The Promise

Fox Bread
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Last chapter.

Thank you so much for reading. I have been absolutely in love with writing this fic, so much to the point where I had trouble sleeping sometimes because my imagination would not stop running wild in this au. I know this isn’t a very popular genre/theme, so thank you for taking this journey with me ❤️

 

  Five Days Later

Minjeong picks up a round cardamom bun from the cooling rack and quickly inspects it. Its exterior is golden-brown and slightly shiny from the egg wash, and when she goes to cut it in half, the crumb of the inside looks nice and fluffy. With the interior fully cooled, the blonde baker quickly prepares each bun for its fillings. She hollows out a small portion of the buns before filling them in with indulgent vanilla cream cheese custard. Once that’s completed, Minjeong retrieves her piping bag and curls whipped cinnamon cream around the dollop of custard, making sure to be generous with the amount of filling.

Just the way that Jimin likes.

It’s only been five days since the gumiho has departed from the mortal realm, but it already feels like weeks. Even though the days have given Minjeong much needed time to decompress her emotions, her days have felt awfully empty without the fox’s company.

It’s been…lonely.

After Minjeong seals each bun off with their top half, she retrieves the fox stencil from her collection and lays it atop of a bun before lightly dusting the design on with some powdered sugar. In hindsight, she wonders if she should’ve known when Jimin had chosen the canine stencil and had even said, ‘I like foxes.’ But Minjeong should really be more forgiving to herself. There’s no way that she could have known the extent of her mysterious houseguest’s background.

Still, she chastises herself for opening her heart up so easily. Who the hell takes a stranger into their home, let alone go on to date them? How could she allow herself to become so blinded by infatuation even though her friends had counselled her with plenty of logical advice? Minjeong had still chosen to ignore them all, swept up in her own whirlwind of emotions—emotions so intense that she momentarily wished that Jimin would have taken someone else’s life if that meant saving her own.

Minjeong knows that it was a selfish thought. After all, she truly does believe that it was fated for their paths to have crossed. If they hadn’t, Jimin would’ve gone on a killing spree in their town. Minjeong truly believes that their encounter was destined and that she was meant to change the fox…but what if that was where their journey together was meant to…end?

Minjeong tells herself to get over it. She had only known Jimin for one short month, barely a fraction of her life.

But her heart had felt so full for that one month.

She stares down at her tray with two dozen cinnamon cream buns neatly lined up in their rows, each with little white fox faces dusted atop them now. Minjeong feels her lower lip quiver when she swears she can feel the phantom warmth of arms snaking around her waist and a chin leaning over her shoulder.

But that’s all Jimin is now. A ghosting memory.

 

 

Three Weeks Later

“Hey, Minjeong. Why don’t you go take your lunch break? It’s almost one,” Aeri suggests.

Minjeong shakes her head as she continues to cut apart dough before checking their portioned weight on the scale. “It’s fine. I had a big breakfast. I’m not hungry.”

On the other side of Minjeong, Yizhuo leans over and snatches the bench scraper out of her boss’ hand. “A croissant is not ‘a big breakfast.’ Now please, go take a lunch break.”

Minjeong sighs before rolling her eyes. “Really, I’m not hungry—”

“Go. Take a break,” Aeri repeats, this time no longer a question.

For a brief moment, Minjeong’s eyes flicker between her two friends and she can tell by the sternness in their gazes that this isn’t something up for debate. “Okay,” she replies, submitting to their request. She unties the baby-blue and white checkered apron from her waist before removing it completely. “I’ll be back in twenty minutes.”

“Eat something!” Yizhuo shouts as the blonde baker ascends the staircase up to her loft.

When the loft door clicks shut, Seungwan curiously looks up from the rolled out dough in front of her at the two younger bakers. Keeping her voice down, she asks Yizhuo and Aeri, “I’m guessing you guys still don’t know what happened with Jimin?”

Yizhuo sighs and shakes her head. “I figured it would take Minjeong some time to come around before she wanted to talk, but she just…won’t.”

With the rare occasion of having Minjeong out of the kitchen, even Yoona can’t help herself from gossiping with the younger girls. “What do you guys think happened?”

