"We picked up a stray," Namjoon says, helping the rest of the crew haul up supplies for the next month. Yoongi scoffs and Seokjin tuts--another one; oh please, be civil, we were all there once upon a time.
"This ain't no fairy tale, princess," Yoongi says, grunting as he sets down a sack of potatoes. Seokjin winces.
"You'll bruise them!"
"They can come to me with their complaints--I'll be in my room."
Before Seokjin can get a retort in, Namjoon tosses a clean set of clothes to Jimin over Seokjin's head.
"You're in charge of the new one," he says, "cause I would have Taehyung do it but he can barely take care of himself." And as if on cue, Taehyung almost drops a barrel of wine but Hoseok is already there, the two of them laughing like the world isn't as round as it seems.
"I gotta fix everything around here," Jimin says, but there's no real malice in his voice as he shakes out the stripped shirt and navy pants, holding them away from his body with a frown, "These are huge."
Yoongi snorts, "Everything is huge compared to you."
"And you wanna talk?"
Namjoon shuts Yoongi up with a look before turning back to Jimin, jerking his head towards the lower quarters, "He's passed out in your bed. Go make sure he's not dead, hm?"
Jimin bites his lip and huffs, but when Namjoon puts on his Captain's Hat, there's no room for argument. Granted, he doesn't do it much but there's a reason they still swear by him across the seven seas. The lower quarters are quiet as always, but they've opened all the rounded windows to try and let a breeze through. The air tastes like salt and mulled mead.
There is a giant in Jimin's bed.
Not really, but really. His feet are almost dangling off the edge and one of his hands is hanging off the side, fingers just above the ground and Jimin has to wonder how goddamn gangly he must be when he's stood upright. Still, like this, the new kid looks no older than Jimin is, younger even. Jimin sighs and parks himself on the upturned barrel right by his bed and sets the clothes down on top of the new kid's sleeping body. He shifts, groaning, brows furrowing, mumbling something incoherent.
"This is like some weird, reverse Goldilocks thing--come back to find a fuckin' bear sleeping in my bed," Jimin mumbles to himself, getting up to grab a facecloth, wetting it in the wash basin and coming back to pat down the kid's forehead. He's sweating up a goddamn storm and from the looks of it, he's got the shivers too.
"What's his name?" Jimin asks, when he finally comes up for dinner, legs cramping from how long he's been sitting next to his own bed.
"No clue," Namjoon says, shoving a giant bite of roast chicken into his mouth, "was passed out and drenched in water when we found him propped up by the wine barrels behind the shop at port."
"No shit," Jimin says, plopping down and accepting a generous helping of garlic mashed potatoes.
"None at all," Hoseok says, "it's the 21st century--who still does that? Leave a kid out on the streets?"
"And you just... picked him up and threw him in my bed? What if he has a family? What if they're phoning in the FBI right now and--"
Namjoon tosses a chicken bone into a bucket by his seat and grabs a drumstick, "We hauled him to the police station first. They said he's been on their blacklist for years--runs around the streets getting into fights."
"So we took him in," Seokjin says, passing around the cauliflowers.
"Aw," Jimin coos. Namjoon shoots him a half-hearted glare, polishing off the drumstick, washing it down with a huge bite of mashed potatoes.
"Just like our Captain," Hoseok says, "looks hard on the outside, huge softy on the inside."
"Meanwhile this one," Seokjin says, elbowing Yoongi with a good-hearted laugh, "looks soft on the outside but will probably bite your dick off if you try to wake him up in the morning."
"First mate duties, gotta balance the Cap out." Yoongi shrugs, brushing off his shoulder with a smirk, "though I resent that dick comment, I'll probably have a go at your hand or something but I'm not that mean."
"Yeah, but dicks are probably the only thing you can reach so," Taehyung somehow manages over his mouthful of cranberry pie. The table breaks out in hoots and cackles. Yoongi makes to fling a spoonful of mash at Taehyung but Seokjin manages to stop him in time--do not waste the food I spent such a long time making.
"You should probably go check on him," Namjoon says, turning back towards Jimin, swirling his wine around his cup.
Seokjin nods. "Yeah, and here, take some food down just in case."
Jimin shovels down his last few bites of dinner (it's always a feast the first night off port), calling over his shoulder to save him some before heading back downstairs. The dark carpets drink down the sounds of the waves outside and silence presses in from all sides till he opens the door to his own room. The boy is still lying in his bed, but curled up into himself, shivering and whimpering.
"Hey, hey, it's okay," Jimin says, rushing over, setting the plate of food down on the bedside table, pressing the back of his hand to the boy's forehead. He's burning up, and bad.
Jimin rushes upstairs and Seokjin has medicine; Seokjin has everything.
They somehow manage to get the boy to swallow the fever meds with a lot of strategic head-holding and chin-tipping on Jimin's part but when the meds kick in, the boy's expression relaxes again, his breathing evens out and Jimin ushers Seokjin off to bed--Namjoon put me in charge of him so go get some sleep. We need you in top form to keep Yoongi and Namjoon in check.
Jungkook wakes up to an odd weight on his stomach and a waterlogged brain. He groans and tries to get up because last he remembered, he was being pummeled into a human minced pie by some thugs on the street for walking into them. The weight on his stomach shifts and a voice wraps around his eyes like satin. It's murmuring something. Something like quit moving... comfy.
Jungkook's eyes snap open and he gasps too hard. This is not the Port of London anymore.
"Ow--shit." The ground shifts and tilts and Jungkook has to grab onto the side of the bed to keep steady. The weight on his stomach jerks and lifts his head.
"Oh, you're awake."
Jungkook blinks, squinting through his receding headache. "Who the fuck are you?"
"Damn, so rude, so early in the morning." The boy can't be much older than him, and from the looks of it, quite a bit shorter but there's a plate of cold food on the bedside table and a washcloth by his pillow that must have fallen off during the night and it doesn't take a genius to add two and two together. But years of wandering the streets of London's has put more than a couple of chips in his shoulder and he narrows his eyes.
"Where am I?" he asks, body tensing even as the boy yawns, hair still stuck to his cheek from where he'd passed out on Jungkook's stomach.
"On Bangtan," the boy says through another yawn.
"What?" Jungkook frowns hard enough to give himself another headache.
"Name of the ship," the boy says, "Cap picked you up at the port, said he found you drenched and passed out behind the wine barrels so," he says, shrugging as he cards a hand through his hair, stifling his third yawn of the morning, "you're with us now. Unless you decide to jump ship--not literally--well I mean, I guess if you decided you wanted to actually jump ship, no one can really stop you--but y'know, if you wanted to leave when we hit the next port, you can just let us know... do you wanna leave?"
