Jungkook feels the safest when he’s with his best friend.
He realizes this when he’s young, nine- or perhaps even ten years old, and has since never let go of Park Jimin, his partner in crime and sole confidant. He’s never let go, and he never intended to, until the realization of how real life worked came crashing down on him. On an unusually temperate mid-winter day, he received an acceptance letter from a university in Seoul, offering him a scholarship for dance. It was everything he’d ever dreamed of. There was only one fundamental part of his dream that seemed to be missing from reality. His best friend wouldn’t be going with him. Jimin had been overjoyed, smiling harder than Jungkook had seen in years- he whooped and hollered, clapping him jovially on the back as Jungkook realized that shit, life was happening.
This white letter, with its neatly printed words and elegant formatting, actually meant something.
And that something was leaving his best friend behind.
At the time Jimin had seemed overjoyed, congratulating Jungkook so heartily and genuinely that Jungkook couldn’t help but frown- would Jimin really not miss him? Shouldn’t he at least be a little upset that Jungkook was leaving? He stares at his friend in slight shock until Jimin notices his slight trepidation and rests his hand on his shoulder, shaking it a little with a concerned frown.
“You alright there?” He tilts his head slightly, smile fading. “You don’t seem as happy as I expected you to be.”
Jungkook brushes off his concern with a wave of his hand and a shrug, quietly asserting that “it didn’t really feel real yet.”
He internalizes his disappointment like a bitter pill, sitting heavy in his stomach and heart and tries his best to savor the fleeting months he has left to spend with his closest friend.
Jimin goes out of his way to help him along through the last few weeks of high school, helping him write his essays and study for his final exams, the last ones he’d take in Busan for the remainder of his life.
It scares him.
The finality of the situation frightens him dearly, and what scares him even more is that Jimin blatantly acts like nothing is changing- his smiles never faltered when he mentions Seoul, telling Jungkook that he’s going to have to “Work extra hard!” in order to pass all of his classes because Jimin won’t be there to help him pick up the slack. He doesn’t avoid the topic at all. In fact, Jimin seems to bring it up far too often, as if reminding both himself and Jungkook that their time together was limited. It hurt, seeing how excited his closest friend was for him to leave. Wasn’t Jimin supposed to be upset? The K-dramas they watched together always told Jungkook that Jimin would be utterly depressed, trying to get him to stay. Nothing of the sort happened. Jungkook finds the courage to ask him about it one night while they’re trying to fit in some extra Calculus in his head before his finals.
They sat together like usual, knees touching under the low table set up on the floor. Jungkook had been long since distracted from the problem he was supposed to be working on, parabolas swimming together as his tired gaze sweeps off of his graphing paper and settles on his friend, feeling the familiar thump in his chest speed up slightly when Jimin’s eyes divert from his book up to his own with an amused smile.
“You know I’m here to teach you this, right?”
He hadn’t been doing much teaching actually, choosing instead to point out random problems that Jungkook should do. If he didn’t understand a problem, Jimin would take a few minutes to explain it to him, and then leisurely return his attention to his murder-mystery novel.
Jungkook shrugs. “I already know it, we’ve been learning about this the entire year and I’m ranked 4th in the class.”
Jimin rolls his eyes playfully, punching him on the arm with an exclamation of “Yah, Kookie, you egotistical brat! You need to pass this final exam to graduate, don’t get too cocky!"
A comfortable silence settles on the duo after that, Jimin going back to reading his book and Jungkook finding interest in attempting to make sense of it by reading over his shoulder. Eventually, he gives up, closing his eyes and snuggling up into Jimin’s collar, the warmth of his cheek sinking into Jimin’s shoulder. Jimin’s subtle cologne washes over his senses and he breathes in the familiar notes of earthy jasmine. He had started wearing it when he entered college, claiming that it attracted the “ladies”. As if he needed any help doing that. Jungkook had snorted at the notion at the time, causing Jimin to flush in embarrassment, adamantly claiming that he’ll “get it someday!”. He thinks he gets it now. After a little while, the cologne had turned into a comforting scent for Jungkook. The way that it mixed with Jimin’s original scent and mingled even after Jimin had left the room was quite nice. He especially loved it when Jimin came over and wore his clothes or slept in his bed- he could smell the cologne on his pillows and shirts for a couple days afterwards.
Or maybe he just spent too much time snuggled up to his hyung, so he mistakenly Pavlov-ed himself into associating the comfort of his best friend with his new scent. That could very well be the reason too.
Jungkook moves his head and the edges of his mouth slip upwards as his hair tickles Jimin’s neck, the older huffing a little in surprised laughter at the sensation. He feels good, he realizes. The shared warmth between them made up for the semi-hard carpet; the iced tea they’d shared sat on the table in front of them, condensation trickling down the length of the glass. It pooled gently at the bottom where Jimin had been thoughtful enough to put a coaster down, preventing any water damage to the table. He supposes he feels better than good, actually, as Jimin’s hand comes up to lazily pat at his bangs, Jungkook leaning into the touch softly as he watches a small content expression appear on the other’s face.
