Gravyboat [1/2]; PG; Taemin/Key

Taemin has three wishes and they turn his life upside down in the most unpleasant of ways. (ft! genie jongyu)

(this part 4016 words // this fic is super cliché idgaf)

“Ah…” Taemin mumbled, pulling the tissue paper away, “you got me a gravy boat …” Jongin was nodding enthusiastically by his side, spouting off some bullshit about how it was the oldest gravy boat in existence, how difficult it had been to find the perfect one, how many fakes there were, how it had impeded greatly on the antique gravy boat collecting community. Taemin zoned out, briefly making eye contact with a scoffing Kibum over the other side of the table. Jongin had always been crap at giving presents, ever since the age of five when he’d handed Taemin a worm for his birthday. At the time it had seemed like a good gift, but in retrospect it was probably a hint as to the disastrous gifting that came along with being friends with Jongin. Still, Taemin appreciated the surprises that always came with a friendship like his and Jongin’s, he just wished that Kibum would soon grasp that.

Kibum always came along to these things, because he felt like it was his duty as Taemin’s boyfriend, but in all honesty he actually despised most of Taemin’s friends. They were boring, and didn’t interest him in the slightest, so he kind of semi detested that he had to put up with them just to keep up appearances. He knew that Taemin liked them, he understood that, but he was somewhat at war with the idea that he should have to like all of Taemin’s friends just because that’s what they were - Taemin’s friends.

And Taemin knew, he knew that Kibum didn’t like them, knew that every time this happened they would end up falling out later in the evening, because Kibum could never keep his mouth shut, would always say something bitchy or derogative - he couldn’t help himself, and Taemin would immediately fly to his friends’ aid. Kibum didn’t know why he did it, it wasn’t like he was suddenly going to start liking all of Taemin’s friends just because it was Taemin’s birthday.

Still, he kept quiet, even after they had left, Taemin’s arms bundled with gift bags, Kibum taking them to load into the back as he hugged his friends goodbye. Kibum always felt awkward at these things, and kind of unneeded to be honest. There was no way he could integrate into Taemin’s friendship group, they’d all made that completely clear to him, snide comments in his ear when Taemin wasn’t around - you’re just a substitute for his ex they would say, and Kibum didn’t know what he’d done to make them hate him so much. Still, he coped with it, staying relatively quiet on the entire journey home, not wanting his bitchiness to ruin Taemin’s birthday for the fourth or fifth time.

He turned the radio on to fill the silence, but the car was still tense, like both of them wanted to say something. It had been in the air for a week or so now, a brewing storm, tensions were high and they both knew that they just needed something to fight about to cut through the tension. Kibum hummed along, stopping abruptly when Taemin sent a particularly harsh glare his way. He flinched.

“What? What did I do?” he asked, turning the corner to their road.

Taemin just scoffed.

“They’re my friends Kibum, I don’t see why you always have to make it so goddamn difficult-”

“It isn’t me!”

“- if you just made a bit more effort then-” Taemin stopped himself, then sighed, “look, I don’t want to fight whilst we’re in the car,” he said as Kibum parked up in their drive.

“Well we’re home now, so you might as well get it over and done with.”

Taemin just sighed, sliding out of the car and slamming the door shut with a bang then going to pick up the bags from the back of the car. Kibum sighed as the boot slammed shut and Taemin stormed past his side of the car and into their house. Kibum followed, 99% sure that he was probably going to have to sleep on the couch tonight, and groaned as the locked the car behind him.

Taemin was in the kitchen when he finally plodded his way through, having taken his time to take his shoes off by the door. He had accidentally knocked into one of the coats pegs and a cascade of unused coats had slipped down, so he’d had to spend a good few minutes precariously putting them back into place for when it started turning cold.

Taemin’s head was in his hands, and he was leant over the kitchen countertop. He glared as Kibum shuffled in.

“So?” Kibum prompted. He was so used to this now that he was sick of it, sick of fighting with Taemin every other day, over the same things like a record stuck on repeat. He hated it, he hated what their relationship had become, this shell of what it had been.

“You’re just - fuck, Kibum, you can be such an asshole, you know?” His eyes weren’t even on Kibum as he shuffled through one of the many giftbags on the counter, pulling out Jongin’s gravyboat.

