Actions

Work Header

twenty-four

Work Text:

yoongi has a brief history of finding himself in trouble or in other bizarre and inconvenient situations, and while it is not always kim taehyung’s fault, it is kim taehyung’s fault so often that yoongi feels like he definitely deserves an honorary mention when talking about the bad decisions in yoongi’s life. he has involuntarily been an accomplice to some dog stealing, has stood outside in a freezing temperature in a pair of boxers and a hoodie after taehyung set off the fire alarm in his apartment. has, on multiple occasions, found himself walking his fucking lizard on a leash around the neighborhood because taehyung’s too busy to do it himself.

so when he wakes up handcuffed to another person, he just sort of automatically assumes kim taehyung is somehow involved.

the first thing he registers upon waking up is a dull pain in his right arm due to his elbow being bent in an unnatural position. the second thing is that he’s not in his own bedroom; where he is, exactly, he can’t tell yet in his groggy state, and because he can’t quite lift his face from the sheets, which, on an unrelated note, smell nice and maybe vaguely familiar. the third is that he’s not alone in this bed. there’s a lumpy mountain of blankets next to him that he’s pretty sure has a person buried underneath it.

the handcuffs are about the fourth thing he registers, and this is after he attempts to move his arm into a more comfortable position and realizes it’s stuck, or rather, there’s something stuck to his arm. something metallic glistens around his wrist. looks like a silvery bracelet. looks like -

he props himself up on an elbow, and lifts his arm. the metal rim digs into his skin, and he pulls up a short chain of three metal links, and someone’s deadweight arm, trapped in a cuff similar to the one around his own wrist. yep, that’s handcuffs.

okay.

handcuffs in the context of a bedroom is not something yoongi’s entirely unfamiliar with, to be entirely honest, but 1. he sure as hell didn’t engage in that sort of thing last night, 2. you usually don’t cuff yourself to your partner, and 3. these aren’t the sexy type of handcuffs, anyway. they look and feel like actual fucking handcuffs used in arrests. yoongi drops his arm with a muffled thump. the deadweight arm is fortunately attached to the person under the blanket - although, as the lumpy mass next to him stirs, mutters a quiet, “ow,” yoongi finds himself thinking that being handcuffed to a severed arm actually doesn’t sound so bad.

oh, jesus fucking christ please no, he thinks as he recognizes the voice, but what comes out is just: “fuck me.”

jeon jungkook pushes the blanket out of his face. he blinks at yoongi, sleepy and confused.

“hyung? what...”

yoongi has no idea what his face is doing. he momentarily forgets how to form words and make them come out of his mouth, so he just lifts their arms again - his right, jungkook’s left - and jungkook stares at the handcuffs, for so long that yoongi thinks he zoned out or fell asleep with his eyes open.

“is this a dream?” jungkook asks, voice thick from sleep. “i think i’ve had this dream before.”

“you... what?” jungkook has dreamed of yoongi in handcuffs? not the detail to focus on right now. try again, yoongi tells his brain. the next thing it offers is: or himself in handcuffs? yoongi gives his head a firm shake, frowns. “what?”

jungkook blinks his eyes, and focuses them on yoongi. he seems to finally wake up, because his eyes widen comically.

“what the fuck?” he sits up, forces yoongi to follow suit. “why - what? are these real? did you do this?”

“why would i -” yoongi draws a deep breath through his nose. stop panicking.”

“i’m not panicking,” jungkook says while trying to force the cuff open with his bare hands. fuck this, yoongi decides, and starts tossing the pillows and blankets away in random directions in search for the key. it becomes evident the key is not on the bed with the handcuffs, and yoongi groans, drops his face, runs his free hand through his tangled blonde hair. jungkook’s shaking his arm forcefully, and yoongi’s is bouncing limply in the air.

probably good a moment as any to go through the events of last night in his mind. it started out as a movie night. you’ve been overworking yourself to hell and back, and when’s the last time we all hung out together? namjoon had asked. we went out to eat together just last week, yoongi had said, but namjoon showed up at his door anyway to physically escort him to jimin, taehyung, and jungkook’s shared apartment. yoongi would’ve gone, anyway. he doesn’t prioritize work over his friends. not on purpose.

someone brought wine. probably seokjin. someone also had soju. probably jimin and taehyung. yoongi didn’t drink that much but at some point namjoon passed out on the couch and seokjin was extremely wine drunk in the kitchen taking things out of the fridge and putting them in various pots and pans and yoongi’s not sure what came out of that or if he’s even alive anymore.

he actually does remember crashing in jungkook’s bed. partially. he remembers jungkook’s fingers... tugging. sleep in my room. something like that. they were definitely handcuffs-free at this point, and that is an important point to keep in mind. been ages since we slept in the same bed. yoongi said that. oh, god. what else did he say? they talked about something. what was it?

they are in their last night’s clothes. yoongi in a black hoodie and torn jeans, jungkook in a loose white t-shirt and a pair of grey sweats. he’s inspecting the cuffs closely with an intense frown and a pout, murmuring something about maybe being able to pick the lock with a paperclip; his hair sticking up every which way, and it would be funny if he didn’t still somehow look fucking attractive first thing in the morning and if yoongi wasn’t in hell right now. but he does and yoongi is so it’s not funny.

yoongi drops his hand from his hair.

“does tae own a pair of handcuffs?” he asks wearily, already knowing he could as well be asking, why does tae own a pair of handcuffs, but then again, he’s pretty sure he doesn’t want to know. jungkook looks up at him, slightly pained.

“i actively try to avoid learning about the things he owns.”

speak of the devil, a voice comes from behind the closed bedroom door.

“if you guys are done panicking, come out and let me explain. because i do have that. an explanation. and before you do that, let me just say i’m unarmed? and there’s pancakes? and don’t kill me?”

“the pancakes are a lie,” comes a more distant voice.

“shut up, jimin,” taehyung hisses.

“i’m going to kill him,” yoongi grumbles, already scrambling out of the bed. their coordination is... not all there yet. yoongi’s pulling on the handcuffs, halfway off the bed, and jungkook’s weighing him back, and then suddenly he’s not, and yoongi falls forward, towards the floor, and jungkook grabs his arm, but the mattress tips, and he lets out a high-pitched squeak, and then they are both going down.

yoongi lands on his ass first, which is already painful enough, but then jungkook falls on top of him, knocks him to the floor onto his back, punching the air out of his lungs. yoongi’s hand gets pinned beside his head when jungkook catches himself on his forearms. jungkook’s nose brushes at his jaw.

this day is fake, yoongi decides, staring blankly at the cracks in the ceiling. it’s not real. it’s a hallucination and in reality he’s at the studio, dying after overdosing on caffeine. this doesn’t just happen. you don’t wake up handcuffed to a guy who -

then he’s staring into jungkook’s doe eyes, which seem even huger than usual, as the younger lifts his face and hovers right above yoongi.

“are you okay?” jungkook asks. yoongi almost laughs, or cries, maybe, he really isn’t sure. which fucking drama is this, he thinks, and closes his eyes, knits his brows together.

“get off,” he says, strained. his pulse is speeding up. he’s very aware of jungkook’s body against his.

“ah. right.” jungkook rolls off him, onto his back next to him, the handcuffs between their heads. they lie there for a moment, jungkook rubbing at his rugburned elbow, and yoongi catching his breath.

“i think you broke a couple of my ribs,” yoongi mumbles.

“you should get jin-hyung to look at that,” jungkook says. yoongi grunts.

“he’ll be busy tending to taehyung after i’m done with him.”

jungkook’s getting up, offering his handcuffed hand to yoongi, who takes it, lets himself be pulled onto his feet. he grimaces at the pain in about every part of his body and soul.

in the living room, taehyung lets out a little yelp as yoongi’s eyes zero in on him. he ducks behind jimin and uses him as a human shield as jungkook lets yoongi pull him forward. seokjin’s laughing somewhere. he’s alive, then. that’s great for him.

“i have children!”

“you have a lizard,” yoongi snarls.

“he needs me,” taehyung says from behind jimin’s shoulder. “he needs my love and protection and guidance in life and just hear me out. just let me explain.”

“hear him out, hyung,” namjoon says. he’s standing in the kitchen doorway with seokjin, nursing a cup of coffee.

“shut up, namjoon,” yoongi groans, “you have a dick on your face.”

“i know,” namjoon sighs, and gives jimin a half-assed glare. jimin shoots him a thumbs up.

“what the hell, taehyung,” jungkook grumbles.

“will you let me explain? are you calm?” taehyung asks warily.

“you have ten seconds,” yoongi concedes, “and then you uncuff us.”

journalism assignment is taehyung’s explanation.

“what kind of fucking journalism assignment,” yoongi says incredulously.

“i’m doing a social experiment and writing about it,” taehyung says easily. “i decided to handcuff two people together for twenty-four hours and have them report back to me on the experience. you guys are an ideal pair for this, really, because of your contradictory lifestyles. kookie goes to the gym every day, yoongi hasn’t seen the sun in what, four years -“

“jungkook has a semi-healthy sleep schedule, and yoongi texted me at two a.m. asking if i want to grab dinner,” namjoon supplies.

“i am the pinnacle of health,” yoongi snaps. the handcuffs clink as jungkook lifts their arms.

“so you just. handcuffed us together while we were sleeping? that seems like -”

“- a violation of our human rights and like you’re asking to be strangled with these very handcuffs,” yoongi nods.

“how can you talk about human rights and strangling me in the same sentence,” taehyung shakes his head, “also, i knew you would shoot it down immediately without giving it any thought, were i to ask you first.”

“obviously, like any sane person would,” yoongi says, “just cuff yourself to jimin. i don’t care. uncuff us.”

“that would be boring, since we already go everywhere together,” jimin says, resting his chin on taehyung’s shoulder. taehyung nods resolutely.

“i don’t care,” yoongi emphasizes, and gives their arms a firm shake. “i’m not doing this.”

taehyung directs his puppy eyes at jungkook.

“kookie? please? i know you like annoying yoongi. think about it. this is the greatest opportunity you’ll ever get to inconvenience yoongi for twenty-four hours straight.”

“i hate you,” yoongi stage whispers.

“jungkook’s considering it,” seokjin points out. yoongi turns around to face jungkook, who has the decency to adopt a vaguely guilty expression for a second. then he frowns, turns back to taehyung.

“i have class,” he says, “i can’t.”

“that’s why i left your right hand free. you totally can,” taehyung says brightly. “see, i considered everything.”

“so what, i don’t do anything useful enough to need my right hand?” yoongi raises an eyebrow.

“well -” jimin starts, and the sentence would probably progress into an obscene suggestion as to what yoongi mainly uses his right hand for, but jungkook cuts him off.

“i have dance practice. i can’t skip.”

“i know you love a challenge,” taehyung says, unfazed, and yoongi thinks, oh, fuck no.

“no,” he says firmly, “you need both our consent, and i’m not doing this. find someone else.”

“but -“ taehyung whines.

“no.”

“just consider -”

no.

“ugh. fine,” taehyung sighs. “enjoy your boring ordinary day with zero handcuffs in it.” he digs his hand into the pocket of his sweats and feels around. he frowns. tries the other one. “oh. huh. hmm.”

“what is it,” yoongi says, pained, knowing full well what it is but refusing to accept this day is rapidly turning into a freefall towards imminent death.

“i seemeth to has't temporarily forgotten whither i placed the key,” taehyung says.

“why do you start speaking in shakespearean when you’re panicking?” seokjin asks. “i’ve always wondered about that.”

“tae,” yoongi warns.

“i was drunk,” taehyung says defensively. jimin snaps his fingers.

“you left it on the desk next to vincent van gogh’s terrarium, didn’t you?”

for the longest time after meeting taehyung some three years ago, yoongi honest to god thought taehyung had a dog because he kept saying shit like i took vincent for a walk yesterday and vincent ate half of my media and communication essay. then he visited taehyung and found that vincent was actually a gigantic argentine black and white tegu. and that its full name is vincent van gogh. taehyung claims it shows great artistic promise. honestly, it makes sense.

they search taehyung’s desk, the rest of jimin and taehyung’s bedroom, all the other rooms within the next half an hour. they don’t find the key, but jungkook finds a paperclip, and tries to pick the handcuffs while yoongi stands there, arm hovering in the air, feeling defeated.

“this is pointless,” he says, staring at a succulent in the living room emptily.

“i think this trick only works in movies,” jungkook says, finally lowering their arms.

“you don’t say,” yoongi deadpans, giving him a look.

“guys,” taehyung calls from the bedroom, “i think i know what happened to the key. this is going to sound bad, but. there’s definitely a humorous aspect to it?”

taehyung’s holding the lizard in his arms when they enter the bedroom. yoongi has a very bad feeling about this.

“yeah, i threw it into the lizard tank,” taehyung says, “and vincent ate it.”

a beat.

“what,” yoongi says.

“well, the tank is right next to the desk. it’s an easy mistake. and vincent eats everything. he ate my pencil, and my macy’s gift card.”

“what the fuck,” namjoon says softly, “how is he still alive?”

