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Jungkook had skin covered in flowers. Yoongi had tattooed most of them for him, a few other artists finishing the rest. He couldn’t afford full sleeves or full color but he almost preferred the faint hints of reds and blues and pinks on some of the petals.

Yoongi examined one of the newest additions on Jungkook’s bicep, turning his arm to see every part of the orchid.

“I think this one is fully healed,” he said.

“Duh,” Jungkook rolled his t-shirt sleeve back down and yelped when Yoongi pinched his side. “Rude. I’m just saying I know when my own tattoos are healed by now.”

“I was about to give you the rest of the afternoon off,” Yoongi said with a shrug. “But I guess if you’re being a brat today…”

“Oh, hyung-nim, my handsome, genius, artistic hyung,” Jungkook took one of Yoongi’s hands in both of his. “Please, I beg of you, please let me have the rest of the afternoon off.”

Yoongi sighed like he was incredibly burdened. “I suppose I’m feeling generous today.”

Of course, it had never really been off the table in the first place. Yoongi was usually pretty generous with Jungkook’s apprenticeship hours. If he cleaned everything on time, set up and broke down all the rooms, and diligently listened to Yoongi’s advice while he was tattooing, then he was usually rewarded. Yoongi usually didn’t frame it as a reward but Jungkook knew.

“There’s one condition to having the rest of the day off,” Yoongi said, rearranging some design binders on the shop’s front counter and not looking at Jungkook. “You have to do something nice for yourself while you’re out.”

Jungkook resisted the intense urge to coo like Yoongi was a tiny, tattooed kitten and settled for wrapping him up in a tight back-hug.

“Why are you so strong?” Yoongi muttered, but still squeezed Jungkook’s arms where they were wrapped around his body.

He had just let go when Hoseok walked through the door of the tattoo shop, breathing a little heavily as if he had been rushing.

“Hey you two,” he said with a bright smile.

“Seok-ah, what are you doing here?” Yoongi asked. “Shouldn’t you be at work?”

Hoseok did seem to be in the same work outfit he put on that morning, a button down shirt tucked into nice slacks.

“I was,” he said. “I mean, I am. I’m on my lunch break though.”

“Don’t you want to eat on your break?”

Hoseok shook his head. “Ate at my desk already. I just wanted to see you.”

Jungkook could practically feel Yoongi swoon beside him even though he tried to bite down on his smile. Yoongi muttered about how Hoseok wasted his time but still let him come behind the counter and kiss him.

The only reason Jungkook didn’t gag was because Yoongi and Hoseok had always been like this, since before he met them. They were always one unit, Yoongi and Hoseok, Hoseok and Yoongi. Always together, always fawning over each other. Jungkook was used to them by now.

“There’s a customer coming in soon,” Jungkook said.

“You already set the room and the customer isn’t coming for half an hour,” Yoongi answered. He hopped up on the counter and pulled a smiling Hoseok to stand between his spread legs. “I suggest you take your time off now unless you want to watch.”

Jungkook didn’t need to be told twice, grabbing his bag and calling out a “Thanks, hyung!” as he left the tattoo shop.

The high afternoon sun blinded Jungkook for a moment as he stepped outside and considered where he should go. What would be good enough to be considered treating himself? Food? A movie? Buying something he didn’t need? Jungkook went underground to the subway to figure his plan out on the train. The ideal plan would be one that kept him out of Yoongi and Hoseok’s hair for as long as possible but he lived with them too, making it difficult.

“It’s part of your apprenticeship,” Yoongi had said. “I can’t teach you properly if I’m not with you day and night.”

They both knew it was because Jungkook had nowhere else to live. Yoongi was too kind to mention how much Jungkook needed him and Jungkook was too shy to mention it and potentially have Yoongi realize he had made a mistake.

The arrangement to live with Yoongi and Hoseok always felt precarious. They never talked about the fact that Jungkook didn’t pay rent. Yoongi and Hoseok had actually moved into their current apartment a few months ago and Jungkook was too afraid to ask if he was coming along. He just cautiously moved his stuff to a new closet, kept sleeping on the couch, and no one said anything. It made Jungkook terrified of messing up, of hurting their generosity and making them kick him out. They referred to Jungkook as their roommate but Jungkook still cleaned up after himself meticulously and never brought people over in his effort to be the perfect houseguest.   

Jungkook startled and sat rigid in his seat when the subway car was flooded with daylight. The subway was emerging from underground into the open air to cross the Han River. He got so caught up thinking about home that he travelled too far away and swore under his breath. His adventure would have to end here so he could get back quickly.

Apgujeong Station was bustling with well dressed people and almost every ad was a brightly colored celebration of a pop idol’s birthday. Above ground, the people were similarly classy and put together, the streets lined with plastic surgery clinics and fancy boutiques. Jungkook felt like he stood out in a bad way with his ripped jeans and arms covered in ink. As he waited for a crossing light to change, an older woman with an expensive handbag took one look at Jungkook and shifted her purse to her other arm, further away from him.

Most of the shitty looks people gave Jungkook just bounced off of him but that woman’s gesture clung to him like tar and he thought about it more and more as he walked through the neighborhood. She didn’t know him. He would never see her again and she didn’t matter. She didn’t know him. She didn’t know anything.

The rotten feelings simmered in his stomach uncomfortably until he noticed a bakery tucked between a wedding dress shop and a jewelry store, prime real estate for a business selling comfort and sweetness.

“Baked” was written outside in a simple font and he could see a big glass display inside with croissants and buns and a wide variety of other treats. It looked warm and inviting and Jungkook suddenly found himself craving something sweet. Yoongi had told him to treat himself, hadn’t he? Right now Jungkook wanted a fancy pastry and for once he felt like he deserved something nice.

He pushed the door of the bakery open and was greeted by a tinkling of bells that signaled his arrival. A tall, handsome man stood behind the counter and handed an elderly woman a pink box tied up with string.

When the woman left, the worker looked at him with a kind smile but Jungkook felt stricken by his gaze. He saw right away that the other man was good looking, with dark hair and plush lips. After a few moments Jungkook realized he wasn’t just a nice looking guy off the street - he was one of the most gorgeous people Jungkook had ever seen in real life. Jungkook suddenly felt extremely grubby and awkward.

The man’s eyes dropped down to the tattoos on Jungkook’s arms, exposed by his t-shirt. Jungkook expected his smile to fade but it drifted into more of a smirk and - he really had no idea what to do with that.

“Hi,” the man said, looking back into his eyes. “How can I help you?”

His nametag read Kim Seokjin next to a tiny drawing of some cute animal. Maybe a llama or a very fluffy cat.

“I think I need some time,” Jungkook said and Seokjin nodded.

The pastries looked like they were from a magazine, perfectly glossy and golden. He sort of wanted to try them all but he only had a few bills in his pocket, enough for one. Jungkook could feel that he was taking too long but didn’t know when he’d ever come back to this place.

Seokjin looked at him with an unreadable expression for a moment before he interrupted Jungkook’s decision making.

“Um, actually...we have a lunch special. If you buy a coffee between 11 and 1 you can get a cookie for free.”

Jungkook had sort of been eyeing the big cookies on the top shelf of the display case.

“Ok,” he nodded. “That sounds good.”  

“Can I guess what kind of cookie you want?”

Jungkook blinked. “Um. Ok?”

“Good!” Seokjin put his hand on the glass just above the assortment of cookies. “Most people would guess salted caramel but I think you’d be a fan of double chocolate chip. Chocolate cookie with chocolate chunks.”

“I - think you might be right.”

“I knew it,” Seokjin said, reaching into the display with a piece of wax paper to grab the cookie. “I can always tell. I have a gift. Besides this face.” He winked and Jungkook’s stomach suddenly dropped like he’d missed a step going down the stairs. “And your coffee?”

“Don’t you want to guess?” Jungkook asked, arching his brow.

“Coffees and teas are my side business. I can’t guess with 100% accuracy.”

Seokjin smiled at him and Jungkook felt compelled to smile back. This guy could sell him a whole tray of cookies if he wanted.

“Can I get a vanilla latte?” he asked.

“Chocolate and vanilla,” Seokjin pointed a finger gun at him. “I like where your head is. If you want to sit down I can bring out your coffee when it’s ready.”

Jungkook paid and took a seat near the window so he could look at the other fancy little cafes and shops outside. He admired a tall woman who passed by the window in a flowy sundress, looking down at her phone while she walked. Even the people here were prettier than in Jungkook’s neighborhood.

When Seokjin dropped off Jungkook’s order he stayed by the table and crossed his arms.

“Don’t mind me,” he said. “I’m just curious about your opinion.”

So Jungkook indulged him and took his first bite of the cookie with Seokjin watching him.

“Is it a great cookie or the greatest cookie you’ve ever had?”

Jungkook kind of wanted to argue - to have the perfect witty, impressive comeback -  but the cookie was practically melting in his mouth and overwhelming him with the sweet taste of chocolate. Seokjin must have heated it up because it was warm like it had come straight from the oven, the chocolate chips slightly melted and soft.

“It’s alright,” Jungkook said around a mouthful of cookie. He went for another bite before he had even swallowed and tried not to groan out loud.

Seokjin smirked. “There’s a secret ingredient.”

“What is it?”

“Guess you’ll have to come back and find out. Let me know if you need anything else.” Seokjin left with another parting smile.

The cookie was bigger than Jungkook’s hand but he finished it in a few minutes and swore that he could taste the sweetness for the rest of the day.

 

 

Jungkook went back to Baked every day at lunch time for a few days. Each time he would order a small vanilla latte and get his free cookie.

“What looks good today?” Seokjin would ask.

Jungkook always took a moment to think before he answered “Chocolate.”

Seokjin always asked even if Jungkook ordered chocolate every time and he always gave Jungkook a disarming smile before bringing his food over.

One day there was a different man behind the register and Jungkook found himself frowning. This man was shorter and seemed to be charming a young woman at the register with his smile as he took her order for a box of assorted cupcakes.

His nametag read Park Jimin and soon he was turning his bright smile on Jungkook.

“Hi! What can I help you with?”

“Yeah, can I have a small vanilla latte and a chocolate cookie?”

“Absolutely,” Jimin pushed some buttons on the register screen. “That’ll be 7,000.”

Jungkook paused with his hand halfway to his pocket. “Oh. I thought it was only four.”

“Uh, well,” Jimin checked his screen again. “The coffee is four and the cookie is three so it’s seven all together.”

“Did you stop doing the lunch special?”

Jimin opened his mouth before quickly closing it and tilting his head. “Sorry, what was that?”

“The...lunch special?” Jungkook said. “With a cookie and a coffee together?”

“Um,” Jimin chewed on his substantial bottom lip. “I’m... not sure what special you’re thinking of.”

Jungkook didn’t really want to spend that much money and wondered how he could bail on this purchase. “Sorry, someone named Kim Seokjin told me that was a thing but I guess you guys stopped.”

“Oh, hey! Your tattoos!” Jimin said excitedly and Jungkook flinched. Tattoos were still a little taboo in Korea but no one his age had ever made a big deal out of them.

“What about them?” Jungkook asked defensively, rubbing the ink on his left arm. He should have worn a hoodie.

“Are you Jungkook?”

“Uh, yeah. Have we met?”

Jimin smiled and shook his head. “Probably not, I’ve been out for a few days, but Seokjin-hyung told me about a regular with a bunch of tattoos.”

Jungkook shifted nervously. “That’s - cool, I guess.”

“You’re just as cute as he said you were,” Jimin said with a smirk and that got Jungkook’s attention.

“He said I was cute?”

“Oh, did I say that?” Jimin said with the fake surprise of someone who knew exactly what they said. “I’m not sure, you should ask Seokjin-hyung yourself. There he is!”

