There is a common stereotype that violinists are usually cocky— really fucking cocky. Often times, words like “modest” and “humble” aren’t even in their vocabulary.
Obviously, this stereotype does not apply to every violinist in the world. There are some violinists who have incredible and beautiful souls, who are extremely down to earth and grounded. But, let’s be real here—most violinists are pretty cocky.
Jeon Jeongguk is the epitome of The Cocky Violinist. He walks through the halls of the school like he fucking owns the place. Head up high, chest puffed out, violin case always slung across his back along with his backpack. Looks straight ahead and has a permanently etched smirk on his face. His strides are graceful yet commanding. Jeon Jeongguk doesn’t bump into people, oh no— people bump into Jeon Jeongguk.
Everyone knows that he’s probably one of the most arrogant humans to ever exist on the face of the earth. But why doesn’t anyone do anything about it? Because his skills are undeniable. He plays his violin (“His name is Pytor, as in Pytor Tchaikovsky.”) with a certain finesse that not many others hold, and the numerous trophies, medals, and plaques in his room can attest to that. With the incredible dexterity of his left hand and the power of his right hand, he can perform any technical piece to exist for the violin with the utmost perfection. But—
“You play with no passion, Jeon Jeongguk.”
It is a cold autumn day, the wind outside blowing harshly as the trees rattle. School has just finished, and Jeongguk is practicing in the practice room that he always uses, the third one from the left in the hallway behind the grand orchestra room. Jeongguk's bow freezes, and he turns around when he hears the comment.
Leaning against the doorway is a tall, handsome looking boy. Jeongguk rakes his eyes down the boy’s black crew neck and tight black jeans, and looks back at his face. He scowls.
“And who are you?”
The boy stands up straight and walks over to Jeongguk, sticking out his hand. He raises an eyebrow when Jeongguk refuses to take it, and tucks his hand in his jeans pocket.
“Kim Taehyung. I'm starting school here tomorrow. I moved from Daegu.”
Jeongguk purses his lips. “Uh huh. And you think you can just waltz in here and criticize my playing?”
Taehyung takes off his snapback and runs his fingers through his hair. Jeongguk takes note of the boy’s attractiveness, but his personality has already ruined the impression he has of him.
“Your door wasn’t exactly closed. But you’re right, I'm sorry for just pouncing on you like that. Guess I tried too hard to make an impression.” His face slightly reddens as he puts his snapback on again. “I have heard so much about you and you were right there— I couldn’t help but listen in on your playing.”
Jeongguk rolls his eyes. “Well, can you leave now?” Taehyung stays glued to his spot. “Dude, I said leave.”
Taehyung sighs. “It’s just—okay, never mind.” He smiles, both rows of pearly whites on full display. “I'll see you around, Jeongguk.” He turns around and leaves.
Jeongguk rolls his eyes. “What the fuck,” he mutters to himself.
Lo and behold, the next day in orchestra class, Kim Taehyung is standing in front of the class next to the teacher, a violin case in hand. Professor Park claps her hands, and the class falls into silence.
“Everyone, I’d like to introduce the new student. This is Kim Taehyung, and he just moved here from Daegu. He will be joining our orchestra starting today. Please make him feel welcome in our class!”
“Holy shit, he’s so hot—”
“Damn, his eyes are so big—”
“Oh my god, look at his smile he’s the cutest—”
Jeongguk groans upon hearing the outbreak of commentary around him. He turns around to face his section. “Shut up, you guys!”
Yoojung hits his head with her bow. “Be quiet, Jeon. You’re just jealous of him.” Jeongguk scowls.
“Why would I out of all people—”
“Hey, I know your huge ass ego is probably hurt by the fact that the new kid has all the attention, but he might suck shit at violin, who knows,” Jimin says to comfort him. Jeongguk shakes his head and turns back around. He glances at his stand partner, Minjae, who is admiring Taehyung with heart eyes. Jeongguk scoffs.
Professor Park puts Taehyung in the back of the second violin section (“I'll have to listen to you play solo for me another day, preferably tomorrow before class.”) and all the girls in the vicinity squeal. Some of the guys look flustered when Taehyung flashes them his signature box smile. When everything is settled, the room falls into silence as Professor Park plays an A on the piano. Jeongguk glares at his violin, angrily turning the pegs of his strings. Taehyung isn’t going to change anything, he tells himself.
