“Jungkook. I need you to stay after class,” Hobeom, Jungkook’s conceptual photography professor said to him. Jungkook was confused. He was a good student, why would he need to stay after class?
Once the rest of the class had filtered out, Jungkook nervously walked up to Hobeom’s desk.
“What is this about? Was my last assignment not good?” Jungkook asked. He was sure he read the guidelines over and over. Everything should be perfect, like it always was.
“It was good. Don’t worry. But I do have some concerns about you,” Hobeom said. Jungkook swallowed roughly. He had never gotten in trouble before. Not since high school anyway.
“Okay uh…what’s wrong?”
“Your technique is near perfect. Every photo you take looks like it has been taken by someone with years more experience than you have. You won’t have any issues finding work once you graduate,” Hobeom started.
“Thank you, sir…” Jungkook said. He didn’t want to hear what Hobeom had to say next.
“But this is conceptual photography, Jungkook. Your technique is good but it’s not enough for this class. Your photos are amazing, but there’s nothing behind them. If it’s a picture of your girlfriend, that’s all there is to it. I want to see more from you. I don’t just want you to be good, I want you to be interesting,” he continued.
Jungkook kind of knew what he was talking about. Concept was never his strong suit.
“I’m giving you an extra assignment this week. I want you to take photos of anything you want, and anything that makes you feel something for the week. And don’t delete a thing. When you come back in on Monday, we’ll go through your photos together,” Hobeom said. Jungkook nodded.
“Okay, sir. I will do my best,” Jungkook said. And Hobeom dismissed him.
As Jungkook walked to his apartment, he considered Hobeom’s words. He was always concerned with being perfect. He never wanted anything out of place. He had been so concerned about perfecting his technique that he became boring.
As an artist, could he make it with technique alone? Probably not. Nobody liked a boring artist.
If he wanted to photograph weddings and charity events for his entire life it would probably be okay, but that’s not really what he wanted to do with his degree.
He was an artist. He wanted to make art.
Jungkook unlocked the door to his apartment and walked inside. It was quiet, which meant Seokjin wasn’t home. He tossed his stuff onto his desk in his room and laid down on his bed.
He really didn’t know how to be interesting. He was talented, but that was probably the most interesting thing about him. Everything else was pretty generic.
He was a broke college student, he had a girlfriend, he had his circle of friends, he had a job serving tables. It was almost funny how incredibly boring he was. How was he going to come up with interesting photos to show Hobeom in a week?
Jungkook took his phone out of his pocket and checked his messages.
Jiho: Hi baby~ how was school today?? I miss you!
Taehyung: Mario Kart tournament at mine and Yoongi’s place tonight, be there or be square!
Seokjin: I’m going to work. See you at Taehyung and Yoongi’s tonight.
Well, at least he could take his mind off of how boring he was with a good ol’ Mario Kart tournament.
“Jungkook! You came!” Taehyung said as he opened the door for him. Jungkook rolled his eyes.
“Why would I not be here?” Jungkook asked. Taehyung shrugged and moved aside so Jungkook could come in. Yoongi, Namjoon and Hoseok were already sitting on the couch.
“Hey Kook,” Yoongi said and the other two mimicked his greeting.
“Seokjin will be late. He has work,” Jungkook said, sitting on the floor in front of them.
“Cool. Hey Tae, when’s your little friend coming around?” Namjoon asked. Jungkook whipped his head around to look at Taehyung, who was sitting next to him now.
“Uhh probably within the next half hour,” Taehyung said.
“Friend? I thought you said dates weren’t allowed on boys’ nights?” Jungkook asked.
“He’s just a friend, Jungkook. I think he would mesh well with the group, so I invited him,” Taehyung said.
“But Jiho’s not allowed over,” Jungkook complained. Jiho had been banned from group hangouts and Taehyung always used the excuse that she wasn’t part of the group. Now his new “friend” got to be a part of things? It was unfair.
“Yeah but she’s a girlfriend. It’s different,” Taehyung said. It didn’t seem that different. This guy still wasn’t part of their group.