Seokjin pushed the door to the kitchen open with his body, wiping his hands on his apron. His face lit up in a smile when he saw Jungkook.

“Hey, Jungkook,” Seokjin greeted him, not even glancing Jimin’s way.

“Hyung!” Jimin said happily. “Jungkook is just here for our lunch deal. You know the coffee and free cookie?”

Seokjin’s mouth popped open for a moment but he tried to cover it with a saccharine smile.

“I’ll ring him up,” Seokjin said brightly.

“Oh, are you sure, hyung? I’m already here. I’ll just put in that lunch special we always do.”

“Yup! Why don’t you make sure Sunmi is frosting the cinnamon buns?”

“Whatever you say, boss man,” Jimin said and went back into the kitchen, smiling the whole way there.

Seokjin immediately punched some buttons on the register screen. “Vanilla and chocolate right?”

Jungkook nodded, too shy to ask what was going on. Maybe Jimin just had a surreal sense of humor. He would have asked about it but Seokjin cut him off with his own question when he brought Jungkook’s order.

“Can you help me with something?”

The cookie and coffee Jungkook had ordered were on the tray in Seokjin’s hands, but there were two more plates with pastries on them as well. Before Jungkook could answer, Seokjin sat down across from him and set the full tray between them.

Seokjin pointed at the pastries in turn. “This is a strawberry scone. And this one is an apple fritter. Only one of these can go on the menu for the next few months. Can you test them and tell me which one you like more?”

“I guess,” Jungkook said slowly. “Am I the best person for the job?”

“I’ve eaten so many of these I can’t tell what’s good anymore. And you like eating here so you obviously have good taste. I think I can trust you with this.”

Attention usually made Jungkook flustered. Attention from cute guys turned his heart inside out so Jungkook avoided eye contact as he picked up the strawberry scone first. It was covered in a white glaze that stuck to the roof of Jungkook’s mouth when he bit into it, but the brightness of the strawberries cut through the dense dough and sweet glaze.

“That’s really good,” Jungkook said.

“Of course it is, I made it,” Seokjin replied as if stating a plain fact. “So think it over. Collect your thoughts. Then tell me about the apple.”

Jungkook waited for a moment before picking up the sticky apple fritter and taking a bite.

“This one,” he said immediately before he could even swallow.

“That was fast. Are you sure?”

“Definitely. Ugh, the cinnamon is so good.”

Seokjin smiled kindly as Jungkook kept eating the fritter. He was ruined for all other pastries now. The best cookie of his life, the best scone of his life, now the best apple fritter. Every sweet would be compared to these from now on.

Seokjin took off half of the strawberry scone in one bite and hummed thoughtfully around it. “Hm, I’m still pretty attached to this one. It’s a shame you don’t like it berry much.”

Jungkook snorted unattractively, mouth still full of food, but Seokjin smiled anyway.

“That was lame,” Jungkook said.

“Puns are high art,” Seokjin pointed with his scone. “You like that fritter right? Is it the apple of your eye? Is it a-peel-ing?”

“Oh my God,” Jungkook covered his mouth while he laughed so Seokjin wouldn’t see his chewed up food. “Those aren’t even good.”

“I don’t think I can trust your good judgement anymore. I was going to say you can call me hyung if you ever come back but now I’m not so sure.”

He pretended to glare but still had the hint of a smile on his lips that made Jungkook blush.

“Will you get in trouble for spending all this time with me?” Jungkook asked.

“Nah,” Seokjin said. “The owner lets me do whatever I want around here.”

“That’s nice of them.”

“Yeah. Well. I mean. I am the owner so that kind of helps.”

“You own this place?” Jungkook’s eyes went wide.

“Yup,” Seokjin sat up straighter and smiled proudly. “All my own money too.”

“That must be hard for someone so young.”

“Aw, thank you for thinking I’m young. It’s tough,” Seokjin admitted. “It’s not just the food, it’s money and paperwork and employees. Enough to bake you crazy.”

“Hyung, please.”

“You have to tell me to stop, because I have a million of these.”

 

 

“Wow, that’s beautiful,” Seokjin said, leaning over Jungkook’s table to look at his sketchbook.

Yoongi required evidence of at least 10 drawings a week as part of their apprenticeship agreement and Jungkook had started doing his work at Baked whenever he could. He claimed the big windows and all the natural light helped him see the colors more clearly. It had nothing to do with the way Seokjin would come over and check on how he was doing and praise his latest work.

If Jungkook was lucky, Seokjin would sit with him and listen to Jungkook talk about what he was working on. Today, Seokjin set Jungkook’s cookie and coffee on the table and took the seat across from him.

“This one isn’t anything special,” Jungkook said, smoothing his thumb over the tail of a fox he had been coloring in. The animal’s front half looked like it had been painted with oils and the back legs and tail were all simple geometric triangles.

“They’re all special,” Seokjin said with a smile. “Sorry, I never asked if you were in school. You’re probably going to some amazing art school.”

Jungkook broke off a piece of his cookie and stuffed it in his mouth to buy time.

“No. I don’t do that anymore,” he said finally.

“Oh,” Seokjin said slowly, the beginning of a frown on his face. “I’m sorry. Is it - can I ask what happened?”

Jungkook shrugged. He had told himself so much that it didn’t matter that he became immune to whether people knew.

“I used to be in school until we had to officially declare our majors. My parents said they wouldn’t pay for me to study art so they cut me off from everything. I couldn’t afford it all on my own so I had to drop out.”

Jungkook had cut out the part of him that felt bad about it, or at least tamped it down so far that he had trouble accessing those feelings. He treated it like a sad story he had seen in a drama, not something that really happened to him.

Seokjin looked more concerned than Jungkook had ever seen him, deep creases appearing in his forehead as he frowned. “That’s awful. I can’t believe they’d cut you off just like that.”

“I mean - it wasn’t ‘just like that.’” Jungkook pressed his finger against some crumbs on his plate and let them stick to his skin. “I got my first tattoo in high school which my parents hated. They...they didn’t say they didn’t approve of me being gay but they still asked if I had met any nice girls. It was in the works for a while.”

“Fuck,” Seokjin sighed. “I’m really sorry, Jungkook-ah. That’s fucked up.”

“Doesn’t matter,” Jungkook said, trying to brighten up his voice. “My friend who gave me the apprenticeship let me live with him and I still get to work on being a tattoo artist.”

“Yeah. That’s good. I - I still wish your family was better to you.”

“Was your family always nice to you?”

Seokjin sighed and stared at Jungkook’s drawing. “No. They weren’t.”

They sat in silence for a few moments and Jungkook gripped his orange pencil tightly.

“Hyung…what was the secret ingredient in the cookies?”

Seokjin’s shocked laughter seemed to light up the whole bakery from within, like a cloud sitting over the sun had suddenly passed. He stood up and pat Jungkook’s hair, leaving his hand at his nape.

“They’re just made with love, Jungkook-ah,” he looked at Jungkook fondly. “And maple syrup.”

 

 

Jungkook took an early train to Apgujeong, practically bouncing on the balls of his feet as he stood on the subway. Yoongi had given him the whole day off and he had time to relax in the bakery and draw. Jungkook played out a scenario in his head where he asked Seokjin if he wanted to spend his lunch break getting some food together but he knew he probably couldn’t follow through.

He couldn’t stop the smile spreading across his face as he got closer to Baked and practically threw the door open when he arrived, only to freeze at the threshold.

Cops. The bakery was full of cops. There must have been six or so men in uniforms and two more wearing suits who still had the hard eyes of policemen, drinking coffee and eating fresh pastries.

Jungkook didn’t like cops. It had been a long time since he’d had a run in with one but they still made him uncomfortable. They never picked him up for anything big - some spray painting, walking alone in a bad neighborhood at night - but they still felt the need to grab his arm painfully to shove him into a squad car, or keep him for hours at the station. Having all of these cops in his comfortable, safe space made Jungkook feel small and upset. 

Jimin greeted him at the counter with a bright smile. “Hey, Kookie. You’re here early.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook said slowly, trying to hide his discomfort. “Um, are there always this many cops in the morning?”

“Not usually. There’s some big police training thing in the neighborhood this week. So, your usual?”

“Can I get it to-go actually?”

“Oh,” Jimin’s hand hovered over the register. “Are you sure? Seokjin-hyung is just finishing some things. He’d probably want to know you stopped by.”

Jungkook huffed and tugged his sleeves over his hands. “I don’t - I should just -”

“Jungkook?” Seokjin emerged from the kitchen with a tray of fresh cookies that he slid into the display case. “You’re here early.”

“Yeah. Just leaving though.”

Seokjin frowned. “Oh. I’m sorry. Are you busy?”

Jungkook kept toying with the edges of his sleeves like they were armor that had to cover his skin to offer full protection.

“It doesn’t seem like there’s any room,” he said.

Seokjin surveyed the bakery full of cops. Some of them were looking at Jungkook like they were trying to see if he was causing trouble.

“Ah,” Seokjin said. “Well, do you want to see the kitchen? You can have your coffee and stick around to help me try some more recipes.”

Jimin looked at Seokjin with his eyebrows raised like he was trying to communicate something to him telepathically but Seokjin ignored him.

“Ok,” Jungkook said and Seokjin ushered him around the side of the counter.

Jungkook was hit with the smells of yeast and sugar when he entered the kitchen and his mouth watered immediately. There were rolling racks filled with trays of fresh pastries being left to cool and tubs of dough set out to rise. A woman with a long ponytail was using a rubber spatula to drip chocolate sauce onto some twisted pieces of baked dough. She looked up from her work and smiled at Jungkook.

“Oh - hi!” she said brightly. Jungkook pushed up his sleeves to combat the warm air in the kitchen and the woman’s eyes dropped to his tattoos. She gasped. “Oh my gosh, are you Jungkook? Seokjinnie talks about you all the time!”

Jungkook looked back in time to see Seokjin making a slashing gesture across his neck before he dropped his hand to his side and smiled at Jungkook innocently.

“Yeah, hi. I’m Jungkook.”

“I’m Sunmi. I’d shake your hand but -” she wiggled her fingers that were covered in chocolate.

“I’m just giving Jungkook a tour of the kitchen,” Seokjin said.

Sunmi smirked like she had just heard a juicy secret and dipped her spatula back into a metal bowl.

“Well, don’t let me stop you,” she said. “Seokjin-ah, you should ask Jungkook if he likes the matcha.”

“Right, right.”

Seokjin pulled down a plate from one of the shelves and went to a cooling rack to retrieve a pastry that looked bright green. When he set it down on the kitchen's island, Jungkook could see it was a croissant, drizzled in a green glaze.

“It’s a matcha croissant,” Seokjin told Jungkook. “We’re experimenting with some other flavors too.”

“What am I comparing it to?” Jungkook asked.

“Nothing,” Seokjin said with a smile. “You can just have it.”

The croissant was perfectly flakey and buttery and the glaze had the right balance of bitter matcha and sweet sugar.

“It’s not fair that everything you make it so good,” Jungkook groaned and went for another bite.

“For the record, matcha was my idea,” Sunmi interjected and gave Jungkook a beautiful smile when she saw him start to grin. He felt much more at ease with Seokjin and Sunmi, eating a fresh croissant, and pulled away from the dining area full of cops who obviously didn’t like his face.

“Thanks for letting me come back here,” Jungkook said. “It’s really cool.”

“If you like my recipes you can come by anytime,” Sunmi said. “I’m much nicer and prettier than Jimin, right?”

Jungkook laughed. “Jimin’s nice too. I thought he was kind of weird when I first met him though.”

“Oh yeah?” Seokjin raised one thick brow. “What makes you say that?”

