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bad boy

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people change.

when jungkook fell in love with yoongi, it came as a surprise. he wanted to rip his beating heart out of his chest and tell himself: no, no, this isn’t me, this isn’t me - but that was him, his face flushing, his pulse quickening, whenever yoongi was around. no, this was all him.

jungkook finds that people always change. sometimes they change for the worse; sometimes they circle back to who they always were. bullies, bad boys, murderers. they always switch back, always fall back, falling back to who they once were -

in college jungkook isn’t the most popular person. it’s a small college and he’s openly, quietly queer, likes doing laundry, dancing, and exercising. he doesn’t fit little labels made for pretty packages. sometimes people don’t like what isn’t normal. jungkook fits everything but normal. he makes boys want to lean in close to hear what he’s saying underneath his breath and then suddenly - suddenly they’re looking at him like they want to kiss him and - well, that’s not his fault, is it? it’s not his fault if boys want to kiss him. maybe they should learn to be okay with boys kissing other boys.

people change, he tells himself, after the fourth time someone kicks him to the ground. runs away with their flood of words and curses, hiding in the cover of the night. it’s easy to be awful when it’s in the confines of the dark. when there’s no light - when no one’s looking at you - it’s easy to pretend you’re a saint.

jungkook holds the side of his stomach and breathes out. at least it’s not cold, he thinks. at least, at least, at least. sometimes he wants to kiss a boy.

there’s a boy kicking rocks beside him.

jungkook’s eyes flicker up and some guy with scruffy black hair and a bomber jacket is there, looking down at him. jungkook barely sees the shadows of his face. “hey, kid. you okay?”

“peachy,” jungkook replies, coughing. cold air floods into his lungs. “do i know you?”

“nah,” the guy says, and helps him up. “well, that looks fucking nasty. you need help getting to the hospital or some shit?”

“that would be appreciated,” jungkook grunts.

the lights of seoul are pretty. pretty lies. jungkook hates the city. he wishes he could be back home where the beach raised him like a mother, where the roads are hills and there are pails out in front of houses, where ahjummas come out of their doors in the bleak morning to put up the washing. there, it smells like sea salt and sounds like abrasive rock against the rushing water. jungkook misses and aches for home where there’s familiarity in place of cold rebuttal.

“what’d they beat you up for, jesus,” the guy says, “you look like shit. what, do you owe them money or somethin’?”

he’s waiting for a cab, jungkook realizes. waiting for a car to stop for them. lights pass and dance in front of his eyes. “nah. i like kissing boys.”

the guy next to him is silent, and jungkook knows he’s leaning on him for support. he wonders if the other will push him into traffic, if the other will hold him down, if the other will tell him that he’s disgusting but help him anyway, hands off his body like jungkook has a disease.  

“so what, they’re mad you wouldn’t kiss them?”

jungkook smiles.

/

his name is yoongi. he has eyes like glass and strong knuckles, good for punching someone. he looks thin and wiry but on second glance, there’s something very off and wild about him. a person who looks harmless isn’t always harmless. sometimes the most poisonous creatures in nature are the ones that look like they couldn’t hurt a fly. jungkook thinks yoongi’s shoulders - when he rolls them - have seen a lot of things, and his gait is real easy-like. confident. not a lot of people have that, oh no.

he likes to think of himself as a good judge of character. yoongi isn’t a good person.

jungkook holds his face up as the doctor places the last bandage on a scar on his cheek that has been cut again. his sides are fine - just a bit of bruising - but some asshole had a ring on when they punched jungkook. his jaw feels a little sore.

“you should be okay now,” the doctor says, stepping away. she turns to yoongi. “try stay out of fights, okay, boys?”

“yes ma’am,” yoongi answers for him, and jungkook looks down at his lap.

/

yoongi goes to his school. jungkook learns this at the end of the visit, when yoongi mentions having to go back to his dorm room. they walk together through the night and jungkook doesn’t question why he feels safer - why he also feels like something’s wrong.

/

“christ, what happened to you?” jimin asks incredulously as jungkook sits down opposite from him. “did you get stuck through a blender?”

“playing ignorant is really cute, hyung,” jungkook replies bitterly.

jimin shuts his mouth with a clack. when jungkook looks up, his face is the picture of guilt. jungkook digs into his bowl of rice with gusto, feeling hungrier than he has in days. the bruises around his sides are started to purple and blacken. he's a fast healer - he'll be okay. 

“prone to hurting myself,” is the excuse.

jimin looks at him, feeling guilty that’s not even his burden, and jungkook wonders why he should even have to hide at all. they’re his bruises to poke at. they’re his wounds to salt in. no one else but him gets to hurt him like he does. whatever those idiots do to him is nothing, comparatively.

jimin sighs and pushes over his cutlet. “not hungry,” he says, but jungkook knows that it’s just another way of saying, “i’m sorry i can’t help you.”

/

jungkook’s boyfriend’s name is jaekwang. he plays football and has dreams about going onto the national football team. he says he wants to be the next hong jeongho, play for the germans, make the international team eventually. go to the world cup. he plays for the small college football team first because it was the only school - only arts school - that would take him with his grades and had a football team for him to participate in. with all his ideas of grandeur, he would do anything to keep up his image as a pure and clean player. jungkook isn’t even sure what part of football he even plays in - does he have to know?

jaekwang is good at kissing. he’s good with his hands. at first, it’s real simple; jaekwang is open but he’s also quick to say things in reply, to remove the hand around jungkook’s waist as easily as he’s good at keeping it there. jungkook doesn’t think much of it.

/

yoongi hangs around the art studios with a smoke in his fingers. jungkook scowls when he sees it, his nose wrinkling up at the sight of it. yoongi’s eyes roll over to him calmly, checking over jungkook’s curled mouth, and flicks ash from the end of his roll. stomps the glowing embers out underneath the heel of his foot.

“my dad smoked,” jungkook says, apropos of nothing, “it’s really bad for you.”

“message received,” yoongi replies, but doesn’t move to take out another one. “what are you doing here?” he asks, this time his eyes narrowed into slits.

jungkook’s cheeks flush a little. he’s not usually like this; talking to strangers isn’t something that he does. despite this one stranger holding some sort of connection to him from before - from when jungkook was bitter, his temper rising (quite a feat indeed) - he finds himself retreating back in his little shell. he hunches over, scratching the back of his neck, and scuffs the floor. “this is the art building. i’m an art major. this is an art school...”

he expects yoongi to scoff and do something about the tinge of sarcasm in his voice, but all yoongi does is give a little smile. amused.

“you’re right,” yoongi says, “my bad.”

jungkook blinks; his hands are bleeding at the knuckles. they look reddened, and jungkook notices the small chill in the air. “you’re hurt,” he points out, mouth dry, and wonders where all the courage stirred up by pain and bitterness went.

yoongi shakes his hand and a few drops of blood flickers across the pavement. “yeah, nothin’ major.”

jungkook frowns.

that’s how yoongi first gets himself an invite to jungkook’s dorm room.

/

jungkook wraps up yoongi’s bruises like he knows what he’s doing. the bandages over his knuckles are tight; yoongi smells like cigarette smoke and an ashtray, and it makes jungkook’s stomach roll. his roommate, jimin, isn’t in - probably either at class or in the library - and jungkook takes rubbing alcohol and a clean tissue to rub them into yoongi’s cuts. he has a bunch of them on his scarred knuckles and also on his face, on the underside of his chin, one on his collarbone. they must sting, but yoongi doesn’t say a word.

“i heal quick,” he explains when jungkook’s eyes flicker up at him. “why are you doing this?”

jungkook frowns. he feels out of place in his own home, looking around at the organized clutter of his side and the messiness of jimin’s, the folded laundry on his bed that he forgot to put back into the drawers and the posters of g-dragon and other rappers he’s fond of on the walls. he has a stuffed bunny that his older bought for him years ago, tattered and kind of worn down, but it still smells like busan. the floors are wiped clean. jungkook sweeps often. the windows are shut with fluttering blue curtains; hundred won furniture, hundred won life.

“it’s a good person thing to do,” jungkook mumbles. he doesn’t know why he’s doing it. pay back, maybe? yoongi took him to the hospital and now the only way to return his karma is to patch up yoongi’s wounds when he needs them?

“huh,” yoongi says, and he takes his hand back. he looks out of place, sitting in jungkook’s room, leaning back and staring at jungkook’s white covers. “these rooms are much nicer than the grad student dorms.”

“really?”

“yeah. spacious. lighting isn’t as shitty.”

jungkook manages to scrounge up a smile. it’s kind of weird, that yoongi’s here. that someone like yoongi is here, sitting on his bed, trying to make small talk with him. it makes the strange buzzing underneath jungkook’s skin settle a little, move into something more natural. “yeah, the lighting really helps when i’m trying to draw or sketch.” he points to the most important part of the entire room, agreed upon by both he and jimin; their respective studio desks, lined with measurements and rulers, little lamps attached for late night work. jungkook’s sketchbook rests on top, gently closed, a couple of charcoal pencils resting on the edge. at least he had the sense of mind to close it last night. often times he just leaves it open. jimin never looks at his stuff, and he never looks at jimin’s, so it’s all okay.

“i guess we have pretty okay sound in our dorms,” yoongi muses. “so it works out.”

“you’re doing something in music?”

“yeah. production and songwriting,” yoongi continues, “it’s good shit.”

jungkook sort of sways back and forth, his fingers curled over the extra gauze in his lap. “your parents never bugged you for it?” sometimes he still remembers the sound of you’re a failure; a fuckin’ faggot and going to a shitty art school all at once? you little -

yoongi’s calm voice breaks him out his slight reverie. “it was pretty much only me and my dad, and i didn’t really give a shit about what he had to think.”

“i’m sorry,” jungkook frowns. he didn’t mean to bring it up; knows that talking about parents in an art school can go fifty fifty. some of them are still hung up of dreams of sky universities, pristine grades, a nameplate with an md engraved. nobel prizes. doctorates. those between the cracks - children that have never fit in - are all failures, waiting to be seated and left grasping for straws. others remember past loves of singing and passion for dancing, encourage what was not encourage to them in their kids, let them fly and try to help when they crash and burn. jungkook knows which category he falls into perfectly well.

yoongi doesn’t say anything else after that, just sort of shrugs. the fingers of his left hand graze over the bandages on his left. “it’s not a big deal. he died a couple years ago, and i don’t have to see him again.”

jungkook wants to say i’m sorry again, but it seems like yoongi doesn’t want to hear it. instead, he leans forward and says, mock quietly and sort of like - “my mom was okay with me liking boys, but my dad wasn’t.” sort of suggesting. telling in a way that tells without actually speaking.

when yoongi looks at him, his eyes are dark and almost burgeoning. he’s strangely charismatic. jungkook doesn’t know why he’s never noticed, why it never crossed his mind. “sounds shitty, kid. sorry.”

“sorry,” jungkook repeats, and a giggle threatens to burst out of his throat. “yeah.”

he doesn’t notice the way yoongi hangs onto the edge of the sound, almost like it’d disappear from the air. jungkook throws the gauze into the open drawer he took it from and smiles when he makes it in one. his phone pings and jungkook takes it out of his jeans pocket, unlocking it only to frown.

“what’s wrong?”

“nothing,” jungkook closes his phone, “just my boyfriend.”

“ah,” is all yoongi has to say about that. he has that jitterness about him that tells jungkook he’s ready to stuff his hands in his pockets and make a run for it somewhere. jungkook knows that feeling all too well. and strange - strangely enough, he doesn’t want that. maybe it’s the comfort of someone knowing he’s attracted to boys and not giving a shit. maybe it’s the way yoongi doesn’t seem to fit into the span of jungkook’s tiny, clean room that sends him into a tizzy. off. on edge.

“that’s a nice view,” yoongi says quietly, nodding his head to the window that separates jungkook’s side from jimin’s. it’s more than a window, more a sliding glass door onto a balcony.

“it overlooks the front of the dorm buildings, like all the other dorms facing this way,” jungkook explains. “it’s really helpful when you’re trying to avoid someone.”

“you would know, huh?”

jungkook shrugs. “i heard a lot of guys tried to sneak their girlfriends in, and they would sometimes move out by the balconies, so with this new building they’ll get caught by security right away. the front door is right underneath us. makes it hard to sneak out, too.”

“doesn’t stop you, huh?” yoongi asks, probably remembering the night they met.

“i’m quiet,” jungkook tells him, feeling a little bashful about himself, tugging at a strand of his hair.

“nothing wrong with that.” yoongi points to himself, raising an eyebrow, and lets out a little laugh for what seems like the first time in a proper week.

maybe it’s the stillness of his room, maybe it’s the sound of cicadas outside, maybe it’s - a lot of things, the buzzing texts ringing through his pocket and his legs folded underneath him, but jungkook finds himself blurting out, “hyung is really cool.” he feels immediately mortified after, scratching his cheek, feeling it burn -

“thanks, kid,” yoongi says, and when he smiles it’s genuine, showing off gums and an eye crinkle. jungkook can’t help but smile back.

/

jimin wants to play video games that night - something about ignoring all his responsibilities - but jungkook gets a text from jaekwang about having a date. it comes as a surprise, because jaekwang rarely wants to go on dates outside. he’d rather stay home and watch movies or try to touch jungkook in the confines of his dorm room, pretending no one’s watching. not that jungkook minds too much - he’s not really one to be social all the time. and while he dislikes the way jaekwang’s hands always try to make their way up his shirt, he likes the kissing.

when he’s about to text jaekwang that he doesn’t want to go, jimin chimes in from beside him; “it’s okay, kook, we can play video games another day.” he’s munching on his third packet of chips, leaning back against the sofa in an oversized sweater.

jungkook’s eyes roam over jimin’s hunched form for a while, and then asks, “what about taehyung? can he come?”

jimin pauses, blinks, “well, i could ask.”

jungkook snorts. “i don’t understand why you guys aren’t good friends; you’re practically the same person sometimes.”

jimin shoots him a wounded look, voice going high, “we are not! we’re like - we’re frenemies!”

“frenemies.”

“you know, like when you know you’re friends with someone but they’re also your rival!”

“this is an art university, not medical school,” jungkook says reproachfully. “hyung, what the heck.”

jimin huffs and shoves another couple of oyster chips in his mouth. “listen, okay, it might be an arts school but that doesn’t mean we don’t have plenty of competition - if not more. there’s this huge pressure to be original and try to make it in a world that doesn’t really want artists, you know what i mean?”

jungkook just blinks at him, slow and easy, even though he knows exactly what jimin is talking about. he does it so the elder can huff and groan and go, “well, of course you don’t know, golden boy and all.”

at the familiar nickname, jungkook smiles thinly. he looks down at his fingers, smudged perpetually with charcoal. “yeah. that’s me,” he states, sounding just the tiniest bit empty. he wonders if jimin can hear. he wonders if anyone can. what does it matter that he does everything perfectly if he himself isn’t perfect? who even fucking cares? you’re not perfect until you’re perfect through and through.

there’s a moment of silence before jimin’s hand is in his hair. he ruffles the strands, his voice apologetic; “that’s not what i meant, kook.”

jungkook slides his eyes to the left. sometimes he feels angry and that anger bubbles up in him before fizzing out. he’s quiet for the most part and he doesn’t really know how to put himself out there if his friends aren’t around. he has a boyfriend that he has a nagging suspicion wants to keep him a secret more than actually get to know him. jungkook sometimes sleeps and has nightmares driven by his anxiety. he’s scared about his future. he’s nowhere near perfect.