Jungkook didn’t argue any further. Taehyung’s logic was impossible to debate with since it usually wasn’t logical at all.
But it still bothered him.
There was a knock on the door shortly after and Taehyung pretty much ran to the door. He seemed enthusiastic for greeting someone who was just supposed to be a friend.
The door opened and Jungkook heard a soft voice.
“Hi! I’m glad I got the right place, I was worried,” it said. Jungkook immediately didn’t like the sound of this guy’s voice. What kind of man had a voice like that? It was high-pitched but somehow raspy. It didn’t sound good.
“Come in! They’re all excited to meet you,” Taehyung said. Jungkook almost rolled his eyes.
He looked over at the man that Taehyung invited. He was little, shorter than Yoongi, and he was wearing an oversized sweater that made him look even smaller. His hair was fluffy and his cheeks were red. Overall, this guy just seemed incredibly soft. Almost to the point that it made Jungkook sick. If this dude was a food, he’d be cotton candy for sure.
And Jungkook didn’t like cotton candy.
“Hey guys. This is Jimin. Jimin, this is Hoseok, Namjoon, Yoongi and Jungkook,” Taehyung introduced. Jimin waved and the rest of the group waved back.
“I think I know you,” Hoseok said. Jungkook saw a flicker of recognition in Jimin’s expression.
“Yes! I just transferred to the same school as you guys. You’re in the dance program right? We had class together today?” Jimin asked.
Hoseok hopped up from his seat to get closer to Jimin. He took Jimin’s surprisingly tiny hands in his own.
“Yes! You’re so precious oh my god. How did an angel like you befriend Taehyung?” Hoseok said. Jungkook almost gagged.
“We had English together today. He told me you guys were playing Mario Kart and I love that game so he invited me,” Jimin said.
“Well, welcome to the gang! You can sit there.”
Taehyung gestured for Jimin to sit down next to Jungkook on the floor. Jungkook wasn’t too happy about this. He already didn’t like this guy’s whole vibe.
Jimin smelled disgustingly sweet. When he sat next to Jungkook the aroma wafted over to him. Jungkook kind of wanted to vomit.
He was also hyperaware of how Jimin’s thigh was gently brushing Jungkook’s. Why did this guy have such big thighs? Why did they have to get in Jungkook’s space?
“You’re Jungkook right?” Jimin asked. Jungkook’s eyes moved from Jimin’s thighs to his eyes. His voice sounded like nails on a chalkboard. Jungkook nodded. “Nice to meet you! Do you go to school with us?”
“Yeah,” Jungkook said, keeping it short. He wasn’t overly interested in conversing with this guy.
“Oh…What’s your major?” Jimin asked.
Jungkook didn’t answer, but instead held up his camera. Jimin hummed in response.
“Jungkook takes really nice photos, but I heard he got in trouble from Professor Hobeom today,” Yoongi said. Jungkook turned around and scowled at him. He hated that Yoongi pretty much knew everything about the photography department, especially about Hobeom’s students.
That’s what he gets for befriending one of the top photography students at his school.
“I see…” Jimin said. Jungkook rolled his eyes.
“I didn’t get in trouble. I was just given an extra assignment. It’s not a big deal,” Jungkook lied. It was a big deal to him. It cut him really deeply actually.
“What kind of assignment?” Jimin asked. Jungkook groaned. Did this guy ever stop asking questions?
“Don’t worry about it,” he snapped. He didn’t actually mean for it to come out as mean as it did. Jimin looked surprised.
“Sorry I asked…” he said as he turned around to talk to the guys on the couch.
When Seokjin arrived they started playing the game. Jungkook was excited. He won every Mario Kart tournament they held for the last six months. It was lame, but it was something he knew he was good at. It was bound to lift his self-esteem.
However, Jimin had never been at any of their past tournaments. The two of them were alternating first and second place every race. Jimin was good, really good.
