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Lest We Burn-Out, Unkindled

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Breathless,

Inhale, and ask them about the scent of love,

Some would recall the sweet fragrance of warming relics,

Some would recall the bitter sting of distant reminiscences.

 

Passionless,

Shiver, and ask them about the perception of warmth,

Some would feel the soft touch of a merciful angel,

Some would feel the sharp jerk of a vengeful devil.

 

♥♥♥

 

First time of anything would always be the most memorable, moulding a probably everlasting impression and leaving quite an aftertaste that would forever burn in your memory—all because ‘first-time’ was sublime.

And meeting someone had that singular quality, the uniqueness that was exclusive to each person of meeting them for the first time only once in a life time. Unluckily, there existed an emphasis on ‘only once’; unless, of course, you had amnesia, then the luck element would become a bit debatable here.

Still, Jungkook was lucky enough to relive the soulful experiment a couple of times.

 

His first time seeing Park Jimin was summed up in a reprobate scene of desires explicitly stated in shameless pairs of lingering eyes, of tantalizing smiles and intoxicated hearts feeling playful under the influence of some strong drink called Sex on the Beach.

Nearly twenty-four years on his mother planet and never did Jungkook think he would be familiar with every unspeakable inch of someone’s body before he got to learn the basics or at least their name. A name because let’s be real here, what would you moan during sex if you didn’t know the other person’s name?

But alas, neither did he think his Hyung would, with every aspect of the word, kick his ass out, throw a pre-packed bag at him and tell him to take a break and enjoy life. To ‘have fun, lose control,’ to ‘meet someone, fall in love, get laid’—or not necessarily in that specific order considering Jungkook's take on his Hyung’s words of wisdom. In simpler terms, it was Min Yoongi’s fault that Jeon Jungkook was tainting the body of a silver-haired angel back then after eye-fucking him for approximately an hour.

Even if Jungkook didn’t know said angel that well (or at all, such minor details), knowing Jimin in the Biblical sense must count for something, no?

Forgive him father for he had sinned.

Somewhere between the knowing look exchanged at the beach-bar and the frisky smile on the kissable lips, between following—getting lured to the Angel’s room and sliding his tongue into the Angel’s sugary mouth in the hallway, Jungkook's first winded words, his single statement of ‘be my one night stand’ was more than welcomed on the Angel’s part.

It had taken a few minutes of heat and sweat and rasping breaths before Jungkook's shoulder-angel had kicked him in the balls, awakening his true nature while holding back his wantonness albeit for a few seconds.

“Wait,” Jungkook had finally done the unimaginable and pulled away on breaking through the spell cast by both of their sex-drive. “Your name?”

From beneath him, Jimin could only stare in disbelief through heavy-lidded eyes. “Does it really matter now?”

At Jimin's breathless question—at his hoarse and slightly-aggressive tone, Jungkook considered caving in. It had taken every ounce of self-restraint in him to keep holding Jimin's wrist up and away from rolling the condom onto his dick. It had taken him an awful deal of effort to push the silver strands away from Jimin's face so he would commit the sculptured face to memory instead of pushing into Jimin. He shrugged, feeling weaker as the pressure increased on his balls; they were more than ready, foreplay had left them in one damn pinch.

Jimin groaned and it sounded too much like a husky moan to Jungkook. Yes, of course Jungkook needed to be more turned-on. He made a mental note that next time he wouldn’t play the goody-two-shoes card while he was getting his brains fucked out.

“You can call me Chim,” Jimin had yanked him down into a lecherous kiss as his hands finished what they should have before this rude interruption. “And I know you're called ‘Kookie’. Now please less talking, more doing.”

Jungkook could hardly not laugh into that kiss; that was the spirit.

 

Rewind and do it right.

“You're smiling,” Jimin said. He was tracing the rim of his glass with his finger and if Jungkook didn’t know better, he would have mistaken Jimin for smiling shyly. What had Jungkook been doing anyways? Silently marveling at someone couldn’t possibly get said someone shy, could it?

As if bewitched, Jungkook kept on staring even while the cigarette burnt away between his fingers.

“Just trying to figure you out.” Apparently, Jungkook's tone was back to being the international playboy he had left behind the day he graduated college.

If it were up to him, if Jungkook were to be brutally honest, he would have said, but you're smiling because you, too, know.

He didn’t know much about Jimin; hell, Jungkook didn’t even know his real name—but he wasn’t in any shoes to criticize. He only knew what mattered. Chief of which, Jimin was by no means the shy type, not one to do coy flirtation either.

Exhibit A: Jimin was very, like very, vocal with what he wanted, on and off bed alike.

