but now there’s this—this mortal. effervescent and headstrong and so, so stupid when it comes to his own safety. but after that year, yoongi realizes he’s begrudgingly accepted jeongguk’s presence in his life.

after that year, it no longer makes sense to have a storm without jeon jeongguk. they’re just part of each other now—and if a storm ever were to pass without jeongguk calling him up to demand to know where and when he can go running into it, yoongi isn’t sure he could call it a storm at all. it would just be wind and rain and cloud—but no life. no soul.

(yoongi nearly heaves when that thought enters his mind for the first time. when did he become like this? when did jeongguk come to mean so much to him? all they do is bicker and throw things at each other and demand too much from each other. he’d be hard-pressed to admit they’re friends to jeongguk’s own face. but the thing is—as much as jeongguk loves the storms, the storms love him back. yoongi can feel it, the way they reach for him the longer he spends in them. and the storms have always been a part of yoongi, too, so—

so—)

one day, yoongi just sort of realizes that this is his life now. and he sort of likes it. he sort of—likes it a lot, even with the mortal with a death wish. or perhaps because of the mortal with a death wish. in the end, there’s nothing quite like knowing there’s someone so head over heels in love with his storms that they’ll risk life and limb every day just to get a little closer, just to feel the power surging and the rain pelting and the wind whipping. that’s all there is to it—at least, that’s all he’ll ever admit.

and if he stands on his porch and watches the storm with bated breath every time he knows jeongguk is chasing it—so be it. jeongguk is always fine, after all. that’s their compromise. that’s yoongi’s power. but he can’t help it. maybe he doesn’t want to.

he hears the truck before he sees it, the loud roaring nearly drowning out the roar of the tornado as it moves toward the horizon. the worst of it has already passed and within minutes, the tornado will cease to be entirely; most only last for twenty minutes total, after all, and the rest of this particular storm will be rain now that the hail, too, has passed. yoongi watches the tornado with a sense of pride in his own work, despite having watched thousands before.

then—the truck. it comes barreling down the road toward yoongi’s yard, kicking up mud with its speed. too fast; yoongi clicks his tongue. the surge of protection has already passed, and wouldn’t it be a shame to die in a car accident after all of the deadly storms he’s chased in his lifetime?

the truck roars into the yard and then comes screeching to a stop, tires nearly sliding on the mud as the wheels grind to a halt. yoongi leans against the wooden column at the top of the porch stairs, raising a single eyebrow when the driver door is thrown open and out tumbles a soaking wet, pink-cheeked boy smiling wider than seems possible. his boots slip in the mud as he slams the truck door closed and hurries around the monstrous vehicle toward the house, apple ponytail bobbing where he’s pulled his bangs off of his forehead, jean overalls sticking to his body in distracting ways.

“hyung!” he shouts excitedly, and there he is: jeon jeongguk. the mortal. the stormchaser. the bane of yoongi’s existence and yet, somehow, half of his reason for staying here at all.

yoongi would never tell him, though. instead, he says, “you look like a three-year-old who tried to dress himself and failed miserably.”

“i was right! it was fucking huge!”

of course, yoongi’s teasing and insults never get far. but he still makes them, because in their absence, their relationship inches a little too close to normal, and he’s not ready to accept something like that. still, this is normal for them now—jeongguk reaching the base of the stairs and beaming up at yoongi for a time, wiping a few rain droplets off of his face. “it was so cool,” he breathes. “my whole truck almost got sucked into it because i wasn’t driving fast enough.”

“you know just because you can’t die in one of my storms for those ten minutes, that doesn’t mean you should try.” yoongi frowns, but he reaches out to fix the collar of jeongguk’s sweater nonetheless—only because it bothers him to look at otherwise, though. then he turns on his heel and leads the way back into the farmhouse. “what are you in the mood for?”

“soju?”

“it’s three in the afternoon.”

“i just chased a storm, hyung. i’m already as drunk on adrenaline as i’m going to get.”

this—normal. jeongguk coming to his house after the storms so they can sit on the porch and drink and talk about the storm—normal. yoongi isn’t sure when that started—when jeongguk stopped calling and just started showing up, but much like jeongguk in general, it grew on yoongi so slowly that by the time he noticed something was strange, it was far too late to stop it. so yoongi grabs jeongguk a bottle of soju, sticking to beer for himself, and they take their places in the mismatched rocking chairs on yoongi’s porch. the tornado is beginning to dissipate now but the rest of the storm will continue for hours.

jeongguk sighs after he takes his first sip of soju, straight from the bottle like a heathen as far as yoongi is concerned. “gods, what a rush,” he says.

yoongi rolls his eyes, fondly exasperated and exasperatedly fond. “you’re so strange, mortal. don’t you get sick of chasing the storms? it’s the same thing every time.”

“do you get sick of summoning them?”

“of course not.” yoongi’s brows furrow. “they’re mine. this has been my life for millennia.”

“so i don’t get sick of chasing them either,” shrugs jeongguk. “besides, they’re not the same every time. maybe they all have similar elements, but the thing i’ve always loved about storms—especially tornadoes—is that they’re entirely unpredictable. for you, maybe not, because you make them. but to me, i never really know what to expect. and i like that. it’s what makes chasing them so fun. besides, half the fun is getting to share this stuff with other people.”

yoongi is reminded of his stupid vlogs once again. jeongguk’s following has grown immensely since their compromise, considering he can get much closer now that he doesn’t run the risk of getting seriously injured. not to mention his followers like giving him challenges to complete, and there’s almost always a demand for more yoongi. jeongguk’s followers are obsessed with him. it’s embarrassing.

“you’re not going to put me in this one, are you?” he asks warily.

jeongguk shoots him a shit-eating grin, sipping at his soju. “depends if you say something particularly funny.”

“i never say anything funny. i don’t know why you laugh at me.”

“you’re archaic and iconic, hyung. you don’t even know how well you appeal to the humor of my generation.”

this only makes yoongi scowl more. he’s an ancient god, but he’s grown with the world. still, he doesn’t understand jeongguk. he’s not sure he wants to. and yet they sit here, sipping their alcohol as the rain splatters around them and the wind whistles through the fields. this—normal. jeongguk being an insufferable child—normal. but yoongi still not telling him to fuck off, because this is how it is and in truth, he wouldn’t really want it any other way—normal. unfortunately.

they chat about the storm and its intricacies; jeongguk loves asking questions about how summoning the storm really works and what yoongi plans and what he leaves up to nature, and yoongi doesn’t mind explaining even though they talk about the same things every time. jeongguk also loves re-enacting his favourite parts of the tornado, despite yoongi having watched the whole thing. but he lets it happen, idly watching jeongguk with a crooked grin on his face at the noises he makes as he tries to recreate the moments of wonder and panic he felt in the midst of chasing the storm.

eventually jeongguk runs out of questions. then, for a time, they say nothing, merely watching the storm together. when jeongguk finishes his soju, yoongi wordlessly rises to fetch him another, and they watch again.

after a while, he hears the scraping of jeongguk dragging his chair closer to yoongi, and yoongi purses his lips to keep from reacting. see, jeongguk can get touchy sometimes. yoongi will admit he doesn’t mind holding hands occasionally—he’s spent most of his existence touch starved to the point that he’s forgotten what it means to hold a person, but even he can see it’s nice once in a while. but jeongguk doesn’t throw his feet over yoongi’s legs or try to mess with his hair as he usually does. he just pulls his chair right up to yoongi’s and then lets his arm rest between the two of them, brushing against yoongi’s own.

he says, “you should come with me next time.”

yoongi glances at him, confused. “come where?”

jeongguk won’t meet his eyes, forehead pinched. “into the storm, obviously.”

it’s the first time he’s ever suggested such a thing. but it’s been clear since the beginning of this all—yoongi is the one who makes the storms and jeongguk is the one who chases them. yoongi stands here and watches idly while jeongguk has his run frolicking around in tornadoes and thunderstorms. their roles in this have always been separate, cemented at first by their dislike for each other. but considering their developing relationship for some time now, maybe yoongi shouldn’t be surprised.

it’s just—the two of them keeping at least that fundamental part of their relationship separate is normal.

and this? not normal. jeongguk wanting them to be together is not normal. jeongguk wanting them to co-exist and experience that thrill of the storm together is not normal. it is very not normal.

and yet—

“hm.” yoongi tilts his head, studying jeongguk’s profile for a bit longer before he turns his eyes toward the horizon. the storm is still raging. despite the way it calls to him, he’s never had any real desire to run into the rain and be one with it. he has wonderful self-control. and he still can’t understand why jeongguk loves chasing the storms in the first place, but… maybe he’s a little curious. maybe it wouldn’t be so bad.

he’s never wanted to go into a storm alone. but maybe it wouldn’t be so bad with someone. with jeongguk.

“i could use a cameraman, i mean,” says jeongguk after the silence has stretched on too long. “and my followers would go nuts.”

“you’re so annoying,” yoongi scoffs, shoving him lightly, but jeongguk breathes out a laugh, glancing at him.

“seriously, though. i think it would be fun if you came. you could see what it’s like from the inside.”

not normal. the way yoongi’s heart does this strange thing when they make eye contact—not normal. the fact that he actually wants to say yes, because he wants to do it with jeongguk and not because he knows jeongguk won’t stop asking until he agrees—very not normal.

as usual, yoongi frowns at him and looks ahead, sipping at his beer to give himself time to respond. then when he’s swallowed, he says, “i’ll check my schedule. i’m very busy, you know.”

“asshole,” says jeongguk, but yoongi can hear the grin in his voice, and they both know what yoongi’s response really means.