“call taehyung,” jungkook repeats in a softer voice this time. “try and do something, hyung, you’ll go crazy. i know you like to pretend that you’re not friends with him, but i don’t think he sees it the same way.”

jimin looks a bit unsettled at that last bit, as if he had never seen things from taehyung’s point of view. jungkook is good at liking boys; even if he’s not too great with the whole jumping into bed thing with other boys, he’s good at liking them. good at crushing on them. maybe taehyung likes jimin a bit better than jimin thinks he does.

it’s unfortunately that he doesn’t have taehyung’s number, or else he would have gone and called himself. invite the other over and then leave for his date, oh no, i’m so sorry for the mix up - well, at least jimin is here -

jungkook plays around on his phone, finding random game apps on the app store to download. by the time he starts to beat his high score over and over again, jimin is talking to someone loudly on the phone - with a certain edge to his voice that tells jungkook that the other voice is most likely taehyung - and he gets a kakaotalk message that forces his game to pause.

jaekwang
want to come over?

his breath hitches. jungkook texts back a single confirmation with a sticker. he changes his shirt into something nicer, something that hangs off his shoulders and shows off the lines of his body. he throws on a sweatshirt over it and runs a hand through his hair; his face looks okay too, so jungkook leaves it alone. grabbing his phone, jungkook yells out to jimin that he’s going out and shuts the door before jimin can screech at him to stay for the night.

jaekwang’s dorm room is close to his, just a floor above. jungkook toes the edge of the door, his breath catching in his throat, before knocking on it for a while. his boyfriend opens the door, looking like he just got out of the shower. jungkook’s eyes skip over the lines of his shoulders before he comes inside.

“want to watch a movie?” he asks, and jungkook pulls down his hood and nods.

it’s useless about an hour in. the movie starts out okay; jungkook settles himself into the sofa with the buttered popcorn jaekwang had brought out. he feels comfortable for once (rare, considering he hasn’t come around to his boyfriend’s dorm room long enough to make it feel like a second home) and settles in to watch whatever action movie is playing. jaekwang is the one who keeps a hand around his shoulders, hot and heavy like a brand. he’s the one that presses his mouth against jungkook’s jaw, insistent and soft, bringing him closer.

shoving aside the surprise and the burgeoning uneasiness in his gut, jungkook welcomes the touch. he’s always been a tactile person, and jaekwang is just - not. he would have been fine just watching the movie, but he supposes that this is okay as well.

jaekwang kisses him easy and slow, like he trying to pull keen sounds out of jungkook’s mouth, like he’s in for the long run. jungkook’s good with kissing. kissing, just kissing. he presses back, bringing a hand up to tangle it in jaekwang’s hair, a hand fumbles with the ends of his shirt -

“so you’ll never believe it, but she cancelled - whoa, what the fu - “

jungkook is off of jaekwang on the floor in less than a second, it seems. jaekwang pushes him off so quickly that he loses his balance - half of it was on his boyfriend, after all - and falls off the sofa without any time to even make a sound. jungkook bangs his shoulder and the side of his head on the way down, the pain moving sharp and quick through his senses.

standing at the door, open mouthed and wide eyed, is another boy. jungkook has no idea who he is.

“the fuck,” jaekwang starts, angry, his face flushing. jungkook groans internally; is this the roommate? jaekwang said he went out earlier with a friend and wouldn’t be back until late, so they could be alone for a while. jungkook rubs his shoulder in the meanwhile, wincing a little; he tries not to think about why a little knot in his stomach relaxes. it felt too tense, too on edge for his liking. jaekwang doesn’t like to touch him the way jungkook wants to be touched and then can’t take his hands off jungkook when he doesn’t really want it.

“i swear to god, we’re just friends, why can’t you understand that?” jaekwang spits at him, and then - what?

he looks angry and upset, and his eyes flicker to his roommate.

jungkook wants to laugh. the urge is so great that it bubbles up in his throat, threatening to spill over his lips like a bad lunch. his mouth twitches with the urge to smile. really? really? he sees this game. it starts up something ugly in his ribcage, like withered flowers that have yet to be pruned, like an old wound that refuses to be treated. he takes the pain now, from his shoulder and his head, and lets it distract him from the overwhelming rage that boils in his blood.

“whoa, man, that’s not cool,” the roommate says, looking way out of his comfort zone but also shifting a little bit toward jaekwang. like he wants to protect him. what fucking bullshit. “i mean - you gotta keep that kinda...stuff...to yourself and your kind - “

“i guess you didn’t tell him about all the times you tried to put your hand down my pants and i wouldn’t let you,” jungkook says acridly, his voice sounding foreign to even him. he’s not this person. he’s not purposefully mean, but - but. something bubbles up in his stomach and it feels too much like sadness, like despair, for him to be comfortable.

jaekwang sputters and starts to stand up, but jungkook beats him to it. he dusts himself and grabs his hoodie, gingerly stepping right over the fallen over bowl of popcorn. “even when you’re out of the closet,” jungkook ignores the roommate and blandly takes to his now ex-boyfriend, “don’t bother calling me.”

he slams the door behind him as he leaves. he’ll allow himself that much.

/

jimin’s not too good with comforting someone, but he does fairly okay when it comes to realizing when jungkook doesn’t want to talk. he lets jungkook hang out in his room and eat his snacks and leaves out a cup of tea for him. they don’t talk about it. jungkook continues on with watching art videos on his phone and jimin keeps on looking through his dating profile.

whenever he watches reels of artists showing their work through their own artistic process, a niggle starts forming in jungkook’s brain. he has the itch to draw, to paint, that becomes so heavy it tends to overtake him. jungkook shuts off his phone and rolls around on jimin’s bed, wondering what he’s doing.

jimin calls out that he’s ordering out and jungkook says nothing in reply. all he can do, really, is stare up blankly at the ceiling and think, thank god he didn’t touch me. something about jaekwang’s heavy handedness left him feeling unsure. he didn’t want sex - doesn’t want sex now - not with someone he knew barely for a month. jungkook turns over and twists a piece of hair through his fingers. is he being a prude? is he being - too much? he doesn’t think so. it’s normal not to want things.

jimin asks him if he wants noodles or fried chicken. sighing heavily, jungkook yells back for the latter. nothing better than fatty foods to make his day.

/

he meets yoongi again at a coffee shop. jungkook is getting his morning coffee - dumped with a lot of sugar - when he meets eyes with yoongi who has just walked in from the main entrance. stirring his coffee with a wooden spoon long enough to wait for yoongi to order and then amble over to his side of the room is easy enough. standing there with his toes pointed toward each other. yoongi with his black beanie and his dark jeans and shoes, a single silver ring on his right pointer finger.

“hey,” jungkook says as yoongi gets close, hanging out at the corner table where sugar sticks and coffee stoppers rest. “long time no see.”

“school’s a bitch,” yoongi says casually, gaze flickering down to the coffee in jungkook’s hand. “got class in the morning?”

“yeah,” he frowns. “this is the closest place i can get to without being late in the morning.” taking a sip of his coffee and waiting  for the first inevitable burn on his tongue, jungkook winces.

“it’s early, isn’t it? who takes a nine am class?”

“i do, apparently,” jungkook sighs, wiping at his forehead. “it wasn’t a good idea to take it in the first place, but that was the only class section available for what i needed. it’s something i have to live with.”

“what class is it?”

“a class on philosophy that i need to take for graduation credits,” jungkook admits. “i’m not particularly fond of it, but, well. i still need to take it. the professor has been okay so far, but she’s...pretty eccentric.”

“all philosophers are,” yoongi says easily, taking a sip of his own drink. “i have a friend who questions his own existence sometimes. it can get a little annoying, especially because then i start thinking about it, and that isn’t ever fun.”

“better to just imagine you’ve got a bigger presence than you actually do?” jungkook smiles.

yoongi points at him with an outstretched finger. “exactly. what building are you going to?”

“oh, one second, i think she changed the classroom number actually,” jungkook admits, turning to his phone to see if there has been any change. scrolling down forcefully refreshes his phone - a percent charge ticks away to jungkook’s annoyance - and he reads, from the simple message line, class has been cancelled today because of - swearing slightly underneath his breath, jungkook chooses the email and reads it in full. while it does say what new classroom they’ll be going to, it also tells him that the class he has first thing in the morning - the one that kills him continuously is also not going to happen today. his professor is apparently making some emergency appearance at some weird conference or something.

“i’m not going to class for the next four hours,” jungkook scowls a little, staring down at his phone as if resentment alone will make his plight easier. while he never complains about having a day off or two, he would rather that class go on just so his entire suffering of waking up in the morning is a little bit validated. now even his coffee has no reason to exist. jungkook regrets waking up this morning.

yoongi raises an eyebrow. “cancelled?”

“yeah,” he sighs. “guess i’ll go back to my dorm and do...something, i guess.”

“hm,” yoongi takes another sip of his drink and casually goes, “i’m going to music library if you want to join me. it’s pretty quiet there in the basement, where they store all the musical history books. no one ever wants to look at those.”

“oh yeah, sunbae is a music student, right?”

“just call me hyung,” yoongi laughs. “yeah, you remembered. grad student, in fact. the place is just for grad students but if i say that you’re with me, it won’t matter much. want to come along? maybe you can get some work done if you’re in an unfamiliar environment.”

“i could do work at my dorm,” jungkook argues, but then admits a second later: “i’d be more likely to do it somewhere else though, you’re right. my bed is too tempting.”

“don’t i know the feeling,” yoongi hums. “follow me?”

jungkook shoulders his bag a bit higher on his shoulder, putting his phone in his pocket and drinking down the rest of his coffee. it tastes more lukewarm than burning hot at this moment, which is a good reflection of how he feels at that second of time: a little lukewarm, cheeks pressed against the floral scent of his jacket, pulling away from the open breeze. jungkook’s bruises have all faded. he’s a quick healer, as quick as he is to purple up.

finding himself both curious and a little hesitant, jungkook asks inhales deeply and walks behind yoongi’s easy strides. although he doesn’t seem to have much presence, once you take notice of him, yoongi is pretty hard to ignore. jungkook falls into step beside him. “so, sun - hyung...what kind of music is your favorite?”

“hip hop,” yoongi answers immediately. “but i like a lot of other genres, too. house has been a favorite of mine recently. sometimes i like slow songs, too.”

“i love slow songs,” jungkook admits. “jimin-hyung - my roommate? - he says that listening to slow songs just make him sleepy, but for me they help me be productive. i’m not really sure why, but i think it’s because it feels like it’s putting me in a trance? but a good trance.” he scratches the side of his head, feeling a little embarrassed. “he and i like singing slow songs better, too.”

snorting, yoongi finishes off the last of his own coffee and throws it out in a trash can on the side of the road. “i can’t sing if my life depended on it. rapping is what i’m best at - words are a man’s best weapon and all, right?” he chuckles. “my friend would be calling me out if he was here right now. he’s big on the whole going against the establishment thing, and i’m basically studying to be part of the establishment.”

“oh?”

“a lot of my masters program has to do with management and business,” he admits. “music isn’t the only thing that makes a man, you know.”

they’re on a part of campus that jungkook doesn’t recognize. it’s much more crowded, people pushing together on narrower streets, grad school students pulling past regular pedestrians with their papers and bags held close to their chests. jungkook has to swerve out of the way of most of them to make sure he doesn’t crash.

the building that yoongi leads him to is a couple stories high, with their university’s logo on the front and the name of some guy he hasn’t heard of at all in his entire life. yoongi shows the security guard at the door his id, and jungkook follows after him with quick steps. inside yoongi’s little music library is nicer than the main library or even the art library jungkook goes to often, with soundproof walls and a soft, even murmur. everyone he sees has their headphones plugged in so as to not disturb anyone else. jungkook makes sure to keep his voice down as he walks in between the desks, following after yoongi faithfully.

the elder leads him down a crowded staircase - beige walls lined with pictures and framed portraits of classical musicians - into a small niche. the light there is bright, airy, and wonderful. jungkook can easily find himself getting lost in here for hours on end. musical score cards are all thin in size, lined up in wooden shelves equally among each other. yoongi points to a little glass cubicle in the corner; jungkook follows him quietly and they make their way inside, laying out all their stuff.

“this place is so nice,” he breathes, blinking all around and taking in the pretty way light filters through the high ceiling windows; because they’re in the basement, jungkook can see the pavement and the different shoes that cross each little window of space. he has a sudden urge to draw.

“i’m glad you like it,” yoongi says, setting out his headphones. they look big and expensive; jungkook kind of wants them to, or at least wants to try them out. “try to keep this place secret, though - the best part about it is that it’s quiet.”

“i can keep a secret,” jungkook says, miming zipping his lips shut.

with a - fond? jungkook likes to think so - little pull of his lips, yoongi settles down on the desk beside jungkook, setting all of his tools down. jungkook is so close to yoongi that their elbows can brush if he leans in too close. a waft of something natural comes from yoongi, but jungkook hurries to put in his earbuds and not lean in too close to the other. pulling out his tablet, jungkook opens up one of his favorite drawing programs and begins sketching - just little doodles - and maybe in the corner, he immortalizes in print what yoongi’s side profile looks like.

it takes him around three hours to finish one of his assignments for another professor, which jungkook does with the most amount of gusto he can possibly muster. in this quiet little corner his mind is free to roam everywhere, from the little dustings of light to the blackness of every window border. jungkook thinks the idea of it: watching from below the people that walk by with their own lives, unknowing of a secondary force keeping an eye on them too. like a guardian angel from below.

what an odd idea, jungkook thinks.

he’s pulled out of his own reverie by yoongi himself, who waves the time at him and waits for jungkook to pull out his earbuds to say, “i have class soon. gotta go to another building and then set up.”

“okay,” jungkook is a little breathless, but he isn’t sure why. yoongi’s face is so close, and from this angle, jungkook can see the observations of an artist: sloping nose, sharp jaw, lazily curved eyes. “i - um, i’m sure i can find my way back to the student union building. maybe get something to eat too?”

“sounds like a plan,” yoongi starts collecting his stuff. “here, give me your phone.”

there’s only one reason why yoongi would want his phone, and while jungkook knows this, he can’t help the sudden thump of his heart that comes with it. it’s ignored. jungkook waits for yoongi to type in his number, still opened to contacts - min yoongi hyung - and a moment later, for the ding of a notification. it’s not his, but rather yoongi’s phone - he texted himself from jungkook’s.

“if you ever need something,” yoongi waves his screen a little, “i’m just a text away. really.”

“thanks, hyung,” jungkook smiles and packs up his things to follow after yoongi, trying to recall that way back. he’s silently grateful to the campus map that yoongi sends him, knowing without jungkook ever needing to ask. as yoongi heads to the opposite direction, jungkook’s breath catches in his throat - he wants to say it, wants to yell out bye hyung - but yoongi’s form is still leaving, disappearing, and jungkook turns in his own direction.

still, he thinks. still.

/

taehyung is over at their dorm, which shouldn’t be a surprise to jungkook, but it is - for approximately 0.5 seconds, at least. as he closes the door the surprise immediately falls away when he sees that he and jimin are hunched over a gallery book, staring at a bunch of pictures. taehyung is emphasizing the brilliance of a photo of a goldfish, while jimin just looks bewildered. jungkook pauses for a moment while the both of them turn to look at him simultaneously - it’s kind of creepy.

