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of white lies and autumn leaves

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Boys can be so fucking annoying.

That’s what Jungkook thinks when he stumbles through dark streets on a Friday night. The wind has zero mercy on him and makes it harder to put one foot in front of the other. It doesn’t help that he sways with every step and that the world has taken on a glimmering aura, like an annoying glitch in a videogame. He wants to move faster but the controls aren’t working.
He’s thankful when Hoseok’s warm hand finds its way around his waist to steady him and his tipsy body.

“You’ve had one too many, Kookie,” he says, his voice too amused to be comforting.

“I couldn’t listen to them anymore,” Jungkook slurs and stops walking for a moment, opening his eyes unnaturally wide in an attempt to see clearer. His brain tries to put all the askew houses and trees in the street back into their assigned places and the ground back under his feet where it belongs, but it fails miserably.
“It makes me sick.”

“The booze?” Hoseok’s hand rubs comforting circles into the small of his back and Jungkook hums absentmindedly. If he wasn’t a grown ass man, he’d ask Hoseok to carry him back to the dorm piggyback style, but he’s still got some dignity.

“No,” he groans. “The others. They only ever talk about sex.”
Jungkook wants to slap Hoseok when he starts chuckling, but urgh, effort.
He chooses to ignore him and keeps whining like the big baby he is. It’s nonsense and his words don’t cooperate but Hoseok listens.
“Relationship this, girlfriend, boyfriend that,” he swallows down a random gag reflex and hopes he makes it back home before he throws up. “As if that’s all there is to life.”

Hoseok hums and when Jungkook loses his balance and stumbles, he’s already grabbing his arm, keeping him from falling flat on his face.
He actually wouldn’t mind kissing the asphalt right now if the world just stopped fucking swirling for a minute.

There’s the good kind of drunk, where you’re giddy and silly and everything’s great. You’re suddenly ten times hotter and funnier and more talk-active than usually and everyone loves you.
It’s not that kind of drunk right now. It’s the crying about a dead pigeon on the sidewalk kind of drunk.
His tears have only just dried.

“Hyunnnggg, what were we just talking ‘bout,” Jungkook whines, cause there’s only pudding in his head now. “I’m pissed off but ‘m not sure why.”

“Sex and relationships,” Hoseok sighs.
Jungkook makes a mental note to apologize to him for this whole tragedy once he’s sober, but the note just vanishes somewhere in all his brain-pudding.

“Right. Fuck that,” he slurs. “I’m not less grown up just because I haven’t had that yet. Right Hyung? It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make me uncool.”

Hoseok stops walking and when Jungkook turns around to look at him, there’s warmth flooding through his body and he drowns a little in that soft smile on Hoseok’s face.

“Don’t over think it, Kooks,” he says. “They’re idiots and honestly assholes for making fun of you.”

“I guess...”

“You’ll find someone at some point,” he smiles. “Actually. You’ll probably just mind your own business and before you know it you’re in love and they’re in love with you too.”
Then he thinks for a moment and shrugs his shoulders.
“Or maybe you won’t be and that’s fine, too. Like you said, it’s not all there is.”

There’s a disgusting, heavy wetness in Jungkook’s eyes now and he decides that if he doesn’t wipe his sleeves at it, Hoseok won’t notice.
But he does and his smile gets infinitely softer somehow.
And like the great friend he is, he doesn’t tell Jungkook how pathetic it is to cry again. Doesn’t say that dead birds and not having sex aren’t worth crying over.
Instead he turns around and invites Jungkook onto his back.

“It’ll be quicker like this,” he says. “Let’s get you home.”

After three attempts, Jungkook manages to jump up on his back and makes himself comfortable there. Hoseok hooks his arms under Jungkook’s knees and he feels like a heavy sack of meat but Hoseok doesn’t complain.

So he closes his eyes and lets the stars behind his eyelids dance while he nuzzles his nose deeper into Hoseok’s neck.
The scent of his shampoo is familiar and makes his brain fill with a thick comfortable fog.
It’s color protection shampoo for his red-orange hair that reminds Jungkook of autumn leaves, with that heavenly grapefruit aroma that’s sweet and a little too into your face, just like Hoseok usually is.

But right now it’s like medicine for his distressed body and soothes his thoughts and some of his stupid tears dry on Hoseok’s shirt, but he doesn’t worry about them.
He just lets the grapefruit scent and alcohol and the steady up and down of Hoseok’s steps lull him to sleep.