Jungkook shrugged and took another bite of his croissant. “I don’t really know. The first time I met him he didn’t remember the lunch special and then just seemed kind of strange about it. I can’t explain it.”

Seokjin thought for a moment and then his face lit up with recognition and he grinned sheepishly.

“Oh, yeah. That’s because I sort of made it up?” he said.

Sunmi slid a tray of fruit tarts off the cooling rack and smiled to herself as she took them out of the kitchen, leaving Jungkook and Seokjin alone.

“You...made it up? Like it’s not real?”

“Yeah, we can’t give away a cookie with every coffee. I just...wanted to give you extra food. Jimin realized right away and tried to tease me about it without exposing me. So - annoying but also kind of thoughtful. Very Jimin.”

Seokjin was actually blushing, his cheeks flushed a deep red, and Jungkook thought it might be the cutest thing he’d ever seen.

 

 

Jungkook didn’t hang around the back alleys of Itaewon at night. He didn’t like the vibe, too many drunks wandering around, too many people letting loose and not thinking about consequences. Sometimes they didn’t know when a glance was just a glance and not an opportunity for a fight. But Jungkook had been buying his weed from this guy who grew up in California and it was the only place he ever wanted to meet.

“I want to go to Taco Bell after,” he’d say with a shrug.

So Jungkook waited for him in a rarely traveled side street, close enough to the main road to hear snippets of conversations in languages he didn’t understand but far enough to hide. He wished he had hidden a little further when a tall figure approached him and it wasn’t who he had been waiting for.

“Jungkook?” the man asked, stepping closer. He pulled his hood down and Jungkook saw his heavy brows and piercing eyes.

“Dohyun...hey,” Jungkook said slowly.

Dohyun stubbed his cigarette out on the ground and pulled Jungkook into a half handshake, half hug.

“Hey man, the fuck you doing out here?” Dohyun asked, clapping Jungkook hard across the back.

“Just meeting someone,” Jungkook said.

“Ahh,” Dohyun nodded like he understood and touched his temple. “I got you. Me too.”

Jungkook suddenly felt very unsure of where to put his hands, awkwardness probably rolling off him in waves. He met Dohyun at some party in college and later realized Dohyun wasn’t a student. Dohyun dealt to him a few times, had some of the same friends, usually on the fringes of Jungkook’s life.

They spent a lot of time together right after Jungkook dropped out of school, wasting whole afternoons getting high when Jungkook didn’t feel like leaving the house. Now Jungkook couldn’t remember the last time he saw Dohyun since he had started living with Yoongi.

“Haven’t seen you in a while,” Dohyun said.

Jungkook shrugged. “Yeah. Got a job. Just busy right now.”

He didn’t like the way Dohyun looked at him, like he was evaluating him. Jungkook could never relax around Dohyun, always watching his behavior in case it made Dohyun angry. Dohyun had put his fist through a wall in their favorite bar one night. Jungkook couldn’t remember what minor thing had set him off, but he never forgot the shock of Dohyun losing it.

“Still living with Min Yoongi?” he asked.

“Yeah. Still on the couch.”

“Gotta suck, living on top of each other like that. Guess you’re into that though, right?” he laughed like it was absolutely hilarious while Jungkook grimaced.

“I’ve got enough room,” he said, ignoring the rest of Dohyun’s comment.

“You know I can get you extra cash,” Dohyun told him. “Could get your own place. Hell, you could get two places.”

Dohyun had already made this pitch once before and Jungkook had turned him down then too. Maybe it made Jungkook a hypocrite to buy weed and not want to deal harder drugs when the law would come down on him hard for both but he wasn’t willing to take the risk.

“Nah, I don’t think I can make the time right now,” Jungkook said.

His stomach clenched uncomfortably when Dohyun frowned and his eyes turned hard, no ounce of warmth to be found in them.

“I really think you should reconsider,” he said.

“Ah, you know I just got picked up for vandalism. Can’t really take more heat on me right now.” Jungkook was almost telling the truth. He hadn’t been picked up in a long time but dealing for Dohyun wouldn’t be a one time thing and that was not the kind of charge a tired cop would be willing to just drop.

Dohyun evaluated him coldly for a moment before he grabbed the front of Jungkook’s jacket and yanked him closer, nearly taking Jungkook off his feet.

“You think you’re better than me?” Dohyun leaned in even as Jungkook tried to shrink away in his hold. “You think you’re too good for this kind of shit? Too good for me?”

“No,” Jungkook said, trying to keep his voice even. “No, we’re cool man.”

He was stunned by Dohyun’s swift backhand across his face, nearly knocked over by another punch that almost made contact with his eye socket.

Jungkook didn’t like to fight. He ran from fights, he did his best not to piss people off and not to get caught when he did. Everyone eventually pisssed off Dohyun though, and he swung for Jungkook again with a growl like an animal. Jungkook had enough sense to dodge but left his body exposed, getting caught in the ribs by Dohyun’s fist. Pain seemed to radiate from everywhere, pumped through his veins to the rest of his body, as his breath was forced out of his lungs.

When Dohyun lunged for him, Jungkook managed to grab the front of his coat and they grappled for the upper hand. Jungkook was strong but Dohyun was wild and determined. He shoved Jungkook against a metal sheet that had been pulled down over a closed storefront and the bang echoed loudly through the alley. Jungkook couldn’t tell if the ringing in his head was from the sound or from getting hit. He sank to the ground, hugging his body and desperately trying to suck in enough air.

“You’re lucky I’m letting you walk away you fucking faggot,” Dohyun spat at him.

Jungkook could only cough weakly in between gasps of air as Dohyun left him sitting on the cold, dirty ground. His head was throbbing, it hurt to breathe, and he could taste blood in his mouth. But Dohyun was right. He was genuinely lucky to walk away. He closed his eyes and leaned his head back against the wall, listening to people laughing on the main road and feeling the cool night air on his face.

“Fuck,” Jungkook muttered when he felt something leaking from his nose. He pressed his sleeve up to his nose and heaved himself off the ground with a groan. Everything ached and his body begged for rest but he couldn’t do that in a dark alley.

Jungkook took a seat far away from the other passengers on the subway and rode with his hood pulled up and slumped over in his seat. No one tried to sit next to him, some standing despite the open seat beside him. He stumbled a bit when making his transfer but he arrived at his destination only a little bit wobbly.

Baked was still open for almost another hour but when Jungkook staggered inside there were no other customers. Seokjin was sliding an empty tray out of the display case and his face broke into a smile when he saw Jungkook that quickly dropped as soon as he saw his condition.

“Holy shit, Jungkook? Are you ok?” he abandoned his empty tray on the counter and rushed to Jungkook’s side. His hands hovered over Jungkook’s body, unsure of where he could touch. “Did you get mugged?”

Jungkook sniffled and shook his head. “No. I knew him.”

“Right here?”

“Itaewon.”

Seokjin froze. “You came here like this all the way from Itaewon?”

Jungkook shrugged and spoke very quietly, “I didn’t want anyone else.”

“Jungkook-ah…” Seokjin gently cupped Jungkook’s jaw to hold him in place and turned his head, inspecting for damage. “I’m here now, ok? I live down the street, I’ll take you home.”

“Aren’t you still open?”

“No, I’m closing right now.”

Seokjin didn’t bother cleaning anything or counting the day’s money. He made sure the ovens were all off, turned off all the lights and led Jungkook outside so he could lock the door. They walked for a few minutes down a winding narrow street without talking but Seokjin kept his arm around Jungkook’s shoulders the whole way to his apartment.

His place was simple with warm touches of comfort. A soft looking couch, a good sized kitchen, small plants that made the room seem full of life. Jungkook wanted to sink into the homey feeling of Seokjin’s apartment and take a nap for the next week.

Seokjin gave Jungkook some painkillers and made him sit on the kitchen counter to properly clean him up with a first aid kit from his bathroom.

Of course Seokjin is the kind of person that would have a full first aid kit, Jungkook thought as he held a bag of frozen vegetables to his throbbing eye.

“The blood makes it look a lot worse than it is,” Seokjin said, wiping a cool cloth under Jungkook’s nose. “I wish you’d go to the doctor but something tells me I can’t make you.”

Jungkook shook his head and winced. “It’s not that bad.”

“Well it's not excellent. Let me see your eye,” Jungkook lifted the bag away from his face and his breath caught in his chest when Seokjin leaned in close to look at him. “It’s not too swollen but you’re gonna have a hell of a black eye.” He tsked like an annoyed parent as he smeared some gel on one of Jungkook’s scrapes.

Seokjin was mad at him for needing help. He was mad at him for getting hurt and showing up on his doorstep like a stray dog.

“I’m sorry, hyung,” Jungkook said as the vegetables melted in his hands.

Seokjin frowned. “Sorry for what?”

“For fucking up,” Jungkook shrugged. “Making you take care of me.”

“God...” Seokjin gave a frustrated sigh and Jungkook clenched his fists on the countertop. “It’s ok to ask for help. I care about you, I want to help you.”

“You care about me?”

Seokjin scoffed like it was a ridiculous question. “Of course I care about you. So be more careful, ok?” Seokjin’s palms were flat on his legs, warmth seeping through the fabric of Jungkook’s jeans. “You’re pretty much paying the rent on the store. I can’t afford to lose you.”

He rubbed circles into Jungkook’s thighs with his thumbs, fingers pressing and kneading into the strong muscles. The last of Jungkook’s strength crumbled under Seokjin’s hands and he sagged forward to rest his head on Seokjin’s shoulder. It was too forward, it should have been too much, but Seokjin didn’t resist. His arms looped around Jungkook to hold him close and he rubbed his back without complaint.

“You need to relax,” Seokjin said quietly. “Take your jacket off, make sure you hang it up.”

“Aw, hyung, I’m injured. Can you hang it up for me?”

“They didn’t break your legs, did they? Hang that up and come hug me again.”

Seokjin’s idea of a hug was being sprawled out on the couch with Jungkook’s head pillowed on his chest. Jungkook was too tired to resist what he wanted or worry that his feelings were showing too much. He just let himself be held and pet and comforted and he felt relaxed for the first time in a very long time.

“Do you get in a lot of fights?” Seokjin asked after a few minutes of cuddling.

“Probably more than you,” Jungkook answered.

Seokjin snorted and adjusted his arm around Jungkook. “You don’t know that. Jimin is pretty feisty.” He stroked his fingertips up and down Jungkook’s arm that was slung over his body. He smoothed his thumb over a jagged scar on Jungkook’s forearm. The puckered skin was mostly covered with ink but still visible up close. “What’s this from?”

“Bar fight. This guy hit me with a bottle and it shattered. I had a bunch of stitches. ”

“Jesus,” Seokjin murmured against the top of Jungkook’s head. “What about this one?”

He turned over Jungkook’s hand in his own, exposing a curved line in the softest part of Jungkook’s palm.

“Yoongi-hyung’s old landlord used to keep this real mean dog around and it bit me once.”

“Poor thing,” Seokjin nuzzled against Jungkook’s hair and sighed. He touched the small scar on Jungkook’s cheek with his fingertip. “What about this?”

Jungkook tucked his face more securely against Seokjin’s shoulder before answering. “My brother.”

“Shit. Your brother?”

“We were kids and we got into a fight about who could use the computer first.”

Seokjin’s laugh, like wiping squeaky clean glass, reverberated through his chest right where Jungkook was resting his head and soon Jungkook was chuckling too.

“You’re such a tough guy,” Seokjin laughed, now starting to rub Jungkook’s back. His head was still pounding and his limbs felt sore but Jungkook felt calmer every second that Seokjin held him.

 

 

Jungkook woke up squished between the back of the couch and Seokjin’s warm body, Seokjin’s arm draped loosely over his waist. He didn’t mean to fall asleep and spend the night but maybe Seokjin didn’t mind if he’d slept right beside him. The room was flooded with early morning light, casting a golden glow on Seokjin’s soft features as he slept.

