Voices of young and old surrounded him, their tones either subdued with the anticipation of separation or the excitement of leaving for a vacation. The distinctive sound of suitcases hitting the conveyor belt reverberated through the marble walls. Everywhere he turned, he was met with people from different backgrounds, each having a story of their own behind their faces.
Jeongguk padded across the sleek silvery tiles of the airport terminal in his trusty old timberlands. He looked up at the huge plasma TV on the wall displaying the various timings of the different flights that were to depart that day and then quickly glanced at his watch.
It was getting late. Where was that best friend of his?
Tapping his feet impatiently, he dialled Taehyung's number and pressed call, immediately being sent to voicemail.
Jeongguk grunted in annoyance. Honestly, why did some people even have hand phones—
He was shaken out of his thoughts when his phone vibrated in his hand and a very familiar face flashed on his phone screen. "Where the heck are you? Hyung, we have a flight to catch in less than 45 minutes!"
Silence ensued for a few seconds after that.
"Well, you see, Jeonggukie," Taehyung started. "I don't think I can make it."
"Are you kidding me?" he all but growled out. "Taehyung, we've been planning this for months and you're gonna bail on me? Now? What about my assignment?"
"Yeah, about that," Taehyung laughed nervously. "Soonshim broke her leg and I'm actually on my way to Daegu right now to see her."
Jeongguk couldn’t believe it. Well, he could — it was Kim Taehyung they were talking about.
The same Kim Taehyung who thought it would be a good idea to dip his fries in ice cream and ketchup. The same Kim Taehyung who would press all the buttons in the elevator after he got off on his floor. The same Kim Taehyung who had managed to score an A for test he hadn’t even studied for. The same Kim Taehyung who was known to be anything but predictable.
It shouldn’t really come as a surprise that he ditched Jeongguk and their trip (that Jeongguk had so kindly offered to sponsor) to Japan to visit his injured dog in Daegu. Jeongguk could understand though. Soonshim was Taehyung's everything. He had cried for hours after deciding to move to Seoul, having had to leave everything he was accustomed to in Daegu, including his favourite little dog.
"I'm sorry again, Jeonggukie. I'll make it up to you somehow, alright? Besides, you’re young and handsome and I’m sure you’ll have no problems at snagging a model to star in your film there.”
“Flattery doesn’t work well on me, Taehyung. I’m still whooping your ass the next time I see you.”
”Oh, would you look at the time! I have to go now and you have a plane to catch. Talk to you later!" Taehyung chorused before he ended the call. "By the way, it's still hyung to you, brat!”
It was natural really, that Taehyung would choose Soonshim over his best friend and Jeongguk knew better than to take it to heart. He still had no idea what to do though. He was just sitting there, at a bench in the corner of the Airport with two tickets to Japan at hand. He couldn't just let the other ticket go to waste now, could he? Then again, with only 30 minutes to the flight, how would anyone buy that ticket from him?
"Wait! No, just give me a second. It has to be here. I swear I had it just a while ago!"
Jeongguk's attention refocused on a guy around his age, fumbling through his backpack for what seemed to be a ticket and entry proof at the check-in counter for the flight to Japan. Jeongguk couldn't make out his face, being met with only raven black hair and his back profile.
"Sir, you're holding up the queue," the attendant said, tapping her manicured nails against the countertop impatiently. "You're going to have to step aside."
"No, just give me a second," the guy said, frantically looking through his files in his bag.
"Sir, please. If you don't move, I'm going to have to call the authorities."
"Babe, there you are. I was looking for you everywhere," Jeongguk cut in smoothly, shoving his spare ticket towards the shorter male.
What was he doing? He had no idea. Jeongguk tended to do a lot of things before thinking twice and the sad reality was, they didn't always have a good ending. Did that stop him from doing it again though?
"Here's your ticket, you left it at my place yesterday."
The guy in front of him gaped at him, his chocolate brown eyes growing comically bigger by the passing moment. The attendant looked between the two of them, her eyes narrowing in suspicion. Jeongguk smiled sweetly at her, throwing his hand around the black haired male and pulling him closer for measure.
As if finally snapping out of his stupor, the guy put on his biggest smile, plucking the ticket from Jeongguk's hand and placing it on the countertop.
"Oh, haha, there you are, honeybun. Almost thought you weren't coming!" he said, his smile looking so forced it seemed painful.
The attendant seemed to buy it because she began typing away at her computer. She placed the guy's passport with his ticket tucked inside on the countertop. "Here's your ticket-- I just checked you in. Gate number 26, should be on your far right after you clear security check," she droned. "Boarding has started, you have about 15 minutes till take off. Thank you for flying with Starways Airways."
Jeongguk bowed politely, the smile almost glued onto his face now. He steered the shorter male away from the counter stiffly, his arm still slung around him.
"Ah, young love," the elderly man behind him in line whispered not so quietly to his wife beside him. "What a cute couple they make."
Jeongguk realised he was still holding onto the other male's shoulder tightly and let go immediately, as if he had touched fire. His hand came to rest loosely near his own hip and he fidgeted nervously under the stare of the other male.
"Look, I don't know who you are or where you came from," the guy burst out all too suddenly. "But I just want to say thank you, thank you, thank you!"
The next thing Jeongguk knew, he was engulfed by a smaller frame in a tight and warm embrace. Now if you knew Jeongguk, you would know that he was probably one of the most awkward human beings to ever exist. He brought his hand up to pat the shorter male's back stiffly.
"I managed to score a music gig in Tokyo and I almost thought that I was going to lose that opportunity. You really have no idea how much this means to me. So really, thank you so much."
The raven haired man released his grip soon after and Jeongguk got a chance to take a good look at the handsome male before him.
He had these pretty brown eyes that disappeared into crinkly tiny half crescents every time he broke into a smile. How cute.
Jeongguk couldn't help but also notice how perfect his side profile was, how sharp his jawline was. Jeongguk felt like if he were to touch it, his finger would probably start bleeding. The male was adorned in this oversized sweater that seemed two sizes too big for him, his collarbone peeking out every now and then. Not to forget his sweater paws that only revealed the tips of his tiny fingers. Jeongguk found them quite adorable.
He realised that the aforementioned male had been talking to him all this while and had asked him a question while Jeongguk had conveniently decided to space out.
"Huh?" he said, knowing he that he sounded quite dumb. Your eloquence is just flowing, Guk. Great Job.
"I said, my name is Jimin. Park Jimin," Jimin said, hand stretched out for a handshake.
Jeongguk stared at his hand for a good second before he took it hesitantly. Jimin shook his hand cheerfully, still looking at Jeongguk expectantly. Oh. Oh.
"You want to know my name. Right," Jeongguk murmured, mostly to himself. "I'm Jeon Jeongguk."
"We should get going-" Jimin nodded happily before something akin to suspicion clouded his features. He froze in his steps, swiveling around to face Jeongguk.
“Wait, why the fuck would you give me a free ticket?” Jimin narrowed his eyes accusingly.
“That's because it's not free, honeybun," Jeongguk replied mockingly, stressing on the endearment. “I’m not a billionaire, you know.”
“Right,” Jimin murmured, his face heating up as he chuckled in embarrassment. “I knew that.”
Jeongguk smirked at him as pout made its way onto Jimin’s face. Jeongguk felt the sudden urge to reach out and pinch his cheeks but cleared his throat and turned away instead.
"Attention, please. Last call for passengers boarding Starways Airline to Tokyo at 11:30am," a voice called out over the PA system.
Jeongguk turned to look at Jimin just as he had turned to face him, eyes wide.
That was their flight!
They rushed to the security checkpoint and Jeongguk waited anxiously for his hand luggage to pass through the scanners, glancing at his watch every now and then. They cleared the check fairly quickly and Jeongguk all but grabbed onto Jimin's arm and they ran towards their gate. The pair of them were panting, out of breath, and almost dying by the time they reached their gate for entry.
The attendant stared at them, amused, as he scanned their tickets and allowed them to board the plane. Jeongguk fastened the strap on his DSLR one last time, bowing politely to the flight attendant welcoming them onto the plane before entering. They stood before their seats after a walking down the aisle and Jeongguk stashed his hand luggage in the compartment above but decided to keep his DSLR with him below. If Soonshim was Taehyung's everything, this camera was Jeongguk's everything.
He made a move to sit down first but stopped when he saw a small hand blocking him.
"You've been nothing but kind to me today but if it's not too much to ask, can I have the window seat?" Jimin mumbled, looking at the ground. "I have horrible motion sickness."
Ten minutes after take off, Jeongguk was browsing through one of the many catalogues stacked up in the rack attached to the seat before him. He felt a gentle tap on his shoulder and turned to face Jimin.
"Woah, you alright? You look a bit pale," Jeongguk noticed, glancing at Jimin's face that had gone as pale as a sheet of paper. He tried to muster a smile.
"Yeah— ugh— motion sickness, r-remember?" Jimin groaned, clutching the seat in front of him for stability. "Could you get me some water?"
Jeongguk called for the flight attendant by pressing the blinking button above their seats and requested a glass of water immediately.
"Sir," the flight attendant said, passing him a glass of water. "Oh dear, your boyfriend doesn't look too good. Would you like me to get him some motion sickness pills to help?"
"We're not- I mean we aren't- um yes please, thank you so much," Jeongguk replied awkwardly, realizing that trying to explain that they were not actually dating would take up too much time. Too much time for Jimin, who was growing paler by the passing moment.
"Here you go," Jeongguk muttered, passing the glass of water and pill to Jimin. Jimin looked at him gratefully and popped the pill into his mouth, swallowing it down with large gulps of water. Water droplets dripped down his chin and Jeongguk had reached out to wipe it away before he could stop himself. He pulled his hand back quickly after realizing what he had done, his ears turning red in embarrassment.
"Oh," Jimin said, appearing slightly taken aback. Was that a hint of pink Jeongguk spotted on his cheeks? "Thanks, Jeongguk-ssi."
"Just call me Jeongguk, it's fine."
"Then it's Jimin to you too," Jimin said. "Thank you, Jeongguk. Also, I’ve been meaning to ask you but why did you have a spare ticket in the first place? Someone stood you up?"
Jeongguk nodded, biting his lip. "My best friend," he admitted. “We were planning this trip so that I could finish my cinematography assignment with him as my model. Anyway, yeah, he had to rush off to his hometown because of an-- um, emergency. And, well, you looked quite desperate back then and I happened to have a spare ticket for a flight taking off pretty soon and, well, it was just meant to be, I guess."
"Meant to be," Jimin echoed, looking out the window. "Yeah."
Jeongguk woke up with a start. He must’ve dozed off some at some point. He let out a yawn, stretching his limbs when his hand hits something. Jeongguk almost yelled but stopped himself when he realised it was just Jimin beside him. He had fallen asleep too, his head hanging in what seemed like a painful position. Should he help him out?
They had about an hour till they landed in Tokyo and Jeongguk didn’t really want to deal with Jimin complaining about his neck hurting after waking up. That’s the reason why. Yeah, let’s just go with that.
Gently, he cradled Jimin's head and shifted it till it was supported by his own shoulder. He was so close to Jimin's face now that he could count the number of freckles that lined his cheeks. So close that he could count the number of eyelashes that framed his eyes beautifully and-- Jeongguk looked away, instead opting to stare at the weird kid across the aisle from him, shredding magazines into tiny strips and littering the floor.
"Jimin? Hey," Jeongguk said, shaking the sleeping boy next to him. "Wake up, we're here!"
“Huh?" Jimin mumbled incoherently, still half asleep, clinging onto Jeongguk's arm tightly. "Just five more minutes, Eomma. Please-"
"Jimin! We’re here! We’ve landed.”
“Mmm?” Jimin muttered, rubbing his eyes, before looking up with a start.“Oh! Jeongguk-- shit I’m so sorry! Oh god, did I drool or something? Oh my-”
“Relax,” Jeongguk said, smiling at the rambling male in front of him, patting his head lightly. “C’mon, we gotta get off the plane now, we’re here.”
Tokyo was every bit as breathtaking as Jeongguk had imagined it to be. Both Taehyung and him had spent weeks, months even, trying to find the perfect place to complete Jeongguk’s final project as a cinematography major. It was quite reasonable that they had spent so long just planning a trip, especially because this last assignment was the one with the heaviest weightage-- the one that would probably determine if he could graduate successfully or not.
He still had no idea how or where to find a new subject for his travel film but he planned on getting to that soon. Right now all he could do was stare at the bustling city of Tokyo, slightly astounded.
As a cinematography major, Jeongguk had been taught and shaped to see the smaller things that tended to go unnoticed in life.
For example, most people would be mesmerised by the throbbing, dynamic metropolis that was Tokyo, with lights decorating every nook and cranny of every street, with bustling activity in every direction you turn.
Jeongguk on the other hand, would rather marvel at that vending machine he saw, or an unmanned market of sorts where fresh produce from local farms were lined up in wooden crates in exchange for a few coins. He would rather shift his focus to that beaming ajumma selling Vietnamese delicacies on a mobile stall in the corner of the street, doing surprisingly well amongst the other Japanese stalls around her.
These small things that almost no one ever noticed were the things Jeongguk planned to capture as a part of his final presentation, now that he didn’t really have a subject anymore, which was still a huge problem.
Jeongguk was still surveying his surroundings when he heard someone distinctly clear their throats beside him. He turned to face the shorter male, having almost forgotten his presence.
“Well, I guess I should be on my way then,” Jimin said, tightening his hold on his backpack and tugging on his suitcase. “Thank you again. Here, give me your number and I’ll text you as soon as I get the money for the ticket ready.”
Jeongguk hummed in reply. He kind of didn’t want Jimin to go, mainly because he would be alone again and some company wouldn’t hurt. Before he could ask the other anything else though, the raven had disappeared from the spot beside him.
Jeongguk caught sight of his backpack disappearing into the distance before he was gone all together.
The first thing Jeongguk did when he entered his huge suite that was meant for two, was belly-flop onto the king-sized poster bed.
He might be twenty, but he still had the heart of a five year old sometimes.
He logged onto the hotel’s website and keyed in the wifi password that the attendant at the front desk had given him. Almost immediately, Jeongguk was bombarded with tons of messages and alerts, most of them coming from his dear best friend, and the others welcoming him to Japan and introducing some product or data plan. He scrolled through his chat with Taehyung and let out a loud, exasperated sigh.
that hyung | 13:35
u landed yet?
r u angry at me or smth
stop ignoring me
why are you like this ;-((((
[ gif of dog with puppy eyes ]
you | 16:21
the flight is 2 hours long and u literally msged me 20 mins after takeoff
now do u have ur answer hyung
sometimes i wonder if ur really older than me smh
that hyung | 16:21
JEONGGUKIE BABY °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°
I THOUGHT U WERE GONNA BLOCK ME AND IGNORE ME FOR THE REST OF UR LIFE
SORRY BBY ILY BUT I JUST LOVE SOONSHIM A BIT MORE
you | 16:22
how the fuck do u do that
also stop being so dramatic hyung
and thanks it's v reassuring that u'll choose ur dog over me
that hyung | 16:22
you | 16:23
reply like 2 seconds after i message u
that hyung | 16:24
what's it like there!!!
send me pics pls i wish i was there with u
ok gtg mom’s calling
take care kookie~
you | 16:24
say hi to mama kim for me! bye hyung
Jeongguk switched his phone off and threw it onto the bed beside him, closing his eyes. He groaned into the mattress when his assignment crossed his mind and wondered how the heck he was going to complete it with no subject.
Jeongguk decided that he was not going to get anywhere by just moping around in bed all day. Picking himself up, he opened his suitcase and pulled out a few articles of clothing before hitting the showers. A thought crossed his mind. Maybe he could try it without a subject. Tokyo could be his subject.
Maybe he wasn’t that screwed after all.
“How the fuck does this thing work,” Jeongguk thought out aloud as he stared at the weird contraption (which was apparently the toilet bowl) in front of him.
He pressed a couple of buttons at the side and yelped when a jet of water hit his bottom out of nowhere. And then suddenly it was really warm and nice. Was that thing really warming up the seat as well? Holy shit. Oh my god.
It was official. Jeongguk was going to migrate to Tokyo.
After a warm, relaxing and steamy shower, Jeongguk changed into his black jeans and white tee and made sure to throw on a black cap to hide his messy hair that he really couldn’t bother tending to right now. Making sure he looked presentable, he slung his satchel bag over his shoulder, grabbed his DSLR, hanging it around his neck and fastened the straps.
“Let’s go get that A,” he said to himself as he walked out of his suite, making sure to lock the room behind him. Jeongguk exited his hotel excitedly, humming the tune of a song he couldn’t really place but liked a lot. He greeted the hotel staff politely as he made his way out.
Jeongguk realised he must really look like an idiot-- standing outside his hotel and grinning from ear to ear with a splitting smile. He still couldn’t believe that he was finally here in Tokyo. It had been a dream of his to come here, when he was younger.
And here he was.
He checked his watch and wondered if he should get dinner now or a while later. As if right on cue, his stomach growled in hunger, voicing its opinion on the matter. Well, that settled it.
Jeongguk found himself in one of those small, secluded but cozy restaurants at the end of the streets. The ajumma inside welcomed him with a warm smile, gushing over how handsome he was in Japanese. Jeongguk didn’t really understand so he just smiled back and bowed to her. He sat down in a table meant for two and removed the cover lens of his DSLR to film the restaurant, having fallen in love with the homely aura it gave off.
After a few seconds though, Jeongguk turned his camera off and slammed his head onto the table not so gently, startling the lady sitting in the table next to him. His cheeks felt hot as he apologised to her and he turned away, letting out a groan.
This wasn't going to work out at all.
Just like that all his previous ideas went down the drain. Jeongguk realised that he needed a subject, someone to star in his film, or else it just wouldn’t turn out right. He needed someone to be the center of everything, needed someone to tie all the loose ends together. How-
His thought process got cut off when the Ajumma returned with his food, piping hot and smelling absolutely delicious. Jeongguk was salivating.
“Arigatou gozaimasu!” Jeongguk beamed at the Ajumma.
He dug into the steaming bowl of ramen immediately, not wanting to deprive himself any longer. Jeongguk was still eating, having only consumed half of the scrumptious bowl of noodles when his phone started buzzing beside him.
It was an unknown number.
Jeongguk ate another mouthful of noodles. He didn’t really think much of the call, ignoring and dismissing it as probably some tour agency or insurance agent. The phone stopped ringing after a while. And then it started buzzing again.
Jeongguk groaned in frustration. Who could be calling him so persistently now?
Jeongguk grabbed his phone, pressing the accept call button before he pressed it against his ear. “Who is this? I swear to god if it’s another tour-”
Jeongguk stopped mid sentence when he heard a familiar velvety voice on the other end of the line. He sounded like he was close to tears, if not already crying.
“Jimin, right?” Jeongguk asked, concern flooding into his voice when he heard the raven sniffling across the line. “Hey, hey, what's wrong? What happened?”
“I-It was— They scammed me!” Jimin all but burst out, sobbing between words. “I don't know what to do and i-it's raining and I don't even have an umbrella because I’m dumb and I’m alone and I’m so scared because I don't even know where I am.”
“I really didn't know w-who else to call. Y-you know what? It's fine, I’m sorry for bothering yo-”
“Jimin!” Jeongguk all but yelled, attracting the attention of almost everyone else in the restaurant. He awkwardly smiled in embarrassment again, bowing slightly to convey his apology.
He realised Jimin was still on line when he heard those sniffles again. Jeongguk sighed, worry for the shorter male flooding his mind. “Hey, Jimin? Look, it’s fine. Everything’s gonna be okay. Can you look around and tell me where you are? I’m coming to get you.”
Jeongguk sighed longingly at his half eaten bowl of ramen. Rushing, he grabbed his bag and his camera and rushed out of the restaurant, hailing and piling into a taxi as soon as he could, using his hand as a shield from the pouring rain.
“Well, um t-there's a Mcdonald's opposite me?”
“No, Jimin. I meant like any noticable structure? Anything that stands out?”
Jimin caught on quickly and described his surroundings to the best of his ability, voice cracking every now and then. Jeongguk relayed everything Jimin had said to the taxi driver who was able to figure out where Jimin was.
“Jeonggukie, it’s so cold,” Jimin said, his teeth chattering. “I’m so tired-- just wanna sleep.”
“Jimin? Hey, hey, I’m almost here. Stay with me, alright? I’m only a street away.”
“I’m just gonna c-close my eyes for awhile—”
Jeongguk’s taxi came to a stop and he could make out a figure crouched, clutching onto his knees on the wet platform. Jeongguk cursed and scrambled out of the taxi, using his hands to shield him from the pelting rain, running towards the figure. He scooped Jimin into his arms and cupping Jimin's face with his hands, trying get his attention. “Jimin? Hey, Jimin, you're okay now! I’m here, okay? C’mon.”
Jimin’s eyes fluttered open and close. “Oh… Jeongguk… You came.”
Jeongguk heaved Jimin up, helping him onto his back. He carried Jimin back and into the taxi as fast as he could before either of them got any more drenched. Jeongguk thanked the stars that the ahjussi driving their cab was a good hearted one — he didn’t even complain about his seats getting wet and instead drove them to the nearest hospital quickly.
