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The Time of Our Lives

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If you were to ask Kim Taehyung how exactly the ripped boy with dyed blond hair streaking down their football field is their fault, he might tell you it has something to do with a dare, a bit of lust, and a lot of peacocking.

If you were to ask Kim Yugyeom, he would say it’s all Taehyung’s fault.

It starts, like most things, at a match.

Aside from the fact that they are their biggest rivals, playing Club MXV is always particularly eventful, owed almost entirely to cocky forward Shin Hoseok. It started out innocent, banter regarding his name, jokes about playing their Hoseok against MXV’s Hoseok. Their Hoseok hated those jokes— don’t fucking compare me to some asshole from fucking MXV —but it was harmless, really.

Then they got around to playing a few more matches against MXV, and they learned about Shin Hoseok’s habit of pulling his shirt off after a win and jogging along the sidelines, arms outstretched in victory. There’s nothing really special about his brand of peacocking. The thing is, Jackson and Jimin are just as bad. At a match against XO, they upended bottles of water over each other’s heads, running hands through their wet hair and throwing sultry glances at the crowd. So it’s not that there’s anything inherently unordinary about Shin Hoseok.

It’s just that Wang Jackson and Park Jimin do not like being outshone.

It was bad enough that they lost the season’s first match against MXV that day, 3-1. Jaebum was pissed, Namjoon was lecturing Bambam on “being one with the ball,” and Yoongi was trying to comfort a devastated Youngjae. But then MXV’s Hoseok had to go running around the field with his blond hair rippling and a white-toothed grin. Worst of all, he winked, and some girls on their side cheered. Their side.

That’s about when Jackson grabbed Jimin’s arm, shook him around, and exclaimed, “Do they think he’s hotter than us?”

“He is pretty hot,” Jimin said a little wistfully.

So Jackson tugged his shirt off, too, and walked past the bleachers with his hands locked over his head, sweat dripping down his chest. Jimin followed a little while after, pouring water over himself, head tossed back sensually. Across the field, Shin Hoseok upped his game.

They ran into him that night at a bar off campus. MXV hadn’t left yet; they actually had money to stay in hotels. They didn’t have to bust their asses to get back to university after every away game like GB did. Jimin was the first one to notice him sitting alone. He joined him at the bar with a challenging glance, ordering a stronger drink than the pink one Hoseok played with.

Hoseok snorted. “You want to compete off the field, too?”

That’s when Jackson and Yugyeom came to join Jimin at the bar, Taehyung following close behind. If Jaebum knew they were out for drinks the night after a loss, he’d kill them. He and Namjoon had them running drills down the field for hours that evening.

“We’d win in any competition,” Jackson bluffed.

“You couldn’t even win the one that mattered.” Hoseok flipped his hair back with a smirk.

“You really think you’re hot shit, don’t you?”

“Clearly your fans think I am.”

Yugyeom had to physically restrain Jackson from lunging for him.

“You could run butt-ass naked down the field and our fans still wouldn’t give a flying shit about you,” Taehyung said.

“Bet you’d lose all your fans if that happened. Who’d want to cheer for GB when MXV has someone as hot as me?”

“Bet my ass that wouldn’t happen.”

“Is that a challenge?”

It wasn’t supposed to be a challenge, not really. Yugyeom denied him immediately, busy imagining Namjoon and Jaebum’s faces if Hoseok actually did happen to run down their field naked. After some more shit talking, they went their own ways, and that was that.

At least until now, when Shin Hoseok streaks through the middle of their match against SVT, and the rest of them stare at him pass in frozen shock.

The referees are the first to move, followed closely by Yongguk, their sometimes-coach. They chase him down, but Hoseok is known for being fast. He ducks through the stands, disappears behind a fence, and he’s gone. One of the referees tries to follow, but there’s no point. The damage is already done.