“that’s because he’s special. he’s a champ.” taehyung looks inappropriately proud. he scratches underneath the lizard’s chin, and coos, “did you eat the key, vince?”

“make him poop it out,” yoongi says bluntly. taehyung gives him a look.

“how dare you. i can’t make him do anything. he has his own will, his own hopes and dreams.”

“good god,” yoongi says. jungkook shifts next to him; yoongi is more aware of his every movement than he’d like, being literally connected to him, and he’s growing increasingly uneasy because of this.

“so we’re stuck like this?” jungkook asks. “how long?”

“well,” taehyung pulls a thoughtful face. “vincent usually poops once a day, although sometimes he skips a day.”

“we’re going to purchase a pair of bolt cutters, goodbye,” yoongi informs, “and i’m using the money i owe you for that movie ticket.”

he begins tugging jungkook towards the door, but doesn’t get far.

“i’m begging you,” taehyung says, bodily blocking the way. “please help me out with this assignment. i have a family to feed.” he holds out the lizard by the armpits. if lizards have armpits. yoongi makes eye contact with it. the lizards sticks out its tongue, and even though yoongi knows it’s what lizards do, he feels like it’s provoking him. “twenty-four hours. until nine a.m. if vincent hasn’t pooped out the key by then, you can get the bolt cutters.”

“hyung.” yoongi turns to jungkook, who’s looking at him seriously… with a hint of something like nervousness. he licks his lips. “i could... i mean, if you really don’t want to, then let’s get the cutters, but... i mean. i’d be fine with doing it. it’s your call.”

oh, jesus fucking hell. why is yoongi even considering this. this is such a fundamentally bad idea. but jungkook’s letting him know he’s willing to be handcuffed to yoongi for the next twenty-four hours, and yoongi - just -

“fine,” he says weakly. taehyung’s entire face lights up.

“great,” he grins, and somehow manages to give them a thumbs up holding the dog-sized lizard to his chest. “just report back to me every few hours. don’t forget to take pictures and videos. snapchat works. just keep me updated on what you do, how you’re feeling, what your annoyance levels are. that sort of thing. i’ll also conduct a brief interview when it’s over.”

“great,” yoongi mumbles, and can’t help but feel like he just dug his own grave.

 

/

 

after a short negotiation, they decide to go back to yoongi’s. jungkook grabs his backpack, and fills a duffel bag with other shit. yoongi watches in mild horror as jungkook throws some clothes in there. if jungkook’s planning on changing clothes while handcuffed to yoongi -

“we need to line up our schedules,” jungkook says, throwing his headphones into the bag. yoongi feels like he’s mostly in the way, but jungkook dodges around him expertly, sometimes tugging at the chain to signal he needs yoongi to step a certain way. yoongi is just glad their coordination seems to be working now. he checks the time on his phone; it’s just past ten a.m. “i have figure drawing at twelve, after which i go to the gym, and then i have dance practice at four.”

“wait.” yoongi tugs at the chain roughly, spinning jungkook around to face him. “you were serious about the dance practice? how the fuck is that going to work?”

“with a bit of maneuvering, probably,” jungkook says. the corner of his mouth curls upwards. “i know you’re not a bad dancer, hyung.”

yoongi shakes his head. “you really are taking this as a challenge, aren’t you?”

jungkook grins and shrugs. “what’s your schedule like?”

“i’ll just make this easy and go along with whatever you have,” yoongi says, “since i don’t have anything urgent. there’s a track i’m working on, but i can do that at night. why do you have class on saturday, anyway?”

jungkook shrugs whilst zipping up his bag. “there were lots of things i wanted to do, and the only way to fit everything was to have class on the weekend.”

“huh,” yoongi only says, sort of forgets he’s staring until jungkook straightens up.

“i’m ready.”

before they can leave, taehyung urges them to sit down on the couch for a while.

“there are a couple of things i want to ask you at the beginning, too,” he says, sitting across from them with a pen and a notebook. “yoongi. what do you think about jungkook?”

yoongi blinks. “excuse me?”

“what do you think about him,” taehyung repeats. “the first thing that comes to mind. pretend he’s not there.”

he is right fucking there, though. yoongi can feel his eyes on the side of his face.

“he…” he starts, and then holds eye contact with taehyung for a solid five seconds. “is… my friend.”

“that’s it?” taehyung asks, unimpressed.

“what the fuck do you want me to say,” yoongi hisses, suddenly extremely stressed, because when he thinks about jungkook, a million things come to mind and he can’t say any of them. he racks his short-circuiting brain for something, just one thing to get taehyung off his back. “...eyes.”

“eyes,” taehyung repeats colorlessly. yoongi drops his face into his hand and pinches at the bridge of his nose.

“oh my god,” he says, “just write that i think he has pretty eyes and be done with it. obviously that’s not all i like about him."

“obviously,” taehyung repeats, sounding vaguely amused, but yoongi physically can’t lift his head right now. there’s the faint scratch of pen on paper, and then taehyung asks, “jungkook? what do you think about yoongi?”

these are the longest seconds of yoongi’s life. he waits, face still in his hand, for jungkook to speak, sort of wishes a black hole would materialize out of nowhere so he could fall in it.

“he’s okay i guess,” jungkook says so fast the words meld together. yoongi waits for taehyung to ask him that’s it? but all he does is say mm-hm, and scratch the pen against the paper. yoongi lifts his face.

“you’re not going to ask him to say more? his answer was worse than mine.”

“he guesses you’re okay,” taehyung says, giving him a blank look, “that’s a pretty exhaustive answer.”

no it’s not,"  yoongi says, disbelieving.

“can we just go,” jungkook says a bit desperately. taehyung gestures towards the door with his arm, signaling they are free to leave.

“give me your backpack,” yoongi says once they are out of the front door, riding the elevator down. “i’ll help you even though you guess i’m okay.”

he sees jungkook roll his eyes from the corner of his eye; but there’s also a smile tugging at his lips.

“i’m just not sure about your character yet, you know,” he muses, and yoongi is glad they can have this, easy banter; it removes some of his rigidity. jungkook doesn’t mention the comment about his eyes. he has slid his right arm into the sleeve of his denim jacket, wearing it partially. at least it’s early september, still warm.

this is the weirdest walk of shame of yoongi’s life, beating the morning after that one time he had let taehyung dress him in a maid costume for halloween. another prime example of taehyung’s direct involvement in the more questionable experiences in yoongi’s life. the handcuffs between them are very obvious, and attract strange looks. because of this, jungkook knocks the back of his hand against yoongi’s, asks,

“do you want to hold hands?”

yoongi is sort of horrified to find that his fingers are finding the spaces between jungkook’s before he gives them permission to, like some sort of instinct.

“it’s not gonna stop people from staring,” he half-mumbles. their palms and fingers lightly touching, not fully interlaced. a beat, and jungkook answers:

“i guess not.”

he doesn’t remove his hand. he’s leaving it up to yoongi, he realizes, to either hold his hand or back out. yoongi swallows, ignores the thing his heart does in his chest, intertwines their fingers. he guides jungkook’s hand into the pocket of his hoodie, holds it inside it, hiding the handcuffs this way. after a moment, jungkook squeezes back lightly.

“am i really that bad to be stuck with?” he asks, his tone still light, but yoongi thinks he notices a stiffness. he’s surprised, a little bit, but when he thinks back, he was reluctant until the last moment.

“it’s not because it’s you,” yoongi says, eyeing the side of his face, “being handcuffed in general -“

“i know, hyung,” jungkook cuts in quickly, and then, voice softening slightly, “it was a joke.”

they don’t talk much after that, nor do they let go until they’re at yoongi’s front door.

yoongi lives by himself in a small apartment atop a recording studio, and the fact that work is close is both a good and a bad thing, according to his friends. bad, because yoongi gets caught up in it easily, sometimes forgets to leave the studio for days on end and only goes up to shower and nap and make a bowl of instant ramen.

“i haven’t visited in a long time,” jungkook muses as they set his bags down in the living room. his gaze slides over the cramped space, the desk, the speakers, the keyboard, the acoustic guitar. it’s pretty much still the same. “this semester’s been busy.”

“yeah,” yoongi hums, “i’ve been working pretty much non-stop, too.”

jungkook meets his eyes. yoongi is hit with something - something. like melancholia, maybe. the realization how quickly three years have passed. when jungkook was seventeen, eighteen, in high school, he used to come here all the time. yoongi taught him stuff about producing, some piano, some basics on the guitar, though he’s not that good at the latter and has no doubt jungkook’s skill level surpasses his own these days. up here, jungkook told him he would be applying to college to study vocal performance. a few months later, he was standing at yoongi’s door, slightly out of breath like he’d been running, but a huge smile plastered across his face, telling him he’d been accepted. yoongi doesn’t think about it much, because it causes his chest to ache in a way that’s not just simple melancholia.

they really don’t hang out as much as they used to, how they used to, and yoongi wonders if it’s truly because they are too busy, or if it has, despite two years having passed, something to do with what happened that night.

also: the realization how much has changed, since then. how much jungkook has grown. but maybe, also, how many things have stayed the same.

something flickers across jungkook’s face, too brief for yoongi to tell what it is. then jungkook grins, and lifts their arms.

“at least this is a chance for us to hang out again.”

is that why you wanted to do this? yoongi thinks but doesn’t say out loud. do you miss this? us? what he does is give the cuffs a tug, knocking their elbows together.

“if you wanted to spend time with me, you could’ve just said so,” he jokes, but also not really, “this is a bit extreme.”

in the kitchen, yoongi rummages through his cupboards for anything remotely resembling breakfast, whilst ignoring jungkook’s pointed comments on how yoongi really should purchase a fruit sometime. he digs out a breakfast bar and throws it at jungkook.

“do you want eggs? uh, orange juice? nevermind, this went bad three months ago.”

jungkook shakes his head. “i think taehyung’s lizard is doing better than you, hyung. and he’s been known to eat plastic gift cards.”

in the end, yoongi makes coffee and jungkook eats the breakfast bar, insists on giving half to yoongi, and they sit on opposite sides of the small kitchen table, eating their pathetic breakfast. their hands in the middle of the table, and yoongi is still not used to being cuffed to jungkook, but it has only been a couple of hours. jungkook pulls out his phone, and before yoongi can react, snaps a picture of yoongi.

“for tae,” he says, grinning at yoongi’s disgruntled expression. “i’m telling him we’re having breakfast and going to figure drawing. oh.” he raises his head. “he says, tell yoongi-hyung to text me too.”

yoongi whips out his phone and sends him a simple but efficient, die.

tae [11:15]
would u say ur annoyance level is at 7 or 8 then?

tae [11:15]
any other feelings being cuffed to kook is arousing in u???

yoongi stares at the text hard for a few seconds before turning off the screen. he drinks his coffee, considers for a while.

“in the future,” he says, “if you want to hang out, just come by. even if i forget to check my phone and answer texts. you can just come. always.”

means, i miss us too.

jungkook looks at him for a long time without saying anything. then he smiles, small, and says, quietly,

“okay.”

yoongi’s phone buzzes on the table, and he expects to see taehyung’s name flashing across the screen, but it’s namjoon.

namjoon [11:19]
you really ok with this?
you seemed kinda worked up

yoongi [11:20]
yeah its just

namjoon [11:20]
just?

yoongi [11:20]
not a fan of being handcuffed without my permission

namjoon [11:21]
i get that
but surely its not gonna be as bad as you think? its just for 24 hours and its just jungkook
you guys get along?

yoongi considers telling him - what, exactly? it’s not like he can really put it into words. yeah, we get along. also: i haven’t been honest with you. or him. or myself. also: there’s more to our history than you know.

he could tell him what happened two years ago, but it doesn’t really sit right with yoongi to just blurt it out. and it’s not really his story to tell, anyway. it doesn’t seem like jungkook’s told anyone either, and that’s - fine. it either means he doesn’t want them to know, or that it’s simply not significant enough to be told.

maybe both. and it’s fine. they’ve moved on from it. this isn’t really about that, anyway.

they go through their schedule, which is actually just jungkook’s schedule, with the addition of yoongi’s studio time in the evening. the figure drawing doesn’t sound so bad, but it gets gradually worse.

they wash their faces and brush their teeth in yoongi’s tiny bathroom, jungkook’s left hand hovering in the air so yoongi can use his right one because yoongi just learned his left hand is completely useless when it comes to this particular task, hence the smudge of toothpaste on his cheek. yoongi’s shower looms there in the corner like a particularly ominous white elephant. yoongi would rather wear the same clothes for a month straight than get in the shower with jungkook.

“great, i look terrible,” jungkook mumbles around the toothbrush, and yoongi lets go of his just in time to avoid getting toothpaste everywhere, because his hand is yanked away as jungkook smooths both of his through his hair.

“shut up, you never look terrible,” yoongi tells him, quiet and unclear around the toothbrush. he’s not sure whether jungkook heard him or not, but he opens the faucet and splashes water on him just in case he did.

 

/

 

“it’s like i’m dragging a corpse with me, hyung,” jungkook observes.