Jeongguk lugged a now almost completely unconscious Jimin onto his back again after thanking and paying the cab driver. Piggybacking Jimin, he rushed into the hospital and called out for help, almost at the point of desperation. Medical staff hurried over and helped Jimin onto a stretcher. Jeongguk stiffened when he saw how pale Jimin was and how cold his skin felt to his touch. Jimin was not moving either, completely unconscious now.
The medical staff asked him to step back as they wheeled Jimin into another room. Jeongguk peeked through the small opening on the frosted glass door but slumped into a nearby seat when he couldn’t see anything. A passing nurse realised he was soaking wet and passed him a towel, offering him a few words of encouragement that Jimin would be alright.
Jeongguk mustered a small smile in return.
He must have fallen asleep because the next thing he knew, he was being shaken awake by the nurse who had previously given him a towel. She smiled warmly at him.
“Park Jimin is alright,” she said. “He just passed out from exhaustion and hunger. That combined with the wet and cold temperature wore him out completely. You can go see him now.”
Jeongguk murmured thank you to her before rushing into the room he had been transferred to after his checkup. Jimin perked up when he heard the door opening and a beautiful smile appeared on his face when he caught sight on Jeongguk by the door. He opened his mouth, probably to express his gratitude but was cut off by Jeongguk’s scolding.
“How could you scare me like that! Why the hell didn't you eat for the entire day? Were you trying to starve yourself to death? And what the heck happened to you? Who scammed you? You need to take better care of yours-”
“Okay, mom,” Jimin cut in, a smile threatening to break out on his face. “For someone you met a few hours ago, you sure are awfully worried. Just give me a second to sit up properly. I’ll answer all your questions.”
Jimin squirmed and squiggled till he was sitting in a comfortable position.
“It’s like I told you in the airport-- I received an email the other day congratulating me for being chosen for a music gig here in Tokyo. Honestly, I was so excited by the news I didn't even bother to check if the source was reliable — probably was from some dingy, dubious website, but my blinded ass couldn't even see through that. They told me it was an audition, so naturally, I wanted to look my best, and I didn't eat anything the whole day,” Jimin admitted sheepishly. “Then things happened and well, here I am. They stole all my belongings, too. Soon as I appeared at the location a bunch of hooded guys approached me and one of them literally held me down while another took my suitcase. I have nothing on me right now other than my wallet and my passport. Thank god I at least had the brains to keep them with me.”
Jimin was out of breath by the time he finished and his eyes slowly travelled up to meet Jeongguk’s eyes, before having them focused on his fidgeting hands on his lap again.
“You must really like to sing, huh?” Jeongguk asked and Jimin was stunned for a second. Jimin looked almost stunned, not having expected those to be Jeongguk's first words. “I mean, wow, all this just because you thought you got a chance to sing.”
Hesitantly, he nodded his head. Jeongguk let out a sigh and sat down in the seat beside the hospital bed. “I could tell you that things are going to be okay, but honestly, I don't know if we can find those shitbags who stole your things, especially because this isn't Korea and we don't know how things work here. All I can tell you is that since you're already here, in Tokyo, why don't you just take a few days off and relax? That would help a lot, especially after what you just went through.”
Jimin stared at Jeongguk and for a second, Jeongguk felt like Jimin could see right through him. He felt those chocolate orbs burn into his soul. Jimin looked away and nodded his head.
“Yeah, I guess you're right, Jeongguk. Thank you so much,” Jimin said sincerely. “I’m sorry for being such a useless piece of shit. I’ll pay you back somehow. And I’ll take it from here. Thanks for everything, Jeongguk.”
“Your mouth's gonna be sore because of the number of times you've been apologizing and thanking me,” Jeongguk joked, but stopped, panicking slightly when he saw Jimin’s eyes fall. “Shit, I didn't mean it like that. I was joking, relax it's fine. And you're not useless or a piece of shit, okay? I checked with the hospital and they said you're good to go in about an hour. It’s already pretty late in the night so I’ll get you some food before taking you back to your hotel.”
Jimin opened his mouth, probably to protest or something but Jeongguk shushed him.
“You're in no condition to get around by yourself,” Jeongguk insisted, clasping onto Jimin’s cold hands. “Just for tonight, let me take care of you, Jimin.”
Jimin stared at him like he had a few minutes ago, a foreign look-- something Jeongguk could not quite figure out-- flashing across his eyes.
If Jeongguk kept hailing taxis everytime he wanted to get around the city, he would be completely broke. Especially because Jeongguk had paid for the hospital expenses too. Thank god he had brought extra money because he had thought he was going to be paying for both his and Taehyung’s meals here in Tokyo.
The lady at the counter smiled warmly at him. “Your boyfriend is lucky to have you. You take such good care of him.”
“We’re not, um, dating,” Jeongguk replied awkwardly, handing over cash.
“Oh, I’m sorry then. But the both of you would make such a cute couple.”
Jeongguk smiled awkwardly at her.
After making sure that Jimin was huddled in several layers of warm blankets and that he was feeling top notch, the pair of them walked over to a nearby train station for transportation. He thanked the heavens that it had stopped raining, almost dreading the fact of walking in the rain again.
Jeongguk found himself in front of the same Japanese restaurant he had been at hours ago, only this time he was with Jimin. Jeongguk tugged on Jimin’s sleeve, moving to a secluded corner in the restaurant. When he was asked one what he wanted to eat, Jimin said he didn’t really mind anything and instead focused his attention on the small, homely atmosphere of the restaurant. Jeongguk ordered the same ramen he had ordered before, this time getting two sets instead.
Jeongguk shifted his attention back to Jimin. He looked like he was having the time of his life, a beautiful smile on his delicate face.
Before he could process what he was doing, Jeongguk had uncovered his camera lens and taken a photo of Jimin. Jeongguk realised what he had done and fumbled with the camera, turning away from Jimin to survey the photo.
Jeongguk gasped slightly. The photo was beautiful. From the beautiful wall ornaments at the back to the captivating atmosphere of the restaurant to Jimin in the center looking so handsome, it was perfect.
Something about Jimin made Jeongguk felt like he was right at home. One obvious reason was probably because they were both from Busan. There was something else about Jimin that drew Jeongguk towards him, like the unlike ends of a magnet to each other.
“Watcha doin’ Jeongguk?” Jimin wondered aloud peering at his DSLR. Jeongguk startled and almost dropped his camera in surprise.
“Just reviewing some photos I took just now.”
“Ooh, can i see?” Jimin asked while straining his neck to get a better view. Jeongguk clicked the right button, swiftly switching to a photo of the restaurant he had taken before Jimin had called him.
“You literally took a photo of the restaurant but it looks so good. The power of a cinematography major, I suppose.”
Food arrived soon after and Jimin started scarfing down the food as if he hadn’t eaten in a day. Oh right, he hadn't.
Jimin must have felt Jeongguk’s eyes on him because he stopped eating and locked eyes with Jeongguk, a blush colouring his cheeks prettily.
“Sorry. I must look like a pig or something,” he murmured, scratching the back of his neck in embarrassment.
“Are you kidding? Have you seen me eat?” Jeongguk replied, trying to ease the atmosphere with a laugh. "Just eat well, Jimin. Eat however much you want."
Besides, I would buy you as many bowls of ramen as you wanted, if it means you won't be hungry and sick anymore.
Jeongguk blinked hard. Where had that thought come from so suddenly?
Jimin just smiled that crinkly-eyed smile of his in return.
After thanking the ajumma, the pair of them shuffled out of the restaurant. From where they were standing, Jeongguk could see the Tokyo Tree clearly. It looked majestic, standing tall and bright amongst the vast night sky in the back. He made a mental note to visit it soon.
“I’ll take it from here, thanks, Jeongguk.” Jimin’s delicate voice interrupted his train of thought. “I’ll pay you back for everything somehow.”
Jimin was staring at his feet, fidgeting nervously and Jeongguk narrowed his eyes. “Where’s your hotel? I’ll take you there.”
When there was no reply, Jeongguk’s suspicions only grew stronger. “Jimin?”
Jimin sighed as if he was giving up. “The people who scammed me-- they promised me a place to stay too.”
“So technically, you’re homeless now.”
Jimin slapped Jeongguk’s arm. “I’m not homeless, what the hell! I’ll just… rent a room at a motel or something. Yeah.”
Jeongguk rolled his eyes, sighing in frustration. He grabbed Jimin’s arm and tugged him along toward his hotel.
“Hey! What do you think you're doing!” Jimin squeaked, trying to remove his arm from Jeongguk’s iron grip but failing miserably. Jeongguk didn’t have a black belt in taekwondo for nothing, you know.
“C’mon, Jimin. You can book a room in the hotel I’m staying at. That way you won't have to stay in some dingy old motel and I can keep an eye on you at the same time.”
“You know, I don't appreciate you talking to me like I’m five years old you know. I’m an adult too.”
“Yeah okay, if you say so.”
“Yah, you punk!”
Jeongguk stared at the clerk at the front desk, eyes wide. She couldn’t be serious, right?
“Are you seriously telling me that every single room of this humongous hotel has been booked?” he deadpanned.
The clerk narrowed her eyes, as if to tell him not to give her that attitude. “I’m sorry, sir. But it's true, we’re fully booked.”
He looked over his shoulder at Jimin, who was seated in one of the chairs in the lobby, browsing through one of the Japanese magazines there, although Jeongguk doubted that he even knew a word in that language. He thanked the lady halfheartedly and walked toward Jimin to tell him the bad news when he got reminded of Jimin all soaked and shivering a while ago.
Jeongguk had a different idea.
With newfound determination and a smile that could cure diseases, Jeongguk approached Jimin with confident strides. He tugged Jimin up by his arm, holding it under his own arm and marched toward the elevators. Jimin struggled to keep up with him, his shorter strides no match for Jeongguk’s larger ones.
“I take it that you managed to get a room for me?” he asked, still trying to match Jeongguk’s pace.
“W-What?” Jimin fumbled, using his other hand to try and pry his arm from Jeongguk’s arm but of course, failing terribly again. “Jeongguk, what the hell! Where are you taking me? Stop!”
Jeongguk didn’t stop until they were in the elevator and the doors had closed behind them. Jeongguk pressed the button for the 17th floor. He let go of Jimin’s arm, whistling and smiling to himself as if he hadn’t just hauled the poor man across the lobby. Jimin glowered at him and Jeongguk just smiled back harder.
“You're gonna be staying with me.” Jeongguk gestured to himself. “In my room.”
Jimin blanked out for a second before an array of emotions passed across his face. He looked surprised and then completely appalled and finally, he fixed Jeongguk with a look that spelt you’ve gone crazy. He looked at a loss for words.
“Are you crazy? How can I stay with you? Gosh, I’ve already ruined your trip so far. I’ll be fine, Jeongguk-- I’ll just go stay somewhere else, really.”
Jeongguk sighed. He turned to face Jimin, holding him by his shoulders so that their eyes would meet. Jimin looked surprise at the close proximity for a second but then focused on what Jeongguk was trying to say.
“Jimin, I really don't think I can let you out there by yourself again, especially not after what just happened,” he said, continuing hurriedly when Jimin went to protest. “Besides, we’ve already spent this entire day together, even though it may not have been under the most ideal circumstances. Why don't you just spend the rest of the trip with me?”
Jimin’s eyes grew wide and it seemed like whatever he had been trying to say had gotten stuck in his throat. He looked away and stared at the floor contemplating for a while.
Jimin locked eyes with him, a small smile growing on his face. Slowly, he nodded.
The elevator dinged and opened to the floor with their room.
“This room is so fucking huge,” Jimin wondered aloud, trying to take in just how spacious it was. He walked over to the floor length windows and pushed the curtains open. Jimin sighed happily and looked up at the night sky.
Stars littered the sky like pale corn on freshly turned ground. It was the promise of life in the darkness, a sense of warmth springing from the cold. It was breathtaking. Jeongguk walked over to the windows.
Even with such a gorgeous view in front of him, Jeongguk found himself looking at the man standing next to him instead. Jimin looked radiant, his eyes shining as he stared in wonder at the night sky. Jeongguk’s eyes lingered on Jimin for a bit too long and he had to turn away, faking a cough when Jimin turned to look at him with that beautiful smile of his.
“Thanks for everything, Jeongguk-ah. If I hadn't lost my ticket, if I hadn't bumped into you at the airport, who knows what would've happened to me right now. I’d probably be dead in a ditch or something,” Jimin said, laughing slightly. “Are you sure there isn't any way I can repay you back for now? I feel like a freeloader, leeching off of you, that's why.”
“Well, there is this one thing,” Jeongguk started, still not sure whether to bring this topic up.
He had been thinking about this since dinner just now. What if Jimin disagreed? He would be so embarrassed. Then again, all his problems would be solved if Jimin agreed. There was only one way to find out.
Jeongguk mustered his courage and lifted his eyes to meet Jimin’s awaiting ones.
“You know I’m a cinematography major, right? Well, I’m actually here to complete my final assignment before I graduate. It's the most important one with the heaviest weightage and all. You see, my friend was supposed to be the subject in my film, I was supposed to be filming him in Tokyo but he couldn't make it and well now I have no subject and I wondered maybe--”
“If I could be your subject?” Jimin completed his question, mirth swimming in his eyes. “Oh, Jeongguk. Of course, I will.”
“It’s okay, I understa—“ Jeongguk’s head dropped before it snapped up again. A grin broke out on Jeongguk's face as he processed Jimin's words. He was literally jumping in joy on the inside. Was Jimin for real?
“Are you serious?”
Jeongguk couldn’t contain his excitement. He was smiling so hard now that his hidden dimple peeked out. Jimin poked at it, cooing at how cute he was. Jeongguk protested, huffing that he was nothing short of macho and manliness. Jimin rolled his eyes before he continued talking.
“It would be my honour, really. I’ve seen how talented you are, you create art with that tiny contraption. Plus you've helped me so much, it's only fair that I repay you in some way. Just tell me what I have to do, mm?”
“Nothing,” Jeongguk replied after a second had passed. And he meant it — Jimin did not actually have to do anything but sit still and look pretty for him.
Jimin did not look pleased with that answer though, if the way his lips pull into a frown told him anything. Jeongguk resisted the urge to pull him into his arms.
“C’mon, Jeonggukie!” Jimin almost whined. Jeongguk tried not to get too affected by his new nickname (although his heart felt like bursting). “I’m going to be super awkward. That, and I want you to do well. I’ve never done acting or anything like this before so there’s a huge chance I may mess up!”
“Okay wait,” Jeongguk cut through Jimin’s whining. “The theme for this assignment is ‘travelogue’ — like you know those videos youtubers upload whenever they go traveling? Yeah that, but in better quality to put it simply. Just pretend that you’re here with your family or your loved ones — have a good time! Got it?”
After a moment of silence, Jimin nodded his head excitedly, “Yeah, I think so. Don’t worry, Jeonggukie — I’m not gonna let you down!”
Jeongguk couldn’t help the smile that blossomed on his face at Jimin’s words. The look of determination that had settled on Jimin’s face made him look like a baby tiger cub ready to pounce.
Maybe Jimin was the cutest person ever.
Jeongguk narrowed his eyes, his hand reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose. Why was Jimin being so stubborn?
“I really don't mind sleeping on the floor,” Jimin tried again. “It’s good for your back, you know! It’s scientifically proven.”
The two of them had taken turns to use the bathroom in the suite to wash up, Jimin having struggled with the toilet bowl for almost ten minutes. Jeongguk had been laying on the bed, scrolling through twitter when he heard a shout from the bathroom. He scrambled towards the door.
“Jimin? Hey, you alright?” he asked, concern evident in his voice.
“Jeongguk! This toilet is amazing! Have you tried it?” Jimin squealed in excitement from the other side of the door.
Been there, done that. Jeongguk rolled his eyes in amusement.
Jimin came out with his hair wet and wearing clothes too big for him. They were Jeongguk’s after all. He had had to lend Jimin some clothes, seeing that the poor man had had all his belongings stolen. Jimin was wearing long pyjama pants which he had rolled up to match his height and a black shirt that was so big that Jeongguk’s heart skipped a beat whenever he caught sight of Jimin’s collarbones peeking out. He also noticed that although the pants were too long, Jimin's thighs filled them out nicely.
Jeongguk cleared his throat and looked away. “They’re so big,” Jimin said, tugging at his shirt to make a point but only ended up exposing his collarbone even more.
They spent a bit more time discussing Jeongguk’s film before Jimin started yawning and rubbing his eyes.
And then they found themselves in the aforementioned predicament.
“You can take the bed, Jimin,” Jeongguk said with a note of finality in his voice. He grabbed a pillow from the bed and an extra set of blankets from the cupboard and placed them on the floor beside the bed. Jimin frowned again and walked over to where Jeongguk was standing. He picked up the blanket and the pillow and placed them on the bed again.
Jeongguk was exasperated. “Jimin--”
“Since none of us are willing to make a compromise, both of us can use the bed.” Jeongguk stopped talking. “I mean it's clearly big enough for the both of us so why not?”
Jeongguk looked like a fish out of water, his mouth opening and closing but no words came out. “You can take that side and I’ll take this side.” With that Jimin shimmied under the huge duvet, squirming around till he found a comfortable position and a blissful smile appeared on his face. He faced Jeongguk with a sleepy smile, patting the empty space beside him. Jeongguk clambered in, trying not to show that his heart rate had spiked once again. He felt his eyes flutter close and he soon fell asleep to Jimin’s calm and steady breathing next to him.
Jeongguk awoke to soft sheets and morning light trickling through the blinds.
He groaned and used his hand to shield his poor eyes from the morning sun. Slowly and reluctantly, he uncovered his face. Jeongguk blinked, closed his eyes and blinked again, getting used to the light. He moved to get off the bed but froze when he felt something heavy around his waist holding him down. Jeongguk startled but calmed down when he turned around and realised it was just Jimin who had taken up more than half of the bed, his limbs sprawling in every direction. His arm was around Jeongguk’s waist, pinning him down to the bed.
Jimin looked so peaceful when he slept. Jeongguk wondered if everyone looked that peaceful when asleep. His mouth was slightly open and his chest rose and fell steadily. He realised what he was doing made him seem like some sort of stalker so he turned away and tried to wiggle out of Jimin’s hold. He slipped from under his arm successfully after moving around for awhile. Jimin had begun to stir though and Jeongguk had to act quick. He grabbed a pillow and placed it between Jimin’s arms and Jimin wrapped himself around it like a koala, his breathing evening out again. Jeongguk’s heart melted into a puddle of goo.
He decided to let Jimin sleep for a while more while he showered. Jeongguk stood under the running water, enjoying how the hot water felt against his skin. He rubbed himself squeaky clean, made sure to use some deodorant, and changed into his white t-shirt and black jeans before exiting the bathroom.
He must have been in there for an awfully long time because Jimin was up by the time he was back, toothbrush in his mouth as he stood in the kitchen trying to flip an omelette on a pan. After a few tries, he flipped it successfully and started wiggling his butt in what seemed like a victory dance.
Jeongguk tried to hold his chuckles back but failed, and the sound did not escape Jimin’s ears. He swiveled around, his face turning red when he caught sight of an amused Jeongguk leaning by the entrance of the open kitchen.
“Oh, yof bach! I mafe bwefast,” Jimin said, the toothbrush still in his mouth.
Jeongguk couldn't decipher what Jimin had just said and stared blankly at the other.
Jimin looked at him when he heard no response and rolled his eyes when he saw the clueless look on Jeongguk’s face. He took the toothbrush out, foam covering his entire mouth, almost giving him a white moustache and beard. Cute.
“I said, oh, you're back. I made breakfast,” Jimin repeated, pointing to the plates on the dining table as Jeongguk's line of vision shifted.
Jeongguk had to admit, it looked good. Jimin had made omelette on toast for the both of them and Jeongguk would be lying if he said he wasn't salivating slightly.
Jimin wandered off soon after, presumably to the bathroom to brush his teeth and take a shower. Jeongguk wolfed down his food and fished out his handphone to check their schedule for the day.
He looked up from his phone when he heard the chair opposite him being dragged. Jimin was toweling his hair dry with one hand as he stabbed at his food with the other.
Today, Jimin was adorned in one of Jeongguk’s graphic tees and a pair of his ripped jeans. Jeongguk had forced him into one of his leather jackets too, saying that the weather might turn against them anytime. Jeongguk felt his heart do that weird thing again.
Jimin looked good.
Then again, when did he not?
Jimin had gotten used to the camera soon enough, not as awkward in front of it, although there was room for improvement. Ever since their discussion the day before, Jimin seemed happier, enjoying himself more.
“Jeonggukie! Come look at this!” Jimin grinned excitedly as he pointed at the turtleneck on the rack.
They were at the Tokyo City flea market to get Jimin a few sets of clothes to last him throughout their trip. Jeongguk had tried to reason by saying he didn’t mind Jimin borrowing his clothes. He really didn’t (in fact, he quite liked the sight of Jimin in his clothes — don’t tell Jimin that, though).
When Jimin had refused and demanded that they go to the local flea market instead with a huge, irresistible pout set on his face, Jeongguk was a goner.