(They still beat SVT 4-3, saved from a draw at the very last moment by Jinyoung’s brilliant dive to catch the ball before it slides into the goal.)

It’s Jungkook who first suggests the idea of revenge when they’re mulling about the locker room.

“If we let him get away with that, it’ll go down in history.”

Bambam agrees. “They’ll talk about it for ages, that fucking MXV pulled one over on GB.”

“Can’t he get suspended for that shit?” Mark says, tugging a clean t-shirt over his wet hair. It gets stuck over the crown of his head. When he yanks it down, Hoseok (their Hoseok) is waiting an inch from his face with an ugly expression. Mark doesn’t even startle, just pushes him back with a hand to his chest. Hoseok slinks away, disappointed.

“I hope his dinner spoils,” Seokjin mutters, bitter, as he dusts the insides of his cleats with powder.

“That’s the worst you can come up with?” That’s Yugyeom, glaring, rubbing muscle cream over his sore calves. “I hope he falls in a ditch and—”

Jinyoung clips the back of Yugyeom’s head as he passes him, a towel wrapped around his waist and water dripping down his collarbones. “Behave.”

“We have to get back at him,” offers Jungkook, leaning against a row of metal lockers with his arms crossed. “Don’t they all live in the same dorm at their uni? Maybe we can teepee their floor.”

“That’s kind of mean.” Youngjae walks out of the showers, shaking the water out of his head like a puppy. “Won’t a janitor have to take care of that, not them?”

“Depends on what kind of dorm they live in.”

“I feel personally attacked.” Jackson rests his chin on Jimin’s bare shoulder, pouting, as he addresses them. “He was trying to out-sexy us.”

“Shut up, Jackson.”

“No one cares about your sexiness ego.”

“This is a serious insult to the team as a whole.”

“You better not be talking about revenge out there!” Namjoon’s shout is loud enough to be heard from the showers, from where he, Jaebum, and Yoongi still haven’t emerged. “If you get us suspended, you’re dead to me.”

The guilty looks they exchange only last about two seconds before Taehyung pops up, a grin on his face. It’s the kind of grin that means trouble for the rest of them.

“I’ve got an idea.”

-

A fact: proper pranking takes research.

In order to pull one over on the 13 members of Club MXV, the boys learn a number of very important things.

  1.       MXV all live on the same floor of a boys’ dorm building at their university.
  2.       The co-captains Hyunwoo and Hakyeon share a room. (They decide to leave that one alone. The co-captains are surprisingly nice.)
  3.       The whole floor shares one bathroom.
  4.       The dorm building has no security other than an ID key.
  5.       MXV’s Hoseok’s room is right next to the bathroom (that’s the most important fact).

Sneaking 14 people into a Konkkuk University dorm building sounds like a recipe for disaster, so they consider drawing straws. In the end they don’t even have to. Namjoon and Jaebum are out of the picture to begin with; being co-captains, it’s best if they don’t learn about the plan at all. Yoongi and Mark count themselves out in favor of sleep, Jinyoung and Seokjin don’t want to be caught up in the mess, and Hoseok has an exam in the morning.

The rest of them dress head-to-toe in black with sunglasses, beanies, and face masks to cover up. Taehyung even suggests gloves. They park Jackson’s shitty car not too close and not too far from the dorm building. It’s four AM, and they’re banking on no one being awake to spot the rather suspicious crew of boys dressed like robbers slinking through campus.

Taehyung tinkers with the ID scanner and somehow (they don’t bother questioning the things Taehyung manages to do anymore) gets the door unlocked. According to their insider knowledge (Jimin’s little brother goes to school at Konkkuk), MXV lives on the fifth floor. They clunk around for a while, hissing at each other to shut up. Bambam is the only one who manages to walk somewhat quietly.

“Is that a community room?” Taehyung whispers, stopping by a glass door so suddenly that Jimin bumps right into his back. “Sorry, Mini.”

“Don’t call me that!” Jimin bristles.

