there is a greek myth that says that, when life is breathed into us, we are divided into two, left to roam the world in search of our other half.
yoongi avoids the question, “do you believe in soulmates?” , because, for as long as he has lived, he has lived alone, hoping he won’t, at least, live out his days unnoticed.
there is a greek myth of a flawed and sorrowful man that holds up the world.
when jungkook falls, bewildered as to who would ever wish for him, he sees the man crying, his tears dripping and colliding into galaxies.
there is a greek myth that says that, when we are born, we are divided into two, left - bare and sinful - to travel the world to find our other half.
but what if your other half exists in the sky.
when jungkook finally finds the mortal who wished for him, he is cold and much more tainted in a human form; his heart is constantly hurting and his hands, that are still covered in black stardust, clutch at his chest.
when jungkook finally finds yoongi, he is dirty and weak and broken.
when jungkook finally finds yoongi, he is afraid he won’t want him anymore.
when jungkook finally finds him, yoongi is sobbing, his red-knuckled hands rough in his hair.
jungkook has never touched a human before, but yoongi’s shoulders are small and he's much more lovely than jungkook ever thought a human could be, skin soft and presence warm.
and jungkook has never seen him unlike how he is right now, but the red in his cheeks and the glisten on his lips are more beautiful than the galaxies that used to surround jungkook’s body.
“but, are you human?”
“in a way, i guess?”
“why does that sound like a question,” yoongi throws stone after stone across the lake, but they splash and sink beneath the blackness of the water.
jungkook laughs and reaches out, slowly slipping a stone from yoongi’s pale hands. yoongi shivers and his fingers barely twitch when jungkook meets him, but he mainly just watches jungkook’s movements.
jungkook angles his wrist and throws, and the stone skids perfectly across the surface of the water. “and why did that sound like a statement?”
yoongi scoffs and turns his back to jungkook. over his shoulder, jungkook can see the faintest sign of a smile on yoongi’s face. “everything i say sounds like a statement.”
and right then on that lake, is when jungkook decides he wants to make yoongi smile a little more every day.
jungkook becomes fond of the music yoongi listens to, the grain that stays hidden behind the vocals and the rush of the chorus.
at one point, he falls asleep on yoongi’s tattered couch, the record of past musings playing along with his breathing.
and when he wakes up, he becomes fond of the sound of the record scratching.
yoongi apologizes every now and then for the things he can't give jungkook. he has a steady job, he explains: a tattoo artist at the parlor in downtown, which explains the little items of hidden meanings that are painted on his body. a couple on his shoulder blades, one on his lower back and two more on his wrists. jungkook had only seen the first two by accident. yoongi had fallen asleep in his bed, immediately collapsing after his usual 2am shower, his towel around his waist but nowhere else. jungkook had come in with a coffee in the morning, but he left soon, leaving the mug on yoongi’s nightstand, his warm hands being of no comfort to his burning cheeks.
and even though every little thing yoongi has or does is more than enough, yoongi apologizes, wanting, always, to do more.
“you know, i thought you wouldn't believe me.”
“about what i was.”
“you mean what you are. ”
jungkook watches yoongi flip pages in his book. he's wearing glasses but jungkook doesn't think he needs them, not even sure they have actual lenses in them. and there's a part of him that wants to take that polaroid camera of yoongi’s that he'd learned to use but, then again, he knows yoongi wants him, too.
jungkook smiles and looks down at his hands, fidgeting with the dirt and stardust that he can't seem to get out from underneath his nails.
“yeah,” he looks back up and for a moment realizes how much he craves yoongi’s eyes on him. but they aren't. they're on the words on the pages of his book, on the pencil and the journal to the other side of him. “what i am. ”
jungkook realizes much later that yoongi had never explained why he had believed him so easily.
when yoongi urges jungkook to sleep, jungkook tells him he can’t because he doesn’t know how because he’s never done so before .
and he apologizes when he gets stardust on yoongi’s pillows and his coffee table and, eventually, yoongi’s cheek. he had tried to brush his tears away, but all he’d done was give him a kind of wet glow.
and yoongi won’t tell him why he’s crying. all he says is that it’s different now, it doesn’t hurt as much anymore. and if jungkook asks why it’s different now, yoongi won’t answer.
yoongi won’t answer a lot of things and his pain isn’t something jungkook can shine away.