Jungkook tries to take in all this information while the light filtering into the small room from the rounded window hisses at his opened eyes.
"I've been kidnapped by pirates, do I have a choice?" he says, groaning as he throws an arm over his eyes if only to get his head to stop fucking pounding. The boy by his bedside laughs; Jungkook peers over his own arm at the boy because pirates don't laugh like that. Pirates don't laugh like daybreak, but this boy sure does.
"Not quite, but close, actually, tons closer than you probably think," he says, "this was actually an old pirate ship but Namjoon's had the inside redone. The whole story's weird and awesome and you'll probably hear it tonight if you're up for dinner, but right now, I think you might want a shower," he laughs again, and crinkles his nose, "cause you smell like shit and it's getting into my sheets."
Jungkook, despite every single instinct to clam up and go back to sleep because god, everything hurts, lets himself laugh, lets himself be tugged out of bed, groaning as the boy keeps on yapping about something or other, towels and new clothes, something about mop duty, ushered into a small bathroom stall and shut in with a last call of, and don't take too long! Hot water's a commodity out here!
Jungkook spends the whole shower wondering what the hell the boy's name is.
So Jimin was right about the giant part, the guy's got a good head over him when he stands up but he's definitely younger, even than Taehyung. Jimin doesn't know how he knows, maybe it's the way his eye got wide when Jimin first got a good look in, a good smile, or the way he let himself be tugged down the hallway to the bath stall without any more snarky comments, soft and a little fuzzy around the edges, still only half awake by the looks of it, and starved of a good night's sleep so much so that his body doesn't want to let it go.
"There he is," Jimin says as the new boy shows up in his doorway, hair damp, used towel over his shoulder, looking very awkward and large compared to everything in Jimin's room.
"Thanks," the boy says, glancing around proper, shuffling his feet.
"Jimin, by the way," Jimin says, getting up and offering a hand, a smile.
The boy blinks down at Jimin's hand, then back up at him.
"My name," Jimin says, laughing.
"Oh," he takes Jimin's hand, huge, "Jungkook," he says, with a tiny shake.
"Jungkook," Jimin repeats the name with a grin, "let’s get you upstairs, think everyone's pretty curious about you."
"Wait," Jungkook says, fingers latching around Jimin's arm as he makes to brush by Jungkook through the door.
"Hm?" Jimin looks back.
"Uhm... you're not... really pirates, are you?" He sounds almost sheepish, but his voice tapers off into a shiver and his eyes are wide as mooncakes.
Jimin sends him a wicked grin, "Not really."
It turns out that no, Jungkook doesn't want to jump ship, in either connotation, and no, they aren't really pirates. Not even a little. Just a bunch of flotsam and jetsam that Namjoon has gathered from here and there.
Just a bunch of dreamers, Jimin had said.
"Tch, as if I ever had the time to dream," Jungkook says as they help Seokjin clean up from dinner, Jimin in charge of washing and rinsing, Jungkook, the drying and replacing dishes because Jimin can only reach the bottom most shelf and that'd just be mean.
"You learn," Jimin says with an easy grin, that Jungkook has already gotten way too used to, "it's never too late to start."
Jungkook sniffs and replaces a large clear platter onto the top shelf, wiping his hands on his apron as Jimin turns off the water and dries his own hands.
"C'mon, I wanna show you something," Jimin says as they hang up their aprons and wave of Seokjin's thanks with of course!s, thumping up the stairs to the main deck, Jungkook trailing a step behind Jimin as he rounds the main mast and swings himself up on a thin ladder that extends into the great canvas sails catching wind by the handfuls.
"Where are you going?" Jungkook asks, having to call up because Jimin is already scaling the ladder like it's nothing.
"C'mon, just come up and you'll see!"
Jungkook takes a deep breath and swings himself up as well, glancing up every once in a while, making sure not to look down cause if he does, well--he doesn't really want to try it out.
It isn't till his head bumps up against something hard that he's realized he reached the top, the great canvas sail billowing to his right like a piece of fluttering sky, so huge it's impossible to imagine anything much bigger. But then Jimin's hand appears from out of a latch door and Jungkook takes it, letting Jimin pull him through into a small, round bowl-like structure. It's a lookout.
Jimin lets the trapdoor fall shut with a great sigh and a laugh.
Jungkook is a little out of breath but the look in Jimin's eyes makes his stomach turn and Jimin just smiles, getting onto his feet to lean over the side of the lookout, an arm extended towards the horizon.
And Jungkook does.
It is not the sky and the sea, but the universe, splayed out in rimlets and rivulets of silken, shimmering stars. It is not the Moon, but a bowl of liquid light, spilling out into the earth below, the roundness of the world melting into the infinite, unreachable, untouchable beyond reflected here, sparkling remnants of the past lost in the dark of the future. The Milky Way is a swirling mass of pin bright points, and for the first time, Jungkook can really see the swirl of it all, the slow twisting current of stars, dancing to a song so ancient even the earth has to try to remember its tune but the night is always there to remind it.
"Cool, right?" Jimin rests his chin on his arms and lets out a sigh.
Jungkook doesn't know where to look. "Yeah... cool."
"Said he's gonna see the world," Jimin says, and when Jungkook looks over, Jimin grins, jerking his thumb towards the deck of the ship below them, "Namjoon, the Cap. Said that if we stick with him, we'll get to see it too."
"How much of it have you guys seen so far?" Jungkook asks as the pair of them slide down to sit on the wooden floor--it's one of the few places on the ship that remains as it is from its old pirate-ship days.
"Not much, but more than I ever thought I'd see for sure." Jimin's head tilts up till his eyes become a mirror for the sky and Jungkook lets his eyes follow Jimin's gaze. Even down here, with only a patch of that great beyond visible to them, the world feels so far off, the world that Jungkook used to know, all orange-lit streets and boot-worn feet. It feels like a dream, or, this feels like a dream--Jungkook figures that between the two of them, one has to be.
"They found me at my dad's old auto shop--he tapped out when I was like 12, but he taught me everything I needed to know to make it on my own and my uncle helped out for a while," Jimin says, and Jungkook falls into the soft waves of Jimin's voice, the lulling stories it has the power to tell.
"But he's got his own family, and when I turned 16, I was on my own--then two years later, Namjoon walks in asking if I can help him repair a bit of a ship. I figured, well, cogs are cogs, right? So I said I'd give it a go and I fixed one of the toilets that had broken down and the stove that only had one working fire before. And then when it was time to pay me, Namjoon asked if I were on my own. Told him I was, and he said Come with us, help out on the ship, and you can be part of the crew." Jimin is smiling.