“i haven’t been to campus since i graduated,” yoongi mumbles, trailing after him less than enthusiastically. a group of students stares at the handcuffs between them, and yoongi tells them mildly, “social experiment.”

he could take jungkook’s hand again and hide the handcuffs in his pocket; wants to, even. but he’s not sure that would be any better.

“yeah, what’s that, like, fifteen years ago?”

“a year ago, you brat,” yoongi says, but jungkook’s distracted by his phone. he’s updating taehyung, yoongi supposes. he peeks over jungkook’s shoulder. “wow, you’re writing a whole diary.”

“i like to be helpful to my friends,” jungkook shrugs. “i mean, we’re doing this, so... might as well do it properly, right?”

“sure,” yoongi says reluctantly, because jungkook does have a point, but that doesn’t mean yoongi likes admitting it.

“here.” jungkook tugs him into art studio number two. yoongi follows after him as he sets up his easel at the edge of the room, feeling sort of out of his depth here, out of place. jungkook says hi to a few people, chats briefly, explains the handcuffs. yoongi doesn’t really know jungkook’s college friends, and just hangs out at his side uselessly, zoning out for a few seconds.

the kid jungkook’s talking to says something that makes jungkook laugh; but it’s not the unrestrained, loud laughter yoongi’s used to hearing when they are with their friend group. it makes yoongi wonder, distantly, if jungkook is very different with his college friends. how well do they know him? do they know him? like yoongi knows him? a ridiculous, abrupt thought: can they make him laugh like yoongi can?

there’s about a dozen students here, facing the front of the studio, where there’s a single chair covered with a white sheet. whatever that’s about. he watches jungkook prepare his supplies, set his A3 on the easel and take out a set of pencils and charcoal. he also drags an easel in front of yoongi.

“it’s fun,” he grins when yoongi narrows his eyes at him, “you might discover your inner visual artist, who knows.”

“doubt it,” yoongi says drily but lets jungkook set his sketchbook in front of him anyway. “what am i supposed to do, draw with my left hand?”

“like that would make much difference,” jungkook mumbles under his breath. yoongi kicks him lightly in the shin.

“i thought you were supposed to be supportive of my inner visual artist,” he laughs, “fuck you.”

the teacher arrives and starts the class, introducing the model briefly - a middle-aged woman, who promptly strips off her gown upon entering and sits down on the chair.

“a nude model,” yoongi gathers a bit late, “oh, alright. cool.”

“what did you think figure drawing was, hyung,” jungkook murmurs, the corners of his lips curling upwards, but keeping his eyes forward. they sit down in front of their easels, and jungkook explains, quietly, “this is the warm up pose. after this there will be a few quick poses, and one long one at the end.”

jungkook begins sketching with charcoal, and yoongi doesn’t know the difference between the fifteen pencils in the set so he picks one at random. he uses his handcuffed hand, making sure to keep his movements minimal to not mess up jungkook’s work. he fucks around for a while, entertaining himself by filling jungkook’s sketchbook page with truly hideous doodles. he sort of wants to turn the pages, see jungkook’s sketches, but that would be invasion of privacy so he doesn’t. he sets the pencil down around forty minutes in, and just watches jungkook.

“how do you do that,” yoongi whispers, and hopes he’s not disrupting a flow or something, “draw without looking at the paper?”

“practice,” jungkook says simply. there’s a smile in his voice.

he works so hard, yoongi realizes the thing he’s already realized many times before in different situations, for the things he cares about. he hopes he has told jungkook he admires him for that. for the effort and passion he puts in things he’s interested in, for working on them until he excels at them, until he makes it seem so easy, so effortless, that the people watching him forget that it wasn’t always easy and effortless for him. he’s pretty sure he’s told him, but just in case, he brushes his knuckles against the back of jungkook’s hand; subtle and easy because the cuffs keep them close, and tells him again.

jungkook’s lips part slightly, but in the end, he doesn’t say anything. smiles at the sketch, though. small and soft, and yoongi’s heart thuds, uncomfortable and dangerous. almost mocking, saying: did you honestly think you were ever over this?

i am, yoongi thinks, i am, i am. i love him as a friend and i always loved him as a friend and it’s great. i’m doing fucking great.

yoongi just watches for a while, and when the pose changes into a long one, he takes out his phone with his free hand, and silently takes a video, just jungkook’s hand, his charcoal stained fingers, the motion of his hand and the deliberate lines he leaves on the paper. he sends it to taehyung and pockets his phone.

jungkook pauses, and leans down to dig his earphones out of his backpack.

“i always listen to music at this part,” he murmurs, and holds the other bud out to yoongi. “helps me... sort of drown, in a good way, if that makes sense.”

“it does,” yoongi assures.

jungkook presses on a playlist called for drawing. a calm instrumental flows in his ear, unfamiliar, but it’s nice and peaceful. yoongi watches his hand, and then just watches him, doesn’t really know how not to; the mixture of intensity and serenity on his face, the way he sometimes catches his lower lip between his teeth. yoongi catches himself thinking something along the lines of: all this art in the room, and jungkook’s still the most captivating thing here. oh, jesus.

then the track changes, and yoongi knits his brows at the familiarity of the first piano notes. he hears jungkook breath out, even over the music, and realizes what song this is.

“this is my...”

jungkook’s already looking at him when he turns. wide-eyed, lips slightly parted.

“yeah, it’s... from almost two years ago. i know.” he blinks slowly. there’s a light pink dusting his cheeks. “i’ve... listened to it a lot since then. i really like it. i find it calming.”

yoongi realizes he’s surprised to hear jungkook still listens to it… that he’s listened to it a lot.

he remembers writing it. this was a little bit after the night jungkook got accepted to college. remembers sending it to jungkook, saying, for you to listen, instead of just, well. for you. it was his way of saying… i think about you, he supposes. maybe also, i’m sorry. maybe also some other things. it took jungkook another week to answer.

“i can change it,” jungkook whispers, and bites his lip, “if this is too weird.”

“no, it’s -“ yoongi licks his lips. “it’s fine. i’m glad you still like it.”

he never asked jungkook if he figured out the song was written for him. if he’s been listening to it every time he draws for the past two years - he might’ve. it doesn’t really matter either way, yoongi supposes. it’s not like it would change anything.

the strings kick in.

“i love this part,” jungkook whispers. facing the paper, eyelashes cast down, but his hand is not moving.

i knew you would, yoongi thinks, and has to look away.

did you honestly think, his heartbeat says.

shut the fuck up, yoongi thinks.

 

/

 

“yeah, i think this is only fun if you’re good at it,” yoongi says after jungkook’s done laughing at his doodles.

“it’s not that bad. it’s... interesting. what’s - what’s happening here?”

“it’s a short story,” yoongi explains in a serious tone, tapping a finger at the subsequent pictures. “this is her, on the chair.” jungkook nods deeply. “this is her getting kidnapped by aliens.”

“uh-huh,” jungkook nods again. yoongi is making this up as he goes because the doodles on the paper could honestly be anything.

“this is her, after inspiring a revolution and taking over the alien ship, becoming the first female commander of the alien fleet.”

“impressive,” jungkook says, biting back a smile, his eyes crinkling at the corners. “i think, maybe, you should consider a career in screenwriting.”

“it really doesn’t matter whether i use my right or my left hand. look,” yoongi says, and points at the sides of the page respectively, “right hand. left hand.”

jungkook laughs again, his shoulders shaking, tipping forward. this is the laugh yoongi’s used to hearing. he doesn’t bother trying to suppress the gummy smile spreading on his face.

“come on,” jungkook smiles, taking his sketchbook back, “let’s go grab lunch.”

they eat at one of the cafés on campus. yoongi offers to pay, but jungkook insists he’ll do it since they’re doing whatever he wants today and he feels slightly guilty about that.

“not whatever,” yoongi says, “the minute you want to run 10K or go... wrestle some sharks or whatever it is you do i’m gonna stop you.”

jungkook gives him a vaguely amused, incredulous look. “you think i wrestle sharks?”

“or whatever it is you do,” yoongi repeats, “i’ll pay.”

i’ll pay.”

“i’m older than you,” yoongi says and slaps the wallet out of his hand onto the counter.

“can someone just please pay for these sandwiches,” the barista says, pained.

in the end, yoongi pays and jungkook does the heavy lifting, carrying their tray to their table while whining only a little bit. they sit next to each other so that they can keep their cuffed hands under the table between them. they eat, and jungkook updates taehyung again.

“you used to this, yet?” yoongi asks in between bites, seemingly offhandedly, but watching jungkook out of the corner of his eye.

“the cuffs? nah. it’s sort of uncomfortable.” a grin pulls at his lips. “you keep pulling my hand down because you’re, you know. short.”

yoongi narrows his eyes. “i won’t hesitate to lie down on the ground and make you drag me everywhere.”

“i bet it would be easy to pick you up,” jungkook muses, looking at yoongi with a strange kind of intensity in his eyes and a smile ghosting on his lips. yoongi gets a bread crumb stuck in his throat and coughs for ten straight seconds. jungkook looks actually concerned, and twists his body awkwardly to pat him between the shoulder blades with his right hand.

“are you okay?” he asks, and yoongi makes a noise that’s meant to be affirmative but mainly sounds like a death rattle. he downs the water jungkook pushes in front of him.

“i’m okay,” he assures again, and after a while, jungkook nods. he looks down, considers.

“the cuffs are not great.” he brings his left hand to his thigh, palm up, and rubs at the faintly irritated skin on his wrist with his thumb absently. “but other than that. this isn’t so bad. spending time with you, i mean.”

“yeah,” yoongi says weakly, and pretends he isn’t hyper-aware of the back of his hand touching jungkook’s thigh. it’s just a thigh. well, it’s better than most thighs, objectively speaking. but still. this is ridiculous. he busies himself by checking his phone. taehyung has answered to his video from the figure drawing class.

tae [1:29]
hes pretty amazing, isnt he?

yoongi [2:20]
he is

 

/

 

“oh,” jungkook says, and stops abruptly as they’re walking out of the café, yanking yoongi back as he does so. yoongi looks back at him over his shoulder, puzzled. jungkook looks vaguely mortified. “i think i have to... bathroom.”

yoongi blinks.

“oh,” he says. they stare at each other for a few beats. “okay. we’ll... okay.”

the cubicles in the men’s bathroom are tiny, which is fortunate because yoongi can stand outside, his arm through the door chink.

yoongi gives himself a dead-eyed stare in the mirror above the sinks across from him, and tries to imagine where he would be right now if he had never met taehyung. almost definitely not handcuffed in a men’s room.

“hurry up,” he mumbles, knocking his head back against the wall.

“this is not easy,” jungkook’s frustrated voice comes, “i’m extremely stressed out right now. can you just... fuck, stop existing for a moment, i don’t know -”

yoongi draws a deep breath, and starts to sing.

the first song that pops into his head. an upbeat pop song that was playing in the background in the café. very loud and very off-key. replacing the words he doesn’t know with nonsensical syllables. if embarrassing himself is what it takes to make jungkook more comfortable, then so be it. he hears jungkook laugh quietly behind the door. then he joins in, hitting the notes perfectly, because of course, and they are belting out the chorus together and it’s ridiculous and yoongi’s in some sort of pain but he’s also laughing.

it’s a weird day.

someone emerges from one of the cubicles, looking absolutely bewildered and a little bit scared. yoongi stops singing long enough to calmly tell him, “social experiment.”

 

/

 

yoongi [2:56]
gym

tae [2:57]
would u care to elaborate at all

tae [2:59]
yoongi this is not how it works i need u to be a bit more specific

yoongi [2:59]
theres a guy here whos wearing the ugliest pair of socks ive ever seen

tae [3:00]
thats not really what i meant but ok
how ugly

yoongi [3:01]
[image attached]

tae [3:02]
wow those r pretty ugly
what are u doing rn

yoongi [3:02]
well im just fucking standing here texting and hes on the treadmill like a fuckin fit person

tae [3:03]
oh ok hes doing his full body routine then
next is bench pressing and then lat pull-down

yoongi [3:04]
nxt is what now

tae [3:04]
how does this information make u feel

yoongi [3:05]
fuck you youre not my real therapist

“hey, uh,” yoongi says, loud enough to be heard over the sounds of the gym, jungkook’s sneakers hitting the treadmill. “you’re going to...” work on your muscles? lift... stuff? they’re at the fucking gym, what the fuck was yoongi expecting? “sure you can’t just... run for a bit today? considering i’m tied to you? do you really need to do the other stuff?”

“what?” jungkook frowns at him. he punches a button on the treadmill, and it gradually slows down, coming to a stop. he looks at yoongi, breathing a bit heavily. he’s worked up a light sweat, and pulls at the collar of his shirt to wipe his face with it. yoongi glimpses a toned abdomen and wishes he hadn’t. “it’s called a routine for a reason, hyung. you have to stick to it.”

yoongi is not sure what his face is doing currently, but jungkook interprets it as disdain for working out, because he steps off the treadmill, says,

“it’s not like you have to do anything? you can just stand there and... look at stocks on your phone or something.”

“that’s what you think i do on my phone?” yoongi quirks an eyebrow. jungkook tips his chin up.

“you thought i wrestle with sharks in my free time,” he counters. yoongi snorts.