“you've never been to the theater?”
“i lived as an actual star for most of my life.”
yoongi waves his hands and takes a sip of his coffee, pushing his glasses up. “yeah, yeah, whatever. i just figured you'd of tried to live a little before finding me.”
jungkook doesn't understand. “no? i came straight to you.”
for a moment, jungkook realizes how much he craves yoongi’s eyes on him.
and they are.
yoongi doesn't ask why, but jungkook half wishes he would, even if he has no idea what his answer would be.
jungkook talks about how the colors on the screen or so real, it must be a window. and yoongi explains that it isn't the screen that's creating the picture. he tells jungkook to look up and -
there's a beam of light and colors, dust shifting in and out in waves.
“it's almost like when i…” jungkook feels a bit silly, explaining, but yoongi nods in place of the absence of his words. “yeah. except it's better.”
yoongi laughs, uses his hand to push jungkook’s head back down towards the screen, rather than up at the projector. “and why is it better?”
jungkook complies to yoongi’s hand for a moment, before looking back up. “well, you're here. you weren't with me before.”
yoongi lets his hand fall from jungkook’s hair and jungkook continues to watch the light.
back home, yoongi is in an inner meltdown because jungkook had stared in wonder at the movie screen, colors painting his perfectly sculpted features.
and yoongi, ironically, can't think of anything other than the stars to compare jungkook’s eyes to.
“did you know anyone else? you know…” yoongi points up while shrugging his coat off his shoulder and jungkook laughs, gently, and leans back, hands in his pockets.
“not many. i knew of more than just knew . there was one star near me, brighter. we all thought he’d be the first to be wished out. and then there was the sun, of course. too far away for any of the rest of us to do anything but admire.” jungkook takes his own coat off and collapses onto yoongi’s couch.
“what was the other star’s name?”
jungkook looks down and, “i don’t remember.”
“i’m, um… forgetting a lot. i don’t know why.”
there’s a hint of stardust around jungkook’s ear, and tracing his jawline, but yoongi doesn’t want to tell. “right.”
yoongi is quiet, then, and so is jungkook. the next time yoongi looks over the couch, jungkook’s eyes are closed and his glow is soft, his hair just barely in his lashes.
sleeping must be becoming easier for yoongi’s star.
yoongi takes jungkook to the library on his next day off, two books with little white stickers on them tucked underneath his arm.
and jungkook doesn't know where to look. for one, there's the books, the mass of books. and he had thought yoongi’s shelves were already a wonder. but there are rows upon rows upon rows of shelves. and then, nearly every person reminds jungkook of yoongi. of course, the way yoongi flips the pages of a book will always be the way yoongi flips the pages of a book , and the way yoongi gnaws on his bottom lip will always be the way yoongi gnaws on his bottom lip.
but there are people with glasses and little soft glances and jungkook can only think of yoongi.
while yoongi reads and sips on dark coffee, jungkook watches them. falling meant meeting yoongi, but it also meant meeting humanity, like if jungkook were a computer and someone inserted a flash drive that began to flood his mind with new knowledge.
he put everything into folders, but then he’d observe someone who would surprise him, and his drive would overheat.
there’s a boy at the counter that jungkook is bewildered by.
“what’s your name?”
“um, jimin, sir. it’s park -”
“yeah, okay, well you can you help me with this. there’s a page that’s been torn out and i…”
yoongi’s voice fades out and jungkook keeps his hand latched onto his shirt, quietly breathing. if he’s too loud, he’s afraid that yoongi will pull him off, or that jimin will stare too long.
park jimin . a name tag that’s perfectly straight is clipped onto his shirt pocket, his sleeves rolled up past his elbows. the way his black hair parts over his forehead reminds jungkook of the way the ocean bends or the way clouds move across the night sky.
jungkook feels a tug somewhere interwoven with the very fibers of his existence. he turns and catches a glimpse of stardust floating and departing through the library doors, a boy, with tinted glasses sitting on the back of his head, leaving the specks in his wake.
“i think i remember his name.”
a page flip. “whose?”