“It looks like a community room.” Youngjae peeks through the small square windows zigzagging the wall, revealing a TV, fridge, and numerous couches. “Why?”

“All right, half of you take this room. Flip all the furniture upside down. The other half follow me into the bathroom.”

Flipping the furniture upside down doesn’t take long. They tag-team, lifting couches onto their heads as quietly as they can, placing the table legs up and even unplugging all the TV’s wires.

“Let’s turn the fridge over, too,” Jackson says.

“That’ll be way too loud,” Yugyeom protests, but they all move for the fridge, anyway. They remove the fridge’s contents (half a cake and tons of energy drinks) then, between the four of them, flip it on its head. They put everything back, upside down.

Meanwhile, Taehyung, Jimin, and Bambam flit through the communal bathroom. They toss balled-up toilet paper into all the toilets, flushing them one-by-one until they clog. They shove paper towels into the sink drains and turn on all the taps, then do the same to the showers. They even flood the tub tucked into the corner that looks like it’s never been used.

“Perfect,” Taehyung says, standing in the doorway with his hands on his hips like a king overseeing the destruction of battle. “By morning, it’ll be totally flooded.”

“Hope it floods the asshole’s room first,” Jimin mutters, still bitter.

They’re startled out of their victorious trance by Jackson, who skids into the bathroom looking panicked. “Someone’s coming, it’s one of the defenders, the scary one—”

“Jooheon?” Youngjae squeaks, eyes wide.

“He’s fucking coming here to piss or something, we gotta run—”

They dip so fast they leave a whoosh of air behind them. Jooheon is walking down the hallway in bunny slippers (bunny slippers?), yawning. The only reason he hasn’t seen them yet is because he’s rubbing his eyes nonstop.

And then a room door bursts open just before Jooheon passes it. He stops, squinting, his nose inches from the door.

“Oh, sorry.” It’s Wonshik, the purple-haired striker.

“Nah, it’s cool, dude,” Jooheon mumbles back.

Jackson waves his hand back, indicating that it’s about time they start moving. They inch for the stairs, backwards, still staring at the two guys standing in the hallway. Jungkook is seconds from opening the door to the stairwell when Wonshik looks in their direction.

“What the fuck,” he says, monotone.

They run.

Skidding down the stairwell, bumping into each other, hissing orders. They can hear Wonshik and Jooheon coming after them, yelling at them to stop. They burst out the door and speed through the grass around the building, past the first parking lot and into the second one where Jackson’s car waits. Wonshik and Jooheon are hot on their heels.

“Go, go,” Jackson shouts, leaping into the driver’s seat. It doesn’t help that his car is all manual, meaning he has to reach over to unlock the passenger seat, and when Jimin falls in, he has to unlock the back doors for the rest. By the time all seven of them have piled into Jackson’s tiny car, Wonshik and Jooheon have nearly caught up.

“Don’t tell me you’re GB assholes—” Wonshik shouts as the two of them come to a stop, catching their breath.

“Sucks to suck,” Jackson shouts back.

They lean out of their windows as they drive past them, hollering and flinging insults.

“See,” Taehyung says cheerfully as they’re driving safely away, “I come up with good ideas sometimes.”

-

When they first reconvened for conditioning at the start of summer, Jaebum and Namjoon had some fairly strict words for them.

“No pranks.”

“If you even think about stealing MXV’s mascot like you did in the spring—”

“I’ll literally flay your goddamn hides.”

“He doesn’t mean that. You’ll be running laps until you vomit, though.”

“Don’t prank each other, either.”

“Just because Youngjae and Jimin are gullible doesn’t mean it’s okay to tell them we’re practicing in Halloween costumes in March.”

(This was met with protestations from the two mentioned— Gullible? We’re not gullible! —and pleased giggles from the prankers.)

“And quit stealing Jackson’s clothes when he’s showering.”

“I know you all wanna see his dick, but not in the locker room.”