“welcome back,” jimin starts, rubbing at his left eye. “how was class?”

“fine.” he submitted the picture of the window and the feet walking across it; his professor fell in love with the feeling of semi-abstract semi-realism that particular work had evoked. jungkook doesn’t still get why, exactly, but he lets it be. “how are you guys?”

“taehyung is explaining our photography project to me,” he admits a little begrudgingly.

“oh, what kind of photograph?”

“it’s a whole unit about the important of color balance,” taehyung pipes up; he has his dslr sitting next to him, and while jungkook had been putting his things away, began to flip through the pictures on it. “i took some for our semester project, but thinking back of professor lee’s explanation, i kind of want to retake some of them in a different light. maybe they’ll give me a different feeling?”

“i still don’t get it,” jimin sighs. “i’m a dance major. my form of art is physical.”

taehyung looks like he’s trying really hard to not say something about that. jungkook is glad that he’s holding it back so well - while he and taehyung both share an understanding of their friendship, for some reason jimin likes to insist that he and taehyung are frenemies, or just study buddies, or he-sat-next-to-me-in-class-so-we-were-made-partners. jungkook thinks that jimin might have a crush, but won’t admit it. either way, he’s not going to be the first person to bring up their problems to them.

instead, he takes big steps over all of their spread out books - a lot of them are for reference, and jungkook sees one that he personally enjoyed himself (giving taehyung a high five as he flops down in his bed) and starfishes over his coverlet, groaning at the softness. there’s nothing greater in life than coming back from a physically tiring and exhausting day to just flop down in your bed and smell the scent of laundry detergent. jungkook is glad he fixed up all his washing before the week began.

he rolls around so that he’s facing the balcony window (a game of rock-paper-scissors that he lost brought him to bed on this side of the room) and tunes out the side of jimin asking taehyung another question. jungkook scrolls through his instagram just to see what his older brother is up to, as well as all of his older friends back in busan. some of the people he knows from this school have instagram as their personal portfolio, uploading clips of dance - like he knows jimin does - or visual art like jungkook does. he uploads the picture he had taken of the window and the wall that was just submitted a while ago. closing instagram, he answers a couple of texts sparingly on kakaotalk; his eyes hover over min yoongi hyung.

he hasn’t talked to yoongi in three days, no has he seen him in the coffee shop. well, it’s not like jungkook was expecting to see him (he was) but it would have been nice. he may or may not have been lingering there just to see a familiar head of dark hair.

he’s always like this when he makes a new friend or meets someone; hovering over the edge, always wanting to find out more. it’s overbearing, jungkook knows. it’s not like you have to know everything about everyone the second you meet, but jungkook just likes the feeling of it, that newness; having a new friend with all their attention on you, as much as your attention is on them. it’s just, for jungkook, that period of time is longer than what most people would call normal.

setting down his phone, jungkook rolls over again and sits up a bit to see jimin sitting cross legged on the floor and cutting up a couple of pictures. taehyung is still looking through his dslr but he’s printing photos out of a little photo printer machine he has on hand, which - that’s really cool, jungkook kind of wants one now, holy shit.

“do you think it’s too early to text someone if you’ve only met unofficially before and just happened to fall in the same circles,” he asks suddenly.

“it’s never too early to text someone, fuck societal norms,” taehyung answers a beat later, while jimin is still processing what jungkook is saying.

“what if he thinks i’m weird,” he groans.

“is this - is this jaekwang?”

“what, no,” jungkook sighs, lying on his back to stare up at the ceiling. “i broke up with jaekwang ages ago. he’s kind of an ass. i mean - i made this new friend and i really want to talk about something, but i don’t know if i should.”

“jeez, go for it,” taehyung pulls away from his photography to lean on the edge of jungkook’s bed, beaming at him like a puppy finding its owner. he flicks jungkook’s elbow. “if you wanna be friends with someone, it’s easier to just act like you’re already good friends and call each other your favorite sesame seed than wait over niceties. makes for a stronger bond.”

“sesame seed,” jimin mouths at himself, looking confused, which - same, jungkook thinks.

taehyung is the most social person he knows, though, so jungkook is hesitant to throw away his advice all together. “you think so? he won’t think i’m weird or anything, right?”

“what else is texting for,” taehyung scoffs.

“besides,” jimin pipes up, “he should be blessed if you’re texting first. you never answer your texts anyway.”

“jimin’s right, wow. you’re holding out on us - is he a better friend than we are?”

jungkook pushes taehyung’s face away and sticks his tongue out at both of them. jimin snickers. “go finish your photography project, hyung. i hope you get a b+ and a point away from a good grade.”

“that’s evil, jungkook.”

“just straight up cruel,” jimin agrees.

jungkook turns back toward the balcony door and shivers a little at the gust of wind that comes from it. moving his body out from underneath the sheets is a herculean effort, but to remain warm and comfortable for just a little while longer, he closes the doors properly - there’s always a damn wiggle in the left door that prevents it from closing entirely unless you slam it just right - and shuts the blinds. he heads back to his bed and brings the covers up to his neck.

taehyung and jimin’s voices blend into a murmur in the background. jungkook looks at yoongi’s name in his contact list, stares at the little chat box that has only a beat emoji. he chews on his bottom lip for a moment. it’s true that he wants to be friends with yoongi - something about the elder makes it easy for jungkook to just...be himself. he doesn’t have to hide who is, because what jungkook considers as his darkest secrets - being gay? constantly running from hurt? - well, yoongi knows those already, doesn’t he?

class is killing me, he finally texts, sending a little tired emoji along with it to emphasize how much his bones really ache. jungkook stares at the text for a moment, wondering if he should have done something else, knowing that there’s no way yoongi would text back that fast -

yoongi
it kills everyone.

jungkook hides a smile. he’s kind of pleased with how quick yoongi managed to answer back - he always hates texting because he hates having to wait for an answer. it’s just easier to never start a conversation at all.

yes, but all my classes this semester seem determined to kick my ass. two of them, both the ones in the morning, especially

i kind of just want to snuggle in my bed and rest forever.

yoongi
i bet if you finished a lot of your work earlier, you wouldn’t be this tired now

i don’t want to hear logic, hyung

yoongi
what else do i have to offer but “look what i went through don’t be like me” advice?

you’re right. next time i’ll buy hyung coffee for giving such wonderful, outstanding advice.

yoongi
i should be buying you coffee, not the other way around. sound good?

jungkook doesn’t know why it even matters, but he laughs, quiet and hidden beneath his sheets, anyway.

/

there are many things that already going wrong with this day - jungkook can count them off the top of his fingers: one, he dropped his coffee this morning so he feels like someone has taken the knob for ‘cranky’ on his mind and blasted it up to infinity; he’s gotten some kind of mud on his shoes because it rained yesterday; the professor accidentally closed their submissions for their lasted assignment early, and while jungkook knows logically that he has to open it up again - he still feels anxious over not finishing it; and finally, the worst thing to top off an already shitty morning, jaekwang is standing outside of his classroom when jungkook exits off the southeast side.

he swears loud enough that a couple of girls turn to look at him; he flushes and turns away, quickly looking down at the time on his phone. his next class isn’t for an hour and he had been hoping to grab a quick bite from the cafeteria, but it looks like that plan is quickly being buried six feet below.

maybe if he looks away, jaekwang won’t notice him. it’s a futile plane, but jungkook is willing to grasp onto straws. he speedwalks to the best of his ability, but it’s hard to go under the radar when someone is looking for you specifically; jungkook grits his teeth when his ex-boyfriend catches sight of him and starts heading over.

“no offense, but i really don’t want to talk to you right now,” jungkook starts off, holding up his phone like it’s a barrier between them. his earbuds are hanging around his neck. it feels like an oose.

“i just want to talk,” jaekwang says, and it - it’s telling of jungkook that he softens, just ever so slightly, at the contrite look on his face. “listen, i know - i’m not comfortable with coming out yet, you know that. i mean, i thought - “

“i knew.”

“right,” jaekwang lets out a hiss of air. “right. so when - when my roommate came into the room, i just sort of panicked and i’m sorry about that. i shouldn’t have done that.”

“i shouldn’t have said that thing about the closet,” jungkook agrees. “that wasn’t really nice to me to do.”

“jungkook,” jaekwang steps forward; he has that familiar dark look in his eyes. jungkook checks both ways before - but jaekwang doesn’t even bother, just heads in right away to kiss him. it’s nice, the little press of lips, familiar. he liked kissing jaekwang. it felt familiar, in a way. nice.

when he pulls away, jungkook exhales. “i get it,” he agrees, “but i still don’t think we should get back together. i don’t want to be with someone who hides me, not right now - “ maybe you will again later - you want to hide you, don’t you? - “and i’m feeling all stressed from school and a lot of other things. i don’t think we would have worked out well anyways, so maybe it’s better than things ended like they did.”

the kind, almost gentle look on jaekwang’s face disappears in a mere instant. replacing it is something much more meaner, tinging on the side of disbelieving. “you’re saying that we’re not - what, is it me?”

taken aback, all jungkook can say is - “excuse me?”

“you’re don’t want to get back together?”

“i thought that was very clear,” he starts, hesitant and a bit confused. jungkook steps back a little to put space between them. “that’s what - that’s the best way to go about it here. we can just exist outside of each other’s circles, you know. maybe if you ever feel like being out we can maybe get together, but it’s as much for me as it is for you, too. i need to focus on my own work - exams are going to come soon - “

i’m saying that i want to get back together,” jaekwang insists, shoulders bunching up. he looks part miserable, part angry. the juxtaposition leaves jungkook’s head hurting.

“well then, i don’t want to get back together,” he says slowly. “like i said. it’s better for me to not have a boyfriend right now - “

“it’s another guy, isn’t it,” jaekwang starts, voice hanging on the edge of a snarl. “it’s some - you already started seeing some other guy? how the hell - “

“what the fuck is going on,” jungkook blurts out. his own confusion is starting to edge away into the beginnings of irritation; he has an idea of where this argument is going, and jungkook doesn’t like it at all. he grits his teeth and sticks his feet down in their spot, vowing that he won’t move even if jaekwang tries to make up.

“i didn’t think you’d be seeing another guy this quickly,” the other starts, acid coloring his tone. he reaches out to grab onto jungkook’s bicep, with the younger hastily pulls away from. “is it that easy to find someone else for you?”

“we went out for a couple of weeks at best,” jungkook scoffs at the idea of even calling jaekwang a boyfriend; the other certainly didn’t act like one. jungkook hadn’t asked for undivided attention, though that would have been nice - but it felt more like exchanging booty calls, seeing each other only by the phone and dark, shadowy places. he’d have liked for someone to listen to him, sure, but jaekwang barely did the minimum. “and i’m not going out with anyone. even if it were, it’d be none of your business, because we’re not together anymore. i’m going to go to my class now,” he ends with, pulling away from the conversation entirely and feeling the panic rise up in his chest.

jungkook’s right to breathe through the quickening of his own heart, because jaekwang hurries to stand in front of him as he’s trying to get to the railing. he’s always touching jungkook, which while would have been previously appreciated, now is just a nuisance. “we could be fucking good together, you know? i said i was sorry!”

“there wasn’t a single apology in there,” jungkook says, incredulous. “seriously, i’m going to class - hey!”

jaekwang, in his hurry to keep jungkook in his place - or maybe he meant to all along - shoves him into the side of the railing where the end sticks out. it jabs painfully into jungkook’s side; he swears at the sudden sting near his kidney, groaning at the pain. in a split second jungkook lunges forward with all his body weight and swings jaekwang straight across the nose; the impact of his fist sends the other sprawling on the floor, blood gushing out of his nostrils. if they haven’t been making a scene before, they definitely are now; but jungkook knows for a fact that he wasn’t the one to start this scuffle, and if anyone tries to bring him down for it, he’ll go kicking and screaming.

“don’t touch me, what’s wrong with you,” he yells first, swearing and pressing against the pain in his side. “you’re the one that fucked us up, don’t go blaming me for not having your shit together!”

and, disgustingly enough, the jackrabbiting of his heartbeat is accompanied by the burn of wet tears pressing behind his eyelids. jungkook is acutely aware of the way people are staring now, judging, murmuring their little petty words behind their mouth while jaekwang is start up at him with - betrayal? shock? jungkook doesn’t know, nor does he care. he’s gone up to here with his threshold for bullshit from him. whatever softness instilled in him by that frivolous kiss earlier has all but disappeared.

spinning on his heel, jungkook furiously wipes at his face - not even completely sure why he’s crying, or why he’s anxious and angry and upset - fuck next class. he heads back to his dorm like a man on a warpath, bulldozing through the streets with a single minded focus that only comes from him when he’s on his last defense.

he slides into bed with a groan, not even bothering to pick up the discarded jacket and socks he’s left on the floor, and covers his head with his blanket. it serves to calm him a bit, that feeling of being securely wrapped in something. he presses the heel of his palm to his breastbone and wills his fast heartbeat to calm the fuck down, already.

when it finally does, jungkook reaches out to grab his phone where he left it next to his pillow, and deletes jaekwang’s number off of his phone.

/

he must have fallen asleep at some point, because when jungkook wakes up the sky is dark outside and there’s a post-it on top of his phone when he goes to check it time. jimin’s written him a little something stating that he’s off to buy groceries for the week (his turn) and it looked like jungkook needed the sleep so he didn’t bother waking him up. grateful and at the same time a little lost, jungkook sets the watermelon shaped post-it note aside and runs a hand through his hair. his head is pounding a little and no doubt his sleeping schedule is completely fucked over - right now it’s almost ten thirty at night, which means jungkook’s slept for six hours at the very least.

he swings his legs over the side of his bed and stares down at his own toes for a moment. his entire mind feels blank, which is a sudden reprieve from earlier. thinking about jaekwang just serves to give him a migraine - what the fuck was that entire fight about anyway? in their relationship, jaekwang has always been the one to give less of a shit. jungkook was always the one trying to learn more about him, trying to gather his attention, wilting whenever he’d be more preoccupied with other things but blooming when jaekwang had time for him and him alone. the more he thinks about it, the more he figures that that is what jaekwang misses about him - he misses the way jungkook would hang over him, waiting for scraps, being content with the bare minimum.

and it’s true. jungkook knows himself, at least to this extent. he’s always had bad taste in men, finding the shitty ones that either don’t know how to deal with their own gay feelings - which is 100% not his problem - or the ones that are so self-important that they can’t believe someone isn’t wanting them at that very moment. jaekwang falls somewhere in between, one of the worst types. jungkook hates himself a little for taking so long to come to terms with it.

either way, he’s starving. his stomach is starting to make displeased little growls, so jungkook grabs whatever he needs - rubs a hand through his hair so it doesn’t look so messy - and heads out into the slightly chilly air, wanting to buy some food. the original plan is to go to the convenience store, but somehow jungkook finds himself lagging past the coffee shop that he had been in with yoongi just a week beforehand. surprisingly enough, it’s still open.

reluctantly pushing the door on the way in, jungkook notes the number of patrons that are still awake and kicking behind their laptop screens, typing away or drowning their coffee. most of them look like students; at second glance, jungkook notes that the coffee shop is twenty-four hours.

he remembers, vaguely, the order than yoongi always gets: he brings it all the time and once sent jungkook a photo of it when the younger criticized plain black coffee. jungkook opens up his phone now just to have something to do with his hands, going to that specific part of the chat. feeling a bit better, he orders yoongi’s exact drink - lack of sugar and all - as well as two chocolate croissants and a grilled chicken sandwich. thankfully the late night shift is a lot, lot less busy than the morning and his food comes quickly. only the sandwich takes a bit of time, and jungkook is willing to wait just to have something fresh and hot in his hands.

as soon as he gets the coffee, he takes a quick picture of it and takes a sip, wrinkling his nose. even the smell of it is a bit too much as it comes closer to his lips. the barista snorts as jungkook makes a disgusted face at his own cup.

this is awful, he sends to yoongi, sending the picture of his cup. how do you handle this every morning?? is this just straight black coffee?? it smells like there’s something else in there.

yoongi, never failing to answer right away, goes, pretty sure there’s espresso in there. maybe some ginseng.

wow, you hate yourself.

it’s just black coffee, yoongi sends back, along with a little sticker of a bear shrugging. jungkook grins and bites into his chocolate croissant, deciding that since he has two of them anyone of the two can be a pre-dinner (dinner?) dessert. his sandwich arrives in a nice white paper bag, so jungkook settles down in a corner of the shop and digs in.

the only lull in his inhalation of food is another text: i’m actually getting out of class, want me to drop by?

it’s nearing eleven pm. you have class this late?

mix class. it was the latest session; i wanted one day to sleep in, at least. sounds reasonable. jungkook sends a thumbs up and inadvertently smooths his bangs, making sure that there’s not a hair out of place. he slows down a bit in finishing off his sandwich, too, and savors the last of his chocolate creme filled croissant. by the time he’s licking his fingers, yoongi walks in through the ringing doors and spots jungkook in his corner right away.