There was a dull ache in Jungkook’s head and he felt tempted to sleep all morning in Seokjin’s arms. But Seokjin had a real job to take care of and Jungkook hadn’t even told Yoongi where he was. His phone was probably full of short yet demanding texts asking if he was alright.

“Hyung,” Jungkook said quietly. “Hyung, wake up.” He pressed a fingertip to Seokjin’s plush bottom lip, partly to wake him up, mostly because he wanted to touch him so badly.

Seokjin groaned and rubbed his cheek on the throw pillow they were both resting on. Jungkook didn’t appreciate how close they were until Seokjin slid his arm further around Jungkook’s back and pulled him against his chest.

“Whaaat?” he grumbled without opening his eyes.

Jungkook grinned and poked Seokjin’s cheek. “It’s morning. You have to go to work.”

“Mmm, no. Gonna stay here with you all day,” Seokjin nuzzled his forehead against Jungkook’s and Jungkook’s heart rate ramped up immediately. Seokjin was so close, his lips were so close, his body was already pressed up against him, their legs already tangled together.

Seokjin sighed and opened his eyes slowly but Jungkook was too close to see more than two dark orbs. “How do you feel?”

“Better,” Jungkook croaked. It felt like he was on top of a mountain with not enough air for each breath.

“That’s good,” Seokjin hummed and tipped his chin just enough to brush his nose against Jungkook’s.

Jungkook curled his fingers into the front of Seokjin’s shirt and met Seokjin halfway when he leaned in those final few centimeters for a kiss. He was wide awake now and focusing on the feeling of Seokjin’s soft lips against his own. Seokjin was so slow, coming together for languid kisses that melted between them like toffee even as Jungkook felt like he was about to tremble out of his own skin.

“Shit, sorry,” Seokjin muttered, still nearly kissing him. “Was that ok?”

“Definitely,” Jungkook said and Seokjin’s gentle smile made his heart flutter.

“You’re so cute I can’t handle it,” Seokjin kissed his nose and Jungkook felt like his whole body must be blushing.

Seokjin was terribly late for work and Jungkook only felt the tiniest bit guilty.

 

 

“Jungkook-ah, if your phone goes off one more time I’m going to throw it into the river.”

“Sorry, I know, I know,” Jungkook switched his phone from vibrate to silent.

“Who’s blowing up your phone while you’re supposed to be sweeping the shop?” Yoongi asked.

“No one. It’s no one.”

“Is it that guy from the bakery?” Hoseok asked, sitting in one of the tattoo shop’s front desk chairs.

“Hyung, why are you even here?”

Hoseok shrugged. “It’s Friday, they let us go at 3.”

“The guy from the bakery?” Yoongi repeated.

“Yeah. That guy Seokjin. We’re friends.”

“The same friend whose house you slept at a few weeks ago?”

“Jungkookie told me they made out,” Hoseok supplied helpfully.

Tattletale. Jungkook scowled at him because now Yoongi looked very interested.

“Really?” Yoongi said. “What is this friend that you have makeout sleepovers with texting you about?”

“Nothing,” Jungkook whined. “We’re just making plans. We might have dinner tomorrow.”

“So a date?”

Why couldn’t Jungkook have just done his shop chores on time and avoided all of this?

“Not a date,” Jungkook said, sinking into the other free chair. “We’re just friends.”

“I don’t kiss my friends and sleep with them,” Hoseok said.

“We didn’t sleep - ugh,” Jungkook rubbed his forehead. “It...wasn’t a thing. He doesn’t like me like that.”

“But you like him,” Yoongi stood next to Hoseok and pet his hair while he looked at Jungkook.

Jungkook answered with a pained whine as he gestured weakly at his judgey friends. “He - I don’t know. If he doesn’t like me then it doesn’t matter.”

Yoongi let out a very slow sigh. “Jungkook-ah, I’m gonna give you some advice and you only get one of these a year so you better listen.” Jungkook frowned but kept his mouth shut and nodded. “I know you, and you’re always waiting for the other shoe to drop or things to go bad. You probably still think Hoseok and I could ever not let you live with us.” Jungkook avoided Yoongi’s eyes. “Has it ever occured to you that people like you and want you around? If that guy let you stay at his house, kissed you, and then asked you to dinner, then he’s interested in you. Do you think he’s attractive?”

Jungkook sighed. “He’s like if angels were male models who also volunteered to teach sick children to read.”

“That’s - wow. Ok, so you definitely like him. Just have a meal with him and for God’s sake let yourself have fun for once.”

“Aw, hyung, you’re such a softie,” Hoseok said, patting Yoongi’s butt and looking up at him with a smile.

“Only for you two,” Yoongi said. “Kook, can I give you a little more advice?”

“Sure.”

“Sweep the shop before I literally kick you in the ass.”

 

 

Dinner was at a cute vegetarian restaurant a few subway stops away from Seokjin’s apartment. Jungkook had borrowed a nice button down from Yoongi but the sleeves were a little long and almost covered his palms. He felt sort of ridiculous, like a child wearing their parent’s clothes, until Seokjin greeted him at the restaurant with a kiss on the cheek and a, “You look very handsome tonight.”

Jungkook ate pasta with some kind of spinach and basil sauce that was so good he scraped his spoon against the sides of the bowl when he was finished to get every last bit.

“I wish there were more vegetables in this,” Seokjin said, poking around his soup with a spoon. “But I guess there isn’t mushroom in here.”

Jungkook nearly choked on his water as he tried not to laugh. “Do you keep a list of bad puns with you?”

“I can’t be caught off guard without the right pun,” Seokjin said, biting into a piece of bread.

It didn’t feel much different than hanging out at Baked and Jungkook supposed there was no reason for it to be different. It was still him and Seokjin making jokes, talking about their days, asking questions about each other. Jungkook thought he would be more uncomfortable on a real date but being with Seokjin always put him at ease.

“So this guy said he wanted five or six blueberry muffins,” Seokjin told him. “And I asked if he wanted five or six and he just said yes!”

Jungkook laughed. “What? How?”

“I know! So I put six in the box and told him the price and he flipped out! He said he wanted six but he only wanted to pay for five. I almost had to get Jimin to throw him out of the store.”

“Didn’t think you could take him?” Jungkook asked with a grin.

“Not when Jimin is right there. Have you seen his arms? He’s practically the store’s bouncer.”

Their knees kept brushing together under the small table and each touch made Jungkook feel a little giddy thrill. As it got later into the evening, a waitress lit the small candle on their table and they leaned over it to talk. Jungkook blushed a little when Seokjin went to hand feed him a strawberry cheesecake bite for dessert but he took it anyway, cheeks growing hotter as Seokjin smiled at him.

When they stood outside the restaurant, Jungkook awkwardly ground the toe of his boot against the ground. He wanted to spend more time together but worried about seeming over eager if Seokjin wasn’t that into him.

“Do you want to keep hanging out at my place?” Seokjin asked and Jungkook thanked every god there was for giving him a date more outgoing than himself.

Jungkook much preferred the way he felt in Seokjin’s apartment tonight, with a clear head and no painful bruises.

“Do you want wine or beer or anything?” Seokjin asked as Jungkook made himself comfortable on the couch.

“Whatever you’re having,” Jungkook answered.

Seokjin came back with a bottle of red wine and two glasses that he filled right away. Now Jungkook felt an ounce of nerves, no longer in familiar territory. Going out for dinner with a guy and coming back to his apartment for drinks wasn’t something he thought he had ever done. Most of his dates were at bars or the movies and ended with heavy petting in the other person’s car and now Jungkook wasn’t sure how to behave or what Seokjin would expect. He took a ridiculous gulp of wine to calm his nerves. God, wine was gross.

“Ok, I want to ask you something,” Seokjin said, facing Jungkook on the couch. “What’s the worst tattoo you’ve ever seen in real life?”

Jungkook laughed, some of the anxiety in his chest instantly melting away. He really had to think about it, considering all of the clients who had walked into Yoongi’s shop, most of them already inked. He took another sip of wine and hummed.

“Do you remember Keyboard Cat?” he finally asked.

“The...the internet video?”

“Yup. That. On someone’s thigh.”

Seokjin’s laughter was so bright and unrestrained that Jungkook found himself laughing too, remembering a chubby orange cat in a blue shirt tattooed on someone’s skin forever.

“I said worst not best,” Seokjin was still giggling to himself as he pulled his phone out and set it to stream some relaxing beats through a small bluetooth speaker on his coffee table.

“Uh, I don’t know,” Jungkook said. “It’s more like types of tattoos that are the worst. Like really bad misspellings. Trends that didn’t last. Portraits are super hit or miss. Yoongi-hyung won’t do family pictures because he doesn’t want to get in trouble for not capturing people’s memories correctly and putting it on them forever.”

“That’s noble of him. So what’s the worst tattoo someone asked for that you guys had to refuse?”

“Oh my God,” Jungkook said immediately. “This girl was like 19, and she brought in this design she made - in Microsoft. Word.”

“No,” Seokjin already looked horrified and gleeful.

“Yes. She used word art. And she wanted a tattoo that said ‘Butt Slut.’”

Seokjin gasped before bursting out into more laughter. “Nooo. Don’t tell me she wanted it on her butt.”

“She wanted it on her butt.”

Their laughter bounced off the walls of the apartment, filling it with comfort and warmth. Jungkook could spend all night on this couch just talking to Seokjin and making him laugh.

“Your job sounds fun,” Seokjin said as he poured himself another glass of wine and refilled Jungkook’s glass when he held it out.

Jungkook nodded after he took another sip of wine. It was much better when he was already a little buzzed, fingers tingling pleasantly.

“I like it,” he said. “Yoongi-hyung is a really good mentor and soon I’ll be able to tattoo without him watching.”

“Would you ever want to have your own store?”

Jungkook wrinkled his nose. “I don’t know. Seems like turning what I love to do into work.” At Seokjin’s raised brow he started sputtering. “I mean - not like...not like what you do.”

“No, I understand,” Seokjin said. “You’re a lot smarter than me.”

“Do you...like your job?” Jungkook asked tentatively.

“I do. But it’s a lot of work. Baking and owning a business around baking are two totally different things. It’s like I have to have two separate brains working all the time. But I’m my own boss and I get to eat all the eclairs I want.”

“That sounds almost worth it.”

“It is,” Seokjin said with a smile.

They were both facing each other on the couch, shoulders pressed against the back, knees almost touching on the cushions. Jungkook blamed his pleasantly warm flush on the wine and set his glass down. 

“Can I ask you about your tattoos?” Seokjin asked and Jungkook nodded. “Which one hurt the most?”

“Um…” Jungkook pushed up his overly long sleeves, trying to view as much skin as possible. “Maybe this one.” He pointed to two solid black bands that circled his arm below his elbow. Seokjin set his glass down so he could touch the tattoo with both hands and the feeling of his warm hands mixed with red wine sent heat flooding through Jungkook’s brain and out to his limbs.

“It looks simple though,” Seokjin said, his voice dropping lower and nearly making Jungkook shiver.

“Uh, yeah. But it’s the same spots over and over again and it’s really boney.”

Seokjin winced a little as his fingertips trailed over some abstract tulips on Jungkook’s forearm that looked more like splashes of watercolor and straight lines than flowers.

“Oh and this one,” Jungkook offered his other arm to show off a black and grey poppy inked on the inside of his wrist. “Yoongi-hyung was really into different shading techniques for a while. See, the shading is all dots.”

“Wow,” Seokjin said softly, pressing his thumbs against the tattoo. “Did your ear hurt?”

Jungkook absently touched the skin under the three titanium studs in the upper part of his ear.