“I told you guys about that time that I caught Jimin freaking out about Minjeong’s gun in the shop, right?” Aeri brings up. “Maybe Jimin had some messed up connections like…gang affiliations or something? The whole amnesia thing did kind of smell like bull.”

Yizhuo nods, agreeing with Aeri’s hypothesis. “Minjeong did say that Jimin fought off some drunken creep once. She said that she fought like a ninja, so maybe Jimin really was part of some gang. But…I kind of feel bad for her,” Yizhuo whispers.

Yoona presses her lips into a hard line, not completely agreeing with the redheaded baker. “She lied to us all and swindled her way into Minjeong’s home.”

Yizhuo sighs. “I mean, no, she wasn’t right for doing that. But say that she was running from some crazy gang life and trying to start somewhere fresh, isn’t that just sad that she couldn’t start over when she wanted to?”

Seungwan deeply frowns as she lays a flattened sheet of butter between two sheets of dough. “Can you guys imagine Jimin living some crazy violent mobster life?”

Jimin was a person who loved food, was passionate about their work, and was always ready to help anyone that needed it, so once the bakers all imagine the sweet raven-haired woman leading some dark, twisted double life, an eerie silence falls over the kitchen, leaving only the music playing in the background to fill the void.

“I can’t imagine what she went through, but she seemed nice,” Seungwan finally says after a small stretch.

“Think we’ll ever see her again?” Yoona asks.

Aeri shrugs. “I dunno, but whatever happened to her in the past, it must’ve been really bad,” she softly sighs.

“Yeah,” Seungwan agrees. “I don’t see why else she’d just randomly appear, and then disappear.”  

Yizhuo looks up from the table to stare at the baby-blue and white checkered apron hung up on the rack. “Wherever she is, I hope she’s okay.”

 

 

Nine Weeks Later

Some nights, Minjeong dreams of Jimin so vividly that it’s absolutely gut-wrenching to wake up and realize that they really are nothing but dreams. Because of it, there are some days where all she wants to do is sleep all day, on the off-chance that her mind will bless her and allow her dream about Jimin for just a bit longer, giving them the additional time that they never got together.

Minjeong can’t sleep these days though.

It’s been a little over two months since Jimin had departed from the mortal realm with a terrifying countdown hanging over her head. If what the fox had said is true about her thousand-day feeding window, then right now, Jimin could very well be dea—Minjeong tosses around in bed, tortured by the thought of it.

Eventually, the blonde baker leaves her bed when both her pessimistic thoughts and the pattering rain against the rooftop won’t allow her to sleep. She walks around her loft in the dark and eventually settles by the window in her kitchen.

On nights like tonight, when the rain is absolutely pouring and practically flooding the gutters in the streets, Minjeong often finds herself staring out into the parking lot. She always sees a figure standing out there, drenched in the rain, waiting for her. There was one time where Minjeong had actually gone foolishly running out into the torrential rain with her desperate heart pounding with anticipation and hope. But it was simply her cruel imagination playing tricks on her. She doesn’t allow herself to be fooled anymore though. Minjeong watches the rain come down from the shelter of her loft tonight.

Day after day, Minjeong tells herself that it was nothing but a desperate infatuation. It was impossible to truly have fallen in love with someone only after a month…right? The time was too short. Minjeong has been in other relationships that had lasted for many months, some even years, so there’s no reason for her to feel so devastated by the loss of the gumiho in her life.

Yet day after day, Minjeong still wishes that she’d wake up to see Jimin suddenly back in the loft with her; wishes that she could be casually flirting with the novice baker during work hours; wishes that Jimin would just come home already. Minjeong can’t wash the phantom warmth of the gumiho from her heart. She tries to tell herself that time heals all, but as the weeks pass, the hurt and longing just continues to grow worse and worse.

And even though Jimin had promised Minjeong that she would return, an agonizing thought still plagues the blonde baker.

What if Jimin…doesn’t come back?

Jimin’s beautiful, lustrous ruby eyes had looked so steadfast and determined when she had vowed to Minjeong that she would return, but every time that the baker recalls that moment, she wonders if she had demanded the impossible from the fox.