Jungkook's eyes are closed but he can hear it in Jimin's voice.
"What happened then?" he asks, if only to get Jimin to start talking again. The quiet is too full without the sound of Jimin's voice.
"I thought he was joking," Jimin says, giggling, "Thought it was TV prank or something, but he was serious and well, I thought, what did I have to lose right? So I packed some things, grabbed a toolbox, and here I am." Jimin shrugs and Jungkook grunts because sometime between the start of the story and now, his head had found its way onto Jimin's shoulder.
"What's he do?" Jungkook asks, shifting to lean back against the wall of the lookout post. Jimin shifts next to him and pats his shoulder--you can keep leaning if you want. Jimin's shoulder is too comfortable to resist.
"Namjoon? He's...well," he laughs then, "I guess he's a dreamer. But more of an explorer. His parents are bigshots, business people, executives and all that, but Namjoon's always hated that stuff. He's too soft for that stuff," Jimin says, "doesn't look it, but he's a giant softy on the inside. When his parents wanted him to get into the family business, he told them no, said that he was gonna leave and see the world, and he wasn't planning on taking a cent of their money with him."
"Hm," Jungkook is drifting but the story is interesting and he wants to know. He could ask someone else another time, his logic tries to reason, but there's a way about the way that Jimin tells stories and Jungkook finds himself struggling to keep awake because he doesn't want to hear it from anyone else.
"But they're still his parents and they love him, so they struck him a deal--business people, like I said--but they struck him a deal that if he were to keep logs of all his travels, of everything he sees and does, they'd fund his world travels and when he's finished seeing the world, he'd come back and take up the family business and be a lot wiser for it. Kinda like that one guy whose grandfather set aside a huge fund for him to use only in school, so like he'd take all the uni classes up till one credit before finishing a degree and then start another one? Kinda like that," Jimin says with a softish kind of laugh that spins by Jungkook's cheek, "So, he goes and picks up this old pirate ship they were planning to break down for the wood, has the inside redone with like proper heating and like running water and all that, and then sets sail," Jimin makes some kind of gesture here and his shoulder shifts under Jungkook's cheek. Jungkook hums and waits for Jimin to continue, which he does.
"And at first, it was just Namjoon, but like three weeks into his lonesome travels, he meets Yoongi who's something of a writer, in a coffee shop in the south of France and Namjoon somehow managed to convince him to come along, then they meet Seokjin, who had just gotten fired from a pretty expensive restaurant for something really stupid, and he came along too. Hoseok and Taehyung were street performers--so we're kind of from all over the place here and without Namjoon, we would still be stuck with our heads buried in the sand so we're all really thankful to him."
Jungkook nods, "Sounds like he's got his head up in the clouds."
"He's got the resources to."
Jungkook snorts. "No kidding."
"But up here, it kinda feels like we can too," Jimin says, taking a deep breath. Jungkook peers open one eye, glancing up at Jimin and from this angle, all he can see is Jimin's cheek and nose but something tells Jungkook that there's a look in Jimin's eyes like he can see something just beyond the stars.
"Can do what?"
"Have our heads up in the clouds, dream a little."
Jungkook opens his eyes and leans back to look at Jimin. They've only just met that day and what a whirlwind of a day it's been. Jungkook blinks but the wood beneath his hands and legs doesn't feel like a dream, the salt on his tongue and the wind on his lips, the musk of the fire on the deck below and the all-consuming brilliance of the night sky above, none of those feel like a dream and Jimin--Jimin doesn't feel like a dream.
Or maybe he does. Just a little.
"Did you have to learn too?" Jungkook asks, lowering his eyes so he wouldn't have to look, because he doesn't know what he wants to see in Jimin's eyes, because street creds mean nothing out here in the middle of the ocean and these people aren't out for a little fun at his expense. Because this is the first time in a long while he's heard someone laugh beside him and he wants to drown in the feeling, the sound, the warmth and soft of it all.
"What? To dream? Of course I did. We all did." Jimin crosses his legs and tilts his head to the side. The world tilts with him, with the lilt of his smile, "Don't worry--it's not hard. I'll teach you."
Jungkook grunts but nods along anyway.
Mop duty, it turns out, is not only a great form of exercise, but also a wonderful bonding experience, if only for how goddamn painful it is. As they say, the strongest friendships are formed through mutual suffering.
Jungkook and Jimin have mop duty together for a week.
Jungkook adapts faster than even he himself had thought possible, but the part of him that had forgotten what it is to be a child, buried beneath layers of city grim and fallen leaves peers up through the fog of ocean mornings and remembers what it's like to trust and be trusted again.
"Holy shit you giant wanker--" Jungkook almost topples over as Jimin zips by with his mop out in front of him, his feet covered in plastic, slipping on the soapsuds, laughing bright as day.
"I'm already more than halfway done! Keep up like that and you'll be on kitchen cleanup too!" Jimin shouts as he collides with the side of the Captain's cabin, completely unfazed, turns around and slips into a too-fast run again.
They agreed--whoever finishes their bit last has to be on kitchen cleanup and Seokjin is making fish today, so that's gonna be a mess.
"Halfway done my ass--" Jungkook sprints after Jimin, rounding the foremast with one hand wrapped around the thick ropes keeping the sails steady, almost cackling as Jimin tries to dodge a rather well-aimed kick.
"You know Namjoon will actually throw you overboard if you break that rope again, right?" Yoongi asks, quirking an eyebrow from where he's leaning against the ship's railings, watching the two of them work.
Jimin grins, huge and sheepish, "But I fixed it!"
"Yeah, by tying it back together. We need to get a new rope cause even though we have engines on this old thing now, it saves a lot of fuel letting it actually sail some of the time. And it was good having a safety."
Jimin rolls his eyes, "I know, I know, my bad--" he says, swinging back around the other side of the main mast to where Yoongi can't see, making faces at Jungkook. Jungkook bites back a laugh and Yoongi excuses himself to go check on Hoseok and Taehyung. They've gotten too quiet and that's almost never a good sign.
They let the brief silence simmer before Jimin hops down from the raised center of the deck to the walkways behind the railings, reaching up to grab his bucket of soapy water.
"Still ahead of ya!"
Jungkook curses and bounds off to grab his own bucket.
In the end, Jungkook swears they ended in a tie, but after some mindless squabbling, he throws up his hands and lets Jimin have it. The smile he gets in return, though he thinks, will be tattooed behind his eyes for a good, long while.