It all felt too comforting, too right, and he didn’t want it to end. So he simply watches his hyung turn pages, eyes blearily blinking in and out of consciousness. His mind wanders, first concentrating on the slope of Jimin’s profile, admiring the curve of his lips; he lets his mind drift to thoughts of Jimin in general, the softness of his smile and the way his eyes curved into crescents when he was especially happy. His mind then further leads him into his own thoughts, expression twisting a tiny bit as he remembers how Jimin still hasn’t said anything at all about the distance that they were about to create. The distance that Jungkook was about to create, actually. It was unfair to include Jimin in the blame.
It sort of hurt, how Jimin seemingly got along unaffected by the plans while Jungkook stresses about losing contact and affection from his friend. He wouldn’t exactly label those worries as second doubts, but he’s absolutely sure that if Jimin asked him to stay, he would. They could go to the same college. They could stay home together and study with each other for their classes. They could sneak out at 3 A.M to get ice cream from the corner shop and stargaze, just like they always did.
They could stay the same, stay as Jimin-and-Jungkook, attached at the hip and content.
Maybe that’s why Jimin didn’t have much to say about the move. He probably knew that Jungkook would do anything for his best friend, he’d give up his dream college and scholarship (and much, much more) to ensure his happiness.
Yeah, that must be it.
But a sly voice in his head whispers “Maybe, he doesn’t care. Maybe he’s glad to be rid of you, at least for a while. He’s growing up, leaving you behind,” and Jungkook’s eyes flutter open at the sudden cold front of insecurity blooming in his chest.
Jimin had stopped petting his hair, hand returning to its resting place on his lap as Jungkook adjusts himself to further press into Jimin’s side. He looked to still be pretty engrossed in his book, eyes flicking across the page calmly, carefully absorbing the oh-so-interesting novel. Screw the novel, Jungkook wanted his attention. The book could wait. Jungkook feels his heart begin to pick up speed in his chest as he ponders the possibility of directly asking Jimin what he felt about the move, about them being separated.
About living alone, about spending their evenings and mornings separate, about losing the ability to have impromptu bro-dates in the middle of the night.
After all, he’s been with Jimin for the last 14 years.
They grew up together, watched each other transform from gap-toothed, silly children to pimply and awkward preteens, to somewhat insecure and handsome teenagers. It bothered Jungkook, the notion that he would miss the latter half of Jimin’s transition into adulthood. He didn’t want to miss seeing him get a serious girlfriend, didn’t want to miss the first time he buys an apartment, didn’t want to miss any moments that he was surely going to miss if he moved to Seoul.
It was like he was giving up a part of Jimin just to pursue his own interest. It felt selfish- wrong. Jimin was his best friend, the one person he could always rely on, the one person he could confide in. How could he just leave?
He watches Jimin’s profile, ignoring the thickness in his throat as it clenches down, anxiety catching ahold of his heart. He traces the familiar curve of his chin and his sharp jawline that had magically appeared within the last year. The baby fat almost melted off of his gorgeous face, leaving a chiseled Adonis in its place. He watches Jimin as he continues reading, puffing out air in a slight sigh.
Not for the first time, he realizes that he’d do anything for his best friend.
His neighbor, his first friend, his first partner-in-crime, the first person he’d ever fought with, the first person he’d ever loved, Park Jimin. He was Jungkook’s first and only, and Jungkook kept that knowledge as deep inside him as possible, keeping the secret locked within a safe, which was locked within a bigger safe, which was then placed in a high security prison inside of his chest. The only person he’d ever truly loved- his best friend and the object of his affections for the past 8 years.
Jungkook doesn’t want to leave that behind.
He didn’t want a future void of Jimin, void of his quickening heartbeat, soft touches and gentle smiles. But maybe Jimin did. Maybe he’d finally pushed Jimin far enough with his annoying personality, and Jimin had had enough of it. Somewhere in the parts of his brain that actually operate on the occasion, Jungkook reasons that this thought process was probably just his insecurities talking. Knowing that doesn’t help much, it still leaves a sting in his lungs as he breathes in, closing his eyes once more. He has to know. He wants to know- needs to know how Jimin feels about this.
“Hyung?” He ventures, grabbing the elder’s attention. Jimin shifts, eyes straying from the page to Jungkook’s own, eyebrows raising as he hums an affirmative “mhm?”
Jungkook’s mouth is dry and he swallows, looking away from him. “I was wondering, I guess, if you…” He hesitates and clears his throat, starting once more. “Seoul is pretty far away, huh?”
Jungkook stares at the floor to his left, studies the pattern in the carpet with harsh eyes as he curses his own lack of conviction. His hand twitches and he suppresses the urge to anxiously fiddle with his fingers. His eyes flick up towards Jimin for a second, watching as the boy tilts his head slightly.
Jimin blinks at him, realization dawning on his face. He closes his book, dog-earing the page he was on and sets it on the low table. The book teeters dangerously on the edge and Jungkook watches it with false interest. He shifts so he’s facing Jungkook directly, their knees bumping together. “Are you worried about the distance?”
Jungkook pretends to think, ignoring the voice in his head telling him to just shut up and act like nothings wrong.
“Maybe, sort of? I don’t really… want to leave, I guess. Busan is home, I like it here.” Busan is home to Jungkook because Jimin’s here. Jimin is his home, and has been for a long time. He’s painfully aware of his fickle affections.