Minjeong gently sighs as the pattering rain continues to pound against the rooftop, much like the way that her thoughts are hammering inside her head. What if Jimin did find a way to survive past her thousandth day without feeding? What if she’s just trapped on the other side just waiting for the lunar eclipse’s bridge now? The baker had briefly thought about seeking out Joohyun so that she could beg the shaman to teach her everything that she knew of the spirit world. Minjeong daydreamed of a scenario where the shaman could magically bridge their worlds and Minjeong could even walk into the spirit realm to search of Jimin.

But the notion’s ridiculous. Minjeong knows it.

She really wishes that her rational mind and wishful heart would stop competing like this.

She takes one last look out at the empty, rainy parking lot before she finally turns away from the window and returns to bed. Minjeong is embarrassed by how often that she checks, but she still reaches for her phone and opens up the calendar anyway. The next lunar eclipse is four months away. Minjeong wants to complain about it, but she remembers how Jimin had mentioned that the last eclipse prior was a dreadful two and half years ago. Even though four more months feel like torture, Minjeong tries to be thankful that it’s not longer.

After she switches her phone off, Minjeong rolls onto her back and she stares up at her dark ceiling. She’s grateful that the fox didn’t allow her to buy a bigger bed. It already feels too big these days.

“You have to be alright,” she softly whispers in the dark. “I’ll see you soon.”

 

 

Six Months Later

Almost exactly six months from the day that Jimin had left the mortal realm comes the arrival of the next lunar eclipse. Minjeong is anxious for the whole day, but has to wait till well past midnight before the phenomenon occurs. By the time that evening falls and after the shop owner finishes supper, Minjeong has to pound back a cup of coffee when she’s unaccustomed to staying up so late.

With the warm summer evening air, Minjeong spends the first hour of the eclipse outside in the parking lot, watching the shadow of the earth slowly consume the moon before watching it gradually start to glow a pale red. The baker’s never seen a lunar eclipse—a blood moon—before because she was simply never interested. But it’s fascinating to see the moon morph into a glowing orb of vermillion. The sight is practically demonic itself, so it seems appropriate that such a phenomenon is actually the emerging bridge for demons to cross.

After the first hour though, Minjeong’s growing restless. She looks around the empty parking lot and wonders what she should even be looking for. She didn’t see how Jimin came or went from this world. Is there going to be a magic portal that suddenly opens up? Is the fox suddenly going to materialize out of thin air? What if Jimin landed somewhere else and it might take some time for her to travel to the bakery? Minjeong chews on her lip, apprehensive when she doesn’t know what to expect.

By the time that Minjeong can feel her eyelids growing heavy, she decides to wait inside the comfort of her shop instead. After all, Jimin did say that the eclipse was simply just to establish the bridge to connect their worlds. There’s still time for the fox to get here. Minjeong fetches a pillow and a blanket to make a makeshift bed for herself on the floor in the front of her shop. As she dozes off, there’s the occasional car that drives by and the headlight that flashes into the shop briefly stirs Minjeong to consciousness. Each time she wakes up, there’s still no sign of the fox.

When morning comes, Minjeong wakes up from having been gently shaken awake. She opens her eyes to the sight of Aeri and Yizhuo kneeled in front of her.

“Minjeong, what’re you doing down here?” Aeri asks, worried about why her cousin’s sleeping on the floor of her shop.

Still half-asleep, Minjeong’s groggy eyes frantically dart around, but no matter how much time passes, the only people in the shop are the three of them. Looking at her friends, Minjeong finally breaks and folds into their arms before crying into their shoulders.

“Hey!” Yizhuo exclaims, surprised by the outburst. “What’s wrong?”

“S-she was supposed to come back last night!” Minjeong cries. “She promised that she’d come back!”

Aeri and Yizhuo exchange concerned glances. For the first time in months, Minjeong has brought up Jimin on her own without her friends trying to coerce the topic from the shopkeeper.

“Minjeong,” Aeri tenderly says, holding her cousin’s crying face in her palms. “What happened with Jimin?”

“Tell us, please,” Yizhuo adds, gently rubbing Minjeong’s heaving back.

The blonde hiccups through her cries, but still manages to choke out, “Even if I told you…y-you wouldn’t believe it.”

The two other bakers share another quick glance with each other before telling Minjeong, “Try us.”