And kitchen cleanup duty isn't so bad--sure Jungkook comes out stinking of fish, but he has a belly full of good food and stories because Seokjin is as wonderful storyteller and more than happy to share as he works. Jungkook learns that Seokjin is the oldest, Taehyung the youngest (now second to himself), and that Namjoon's family "business" is actually art dealing. Both the respectable, surface--white showroom and custom tailored suits kind, and also the underground, men in black, Italian mafia kind.
"He's never liked that side of the business," Seokjin says, wiping down the plates as Jungkook sprays and scrubs them clean, "keeps saying that it's a form a disrespect to the pieces. And that they spend their entire lives trading the ready-made art of others when they could spend their lives making art of their own."
Jungkook nods along, frowning as he mulls over the words, feels their weight on his tongue.
"Never thought about it like that," Jungkook says later, watching Jimin wash up for the night. It's decided that they would share rooms for now till they can clear up one of the older store rooms and air it out enough to turn into a bedroom. Jungkook doesn't really mind--he'd never say it out loud, but he sleeps better with Jimin in the room, sleeps better listening to the sounds of Jimin's paced breathing because it's nice to know that there's now someone who trusts him enough to fall asleep with him in the room.
He sleeps better to Jimin's trust, and his own--that Jimin will be there in the morning when he wakes up again.
"I didn't think about a lot of things the way I do before I came here--I didn't think much at all before I came here," Jimin says, grinning as he slumps into bed. He turns his head to look at Jungkook, curled up in a futon they dragged out of the storeroom they're planning of converting into Jungkook's new room.
"I did, but not about this stuff. All I thought about was getting through another day--fuck the rest of the world and how it looks, I was too busy being pissed at how much it was fucking me over on a daily basis."
"Yeah, I feel that," Jimin says, "but things are different now--I've--we've," he corrects with a large grin, "got a family now."
Jungkook hasn't said the world family in god knows how long--thought it, yeah, when he was cursing the heavens, wondering why in all hell he didn't have one--but he hadn't said--
"Family..." he echoes, in a voice that's shaky and a little reverent. He's never had a family before and he's not sure what it's supposed to feel like. If it's anything like this.
But as he watches Jimin nod and turn back towards the ceiling, Jungkook lets his eyes fall shut, lets the sway of the ship rock him to sleep as he has never been rocked to sleep before, and supposes that this is what it feels like, having a family—just Jimin's breathing and the shifting seas.
Days trickle into weeks which trickle into months, and before Jungkook can wrap his mind around counting the time in anything other than the number of pot roast dinners they've had, it's been almost half a year. His hands have earned their fair share of callouses and his shoulders have broadened till even Seokjin was impressed.
He's now got a full head and a half over Jimin and Yoongi and Jungkook enjoys never letting them forget it at all.
He has his own room now, sure, but he still spends most of his time in Jimin's. It's nicer there, he claims, better air and less turbulence. All bullshit, he knows, everyone knows. He likes it better in Jimin's room because that's where Jimin is when he's not working on deck or in the crow's nest lookout, working on his stars.
"What're you doing?" Jungkook had asked when he found Jimin sitting up there one night with a handheld drill and a plank of wood in his lap, a box of chalk by his legs. Apparently, neither of them could sleep.
"Making art," Jimin had answered and when Jungkook leans over, watches for long enough, it eventually dawns on him that Jimin is charting out the stars.
"Those aren't how the constellations are supposed to be--I've never heard of those before."
Jimin grins, "Why spend your life trading the ready-made art of others when you could spend your life making your own?" he quotes, pointing up, "See, people already made up the constellations that everyone knows, but constellations are just stars connected in a certain way, right? With stories to go with--so I thought, why not make my own? Anyway, I’d like to look up at the stars and have them tell my stories, not other people’s."
Jungkook settles beside Jimin and looks on as Jimin raises his head, lowers it, marks the plank of wood with a series of white dots, before drilling through them and connecting them with the chalk, jotting down their tentative names.
"I've got tons of these already," Jimin says, tapping the wooden plank as Jungkook watches him work, "but see, this one's Bangtan," he traces his fingers over a shape that vaguely looks like a ship, "and this one is The Wine Barrel and that right there's the Telescope, the one that Namjoon--"
"--always uses, yeah," Jungkook says, laughing, chin resting against Jimin's shoulder.
"And this one here's Seokjin," Jimin says, pointing at a series of dots that really just looks like a torso with a very broad set of shoulders. Jungkook laughs so loud he has to bury his face in Jimin's shoulder to stifle the sound.
After a while, Jungkook asks, "Do all the crew members have a constellation?"
"Where's mine then?"
Jimin scoffs, "Geez, you're fresh meat, gimme a bit of time to find a cluster of stars big enough to make a constellation for you."
Jungkook smiles too wide and noses into Jimin's cheek just to annoy him; Jimin is horribly ticklish.
Summer slips and slips into Fall, which tumbles and slides into Winter and by then, Jungkook has almost officially moved right back into Jimin's room because it's warmer when there's two people in the same room, to which Jimin had pinned him with a look and said yeah, but it's cold as fuck when you squeeze me out of the bed.
"Then we'll get a bigger bed."
"Since when did you two start dating?" Yoongi asks as he hops off onto the port deck below.
Jungkook flushes too dark and Jimin rolls his eyes, "Like you don't crawl into Namjoon's bed at night when it gets chilly."
Namjoon sputters but Yoongi just grunts, "He's a space heater. It's convenient."
But as to the question posed, Jungkook can't quite get it out of his head as they restock in the Port of Boston. They're just good friends, Jungkook manages to convince himself the first time he finds himself nudging Jimin out of the way so he could fit himself next to Jimin on the bed, awkward and curled around Jimin but somehow a lot more comfortable than he was on the futon. Jimin hadn't seemed to mind, frowned a bit and mumbled something about not enough space, but snuggled right in and when Jungkook woke up in the morning, it was to a mouthful of Jimin's hair and Jimin's arms around his waist.
It wasn't the worst way to wake up.
Good friends, Jungkook thinks as he follows the rest of the crew into the port city to search for supplies to last them the next month or so.
"Hey, it's the 50th Anniversary of the Titanic today," Jimin says, pointing at the movie posters.
"Oh... never saw that," Jungkook says, frowning as he stares at the image of a young Leo DiCap holding Kate Winslet around the waist set against the backdrop the ship at sunset.
Jimin lets out a gasp that might suck half the world into his throat if he weren't more careful.
Jungkook shrugs, "Not like I had the free time or funds to go see films when I was on my own in London."