“for you,” jungkook says solemnly as he pushes the coffee cup - left untouched - over with two fingers. “i don’t want anything to do with it.”

“why’d you buy it, then?” yoongi raises an eyebrow.

jungkook mumbles something low enough that yoongi can’t hear it over the sound of everyone else in the coffee shop - he doesn’t know why he had ordered it, exactly. maybe he just wanted to try something that he knows yoongi likes, just to see how it tastes on his tongue. maybe he was just...curious. jungkook tugs at the side of his bangs and smooths down the wrists of his sleeves, dusting away any stray crumbs. yoongi thankfully drops it. in the dim, yellow light of the coffee shop, his eyes are sly and dark. he pulls the cup up to his mouth and jungkook tries not to think about how he drank from there earlier.

when yoongi puts down his cup of coffee, jungkook says: “does this technically mean i bought you a coffee instead?” while yoongi frowns, “have you been crying?”

jungkook blinks. redness blooms on his face like a vice. “no,” he says a bit too defensively. technically, since the tears didn’t manage to drop from his eyes, he didn’t cry. “i was just...having a bad day. an allergic reaction. lot of shit happened.”

“hm,” yoongi’s gaze is not on jungkook, at least not directly - it’s on the way jungkook tugs at his own sleeves endlessly, pulling them over his fingers. “you know...you can talk to me about anything, right? i know we haven’t met for long, but.”

“thanks, hyung.” a weak smile is all jungkook can manage at the moment before it flickers and disappears. he rubs his forehead. “it’s my ex boyfriend,” he admits.

with yoongi’s dark, patient eyes, jungkook finds himself spilling the whole story: their clandestine affair, the way jaekwang used to treat him that jungkook had glossed over during the actual course of their relationship, jaekwang going crazy on him just as he was getting out of class and the minor fight.

“it left me with a big bruise,” jungkook admits, reaching over to push at it now. it’s sore - extremely sore - but jungkook has felt worse after spending two hours too long at the gym. it’s still going to bruise like a bitch, though. when he looks up to meet yoongi’s gaze, there’s a bit of a startling moment for him; yoongi’s expression is so stone cold that it could freeze an entire ocean; he’s focused on where jungkook is holding his side, mouth pressed in a tight white line.

and then his eyes flicker to meet jungkook’s and the brief look is gone. instead, a slightly pissed one takes its place. being indifferent maybe would have been better, but there had been - such - such coldness in his eyes -

“what an asshole,” yoongi scowls, and jungkook - he must have imagined it.

“yeah, but i don’t think he’ll try to talk to me anymore,” jungkook points out. “i deleted his number off of my phone and if i didn’t break his nose, i at least made him bleed.”

“wish i could have seen it,” yoongi says, and sounds like he actually means it.

with a nervous little smile, jungkook pushes his bangs back into place - even though they had been fine just before - and taps his fingers on the table. “i learned that i’ll have a group project in that class, too. i’m really not looking forward to it - there’s this one kid in our class that’s known for plagiarizing a lot of stuff, and he barely gets away with it.”

“how does he get away with it at all?”

jungkook shrugs. “it’s like - he rewords a lot of it, but it’s still not his, you know? and i feel like one day he’s going to slip up and create a lot of trouble for himself. i really don’t want to work together with him,” jungkook sighs. “i’ll try to sit somewhere else when we’re picking partners. that’s how the professor chooses groups, anyways.”

yoongi speaks a little bit about a person who plagiarized a song when he was in undergrad, and how everyone thought he was stupider for thinking that he wouldn’t get caught rather than thinking that he would be able to get away with it. “it’s obvious when someone else steals what’s yours,” yoongi hums; the way his eyes slide over to jungkook sends a shiver up his spine. “you’d know right away.”

“yeah,” jungkook swallows. he wishes that he had finished his sandwich even slower now, at least to have something to do with his hands. he’s not quite - not quite sure where this nervousness is coming from again.

“do you want to get away from work and everything else for a while?”

jungkook’s head snaps up. it’s almost midnight, the barista is sleeping at the counter, and someone has spilled coffee over the side of her desk without even breathing away from her laptop screen. “what?”

the elder shrugs. “i figured that it’d be nice to just. not think about shit for a while. you up for it, kid?”

“i - sure, why not,” jungkook blinks, a laugh bubbling up in his throat that comes out small and a little bit like an excited child on their first trip to the amusement park. “where would we even go? are there actually interesting places open this late?”

“you’d be surprised,” yoongi leans in, grinning, and when he smiles his gums show on full display. jungkook thinks he looks handsome like that, smiling with everything he’s got. he holds out a hand to wave to the door, and jungkook dusts himself off before following after him.

“i think hyung is an insomniac,” he starts off with, feeling the cold night air hit him in the face. it’s refreshing. jungkook inhales deeply while yoongi laughs in that low chuckle of his.

“you think so?”

“yeah, most definitely. how else would you know about places that are open this late at night?”

yoongi looks impressed. “clever, aren’t you.”

jungkook says seriously, “i like to think so.”

moving his bag a little bit to the side, yoongi reaches out to ruffle jungkook’s hair - the first time he’s done so. his hands are strangely warm, palms wide. his fingers trail across jungkook’s ear. at the end, he tugs a little on jungkook’s bangs, the way he himself had done so earlier. “i usually don’t sleep much at night,” he admits, leaning forward and bringing jungkook with him so it feels like they’re sharing a secret.

jungkook hopes that his face isn’t as warm as it feels. he’s not too sure why it’s doing that, either. “i met hyung at night, too.”

“that’s right,” yoongi blinks, pulling away. jungkook almost immediately misses the warmth of his hand, and feels a little bit silly for wanting to hold on longer. he’s never been a person to be touchy-feely with his friends in public, but he enjoys close contact a lot. almost impulsively, feeling reckless, jungkook lets out a big breath and loops their arms together. yoongi’s hand is still in his pocket, so jungkook matches him and stuffs his own hand in his coat, the sides of their bodies pressing together.

he turns to look expectantly at yoongi, who’s brief look of surprise disappears. as soon as jungkook turns to him. “i usually like going to my studio to work on any project i have,” he admits. “but sometimes i just wander around, going to clubs or bars, or maybe find some place new to eat. there’s this one place that does midnight movie watchings, too.”

“oh, let’s go there!” jungkook likes the idea of watching a movie right now; he hasn’t had the time to do so in a couple of months, ever since the last time he had break for chuseok. “is the theater close by?”

“a bit of a walk, i think.”

“that’s fine! hyung, what’s your favorite color?”

“black,” yoongi says. typical.

“mine’s white,” jungkook informs him. “do you think we’d be watching a horror movie?”

“do you want to watch a horror movie?”

“the best movie to watch with someone at night is a horror movie,” jungkook says, laughing. “me and jimin-hyung - that’s my roommate - i think i told you about him before, right? - we used to have horror movie marathons, except he’d get so scared by them that he’d forget how to sleep and stay up all night making conspiracy theories.”

yoongi blankly stares at him, then goes, “oh, so you’re that friend.” and, “a lot more people would say that the most popular thing to watch with someone at night are romance movies.”

“i get secondhand embarrassment from romance movies. i’d rather watch them myself.”

“a horror movie is then, your highness,” yoongi says, tone going up at the end to denote his sarcasm, but it makes jungkook beam to see how easily he’s going along with this. jungkook asks yoongi a lot of questions, counting their steps in between the concrete pavement of the sidewalk: where did he grow up? daegu. did he like pokemon as a kid? i suppose they were okay. i liked older cartoons a lot more as a kid. does he also think that the school’s cafeteria is using second grade sausage in their stew on tuesdays? of course they are. is hyung easily scared?

“not many things scare me,” yoongi admits. he nods to a specific building near them. “that’s the theater, just a couple of meters away.”

“not a lot of things scare me either,” jungkook follows up with. the theater that yoongi brought them to is small but modern, with pinned up posters of movie trailers and an automated ticket machine. jungkook heads over to see the movie selection and feels excited at the prospect of having some new material to scare jimin with as soon as he gets to tell the elder about anything new in his life.

“a lot of people say that but end up jumping at the tiniest of things, you know.”

“i mean, i get startled by loud noises,” jungkook presses two for the ticket button. “so i don’t like thunder and stuff like that, or when people bother me while i have my headphones in. but other than that, not a lot of things like ghosts and demons and killers scare me. hyung, are we getting the set? it says we can have popcorn along with it - hyung?”

yoongi isn’t where he had been standing. jungkook does a full one-eighty before he manages to catch sight of yoongi, standing at the automated machine and just snapping his wallet shut. “you didn’t.”

wiggling his wallet in return, yoongi smirks before putting it in his back pocket. “you were too slow for that one. i got the set that you wanted.”

“i was asking if you wanted it,” jungkook sighs in exasperation. he feels a little fond, though. hey may be a little touched at how quickly yoongi had managed to worm his way through jungkook to pay for their impromptu movie run. “do you like regular popcorn or cheesy popcorn, hyung?”

“regular, extra butter,” yoongi points to something else off in the corner. “i’m getting us drinks.”

jungkook likes the look of the dingy little movie theater. it reminds him of the things you see in dystopian movies - abandoned structures left wide and high for whatever soul to come see them long after they’re ran out of their use. there’s no one else here but the few people who are left awake at this time of night, trying to make up for whatever time they lost in the morning.

he and yoongi sit all the way in the back, where the big screen can be seen widespread across the entire theater. they managed to save their seat numbers before anyone else can get them; jungkook rests against the lush seats and relaxes almost immediately. he must make some sound, because yoongi’s eyes are glinting when he presses a lone finger to his mouth; jungkook mimes zipping his mouth shut.

the film isn’t anything special in itself. since they’re sitting in the back, the get the brunt of the loud noises and screams that come from the speakers overhead; at one particularly loud, unexpected crashing noise, jungkook startles and drops some of his popcorn on his lap. he swears that yoongi’s muffled sounds next to him is that of laughter.

but halfway through the movie, jungkook honest to god starts to get bored. the entire thing had been marketed as a psychological thriller, but it feels more like a guessing game the he doesn’t want to partake in. the frightening scenes aren’t even that frightening, the director used too much imbalance in his picture to make all the dark, shadowy scenes grainy, and the bloody scenes are kind of distasteful. he turns to see if he can talk to yoongi about the movie and how bad it is, but the elder’s eyes are fixed firmly on the screen. yoongi doesn’t look like he’s particularly enjoying it, but that doesn’t mean he’s not enjoying it either.

jungkook shuffles a bit and lets his head loll against the back of the seat. at least the chairs here are comfortable. as he’s sitting on the outside - near the aisle - jungkook follows the black figures sitting up front; people watching has always been interesting to him. one couple sits in the first row, holding hands and turning to each other to talk once in a while. there’s an old man sitting in the middle of the theater and not moving at all; a couple of people that sit in the back, all of them by their lonesome, are enraptured by the film in front of him.

blinking his heavy eyes, jungkook rubs at his left eyelid and adjusts his legs so he’s comfortable. maybe watching the movie again won’t be so bad, he thinks. jungkook focuses on the screen once more, blinking to keep himself awake while someone screams, and -

the next thing he knows, yoongi’s face is only a couple of inches away. jungkook slowly exhales, sluggishness overtaking his limbs. “hyung...”

“you fell asleep,” yoongi comments. there’s a hand rustling through his hair. the movement is so soothing that jungkook never wants to get up. “halfway through the movie only to drool on me, to be more specific.”

wait, what?

jungkook raises a hand to wipe at his mouth while simultaneously jerking his head up - up? - from - yoongi’s shoulder? the hand that was in his hair is not in fact a random phantom breeze, but yoongi’s broad palm. he scrubs furiously at his mouth, his ears turning red, while yoongi - barks out a laugh. it sounds nice, all low and deep, nothing like his perfectly placed chuckle. this sounds shocked out of him. “it’s fine. wasn’t the best movie, huh?”

“i don’t know why i fell asleep, i went to sleep just a couple hours ago,” he sighs. “hyung, did you enjoy the movie?”

“it was alright.” yoongi is handsome, jungkook thinks to himself all of a sudden, even with the feeble yellow lights and the end credits roving down the screen sending shadows flickering against his jaw, the tight line of his side profile. “could have been better. you really weren’t scared at all.”

“it takes a lot to scare me,” jungkook informs him, stretching out a little. he pulls down the end of his shirt when it rides up; yoongi looks away. “what time is it?”

“almost two am. i probably won’t be sleeping anymore, honestly.”

“my sleep schedule is so messed up,” he shakes his head.

“are you tired?”

jungkook doesn’t answer; it’s obvious by the brightness of his motion that he’s nowhere near tired. he feels wired. electricity buzzes in his skin; that of the unknown, of heading anywhere and nowhere with yoongi, being out so late where all rules seem to melt away into nothingness. jungkook has never been particularly reckless - not completely, but the adrenaline from doing whatever he pleases - of rebelling, even in a tiny way, is enough to keep him awake.

“i don’t want to go home, hyung,” jungkook says, leaning forward to pitch himself into yoongi’s line of view. “i really, really don’t want to go home.” somehow it feels like going back to the dorm - back to where jimin and taehyung is, where everything he knows is simple and defined, is more than what he can handle at the moment.

“i’m going to my studio,” yoongi tells him slowly. “it’s a walk in the other direction, but if you want to come along, i don’t mind. i’ll be up until morning, probably. i don’t have any class tomorrow.”