“i guess today’s about proving each other wrong,” he muses. jungkook grins, and moves on, tugging yoongi along.

here’s the thing: jungkook’s got a nice body. it’s not a secret and every one of them agrees on that. it’s something yoongi deals with almost every day of his life. he has to, because it’s, like. right there. he’s known jungkook works for that body. obviously.

however: he’s usually not forced to watch up close as he does that. he could’ve lived happily without ever knowing how jungkook looks doing that.

the sound of jungkook’s laugh snaps him out of his thoughts. jungkook’s glancing back at him over his shoulder as they dodge around gym machines.

“you look so out of place, hyung,” jungkook snickers, and yoongi half-heartedly flips him off. it just makes jungkook smile wider. “let’s take a gym selfie.”

“oh, come on,” yoongi groans, but doesn’t stop jungkook when he shifts close, holds up his phone with his free hand, and opens snapchat.

jungkook looks good in the picture. yoongi looks like he belongs literally anywhere else, like a recording studio or the grave. jungkook chuckles softly at the picture, before forwarding it to taehyung.

“i’ll just do a couple of quick sets today,” jungkook tells him, “i’m merciful like that.”

yoongi draws a breath through his nose. sure. maybe it won’t be bad at all. i can do this, he thinks.

 

/

 

yoongi [3:16]
i cant do this
sos ssos
sos

namjoon [3:17]
whats up

yoongi [3:17]
were at the gym

namjoon [3:18]
yeah hes usually at the gym at this time of the day
so?

yoongi [3:18]
hhes lifting some weights

namjoon [3:18]
ok?

yoongi [3:18]
his arms

namjoon [3:19]
what abt them

yoongi [3:19]
flex

namjoon [3:20]
?

yoongi [3:20]
NAMJOON

namjoon [3:21]
what???
WHY ARE YOU YELLING AT ME

yoongi [3:21]
FUCK YOUY

namjoon [3:21]
WHAT DID I EVEN DO
YOURE NOT MAKING ANY SENSE

yoongi [3:22]
BICEP RIGHT IN YM FACE FUCK

“hyung?” jungkook’s set the weights down, and sat up on the bench. his hair sticks to his forehead. his shirt sticks to his biceps.

“oh, jesus christ,” yoongi says.

“are you okay?” jungkook tilts his head, leans a bit closer. “why are you so red? you haven’t even been doing anything.”

“i’m always this color,” yoongi says robotically, fingers tightening around the phone.

“you’re really not,” jungkook says skeptically.

“it’s just very hot in here,” yoongi says, already walking and pulling on the handcuffs sort of frantically. “come on, do your, your, lat pull-downs or whatever so we can get out of here.”

“ah, i’m doing triceps today,” jungkook says from behind him.

“triceps,” yoongi mumbles under his breath, “triceps. cool. great. the hell do you need all those muscles for anyway.”

“what?”

“nothing.”

while jungkook’s doing his triceps pushdowns, yoongi considers sending another sos message to namjoon, just to fucking have something to do, to vent to someone, but so far namjoon has no idea what he’s talking about and yoongi would like to keep it that way.

tae [3:35]
hows it going at the gym? :)

yoongi [3:36]
arm

tae [3:37]
……
interesting

yoongi [3:37]
thats no t what i meant to type

tae [3:38]
i see we had a freudian slip happen here

yoongi [3:39]
i meant to type FUCK YOU

 

/

 

they move on to the dance practice almost immediately after jungkook’s done at the gym, and it’s even more of an absolute nightmare because yoongi barely has time to breathe, and then jungkook’s doing things with his shoulders and hips and yoongi is semi-seriously considering feigning a heart attack or staging a bad fall just to get out of here.

at the start of the class, jungkook pulls the dance group leader aside to explain the whole handcuffs thing. he’s surprisingly chill about it. a little bit too chill if you ask yoongi.

“got a little wild at a party and woke up like this?” he gives them a sympathetic nod. “that happened to me twice last year.”

“that’s not... twice?” jungkook frowns, but he’s already sticking his hand out to yoongi.

“jung hoseok,” he says, and yoongi raises his eyebrows, because that smile is somehow inhumanly bright. also, he’s pretty sure he’s heard both jungkook and jimin mention hoseok before. they call him hobi-hyung. feels like they’re sort of close. “grad student and the leader of this workshop.”

“min yoongi,” yoongi says neutrally, and takes his hand. “social experiment.”

the handshake is extremely awkward with jungkook’s hand hovering alongside yoongi’s. hoseok quirks an eyebrow. “yoongi, huh? social experiment?”

apparently he knows taehyung, too, because jungkook mutters, “it was tae”, and he bursts into laughter.

“of course it was,” he chuckles. still wearing a smile, he eyes yoongi up and down. “you work with music, so i assume your rhythm isn’t absolutely horrible -”

yoongi frowns, is about to ask how the fuck hoseok knows he works with music, but suddenly jungkook tugs at the handcuffs mildly painfully.

“it is,” jungkook says quickly, staring at hoseok intensely, “absolutely horrible. he can’t dance for shit. he’s so bad. now please let’s talk about the choreo i have some questions and i need to talk about it right now. about the choreo and nothing else.”

“uh,” yoongi says, confused and weirdly offended. he’s not sure why jungkook’s suddenly insulting him, especially since he seems to recall jungkook saying he’s not bad this morning, but doesn’t have a chance to bring that up because something else is happening here, in jungkook and hoseok’s staring match, the thin line of jungkook’s mouth and the vaguely amused curl of hoseok’s lips, the weird tension. yoongi feels awfully out of the loop.

“alright, then,” hoseok says eventually, and yoongi doesn’t know what’s going on but wishes it was over. he just stands there as hoseok starts talking about the choreography with jungkook, and the weird tension dissipates for most part. hoseok finishes with, “only do the parts that you can, alright? i don’t want either of you to hurt yourselves. focus on footwork today. if anyone can make this work, it’s you.”

“thanks,” jungkook mumbles, a faint flush on his face. from the compliment, maybe, or maybe it’s been there for a while.

so now jungkook’s hips are doing things and yoongi’s dying his forty-fifth death of the day. the choreo includes a part where jungkook rolls his body while pushing a hand down his chest, all the way to his lower stomach, and why he has to do it with his left hand, yoongi has no idea but he’s about to black out.

the thing is that he doesn’t really have the luxury of looking away like at the gym; he has to keep his eyes on jungkook and read his movements and memorize what he can of the choreography to make this possible and to not constantly collide with him.

that happens a lot, too, though, inevitably. jungkook mostly does his own thing away from the rest of the group, which makes sense because they are a literal danger to themselves and everyone around them. at the beginning, there’s lots of fumbling and staggering and arguing. lots of yoongi cursing and jungkook stepping on his toes and their chests bumping. then they make it work. sort of.

jungkook takes him through a part of the choreo again and again and yoongi... doesn’t learn it, per se, but learns how to move and where to stand to stay out of the way, and it becomes, consequently, sort of a dance in itself. like a weird, awkward pair dance that probably looks like they are simultaneously pulling away and pulling each other in. dancing around each other.

hoseok comes around for occasional input, to observe jungkook’s footwork but mostly to make fun of them. it really does seem like they are good friends, casual and friendly even in the context of practice. or maybe that’s just how he is. laidback and easy to approach. yoongi did learn within ten seconds of meeting him that he’s woken up handcuffed twice.

“i don’t know what you guys are doing, because it’s certainly not the choreo we’re learning,” hoseok laughs somewhere in the room, “but it looks sorta awesome.”

“why’d you say i’m a bad dancer. i'm phenomenal,” says yoongi, out of breath.

“you’re not really dancing, you know that, right?” says jungkook, completely fine.

“how dare you say i’m not really dancing,” yoongi feigns being offended. ”if i wasn’t really dancing, would i be able to do this?”

he proceeds to lift their arms above their heads, and slowly spin around. it takes a lot of skill and grace. to walk in place while turning 360 degrees. when he’s back to facing jungkook, the younger is watching him with his bottom lip between his teeth, smiling.

“i stand corrected,” he says softly. he touches his fingers to yoongi’s, and spins him again, this time with their hands linked.

and yoongi’s heart thuds, but at least he can pretend the heat on his face is from moving around and being hot in the hoodie. his body’s unwelcome reactions aside, this is also sort of - nice. messing around with jungkook.

that lasts for approximately five minutes, him thinking this is nice. the practice stretches on, and the handcuffs are starting to feel more and more uncomfortable. the music in the background is starting to sound more and more incomprehensible, the notes melting together, and yoongi feels dizzy, he actually is hot in the hoodie, and jungkook’s moving really fast, his feet, what the fuck.

then jungkook pulls a little bit too hard, and yoongi loses his balance, comes crashing into his chest. jungkook makes a surprised noise, his free arm closing around yoongi’s middle. yoongi’s hand grabs just whatever part of jungkook - his shoulder, fisting his shirt tightly. jungkook stumbles backwards, and for a moment yoongi thinks they’re falling, gets a flashback to the morning in the bedroom.

but then jungkook steadies them, and yoongi realizes they won’t fall, and are just standing here, jungkook’s arm tight around him, fingers curling in his hoodie, yoongi’s face pressed into his neck. their handcuffed hands are caught somewhere between their bodies sort of awkwardly. jungkook’s chest is heaving against him. yoongi hears him breathing. someone’s heart is racing, but yoongi can’t differentiate their heartbeats from one another. jungkook smells like sweat mixed with the same scent that was in his sheets. oh, for fuck’s sake.

why are we still standing here. he feels jungkook’s fingers on his back shift; they uncurl in the hoodie, smooth out against his back. yoongi yanks his face away from his neck, pushes at his shoulders, attempts to get a few inches between them.

“do you not know your own strength?” he groans, feels blood rushing to his face. jungkook’s looking at him, eyes wide. skin flushed. fucking pretty. he’s still holding yoongi. the tip of his tongue darts out, wets his bottom lip, and yoongi’s eyes do not drop to his lips. they do, but only for half a second. he swallows.

“miscalculation,” jungkook says, and yoongi’s mind blanks, and it takes him a moment to figure out what jungkook’s talking about.

“you can let go, now,” he mumbles, drops the eye contact, stares intently at jungkook’s throat instead, the sweat glistening on his skin, making it look golden.

“that’s a wrap! let’s finish up with stretches,” hoseok calls loudly, and oh, yeah. there are other people in the room. jungkook’s hand falls from yoongi’s lower back, and he steps away. oh, fuck. yoongi feels weird. like he needs to lie down. and it’s probably not because he danced so hard.

people are getting down on the floor, hoseok zigzagging among them, passing out yoga mats.

“you guys just do each other,” he says, gesturing between them. yoongi stares at him, unblinking. hoseok looks amused. “partner stretches?”

ah.

“ah,” yoongi says, and tips his head down to drag a hand through his hair and to hide how fucking red he undoubtedly is. jungkook clears his throat.

“help me out?” he asks, almost too quiet for yoongi to catch. he’s tugging yoongi down with him.

“what do you need me to do?” yoongi rubs at the back of his neck. jungkook lies down on his back, one of his legs stretched out, the other bent at the knee.

“grab my leg,” jungkook instructs, “at my heel and my knee. get on your knee, lock your ankle over mine to keep my other leg down. extend my leg and start bending it towards my head. i’ll tell you when to stop.”

“oh, my god,” yoongi mutters under his breath. there was stretching at the beginning of the class, too, but jungkook did it by himself. he follows jungkook’s instructions, pushes on his leg slowly. his right hand is on the side of jungkook’s knee, jungkook’s fingertips brushing against his wrist.

“more,” jungkook says.

“seriously?” yoongi raises his eyebrows. jungkook only blinks up at him, and yoongi swallows drily, keeps bending him. is not sure where to look; jungkook’s flushed face underneath him, his hair haloing around his head on the yoga mat, his stretched out shirt slipping past his collarbones. jungkook’s still not showing any signs of discomfort despite his leg being basically level with his chest. yoongi frowns. “how fucking bendy are you?”

“very,” jungkook says, and yoongi regrets asking. how did he ever think this was nice. this is anything but nice.

he keeps bending jungkook in different positions for a while, until jungkook thankfully, mercifully, tells him it’s enough.

“your turn,” he grins, rolling his shoulders.

“no fucking way,” yoongi says flatly.

“i wanna see how flexible you are,” jungkook says, looking at yoongi, his face still flushed, hair pushed out of his forehead, his eyes crinkling at the corners, his grin wide and kind of blinding. it’s unfair, really.

“absolutely not,” yoongi says.

two minutes later he’s screaming, partially for comedic purposes and partially because he’s actually in pain, as jungkook leans into his back, bending him towards the floor between his spread legs, and laughing into his shoulder like this is the funniest thing that’s ever happened to him.

when hoseok dismisses the practice, yoongi feels a lot like he’s been repeatedly run over by a truck, like, both physically and mentally. he trails after jungkook as he goes to pick up his stuff by the wall, feeling a bit uneasy on his feet.

“hope you guys don’t mind,” hoseok grins sheepishly, “tae asked me to take a couple of videos and send them to him for his project.”

at which part did you film us, yoongi almost asks, but then decides he’d rather not know.