“I didn’t even do anything,” Kibum said, trying to keep his cool.

“That’s the fucking point Kibum, I take you to these things because I want you to get along with my friends, because for some goddamn reason I’m actually in love with you, god knows why because you’re a fucking asshole-”

Kibum, startled by the snappiness of Taemin’s tone, said nothing, then sighed.

“Look, we’re both tired, Tae … let’s just - let’s just talk about this some other time. I’ll … I’ll sleep on the couch …”

“You don’t have to-” Taemin spoke softly, then sighed because Kibum was already gone. There was a lump in his throat, just as there always was after he had fought with Kibum, and he sighed, looking down to the gravyboat. It was a little scuffed and he frowned, picking up a tea towel to sea of the mark would come off with a little elbow grease. It didn’t, after a few minutes of rubbing, so he just put the present down, and moved to leave the room.

“Oi,” a voice came from behind him, and Taemin nearly leapt into the ceiling with fright, “you can’t just summon me and then walk away, dipshit. What do you want?”

In front of Taemin was a man, a rather short man, with white blond hair and tanned skin. He was dressed in only trousers, a vibrant magenta in colour, and a sash that draped diagonally across his chest, lime green with matching magenta gems.

“Oh,” the man’s face relaxed in understanding, “you’re a newbie. I should introduce myself,” he strolled forward, casually, his bare feet pattering on the floor. “I’m Jonghyun-”

“How did you get in here?” he asked, wondering whether this was some weird, elaborate birthday present. “Are you a …?” It wouldn’t be the first time a friend had ordered him a stripper for his birthday.

“A genie? Yes,” the man answered, his eyes roaming the room. “Do you have any food, I’ve been in there for so long I feel like my stomach’s gunna implode?” He looked eager and Taemin was confused.

“What?”

“Food? We don’t really have any means of getting food when we’re in the lamps, so … you got food?”

“What lamps?”

“Fuck,” Jonghyun groaned, “did I get a dumbass this time or something. Look, fairy prince dracula or whatever your name is. I am Jonghyun. I am a genie. You wish for things. I do the rest. Okay? Now where’s the food?”

Taemin half heartedly pointed towards the fridge and Jonghyun lit up in glee, picking up the tray of brownies Kibum had made that morning, and taking them over to the table to eat them, one after another, crumbs all over the table as he swallowed them whole.

“So,” he mumbled through a mouth full of food, “anything you wanna wish for? The world’s your oyster, dude. Only three wishes though, remember.”

Taemin groaned because fuck this wasn’t happening to him, who was this creep in his kitchen eating his boyfriend’s brownies? He sighed, because this man could be (and probably really definitely was) dangerous.

“Er … okay,” he started cautiously, “I wish for … a grilled cheese …”

“Any particular type?” Jonghyun muttered, distractedly, as he picked up a few crumbs from the table and popped them into his mouth.

“Mushroom?”

Jonghyun waved his hand, still not looking Taemin’s way, and suddenly a plate materialised in front of him. Taemin saw it, saw it appear from absolutely nowhere and -

“Fuck,” he muttered, and Jonghyun just grinned.

“You got a couch I can sleep on?” he asked, “it’s a bit cramped in the lamp.”

Taemin nodded, still in a daze, and showed him to the living room.

Kibum was asleep on the bigger of the two sofas, and a pang of guilt twinged somewhere inside of Taemin. Kibum always did this, he was always the first to offer to sleep downstairs after arguments like he constantly felt like a disappointment, often Taemin had to drag him upstairs. Fuck, he thought to himself, they really needed to sort out whatever was going wrong with them.

Taemin, unsurprisingly, didn’t introduce Jonghyun as their friendly neighbourhood genie when Kibum awoke for work the next morning. He’d given Jonghyun some fairly normal clothes to put on, so Kibum easily accepted the excuse that Jonghyun was just a work colleague who was out of a place to stay for a bit so would be crashing at their place. Kibum was sceptical, of course he was - he thought he had met everyone at Taemin’s office, and Taemin had never mentioned a Jonghyun to him, but he didn’t want to get into another fight when it could be avoided so he dealt with it, and offered the man some tea and breakfast before heading into work.