“i have an afternoon class, thank god,” jungkook grabs all his things and even holds onto yoongi’s bag for him, as if that’ll make the other get up faster. yoongi moves like that all the time - slowly, with purpose, never rushed or hurried. “i’ll come along with!”

they play a game of twenty questions on the walk there. jungkook asks silly, shallow questions - stuff you’d put on your dating profile, or things that you would tell a stranger that doesn’t know you well. he learns that yoongi likes korean food the best and grew up in daegu, considers his neighbor his best friend (named namjoon), and has never really thought much about why there are craters on the moon. he likes thriller movies as much as jungkook does, and not much scares him either. jungkook used to take tae kwon do and yoongi says he used to judo before an accident left him with a hurting shoulder. he plays basketball in his free time but hasn’t done so in a while. he’s written at least three diss tracks just to get all his feelings off his chest. he usually walks when he has to get around campus, but other than that, he uses his second hand motorcycle to get to further parts of seoul because he just can’t afford a car.

jungkook tells him about how he’s gotten into gudetama recently, and jimin bought him a pouch that he loves to death. he has a couple of friends back in busan from high school, but they keep in touch minimally. he only really has his friends jimin and taehyung, but they’re both one year older than him. he tries to make friends with kids in his class, but it’s rough for him to relate to them; jungkook doesn’t know why. (it’s hard for him to care about people if he doesn’t already.) jungkook likes running when he’s feeling unmotivated and he eats a lot, lot, lot, so if yoongi insists on paying for food then he better have a big wallet.

“i’m sure i can handle it,” yoongi snorts at the very end, and jungkook grins at him. there’s the sound of a crash and then a light swear; “ah, hyung, did you hurt your foot on something?”

yoongi waves it away with a cough. “just tripped.”

his studio is very different from what jungkook had expected, and yet so, so familiar. there are various posters and pin ups on the side, a couple of mementos (kumamon merchandise) but no pictures. jungkook swivels around on yoongi’s chair and when he turns to the mixer, interested, yoongi asks, “do you want to learn how?”

standing behind him, yoongi gently guides jungkook’s hands to certain buttons and switches, explaining all of them and their functions in a low, calming voice. he’d suit asmr a lot, jungkook thinks, but he’s unable to focus with how close yoongi is to him. if he leaned back just a little, his head would hit yoongi’s chest. he wonders if he can hear his heartbeat if he gathered a little courage.

yoongi helps him write a song. jungkook hums the tune from before, citing that he’d like a song about banana milk, please, and yoongi pauses him to ask him to sing.

jungkook knows that he’s pretty okay at singing. the look on yoongi’s face after he says that is enough to convince him otherwise.

“your voice is beautiful,” he thinks he hears yoongi say, so quiet that it disappears underneath the trap beats blasting in jungkook’s ears.

they do that for hours, huddled over the computers and equipment. jungkook’s brain aches by the end of it; at six am, he’s blinking and listening to a short, one minute segment of a heavy trap song with his voice in it, singing about banana milk. the fact that he sounds so aggressive while he’s melodically spouting love for his favorite drink is enough to send them both into a bout of laughter.

jungkook’s eventually shortens into little giggles, and then a wide yawn. at the end of it he groans. “oh, why am i yawning? i probably slept more in the last twenty four hours than i have the entire school year.”

“a lot of excitement went on,” yoongi points at himself. jungkook kicks the edge of his chair. “i mean, i’m going to work a little longer on actual projects, but if you want, there’s a futon i can bring out.”

“no, i - i’m not ti-red,” broken up by another yawn. jungkook hides his mouth behind his hands.

snorting, yoongi gets up. “wait here. the sofa is too uncomfortable, so i usually sleep on the futon if i have to. since someone prevented me from doing my own shit, i’ll stay up a bit longer to finish it up.”

“don’t act like you didn’t have fun, hyung!” jungkook calls out as yoongi heads to a closet somewhere in the corner of the room. he swirls around a couple of times in what he calls in his head as yoongi’s producer chair, counting the seconds it takes for him to do a full swirl. by the time he manages to calm down and get rid of the dizziness from his eyes, yoongi’s already got a single-sized futon laid out on the floor near the edge of the sofa, the only place it seems to fit. there’s a warm brown blanket and a pillow at the end of it, too.

“hyung is too nice,” jungkook says, shuffling a bit toward the futon and plopping himself down on it gracelessly.

yoongi lets out a wry laugh and shakes his head. “you’d be the first to say that. i’m not really a nice person.”

“that’s the dumbest thing i’ve ever heard. of course you’re a good person,” he shakes his head. “why else would you be taking care of me so much?” jungkook doesn’t think he’s felt this coddled over - or at least paid attention to - this much since he left his parent’s home. although yoongi doesn’t respond, he does settle down on the soft with his legs up on the side, giving jungkook an unreadable look. he has this look about him, jungkook thinks, that makes it impossible to turn your gaze away. it’s evident that while yoongi doesn’t seem to make much of a presence in a crowd, jungkook is starting to think that might be on purpose - it’s almost impossible for jungkook to ignore him when it’s just them two. he never seems to be just casual. there’s a slight intensity to the way he speaks, the serious timbre of his voice, the way he focuses wholeheartedly on jungkook whenever he’s saying something.

it’s nice, jungkook thinks. having someone give him that kind of attention, no matter how ephemeral. it’s not like being with taehyung or jimin, or any of his other friends - it’s not like that, he tells himself while his head is hitting the pillow. yoongi also lies on the sofa, leaning over the edge a bit so jungkook can still talk to him. it’s different because - yoongi is different. he’s not like anyone else jungkook has ever known. there’s something about him that jungkook can’t quite put his finger on but he finds himself drawn to it like a moth to a flame.

“thanks,” is what he finally says after a moment, muffled. “i don’t hear that often.”

“can hyung stay here and talk to me until i fall asleep?” jungkook holds his breath.

“yeah. what do you want to talk about?”

“anything you want,” jungkook mumbles. “what’s one really important memory you have?”

“hm,” yoongi thinks about it for a second. jungkook expects; a childhood story, a tale of adolescent rebellion, but not - “you remember i said my dad died, right? he’s not in the picture anymore.”

jungkook exhales. “mhm.”

“i remember the day he died. he wasn’t a good dad,” yoongi adds in abruptly, turning his gaze to look at the ceiling. jungkook stays perfectly still, watching yoongi’s mouth move. he can hear blood rushing through his ears. “he wasn’t a good guy. used to beat me a lot for stupid, simple things. i used to be an angry kid, try to go against all of his rules whenever i could. stay late at school to practice basketball, not bother going to school early, that kind of stuff. it wasn’t like he cared about my education, but he cared that it didn’t make us seem like a normal family. as normal as you could get with a man whose wife left him and a scrawny high school kid with anger issues.”

“hyung,” jungkook breathes.

yoongi’s mouth twists up in a wry smile. “i guess karma got him in the end. i came home late that one day and i just... found him dead in the living room. he was drinking, i think. it was my birthday.”

“i’m sorry,” his breath hitches; a little boy in his mind with yoongi’s hair and eyes, just younger, swims across his vision. walking into a dark house to see a pool of blood on the floor. “how did...was it the alcohol?”

“no,” yoongi starts quietly, “he was stabbed twelve times, the police told me. i try not to think about it.”

“hyung, i’m,” he doesn’t know what to say.

“don’t worry about it, jungkook,” yoongi shakes his head and crosses his arms behind his head; jungkook can’t quite see his expression. oddly enough, jungkook thinks there might even be a smile. “like i said, he wasn’t a good guy. i’m not too torn up about it.”

“still, i’m sorry,” jungkook doesn’t know what about - sorry that you had to see that? sorry that you had to face all of that pain and anger and end up with nothing in the end, a dead body and a cold face that used to spit words; a reminder that in the end, all they are is a body. “my parents threw me out of the house for liking boys. i didn’t know where else to go from there, so i just - tried my best, i guess. to work and get money to go to school. they didn’t like me going to art school either.”

that was a conversation, to say the least. the sound of shattering glass still shows up in his dreams, sometimes. jungkook can’t take the smell of cigarette smoke thanks to his dad, a burning little ember.

speaking of that - “didn’t you use to smoke, hyung?”

“i quit,” yoongi says quietly.

“you did? when?”

“sometime like a week ago.” at jungkook’s incredulous little look, yoongi chuckles. “what, it’s not like i did it all the time - just once in a while for stress relief. besides, didn’t you say you didn’t like smoking?”

“smoking is awful,” jungkook emphasizes. “well, i’m - glad that you quit,” his words are broken up by a yawn in the middle. “do you miss it?”

“i have a lot of other bad habits to take its place,” such a wry little tone he has. jungkook almost wants to kick him for being so mysterious, but he’s got nothing left to say; his body sagged down by the warmth of the room and the sound of yoongi’s voice, tired from the excursions he’s put it through, starts to lag. his breathing slows.

“thanks,” he has the conscious to murmur as he’s falling asleep. if he tries hard enough, jungkook can recall the feeling of yoongi’s fingers through his hair, so soothing. jungkook wants to revel it forever. he hasn’t checked his phone for hours, either. jungkook wonders what awaits him outside of this little bubble, and if he even wants to go back to it at all.

he’s wrong, jungkook thinks. yoongi is nice, just in the gruff way that you don’t expect of people at very first glance. yoongi is like a hard nut - a bit tough on the outside, nothing but sweetness on the inside. he’s never shown jungkook an inkling of being a bad person, so jungkook wonders why - why he thinks of himself like that, why he decides for himself that he’s undeserving of being called good.

as he’s falling asleep, jungkook thinks he feels something warm against his forehead, like a passing pressure. it’s faint, but comforting.

/

in the morning (as in, around twelve pm), jungkook wakes to the sound of his stomach growling again. all he’s had was a bunch of snacks and no real meal with rice and meat, which is what he’s craving right now. his body is cuddled close to the edge of the sofa, where stray threads tickle his nose; sunlight streams in from the single window on top of the sofa, sending light flooding through jungkook’s senses.

when he sits up and stretches to work all the kinks out of his body, he notices yoongi sleeping on the couch next to him despite saying that it’s uncomfortable. jungkook places the brown blanket over him and tries to move him so he won’t wake up with a crick in his neck, but yoongi is surprisingly heavy. jungkook tries his best and settles the dark-haired senior of his so that when he wakes up, he won’t be in pain. jungkook takes one of the post-its and writes that he’s going back to his dorm to take a shower, he wishes he could have put back the futon but he doesn’t know where it is, he’ll buy yoongi popcorn next time if they go to the movies - no exceptions!

and as jungkook decides to stick it on yoongi’s forehead cheekily, his fingers trail across the sharp sides of his jaw. he lingers. jungkook pulls away, thinking distantly, oh, i like him.

he makes sure that he closes the door quietly as he leaves, so wrapped up in his own thoughts that he doesn’t see yoongi taking the post it off his forehead as the door closes.

/

it’s not like the world stops for a moment with jungkook’s revelation. he’s never been one to lie about his own feelings for too long - with experience, he’s learned that it’s more trouble than it’s worth. no, jungkook recognizes what’s going on inside of him and locks it up, nice and deep, until he can’t search for it anymore in the recesses of his own subconscious. for now, his mind replays every little moment (jungkook meeting yoongi, jungkook laughing at him with his bloody lip, jungkook running away from him, jungkook sleeping by his side) until he feels like he’s going crazy.

the thing is - the thing is, he’s never been good with liking people. it’s a little hard for him. he gives his everything to someone else and he can’t help it, it’s like he just wants to pour out all of his little heart until there’s nothing left, and that’s - that’s a lot for people. that’s a lot for his friends, much less a potential boyfriend. and no one seems to want him back just as much, which is why - when jungkook goes for boys, well, he has a type. he’s surprised himself with yoongi, this time around.

he tries to talk to jimin and taehyung about it, but they’re on some weird off-again part of their relationship. jungkook had come in that afternoon from yoongi’s place still sleep soft and content when jimin barged past him through their shared dorm, angry as all hell. at least it had saved him a couple more hours until being cross examined where he was and who had been with.

“with a sunbae named yoongi,” jungkook tells jimin after he’s back from the gym, where he had probably stormed off to earlier. to release stress, no doubt. taehyung stresses him out. “he’s in the music department.”

“oh,” jimin, strangely enough, pauses at that. “min - min yoongi?”

something about his tone - “what, do you know him, hyung?”

jimin wipes at his brow, looking hesitant. he sighs for a moment before going, “no, there’s just a bunch of rumors about him. i don’t believe them, you know i don’t, but sometimes shit like that comes from some seed of truth, you know?”

this is the first time jungkook’s ever head of it. “what do you mean?”

“jungkook,” jimin starts firmly, putting a hand on his shoulder. “don’t worry about it.” but he’s not too keen on talking about yoongi either, which makes jungkook purse his mouth.

“no, hyung, tell me. what kind of rumors?”

“just... random ones. about violence and shit like that. about how he’s? bad luck?”

“bad luck,” jungkook repeats slowly.

“yeah, you know,” jimin waves a hand around like jungkook is supposed to magically know what’s going on out of thin air. “a couple of years ago when he was in undergrad, right, some guy said that min yoongi stole his girlfriend or something, and he made a big stink about it. posted on their schools forum board and everything, and then - two weeks later, the guy just disappeared. they found him dead from overdosing six days later.”

“how in the world does that have anything to do with yoongi-hyung?” jungkook asks incredulously. “if he died from an overdose, isn’t that his own fault? people aren’t just bad luck.”

“there’s just this weird stuff about him, alright,” jimin mumbles. “taehyung told me about him because he’s like a jinx in the music department.”

“i thought you weren’t talking to taehyung,” jungkook points out, accurately nailing jimin’s current problem on the head. jimin shakes his head and jumps into bed, not even bothering to take a shower. jungkook drops the topic, just like jimin dropped their conversation about yoongi. jungkook figures, then, it’s probably a better idea to not bring yoongi up to him, much less the fact that he’s pretty sure he’s in-crush with yoongi. jimin knows first hand just how much jungkook gets his head all screwed wrong when he likes someone, especially when he’s quiet about it.

jungkook vows to keep it quiet to himself for now, at the very least.

/

it works for about a week. jungkook texts back yoongi with more information about himself than he probably needs to, but there’s nothing different about yoongi - he always answers back the split second jungkook texts him, like usual, which makes jungkook wonder if he’s really on his phone all the time. there’s no change in his wry sense of humor or his low amusement when he talks to jungkook. jungkook likes when he’s able to make yoongi laugh.

in the end, he figures: you know, i’ll just go for it. who cares, right? it’s not like yoongi doesn’t know he likes kissing boys. if he doesn’t feel the same way, jungkook can at least kill his feelings while they’re still young.

hyung, do you want to meet up at the coffee shop again? i owe you for the popcorn!

yoongi answers back with a thumbs up, so jungkook changes his direction last moment and heads to the coffee shop instead, absentmindedly fixing his hair and making sure there are no wrinkles in his clothes as he heads to the table in the corner. he waves to the barista and points at his phone to let her know that he’s waiting for someone - they have a policy of not letting loiterers in unless they buy something - and sets down all this books and tablet, brushing dust off the top and the corners.

opening up photoshop, jungkook starts sketching on his tablet the one thing that’s been on his mind recently: a pair of hands, connected to smooth lines of a confident back and broad shoulders, dark intense eyes. black hair in an undercut, a silver earring in one corner. a plain black button up. yoongi in his mind is much like the yoongi of reality, with his swooping lines and his steadiness. jungkook almost doesn’t want to color it in - the photo of yoongi in black in white is appropriate, he thinks. that same air of mystery applies. jungkook adds little details - the crease of his eyelids, the way his mouth curls a little - when a loud bang interrupts him hard enough that his hand shakes.