“Those were actually the easiest. The needle is so sharp that it only takes a second. Hurts like a bitch for the rest of the day though.”

Seokjin smiled at him softly, hands still around his wrist and smoothing over his tattoos. He looked back down at Jungkook’s arms and gently played with his fingers. Heat creeped up the back of Jungkook’s neck from alcohol and Seokjin’s touch.

“These tattoos are all really beautiful,” Seokjin said.

Jungkook curled his fingers around Seokjin’s, pressing them together, pulling them apart, and repeating again. Had they always been sitting quite so close? He could see all of Seokjin’s pretty eyelashes and his lips looked so pink. “Thank you. I really like them.”

“I like them too. I remember the first time you came into the store. I thought you were gorgeous.”

Jungkook stared at him, feeling lost in Seokjin’s warm brown eyes. There was something else there too, something scalding that made Jungkook’s toes curl. He chewed on his bottom lip, thinking over something that had been driving him crazy for weeks.

“Hyung, I - can I kiss you?”

Seokjin was breathing through slightly parted lips, already looking down at Jungkook’s mouth. He nodded and placed a gentle hand on Jungkook’s cheek to guide him into a kiss. Jungkook couldn’t believe how soft Seokjin’s lips were and how thoroughly he kissed, as if he was focused on nothing but Jungkook and taking him apart.

He whined a little when Seokjin nibbled on his lower lip, torn between wanting to be in his lap or underneath him. Seokjin made a decision and tipped Jungkook back on the couch until they were laying across it, Seokjin settled comfortably between his thighs. They kept kissing, and kissing, and kissing, starting slow and building into gasping breaths and hands fisted in each other’s clothing.

Jungkook got lost in the feeling of Seokjin’s mouth and his tongue and his clean scent. He rolled his hips up and Seokjin groaned against his lips, breaking away to kiss his way down Jungkook’s throat. Jungkook held onto Seokjin’s strong biceps and moaned as Seokjin ground back down against him, pinning Jungkook to the couch and making his head feel a little fuzzy. The steady beats still flowing from the speaker seemed to sync up with their movements, rising and falling with their breaths.

The slow grind of their hips and deep kisses made Jungkook’s head spin more than if Seokjin had thrown him onto the couch and ripped his clothes off. Now it felt like there was no time to catch his breath, the next wave of arousal crashing over him before the last one had subsided.

“Hyung,” he panted. “Hyung, please. Please touch me.”

“How do you want me to touch you?”

Jungkook whined as Seokjin’s slow, consistent pressure made his hips twitch. “Just touch me,” he repeated.

“Mm, ok,” Seokjin said between kisses against his neck. “I could blow you if you want?”

Fuuuck yes,” Jungkook moaned, gripping Seokjin’s shirt above his shoulderblades. “Yes, yes, please.”

He missed feeling all of Seokjin’s body pressed against his when Seokjin sat up but his reward was even better as Seokjin gently squeezed his hard-on through his jeans. Jungkook arched up into his hand with a gasp and Seokjin smirked down at him.

“You’re so cute,” he said, smile full of wicked intensity. He made quick work of unbuttoning Jungkook’s pants and dragging them over his legs, taking Jungkook’s underwear down with them. 

Seokjin paused as Jungkook lay on the couch, naked from the waist down and breathing hard. His cock was fully hard and curved up against his belly but Seokjin made no move to touch him. Jungkook started to squirm under his gaze, twisting his fingers in the sleeves that had drifted back down over his hands.

“Hyung, you’re staring,” he said with a little whine that seemed to snap Seokjin out of his trance.

Seokjin touched the tattoo he discovered on Jungkook’s hip reverently, like his body was something incredibly delicate and special.

“Sorry - I just - this is beautiful,” he said, smoothing his palm over the black outline of roses that bloomed from his hip all the way to his upper thigh.

“You keep saying that,” Jungkook answered but his heart was soaring.

“I mean it.”

He leaned down to press his lips to the tattoo and Jungkook’s breath caught in his throat with an embarrassing squeak. Seokjin kissed across every petal of his tattoo, across his tummy, nuzzled against the side of his bent knee, until Jungkook thought he was going to lose his mind from not being touched.

“Hyung, please ,” he begged and felt Seokjin smile against the soft skin of his inner thigh.

The first lick to the head of his cock made him gasp, hands flying up to grab the armrest above his head. After his teasing, Seokjin didn’t waste time before taking Jungkook into his mouth and sinking down around him. He looked like the picture of sin with his plush lips wrapped around Jungkook’s cock and Jungkook focused very hard on not bucking into the wet heat of Seokjin’s mouth.

Jungkook moaned and arched his back off the couch as Seokjin’s tongue curled around him before his hands came around Jungkook’s legs to hold his hips down. Jungkook felt embarrassed about how needy and whiny he sounded during sex and bit his bottom lip to stay quiet but it just made Seokjin stop.

“You can be loud,” Seokjin told him, stroking his cock and thoroughly distracting him. “I want to hear you.”

When Seokjin went down on him again, Jungkook keened and reached down with one arm to thread his fingers through Seokjin’s soft hair. He writhed on the couch as Seokjin deepthroated him and swallowed around his cock, quickling bringing him to the edge. Jungkook could barely warn him that he was going to come but Seokjin just let him finish in his mouth, swallowing everything until Jungkook’s thighs clamped together from the sensitivity. 

While he tried to come back to Earth, Seokjin leaned up from between Jungkook’s legs to smile down at him, eyes shining and lips slick with spit. Jungkook held his arms up, a little whimper finding its way from the back of his throat as Seokjin laid down beside him on the sofa.

“How was that?” Seokjin asked, gently trailing his fingers up and down Jungkook’s back.

“Holy shit,” Jungkook managed, still panting against Seokjin’s chest.

They lay there for a few minutes catching their breaths and cuddling until Jungkook tipped his face up for a kiss. Seokjin pressed his lips to Jungkook’s softly until Jungkook grabbed the front of his shirt and dragged him closer. Seokjin moaned into their kiss and they were back at it, breaths coming hard and fast.

“Take me to your room,” Jungkook muttered against Seokjin’s lips and felt Seokjin’s fingers dig into his thigh.

Seokjin fucked him slow and hard on the soft, jersey sheets of his bed. It felt like his hands were everywhere and he was quick to repeat whatever got the best reactions. Seokjin told him “You feel so good, baby,” and the endearment made Jungkook whimper.

Seokjin looked down at him with so much affection that Jungkook’s heart ached. He surged up to kiss Seokjin, pulled him down for more kisses, pressed his desire against any skin he could reach.

“Don’t stop, please, please fuck me,” he begged when Seokjin seemed to find just the right angle. Seokjin snapped his hips forward, spurred on by Jungkook’s breathy whines and moans.

When Jungkook came for the second time that night his eyes were shut tight, spots of white bursting behind his eyelids and Seokjin breathing hard against his throat. He was still sensitive and shaking when Seokjin groaned above him, buried deep inside Jungkook as he came.

Seokjin was careful as he wiped them both clean with a warm washcloth from his bathroom. He dragged the cloth across Jungkook’s skin and followed it with a kiss until it felt like there was no place his lips hadn’t touched. It was so tender and overwhelming that Jungkook felt tears prick his eyes, then felt horribly embarrassed for almost crying.

“Close your eyes, baby,” Seokjin said quietly and Jungkook obeyed with a shuddering breath. He felt Seokjin’s thumbs gently smooth across his eyelids, wiping away any tears that clung to his lashes, then scattered extra kisses on Jungkook’s cheeks and jaw.

“I’m a cuddler,” Seokjin said, like that settled it, and wrapped his arms around Jungkook’s waist.

Jungkook wasn’t sure if he was really a cuddler. He’d never stuck around with someone long enough to find out. He’d hooked up with a few people, dated some for a few months. He never spent free time just holding them.

But he felt warm and safe in Seokjin’s arms so he snuggled back closer against his chest and fell asleep with Seokjin’s lips against his shoulder.

 

 

When Jungkook woke up, the other side of the bed was empty.

He registered the hurt and betrayal that swooped through his gut before he remembered he was in Seokjin’s apartment and couldn’t have been left behind. Still - he wished he could wake up to the feeling of Seokjin’s body pressed against his own. He looked for his underwear before remembering it was in the living room and took a pair of Seokjin’s from his dresser instead.

Jungkook found Seokjin in the kitchen, stirring a large pot on the stove and wearing nothing but some sweatpants. He took a minute to admire the early morning sunlight shining on Seokjin’s bronzed skin and wide shoulders, the curve of his hips seeming extra offensive in his low slung sweats. Jungkook felt out of place in such a calm, domestic setting with such a beautiful person until Seokjin noticed him and his face lit up in a smile.

“Hey babe,” Seokjin swept him up into a kiss and Jungkook relaxed a little in his arms.

“Hey,” Jungkook said as Seokjin went back to stirring. “Don’t you need to open up the store?”

“Jimin and Sunmi can do everything without me,” Seokjin said. “Oh, there’s eggs and veggies on the table already and the rice in the cooker is fresh. There’s some orange juice in the fridge or I could make you coffee too.”

“You did all this for me?” Jungkook asked quietly.

“Of course,” Seokjin said. “Well - partly for me. But mostly for you.”

Jungkook watched him sprinkle some herb mixture into his soup, humming softly.

“I just…” Jungkook frowned. “It wasn’t just sex?”

Seokjin stopped mixing and Jungkook instantly hated the stormy expression on his face but he had to know.

“What do you mean?” Seokjin asked, moving to face Jungkook.

“Like...it didn’t mean anything. Was it just sex?” Jungkook gestured weakly with his hands and Seokjin winced.

“Is that all it was to you?”

“Is that all it was to you ?”

“I can’t - I’m…” Seokjin shook his head, obviously dismayed. “I’m really sorry you would even think that. I like you, Jungkook. I like being with you.”

“You probably shouldn’t,” Jungkook told him, but his resolve was already almost dust. “I’m a fuck up.”

“You’re not,” Seokjin took a step closer and Jungkook lowered his eyes. “It’s not your fault that bad things happened to you. They don’t make you bad.”

They stood there awkwardly for a moment, close enough to touch but neither reaching out.

“We don’t have to be boyfriends right away if you don’t want,” Seokjin continued. “Or at all. I’d probably say yes in a heartbeat though. But - it’s whatever you want. Whatever makes you happy.”

“You make me happy,” Jungkook said honestly and Seokjin inhaled sharply.

“You make me happy too,” he said. “Do you want to have breakfast with me?”

Instead of answering Jungkook looped his arms around Seokjin’s neck and kissed him. He could have cried with relief when Seokjin kissed him back, arms wrapping around him to hold him closer. Jungkook took all of the slow, early-morning kisses that he missed out on by waking up alone and, just like always, Seokjin gave him everything he couldn’t ask for with words.

Jungkook pulled back just enough to breathe and rest his forehead against Seokjin’s. “Did you mean it? That you would say yes?”

“Absolutely,” Seokjin bumped their noses together. “I’m in if you are.”

“Ok,” Jungkook said softly. “Then I’m in.”

Before Seokjin could answer, Jungkook was kissing him again, their lips melding together sweetly. It was hard to tell which one of them steered away from innocent first but suddenly Seokjin was sucking on Jungkook’s tongue and Jungkook was raking his fingers down Seokjin’s bare back, right in the middle of the kitchen. Panting slightly, Jungkook broke away to leave wet kisses on Seokjin’s throat.

“Will breakfast reheat alright?” he asked against Seokjin’s skin.

“I don’t know,” Seokjin said, already reaching behind Jungkook to squeeze his ass and pull Jungkook’s hips flush against his own. “But fuck it.”  