Jimin's face softens, but he still punches Jungkook in the arm, pulling out his shitty old Nokia (not like they have much need for cellphones out on the water; not like they have service most of the time either), "Well, it's a classic--I'm gonna text Cap and tell him we're watching it cause you need to see it."
"We're literally sailing around the world in a ship and you think it's a good idea to show me a film about the most tragic shipwreck story in the history of forever?" Jungkook knits his arms as Jimin's phone buzzes.
"We got the okay--oh please, it's a classic," he says, as if that nulls all arguments and drags Jungkook into the theater by the hand.
That night finds the pair of them up in the crow’s nest, a little drunk from the amount of wine they've had from the First Night Off Port Feast, giggling and reenacting various scenes from the movie.
"I'm flying Jungkook!"
Jungkook has his arms around Jimin's middle as they stand next to the lip of the crow's nest, looking out into the ocean beyond, the horizon still simmering from the sunset, the last vestiges of day lingering to kiss the night's hand goodbye.
"Come, Josephine, in my flying machine," Jungkook hums right by Jimin's ear and Jimin turns. Their noses are too close; suddenly, Jungkook can't remember the lyrics.
"This is where we're supposed to kiss," Jimin says, giggling and the most precious shade of pink.
And for a moment, Jungkook is tempted to just lean in and--
Jimin brushes his lips against Jungkook's, so light he might have dreamt it. Jungkook blinks, mind reeling, but Jimin is already pulling away, slipping from Jungkook's arms, humming something or other that sounds like familiarity and fate. They're making their way down the huge ladder, and four rungs from the bottom, Jungkook turns around and reaches out his hand. Jimin smiles, taking it.
"I'll never let go Jungkook!" he says, in a theatrical voice.
Jungkook laughs and his foot almost slips. Jimin yelps as the pair of them go tumbling down the last few rungs of the ladder and when they land, Jungkook's somehow beneath Jimin, the both of them breathless and cursing.
"Holy shit--if we were up a bit higher, I would've died."
Jungkook grins, "But we weren't."
Jimin gives Jungkook's chest a half-hearted punch because their noses are once again too close together and god, Jungkook can feel the wine in his veins, pulsing behind his heart, squeezing his throat shut, pressing behind his eardrums till the whole world is just white noise. And Jimin, the single most point of clarity left.
"What am I gonna do with you..." Jimin asks, voice barely above a whisper. Their lips are now too close too and Jungkook can be almost a hundred percent certain that he had not dreamt the almost-kiss before.
"Never let go," Jungkook says, and kisses Jimin in a way that is the exact opposite of almost.
Seokjin spots them first and only tuts, a wistful little grin on his lips, "Better take it to your room before you give Yoongi another thing to blackmail you both with."
Jimin pulls back, eyes too bright, too glossy, lips too pink and puckered and pretty, pulling Jungkook up with him. "Thanks."
"Where to, sir?" Jungkook asks in a punch-drunk haze as Jimin pulls him down the flight of stairs to the lower deck. And it's only when they're safely within the walls of Jimin's room does Jimin answer, with a smile on his lips that tastes as sweet as it looks--the stars.
And Jungkook thinks, as they mark each other with constellations' worth of kisses and sighs, that learning to dream is one thing--something he'd learned the when he found himself wondering what Jimin's voice would taste like against his lips--but living out one, that is something else entirely.
They spend the rest of the night reenacting the car scene (three or four times over; neither of them really kept count), and, Jungkook reasons, for not having an actual car, they did okay making do with Jimin's bed.
The morning comes in a wave of warm, sore, good morning giggles. Jungkook tries to stretch his arm but finds it under Jimin’s torso, completely numbed out. Jimin shifts and groans.
"My ass feels like... well... ass."
Jungkook laughs into a cough, "And what an ass it is."
Jimin laughs, leaning up to peck Jungkook on the lips.
Good friends, yeah the fucking hell right, Jungkook thinks to himself as they pull apart.
"C'mon, let’s get some breakfast. We've got mop duty again today." Jimin wiggles out of Jungkook's hold and lips off the bed, rummaging around for a fresh pair of underwear.
"Got anything new, Captain?" Jimin asks as he and Jungkook brush by Namjoon on deck. He's holding his extendable telescope to his right eye so hard it's going to leave marks.
"Yeah, there's another ship on the horizon."
"Hm, wonder what it's carrying. Probably cargo," Jimin says, shrugging as he shoulders his mop and makes to go off.
"Nah, it's too small for a cargo ship. And it's got canons."
"Oh, fancy," Jimin grins, soft and easy and jerks his head towards the top level of the deck, "C'mon, I wanna get this shit done before lunch so I can actually eat without tasting soap suds in my food."
Jungkook casts Namjoon one last glance before following Jimin and the pair of them get through about a quarter of the top section of the deck before Namjoon is shouting at them.
"Start up the engine! Hurry the fuck up!"
"What? What's wrong?"
"Pirates!" Namjoon is racing passed them into his Captain's cabin, flipping a motherlode of switches, one hand poised on the steering wheel.
"Are you fucking kidding me?" Jungkook gapes, jerking forwards as Jimin almost bowls him over in his mad dash for the lower decks. The ignition is below the lower decks, and has to be started by hand--only downside of redoing the innards of an old ship with new parts. Adjustments had to be made.
Three minutes later, the ship's great engine roars to life and the world seems to slip right out of under Jungkook's feet. Literally. He's knocked onto his ass from the momentum of the ship and sooner rather than later, the whole crew is on deck, looking confused and a little scared.
They only ever use the engine when docking and leaving port. Much more control that way.
"Fuck, they're coming after us," Namjoon says, cranking the wheel so far left the ship is physically tilting onto its side.
"What are we doing? Where the hell are we even gonna go?" Jungkook asks as he watches Yoongi and Seokjin take up places on either side of Namjoon, pushing buttons as well, Yoongi settling a huge pair of headphones over his ears and flipping on the radio switch.
"Dial my parents--they might be able to, I dunno, send us help or something."
"I feel like I'm watching some kind of film," Hoseok says, his fingers laced tightly with Taehyung's. Taehyung, usually so talkative, is dead silent, eyes sharp as gemstones, watching Namjoon, Yoongi, and Seokjin scrambling.
"We gotta get them off our tail, get as far as we can in the other direction until help gets here," Namjoon says, leveling out the ship as it makes a full U-turn and then shoots off in the direction that they came. At this point, Jungkook isn't sure where that is but so long as it's away from the pirates, he figures its they want to be.
"What can I do to help?" he asks.
Jimin appears by his elbow, arm winding around his waist on instinct. Jungkook leans into Jimin's touch, desperate for something to ground himself on--Jimin's skin, the way he smells right after a shower, his voice over seeping into Jungkook's shirt and soaking there for the rest of the night.