“Of course its home,” Jimin smiles slightly. “But it’s not like you’re leaving forever- you’re coming back during the summer and Christmas break anyways! Busan will always be here, silly. You have to go get an education, pursue your dreams, and all that other cheesy bullshit.”
He knows. He knows that Busan will be here but what if-
“But what if I come back and,” he waves a hand through the air haphazardly, trying to communicate his trepidation. “What if I come back and everything’s different?” His eyes move to his lap, embarrassed and anxious. Heat rushes up his neck towards his face.
He hears Jimin exhale, a soft “Oh,” escaping his lips. A pair of smaller hands enter his view and gently grasp his wrists, pulling them away from Jungkook’s lap. “Kook-ah, can you look at me?”
When he doesn’t move, Jimin adds a quiet “Please?”
Jungkook raises his head a little, refusing to acknowledge the water rising in his eyes as he blinks furiously. He hasn’t cried in front of Jimin in years- this was embarrassing.
“Hey,” Jimin continues, one of his hands letting go of Jungkook’s in order to brush his bangs to the side, his eyes meeting Jungkook’s glassy ones. His gaze is kind, too kind, and Jungkook feels like he’s drowning in the gentle warmth that Jimin emits. “Nothing’s going to change. Well, I mean-“ He stops and corrects himself. “Of course, some things are going to change. We’re going to grow up a bit more, the new shopping center might be done being built the next time you come here, but that’s normal. That’s just how it works, y’know?”
“…I know,” Jungkook looks away from Jimin’s earnest expression, pain in his chest intensifying. “But what about,” Us, he wants to say. His free hand flails for a second, gesturing to both of them. “What if, like… we change?” What if Jimin changes? What if he loses his Jimin, the one he’s grown up with? What if they like different things, what if they drift apart? What if Jimin finds a new best friend? What if he gets married and has kids and then they’ll never see each other, what if Jimin moves on with his life without him, what if-
“Oh, Kookie,” Jimin interrupts his thoughts with a sigh and a slight chuckle. Jungkook watches as Jimin once more picks up his larger hands, gently rubbing circles into his palms.
“Nothings going to change between us. We’re always going to be best friends, okay? Seriously,” Jimin leans forward, shutting his eyes and resting his forehead against Jungkook’s. After a couple of seconds, Jimin opens his eyes, staring directly at him, expression undecipherable. “Nothing is going to change. I promise.”
Jungkook feels his heart break a little when he realizes that Jimin was lying to him, trying to spare his feelings. But he nods anyways, choking back tears as he relies on Jimin’s gentle hands, still tracing circles into his skin, to keep him tethered.
It was a promise that Jimin surely never intended to keep.
The rest of the school year passes uneventfully. Jungkook (thank God) passes all of his exams, even managing to get a 73 on his English exam with the help of his undeniably smart best friend. Jimin treats them both to ice cream for a job well done and Jungkook graduates high school successfully, Jimin standing next to his parents in the auditorium, cheering loudly for him as he receives his diploma.
They haven’t breached the topic of distance since that one study date, and neither seemed particularly willing to bring it up.
So it stayed hidden, Jungkook’s anxiety manifesting itself under his ribcage, building and twisting its way into his lungs. With too many words unspoken, Jungkook falls into a slight depressive state. Jungkook doesn’t want to think about it- doesn’t want to talk about it. He’s going to ball his feelings up real tight, push them as far down into the depths of his soul as they can go, and then one day, he’s just going to die.
Summer arrives, and Jimin and Jungkook forget about their problems for a while-- long days at the beach, bonfires and “borrowed” bottles of beer keep them distracted, content. They watch the sun rise and set over the beautiful Busan beaches, huddling under a blanket for warmth on cool nights and chilly mornings.
Jungkook doesn’t realize it's his last week in Busan until he only has two days left.
He curses as he looks at his calendar, the 8 AM reminder on his phone blaring at him to “get packing”. He had plans with Jimin today; they were going to go to the pool, swim for a bit and then swing by a seafood restaurant afterwards.
Jungkook sighs, looking around his messy room. It seemed that he’d have to cancel, there’s no way he’d be able to pack everything after a day out, and tomorrow was his last day in Busan, so he’d like to spend as much of it as possible with his best friend.
He grabs his phone from the desk, searching through his contacts to find Jiminie “Hyung”, clicking on the silly selfie of Jimin he’d set as the boy’s icon. Tapping the call button, Jungkook wanders over to the window, pushing it open with little effort and leaning out of it into the slightly cold Busan morning. The breeze distracts him from his phone, chilling his nose as Jungkook listens attentively. He can hear Jimin’s phone ringing in his room- or was that his bathroom? He couldn’t really tell.
Jungkook taps his finger on the windowsill as he listens to his ringtone and stares at the window located directly across from him. Jimin’s room.
Having his best friend also be his neighbor sure had its perks.
When the two boys had been little, the distance between their windows had seemed so large, the expanse may as well have been the Grand Canyon to them, an uncrossable fault with peril awaiting them below. As they grew older and taller, the distance between their windows seemed to shrink smaller and smaller, until they figured out that with a little bit of work, they could actually creep into the other’s room. (Even in the dead of the night!) Jungkook’s house had a smaller roof located under his window; he could walk on that and pull himself up and into Jimin’s room with little to no effort.
