Summary: Jongin is a Morning Glory, Kyungsoo is a Hyacinth, and this is their story.
A/N: Happy Birthday Char! I'm sorry that I wasn't able to write this on time for your birthday because of finals. ;;;;;;;;; It's a bit late, but my well wishes are still the same. I hope you had a fantastic birthday and keep rocking on with your art goddess self. This fic is dedicated to you and your otp! Inspired by Ceci. ((After the random reading I did for this story, if anyone ever wants to talk about floriography and why I chose the flowers I did, I'm always up for it!))
On the first day of Spring, the flower sprites make the annual trek up the hill to Mother Nature's temple. It's a colorful procession, a vibrant parade of Roses and Marigolds, of Orchids and Buttercups, of all the flowers that blow in the gentle breeze. Despite the jubilant fanfare surrounding the sprites, wreaths of flowers that they represent adorned on their heads, there's a somber look on all of their faces as if they're marching to their deaths―a funeral service.
For one sprite, it will be the beginning of the end. The first flower to bloom in Spring will become the Spring Sprite―the celebrated and honored sprite of the year―but hidden in the noble title is the truth and the sacrifice. The Spring Sprite will wither along with their flower, the first to bloom and the only one to die, so that the sun of Summer can continue to spin the wheel of the seasons.
Spring is lovely. Spring is beautiful. But Spring cannot last forever.
The flower sprites wait in the marble hall with nervous expressions, watching as each sprite goes into the inner chamber and comes out with a look of relief. Four friends huddle together in a corner. Sehun the Narcissus clings onto White Lily Luhan, his lips pressed into a firm line. It can't be Luhan. He won't let it be Luhan. It's a selfish wish, but Sehun refuses to let the White Lily die for the sake of Summer. By their side, the Morning glory holds tightly onto the Hyacinth's hand, the worry on his face growing darker and darker as the crowd in the temple dwindles down to a mere dozen. The Spring Sprite still hasn't been chosen.
Out walks the Begonia and the Pansy, the Peony and the Tulip, all safe until the Spring of next year. The message is obvious―the first flower to bloom this Spring belongs to one of the remaining sprites in the foyer. Jongin doesn't even notice that he's started trembling.
"It'll be okay," Kyungsoo squeezes Jongin's hand as Kris walks in for his turn. "It won't be you."
"Morning glories are known to be early bloomers," Jongin croaks with a tremor in his voice. "It could very well be me."
Before Kyungsoo can offer words of comfort, Kris walks out with a crestfallen expression. The sprites suck in a lungful of air. Gasps are heard and murmurs are spread, it's the first negative response they've seen since the Choosing Ceremony started.
"Is it him?" they whisper. "Is this year's flower the Rosemary?"
But Kyungsoo knows better. He remembers who last year's Spring Sprite was―Yixing, the loveliest Forget-me-not to have been born in decades―and more importantly, who was left behind when the Forget-me-not passed. The Rosemary and Forget-me-not were supposed to be wed last Spring and they did have their wedding. They just never got to have their happily ever after. Kyungsoo catches Kris before he crumbles.
"It isn't me," Kris breaks apart in the Hyacinth's arms, tears streaming down his face. "Why isn't it me?"
Jongin's heart splinters for the other sprite, the only sprite so far who has wanted to die. A small part of Jongin aches out of sympathy because he can't imagine having to live a life without Kyungsoo. By this time, they are the only four left in the temple and Sehun is growing increasingly antagonistic. Jongin gives Kyungsoo a nervous hug when the Hyacinth is summoned. The few minutes it takes for Kyungsoo to enter the inner chamber and return are the longest minutes of Jongin's life. Kyungsoo exits with an unreadable expression.
Jongin suddenly finds that his mouth has run dry. His palms start sweating and his hearing grows muted, all sound echoing as from a distance because the only thing he can hear is the panicked thumping of his heart. Impossible, he thinks. No, absolutely not. Sehun and Luhan remain rooted in their places, utterly shocked. Kyungsoo meets his gaze, a look of resignation painted across his brows. In the town square, a single Hyacinth blooms quietly.
Jongin falls to his knees.
Spring has come and Spring has decided.
"Get up," Sehun sends Jongin a withering glare, but the Morning Glory ignores him and continues to stare blankly at the ceiling. "I said―"
"I heard you," Jongin rolls over onto his side and pulls the bedsheets over his face.
"You can't keep this up for the rest of Spring. Kyung―"
"Don't," Jongin sits up with a look of fury. "Don't you dare stand there and tell me what I can or can't do when you don't understand anything. When deep down, I know you're glad that it's Kyungsoo because that means it isn't Luhan."
Sehun makes a face like he's just been struck. "Jongin, no. I'm not glad it's Kyungsoo."
"But you are glad it isn't Luhan."
His statement is met with silence. Sehun refuses to look Jongin in the eye.
"That's what I thought," Jongin glowers. "You don't understand what I'm feeling right now."
"He might not," a voice chimes in from the doorway. "But I do."
Kris strides into the house with a solemn expression. "Listen to the Narcissus, get up."
"Why should I?"