"Just... go keep look out somewhere, all of you, let us know where their ship is compared to ours. And keep an eye on them to see if they're pursuing us," Namjoon says, and it's times like these when Jungkook can see why he's the Captain.
Jimin and Jungkook both automatically make for the ladder to the lookout post. Jimin climbs up first, Jungkook right behind him, and when they reach the lookout, they press into each other's sides, eyes honed in on the rapidly approaching speck on the horizon. It's not a large ship, not at all, probably about a third of the size of Bangtan, but Namjoon was right, it had guns. Big ones. Canons--like the ones that Bangtan used to have but were removed for space purposes. And who the hell would have thought that they'd need canons in this day and age.
Apparently they do.
It takes forty minutes for the pirates to reach them, thirty five for them to be within shooting range and by then, there's nothing any of them can do.
When the first hand grenade lands, they're all a bit thrown (not literally, not yet anyways) because no one could have thrown a hand grenade that far. But it goes off, followed by a volley of them and Jungkook and Jimin watch suspended horror as they realize that the guns they'd seen on the ship are made for launching the hand grenades.
"Fucking smartass bastards," Jimin grits through his teeth, yanking the trapdoor open ad climbing down. Down below, Taehyung and Hoseok are yelling, promising to meet back in their room and they can hear Yoongi and Seokjin screaming into receivers installed into the control deck, Namjoon screaming at them, all punctuated with the periodic bang-crick-crick of grenades exploding through their just-mopped wooden deck.
A grenade goes off right at the base of the main mast and the whole things sways. Jungkook flattens himself against the ladder but below him, he hears Jimin yelp--then then horrible, telling sound of a body hitting the ground.
"Fuck," Jungkook says, glancing over his shoulder. They weren't that far up but still far enough. He can no longer feel his stomach, nor his legs or fingers as he somehow makes the rest of the way down, jumping the last three rungs to kneel next to Jimin. He's moving, breathing, groaning--thank god.
"Shit, I think I hurt my back or waist or something. It hurts like a motherf--ow," Jimin groans as he tries to move, face contorting with the pain.
"Fucking fuck, holy shit, okay, we need to get you somewhere safe--" Jungkook looks around wildly--something behind him creaks.
"Jungkook, the top mast is about to fall," Jimin says, in a terrifyingly calm voice, eyes fixed at a point over Jungkook's shoulder.
Jungkook's body reacts his before his mind has the time to--he scoops Jimin up in his arms and darts towards the only place he knows is safe enough on the entire top deck--Captain’s Quarters. He ignores Jimin's positive howl as Jungkook picks him up and by the time they're both inside Namjoon's room, Jimin is whimpering, fingers curling into Jungkook's shirt front, eyes squeezing shut.
"I'm sorry, I'm sorry," Jungkook says, rushing over to lower him onto Namjoon's bed. Outside, an earth rumbling crash cues them in that the top mast has fallen.
There's a momentary quiet before the last rally of hand grenades detonate.
"I... I think it's over," Jungkook says," padding over to the window, peering out over the rim before standing up to look out properly, grimacing at the damage.
"Yeah, they're leaving--"
Jimin lets out a breathy little laugh, "Guess they figured it wasn't worth the trouble after the damn top mast fell."
"Who the fuck still pirates in this day and age?" Jungkook storms back to Jimin's bedside and plops down next to him, resting a hand on his stomach. The whole ordeal must have lasted no more than fifteen minutes--twenty at best. But it's hard to reconciliation this too-sharp, grating sense of reality with the hazy mid-morning routines that had come before.
"You'd be surprised," Jimin says in his best imitation of a light, conversational voice. But his breaths are labored and Jungkook is about to answer when someone raps on the door. They both stiffen--maybe it's not over, maybe the pirates made it on deck, maybe--
"Open the fucking door," Yoongi's voice calls from the other side.
Seokjin taps at a window to the left of the door and looks all too concerned.
Jungkook lets them in--lets the whole crew in and they pool around Jimin on Namjoon's bed. Namjoon brings up the rear looking haggard and very much worn.
"They blew up one of the propellers," he says, tugging on his own hair out of frustration, "and the topmast's fucking wrecked--we're gonna have to dock up once we hit land and get all that repaired."
"I can't fix the top mast, but I can take a crack at the engine once we're land on," Jimin offers, wincing through his words. Namjoon's gaze softens as he settles next to Jimin on the bed.
"I saw you fall--it was pretty far--" his voice goes deep and smooth and rumbling, rocking like sea and sky and Jungkook traces circles into the back of Jimin's hand.
"You just worry about resting up. Can you sit?"
At the question, Jimin grimaces. "I... I don't think so. I can't... I can't feel anything passed my waist."
Namjoon stiffens. Seokjin shifts. Yoongi's eyebrows shoot up and Taehyung and Hoseok lace their fingers. Jungkook's stomach settles somewhere too close to the core of the goddamn earth and burns.
"I'll get you some pain meds," Seokjin says, laying a hand across Jimin's arm, "and some sleep meds too--you just need to knock out for a while."
"Surprised the fall didn't do that for you," Yoongi says, chuckling as he pats at Jimin's feet before he sees Jimin frowning down at them as if they're a foreign object attached to his body, as if he isn't quite sure what they're doing there.
"Right, pain and sleep meds," Seokjin says, ushering everyone from the room. Hoseok tugs on Taehyung's hand but Taehyung doesn't budge. His brows are furrowed and his eyes over bright.
"C'mon, we gotta let him rest," Hoseok says, lips brushing by Taehyung's cheek. Taehyung shakes his head.
"I'm not leaving."
Jungkook's heart clunks behind his ribcage--that's not right, it would be him saying those words. It should be--
Jimin laughs, "Tae, I literally cannot go anywhere. And I'm tired. Get out and lemme sleep." He sounds warm, sincere, happy. Jungkook swallows. He sounds like he's in pain.
Taehyung shakes his head again. "I'm not leaving you here."
Best friends, Jungkook remembers--
He also remembers the cinching, constricting feeling the first time Jimin mentioned it, lying on the deck back when summer still hummed along with the music of sunset, skipping over the waves as the fire dies down and the world takes its first cooling breath of the day.
So where does that leave me? Jungkook had wondered, by the way Jimin had turned to look at him then, like he didn't need to look up to find the stars anymore, quelled any doubts that Jungkook might have voiced.
"At least lemme have a bit of privacy with my boyfriend," Jimin says, rolling his eyes.
At this, Taehyung relents, coming right up to Jungkook, gripping his arm with an imploring look in his eyes, "Don't leave him alone."