“the other star’s. the brighter star. the, um… the favorite star.”
a page flip. “oh. what's the name?”
rays that reached every heart and every soul. no matter how weak or how broken, he’d fix everything just with a smile.
“taehyung, i think.”
park jimin is a wonder. he is graceful and a bit too lovely at times. jungkook and yoongi, both, make him laugh abundantly, a gentle sound that goes in time to when he throws his head back and moves his hands over his lips.
there's something about him that is familiar to jungkook, like jungkook had been told about him by someone. a memory that doesn't necessarily belong to him, but is still somewhat tangible.
jungkook sees the boy again, the boy who puts his glasses on the back of his head. and he knows him. if anything, he knows the bits of stardust that circle around the boy's neck and hands.
taehyung - is who sits at a table near theirs and watches jimin like jungkook watches yoongi. taehyung is who sits with a coffee and a book near his hands, but hasn't touched either of them once since he sat down.
taehyung is so bright and so quiet and he watches jimin from afar.
“you could always talk to him.” yoongi runs a towel through his wet hair, rubbing a sore spot on his neck. jungkook would help if he weren't so afraid. instead, he watches yoongi’s neck slowly grow red from the pressure.
“i don't even know if he remembers me. it doesn't seem like he does.”
“why wouldn't he?”
jungkook doesn't remember much about taehyung, forgets a tiny bit more every day. but he does remember how much taehyung used to smile for everyone else, yet rarely ever smile for himself .
there’s a boy at the counter that jungkook is bewildered by.
“maybe jimin wished for him.”
him. see there? i want him to wish for me. no, not him. the one with the eyes like the waning moon and that sweater that’s too fucking big on him. yeah.
jimin’s smiles are sad, jungkook decides, but they are sad in another way entirely to the way yoongi’s smiles are sad.
they are trivial and enigmatic, hidden beneath a facade of sheer joy.
but there is one day, one day out of the ninety-five days jungkook has spent amongst humanity -
where taehyung gets up from his chair.
jimin laughs and taehyung watches him, fingers on the nape of his own neck.
nervous little star.
jungkook has a feeling taehyung could shine as bright as he used to. but something about jimin must make taehyung’s young knees shake.
“he says he knows you.”
jungkook nearly drops the books in his hands. yoongi is off at work and jungkook had kindly declined his offer to take him along, explaining that he wanted to spend a day at the library to read. yoongi will often call namjoon, a college friend of his, and talk about books that jungkook knows nothing about. and jungkook isn't at all envious. not one bit.
jimin takes the books, silently, from jungkook’s arms, running them over the scanner. “tae. he says he knows you. you two met before?”
jungkook stares at jimin, realizing taehyung hasn't told him a thing about who he is.
“um. maybe. i think so. i thought i recognized him, too.”
another few beeps from the scanner. “well if you remember, tell him.”
jimin’s hair is tainted with a few specks of stardust, and his smile is tight around the corners. jungkook swallows.
but it's taehyung who comes to him first, later that day when he picks jimin up from the library.
“are you jungkook?”
yes. i am. yes i -
but there's a part of jungkook that wants to say no, for some reason. he feels different than before. like he belongs on the surface rather than in the sky. he doesn't want to remember.
“yeah, i… i am. taehyung, right?”
when a star smiles, they shine. when taehyung smiles, he becomes a flare, worthy enough of the sun.
and he wraps his arms around jungkook, their hearts made of glitter beating against each other. he laughs in jungkook’s ear and jungkook feels a smile slowly sew itself onto his lips.
“ah, i missed you.”
yoongi won’t answer anything until jungkook asks, “do you believe in soulmates?”
and he stares at jungkook for a while before saying, “i guess.”
and because jungkook fell and yoongi is “different now”, jungkook wants to know what he was like before.
but when jungkook asks the one who stands under the earth and bears all its sorrows, he gets a response that says,
“you don’t want to know.”
yoongi takes him to work one day, because jungkook has convinced himself that he wants more than just the library walls sculpted into his memory.
the parlor is dark, inside and out, its music is low but jungkook can still feel it through the floorboards. there are classic cola machines and neon signs. and jungkook feels a very different energy from yoongi here than anywhere else.