-

 

When he wakes up he hasn’t even opened his eyes yet and already greets the pain in his temples. His head lies heavy in the pillow and his body’s probably been put though a blender in the night. There’s aching in places he didn’t even know could ache.

And he still hasn’t opened his eyes when he realizes he’s surrounded by a dizzying cloud of grapefruit and cologne that makes his heart beat a little faster.

It’s not the first time he wakes up in Hoseok’s bed, because it’s just much more comfortable than his own.
 The springs don’t whine when he moves around and the mattress is just the right amount soft, but not worn out yet.

Jungkook kicks the dark blue sheets off his body and sits up, curses quietly at the dull headache, presses two fingers against his temple and takes a moment to let his heart adjust to the new sitting position.

“Drink some water,” Hoseok’s voice tells him and it takes Jungkook a moment to realize that this isn’t his conscience speaking. Why would it have Hoseok’s voice anyway?

With his side leaning against the doorframe, he grins at him and he doesn’t verbally say ‘that’s what you get for drinking the gross green whiskey stuff Jimin mixed’ but Jungkook feels years younger anyway and not in a cute way.

There’s just something in Hoseok’s smile that bothers him and makes him wanna be a real adult and not just this weird kind of pretend adult who’s technically an adult but has no idea what he’s doing 90% of the time.
Hoseok nods to his nightstand, where a glass of water and some painkillers are waiting for him and Jungkook is nearly too proud to empty the whole glass in one go.
But not quite.


Breakfast is a nightmare on so many levels.
Namjoon and Jimin were arguing over the effects of alcohol consumption and how many brain cells exactly a glass of wine kills.
And now Namjoon’s in the middle of fact-checking his point and scrolls through his phone, reading some annoying scientific article out loud for all of them to ‘learn something new every day’.

“That’s why I don’t drink,” Hoseok says and Taehyung nods.

Yoongi looks at him with a raised eyebrow from where he just walked into the living room. He’s drowning in an oversized sweater and looks mad cute, but his face says murder and destruction. Everyone deals with hangovers differently.

“No, sweetie, you don’t drink cause you’re practically knocked out after two sips of beer,” Yoongi deadpans. “You’d probably get drunk on a teaspoon of cough syrup.”

“Honestly? I’m not even mad,” Hoseok chuckles. “Cough syrup does make me feel a little fuzzy- headed.”

Jungkook doesn’t talk much and his head is still killing him, but at least his chest feels a bit lighter now.
There’s no way to stay grumpy about life and adulthood when Hoseok’s laugh fills the room like this and makes everyone’s muscles relax, if they want it or not.
The look on Yoongi’s face is 10 times softer once he leaves the room with a cup of coffee.
Hoseok’s smile might be the closest to magic humanity ever got and that’s not even an opinion.
That’s science.

-

Maybe real adults learn from their mistakes and evolve into better versions off themselves, constantly moving, constantly changing, and constantly striving to be Better Than Yesterday™.
But Jungkook’s only a pretend adult and apparently so are the rest of the boys, because it’s barely a week later when they sit around on their living room floor and apart from Hoseok and Taehyung, everyone’s in some state of tipsy.

But it’s the good kind of tipsy today. They’re at home in their comfort zone, there’s no weird green stuff to sip on and all they really have is soju and beer. Not even enough to get properly drunk on.

Jungkook doesn’t know how or when he ended up there with his back leaning into Hoseok’s body, who’s slumped against the couch. His chest is broad and warm and he can feel his heart beat steady and calming against his back and it’s natural how Hoseok’s hand is in Jungkook’s sweater pocket and plays with a loose thread there.
The room is drowned out in warmth and haziness and there’s a giddy kind of feeling in Jungkook’s chest, but he’s just a little too sleepy to act on it.

In the middle of their little circle lies an empty beer bottle and Taehyung is the one spinning it with a big, sober box grin on his face and Jungkook admires how he manages to look tipsy when he’s only had cola all evening.

“I haven’t played this in so long,” Hoseok hums somewhere behind Jungkook and it’s a nice sound. Tired and real and beautiful, with 10% words and 90% air.
And he’s too lazy to answer but he’s smiling like a fool and figures that’s good enough.

“I can’t believe we’re doing this,” Yoongi groans. “I’m 24.”

Yoongi has had the most alcohol of them all, but it doesn’t even show the tiniest bit. He leans against the couch and his eyelids look heavy, but his words are clear as ever. Jungkook doesn’t understand how such a small body can be so resistant and actually, now that he’s thinking about it, maybe Yoongi made a pact with some demon. That’d explain a lot in general. Nobody can rap that fast without some kind of dark magic involved.