“Ooooh! You getting scared Jungkookie? Jimin’s better than you,” Taehyung teased. Jimin was giggling next to him and Jungkook wanted to make him shut up. Jimin’s very presence annoyed Jungkook, but now he was ending Jungkook’s streak and laughing about it.
“You better watch out Jungkook. I’m coming for your streak!” Jimin said. Jungkook wanted to knock the controller out of his hand, but he refrained from doing so. If he was going to win, he was going to win fairly.
But he lost. Jimin ended his streak.
Jimin stood up and cheered and all the other’s joined him, but Yoongi. And Yoongi would probably be up there with them if he wasn’t so tired all the time.
Jungkook could be a good sport. If anyone else ended his streak, he would be okay with it. But he didn’t like Jimin. Not even a little bit. So getting beaten by him felt like a slap in the face.
“How does it feel to lose for once, Kookie?” Taehyung asked, poking him in the cheek. Jungkook smacked his hand away.
“Shut the fuck up, Taehyung,” Jungkook said. Taehyung ignored his angry tone and went back to celebrating with Jimin and the others.
“Well I should get going. I have class at eight tomorrow. Thank you so much for having me. I had a lot of fun,” Jimin said. Jungkook held back the rude comments that built up in his throat.
“Bye Jimin! It was nice meeting you! Hope you can come back soon!” the others said. Jimin waved goodbye to everyone, but he avoided eye-contact with Jungkook.
When he was out the door, it felt like a relief. Jimin made him uncomfortable and angry. He couldn’t really explain it, but his presence made Jungkook so uneasy.
“So…what do you guys think of him? He’s very…” Taehyung started.
“Hot?” Namjoon interrupted.
“Yeeesss!!” Yoongi pretty much moaned. Jungkook was taken aback.
“Yeah that’s totally why I sat next to him in English in the first place. It’s not every day that a mega hot guy just appears out of no where,” Taehyung said. Jungkook was appalled.
“Wait…you guys really find him attractive?” Jungkook asked.
“Dude…yeah. He’s hot and cool and a fucking dancer. He’s like a wet dream come true,” Namjoon said.
“I mean I don’t usually like the cute type…but I’d do him in a second,” Yoongi added.
“I don’t see it,” Jungkook said.
“Well you’re straight so your opinion doesn’t matter,” Taehyung said. Jungkook rolled his eyes.
“Did Jimin tell you why he transferred here out of no where?” Hoseok asked. It was odd for someone to transfer so late into the semester.
“He just said he didn’t like his old school and he wanted a fresh start,” Taehyung said with a shrug.
“Oh well. It’s always nice getting a new friend,” Hoseok said. Jungkook chewed on his bottom lip. He felt like he needed to be honest.
“Guys…I really don’t like him,” Jungkook admitted.
“Jungkook. It’s just Mario Kart. Let it go,” Seokjin said sternly.
“It’s not that. I already didn’t like him before the Mario Kart.”
“Well…I don’t really see what’s not to like. He’s really sweet and funny and he likes the same stuff we do. I think you’re just cranky about getting in shit with Hobeom,” Yoongi said.
Jungkook honestly hoped so. Jimin seemed like a good fit with everyone else, Jungkook didn’t want to be the odd one out.
But something in his gut was telling him that it wasn’t like that. He wasn’t supposed to be near Jimin. His instincts were telling him to keep his distance.
“I’m gonna get going. I told Jiho I’d spend the night with her,” Jungkook said, getting up from his place on the floor.
“Okay Kookie. See you tomorrow,” Hoseok said. The others mumbled their goodbyes and Jungkook walked out the door.
During his walk to Jiho’s place, he couldn’t get Jimin out of his head. Jungkook was never the type of person to hate someone for no reason, but he just had a bad feeling about Jimin. Something about him rubbed Jungkook the wrong way.
It was more than just losing at Mario Kart, and Jimin being favoured over Jiho. Something deep inside him was telling him that Jimin was trouble. And Jungkook wasn’t interested in getting into trouble.
Seokjin: We’re in the studio with Hoseok and Jimin! Come eat!