 

 

jjk
i haven’t showered since monday. our pipes are messed up

Kim Seokjin 
It’s Thursday, you animal

Kim Seokjin
Just come over and shower here

jjk
are you sure?

Kim Seokjin
K O O K! You can ask me for things any time!!

Kim Seokjin
Bring a toothbrush, we’ll get dinner and you can sleep over
 

It was late in the afternoon when Jungkook arrived at Seokjin’s apartment. Seokjin pulled him inside by his wrist and pressed a warm kiss to Jungkook’s lips before he could even say hello. When he pulled back, Jungkook tried to chase his lips only to be pushed away.

“Ah ah!” Seokjin scolded. “Get that cute butt in the shower first.”

“Fine, fine.” Jungkook dropped his bag inside the doorway and directed his next question to the floor. “Do you want to join me?”

“In the shower?”

Jungkook shrugged. He felt dumber by the moment until Seokjin pulled him in with an arm around his waist and kissed his forehead.

“Sure,” he said lightly.

He knew for a while that Seokjin was a pampering kind of guy but Jungkook still felt a warm stirring in his heart as Seokjin cleaned him in the shower. He massaged his own citrus scented shampoo into Jungkook’s hair and tilted his head to just the right angle for kisses. Seokjin was mostly calm as he washed Jungkook’s body but his hands did linger on Jungkook’s ass and rubbed slowly between his thighs until Jungkook’s moan echoed off the shower tiles.    

Jungkook got his revenge when he pressed Seokjin against the cold tile and kissed his neck, letting his soapy hands trail across Seokjin’s chest and hips. The fresh hickey he left was big and dark, something Seokjin definitely wouldn’t be able to cover without a turtleneck. Seokjin felt the bruise with his fingertips and smiled.

“Brat,” he said, but there was no bite to it. He was still grinning when he pulled Jungkook in for another kiss.

The heat from the shower and Seokjin’s kisses were just starting to make Jungkook a little lightheaded when Seokjin switched off the spray. He pulled a fluffy towel off the wall and scrubbed Jungkook’s hair, mindful of his row of piercings.

“You can take some clean clothes,” Seokjin said, draping the towel over Jungkook’s shoulders. “I’ll get the take out menus.”

Jungkook intended to take some warm pajamas from Seokjin’s drawers, but got comfortable on the bed instead. He laid on his stomach on top of the blankets, still naked, and let the setting sun warm his back. It was so early, they hadn’t even had dinner, but feeling clean and lying on sheets that smelled like Seokjin made him want to sleep until tomorrow morning.

He didn’t stir when Seokjin came into the bedroom and slapped some takeout menus on the nightstand. Seokjin must not have gotten dressed either because Jungkook could still feel Seokjin’s bare skin when he climbed on top of him and gently massaged his shoulders.

“Oh shit,” Seokjin dragged his fingertips down Jungkook’s back. “You have a tramp stamp?”

“Shut up,” Jungkook whined. “It’s not a ‘tramp stamp.’ It’s just a tattoo.”

“A lower, lower back tattoo,” Seokjin breathed a laugh against Jungkook’s shoulder and started kissing his way down his back.

A long time ago, Yoongi wanted to practice some shading and Jungkook agreed to be his canvas, figuring that if Yoongi made a mistake then at least he wouldn’t have to look at it every day. The tiny cluster of cherry blossoms had been nice. Good enough that he let Yoongi do an even larger tattoo of the blossoms on his shoulder, gently fading into the other flowers on his arm. The faint pink petals were some of the only spots of color in Jungkook’s tattoo collection.

Seokjin gently kissed the flowers on his lower back and Jungkook sighed into a pillow clutched in his arms.

“It’s pretty,’ Seokjin said, breath warm against Jungkook’s skin. “You’re so pretty.”

He felt Seokjin’s large hands on his ass, fingertips digging in just hard enough to get Jungkook’s pulse spiking.

“Hyung -” Jungkook sighed, already breathless.

Seokjin didn’t answer, just spread Jungkook wider, and mouthed along his back and the curve of his ass.

“Can I?” he asked, placing one more kiss on Jungkook’s tailbone that made him whine.

“Please -” Jungkook said quickly. “Hyung, please.”

Even though Jungkook begged, he wasn’t fully prepared for the feeling of Seokjin’s tongue - hot and wet - pressed flat against his hole. He buried his face in his pillow to muffle his moans as Seokjin licked him slowly again and again.

Seokjin alternated between soft kisses and slow drags of his tongue until Jungkook had the pillow in a white knuckled grip. Jungkook nearly choked when Seokjin pushed his tongue inside him but he pulled back, circling Jungkook’s rim and making him shake.

Ah - fuck, hyung ,” Jungkook whined when Seokjin’s long finger slid inside him with his tongue. He rolled his hips shamelessly against the sheets, trying to get friction on his cock and Seokjin kept licking, and kissing, and touching him. He didn’t bother trying to muffle the sounds anymore, crying out with desperate, gasping moans and nearly shouting when Seokjin massaged his prostate.

When Seokjin pulled away Jungkook almost snapped at him for leaving him so wound up that his thighs were quivering.    

“Do you want to come like this?” Seokjin asked, pressing open mouthed kisses to his back.

Jungkook took a moment to properly breathe, something he hadn’t done in a while.

“No,” he managed, voice hoarse. “I want you to fuck me.”

“Shit,” Seokjin flattened himself across Jungkook to scramble for the condoms and lube in his bedside drawer. “Anything you want, sweetheart.”

He barely had two fingers inside him before Jungkook was begging for more, feeling frenzied after being teased for so long. When Seokjin started to slide his cock inside of him, Jungkook pushed back quickly until he bottomed out, making both of them moan.

“Easy, baby,” Seokjin’s voice was husky and dark as he pulled out and pushed himself back in, agonizingly slow.

“I need you,” Jungkook huffed into his pillow, pushing back to make Seokjin fuck him faster.

“C’mere,” Seokjin said and eased Jungkook up, supporting him in his strong arms, until he was up on his knees, fully seated in Seokjin’s lap. Jungkook moaned low in his throat at the feeling of being so full and held onto Seokjin’s arms where they were wrapped around his chest.

“Ride me, baby,” Seokjin murmured.

He guided Jungkook’s hips in small circles, each turn sending little electric pulses through Jungkook’s body. Jungkook leaned his head back on Seokjin’s shoulder, trying to ground himself even as it felt like he was floating away.

“Like that,” Jungkook managed to say. “Like when you call me baby.”

“Oh yeah? What else does my baby boy like?”

His words melted down Jungkook’s spine, hot and thick like candle wax. Jungkook deflected with his own question.

“Wha - what do you like?”

Seokjin thrust up hard and huffed a laugh against Jungkook’s skin when he moaned.

“I like making pretty little things like you feel good.”

Jungkook squeezed his eyes shut and whimpered, Seokjin’s praise feeling just as good as his hands on him. His knees were spread wide on the bed, helping him sit up and drop back down onto Seokjin’s lap, each thrust at an angle that made him shiver.

“More,” Jungkook breathed.

“So needy, sweetheart,” Seokjin teased, letting the fingers of one hand trail delicately up Jungkook’s inner thigh and across the tattoo inked on his hip. “Get on your hands and knees for me then.”

Jungkook slid off Seokjin’s lap and dropped down to his elbows on the bed. He knew he looked good like this, back arched and ass in the air, and tried to exaggerate the curve of his body.

“Jesus Christ,” Seokjin said, voice awed. “You’re so beautiful, baby.” Jungkook smirked into a pillow but his smile transformed into a moan as Seokjin eased back inside of him.

He moved hard and fast, gripping Jungkook’s hips and pulling him back to meet every thrust. Jungkook wanted to talk, to beg for more, but every thrust knocked another little “ah” out of him until he couldn’t do anything to control the sounds he was making. He tried to muffle his cries in the blankets but it did little to help.

“God, you sound so good,” Seokjin groaned. “Wanna hear you come so bad.”

“Wanna see you,” Jungkook whined against his pillow.

Seokjin pulled out and flipped Jungkook onto his back, stunning him for a moment, before covering him with his body for a bruising kiss. Jungkook wrapped his legs around Seokjin's waist and held tight to his wide shoulders, moaning right against his lips as Seokjin fucked him.

“D’you wanna come, baby boy?” the strain in Seokjin’s voice made Jungkook’s thighs press in tighter against his waist. Words failed him so Jungkook just nodded, keening as Seokjin kept up his relentless pace.

Something snapped and Jungkook came untouched, spilling across his abs and not caring that he made a mess of them both. He grabbed Seokjin by the back of the neck for a kiss, moaning against Seokjin’s lips as he shook in his arms.

“Come in me,” Jungkook begged. “Please, please, wanna feel you.”

He was nearly bent in half and he’d already come but Jungkook still wanted more, wanted to feel Seokjin lose himself inside him. Seokjin panted against his throat, slamming into him and making his thighs clench so hard that his muscles hurt. With the sweetest sounding moan Seokjin lost his pace, hips stuttering as he came.

He stayed above Jungkook for a few moments, just gently bumping their noses and breathing each other’s air, until Seokjin rolled over to lay beside him.

“Hyung,” Jungkook managed and Seokjin answered with a grunt. “We have to take another shower.”

Seokjin groaned and buried his face in a pillow but Jungkook could see him grinning.

 

 

After their first meeting, Yoongi said Seokjin was “cool” which meant he adored him and Hoseok laughed so much at Seokjin’s jokes that Yoongi and Jungkook started to feel left out. Jungkook had been nervous about merging Seokjin into his friend group but he fit right in with them, developing inside jokes and creating their own silly group chats. Anyone who seemed nice to Jungkook earned instantly credibility in Yoongi and Hoseok’s eyes.

“You’re burning the meat!” Hoseok snapped as they sat around the grill in their favorite barbecue restaurant.

“I’m not letting us all get worms from raw pork,” Yoongi said.

“Oh my God, give me the tongs.”

Seokjin snuck his chopsticks onto the grill and snatched some pork belly to deposit on Jungkook’s plate.

“Hyung, I’m still grilling,” Yoongi said.

“I cook professionally and I know when meat is finished,” Seokjin said primly.

“You bake!

Jungkook made a lettuce wrap with his pork (which was cooked perfectly fine) and smiled as his friends bickering ramped up.

“I think it’s good,” he said, cheeks stuffed with food.

“Ungrateful,” Yoongi handed Hoseok his tongs. “Absolutely ungrateful, every last one of you.”

He pouted a little while Hoseok leaned over to kiss him and smiled until Yoongi looked back at him with the very definition of heart eyes and they all went back to joking and talking over their meal. Jungkook just ate happily while something warm settled over him as he watched his best friends all getting along under one roof.

 

 

Seokjin greeted Jungkook at the door to his apartment in sweatpants and a hoodie, squinting like he had just woken up.

“Hi baby,” he said, pulling Jungkook in for a hug and kissing his cheek with a loud “Mwah!”

“Hi,” Jungkook replied. “Having a good morning?”

“The best,” Seokjin ran his fingers through his hair and exhaled slowly, eyes drifting closed with a slight smile.

“Are you ok?” Jungkook asked.

“What?” Seokjin blinked slowly at him. “Oh yeah, I’m just kind of high right now.”

A laugh burst out of Jungkook before he could contain it. “Really? I didn’t know you were into that.”

Seokjin pouted. “Hey I’m cool. I went to college. I’ve been trying to make perfect pot baked goods but I just - I haven’t nailed it yet. You want some?”

Of all the dates Jungkook imagined having with Seokjin, he never planned on hanging out at his apartment and lighting up with him. He couldn’t believe someone this perfect was just walking around.

“Ok,” Jungkook replied, trying not to seem too eager.

“Nice. You’re not a cop, right?”

“No, definitely not.”