Taemin took the day off, feigning sickness to his boss because he had so much to ask Jonghyun, he’d been up all night thinking of questions, and he wanted to know the answers.

“Go on then,” Jonghyun prompted, after having watched Taemin eagerly waiting for several minutes, “ask away.”

Jonghyun, it turned out, was really quite cool. He’d been around for thousands of years and this was the first time he had seen the light of day in over 800 of them. He talked about his boyfriend, Jinki, also a genie - they had been parted over 1000 years ago and Jonghyun didn’t know where he was.

“It would be my wish, you know,” he said over a steaming mug of hot cocoa, “to be back with him.” He went quiet for a few moments and then snapped out of it, continuing far more chipper than before, “anyway, you must be curious about these wishes.”

Taemin nodded.

“Well you start with three, so you have two now, because, you know, the grilled cheese - that was a total waste by the way, but it’s cool because everyone wastes their first wish anyway. I can only grant wishes that you actually want, so just saying it isn’t enough for the magic to work.”

“Oh?” Taemin responded.

“Yeah, it’s just better that way, it used to be what says goes but then they realised people were just wishing for dumb stuff that they didn’t really want and it wasn’t working very well. anyway, no wishing for money or power or whatever, you can’t wish for more wishes, or immortality, I can’t bring people back from the dead most of the time too, but other than that, the world’s your oyster.” He took another sip from his mug and Taemin hummed.

What the hell do you do with two pretty unlimited wishes? He had no idea.

Jonghyun, it turned out, got on surprisingly well with Kibum, possibly even better than Jonghyun and Taemin did themselves. They were both sat in the living room, Kibum laughing at Jonghyun’s jokes and stories about Jinki, then telling equally embarrassing ones about Taemin. Temin had decided to keep the whole genie thing quiet around Kibum, they were going through a rough patch as it was, and there was something quite nice about having something to himself.

“I set up the guest bedroom,” Kibum announced when Jonghyun started yawning, stifling them with the back of his hand, “don’t feel like you have to stick here and talk to us if you’re too tired,” Jonghyun smiled and nodded.

“Yeah, it’s been a long day,” he muttered, sending a look Taemin’s way. It really hadn’t been, they had only spent the day talking about Taemin’s wishes, and what Jonghyun’s clients in the pasts had wished for, their gains and losses. “Good night then,” he smiled and waved a little.

“Good night,” Kibum replied, a soft smile on his face, and Taemin, for some reason, was so livid.

“Why can’t you do that?” he whispered, harshly, and Kibum frowned in confusion.

“What?”

“Why can’t you be like that with my friends, why do you always have to be an uppity brat?” Taemin snapped, picking up Jonghyun’s mug and taking it into the kitchen to wash at the sink, Kibum following behind him.

“Unless you forgot, Taemin,” Kibum whispered back, just as harshly as Taemin had, “Jonghyun is your friend too.”

“Fuck off, you know what I’m talking about.”

“No, I really don’t,” Kibum continued, sarcastically, “it’s not like I have to fucking hear about it every goddamn day.” Taemin dropped the mug and there was a loud crack.

“What?” he turned around, anger flaring in his eyes. “You wouldn’t have to hear about it ‘every goddamn day if you weren’t such an asshole.”

“When am I ever an asshole to your friends, Tae-”

Fuck, you’re a piece of work, Kibum, I don’t even want to talk to you right now,” he fished the broken bits of mug out of the sink and threw them into the bin, “in case you didn’t notice, we have a guest upstairs-”

“Yeah, a guest you never even told me about! We’re supposed to share things, Taemin, you can’t just bring people around saying they’re one of your best friends when I’ve never fucking met him-”

“Well maybe I didn’t want to introduce you,” Taemin snapped back, and the tension in the room was so dense that he could barely breathe, “maybe I’m fucking embarrassed by you whenever I have to take you to see my friends, don’t you realise how humiliating it is?” He scoffed.

“You’re embarrassed-” Kibum started, softer, like he was in shock, but Taemin was on a roll, unable to stop his own momentum.