“C’mon! It’ll be fun, I promise,” Jimin had said, with that crinkly eye smile of his. “Plus, you'll get footage for your film!”
And here they were standing amidst a huge crowd in the packed flea market. Jeongguk could hear people bargaining and see eye-catching clothes and items of every size and shape no matter which direction he turned.
His attention was stolen momentarily by a woman tugging along her wailing child, until Jimin beckoned him over again. Jeongguk walked over with his camera in one hand, recording everything around him.
“What do you think?” Jimin asked, showing him the same white turtleneck, and a few other casual clothing items he had picked out a few minutes ago.
Jeongguk didn’t say anything but he honestly thought that Jimin would look good even wearing a trash bag.
As they navigated further into the flea market, Jeongguk they kept losing their balance as people pushed into him right and left. A few apologized, but most of them didn’t, as they tried to move against or along the wave of people.
Jeongguk seemed to be extra clumsy that day, even managing to trip over a cable wire on the ground, almost falling over due to the additional weight of his camera. He steadied himself and felt someone’s warm and tiny hand snake it's way into his own. His eyes travelled back up to meet its concerned owner in the eye.
“It’s too packed, we could lose each other,” he explained, tightening his hold on Jeongguk’s hand before tugging him along. “Let’s go to the other end— it seems less crowded.”
Jeongguk let himself be dragged around by Jimin silently, his heartbeat stuttering every now and then when he remembered their interlocked hands.
Jeongguk wished he could record this moment, wished he could record their intertwined hands and the bright and almost shy smile Jimin would throw him every now and then as they walked deeper into the heart of the flea market.
By the end of their first day together, Jeongguk was certain he had ticked off some of the weirdest things on his bucket list that he hadn’t even known existed before that day — courtesy of Park Jimin, of course.
They had visited a hello kitty cafe, tried sakura flavored ice cream, chased pigeons in a park and even pretended to be mannequins in a store till they got kicked out.
They were back in their hotel room, hearts full and content, just like their hands which were full and heavy with their bags and purchases from that day. Jimin had bought almost the entire damn flea market, from things ranging from clothes to dishwashing detergent for his mother loaded in his bags. Jimin fished out a change of clothes from his purchases and went into the bathroom to change. He came back out wearing a striped pyjama set he had gotten for himself. Cute.
“What do you want for dinner?” Jeongguk asked as he scanned the menu for room service. “Oh look, they have Korean food here. Does jajangmyeon sound good to you?”
Dinner was settled and the two of them were lounging on the bed. Jeongguk browsed through the TV catalogue but found nothing interesting to watch. He logged onto his netflix account on his laptop to catch up on any show he might have missed. Jimin was flopped on the bed next to him, scrolling through instagram. Jeongguk felt his phone vibrating in his pocket and he fished it out carefully, rolling his eyes at the display name.
“Hyung? Hello?” Jeongguk said, pulling both his earpieces out. “Yeah, yeah —stop shouting! I can hear you fine.”
Jimin looked at him for a mere second but turned back to his phone when a video of a dancing puppy came up on his feed. Jeongguk hummed in reply as Taehyung went off about how he should take care of himself and preached about the importance of stranger danger, regretting his decision to text Taehyung about his endeavours.
“Alright, okay and yes, I’ll tell you everything once I get back,” Jeongguk replied. “You don't have to keep checking up on me, Taehyung-hyung. I'm not a baby, you know!”
From the corner of his eye, Jeongguk watched as Jimin’s eyes snapped to him as he straightened up fast. Jeongguk kept his eyes trained on him as he ended the call with Taehyung. Jimin seemed to be deep in thought, pondering over something.
“Hey, Jeongguk?” he finally asked, sitting upright and crossing his legs. “I know this might be a stretch but was that Kim Taehyung? From Daegu?”
Jeongguk’s eyes widened. They knew each other? He could only nod in reply and something flashed through Jimin’s eyes, and he smiled victoriously.
“Taehyung-hyung is my tutor from college. We just instantly clicked and became friends. He was the one who was supposed to be here with me,” Jeongguk elaborated. “What about you? How do you know him?”
“Oh, Taehyung and I were classmates,” Jimin said, a nostalgic smile on his face. “We were both music majors, you see.”
Jeongguk’s mouth opened to form an ‘o’ shape and he nodded in reply, wondering just how small this world was. I mean for Jimin and Taehyung to be classmates? Who would have known that they were the same age?
Oh. Oh shit.
Jeongguk’s eyes flickered up to meet Jimin’s and the same thought must have flashed through his mind, because the smile disappeared and his mouth dropped open in disbelief instead. Jimin made a move towards him and Jeongguk all but scrambled back, falling off the bed on his bottom. It hurt but he stood up quickly, backing away from the approaching Jimin.
“Yah! You punk! You’ve been addressing me all this while without any honorifics! Wait till I get my hands on you, you're dead meat today, Jeon Jeongguk!”
“I’m sorry, hyung! Hey, you asked me to— Ow!”
Hours later that night, the sky became dark and low with ominous black clouds swirling around, the wind picking up, howling and baying like a wolf into the night. The first crack of lightning flashed across the night sky and within seconds, the rolling boom of thunder reverberated across the sky. Soon after, the rain began to fall, hitting the sidewalks and roads haphazardly. It pounded on the windows, almost as if seeking entrance.
Jeongguk was wide awake, trembling and huddled in his corner of the bed. Lightning flashed and it lit up the terror in his eyes. Jeongguk was driven close to tears and he felt like his heart was in his throat.
Jeongguk was petrified. He had always been deathly afraid of thunder, since he was young. A horrible childhood experience had left his scarred. He squeezed his eyes shut tightly and gripped the blanket with more force. Thunder rumbled deafeningly again and it startled Jeongguk so hard that Jimin began to stir.
“Jeongguk?” he asked sleepily, sitting up to face him. Jimin was instantly awake and his eyes widened immediately, when he caught sight of Jeongguk curled up beneath the blankets, almost reduced to tears. Jimin pushed the duvet aside and crawled over to Jeongguk. “Oh, Jeonggukie--”
Jimin reached over to pry Jeongguk’s hands off the duvet, pushing the thick blanket away and shushed Jeongguk when he made a noise of discomfort and reached for the duvet again. He intertwined his hands with Jeongguk’s and the latter fell silent almost immediately. “It’s alright, Jeonggukie. I’m here. I'm here so you don't have to worry about anything, okay?”
When Jeongguk had visibly calmed down, he pulled the duvet over the both of them, cocooning the both of them completely till no skin was exposed to the cold air. Jimin could still feel Jeongguk sniffling slightly, shivering every now and then and he snaked an arm around Jeongguk’s waist and pulled him close. Jeongguk felt better instantly, warm arms enveloping him in a warm embrace.
“Hyung, I’m scared,” Jeongguk managed to let out, gripping Jimin’s hand with more force as another roll of thunder sounded. His eyes were big, frightened and glossy-- anyone could tell he was seconds away from crying. Jimin murmured comforting words, saying that it would be over soon as he rubbed Jeongguk’s back in a repetitive calming motion.
Jeongguk realised that this was probably the most vulnerable Jimin had seen him this entire trip. It was quite an irrational phobia really, but Jeongguk had to live with it. Taehyung was there most of the times to help him get through it back in Seoul and Jeongguk was glad that Jimin was here with him now.
Eventually, the tremors died down, as did Jeongguk’s sniffles and Jimin kept whispering softly to him. Jeongguk had was drifting off to sleep in Jimin's warm embrace, his head tucked snugly between the elder’s neck and shoulder. Jimin smiled to himself before resting his cheek on Jeongguk’s head.
The last thing Jeongguk heard before he succumbed to sleep was Jimin whispering, “It’s my turn to take care of you now, Jeonggukie.”
The first thing Jeongguk felt when he woke up was warmth. Not the sweltering, hot and sweaty kind that made his body sticky. It was the kind that started from deep down inside and spread till the tips of his fingers. He opened his eyes slowly, peering at his semi-dark surroundings. He was in someone's arms and Jeongguk had to turn around to see who it was.
Jimin was still sound asleep, his mouth parted as he breathed softly, looking extremely plush and soft. His arms were loosely wound around Jeongguk, who had curled into him while sleeping. Jeongguk’s heart went into overdrive when he realised just exactly how close he was to Jimin. If he just leaned in a bit more, he would be able to taste Jimin on his lips. He must've fidgeted too much because Jimin had started to stir, beginning to wake up.
Jeongguk shut his eyes tightly immediately, not wanting to be caught staring at the other. He tried to keep his breathing normal, especially when he felt Jimin’s hand stroke his hair fondly, pushing his bangs out of his face. It was quiet and still for a moment or two before he felt the older male extract himself carefully from Jeongguk, trying not to wake him up although he was already wide awake, thoughts racing.
He heard Jimin shuffling around for a few minutes before he heard the bathroom door open and shut behind Jimin.
Jeongguk let out a long sigh, finally opening his eyes again and stared at the ceiling. He recalled how Jimin had taken care of him the night before, when he was a sobbing mess because of the thunderstorm. How embarrassing.
Jimin must’ve thought it was ridiculous that a grown man like him was still afraid of thunder. Even he found it ridiculous, but Jeongguk just couldn't help being afraid, since childhood.
Jeongguk muffled his scream of frustration with his pillow but stopped when another thought occurred to him.
He felt warm and tingly when he remembered how Jimin had held him till he had fallen asleep. How he had whispered that everything was going to be okay till he had stopped sniffling. How he had held onto Jeongguk even after he had fallen asleep.
On one hand, he was devastated that the other male had found out about his biggest vulnerability but as he slowly recalled the memories of the night before, he found that he didn’t care as much anymore. Jeongguk smiled to himself while his heart wondered why it was beating so fast at the mere thought of Park Jimin.
“So, where are we going today?”
“Where do you want to go today?” Jeongguk replied with a question of his own, sipping on his latte.
They were at a cafe opposite their hotel for breakfast that morning. Jimin was happily munching on some sandwiches Jeongguk had paid for. Jimin had glared at him, muttering about how sooner or later he was going to have to spend his money — he didn’t convert them to yen just for him to convert them back to won when they got back to Korea. Honestly, Jeongguk didn’t know why he was still paying for Jimin’s expenses. Maybe it was just a sense of gratitude or maybe it was just because he wanted to.
Jeongguk was glad that Jimin hadn’t brought up last night’s events either, and something told him that Jimin wouldn’t ever ask him about it till Jeongguk was the one to initiate the conversation.
Jimin furrowed his eyebrows at the sudden question thrown back at him. Jeongguk wanted to reach out and smoothen those crinkles of confusion between his brows.
“Taehyung-hyung and I only chose the location— we were gonna be spontaneous when we got here,” he explained.
Jimin nodded in understanding. “I don't really care where we go, you know. I’m just happy to be here in Tokyo.”
His eyes suddenly lit up. “What about—”
Almost as if he read his mind, Jeongguk cut him off, rolling his eyes. “No hyung, we’re not going to another Hello Kitty cafe.”
Jimin grumbled under his breath. He finished up his sandwich in a couple of bites, smiling happily with his eyes closed.
Jeongguk thought Jimin was the cutest person ever — he could literally eat him up.
“What about the Tokyo tower? I was reading about it before bed yesterday, the place seems super cool.”
“Looks like we’ve got our schedule for today settled, then,” Jeongguk replied, chucking his empty coffee cup into a nearby trash can. “C’mon hyung, we gotta leave now if we don't wanna get caught up in the tourist crowd during peak hour.”
The Tokyo Tower was only a stone’s throw away from the cafe they were currently situated at and the two of them decided some fresh morning air would do them good. It was a sunny day and the weather was particularly pleasant, with a cool breeze kissing their faces every now and then. Usually around this time, the sun would be scorching, like a cruel mistress beating down on her servants.
Instead today, she was acting kindly and humbly towards them. The ground beneath their feet was still wet with last night’s rainfall and they stumbled upon quite a few puddles of water.
Jimin pulled his hoodie over him tighter, tugging on the sleeves so they covered up his hands, when a particularly strong breeze whisked by. Jeongguk instinctively reached his hand out to find Jimin’s smaller one before he even realised what he was doing.
It had kind of become a habit, even though they were not recording right then, to hold each other’s hands outside. Usually though, Jimin would be the one to initiate the gesture and Jeongguk wouldn’t really think much of it. When what he had done had finally caught up to him, Jeongguk was embarrassed beyond words, and he used his other hand to tug the scarf around his neck and mouth higher up, in hopes that it would cover up his blushing, rosy cheeks.
Jeongguk felt more flustered than before when Jimin didn’t even hesitate before intertwining his hand with Jeongguk’s, the soft pads of his fingertips brushing against Jeongguk’s rougher and more calloused ones.
He flashed Jeongguk a huge, eye-blinding smile, his eyes crinkling into half crescents beautifully, and Jeongguk could have sworn his heart stopped beating all together.
“We’re so high up!” Jimin giggled, excitement oozing from his voice like a five year old. Jeongguk chuckled at his enthusiasm, wondering if he really was the older one between them. Jimin rushed over to the glass panel, placing his palms flat against the see through glass wall on either side of his head, peering out at the vast city made up of skyscrapers and tall structures in front of him. Jeongguk had his camera out, following Jimin’s every move, shifting every now and then to record the view outside.
It was safe to say that Jimin had become fully accustomed to the fact that he was being recorded by now, evident from the way he threw a blinding smile at the camera whenever he caught sight of it. Jeongguk tried super hard not to be too obvious and make it seem like Jimin was there for the sole reason of being in his film, he tried to be as discreet as possible. I can do this, stealth is my middle name.
Jimin pranced over to him, a smile still blossomed on his face. He pressed his face up close to the camera, shooting a goofy face at the lens. Jeongguk started laughing and it must have been infectious because only seconds later, Jimin started giggling along with him.
”You can’t use that in the final cut, alright?” Jimin said, after they’d finally calmed down from their laughing fit.
”I’ll see about that,” Jeongguk replies cheekily, earning him a hard punch on the shoulder.
“C’mon, Jeonggukie, let’s go to the other side! I think the view there is better,” Jimin said, tugging on Jeongguk’s sleeve before skipping off to the other side of the tower. Jeongguk told himself that the nickname was just a slip of the tongue because Jimin was so excited, but his heartbeat quickened its pace anyway.
Jeongguk smiled wistfully at Jimin’s figure. He released a soft sigh and shifted his gaze to the magnificent view outside, deciding to shoot it properly for the first time since they arrived. He had managed to get a few good shots before, but had always ended up getting distracted by Jimin standing closely next to him. Stars sparkled in his eyes as he gazed at the view below them, awed.
Jeongguk enjoyed Jimin’s company. A lot more than he would have liked to admit. And when the sad reality that they would be parting ways back in Seoul in two days hit him, Jeongguk couldn’t help the frown that made its way onto his face. He felt sour and his mood darkened, and Jeongguk couldn’t really tell why he was this affected by the thought of separating from someone he had met just a few days ago.
He snapped out of his thoughts when he heard Jimin calling him, beckoning him to come over. Jeongguk instantly felt like his troubles had vanished when he caught sight of Jimin - his beautiful smile, the way his eyes crinkled into almost nothing, the way his nose scrunched up in happiness.
Jeongguk pushed his worries and thoughts aside and let himself be consumed by Jimin’s beautiful smile.
"Oh, come on!"
“I’m not wearing that,” Jeongguk straight out refused, shaking his head firmly. “No way in hell.”
Jimin pouted, his eyes turning wide as disappointment shone through them. Jeongguk felt his resolve cracking and sighed. Dang it.
“Give it to me,” Jeongguk grumbled, snatching the pair of Mickey Mouse ears from Jimin and placing it on his head. Jimin instantly clapped his hands in glee, a smile breaking out on his face. Jeongguk couldn't help the smile on his own face either.
They were presently at Disneyland, having decided to spend their afternoon and night there. Jimin had bought matching pairs of mickey mouse ears for the pair of them, and had been trying to convince Jeongguk to wear one of them for the past ten minutes. Jeongguk rolled his eyes but his heart warmed when he saw how happy Jimin was. He would do the stupidest of things, go to the other ends of the world just to see that beautiful smile on Jimin’s face all the time.
Jeongguk felt ridiculous walking around in matching Mickey Mouse ears but assured himself that it was fine. It wasn't him being filmed anyway.
Jimin looked the happiest since they had decided to spend their vacation together, his eyes twinkling in excitement and delight as they walked, hands intertwined. Jeongguk had gotten used to the weight of the camera, being able to record with one hand easily now. Though, he didn’t find himself recording as often as he thought he would be. The camera was hanging from his neck half the time and Jeongguk had resorted to just taking in the sights around him with his eyes. When else would he be here at Disneyland again with someone like Jimin?
“Hyung,” Jeongguk called out, stopping by one of the attractions there. “You up for the mummy ride?”
Jimin stiffened ever so slightly, but the movement didn’t go unnoticed by Jeongguk who just smirked at the elder. Jimin’s eyes met Jeongguk’s ones and he frowned at the amusement swimming through them. He gulped slightly, looking away but still put on a brave front.
“Lead the way.”
Halfway through the ride, both of them were screaming. For completely opposite reasons though.
Jeongguk was yelling in excitement, exhilaration pumping across his veins as the ride took yet another sharp turn and they came face to face with a wall full of huge beetles crawling towards them.
Jimin was screaming too, but he had covered his eyes in fright with one of his hands, the other one gripping onto Jeongguk’s hand so hard, Jeongguk thought his blood circulation there must’ve been cut off since it was numb. Jimin cowered and huddled closer to Jeongguk as much as the safety bars around them let him.
They were nearing the end of the ride though, and Jeongguk couldn’t help but coo under his breath when Jimin huddled more into him, his breath coming out unevenly because of how fast his heart was beating. He looked to Jimin with a smile, his arm holding the older closer to him.
After exiting the ride, Jimin excused himself for a while to go to the washroom, looking quite pale. Jeongguk went to follow him but Jimin said he was fine and that he wouldn’t be gone longer than a minute or two. Jeongguk walked over to the photobooth attached to the mummy ride, glancing at the pictures there till he caught sight of the photo taken of the two of them at the end of the ride.
Jeongguk’s heart fluttered. Jimin’s small frame was covered by Jeongguk’s larger one, and he was hiding his face between Jeongguk’s neck and shoulder. Jeongguk was looking at Jimin so fondly, with hearts in his eyes that he had to look twice to confirm that it was even him in the first place.
Something about that photo warmed him so much and he didn’t hesitate another second before buying it to keep it as a memo for himself. As a memo of this trip.
As a memo of Park Jimin.
Jimin came back soon after, looking much better than he had before, his cheeks rosy and full of colour again. He linked his arms with Jeongguk’s and tugged him along to the next ride excitedly.
After going on several different rides, tasting local delicacies, shaking hands with life-sized Disney characters and even stopping by a photo-booth to take some candid snapshots of the two of them, Jeongguk found himself in front of their last destination for the day, with Jimin at hand.
Jimin seemed the most excited for this ride, obvious from how he couldn’t stop shifting and fidgeting in his spot as they neared their turn in the queue.
“It’s always been my dream to ride the teacups since young,” Jimin said wistfully. “Especially with someone I care about a lot.”
Before Jeongguk could process his words and ask him what he meant by that, Jimin tugged him along to one of the empty teacups, sitting opposite Jeongguk in the small circular compartment. He looked up with a huge, genuine smile at Jeongguk but it turned shy as soon as he caught sight of the camera filming him.
The ride started off slow and gradually increased its pace, swivelling at a deliciously dizzying pace. Jimin was smiling and laughing so hard, letting go of everything and enjoying himself to the fullest. Jimin looked so happy and Jeongguk decided that this moment was when he had ever found the older the most attractive .
Jimin looked the prettiest when he was being himself, with that beautiful smile that rivalled the thousands of lights in the city.
Jeongguk couldn’t help but feel like he was actually on a date with Jimin, and it didn’t help that Jimin slipped his hand into his at any chance he got, adding fuel to Jeongguk’s fantasy.
“How much longer?” Jimin asked, licking his grape-flavored popsicle happily. Jeongguk was munching on some chips which they had gotten at one of the snack shops there. The two of them were seated by the water, where the view was said to be the best for the fireworks display starting in a short while.
“Any second now,” Jeongguk replied, preparing his camera to get a good shot. As if they had heard him, the fireworks display started as soon as those words left his mouth. When the first firework exploded in the sky, Jimin cheered loudly, balancing his hand phone on one hand and his popsicle on the other to record the beautiful display in front of him.
Jeongguk felt a smile tug on his lips when he saw how it made the older male so happy. He could see the reflection of the shining, dazzling golden fireworks illuminating Jimin’s irises, making the male look more magical than usual.
“It’s beautiful, isn't it?” Jimin asked, turning to face Jeongguk with a giddy smile.
Jeongguk didn’t bother looking away this time. He couldn't care less about being caught staring at Jimin by Jimin. Without wavering, his eyes still locked with Jimin’s chocolate brown ones, Jeongguk replied steadily, “Yeah. It is.”
They sat in silence after that, not a word being exchanged as they watched the display gradually come to an end. Everyone gathered around slowly started to pack up and leave, while the two of them stared off into the distance quietly, the stars twinkling like fairy lights above their heads.