“you better not make me get out of the damn truck, though. i don’t like getting wet.”

“you’re a weather god.”

“yeah, i make the storms, not stand out in them and sing kumbaya like you do.”

“that’s what you think i do in a storm?”

“well, you’re a fucking weirdo; maybe you do.”

that sets jeongguk off as he tries to tell yoongi what he does do, and yoongi argues with him about it, because that’s what he does, and by the time they move inside to continue arguing over dinner, the storm is long forgotten. the lights from yoongi’s farmhouse shine out into the darkening evening, their laughter and bickering drowned out by the howl of wind and the slash of rain, and yoongi doesn’t know when this became normal, but he likes this other storm that he and jeongguk created together—the one where they howl and clash and fight, but much like yoongi’s own storms, he knows that come the morning, when the skies have cleared and the storm has calmed, all will be well as the world waits for the next.

for the first time, yoongi begins to feel that while he was busy watching jeongguk chase his storms, he’s been missing the storm headed straight for him—the one jeongguk has been summoning. the one he certainly won’t be able to weather.

“this seems like an even worse idea from up close.” yoongi can’t help but grumble as he sits in the passenger seat of jeongguk’s truck, poking his nose against the collar of the raincoat he’s wearing. it’s hideous and much too big for him, but it’s better than running around in the rain without protection like jeongguk is fond of. and if he must be here—as though jeongguk forced him into the truck—then he’s going to keep from getting soaked as much as possible.

he did agree in the end to chase a storm with jeongguk. he’s been grumbling about it since then, although it’s mostly to keep up appearances. the truth is he doesn’t mind it and he’s been curious, but jeongguk would think there’s something severely wrong if he didn’t complain about the whole thing every minute. besides—there are many less than savoury parts of this. one being the raincoat. another being how cramped this truck is with all of jeongguk’s equipment.

yet another is the fact that jeongguk physically can’t stay still, thrumming with too much energy and adrenaline as they watch the ever-darkening sky begin to spit out the tornado they’ll be chasing. but he knows how this will go—considering he has created this storm. the tornado will be a rope tornado, thinner than the ones jeongguk loves best, but it’s the sort that can move quicker and change directions in the blink of an eye. with yoongi’s protection, that won’t necessarily matter, but yoongi is beginning to regret not joining jeongguk during a simple thunderstorm.

then again, jeongguk has been known to climb on top of buildings and hold up metal objects in an attempt to get struck by lightning, even outside of the ten minutes in which he’s protected.

“you’re gonna love it, hyung,” says jeongguk, wide smile undeterred by the glower yoongi sends him. “the only thing is we have to act really quickly. i mean, you obviously know how unpredictable storms can be even when you’re controlling them, but it’s different when you’re trying to chase after it.” rain splatters against the truck, the wipers going double time to give them enough of a chance to see the storm.

yoongi crosses his arms over his chest, huffing. “i can’t believe you’re really going to make me the cameraman.”

“someone has to do it.”

“yeah, you!

“i do it every time. be sweet to me.”

yoongi looks out the window instead. it’ll only be minutes before the funnel cloud touches the ground, but it’s moving farther away from them so with a squeal of excitement, jeongguk puts the truck into drive and starts down the gravel road. he begins chattering again, sharing the technical details of all of this—on his end, anyway—but yoongi tunes him out, watching the storm through the window instead.

the fields whip past his field of view in nothing more than a blur of greens and browns, patches of trees only momentarily blocking his vision as they pass. but farther out, everything clashes into darkness. the storm looms over the field in a terrifying mass of clouds, the funnel still forming even as it moves across the sky away from them. already, this is closer than yoongi tends to get to his storms, and he takes a moment to admire his own handywork.

then jeongguk curses, and yoongi turns to see the problem: the funnel cloud is still moving toward the horizon, but the gravel road has come to an end. they can either turn right or left, but they need to go straight in order to reach the storm. jeongguk must know these roads like the back of his hand after spending so long chasing storms on them, so the frustration on his face must mean that going either way won’t eventually lead them to a road that can take them to the storm—at least not fast enough.

they sit at the end of the road for a long minute, the rain still pelting the windshield, the storm slowly moving away from them. they’ll lose it if they don’t drive now, as the funnel cloud begins to stretch out for the ground.

there’s really only one option now.

jeongguk’s hands tighten on the wheel.

“jeon jeongguk,” says yoongi in warning, already gripping the door handle. “don’t you dare.

“welcome to being a stormchaser, hyung,” he says, grinning something feral before he steps on the gas hard and the truck goes shooting down what’s left of the road, and then over the road, and then—yoongi shrieks as the truck does barreling off the side of the road and into the field in which green crops are still standing, but it makes no difference to the beast they drive as they take off through the field toward the tornado.

“jeongguk!” yoongi shouts; they’re going so fast over uneven ground that he’s barely on the seat, bouncing and flailing around in an extremely undignified way. but jeongguk is just cackling madly, cranking the wheel as they take off after the storm. they begin to gain on it then, just as the funnel cloud is about to reach the ground.

“camera!” jeongguk shouts, trying to drive and peer up at the sky at the same time. “grab the camera, hyung!”

“fucking—where?” yoongi gasps, trying to keep from smacking his head on the roof while turning to look in the backseat, where there’s a mess of equipment that has been jostled and is sliding from end to end because of jeongguk’s mad driving. “why do you have so much shit back here?”

“hurry! it’s going to touch the ground!”

yoongi groans before pitching himself over the console and into the backseat, grabbing objects and checking to see if they’re jeongguk’s camera. he finally finds the damn thing in a black bag on the floor, almost wedged under the passenger seat, and as he’s leaning down for it, jeongguk drives over what must be a fucking boulder because the truck jerks so violently that he smacks his head against the door handle.

“christ!” he shouts.

“sorry!” jeongguk shouts back, but he’s still giggling. fucker. “you’re gonna miss it!”

“we seem awfully unprepared considering this is your job and you’ve done this for years—” yoongi yanks open the bag and takes out the camera, glad to see that it’s at least prepared with the right lens and the weird puffy microphone on the top. he doesn’t have time to get back into the front seat, though, so when he turns the camera on and looks up out of the window, he can only let out a gasp.

the funnel cloud is right there, only some one hundred yards from them. jeongguk has managed to outrun the clouds and turned so that now it’s coming toward them instead of the other way around. this close, it’s a sight to behold—the way the clouds swirl into themselves, the wind whipping past everything, the rain splattering against the windows. he almost forgets to record it.

but then the truck is coming to an abrupt halt, sending him careening into the back of the passenger seat again, and jeongguk shouts something cheerful before getting out of the truck. yoongi stares at his empty seat, horror dawning on him before suddenly his door is opening too and jeongguk is standing there, already getting wet as he reaches in and pulls yoongi out with that crooked smile of his.

“wait,” yoongi gasps, hissing when he’s instantly doused in rain upon getting out of the truck. “wait, jeongguk, you didn’t say we’d get out—”

“how do you think we’re supposed to experience this fully from inside a truck?” jeongguk asks as he pulls yoongi away from the truck and toward the approaching storm, all the while readying the camera and putting it back in yoongi’s hands.

yoongi throws a desperate look to the truck as though it will come alive and save him from this. it’s just—even if he knows they won’t die in the storm, he doesn’t want to be outside during a fucking tornado. as a weather god, he’s immortal. but also as a weather god, he understands just how idiotic this is. he’s seen jeongguk’s videos, so he knows jeongguk doesn’t stay in the damn truck. but he brought yoongi along. yoongi is the only one who is allowing his stormchasing in the first place. certainly he would have made some adjustments.

but here he is, camera in his hands as jeongguk shoots him a thumbs up. “let’s go!” he shouts and yoongi starts recording, all the while staring up at the storm with vague horror. jeongguk is shouting something over the wind and rain, running closer to the storm and beckoning for yoongi to follow and—god, yoongi has no choice, does he?

jeongguk keeps talking, doing whatever he does during those vlogs of his—explaining things or talking about the storm. yoongi doesn’t know. he’s not listening. he’s just staring at the clouds. it takes another two minutes of jeongguk talking, and then the funnel cloud finally gets close enough to the ground and yoongi sucks in a breath as he watches where the tip of it is reaching, reaching

it hits the ground. in an instant, the surge of yoongi’s protective power bursts out from that epicenter, nearly knocking yoongi off of his feet. he manages to keep the camera steady, though, capturing the whole thing—and then jeongguk is back at his side, grabbing the camera from him.

“amazing, isn’t it?” he asks, breathless as they stare up at the tornado together. it’s wild, spiraling this way and that in its slender rope form. and yoongi can’t deny the beauty of the tornado from up close—the destructive beauty as it stirs up mounds of dirt and dust, sending the crops soaring into the air as it begins its chaotic path over the earth. he made that. he made that. its power is immense. his power is immense. this is what he does day after day, but for the first time, he sees the storm for what it is—

and for just a moment as he stands in a field and stares up at his tornado, he gets it. he gets why jeongguk chases the storms, why he was willing to risk his life for it. the storm calls to yoongi, but right now, yoongi can feel something in him calling back.

and then jeongguk grabs his wrist and starts running. not from the tornado—but toward it.

“what the fuck?” yoongi cries, but jeongguk is too eager and strong to shake off.

“this is the best part, hyung!” jeongguk laughs. he’s soaked from head to toe, as yoongi is, and he’s dragging yoongi toward the goddamn tornado. “we’re gonna go inside of it!”

“are you—are you fucking crazy? i’m not going inside that thing!”