From then on, the distance between their windows may as well have never existed.
The phone stops ringing as Jimin picks up with a cheerful greeting, apologizing for the wait. Jungkook rolls his eyes and huffs playfully, telling his friend to “come outside already” as he hangs his upper body out of the window in order to squint into Jimin’s room, trying to catch a sign of movement.
He sees a bit of white moving into the bedroom, approaching the window. Score.
“Sooooo…” Jungkook drawls into his phone, smiling cheekily as Jimin opens his window as well, hair still wet from his shower and a towel wrapped around his waist. “You come here often?”
Jimin smiles (God, Jungkook thinks, he’s pretty), rolling his eyes. “You’re really original. It's not like you’ve used that one a thousand times or anything.”
He grins, taking his phone away from his ear and hitting “end call”. They could speak just fine without their phones. The distance between their windows wasn’t far at all anymore- if Jungkook and Jimin wanted to they could lean out of the windows and meet in a kiss. The thought appeals to him more than he’d like to admit. He pushes it out of his head quickly, lest he start blushing for little to no reason, and studies Jimin as he turns around, throwing his phone on his bed.
Jimin turns back towards him, slightly shivering at the morning breeze hitting his bare chest. He bends a little, resting his arms on the windowsill and his head on his palms. He looks ethereal in the morning light, eyes closed in a friendly smile as he tilts his head. “So? What’s up?”
Jungkook has to physically restrain himself from saying “the sky” but his eyes flick upwards anyways, giving away his train of thought. Jimin huffs in reproach at his shitty (albeit silent) joke, motioning for him to get on with it.
“I, uh, kind of forgot to pack so I don’t think we can go out today, Jiminie. Sorry,” He pouts at the shorter boy, internally grimacing at the thought of all the clothes and supplies he had to bring with to Seoul. God, he forgot to do laundry too. His mom was going to kill him.
“That’s fine!” Jimin hums. “I don’t blame you, we’ve been out almost every day for the last few weeks. Do you want any help?”
Yes, he did, but he couldn’t take up so much of Jimin’s time- he had other things besides Jungkook to focus on after all, so he decides to pretend he doesn’t. “No, its fine, I think I’ve got it-“
“Jungkook.” Jimin interrupts him, eyes full of mirth meeting his in a playful glare. “Let me rephrase that for you. I’ll be over in a few minutes to help you pack, can you go make us some coffee while I get dressed?”
He barely suppresses the love-sick grin that threatens to show on his face. Jimin knew him too well.
Jungkook nods gratefully. “Yeah, thanks Jiminie.”
“Jiminie…..?” Jimin cocks his head, hand cupping his ear as if he hadn’t heard Jungkook correctly.
“Jiminie-hyung.” Jungkook corrects himself, the edges of his mouth curling up easily at Jimin’s satisfied look.
They smile at each other and turn to leave, Jimin to get dressed and Jungkook to make them some coffee.
The windows stayed open, welcoming the sun and gentle breeze into both of their homes.
The sun had already set by the time they finish packing, its orange-yellow light disappearing behind their houses as the sky’s once bright color is replaced by muted hues of pink and purple. Jungkook had thankfully managed to stay on track for most of the day- they had cleaned his room and he’d done his laundry (there way no way in hell he’d let Jimin touch his dirty underwear- although Jimin had teased him about his bashfulness, claiming that he’d already ‘seen it all’).
Jungkook stretched as he stood, watching the fading light outside his window light up Jimin’s face in a mess of color, only adding to the natural flush that was present because of the way they’d run around the house, packing things that they thought Jungkook would need in his dorm. Jimin looked exhausted, and Jungkook is sure as hell that he looked the same.
Jimin collapses on Jungkook’s bed with a huff, rolling over into the iron man sheets- the same ones he’s had since he was 14. He faces the ceiling and reaches up his arms in a stretch, pleasantly groaning at the sensation. Jungkook watches silently, eyes surveying the room that looked too bare now that all of his personal possessions had been packed up into the two suitcases that lay on the floor next to his bed.
He feels his mouth dry slightly at the sight of it. He had taken some of the pictures of him and Jimin off of the wall and packed them gingerly in his suitcase, in-between two sweaters so that they wouldn’t be damaged in any way. The room felt empty and wrong without them somehow- he’s lived here for all of his life, Jungkook couldn’t imagine living anywhere else.
Jimin must’ve noticed his melancholic mood because he sits up onto his forearms, studying Jungkook’s form from his reclined position on the bed. Jungkook doesn’t meet his eyes, nibbling at his lower lip instead, staring at the carpet. Everything- everything suddenly seemed so real.
Everything seemed so final.
It didn’t feel right.
“Kook-ah…” Jimin softly interjects the solemn mood that Jungkook had created, patting at the space beside him, dark blue and red covers creasing under the gentle weight of his hand. He tilts his head kindly at the spot, scooting over so that Jungkook has enough space on the bed to lay down next to him.
He doesn’t hesitate. He lifts his head to bask in the affection present in his friend’s eyes as he shuffles over to the bed, practically throwing himself into his hyung’s arms with a dramatic huff.