Jungkook rolled his eyes at his text. They had only met Jimin yesterday and already he was eating with them at lunch. Jungkook didn’t see the appeal. What was there to like? His voice was annoying, his laugh was intolerable. Maybe he was hot, but only three of his friends even liked men to his knowledge. Why did the others like him so much too?
Still, Jungkook made his way to the studio. Everyone was already there when he arrived. Hoseok and Jimin were dancing and the others were sitting against the mirror, eating and cheering the other two on.
Before Jungkook started eating, he snapped some photos of Hoseok and the others. Then he remembered his assignment. He was supposed to shoot things that made him feel something. He supposed dislike was also a feeling.
He shot some photos of Jimin as well. He wanted to delete them, but he knew he shouldn’t. Hobeom would want to see them.
When the music ended, Hoseok and Jimin caught their breath and sat down with everyone else.
“You know, Jungkook is a really good dancer too,” Hoseok said. Jimin looked at him with interest.
“Really? I’d love to see that,” Jimin said, with a smile.
“Don’t feel like it,” Jungkook mumbled. Jimin stood up and tugged on Jungkook’s arm.
“Come! Let’s dance together!” he said, giggling away.
Jungkook ripped his arm out of Jimin’s grasp. Jimin stumbled back, barely avoiding falling over.
“I said I didn’t want to. Do you fucking listen?” he snapped. He was meaner than he wanted to be again, but he didn’t feel good enough to apologize.
Jimin glared at him and Jungkook knew he was about to lose it.
“What’s your issue with me? You’ve been mean to me from the start. I left my last school to avoid people like you and you don’t even-“
Jimin cut himself off and walked out of the studio, slamming the door behind him. Taehyung and Hoseok got up and ran after him. Jungkook felt frozen.
“Jungkook what’s your problem?” Yoongi asked.
“Yeah, you’re being such a jerk for nothing. He didn’t do anything to you,” Seokjin continued.
Jungkook knew they were right. He was being unreasonable.
“Guys I’m sorry. I just really don’t like him and he was tugging on me and stuff. I just snapped,” Jungkook said. He knew making excuses just made him sound worse.
“You better apologize to him. Taehyung and Hoseok will be pissed if you don’t,” Namjoon said.
Jungkook knew that he had to. But he really didn’t want to. Any interaction with Jimin was just the worst. Jimin was just the worst.
But he didn’t want his friends to hate him.
“Yeah okay. I’ll go say sorry.”
Jungkook found the others in the cafeteria with Jimin. He wasn’t crying or anything, but he did look really angry. Jungkook couldn’t help but pick up his camera and take a photo. After all, it did make him feel things.
Just not good things.
Jungkook approached them and Taehyung and Hoseok looked just as pissed as Jimin. He cleared his throat.
“Can I talk to Jimin alone?” he asked. Taehyung looked like he wanted to say no, but Hoseok was already leading him away by the hand. When he was sure they were out of hearing range, Jungkook sat down across from Jimin.
“Come to yell at me some more?” Jimin asked. Jungkook thought that Jimin’s voice would be shaky, that his lip would be trembling. But Jimin was firm. He was strong.
“Listen. I don’t like you. I’m sure I’ve made that clear. But I know I shouldn’t have yelled. I’m sorry,” Jungkook said. It was as sincere as he could make it.
“What’s your issue with me? Did you find out I’m gay? I find that reason hard to believe considering you’re friends with Taehyung,” Jimin said, spite clear in his voice.
“It’s not because you’re gay. I don’t care about that,” Jungkook said. He was straight but he wasn’t a homophobe.
“Do you know? About…” Jimin was suddenly speaking quieter. He was waiting for Jungkook to fill in the rest of the sentence, like Jungkook knew some type of deep secret about him.
“No. I don’t know a damn thing about you okay? I just don’t like you. You rub me the wrong way. Your voice pisses me off, your demeanour is obnoxious. I don’t have a good reason okay? It’s just that simple. I don’t think we’ll get along,” Jungkook said. Jimin frowned.