“you’re a god, hyung. what’s the worst that could happen?”

yoongi doesn’t have a chance to answer that question, because the roar of the tornado grows too loud to hear anything. his heart pounds in fear and anticipation as they run for the tornado together, jeongguk’s hand still clasped tightly around his wrist, and he doesn’t remember seeing this in any of jeongguk’s videos. even if he’s protected from harm by yoongi’s power, he’s never gone inside a fully formed tornado like this, at least not without the truck.

which means—this is the first time he’s doing this. he’s doing this because yoongi is here. because yoongi is the god and yoongi can protect them and he—he trusts yoongi to do that. he trusts yoongi to keep him safe, so he’s going to throw his life into yoongi’s hands for a rush, for the perfect stormchasing experience.

he’s a fucking idiot. but as the roar of the approaching tornado drowns out the rush of blood in yoongi’s ears, there’s but a single moment where yoongi realizes perhaps he’s not the only one who has been weathering a much different storm.

then it’s too late to worry about anything but the twister above them. yoongi curses when it takes a sharp turn toward them, and the wind is so strong here that they’re nearly lifted from the ground. it’s only through the sheer power of yoongi’s will that they stay on the ground—because jeongguk is right. he’s a god. but in the face of his own creation, yoongi realizes there are some things even he can’t stop.

because he can see that while the tornado isn’t affecting yoongi much, jeongguk isn’t so lucky. he can’t keep himself on the ground—not as a human, not as a mortal. and as the tornado finally bears down on them, fifteen yards and then ten and then five, yoongi abandons the horror in favor of pulling his wrist from jeongguk’s grip.

jeongguk must feel it, for his head snaps toward yoongi, but as the tornado finally reaches them, yoongi reaches out first—he grabs jeongguk’s hand and pulls him in, curling himself around the mortal protectively as the wind and dust envelops them, and he steels himself against the ground, forcing all of his power into keeping them down. the wind howls and roars, dust and dirt clattering against him, but they don’t move.

and when yoongi looks up, they’re within it. they’ve chased the storm and now they are one with it, the tornado seeming like a living, breathing thing as it swirls around them. it sings to him—this storm of his, this tornado, this mass of destruction and chaos. but despite the damage he knows the storms cause—the damage his hands have wrought—he feels only peace here, cocooned in the madness of his storm. this is where he’s meant to be, he knows. all of this time, he’s merely been pretending he could feel whole anywhere else.

jeongguk’s hand curls around his, fingers pressing into his knuckles as though seeking something there.

yes, all this time—he thought he knew what was normal. he thought he knew what was right. but as his gaze stretches over the inside of his creation, yoongi feels like this is going to change… everything.

and then, just as soon as it begun, it’s over. the tornado passes over them, spitting them back out onto the field as it continues on its path. yoongi closes his eyes as he feels the power of the tornado try to sweep them away again, digging his heels into the dirt even harder to keep them down. he keeps his eyes closed as the force of the tornado passes him, though, and although the wind and rain remain strong, he can sense where the tornado goes; something within him tells him so.

he keeps them closed even when he can sense the tornado has left the field entirely, off to the next. he keeps them closed even when the roar begins to die down and all he can feel is the rain soaking through his hair. he keeps them closed even when he knows there’s no reason to, but—jeongguk hasn’t moved either. what are they meant to say or do now that they’ve been inside the tornado? it was horrible. it was wonderful. somehow, both of these things are true.

it takes yoongi a long time to realize they’re still holding each other, and yoongi is still curled around jeongguk like he expects another tornado to try to take jeongguk from him. by then, the tornado is long gone, rapidly losing power as the initial protective surge of yoongi’s power dissipates.

it’s jeongguk who finally speaks first, taking a breath so deep that yoongi can feel his ribcage expand where his back is pressed to yoongi’s chest. “holy shit,” is what he whispers. yoongi gets it—and then jeongguk adds, “i can’t believe i got that on camera. the internet is gonna go nuts.

yoongi’s eyes snap open, the surreal moment broken by the reminder of what they’re actually doing here, and he doesn’t hesitate to shove jeongguk away from him. “what the fuck was that?”

“that was the coolest thing that has ever happened.”

“you can’t go running into a tornado like that!” yoongi turns on his heel and stalks back to the truck, which was thankfully out of the path of the tornado. “you might have my protection during these storms, but they won’t stop you from getting sucked up by one of those things. and you certainly can’t just expect me to go along with this kind of shit.”

“sorry,” calls jeongguk as he hurries to catch up. “sorry, hyung, i just—i wanted to do it so badly. i wanted to do it with you.”

yoongi hates the way his heart kind of skips at that, but he ignores it in the favor of turning to look at jeongguk with a hard expression. “never do that again, you hear me? never.”

“i promise,” nods jeongguk. they reach the truck, but they remain staring at each other outside of it rather than climbing inside. they’re both soaking wet from the rain, worn by the wind, shaken from being literally run over by a tornado. but there’s a tint to jeongguk’s cheeks that can only come from a once in a lifetime experience. his eyes are glowing.

this is why he chases these storms—it’s not because he has a death wish. it might not even be for the thrill and adrenaline rush he gets. it’s because it makes him feel alive, and because when he answers the call that the storm offers him, there’s no feeling that could ever compare.

yoongi knows that now.

“i know it was stupid,” jeongguk adds quietly, seriously. he’s been laughing this whole time, eager and giddy, but yoongi knows he means it now when he calms down, when he looks so earnestly at yoongi like this. “but it was amazing, wasn’t it? it was… it was the most surreal thing that’s ever happened to me.”

he shouldn’t indulge jeongguk in any of this. if yoongi is being honest with himself, he should have forced jeongguk to stop three years ago when he first saw him chase a storm. but now that he’s done it—stood in this field and felt a storm pass over him—how could he ever condemn jeongguk for it when his heart feels this way? when he knows jeongguk’s heart feels the same—and when he feels he’d do anything to make that feeling last forever?

instead, his eyes move to the sky again. the clouds are still dark and gruesome, raining chaos onto the island. he can see the clear path of destruction from the tornado when he looks out at the field, but he thinks he can even see where he dug his feet into the soil to keep him and jeongguk safe. for a moment, when they’d been inside the tornado, it had felt like the eye of the storm. he wants it again. despite himself, he knows he’ll always want it again.

so—“yeah,” he murmurs, wiping rain from his eyes as he lets his gaze meet jeongguk’s again. “yeah, it was something else.”

on the slow ride back to jeongguk’s house, yoongi keeps the window rolled down the entire time, chin resting against his arms where they’re crossed over the ledge. he watches the storm as they drive through, feeling the rain wet his face and the wind ruffle his hair. he won’t take his eyes off of it. he’s always known the beauty of storms—from the very first storm he summoned, when he watched every second of it and felt an unquenchable thirst for more come to life within him—but he feels something more now.

all of these years, he’s been alone. he’s summoned every storm alone, watched every storm alone. but he wasn’t alone this time. for the first time in his long, long life, he stood in a storm not as a weather god, but as someone moved by its power and beauty. he stood with someone who loves the storms as much as he does, and who wanted nothing more than to stand there with him, to love the storm with him.

when yoongi turns his head from the storm, he finds jeongguk already watching him with a small, crooked grin on his lips.

yoongi hasn’t been lonely—not really. but for the first time in all of his years on this earth, he thinks that maybe storms aren’t meant to be weathered alone.

a week later, they’re washing dishes after lunch—or yoongi is washing dishes and jeongguk is taking an extra ten minutes to finish the last morsel of food on his plate in his customary and not-subtle-at-all way of getting out of doing dishes—when jeongguk says, “oh! i almost forgot to show you the video from that tornado we chased together.”

yoongi immediately feels his hackles rise—not because he doesn’t like watching jeongguk’s videos, but because he knows he’ll feature prominently in it. the idea of seeing himself captured on video like that makes him uncomfortable, but jeongguk would have edited him out if yoongi was truly against it. it’s easy to ignore himself for the most part, get past that part in the video, and forget about the whole thing immediately.

it’s other parts of being in jeongguk’s videos that keeps yoongi awake at night.

still, he knows how excited jeongguk gets about showing off his hard work, so yoongi dries his hands and tosses the dish towel over one shoulder before joining jeongguk by the kitchen table, choosing to lean over jeongguk’s shoulder rather than sit. the video is already loaded on jeongguk’s laptop, a whole twenty minutes of content. jeongguk skips past most of it, instead showing yoongi the part where they actually get into the storm.

yoongi was there. he saw it all with his own eyes, and the video can hardly do the magnificence and terror of the storm justice. but there’s still something surreal about seeing it played out again; he watches as the camera shakes violently when the yoongi in the video steps out of the truck and records the forming tornado. he hears both his and jeongguk’s voices through the speakers, repeating things they said only a week ago. and he knows what’s coming, but it’s still just as surprising and panic inducing when jeongguk grabs the camera from him and then grabs him and takes off for the storm.

“they love this part,” says jeongguk smugly. “i knew going into the tornado would be a huge hit. everyone is obsessed. i only just posted this today and there are already tonnes of articles about it.”

“that’s because you’re a fucking idiot and everyone knows it,” yoongi grumbles, but it’s half-hearted because he’s too busy watching the video, where jeongguk is now recording the tornado as they approach. “i bet all of those articles said you’re reckless and should stop.”