Jimin’s fingers ghost over the nape of his neck, playing with the back of his hair. He practically whines at the sensation, tired muscles relaxing in the presence of his favorite person. He doesn’t hold back a hum of encouragement, pushing back into Jimin’s comforting touch. Usually, he’d never be so bold, but Jungkook is feeling especially clingy tonight- he doesn’t want to leave, doesn’t want to abandon the closeness that he has with Jimin. Not yet anyway, he still had a day and a night. He still had time.
He shuffles in Jimin’s direction silently, the elder’s arm easily circling around his front, pulling Jungkook’s back flush with his toned chest.
On any other day he’d be blushing furiously, trying to keep his beating heart under control as he wriggles out of the grip but today- today was different.
He’d give himself one day to bask in his feelings and pretend that they were in any way requited- a gift to himself for the heartbreak he was about to go through.
So he let the flush cover his face, let his heartbeat speed up unchallenged, allowed the small sparks of pleasure to shoot up his spine as his best friend breathes softly behind him. He enjoys the comfort that being this close to Jimin brings, eyes fluttering shut as exhaustion kicks in.
Jimin’s warmth radiates against his back, a gentle reassurance that he’s truly there. The gentle rise and fall of his chest against his back calms him, allows him to feel safe. Somewhere, amidst the pink and purple hues tinting his bedroom, Jungkook finds happiness in Jimin’s soft breathing and yielding touch.
He’s lulled into the recess of sleep all too easily, heart thumping comfortably in time with the heartbeat of the familiar body behind him.
He wakes just as he fell asleep, tucked tightly in his best friend’s arms. A small escape from the rest of the world, from everything that was happening all too quickly- Jimin’s arms, encompassing his curled up form offered a soft respite from responsibility that Jungkook would gladly accept, time and time again.
He breathes shallowly, slowly, eyes staying closed as he takes in the gentle scent of Jimin’s cologne. Jimin must still be asleep because he sighs, arms tightening around Jungkook as he pleasantly noses the back of his neck.
Its his last day in Busan, the last day he had with the person he loved most. They had time later to get up and do things.
For now, he decides, he just wants to be close to Jimin.
His heart fills with warmth.
It ends far too soon—Jimin eventually gets up and forces Jungkook out of bed, deciding that it wouldn’t do to spend their last day together lazing about in bed together.
Jimin goes home through the window, getting dressed and showering as Jungkook does the same in his own home. Separation anxiety was never a problem with the two boys, but Jungkook feels a small amount of panic simmer under his skin as he watches Jimin leave, morning light bright against his hair. He didn’t want to part from Jimin right now, but he bites back his hesitations and begins getting ready for the day as well.
By the time Jungkook is finished with his shower and returns to his room, Jimin is sitting on his bed, phone in hand as he beams up at the taller boy. (He breathes a small sigh of relief; Jimin was still there.)
Jungkook allows himself a fond smile at the sight, bending and rummaging through his already packed suitcases for some clothes to wear. Jimin chuckles at his struggle to keep his towel flush against his body while crouching, earning him a small slap to the knee, courtesy of Jungkook.
Jimin seems to sense the solemn mood, for once quietly staring out of the window while Jungkook pulls on his jeans and a white shirt. Jimin hums, glancing over at his friend.
“I should probably go get a jacket or something, it's pretty cold today…” Jungkook watches him stand and move towards the window, propping it open. In a split-second decision, he grabs the hoodie that rested on top of the pile now forming in his suitcase and throws it at his friend. It hits Jimin in the face, covering his head with fabric.
“You can just wear this, hyung.” If he secretly hopes that Jimin will forget to give it back later—well, that’s no one’s business, right?
Jimin pulls on the hoodie, head popping up with a self-satisfied smile as he pulls the sleeves over his hands. Sweater paws… Jungkook feels a warmth in his chest rise at the sight of the older boy in his clothes. Cute…
“Well, then!” Jimin hops up and claps once, smiling widely. “I’ve got a lot planned for today, so let’s get going!”
And so they leave, shoulders bumping together slightly as they walk into the chilly Busan air, off to seek an adventure, as they always did when they were together.
The day passes too quickly for Jungkook’s liking. One minute it's 9 AM and they’re eating at a comfortable bakery and the next its 8 PM and Jimin is dragging him to what he claims is their last destination.
“Well- sort of,” He corrects himself, apprehension flashing on his face briefly. “It's our second to last, but, y’know, the last won’t really be the last so what’s the point of calling it-“
Jungkook nudges his friend slightly, giving him a reassuring smile. He understood. He didn’t really want to call it their last day either- the finality in the word is too much to bear. Jimin smiles back at him, apologetic.
They stop in front of a Starbucks, Jimin opening the door with a mocking bow as Jungkook chuckles at the sight, walking into the shop with a brief eye roll. They stand in line for a bit, making idle chitchat about how much fun their day was- “Yes Jimin, I totally lost to you at DDR, that totally happened,” and “Your face when you tripped earlier was priceless- I wish I had a photo of that, Kookie, you seriously looked like you shat your pants-“
Jimin laughs as they approach the counter, dodging Jungkook’s halfhearted attempt to punch him. He prattles off their order to the barista as Jungkook sneakily tries to get out his wallet. Jimin had already paid for their admission to the bowling alley and the arcade, not to mention for the breakfast they’d had that morning. Usually he’d have no qualms about letting his hyung pay for everything but for once Jungkook felt that he wanted to treat his friend, just like Jimin always treats him. Paying for drinks was the least he could do for everything Jimin had done for him.