“You know what, sometimes I think it would have been better if I had just stayed with Jongin, he was a better boyfriend anyway, didn’t pull this kind of shit every fucking day of the week.”

“What?” Kibum’s voice, softer still, was barely distinguishable over Taemin’s rage. Jongin was a sore point for both of them.

“Sometimes I wish I’d never fucking met you,” he turned, eyes flaring at Kibum, and Kibum fell silent. Something bubbled inside of Taemin, an acceptance of victory that he so often sought. Kibum had such a way with words, was so sharp and cunning and cut so deep, it was so rare that Taemin even came close to winning when they fought.

He scoffed again, ignoring Kibum’s open mouth, the tears in his eyes, how his muscles had untensed, gone slack in shock. He brushed past him, harshly, and stormed out, barely brushing past a shocked looking Jonghyun on the way.

Kibum could sleep downstairs, he thought as he flopped into bed, still in his day clothes, not having washed or brushed his teeth.

Taemin was pulled out of sleep groggily the next morning, a foul taste in his mouth as he groaned, burying his face into the sheets. They smelt funny, he pondered sleepily, maybe they needed to be washed.

Grunting, he rolled over and sat up, taking a good few minutes to let the sleep drain from him, rubbing at his eyes as the duvet pooled around his waist. He sighed, remembering the fight he and Kibum had had the night before. They were awful when it came to fights, completely cutthroat and unrelenting. He stood up, frowning at his pyjamas because he couldn’t even remember putting them on, and headed downstairs.

To Taemin there was nothing better in the world than his morning cup of coffee. Kibum always got the most amazing beans from this little independent store not too far away from them - they were expensive, but most of what Kibum bought was expensive. Taemin frowned, rifling through the cupboards to find the package. Nothing. Maybe they had run out. He frowned again, remembering Kibum mentioning only a couple of days ago that he had bought a new packet. He searched again, looking through all of the cupboards before sighing to himself.

“Am I going crazy or something, they have to be here,” he muttered, hands on his hips, and then bit his lip and called into the living room, “Kibum! Do you know where the coffee beans are?” he asked, but was answered solely by silence. “Kibum?” he repeated, walking through into the living room. It was bare, like no-one had slept there the night before, and Taemin frowned. Maybe Kibum had gone to a friends, or had left for work early. He often did that, it was one of Taemin’s least favourite things about him, that he would wake up in the morning and Kibum would have already left, no note, no goodbye kiss, just a coolness to his side of the bed.

Taemin sighed, opting for the cheaper brand of coffee beans that they kept as a back up. They had been Taemin’s favourite brand before he had met Kibum, but Kibum had swiftly moved him onto better pastures. He sighed again as the coffee machine whirred, regret flooding him over the night before. They were both so stubborn, so thick skulled sometimes, he often wondered how they’d managed to keep together for this long.

He’d figure it out later, he pondered as he took his coffee through to their bedroom. Kibum’s side of the bed was still made, and Taemin just hummed into the rim of his mug before shuffling to his wardrobe to pick out a shirt and trousers. The room itself had a walk in wardrobe but Kibum had claimed that solely as his own domain, so they had had to buy a new wardrobe for Taemin’s clothes. Taemin didn’t mind too much, he was far less enthusiastic about clothes as Kibum was.

He dressed into black slacks, found a pair of old socks that he couldn’t even remember buying, then shuffled back to find a shirt. He wanted one in particular, it was a habit of his that he was sure Kibum hadn’t even noticed yet, but as a sort of apology he would always wear a shirt Kibum had bought him the night after one of their fights, or at least a tie. He frowned as he sifted through his wardrobe, fuck, they were all in the wash. He sighed, picking up a grey button down and slipping it on, fingers nimbly doing up the buttons.

His commute to work was boring, as per usual, though he did realise that he had left his coffee in the bedroom when he was about halfway there. Kibum hated it when he did that, he said it made the whole room stink of coffee, instead of the vanilla room spray Kibum used.

“Hey, how are you this morning?” Jongin greeted as he stepped into the office, a cheeky smirk on his lips.

“What?” Taemin replied, frowning, as he took his seat on the desk next to Jongin, slipping his bag beneath it.