“what the hell,” jungkook starts, looking up with a little jerk, more confused than anything. jaekwang is staring at him, his face colored a blotchy red. he’s by himself, looking like he’s just getting home from class.

“are you here on a date with anyone?” is the first thing the other starts with, his voice stiff.

jungkook clicks the redo button to fix the small error on yoongi’s face. “that’s really none of your business.”

“i’m your boyfriend!”

“i broke up with you,” jungkook says lowly, just to make sure that no one else can overhear them. “what’s wrong with you? going around calling me your boyfriend in public when you couldn’t even hold my damn hand in front of one person?”

“that was - “

“whatever,” jungkook cuts in, shaking his head. “i don’t really care anymore. we’re really not anything, anymore. please stop talking to me.”

“i did come out,” jaekwang blurts out, his words rushing over each other. “i - to my parents, to my roommate. i don’t know, i couldn’t stop thinking about you. it was wrong, what i did. why can’t you take me back? i know i made a mistake but i swear it - it wasn’t like that. i didn’t mean to push you. i’m sorry, jungkook.”

“that’s great for you,” he sighs, already packing up his things, “but i don’t really feel the same way anymore. i like someone else now.”

that wasn’t the right thing to admit. it’s evident by the way jaekwang’s face, which had been earnest and sweet before - the jaekwang that jungkook had originally liked - turns ugly. his face downturns in a harsh frown; something flashes in his eyes.

jungkook doesn’t feel anything else for jawkwang but pity. while he tries to put on the guise of being a nice guy, the anger and violence that bubbles underneath his skin comes out when he least wants it to, when he tries to make a good impression. he can’t control himself. jungkook doesn’t care much for guys like those.

“you can get over me that quickly?” he laughs, but it’s not funny. “what, is there an abundance of gay men in korea, now? or are you just chasing after some random dick, the way you did with me? it’s so easy to get your attention, isn’t it?”

“wow, fuck off?” don’t answer him back just walk away just walk away - “what i do or what i feel for anyone is none of your business. you were the one who ruined things between us anyways, you fucking hypocrite.”

“you don’t even care, do you,” jaekwang starts closing in on jungkook, looking insistently furious. “you don’t - you really just don’t care about me or about anyone at all!”

“i don’t care about you anymore, that’s for sure,” jungkook spits back. like hell he’s going to take that lying down. “i care about people plenty. i cared about your undeserving ass, but you were the one who took advantage of that. don’t blame me for your mistakes.”

“you’re just a pretty face with nothing inside,” he breathes out; jungkook has half a mind to kick him away again, this time in a place where it hurts. “you act nice but you’re really not, jeon jungkook.”

and that - well, that’s just rude. “i’m nice to everyone but you. you, i’m getting sick of this. our relationship,” jungkook puts emphasis on this, saying it loud enough that some of the customers around them start to whisper in their direction - jaekwang steps back a little. “is over. i really don’t know why you keep on bugging me. i wonder if this can be constituted as harassment?” he muses.

“you - “ jaekwang tries to snarl, but he gets interrupted with a voice that’s as cold as ice. “excuse me?”

everything seems to just. pause. jungkook blinks; the sound disappears for a moment and comes back up with a resounding clamour, but for a moment - for a split second, there had been complete silence when yoongi spoke.

standing there with his casual wear and his hands in his pockets, yoongi doesn’t look menacing, but the tense line of his shoulders, bunched up, and the steel in his smile more than makes up for it. even jungkook experiences a little shudder running down his spine.

“um, what,” jaekwang starts, before being literally pulled back by yoongi - he grabs a quick hold of jaekwang’s collar and physically jerks him away in one smooth movement. he lets go as fast as he grabs onto jawkwang, too.

“you were standing in front of my seat,” he continues, nodding toward the seat across from the one jungkook had been sitting in before he was interrupted. still with his unmoving smile, yoongi goes, “do you have something you want to say?”

jaekwang opens his mouth, looks at jungkook, and then at yoongi. he shuts it with an audible click, something curtailed in his attitude, before exiting the coffee shop.

jungkook exhales a big breath he hadn’t even known he was holding. “thanks, hyung.”

yoongi, who had followed jaekwang’s departure with an iron gaze, stares off where he had been and goes, “that’s the ex-boyfriend?”

“the one and only,” jungkook grumps. “he’s become more an asshole in the time we’ve been apart, honestly.”

yoongi settles himself down across from jungkook, finally turning his attention back on the younger. his eyes soften as soon as they meet jungkook’s gaze. “i find that hard to believe. maybe he was just hiding his real self?”

“probably,” he says absentmindedly. yoongi looks good in a beanie, jungkook thinks to himself. “you know, hyung, i’m pretty sure i have bad taste in men, you know?”

yoongi orders himself a black coffee dark enough to peel off the top layer of his tongue, as usual, and jungkook shakes his head when the other asks him if he wants anything. even still, jungkook notices yoongi place an order for cheesecake before he pays and heads over, which just makes jungkook roll his eyes. at this point, though, he’s just making a count of all the foodstuffs he owes yoongi by now. “that so?”

“yeah,” jungkook takes the cheesecake thankfully, promising himself that he’s going to enjoy this piece thoroughly. “it’s been like this ever since i was dating. either they’re too clingy or touchy or they’ll be too in their own world. never just ... a nice boy. all of them had their own problems, and it’s not like i expected them to be perfect, but - “ he shrugs, shyly pushing aside the piece of cake on his plate. “i don’t know. i kind of wished that i would find someone who was imperfectly perfect for me.”

“that’s reasonable,” yoongi says quietly. “you’re allowed to want that, you know?”

jungkook’s mouth flickers in a smile. “jaekwang is like that, you know? he’s kind of obsessed with himself. i didn’t realize until we were separated, but that’s why he’s coming after me all the time. he can’t believe that someone’s not obsessed with him. even when we were dating, i was the one giving him attention, not the other way around.”

“oh, jungkook,” yoongi sighs, shaking his head in faux disappointment. “why do you have such bad judge of character?”

“i don’t always have a bad judge of character,” he huffs underneath his breath. “i met you, didn’t i?” the implications of what he’s saying - that he sees yoongi like he’s seen all his past ex-boyfriends - makes a flush rise to his cheeks. he busies himself with his own cake, not willing to look at yoongi at the moment. he doesn’t notice the way yoongi smiles at him, all serene-eyed.

“it’s just a weird cycle,” he ends up saying, veering away from the previous topic. “i just...keep finding guys like that over and over. either they’re not too into me or i’m not into them enough. is that weird? it’s weird.” it’s why jungkook’s so baffled at his own attraction toward yoongi, who seems so...put together. who might be a little rough around the edges but, for all intents and purposes, isn’t like his previous boyfriends and their flying words and fists.

“i’m going to pay next time,” is what jungkook says instead, bottling up all his feelings and using it to break through their conversation with his inkling of courage. insisting that there will be another time.

yoongi just shrugs and takes a sip of his coffee, leaning back. “next time.”

/

jimin slamming the door shut for what seemed like the fourth time that week is the final thing that gets jungkook to turn away from his tablet. he slips off the pair of headphones that he always keeps at home - a gift from his older brother junghyun - and swivels around in his chair. his tablet (a precious cintiq that he spent months saving up for) rests on his desk. jungkook quickly saves his comic assignment that’s due in a couple of weeks.

jimin goes straight for his closet; the way he throws out all his clothes from the bottom edge alarms jungkook, especially when he shoves away one particular sweater - “hey! that’s my hoodie! i’ve been looking for that since november - “ swiping it off the floor, jungkook holds his precious iu hoodie close to his chest.

“where is it,” jimin mutters to himself, before grabbing onto a plain penny tee with a logo on it that jungkook can’t really see. “here. fucking - ugh.”

“um,” jungkook considers jimin for a moment. “are you okay, hyung?”

“all this time, he’s been giving me shit for this fucking shirt,” jimin holds up the balled up tee in his hands, snarling his words out. “do i deserve this kind of treatment? no, i don’t. i just - i just wanted to talk and he kept on - ugh. ugh.”

“i think i should break out the chocolate,” jungkook starts edging toward jimin’s side of the room while the other quietly has a breakdown on his bed.

“we’re not frenemies,” jimin groans, and jungkook pats him on the back. “we’re - i don’t know. i think i might like-like him. a subset of liking. i don’t know.”

“sounds like some pretty good gay feelings,” jungkook hands jimin a piece of his favorite chocolate from the other’s private stash. jimin takes it without realizing what it is first, before squawking, how the hell did you find this? jungkook bites out of his own smaller piece. “hyung. i’m pretty sure he likes you back. i’ve been waiting for months to say this.”

“that’s not - “ rubbing his eyes, jimin sets the tee to the side, which jungkook recognizes as one of taehyung’s favorite t-shirts. he wore it for a week straight last year around his birthday. “i just...i don’t want to talk about it right now.”

“okay,” jungkook says softly, before giving the rest of the chocolate to jimin. “i’m going to do my comic assignment.”

jimin leans over to curl up in his bed, on top of all the clothes that he’s thrown on his bed in his moment of mass panic. “i’ll keep my headphones off,” jungkook tells him, quietly getting up from his chair to pick up the rest of jimin’s stuff off the floor. in that moment of quiet, only bothered by the sound of jimin’s slow breathing and his shifting body movements that tell jungkook he’s still awake, he folds all of jimin’s clothes neatly and set them inside his dresser to be sorted out later. with one last look at his dorm mate, jungkook heads back to his chair and works on his comic again.

he keeps his promise and makes sure to take the headphones off. he wants to be able to hear if jimin says anything; even when he’s in the zone, jungkook can be sure to be snapped out of his mindset if someone else is talking to him. it’s usually why he keeps his ears busy with eight bit soundtracks or something.

but jimin never says anything else; his breathing turns uneven for a moment, and jungkook wants to tense up and go over there to cuddle one of his best friends into being happy again, but he doesn’t know if that’s what jimin needs right now. sometimes - sometimes he just likes being alone without actually being alone; a physical presence of another is enough. jungkook gets it, he does. he cares deeply and sharply for all of his friends and the people that are close to him - in a way, jaekwang is right. the kindness he can give out only goes so far, and those who have long since found themselves unworthy of being kind to - well, jungkook doesn’t really care about them then, does he? no, he doesn’t.

jimin eventually falls asleep. jungkook gets up at around midnight to tuck him in and throw away the chocolate wrapper on the side of his bed. as he’s sitting down to finish sketching out and coloring the last panel of his comic, jungkook texts taehyung, whatever you did, please fix it. almost predictably, taehyung reads it but doesn’t answer.

at least he tried, jungkook thinks after he lags on his phone for another fifteen minutes and taehyung still doesn’t answer, leaving him on read. that in itself is odd - taehyung always answers back to texts once he sees them, whether it be a minute or a week later. it means he doesn’t want to talk to jungkook now, either.

while he’s finishing up reading one of the webtoons that he’s following (please finish your own, he thinks to himself as he clicks on the next chapter) his phone lights up with a call from an unknown number. it’s nearing one am and the area code is from seoul; jungkook frowns, because it doesn’t look like one of those transaction calls trying to sell you life insurance. he picks up cautiously, making sure to keep his voice low. “hello?”

hello? hi, is this jeon jungkook?” it’s an unknown female voice that’s almost drowned out by outside noise.

bewildered, jungkook goes, “um, yeah? who is this?”

for a moment, there’s silence on the other side. jungkook vaguely hears someone yelling and whooping, along with the sound of familiar trap beat music. “oh, wow, that’s awkward. you don’t have this guy as a contact? you were one of the last people he called that i found on his caller list. sorry about that.

strange, jungkook doesn’t remember calling anyone for a couple of weeks. most people text, actually. “um...i’m sorry, i’m really confused?”

the female voice sighs. “it’s a guy that’s pretty tall, dark hair? he says his name is jae-something, but he was slurring it pretty bad. been at the bar all night, and now he’s shit drunk; i wanted to make sure he gets home safe, so do you think you can come here and pick him up? sorry, you’re the only one that actually answered. i don’t even know if you know this guy.

“jaekwang,” jungkook says, resigned. he pinches the bridge of his nose. “he’s my...uh, my ex.”

oh,” the girl says. “wow, awkward. i’m sorry.

“no, it’s fine. i’ll come pick him up, too.”

i mean, i can try and find someone else in his contacts to get him, it’s okay -

“you probably won’t find anyone at this time of night,” jungkook is already picking up his keys and sliding his feet into his boots. “he’s kind of an asshole. doesn’t have many friends.” despite knowing it’s true, jungkook gets a little vindictive sense of victory saying that.

the girl coughs, almost like she’s trying to hold back her laughter. “um, gotcha. just tell the security guards at the door that you’re jeon jungkook and that you’re here to pick someone up at hyojin’s section. they’ll help you get him in and out.”

“thanks,” he mutters as he writes a quick note to jimin, sticking it on his forehead as well. with a fond pat at his hyung, jungkook writes the address of the bar - a gay bar in itaewon, fun - and heads out.

he can’t believe he’s doing this, really, but if jaekwang really has no other friends to rely on right now then there’s nothing else jungkook can do but at least pick him up. he’ll throw him in the back of a cab and take him home, but that’s about it. he considers buying a coffee, but figures that it’s probably a good idea to just go home and sleep. to make the ride a bit easier, jungkook plans all that he’s going to do for the rest of the week - when he can see yoongi and when he can trick taehyung and jimin into going to dinner together, as well as mentally mapping out all of his dates for tomorrow.

the bar is only a bit way away from the bus stop, which he’s thankful for. when it gets dark, seoul starts to drop in temperature by degrees; he pulls his jacket closer to himself and hides his face to prevent his cheeks from getting bit by the cold breeze.

the guard lets him in as soon as he says his name and hyojin’s section; the club makes him uncomfortable, with the amount of bodies pressing up against each other and the strobe lights preventing him from seeing properly. jungkook heads straight for the neon sign that reads bar and liquor, trying to find a female bartender that might be hyojin. thankfully for him there only seems to be one, a blonde hair girl serving up drinks with her hair professionally tied back. he sits down in her section and waves a little bit to get her attention, feeling all types of awkward.

“jeon jungkook?” the blonde girl tries, and jungkook nods. she points to the corner of the room, where a blob is laid to rest against the side. jungkook sighs and feels his headache get worse and worse, growing with the loud noise and all the people fluttering around him even as he’s at the bar.

“do you want me to call a taxi?” she says to him, pitying his plight. jungkook nods and goes over, unable to help the annoyed look on his face.

jaekwang has definitely been drinking for a while; a characteristic asian flush takes over his features, and he’s so dazed that he can barely look straight. jungkook has to shake him a couple of times just to get him to focus on jungkook’s face - when he finally does, after jungkook calling his name three or four times, it’s with a blearily, “jun’guk?”

“i’m here to pick you up,” he says shortly. “come on, we’re going to the taxi.” he looks to hyojin, who holds up her fingers for two minutes. “it’s right outside, so get up out of your chair and follow me.”

jaekwang manages to do so, stumbling over the end of the stool and groaning. jungkook waits there, unwilling to touch him, and his ex-boyfriend groans and lurches forward toward jungkook with a heavy pant. using his hands to hold jaekwang up by the shoulders, jungkook snaps, “seriously? how much did you drink?” he smells like a bar, that’s for sure.