Exhibit B: ‘Great in bed’ was a term coined solely for Jimin; and still, it wouldn’t be doing him justice.

But even more perplexingly, Jungkook was always in a fight-or-flight mode around Jimin for some reason. He was somehow always on his toes but also on guard—fired-up yet mistrustful. Something about Jimin—his beguiling smile, his honeyed tone, his flirtatious head-tilt and most importantly, how physical he was, overwhelmed Jungkook, which made the latter even more cautious.

“So, this ends in a few days?” Jungkook asked, stubbing out his cigarette and making a few rings of smoke. He pulled his chair closer to where Jimin was sitting just in time the latter had leaned in and smoked what Jungkook had just sighed, suggestively so.

“What is ‘this’?”

Jungkook pulled him into a kiss, one that Jimin reeled in and almost let escalate, indifferent to the people around them or the law violations they would be making if this went on a second longer. It wouldn’t be their first time violating the abovementioned law.

Jungkook pulled away, half amused by how high and dry his kiss had left Jimin. “This.”

Jimin laughed; Jungkook briefly shut his eyes. Heightening one of the senses required relinquishing another; that was the Theory of the Five Kinks of 18-year-old-Jungkook; one Jimin had proved extensively efficient and thoroughly valid on the course of the last few nights.

“Unless you don’t want it to.” Jimin teased, sipping at his drink.

Flirtation was a language they were both fluent in. And Jungkook would rather avoid answering any questions. So, with mute lips but loudly expressive eyes, he led Jimin into a secluded part of the beach; one that the tattering moonlight reflecting off the ocean surface was unrepentant to romanticize. Wordlessly was how Jungkook met all the questions unfulfilled in Jimin's eyes and, much less, in his own.

It didn’t matter; on that island, both of their mouths weren’t made for talking.

During that week of vacation, Jungkook had had sex with Jimin more than he had sex in the past five years or so. The point of a vacation was chilling, being outdoors and making most of enjoying oneself. Jungkook was outdoors and enjoying himself alright; after all, he was there to lose control. And what better way to lose control than to baptize every possible area in that resort with Jimin.

It would come as no surprise to him that he couldn’t recognize Jimin later, or remember him for the matter; since he was seeing more ass than face of Jimin during that infamous week. One week in paradise, seven days in heaven and Jungkook more than knew it couldn’t end like that.

Jungkook just knew.

 

 

He first met Jimin for the second time while he was on his way to Busan.

Jungkook was going home for Christmas even though he couldn’t feel the slightest hint of the holiday spirit in him. He was suffering from Lack of Motivation syndrome mixed with What-Am-I-Doing-With-My-Life mid-twenties crises. Jungkook's only hopes for that train-ride was for the person sitting next to him not to be one of those people incessantly babbling about their lives or those who snored too loudly.

He was late and he could hardly form an impression of the sleeping cotton candy next to him once he took his seat. Jungkook threw a look at the small guy sleeping with his head propped against window, at his pink hair hidden under a cap and his mouth behind a mask which covered the majority of his face. He marveled at his long eyelashes and wondered how lovely a pair of eyes this stranger must have for them to be fringed with such delicate eyelashes. Jungkook thought maybe it would be a fun ride after all.

Cotton Candy seemed to emanate such peacefulness and tranquility while sleeping that it had rubbed off on Jungkook and lulled him to sleep.

Cotton Candy was AWOL when Jungkook came to—which was when the train came to a halt.

He stood up to get his bag when he heard a voice invading the architecture of his mind.

“Mind handing me that duffel bag next to yours?”

No sooner had he turned around and saw the blinding smile than he faltered and got knocked off his axis. He dropped his backpack, flustered and feeling like a boy-on-his-first-date kind of clumsy. The guy with the pink hair no longer had his mask on and Jungkook thought it must be a crime against law, a sin against the gods of lips and smiles to conceal such blissful features.

 “Are you okay, do you need any help?” Cotton Candy’s hand was extended out, about to reach for Jungkook's arm in concern after inelegantly having dropped his bag.

“I'm gay.” Jungkook said under his breath. He could see confusion in his emerald eyes. Jungkook eventually sucked in a deep breath and spoke louder this time, “I'm okay. I'm okay. Here’s your bag.”

He quickly gave him the red cute bag and shuffled awkwardly past him, further as possible from Cotton Candy before he added ‘not jumping another stranger’ to his New Year resolutions—or re-added it from last year’s resolutions.

 

 

He first met Jimin for the last of times in the most unlikely of places … or Jimin met him.

Thirteen months after their first meeting, after Jungkook had established that week was nothing but a steamy figment of his unbridled imagination, he had found Jimin standing before him in the library.