Jimin was the first to break the silence between them. “Jeongguk, I—”
He was cut off by an announcement informing visitors that the place was closing. Jimin stood up, dusting his pants. He turned to look at Jeongguk, his eyes filled with countless emotions Jeongguk could barely place a finger on. Jimin reached his hand out, offering it to Jeongguk who was still seated.
“Let’s go home, Jeonggukie.”
“You said home,” Jeongguk said flatly, staring at convenience store they were standing in front of. Jimin was smiling gleefully next to him.
“Hey, in my defense, I was planning on going back to the hotel but then a brilliant idea struck me and I couldn't just ignore it, you know?” Jimin retorted nonchalantntly. “I’m like an idea bank or something.”
“Yeah okay, hyung. If you say so.” That earned him a slap on the shoulder. Jeongguk trailed in after Jimin, not really sure why they were at a local convenience store at one in the morning. Jimin looked like he was searching for something intently and he stopped in his tracks suddenly, causing Jeongguk to bump into him. He grumbled under his breath.
Jimin still had that gleeful look on his face and he rubbed his hands in sheer delight. There, in front of them was a huge assortment of different flavored sake in every shape and size Jeongguk could have ever imagined.
“This. This right here is the true taste of Tokyo.”
Jimin placed two bottles in their basket, while Jeongguk dropped some chocolate biscuits in. Jimin tugged the basket away from Jeongguk and placed it on the checkout counter. “I’m paying this time, Jeongguk. There’s nothing you can say to change my mind.”
After paying for their purchases, they took a stroll along the street, enjoying the beautiful night till Jimin plonked down on one of the roadside benches. He gestured for Jeongguk to sit next to him, patting the empty space impatiently.
Jeongguk shuffled closer and sat down, accepting the bottle of sake Jimin was offering him. “It’s peach flavour. Those tourism sites always say it's the typical flavour everyone gets but I mean there’s a reason why it’s so popular right?”
“Hyung, you sure you don't wanna do this back in our room in the hotel? Why the hell do you think it's a good idea to get drunk in the middle of the street?”
Jimin patted his hair, tutting slightly. Jeongguk grumbled at Jimin for messing up his hair and ducked to get away from him. “Oh, Jeongguk. Always so glum. Why don't you live a little?”
He was not glum.
In retaliation to Jimin’s statement, Jeongguk opened the bottle and took a huge swig. The sweet taste of peaches hit him at the back of throat and Jeongguk felt energised, felt like he could take on anything in the world. “Hey, you were right! This stuff’s pretty good.”
Jimin looked at him worriedly. He tried to get the bottle back from Jeongguk. “Hey, buddy? Maybe you should take it easy. Uh, that stuff’s pretty strong, you know. I think it's stronger than soju, actually.”
Jeongguk waved Jimin off, pulling the bottle closer to his chest, with no intention of letting go. Jimin couldn’t tell him what to do. Jeongguk could do whatever the heck he wanted to. He gulped down more of the delicious pink liquid in the bottle and smiled happily, already feeling slightly light-headed.
“Somehow, I thought the situation would be reversed,” Jimin muttered, more to himself than anyone as he finally managed to get the bottle of sake from Jeongguk’s possession.
Jeongguk let him take it without a fight although a few sounds of disapproval escaped him and he made grabby hands at the air in front of him. Jeongguk felt like he was floating and he giggled slightly when he saw something akin to a cotton ball drifting in the air. He grabbed at it, enclosing his palms securely around to keep it from flying away. “Jiminie, look! I caught a fairy! A real life fairy!”
Jeongguk opened his palms slightly to peek inside before dissolving in a fit of giggles again. “It’s so fluffy!”
Jimin rolled his eyes but cracked a smile anyway. “How the heck you manage to be so cute even when you’re wasted is really a wonder.”
Jimin latched his arm onto Jeongguk’s and pulled him up till he was standing. Jeongguk’s knees wobbled and his legs would’ve given out if it hadn’t been for Jimin supporting him. Jeongguk peered at Jimin’s face. He had really long and thick eyelashes.
“That's a weird thing to say, Jeongguk, but thanks.” Jimin chuckled.
Oh no. Had he said that out loud? It was meant to be in his head. Why was his inside voice not working? He probably needed to get that checked out or something, it was a serious problem.
“You’re still talking out loud about yourself, by the way. And honestly, no one would take you seriously if you say you want to get your inside voice checked out at a hospital, Jungkook.”
They were crossing the street now and Jimin made sure to take carefully measured steps so that they both wouldn’t end up tumbling to the floor. Jeongguk pouted to himself. Jiminie was mean.
Jimin just chuckled.
When they finally made it back to their room, Jimin fumbled his pockets for a key card but realised it was with Jeongguk. He looked over to the other male who was slumped against the door to their room, murmuring something about a fairy king coming after Jimin and unleashing his wrath.
Jimin crouched in front of Jeongguk. Jeongguk looked at Jimin curiously. He reached out to bop the other male on his nose, giggling when Jimin almost fell from the sudden gesture. Jimin sighed.
“Jimin,” Jeongguk mimicked cheekily, a knowing grin on his face that made Jimin wonder if he really was drunk or not.
“Where's the room keycard Jeongguk-ah?” Jimin asked, his eyebrows furrowing. Jeongguk feigned innocence and peered at Jimin with enlarged eyes. “I don't know.”
“Jeongguk, it's almost 2AM and I’m really fucking tired so give me the keycard.”
Jeongguk turned his head away, crossing his arms slightly. “No.”
Jimin huffed in annoyance. “I take it back. You’re not cute. You’re an absolutely infuriating drunk person.”
Jimin tackled Jeongguk to the floor, searching his pockets for the card to their room. The other male put up a weaker but still good fight. He finally found the card in Jeongguk’s back pocket and smiled victoriously. Jimin heard someone gasp and turned his head back slightly. An elderly woman scuttled past the two of them, her face marred with something akin to shock and disgust. It was then, that Jimin realised just how compromising their position was. He was almost straddling Jeongguk at this point and his hand was well, in Jeongguk’s back pocket. He scrambled back to the other side of the hallway after retrieving the keycard to calm down his furiously beating heart.
Jeongguk heard the distinctive beep of a room door unlocking and felt himself being dragged along and then suddenly he was falling. What was going on? This was not his bedroom, where was he? Was he being kidnapped? Holy shit, no! He was too young to have the rest of his days snatched away from him like that. Why did his body feel so heavy? Why did his eyelids feel like lead? He must’ve been drugged. That's totally the reason. Jeongguk pushed himself up to a sitting position.
“Help!” He practically yelled at the top of his voice. “Someone! I’ve been kidnapped! Hel-”
His voice came out all muffled when a warm hand clasped over his mouth. His eyes locked with a familiar pair of brown ones.
“Why the fuck are you yelling!? The neighbours are gonna wake up.”
When Jimin finally removed his hand, Jeongguk all but burst out. “Jimin! Did they kidnap you too?! C’mon we gotta get out of here.”
Jimin put his finger to his lips, looking at Jeongguk expectantly. Jeongguk followed suit and put a finger to his own lips, eyes growing comically wider like a deer caught in headlight. The whole situation was hilarious, really, but neither of them were in the mood to crack a smile. Maybe one day, when they looked back on this trip they'd be rolling on the floor, their stomachs hurting from laughing too much. Not right now, though.
“No one kidnapped you, Jeongguk. I think you should sleep this off. Here, take this.”
Jeongguk accepted the warm glass of water from Jimin, gulping it down along with the pill on Jimin’s outstretched palm. Jeongguk wasn’t in the right mind around and process what was happening but went along with whatever Jimin said anyway. He felt Jimin place a pillow under his head, tucking him in.
And then the exhaustion got to him and he drifted off to slumberland.
Jeongguk groaned as the first rays of sunshine hit his eyes. He rubbed them blearily, sitting up. His head was pounding and it felt like someone was repeatedly whacking his head with a hammer. With a hand clutching his head, he pulled the duvets off him and trudged to the kitchen where Jimin was making breakfast, humming to himself. He dragged the chair to the dining table and plonked down noisily, attracting Jimin’s attention.
“Good. You’re up! I was just gonna wake you up myself. How’re you feeling, bud?”
“Like stabbing myself in the eye repeatedly. With a fork.”
“Normal, then.” Jimin chuckled and passed a pill to Jeongguk along with a glass of water. “Take that. It’s for the headache.”
Jeongguk mumbled a quick thanks and gulped the pill down with water. Jimin placed a bowl of steaming liquid in front of him with some plain crackers and Jeongguk had to admit that the smell wafting from it was absolutely delicious. “It’s chicken soup. I read somewhere that it's supposed to help with the hangover. Who the hell asked you to empty that entire bottle of sake?”
“Don't remind me of alcohol-- Ugh, I feel sick.” Jeongguk took a sip of the soup and marvelled at how the flavour exploded on his taste buds. "Where did you even get chicken meat from?"
“The convenience store, remember? I woke up a bit earlier to get us some stuff.” Jimin sat down in the chair opposite Jeongguk with his own bowl of soup and crackers. Jeongguk nodded to his reply and continued slurping down the heavenly soup. “This is really delicious, hyung. It’s so good.”
Jimin smiled in reply, his cheeks turning slightly pink from the compliment. Jeongguk glanced at the other male. “Was I any trouble yesterday? I’m so sorry in advance, hyung.”
Jimin snorted at that. “You weren't that bad. I mean other than babbling on for hours about fairies and then refusing to give me the room key which led me to tackling you in the middle of the hallway to thinking someone kidnapped you and screaming at the top of your voice-- nothing much really. Oh, and I had to account for your screaming when someone from the hotel staff came to check on us because one of our neighbours had complained to them that I was assaulting you or something.”
Jeongguk groaned out loud. This was so embarrassing. He wanted the ground to open up and swallow him whole while he wallowed in self pity. He dropped his head against the table, causing the plates and cutlery to clatter loudly.
“I’m a horrible, horrible person.”
Jimin picked up their bowls and used cutlery and placed them in the sink before walking over to Jeongguk and patting his back sympathetically. “It’s our last day here. Let’s go have some fun, Jeongguk-ah!”
After making sure they were properly dressed for the day’s cool weather, the pair of them left their room, making sure to lock it behind them. It was reported that that day would be chilly and Jeongguk had refused to leave the room till Jimin was wrapped in multiple layers of clothing and scarves.
“I look like an obese snowman who had too many servings of rice pudding,” Jimin deadpanned as they stepped into the lobby.
“No, you look cute,” Jeongguk cooed, pinching Jimin’s cheeks. Jimin swatted his hands away, instead grumbling under his breath as a pout made its way onto his lips. Jeongguk didn’t hesitate before he intertwined his hands with Jimin’s, swinging then slightly as they walked into the streets.
The icy wind kissed Jeongguk’s cheeks, biting at them playfully. It was quite amazing how the weather changed so quickly, just a few days ago it had been pouring and the day before the sun had been beating down on them. That day, it was chilly but not to the point that Jeongguk’s lips turned blue or his teeth chattered. It was a subtle and pleasant change of the weather from the previous few days.
“Let’s go to that lake we saw yesterday,” Jeongguk suggested. “Unless you wanna go somewhere else?”
Jimin shook his head. “I’ll follow you wherever you go.”
Jeongguk tried not to let what Jimin said get to his heart too much. He walked with renewed energy and a bounce in his steps.
Jimin followed suit when Jeongguk purchased a loaf of bread from a snack shop nearby, confusion swimming in his eyes but he didn’t say anything. Jeongguk passed the bread to Jimin as he took a shot of the beautiful lake and its healing visuals. He spotted a mother duck swimming in the lake, its babies swimming in tail behind her.
“Hyung, look how cute--”
Jeongguk was cut off by Jimin’s shriek. He whipped around immediately to see if Jimin was in danger. Jimin chucked the loaf of bread at Jeongguk and ran behind him to hide, his eyes wide in horror. “Jeongguk! Get those yellow spawns of satan away from me!”
Jeongguk took a second to process what Jimin had just said. Jimin waved his hand menacingly at one of the ducks that was waddling towards them, trying to get it to go away. “Do something!” Jimin all but yelled at Jeongguk.
Jeongguk looked between the slowly advancing duck and the petrified Jimin for a second before he burst out laughing. He was laughing so hard he almost fell over and had to grab onto one of the metal poles nearby to keep steady. He wiped the corner of his eye to get rid of the tears that had started to form as he finally calmed down a bit. Jimin was afraid of ducks?
This had to be the best thing Jeongguk had ever heard of.
Well, maybe second best. Nothing could beat Taehyung admitting to losing one of his shoes in the drain while trying to look for Pennyworth after watching It -- he had had to hop his way back home on one foot.
Jeongguk was sure his face was red from how hard he had been laughing and he almost broke out into laughter once again when he saw how hard Jimin was glaring, the glare alternating between Jeongguk and the duck.
“Okay, okay, hyung. Calm down,” Jeongguk said, his eyes twinkling with mirth and amusement.
He opened the plastic wrapping and tore off a chunk of the bread, throwing it away from where Jimin was frozen in fear. The duck seemed satisfied with that and waddled away to gobble down the piece of bread. Jeongguk quickly tore the rest of the loaf into thinner pieces and threw them towards the lake where a small gathering of yellow had formed.
Jeongguk motioned for Jimin to come next to him and the other male hesitated for a second before slowly inching forward. Jeongguk offered him a piece of bread and Jimin stared at it like it was his worst enemy. After a bit more of Jeongguk’s beckoning, Jimin took it reluctantly and threw it towards the ducks. He cracked a small smile when one of the baby ducks pecked at the piece he had thrown curiously. Jimin loosened up slightly and threw the remaining pieces towards the ducks, his eyes darting to the ground every now and then to make sure that no duck came too close to him.
He gripped Jeongguk’s arm tightly when one of the ducks quacked loudly, looking in their direction and Jeongguk worried that his blood circulation might be cut off from how hard Jimin was holding onto him.
Jimin tugged Jeongguk away from the place after a while, his face still wary of any ducks that might waddle up to him. Jeongguk chuckled and Jimin fixed him with a glare that could have killed him.
“It’s not funny! Stop laughing at me. Those annoying yellow creatures could've been the death of me. They're gonna peck away at my soul till there's nothing left of me but a shell of who I was before!”
“Yeah sure, hyung. Obviously, you're gonna die because of ducks,” Jeongguk mocked and Jimin shushed him, looking around worriedly.
“Don't say their name like that! They might hear you!” Jimin hissed as he dragged a very amused Jeongguk away from the lake.
They kept walking till they were back on the busy streets of Tokyo, with cars whirring past in every direction. It seemed like the colour had only then returned to Jimin’s face and Jeongguk wanted nothing more than to hold Jimin in his arms and coo about how adorable he was but he worried that the other man might chop up his arms or something if he did that.
They had lunch at a simple restaurant close by and then resumed their exploration on the streets. The wind had picked up and Jeongguk felt his fingers turn cold. He had given his only pair of gloves to Jimin who had refused to take them at first but gave in at Jeongguk’s insistence. Jeongguk slipped his hands into his jacket pockets, hoping to keep them warm, but it didn’t really help. He instead opted to rubbing them together slowly to generate heat.
Jimin must’ve noticed because he reached down and enveloped Jeongguk’s hands with his own gloved ones. He brought them up higher, closer to his face and blew on them before rubbing them with his warm gloved hands. Jeongguk felt warm and fuzzy on the inside and it wasn’t because his hands weren’t freezing anymore. He watched Jimin scrunch his nose in concentration as he blew on their hands before cupping them to keep them warm. He felt his heart leap in his chest when Jimin’s chocolate brown eyes locked with his, gaze intense. Jeongguk hadn’t even realised Jimin had asked him a question till he made out that Jimin’s lips were moving.
“Do you feel better now, Jeonggukie?”
“Yeah, hyung. Thanks.”
A satisfied smile appeared on Jimin’s face. “This is why I told you to keep the gloves. You never listen to me,” he huffed. Jeongguk just shot Jimin an incredulous smile as they resumed walking again.
“No way.” Jimin stopped walking, peering at something written on one of the cafes they were passing by.
“What?” Jeongguk asked, craning his neck to see what had stumped Jimin. His eyes ran across all the posters and signs by the cafe till one in particular caught his eye.
Free dessert for couples!
Opening offer available for limited time only.
Terms & conditions apply.
“Aw, come on! Please, Jeonggukie!” Jimin whined. “Quick put your hand around me! We’re doing this.”
“It’s not like we have not done this before,” Jimin said, raising an eyebrow, challenging him.
Jeongguk looked at Jimin’s eyes shining with mirth and decided that he didn’t have another say in this because the next thing he knew, he was being dragged into the little cafe by Jimin, their hands interlocked.
“Hi! Is the offer for couples still available?” Jimin asked the lady at the counter with a sweet smile. The woman seemed no older than the two of them and she narrowed her eyes suspiciously as she stared between the two of them. Jimin pulled Jeongguk closer. The woman looked down to check something. “Yeah, it is. If you'll just take a seat, sir, we’ll bring it to you shortly.”
Jimin thanked her and pulled Jeongguk away from the counter with a hand on his hip. They settled in one of the tables at the corner of the restaurant. Jeongguk shuffled to the corner of the seat while Jimin squeezed in next to him. “Hyung! There’s so much space on the other side. Why’d you have to sit--”
“I don't think they're buying it, Jeongguk.” Jimin fidgeted nervously, peeking out at the counter. “We have to do something.”
Jeongguk’s eyes widened when Jimin suddenly grabbed his jaw till he was facing him. He froze when Jimin leaned in closer, so close that Jeongguk could feel his warm breath on his own lips. Jimin inched forward slowly and landed a small but chaste kiss on Jeongguk’s lips. He pulled back and turned away before Jeongguk even had time to process what had happened. Jeongguk’s heart was beating so fast that he thought it might just jump out of his chest. He felt butterflies, scrap that, the whole entire zoo as he tried to process what had just happened. Jeongguk honestly felt like he was going to combust.
His attention zeroed in on Jimin when he clapped his hands in happiness and triumph as a waiter brought over a set of rice puddings for the two of them. Jimin seemed unbothered by the fact that they had just kissed and instead dug into his pudding, motioning for Jeongguk to do the same.
Jeongguk could tell that Jimin had only kissed him for the sake of the dessert and his heart fell at that. He pushed his feelings away and instead focused on how happy Jimin looked. As long as Jimin was happy, Jeongguk would be fine. Even if it meant that his own heart would break along the way.
“Let’s go to the beach!” Jimin suggested. “We can get a good view of the sunset there.”
And that’s where they went.
“I can't believe we’re in the land of the rising sun, watching the sun set,” Jeongguk said flatly, fixing up his camera lens as they padded across the grainy sand. Jimin shrugged, glancing at Jeongguk.
“Not my fault that you wake up so late, brat.”
The beach was soft blow Jeongguk’s feet. Tips of shells peeked out from holes, made by tiny critters seeking shelter in the sand. Dunes of soft beige dust were soon to be soaked by the vast sea, slowly creeping its way further on to the shore. The sun’s rays shone above the waters, becoming duller by the second although an array of colours presented itself instead. The sky was a mix of pink and orange hues and Jeongguk marveled at the beauty of the sky. It was a healing sight and Jeongguk heard Jimin sigh audibly as they took in the mesmerising visuals.
Throwing his scarf and gloves on the sand, Jimin straightened up and rushed towards the water suddenly, beckoning for Jeongguk to follow after him. Jeongguk kicked off his shoes and followed suit, wondering what in the world Jimin had in store now, but not before filming the breathtaking sunset and Jimin’s silhouette near the shore.
As soon as Jeongguk got close enough, Jimin cupped the sea water in his hands and splashed it playfully at him. It him square in the face and he spluttered, the salty sea water making him cringe as Jimin doubled over in laughter. He wiped his face with his hand as a devilish smirk made its way onto his face. Jimin must've noticed because the smile dropped from his face as he slowly backed away from Jeongguk, gulping visibly.
“Hey, Jeongguk-- C’mon, I was just playing! Don’t b-be like this to your hyun-- Aaaah!” Jimin yelled as Jeongguk threw him over his shoulder. “Hey! Put me down, you fiend!”
Jeongguk delivered a gentle but firm slap to Jimin’s ass as he trudged away from the water. Jimin stilled immediately. On one hand, while he really wanted to throw Jimin into the water, he didn’t want to risk the other male catching a cold. He dropped Jimin on his feet near their mat and Jimin just stared at him quietly, appraising him for a few seconds, before turning on his heels and running away.
“I wanna go somewhere,” he yelled, cupping his hands around his mouth. “Catch me if you can!”
Jeongguk wasn't one to back down from a challenge.
“This is where you wanted to come?” Jeongguk asked in disbelief, staring at the place Jimin had dragged him to in the middle of the night. “A deserted playground, hyung? Really?”
Jimin slapped him on his shoulder. “Lighten up, will you? When was the last time you came to a playground, huh?”
“When I was ten,” Jeongguk deadpanned. “You know, the age you usually are when you come to places like this?”