“Ok. Good,” Seokjin held Jungkook’s face with both hands and tilted his chin up just enough for a kiss. He went right to a deep kiss, sliding his tongue against Jungkook’s and moaning softly against his lips. “Mm, you’d be really sexy in a uniform though. Have you ever worn something special to have sex?”

Jungkook was supposed to be getting high and relaxed, not having his heart pound against his ribs.

“Uh, I haven’t...thought about it ever.”

“Well, let me know if you want to,” Seokjin said casually. He gave Jungkook a quick peck on the lips before sitting back on his couch.

Seokjin opened up a metal coffee can on the living room’s table and pulled a small baggie of weed and some rolling papers out of it.

“I literally can’t believe what I’m seeing right now,” Jungkook said, taking a seat beside him. Then he gasped. “Is this why the store is called Baked?”

“No! Well - mostly no. Almost entirely no. If you keep judging me I won’t share with you.”

Seokjin had long, delicate fingers that Jungkook enjoyed seeing intertwined with his own. Now they were expertly measuring out weed and gently encasing it in paper, not one piece dropping onto the coffee table. Only Seokjin could make rolling a joint look like an artform.

“How often do you do this?” Jungkook asked.

“Not that often. I don’t really have time anymore. I just bought this because I’m finally taking three days off in a row.”

When he was satisfied with his work, Seokjin lit the joint and took a hit, holding the smoke in his lungs for a while before breathing out slowly.

“Have you ever shotgunned with someone?” he asked.

“No, but I get the idea.”

Usually Jungkook decided to leave the room when Yoongi and Hoseok stopped shotgunning their smoke and just started licking into each other’s mouths instead. He rolled his eyes every time but now that it would be him and Seokjin the whole idea seemed much more appealing.

“Can I pass it to you?” Jungkook asked.

“‘Course you can, baby,” Seokjin leaned back against the arm of the couch and pat his legs. “Hop on. Just don’t mess it up. The stakes have never been higher.”

Jungkook snorted. “That’s a dope pun.”

Seokjin pointed at him with a bright smile. “Yeeeah! You get it!”

Jungkook was still grinning to himself as he crawled across the couch to straddle Seokjin’s legs and settle in his lap. He stole a kiss first, pressing his lips to Seokjin’s smile, before taking the joint Seokjin offered him and taking a long drag. After holding the smoke in his lungs for a few long moments he leaned in towards Seokjin, just barely touching his lips with his own, and exhaled. He could hear and feel Seokjin inhaling the smoke he offered and Jungkook let his eyes flutter closed.

Seokjin tilted his head back and blew out the smoke in a plume above their heads. Jungkook stared at the muscles and cords in Seokjin’s neck, taut and flexing as he breathed. It seemed like a perfect canvas for hickies and Jungkook leaned down to press his lips to the tempting flesh. Seokjin sighed contentedly and put one hand against Jungkook’s back as Jungkook kissed his throat, pausing every now and then suck and nibble marks against his skin. 

“You want me to mark you up later too?” Seokjin asked, making Jungkook shiver.

“Please,” he said.

Jungkook stayed in Seokjin’s lap as they passed the joint back and forth, sometimes pulling each other in to pass their hit into the other’s waiting lungs. Seokjin let Jungkook have most of it, claiming he wanted Jungkook to catch up. Jungkook wasn’t sure how much time passed as the minutes seemed to slow and lose their structure. His muscles relaxed and melted into warm honey as the joint burned down between them.

“I feel like a stuffed animal,” he announced after God knows how long.

Seokjin looked at him curiously. “How?”

Jungkook tried to shrug but he wasn’t sure if he finished the motion.

“Cuddly,” he said simply. Seokjin nodded like he had heard something very wise.

When they couldn’t possibly use the joint anymore, Seokjin placed the burned out roach into a heavy ashtray on his coffee table and wrapped both arms around Jungkook’s waist. Jungkook cradled Seokjin’s jaw and kissed him, opening up as soon as he felt Seokjin’s tongue and letting a shudder rack through his body.

They kissed slow and deep, Seokjin’s hands drifting across Jungkook’s sides, his hips, down to his ass, until Jungkook started grinding down against Seokjin. There were too many layers between them, but Jungkook could feel Seokjin getting hard through his sweatpants and rolled his hips with intent, trying to get the friction he so desperately wanted.

Seokjin kissed his way down Jungkook’s jaw and throat and Jungkook tilted his head back to give him more access. Jungkook was fascinated by the rotation of the ceiling fan for a moment until Seokjin unbuttoned his pants and palmed him over the front of his underwear, drawing out a high and breathy moan. God, Jungkook needed him. He needed Seokjin to kiss him and touch him, to carry him to bed or pull his jeans down and fuck him right here on the couch.

“Hyung,” Jungkook gasped, voice touched by desperation.

“Hey, I’m right here baby,” Seokjin said softly. “I’ve got you.”

And Jungkook knew he did.

 

 

Being with Seokjin wasn’t like anything Jungkook was used to. Sometimes he’d nap and feel Seokjin’s hands on him, stroking his hair, rubbing soothing circles on his back. One afternoon he curled up beside Seokjin in bed while he read a book and nearly drifted off to sleep before Seokjin moved to lay down and touch him. Just light caresses of his hair, a gentle pressure on the parts of Jungkook’s back that got sore from sleeping on a couch. Jungkook whined when Seokjin pulled his hand away.

“Mmm,” Jungkook grumbled, still partly asleep. “Why’d you stop?”

Seokjin chuckled softly and returned to rubbing Jungkook’s back. “Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you up.”

“‘S’okay,” Jungkook closed his eyes and nuzzled against his pillow before settling down again. He hugged the pillow closer to his face and sighed contentedly.

Sometimes Jungkook wondered if everyone was supposed to be like this. If every person Jungkook had been with before was supposed to make him feel warm and understood and safe but just didn’t or couldn’t. He decided that yeah, maybe they should have been nicer to him - but none of them would have been like Seokjin, even if they tried their hardest. The way Jungkook felt about him was special. Seokjin was special.

“Why are you always like this?” Jungkook asked, cracking open one eye.

“Like what?”

“Nice to me.”

Seokjin scoffed but his expression was still fond. “I like being nice to you. I love you.”

His hand kept moving, gently squeezing the back of Jungkook’s neck, sliding down his back, but Jungkook felt like everything else had stopped. The only sound was Seokjin’s hand dragging against his clothes. Even the air seemed to still.

If something was different, Seokjin didn’t seem bothered by it. He didn’t beg Jungkook to say it back, didn’t look at him strangely like he was broken, or closed off, or weird. He just told Jungkook he loved him, and went right back to massaging him like nothing had changed.

Jungkook shifted to lay on his side and press right up against Seokjin’s chest, trying to tuck himself against every part of Seokjin that he could. Seokjin was perfectly positioned to kiss Jungkook’s forehead and he did.

“I love you too,” Jungkook said quietly.

He heard a happy little sigh above his head and Seokjin’s arm curled tighter around him.

Maybe nothing felt different because nothing had changed. Jungkook knew that he had been in love with Seokjin for a long time, probably since the first chocolate cookie. He just didn’t realize that Seokjin loved him too.  

 

 

Now that he felt free to say it, Jungkook liked telling Seokjin he loved him all the time. Before leaving the bakery, standing close together on a subway car, watching a movie at home. Any time he felt it on the tip of his tongue, Jungkook would say a quick little, “Love you.”

And Seokjin would tip his chin up for a kiss, or pet his hair, or pin him to the couch and leave hickeys on his collar and tell Jungkook how much he loved him too.

There was another thing Jungkook wasn’t used to: being desired. Seokjin would wrap his arms around Jungkook’s waist anywhere and start kissing and nipping his neck, breathing heavily in his ear about how much he wanted him. Jungkook wasn’t much better, easily getting riled up just from Seokjin’s hand underneath his shirt and drifting across his bare skin. They could hardly keep their hands off each other.

So Jungkook noticed one day when Seokjin wasn’t chasing after him. He started pulling away when Jungkook tried to deepen their kisses. He didn’t hug Jungkook extra tight when they parted. Eventually they had gone almost three weeks without sex or even really spending any meaningful time together. Jungkook tried visiting the bakery and Seokjin didn’t even flirt with him.

“Sorry, Kookie,” Jimin said one day as he brought over a coffee instead of Seokjin. “I really don’t know what’s gotten into him.”

Every tiny rebuff felt like it was snowballing into a much larger rejection and Jungkook couldn’t understand why it was happening.

 
jjk
can i come over tonight?

Kim Seokjin
I can’t hang out right now. Sorry
 
jjk
are you mad at me?
 
Kim Seokjin
No baby. Work is hard
 

A long time ago Jungkook would have dropped it. He would accept that Seokjin didn’t want him anymore and slowly distance himself. But Jungkook was sure that what they had was special and real and he didn’t think Seokjin had just turned off his feelings like flipping a switch. So he went to Seokjin’s apartment anyway, determined to set things right.

“Oh,” Seokjin stared at him when he answered the knocking at his door and found Jungkook there. “Uh. Hey. I thought you weren’t coming over tonight.” He still moved aside so Jungkook could come in.

“I just really wanted to see you,” Jungkook said, kissing Seokjin’s cheek as he walked by.

Seokjin frowned. “Ok.”

He was wearing sweatpants and a large hoodie, the sleeves almost drifting past his fingertips. Seokjin shuffled over to his couch and dropped down onto the cushions. The TV was playing some historical drama but the volume was low and Seokjin didn’t seem to really be watching. He propped his elbow on the arm of the couch and leaned his head on his fist, pouting and not acknowledging Jungkook at all.

Jungkook took a seat on the opposite side of the couch, leaving a good distance between them.

“I feel like we haven’t hung out in a while,” Jungkook was proud of himself for being direct.

“Yeah,” Seokjin still looked at the TV. “Lots of work stuff.”

“Yeah, you said. Did something happen?”

“No. I don’t know. It’s nothing.”

“Do you want to talk about it?”

Seokjin took a moment before answering, looking down and worrying his lower lip.

“Money has been tight,” he said finally. “Running the store, balancing everything. I don’t - I don’t know how to do it all right now. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.”

Jungkook tentatively shifted closer on the couch. “It must be hard doing it all by yourself. Do you wanna vent about it for a while?”

Seokjin shook his head and crossed his arms over his chest but it looked more like he was holding himself.

“I don’t want to put too much on you,” he said. “It’s not fair. You don’t have to take on my problems.”

Jungkook’s jaw almost dropped, stunned by the way Seokjin saw their positions. He knelt on the floor in front of Seokjin and put his hands on Seokjin’s knees. “Hyung, why did you say you’re always nice to me?”

Seokjin shrugged but he was looking at Jungkook now. “Because I love you.”

It still made Jungkook’s heart stutter when he heard Seokjin say that.

“Right. And I love you too. People who are in love take care of each other. So let me take care of you, ok? Like you always take care of me.”

Seokjin’s eyes were shiny with tears and he nodded.

“Ok,” he said quietly.

“Good,” Jungkook stood up enough to kiss the top of Seokjin’s head. “Did you eat dinner?” Seokjin shook his head. “You stay comfy over here, I’ll order us something.”

Jungkook was just debating between the Chinese or pizza menu when he heard Seokjin’s shuffling footsteps. Seokjin hugged him from behind, pressing his cheek against Jungkook’s shoulder. He felt Seokjin’s shuddering sigh drift across his skin.

“I can’t lose the store,” Seokjin whispered.

“You won’t,” Jungkook said firmly, reaching back to pet Seokjin’s hair. “And you don’t have to figure it out alone.”

Seokjin nodded, cheek still squished up against Jungkook, and squeezed him even tighter.

“Thank you, babe,” he sniffled. “I love you.”