“it was nice to finally meet you, yoongi,” hoseok says before they leave. yoongi knits his brows.

“finally?”

“well, you see, jungkookie talks about you quite a lot,” hoseok says brightly, “i feel like i know more about you than my own friends -“

“we have to go,” jungkook says suddenly, and tugs so forcefully that yoongi almost loses his balance. “places to be. bye, hobi-hyung.”

yoongi gives hoseok a small goodbye wave as he’s being dragged away. hoseok’s watching them with a lopsided smile on his lips. jungkook’s walking fast, the backpack slung over his shoulder. yoongi steers his eyes forward again, and pulls at the handcuffs in an attempt to hold him back, mildly irritated.

“slow down,” he huffs. “where are you even going? what places were you talking about? i thought we were done for the day.”

jungkook doesn’t stop, but he slows down. yoongi catches up to him, tries to get a look at his face, but jungkook’s not looking at him.

“jungkook?”

jungkook licks his lips. it takes a few more seconds, but then he turns his head to yoongi.

“food,” he says, and gives a small smile, “i’m starving. i really want lamb skewers. will you treat me, hyung?”

yoongi doesn’t think he’s lying, but he’s clearly avoiding talking about something. yoongi knows better than to push him, though, so he just says,

“oh, so now you’re good with me paying?”

jungkook grins, shrugs a little bit. “yeah.”

they walk out the building. it’s past six p.m., and the sun is just starting to set. yoongi’s limbs are already aching, especially his right shoulder. he feels dried sweat on his skin, and he probably looks like a train wreck. jungkook looks a bit disheveled, too, but if anything, it’s a good look on him.

they walk in silence, for a while. then jungkook clears his throat a little bit, quietly and discreetly but yoongi hears it anyway.

“i don’t - just - talk about you. i talk about all my friends.” his voice is soft. he’s looking at the road.

“okay,” yoongi says after a beat. “i didn’t think you did.”

 

/

 

tae [6:18]
how was dance?

yoongi [6:46]
loved it!

tae [6:46]
ok now ur being sarcastic and i do not appreciate it
didnt seem like u were having a bad time in the vids hobi-hyung sent

yoongi [6:47]
what does that mean

tae [6:47]
take a good hard look deep into ur heart n ull find the answer

yoongi [6:48]
what the fuck

tae [6:48]
sometimes we dont see whats right in front of us until its in front of us for 24 hrs straight

yoongi [6:49]
what???

tae [6:49]
sometimes we have to close our eyes to rlly See

yoongi [6:50]
ok now youre just saying some shit

tae [6:50]
sometimes the real key to the handcuffs was the friendships we formed along the way

yoongi [6:50]
im blocking your number

 

/

 

“what the fuck are you doing here,” yoongi says eloquently as namjoon and seokjin scoot onto the seat across the table.

they arrived not too long ago with jungkook. the words “social experiment” leave their mouths automatically, simultaneously now whenever people openly stare. namjoon and seokjin barely missed jungkook feeding him a vegetable with his chopsticks, because while yoongi can manage eating with his left hand, it’s frustratingly slow.

“it’s a restaurant, yoongi, people usually come here to eat,” seokjin says matter-of-factly, and opens a menu, skimming through it.

“but we came to laugh at you,” namjoon shrugs.

“you still have a dick on your face,” yoongi remarks. namjoon sighs exasperatedly.

“you can still see it?” he shoves at seokjin’s shoulder. “you told me it was barely noticeable.”

“oh, you were talking about that dick,” seokjin says, and jungkook chokes on his soda. namjoon elbows seokjin in the arm.

“how did you even know we were here?” jungkook asks.

“you told tae, right?” namjoon does something on his phone, then directs the screen at them. “he’s live tweeting this whole thing. it’s actually really funny.”

“of course he is,” yoongi says blankly. “why would i ever think he isn’t.”

“there are some really interesting videos here,” namjoon continues, scrolling through his feed, “i like this one of yoongi screaming like he’s being murdered after jungkookie bent him for like, point two seconds.”

“like you’re one to talk, you uncooked noodle,” yoongi glowers.

“his followers are also commenting a lot,” namjoon continues, and yoongi feels like this is about to go in a very bad direction.

“is that so,” he says stiffly.

“yeah, especially on the video of you dancing,” namjoon says, either oblivious to yoongi’s glare or ignoring him, “it has over one thousand likes.”

“uh-huh,” yoongi says coolly.

“here’s one: they look so good together exclamation mark. the tall guy is so hot and the blonde one is a cutie. i can tell they are close. that chemistry kyaaaa heart eyes emoji.

yoongi just sort of sits there, mortified. there’s a clatter from his right, as jungkook drops something on his plate.

“there’s a whole thread speculating whether you guys are together,” seokjin says, having taken his own phone out at some point. “someone says: i don’t know if they’re together but they should be LOL. and a different person says: nah they’re not together dot dot dot. with this amount of UST question mark. fire emoji water drops emoji.”

yoongi feels so hot. thank fuck for these dim lights. jungkook shifts, their hands brushing together, and yoongi wishes he wasn’t sitting so close. they could as well be reading out yoongi’s death certificate.

“well. we’re. not,” jungkook says. he sounds as uncomfortable as yoongi feels. “together.”

“but you should be,” seokjin grins, quoting the comment he read out. they are just joking, having fun, but yoongi can’t laugh. he should be able to laugh about this, right? ha-ha, strangers on the internet think there’s sexual tension between them. ha-ha, what if they were together. ha-ha.

“aren’t you supposed to be a busy med student?” yoongi asks, his face burning. “don’t you have more important things to do?”

“nothing in the world requires my attention more than this, right now,” seokjin says calmly, and flags down a waitress to order for him and namjoon.

the dinner is great and not awkward at all. yoongi is about ready to flip the table on namjoon and seokjin or saw his hand off like that guy did to his foot in saw. eventually they talk about other things. seokjin talks about an exam he’s going to ace and namjoon asks yoongi about the track he’s working on. they talk about the showcase jungkook has coming up, where he’s going to both sing and dance.

“here,” yoongi says, placing the last skewer on jungkook’s plate. “you do so much, you should eat well.”

“i’m fine,” jungkook says, “you’re paying, so -”

“if neither of you wants it, i’ll eat it,” seokjin says, but before he can reach out, yoongi grabs the skewer and brings it to jungkook’s lips.

he just sort of holds it there for a good five seconds. jungkook stares at him, eyes wide. this didn’t feel like a big deal at first - jungkook fed him earlier, too, and it was fine - but now it’s… strangely intimate and yoongi would like to back out but it’s too late.

“eat,” yoongi blurts, and jungkook parts his lips, bites into the meat. oh, god. this was a miscalculation. yoongi swallows thickly. he distantly registers the sound of a shutter.

namjoon lowers his phone just as yoongi turns to look.

“it was a sweet moment,” he shrugs.

“that’s going on tae’s twitter, isn’t it,” jungkook mumbles around a mouthful of meat.

seokjin and namjoon leave first, because seokjin does have an exam coming up.

“by the way,” he says as he places some bills on the table to pay for their food, “i’m not sure how to say this nicely, so i won’t. have you guys considered showering? you look like your plane crash landed in the middle of a desert and you’ve been wandering around for two weeks in search of civilization and water.”

“what does that... even look like,” jungkook says.

“not great, jungkook,” seokjin says seriously, shaking his head.

“thanks for your suggestion,” yoongi says, “now leave.”

seokjin just shrugs, and flashes a smile at them and the waitress approaching their table; she seems to momentarily forget what she was doing and stares after him, slightly dazed. yoongi sighs, looks down at his nearly empty plate. jungkook shifts next to him.

“taehyung said to tell you to unblock his number,” he says, breaking the silence.

“i’ll think about it,” yoongi says wearily. there’s no way the shower’s going to happen. no way.

 

/

 

“so,” jungkook says.

“so,” yoongi agrees.

they’ve been standing around in yoongi’s bathroom for ten minutes now, dodging around the actual issue. which is -

“i think i can slip my shirt off under the cuff,” jungkook says, and oh, alright, seems like the thing jungkook’s worrying about is how to get undressed while wearing the handcuffs. not quite what’s on yoongi’s mind but okay. “i think the handcuffs are loose enough for that.”

“okay,” yoongi says, even though he’s pretty far from okay.

“i don’t think you can do the same with your hoodie, though,” jungkook says, eyeing yoongi’s torso.

“that’s fine,” yoongi says quickly, “i don’t have to take it off, i’ll just wear it -”

“cut it away?” jungkook suggests completely serious.

“i’m not cutting my hoodie,” yoongi says, covering his chest protectively. jungkook just shrugs.

then he’s slipping off his shirt. yoongi panics. he wishes there was another word for it but that’s pretty much what it is. he grabs jungkook’s arm before he can pull the shirt over his head.

“wait,” he says, and desperately tries to think of a follow-up. jungkook just looks at him, waiting and confused. yoongi swallows. “you… you shower first. i’ll stand here. outside the curtain.”

“okay,” jungkook says after a short, uncomfortable silence.

“okay,” yoongi mumbles, his hand slipping off jungkook’s arm, and looks at the tiled wall as jungkook strips the shirt off. it takes a while to work the shirt under the cuff. yoongi listens to jungkook’s frustrated noises for half a minute before turning to him and helping him yank the shirt away. jungkook’s fingers move to the drawstring of his sweats, and yoongi looks away again. he stares the wall down and tries to think about anything that isn’t the fact that jungkook’s taking off his pants next to him. like the ways he’s going to make taehyung’s life a living hell.

“i’ll get in,” jungkook says quietly, almost a whisper. yoongi makes an approving noise, and then clears his throat because it sounds a bit strangled. he’s still not looking as jungkook gets into the tub and tugs yoongi closer to the curtain, too. the water starts to run; jungkook gasps a little at the coldness. his clothes are lying on the floor in a pile.

“don’t just leave your clothes lying around,” yoongi says, even though he doesn’t give a shit.

“sorry,” jungkook says, and doesn't sound apologetic in the least. “can you… come closer? i need…”

he tugs, and yoongi’s entire right arm is inside the shower, now, getting positively wet. he almost trips over the edge of the tub, and makes a frustrated sound.

“i can’t get any closer, kook,” he says, “just make do with -”

he flinches back as the curtain is suddenly yanked aside. he blinks a couple of times; there’s steam in the air already, and jungkook’s standing in front of him, very wet and very naked.

“hmm,” is what comes out of yoongi’s throat. jungkook clutches the curtain in one fist, bites his bottom lip and stares at yoongi hard, with resolution all over his face. he’s - fucking close, his skin all flushed, and yoongi fixates on a drop of water travelling down his neck, catching on his collarbone, continuing down his chest, his abs -

“get in,” jungkook says. yoongi snaps his head up, meets his eyes.

if this was a dream it would be a really fucking good dream but also inherently really bad and not a dream he should be having; the confusing part is that it’s not a dream and jungkook’s really holding his wrist and tugging him into the shower with him. yoongi stumbles over the edge of the tub gracelessly and jams a palm against the wet wall to keep his balance.

he stares at the wall and his hand for a good while just trying to process what the fuck is happening and why. his entire right side is getting wet. he looks down.

“i’m wearing my fucking socks.” this is the thing his brain apparently decides to register as top priority.

“oh my god, hyung,” jungkook says next to him, “just get your clothes off.”

“i have my fucking phone in my pocket.” yoongi raises his head, looks at jungkook under the spray. “jungkook, i swear to god -”

“then get it out,” jungkook groans, “seriously, just - you’re making this weird, just take your clothes off -”

i’m making this weird? you’re the one who’s telling me to take my clothes off -” jungkook steps closer, and yoongi automatically takes a step back, desperately trying to avoid touching jungkook’s very naked very wet very toned body at all costs. “jesus, hold on, fuck -”

jungkook stands still, about half a meter between them. yoongi pokes his tongue into the inside of his cheek, keeps his eyes very intently on his face.

“turn around,” he says.

jungkook gives him a strange look, chews on his bottom lip.

“i’ve seen you naked before, you know,” he mumbles, turning away anyway, as much as the handcuffs allow him to. it’s technically true, but it barely counts in yoongi’s mind because it was an accident and once again, kim taehyung’s fault, now that he thinks about it, for not telling jungkook yoongi was using their shower because his own was broken.

yoongi stares at his shoulder blades. takes a deep breath. then another. his fucking heart is beating out of his chest. fuck.

he saves his phone from his back pocket first, cracks the shower curtain and tosses it onto the carpet. then his socks. then his left hand flies to the button of his jeans.

“fuck,” he curses under his breath, struggling with the zipper one-handed. he works it down, but his jeans are soaked, which makes getting them off significantly harder.

“do you need help?” jungkook asks, a bit hesitantly. no, i absolutely do not need your help taking off my clothes, please don’t help me, yoongi thinks, close to hysterics. he struggles for a while, before giving up, tipping his head back towards the ceiling.