The thing about memory was that it was a fascinating thing. It could perfectly recall one thing while block-out the other entirely; its filtering system wasn’t usually one’s best ally. Memory didn’t necessarily block-out an event because it was unsavoury, what one would call an attempt to shield one’s heart—a defense mechanism. It would wipe-out a certain memory, as though it never happened; it would tamper with the details as much as it liked, and it would irrevocably ruin the subjective perspective of both reality and truth … all for the heck of it.

Jungkook was impatiently tapping his fingers against the counter, waiting for the librarian to attend to him. He was so lost in thought that he didn’t bother batting an eye when a person stood next to him. Jungkook only looked to his side when he saw a hand too familiar resting on top of the counter.

Jeon Jungkook might have or might have not developed a baby-hand fetish last year.

Anxiously and almost comically, he turned his head to the side.

There it came; the day where the man of his dreams finally walked out of his dreams. It was Jimin. Naturally, Jungkook couldn’t have hallucinated such perfection—of course he wouldn’t have fabricated an entire week with such finely-detailed curves.

Jungkook was halfway stammering a ‘hello’ and genuinely smiling when the librarian returned. He watched Jimin slip his library-card and a book to the girl.

“A dystopia,” Jungkook managed, eyeing Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451 curiously. “Classic.”

Jimin cocked his head to the side and flashed a half-smile, half-smirk at Jungkook. “So you actually notice things.”

Jungkook smiled, giving Jimin the once-over. Jimin's hair was no longer silver; it was red—fire red. He was wearing some round glasses that Jungkook couldn’t help thinking of Harry Potter. He was clad in some comfortably-oversized creamy sweatshirt and faded jeans. He looked like some bookworm—a skater boy at best. Nutshell, this huggable Park Jimin looked nothing like the Sex God Jungkook had fooled around with over a year ago.

“Damn,” Jungkook whistled low and got a glare from the librarian. “From zero to 100 in no time, you have no chill.”

As Jimin giggled, Jungkook got so lost in that sound that he almost overlooked Jimin's ID card.

Park Jimin. That was his full name.

“Can't believe you forgot my ass so easily,” Jimin grinned.

“Sorry, but you're literally a different person now??” Jungkook was still checking Jimin out, even when the girl Sir’d him more than four times. “You even have red hair now. Like wow, just … wow.”

Jimin only stared back, barely keeping his amusement.

“Sir.” The librarian finally snapped, a hand slamming on the counter.

With some tremendous effort, Jungkook tore his eyes away from Jimin and blinked twice to focus his vision on the girl with the name-tag ‘Momo’. Jimin wheeled away, standing by one of the tables nearby.

Hurriedly and not making much sense, Jungkook managed to ask for the other book he was seeking and leave the library with a laughing Jimin on his hands.

They were at the main door when Jungkook spoke again.

“Park Jimin, huh?”

Jimin shrugged indifferently. “If we’re talking about formalities, then you don’t need a name.” He leaned in, jabbing a ludicrously-rebuking-small finger close to Jungkook's eyes. “I’m your hyung.”

For a second as he tried to work out the maths, Jungkook looked utterly confused. Park Jimin was a stranger—kinda; he was also, relatively, short. He was more or less as tall as Yoongi. So if he mocked Jimin for his height, or the lack of it thereby, it would mean he was calling Yoongi, who was standing a few paces away, short.

And like hell did Jungkook have a death wish.

“Guess I’ll see you around, Jungkookie.” Jimin said, already turning around.

“Hey,” one hand rested on Jimin's shoulder; the other abashedly didn’t know where to be. “You free tomorrow night or you have any other personalities to transform into?”

“I have a minion onesie if you're interested.” Jimin said with a straight face.

A younger Jungkook would have rolled his eyes. Not nearly close enough, Jungkook took a step closer, flirting (or trying to) further. “How about something more mature, more meaningful?”

Jimin narrowed his eyes with a not-so-subtle hint of amusement etched into the corners of his eyes. “Well, it’s not like I'd be putting on a cape and fighting crime.”

For a moment, Jungkook almost gave Jimin a dead stare; one that was so done with Jimin's shit. He cleared his throat and rekindled his flirty smile. “Say, how about I give you a good waste of time tomorrow?”

Jimin took a step forward, same teasing smile accentuating his sexiness—clad in nerdy clothes or not, Jimin still got Jungkook hot. If he craned his neck a centimeter further, Jungkook was going to go for a kiss and he knew nothing would stop him—not even Yoongi’s disbelieving slash amused stare burning at the back of his head.

Jimin's smirk seemed to intensify. “Why not tonight?”