"Because you're being a selfish prick."
Jongin narrows his eyes. "What right do you have to come into my house uninvited―"
"So you're crushed, depressed, it feels like the world is ending because your other half is being ripped away from you," Kris barrels on in a tone so cold it hurts. "You cry and you mope and you lock yourself up in your cottage like a flower that's ready to wither. You feel devastated. You, you, you. It's all about you, but what about Kyungsoo? How do you think he feels?"
Jongin's mouth opens and closes without a sound. His eyes are beginning to water.
"He's outside, probably just as terrified and even more so. More importantly, he's alone. You're letting him go through this alone. When Yi―," Kris stumbles over the name, choking on the syllables as if he's picking at a scab that hasn't healed. "Yixing became the Spring Sprite, I made sure our last Spring was spent together. You've wasted weeks, so this is the last time I'll say it Morning Glory, get up."
Jongin stumbles out of the room on shaky legs, only stopping when he's in the garden in front of the cottage where Kyungsoo is curled up with his arms around his knees. He falls into the Hyacinth in a heap of tears and apologies. Kyungsoo cries with him.
Sehun looks at the pair through the window. "Do you think they'll be okay?"
"No," the Rosemary answers, feeling unbelievably tired. "But it's not like they have a choice."
While the month of March is nearly squandered by Jongin's brooding and Kyungsoo's silent suffering, the Morning Glory vows to make the month of April count. Jongin drags Kyungsoo out of bed at the crack of dawn most mornings, when the Hyacinth is still sleepy and pliant, to check off another activity that he knows Kyungsoo has wanted to do at least once. Some days they climb onto the backs of lady bugs and bumblebees and fly off into the horizon, as far as they can go, until they've reached the point where golden light blends into emerald hills. Jongin enjoys these days the most, the days where Kyungsoo sings at the top of his lungs with wind blowing through his hair, arms stretched wide and cheeks a rosy red, uninhibited and free. On these days, Jongin couldn't be more in love.
On windy days, they pick leaves from a Beech tree for parasailing and surfing through wind currents, jumping off the highest precipice and floating wherever the breeze takes them, drifting until the village is only a speck in the distance. Jongin wonders what would happen if they kept flying and never came back, if that would be the answer to his problems. He knows it's wishful thinking because no matter where they go, there is no place in the world where Spring is eternal. Jongin prefers taking Kyungsoo far away from the town square, to a place where sprites don't bow to Kyungsoo left and right, honoring him as the Spring Sprite. Staying close to home can only hurt. Jongin isn't allowed to forget that this happiness is temporary.
But today, is a simpler day. Jongin and Kyungsoo make their way to the flower fields with Sehun and Luhan, a basket of bread crumbs and morning dew in hand. They sit. They talk. They laugh. Jongin weaves a crown of daises to adorn Kyungsoo's hair. They pretend that April isn't coming to an end and that the days aren't growing longer. They pretend that they can't smell Summer in the air.
Kyungsoo hums merrily as he strings together a chain of azaleas to make a necklace for Jongin. Out of the corner of his eye, he sees Sehun leaning against Luhan as the White Lily blows dandelion seeds into the blue sky. He puts down his flower necklace and gestures for Luhan to follow him. Jongin and Sehun look at him with questioning faces, but Kyungsoo gives them a reassuring smile.
"I have a favor to ask," he starts once they're a safe distance away.
"Anything," Luhan answers.
"When I'm no longer around..."
"Kyungsoo, don't say that!"
"It's okay," Kyungsoo smiles sadly. "I've accepted it, but I don't know if Jongin has. Promise me that you'll make sure he doesn't do anything stupid when I'm gone. I want you and Sehun to watch over him."
Luhan looks at Kyungsoo with a heartbroken expression.
"Promise me," Kyungsoo repeats.
Later that night, Kyungsoo slips the wreath of azaleas around Jongin's neck when he's fast asleep. He presses a tender kiss on the sprite's forehead and sighs. Azaleas mean gratitude. Azaleas mean passion. Azaleas mean take care.
Kyungsoo grows increasingly tired after the second week of May as the sun blazes hot and the flowers begin to fade. Trips out of the village become less and less frequent until Jongin decides it's best if they stay inside. Jongin cradles Kyungsoo to his chest, his chin resting on top of the Hyacinth's head, and they talk about Springs of the past.
"I remember when I first saw you," Kyungsoo speaks up after a comfortable silence. "At your coronation ceremony when you succeeded the last Morning Glory."
"I remember when I first saw you too."
"You do?" Kyungsoo looks up surprised.
"It was also at my coronation ceremony. You tripped and landed in a bush when I made eye contact," Jongin cackles.
Kyungsoo turns red and shoves weakly at Jongin's shoulders. "I did not. I only stumbled...a little."
"Whatever you say."
"It's not like I could help it," Kyungsoo burrows his face in the crook of Jongin's neck, his cheeks heating up from embarrassment. "You were the most beautiful Morning Glory I'd ever seen."
Jongin's heart expands until his chest feels like it will burst from the pressure. He pulls Kyungsoo even closer.
"What about you? What was your first impression of me?"