“i need my hand,” he says, resigned. jungkook touches his fingers to his wrist, uses the touch to sort of navigate backwards, closer. yoongi appreciates that he’s still not looking, although he doesn’t have a real reason for asking that, other than it makes this a lot easier for him.

he takes a few seconds, during which he recites every curse word he knows in his mind. then he swiftly tugs his jeans down with jungkook standing very close and accommodating to his movements. he kicks them off, tosses them out of the tub.

he’s really not sure what to do about his hoodie, so for now he just takes it off as much as he can, leaves it hanging off his right arm. he hesitates with his boxer briefs a while longer, then decides fuck it, and shoves them down, tosses them to the floor with the rest of their clothes. what now. he steals a glance at jungkook’s backside, the nape of his neck, the arch of his spine. he’s actually doing this. they’re actually fucking doing this. his fucking heart won’t calm down.

calm the fuck down.

“you’re using up all the hot water,” yoongi mumbles, “make room.”

he tugs at the handcuffs to make jungkook step to the side so he can move under the spray, and jungkook turns, his eyes landing on yoongi for the first time in a while; and yoongi is not imagining how his eyes flick down for a split second, then back up, lock with yoongi’s. jungkook is looking at him with the strangest expression on his face, eyes slightly wide, his face decidedly redder than a moment ago, and it’s probably not all because of the hot water. yoongi’s going to fucking die. he should’ve recorded an if you see this, it means i’m dead video before this. or something. he needs to tell namjoon he’s going to leave him his studio equipment. taehyung isn’t getting shit.

“honestly,” yoongi says, licks his lips, sinks his teeth into his bottom lip briefly. he’s careful to keep his eyes above jungkook’s collarbones. “you’re the one who wanted to shower with me, so stop… staring, let’s shower, let’s get this over with.”

jungkook inhales sharply. he turns his face away.

“i’m not staring.” pause. “and i didn’t want to… i just… couldn’t reach, i needed you to get in.”

"well, i’m in,” yoongi mumbles, and reaches to grab a bottle of shampoo off the rack, his hand semi-steady which is an achievement of its own; holds it at jungkook, who pours some on his palm and hands it back. this is going to be quick and efficient and painless.

and it is, for a while. they are standing almost back to back, not looking at each other. their coordination is working fine. yoongi’s soaked hoodie still hangs from his wrist uncomfortably, getting heavier by the second, but it also functions as a barrier between them. yoongi rubs shampoo into his hair one-handed, stares at the wet tiles on the wall, and his mind is completely blank.

but then jungkook touches at his shoulder, mutters, “move,” and then he’s rinsing his hair, standing under the spray, head tipped back, pushing a hand through his hair, and yoongi makes the mistake of glancing at him.

it’s - a lot. it’s too much. it’s like something out of a commercial, or like. a tasteful porno. yoongi feels his blood going south.

and he can’t fucking look away, transfixed with the line of jungkook’s throat and the muscles of his arm and the way water falls down his chest. yoongi is on the brink of exploding into a million tiny pieces. his heart is beating way too fast. fuck. fuck. fuck. do something.

yoongi reaches behind jungkook, at one of the knobs, and with a quick flick of his wrist, turns the temperature all the way down.

freezing ice water hits both of them in seconds. yoongi is prepared and still lets out a hiss; jungkook is not. yoongi’s never heard him scream so high. he’s also never heard him curse so loudly. he nearly bumps into yoongi, ducking away from the spray, and ends up yanking yoongi with him to the other end of the tub. they come this close to slipping and falling and cracking their heads open and honestly, personally yoongi finds that option preferable to popping a boner while in the shower with jungkook.

“what -” jungkook blinks the water out of his eyes, sends yoongi a betrayed look. “why?”

“you were too,” yoongi starts, then cuts himself off in the middle of the sentence. they stare at each other for a few seconds. “taking too long.”

jungkook’s mouth hangs slightly open.

“i was too taking too long?” he repeats.

“yeah,” yoongi says, and turns away quickly, ignores jungkook’s muttered, so cold, hyung. “let’s finish up. c’mon.”

“can you give me the body wash?” jungkook asks, sounding a bit sulky. yoongi almost rolls his eyes, but doesn’t, because he does actually feel a tiny bit bad, as… necessary as the action was.

“sorry,” he mumbles as he rummages through the bottles on the rack, searching for a specific body wash. “that was a dick move.”

he hands jungkook the plain soap-scented one without asking, and realizes he probably should not be talking about dicks in a situation where they are both naked. jungkook takes the bottle wordlessly, and it’s another moment before yoongi hears the cap click open.

“ah, you remember,” jungkook says behind him, and doesn’t sound mad at all anymore. yoongi attempts to shrug a shoulder airily.

“pretty sure we’ve had conversations about body wash and perfumes before.” yoongi is actually not sure these conversations ever took place, but he doesn’t want to say he remembers jungkook used up all his soap-scented body wash when he used to stay over and shower at his place. he doesn’t keep buying it for jungkook or because he knows jungkook likes it. that would be creepy. he actually just likes the scent.

jungkook just hums. yoongi washes the shampoo out of his hair, chin tipped towards his chest, wet strands in his eyes, and tries to go back to not thinking about anything. he doesn’t register jungkook singing quietly at first, because his soft voice blends in with the running water.

oh, yeah. jungkook sings in the shower. jungkook sings everywhere, jungkook is a vocal performance major, but somehow yoongi feels like he wasn’t prepared. he likes listening to jungkook sing. of course he does. always did. once, when he was drunk, but unfortunately not drunk enough to not remember, he told namjoon jungkook’s voice is like dreaming awake. like the moment at the break of dawn when there’s a mist over everything and a dew on the ground. namjoon just shrugged and said, yeah.

anyway. jungkook’s singing has evidently always had an effect on yoongi. it’s having an effect on him now, reminding him that they are, indeed, currently in the shower together. jungkook and his wet naked toned body are right there, attached to yoongi with fucking handcuffs.

jungkook’s singing a taeyang song and yoongi’s slightly panic-induced reaction is to try to outsing him. nevermind that he doesn’t know the lyrics to wake me up. he barely knows the melody.

it’s like earlier today when they sang in the bathroom, only exponentially worse. also better. depends on who you ask, really. yoongi thinks even his only neighbor, who’s a mostly deaf elderly lady, might hear them. but it’s so good for drowning out any and all thoughts.

yoongi changes the song to eyes, nose, lips, grabs one of the shampoo bottles and uses it as a makeshift microphone. jungkook’s laughing, loud and high. then he starts singing some english pop song, and after yoongi recognizes it to be that one song about pocketfuls of sunshine, he joins in.

right, this was supposed to be quick and efficient, yoongi thinks, and then jungkook’s telling him to rap to the sunshine song so he does.

 

/

 

yoongi [8:58]
kki
jkill me

namjoon [8:59]
im worried

yoongi [8:59]
justdo it you cowaff
coward

namjoon [8:59]
whats up w your typing

yoongi [9:00]
im in a situaiotn

namjoon [9:00]
what?
situation?
are you ok

yoongi [9:01]
no im not fuckign ok
namjoon
how doi ask him to put his shirt on

namjoon [9:02]
uh

yoongi [9:02]
fuckiing help me

namjoon [9:02]
how did he even get his shirt off with the handcuffs

yoongi [9:03]
NOT IMPORTNAT
NAMJOON

namjoon [9:03]
ok ok… then why is his shirt off

yoongi [9:04]
we.showered
now hes texting tae adn hes half dressed and id like him to be.fully dressed

namjoon [9:04]
whys this a problem
just tell him to put it on?

yoongi [9:04]
thansk that was absolutely useless

namjoon [9:05]
hyung whats going on?
youve been weird all day
its almost like you cant handle seeing a muscle

namjoon [9:06]
wait a minute
hyung do you
have a thing for jungkook

yoongi [9:06]
shut up jsut shut up

namjoon [9:07]
holy shit
you do
you like him
you LIKE like him
you have the hots for him
youre smitten with him

yoongi [9:07]
oh my god no one uses those words anymroe stop saying shit i already know

namjoon [9:08]
oh my GOD how did i not know
why didnt you tell me??
does he know??
i guess not
why havent you told him???

yoongi [9:08]
STOP FREAKING OUT IM THE ONE WHOS FREAKED OUT FUCK

namjoon [9:08]
ok ok sorry
shit
how long?

yoongi [9:09]
long

namjoon [9:09]
before he dated that girl from his class?

yoongi [9:09]
yeah

namjoon [9:09]
fuck
wow this day hasnt been easy for you huh

yoongi [9:10]
can you come over adn bring your thickest book and crush my skull w it killing me insyantly

namjoon [9:10]
no
jungkook would have to drag your corpse around and i cant do that to him
is there a reason you havent told him

yoongi [9:11]
why tje fuck would i

namjoon [9:11]
he might like you back?

yoongi [9:11]
he doesnt
already fucked that up

namjoon [9:12]
what do you mean?

jungkook’s finally working his shirt under the cuff, so yoongi exits out of the chat to help him, because. yes. please. thank god. they are sitting on the edge of yoongi’s bed, and yoongi remembers, again, a part of their conversation last night: been ages since we slept in the same bed...

the aftermath of the shower was as painful as the experience itself. they had to dry off and walk to the bedroom in towels and yeah, yoongi just saw him naked, but somehow it was… worse, almost, because in the shower he was determinedly Not Looking as if looking would kill him, but now he found himself staring a bit too long, just thinking how fucking tiny jungkook’s waist is.

getting dressed took ages. they really ended up cutting away yoongi’s hoodie. it’s a shame, it was a nice hoodie, but it would probably always remind him of the shower and this day so it can burn for all he cares. yoongi applied jungkook’s technique and slipped a black and white t-shirt under the cuffs - not easy - and jungkook got distracted texting taehyung.

all in all, the day’s been a continuous nightmare. not all of it, not the part where he’s spent it with jungkook. but the parts where he’s been forced to be in close quarters with jungkook who’s either in various states of undress or sweaty or just doing things that have really made it impossible to avoid facing the fact that he has feelings and he’s had feelings and he will continue to fucking have feelings because it’s jungkook and yoongi doesn't know how not to feel things for him.

now jungkook’s wearing another white shirt and adidas sweats.

“you really like to experiment with styles, don’t you,” yoongi comments, but instead of a comeback, jungkook only gives him a distracted smile, like he has something else on his mind. yoongi frowns.

“are you okay? did taehyung say something?” he pauses. “has he not found the key yet?”

“no, it’s - i don’t know about that. it’s nothing.” jungkook pushes the damp hair out of his forehead. he looks at yoongi, licks his lips. “has tae said anything to you?”

about what, yoongi thinks. he blinks.

“i don’t know, i haven’t unblocked him yet.”

“oh.” pause. “okay.”

jungkook fiddles with his fingers. yoongi thinks it kind of strange how he’s not telling him to unblock taehyung and do this right. but, again - jungkook’s not going to talk about it. yoongi breathes in through his nose.

“wanna go to the studio?” he asks. jungkook looks at him; looks down, at the space between them, long eyelashes against his cheeks. when he meets yoongi’s eyes again, there’s a small smile on his lips. yoongi thinks it’s genuine.

“yes,” he says, and yoongi gets up, his heart faltering.

 

/

 

jungkook’s phone buzzes on the desk.

“aren’t you going to look at that?” yoongi asks, sitting at his laptop and opening up the track he’s working on.

“it’s just tae,” jungkook says, “i’ll look at it later.”

he’s sitting next to yoongi, his feet up on the chair. it feels weirdly like home to have jungkook here again. he basically lived here during his last year in high school. yoongi didn’t realize what a constant he was until he stopped coming.

“who are you producing it for?” jungkook asks, leaning closer to yoongi.

“this one indie artist,” yoongi murmurs, “she asked for an acoustic sound so i mixed it in with electronic elements. here.”

he hands jungkook the headphones, and presses play. leans his jaw on his palm and watches jungkook listen, eyes closed, fingertips on the headphones, yoongi’s cuffed hand hovering close, elbow rested on jungkook’s chair’s armrest. he watches jungkook nodding slightly to the beat, looking peaceful, soft, and all he can think of is how much he regrets that they somewhat lost this; how much he wants to have it again.

the song ends, jungkook lowers the headphones around his neck, and yoongi blurts,

“why did you stop coming.”

jungkook looks at him, lips slightly parted. yoongi sees him swallow; he drops his eyes for a moment, then meets yoongi’s again. yoongi’s heart thuds heavily. jungkook licks his lips.

“you know why,” he says quietly.

i don’t , yoongi wants to say, but he can’t get it to make a sound. it’s the first time they’re hinting at what happened two years ago. we were supposed to be fine, he wants to say.

wants to ask, is it my fault? is it because i’m so fucking obvious?

jungkook takes the headphones off, sets them on the desk with careful fingers.

“i like the song,” he says softly, not really looking at yoongi, “i really do. i know the finished version is going to sound great.”

this is exactly what they do: dance around it. a part of yoongi would love nothing more than to grab jungkook, make him look at him, just yell out everything. i like you way too much i always liked you way too much and it hurts but even if i can’t have you like that i want back what we used to have because i fucking miss you. something like that. a part of him wants confrontation, even if the outcome was jungkook saying he can’t do this; but it’s the possibility of that happening, yoongi supposes, that’s holding him back.