Jungkook managed to level his gaze. “Maybe I would be out fighting crime tonight.”

“Interesting.” Jimin nodded. “Why would you want to give me a waste of time?”

Despite slightly liking Jimin's antics, Jungkook groaned. “You have pretty ass—” he stopped short at the cue of Jimin's soon-to-come laugh and cursed under his breath. “I meant lips, shit, eyes. You have pretty eyes.”

Jimin, by some miracle, subdued his laugh. Again with the head-tilt. “Are you asking me out?”

“I'm fucking trying to.”

Thirteen months had obviously built up Jungkook's frustration and seemingly this was the closest thing he was to detonating.

Jimin was laughing. “I guess I can be yours tomorrow night.”

He almost let a sigh of relief and almost wanted to shoot himself in the head. Where did the frat boy go? Right, Jungkook discarded him long ago thinking he was in no further need for him.

Who would have thought he could meet a Park Jimin? Definitely not Jeon Jungcock.

Jungkook started lighting up a cigarette, smiling warmly at the almost-memories. It had only occurred to him that he neither asked for Jimin's number nor his address when the latter’s figure had disappeared from his sightline and Yoongi had slapped the back of his head.

The guy might be small but had you seen his veiny hands? They could probably pull Excalibur from stone, rip trees from their roots—Jungkook's head from his body … that kind of stuff.

“What did I do now?” Jungkook bit down on the filter and resignedly threw his hands up.

“Other than making a total fool of yourself?” Yoongi deadpanned. “Hmm, not much.”

Yoongi’s native tongue was sarcasm; years had made Jungkook grow immune. Or he was getting there. As Jungkook pressed his lips into a thin line and as Yoongi started walking in front of him, he got a text message.

What kind of kindergarten flirtation skills do you have to fail so miserably at even remembering to ask for my number?

Jungkook didn’t even need to check the name of the sender at the end of the message. A few minutes later, he had set a time and a place for a so-called date.

 

♥♥♥

 

“Did you find the book?” was the first thing Yugyeom said before even greeting his colleague. Jungkook had barely set foot in the headquarters’ main-room when Yugyeom and Mingyu ambushed him, lifting him up from the armpits and seating—throwing him into the chair. Their eyes were already giving him the third degree.

“Seokjin is mad furious,” Mingyu remarked, throwing an anxious look at the door. “He’d be here any second now, and trust me, you could literally see flames fuming around him.”

Jungkook entertained the thought of HIM destroying Townsville, with flames eating up the town while the three B’s quivered at his stare. That was pretty much Kim Seokjin when he was angry.

He sighed. “The book is missing.”

Jungkook could see the effect of his words on their tensed shoulders and clenched jaws. Yugyeom turned around, carding his hair and cursing oh-not-so-lightly. Mingyu shook his head and exchanged a rueful look with Jungkook.

Jungkook stood up and started pacing. “The librarian said it wasn’t available, but her expression looked taken off-guard. Like she herself was surprised the book was missing, you know. She even went to the restricted books alley only to come back with a more stressed expression and further lie to an NIS agent.” He forced a humourless chuckle for the sake of lightening the mood. Which neither of his colleagues found amusing.

“What are we g—” Yugyeom never got to finish his sentence.

Seokjin popped out of nowhere, flinging the door open and holding up a hefty folder. He then threw said folder on the table before the threesome. And there Jungkook thought they couldn’t get more apprehensive.

Silently, Seokjin clicked the power button and the big monitor on the wall flickered to life.

“There’s been another breach.” Seokjin began, crossing his arms. “What you, gentlemen here, dismissed a few weeks ago as some punk playing around turns out to be more serious than you thought.”

Jungkook's eyes quickly skimmed through the screen. Apparently their little ‘punk’ had managed to hack into the library’s supposedly-foolproof security system. Whatever he had done, whether it was to turn it off or buy his group some time till they had taken the books, was executed perfectly and neatly—without a single trace.

Seokjin clicked another button and the screen changed, showing a number of books. “All five books are missing. There had been an attempt earlier to interrupt the minister’s speech and we know it’s the same person or group or whatever the hell it is.” The screen was replaying a part of the minister’s speech. “I'd say you can watch it on your own but I'm afraid you guys would dismiss that as irrelevant too.” He turned and gave them the I-want-to-annoy-you-smile and Jungkook could swear he heard both of his colleagues gulp.

The screen seemed to falter for a split second. “But they failed?”

“No shit, Sherlock.” Yugyeom said under his breath.

Seokjin seemed to be weighing some smart retort when Mingyu intervened, resting a gentle hand on Jungkook's shoulder to draw his attention.