yoongi is still his same concentrated self, the needle and the subject being like those books he peers holes into. as his hand moves slowly, steadily, jungkook realizes he's holding his breath, but he only lets it go when yoongi has finished a stroke, and takes a breath himself.
but there's some kind of on edge to yoongi when he's like this, or when he's here, or when he's doing what he does for a living. yoongi was always exciting, but now it's an animated peace that resonates from his eyes, sending giddy shivers down jungkook’s spine and electrifying the particles beneath his skin.
customer after customer enter the store, jungkook giving them each a soft smile, sitting by yoongi’s work station. there's a girl that comes, young and her skin untouched. she bears a nervous smile and shaking hands.
yoongi smiles this time. “first time?” she nods, her smile growing.
yoongi is gentle with every customer, but the way he lifts her hand is more so. jungkook’s stomach does flips, for some reason, and he pulls his legs up into the chair, crossing them, in an attempt at comfort. “i got my first one on my wrist, too.”
“oh, really? what did you have tattooed on?” jungkook picks up the way she tries to ease her excitement, pushing strands of hair from her face. she is quite beautiful, he thinks. but, since he fell, jungkook keeps realizing that every human being seems to be beautiful in their own way.
“a moon.” yoongi lifts up his sleeve a bit, revealing a waxing crescent, shaded completely black. jungkook has never had the chance to see yoongi’s tattoos up close, too afraid to ask, so he cranes his head over to see, a spark of envy in his chest as the girl smiles, closer to yoongi than he is.
“my friend, namjoon, used to always call me the moon. usually during my college mood swings.” his laugh is breathy, tired. “the day i got it, he had said i was in my waxing phase, fitting. he was there with me, some kind of support, i guess, even though i’m older.”
jungkook smiles. sometimes he forgets he's never actually met namjoon, given how much he knows about him from yoongi. he's never asked, but jungkook always wondered if yoongi talked about him, too.
yoongi pulls his sleeve back down and sighs. “so, what are you wanting?”
“ballet slippers. just the outline of them, if that's okay.”
“of course it is. it's your wrist. how are they meaningful to you?”
yoongi talks the most when he's working, jungkook has noticed, maybe to ease and comfort his customers. his touch and voice are both so soft, jungkook could fall asleep if he were in that chair instead of the girl.
“i study ballet. i want do it as a profession, one day, when i can.” she watches yoongi as he slips on gloves, and gets out the needle. she looks away, but her smile stays on her lips. “i came here to study with a friend of mine, actually.”
talking helps the customers, too.
“came here from where?”
“japan.” she lets out a breath, and shakes more of her hair from her eyes. her arm is small and pale against the black of the chair. fragile, like every human.
“ah…” and then he starts. the girl winces, smiling, her breathing is slow and steady.
jungkook reaches over and grabs her other hand when she bites her lip, and her eyes snap open. jungkook is afraid for a moment, wondering when he'll ever not be fearful of humanity. but she smiles, softly, again. she lets her hand rest in his and closes her eyes again.
yoongi is staring at him when jungkook looks up, the needle hovering. jungkook tries to read his expression, but yoongi is looking back down before he can.
“what's your name?” yoongi’s voice wobbles at the beginning, but quickly evens out. jungkook only notices that he's gripping the girl's hand too tightly when she begins to fidget. he apologizes and she nods, her eyes still closed.
“pretty,” jungkook says, smiling at her when she thanks him.
he doesn't look up, but yoongi is staring at him again.
jungkook is all types beautiful and one type difficult. and that's simply because yoongi is stubborn.
yoongi is stubborn because he has a boy that sleeps under the same roof as him, who makes his coffee just right, who washes the dishes when he falls asleep, who brushes away the eyelashes that have fallen onto his cheek.
and he won't tell him a thing. because jungkook is all types beautiful and one type difficult. and that's simply because yoongi is selfish.
yoongi was alone, besides the calls from namjoon and the letters from hoseok, his other friend whose smile stretches across oceans, just like his two feet, who lives everywhere but never in one place. hoseok had been yoongi’s contradicting sunshine who cried much more than the clouds seem to.