“no, most of them want me to do it again.”

yoongi is about to argue again, but then it happens—on screen, jeongguk and yoongi finally reach the tornado, and within seconds, it swallows them whole. there’s a shout from yoongi, one he didn’t even realize he’d made at the time, and the screen goes a terrible shade of brown and black as they pass through the worst of the dirt and dust. and then—they’re inside. the camera can’t capture the beauty of it, not really. it’s too dark and dirty, and unlike human or god eyes, the camera can’t adjust as well. can’t make out all of the details.

but then yoongi realizes that jeongguk isn’t even recording the tornado. instead, the camera is trained on yoongi. from where jeongguk is safely protected within the confines of yoongi’s arms, the only thing keeping them on the ground, he’s turned the camera upward and yoongi is able to see his own expression as he marvels at his storm, at his creation.

yoongi swallows tightly, feeling something hot prickle under his cheeks. why did jeongguk choose to record him? they were in the middle of a tornado, closer than he’s ever been in all of his years of stormchasing. it was his one chance to capture what really mattered, what he’s been wanting to capture and keep forever and show to the world, and he didn’t choose the storm. he chose yoongi.

he’s suddenly so overwhelmed and unsure what to do with this information that yoongi just says, “this video sucks.”

“hey,” says jeongguk, a spot of genuine hurt in his tone.

“why did you record me, dumbass? you’re supposed to show them the storm!”

“i wanted to show you, too. it was your first time stormchasing, plus it’s your storm. my viewers have seen hundreds of storms before. but they’ve never seen you see one, and i wanted to share that, too.” jeongguk huffs, and onscreen, the tornado finally passes over them. yoongi watches as jeongguk finally turns the camera away, showing the path of the storm as it continues. from there, jeongguk has edited the video to show different parts of the storm as they drive away, and yoongi sees himself in most of them, his head hanging out of the window as he watches it.

over the sound of the rain hitting the windshield, he hears jeongguk murmur, “i’m really glad we met, you know. i like chasing storms with you.”

then the yoongi in the video turns back to look at jeongguk, and the yoongi here realizes he didn’t even know the camera was still recording. it has captured the look that yoongi gives jeongguk, one caught between certainty and uncertainty. yoongi has never seen himself look at jeongguk, of course. he’s been so sure all of this time that the growing fondness and endearment he feels for jeongguk have been well hidden beneath the layers of aloofness.

but he sees it. right there, he sees it—he’s looking at jeongguk like jeongguk is the only one he ever wants to chase storms with. like he’s the only one he’d let chase his storms in the first place, the only one he’d protect, the only one he’d allow to drag him into these ridiculous things.

but—that’s the truth, isn’t it? yoongi has allowed all of those things. but it’s there on his face anyway: the sun peeking out from the clouds after a storm. the yoongi in the video looks at jeongguk behind the camera and he looks… happy. he looks like jeongguk makes him happy.

yoongi reaches over jeongguk’s shoulder and pauses the video, muttering, “that’s enough. we have dishes to finish.”

“ah, hyung—!”

you have dishes to finish. here.” he smacks jeongguk with the dish towel on his shoulder, and jeongguk groans but gets up nonetheless, dragging his feet all the way to the sink and the mound of dishes there. he’s singing a moment later, though, as he always does when he dries the dishes, and yoongi has to physically keep himself from turning around to watch.

instead, he sits down in jeongguk’s chair and, after a moment of hesitation, scrolls down on the screen to where the comment section is under jeongguk’s video. it has only been out for a day, but the top comments already have thousands of likes, and he reads the first one: omg when are they going to date tho???

yoongi blanches, but he can’t help reading the next one: jeongguk always talks about yoongi in such a cute way in his videos but this is the first time he’s shown yoongi looking at him and i can’t deal with it, why can’t someone look at me like that

and the next: was yoongi holding onto jeongguk in the middle of the tornado to keep him safe?? HELLO?????? they’re literally in l

the laptop slams shut before yoongi is able to read the rest of the comment, and he jumps in his chair when he looks up to see jeongguk standing beside him, face gone a suspicious shade of red. “what are you doing?” he asks.

“you could have closed that on my fingers,” says yoongi. “and i was reading the comments.”

jeongguk’s lips purse, cheeks flaring a darker shade. “the comments are always boring,” he says, and then quickly picks up his laptop to put it back in his backpack. “there’s no point.”

was yoongi keeping him safe? when are they going to date? why can’t someone look at me like that?

yoongi swallows tightly, eyes watching the expanse of jeongguk’s back when he stands again, and he thinks—he’s read comments on jeongguk’s videos before. sometimes jeongguk will show him on purpose when there’s a particularly funny one about how yoongi looks like a hard-boiled egg or whatever. but he’s never read them on his own. jeongguk never lets him—or he knows that yoongi won’t go looking for himself.

is this why?

“hey,” says jeongguk suddenly, and he’s pointing toward the window. “it’s raining.” sure enough, when yoongi looks toward the window, he sees jeongguk is right; the sky has turned grey, rain beginning to fall to the ground below. it’s not strong, at least at the moment, but he knows how quickly the weather can change.

“yeah,” says yoongi, still distracted by the comments he read.

“we should go out! why didn’t you tell me you summoned a storm today?”

“because it’s not my storm, dumbass. it’s just a normal one.” they happen, of course; yoongi doesn’t have complete control over the weather, although most of the extreme storms are the work of his own hands. regular rain is easily caused without his meddling, and some extreme storms can even happen without yoongi summoning them—because of the normal weather, again, or because a different god stops by on the island and decides to offer a storm to the old gods while here.

but to jeongguk, a storm is a storm. he’ll love them whether or not they were pulled into existence by yoongi’s own hands.

“still,” he’s grinning now, already putting down the dish towel and hurrying to grab his shoes. “it’s rain!”

“hey, finish the dishes first,” yoongi scolds.

“but hyung, it’s raining.

“dishes.”

“hyung.”

yoongi cocks an eyebrow. jeongguk seems on the verge of challenging him by running out into the rain anyway, but then he lets out an exasperated groan and runs back to the kitchen. he does the dishes faster than yoongi has ever seen, and then he’s off again, skipping through the house to grab his gear. it doesn’t look as though there will be anything fantastic about the weather—no lightning or thunder, and probably nothing more than some rain. but jeongguk still tugs on his boots and coat and happily runs out of the door, calling for yoongi to follow him.

and yoongi will—he always does. even if this is only rain, the chances of jeongguk hurting himself or getting into a precarious situation he needs rescuing from are too high, and he needs someone to watch over him. for a long time, yoongi took up that post begrudgingly, claiming he was only doing it because it would be more hassle to have a seriously injured jeongguk on his hands. but when he sits in the house, which is now empty and quiet without jeongguk’s exuberant spirit to fill up every nook and cranny, yoongi realizes he’s going to follow jeongguk because, quite frankly, he just wants to be where jeongguk is. it’s better there—whether in the midst of a storm or not.

when yoongi steps out of the front door, he finds jeongguk running around the front yard with his arms open wide and his head tilted back, giggling madly as the rain splashes in his eyes, his mouth, his nose. he’s already drenched but seems happier this way than ever before—when he’s one with the sky, with the weather, with this thing that has called him time and time before and will call him time and time again. this is how jeongguk does everything—loudly and brightly and with no hesitation. this is how jeongguk stormed into yoongi’s life, too: with arms open wide and a wicked smirk on his lips, knowing damn well that wherever he goes, the very air accommodates him. speaks to him, speaks through him.

sometimes yoongi wonders if he really is the god between them, or if jeongguk came to him from somewhere far beyond this island. sometimes he wonders if the old gods sent him as a gift—or perhaps as a challenge, expecting that yoongi would break before he could find a way to accept jeongguk’s presence in his life. but what the old gods don’t understand is that while yoongi is a god, he’s been part of this human world for long enough that he’s practically human himself.

and humans fall. they fall hard.

“yoongi-hyung!” jeongguk calls when he notices yoongi on the porch. “c’mon, it’s fun!”

yoongi winces. “i don’t want to get wet.”

when jeongguk rolls his eyes, it’s with a giggle, and then he’s bounding toward the house again. “you’re such a spoilsport,” he says, and yoongi realizes what he intends to do too late—still, he shrieks with indignation, rapidly trying to backpedal into the house even as jeongguk lunges for him and catches him around the wrist with a wet hand. then he’s tugging yoongi into the rain, still bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, elated to have two of his favourite things at once: the rain and yoongi.

yoongi doesn’t understand jeongguk’s recent obsession with making him run around in this weather, but there’s no escaping it—not when jeongguk slips his hand into yoongi’s and holds on tight, spinning them around as the rain falls around them. and if he’s being honest, getting wet isn’t as bad as seeing jeongguk experience the rain this close is good. because there’s nothing quite like it: the smile on jeongguk’s face, and the giddiness in his laugh. it’s just rain. it’s just rain. but there’s power in this, too.

so yoongi lets it happen, grinning to himself at jeongguk’s antics. it’s—endearing. horrifyingly so. yoongi doesn’t want to like it, but right now, he’s tired of denying his heart. he wants to rest for one afternoon, to allow himself to enjoy running around in the rain with jeon jeongguk. so he does. even when he slips on the wet grass and goes crashing to the ground, bringing jeongguk with him, he can only laugh. even when jeongguk starts trying to wrestle him, getting grass stains all over both of them, he can only laugh. even when jeongguk tries to re-enact their last stormchasing experience—only he’s yoongi this time, dramatically wrapping himself around yoongi to keep him safe from the nonexistent tornado—he can only laugh.