“Woozi managed to block it.” His smile was tense. “Even the great Lee Jihoon is having a hard time retracing the IP address.”

Jungkook had to stifle the urge to sigh eternally.

“What’s so worrisome about those books leaking anyways?” Yugyeom asked with obvious chagrin.

Kim Yugyeom had made a terrible, terrible mistake the second he uttered that line. Calmly, Seokjin closed the distance and stood before Yugyeom who obviously had trouble standing his ground.

“Listen, agent Yugyeom, I'm telling you this as your friend and not your superior. There’s a reason one of those books never saw the light of day. The same reason the other four were banned shortly after their publication.” Yugyeom seemed to diminish as Seokjin seemed to loom. “If everyone had access to those books, it’d stir a possible revolution which could possibly manifest into a national crisis.”

There was something lifeless about Seokjin’s eyes, a certain haunt lurking in them. “Political, social and philosophical crises, agent Yugyeom. You wouldn’t want to witness that, take my word for it.”

Jungkook took a seat, leafing through his file. Accidental ManifestoIce NineOn the Numbness of SensesSisyphus in a Pandora Box, and A Good Kissing Carrion were the five books that, so far, were found missing.

Jungkook had muted them and continued skimming through the pages; Seokjin was still rambling about their incompetent asses and lecturing Yugyeom. He kept digesting the information. Facts, dates, their very own failures—he was looking for some link. From the corner of his eye, he could see Seokjin turning around and Mingyu leaning towards Yugyeom.

“Imagine everything you once believed in, everything society blindly follows, every single ideology being questioned. The things the government is keeping away from the people getting exposed in the open,” he was speaking in a hushed tone. “That’s Ice Nine and Accidental Manifesto for you.”

“Hyung,” Jungkook’s eyes left the file and met Seokjin’s. He knew calling him ‘hyung’ on duty was something Seokjin didn’t condone, but that was just how grave his thought felt. “On the Numbness of Senses by Anonymous—it sounds familiar.”

He could swear Seokjin’s jaw tensed. The gears in Jungkook's mind struggled as they tried to pinpoint the familiarity.

“I want that punk behind bars as soon as possible.” Seokjin said, ignoring Jungkook's remark. He was calm, way too calm even for the Kim Seokjin. “I don't care how you do it, just get it done. I don’t want to witness another episode like today’s.”

The door was shut. And all three of them had wished it was slammed—they feared this Seokjin more than the expressively-angry Seokjin.

Something was off. And Jungkook was more than determined to find out what and why.

 

♥♥♥

 

It was chilly for a September night. Even the sky seemed to darken in a protest to that change of atmosphere. Jungkook couldn’t complain though; he thought the stars always looked most brilliant against the darkest of canvas.

He was on his way to meet Jimin, partly relieved because somehow Jimin became his escape, considering a year ago, and partly burdened because the stress of work weighed him down, leaving him restless and eager to solve the puzzle. He was deliberately walking so he could both gaze at the wonders of nature and clear his mind albeit imperceptibly.

He heard a whistle and instinctively his eyes started tracing the source. On the roof of some four-storey building, he could spot a small figure whose hair blazed as fierily as any of the stars above in that silent night. Jungkook picked up his phone as he smiled lazily.

“Change in plans?” he asked.

Jimin laughed; they were making eye-contact even through the distance. “Come up. It’s amazing here I feel like a poet without words.”

Jungkook hung up and stormed up the stairs. On opening the door, he could see Jimin languidly sitting upright on a big blanket that lied the ground. Childishly and almost in a relaxed manner, Jimin was lolling his feet sideways as a bottle of red wine reflected the moonlight next to him. A few opened books were scattered around him, and a laptop with a ridiculous amount of wires lied somewhere beneath that pile of knowledge; they seemed to be making Jimin's throne.

Jungkook cocked his eyebrow at Jimin, not sure what to say. He could even see a pillow lying somewhere in the Land of Cheesiness.

“What?” Jungkook gingerly approached him, exaggerating a pondering face. “No jazz music and candle-light? A striptease, maybe?”

Jimin smiled and threw his head backwards, drawing a deep breath—inhaling all his lungs could relish of the scent of the night. “I've never done it on the roof before.”

Jungkook was at this point, which he had reached after four days of constantly being around Jimin, where Jimin randomly speaking out the brazenness of his mind stopped taking him aback. It wasn’t like Jungkook was some delicate violet that dripped with innocence. That should have been Jimin—but looks could be deceiving.

Jungkook bent down and picked one of the books. Wilde.

“So next thing you’ll be asking me to ‘make slow love’ to you right here?” Jungkook quipped.