"I'm not telling."
"That's not fair," Kyungsoo struggles but Jongin merely holds him tighter. "I told you what I thought."
But Jongin refuses to answer him. Kyungsoo eventually dozes off and when he wakes up, Jongin is gone and he hears the familiar sound of breakfast being made in the kitchen. The space beside him is empty save for a single purple lilac with a note tied to its stem.
'This was my first impression.'
Kyungsoo smiles until his cheeks hurt. Purple lilacs mean first emotion of love.
In the last days of May, Jongin can sense the Spring mornings fading into Summer heat. The end is near and he's nowhere near ready to say goodbye. It's becoming harder and harder for him to pretend that everything is okay, that Kyungsoo isn't going anywhere. Where Kyungsoo has grown increasingly resigned, terror seizes Jongin like a beast with iron claws. Kris knocks on their door in the middle of one of Jongin's panic attacks and asks to speak to him outside.
"Are you okay?"
"Am I supposed to be?" Jongin is the perfect picture of defeat.
"No," Kris chuckles cheerlessly. "No one expects you to be okay. I'm not going to lie to you, it's going to hurt and it won't ever stop hurting. The day it stops hurting is the day you no longer love him and I pray that day will never come."
"You don't need to pray," Jongin looks back into the house where Kyungsoo is resting. "Anyone that's known Kyungsoo can tell you that once you start loving him, you can't stop."
"Yixing was like that too," Kris stares off into the distance. "But I didn't come here to make you sad. I wanted to let you know that there's a pond not far from here, through the field and past the willow tree. You should take Kyungsoo there, he would like it. It was Yixing's favorite place."
"Why are you telling me this?"
Kris walks away and calls over his shoulder, "Because you two remind me of me and Yixing. Spring is ending soon. You deserve a proper goodbye."
Jongin takes Kyungsoo to the pond that night, right as the sun is setting in the sky and the light dances off the surface of the water. They sit on a lily pad and wait for darkness to descend. Jongin holds onto Kyungsoo's hand like his life depends on it, listening as the animals come out of hiding when the moon sits high like a silent guardian. The quiet night air is filled with the symphony of chirping crickets and croaking frogs. Fireflies play the courting game with the starry skies as their backdrop. Kyungsoo watches with rapt attention as the darkness is illuminated by flashes of light, some slow, some in rapid succession.
"There's so many of them," Kyungsoo grins in wonder. "And yet they somehow manage to find exactly who they're meant for."
But Jongin isn't watching the fireflies. He's too busy carving the picture of Kyungsoo's face bathed in the luminescent glow of the insects, smiling and happy, into every crevice of his heart.
Kyungsoo reaches up to cup Jongin's cheek with one hand and pulls him in for a painfully tender kiss. "You'll be okay. I know you will."
"How can you say that?" Jongin chokes as tears rush to his eyes.
Kyungsoo lets himself cry as well. Their next kiss tastes of salt and farewells.
"Because if fireflies can find each other night after night," Kyungsoo begins with a tremulous smile. "I know you'll be able to find me somehow. It might not be tomorrow or even in this lifetime, but I know you'll find me again."
Jongin clings to Kyungsoo on the lily pad until the sun rises and the soft glow of the fireflies can no longer be seen. Their last flower is a cyclamen―resignation and goodbye.
Four days later, Jongin wakes up but Kyungsoo doesn't. In the town square, the last Hyacinth wilts.
Spring is over.
Kim Jongin cusses under his breath as he ducks under an awning with a newspaper held over his head for cover. The sky suddenly opened up in the middle of a sunny afternoon to flood the streets of Seoul with rain. Jongin thinks Spring showers are the absolute worst. He looks around and realizes he's standing in the entrance of a flower shop. With one last withering glare over his shoulder, seeing that the rain isn't about to let up anytime soon, he decides it wouldn't hurt to browse the store even if he's never been a flower person.
Jongin is leaning over to look at one potted plant in particular when a voice over his shoulder nearly sends him into cardiac arrest. "Are you interested in the hyacinth?"
He jumps in shock and spins around to come face to face with the wide-eyed shopkeeper.
"I'm sorry," the boy stutters. "I didn't mean to scare you."
Jongin takes a deep breath and attempts to recover his cool. "It's okay, you just caught me off guard."
He takes in the shorter boy standing in front of him―dark hair, rosy cheeks, imploring eyes―and for some reason, Jongin's heart is beating erratically in a way that has nothing to do with his brief scare.
"So," Jongin coughs awkwardly. "Is that what it's called? A hyacinth?"
The shopkeeper nods. "It means rebirth."
The longer Jongin stares at the boy the harder it is for him to shake off the feeling that they've met before. There's a sense of familiarity that can't be explained.
"Do I know you from somewhere?" he eventually speaks up as he's led around the store and shown an assortment of flowers.
"I don't think so," the shopkeeper tilts his head to the side. "But I guess we sort of know each other now."
He offers his hand to Jongin for a handshake with a heart-shaped smile. "My name is Do Kyungsoo."
I'd have no worries of sorts
because worries are for seasons
& Spring is love for short
- James Meaney