what else is he to do? what else can he do to drown out the thoughts that whisper to him even louder now, and the roar of the truth that is closer than ever before? how else is he meant to escape the storm that is slowly bearing down on him? he can feel the first drops of rain now. he can feel the wind picking up. and he knows it’s only a matter of time before he’s caught in the middle of that storm and there’s nowhere to run, no way that he can ignore what it means.

for now, he has this storm, the real one with jeongguk. this one is easier. this one is safer. and in this one—at least he knows jeongguk is still smiling.

weeks later, yoongi wakes in the middle of the night to his phone’s constant buzzing. he’s groggy when he lifts his head from the pillow, blinking in the darkness long enough to become aware of the world. he searches for his phone on the night table next to his bed and squints at the uncomfortable light when he does find it. immediately, the reason for waking becomes evident.

jeongguk won’t stop texting him.

he lets out a sigh, unlocking his phone and scrolling up through the handful of texts that jeongguk has sent him. his eyes are still bleary, sleep already pulling him back into its loving embrace, but there might be something seriously wrong if jeongguk is texting him so much. he knows how much yoongi loves sleep, so it’s rare to bother him so much at night.

after reading through the texts (or—skimming, mostly, because his eyes and brain don’t want to work), yoongi understands: a storm is brewing. it’s only now that he becomes aware of the rain echoing off the roof and against the windows, and he hears the distant rumble of thunder. so it’s raining. but it’s still four in the morning.

jeongguk is texting him about the storm—excited, as he always is when it comes to storms. yoongi groans and then manages to type out a reply to the extent of it’s four in the fucking morning, go to sleep.

the reply is immediate: how can you say that??? it’s gonna be a big one hyung

jeongguk. go to bed. the storm will be there in the morning

but i don’t want to miss itttt

yoongi groans again. this would be easier if they were speaking rather than texting, but if yoongi has to use his brain to make his vocal chords work, he might as well just wake up properly. instead, he texts: i’m summoning a storm in two days and it won’t be this early. after all, this isn’t one of his storms. this is another normal storm, although it seems to be worse than the one from several weeks ago when jeongguk demanded they run around in the rain. 

jeongguk sends him a series of sad and crying emojis. yoongi isn’t awake enough for this. but i like all the storms. i’m a stormchaser hyung what do you expect?

whatever. you’re the one who will be dead tired tomorrow.

i’ll be fine!!!

yoongi doesn’t register it, really, already half asleep again. he just nods to himself and sets his phone back down, figuring that if jeongguk wants to stay awake to watch the storm then that’s his choice. yoongi does summon enough that he shouldn’t want to watch any other storms, but he knows how much jeongguk loves them. it’s not his problem. and by the time he turns over and pulls the covers back up to his chin, the conversation is forgotten. the rain on the roof lulls yoongi to sleep, his mind free of stormclouds as he drifts off.

exactly one hour and forty-three minutes later, yoongi wakes again, practically startled into consciousness by a huge boom of thunder directly above his house. dull grey light is filtering in through his curtains, but it’s too early to be daytime—and it wouldn’t matter if the sun was up, anyway, because within seconds yoongi understands that the storm has grown much, much stronger. he can practically feel the house shaking from the strength of the wind, rain pelting against the roof and windows with power and speed. when yoongi sits up, a flash of lightning catches his eye even through the curtains, and the thunder that follows soon after lets him know the lightning strike was almost too close for comfort.

he’s still bleary and half-asleep, debating whether or not he should just go back to bed. it’s still too early to be awake, but he checks his phone first. he vaguely remembers waking up earlier, but the memory is shrouded in sleep and darkness, so there’s no urgency when he unlocks his phone and sees a whole slough of texts from jeongguk.

and then he actually reads them.

you should hear the thunder omg hyung i don’t know how you’re still asleep

why aren’t you watching this anyway? you always watch them

oh well

i don’t think there’s a tornado this time but i’ll cross my fingers

if not, i’m gonna try and get struck again hehehe

but it’s okay bc you’lll protect me!!

my favourite hyung

well my only hyung because i have no other friends

but

wow the thunder just now could have smashed the windows on my truck

it’s getting closer….. i can Feel It

The Peak!!!!!

HERE IT COMES

WISH ME LUCK

for a time, yoongi just stares, dumbfounded as he tries to understand what he’s looking at. his brain is still sleep-addled and the thunder and rain aren’t helping him sort through his own thoughts. but then he puts it all together, and he realizes… jeongguk is chasing the storm.

jeongguk is chasing the storm because he thinks it’s yoongi’s storm. he thinks it’s yoongi’s storm, which means he’ll be protected during it, but it’s—it’s not yoongi’s storm. anything that happens out there will hurt him.

will kill him.

yoongi practically throws himself out of bed, panic thrumming through him like he’s been struck by lightning, not even bothering to throw on proper protection from the rain before he dashes for the door. the last messages from jeongguk, sent just before he ran into the storm, are from less than twenty minutes ago. there’s still a chance—there’s still a chance—

yoongi bursts through the front door and into the yard, and he’s immediately doused in the heavy rain. it hurts where it hits his skin, but he pays no mind as he just starts running. the world is a dark grey, rumbling clouds swirling overhead, and cracks of lightning and thunder light up the way as he runs. for the first time, yoongi curses himself for not having a fucking car, but his destination isn’t far—because there’s only one place jeongguk ever goes during a thunderstorm: the bridge. it’s the highest point of contact on this side of the entire island, which means if he’s looking to get struck by lightning, he’ll be there. but unlike during any of yoongi’s storms, if he gets struck now, he won’t be protected.

the phone nearly slips out of his hand as he rapidly dials jeongguk’s number, willing his legs to move faster as he runs. “please pick up,” he breathes into the phone, nearly sliding on the muddy road. “please pick up, please pick up—”

hyung!” jeongguk’s voice is loud and tinny through the voice, and yoongi’s chest squeezes hard.

“jeongguk!” yoongi yells into the phone. “jeongguk, get out of the storm!”

“what? it’s hard to hear you through the rain.”

“jeongguk, it’s not—” lightning flashes nearby, followed closely by a boom of thunder that almost has yoongi stumbling off of the road.

jeongguk laughs into the phone, saying, “did you see that? holy shit, this is a good one, hyung!”

it’s not my storm!” yoongi is practically screaming into the phone. “jeongguk, you have to get out, you have to—jeongguk, you’re gonna die—

“what? hyung, you’re—” static fills the receiver for a moment, jeongguk’s voice cutting in and out.

“jeongguk!” yoongi shouts. “jeongguk—shit. shit, jeongguk, it’s not my fucking storm!” the line crackles again, and jeongguk’s voice comes through for half of a word or two, but not enough to hear him. which means jeongguk can’t hear him either, can’t hear him trying to warn of the danger, and yoongi isn’t sure if all of the water on his face right now is from the rain, but, but—he can’t let jeongguk get hurt.

the line goes dead, the reception cutting out entirely because of the storm. yoongi curses again, another flash of lightning dousing the landscape in light. through it, he finally sees the bridge—it’s a few hundred meters away at best, and when he squints through the rain, he thinks he can see aa vehicle up there.

jeongguk.

yoongi calls him again. this time, although the call goes through, there’s no answer, so he calls back. again and again, he tries to reach jeongguk as he runs for the bridge, panic filling up to overflowing. he’ll burst with it, he knows. and as the rain cascades from the sky, as the lightning and thunder fill the air, yoongi realizes for the first time how useless he truly is. he’s a weather god, for fuck’s sake, but he still can’t stop this. he can’t control the weather. he can only summon his own storms. and his limited other abilities won’t work now that he’s so panicked and frazzled.

but he needs to get to jeongguk. eventually, his calls don’t even go through anymore. but he might be close enough for jeongguk to hear if he can yell over the rain and the wind, if he can just make himself known, if he can just tell jeongguk to get off of the goddamn bridge—

and then the lightning strikes.

perhaps it’s the panic that allows him to see it so clearly, or the fact that he’s a god. the fact that even this weather calls to him, despite not being his own. but for just that moment, when the lightning strikes—he sees the bridge illuminated. he sees the truck. he sees jeongguk standing on top of the truck, holding his homemade weather rod. he sees, despite being too far to explain, the look of triumph and excitement on jeongguk’s face that he wears in every storm—and the confidence that he will be protected, because yoongi always protects him.

but this isn’t one of yoongi’s storms.

so when the lightning strikes—when it strikes jeongguk—he goes down like shooting star. for a moment, the world is awash with electric whites and blues and yellows, and yoongi can see it all, and the thunder cracks like a violent whip overhead, and then.

nothing.

yoongi can’t even scream. he just runs.

this time, when he does, he’s able to move with the full strength of his powers—as though seeing jeongguk get struck by lightning has somehow managed to hone his emotions into a weapon, collecting them a single point upon which his heart beats rather than letting them careen and crash through his body and mind unbidden. with each step, he’s much closer to the bridge than before, practically teleporting, and it’s as though the world has slowed around him while he moves. he doesn’t even feel the rain anymore.

because jeongguk is hurt. and yoongi’s mind will not focus on anything other than him until he’s not hurt anymore.

by the time yoongi reaches the bridge, his own power and emotion have melded in one being within his body, and he feels himself as some volatile creature, a thing that will stop at nothing to fix this. lightning continues to flash around him, striking the ground near the bridge and causing the air to sizzle. yoongi knows it’s because of him—the storm is attracted to him, this weather god like a beacon in the rain now that his power is building like a charge. as he runs down the bridge toward the truck, lightning strikes just behind him and yoongi doesn’t even wince, eyes focused on where he can see jeongguk has fallen from the truck and is now lying face down on the bridge.