 

 

Eight Months Later

With an address scribbled on a piece of paper, Minjeong nervously sighs as she double checks the unit number once more. She’d probably turn around and bolt, but the comfort of having Yizhuo and Aeri standing behind her gives her the strength to reach out and knock on the apartment door. After a nerve wracking few seconds, she feels a fresh wave of panic when the shaman answers the door.

“H-hi. Joohyun, right?” Minjeong awkwardly greets. “I don’t know if you remember me, but—”

“You,” Joohyun glowers. “What’re you doing here?”

Minjeong flinches, realizing how stupid the question was. Of course Joohyun remembers. Minjeong took a damn shot at her before. Even though the blonde baker is taller than the older woman, the shaman’s intense gaze is making her feel so small. Minjeong forces herself to straighten up and not retreat, no matter how intimidated she feels though.

“Minjeong. My name’s Minjeong.” She points a thumb over her shoulder. “And this is Aeri and Yizhuo. You probably recognize them from the bakery.”

“How’d you find me?” Joohyun asks, still hiding behind the safety of her apartment door.

“You have a loyalty points account with us,” Aeri answers. “You opened it five years ago.”

“Right,” Joohyun scoffs, almost embarrassed by how easy it was for the bakers to find her with all the information on her account. “So, what’re you all doing here?”

“We just want to talk,” Yizhuo says.

Finally at some sense of ease, the shaman finally steps outside her unit to join the bakers. The last time that Minjeong had seen Joohyun, the woman was so goddamn terrifying and fierce, but today, the shaman simply sighs and goes to casually lean against her door frame, like she’s not the least bit threatened—even though her last confrontation with Minjeong was anything but relaxed.

“Is this about the gumiho that you were living with?”

“Her name is Jimin,” the baker replies. “And yes, this is about her,” she explains, hearing her voice wane.

“What about her?” Joohyun questions, lifting her brows. “It’s been so long now, she’s gone.”

“I, um, I-I don’t know who to talk to about this. I still don’t really believe it myself.” Minjeong feels herself shakily exhaling, surprised by her feelings suddenly overwhelming her.

Joohyun her head to the side, surprised to see how emotional that the baker is growing. “What did that fox do to you?”

“Wh-what do you mean?”

“She must’ve really gotten under your skin if you’re still thinking about her,” Joohyun says before clicking her tongue. “Typical gumiho. They’re always toying with people and their feelings. They’re such master manipulators—”

“Jimin wasn’t like that!” Minjeong explodes. “I don’t know what kind of gumiho that you’ve met, but Jimin’s different! She’s special! She’s not the mon

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Chaos_T
Whoever it is that has advertised Fox Bread, thank you so much 😭🙏❤️

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Minidev1992 #1
Chapter 20: Thanks God I found your story 😭
Jiminejeong #2
Chapter 20: THANKYOU FOR WRITING THIS FANFIC YOU'RE SUCH A GOOD WRITERRRR
Jiminejeong #3
Chapter 14: im not crying 😭
Jiminejeong #4
Chapter 12: NOOOO
jinsoulheejin
#5
Chapter 7: Sorry I haven't made any comments recently, life got in the way, unfortunately. It big time that I had to stop at such a nice moment in the story, but enough about me!

Yizhuo and Aeri scolding Minjeong because of the kiss 😭 It's hard to see it from a biased pov, but if we put ourselves in their shoes, we can pretty much understand why they reacted that way. Besides, Aeri had a great point mentioning that Minjeong could potentially be taking advantage of Jimin, but fortunately we know that's not the case.

Man, the tension was so palpable during the hand massage part, Jesus ing Christ. Minjeong's reaction was 100% understandable 😭

Was Jimin flirting with Minjeong, studying her, or was she only thinking about eating that girl for lunch? 🤔

Jimin helping that little girl was SO sweet omg I was melting while reading that due to extreme adorableness. When Jimin saw the child, I bet she thought "What would Minjeong do?" which just makes everything extra sweet.

"Minjeong can’t help but to smile at how sweet Jimin is when she herself knows exactly how comforting those arms are" I fear only Jimin's big, strong arms could make me feel better right now 😭 and this story, of course...