“Honestly, he’s not even that attractive. If you look at me, I've got way more muscle.” Jeongguk stabs at his rice angrily. Jimin, Yoongi, and Hoseok all nod in agreement.
“Yeah but, you’re old news, and he’s new news. Naturally, everyone is going to be excited about a new kid.” Jimin picks up a piece of lettuce. “And Jeonggukkie, let’s be honest here. The kid isn’t bad on the eyes.” Yoongi grip on his spoon tightens when he hears this, but he remains silent.
“He has a nice face and physique, and his voice is deep as fuck. 10/10 would bang if I didn’t already like Y— uh,” Jimin’s eyes widen.
“HOLY SHIT PARK JIMIN WHO IS THE MYSTERY PERSON?” Hoseok stands up abruptly in excitement, shaking the entire table. Jimin’s face reddens.
“Shut the fuck up will you? It’s nobody.”
Yoongi’s eyebrows furrow. “But you just said—”
“It’s nobody!” Jimin exclaims.
“Oh my god, our Park Jimin is hiding a big fat secret from us, someone call the police—”
Jeongguk bursts into laughter, slapping his knees and leaning on Yoongi for support. Kim Taehyung has been forgotten, and in the moment, his group of dumb friends is all he needs to be happy.
(Because contrary to popular belief, being a cocky asshole doesn’t necessarily mean you are a lone wolf. Jeongguk loves his friends with all his heart, and he doesn’t know what he would do without them.)
Turns out, Kim Taehyung is also in his psychology class. And Jeongguk is lucky enough to have an empty seat at the table next to him, which means that—
“Taehyung, why don’t you sit over there in the back, next to Jeongguk. Jeongguk, say hi!” Professor Bang says cheerfully. Jeongguk groans, weakly holding up his hand. Taehyung flashes him a bright smile, his eyes twinkling as he plops down next to him.
“Fancy seeing you here.”
“This school only has so many kids, dude.” Jeongguk says in annoyance. Taehyung shrugs.
“Yeah, but what are the chances of us having another class together and sitting next to each other? Super small!” Taehyung continues to smile widely.
“Yah, stop smiling, it’s weird.” Jeongguk turns toward the whiteboard. “There’s also a no talking in class rule.”
“Oh Jeongguk, you don’t know me well enough, but you should know that I don’t enjoy rules very much.” Jeongguk ignores Taehyung's silly remark, and furiously takes notes the rest of class. He isn’t going to let some kid distract him from his life, he has better things to do. The remainder of psychology goes by without Taehyung attempting to talk to him, but he knows that this Kim Taehyung isn’t going to be easy to deal with. He now can only pray that he is a crappy violinist who will be put as far away from himself as possible in orchestra. When Jeongguk goes home, he decides to start being a better person and prays to the gods so that karma will work in his favor.
Of course, karma decides to bite him in the ass. The next day, Jeongguk walks into the orchestra, and to his surprise, Minjae is sitting in the second stand instead of first.
“Yo Minjae, you sit next to me, dude.”
“Not anymore, I sit next to you now.”
Jeongguk is about to rip his hair out. Even though they had minimal communication the day before, he instantly recognizes that deep voice. He slowly turns around, and faces a smiling Taehyung, who is donning big hipster glasses today.
“What do you mean, you sit next to me now.” Jeongguk says flatly.
“I’m your new stand partner! Professor Park put me next to you because she was so impressed with my-”
Jeongguk’s jaw drops in disbelief. He couldn’t believe his fate, having to now sit next to Taehyung in two classes. Is this what he gets for not setting up the table like his mom asked him to yesterday? Jeongguk hasn’t technically done anything wrong in his life, he doesn’t deserve to suffer. Jeongguk shakes his head. Get your shit together, dude. If you think you’re going to let someone like Kim Taehyung fuck you over, then you are not a worthy man.