The bottle lands on Namjoon this time and he’s smiling a thin fake smile into the round, pretending not to be nervous of the atmosphere in the room. It’s the kind of night where there seems to be a sale on secrets and personal information and they’re just thrown out at half the prize.

“Rap Mon Ster,” Taehyung sing songs the syllables until it doesn’t sound like a word anymore. “Truth or Dare!”

“Truth,” he sighs. “Always truth.”

“You can’t awways take truth cause two inna row‘s the limit, Hyunnng,” Jimin reminds him.

“Yeah and I’m on my second, so truth.”

Seokjin lies with his head in Namjoon’s lap and doesn’t even bother opening his eyes just because it’s his boyfriend’s turn. For a moment Jungkook thinks he’s fallen asleep, but then he starts humming a melody he vaguely recognizes and looks like he’s never been happier for some reason. Bless his heart.

“Okay,” Taehyung ponders, “let me ask my advisor for a second.”

He turns towards Jimin and they start whispering and Jungkook’s pretty sure they’re not actually talking but just mumbling incoherent nonsense like sixth graders.
For the dramatic effect or whatever.
Jungkook knows these boys too well. He could read their bullshit from a mile away without having to try.
He knows they’re not actually consulting on anything, he knows Taehyung’s just addicted to making Jimin laugh and he knows there’s probably butterflies swirling in Tae’s tummy when Jimin giggles into his shoulder, cause he’s at his third beer already.

He turns back to Namjoon, who’s fidgeting with the sleeve of Seokjin’s shirt. When he’s nervous, his hands always find their way to Seokjin’s clothes to have something to play with and maybe he doesn’t realize he’s doing it. It’s embarrassing and adorable.

“Did or did you not hook up with Jackson at that aftershow-party last year,” Taehyung grins. “If you lie, Jin Hyung will know and he’ll tell us and he’ll be mad at you, so choose wisely.”

Namjoon rolls his eyes at him.

“I told you nothing happened,” he groans. “Jackson’s not even my type and it would be weird as hell.”

“Are you sure?” Jimin pushes.

“Of course I’m sure,” Namjoon leans back and steadies himself on his arms and Seokjin groans a little, shifting his head onto a more comfortable spot on his thighs.
“Unlike some of you I actually know how many people I hooked up with and Jackson’s not one of them.”

“Are you vague blogging about me right now?” Taehyung squints at him.

“This is a verbal conversation, Tae,” Jimin chuckles and Taehyung’s face lights up.

“Okay fine whatever, you’re boring anyway, Hyung,” he says and Namjoon just shrugs his shoulders and takes a lock of Seokjin’s hair between his fingers.

Taehyung spins the bottle again, just because none of the others can be bothered.
The bottle-neck points directly at Taehyung himself and Jungkook can watch Yoongi come to life where he’d been slumped against the couch.

“You’re out of Dares,” he says,” so truth it is for you, my young friend.”
Yoongi’s pride is still hurt from when Taehyung made him tell the story of his first kiss half an hour earlier and they all cooed at him.

Taehyung’s face is the definition of wary when Yoongi smiles at him, nearly full on gummy style, but not quite.

“What was the most embarrassing thing that’s ever happened to you during sex?” he asks and Jimin screeches.

“Good one, Hyung!” he grins and gives him a wobbly thumbs up. Yoongi leans back into the couch, satisfied with himself and life in general.

Jungkook wants to find it funny and wants to laugh at the miserable facial expression on Tae’s face, but there’s this tight feeling in his chest again and the bitterness in his saliva.
His muscles are tense when he sits up a little in front of Hoseok and tries to get comfortable.

“Relax,” Hoseok hums, so quiet, none of the others hear him.
Warm, big hands start massaging his neck and he melts a little. It’s fine. The attention’s not even on him and the way Hoseok’s fingers draw little, deep circles into his shoulder blades makes it easier to breathe.

“Okay fuck, I’ve got a really bad one,” Tae says and cringes at the pure memory of it. “Remember when I had that thing going on with Jaehyung.”

“Wait, was Jaehyung that dancer guy?”

“Yeah that one. Well… he takes me home into his fancy apartment for the first time and I’m absolutely dying cause remember how hot he was! And we’re making out and he’s handling me real good …and then I want to retreat, right? I want to show him I’ve got some experience too and I’m not a baby, right. So I suck him off and he’s big and beautiful…”

When Taehyung stops talking for a moment, all eyes are on him like he’s about to announce the winner of this week’s music show. Jimin is cackling into his hand and Jungkook figures he knows the story by heart.