“need t’ puke,” jaekwang breathes heavily. gathering all the patience that he possibly can, jungkook inhales deeply and puts one of jaekwang’s arms over his shoulder, yelling over the noise for the bathroom. once hyojin tells him the way, jungkook drags around the deadweight on his shoulders (a sad use of his strength, he thinks to himself) and leads them to the bathroom. once they’re inside, jungkook deposits his ex off at the marble countertop.

“the stall is right there,” he opens up one of the doors. “hurry up and puke. i want to go home and sleep.”

jaekwang picks himself up and moves toward the stall jungkook is pointing to, but he doesn’t quite make it there. instead of puking up his guts like jungkook expects, his hands shoot up quick toward jungkook, fingers curling into his collar. it’s so unexpected that jungkook barely has time to respond; soon after, jaekwang is holding both his hands at jungkook’s throat, squeezing so tightly that jungkook abruptly feels all the air fizzle out of his throat.

“you,” jaekwang starts, pushing him into the tiled wall, “you love me, right? you gotta love me. you do, i know ya do, you’re?” he never finishes, instead reaching forward to kiss jungkook’s open gasping mouth. he reaches up to claw at jaekwang’s hands, but the lack of oxygen makes it hard for him to focus - it’s starting to get lightheaded for jungkook, the lights blinking in and out, and his chest hurts like a bitch. he can’t breathe through his mouth or his nose because jaekwang is taking his desperation to breathe as an invite. panic overtakes him so fast that it feels dizzying, or maybe it’s the lack of air -

one of jaekwang’s hands move from his neck to in between his legs, shoving straight into his pants, and jungkook inhales in between jaekwang’s mouth pressing clumsily against his. he tastes like alcohol and something rotten.

able to get some of his bearings - even when he feels jaekwang’s hand move down from his hip to his cock - jungkook uses one of his free hands to push jaekwang’s face away from him with all the force he can manage. when he pulls away - not as strong in his inebriated state and definitely not prepared for jungkook to respond so quickly - jungkook twists the hand that’s in his pants and shoves it away, kicking him in the shin for good measure. jaekwang’s grunt of pain isn’t enough, however, as all feeling rushes back to jungkook’s body; the stuttering quick beat of his heart, the breeze of air through his unbuttoned jeans, his neck aching like a bitch.

“what the fuck is wrong with you,” he tries to yell, but is horrified to find that his voice comes out raspy and weak. jungkook puts a hand up to his neck and feels the skin there as warm and tender to the touch. he pushes past jaekwang and looks at himself in the mirror, where red handprints stand stark against his skin.

jaekwang tries getting back up, mumbling something about jungkook and how he thought jungkook loved him - and jungkook is just so, so angry that he aims a kick right in between jaekwang’s legs just to make sure he stays down. the high pitched yelp doesn’t soothe his fury, but it’s enough.

he storms out of the bathroom and heads to the bar, breathing hard and vibrating in his own anger. when hyojin catches sight of him, she opens her mouth to say something before noticing how ruffled he is, as well as the handprints across his fucking neck, which will more likely than not start to bruise by tomorrow. her mouth opens in horror.

“oh my god, are you - “

“tell the security to take him home,” jungkook controls his breathing by counting backwards from ten. “i don’t - i can’t - “

“you weren’t kidding when you said he’s an asshole,” she swears, before calling over one of the guards. “i’m - listen, i’m so, so sorry, we usually don’t get the guards to throw out people because then we’re responsible if shit happens to them, and - that’s really the only reason why i had to call someone.”

“i’m calling someone else to go home,” jungkook still has trouble talking, and the bartender can see it very well. he hears her vaguely go, “do you want to press charges?” but he’s already making his way outside.

when the cold blast of air hits jungkook in the face, he realizes that he’s shaking. his hands can’t hold his phone properly, and the screen is moving right before his eyes. his neck hurts and he feels both warm and cold all over.

“fuck,” he chokes out to himself, holding the palms of his hands to his eyes before he starts actually crying.

yoongi is right - why does he have such a bad judge of character?

jimin is still probably asleep, and taehyung is most likely still leaving him on read. with no one else to call, jungkook presses on yoongi’s number and holds his jacket tighter to himself, walking away when he notices a couple of security guards of the club come out from the entrance with jaekwang in between their hands. jungkook’s breath catches in his throat; he turns away and heads to the back alley, desperately hoping that yoongi will pick up.

jungkook?

“hyung,” jungkook tries to keep the rasp in his voice to a minimum, but it’s unavoidable. “can you pick me up?”

what? where are you?”

“at a club in itaewon,” jungkook wipes his nose, which has started running. “it’s - i really just want to go home, hyung. back to my dorm. can i send you the - “

yes, fuck, i’ll be there in ten minutes - “

“itaewon is like twenty minutes away - “

ten minutes,” he says sharply. “send me your address right now.” as he hangs up, jungkook watches jaekwang - scum of the fucking earth - get piled into a car and be driven away. jungkook doesn’t know how if the driver even knows where jaekwang lives, but at this point, he doesn’t care. bitterness fills him like a well; he wouldn’t care if jaekwang got driven off a cliff and died, either.

jungkook checks the white light of his phone screen and breathes in deeply. he gives himself a moment, then aims it so that he can see his face through the lights behind him; ever so slowly, he moves it down toward his neck.

right over his adam’s apple and over the entire column of his throat, eight little finger shaped red spots are slowly starting to darken. he runs his fingertips over the skin and they feel even more sensitive than before, painful; jungkook chokes on a sudden sob that never comes to fruition. his hands grip his phone so hard that his knuckles are turning white.

the sound of something revving up toward the street garners his attention; yoongi is already here, pulling off his bike helmet and looking around frantically for jungkook. he heads toward the motorcycle and frowns, hoping to keep his neck down so yoongi won’t see it, but -

“jungkook,” a pause. “what is that?”

jungkook meets his eyes. yoongi looks frightening, staring at the marks on jungkook’s neck, visible with the light of the club sign reflecting off of the side of his face.

“i really don’t want to talk about it, hyung.”

“jungkook.”

he sighs, squeezing his eyes shut. roughly, he goes, “a bartender called m here to pick up jaekwang, my ex. i did, but only because she had no one else to call. he said he was going to puke so i took him to the bathroom and - “ he motions to his neck, but feels his face burn when yoongi’s gaze flickers to his ruffled clothes and his still unbuttoned pants. jungkook wants to go home desperately to take a shower.

“oh,” yoongi’s tone has no inflection. “that same guy from the coffee shop, huh?”

“yeah.” clearing his throat, jungkook goes, “i really want to go home, hyung.”

the harshness in yoongi’s face softens; jungkook feels a little touch that yoongi is probably really, really angry for him, but the rollercoaster of emotions that had been in jungkook earlier is staring to fizzle out and leave him an empty shell. when he has enough time to think about it, no doubt he’s going to be raving mad that he’ll feel like dumping jaekwang on his ass multiple times.

“hop on, kid,” yoongi throws him a spare helmet, which jungkook locks under his chin gently. he climbs on behind yoongi and holds on closely to his waist, shutting his eyes as he starts it up and flies through the streets of seoul.

yoongi’s actually going a lot slower than jungkook had imagined he would, which is completely find by him. it lets him just... breathe for a moment. the farther he gets from the club, from jaekwang, the better he feels. so wrapped up in his thoughts jungkook barely recognizes when he’s back at the dorms, staring up at the tall shadowy buildings with a blankness that’s penetrating. it’s hard to think that just an hour ago, he had been fucking fine.

“hey, come on,” yoongi sounds gentle when he takes the helmet off of jungkook’s head and locks his bike nearby. going up to his room feels like a fever dream, one that he can’t believe that he himself is in.

jimin is still sleeping. the post-it note is still on his head. jungkook reaches over and takes it off, crumpling it and throwing it violently in the trash.

“change clothes and go to bed,” yoongi tells him, pushing him gently by his lower back to his side of the bed. “where’s your bathroom? nevermind, i found it.” as soon as he heads there, giving jungkook a pointed look as he closes the bathroom door on purpose, jungkook exhales shakily.

he changes his clothes like yoongi said, throwing that pair of pants and boxers into his laundry bin and out of sight. instead he wears a pair of his comfiest sweats and one of his white shirts to sleep in, running a hand through his hair. it’s going to be so hard to cover this up. he can’t imagine what he’s going to do for the rest of the week.

yoongi comes out a second later holding some bottles jungkook vaguely recognizes. “sit,” he encourages, motioning toward his bed. jungkook sits.

yoongi sits down next to him, a little hunched as he holds out a white bottle. “can i?”

jungkook nods. yoongi puts a little bit of lotion on his hands and takes jungkook’s hand to put it on top of his wrist. even though his fingers feel limp, jungkook can still squeeze yoongi’s wrist if he tried. both of their hands go up to jungkook’s neck.

yoongi’s touch is feather light, almost nonexistent. he feels no pain as yoongi smooths on the lotion. he only starts tearing a little when he gets to his adam’s apple, where jaekwang had - where he had -

“hey,” yoongi’s low voice knocks him out of it, and jungkook blinks open his eyes to the best of his ability. “try to go to sleep, okay? i brought some melatonin from the bathroom cabinet if you need it.”

“okay,” he croaks. “thank you.” jungkook swallows the pill with some water. his throat is still sore.

when he lies back, yoongi runs a hand through his hair. when he stops, jungkook urges him to keep going with the repetitive motion until his eyelids start closing shut, until the world starts getting dark. he vaguely hears yoongi’s low, crooning voice go, “he won’t hurt you - not anymore, jungkook. that, i promise.” and with such conviction in his voice, jungkook sleeps feeling like he won’t.

/

jimin loses his shit in the morning. he wakes up before jungkook does, which means that when he comes over to wake jungkook up and sees the full formed bruise on his neck, he starts yelling and shaking jungkook awake. jungkook takes a moment to recognize where he is before he sees jimin and blinks at him in sheer stupidity and then - last night comes flooding back.

he tells jimin what happened part by part, still taking care of his sore throat. his voice is raspy and thin, but at least it’s strong enough to go through entire conversations this time. quickly looking at himself through his phone’s camera tells him that throughout the night, however, dark purple and black bruises have already shown up where jaekwang’s fingers were.

jimin’s entire face is red with fury. “i’m going to kill that son of a bitch,” he hisses, while reaching over to pull jungkook into a hug. “god, i’m so sorry. i wish - damn, if only i weren’t a fucking mess. i’m so sorry, jungkook.”

jungkook can’t say anything to that, because he knows the way jimin will react, and if jungkook tries to tell him that it wasn’t his fault - well, jimin will just bring up a list of alternatives that could have happened and fault himself for not being there more than he already could have been. jungkook has learned that sometimes things happen and - well, it’s not like you can go back in time and change them.

he helps jungkook take a shower by washing his hair while jungkook sits down, being careful of his throat. he buys jungkook breakfast and generally suffocates him, but it’s - it’s nice. it’s alright. he tries to hide the bruising with makeup but jungkook still feels sore for application and it doesn’t help, anyways, so the most they can do is lightly wrap his neck with a loose wool scarf.

jimin insists on keeping pictures of his wounds, face so grave that jungkook can’t help but comply when all he wants to do is forget about it.

taehyung figures it out because his scarf slips and he sees the edge of it; taehyung has sharp eyes. nothing gets past him; they’ve learned that even when he seems like he’s not paying attention, he’s paying attention.

and while jungkook zones out during the both of them planning murder on jaekwang, he imagines jaekwang choking on his own vomit in the bathroom of that bar. see how he likes it. it’s the only thing that makes him feel like he’s staying sane.

“min yoongi dropped you off, you said?” at yoongi’s name, jungkook snaps out of his stupor. taehyung is looking earnestly at him. “he took care of you?”

“we have to thank him,” jimin is already on his phone. jungkook hopes he’s not looking at fruit baskets. “he’s not bad, i guess.”

“yeah,” taehyung frowns. “jungkook, wanna tell me what this asshole’s room number is?”

“i want to go to class, hyung,” jungkook says, tired, hiding in the edge of his scarf. his face feels raw and his eyes are dry. he hasn’t done his skin care routine in a while so he feels like he’s physically cracking. “can i just go to class?”

taehyung opens his mouth, but jimin elbows him. “of course. sorry we’re being like this - want us to take you, or?”

“i’m good,” jungkook manages a smile. “thanks.”

he’s already missed his first class, so he can’t miss the second. thank god he and jaekwang don’t share any fucking class. jungkook doesn’t think he can handle seeing him today.

jungkook is still late to class when he goes, however, and is hit with the sudden realization when everyone looks at him, already seated in groups of two - that this is the day that they were going to choose groups for some project. and the only seat - well, the only seat left is next to the class cheat, park hyunwoo. jungkook grits his teeth and bows in apology to the professor, but she seems to catch onto the pale wan of his mien and lets him go up without trouble.

it’s already starting out to be a bad day.

most of the week goes like this: jungkook holds out for about two days before taehyung and jimin insist he go to a hospital even though he doesn’t have the money for it. taehyung blurts out that he’ll pay for it and jimin backs him up, even though jungkook feels like shit for taking money from taehyung’s wealthy family and all of them know it, but they won’t let up either. since jungkook’s throat isn’t feeling any better, either, he caves and goes with them after class - that shitty class where he has to work with hyunwoo to illustrate, write, and design a panel comic, jungkook grits his teeth just thinking about it - to the hospital. it’s late at night when they get there and jungkook knows for a fact that taehyung has vocal lessons right now, but he’s still here waiting beside jungkook and asking him if he wants water.

the doctor he gets asks to speak with him alone, and tells him that it was a good idea to come to the hospital for help. she mentions that it’s easy to die from being choked - five minutes, she says, that’s all it takes - and sometimes waiting can let unknown injuries that feel like nothing build up and cause death even a couple days later. thankfully, jungkook’s only gotten a bit of swelling, no bleeding, and it should go down in a few days. she assigns him pain medication. jungkook takes it listlessly, doubting that he’d buy it. it hurts, yeah, but it’s nothing he can’t push through. at least he knows that nothing more serious has happened.

taehyung and jimin take him home; jungkook falls asleep as soon as his head hits the pillow, pretending not to see the way taehyung and jimin worry about him. taehyung has been sleeping in their room for the last few days, worried, and it’s - well, it’s definitely made whatever he and jimin had been fighting about or disagreeing over clear up. jungkook is glad for that, at least.

he gets a good night text from yoongi, which he’s received every night for the past three nights; asking him how he’s feeling, and to have nice dreams. jungkook smiles at the text message and sends back a little sleeping sticker, closing his phone.

/

surprisingly enough, jungkook is the one who wakes up first. he reaches up to rub at his throat and sighs, turning over. surprisingly enough, taehyung isn’t sleeping in between them; he must have finally gone back to his dorm. jimin is sleeping beside his bed on his blankets; jungkook smiles and feels a wave of affection for him.

jungkook reaches over to grab his phone, he clicks the power button on and blinks at the amount of notifications, baffled by the sheer amount of them. then he realizes that they’re all from taehyung. most of them are yelling in all caps about something -

sharp bangs on the door interrupts jungkook’s perusal of taehyung’s numerous texts. he opens the door quickly, legs tangling in his sheets and tripping over jimin’s ankle - that wakes jimin up, too - taehyung is in the middle of still banging on the door when jungkook opens it, causing him to stumble in.

“whoa, hyung, what’s wrong with you?” jungkook cries out.