Jeongguk snaps back to reality, and registers Taehyung’s wild hand motions as he continues explaining his audition with the teacher. Jeongguk holds up a hand. “Okay, that’s nice. Now that you are my new stand partner, there are certain things you need to know.” He sits down, and Taehyung follows suit, confusion etched on his face at Jeongguk's sudden change in demeanor. Jeongguk takes out the music and puts it on the stand, and opens his violin case. He is determined to let Taehyung know who the real boss is.
“Since I'm the outside player, when you turn pages, turn them quickly. Don’t be one of those slowpoke turtles who doesn’t turn them until after the last measure is played.” Jeongguk takes out his bow and begins rosining it. He hears Taehyung muttering incoherent insults, but he charges forward. “Second of all, do not play louder than me. I'm concertmaster, I'm the one people want to hear.”
Taehyung looks at Jeongguk in disbelief. “Okay, hold on a fucking second. Just because you sit one seat in front of me doesn’t mean you can have all these ridiculous rules-“
“Taehyung, you are new here. You are fresh meat. I'm telling you some basics so that you won’t get slaughtered into pieces by the teacher.” Taehyung’s jaw drops, but he simply shakes his head and takes out his violin. Jeongguk clears his throat.
“Also, if you don’t think you’re going to be able to play a passage with absolute precision and perfect intonation, just air bow it and look like you’re playing it. No one wants to hear dissonance from the first stand of the entire orchestra.” Jeongguk puts his case on the floor, violin and bow in hand. “You are my new partner—” he shudders. “and we will need to work together as a cohesive unit to lead the rest of the orchestra. Okay? Let’s get down to business.”
(“To defeat! The Hunnnns ow ow ow stop that Kookie—“
“Then stop your whale noises, Jimin hyung!”)
Taehyung rolls his eyes. “Work together? Are you fucking kidding me? I'm not here to sabotage you and steal your precious concertmaster seat, so you don’t need to have all these lame ass rules to keep me in line.” He coughs. “And to be honest, you aren’t as good as you think you are.”
“You piece of—”
Professor Park silences the class, and plays an A on the piano. Jeongguk tunes his violin, and side eyes Taehyung. Why is this kid so goddamn rude, does he not know what respect is?Taehyung simply gives him a small smile, and turns towards the professor. Jeongguk decides right there and then that he hates his guts. At the ripe age of 17 years old, his judgment is perfectly logical.
They begin with the first of Rachmaninoff’s Symphonic Dances. Much to Jeongguk’s annoyance, Taehyung is able to nail every passage just as well as himself. The tone that Taehyung produces with his violin is extremely rich and colorful, and Professor Park showers Taehyung with praise. Taehyung smiles each time, shyly bowing his head down, and everyone swoons over how cute and modest he is. And Taehyung has to know the effect he has—there’s no way that he would so often unintentionally swipe his tongue over his bottom lip when talking to others, or bite his lower lip before he smiles fully.
(Not that Jeongguk has been staring at Taehyung or anything. These are simply things that he is forced to see as a result of being his stand partner.)
If he is completely honest with himself, Taehyung really hasn’t been that bad of a stand partner.
Sometimes, Taehyung would turn the pages of the music extra slow on purpose, and Jeongguk would glare at him and step on his foot.
“Sorry,” Taehyung would whisper loudly with a bright smile.
“You can’t be sorry and smile at the same time, that’s not how it works.” Jeongguk would whisper back, returning a similarly big smile.
They talk about a multitude of topics every time Professor Park spends time helping the other sections of the orchestra. Even during Psychology, they learn a lot about each other while cracking dumb jokes.
(“You have a dog? Please let me see your dog sometime!”
“Of course! Her name is Soonshim, and I think she’ll love you when she meets you.”)
Jeongguk still gets annoyed by Taehyung, especially when he outshines him in orchestra and everyone fangirls over him. Even Park Jimin has become closer and closer to him, and it doesn't even make sense because Jeongguk has known Jimin for a longer time and is pretty sure he's funnier than Taehyung.
Still, Jeongguk finds himself unconsciously looking forward to seeing a certain bright smile every day.