Somewhere off in the back of Jungkook's mind, Jimin's voice echoes up--I'll never let go, Jungkook!
He swallows and nods and finally, the door shuts. Silence permeates the air, sticking against Jungkook's skin as he makes his way to Jimin's bedside. Jimin makes to move over so Jungkook can lie down too but he hisses when his torso shifts, a slew of curses following. Jungkook's throat catches and he waves his hand, frantic.
"Don't, don't--holy shit, don't try to move. Please."
Jimin rolls his eyes. "Calm down--not like I'm dying."
Jungkook glares. "Don't."
"Alright, alright," Jimin says, putting a hand up and sinking back into the blankets with a heavy sigh. It sounds like secrets bubbling right in Jimin's chest, fighting to get out, secrets that Taehyung already knew and Jungkook can feel brushing against is skin but he doesn't want them. He doesn't want to feel them, to hear, to see, to know. He wants to close his eyes, clap his hands over his ears, and scream till it all goes away.
Seokjin comes back in with a handful of pills and a huge mug of warm water. With Jungkook's help, they somehow manage to get them all down Jimin's throat. When he's settled back into the pillows, Jimin lets out a soft laugh.
"How the tables have turned," he says, grinning sleepily up at Jungkook, "I was sitting right where you're sitting when they first hauled you up and left you in my bed. Had to force pills down your throat too."
"Just shut up and go to sleep," Jungkook says, settling into the chair he'd stolen from Namjoon's desk. Jimin squeezes his hand and Jungkook forces a smile.
"Don't let go," Jimin says, voice fading as he closes his eyes.
"Never," Jungkook says, grinning, feeling a little cheesy, but the weight in his chest doesn't let up and it isn't until Seokjin is rapping at the door again does Jungkook look up to realize that it's well after dark and that it's time for dinner.
"You gotta eat something," Seokjin reminds him, tugging a very reluctant Jungkook out towards the table where everyone is situated, looking quiet and solemn.
"You can bring him back some when you're finished," Hoseok says. Taehyung is frowning into his food and Yoongi hasn't touched his. Namjoon is picking at his sausage.
"We need to figure out how to establish contact with someone on land," Namjoon says after a brief, thick silence.
Jungkook nods, "Yeah we need a doctor."
Namjoon nods, but his frown deepens, "But half our wires have been blown out," he jerks his head towards the control room. Jungkook turns his head and for the first time, the damages to the ship dawns on him--splintered wood everywhere, a great chunk of the railings is gone, holes blown through the deck and a massage gash where the top mast had fallen, now probably floating off somewhere at sea. It seems like a small miracle that the ship is still floating, that their second engine is still humming beneath them.
Jungkook's eyes scan over the rest of the crew--everyone is nursing some kind of injury, bruises and cuts, Yoongi's arm is in a roughly made splint.
"And with only one engine and no top mast, the nearest bit of land we can reach is at least two weeks away--if not more."
"Can't we like... call someone?" Jungkook gestures at the open air. "You guys have phones right?"
"Yeah, and what signal? Not like we have LTE or like plans or anything--we use those phones on land by those pay as you go things," Yoongi says, frowning and jabbing at a sausage of his own.
"Or send out SOS signals or something?" Jungkook pulls at a fistful of his own hair.
"We already did," Hoseok says, shaking his head, "haven't heard anything back yet, but we'll keep at it."
"Jimin's not gonna last that long," Taehyung says and the whole table quiets. Jungkook's head snaps to so fast he almost gets a crick in his neck.
"What do you mean?"
Taehyung levels his eyes with Jungkook's--they're dark and deep and hard.
"He's injured his spine, really badly. He needs surgery as soon as possible, and I mean like in the next day or two."
Jungkook is about to protest again when Yoongi nods.
"That's what Namjoon said too--and Tae's parents were both big-shot surgeons before their hospital was--"
Hoseok gives him a look and Yoongi takes a deep breath, "Well anyways, I'd trust Tae's judgment on this if anyone."
"So... so what?" Jungkook asks, looking around the table, feeling his blood pressure rise, his heartbeat sky-rocket. "We're all just gonna sit on our asses and watch Jimin--I thought we were a family--that's what he calls you guys--"
"We are," Seokjin says, voice firm and right on the verge of breaking, "we're trying everything we can to get to land as quickly as possible. But we have--" he takes a deep, shuddering breath, "We have to prepare for the worst."
"You should go check on him," Namjoon says, nudging a plate of food towards Jungkook, who nods, a prickling heat clawing up his throat, at a complete loss for words, and retreats into Namjoon's cabin where Jimin is sleeping.
The night passes in flashes of fitful slumber. The chair by Namjoon's bed isn't comfortable but Jimin's hand in his is reassuring, until it isn't--until its slick with sweat and Jimin is whimpering as the ship creaks and sways, this way and that. Jungkook spends half the night in a nightmarish stupor, swapping out the damp towels Seokjin had left with him, patting down Jimin's face, kissing his forehead, his eyes, murmuring in his ear in some hope that Jimin can hear, that it'll calm him down, give him a little respite from his pain.
The morning comes in dull aches and sharp pains.
Jimin has almost soaked through his sheets and Jungkook's hand is numb from where Jimin's been clutching it too tight all night long. Even in sleep, Jimin is so damn strong.
Jungkook rests his cheek against the sheets by their interlaced hands as Namjoon comes in to check on them, bringing with him a plate of breakfast and a pitcher of fresh water.
"More pills," he says, setting a handful of tablets into Jungkook's palm, "to help with the pain."
Jungkook nods, setting them down on the bedside table before gulping down a great mouthful of water. His head feels waterlogged and heavy, his limbs are sore from being bent the entire night, and his mouth tastes like a washed up beach along some remote island.
Jungkook and Taehyung swap out shifts for the next twelve hours and Jimin remains in a drugged out daze of intermittent slumber, sometimes waking for a couple of minutes, eyes wild and unfocused, muttering something incoherent, sometimes calling out for Jungkook, helpless sounds coming from his throat as they try to keep him as still as possible.
Jimin's fever peaks and breaks somewhere between midnight and dawn and Jungkook is exhausted by the time the sun comes up, but he can't fall asleep, no matter how hard he tries. His face is buried in the sheets by Jimin's body when he feels fingers in his hair, gentle fingers, nails skimming against his scalp.
Jungkook jerks up, eyes wide.
"Look who's finally awake," Jimin says, voice too, too weak.
Jungkook makes to get up, makes to call everyone in but Jimin catches his hand and shakes his head.