“Fine. But I’m not going to stop hanging out with them. I don’t expect you to either. Just be civil, okay? Then there won’t be any problems,” Jimin said. Jungkook nodded.
“You’re pretty,” Jungkook said, running his fingers through Jiho’s long, black hair. She smiled up at him.
“So are you. How was your day?” she asked, leaning up to give him a kiss.
Jungkook thought about his fight with Jimin. More accurately, he couldn’t stop thinking about his fight with Jimin.
He had never met someone that pushed his buttons so much. Even if Jimin so much as breathed audibly, Jungkook was filled with anger. Every feature on Jimin’s body pissed him off. His eyes were uneven, his lips looked weird, his nose was too small, his thighs were too big. Jungkook could find something wrong with everything.
He had never been like this before. He never found so much to dislike about someone. Especially someone that didn’t do anything wrong.
“There’s this guy who’s getting on my nerves. I can’t figure out why,” Jungkook said.
“Really? Well…when did you meet him?” Jiho asked.
“Yesterday. I don’t know what it is about him, I just can’t stand him. But he’s friends with my friends so I kind of have to hang out with him,” Jungkook said.
“Well…if he’s with them, why don’t you come see me instead?” she said. She smiled and started tugging him toward the bedroom. Jungkook smirked.
“That doesn’t sound so bad I guess.”
However, Jungkook was not counting on Jimin hanging out with them at every second of every day. He really underestimated his friends’ relationships with Jimin. Every time he went to the studio to see Hoseok, Jimin was there. Every time he went to the cafeteria to eat with Taehyung, Jimin was there. Jimin was always there.
For the next few days, Jungkook couldn’t get away from him. Seokjin had even invited him over to their apartment one night for a cooking lesson. Jungkook could only go to Jiho’s place so much.
On the bright side, Jungkook’s camera was filling up. Jimin made him feel so many negative feelings, and every time he felt one. He snapped a photo. And so far, Jimin hadn’t caught him. He didn’t really want to explain that he took a photo of him every time he hated him particularly hard.
On Friday night, Taehyung and Yoongi invited the group over again to watch a movie. To Jungkook’s dismay, Jimin was also invited. He and Jimin agreed to keep it civil, and Jungkook planned to keep that up.
Outbursts like the one in the studio were things he tended to avoid.
Jungkook sat in his usual spot on the floor, and Jimin was on the couch, as far as he could be from Jungkook. He had barely said two words to Jimin since their fight, and he wasn’t upset about that fact.
The less Jimin said to him, the better.
Jungkook found that he couldn’t focus on the movie. Jimin’s presence was a force that he couldn’t keep his mind off of. He didn’t know if he wanted to yell at him, or fight him or what.
So Jungkook decided to take a picture of him.
When he turned around to set up his shot, he was taken aback by the look of it. The lights were off, and the only light was the light from the tv. Jimin looked really good. For Jimin anyway.
He took his time setting up the perfect shot. And just before Jungkook took it, Jimin turned to look at him.
They made eye-contact. Or more accurately, Jimin looked at him through the viewfinder. Jungkook inhaled sharply, and he pressed down the button and took the photo.
The moment felt strangely intimate. Usually he didn’t care if someone saw him taking a photo of them, even if they were a stranger. But having Jimin look at him while he shot him was like a completely different experience.
He felt like Jimin was looking into his soul. Like he saw Jungkook’s deepest secrets.
Jungkook quickly put the camera back in his lap and turned back to the movie. He could feel Jimin’s eyes remain on him for a moment before he turned back as well. Jungkook felt like his heart would beat out of his chest.
Why did Jimin have such an intense effect on him? Jungkook started flipping through his photos and looked at the one he just took.
It was breathtaking. Jungkook knew he was a good photographer, but this photo was something else. He wondered if it looked that way because of how it felt in the moment, or if other people would be able to look at it and feel the intensity too.
Jungkook gripped his shirt over his heart. He could feel it beating, and he wanted it to calm down.
It was just Jimin. It was just a quick glance. It was just a photo.
So why did it feel like so much more?