“jeongguk!” he shouts as he skids to a stop beside him, rolling jeongguk over and then feeling his heart clench when he sees—the entire left side of jeongguk’s face and body is a mess of burned skin and tissue, some carving so deep into his face that yoongi can see bone. worse, though, is the fact that jeongguk isn’t moving.

he isn’t breathing.

“jeongguk!” yoongi shouts again, trying to shake him awake as though that will make a difference, and he desperately searches his own mind for information he’s found about humans getting struck by lightning. it’s never meant much to him, but he remembers a handful of conversations he had with jeongguk about this very topic, and it takes him an agonizing moment, but then he remembers—getting struck by lightning can cause cardiac arrest. jeongguk’s blood might not even be circulating.

if yoongi doesn’t do something now, jeongguk’s brain will simply stop working.

he’ll just… die.

“fuck, fuck, shit,” he breathes, his own power lashing out at the spike of panic and emotion, and this time—this time, yoongi knows it’s going to happen before it does. he feels the crackling in the air, feels the shift of atoms and particles around him, and then he throws his hand up toward the sky the moment that the lightning strikes.

see, min yoongi is a weather god, but the truth is that he’s a minor god at best. he can summon storms. he can move very fast, if he tries hard enough. he’s learned and trained in different arts over the years, dabbling in different powers and magic in case they might come in handy one day. but even with all of that, he cannot control the weather. he cannot stop a storm from happening if it wants to happen. and he certainly can’t bend a storm that he hasn’t started.

but when the lightning strikes—when he moves his hand, summoning every last bit of power within him—none of that matters. right here and now, min yoongi is a god. he is a god whose mortal has been hurt. so although the lightning comes for him, it doesn’t hit. it doesn’t land.

because yoongi puts his hand up, palm flat toward the sky, and the bolt of power and electricity and heat rebounds off of it, spiralling back into the sky with the same force in which it came down. he feels off-shoots of the lightning crackle around him, thousands of tiny flashes of light peppering the bridge and jeongguk’s burned, unconscious face. yoongi doesn’t even feel the heat, doesn’t take his eyes off of jeongguk for one second as he forces the lightning away from them, away from taking jeongguk from him for good.

he has to get jeongguk out of the storm. his own tumultuous emotion is attracting too much chaos, and any hope of saving jeongguk out here is of no use. and while yoongi looks upon jeongguk’s lovely, damaged face and feels the same panic and horror and desperation he felt upon first realizing jeongguk was chasing the storm at all, it has no place here.

this is what yoongi feared back when he first saw jeongguk chase a storm. this is what he has been working to avoid and prevent and fight against for three years now. but despite his worst nightmare coming true, the only thing he can do is take a deep breath, reach within himself for the power and peace of a god, and save this mortal.

so yoongi scoops his arms under jeongguk’s limp body, holds him carefully to his chest, and runs back home.

it’s raining again. truth be told, it hasn’t really stopped, and normally yoongi would find himself drifting to the windows, watching the grey sky with a mug of coffee in hand. he’s happiest when it rains, this stormy weather within him satisfied only when the world looks as his heart does.

this time, yoongi doesn’t even look up. instead, he stays right where he is—in a chair next to his bed, in which jeon jeongguk sleeps. he’s been unconscious for nearly twenty-four hours now, but he’s breathing. he’s breathing, and that’s what matters.

yoongi lets his eyes roam over jeongguk’s face. he did what he could when he brought jeongguk back from the storm—the little healing magic he’s learned over the years—although it was enough to keep him from dying, at least. in the end, it was mostly yoongi pushing his power into jeongguk and nothing more, willing that to keep jeongguk’s heart beating and his brain sending signals to the rest of his body to move and breathe and live. his protective power—the same power he puts into his storms—has been coursing through jeongguk for these twenty-four hours, and he simply has to believe it will be enough to make jeongguk wake up again.

there’s not much he could do about the other injuries, though. the lightning burned his skin badly, and the left side of jeongguk’s face—along with most of his entire left side, yoongi quickly discovered—is a mess of burned skin. some of it is bad enough that his skin was stripped nearly to the muscle, and yoongi has no idea what will happen then—if it will impact how jeongguk moves, if he will be able to move. yoongi is not a healing god; he can’t fix that, can’t reverse the effects. all he can really do is keep jeongguk’s heart beating. but a jeongguk with a burned body is better than no jeongguk at all, so—

so.

yoongi tightens his grip on jeongguk’s hand, wishing for nothing more than to feel him squeezing back. he hasn’t left jeongguk’s side in twenty-four hours, terrified that if they stop touching, jeongguk will stop breathing—terrified that it’s only through yoongi’s power that jeongguk is alive at all. but he can’t panic. the storm hasn’t let up since yoongi dragged jeongguk out of it, but he can tell it’s different now—it’s not a natural storm. this wind and rain and the occasional howl of thunder and flash of lightning have been caused by yoongi, however unintentional.

it’s never happened before—but then again, yoongi has never felt like this before. the skies are bending around him, reacting to his every chaotic emotion and plea for help from the old gods. this time, yoongi is the storm, barely contained in this farmhouse with a dying jeon jeongguk in his bed. but if it has to rain and rain and rain for days on end, weeks, months and years—so be it. if that’s what it takes for jeongguk to stay. for jeongguk to come back.

he doesn’t know when it happened, see—when jeongguk stopped being the annoying mortal stormchaser ruining his plans and became, well… this. the only person yoongi has ever been able to bend a storm for. the only person yoongi would give up every bit of his power for.

yoongi dwells not on such things, instead turning his eyes to jeongguk’s face once more. there’s panic like a livewire under his skin, threatening to burst through, but there is no use for it here. jeongguk will wake up. he’ll wake up and he’ll bring the thunder and lightning back into yoongi’s life, the kind can never hurt them.

outside, the skies weep. here, yoongi holds jeongguk’s hand and thinks only of sunshine.

despite constantly being at his side for the days following the accident, jeongguk wakes up during one of the rare moments in which yoongi is busy brewing coffee in the kitchen. he hasn’t slept much, too afraid of missing something vital in jeongguk’s recovery, but even living off of black coffee is starting to fail him. it’s been three days now, but the rain still hasn’t stopped. this new, everlasting storm reflecting yoongi’s own heart has clashed with the storms he planned and summoned for these days, and he worries he might flood the island by accident, but even that seems appropriate now.

yoongi feels nothing but numbness as he stands by the kitchen window and stares out at the pouring rain. the rain against the window underpins the rumbling of the coffee machine, and if he tries hard enough, he can almost pretend this is any other day. but the exhaustion weighs on his bones, and the panic and desperation has flatlined into a kind of despair that slowly erodes his sharp edges.

what will he do is jeongguk doesn’t wake up?

it’s the thought that has been sitting at the back of his mind for three days. at first, the idea terrified him too much to even think of, pushing it away in his panic. now, it seems inevitable to dwell on. it’s been three days. even pushing all of his power and protection into jeongguk’s mortal body might not be able to save him, even if his breathing has remained stable for those three days. yoongi tells himself that jeongguk is just resting. getting struck by lightning is no walk in the park.

but with each hour that passes, yoongi succumbs to it a bit more: what if jeongguk doesn’t wake up?

in his mind, he hears jeongguk call his name, groggy and soft and confused—like the jeongguk that yoongi keeps safe within him has woken at the question and can’t quite understand what it means. outside, the rain continues to fall heavy on the ground.

what if jeongguk doesn’t wake up?

he hears jeongguk calling again, a little louder.

it’s only then that yoongi realizes the voice isn’t coming from inside his head—it’s coming from behind him. when he turns over his shoulder, so quickly that he almost suffers whiplash, jeongguk is standing in the doorway to the kitchen, leaning against the wall for support. his hair is sticking up at odd angles from where it’s been pressed to the pillow for three days, and he’s a grim shade of white. the burns have only just begun to heal, leaving him a muddled mess, but he’s—he’s there. he’s standing in yoongi’s kitchen, eyes seeking out yoongi’s for validation and comfort.

he’s awake.

he’s awake.

injuries be damned, yoongi launches himself across the kitchen and into jeongguk’s space, arms wrapping tightly around him in an embrace that could rattle the sky.

“oh my god,” he whispers, feeling jeongguk lift his arms to weakly latch onto him. “oh my god, jeongguk. you’re okay.”

“i’m okay,” agrees jeongguk, although he certainly sounds a little worse for wear. “hurts.”

“sorry, i’ll—”

“no.” jeongguk holds on tighter when yoongi tries to let go of him, realizing how painful it must be. but jeongguk doesn’t let him go. so yoongi settles back in, careful in his embrace, lifting a hand up to run his fingers through the hair at jeongguk’s nape. there are a thousand things he needs to ask—how jeongguk is feeling, where it hurts most, if he can move this or that way. but the words die on his tongue when he feels how tightly jeongguk is trying to hold him, hands in loose fists on the back of yoongi’s sweater. whatever he’s feeling—whatever pain and trauma—he just needs to exist like this for a while.

they stand and hold each other as the rain grows louder against the roof. yoongi can feel his heart swelling in tandem with the storm, thoughts and feelings tumbling through him without control. jeongguk is alive. he’s okay. this sort of relief could knock yoongi off of his feet.

eventually, jeongguk asks, “what happened?”