He tries to hand over his card to the barista, but Jimin intercepts it, batting away his hand semi-aggressively. He looks up at Jungkook incredulously, giving him an offended look.
“So what’s up with this, Jungkookie-“ He leans into the taller with a dangerous glint in his eyes, watching with satisfaction as Jungkook hesitantly backs off. “The one time I want to treat you to drinks and you won’t let me?” Both of them know very well that this wasn’t a one-time affair- Jimin rarely allowed Jungkook to pay for both of them, and it was even more rare that Jungkook actually wanted to.
Jimin ignores his whine of “But, hyuuung—“ and shushes him, handing over his own card instead. The barista shoots both of them an amused glance, taking Jimin’s card and swiping through the reader, telling them to “Have a nice night!” when it goes through.
They smile at her in tandem, shuffling over to where the counter was and waiting for their drinks.
“You could’ve let me pay this once,” Jungkook pouts at his friend, opening his wallet back up and sliding in the unused card.
Jimin rolls his eyes but Jungkook can see the amusement in them, shining as the corners of his eyes crinkle. “Aish—you’re so cute.”
Jungkook knows he’s mocking him, but blood rushes to his face anyways. He’s overwhelmed with a burst of sudden shyness, glancing away from the shorter boy.
“Let hyung take care of you every once in a while, yeah?” Jimin raises a hand and gently ruffles Jungkook’s bangs before going over to the counter and collecting their orders. A small smile finds its way onto his pink face, left hand coming up to tug at his bangs slightly, hoping to remember the feeling of Jimin’s hand tousling his hair forever.
The moment is over by the time Jimin returns, handing him his white chocolate mocha- complete with a sleeve so Jungkook wouldn’t burn himself. Jimin always seemed to remember little things like that- Jungkook always forgot to take one when he got coffee by himself. He looks down at his best friend taking a sip from his Americano, grimacing at the temperature with barely veiled disdain. Warmth shoots through his veins at the sight and his heart thumps in his chest- a familiar feeling.
He never wants to forget this moment, so he memorizes it. Memorizes the way Jimin looks up at him with unbridled affection, memorizes the heat radiating from his coffee and his chest, memorizes how Jimin absolutely drowns in his hoodie—
He’s nudged gently, Jimin leaning into his side with a grin. “You ready to leave? There’s one more place I want to go.”
Jungkook nods and they’re off again, walking down the softly lit street, shoulders bumping into each other too many times to be accidental.
Jimin isn’t transparent by any means- Jungkook knows exactly where they’re headed. But he humors his friend, letting him lead them to a special place- one that was their own, that they had been frequenting since they were children. They walk in companionable silence, eyes bleary with sleep as they giggle- its barely 9 PM and they’re dead tired; they really did quite a lot today, didn’t they?
It was fully dark by the time they reached the clearing that they had been looking for. The path which they walked along, holding their now lukewarm beverages, opened up to a beautiful beach- the same one that they had “found” when they were little and had frequented since then. It was small and sort of rocky- not the ideal beach for swimming or playing in the sand, but it was the perfect beach for what they liked to do. It provided a clear view of the skies above, untainted by trees, buildings or light of any sort.
It was perfect for stargazing. Perfect for them.
They had gone through a phase in middle school where they were absolutely fascinated by the skies and astronomy- they had spent nearly every Saturday night sitting here with a small telescope, mapping out the stars and excitedly memorizing constellations.
They had saved up for months just so they could buy that small telescope; Jungkook could still remember bickering with the older boy to see who would get to look in it first. Jungkook won of course, because he was the best at pulling pouty faces that Jimin couldn’t resist. Then again, his hyung was never really stubborn unless he needed to be, soft spot for Jungkook be damned.
He had stared through it for a few seconds before gasping “Jimin! Look!”. He essentially nullified the outcome of the small fight they just had, allowing Jimin to excitedly look through the device at a small cluster of stars. Marveling in tandem, they took turns from then on, showing each other interesting sights they found in the dark night sky.
They had used that telescope until it became beaten with wear, the edges of the paint scraping off and peeling. It now lay in one of their closets- it must be Jimin’s, since they hadn’t found it in Jungkook’s yesterday.
Eventually, they had both fallen out of love with the science, but they still kept frequenting their little beach—it was a silent place where they could be wholly and thoroughly themselves, together.
Jungkook stood there now, watching the ocean gently caress the rocks at the end of the small stretch, stars glittering overhead prettily. The sight brings tears to his eyes, memories flooding his already emotional brain and he laughs hoarsely, wiping his eyes with his shirt sleeve quickly. God, he would miss this.
God, his brain echoes, he would miss Jimin.
He stoops suddenly, taking off his Timberlands with one hand as he grips his coffee tightly in the other. Ignoring Jimin’s small shout of “Jungkook?!”, he jogs ahead, stopping at the edge of the beach in order to roll his pants up, rocks digging painfully into the soles of his feet. He hears Jimin taking off his own shoes behind him and waits patiently, watching as the water laps at his toes in the moonlight. He looks out onto the water and hopes that the moon is watching, its reflection lazily swaying in the waves it creates.