( Nobody wants to see his dick.

You’ve got it all wrong.

You’re kidding, right? )

“If you assholes don’t come to every practice, you can quit the team.”

“He doesn’t mean that. But you’ll have to condition extra.”

“Win a match, and I’ll buy everyone meat. Lose, and I’ll keep you practicing until dinner’s long gone.”

“He probably means that.”

And so on and so forth, until they finally got around to talking about the upcoming season and mapping out plays. Eventually, the somewhat expected question came from Youngjae, just as they were heading out onto the field.

“You’re gonna bench me less this season, right?” He sounded so earnest that suddenly everyone was looking around the room, everywhere but at him.

“We’ll see how things go, Youngjae,” Jaebum finally said, his tone as gentle as could be.

“Just focus on working hard this summer, yeah?” Namjoon ruffled Youngjae’s hair as he passed by, and that was that.

Pranks were, ultimately, out of the question. They’d played enough of them last season that Namjoon and Jaebum were absolutely Done. But pranking is, as Bambam sometimes likes to put it, in their blood . It’s only expected that they end up breaking the rules three matches into the season.

What’s not expected, however, is that Namjoon and Jaebum find out so quickly.

Two days after they flood MXV’s bathroom, the captains call a team meeting in the locker room. They pile onto benches and the floor before practice, chattering and teasing each other with no inkling of what’s to come.

“Whose idea was it?” Jaebum cuts straight to the chase.

“Whose idea was what?” Jimin says innocently.

“Don’t fuck with me.”

“I didn’t have anything to do with it,” Jinyoung says, throwing his hands up.

“Look.” Namjoon holds up his phone, where it’s open to a video on Twitter. “My friend at Konkkuk posted this.”

They scoot closer to watch. The scary defender Jooheon wades through a few inches of water in the bathroom, sweats pulled up to his knees. Sanghyuk the goalkeeper follows, complaining loudly. They’re holding rags and buckets. In the last two seconds of the video, someone in the background shouts fuck GB . The video’s caption reads someone pranked the football team & they have to clean it up themselves , with a little laughing emoji attached.

Jungkook is the first one to start laughing, followed shortly by Yugyeom and Bambam. Then they’re all laughing, falling over each other and snorting.

“Did you see his face ?”

“That’s like two fucking inches—”

“It’s gonna take them hours to clean that shit up—”

“I hope Hoseok had to unclog the toilets—”

“Hey!”

“—not you, the other one—”

“This is going to go down in history .”

Namjoon groans, falling back against the lockers with his hands covering his face. “You dumb fucks, they know it was you. Dorms have cameras. We could be suspended from the rest of the season because of this.”

“Their dorm doesn’t have any cameras,” Youngjae pipes up. “We checked.”

“And we wore masks,” Taehyung added. “There’s no way to prove it was us.”

“A hundred laps around the field. Go.” Jaebum’s face is stone cold. He points toward the door. A roar of complaints follow, especially from the ones who had nothing to do with the prank. But Jaebum is impassive. “Now, or I’m telling Yongguk.”

That shuts them up quick. They’re tying stray laces and making a beeline for the door to the field before Jaebum can say another word. If Namjoon and Jaebum’s wrath is frightening, then Yongguk’s is all of Hell set loose upon them.

Once the boys start running, expressions of doom upon their faces, Jaebum nudges Namjoon.

“Did you see Sanghyuk’s face, though?”

Namjoon snorts. “Those MXV douchebags deserved it.”

-

They run a hundred laps, and they practice for two hours. By the end of it, they’re dripping with sweat, too exhausted to even talk as they shuffle toward the locker rooms. Jimin doesn’t move to follow, dribbling a ball with his feet as he watches them go.

“You staying back, Jiminie?” Jaebum asks, lingering behind the others.

“Yeah.”

“Don’t push yourself, okay?”

“Sure, hyung.”