For a few beats, Jimin studied him without the slightest waver in his smile. “Nah, we don’t have that passionate spark yet.”

Jungkook stopped reading the blurb. He had to credit Jimin for having that mindset—for admitting having it and for still cherishing something like passion despite how their ‘relation’ (mind you, air quotations) had set off.

“Yet?” Jungkook challenged. He had to admit, the possibility of something more excited him.

Jimin then got up and wrenched the book free of Jungkook's hand. He put it down carefully, threw a glance at the inky sky then childishly started spinning around with arms stretched out like a birds’ wings. Jimin's eyes were closed; the guy truly was a total sucker for blocking off one of the senses. Jungkook could only stare; Jimin seemed to be paying no heeds to the fact he could fall to his death any second. Or perhaps he, like Seokjin, believed he could fly?

Jimin was about to bump into him. After quickly weighing his options, Jungkook decided to take a step to the side and let Jimin proceed his spinning session instead of collecting him into his arms and start their kissing session. “You seem to be in high spirits tonight.”

“With freedom, books, flowers, and the moon, who could not be happy?” Jimin chimed. Jungkook smiled at the realization; this was the same line he had just read. He didn’t even notice he was starting to wear a fool’s grin. “Would you catch me if I fall, Jungkook-ah?”

Jungkook's smile broadened. He considered remaining silent till Jimin had opened his eyes but he didn’t want this trance to be ruptured. “It’s either that or I'd be there before you fall.”

Jimin laughed, almost stumbling down and Jungkook felt enough adrenaline coursing through his veins in that particular moment that confirmed his cheesy line had been a genuine one.

Now more than ever seems it rich to die,” Jimin was reciting in English; Jungkook was entrancedly drawing closer. “To cease upon the midnight with no pain.”

Jungkook didn’t even wait for Jimin to bump into him; he had pulled one of his hands and Jimin, eyes flinging wide open, was within his embrace. He watched the cool gusts of wind tease the hair away from Jimin's forehead, whipping a few strands across his face while others flicked like ardent flames against the dark expanses of the sky. He watched Jimin's irises shimmer under the silver moonlight, becoming a glittering tapestry as the million brilliant white stars glistened off them. And he could feel his world fading into blurs of lights and shadows, barely capable of zeroing in on the work of art gracing his periphery. Jimin's aloft gaze on him felt like it was trying to start a flame in the heart of the night—in Jungkook's heart.

“You seem to be quite knowledgeable about books.” Jungkook's words were so low they could disintegrate into the air.

It was the first time he had seen Jimin's smile fade. Nothing had ever looked more real than that raw expression of a mask slipping away; nothing was ever more honest. And he thought this was the most beautiful of all the Jimin-s he had dealt with so far—such beauty he had no vocabulary for.

Jeon Jungkook, a hopeless romantic—a thwarted one.

“Passion, Jungkook.” Jimin pushed Jungkook lightly so he would break free. He smiled then started walking towards the ledge. “People who know no passion are as good as dead.”

Jungkook’s full-blown laughter was what made Jimin turn around once he was seated safely on the ledge. Jungkook kept walking till he was sitting next to him.

Four-stories high didn’t look so daunting after all.

“What’s so funny?”

Jungkook smiled to himself then looked at Jimin. “You can say I have a very similar philosophy.” He sighed rather dreamily. “Purpose, Jimin-ah.” He was fully facing Jimin now, his mock-tone doing nothing to undermine the seriousness of his statement and he could see that reflected in Jimin's easy grin. “People who have no purpose in life are as good as dead.”

“And what’s your purpose, Jeon Jungkook?”

Why was it so easy to talk to a stranger? Why was it so safe to open up to someone you barely knew, why was there a risk to open up in the first place?

Jungkook could feel his cocky smile melting into a sincere one as he decided to meet Jimin's question with honesty. “I'm married to my job yet I'm still looking for the right person. Regardless of everything holding me back.”

It was Jimin's turn to laugh—a mellifluous laugh. “And what’s holding you back?”

Jungkook’s sigh was weary this time. “I don’t have time to set on my quest.” Jimin gave him a you’ve-gotta-be-shitting-me look, so he made sure to clarify. It wasn’t like Jungkook had time for love, especially when the possibility that he could die before he met his match threateningly existed. “My job—I'm good, too good even. But I don’t want it to end there, I want to be the best at what I do.”

“Such pride.”

Jungkook shrugged; it was the abridged version of his answer. “I'd like to call it confidence.”

Jimin chewed on his lower lip and Jungkook thought Jimin instantly looked years younger. “You're a cop, right?”