Jimin joins him seconds later and Jungkook turns around to face him, grinning wildly as he steps back into the ocean, causing sea water to splash around him in a spray of water and salt. He laughs at Jimin’s bewildered expression, laughs at the way the water hits his calves, laughs as he steps backwards- his mental dam has cracked a little bit and his tiredness and sadness mix into something much lighter, something made to ridicule. Maybe if he laughed enough, tomorrow would never arrive, and the moon would never sink below the horizon. He takes another step backwards but when his foot doesn’t touch solid ground his face twists slightly- oops. He probably should’ve paid attention to how far in he was, but he was going to have an impromptu swim, it seemed. The water here wasn’t too deep but he’d definitely get most of his clothes wet—oh well. He slips for a second before Jimin’s hand shoots out, grabbing the front of his shirt and steadying him forcefully, wrenching him away from the deeper part of the water.
“Jesus,” Jimin huffs, looking up at him in concern and irritation. “You know it gets deep here- why would you go backwards?!”
“It's Jungkook actually, not Jesus.” Jungkook laughs again in relief, shoulders slumping so he can rest his head on Jimin’s shoulder. He doesn’t respond to the question- Jimin already knows the answer.
Jimin falls silent, no doubt rolling his eyes at his comment, hands coming up to rest at the small of Jungkook’s back. He hides his face, head nuzzling the slightly cold fabric of his own hoodie. Jungkook feels his eyes well up even though he tries to hold back tears- his ability to control his emotions has gone to shit apparently. He bites his lip and attempts to stop the hot tears from spilling. Fuck, this was embarrassing.
His efforts are to no avail; all he manages to do is to breathe out a shaky “J-Jiminie—” before he bursts into tears, forehead digging into Jimin’s shoulder and trembling hands clutching at the front of his hoodie. He’s been trying to hold it in for weeks now, all of his sorrow and anger and anxiety. To hell with it, he decides suddenly, and lets himself open that door in his heart which held his grief. He absolutely sobs, blubbering all over Jimin’s shoulder in a thoroughly unattractive way.
He’d been so concerned with ruining their last today together by being sad, and yet here he was, crying his eyes out. Its been years since he’s cried in front of Jimin—he hated seeming weak or helpless so he always tried to show a manlier side of himself to his friend- not that Jimin cared at all. He still treated him like he was young and delicate when it came to dealing with his emotions. It wasn’t far off the mark- Jungkook still didn’t like to show his feelings because after all, he’s a Busan boy- or actually, he was a Busan man, and Busan men were strong and steady.
But he cries anyway, because right now he wasn’t a man, he was just a boy. Just... a boy. A boy in love, about to get his heart broken. Perhaps he cries prematurely for his heartbreak, or perhaps it’s the mood- the feeling that it's finally ending, perhaps he’s crying for his inability to confess his love for the older or perhaps he cries because it's all he can do. He’s helpless in a world that spins on without him, time pulling out a rug from under his feet, leaving him useless and out of control.
Jimin does little but rest his head on Jungkook’s, hands gently stroking his back until Jungkook finally calms down. He’s about to apologize for his outburst when he feels the hands on his back shaking, feels the wetness on the top of his head. Oh.
Jimin had been crying too.
At this realization, Jungkook laughs again, hoarse voice sounding out loudly in the still atmosphere, disturbing the silence. “God,” he removes his hands from the front of Jimin’s hoodie and instead wraps them tightly around the shorter boy. “We’re so stupid.”
Jimin giggles at that, nuzzling his head softly. “Yeah, I guess we kind of are.”
He lifts his head, chin replacing his forehead on the shorter boy’s shoulder. Jungkook hums quietly, feeling the water swish around their ankles, wondering whether their tears were now a part of the ocean or if they were caught by their clothing, sadness remaining a part of their embrace.
“I’m going to miss you.” Jimin squeezes Jungkook a little tighter as he says this; Jungkook wonders passively if he’d been wanting to say it for a while now.
“I’m going to miss you too,” He smiles wryly, saddened by the melancholic feeling that the situation was giving off. “You’re my best friend.”
Jimin smiles and Jungkook can feel his lips move against his hair. “And you’re mine, always.”
“Always?” Jungkook teases, attempting to lighten the mood. “That’s quite a long time.”
He doesn’t really know what he expects in response to that, but it definitely isn’t Jimin pulling back slightly, hands resting on Jungkook’s shoulders. The pressure on his shoulders grounds him to the rocks, and the look in Jimin’s eyes has him breathless, struggling for oxygen as he stares at the shorter boy. The distance he put between them worries him slightly until Jimin smiles, eyes crinkling upwards to match his mouth. “Yeah,” he finally says, soft and affectionate. “It is.”
