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don't play no game that I can't win

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The problem was, Jungkook hadn’t thought the whole thing through.

He’d thought through maybe, like, half of it. Two thirds.

The plan had started to come together when Taehyung dragged him out to this bar in Itaewon. He was obsessed with this rapper who was apparently some genius prodigy, and the guy was doing a showcase of his new stuff at this bar, along with a few other up and coming hip-hop acts. Jungkook wasn’t the kind of person who pretended he was too cool to see exciting new music and Tae knew Jungkook was enough of a music geek to drop everything on a random Wednesday night for the chance to see something special. No, going out and seeing good music wasn’t the problem. The problem was that Tae was currently single (though that never lasted too long) and had made Jungkook his current pet project, hence the plan. The plan that Jungkook came up with on the bus, just before getting to the bar. Which maybe explained all the holes in his plan.

Step One: Get away from Taehyung without him noticing. That part was easy; the bar was crowded and loud, Tae knew pretty much everyone, and it was just a matter of time before someone grabbed Tae and pulled him off to a corner. Jungkook just didn’t trail after him like he usually did. Some guy with silver hair and deep dimples emerged from the crowd, began excitedly talking to Taehyung, and as Tae started drifting off toward the guy’s friends, Jungkook nodded his head toward the crowded bar and yelled “Beer!” gesturing for Tae to go on ahead. Tae gave him a distracted thumbs-up, and then he was gone.

Step Two: Pick a likely candidate. This was trickier. This bar was known for being welcoming to the small but growing Seoul gay scene, but that didn’t mean every guy in here was gay. There was the very real chance that Jungkook could get punched for propositioning a dude pretty much anywhere in Korea, Itaewon or no. Jungkook liked to work out and he was pretty athletic, but that didn’t mean he liked to get punched. And he’d never been in a fight anyway...what if he sucked at it? Sucking at fighting would probably be worse and more humiliating than the actual getting punched part.

Fighting wasn’t a good option, but he had to pick someone who seemed (a) less likely to punch him and (b) someone he could take in a fight, if it came to that. He could use use Grindr or something, but this seemed like a lot to explain over an app. No, this was an in-person kind of thing.

After checking out and dismissing a bunch of dudes (too tall, too old, had a boyfriend), Jungkook spotted a guy at the bar. He had pale blond hair, wearing a white tee and a giant plaid shirt that made him look even smaller than he was. He was frankly cute as hell and sitting alone, picking the label off his beer. Jungkook gathered his courage, swigged down the rest of his own beer, and pushed his way through the crowd to the bar.

Step Three: Somehow convince this guy to pretend to date Jungkook. In retrospect, this was the part Jungkook should have maybe planned out a little bit better. Or at all.

“Hi!” Jungkook yelled, just as the music got quiet. The guy looked up at him. Oh god, had he looked that grumpy before? He looked so grumpy. The guy’s hands (nice hands, really nice hands) stilled on his beer bottle. He raised an eyebrow at Jungkook. He didn’t look like he was pissed or likely to punch him, so Jungkook kept going.

“Excuse me, um, I’m so sorry.” Jungkook didn’t know what to do, this was so far outside his comfort zone, and it felt like everyone was staring at him. In a panic, he fell back on his manners. “My apologies,” he said formally, and bowed 90 degrees. “My name is Jeon Jungkook, and I know this sounds strange, and I swear I’m not drunk or crazy or um...like messing with you or anything, but could you please pretend to be my boyfriend for the night?”

The guy stared at him. “Did you just,” he said, drawing out the words slowly, “formally bow to me like I was your grandmother, then ask me to date you?”

“--pretend to date,” Jungkook cut in, because that part was relevant.

“Right,” the guy said. “And you need me to pretend to date you because…?”

“My friends are being dicks,” Jungkook said, but that was a little unfair, so he stuttered out, “well, not dicks, they mean well, but this one friend won’t stop setting me up with these terrible guys. It’s insulting. I’d rather be single, you know, dating is so much work?” The guy nodded, an amused smile playing around the corners of his lips. “And- and I want to prove to them that I can get my own boyfriend, and like, talk...to someone...normally…” he trailed off. God, he couldn’t talk to anyone normally, this was awful.

The guy didn’t say anything, but his eyebrows got higher and higher. He took a long, slow deliberate pull off his beer. Jungkook absolutely did not watch his mouth and his neck while he was doing that.

“Min Yoongi,” he said, finally, offering his hand to Jungkook.

Jungkook shook his hand, which was firm and slightly damp and cool from where it had been touching his beer. Something about that made him seem more human, like this was all more real, and he had just asked a real live human to fake date him, what was he even thinking?

“How old are you, kid?” Min Yoongi asked. “I just want to know how badly I’m robbing the cradle here.”

“You’ll do it?” Jungkook pumped his fist. “Yes! I mean, uh, I’m 22. You?” Yoongi-ssi looked younger up close, underneath the slight smudge of eyeliner he was wearing. Something about the way he was holding his body, however, curled in on himself against the bar, made him look a lot older. Tired. Jungkook was suddenly interested in him. He wondered what Yoongi-ssi’s story was.