“Well and you know in porn when the girl lets the dude deep-throat her,” he says and his tone is getting less enthusiastic. “I told him to fuck my mouth and I’ve never done that shit before.”

“So what happened?” Yoongi pushed.

“I threw up on his dick,” Taehyung sighs. “Like not massively, but like yeah… mostly water and a bit of mac n cheese or something… he was all sympathetic and amused and patted my head and it was horrible.”
 

“Oh my god,” Seokjin says, opening his eyes for the first time. “I’ll never get those images out of my head.”

“Aww, honey, practice makes perfect,” Yoongi coos, now full on gummy smile and they all know he’ll never let him forget about this.

“It was one time,” Taehyung hisses. “And I’m getting there! It’s never happened again.”

Jungkook feels his own stomach turn at the pure thought of it and swallows. He never consented to hearing this story and now he has to live with it.

Hoseok’s hands have stopped massaging him and he’s clicking his tongue.
“So what did you do,” he asks. “Did you just…”

“I cleaned him up, sucked him off normally and he didn’t complain.”

“Amazing,” Jimin mocks. “You’re a real warrior.”

“ANYWAY. Enough about me,” Taehyung grins and sits up to reach for the bottle again, to spin it, and Jungkook’s heart starts racing all over again.

It takes forever for it to slow down and Jungkook’s stomach sinks in his body when the bottle points directly at him.
He wants to disappear into the core of the earth and start a new life there.

All heads turn to him and he’s searching for words.

“Oh, that’s me then, I guess,” Hoseok behind him says and sits up, readying himself.

“Nice try, Hyung,” Jimin smiles. “But you’ve already had two rounds. Now it’s Kookie’s time to shine.”

Jungkook curses Jimin and the universe and thanks Hoseok in spirit for his attempt to help him out.

He clears his throat and says, “Truth.”
Hell knows what they’d come up with if he chose Dare.
“Okay,” Taehyung takes a deep breath. “We’re your friends and we deserve to know this. Have you ever been in a relationship before?”

Jungkook closes his eyes for a moment and sits up straight, so he isn’t leaning against Hoseok’s chest anymore. He’s gotta get through this on his own, like an adult.
His heart is racing and the humiliation lies thick in his throat. He hates the way they look at him, as if he’s just turned 7 and they asked how his day in school was.

“I haven’t,” he says.

“So that means you’re a virgin?” Jimin asks and his voice is annoying and soft, maybe pitiful.

Jungkook hasn’t kissed anyone outside of his family and the occasional friendly peck on the cheek from some of the members.
 He’s been okay with jerking himself off too and nobody’s ever asked to do it for him, so there’s that.
He can’t remember the last time he had a proper crush on someone and the ones he had were never reciprocated.

Sometimes he still hears the voice of his high school crush tell him “there’s someone else I have feelings for” in her sweet voice, matching her sweet face and her gentle hand on his shoulder.
Sometimes there’s still the confusion in the back of his head from all the nights he sat in his bed and looked up gay porn, not really to do something with it, just to… check. To figure out what it all means.
Sometimes he still regrets coming out as bi to his group, because now they seem even more interested in his nonexistent love life and it’s already been overwhelming.

“Yeah, I’m a virgin,” he says and doesn’t check their reactions. Just stares at a questionable stain on the fluffy carpet that could be orange juice or snot. He doesn’t want to know.

“Why though?” Jimin pushes, “You’re cute and pretty hot when you’re dancing.”

Taehyung nods. “Are you like scared of it or something?”

“Not really,” Jungkook hums. The air is getting thick and he doesn’t feel like he belongs in this circle right now. He’d rather be in his bed for the rest of the week, or maybe month. He’d rather be anywhere else actually.

“And you’ve never been in a relationship without sex either… like…nothing?”

Jungkook’s about to burst, but not with a loud voice and anger, but with tears that are trying to push over the edge of his eyes.

“Actually,” Hoseok speaks up with an unfamiliar authority in his voice that makes Taehyung and Jimin look at him in surprise.  His hand is back on Jungkook’s shoulder, warm and heavy.
Grounding.
“He’s dating me and we didn’t plan to tell you guys about it yet, but you can’t stop pressuring people apparently.”

Six out of seven of them look like they’ve just seen a ghost.
Including Jungkook, who turns around to stare at Hoseok in alarm, but then he meets warm eyes and a thumb draws slow circles into his shoulder and it all makes so much sense, he wants to laugh.
He takes a deep breath and nods when he turns back to the others.

“Shit,” Namjoon says. “Guys, we had no idea.”