Jungkook’s mouth turns to cotton on its own accord as his heart thumps loudly in his chest. Does this mean…? The possibility of his hyung requiting his feelings overwhelms him, eyes looking to the side nervously as his brain simultaneously yells at him to confess and to shut up. He couldn’t—it wasn’t right to spring this upon Jimin on his last day here, he wouldn’t even be able to make reparations if he fucks up, and then their relationship would truly be over, distance be damned. But also, if Jimin did return his feelings then…
Then, what? He scoffs internally at his own foolishness. Then they’re going to maybe kiss once and Jungkook will be off to Seoul for four years, and they’d only be able to see each other like three times a year at most and romantic relationships are harder to maintain in long distance than friendships were.
Maybe he secretly thought that if he confessed, Jimin would ask him to stay but that surely wasn’t the case—Jimin wasn’t selfish like Jungkook was, he’d watch Jungkook leave with a smile plastered onto his face and a hollow promise to see him soon. If Jimin hadn’t asked him to stay thus far, he sure as hell wasn’t just going to ask now, Jungkook knew better than to hope for that.
He knew better than to hope for a happy ending to his days with Jimin.
He only registers that Jimin had been speaking to him when the hands on his shoulders drop. The moment of indecision is over—the time to confess had passed, and now he had to live with his decision. He shakes himself out of his reverie.
Jimin laughs. “You daydream far too often, Jungkookie! Seriously, don’t get stuck in your head, I might never see you again.” He grins at Jungkook playfully. “I said that we should go sit down, the water is pretty cold.”
Yeah, Jungkook realizes as his feet prickle with numbness, the water is pretty fucking freezing. So he nods with a half-smile as Jimin steps away from their embrace, or whatever is left of it now, and walks toward the larger rocks further back on the beach, sitting down and leaning against one of them with his legs spread out in front of them. Jungkook follows. He almost sits down next to the shorter boy, but then decides against it, instead laying down perpendicular to Jimin. He situates himself so that his head is on Jimin’s lap, and Jimin’s hands almost immediately begin to play with his hair.
He looks up at the sky in a genuine effort to watch the stars but finds himself becoming distracted by the sight of Jimin, sitting still with his eyes trained sharply to the heavens. He looks awed somehow, by the thousands of small stars above, contrasted beautifully by the deep purple silk of space. Jimin is absolutely ethereal in this moment, even in the unflattering angle that Jungkook is looking at him at. His cheeks are barely lit by the reflection of the moon on the ocean, the curve of his nose elegantly accenting his serene expression. His smile is soft, subdued, and Jungkook can’t help but wonder if he’s truly happy—he hopes so. Jimin is prettier than any and all of the stars present currently, brightness rivaled only by the sun itself.
He wonders how Jimin will fare without him there—probably better. He’ll be more concentrated on schoolwork and on dance, he’ll probably have plenty of time to hang out with his college friends now that Jungkook is gone. The pang of jealousy he feels in his chest at the thought is unfair because he knows that Jimin isn’t his to keep, he doesn’t have a single right to get jealous.
Still, the way Jungkook already feels lost without his hyung beside him (even while he is, quite literally, beside him) has him turning his head to the side, burying his face in Jimin’s stomach as his arms grip the side of his hoodie.
He feels Jimin shift, hands gently resting on his head instead of petting his hair. “Kookie…?”
Jungkook shakes his head into Jimin’s warm embrace, feeling his face heat up with embarrassment.
“’M really going to miss you, hyung,” He mumbles. There aren’t any tears this time, but he’s left with an empty chasm in his chest. He feels hollow, unreal, and the only part of the situation that still feels like it exists is Jimin’s hand, thumb gently gliding over the curve of his cheek.
Jimin shifts under him slightly, and Jungkook can tell that he’s being looked at, studied softly by warm eyes. He passively wonders what expression Jimin is making, so he turns his head upwards to gaze at him, blinking in surprise at the sight of glassy eyes and a painful smile.
He’s never seen this expression before, Jungkook realizes. He reaches a hand up and softly cups his best friend’s cheek, thumb gliding under his eyes, reddened by the presence of tears.
Jimin practically glows by the light of the moon, tears sparkling with light brighter than the stars in the sky. He stares, mesmerized, at his own reflection in the other’s eyes, hidden amongst the stars.
“I’ll miss you too, Kookie,” Jimin’s voice wavers a small bit and Jungkook stares unabashedly, coming to a conclusion that this Jimin in front of him right now, with his tear stained cheeks and a slightly twisted smile, sniffling pitifully into Jungkook’s palm, is the prettiest that he’s ever been.
Jungkook quietly memorizes the expression, memorizes the way Jimin watches him.
“Ask me to stay?” Jungkook says it as if it’s a question, but they both know that he’s pleading, asking for an excuse to not leave. He can see his own reflection in his best friend’s eyes, sees his own face contort with reticent hope.
Jimin shakes his head sadly, as if it pained him to reject the younger. Jungkook receives the answer he expects. It doesn’t hurt as much as he thought it would, but he knows the pain will come later. It’ll come when he’s alone in his dorm in the middle of the night, missing the way Jimin would suddenly come over through the window and accompany him when he couldn’t sleep. It will come when he stares up at the sky in winter, remembering how they used to share scarves and mittens when the cold became unbearable. It’ll come in the middle of a lecture, when a sudden patch of sunlight entering the room reminds him of the bright smile of his best friend.
He knows this.
But he lets himself fall in love one last time, hoping that he won’t break into a million tiny stars when he finally hits the ground.