he sends his love in postcards now, instead of crumpled up notes whizzing towards yoongi’s head during class. now, he's too far away for yoongi to do anything but admire him.
yoongi, right out of college, was alone with namjoon who had seemed to succeed steadily, unlike yoongi’s hand clutching desperately to the back of his friend's tailored coat. his friend who was so tragically kind that yoongi couldn't bear to be the reason that he would have to open up his wallet one extra time that day. his friend who would wave it off with a smile, yoongi biting at his own trembling lips.
yoongi who apologized for apologizing, for being too quiet or being too loud. for being on his own or sticking around.
and he was sorry he'd selfishly wished for jungkook on a night when his heart ached the most, three missed calls from namjoon and a postcard from new york beside his books.
sorry that he can't give his favorite star a perfect life.
yoongi is smiling on a thursday.
and jungkook wonders if the sun loves yoongi, too,
yoongi is crying in his bathroom at 4am on a saturday.
and jungkook would rather his existence have made yoongi happy.
taehyung and jimin were made for each other, yoongi thinks.
they are drift compatible; their steps are each other's steps, they say the same thing at the same time, they reach for the same things and their fingers touch, making jimin giggle behind those small hands of his, and taehyung teases the way his cheeks blush.
“maybe we were made from the same star, tae.” jimin laughs at his own cheesiness, and misses the way taehyung’s laugh is delayed and quiet.
“where'd you hear that? you don't think like that.” taehyung smiles, weakly, for some reason. but he still smiles.
yoongi and jungkook watch, sitting across from the two of them. taehyung, maybe absentmindedly, reaches up and strokes jimin’s pink cheek, rubbing his chin lightly before letting his hand fall. it's normal, and jimin hadn't seemed to of noticed it at all, still in a fit of giggles, but the action is heartbreaking, somehow.
“i don't know. the internet, or somewhere.” jimin’s laughs ease out and taehyung’s eyes haven't looked away from his for even a second. they only do when jimin’s cheeks bunch up one last time, his eyes becoming little crescents. taehyung laughs, easily now, and drinks from his tea that was happily abandoned on their table.
and yoongi notices that taehyung doesn't look at jimin’s eyes for the rest of their stay, but he stays smiling.
jungkook meets seokjin in the spring.
yoongi already knows him, apparently, from the café he used to visit daily with namjoon, and they laugh about old memories together; namjoon’s perpetual clumsiness, seokjin’s jokes that left baristas smiling uncomfortably, yoongi’s denial that he knew either of them.
seokjin’s hair is dyed a light pink, the same color as the planner by his hands that are equally as beautiful as the rest of him, and he has a general aura that is just alluring and, at the same time, welcoming, like jungkook has known him for years, when he has barely even known him for hours.
and jungkook smiles to himself at the contrast between yoongi and him; black hair to pink, black pullover to white button-up shirt. closed off voice to a confident one.
and jungkook watches as yoongi smiles.
smiling seems to be easy around seokjin, too, like it is around jimin and around taehyung. but yoongi seems to smile less when there is only jungkook to be around.
“were you all that close to him?”
“not really.” yoongi is paying very little attention to him, his fingers scrolling on his phone. jungkook looks forward as they walk.
“you seemed like it.”
at some point, jungkook finds himself missing yoongi, even though yoongi is still here; his toothbrush is still beside jungkook’s, he’s still in his bed when jungkook wakes from nightmares of images he can’t explain, those slippers are still there, that coffee stain on the table is still there, meaning: yoongi is still there, still here .
and yoongi is still there, but there is so much that’s missing, and there’s more and more, little by little, that seems to be fading away.
yoongi is selfish.
and yoongi is sorry.
because jungkook is beautiful.
and jungkook is innocent.
and, in yoongi’s mind, jungkook deserves more than what he can scrape up. he would say he’d give jungkook the sky, if that were possible and if jungkook weren’t already so familiar with the feel of it in his veins.
if jungkook couldn’t name galaxies and constellations and if jungkook couldn’t tell yoongi what really hides inside black holes (which is sadness, apparently, the greatest mystery and the most silent killer that even the stars feel).
if jungkook weren’t the most beautiful piece of the collapsing sky, yoongi would try to give it all to him.
but jungkook, most of all, isn’t his.
yoongi looks up at the sky one night while jungkook sleeps and realizes that all the stars are dying.
and maybe they look down and think, all the people are dying.
jimin calls on a sunday, when it’s raining and the sun hasn’t shown his face in a while. he calls, and his voice is frantic noise about something having left.