Jimin making breakfast for Minjeong, to make her feel better, got me smiling like an idiot. How can a goddamn FOX be so adorable 😭 Author-nim is a genius for making us feel so much for a literal gumiho.

Also, Jimin creating her very own pastry (is this how you call it?), with all the things she likes 🥺

MINJEONG CONFESSING THAT SHE LIKES JIMIN AAAAAAAAAAA (I mean, who wouldn't but still!!!!)

"“Did you not like me before?” the woman asks, pouting rather sadly." THIS MIGHT BE THE CUTEST ING THING I HAVE EVER READ IN MY ENTIRE LIFE.

I just realized that was Jimin's first, real, confession, by someone who really likes her, the way that she is, without her having to possess that person or something. I wonder what kind of thoughts she was having at that moment. She must have felt really confused, but... good at the same time.

JIMIN'S CONFESSION SJAJJDJFKFK That was so adorable I want to kill myself 😭😭😭😭😭😭😭 All of that coming for this ancient, egotistical creature-being, who feeds off humans to survive, just makes everything more special, somehow. It's like Minjeong's existence simply changes everything.

"...the simultaneous sweet and spicy flavor is so inherently Jimin" she did sing she was spicy, and also that she was sweet (and salty) once.

“Stop what?” 😀

I'm really curious about Jimin's true intentions though, what was really going on in her mind. I know she likes Minjeong (I mean, who wouldn't, even a fox can see how incredible she is), but more in regard to whether she likes likes Minjeong, or if she's just "experimenting" with her, studying women like she wanted to do (admittedly, that's a pretty good excuse to kiss a girl). If the latter is the case, man, I wish my studies were this fun.

What I feel is gonna happen is that Jimin will get more and more attached to Minjeong and consequently become more and more human, although, technically, that's something she isn't, something she can't be. And our hearts are going to collectively break because of that fact 😭

Sorry for the super long comment!
HeekuTheMarshmallow #6
Beautiful beautiful beautiful.
Absolutely loved it and was crying by the end.
You’re an amazing author.
lalaflourish #7
Chapter 16: re-read this again because it's honestly the best jiminjeong au ever
iwkzoq #8
Chapter 15: Chapter 15 : I really cried a lot in this chapter 🥹🥹, I just hope that Jimin still comes back. Poor baby Minjeong
jinsoulheejin
#9
Chapter 6: OMG Yoona hii (since she said she was a friend of Minjeong's mom, I wonder if Minjeong's mom is Taeyeon here as well JDJDK my precious yoontae 🤍)

Jimin is always giving "You're killing people? No, I'm killing boys" 😭

"Jimin finds herself smiling without meaning to" 🥺 I feel that she is already getting attached to everyone who work at the bakery.

Jimin calling Minjeong stupid to her face JSJSKSKA

I really, really hope that all that talk about marriage, loving one person forever, and never leaving them is a (jiminjeong) foreshadow.

Jimin, Minjeong's angel, flung out of space.

Jimin helping and doing her best to make Minjeong feel happy 🥺

THE KISS DJKSKSKAKAJSJSJ

CONFUSED JIMIN IS SIMPLY TOO ADORABLE 😭🤏

I'm still on chapter 6, and the author-nim has just released a new story (that although I haven't started yet, I'm pretty sure is another masterpiece), but I'll be honest and admit that, before I start the other one, I'll continue reading this at a veeery slow pace cause I don't want it to end. Ever.
jinsoulheejin
#10
Chapter 5: Chapter 5: Minjeong's dream and Jimin not realizing that she is the reason for her clumsiness that morning 😭 Minjeong's not stupid, Jimin, she's just !

Later, "(...) for the sake of her research on human women." Sure, honey, that's definitely the sole reason.

The fox is undeniably smart, but maybe she did the right thing when she chose to spend a couple of weeks just studying the women around her. She still has a lot to learn, indeed.

Additionally, Jimin using her powers to make Minjeong's ex leave was so hot, ngl, and I'm glad that she didn't use them with Minjeong, no matter how curious she was.

Minjeong is so sweet. I personally would love to see Jimin killing someone in front of me. Hell, I would even let her kill me if she wanted to!

The last paragraph 😭🤍