“26. So I guess it’s reasonable.” He looked Jungkook up and down slowly, letting his gaze drift down his body. He stopped and shook his head a little. “Yeah, why the hell not. It’ll make the night interesting.”

“Thank you, Yoongi-ssi, thank you so much.” Jungkook almost bowed again, but stopped himself.

“You better drop the formalities if we’re dating. Unless you have a pet name for me?” Yoongi’s eyes were starting to sparkle, and Jungkook got the distinct feeling that he might be kind of fucked. “Baby? Darling?” Yoongi purred, a wide smile splitting his face. He looked ten years younger instantly, happy and cute, and Jungkook was maybe definitely fucked. He was also never going to call this guy baby or darling with a straight face.

“Uh, just Jungkook is okay. Fine,” Jungkook said. He rubbed his neck and rolled his shoulders, loosening up like he was at the gym. He noticed Yoongi’s eyes lingering on his delts and traps, and he was glad he’d put in some extra work on arm day. “Should we get to know each other?” Jungkook asked, feeling more confident. “Like I said, I’m 22, I just finished school and I’m working at a gym while I’m getting my stuff together for grad school. I live with my friend Taehyung. Um.” He scratched the back of his head. “I guess I’m pretty typical? I like sports and gaming and uh, oh, do you play Overwatch? What character do you--”

Yoongi was smiling at him over his beer, but it seemed fond, not mocking. He waved his hand. “No, not too much gaming for me.” He took a drink and looked like he was thinking about something. “I’m uh, I’m 26, like I said. I live with my best friends, Namjoon and Hoseok. I’m into music. I like to cook.”

Just as Jungkook was about to ask him what he did for work, Yoongi said, hopping down from the bar stool and throwing a wad of cash down on the bar. “I gotta go on in a few. Catch me after my set and we’ll go mess with your friends. Gimme your phone.”

HIs set? Go on? Jungkook tried to figure out what that meant as he unlocked his phone, and did a quick shuffle with his thumb to make sure there wasn’t anything embarrassing on there. Yoongi tapped in his number. “Text me back so I have your info, I’ll hit you up after, ok?”

“Sure,” Jungkook said. After what? He almosts asked, but Yoongi was gone, swallowed up by the crowd growing around the small stage in the front of the club. Oh. Oh. Oh shit, had he picked a hot, weirdly charismatic musician to fake date?

He felt Tae come up behind him, plastering himself to Jungkook’s back. “Jungkookie! Jimin just got here with Jin-hyung.” Taehyung was taking a break from classes to do a little modeling and had auditioned for some dramas. Seokjin was a fellow actor, a bit older than the other boys, and what had started as him taking Tae under his wing had turned into instant mutual admiration. He was shooting a drama right now, which left little time for hanging out, and Jungkook was glad he came.

Jungkook had thought about asking Seokjin to fake date him, but for an actor he was a terrible liar. He’d be on the ground laughing in minutes, after sending him hand kisses all night and spouting every terrible pickup line from the drama he was filming. Also, he and Tae were too close for that to ever work.

“So there’s this guy,” Tae says, his voice low and rumbling into Jungkook’s ear. And yeah, he knew this was coming.

The problem with Taehyung was that he liked everyone. He found people interesting, no matter who they are or what they do. He loved to listen to their stories and get to know them, and he could always find the good in someone, or bring out something that he found beautiful. The problem with this was that it sometimes made him blind to others’ faults, and half the guys he shoved at Jungkook were “really great, I swear, Jungkookie,” and then the guy was a narcissist or talked about his mother for 4 hours, or was just a dick. Because the other problem with Tae was that he was tall and beautiful and worked as a model and knew everybody who knew everybody who knew everybody else. So most people who met him wanted to be on his good side, and that meant showing their good side. Most people didn’t let their inner asshole fly at the Beautiful People they wanted to impress, and Tae was definitely one of the Beautiful People.

He was also annoying as hell and really heavy. “Get off,” Jungkook whined, trying to elbow him in the stomach. Tae clung to him harder, nuzzling him in the neck. “Get off…?” he asked, his voice dripping with fake hurt. Jungkook sighed. “Get off, hyung,” he said, as sweetly and politely as he could, while ramming his elbow into Tae’s ribs.

Tae grunted and slid off him. “You need to spend less time at the gym,” he complained, rubbing his ribs. “Anyway, there’s this guy. I met him at Starbucks? He’s--”

“I don’t need a guy,” Jungkook said, holding up his hand. This was exactly why he needed Min Yoongi right now, and he sent up a silent thank you to Yoongi-ssi for helping him out tonight.

“Listen, how long have you been bisexual for?” Tae asked, slinging his arm around Jungkook.

“My whole life, actually,” Jungkook mumbled, but Tae went on. “--and you’ve never been with a guy? You’ve barely even dated girls. You’re tall and hot and built and you’re into both boys and girls. You should be swimming in sex.”

“Ew?” Jungkook made a face.

“My point is,” Tae said, and Jungkook interrupted him. “I have a boyfriend,” he blurted out. “It’s uh, new.” He flushed just saying it, god, nobody was going to believe him.