Jimin just rolled his eyes at Jeongguk’s behavior. He grabbed onto Jeongguk’s arm and ran toward the swing set excitedly. He plopped down on one of the swings, gesturing for Jeongguk to push him from behind.
Jeongguk grumbled slightly, but went along with Jimin’s request anyway. He put the camera in its bag securely, placing it by the foot of the swing before pushing the swing, slowly at first and then gradually with more force. Jimin was laughing again, his mouth open in delight as the wind brushed past his face every time he went up. He yelled when Jeongguk pushed particularly hard one time but it dissolved into giggles soon after. Jeongguk was smiling along too, without even realizing he was.
Truth be told, Jeongguk had never felt this happy before. Sure he had had some good times that had made him laugh out loud or beam in delight, but nothing had ever come close to how he had been feeling throughout this trip. Because of Jimin. He honestly felt like he could conquer the world with Jimin by his side and the thought scared him. How could he be so smitten with someone he had just met?
Jeongguk could’ve filmed this, could’ve filmed their late night endeavors to add it to his travelogue but he chose not to. He wanted to keep this part of Jimin for himself, he didn’t want anyone else to see Jimin like this. Jeongguk felt an almost possessive flare burn in him.
This side of Jimin was for his eyes only.
Said male, asked to be brought down and Jeongguk tried to clear his mind that was still buzzing with thoughts. He brought the swing to a stop slowly, trying not to hurt the other male. Jimin got up slowly, but he must’ve still been slightly disoriented because he tripped on his own leg and fell. Jeongguk shot out immediately to catch him, almost like a reflex reaction and the two of them hit the rubber flooring of the playground with a thud, with Jimin in Jeongguk’s arms.
“Oh! Are you alright, Jeonggukie?” Jimin asked, voice muffled by Jeongguk’s jacket in his face. “I’m sorry, here--”
He made a move to get up but Jeongguk held him in place, not letting him get away. He moved closer till his lips were brushing Jimin’s ears. He felt the older male stiffened slightly. “Lay down with me for a bit, hyung. It’s a beautiful night today.”
Jimin didn’t react for a second but then relaxed in Jeongguk’s hold, resting his head on Jeongguk’s outstretched arm as they both looked up at the night sky. Sequin-silver stars like the scattered embers of a dying flame winked down at them, illuminating the dark curtain of sky.
Jimin sighed out aloud in content, before breaking the silence. “The past few days have been the worst and the best days of my life.”
“Worst because I thought I got a shot at my dreams but then that came crashing down,” Jimin said, chuckling bitterly. He sat up, crossing his arms over his knees and rested his head on them. Jeongguk followed suit, sitting upright beside Jimin slowly, wondering where exactly this was going.
“Best because,” Jimin paused, turning away from the sky to meet Jeongguk’s eyes. “I met you.”
Jeongguk’s breath hitched in his throat and he swore that his heart skipped a beat. He could feel the sincerity oozing out from Jimin, there was so much emotion swimming in those chocolate brown eyes of his.
“You know, I meant what I said before,” Jimin continued, voice so shy and soft that Jeongguk almost missed it. “The time we spent together means so much to me. You mean a lot to me, Gukkie.”
When had Jimin started calling him that?
“On one hand, I’m sad that I was conned and made a fool of but on the other hand, I’m glad I lost my ticket, I’m glad I ran into you-- heck, I’m even glad that those guys tricked me. If it wasn't for that, I wouldn't have met you.”
“So forgive me if I’m reading this wrong but,” Jimin paused, a pretty pink blush dusting his cheeks in the dim street lamp light. He leaned forward and pecked Jeongguk’s cheek with his soft lips lightly, lingering for a second or two. “Thank you.”
Silence ensued after that. When Jeongguk didn’t respond for more than a while, Jimin’s face fell and he turned away, getting ready to leave, dejection written all over his face. Jeongguk’s arm shot out to grab Jimin’s arm. He glided his hand over Jimin’s arm, folding them over his hand. His fingers laced with Jimin’s, palms kissing. Jeongguk could feel the fast thud of the other man’s heart through this single touch.
And he was pleased to find out that it was beating as fast as his own, if not faster.
“Thank god you said it first because I really suck at confessions.” Jeongguk pulled Jimin closer in a warm and tight embrace, resting his chin in the crook of Jimin’s neck. “I like you a lot, hyung. It scares me how much I like you.”
Jimin huddled closer to him if that was even possible and Jeongguk could almost feel the happiness Jimin was radiating.
They sat like that, in silence for a while, without a word exchange. There was no need to; they understood each other perfectly under the dazzling night sky.
“Hyung?” Jeongguk asked suddenly, causing Jimin’s head to snap up to him. “Can you sing something for me?”
Jimin blushed, slightly taken aback by the sudden request. Jeongguk stammered, scratching the back of his neck nervously. “You don't h-have to if you don't want to, hyung.”
Jimin shook his head, a determined smile on his face. “No, it's okay. I want to. For you.”
He took in a deep breath, closing his eyes as he let a beautiful melody spill from his lips. Jeongguk was in awe. Jimin had a beautiful voice, one almost sweeter and prettier than Jimin himself. As he let the tune out, Jimin’s head fell back and he relaxed, letting himself unwind.
Jeongguk fell under the bewitching and mesmerising spell that was Jimin’s voice, feeling himself fall for the man in his arms even more so. When Jimin was done, Jeongguk couldn’t help but whisper praises to the said male. Jimin blushed, basking in the light of Jeongguk’s comments when he suddenly whipped his handphone out, gesturing for Jeongguk to come closer. "Let's take a photo together!"
They smiled brightly at the camera as Jimin took a few snaps, after which Jimin leaned back and rested his head on Jeongguk’s shoulder and they lapsed into a comfortable silence. Jeongguk felt Jimin’s head drooping. He was dozing off, how adorable. He supported the older male as much as he could so that he wouldn't feel uncomfortable. Jeongguk leaned closer to Jimin, their hands still tightly linked together. “Jiminie-hyung? Hey, c’mon, let's go back to our room.”
Jimin had been too exhausted to walk on his own, not even having the strength in his muscles to stand up. Jeongguk heaved him up and onto his back, deciding to piggyback the older male the rest of the way back. Jimin rested his head comfortably on Jeongguk’s broad back, sticking to the younger like a koala to an eucalyptus tree. “Gukkie?”
“You have some really nice back muscles.”
Jeongguk chuckled to himself.
Jimin was so cute. “Thanks, hyung.”
He got some odd looks of course, some double takes even, but Jeongguk shrugged them off and made his way steadily back to their room. He struggled with opening the door, especially because one of his hands was still intertwined with Jimin’s. Somehow, he managed and closed the room door behind him with the heel of his foot. Jimin was completely silent and Jeongguk thought he must’ve fallen asleep. With minimum noise and movement, Jeongguk removed Jimin’s shoes followed by his own before making his way to the bed.
He placed Jimin on the bed and pulled the duvet over him till he was completely covered and warm. There was a serene and almost peaceful look on Jimin’s face and Jeongguk thought he looked beautiful. He made a move to get away, to wash up when he felt something holding him back. Jeongguk realised his hand was still tightly enclosed in Jimin’s and smiled fondly. He gently pried Jimin’s fingers from his own when he felt Jimin stir from where he was on the bed. Jimin’s eyes fluttered and he stared at Jeongguk, eyes half-lidded with fatigue. He tightened his hold on Jeongguk’s hand again, tugging him lightly.
“Stay with me, Jeongguk. Don’t go,” Jimin mumbled sleepily. “Please.”
And who was Jeongguk to refuse him? He got under the duvets, settling comfortably beside Jimin as the other male shifted slightly to make space. Jeongguk brushed the hair out of Jimin’s face, reaching down to peck his forehead fondly. A small smile blossomed on Jimin’s face and he hugged Jeongguk closer, resting his head near Jeongguk’s chest.
Jeongguk hadn’t realised how exhausted he himself had been until he felt himself dozing off with Jimin in his arms, heart warm and buzzing with happiness. The last thing he heard before succumbing to sleep was Jimin’s sweet voice.
“I like you a lot too, Jeonggukie.”
Waking up with someone else in his arms was something Jeongguk had never experienced before. At least, not until the past few days, that is. Jeongguk’s eyes flew open only to be met with Jimin’s eyelashes almost poking them out. Jeongguk steeled when he realised just how close the two of them were. One was breathing in the air the other one let out. Jeongguk could count the number of tiny freckles littered across Jimin’s face. He was that close.
Jimin had still got his fingers threaded through Jeongguk’s, exhaling softly in his sleep. He felt something warm blossom and bloom in his chest when he saw the calm look on Jimin’s face as he slept. He could totally get used to this. Lightly, Jeongguk traced Jimin’s cheek, his fingertips dancing along his angled cheekbones. The sunlight was being reflected on Jimin face, making him glow ever more like an angel. He must’ve been staring for an awfully long time because soon after, Jimin’s eyes fluttered open, those chocolates depths locking with his Jeongguk’s. A small, sleepy smile blossomed on Jimin’s face.
“Hi,” Jeongguk replied with an identical and matching smile on his face. When neither of them said anything else after that, Jimin smiled harder, the tight lipped smile growing to a full blown grin.
“You’re staring,” he commented.
“So are you.”
Jimin hummed in reply as if to say fair enough, biting his bottom lip with his teeth. His eyes didn’t drift away from Jeongguk’s though and Jeongguk felt this sudden overwhelming need to know how those plush lips would feel on his. He wondered if Jimin felt the same because he finally, finally let his eyes wander down to Jeongguk’s lips.
“Hyung?” Jeongguk asked, deciding that he couldn’t wait any longer.
“I really want to kiss you now.”
Jimin mustn't have expected that because his eyes snapped back to Jeongguk and he swallowed hard. He licked his lips unconsciously, wetting them with his tongue. “I haven't even brushed my teeth yet.”
“Is that your only concern?”
When Jimin nodded in reply, Jeongguk leaned down and placed a chaste kiss on his lips. It was so fast and sudden, that it was gone before Jimin even realised it was there. Jeongguk pulled back quickly, staring at the other, measuring his reaction.
“Okay?” Jeongguk asked carefully.
Jimin gaped at Jeongguk before he fixed him with a look of absolute disappointment. “Really, Gukkie? That was like kissing your grandma.”
“Oh, so you wanna play like this, huh?”
Before Jimin could get another word out, Jeongguk had flipped them over, had him pinned to the bed by his shoulders, with nothing but determination written across his face. “I’m gonna kiss the shit out of you, baby.”
Jimin managed to scoff right before Jeongguk swooped down again, meeting his lips with renewed confidence and vigour. He slid lips against Jimin’s plush and soft ones insistently but gently. He felt Jimin’s muscles under his hands, taut with nerves and he slowly rubbed at them reassuringly until Jimin literally melted in his touch and relaxed into the kiss, making a small noise of happiness at the back of his throat. Jeongguk hummed in approval, letting his tongue graze Jimin’s bottom lip subtly before pulling back.
It was over all too soon and they stared at each other with flushed cheeks, out of breath and panting. Jeongguk leaned forward to press their foreheads together, smiling fondly. Jimin’s eyes twinkled.
“Does this mean we’re dating now…?” Jeongguk trailed off hesitantly, furrowing his eyebrows slightly.
Jimin gave him a look.
“Just shut up and kiss me again, you dork.”
Jeongguk grinned, his insides melting away at the warm feeling erupting. “I take that as a yes?”
Rolling his eyes, Jimin huffed in reply and pulled Jeongguk down towards him, planting their lips together again. What started off slow and sweet gradually turned more aggressive and Jeongguk felt the possessive side in him make an appearance. Jimin was pressed up against him in ways he could have only imagined in his dreams. His fingers danced across Jeongguk’s neck, lightly skimming the skin there and Jeongguk found himself liking it a lot.
Several flushed and heated kisses later, a flustered Jeongguk pushed Jimin away lightly by the chest, muttering that they still had a flight to catch. Jimin groaned in protest but got up anyway, rushing to the shower before Jeongguk got the chance to, sticking his tongue out childishly when he did.
“Where’s my suitcase?” Jimin whined impatiently as Jeongguk retrieved his own suitcase from the conveyor belt back at Incheon airport.
“You lost it, remember?” Jeongguk reminded him. Jimin stilled as a thoughtful expression appeared on his face. “Right. I knew that.”
Jeongguk chuckled and ruffled Jimin’s hair adoringly. Jimin scowled at him and swatted his hand away. “Sometimes, I wonder if I really am the hyung in this relationship.”
Jeongguk grinned. “Yeah, I wonder that too.”
That earned him a slap on his shoulder. Jeongguk linked their arms together as they exited the arrival terminal. Jimin stopped him as soon as they were near a secluded corner where no one could really see them. “Kiss me.”
Jeongguk looked around warily. “Here, hyung? Anyone can see us.”
Jimin sighed in frustration before pulling Jeongguk towards him so that their lips met. Jeongguk was surprised for a mere second only before his lips moved back in sync, dancing along with Jimin’s lips. Jimin’s hand snaked up to intertwine with Jeongguk’s at his chest and Jeongguk wondered if Jimin could feel how fast it was beating.
Jeongguk broke apart when he heard the familiar ringtone that his annoying best friend had set and decided to ignore it, diving back to lock their lips again.
“Jeongguk? Aha! I thought I heard your phone. What are you doing in the corner-- Whoops! I-oh fuck. Um, shit sorry! Oh my god!”
Taehyung covered his eyes with one hand but made no move to turn around or move away. Jimin shifted away to stand beside Jeongguk, fidgeting nervously as he watched Taehyung.
“Why are you bothering to cover your eyes with your hand when you're clearly peeking through the spaces between your fingers, Taehyung?” Jeongguk asked, pinching the bridge of his nose in exasperation.
Taehyung dropped his hands, grinning sheepishly, clearly caught in the act. He put his hand out in front of Jimin, possibly to shake Jimin’s hand but reached to grab Jimin’s hands in his when the other male made no move to reciprocate the action. Taehyung shook Jimin’s hand much too enthusiastically, his signature boxy grin making an appearance. “Nice to meet you, I’m Taehyung!”
Jimin cleared his throat awkwardly. “I know who you are.”
Taehyung froze at that, he peered at Jimin’s face, scrutinizing it for a while before another excited smile broke out on his face, much more brighter than before.
“I know you! You’re that geeky kid with huge black spectacles who used to sit behind me during music practical!” Jeongguk slapped Taehyung's shoulder. “What was your name again? Jimmy? Minnie? J-dawg?”
“It’s Jimin, actually,” Jimin said, a smile threatening to spill at Taehyung’s ridiculous antics. Taehyung enveloped Jimin in a tight hug, squeezing the life out of him. Jimin looked to Jeongguk with a pleading expression, whispering something lines of help me. Jeongguk raised his arms as if to say you're on your own for this one.
Taehyung finally let go of Jimin and the poor man struggled to breathe, gulping air into his deprived lungs. Jimin startled when Taehyung held onto him by his shoulders and leaned in. His eyes that were once filled with mirth and playfulness were now serious and intimidating. Taehyung leaned closer till his nose was almost touching Jimin’s, his eyes narrowed.
“You hurt him, I hurt you,” he whispered in a deathly silent voice, his face void of any signs of humour.
Taehyung move back just as quick and grinned his big boxy smile again, no trace of the aforementioned venom or seriousness on his face. Jeongguk didn’t know whether to laugh or cry when he saw how taken aback Jimin looked. He almost looked like he had shat his pants.
That's Kim Taehyung for you. Still, Jeongguk thought it wasn’t right of him to scare his boyfriend like that the second they met. He punched Taehyung in the shoulder, throwing him a sickly sweet smile when the said male scowled at him.
“Hey! What was that for!” Taehyung whined, rubbing his arm where Jeongguk had struck. “I already apologised for bailing on you. I'm sorry, okay!”
“That's for scaring the living shit out of Jimin-hyung,” Jeongguk casually replied before punching Taehyung on the other arm. Taehyung hissed in pain and threw another withering glare at Jeongguk. “That is for ditching me.”
“You never call me hyung! What is this partiality, man?” Taehyung grumbled out. “Meanie.”
Jeongguk chuckled and the pout on Taehyung’s face grew bigger.
“I’m breaking my friendship with you,” Taehyung decided, turning away from Jeongguk and linking arms Jimin instead. “Jimbles here, is my new best friend. Sayonara, sucker!”
With that, he dragged a helpless Jimin away, who looked like he would do anything to get out of the aforementioned situation. Jeongguk rolled his suitcase beside him as he trudged behind the two of them, a smile set on his face.
Life was kind of sweet right now.
Jeongguk jinxed himself.
He should’ve seen this coming. He should’ve just kept his mouth shut. Life was not kind of sweet right now.
Jeongguk rummaged through the mess on his desk again for the tenth time but like all the previous attempts, came up with nothing.
Jeongguk wanted to die a slow agonising death. He wanted to pull out ever single piece of hair on his head, follicle by follicle. He wanted to stab himself in the eye multiple times with a fork. Yeah, right then, all of those options seemed better than submitting a blank submission for his assignment in a couple of days. He was doomed. Jeongguk was doomed.
Jeongguk had lost his SD card.
Of all the things he could've lost, he had lost his fucking SD card.
Jeongguk had stored it separately in a tiny pouch just because he feared something like this would happen but in the end, his plan backfired. That tiny little red pouch was nowhere to be found. He should’ve been smarter than to store it all in one place and maybe should've made a backup on his computer but it was a little too late to be thinking about what he should’ve done, wasn't it?
Maybe it was at the airport. Even then, it would take at least a couple of working days for him to get it back after all the official proceedings and Jeongguk wouldn’t have enough time to edit and compile his video. More so, what was the possibility of the airport finding that tiny pouch of his? It must’ve been swept or cleaned away by now. He banged his head against the table top.
It was official. Jeon Jeongguk was screwed.
He heard his room door creak open but made no move to turn around to see who it was. He felt a warm hand on his shoulder. “Jeonggukie? You alright?”
“Not now, Taehyung-hyung.”
“What's wrong? Hey--”
“Please, hyung. Now really isn't the time.”
“But this is import--”
“I think I just fucking lost my SD card and everything and I mean everything I recorded on the trip was in there. Everything I filmed is fucking gone, hyung, and I don't know what to do so I would really appreciate it if you can just fucking leave me alone now so that I can wallow in self pity and slowly die an agonising and painful death,” Jeongguk all but burst out, swivelling around to face Taehyung, breath coming out fast and hot as his eye twitched.
Taehyung looked startled. Maybe because he had never seen Jeongguk lose his shit like that before. He cleared his throat. “Um, anyway, you should check your phone.”
Jeongguk glowered at him. Taehyung slowly backtracked towards the door.
“No really, check your pho--”
Jeongguk chucked the nearest object he could reach at Taehyung, which happened to be a fake flower pot.
“Ow! Hey! Okay, I’m going!” Taehyung yelled, shutting the door behind him. “Jesus.”
Jeongguk groaned out loud, banging his head against his tabletop again. What was he going to do?
Jeongguk was coming up with excuses to give his teacher when he heard the faint buzz of his handphone. He ignored it but then reached out to search for it when it didn’t stop buzzing. He pulled it out from the corner of his desk and realised that it was his boyfriend calling him. Jeongguk was not in the mood to talk to anyone but decided to pick up the call anyway, hoping that his sunshine of a boyfriend could cheer him up. He walked over to his bed and laid comfortable, positioning a pillow under his head.
“I can’t believe he didn't pick up again. Wait, hello? Hello, Jeongguk? Holy shit, you picked up-- oh my god. Jeon Jeongguk, do you have any idea how long I've been trying to reach you? You jerk! I thought I did something wrong and I freaked out. You haven't even contacted me since we parted ways at the airport!” Jimin burst out from the other end.
“I had to go through the contact list in my old phone to find Taehyung’s number to message him. And I didn't even know if it was still the right one or not. Thank god it was,” Jimin ranted, before stopping short. “Hello? Jeonggukie? You still there?”
“Sorry, hyung. I just-- I’ve been in a horrible mood all day. I’m sorry,” Jeongguk sighed.
“What's wrong, Gukkie? Are you alright? Did you get hurt or something?” Jimin’s tone softened, his voice now flooded with concern and worry. When Jeongguk didn't reply for a while, Jimin sighed. “I’m coming over.”
Jimin hung up before Jeongguk could get another word across. Jeongguk threw his phone onto his table and screamed into his pillow.
Jimin appeared at his doorstep with two cups of starbucks in his hands, fifteen minutes later. Taehyung had opened the door for him, clapping excitedly when he saw the cups of coffee in Jimin’s hands. “Thanks, Jimin! You’re really an angel.”
Taehyung reached out to grab ahold of one of the cups but frowned when Jimin made no move to let go. He tugged with more force but Jimin stubbornly held his hold.
“Taehyung-ah,” Jimin said casually, an almost sheepish expression on his face. “I didn't get you any.”
Taehyung spluttered, betrayal written across his face. “You’ve known me for a longer time! I can't believe this,” he grumbled, backing away. “Go see your boyfriend. He’s still sulking in his room.”
Jeongguk heard someone knocking on his door lightly. Jimin was here. “Go away!” he yelled back in reply.