“Not hanging?”

“What? Why would I be?”

“Dude you drank loads yesterday-”

“I drank one beer…”

“That’s a lie,” Jongin scoffed, before turning to call out to another colleague, “oi! Kyungsoo! How much do you think Taemin drank last night?”

“Dude, you were hammered,” Kyungsoo just laughed, then left, and Taemin frowned.

“What?”

“Can you seriously not remember?” Jongin laughed loudly, “fuck, those final shots must have done a number on you.”

“Shots?”

“Yeah, man, we did shots straight after your little private meeting with the girl from the club, remember?”

“Fuck, Jongin, I don’t even know what you’re talking about. I’m not in the mood either, Kibum and I had this massive fight last night-”

“What?”

“Yeah I know, I know, we fight all the time, you’ve said so a billion times. I was just sick to death of seeing him treat you guys like shit!”

“Who?”

“You guys,” Taemin replied, shifting a few things about on his desk. His photoframes were gone, or at least one of them. Usually he had two, one of him and Kibum throwing up peace signs in front of the Eiffel Tower, the other of his family a couple of Christmasses ago. Only the latter remained. “Wait, which fucker took the photo of Kibum and I from my-”

“Dude, seriously, who’s Kibum?” Jongin asked, frowning in concern.

“Kibum,” Taemin repeated, “you know Kibum, tall, pale, kinda glarey most of the time he’s with you guys.” Jongin showed no signs of recollection, “dude, come on, you introduced us!”

“Dude,” Jongin started, slowly, “I don’t know a Kibum … are you okay?”

Taemin laughed uneasily. “Don’t joke, Jongin, it’s not funny-”

“I’m not joking, dude you’ve never even mentioned a Kibum.”

“This is some stupid prank,” Taemin scoffed, opening the contacts section on his phone up to finish it once and for all. “Look,” he scrolled down, looking for Kibum<3 in the K section. He wasn’t there. He scrolled through again, slower, as Jongin watched on in concern. Sometimes Kibum changed his name in Taemin’s phone just to be a brat.

“Dude … maybe you dreamt him up …”

“I didn’t, I- … fuck …”

It suddenly dawned on him and his stomach wrenched.

The genie, the lamp, what he’d said last night to Kibum. He felt sick and dizzy all at once, like the floor had been taken out from underneath him.

“Fuck, fuck, fuck, fuck,” Taemin stood, grabbing at his bag again, “tell the boss I’m ill,” he called behind him.”

The commute home seemed longer, but as soon as he was in the house it hit him, everything was wrong. Kibum’s shoes weren’t by the doors, his coats weren’t balanced so precociously on the hooks that they fell off with the slightest brush. It didn’t smell of vanilla, nothing smelt of vanilla. The coffee beans, his shirts, the carpet on the floor (Kibum had insisted they buy wooden flooring), the photos (Kibum was in none of them), the sofas were different, and fuck everything was different.

Apart from Jonghyun. he was sat, awkwardly holding a glass of water as Taemin stopped his mad running about the house to sit in the living room.

“Fuck, what have I done …” Taemin tried to swallow the lump in his throat but it just got bigger, his eyes filling with tears, “what did I do, Jonghyun … fuck, I need … I need him Jonghyun, why did you grant that stupid fucking wish?” His eyes were dangerous and Jonghyun just looked at him softly.

“Because you wanted it, Taemin, somewhere deep down you wanted it enough for my powers to be forced into doing it. Trust me, I wouldn’t have if you hadn’t wanted it … but … shit, Taemin this sucks, but I don’t … I can’t bring him back.”

“What…” Taemin took a shuddering breath and held his head in his hands. This was his worst nightmare. “So I … what do I do?”

“You can always meet him again?” Jonghyun offered, “find him on Facebook, you know, make him love you again…”

“What if he’s better though …” Taemin spoke up, doubts from years and years of being with Kibum creeping to the surface, “what if he’s found someone that makes him happier, someone better than me?” He looked at Jonghyun so sadly.

“Fuck, Taemin, I’m sorry,” Jonghyun moved to hold Taemin and Taemin didn’t move from that spot for hours to come.

 

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