“it wasn’t my storm.” it’s enough to explain it all—why jeongguk was hurt by the storm rather than protected, why he feels the way he does now, why yoongi is clinging so tightly. “you got struck by lightning so i brought you back here and i’ve been trying to help. i don’t know have a lot of healing power, but i’ve given you everything i could.”

he feels jeongguk sag a little in his grip, pushing his face into yoongi’s neck. “it worked.” those words make something break in yoongi’s chest—knowing that jeongguk is here and awake and he might have some lasting injuries, but he’s okay. yoongi was able to give enough of himself for jeongguk to hold on and make it out of the other side. “thank you for saving me.”

“i wasn’t going to let you die,” yoongi says, huffs. he’s still relieved and overjoyed to see jeongguk awake, but his underlying panic returns with a new friend: frustration. “but don’t you ever do something like that again, you hear me? you can’t go running into storms without knowing for sure that you’re going to be protected.”

“i know,” says jeongguk, sounding sheepish. he pulls away from yoongi so they can look each other in the eye, and his are filed with shame. “i wasn’t thinking.”

“i know you’re hurt and i’m going to take care of you, but let me lecture you for one second, okay?” he’s yelled at jeongguk plenty of times before, but this time, it lacks the usual bite. “we made this deal so that we could both get what we wanted. and if you’re running around without talking to me, without confirming with me, then you could die. jeongguk, you almost died.”

“i know, hyung.”

“you know i rarely ever summon storms that early in the morning. that was part of our deal, so that you wouldn’t be running around in the middle of the night trying to chase something you can’t even see.”

“i know, hyung.”

“you’ve been a pain in my ass since we first met but i’ve never wanted to see you injured. even seeing you get bruised or scratched hurts me, you know? and to see you get—get struck by lightning and fall like that, and to find your body all burned, and you weren’t—jeongguk, you weren’t breathing, and i was so scared. i was so scared and i didn’t know what to do and i don’t know what i would do without you, okay?” yoongi fists his hands in the front of jeongguk’s shirt, tugging him a little closer as the desperation swirls up within him—“you’re my best friend and i never thought i’d say that, but it’s true. and i didn’t even want to think about you not being here because i always want you to be here, and i want you to be here with me, because i—”

yoongi’s mouth snaps shut as his brain finally catches up with his mouth.

and he thinks—

oh. of course.

he’s in love with jeongguk.

he’s been in love with jeongguk for a long time, and he didn’t even see it. his eyes were clouded over, fixated on the sky and the storms and the rain. it took jeongguk nearly dying for him to finally look where he should have been looking all along, and now he’s looking, and what yoongi sees is the only person he ever wants to summon storms for. the only person he wants to chase storms with for the rest of his life. the only person who could ever make this mediocre existence worth it.

he’s looking at jeon jeongguk and he sees the reckless mortal who bounded into yoongi’s life like a flash of lightning and roll of thunder, and then stayed long enough to become the sunny skies. the smell of petrichor.

he’s looking at jeongguk and he sees home.

it must show on his face—or something must show on his face—because jeongguk’s half-burned mouth tugs up into a grin. then he laughs, weak with his injuries and pain, and drops his forehead onto yoongi’s shoulder.

“took you long enough,” he mutters.

yoongi stares past jeongguk’s shoulder, forehead pinched. if this were any other day—if jeongguk hadn’t almost died and wasn’t just beginning to recover from it all—this would go much differently. there would be laughing and shouting and tackling, surely. instead, it’s jeongguk’s fist in his shirt, holding him close, and yoongi’s fingers returning to jeongguk’s nape, still trying to process his own thoughts and feelings.

it seems jeongguk has had much more time for it.

“you love me,” says jeongguk simply, and it’s not a revelation for him. it’s just a fact.

“i love you,” repeats yoongi, and finds that it’s somehow the easiest thing to say in the world. now that he nearly lost jeongguk—his worst fear became a reality, haunting him through thundering skies and swirling winds—he feels no inhibitions. what’s the point in pretending now? “you knew?”

“hyung, you’ve been letting me chase your storms for years now,” laughs jeongguk. “you chased one with me. you protect me every time, because you didn’t want to turn me away completely. you pick up every time i call. you came for me in the middle of the storm—you saved me. of course you love me.”

“i could have—done all of that as your friend.

jeongguk finally lifts his head again, nose brushing against yoongi’s as he does so. they’re so close, breath mingling, and from this close, yoongi can’t see the burns. “you talk about how the storm calls to you,” he says quietly. “but hyung, that’s how i feel about you. you call me the way the storm calls you. i just knew.” he laughs again, forehead coming to rest against yoongi’s. “hyung, i don’t think the storms protect me because you want them to. i think they protect me because the storms are you, an extension of you, and they love me, too. i could feel it in the rain. in the wind, in the tornadoes—”

“jeongguk-ah.” of course, it makes sense: the way his heart trips over itself when he knows jeongguk is chasing his storm, the way he wills the world around them to protect jeongguk and accommodate his every breath. he’s felt some impending storm for a long time, knowing it was this—but now that it’s here, he realizes it’s not a storm at all. it just is.

“i do love you,” he says. “i just realized it now, but i do. when i saw you lying on the bridge and you weren’t breathing, it was like—i’ve never felt more filled with pain. i needed to make sure you were okay. i could have ripped the sky apart.”

he can practically feel jeongguk’s grin when he says, “that’s hot.”

“you almost died.

“i love you, too, you know,” says jeongguk, almost belated. “didn’t you notice?” yoongi blinks, leaning away to see the shit-eating grin on jeongguk’s face. of course, this too makes sense—the way jeongguk pushed himself into yoongi’s life, the phone calls, the need to be close at all times. for so long, yoongi thought jeongguk was just like that, or wanted to bother yoongi with his presence. but maybe he’s not like that at all with others. maybe he just wants to chase yoongi’s storms for the rest of his life.

yoongi wouldn’t mind it.

“i was too busy looking at the sky,” says yoongi.

“stupid weather god,” laughs jeongguk. “i almost had to die for you to notice me.”

“did you do that on purpose?”

“you think i wanted to be fried like this?” jeongguk gestures to his side, most of it covered, but the injures are still there. it will take a long time for him to heal, but at least he can move without much trouble. “i was blinded by my trust. maybe by my love. i’ve been chasing your storms for so long that i’d forgotten not all of them are yours. it’s just—for me, everything is you. all of the storms are you. all of the rain and the wind and lightning. i see a cloudy sky and it makes me crave you.”

yoongi has the good sense to blush at least, everything within him wanting to avoid the sweet words. but jeongguk has been wanting to say them for a long time. the least yoongi can do is listen.

“i can’t believe i fell in love with a mortal,” he sighs nonetheless. “and a stormchaser at that.”

“you were always going to fall in love with a stormchaser, hyung,” laughs jeongguk. “we’re made of the same stuff, you and i. storm stuff.” yoongi wants to say it’s cheesy, but he gets it—the way the storms call to him and call to jeongguk. the reason both of them find themselves standing in the rain again and again, trying to let it fill them up and overflow. they are made of the same stuff. and yoongi realizes he wants that—wants it forever. he never wants to summon a storm that jeongguk can’t chase.

he touches jeongguk’s cheek softly, the burned one. his pretty face hasn’t been ruined, not really—but it’ll be a forever reminder of what happens when they misstep. before he can feel pity, though, jeongguk reaches up and tugs on yoongi’s wrist, pulling his hand away in favor of threading their fingers together. it makes yoongi grin, just a little, and then jeongguk leans in, and when their lips meet, the sky breaks out in a cacophony of howling thunder and wailing wind.

here, in the eye of the storm, as chaos rages around them, yoongi has never felt more immortal.

“does it hurt?” yoongi gently touches at the burns curling over jeongguk’s shoulder, frowning at the hardening skin. already, the left side of his body is practically one big scar, but jeongguk doesn’t seem deterred by it.

now he shakes his head, lolling it on the pillow to look at yoongi. “not really,” he says, “but you should kiss me anyway.”

yoongi scoffs: “i already told you kissing has no effect on your recovery whatsoever. i have to be very intentional about transferring my power to you.”

“oh, you can transfer your power to me any day of the week, hyung.”

the comment makes him blush, but he hides it with another indignant scoff. what he’s learned in the past two weeks is that jeongguk is shameless. but he’s also endearing and soft and needy at the best of times, especially when he’s recovering from a near fatal injury. he stays in bed a lot, because moving disturbs the healing too much, and while yoongi transferring his power (in the most innocent way possible) is helping to speed up the rate of recovery, jeongguk is still human. he’s still a mortal.

but getting to stay in bed and have yoongi attend to his every need isn’t so bad. mostly, yoongi stays in bed with him and they watch movies or talk, and every time there’s a storm, yoongi goes out and records them from a safe distance so that jeongguk can see. at first, yoongi was convinced that jeongguk would never want to see another storm again, not after what happened, but despite the damage that has been caused, he still asks every day about the storms yoongi will summon.

today is a calm day, sunlight making patterns on the floor through the window. the two of them are hiding beneath yoongi’s covers, half tangled in a careful way so not to harm jeongguk’s burns. yoongi doesn’t know if it’s true or if jeongguk just likes when yoongi touches him, but jeongguk insists on yoongi gently tracing the burns and scars, a content little grin on his lips every time. and it feels odd to allow himself this, too, after so long of putting blinders on himself. two weeks of allowing himself to love jeongguk, to stop running from the storm that has been calling him since jeongguk came into his life.

he shifts, hovering over jeongguk with a frown on his face. but he can’t resist the sunny look on jeongguk’s face, soon dipping down to press their mouths together. this doesn’t help the recovery process—but he’ll be damned if he doesn’t pretend anyway, so that he can have every excuse to kiss jeongguk, to touch him. there’s no one to tell them otherwise, anyway.