“Fuck, this is awkward,” Taehyung stutters out. “Are you for real? I mean… wow.”

“Oh god, I didn’t want to pressure you,” Jimin’s smile melts a little and there’s worry in his features now. Jimin’s the emotional kinda drunk.
“If I’d known, I wouldn’t have kept asking.”

“It’s fine,” Jungkook says and feels entirely weird. Like he’s just slipped into some weird alternate universe where lying to his friends is relieving and right and makes him feel warm inside. He hates that it feels good.

That it feels like he’s won and like he finally makes sense to them, even if it takes a lie to do so. The look on their faces is so satisfying, for a moment he believes he’s actually really cool and grown up.

“Can you just like, pretend you don’t know about it,” he adds, and suddenly talking is easy and he relishes in the curiosity that’s in the air now. It’s the good kind of attention. The ‘he has secrets and is chill enough not to spill them’ kind of attention. Not so much the ‘he’s terrified of dragging behind and being an easy target’ kind of attention.

“Of course,” Seokjin says and lies back down in Namjoon’s lap. “Take all the time you need.”

“I know how confusing it can be,” Namjoon adds and squeezes Seokjin’s shoulder absentmindedly. “I’m proud of you anyway.”

“Can we like, just move on,” Yoongi says casually, as if there isn’t fondness dripping out of his eyes when he looks at Jungkook and Hoseok. “You guys made them uncomfortable.”

So that’s what they do.
They move on with their stupid game of Truth and Dare and Jungkook leans back against Hoseok’s chest as if that doesn’t make his heart and thoughts race ten times faster than before and Hoseok’s arm wraps around him to slip into his sweater pocket again to play with the same loose thread as before.
Only now it’s not casual anymore. It’s distracting and loaded with tension.
Oh god, what have they done.

-

Later that night, Jungkook walks through the darkness and finds his way through the dorm blindly, hands stretched out in front of him so he doesn’t walk into furniture.

In the living room he finds Jimin and Taehyung squeezed together on the couch and rolls his eyes at them in the dark. Then he picks up the wool blanket that’s dropped to the floor next to them and puts it back over them, tucking them in and smiling when Taehyung mumbles something unintelligible in his sleep.

He finds his way to Hoseok’s room like he often does but now he pauses in front of the door and it’s scary and weird, but he can’t fall asleep and Hoseok’s bed is so damn comfortable.
The door whines a little when he opens it carefully, tip toeing in and standing in the middle of the room for a few heartbeats. His eyes adjust slowly to the darkness and he can make out the two beds  and Hoseok is already propping himself up on his elbows to squint at him in the dark.

“Can’t sleep?” he hums and it’s raspy and sleepy and tingly in Jungkook’s bones.

“No,” he whispers. “Can I come in?”

“’course.” Hoseok scoots over and lifts the blanket for Jungkook to sneak in.  The warmth is overwhelming and he has to keep himself from inhaling the grapefruit scent deep into his lungs.
He settles for cuddling closer to Hoseok, because his feet got a little cold on his way and Hoseok’s are so warm.

“Hyung.”

“Yeah?”

“We’re not really dating now, right?” It sounds a lot stupider out loud, but Hoseok chuckles and his voice is even sweeter when he’s half asleep.

“Of course not, silly,” he says. “I’m sorry I started this. They were being idiots and you seemed lost.”

“It’s actually smart… and their faces were incredible” Jungkook chuckles into the grapefruity pillow and his feet warm up where they’re tangled with Hoseok’s. “But what now?”

“We can keep it up for a while and then tell them we broke up,” Hoseok hums. “Tell them we just got lonely and confused and it wasn’t the real thing.”

Jungkook swallows at that. How can he be so chill about it? How did he fall asleep without thinking about all the what if’s and the weirdness of it all?

“Or we tell them right away that we were bullshitting them,” he yawns in the middle of his sentence. “It’s your decision entirely.”

Jungkook thinks about it for a moment and readjusts his feet so the cold sides are pressed into Hoseok’s warm ones. Hoseok just complains quietly.

“It’s funny that they just believed it like that,” Jungkook huffs.  “I bet they’re gonna figure it out soon anyway. So let’s just see what happens.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Hoseok opens his eyes to smile at him in the dark. “Now go to sleep, love.”

The term of endearment falls easily and with a hint of amusement off Hoseok’s lips but Jungkook finds it harder than ever to fall asleep now.
He just closes his eyes, listens to Hoseok’s calm breathing and tries his best not to think of grapefruits and autumn leaves.