Taemin frowns at the sheet of paper in his hand, looks up at the address on the house, and then looks down again.
'3489' the address on the paper reads.
'34o9' the address on the house reads.
Taemin stands out there for another five minutes, looking down at the paper and looking back up at the house and looking at the numbers on the other houses and wondering why the numbers don’t match when he followed the directions right until Kibum comes out of the house numbered ‘34o9’ and drags Taemin inside.
"Part of the eight fell off," he explains when Taemin presents his quandary.
"Taemin, roommates." Kibum makes introductions quickly as they pass through the living room. "Roommates, Taemin."
Two men sitting on a couch arguing over TV briefly wave at him. Taemin waves back.
They strip down when they’re inside Kibum’s bedroom and make love. Taemin’s wings burst from his back in the heat of the moment and scatter dust over Kibum that sends his human nerves into overdrive and makes him scream Taemin’s name over and over. The roommates probably don’t appreciate it, but Taemin does.
"Been too l—long," Kibum says in a voice that shakes uncontrollably, still affected by Taemin’s magic. Kibum handles it well, for a human—doesn’t pass out or anything like that—but it still takes its toll. There are good reasons as to why faeries and humans don’t coexist, after all.
"Sorry,” Taemin replies softly. "My coronation is coming up. Preparations and stuff."
"When are you going to introduce me to them?" Kibum asks.
"They’ll eat you alive. Maybe literally." Taemin gnashes his teeth, sharp as razors without his glamour in place.
"Soon," Taemin says after a minute. "Just…when it feels right."
"Make it soon. I want to see you all dressed up, Prince Taemin."
Taemin eyes him grumpily over the pillow he’s pressed his face into. Kibum reaches out to touch one of his lazily-beating wings and bursts into giggles when he does, magic taking effect again.
It’s strange, being with a human. They’re impulsive and reckless and lack a lot of the straightforward sense Taemin is used to from the faeries. But he admires those qualities far more, leading him to be drawn to the human world months ago, and leading him to Kibum when he saw him walking down the street, not really standing out from any other humans in looks (at least to Taemin) but obviously, apparently, special.
Taemin worries a lot about his situation: how his family and subjects will react, how Kibum will fare in a world of magic that can easily overwhelm him and swallow him whole—what they’ll do when Kibum starts to age and Taemin doesn’t. (Almost) Eternal life can be passed on, but it often kills the recipient, or drives them to do the deed themselves. Humans are so weak in so many ways. And what of Kibum’s life here…his family….
Taemin sighs heavily into the pillow, not wanting any of these complications. He should’ve just been born human. Maybe he’ll wear iron for the rest of his life and burn away the magic in his veins, however painful it may be. He could do it for Kibum. Honestly, he wouldn’t mind leaving much of his own world behind.
"It’s hard not to."
Kibum drapes himself over Taemin and kisses him breathless. That does the trick.
When they part, he smiles ruefully at Taemin. “Shit has a way of working itself out.”
And this is why Taemin loves humans: they’re hopeless, reckless, and smarter than he’ll ever be.