“do you want to see the lyrics?” he asks instead, and the look on jungkook’s face is unreadable; yoongi can’t tell if he’s relieved or disappointed that yoongi didn’t push the topic.

“yeah,” he says, and yoongi hands him the handwritten sheet of paper. jungkook reads through the lyrics, and yoongi decides to finally unblock taehyung. he’s got nine new messages from namjoon, but he’s not going to look at them right now.

yoongi [9:39]
what did you say to jungkook

tae [9:39]
first of all: how dare u
second of all: how DARE u
third of all: what makes u think i said sth? did he do sth?

yoongi [9:40]
no but he was acting strange

tae [9:40]
i see
ill tell u what i told him if he doesnt do anything

yoongi [9:41]
do anything?

tae [9:41]
yep
moving on
he mentioned u showered
tell me more abt that

yoongi [9:41]
what did he say

tae [9:41]
wouldnt u like to know

“what the fuck,” yoongi mumbles inaudibly, and tries to decide whether his self-respect is nonexistent enough at this point to just say, yeah, i want to know.

yoongi [9:42]
did vincent poop out the key yet

tae [9:42]
give him time he has slow metabolism

yoongi [9:42]
yeah maybe thats bc you feed him keys

tae [9:43]
doctor said hes fine
a healthy boy!
he did fingerpainting today hes rlly improving w his artistic expression wanna see

yoongi [9:43]
i really dont

tae [9:44]
[image attached]

yoongi [9:44]
cool dot i guess

tae [9:44]
it symbolizes our place in the universe
hes so smart

“ah,” jungkook says, and yoongi lowers his phone into his lap, “these lyrics… they are very sad.”

“you think so?” they weren’t necessarily meant to be sad. it’s about memories, about wanting to hold on to someone. melancholy, maybe, but -

“i don’t know,” jungkook says, eyes fixed on the paper in his hand. “it’s the feeling beyond the words. it’s like, the person who wrote this must have sadness in him.”

jungkook goes silent for a moment. yoongi watches him, fingers pressing into his thigh. thinks, oh. then jungkook looks up at him.

“yoongi,” he says slowly, like he’s weighing his words carefully, “do you…”

yoongi’s literally going to burst into flames any second now. he breathes in, out.

“it’s just a song,” he says. jungkook looks at him in a way that makes yoongi think he’s trying to say something without using his words.

what are you thinking? how do you feel? are you okay? if i told you i’ve liked - loved - you all this time, would it make a difference? do you already know? something like that. just something like that.

jungkook listens to the song again, and then he plays the melody on the acoustic guitar by ear. he hums out the lyrics softly here and there. the song suits his voice; yoongi thinks he’s been aware of this the entire time he’s worked on it. their hands knock together as jungkook’s fingers move on the neck. the guitar used to look so big in his lap.

“you’ve gotten good,” yoongi says. jungkook doesn't look up, but gives a lopsided smile.

“i was always good,” he says, and yoongi shoves at his knee.

there’s something in the air, mixed with the bittersweet familiarity of this. something that tickles at his skin, makes him think: things have changed. things have also stayed the same.

it’s been thirteen hours. eleven more.

 

/

 

yoongi stifles a yawn into his palm. he takes the headphones off, rolls his head on his shoulders, his neck aching. jungkook dozed off about ten minutes ago, curled up in the chair, arms folded on the armrest and face hidden in them, pulling yoongi’s arm into a pretty uncomfortable position, but yoongi doesn’t want to wake him.

jungkook’s phone has been buzzing on the desk for the past few minutes, and yoongi’s itching to reach for it; to see if it’s taehyung or if someone actually has urgent business, he tells himself, but honestly… he’s curious about what they were talking about earlier. then his own phone goes off.

tae [12:11]
tell jungkook to pick up his goddang phone

yoongi [12:11]
hes asleep

tae [12:12]
shit
okay
listen
im going to be honest with u

yoongi frowns as the three jumping dots disappear and reappear.

tae [12:13]
the journalism assignment is real but theres another reason why i chose u guys
i wasnt going to say anything bc i was hoping u would work it out by urselves but times running out here and im beginning to see ur too fucking stubborn

tae [12:14]
a couple of weeks ago we were drinking at our apt
jungkookie got really drunk and started talking abt u
this is the thing i told him earlier. he doesnt remember, but he told us what happened 2 years ago

yoongi forgets to breathe. he glances at jungkook next to him; he’s sleeping soundly, breathing evenly. yoongi bites his bottom lip, focuses his eyes back on the phone screen, reads taehyung’s messages as they appear, heart drumming against his ribcage.

tae [12:15]
he told us he kissed u the night he got accepted to college
correct?

yoongi [12:16]
yes

tae [12:16]
he said u pushed him away

yoongi’s thumb hesitates over the characters a little bit longer.

yoongi [12:17]
yes

tae [12:17]
he thinks u wanted to let him down gently, and he didnt want to lose ur friendship so he never brought it up again

tae [12:18]
but things havent been the same since then according to him
he was really broken up abt it. this has been fucking with him for 2 years
and i dont think ur happy either
i was hoping this would help u guys fix it but it doesnt seem like ur going to talk abt it

tae [12:19]
listen i dont know exactly what went down or what you want from each other but i know its not this
so please do something

“fuck,” yoongi mutters, setting the phone down to run a hand through his hair. jungkook still thinks about it, too. jungkook still -

i will, he types. then he turns in his chair, and reaches to gently shake jungkook’s shoulder.

“jungkookie,” yoongi says. his own voice sounds alien in the silence. “jungkook. we need to talk.”

 

/

 

here’s a truth: yoongi was already half in love with jungkook two years ago.

things he remembers: everything, too clearly. how it was raining, sleet that was more water than snow, how jungkook’s clothes were damp, how he was slightly out of breath but grinning so fucking bright when yoongi opened the door for him.

“i got in,” he said, and pushed a bottle of wine at yoongi’s chest, almost prompting him to ask where he got it before yoongi remembered he just turned the legal drinking age not a week ago.

then his arms were full of jungkook as he launched himself at yoongi, arm hooked around his neck, hugging him tightly. yoongi’s fingers settled on his back, and he let out a muffled laugh into his hair, inhaled the scent of rain. “hey. congratulations.”

“thank you,” jungkook said into his neck. “i wanted to tell you first.”

how he tried to tell him to take off his wet clothes, borrow something from yoongi’s closet. how jungkook waved him off, just took off his jacket, said, later, hurry up and open the wine. yoongi conceded because of how happy and excited jungkook was, and because he’d always had trouble with denying things from him.

remembers every expression that crossed jungkook’s face that night. jungkook was barely staying still, and yoongi was happy for him and just happy, didn’t stop him from drinking a second and third glass of wine while yoongi only drank one, although in retrospect he should’ve. in retrospect, he shouldn’t have let him lean in and kiss him.

but the truth is that yoongi was already half in love with him or maybe more than half and the thought this shouldn’t be happening came too late, jungkook already pressing his wine-stained lips to yoongi’s and pressing his tongue against his bottom lip. it took him longer than it should’ve to break the kiss.

when he did, he did it gently, fingers above jungkook’s clavicle, applying just enough pressure to separate them. remembers, also, how jungkook looked at him, eyes wide, lips parted, a faint red on his cheeks, either from the wine or not.

“sorry,” jungkook whispered, “i didn’t mean to -”

“it’s okay,” yoongi replied, and it sounded robotic, hollow. a brief silence followed, during which they stared at each other. jungkook’s skin was warm, burning under his fingers. yoongi’s thumb moved on its own, brushed against jungkook’s neck in a reassuring manner. “it’s okay. it’s - you’re drunk. i’ll get you dry clothes, and you can stay over, okay?”

“okay,” jungkook said quietly, mostly just mouthing the word. yoongi managed a small smile, and got up from the couch.

jungkook might not have been drunk, but he was tipsy. also: jungkook was barely nineteen. it felt so young, then. mostly: jungkook kissed him because he was happy and excited and yoongi was suddenly terrified of the weight of his own feelings. he went to get clothes for jungkook, and just stood with his back against the bedroom wall for a while.

maybe, he decided, maybe next morning. or after a while. when they’re not drunk, and the excitement has died down. if jungkook meant it. then maybe he’d let himself feel these things. if jungkook wanted to pretend it never happened, he could do that, too.

they slept in yoongi’s bed that night, like they always did. it was the last time they did that. the next morning, jungkook apologized again. asked, are we okay?

we’re okay.

and they pretended it never happened.

yoongi didn’t see him again until he started college. that was that, really. the next time they met up, everything was normal. normal enough.

jungkook started dating a girl from his class towards the end of his first year. yoongi only met her once. she seemed nice, he supposes. jungkook didn’t really talk about her, at least not to yoongi. it lasted a couple of months; jungkook told them breaking up was a mutual decision. yoongi had a couple of short-lived things, too, nothing serious, because he couldn’t seem to put his heart fully into it.

now it’s two years later and jungkook is angry. first at taehyung for telling yoongi; then at yoongi.

they’ve been standing in the middle of the studio for however many minutes; since yoongi woke him up, opened with, you should check your phone. the handcuffs feel more restricting than ever.

“you know what?” jungkook says, running his hand through his hair for the millionth time, “yeah, it’s not okay. it’s - we keep pretending everything’s fine, but it’s not. fuck, i - i’m trying because i know you want things to be like they used to, before i - and i want that, too, i want to not be fucking awkward -”

“kook, i don’t -” yoongi sucks in a breath, tries to find words. “i don’t regret that you kissed me - it’s okay, i just -”

jungkook cuts him off with a groan.

“stop saying it’s okay,” he says, takes half a step forward. his brow is furrowed, his mouth is an unhappy line. “it’s not okay, of course it isn’t. you pushed me away, i obviously shouldn’t have done it.”

“of course i pushed you away.” it comes out harsher than he meant. “it was a really fucking bad timing, kook, you were only nineteen - barely - you were drunk and you didn’t know what you were doing -”

“i didn’t know what i was doing?” jungkook repeats. something flashes in his eyes, something yoongi hasn’t seen before. “how the fuck can you know that?”

yoongi feels something rising to the surface, like he’s about to boil over. the anger is a secondary emotion, he knows this, but he doesn’t have time to be rational about this because it’s all just coming out, little by little, everything he’s been holding onto for two years.

“i just wish you would’ve fucking meant it,” he half-snaps, and it’s already way more than he was supposed to say. he stares jungkook down, his skin burning, dreading his reaction. jungkook draws in a breath.

“fuck you,” he spits, low, sort of quiet, but all the more thunderous. he shoves at yoongi’s chest, not that hard, but hard enough to send him a step back. “you think just because i’d just turned nineteen i didn’t mean it?”

jungkook’s furious, his eyes fiery, and yoongi’s never seen him like this; would be taken aback by it if he wasn’t so worked up himself. jungkook moves closer, closing the distance he just created.

“you just assumed i didn’t mean it? that’s so fucking - unfair, that’s - you think i hadn’t thought about it? you think i hadn’t been crushing on you for, for months? you think i wasn’t nervous as fuck about it?”

yoongi grits his teeth. there’s a voice, somewhere in the back of his mind, going: why the fuck are we even fighting -

“that’s just it,” he says, finds himself raising his volume to match jungkook’s, “you had a crush, jungkook, you were nineteen and you had a fucking crush, because i was... cool to you, i don’t know, someone to idolize -“

“if you think that’s all it was, you’re an idiot,” jungkook says, “if you think that’s all it is -“

he shoves at yoongi again, his shoulder, this time, and when yoongi staggers back, it pulls jungkook with him. they stumble into the chairs, the armrest digging into the back of yoongi’s thigh as jungkook presses against him. yoongi groans, his free hand flying up to jungkook’s chest, grabbing his shirt to keep his balance. his cuffed hand is hovering beside jungkook’s, who grabbed his shoulder. he can hear jungkook breathe heavily, and this is - a bit much, yoongi doesn’t even know what he’s feeling, there’s mindless anger in there but it’s mixing with a dozen other things.

he uses his entire body to push at jungkook, to put space between them, and jungkook takes a step back, thankfully, his hand sliding off yoongi’s shoulder. yoongi’s hand is still on his chest, fingers curling instead of letting go. he bites on his bottom lip, so hard he tastes iron.

“you got over me just fine,” he says, voice half-growl, “you dated other people.”

it’s not meant to be accusatory, but it comes out sounding like it is, and yoongi almost winces. of course jungkook can fucking date whoever he likes, he doesn’t owe yoongi anything; and yoongi dated other people, too.

jungkook’s brow twitches. his free hand has made a fist, and for a moment yoongi thinks they’re actually going to start throwing hands. but jungkook just shoves his hand out of the way to take a step closer again.