“This is getting out of hand, everyone is still bowing down at his feet, practically worshipping the fucking ground that he walks on! They treat him like a god, that can’t be normal!” Jeongguk hisses as he emphatically jumps up and down. Sweat drips down his forehead, even though they are gathered under a tree in their school’s courtyard, in an effort to hide from the sun.
Hoseok rolls his eyes, and puts his hand on Jeongguk’s shoulder. “Dude, I doubt it’s as bad as you make it sound. Aren’t you friends with him now?” Hoseok squints at Jeongguk expectantly, then snaps his fingers. “You know what this is? This is you being jealous.” Yoongi snickers behind his binder, and Jeongguk reaches over to knock it out of his hand. Yoongi steps back just in time.
“Shut up Hobi hyung, who do you think you’re talking to, I'm—”
“Hey guys, look who I brought!”
The three of them turn towards the voice, and Jeongguk feels his soul slowly being drained out of his body at the sight of Taehyung’s arm swung over Jimin’s shoulders, both of them smiling widely.
“I know you two know each other,” Jimin says, gesturing between Jeongguk and Taehyung, “But Taetae, this is Hobi hyung and Yoongi hyung.” Jimin points towards each one, and they both wave.
“So this is the Kim Taehyung everyone has been talking about.” Hoseok says, wiggling his eyebrows. “You’re so cute.”
“Stop creeping the kid out.” Yoongi says. His posture has visibly sulked, and Jeongguk pats his back sympathetically. It must be hard, seeing an attractive kid like Taehyung latched onto your crush. Not that Taehyung is attractive or anything.
Jimin slips away from Taehyung and sits on the concrete. “Well, you all can chit chat amongst yourselves, I have to finish my biology worksheet before break ends. Help me, hyung?” Jimin looks up at Yoongi with big, puppy dog eyes, and Yoongi scowls but sits down next to him.
“So, Taehyung, I hear that you’re exceptional at the violin.” Hoseok cocks his head towards Jeongguk. “Jeongguk over here is always raving about you.”
“I do not, what the hell.”
Taehyung laughs, his eyes sparkling under the sun. “I’m not that good, really. Violin is just something I do for fun.” He looks at Jeongguk with an amused expression. “Jeongguk on the other hand, he’s really amazing. I admire him very much.”
Loud gagging sounds are heard from below. Everyone looks down at Jimin, but he smiles sweetly and looks back at his worksheet.
Jeongguk taps Taehyung on the shoulder. “For the record, I am not always raving about you.”
“Okay.” Taehyung says, with a small smile on his face.
“I’m serious. You’ll learn that hyung spouts fake shit, like, 80% of the time. You can’t trust him.”
“Well, he’s not wrong. I just say whatever I hear from other people.” Hoseok responds, shrugging his shoulders.
When the bell rings, everyone groans, dreading to go back to their classes. Jeongguk is about to head towards Psychology, when Taehyung puts his hand on his arm.
“Hey, let’s walk together,” he says.
Jeongguk sighs. “if you insist.”
Taehyung crosses his arms. “Aw, come on, I’m not that bad am I?”
Jeongguk scrunches his nose. “Yes, yes you definitely are.” He opens the door, gesturing for Taehyung to walk in first. Taehyung smiles.
“What a lie. Thanks for holding open the door.” Jeongguk smiles with all his teeth, and sticks out his foot for good measure. Suddenly, Taehyung trips and falls flat on his face, his papers flying out of his various folders. Jeongguk bursts into laughter, but kneels down anyway to help pick up the papers.
“Okay, I didn’t expect you to be so clumsy, sorry about that.”
Taehyung sits up. "Well, I've never been very graceful, hence why I'm banned from the kitchen at home.” Jeongguk begins picking up some of the papers. When he looks up, he is so close to Taehyung that he could count the number of eyelashes he has. He always noticed the boyish charm in the other’s face, but at this distance, Jeongguk’s heart begins to flutter at the idea of Taehyung’s existence. With the papers in his hands, Taehyung turns around. Instead, he practically crashes his nose into Jeongguk’s, and loses his breath when he looks into his eyes.
The two of them are lost in each other’s gazes for what seems like eons. It’s only the blaring sound of the bell that break them from their trance, both of them immediately springing to their feet and feeling extremely awkward.