Jungkook didn’t recall telling Jimin that. He wanted to keep his walls up but something about the air always surrounding Jimin was disarming. “What gave me away?”

Jimin laughed then pointed to Jungkook's thighs or waist, or whatever lied in between, with his chin. “Well, it’s either you’ve been painfully excited to see me for almost half an hour now,” at that, Jungkook could swear he would laugh till he no longer had a voice. “Or you have a gun.”

Jungkook activated his seducing face—which always ended up with the funniest results. “Can't it be both?” he was about to lean in when he met Jimin's hand halfway, pushing him as the owner laughed notes and notes higher.

“Anyhow,” Jimin started when Jungkook's lips were safely away from attacking his face. “I was saying you can still be the best or whatever and have time to love someone.”

Jungkook's shock was due to his disbelief that he could be getting this lecture from the one person he used the term ‘no strings attached’ with. It wasn’t wholly true nonetheless; last thing Jungkook wanted was half-assing his feelings towards the person he loved.

Whatever Jungkook did, he had to do it right—flawlessly.

Jungkook made a mock-skeptic face, narrowing his eyes to give his words some credibility. “What if there’s no such a thing as the right person, what if true love doesn’t exist?”

Jungkook felt nostalgic about the future. A feeling that always accompanied the constant ache in his longing heart whenever he remembered his journey to enlightenment.

Jimin smiled; it was so close to being a smirk that Jungkook could have confused them for each other. “No, Jungkook-ah. You’d rather have yourself believe in the nonexistence of true love than think you’d sat out on it or that you didn’t find it.”

“Wow,” Jungkook faked being hurt. “It’s like getting a lecture about kinky sex from a prudish virgin.”

“Ha ha,” Jimin looked away, a look haunting his eyes for the briefest of seconds. “Not funny.”

Jungkook bit his lip as he stared at Jimin's side profile. By Jimin's terms, this proposed the possibility that Park Jimin advocated True Love because he believed in it.

“Careful,” Jungkook nudged Jimin. “You wouldn’t want my heart’s blood on your hands.”

Jimin, hardly not laughing, made a face. “And Taehyung said poetry made me sound like someone who had just walked out of an Austenian novel.”

Jungkook mulled over the thought for a second. “He sounds like a pretty perceptive person,”

“Yeah,” Jimin sighed dramatically and scooted closer to Jungkook. “He’s the one who actually got me reading all that poetry. ‘Jiminnie, you’ve gotta read that poem’ or ‘Jiminnie, this book is so good leave whatever you're doing and start reading it right now’.”

Jungkook was laughing so hard at Jimin's attempt to mimic the voice of that person called Taehyung that he almost lost his balance had Jimin not grabbed his jacket.

“He sounds like a deep person.” Jungkook wiped a fallen tear.

“Nah, it’s just his voice.”

Okay, Jungkook had learnt that laughing put his life on the line. And it wasn’t the time for rhetoric.

Their laughter had died down and their breathing pattern seemed rather calming. Jungkook could feel the warmth of Jimin's skin next to him; he could feel Jimin's hair tickling his neck as the latter’s head lied on Jungkook's shoulder. For the first time, Jungkook was considering an alternative scenario to that week last year.

“What are we doing?” Jungkook murmured, not particularly seeking an answer.

“Probably helping you fulfill your purpose.” Jimin drawled with a slow smile. “Are you in love with me yet?"

“Nope.” Jungkook chuckled. “But I'm not denying the possibility.”

“Romanticist.” Jimin teased.

“Says the guy who memorizes poetry.” Jungkook retaliated, lightly punching Jimin's arm. He was silent for a moment, contemplating whether or not to add something.

“I just don’t want to waste away, you know.” Jungkook managed not to sigh. “I want to enjoy life but I also take life seriously. And I don’t want to miss out on the important things either.”

“Like love.” Jimin offered, smiling knowingly.

“Like love.” Jungkook nodded and drooped his shoulders slightly.

“Then let me tell you something random,” Jimin clutched to Jungkook's arm, hugging it. “I kinda believe in fate.”

Jungkook overcame his initial shock and started smiling. “Are you trying to make me fall for you or what because I'm a bit lost here?”

“Well duh!” another slap on the chest then they both looked heavenwards. Jimin scratched his nose then added, “How else can I not like you back so I can feel powerful and crush your heart into tiny little smithereens?”

Jungkook stole a glance to make sure it was a joke. And indeed, it was. Jungkook's heart started breathing again.

“Fate is a choice too, you know.” Jungkook philosophized. “It gives you a number of options and you choose.”