“he didn't say anything?” yoongi stands in the middle of jimin’s apartment, jungkook stays by the door. and jimin -
jimin is pulling at his hair, his sweatshirt, that seems much too big on him and not quite his style, loose and exposing rubbed red collarbones. jimin, characteristically predictable, pulls his hands from underneath the blankets that are his sleeves, and runs them over his neck and over his shoulders. a beautiful mess.
“no, i - no. he didn't. i don't know where…” he paces the floor, walks to one corner, then back to the middle, then back to that same corner, as if he would have overlooked taehyung sitting right there, in that chair, in that corner.
but there is no taehyung. there are only candy wrappers on their coffee table and coats that aren't jimin’s.
there are remnants of him, but there is no star.
“did he talk to you?”
it takes jungkook what seems like eons to notice that jimin’s voice is directed at him.
he stutters a no , but jimin doesn't look away.
“you… you knew him before i did. is there anywhere he would go?”
try the sky.
jimin speaks in waves, if he speaks at all.
when he comes to work and yoongi and jungkook happen to see him there, he gives them a smile - his default one, yoongi has labeled it.
everyone has a default smile, and some happen to simply be gestures. yoongi’s old math teacher’s smile was a wave, his korean teacher’s was a nod, his brother’s was a hand ruffling his hair, and his mother's was a kiss on the forehead. if there was ever a day where the sun had not even sent a postcard to daegu, his math teacher did not wave to him, his korean teacher did not nod to him, his brother did not ruffle his hair, and his mother did not kiss him on the forehead.
the last day yoongi saw any of them, the sun was away.
jimin’s sun is away. his small sun, but his brightest star, nonetheless.
jimin speaks in waves, his voice pushing out tide after tide of broken-hearted happiness. his smiles fade in under three seconds, and his hands stay hidden in his pockets. his hands are just cold, he says, i don't know why, he says.
jimin’s star is away.
and he's still wearing his clothes. and maybe, he likes the feeling of drowning in them.
“jungkook, are you -”
“we should go to the theater again.”
yoongi watches the way jungkook pulls his sleeves down over fists, his smile twitching a little before easing out.
“yeah. sure, kid.”
yoongi kisses jungkook’s forehead that night when he thinks he's asleep. they aren’t seen, shielded by something so mundane as a house, but the stars watch the two of them, hearts aching, light pulsing.
he whispers something, pleading:
they see the library and they see jimin one last time, without knowing it's the last time.
he told them he'd met someone with a smile like taehyung’s smile and eyes like taehyung’s eyes. yoongi knows he just means bright, but he's afraid of jimin falling in love with someone who he just sees as like taehyung.
then, the next day, there's a girl with red eyeshadow at the desk, instead of jimin. jungkook and yoongi sit alone at their table in silence.
“we should go to the theater.”
“kid, we’ve seen all the good movies, i don’t think -”
“one more time?”
you’re the closest i ever felt to being human.
jungkook should’ve told yoongi, but he didn’t and he doesn’t.
the light around his head starts to waver and yoongi asks, always asks, why. but jungkook just shrugs and pushes the hair out of yoongi’s face. yoongi’s nose scrunches up when jungkook touches him, but he doesn’t retreat.
add that to the list of things jungkook wishes he could live for.
“yoongi, why did you wish for me?”
“in order for me to have fallen, you had to have wished for me.”
“how do you know it was me?”
because i want it to be.
there are lots of things that the two of them should have said; yoongi should have answered jungkook’s questions, and jungkook should have let yoongi ask more questions.
and when he leaves, stardust is covering the pillow beside yoongi’s, where'd he spent his last night. he leaves kisses of starlight along yoongi’s cheeks and on the blackness of his hair.
he touches yoongi’s records and his books. and, after, he feels regret, hoping more than anything, that yoongi won't grow sad at the sight of stars.
“i thought you looked lonely.”