Jimin sighed, lingering near the entrance to his room. “Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin’s voice echoed determinedly from the other side. “I’m still coming in, babe.”
Jeongguk stuffed his face deeper into the pillow when he heard the telltale sound of his door creaking open followed by Jimin’s footsteps as he shuffled around. His bed dipped but Jeongguk was turned to the wall, curled up in a fetal position.
Jimin was running his fingers through his hair now, in a calming repeated motion that made him relax a little. It felt good. They stayed like that for a bit before Jeongguk sat up, crossing his legs and facing his boyfriend. Jimin reached out to grab the two cups of Starbucks he had set on the bedside table and passed one to Jeongguk.
“Iced Americano, your favourite,” he offered.
Jeongguk cracked a small smile. Jimin truly was amazing. He sipped on the coffee lightly, his eyes trained on his boyfriend who was struggling to get the cap off his own cup, his lips turned down in a frown. Jeongguk chuckled slightly and took the cup from him, opening it for him. Jimin pouted but thanked him anyway, taking a huge gulp of his drink.
“Are you gonna tell me what’s wrong or not?” Jimin asked, after a few seconds, his hand patting Jeongguk’s shoulder comfortingly. Jeongguk sighed. It really felt like one of those times when cartoon characters were in a bad mood with a huge dark thunder cloud above their heads. Jeongguk fidgeted with the lid of his drink before settling the cup on his table.
“I think I may have lost all our footage from Tokyo.”
Jimin’s eyes bugged out and he choked on his drink, coughing harshly. Jeongguk took the drink away from him and patted Jimin’s head, as the said male gasped for air. “You’re kidding right?” Jimin asked worriedly after he had calmed down. “Please tell me you're joking.”
When Jeongguk’s solemn expression didn’t change, Jimin’s face and heart fell. This was so important to Jeongguk and he had no idea to help him now. He felt his heart breaking at how helpless and Jeongguk looked. He threw his arms around the younger man, pulling him closer till he was tucked warmly in his embrace.
“Oh, Jeonggukie,” he said, tightening his hold by the tiniest fraction. “We’ll find a way, alright? Don't worry.”
“How about we watch a movie for a while? We can figure out what to do about this after that,” Jimin suggested, drawing patterns on Jeongguk’s arm with his finger lazily. “Does The Notebook sound good?”
As the movie credits rolled in, Jeongguk heard Jimin sniffling softly. “Hyung? Are you okay?”
“I’ve watched this movie at least ten times but I still cry at the ending each time,” Jimin said, his voice soft. Jeongguk felt his heart melt. He reached out to wipe his boyfriend's eyes which were brimmed with tears, smiling fondly. “You were the one who suggested this movie in the first place, hyung.”
Jimin hummed as he set the laptop aside and ran his fingers along the duvet on Jeongguk’s bed. “I should get going, it's pretty late, Guk.”
He stood up, collecting his phone and wallet from Jeongguk’s table and shoving them in his back pocket. “Is there anyway you can retrieve your footage back? Maybe your computer stored a copy when you were transferring?”
Jeongguk shook his head. “I already checked, hyung. There’s nothing. I’ll check again though, it's not like I can do anything else.”
Jimin leaned over and pecked Jeongguk’s cheek lightly, patting his head with his hand. “I’ll call you later okay?”
Jeongguk hummed in reply and Jimin made a move to leave when he turned around like he had suddenly remembered something.
“Oh, I found this in my bag yesterday,” he said, pulling something out from his front pocket. “I haven't opened it, in case you were wondering. I didn't know if it was something personal and I didn't really want to be a busybody. It’s yours, right?”
From Jimin's fingertips dangled a familiar, little red pouch.
“How the fuck was I supposed to know his freaking SD card was inside?” Jimin asked, close to pulling all his hair out. Taehyung paced around the living room impatiently.
“You could've checked what was inside or something?”
“Well, I’m sorry I wanted to be polite and not stick my nose into other people's things!” Jimin replied furiously, crossing his arms over his chest in a defensive pose. Taehyung sighed, running his hand through his hair. There was no point in the two of them bickering like this.
After Jeongguk had recovered from the shock of realising that his SD card had been with Jimin this whole time, he had kicked him out of his room, locking himself inside. Taehyung and Jimin hadn't heard a word from him since. A couple of hours had passed and the two of them were beginning to worry just exactly how hard Jeongguk was working himself inside there. “Don’t you have to go home? It's getting pretty late.”
“I’m not leaving till I’m sure Jeongguk’s okay. I’m gonna camp out here in his living room till then. You up for some netflix?”
At around 2AM, the pair of them heard the creak of Jeongguk’s door opening and fumbled to turn around. Jeongguk walked out, looking like a zombie straight out of train to busan. He went over to the fridge almost mechanically, opening it and grabbing some leftover pasta from the day before. He heated it in the microwave and trudged back to the room, without sparing the two of them a glance. Taehyung sighed and flopped onto the couch.
“I’ve seen him like this before. Last time it was when he was part of some overwatch marathon. Literally didn't speak to anyone for days. He just camped out in his room, coming out only for food and water when he needed them,” he said. “He’s gonna be like this for the next few days, just a warning.”
For all the trouble he was going through, Jimin sure hoped Jeongguk got that A he deserved.
Jeongguk woke up, startling himself so hard fell off his chair and bumped his head on his table leg.
Where was he? What time was it?
He rubbed his eyes blearily as he stood up, trying to make sense of his surroundings. Jeongguk caught sight of laptop still running on his desk and sighed. He must’ve fallen asleep while editing. Jeongguk ran a hand through his messy hair and stretched his arm to get rid of the muscle ache there as he trudged out of the room.
Yawning, Jeongguk got a bowl from his kitchen drawer and pulled the refrigerator door open to grab the carton of milk. He poured himself a good amount of the white liquid before adding cereal to the bowl. He loved those good ol’ Honey Stars.
“I can't believe you still pour the milk in before the cereal, you fucking weirdo.”
Jeongguk startled so hard he yelped, the box of cereal slipping from his hand. It felt like the box was tumbling down in slow motion and he yelled out a strangled no as he dived down to catch it. He tripped and missed of course, falling onto his torso instead. He leaned up in time to see a large and tan hand catch it perfectly.
Taehyung was trying not to laugh as Jeongguk got up, a scowl set on his face.
Jeongguk snatched the box from Taehyung and put it back inside the cupboard, grumbling to himself. Taehyung chuckled, pulling at Jeongguk’s cheeks. “Aw, why so glum, chum?”
“Why the fuck are you still here? I didn't give you permission to stay overnight, Taehyung.”
Taehyung tutted. “Honorifics, you brat! I invited myself, I mean you have netflix and why would I miss the chance for some free movie time? Besides, I wasn't the only one who stayed over.”
Taehyung pointed over to the couch and Jeongguk saw someone’s lean leg sticking out from the side. Jeongguk padded over and almost cooed at how adorable sleeping Jimin was. I mean sure, his leg was splayed open, his hair was sticking out in all directions and his mouth was wide open as he snored lightly but he still looked beautiful. Taehyung came up next to him with a mug of coffee in his hand and made a sound of disgust at the back of his throat.
“He looks like a complete mess and yet here you are, looking at him like he's the most beautiful thing on earth,” Taehyung said, glancing at Jimin then at Jeongguk. “I will never understand love.”
“Yeah right, I’ve seen the way you look at Yoongi-hyung. You’re not fooling anyone with your bullshit, hyung,” Jeongguk said, rolling his eyes when Taehyung choked on air dramatically. “Everyone knows you're hopelessly in love with him. In fact, I bet Yoongi-hyung knows it himself.”
Jeongguk went back to his room to retrieve a blanket for Jimin, leaving a confused Taehyung standing frozen. He put it over his sleeping boyfriend, making sure he was warm and cozy. After kissing Jimin’s forehead fondly, he trudged back to his room when he heard Taehyung call him out.
“Jeonggukie, we’re just worried for you,” he said. “I know how important this is for you but please don't overwork yourself. I didn't tell Jimin how you passed out last time because you didn't get enough sleep because something tells me he’s a huge worrywart. Take care of yourself, okay?”
Jeongguk shot Taehyung a reassuring smile and thumbs up.
Jeongguk burst out of his room with a thumb drive in his hand, a victorious smile set on his face. It fell when he realised no one was in his apartment other than him. Exactly how long had he been cooped up in his room?
Jeongguk walked over to the full length mirror in his room and almost didn't recognise the person staring back at him. His eyes were bloodshot, red streaking the bottom half of his eyes, almost zombie-like. There were dark circles lining his under eyes, making him look much older than he actually was. That was probably the result of not sleeping a wink for almost two days straight. His hair was messed up, strands sticking up in every possible direction and Jeongguk ran his hand through his hair in an attempt to tame it down. Taehyung was right. He had to take better care of himself. Jeongguk ran a hand down his face.
It was time to face the outside world.
Jeongguk showered for the first time in two days and threw on an oversized hoodie and his distressed jeans. Slipping into his timberlands, he jogged out of his apartment, locking it behind him. The submission was an online one and Jeongguk had made sure to triple check his submission before he left his house. He had spent more than enough time on that assignment and didn’t really want to spend another second on it. Jeongguk felt accomplished even though he hadn’t even been graded yet. He had one less burden on his shoulders now.
Jeongguk strolled along the busy streets of Seoul, his hands in his pocket. He didn’t really know where he was going but he kept walking. It was a good change of scenery from his plain grey walls in his room. Maybe he could go visit Jimin during his shift as a barista at his workplace. Before he could think of anything else, Jeongguk felt his phone buzzing in his pocket and fished it out, accepting the call. He grinned when he heard a very familiar gruff but warm voice on the other end.
“Yoongi-hyung? How have you been? It's been awhile since we last talked, hasn't it?”
Jeongguk heard Yoongi chuckling at his excitement. “I’m fine, kid. How was your trip to Tokyo?”
“It was really great, hyung. I had the best time there,” Jeongguk replied, recalling his endeavours with Jimin.
“Send me a copy of your travelogue, alright?” Yoongi said. “Hey listen, the main reason I called you was because I need your help.”
Jeongguk perked up at that. Yoongi wanted his help?
“Namjoonie’s been working on this new track and it's been going great. Except there's a problem,” Yoongi sighed. “He doesn't have a singer yet.”
“What?” Jeongguk couldn't help his little outburst, his cheeks heating up slightly, afterwards.
“Yeah, and that's where you come in. Your university, I’m sure there are a music majors studying there right? Do you think you can hook me up with someone with a good, stable and steady voice? This song’s kind of like a ballad almost.”
Jeongguk admired Yoongi and Namjoon so much. He always had been fans of theirs, having listened to their unofficial rap videos on youtube under the stage names Suga and RM respectively, even before they had decided to make things official and work together on their music. Taehyung was good friends with Namjoon and it was only natural that Jeongguk became acquainted with them too. Jeongguk still remembered how starstruck and frozen he had been the first time he met them. He could hardly talk. They were well past that point now but Jeongguk still couldn't help but feel like a fanboy in their presence sometimes.
“Of course, hyung. Someone with a soft but steady voice to sing a ballad. Got it.”
Jeongguk stopped in his tracks when a brilliant thought flashed across his mind.
“In fact, hyung, I know just the person.”
“C’mon, hyung! Let’s go inside.”
Jeongguk stared at his boyfriend who was pacing nervously outside Namjoon and Yoongi’s studio. When he had approached Jimin with the proposal, the first thing Jimin did was yell at him for not telling him that he knew Suga and RM beforehand. After which, he had jumped onto him like a koala bear, locking his legs behind Jeongguk’s back as his hands came to rest around his shoulders. “Oh baby, thank you, thank you, thank you!”
Namjoon's studio was only a stone's throw away from where Jeongguk resided and Jimin had rushed to his house with a huge, bulky bag. Jeongguk would've assumed he was travelling if he didn't know better. Jimin had then proceeded to changing into seven different outfits, each time coming out of his room and examining himself using the floor length mirror, but rushing back into his room when it didn't meet his standards.
Jeongguk sighed, flopping onto his couch. “Hyung, they're gonna hear your voice not look at how you’re dressed,” he groaned, resting his head on the armrest.
“Yeah, but I still want to look presentable, okay? Shut up and tell me if this looks fine.”
“How am I supposed to tell you how you look if I’m supposed to shut up?”
“Jeon Jeongguk, I swear to god--”
“I’m kidding,” Jeongguk said, resting his head on his hand, peering at Jimin with a small smile on his face. “You look really good, hyung. You always do.”
Jimin’s eyes softened and he shot Jeongguk his signature crinkly-eyed smile and Jeongguk felt his heart leap out of his chest.
Back to present time, they had been standing in front of the studio for at least 10 minutes and Jeongguk had had enough. He latched onto Jimin’s arm and dragged him inside while Jimin protested and tried to loosen Jeongguk’s grip on his arm.
“Unhand me, you fiend!” Jimin screeched his signature line again and tugged on his arm forcefully. Jeongguk hadn’t been expecting that and swayed when Jimin pulled on his hand, his feet missing a step as he tumbled down to the ground, with Jimin underneath him.
Jimin’s eyes locked with his and he stopped struggling, leaning down almost instinctively to lock their lips. Jeongguk’s eyes fluttered close and he puckered his lips to meet Jimin’s.
They never met.
The door to the recording room suddenly flew open and Jeongguk didn’t really have time to process what was happening before Jimin shoved him back and moved away from him quickly to the other wall, almost like he had been electrocuted.
Jeongguk grinned sheepishly at Yoongi’s condescending glare and Namjoon’s utterly bewildered expression while Jimin was blushing the darkest shade of red yet, hiding his face in his hands. Oh boy.
“Are you sure you didn't just bring him because, well, I don't know? He’s your boyfriend?” Yoongi questioned again, his eyes trained on Jimin who was fidgeting with the headphones in the recording studio. “Judging from the spectacle you pulled just now, I wouldn't really be surprised.”
Jeongguk pouted. “Just wait till you hear his voice, hyung.”
Yoongi rolled his eyes, as he pressed a few buttons and pulled a few levers on his audio mixer. When he was all set, he signalled for Jimin to start with a nod.
Jeongguk could make out Jimin’s slightly jittery hands as he gulped noticeably, the nervousness radiating off him in waves. He sent Jimin a reassuring smile, shorting him a thumbs up. Jimin took a deep breath, closing his eyes for a second before they fluttered open again, newfound determination flowing through his irises.
And then he began to sing.
Jeongguk had heard Jimin sing once in Tokyo before. But that didn’t mean that he wasn’t surprised at how fluid and mesmerising Jimin’s vocals were. Jimin had lost himself in the song again, hitting each note perfectly and effortlessly and Jeongguk felt something akin to pride and love swell in his chest. He glanced over at Namjoon and Yoongi, both of whom seemed like they were at a loss for words.
Namjoon looked elated, and he couldn’t stop fidgeting, his hands running across the tabletop in excitement.
Yoongi’s jaw was slightly slack and he had been staring at Jimin intensely like he was the voice in his head he had been searching for all this while. He looked away quickly, faking a coughing fit but stopped when he saw the shit-eating grin Jeongguk was giving him.
Yoongi went slightly red in the face and Jeongguk smirked to himself.
“Are you serious?”
Yoongi nodded his head in affirmation. Jeongguk couldn’t help the smile blooming on his face when he saw Jimin jump up and down excitedly. He looked positively delighted.
“Are you super sure?”
“Are you super duper sure?”
“Are you super duper--”
“Jeongguk-ah, you better ask your boyfriend to shut up before I make Namjoon revoke his offer.”
Jimin froze and pouted for a second but it was short lived as a full blown smile blossomed on his face again. He jumped at Yoongi, locking him in one of his tight koala hugs and Yoongi looked like he was struggling to breath. His eyes darted to Jeongguk, who looked away as soon as their eyes met. Yoongi patted Jimin’s back awkwardly, till the other man finally released him, a string of thank yous streaming from his mouth. Jeongguk watched as Jimin bounded over to Namjoon and proceeded to give him the same treatment.
Yoongi plopped onto the couch beside Jeongguk, legs strewn lazily as he let out a long and deep sigh, almost as if he had just carried the world on his shoulders like Atlas for the past hour. Jeongguk cracked a smile. This hyung was, after all, the one who admitted that he wanted to be born as a rock in his next life.
“Jeongguk-ah,” Yoongi started. “Jimin is really special, you know.”
“Yeah, I know his voice is amazin-”
“No,” Yoongi cut off. “Listen, there’s just something really pure and special about him. He’s just radiating happiness. And you. I haven’t you this happy since that time Namjoon got you an Iron Man figurine for Christmas years ago. I’ve known him for lesser than a couple of hours but I can tell you that he’s a keeper.”
Jeongguk blinked. He had never heard his hyung talk like this before. Yoongi was looking at him expectantly and Jeongguk slowly nodded, Yoongi’s words still ringing through his head.
“You’ll have to come down next Saturday, Jimin,” Namjoon stated, catching Jeongguk's attention. Namjoon typed something down on his phone and then glancing up when Jimin didn't reply.
“For the actual recording,” he clarified and Jimin let out a sound of understanding, bobbing his head in acceptance. Namjoon then shuffled back into the recording studio, probably to pack up the equipment.
“Taehyungie wants to go out for dinner,” Yoongi suddenly commented, staring at the vibrating phone on his desk. “He keeps spamming me these ridiculous emojis and I’m this close to blocking his ass.”
Although his tone implied that he was annoyed, his face showed anything but. Yoongi’s eyes were soft as he stared at the screen of his phone with a certain fondness. He looked up abruptly, glancing at the other three in the room.
“You guys up for some barbecue?”
The restaurant Taehyung had chosen was one that Jeongguk himself frequented. Earlier on in the year, Jeongguk would often find himself in the restaurant with Taehyung, either stuffing his face in books or stuffing himself with the delicious grilled meat they served there.
Jimin bounded up to Jeongguk from where he was falling behind, looping his arms with the younger man. Jeongguk grinned at the gesture, pulling Jimin closer to him as they walked in step with one another.
“Hey, lovebirds!” Namjoon called out from the entrance of the restaurant, getting both of their attention. “Try and catch up, will you?”
Jeongguk caught sight of a slight pink colouring Jimin’s cheeks and couldn’t resist but reach out to pinch them slightly. Jimin swatted his hand away of course, but Jeongguk could tell he enjoyed the attention. Jeongguk looked up and caught sight of Yoongi staring at them impatiently and Jeongguk quickened his pace, pulling Jimin along with him.
The familiar orange walls of the restaurant provided Jeongguk with a strong sense of nostalgia as he recalled being cooped up at the corner of the restaurant almost everyday the previous year. Jeongguk was still basking in the familiarity of the place and didn't notice Namjoon halting in his step, coming to a dead stop. He swiveled around so suddenly, almost eskimo-kissing Jeongguk, who startled back. Panic swarmed Namjoon’s eyes and he honestly looked like he was going to pee himself. Jeongguk quirked his eyebrows in confusion as concern flooded him.
“You didn't tell me Seokjin was in town!” Namjoon panicked, his face going as pale as a sheet of paper. Jeongguk froze, glancing at Taehyung’s older brother laughing merrily at the table. Oh.
“Oh yeah, Taehyung told he me was going to be in town for a while. Something about starting up a cafe here,” Jeongguk recalled thoughtfully. “He’s going to be moving to Seoul permanently in a few months time.”
Namjoon’s jaw dropped open and he looked like he'd rather be anywhere else but there. Jeongguk honestly thought he was going to fall to the floor, unconscious, or something. “I t-think I’m gonna go home. Yeah, um, tell the rest I’m not feeling well-- I think I have a severe case of-- bowel syndrome.”
Jeongguk and Jimin shared a look.
They rushed forward, Jeongguk looping his hand around one of Namjoon’s arms while Jimin did the same with his other arm. Together, they dragged a flailing and reluctant Namjoon forward, attracting the attention of the others at their table. Namjoon froze when he felt three other pairs of eyes trained on him, gulping slightly when he met those familiar mocha brown eyes he was particularly fond of. Seokjin’s face broke out into a huge grin almost immediately and Namjoon couldn’t help but crack a small smile in return, his hand coming up to wave at him awkwardly.
Namjoon was sitting next to Seokjin (more like forced to), his ears almost red from how hard he was blushing from embarrassment. Jimin had squeezed next to Jeongguk, patting the younger’s thigh with a smile on his face.
Jeongguk glanced up to see Seokjin and Namjoon immersed in a conversation of their own and although Namjoon was still slightly awkward with his whole crush on Seokjin, he had warmed up to talking to the elder more comfortably, even chuckling at what the he was saying every now and then. Seokjin looked at Namjoon with a certain fondness in his eyes and Jeongguk couldn’t help but wonder if that was how he looked like when he was looking at Jimin.
Yoongi was beside Seokjin and across from Taehyung, and the younger looked like he was trying his best to catch the elder’s attention, although it seemed like Yoongi was purposely avoiding him, the beginnings of a cheeky smile beginning to break out on his face.
“Ah, hyung!” Taehyung whined. “I really want to rap on your next mixtape! I improved a lot you know, I practiced in front of the mirror everyday!”