Taehyung laughs nervously, rubbing the back of his neck. “Um, thanks for picking up my papers.”
Jeongguk blinks a few times. “No problem. Oh! No problem. Here, take them.” He quickly shoves them at his chest. “Got to run to class now bye.” And he power walks across the hallway to psychology, leaving Taehyung speechless as he clutches his papers. He stares after Jeongguk, and smiles fondly.
“What a dimwit. Did he forget that I sit next to him?”
Jeongguk’s heart is pounding when he flings the door of the classroom open. Professor Bang is drawing a diagram on the board, so he takes quick strides to his seat in the back and plops down.
That moment in the hallway—it was something he had never experienced before. Jeongguk always had people throwing themselves at them, be it boys or girls. He just never found any of them very appealing.
But Taehyung, Kim Taehyung. He was a dumb asshole who threatened Jeongguk’s status as master violinist in the school, but he also was the only person to ever make him feel this way.
Thoughts began to race through his head. I feel so…flustered? enamored? entranced??
Jeongguk hits himself on the side of his head and begins to take out his things. Stop sounding like a teenage girl, Jeon. It’s not like you’re in love with him or anything.
But could he be? Suddenly, Jeongguk begins questioning everything he has ever known in life. Kim Taehyung is a beautiful human being who is honestly not as much of an asshole as Jeongguk makes him be—and his dumb but cute smile is not that bad either.
And never in a million years would Jeongguk ever admit this to anyone, but he was a total sucker for people who play violin beautifully. He’s still the best in the school, but the magical music that Taehyung makes with his violin has left him speechless on multiple occasions.
He’s your enemy, you dickhead.
No he’s not, you’re obviously better than him. And he’s really cute.
Jeongguk sighs as he lets go of his pride and comes to the conclusion:
“I think I have a crush on Kim Taehyung.” He whispers slowly. His eyes are wide as he stares down at his blank sheet of paper.
“Hey, that makes things pretty convenient—“
Jeongguk jolts, and falls off his chair. The entire class turns around to look at him.
“No worries, Professor Bang, Jeongguk will be okay!” Taehyung gives the teacher a thumbs up. The teacher nods gratefully, and many students sigh when Taehyung flashes everyone his charming smile.
Jeongguk scrambles off the floor, his face red as a tomato as he sits back in his chair. Refusing to make eye contact with anyone (Taehyung), he picks up his pencil and begins to write random words on the page.
He feels a nudge on his shoulder, but he doesn’t move. Taehyung leans toward him.
“Yah, Jeon Jeongguk.” he whispers in his ear. Jeongguk grunts. “Look at me.”
He turns, gazing intently at the tiny mole on Taehyung’s nose. Taehyung huffs in exasperation. “My eyes are up here, you idiot.”
When Jeongguk slowly looks up, he’s met with the sight of deep, twinkling eyes.
“I think I have a crush on you too.” Taehyung says, the crinkles by his eyes deepening as he smiles.
“Oh. uh—me too,” he says.
“Oh.” Jeongguk looks at the board. Professor Bang’s back is facing the classroom as he continues to write. He clears his throat. “Cool.”
Taehyung raises an eyebrow so high that it becomes hidden behind his brown bangs. “Cat got your tongue? What happened to ‘I am Jeongguk the Great, the Almighty, the brave—“
“Stop your trash talking, otherwise I'll regret ever liking you in the first place!” Jeongguk snaps, with no real menace in his voice. With a sheepish grin, Taehyung reaches towards Jeongguk’s hand, and laces their fingers together.
“Sorry. So, concertmaster, go on a date with me?”
Jeongguk fights to hold back his smile. “I suppose so.”
“Video games at my place? I'll order pizza and you can play with Soonshim too.”
“Yes! And then we can take long romantic walks together as we play Pokemon Go.”
“Jeon Jeongguk, you are so genius—“
Someone turns around and loudly shushes them. Jeongguk apologizes quietly, and Taehyung smiles and nods. He squeezes Jeongguk’s hand under the table, looking at him with warm, kind eyes. Jeongguk’s heart races, and he smiles softly at the beautiful boy before him.
It’s going to be a good year.