"Don't--I want to just... be with you for a while." He smiles and god, everything he does is so soft, too soft, every word is quiet, too quiet, as if he's fading, right before Jungkook's eyes.
Jungkook nods, chewing on his lips, settling back into his seat, clutching Jimin's hand in his own.
"You know I was sitting right where you are--"
"When I first got here, I know," Jungkook says, nodding with a tiny little laugh, "you told me."
"Karma works in weird ways, doesn't it?" Jimin asks, letting his eyes fall shut again.
Jungkook doesn't know what to say, if he should say anything, so he settles for silence, settles for squeezing Jimin's hand.
"I'm dying," Jimin says, in that horridly calm voice of his, the kind he always uses when stating something awful and true. I don't remember what my mom's voice sounds like but sometimes I hear her screaming when I close my eyes; the top mast is falling; I'm dying.
"Fuck, Jimin--" Jungkook almost chokes on his own voice but Jimin gives his hands a squeeze back and Jungkook shuts up.
Jimin flashes him a tiny smile, "Taehyung told me--and he's the closest thing we have to a doctor on this ship."
"Don't--oh my god, I'm gonna kill--"
Jimin laughs a laugh that makes him wince and Jungkook cuts off again, berating himself for getting so over-excited when Jimin's so fragile, so--
No, he shakes his head, no, no, no.
"Guess they should've known better than to name a ship bulletproof, huh, that's some Titanic bullshit, right there," Jimin says, glancing around the cabin. Jungkook heaves a sigh that borders on a quiet sob and Jimin turns back to look at him.
"Hey, hey, you don't get to get all sobby on me," he says, shaking Jungkook's hand.
"This isn't fair, this isn't--I wanted--we still have so many things--" Jungkook can't get one thought out before another comes barging in and Jimin nods.
"I know, I really wanted to have sex under the stars," he says, almost dryly and Jungkook lets out a choked little laugh.
"But we got to be with each other, right? Be dreamers... for a bit."
"I'm not doing this," Jungkook says, pinching his nose bridge to keep the hot, prickling feeling from welling up behind his eyes, "We're not doing the cheesy--thing that couples do when--"
"Oh c'mon, it's like my last few hours, at least let me be che--"
"It's not. Stop saying that," Jungkook snaps and Jimin cuts off, blinking. Jungkook's heart tears itself clean in half, neat and tidy and he almost wallops himself across the head. "I'm sorry--I didn't mean--I--just... please stop saying that you're..." he gulps.
He can't. He presses his lips to the back of Jimin's hand and doesn't see Seokjin watching from the window, doesn't see Namjoon shaking his head and lowering his head, doesn't see Taehyung burying his face in Hoseok's neck or Yoongi leaning up against the railings a way off, watching the water crash up against the side of the ship.
"Remember when we did the whole never let go thing?" Jimin asks.
Jungkook nods, and as if to illustrate, he holds Jimin's hands all the tighter and Jimin smiles.
"Well, I'm gonna tell you something you can hold onto and never let go, okay? C'mere."
Jungkook leans forward, "I-I'm listening." To be honest, he's expecting I love you, he's expecting I love you because he wants to say it back--needs to let Jimin know that I love you too.
But Jimin's lips pause by Jungkook's ear, breath kissing Jungkook's cheek and he says, "Let go."
Sea burial, they decide, is the only way for Jimin to go. The entire thing takes a single afternoon three days after Jimin dies. They lower his body into the water with an entire barrel wine. Jungkook stays by the railings the whole night through, Taehyung by his side. They don't talk much, just share in the thick, star-swollen silence.
"He stopped making his constellation things recently," Taehyung says, feet swinging light against the side of the ship as it hums towards land.
"Really? He always said it was his dream to map out the entire night sky," Jungkook says.
Taehyung nods, chuckling, "I asked him that too, but he just turned to me and said--'I don't need to chart stars anymore--not when I've got my own right in front of me.'" he scoffs, "He was also so damn greasy."
Jungkook doesn't answer, just lays back onto the deck till he can see the stars splayed out above them. Taehyung joins him a moment later.
"Never... never even got to tell him that I love him," Jungkook says, in a voice that's just above a mumble, because the words still make his cheeks go pink, the feeling still fresh in his chest, the butterflies in his stomach still young enough to be fluttering. He should be able to feel like this holding Jimin's hand and telling him, whispering it against his neck, kissing it along his spine. He should be able to feel like this lying with Jimin under the stars (and hell yeah, Jungkook had wanted to have sex under the stars too), tracing their own constellations into each other’s skins.
"You didn't need to," Taehyung says, "he knew. He knows."
Jungkook quiets and Taehyung sighs.
That night, Jungkook rummages through Jimin's stacks on stacks of constellation boards till he finds a nearly empty one, one with only a few marks on it, though it's clear where Jimin was trying to go--Jungkook written in white chalk across the top of a series of stars that are, sure enough, quite large.
Jungkook carries the board, the chalk, and Jimin's handheld drill out to the nose of the deck and settles there, tilting his head up, searching till the finds the patch of stars Jimin had chosen, squinting around it till Jungkook finds another patch of stars right close by and he sets to work.
By the time he finishes, his palms are covered in chalk and wood shavings litter the ground around him. He draws the thin lines connecting each point to the next and leans back to admire his handwork. A lot more crude than Jimin's for sure, but it's passable.
He lets out a contented little sigh and leans back in to scribble two words across where he'd wiped out his own name, above the two clusters of connected stars, shaped vaguely like two bodies connected by the wrists--The Dreamers. He presses his lips to the wooden plank, stands up, and leans over the railings, letting the plank dangle from his fingers.
He takes a moment, a deep breath, and then, he lets go.
Years later, after the voyages of the Bangtan become something of an international sensation, after they all get dragged back to land and the sordid affairs of all those who live there, after they've all managed to make something of themselves and Jungkook becomes an astronomer, one of the most noted in the field for his star-charts of self-made constellations, people ask him why, why make your own constellations.
"Because I'd like the stars I see when I look up in the sky to tell my stories, not other people's," Jungkook says, "And because it's a dream to map out the entire night sky, isn't it?"
"So would you consider yourself a dreamer?" the interviewer asks, adjusting her hands in her lap as the cameraman pans over to focus on Jungkook again.
Jungkook opens his hands and smiles, "Of course."
"But isn't it something of an impossible dream, to map the entire night sky?"
Jungkook nods, "The dangers of being a dreamer," he says with a heavy sigh, "is that once you reach your dream, once you're living it, it's bound to end one day--so that's why it's always smarter to have an impossible dream, so you'll always have something worth chasing after."