Yoongi rolled his eyes but the look on his face was tender as he stared at a pouty Taehyung. “Sorry, Taehyung-ah. We’ve kinda found someone else to feature in our track,” he explained, scratching his head thoughtfully. “He auditioned last week. He used to be an underground rapper and he was currently a dance teacher at one of the local dance studios. Hosock or something”
“I’m pretty sure his name is Hoseok, hyung,” Namjoon pitched in. “No one would really name their kid sock. Unless, of course, if they have a weird sock fetish.”
Seokjin broke out in his famous windshield laugh, slapping his hands on his thighs and curling towards Namjoon. Jeongguk glanced at Jimin, who looked like he was having a hard time controlling his own laughter, biting down on his lip hard. Jeongguk's gaze met Yoongi's and they both rolled their eyes in sync, not really finding the situation amusing.
After a hearty meal, the group of them bid farewell to one another, their stomachs and hearts full and content. Jimin trudged alongside Jeongguk on the way to the bus stop, seemingly deep in thought. Jeongguk jostled his boyfriend with his shoulder and looked at him with curious eyes.
“A penny for your thoughts?”
“Oh. Um, well-- nothing.”
Jeongguk frowned, not satisfied with the answer when it was clear that something was bothering the elder.
“C’mon, hyung. You can tell me anything, you know that right?”
Jimin hesitated as he debated on whether or not to reveal his thoughts. He gave into Jeongguk’s request with a small sigh, running his hand through his hair.
“I was just wondering if you'd like to live together,” Jimin mumbled softly, not being put back by the way Jeongguk’s eyes had widened and his jaw dropped open. “Like move in together.”
“I know it hasn't been long since we made things official but I’d really like it if we lived together Jeongguk-ah. I don't really get to see you as often the way it is now, plus, we live so far apart. It takes me almost 3 hours to change buses and get to your apartment. The fare’s a problem too.”
Jimin glanced up at to see Jeongguk’s reaction and, the latter noted how the elder’s face fell slightly at his lack of response. Jimin fumbled with his words, trying to cover up quickly. “It’s fine though, if you don't want to! I understand if you don't want to rush into things. I totally get--”
Jeongguk cut Jimin off, by pulling him closer and planting a kiss on his lips. Now it was Jimin’s turn to look surprised. A pleasant surprise, Jeongguk hoped. He took the elder’s hands in his own, enclosing them tightly in his hold.
“I would love to move in together, hyung.”
A smile peeked at Jimin’s lips almost immediately, mirroring Jeongguk’s big and bright one and Jeongguk couldn't help but to lean forward to peck the older’s blushing cheeks fondly. He hadn't even moved all the way back before Jimin had intertwined his hands behind his neck, bringing their heads closer to lock their lips again. As their lips danced together in perfect synchronization, Jeongguk reached out to pull the other into his warm embrace.
Jimin kissed him back in a way that made his world fall away. It was slow, and soft, comforting him in ways words never could. Jeongguk’s hands rested below Jimin’s ears, his thumb caressing his cheeks, their breaths mingling. Jimin ran his fingers down Jeongguk’s spine, pulling him closer until there was no space left between them and Jeongguk could feel the beating of his heart against his chest.
Jeongguk broke apart, his breath now coming out more fast and heavy. He leaned his head against Jimin, eyes twinkling. “My place or yours, though?”
Jimin scrunched up his nose adorably at that. “My place, for sure. It's bigger, for starters. Also, I've been to that pigsty that you call your apartment and I refuse to ever live there.”
With that Jimin bounded off towards the bus stop, plonking on one of the seats. Jeongguk followed suit, a playful frown on his face at Jimin’s insult, although his heart was clenching at how adorable his boyfriend was.
Jeongguk strolled towards the bus stop and sat down beside Jimin. He watched as Jimin’s finger traced the veins on the back of his hand lightly before he intertwined his hands with him. “When are you gonna let me watch the travelogue? I would've thought that it would be sooner, you know, me being the star in it and all.”
Jeongguk chuckled, squeezing Jimin’s palm tightly once. “My grade’s being released online tomorrow at 8AM, hyung. You can come over after that, either to celebrate good news or to drown my sorrows in soju or something.”
Jimin grumbled about having to come over to his mess of an apartment again but agreed, insisting on buying coffee for the both of them from Starbucks on his way.
The telltale sound of gravel being crushed under the wheels of the bus filled their ears and Jimin hopped up and onto the bus.
He sat down at one of the window seats facing Jeongguk and stuck his head out the window, blowing a kiss to the younger man. Jeongguk pretended to catch the invisible kiss in his hands and pressed it close to his heart. Jimin’s giggles filled the air like a beautiful melody and Jeongguk thought he had never heard anything prettier.
The engine revved up and the wheels started rolling, bringing a beaming Jimin waving at him along with it. Jeongguk waved back just as hard till till the bus remained only a mere silhouette in the distance.
The alarm blared in Jeongguk’s ear. He groaned and rolled away but the incessant and insistent noise of the alarm seemed to follow him no matter how far he moved. He should’ve stopped though, because he rolled too far back and fell onto the floor with a yelp. His back was sore from the impact of the fall and Jeongguk groaned. Talk about waking up on the wrong side of bed.
“Argh,” Jeongguk cursed as he slowly and reluctantly pulled himself up, wincing when he felt his bones cracking. He trudged to the bathroom on auto mode, grabbing his toothbrush and squeezing a hefty amount of toothpaste onto it before stuffing it in his mouth. Jeongguk hadn’t even started brushing before he heard the doorbell go off.
He didn’t even bother taking the toothbrush out of his mouth as he shuffled over to the front door, looking like a hot mess. The person at his door had resorted to knocking on his door continuously after no response from Jeongguk for a while. Jeongguk blinked blearily as he unlocked the door, eyes registering Jimin standing there with his right hand balled out in a mid-knock position. They stared at each other for a second, before Jeongguk turned around and trudged back to his room.
He heard Jimin closing and locking the door behind him. His boyfriend walked over to where he was standing, looking like he was half dead. Jimin chuckled, placing the coffee on his desk and then walking over to Jeongguk to place a chaste kiss on his cheek.
“You're really not a morning person, are you?”
Jeongguk grunted in reply, moving to the bathroom once again to freshen up. As he was splashing water on his face, he heard Jimin humming to himself loudly and a smile popped up on Jeongguk’s face at his infectious happy and sunshine attitude. Jeongguk reached around for a towel and patted his wet face with it as he slowly exited the bathroom. “Sorry for being such a grump just now. Yoongi-hyung’s really rubbing off on me, honestly.”
Jimin shook his head sweetly as if to say it was alright, before he patted the space next to him on the bed, offering Jeongguk his cup of coffee. Jeongguk sighed out in relief. “You're an angel, really. Thank you, Jimin-hyung.”
“Nope, I’m a fairy,” Jimin replied playfully, licking his milk moustache from his upper lip. “Oh, that reminds me! Namjoon-hyung said that I’ll probably have to film a music video after recording a song. He wants to go all out for this. Honestly, as much as this scares me, I’m super excited too.”
“Can you come down? For the filming, I mean.”
Jeongguk enveloped Jimin’s hand in his and squeezed it comfortingly, smiling hard. “Of course, hyung. You didn't even have to ask.”
Jeongguk was shaken by the sudden blaring of his landline, almost dropping his coffee as he startled. He reached for the handset on his bedside table and after fumbling around for a while he finally grabbed it.
“Jeon Jeongguk! Why in god's name do you have a phone if you don't ever plan on picking it up?”
Jeongguk cursed as the baritone voice of his best friend, that had shot up a couple of pitches from how frustrated he was, hollered from the other end of the line. Jimin glanced at him with curious eyes and Jeongguk shot him a look, mouthing Taehyung.
Amusement shone across Jimin's eyes as he watched Jeongguk roll his eyes so hard that it went to back of his head as he listened to Taehyung lecture.
When Taehyung had stopped for a second to take a break, Jeongguk saw his chance. “Hyung, why did you call me again?”
“Oh,” Taehyung paused again as if he was recalling why he had called Jeongguk in the first place. “Oh! That’s right! Congratulations, Jeonggukie! You must be ecstatic.”
Jeongguk blinked, utterly confused. What was Taehyung going on about?
“Uh, hyung,” Jeongguk started. “I have no bloody idea what you're talking about. Are you high?”
“Oh, stop acting,” Taehyung chuckled but then stopped abruptly when he heard nothing from Jeongguk in reply. “You really don't know, do you?”
At Jeongguk’s confirmation, Taehyung sighed out loud. “What am I gonna do with you, Jeongguk-ah. Check your email.”
Jeongguk was still completely baffled but proceeded to pull his laptop over to check his email anyway. His eyes zeroed in on the latest email he had received and he almost passed out as he scanned through the contents of the email.
“Holy fucking shit.”
“Yeah, I thought so too,” Taehyung laughed. “I’ll come over later, with pizza to celebrate, okay? Jimin’s there, too right?”
Jeongguk made a noise of affirmation at the back of his throat, not really registering what Taehyung was saying as he read the email once again. He hadn't even realised that Taehyung had hung up till Jimin plucked the phone from him to put it away.
Jimin leaned over his shoulder to see what he was on about. Jeongguk still couldn’t believe what he had read. Jimin pounced at him from behind, back hugging Jeongguk tightly. “This is amazing! I’m so proud of you, Guk.”
“Oh, hyung, you'll come along right? What will I wear? Oh my god, I have nothing to wear. Oh god--”
Jimin pulled Jeongguk’s head so that the younger male was facing him before he leaned forward to place a big, fat kiss on his lips, effectively shutting the younger up. Jeongguk stared at Jimin with wide eyes, his breath coming out uneven from his rambling earlier.
Jimin offered Jeongguk a sweet smile, tugging the younger forward till he was resting his head on Jimin’s chest. “One step at a time, Jeongguk. Let me read that again.”
He grabbed the laptop from Jeongguk’s hold, his eyes flitting across the email again. The email was from Jeongguk’s university.
Dear JEON JEONGGUK,
We are pleased to inform you that your submission for the End-of-Year Cinematography Assessment has been selected to be displayed at our annual school exhibition this coming Thursday.
Your work displayed excellent and expert use of the camera with the techniques learnt to portray your emotions and experiences. We would like to request your presence at the event, to watch the screening of your work at the school auditorium.
“I’m so freaking proud of you, Jeongguk-ah,” Jimin repeated, placing the laptop aside and pulling Jeongguk even closer against him.
Jeongguk snuggled his head in Jimin’s soft sweater. “Can you pinch me? So that I know I’m not dreaming or anything?”
Jimin threw his head back and laughed loudly at that. He reached down to squish Jeongguk’s cheeks fondly, much so that he looked like a pouty fish. “Jeonggukie. You're not dreaming. This is one hundred percent real, baby.”
Jeongguk grinned at that. He grinned so hard he thought his cheeks were going to tear. Jeongguk was so happy that he felt like he could accomplish anything in the world if he set his mind to it. He felt over the moon. “Do you want to watch the travelogue now?”
“No baby, I want to watch it on Thursday, on that huge screen in your school, with hundreds on people behind us and you by my side.”
Jeongguk’s heart warmed at Jimin’s words. He felt like his heart was going to burst out of his chest from how happy and giddy he was feeling from Jimin’s words. He couldn't help but lean forward to kiss Jimin’s nose fondly, the latter giggling slightly.
“We’ll figure out your attire and stuff later, alright? What do you wanna do today?” Jimin asked gently, drawing patterns on Jeongguk’s skin thoughtfully.
Honestly, Jeongguk wanted to do nothing more than to stay in that day, spending the entire day cuddled up with his boyfriend watching movies on netflix on his television while they ate takeout for lunch before Taehyung came over for dinner.
So that’s what they did.
“Hyung, there's so much space on the couch, so why the hell are you pushing me to this corner?”
Jimin startled as Jeongguk’s voice cut through the eerie silence playing from the horror movie they were watching. He scrambled back slightly further away from Jeongguk, but still stayed close enough that Jeongguk could feel the warmth radiating of his boyfriend.
Jeongguk noticed that as the movie neared the more scary parts, Jimin would tend to hide himself behind the huge bowl of popcorn they had made. He seemed to have a problem not spilling the popcorn whenever there was a jumpscare, half a scream lodged in his throat. His hand were shaking that bad. Jeongguk felt bad but couldn’t help but laugh at his boyfriend’s misery. He tried to muffle his chuckles with his fist but the noise did not go unnoticed by Jimin who swiveled to face him, eyes glowering.
“I hate you so fucking much,” he whined, eyes fixated on the ground instead of the screen.
Jeongguk chuckled out loud, earning himself a punch in the shoulder. “Wow hyung, I didn't know you would be this affected by a horror movie.”
“Of course, I would be, you asshole” Jimin managed to say before shouting loudly at a jump scare. He moaned out loud, grabbing the pillow next to him to hide his face in it.
“It’s not like it's real or anything. You don't need to be scared of anything. It’s just a movie.”
“I don't fucking care, you brat. It's still scary as fuck,” Jimin hissed, his voice cracking at the end as he shot daggers at Jeongguk with his eyes.
“Hyung? Hey, hey, are you really crying now?” Jeongguk asked and Jimin shot him a look, with watery eyes. “Awww, my big baby, come here.”
Jimin stared at Jeongguk’s open arms for second, contemplating if he should be a man and just sit there or if he should go to his boyfriend. He decided on the latter as he crawled into his arms quietly. Jeongguk secured his hold on his boyfriend as he ran his hands through Jimin’s soft, black mass of hair. “Do you wanna watch something else, hyung?”
Jimin nodded, still sniffling slightly and Jeongguk cooed and pinched his cheeks, telling him that there was nothing to worry about when he was right there. They ended up watching reruns of Masterchef instead and Jeongguk felt his stomach grumbling. He looked down when he felt Jimin squirming in his hold and he loosened his grip on his boyfriend slightly. Jimin took this as an opportunity to wriggle out and scramble to Jeongguk’s room, yelling behind him that he had to pee.
Jeongguk paused the television, using this time to stretch around a bit. Don't get him wrong; he loved having Jimin in his arms, he would hold and cuddle that man for the rest of his life if he could. But his legs had started cramping up from Jimin sitting on them for the past few hours and it felt good to finally loosen those muscles.
Where was Jimin? It seemed like it had been hours since he had gone to the toilet.
Jeongguk stood up lazily, using his hands to stifle a yawn as he turned around with his eyes closed.
When Jeongguk opened his eyes, he staggered back and almost fell over. Jimin, who holding a small cake with a candlelit, was standing near the dining table with all of their friends next to him, everybody’s face brimmed with happiness and pride. Jeongguk blinked unsteadily. He couldn’t really tell what was going on.
How had they all gotten in without making any noise whatsoever?
Scratching his head awkwardly, he walked up to the small crowd, puffing his cheeks to blow out the candle on the cake. Confusion erupted in his face when he saw the flame go out before his very eyes, although he hadn’t blown on it yet. He heard everyone groaning and complaining around him and he looked up to meet the culprit’s eyes. Taehyung stood there with a sheepish grin on his face, his cheeks turning redder by the minute.
“Ah, Taehyung-ah!” Seokjin groaned, reaching out to twist his brother’s ear. Taehyung winced and slapped on Seokjin’s hand, whimpering that it hurt. Jeongguk chuckled at them.
“Wow, um anyway, I don't know what to say guys,” Jeongguk mumbled, still not processing what was going on. “Thank you all so much.”
Taehyung was the first one to break character as he scrambled forward to pounce onto Jeongguk and tackle him in a hug. Jeongguk staggered back slightly but held onto Taehyung as he kept shouting how proud and happy he was in Jeongguk’s ear, sniffling slightly. Truth be told, Jeongguk wasn’t even sure if he would’ve gotten this far without Taehyung by his side. Whenever Jeongguk had been at his breaking point, Taehyung was always there to lend him a shoulder to lean on, a hand to wipe his tears.
“Thank you, hyung,” Jeongguk said sincerely. “I wouldn't even be here without you. Really.”
At those words, Taehyung had started full on bawling, wiping his tears and snot on Jeongguk’s sleeve who held onto the him although he was mildly disgusted. “Hyung! Ew, gross.”
“I love you, Jeonggukie,” Taehyung sniffed. “You mean the world to me and I only ever want you to be happy.”
Taehyung didn't need to tell him that though. Jeongguk knew.
Only after Yoongi managed to successfully peel a weeping Taehyung from Jeongguk did Jeongguk notice another man standing beside Namjoon, smiling at him in a way that made tiny dimples pop out near hear mouth which made him look adorable and Jeongguk couldn't help but think he looked very familiar. “Hobi-hyung?!”
“It’s nice to see you again, Jeongguk,” Hobi said, stepping forward to embrace Jeongguk in a warm and tight hug.
“You wouldn’t believe how surprised I was when Hoseok here, told me he knew a Jeon Jeongguk from a junior dance class he had been teaching a while back,” Namjoon said, a smile set on his face. “You didn't tell me you danced, Jeongguk.”
Hoseok stood there with a shy smile, awkwardly fidgeting as if he wasn't sure if he was welcome at the place. Jeongguk chuckled to himself, going up to hug his hyung who startled for a second but then hugged him back. “I’d never thought I’d ever see you again, hyung,” he murmured into Hoseok’s ear. “But I'm so glad to see you again. I missed you so much. Thank you for being here.”
“You did make the decision to quit that class, Jeonggukie,” he said, laughing when Jeongguk glared at him slightly. “I missed you too, Jeongguk-ah.”
The others in the room were still eyeing them curiously and Jeongguk let out a sigh as he ran a hand through his hair. “I used to go for dance classes about two years back? Yeah, I went for about a year or so before I had to quit because I couldn't handle both school and dance class fees. Hoseok-hyung was just as heartbroken or more heartbroken than I was-- he loved me too much you know, called me his star pupil and stuff.”
Hoseok laughed loudly at that, ruffling the younger’s hair fondly. “Still as bratty as I remember. I did offer to help you with the class fees but you refused because you wanted to be independent or some shit like that,” he deadpanned, rolling his eyes playfully. “He wasn't kidding about how good he was though. Wait till you see him dance. He has some serious talent and I’m hoping he’ll start cultivating it again so it can grow.”
Jeongguk turned to Hoseok at that statement, his eyes widening slightly. Hoseok still thought he had the potential to dance? After all this time, he still thought Jeongguk had it in him? Did Jeongguk want to learn again, though? He needed time, time to think this through.
Jung Hoseok was an awfully talented man. He had been dancing since he was five and was extremely passionate and remarkable at the art. Hoseok had been there for him when he was still quite young. At the ripe age of fifteen, Jeongguk had often struggled with finding a balance between his academics and his personal life. Hoseok had helped him a lot, guiding him through tough decisions when he wasn't so sure of his choices.
Time and expenses both caught up with Jeongguk soon enough, especially because he had decided to leave home when he was eighteen because his parents had been so against the idea of him majoring in something he loved rather than something more practical and generic. He had tried to save up for his dance classes, trying to cut his expenses by going to the cafe less often, by eating out less often and even packing his lunch from home instead. It wasn't enough though, and it came to a point where Jeongguk had no choice but to quit his dance classes with Hoseok.
His hyung wasn't that ready to let go of him though. He had offered to help Jeongguk with his expenses time and time again. Why wouldn't he? He loved Jeongguk like his own dongsaeng and wanted nothing but the best for him. Jeongguk had straight out refused his help though. He had chosen this path himself and he decided that only he should have to put up with the consequences and burdens that came along with it. It was no one’s fight but his own. Jeongguk hadn't seen Hoseok since, till that fateful day of course.
“You take your time, Jeongguk-ah,” Hoseok said understandingly. “Just know that I have a spot open for you. Always.”
Jeongguk nodded. Hoseok didn't have to tell him. Jeongguk knew.
Seokjin had brought soju because of course, no celebration was complete without alcohol. He grumbled a bit when Jeongguk reached for a bottle, swatting his hand away the first few times till he finally gave in when Jeongguk whined at him for what seemed like hours that he was legal. Jeongguk was even prepared to pull out his ID card to present as proof, but he got the feeling that Seokjin would not appreciate his smartness.
He remembered it like yesterday when Taehyung had introduced Seokjin to him a few years back, and the elder had pinched his cheeks, cooing how adorable he was. Now Seokjin looked at him chug down the soju like how a mother bird would look as it watched its baby chick fly away; sorrowful and disappointed at its departure.
Jeongguk wasn't having it though. He went over to his hyung to tackle him in a hug, chiding him for being overly dramatic. It's not like he had chosen the wrong path in life to become an underground wrestler or something. Seokjin chuckled, ruffling the younger’s hair, only telling him that he was looking out for him.
He didn't need to say it though. Jeongguk knew.
Soon enough, more than half of them were drunk. Namjoon, especially, was a horrible drinker. He had passed out on Seokjin’s lap after just a couple of sips from his bottle, lightly murmuring in his sleep. Something about rap, destruction and monster. Seokjin didn't seem like he minded having a half-unconscious human strewn across his lap. He had opted to stroking Namjoon’s hair lightly as he watched another interesting scene unfold in front of him, laughing his iconic windshield laughter.