“I love you too, hyung. Let’s get some food in you.”

Seokjin was quiet while they ate and they showered alone but when they got into bed he clung tightly to Jungkook, arms around his waist and nuzzled right up against his neck. Jungkook held on just as tightly.

“It’s gonna be ok,” he said softly, petting Seokjin’s hair.

“I guess,” Seokjin sighed. “Can you become a business expert by tomorrow morning?”

Jungkook’s hand froze and Seokjin grumbled for more comforting.

“I can’t,” Jungkook said. “But I know someone who already is.”

 

 

Even though he was probably the last person to brag about it, Yoongi had fought hard for everything he had. He had gone without proper meals and gave up temperature control in the freezing winter and humid summers to buy his own tattoo shop. Most people on the street wrote him off as a tattooed punk but he was sharp and, most importantly, had an eye for business.

When Jungkook asked if he could help Seokjin with some of his finances, Yoongi agreed to come over and see if he could find any problems. The first day that he came over, Seokjin pulled boxes full of papers out of a closet and several thick binders with many multi-colored tabs. As they sat at Seokjin’s kitchen table and looked over a chart on his computer, Jungkook realized that he had no idea how much work went into this. He felt immensely proud of Seokjin and Yoongi for dealing with this kind of stuff every day.

The best part was that Yoongi was willing to work for pastries and spent a lot of meetings with Seokjin tearing apart a cinnamon roll or popping cream puffs into his mouth. Eventually Hoseok got wind of the arrangement and dropped by to pick up some food.

Yoongi even got on the phone with one of Seokjin’s distributors and chewed him out for giving Seokjin a bad deal, eventually convincing them to severely lower their prices. Seokjin sent Yoongi and Hoseok home with two whole trays of sugar cookies for that one.

“I will tell you one thing,” Yoongi said once, licking some donut frosting off his finger. “You need a business manager to take all of this off your hands. You’re gonna kill yourself trying to keep doing this on your own.”

“I know,” Seokjin sighed. “It’s hard not being in control of every part of it though.”

Jungkook set down his sketchbook where he had been quietly drawing Seokjin’s profile and went over to Seokjin and Yoongi sitting at the kitchen table. He draped his arms across Seokjin’s shoulders and let them hang down over his chest, tucking his face against Seokjin’s neck. Yoongi looked pointedly at some papers as Seokjin held onto Jungkook’s wrists.

“It’s going to be ok,” Jungkook whispered to him for the hundredth time.

Seokjin squeezed his arms and pressed his cheek against Jungkook’s. “Thanks, Kookie.”

 

 

Jungkook came to Baked to pick Seokjin up for dinner and found him sitting at one of the tables with a severe looking young woman. Her eyes softened when she saw Jungkook.

“Hey sweetheart,” Seokjin said. He took Jungkook’s hand and guided him to sit beside him. “This is my boyfriend, Jungkook.”

“Pleasure to meet you,” the woman said, extending her hand to shake Jungkook’s. “I’m Bae Joohyun, the new business manager.”

“Nice to meet you,” Jungkook said and Joohyun smiled at him genuinely. She seemed much less intimidating when she smiled and Jungkook felt himself relax a little.

“Thanks for coming in,” Seokjin said to her. “I’ll call you on Monday.”

“Of course,” Joohyun said, standing up to leave. “Thank you again for this opportunity.”

She bowed before she left, all business again, even giving a quick bow to Jimin at the counter before she left.

Before Jungkook could ask what Seokjin wanted for dinner, Seokjin’s arms were around his shoulders, pulling him in tight to kiss his neck and cheek.

“Hyung,” Jungkook tried to complain but it was tempered by his giggle. “There’s still people here.”

“Yeah, and they’re all jealous of me. I get to kiss the cutest guy in here.”

Despite never being apart, Jungkook felt like he had been missing Seokjin. He missed his boyfriend who made lame jokes and randomly held Jungkook’s face so he could kiss his flushed cheeks. Watching Seokjin grow more relaxed and return to his old self made Jungkook feel like the world was back in balance.

They ate dinner on Seokjin’s couch, half sitting on each other and feeding each other pieces of their meals. Jungkook dropped his head against Seokjin’s shoulder as they watched TV, feeling lazy and full of food and affection. 

“It’s a shame you live so far away,” Seokjin said as he stroked Jungkook’s hair. “Maybe you could move somewhere closer? Like into my apartment?” He must have felt Jungkook freeze because he stopped petting him. “Only if you want.”

“I want to,” Jungkook said quickly. “Shit, are you serious? Are you sure?”

“Of course I am. I want to do everything with you.”

Jungkook tried to show Seokjin how much he loved him when he pulled him down for a kiss but he wasn’t sure there were enough actions or words in the world to explain it.

 

 

“I think I want to get a tattoo,” Seokjin said one day.

"You?”  Jungkook glanced away from the TV to see Seokjin looking at him reproachfully.

“Yes, me. What does that mean?”

“I never figured you’d want a tattoo. You’re just...so…” Jungkook waved his hands around, searching for the right word.

“Sophisticated? Elegant?”

“I was gonna say square?”

“Wow. Good luck getting me to go down on you with that attitude.”

Hyung,” Jungkook whined playfully. He snuggled up to Seokjin’s side on the couch, knowing that cuddling could unwind his boyfriend in seconds. Seokjin may have pouted but he still pulled Jungkook closer to him and held him tight. “Do you already know what tattoo you want?”

Seokjin hummed thoughtfully. “I don’t know. I thought maybe like a bird or something?”

“A bird?”

“Yeah. Well - I wanted to cook professionally for a long time. And getting there was honestly the fucking worst, I practically had a nervous breakdown every week getting the store together and then after it opened. But now I’m doing what I want. Even if it’s hard, I feel totally free. Like…flying. All the time,” Seokjin clearly his throat nervously. “So - yeah. You know. Maybe something like a bird.” He noticed Jungkook staring at him silently with wide, round eyes. “What? Do you think it’s stu -”

Jungkook cut him off with a kiss before he could continue.

“I think it sounds perfect,” Jungkook said when they broke apart. “I could do it for you if you want.”

They spent a few weeks designing Seokjin’s tattoo together, filling up three pages in Jungkook’s notebook with tiny flocks of birds. Jungkook drew all the time but this was the first time he had worked with a client to create a design from scratch for them. Eventually Seokjin settled on silhouettes of a few birds in flight and wanted it on the back of his shoulder.

“Shoulder could be good,” Jungkook mused. “Kind of near the bone but the muscle should cushion some of it. And you do have a lot of shoulder muscle. Don’t let that go to your head though.”

“Too late, I already know I’m hot,” Seokjin said and leaned in for a kiss. Jungkook pretended to pout for about a second before he gave in.

 

 

In one of the back rooms of Yoongi’s tattoo shop, Seokjin grabbed the back of his shirt to pull it over his head and Jungkook’s breath whooshed out of his chest as he watched. He wasn’t sure he’d ever get over watching Seokjin undress.

“Holy shit, Kook,” Yoongi said, looking at Seokjin like a starving man looking at a feast.

“Your boyfriend is right there,” Jungkook muttered petulantly.

“No, I totally get it,” Hoseok said, tilting his head and appraising Seokjin.

“There’s too many people in here,” Jungkook declared and went to put on his gloves.

Thankfully, Yoongi did ask Hoseok to head home and not make Jungkook nervous while he worked.

“Gonna back out?” Jungkook teased after transferring the design stencil from paper onto Seokjin’s skin.

“And let you be the coolest one in the relationship? Never.”

Jungkook chuckled as he kissed the crown of Seokjin’s head and prepared the tattoo machine.

Seokjin did great considering it was his first tattoo. His muscles tensed up but he relaxed every time Jungkook’s gently reminded him. Instead of yelling in pain, he just gripped the chair tight and buried his face against the cushion.

“Hyung, remember to breathe,” Jungkook said, wiping down some of the lines he had already done.

He let Seokjin take a deep breath before he continued. Yoongi didn’t offer much advice as he watched, even leaving the room for long stretches to do other things. His trust made it easier for Jungkook to work.

The birds were small and simple, only taking Jungkook about two hours to finish. Seokjin admired it in the mirror before Jungkook had to bandage it up.

“What do you think?” Jungkook asked.

“It’s perfect. Thank you so much,” Seokjin held Jungkook’s face with both hands and kissed his shy smile.

 

 

"Hyung,”  Jungkook moaned as he bounced in Seokjin’s lap. “It’s so much .”

“I know,” Seokjin ran soothing hands up Jungkook’s thighs to hold onto his hips. “You take it so well, baby. You’re so good for me.”

Jungkook leaned back, rocking down on Seokjin’s cock, as every drag against his walls made him gasp. His eyes fluttered closed as his head lolled to the side, losing himself in pleasure. Seokjin suddenly sat up and wrapped his arms around Jungkook’s back, holding him so tightly that he couldn’t move, only whine at the feeling of Seokjin deep inside him.

He dropped his head to Seokjin’s shoulder and held on as best as he could. From this angle, he could see the birds on Seokjin’s shoulder, a permanent mark that Jungkook had etched onto his skin.

“Tell me I’m yours,” Jungkook breathed against Seokjin’s throat.

Seokjin’s fingertips dug into his sides as Jungkook rolled his hips down faster, moans turning into little hiccuping gasps.

“You’re mine,” he purred in Jungkook’s ear and Jungkook hugged him tighter. “My beautiful baby boy. All mine.”

He let Jungkook fuck into his fist as Jungkook kept moving his hips, orgasm building up slowly until it crashed over him and he came hard with a shout that would probably piss off the neighbors. Seokjin moved to pull him off his lap but Jungkook grabbed his arms.

“Don’t stop - fuck me, please fuck me -”

The world seemed to flip as Seokjin rolled Jungkook onto his back and kept fucking him, his pace unrelenting as Jungkook arched up against his chest.

Fuck, want - wish you could fuck me all da-ay ,” he whined as Seokjin bit his neck and pounded into him.

They both gasped when Seokjin came, holding Jungkook’s hips still and slowly thrusting inside him. Jungkook hummed when Seokjin pulled out and kissed his cheeks before burying his face against his neck. He pet Jungkook’s hair and held onto him tightly, both of them boneless and exhausted.

“How are you, baby?” Seokjin asked.

Jungkook nodded, eyes still closed. “Good. I’m good. Hold me though.”

“Anything,” Seokjin confirmed and laid down beside Jungkook to wrap his arms around him.

Jungkook tucked himself under Seokjin’s chin and tried to slow his breathing down, in and out, in and out. He didn’t feel rushed to get up or speak, knowing that Seokjin would stay beside him, anchoring him with his arms. Seokjin hummed softly, petting Jungkook’s hair and winding him down after such a big high. When he felt like the post-orgasm haze had drifted away and his cum started sticking uncomfortably to his skin, Jungkook pat Seokjin’s chest.

“Hyung, we should clean up.”

“Ok. Do you want to take a shower?”

Jungkook shook his head, curling his fingers on Seokjin’s chest. “Later. Don’t wanna get up now.”

Seokjin smiled at him fondly before kissing his forehead and getting out of bed with a groan to find a towel. He cleaned Jungkook off, telling him he was beautiful and sexy and wonderful. Jungkook preened under the attention, smiling to himself and stretching out across the bed. Seokjin helped him get under the covers and let Jungkook rest his head on his chest.

“Let’s just - nap,” Jungkook sighed, already feeling drowsy. “Nap for 20 minutes.”

He felt Seokjin nod above him as he pulled the blanket up a little higher over them both.

“Perfect. See you in 20.”

“Love you, hyung.”

“Love you too.”

Jungkook shifted closer to get comfortable and fell asleep feeling Seokjin gently tracing the lines of his tattoos.