Jimin stared at him with an expression he couldn’t quite decipher. “Plato would be disappointed to hear you didn’t believe in the whole predestination thingie, Kooks.”

“Maybe.” Jungkook grinned. “The only scenario where you don’t have a choice is when your heart has to make the choice. Or worse, hyung, when it has already made it.”

He only became conscious of what he had just said and of Jimin's amused smile when the silence grew heavy. Jimin leant in so close that instant that Jungkook could see slashes of brilliant red in his eyes.

“What?” Jungkook asked, hoping his smile wasn’t too silly.

“Nothing.” Jimin shrugged, eyes focused on a fading star. “What I meant talking about fate was as in how everything you need keeps coming back to you, one way or another. Like you'd dismiss its importance the first time, the second time, maybe. But the third time is just like ‘open your eyes, you blind fool, this is important’.”

Jungkook laughed at Jimin's little imitation game and the way he made a small fist in the air as he demonstrated his point.

They didn’t speak for a while, only listened to the symphonies of the quiet night.

Jimin turned to him; there was more to his lighthearted smile. “Tell me what a purpose is, Jeon Jungkook.”

Jungkook laughed, slightly nervous. How could he put it to words? A purpose was what got him going, what gave his life meaning. “Is there anything you believe in in a stupid idealistic way and can't let go of?”

“Sure.” Jimin's smile was the slightest lopsided.

Jungkook took a deep breath. “Are you willing to stand by the belief, to die for it maybe?”

The silence on Jimin's part made Jungkook's heart erratic. He was so accustomed to the flirty feisty Jimin that whenever his smile parted with his face and seriousness took over, gravity yet tender lightness settled on Jungkook's heart.

“The things you fight for all your life, and the thing you die for eventually aren’t always the same.” Jimin's voice was so low that Jungkook almost missed what he had said. Before he could reflect on Jimin's words, before he could react, Jimin had pushed him down the ledge and kissed him for long.

The words kept resonating and echoing in the cold venues of Jungkook's mind, even while his body was set on fire.

 

 

Park Jimin would no longer be able to say he had never done it on the roof. In fact, he would be able to say he had done it on the roof twice.

Jungkook woke up alone, somewhat covered with the blanket as the light of dawn forced his eyes open. And almost as if on cue, he could hear his beeper buzzing from where his pants lied. He grumbled something, rubbed his temples and considered shooting the annoying beeper.

What kind of hackers didn’t sleep? It was fucking 6 A.M. for fuck’s sake.

Change in plans: gun, mouth, now.

He was opening the roof door when Jimin showed up, wearing different clothes and with an aromatic box in hand: cookies. Jungkook spared him a long glance to take in the cuteness overload that was the bespectacled Park Jimin with rosy cheeks and a nose pinched-red-with-the-cold. Jimin tried to swallow the cookie that was perched between his lips so he could make sense of Jungkook's hurried state.

“Morning, Jimin-ah,” Jungkook muttered hastily, leaning in to break the cookie in two halves and kissing Jimin lightly on the lips.

“Where are you off to so early?” Jimin managed to say after hitting his chest in order to swallow what he almost choked on.

“Duty calls.” He grabbed a cookie from the box and was turning his back—Seokjin needn’t more reasons to set his ass on fire; last thing he needed was an early lecture.

Jimin spun him around, dropping the box and wrapping his arms around Jungkook's neck. Jimin went for one hell of a deep kiss. Kim Seokjin who? Jungkook only knew he would rather stay on the roof, applying dad-jokes than hear said Kim Seokjin make them.

Jimin broke away and unlatched his hands, slapping Jungkook's ass. “Now that you have all you need, you can go.”

Jungkook took a slow step backwards, drinking in Jimin's image as his mind tried to overcome the wow-effect and his body tried to cool down. “What I need? I work with the force, not in a brothel.”

Jimin’s smirk let Jungkook know he had to leave or Jimin was about to hit third-base with him. He held a stretched hand between them.

“No, no, no.” He chuckled. “I have cute coworkers, true, but they both have scary boyfriends. Don’t send me turned-on, I value my own life.”

He could swear Jimin's laugh had just extended his life.

“Your loss,” Jimin started bending down, as though casually stretching. And boy, Jungkook would be damned if Jimin wasn’t more flexible than a rubber band. “I thought that much cigarettes could use a little cardio.”

He pulled Jimin close and kissed him on the lips, withdrawing before Jimin demanded more.

And it literally tore Jungkook apart to turn around. He started rushing down the stairs. “You owe me a romantic dinner. I’ll call you tonight, Mochi-hyung.” He shouted over his shoulder, hearing Jimin break into his uplifting series of giggles.

Work should be less pressuring now.