Yoongi and Hoseok had resorted to belting out old Korean pop and trot songs like drunk uncles. Yoongi was belting out ridiculously high notes that he obviously couldn’t manage, if it wasn't obvious from how many times his voice cracked. Hoseok was bouncing around next to him, ‘harmonising’ with Yoongi every now and then.
“Introducing Sope!” Hoseok boomed suddenly gesturing to Yoongi and himself proudly.
When he got no reaction but confused looks from everyone else, he sighed dramatically. “You know… his stage name is Suga… Mine is J-hope… You put it together… Sope…? Yeah…”
He rolled his eyes when there was a collective “Ohhh” from his audience.
Yoongi just smiled goofily.
“Uhhh, what was I saying again? Oh! That's right,” Hoseok cleared his throat. “Introducing Sope!”
He paused for a dramatic effect, looking at them pointedly. Oh. Oh.
Jeongguk clapped and cheered loudly and everyone beside him followed suit. Hoseok had a pleased and satisfied grin on his face. With that, Yoongi put on another old trot song and the pair of them started wilding again.
Staring at them from where he was seated on the couch, was Taehyung who looked slightly gloomy and sour. If Jeongguk know Taehyung well from all their years of friendship, it was obvious when he had something on his mind-- his eyebrows would be furrowed and he’d be cracking his knuckles nervously. Right then, he looked like he wanted to say something to Yoongi from the way he was staring fixedly at the elder. He was hesitating, debating on whether or not to approach him.
Jeongguk nudged him from where he sat beside Taehyung, offering him a look of encouragement. It seemed to have worked, because the next thing Jeongguk knew, Taehyung was standing up with a determined look on his face as he marched forward, grabbing Yoongi by his arm and dragging him somewhere else. Hoseok hadn't even noticed his partner had disappeared, too immersed in the song as he bobbed his head along and mimicked playing the guitar.
Jeongguk turned to his right to come face to face with Jimin’s beautiful brown eyes staring at him. Jeongguk quirked an eyebrow in amusement. “Were you staring at me this entire time?”
A smirk peeked at the corner of Jimin’s lips. He hadn't seen this confident side of Jimin yet and Jeongguk loved it already. “So what if I was? I can stare at you as much as I want to now, baby. I have all the right to.”
Jimin leaned closer so that his lips were ticking Jeongguk’s ear as he breathed out. “You're my boyfriend, after all.”
Jeongguk felt himself flush at that. Jimin hummed contently, tapping his fingers lightly against Jeongguk's blushing cheeks. He leaned down to place a feather light kiss on the skin right below Jeongguk’s ear, and Jeongguk could feel the smile on his lips. He shuddered involuntarily and when Jimin pulled back to face him, he had a full blown smirk on his face. He looked too good to be true.
Jeongguk couldn't help himself as he surged forward to plant his lips on Jimin’s, and Jimin made a sound of approval at the back of his throat as if to say this was what he had been waiting for. He moved his lips against Jimin’s languidly, kissing him slowly without a rush as he poured all his feelings into that one action. His hand went up almost automatically to tangle itself in Jimin’s hair and Jeongguk tugged on it experimentally. It was worth it, when Jimin moaned into his mouth lightly. Without missing a beat, he pulled Jimin onto his lap smoothly, tilting his head to kiss him deeper.
“Hey! Hey! Break it up, you two! Keep it PG in here, you brats!” Seokjin screeched through the silence, disrupting the atmosphere completely. “Oh, my poor eyes! What I would give to unsee that!”
Jeongguk groaned and fell back onto the couch, giving Seokjin the stink eye from the corner of his eye. Jimin chuckled to himself as he watched his boyfriend with amused eyes, his breath still coming out slightly uneven from their intense makeout session a while ago.
“Alright, that’s it,” Jeongguk said with a note of finality in his voice as he stood up. “It's my freaking house and I can't even make out with my boyfriend in peace, Jesus! Everybody out!”
Seokjin grumbled again, muttering something along the lines of ungrateful brat and I raised you and this is the thanks I get as he stood up clumsily, tugging on a snoring Namjoon. He ushered Hoseok out too, a hand on his back as he guided two twenty-three year olds out, shouting a faint take care as he staggered out with two grown men in tow.
“Drive back safely, hyung!” Jeongguk shouted at their retreating figures.
Jeongguk turned back to Jimin with a mischievous look before it morphed into one of bewilderment and confusion as he recalled something. “Uh, hyung,” he started, looking awfully confused. “Have you seen Taehyung? Or Yoongi-hyung?”
Jimin frowned and shook his head. To be honest, they hadn't heard from either of them in a while. Jeongguk startled when he heard something like a metal pan clatter noisily in his kitchen. What the hell? Were the two of them cooking?
Jeongguk shuffled over to the kitchen and Jimin followed him quietly, curious to see what was going on.
Oh. Oh god.
So this is what Seokjin had meant. Jeongguk thought his eyes were burning. When he had said go get your man to Taehyung, this was not what he had visualized the outcome to be.
Taehyung was sitting on Jeongguk’s kitchen counter, his back pressed against the wall where Yoongi had pushed him up against before they had started making out. Really intensely. They were so immersed in each other that they hadn't even realised that
Jeongguk and Jimin stood there, mortification written all over their faces. Oh god, how was he ever going to step into that kitchen without recalling about what had happened this day? How was he ever going to cook on that counter? Jeongguk stood there, absolutely frozen and unmoving, his jaw dropping to the floor. Jimin literally had to drag him away from that place. He had to shake Jeongguk a few times before Jeongguk actually snapped back to his senses.
“We’re one hundred percent moving to your place as soon as possible. I have no objections whatsoever. Jesus christ.”
Jeongguk ran a hand down his face, trying to erase what he had just witnessed from his memory. Jimin chuckled loudly at that, pulling the younger in a headlock playfully and ruffling his hair. Jeongguk was about to retort something in reply when he heard a very lewd moan cut him off from the kitchen. He groaned, closing his ears with his hands tightly as he scrambled to get a piece of paper from his room.
“That's it we’re not staying here any longer. I don't want to taint my innocent mind more than it already has been tonight.”
Scribbling a quick, messy note that he was going out for the night, he left it on the coffee table before he grabbed onto Jimin’s arm and dragged him out of the house. He closed the door securely behind him, effectively stopping another high pitched moan halfway.
Jimin slipped into his sneakers, eyes still shining with amusement. “Innocent mind, huh?”
Jeongguk felt a blush creep up his neck but rolled his eyes at Jimin’s mocking tone and instead walked over to the elevator, motioning for Jimin to follow him. “I can’t fucking believe I just got sexiled from my own apartment.”
Jimin’s laughter echoed behind him.
Although they were both grown men, neither of them had even bothered to get a driver’s licence, much less an actual car and so they had no choice but to use other modes of transportation to get to Jimin’s house. Jeongguk was debating on whether they should hop onto the public bus but had thrown that thought away when he caught sight of Jimin yawning and rubbing his eyes tiredly. They ended up hailing a cab, which would take a shorter duration to get to their destination than a public bus. It was time to retire for the night then.
Now seated at the back of a cab, Jeongguk offered one of his earpieces to Jimin, who smiled sweetly at him before popping it into his ear. Jeongguk stared out the window, his heart warm at how domestic they seemed. He could get used to this feeling.
Jimin’s apartment was of course, the complete opposite of Jeongguk’s. It was spotless and pristine, no signs of mess or clutter anywhere. Jeongguk wondered if that would still be the case after he had moved in. Probably not, he thought to himself. Jimin had disappeared into his bedroom, probably to wash up and change into something more comfortable before he slept.
Jeongguk walked around the apartment, peering at the interior of the apartment curiously. He came to a stop in front of a collection of photographs in wooden frames aligned on the wall. One in particular caught his interest, and Jeongguk lowered his head to take a closer look.
It was a photograph of Jimin when he was much younger, maybe when he was only about ten or eleven. Another younger boy who had similar facial features to Jimin was standing next to him, his arm slung around his shoulder. Both of them had similar, splitting grins on their faces and they looked so happy that Jeongguk felt a grin grow on his own face. It was a beautiful photograph, really.
“Here, you can wear this sweatshirt and pants that I ordered two sizes too big a while back,” Jimin appeared out of his room, his hands full with grey material. “What are you doing? Oh--”
Jimin came to stand beside Jeongguk, looking at the photo Jeongguk was peering at. A wistful smile made its way onto his face almost immediately and he reached out to trace the photo frame lightly with his fingertips. “That’s my younger brother, Jihyun. He’s your age, Guk.”
Jimin sighed, looking away. “It’s been awhile since I saw Hyunie. I haven’t managed to meet up with him after he got a medical seat. He’s been so busy with assignments and projects. I really do miss him so much, though.”
“Have you tried calling him?” Jeongguk questioned, accepting the pile of clothes from Jimin gratefully.
Jimin shook his head. “I don’t even know if he still wants to talk to me. It seems like he’s forgotten he even has a hyung in the first place,” Jimin said sadly.
Jeongguk frowned at that. “How do you know that, hyung? Maybe he’s thinking the same thing and that’s why he hasn’t contacted you. You’re not really gonna know until you actually talk to him.”
Jimin fidgeted with his hands. “I hadn't thought of it that way. You really think I should call him?”
“Yeah, hyung. Come on, I’ll sit with you-- call him now,” Jeongguk said as he ushered Jimin to the bed in his room. Jimin gaped at him as if to say right now? Jeongguk nodded his head encouragingly.
Jimin hesitated for a good second or two before he unlocked his phone and dialed his brother’s number, waiting with bated breath. Jeongguk squeezed his knee comfortingly.
“H-Hello? Jihyunie?” Jimin let out a shuddery breath. “It’s me, Jimin.”
Jeongguk couldn't make out anything but the faint voice of another male from the other end of the line. Jimin was stiff for the first few seconds of the call but then he relaxed, an easy and comfortable smile slipping onto his face as he caught up with his younger brother.
My job here is done , Jeongguk thought, as he shuffled into the bathroom to change into the sweatshirt and pants. When he came back out, he was pleasantly surprised to see Jimin laughing loudly at something Jihyun had said, his eyes crinkling as he doubled forward. After another five minutes, Jimin hung up after promising to see his brother soon. He turned to Jeongguk with a happy smile.
“Oh, Jeonggukie, I’m so glad I called him. You were right, both of us had been putting off this call because we weren't sure what the other would think. But now that I’ve talked to him, I feel like a huge weight has been removed from my shoulders. We even agreed to meet for coffee this weekend! I’m so happy!”
Jimin burst into a fit of giggles, falling back onto the mattress, happiness etched on every corner of his face. Jeongguk leaned down to kiss Jimin’s forehead lightly, a grin set on his face too. “That’s great, baby! I’m so happy for you.”
Jimin looped his arms around Jeongguk’s neck and tugged him down so that he was laying on top of Jimin. He stared intensely into Jeongguk’s eyes, his own eyes sparkling. “Have I ever told you that you're one of the best things that has ever happened in my life?”
Jeongguk’s heart soared. To hear Jimin say that out loud made him feel like he was on cloud-nine. He couldn’t help but lean down to pepper every inch of Jimin’s face with kisses as the latter squealed and giggled at the feeling.
“The feeling’s mutual, baby.”
Jimin hummed in reply, a beautiful and peaceful smile settling on his face. “Cuddle with me.”
Jeongguk fell to his side and opened his arms wide and Jimin rolled into his hold almost naturally, snuggling up to the younger with a content sigh. He fell asleep before Jeongguk did, and Jeongguk resorted to counting the number of freckles spotted across Jimin’s face till he fell asleep, his breathing in sync with Jimin’s.
Jeongguk wrung his hands nervously. His palms were wet and clammy from sweat and he rubbed them against his pants till they were dry again. Jeongguk was positively freaking out. He was having a mental breakdown. With hands clasped tightly in front of his stomach he constantly fiddled with his knuckles, weaving his fingers in and out of each other.
It was Thursday. Yeah, the Thursday. Jeongguk was seated alongside his boyfriend and his five friends at his school auditorium, waiting for his video to be screened. Jimin must’ve sensed how nervous he was, if his shaking legs weren’t a dead giveaway. He placed a steady hand on his leg, slipping the other hand into Jeongguk’s squeezing it lightly. Jeongguk turned to Jimin and offered him a shaky smile. To say that he was nervous was an understatement. His film was about to be screened in front of at least over a hundred people.
Taehyung peered over from where he was sitting in between Jimin and Yoongi. He sent a reassuring smile to Jeongguk, whispering, “Guk, I can literally smell how nervous you are all the way from here. Relax, I can’t wait to watch this.”
Jeongguk took a deep breath when he saw the lights dim slightly. It was time. The auditorium became pitchblack and then finally, Jeongguk’s film started playing. The short film he had poured his blood, sweat and tears into, started playing.
I wasn’t looking for you,
I wasn't expecting you.
But I’m very lucky I met you.
You’re my serendipity.
Jeongguk heard Jimin audibly gasp from where he was seated next to him, his hold on Jeongguk’s hand tightening. Jeongguk also heard people whispering and talking around him, but honestly, he couldn't care less. His eyes were fixed on the huge screen as he watched his work. He couldn't even recall what he had included in his piece, having done the entire thing when he was almost delirious and lucid from the lack of sleep. At that moment though, Jeongguk’s mind cleared.
It was like he was reliving each and every moment he had spent with Jimin in Tokyo all over again. The beautiful night sky they had spent hours staring at, the stunning fireworks display at disneyland, the busy and bustling streets of Tokyo with people whizzing past them.
It was beautiful.
Jimin was beautiful.
“I knew you were talented, Jeongguk, but this, this is just wow,” Hoseok’s voice snapped him back to reality. The video wasn't that long and soon, it ended, the credits rolling in along with a polite round of applause from everyone at the auditorium. Jeongguk let out the breath he didn't even know he had been holding, drowning out the applause and cheers and instead focusing his attention on the beautiful black-haired man standing next to him.
Jimin looked dashing, more so than usual, in his semi-formal white shirt, that was tucked into a pair of fitted black pants. He looked at Jeongguk in awe, his eyes sparkling, and the gorgeous smile he threw in Jeongguk’s direction made it seem like all the trouble he had gone through was worth it.
As soon as all the other mention-worthy short films had been screened, the lights flickered back on in the auditorium. The audience began to stream out of the place slowly and soon, only the seven of them were left in the place.
As soon as Jimin realised the coast was clear, he pounced at Jeongguk. Jeongguk caught him of course, his hands coming to rest at the base of Jimin thighs, holding him securely and tightly as he spun him around lightly, a smile on his face. Jimin laughed, throwing his head back slightly before leaning forward to bury it in Jeongguk’s neck.
“That was absolutely beautiful. I'm pretty sure I love you more than I ever did now.”
Jeongguk didn't even have time to process Jimin’s words before the older was jumping off him and onto the ground gracefully, moving away to make space for the rest of his friends. Everyone crowded around him to take a group photo together, smiling big and wide when the flash went off. Even as his friends congratulated him and showered him with praises, Jeongguk couldn't help but think about what Jimin had said to him.
Love? Did he love Jimin too?
He couldn't even think about the matter at hand because the next thing he knew, he had been dragged outside to the buffet the university had arranged. Jeongguk sat beside Namjoon, sipping on his lemon tea as he watched Jimin chatting with Taehyung in the distance, his mind still deep in thought.
“Hey, Jeongguk,” Namjoon called out, prodding at the weird tofu thing on his plate with his silver fork.
When he didn't get a response from Jeongguk, he looked up and poked Jeongguk in the shoulder with the fork instead. The reaction was almost instantaneous. Jeongguk yelped, his hand coming up to the place Namjoon had poked him, as he swivelled to face the elder with a grimace on his face. “What?”
Namjoon smiled, having the younger’s attention finally. “You know, I was having trouble figuring out what to call the track Jimin and I have been working on. Thanks to you, I’ve made up my mind now.”
At Jeongguk’s curious glance, Namjoon smiled, his dimples peeking out as he proudly announced. “Serendipity.”
“It fits the theme exactly and it's perfect. So thank you, Jeongguk. I think Jimin will be pleased to hear this too.”
Jeongguk nodded along even though he had no idea how he had been of any help. I mean it wasn't like he had created the word or anything, but he was glad if Namjoon thought he had been of help. He looked away and his eyes automatically searched for Jimin’s figure amongst the crowd.
He furrowed his eyebrows, frowning when he couldn't make out his boyfriend anywhere in the crowd. Excusing himself from the table, he got up and walked around, trying to find the familiar mass of black hair. He reached for his cellphone after a while of aimless walking when a small and slender hand grabbed onto his and pulled him aside.
A warm hand covered his mouth and he came face to face with Jimin’s warm brown eyes. The scene was all too familiar, almost like a deja vu to what happened one of the nights he was drunk in Tokyo with Jimin. The hand dropped when Jimin was sure Jeongguk wouldn't be shouting anymore. With a finger to his mouth, he signaled Jeongguk to keep quiet and dragged him along the school corridor till they were at a secluded place no one would find them at.
“You were looking for me, weren't you?” Jimin asked with a mischievous smirk on his face. Jeongguk decided to play along, a devious smile appearing on his face. “No, I was actually looking for Taehyung.”
Jeongguk felt bad when he saw Jimin’s face drop almost immediately but he kept the game going. He pulled Jimin closer. “Why, baby? Did you want me to look for you?”
Jimin looked flustered, looking away as he stuttered an unconvincing no, trying to pull away from Jeongguk. Jeongguk chuckled, poking Jimin’s cheek playfully. “I’m kidding, I’m kidding. You caught me there-- I was looking for you.”
Jimin relaxed, a smile appearing on his face although he hit Jeongguk’s arm lightly for teasing him like that. With a mirroring smile, Jeongguk reached out to brush the hair out of Jimin’s pretty brown eyes.
“Hyung, I wanna ask you something,” he murmured, leaning closer. Jimin's gaze locked with his and Jeongguk almost lost his train of thought, getting lost in those chocolate brown depths.
“Did you mean it just now? When you said you loved me?”
Jimin’s eyes widened slightly but he nodded after a second, sliding his hand down Jeongguk’s arm to intertwine their hands together.
“I meant it one hundred percent, Guk. I'm pretty sure I started falling for you after you had taken care of me like that, the day we met?" Jimin said genuinely. "Yeah, some people might say it's foolish to fall in love with someone like that, so fast, but I don't regret it. You've made me the happiest I've ever been. I love you, Jeongguk.”
Jimin noticed Jeongguk’s frozen expression and chuckled slightly. He squeezed Jeongguk’s hand lightly. “You don't have to say it now, Guk. In fact, you don't have to tell me if you don't want to. I just wanted to let you know how I fel-”
“I love you too, Jimin-hyung.”
Jimin stopped talking, his mouth dropping open slightly before he cleared his throat, looking away. “You don't have to say it just because I did, Jeongguk. I'm serious.”
Jeongguk shook his head stubbornly. He looked into Jimin’s eyes with what he hoped was sincerity. “No, I’m not, hyung. I don't know when I fell in love with you, but I am one hundred percent head over heels in love with you."
Jeongguk squeezed their interlocked hands tightly before he continued. "I’m kinda crazy for you, baby.”
Jimin blinked, trying to take in what Jeongguk was offering him before he surged forward to lock his lips with Jeongguk. Their teeth clattered at the impact but they couldn't care less, as their lips moved beautifully in sync with one another. Jeongguk felt like he was walking on air. It was like magic, the way way his lips connected with Jimin’s and if there’s one thing Jeongguk was sure he would never get tired of, it was kissing Jimin. Each time felt like the first and honestly, Jeongguk couldn't get enough.
He was addicted to Jimin’s taste.
He was addicted to Jimin.
Jeongguk broke the kiss, leaning down to shower Jimin’s neck with kisses instead as the latter giggled slightly. He pulled back, his breath coming out in short pants as he intertwined his hand with Jimin’s again. “Let’s go back before Seokjin-hyung blows his top again.”
Jeongguk started walking away when Jimin pulled him back, smiling prettily. “I love you, Guk.”
Jeongguk’s heart melted once again. He tugged Jimin closer and pecked his lips sweetly once more. “I love you more, baby.”
Laughing to themselves, they sneaked back to the buffet but they mustn't have been as stealthy as they thought they were because Seokjin caught them anyway. He fixed them with a withering glare but it fell away soon after as he broke into a soft smile and ruffled their hair.
Jimin walked off to find Namjoon soon after, possibly to discuss about his upcoming shoot, and Jeongguk watched as his lean figure disappeared into the crowd.
“What's with that look, lover boy?”
Jeongguk startled, yelling loudly when Taehyung sneaked up on him with no warning, hitting his hand on the table from the surprise. He rubbed his sore hand with a scowl set on his face. “Jesus fucking christ, Taehyung! Some warning would be nice!”
Taehyung leaned back, a satisfied smirk set on his face. “Some honourifics would be nice too, you brat.”
Jeongguk huffed and turned away, grabbing his cup of lemon tea to drink from it again. Taehyung drummed his fingers on the table top, looking like he wanted to say something. “I still can't believe you went to Japan without a boyfriend and came back with one.”
Jeongguk's character broke at that and he grinned, wiggling his eyebrows playfully.
“Yeah, so thank you, for ditching me on our supposed trip to Japan.”