“you’re such a nuisance,” yoongi sighs.

“be sweet to me,” says jeongguk. “you need to make up for all the times you were mean.”

“i’m not mean. this is just how i show affection.” still, he does feel a bit bad for all of the things he’s thrown jeongguk’s way now that he’s realized at least some of it was done out of subconscious denial of his own feelings.

even then, he’s not quite prepared for jeongguk to say, “you know, i’ve liked you since i first saw you.”

yoongi is still hovering over him, knees now placed on either side of jeongguk’s hips. “really? but you were… such a dick to me.”

“i can be a dick and still like you, you know.” jeongguk shrugs. “at first when you wouldn’t let me chase your storms, i really was annoyed with you and hated you. but i still thought you were pretty and that pissed me off even more, because i didn’t want to like you. but after you came up with the compromise, there was no real reason to stop myself from liking you, so…”

“you’ve had a crush on me this whole time?”

“more or less. sometimes when you had really bad bedhead, i reconsidered.”

yoongi digs his fingers into jeongguk’s good side in retaliation, and jeongguk crows out a laugh, twisting so that yoongi flops over onto the bed again. “but really,” he says, still disbelieving of the truth. “it’s been years, jeongguk. why didn’t you ever say anything?”

“i kind of did,” huffs jeongguk. “you’re just exceptionally thick when it comes to this stuff, apparently. i never looked you in the eye and said i was in love with you, but there are more ways to show it.”

now that he thinks about it, plenty of instances do come to mind of jeongguk showing his feelings rather than saying them. but yoongi has always been focused on his storms—and convinced that jeongguk could never be anything more than an annoying mortal—and he never noticed. with fresh eyes, it’s almost embarrassing how painfully obvious jeongguk was at times.

“were you just okay with that?” he asks next. “what if i’d never figured it out?”

jeongguk takes some time to think, staring up at the ceiling as he does so. in the meantime, yoongi traces over the scars on his neck again, careful, careful. eventually, jeongguk says, “it’s not that i didn’t think you would love me back or that i didn’t think i had a chance. honestly, it didn’t hurt that much to think that you didn’t like me back—or at least didn’t realize it. because being with you as a friend was perfect, too. my love for you… it didn’t expect anything back. i was okay loving you without anything in return, as long as i got to be with you at all. i just wanted to stand out in your storms. i didn’t care if they loved me back.”

“i can’t tell if that’s sad or not.”

hyung,” jeongguk giggles. “i’m just saying i couldn’t help loving you, and i still can’t. and yes, i prefer us being together now because i get to kiss you and hold your hand and hear you say nice things to me for once. but even if that never happened, i would have been happy, because i have you anyway. and you’re kind of like the best thing that’s ever happened to me.”

yoongi thinks he might be blushing, but he hides it by kissing jeongguk again, a little harder this time. “you’re kind of the best thing that’s ever happened to me, too,” he says, “and that’s saying something considering i’ve been alive for thousands of years.”

there’s a giggle against his lips, and when yoongi kisses jeongguk, it does feel like the best thing that’s ever happened to him. eventually, when they’ve settled back down, jeongguk asks, “you think if you give me enough of your power, it’ll turn me immortal too?”

“honestly, i don’t know.”

“only one way to find out, though.” he turns his head, offering yoongi a shit-eating grin.

yoongi’s forehead pinches. “i can’t tell if you’re being suggestive or not.”

“my boyfriend is a literal god. i’m always being suggestive.”

it makes yoongi scoff again, but it makes him blush, too—and when they start bickering about it, so similar to what they’ve done since they first met, yoongi is glad to see that not everything has changed. but he’s always going to take the hand-holding with the banter. and he wouldn’t mind trying to make jeongguk immortal, no matter how they do it.

a storm is brewing as min yoongi sips his coffee.

far beyond the porch on which he stands with a mug in hand, something is stirring. there, in the fields, across the plains and the horizon, something is coming. dark clouds have amassed in the sky, swirling and threatening to stretch toward the earth in a tornado. that will come later, yoongi knows—because he planned this storm down to the very last drop of rain, willing the skies to bend to his power, summoned the power that has coursed through him for a millennia. this is a sacrifice, of sorts. but it is also an act of love.

the air smells of something more. for now, the clouds have yet to unleash a torrent of rain, but that will come, too. they have time. they always have time. the storm seems to be on the verge of twisting into something chaotic and uncontrollable, just the way the old gods like it.

but they’re not the only ones.

“okay, i’m ready!”

yoongi turns over his shoulder to see jeongguk standing in the entrance, bundled up from top to toe. he might be too warm in the layers of sweaters and coats, but they’re not taking any chances. his only visible skin is that of his face, and a dark burn scar takes up nearly half of it, pulling the left side of his mouth upwards just slightly. he is always grinning crookedly, and it’s very jeongguk even if it’s an accident.

the outfit is only complete with the cane—at least for now. the burn scars and damage to his muscles from the lightning have left him with reduced mobility in his left leg. they’re hoping their nightly recovery sessions of yoongi trying to push his healing power into his leg will improve its condition, but even the cane doesn’t slow jeongguk down. if anything, it just gives him a weapon with which to whack yoongi whenever he wants something.

for the first time in a long time, though, jeongguk doesn’t have any equipment with him while heading out. no camera or microphone, no computer, no gadgets and technology to track the storm. it’s been so long since yoongi has seen him without such things, and he wonders if jeongguk feels like less of a stormchaser now. or maybe he just feels a little more like yoongi—someone who is merely called by the storm, and someone who can never refuse an answer.

“are you sure about this?” yoongi asks for the tenth time since that morning. “you know we don’t have to do this.”

“how many times do i have to tell you that i’m not doing this because i feel like i have to?” jeongguk huffs, joining yoongi by the door and plucking the mug out of his hand. “i’m doing it because i want to. because i love storms.”

“you’re fucking crazy, you know that?”

“says the one who’s in love with me.”

“jeongguk, i thought you would want to quit.”

he sets yoongi’s mug down on the counter and then turns back. this time, there’s a different look in his eye, and yoongi knows immediately what he feels. “it was a storm that hurt me, yes,” says jeongguk. “it was storm that nearly killed me. and it’s only been a month and a half since then. but i’m not afraid of the storms, hyung. that calling doesn’t go away just because i got burned. you might think it’s crazy, but almost dying kind of made me love chasing storms even more.”

yoongi sighs, but there’s no arguing; jeongguk has been begging yoongi to take him out in a storm for a week now, and yoongi can no longer deny him. he thought he was protecting jeongguk by keeping him cooped up in this house, but he understands what jeongguk is feeling. even a near death experience wouldn’t be enough to keep him away from the storms, either.

“it made me appreciate your storms more,” adds jeongguk. “i know that they can protect me. i know that you can protect me. and facing the true terror and danger of a storm makes me all the more in awe of what you can do. it makes me want to go out there and chase more storms, to survive them again and again. i’m definitely never chasing a storm again without making sure it’s one of yours, but i refuse to be afraid. not when i have you.”

he isn’t quite used to the sweet words—not without the usual banter and teasing that jeongguk has been adding this whole time to hide his own feelings. for three years, he was just waiting for yoongi to catch up.

now yoongi sighs, reaching up to cradle jeongguk’s scarred cheek in his hand. “you are the bravest person i know,” he says, “and the most passionate, most headstrong, most unbelievable. and yes, the most reckless and idiotic person, too, but—i am in awe of you every day. i’m never going to stop you from chasing storms. but i’m glad we can chase them together now.”

they haven’t talked much about what will happen now, or their plans for the future. they just know they want to be together, and now jeongguk has made it clear that he’s still going to chase yoongi’s storms.

yoongi will always be summoning storms, of course. he’s a weather god. he was summoning storms long before jeongguk showed up and, because he can’t ignore the truth that they are fundamentally different as an immortal and a mortal, he will be summoning storms long after jeongguk is gone. but for this moment in time, this pinprick of history in which they have been lucky enough to exist in the same place at the same time, yoongi never wants to summon a storm that jeongguk isn’t going to chase.

that they aren’t going to chase together, heading into the chaos and the unknown and the beauty of a storm knowing that they have each other as an anchor. this is what yoongi wants. this is the storm that yoongi was terrified of getting caught in, but now realizes is so much more than just the wind and the rain. and in this storm—the storm of jeongguk’s love—he can feel a hint of what jeongguk feels every time he chases one of yoongi’s storm: there’s an irrevocable protection in it, one that keeps him safe and whole without worry, one that lets him know he will never be harmed in the downpour.

not all storms are destructive, after all. and after the rain, there is always life.

so yoongi helps jeongguk out to the truck, still old and beat up and needing a good wash. this time, yoongi drives while jeongguk sits in the passenger seat, window rolled down as they drive along the dirt roads after the storm. further toward the horizon, the first sheets of rain are just starting, a wall of darkness and water spreading across the fields. it’s not the same—it won’t be the same as what jeongguk is used to. no racing, no hurried filming, no running into tornadoes to capture the moment of chaos.

but this is good, too. in some ways, this is better.

because this time, yoongi gets to reach his hand over the console and take jeongguk’s fingers in his own, tangling them together in a loose hold. this time, he gets to watch jeongguk leaning out of the window, bangs flattened against his forehead thanks to the wind, and marvel at the hand he has been dealt.

this time, he gets to watch jeongguk watch one of his storms, and see the pure love in his eyes, see the amazement and joy and contentment.

yoongi looks right at the storm that is jeon jeongguk.

it’s brewing. this time, he’ll be ready to chase it as far as it takes to catch.