“Wait, what?” Tae asked, rearing back and putting a hand on Jungkook’s shoulder. He squinted, studying Jungkook’s face, which currently felt like it was on fire. Jungkook clenched his hands at his sides, willing himself not to fan his own face. That would be both embarrassing and a dead giveaway.

“Yeah, uh…” he’d committed at this point, and he felt oddly loyal to Yoongi, who he’d roped into this. “Like I said, it’s really new, we’re just uh, getting to know each other? Yeah. So. But he’s really um,” Jungkook searched for the right word, trying to sum up Yoongi, with his long fingers picking apart the label, the glint in his eye, the curve of his jawline. “Hot,” Jungkook blurted out. Smooth. Very smooth. But accurate. “He’s um, very hot? And I want to see where it goes, you know? So um.”

“Why haven’t I heard anything about--” Tae started to say, but was interrupted by Jimin throwing himself into Tae’s side. “Hiiiiii,” Jimin said, wrapping his arms around Taehyung’s waist. “Hey, Jungkook.”

“Hey, hyung,” Jungkook said, grinning. Saved for the moment, thank god. Jimin was Jungkook’s other best friend. He was a dance instructor and sometimes he let Jungkook take classes for free, just to keep his skills sharp. He was always trying to get Jungkook to teach classes, but Jungkook felt kind of awkward being in front of the class like that.

Trailing behind Jimin, Jin came up to the group, each of his hands wrapped around the necks of two beer bottles and an aggrieved expression on his face. “You little brats leave me to pay and then ditch me at the bar? How old am I, Jimminie? Huh? And I get this disrespect?” He paused, handing two beers to Jungkook. “Hi, Jungkookie, my favorite dongsaeng, you can drink both their beers.” Jungkook grinned and chugged one of the beers without even looking at Tae and Jimin, under the sounds of their protests. Still drinking, he passed the other beer to Jimin. Tae never drank beer anyway, he just liked to carry one around to fit in.

“Who’s the other beer for, hyung?” Jungkook asked, indicating the second beer in Jin’s hand.

“Me,” Jin said, pouting a little. “It’s to wash away the pain in my heart from the cruel disrespect I suffered at the hands of these children.” He waved a beer, indicating Jimin and Tae. He smiled easily, showing that he wasn’t really mad. Jin-hyung was sweet and easygoing, but you could only take it so far with him and he’d let you know it, fast. He was a good hyung, and Jungkook was glad he’d taken charge of their little group.

“Hyung just didn’t want to have to go to the bar twice,” Jimin giggled, running his hand through his black hair, messing with his bangs until they were just right.

“Do you see what I have to put up with?” Jin sighed dramatically. He put his head back and really, he was so beautiful that everything he did could be an ad or something, and necked the first bottle of beer, not pausing once. Everyone stopped moving or talking for a moment, because the sight of Kim Seokjin’s throat working like that was a thing of beauty. It deserved a moment of silence.When he’d finished and wiped his mouth, he said, “So what’s up, guys? What’s new, Jungkookie?”

“Our baby Jungkookie apparently has a boyfriend,” Tae said, draping his arm around Jimin and looking meaningfully at Jungkook. “I was just about to grill him for details.”

Just as he said that, the lights in the club changed, dimming near where they were, lighting up closer to the stage. The focus of the crowd shifted, a wave of faces and attention cresting toward the mic in the middle of the stage, lit by a single harsh white spotlight. Feedback whined for a second, then crackled, then settled into a low electric audio hum that settled into Jungkook’s bones. It made him feel excited, the way live music always did, but also something anticipatory, like something big was coming. He just didn’t know what it was.

“Well?” Seokjin said, interrupting the moment. He poked Jungkook in the meaty part of his shoulder, probably harder than necessary. “Who is it? Spill. I have to make sure they’re good enough for my Kookie.”

“Yeah,” Jimin said, smiling at him. Bless Jimin, he looked honestly thrilled that Jungkook had met someone. Jungkook felt a pang of guilt for lying to him. It was just one night, just to stop the endless parade of first date disasters, he told himself.

The feedback crackled again and their whole small group turned toward the stage as someone came out, grabbing on to the mic. He wasn’t layers of flannel and a beanie anymore. He had a thin, loose, white t-shirt half-tucked into his jeans, a shit-eating grin on his face, and a blond undercut that was already starting to sweatily stick to his forehead. Oh, shit. “I’m Agust D,” Yoongi said, holding the mic loosely in his finger, then rearranging his grip on the body of the mic in a way that was very very erotic to poor Jungkook’s clearly-hallucinating brain. Oh shit, Jungook thought. Literally nobody was going to believe that he was dating Seoul’s newest hip-hop prodigy. He was in so much trouble.

Okay. Here goes nothing. He could do this. He turned to Seokjin, pointed at the stage, and said, with as much confidence as he could muster, “Uh...him?”

Jungkook expected some level of disbelief, but the look of total shock on Seokjin’s face was frankly a little insulting. “Wait,” he said, pointing toward the stage, then back at Jungkook. “You’re dating Yoongi? He never said anything!”

Oh. Oh, shit.