“because you didn’t want me!” his face is flushed angrily, he’s shouting, but his eyes - “i was trying - trying - to get the fuck over you, yoongi, so we could go on being friends because i didn’t want to lose you. but this is not - it , it’s not the same, i fucked it up that night, i fucked up , and the truth, if you want it,“ he shoves at yoongi’s shoulder once more, “is that i’m trying to be friends with the person who broke my fucking heart.”

the way his voice cracks on the last word is the last straw. something in yoongi just - snaps. he gathers all his strength, grabs jungkook’s shirt front with both fists, forces him to walk backwards. jungkook’s cuffed hand closes around his wrist, and the metal digs into yoongi’s skin painfully, but he doesn’t even notice. he shoves jungkook up against the wall, the younger’s breath escaping his lungs with a quiet “oof”. both his hands wrapped around yoongi’s wrists, now, he’s breathing heavily, lips parted, chest heaving. he looks at yoongi, and the anger is gone; instead there’s just... hurt.

yoongi is so close he can feel his hot breath on his face. can count his individual lashes. his fingers tighten in jungkook’s shirt, and the next moment he’s falling forward, crashing their mouths together almost violently.

jungkook goes still underneath his hands. yoongi can feel his racing heartbeat. seconds pass; then jungkook moves his lips, applies pressure, kisses him back. it’s still more them pressing against each other than actually kissing; it’s almost painful, all lips and teeth, bruising, but then yoongi pushes his tongue past jungkook’s lips, into his hot mouth, and jungkook moans, tilts his head for a better angle. he rolls his tongue against yoongi’s, and it’s so messy, wet, more than a little desperate, but it’s so good, so - addicting, how jungkook feels, what he tastes like (something sweet underneath the hint of peppermint chewing gum).

they break apart when yoongi feels like his lungs are about to explode. they pant into each other’s mouths, jungkook’s fingers digging into yoongi’s forearms, and yoongi is still in the middle of processing this, what jungkook told him, what he just did, how jungkook kissed him back.

“you -” jungkook pants, and yoongi pulls back to look at him. he looks dazed, his skin flushed, red, spit-slicked lips. he blinks his eyes, and there are tears stuck to his lashes. yoongi feels so many things at once: guilt, regret, relief. love. he’s so fucking in love. “yoongi - what -”

“fuck,” he breathes, his head falling forward, forehead connecting with jungkook’s shoulder. “fuck, fuck fuck.” he listens to jungkook breathe unevenly. clutches at his shirt like he’s trying to make the fabric dissolve in his fists. “i’m so in love with you.”

jungkook’s breath hitches. his fingers curl, press half moons into yoongi’s skin. yoongi raises his head, looks jungkook in the eye, says it again.

“i’m in love with you.”

“don’t -” jungkook starts. when he blinks, a single tear falls, travels down his cheek. “don’t say that if you don’t mean it.”

he’s trying to look defiant, but his eyes are tentatively hopeful, searching yoongi’s for the truth.

“i have never meant anything more in my life,” yoongi says with all the sincerity he has in him. he finally releases jungkook’s crumpled shirt collar, moves his hands up his neck, carefully thumbs at his jaw. he keeps his eyes fixed on jungkook’s parted mouth, because he thinks he might start crying otherwise. “i. i’m so sorry. i pushed you away because i thought you had a crush, while i was neck deep in it, and i couldn’t do that to you. or to myself. and i thought i was right, when you wanted to forget about it, when you moved on -”

“i didn’t,” jungkook mumbles, “couldn’t. even though - i thought you just didn’t want me -”

“wrong,” yoongi murmurs, and leans in to touch his lips to jungkook’s jaw, to kiss where it’s wet and salty. “that’s wrong. always want you.” jungkook makes a strangled little sound. yoongi pauses, swallows. “i didn’t think i was breaking anyone’s heart. except my own. i’m sorry. if you can give me another chance -”

“apology accepted and yes i can,” jungkook says, a little bit choked, “just kiss me again.”

yoongi does.

 

/

 

that night marks the first time in two years that they share yoongi’s bed. they lie chest to chest, facing each other, their cuffed hands in the narrow space between them, overlapping. jungkook’s tired, drained after their fight-turned-not-fight in the studio, his eyes drooping. but yoongi thinks they needed that.

“when you sent me that track a week after that night,” jungkook murmurs, “i cried so hard. i couldn’t listen to it for a while because it had your voice on it - but then i listened to it all the time.”

“it was for you,” yoongi can tell him now. “it was me saying i love you.”

jungkook looks at him, eyes tired but so many things swirling in them.

“yoongi,” he says. yoongi hums. jungkook hesitates for a while. “you know, don’t you?”

“no, i don’t,” yoongi says, smiles when jungkook lets out a frustrated noise and bumps their feet together under the covers. “tell me.”

jungkook’s fingers shift underneath yoongi’s, tangling.

“i love you too,” he whispers, almost quiet enough for yoongi to hear their heartbeats over it. yoongi feels overwhelmed; leans forward, and the angle is awkward, but kisses jungkook’s mouth softly, watches with half-closed eyes as jungkook’s eyelids flutter shut. jungkook sighs against his lips.

“you know what i hate?” jungkook asks when yoongi pulls back. “now i can’t really even be mad at tae.”

“i suppose so,” yoongi says, “although he did put us through a lot.”

“okay, true,” jungkook says. “yoongi, in the shower, you… you have a bruise on your butt.”

yoongi blinks. “i do?”

“i only looked for a second, i swear.” jungkook buries his face into the pillow. “it’s more on your hip, anyway. from when we fell off the bed, i think.”

“i knew you looked,” yoongi teases, and jungkook lets out a muffled groan.

“it’s a nice butt,” he mumbles, and yoongi laughs quietly, runs his thumb up and down the side of jungkook’s hand, tells him, “back at you.”

“if i ever make you cry again,” he murmurs before they fall asleep, “i want you to kick my ass.”

jungkook’s eyes are already closed, but he grins, beautiful and brilliant.

“i will,” he promises.

after jungkook’s fallen asleep, his chest rising and falling steadily, and yoongi’s watched him for a period of time that would certainly not be considered creepy, he maneuvers onto his stomach and checks namjoon’s messages, finally.

namjoon [9:12]
yoongi?

namjoon [9:13]
what do you mean you fucked it up?

namjoon [9:17]
?

namjoon [9:19]
fucks sake hyung

namjoon [9:20]
you cant end it on a cliffhanger like that i wanna know what happened

namjoon [9:25]
fine then have fun pining i hope you suffer a lot today

namjoon [9:26]
i didnt mean that i love you guys and i hope it works out for you
if you decide to tell him tell me how it goes

namjoon [9:27]
also can i be your best man at the wedding

yoongi [2:28]
obviously

namjoon’s response comes immediately.

namjoon [2:28]
DID YOU TELL HIM???
AND HE SAID YES???

yoongi [2:29]
i didnt propose to him namjoon wtf

namjoon [2:29]
oh right
but you told him?

yoongi [2:29]
yes

namjoon [2:30]
and he likes you back?

yoongi [2:30]
against all odds
yes

namjoon [2:31]
DUDE!!!!
so youre together now??

yoongi [2:31]
if he wants to be
i think he does

namjoon [2:31]
im so happy for you!!!!!!
but i cant believe some people on the internet saw it and i didnt

yoongi [2:32]
thank you
dont feel too bad abt it it took me 2 yrs too

namjoon [2:32]
yeah what happened back then

yoongi [2:32]
ill tell you later
now im gonna sleep
with jungkook

namjoon [2:33]
…..sleep or sleep

yoongi [2:33]
disgusting and offensive
i obviously meant just sleep

yoongi [2:34]
we’ll fuck later when we’re out of these handcuffs

namjoon [2:34]
ew hyung

yoongi [2:34]
ill tell you all about it

namjoon [2:34]
please dont

yoongi [2:35]
maybe we’ll even use these handcuffs actually

namjoon [2:35]
jesus fucking christ i get it just go to sleep

 

/

 

“i have good news and bad news,” taehyung says. “actually, good news and news that are sort of ambiguous in nature, that could evoke mixed feelings -”

“tae,” yoongi says from the couch taehyung sat them on, elbow propped against his leg, jaw in his palm. “what is it?”

“okay, so, i have the key,” taehyung says, holding the key up and placing it onto the coffee table. “that’s the good news. the ambiguous yet ultimately good news, as i encourage you to look at them, are that the key wast in mine pocket the entire time because i forgot i hath changed mine pants to catch but a wink and we wast wrong to accuse vincent.”

taehyung takes a breath and holds it, eyeing them warily. they share a look. jungkook shrugs. they turn back to taehyung, who releases his breath in a long puff.

“really? you’re not mad about that at all?” he asks suspiciously. they shrug again in unison. taehyung looks surprised. “okay then. well, that makes things easier. here’s the key.”

he slides the key across the table. yoongi takes it, opens jungkook’s cuff first, then his own. jungkook springs to his feet first.

“you could’ve just told us you knew instead of putting us in fucking handcuffs,” he huffs, “we almost slipped and died in a bathtub.”

“we sang in a public toilet,” yoongi backs him up.

“you said you weren’t mad,” taehyung says, frowning as he leans down in his chair to pick up the notebook he dropped when jungkook jumped up. “so that was a fucking lie. are you done, now?”

“we fell off the bed and yoongi broke all of his bones.”

“that’s not quite right,” yoongi says.

“yoongi broke most of his bones.”

“yeah. that’s correct,” yoongi nods. taehyung sighs.

“listen, i’m sorry, but i’m a journalist,” he says, holding up his hands, which hold the notebook and the pen. “i needed a story, can you blame me? and it also helped you, didn’t it?”

“helped me realize i can’t trust my own roommates,” jungkook huffs, flopping back down next to yoongi with his arms crossed. he adds, quieter, “and got me a boyfriend. whatever.”

“uh-huh,” taehyung says, adjusting the gigantic glasses on his nose that yoongi knows to be just for show. “can we get started with the interview now? great. so, what i’d like to know first is, what are your most prominent feelings now that the experiment has ended?”

“you snake,” jungkook whispers.

“feelings of betrayal towards the conductor of experiment. good, good.” taehyung scribbles in his notes. “what else?”

“i feel hungry,” yoongi says.

“hunger for more riveting and stimulating experiences such as this one,” taehyung mumbles as he writes.

“that’s not what i said,” yoongi says, “this is some rita skeeter ‘his eyes are glistening with the ghosts of his past’ shit.”

“this piece is going to focus on how the way you perceive each other changed due to this experiment,” taehyung says, ignoring him. “at the beginning, i asked you what you thought about each other. you gave me some bullshit answers.”

yoongi crosses his arms. “i have never bullshitted anything in my life. i was honest. his eyes aren’t the only thing i like about him.”

“i was honest, too,” jungkook says. yoongi turns to give him a look.

“you ‘guess i’m okay’?”

“yeah,” jungkook says, completely serious for two seconds, and then his mouth stretches into a beautiful grin.

“brat,” yoongi snorts, feeling such affection he’s about to drown in it. jungkook tips forward, brushing his lips against the corner of yoongi’s mouth. yoongi can feel his smile.

“you have all the time in the world to change my opinion, though,” he murmurs.

“hmm,” yoongi hums, fingers finding jungkook’s waist, curling loosely in his shirt. “as soon as we get out of here, i’ll start changing it right away.”

“you know what,” taehyung says somewhere to his left, “for ‘what do you think about each other now’, i’m just going to write that you started making out fervently. i think that also answers the question ‘do you feel like you’re closer now’.”

“we can leave?” jungkook turns to ask. yoongi is one step further, already getting up, fingers hooked with jungkook’s.

“you still haven’t given me anything from the last eleven hours,” taehyung notes, tapping his pen against the page of his notebook.

“it was awful,” yoongi says, “we talked about our feelings and made out and now we’re in love. the worst day of my life. fuck you.”

“thank you,” taehyung says, “i’m going to quote you on that.”

 

/

 

a week later, they find the handcuffs hanging from yoongi’s doorknob, along with a copy of the university newspaper that yoongi already knows features taehyung’s story, which was chosen for publication from among all the stories the class produced. in the video he sent to the group chat, taehyung made an eight-minute award speech and sent special thanks to yoongi and jungkook, who “made all of this possible by not communicating their feelings for years and pining after each other uncontrollably, god bless”.

“use me wisely. winking face,” jungkook reads the pink post-it note stuck to the handcuffs. he stares at the piece of metal soullessly. “i never want to see these handcuffs again.”

“yeah,” yoongi agrees, wrapping his arms around jungkook’s waist from behind, resting his chin on his shoulder, “let’s keep them, though, and handcuff taehyung to his headboard.”

“done,” jungkook nods. yoongi hides a smile into his neck.

jungkook is a constant again. he never went away from yoongi’s life, but somehow it feels like he’s back again. back like he was, plucking at guitar strings in the corner of yoongi’s couch or distracting him in the studio when he’s trying to work. but also slightly different, newfound intimacy, touches that go somewhere, now, saying it out loud. some things change.

sometimes yoongi can’t believe it took being handcuffed to each other for twenty-four hours straight for them to get here; wonders how much longer it would’ve taken them on their own and what that says about them as people. but: jungkook is a constant again. yoongi was, is, will be incorrigibly in love with him. kim taehyung continues to be the main reason bizarre and inconvenient things (and very rarely, on an off chance, really fucking good things, yoongi should add now) happen in yoongi’s life. some things stay the same.