“check - check outside, holy shit, oh my god,” taehyung is sweating, his eyes wide and afraid, phone in hand. he’s only in his pajamas, not even in shoes, and jimin is still murmuring what sleepily when jungkook opens the balcony doors. the first thing he notices is that almost every other student is out on the balcony, jungkook looks this way and that and spots all of the people in his row - and below him - and above him - all of them are murmuring and talking and yelling and it’s hurting his head. jimin pushes his way next to him, and -

jungkook stares down at the sidewalk, where jaekwang rests there in a red pool. he has his arms and legs to the side, but - but where his hands - where his wrists -

jimin goes, “oh my god, holy fuck - “ and runs inside to retch.

his hands are cut off, neatly placed where they would be if they were still connected to his body. his eyes are wide and black and dead; above him reads in red, keep your hands to yourself.

/

they’re all evacuated out of the building in record time. someone calls the police and they swarm around the dead body - that’s jaekwang - and all the students are temporarily barred from leaving from the main entrance. jungkook huddles in his corner and share looks with taehyung and jimin; the former is grim faced, while the latter is pale.

jungkook needs to sit down.

by the end of the day, the evidence of jaekwang and what’s left of him is gone, but there’s still a dark stain on the pavement. jungkook can still make out the words.

/

its at the back of his mind constantly. he knows that it’s for him - keep your hands to yourself. the next morning, when jungkook is going down for his first class, scarf wrapped firmly around his neck, he gets stopped by the security guard at the door.

“these two want to see you, student,” he says, motioning to two guys standing at the front of the dormitory entrance. both of them are dressed in black pants and blazers, which is definitely out of the norm. jungkook pauses for a moment until one of them smiles at him brightly; he swallows a little painfully and walks over to them.

“can i help you?” he rasps out.

“are you jeon jungkook?” one of them asks, and jungkook nods mutely. “my name is kim seokjin; this is my partner, jung hoseok.” the one that smiled at him brightly gives a little wave instead of a handshake. seokjin, the handsome one with a deceivingly gentle voice, goes, “can you come with us? we want to go to the precinct to ask you a couple of questions.” they both show their badges, giving jungkook enough time to look at their ids.

mouth dry, jungkook says, “this is about jaekwang, isn’t it?”

seokjin and hoseok share a look with each other. “why do you think so?”

he gives them a flat stare. “you’re joking, right?”

“yeah, true, that’s probably the only thing we’d be here for, huh?” hoseok laughs, a little embarrassed. “but trust me, we’re not here for much. you’re the last one that lee jaekwang called before his death, so we just wanted to ask you about that and see if you knew anything. going back to the precinct just makes it easier for us to document everything down.”

jungkook inhales with a bit of trouble, coughing after. “i have class in the morning.”

“we’ll explain it to your professor,” seokjin offers, so jungkook sighs and heads out with them to the precinct. he’s quiet the entire car ride there, despite hoseok’s attempts to talk to him, and stays quiet all the way up until they’re sitting with him in an empty beige room with a single table. seokjin leaves a cup of coffee in front of him, bringing along a bunch of sugar packets.

“any preference?”

jungkook’s not allowed to drink coffee right now (it’s bad for his throat), but he says, “three, please.”

“so, jungkook,” hoseok starts, crossing his hands in front of him and leaning in; he looks nicer in between the two of them, with easy eyes. sort of like the cop that could be your older brother instead of an actual police officer, or detective - jungkook is pretty sure that’s what they are. “jaekwang’s last phone call had been to you, at near midnight about four days ago. what can you tell me about it?”

“he was drunk,” jungkook starts, clearing his throat. he still has his scarf on, opting to keep his jacket on as well even though seokjin and hoseok have both taken off their blazers. “the bartender actually called me because i was the only one on his contacts list that answered the phone. she asked me to pick him up. i said okay.” jungkook’s gaze flickers to the metal table, and then to the meet seokjin’s eyes focused entirely on him. it’s unnerving. “he was my ex-boyfriend.”

if either of them are surprised, neither of them show it. “ex?” seokjin prompts.

“i broke up with him a couple weeks back,” jungkook explains. “he wasn’t out and i didn’t want to deal with that anymore. i met someone else in the meantime but... i don’t know. he kept following me. showed up at my class and tried to physically make me go with him... he pushed me into a railing so i punched him in the nose. after that, i saw him at a coffee shop where i was with a friend and he started accusing me of - of all these different things, still calling me his boyfriend and all that. i deleted his number after that.” he shrugs helplessly. “i just...i figured i would go pick him up to tell him once and for all to delete me off his contacts and leave me alone.”

seokjin and hoseok share another look. jungkook’s only ever seen this kind of stuff in dramas, but it’s mind numbing and way more annoying in real life. he feels like clawing at his throat. “did you go home with him?”

“no,” he replies shortly. “he said he wanted to puke, so i took him to the bathroom and - and - “ stuttering, jungkook feels his mouth close up. he licks his dry mouth.

“jungkook?”

“he, um.” sighing, jungkook gingerly pulls the scarf away from his throat. hoseok startles a little at the vivid black bruise over his throat, obviously in the shape of fingerprints. seokjin inhales sharply. “he kissed me and - yeah.”

“you didn’t report this?” hoseok asks, voice low.

jungkook shrugs. “honestly, which one of you would even take me seriously,” he laughs cynically, ending up in a coughing fit. hoseok starts to stand, asking if he wants water, but jungkook shakes his head. “i called someone else to pick me up and went home. the bartender saw and sent him home with one of the guards.”

hoseok mutters, “she didn’t mention that,” underneath his breath while seokjin nods and asks, “i know that you’re hurting right now, but - i have to ask, jungkook. where were you around 7pm two nights ago?”

jungkook blinks at the question. “what, why?”

hoseok and seokjin’s sudden, reluctant silence clicks.

“what you think - you think i killed him?” he asks incredulously. “what the fuck?”

“it’s just,” hoseok starts, holding out a hand to calm him down, “that the message that was written in jaekwang’s blood on the pavement - was very specific. keep your hands to yourself. and now we know that he had tried to strangle you,” he has this voice that - that’s driving jungkook crazy. soothing but also - also - “it just looks a little suspicious.”

“a little suspicious,” he repeats flatly. laughing, disbelieving that for a moment he had even thought - “i was at the hospital,” he says bitterly, “getting my throat checked because i might have been internally bleeding. i’m sure you can check my patient files for that.”

seokjin clears his throat. “thank you, jungkook, really,” he reaches over to squeeze his shoulder. “i’m sorry we have to ask you these questions. does anyone else know that you had been...”

“just jimin and taehyung, my friends,” jungkook says dully. “can i go now? i want to get to class.”

“yeah, of course,” hoseok waits until he’s done putting his scarf back on, waiting for him to grab all his bags. “i’ll drive you back to school.” he shares another look with seokjin, which jungkook is starting to get really tired of, but they head out a moment later. jungkook drops his phone when he accidentally jams his shoulder against a sudden jut of the wall, and hoseok reaches down to pick it up -

“kim seokjin-ssi, the reports are back,” he hears distantly, from another man. “cod was stab wounds and blood loss.”

“stab wounds?”

“yeah, twelve of them. look here - “

“there we go,” hoseok says, placing his phone back in his hands. there’s a text from yoongi on screen, asking if he’s okay, he heard the news - “you okay?”

“fine,” jungkook says quietly, and hoseok drives him back to school.

/

there’s a memorial service for jaekwang. jungkook doesn’t attend. in fact, he shuts himself up in his room the entire day and jimin brings him food from the cafeteria instead. classes are cancelled for that day.

yoongi comes to pick him up for their morning coffee the a couple days after. jungkook hasn’t seen him in nearly a week, not since the day yoongi had taken him home and gently massaged jungkook’s wounds so that they wouldn’t hurt the day after.

while they’re walking to the coffee shop, jungkook’s scarf wrapped around his neck once more - his bruises are beginning to yellow now, just on the cusp of disappearing completely - jungkook tugs on the edge of yoongi’s coat and goes, “thank you.”

“for what, buying you coffee?” yoongi smiles, confused. “yeah, well, you can act like you’re going to buy for me again next time and i’ll pretend that i’ll be agreeing.”

yoongi ambles forward like it’s nothing and - jungkook falters for a moment, but he holds onto yoongi’s sleeve again and reaches forward to press his lips against his cheek. it lasts for a moment, then two. yoongi smells of pine and citrus, strangely enough. jungkook likes it a lot more than cigarettes.

“thanks,” he repeats when he pulls back, and yoongi only - blankly stares. his dark eyes take in the planes of jungkook’s face and he doesn’t respond. jungkook - maybe he made a mistake? maybe it’s not what he thinks it is, or - ?

and then yoongi says, so quiet, “clever, aren’t you.”

jungkook smiles.

yoongi kisses him in front of the coffee shop. he tastes like mint toothpaste and copper. jungkook pulls away and asks, “did he scream for help?”

humming, yoongi says, “don’t worry your pretty little head about that.”

jungkook kisses him again. insistent. yoongi exhales a laugh in his mouth, genuine and real; “he did, but no one could hear him. just like he tried to do to you.”

/

“do you think he’ll like me?” jungkook asks, fiddling with the end of his coat zipper. yoongi told him not to worry about how he looks - how he presents himself - but jungkook can’t help but worry. he fiddles with his bangs to make sure that they’re falling into his eyes the way he likes them, makes sure the he’s looking his neatest, his best. jungkook sets down everything he has in yoongi’s waiting, open arms and smiles.

how they got here is:

jungkook had been getting back from his classes today, having just finished his last one. yoongi had met him with a kiss and they spent some time in the park, holding hands. jungkook memorized the dips of yoongi’s knuckles. he hasn’t really talked to a lot of people recently, focused a lot around yoongi. in the aftermath of vigils and candles, jungkook’s little bruises fade into yellow and then into nothing at all. seokjin and hoseok haven’t come back to ask him questions again.

and then - yoongi had asked him if he wanted to go back to his apartment, maybe meet namjoon - best friend? neighbor? supposed to be coming over? - jungkook’s here now, following after yoongi and making sure that all the wrinkles of his body are smoothened out.

“why are you so nervous?” yoongi snorts, hand moving over to snake it’s way around his waist. jungkook flicks his boyfriend on the ear.

“he’s your best friend,” jungkook frets. “of course i care. he’s important to you.”

“hm,” is all yoongi has to say to that.

kim namjoon is just as yoongi had described him; from the round glasses to the dimpled smile and the gentle disposition, jungkook knows that this is definitely a friend of yoongi’s. no one else can deal with the kind of temperament that yoongi has, not as easily as namjoon can. jungkook can see it in the casual movement of conversation between them, even though there’s just a little something -

“it’s nice to meet you, jungkook,” namjoon pats his shoulder, laughing. “you know, i think this is the first time that yoongi-hyung has ever texted me first. he almost never answers any time i text him.”

slowly, warmth blooming through the cold in his spine, jungkook smiles a little sheepishly and laughs it off, watches the way yoongi’s eyes darken.

“i’m going off to the library,” namjoon tells them apologetically, “i’m sorry we couldn’t talk for longer. maybe if you come over sometime for dinner, we can talk for longer?” his eyes flicker to yoongi. for the first time, jungkook notices that when yoongi turns away, the lines around namjoon’s eyes tighten. strange, strange, strange.

“that sounds good,” jungkook agrees, waving a little. he knocks into the countertop and stumbles a little as he’s getting up to say goodbye to namjoon properly; yoongi’s already gone to his room to get some bus fare for namjoon to borrow. namjoon reaches out to steady him.

“watch yourself there,” he says, worried, and jungkook steps back from the hand on his wrist before yoongi comes back into the room. namjoon looks like he wants to say something - “are you okay?”

“me?” so taken aback, jungkook can only blink.

“yeah, i know - well, yoongi hyung can be a little intense sometimes - “ his mouth clicks shut at the sound of approaching footsteps.

“let hyung know if you need anything,” yoongi tells him, placing the bus pass in his hands. namjoon sheepishly looks at it and suddenly that little moment of hesitance is gone. jungkook places a hand over the wrist that namjoon’s fingers had just wrapped around.

taking his bag and his thinks, jungkook sits quiet at the couch and watches as yoongi waves goodbye from his apartment as namjoon leaves for class. as the door locks, silence falls over the edge of the room. jungkook blinks awake until his blood is rushing even louder than before.

“yoongi-hyung,” jungkook calls his name, just to see if he can grasp yoongi’s attention. the elder turns around to look at him with half lidded eyes, dark pools roving over him as if he can swallow jungkook’s words whole. “what are you thinking about?”

“what are you thinking about?” yoongi repeats, moving forward until he’s in front of jungkook. kneels down and rests his palms on jungkook’s knees, almost like he’s praying, reaching forward and setting his chin on the edge of jungkook’s knees. his toes brush against yoongi’s shin.

“i don’t know,” jungkook says quietly. “we’re together, right, hyung?”

“we are.”

“you’re mine, right, hyung?”

“i am.”

“you wouldn’t leave me, would you?”

ever so patient, yoongi’s mouth presses dry against the fabric of jungkook’s jeans. “i don’t think i’d leave even if you told me to.”

“good,” he blurts, feeling rush and rush and rush flooding through his veins, sinking down like fire from the edge of his fingertips to the bottom of his stomach. “you shouldn’t. even if i push you away you’d stay with me, right, hyung? i mean. i’m awful at judging people. you know that, right, yoongi?”

“yeah,” yoongi reaches over to grab jungkook’s hand and link their fingers together. “you’re a terrible judge of character.”

“but not you,” he starts slowly, almost yearning for yoongi to see it. to see him. “you’re not a bad decision.”

jungkook doesn’t say - bad person. maybe - maybe he should have had any other response than the one that he did. maybe he should have told seokjin and hoseok that there had been one other person that knew what jaekwang did that night. maybe he should have called the police and let them take yoongi away in chains, take his dark eyes so pitless they feel like standing at the edge of an abyss; maybe let them take yoongi and his gaze away so that he stops following after jungkook with his half night stare. jungkook thinks maybe it would have been for the better but he’s not a good judge of character. he’s not here for the easy kind. he’s not here for someone to hold his hand and never be able to keep it close.

jungkook likes running. he knows this much about himself. he knows no one else has ever stuck around that much because there’s so much that makes him run for the hills, so much and so many that haven’t had that same kind of spark that’s able to burn bright enough to fuel fire, so bright that it burns. jungkook likes the way that yoongi looks at him like there’s no one else in his world. maybe he should be worried. but when he thinks about how yoongi texts him back in a second, jungkook doesn’t care.

“wanna watch a movie, hyung?” he asks, sitting back. “i want to watch iron man.”

yoongi’s smile is not like his laughter, the laughter that exists outside of the three toned walls of this apartment room. his smile pulls up at the corners, a firm line, a little knowing - little vague - all jungkook’s. personal property.

“whatever you want,” yoongi says lowly, and it’s - funny.

they put on iron man and jungkook’s focus is shot. he’s not listening to the sounds of american actors snarling out their noble dreams, avenging the earth, no, jungkook is thinking about how close yoongi’s body is to his. their knees pressing against each other, yoongi’s breath easy and hot at the top of jungkook’s head, yoongi’s steady pulse palpitating underneath his ear.

and jungkook - jungkook is watching the show but there’s nothing that’s flooding into his mind. the rote is easy to remember and the words are even easier to recall.

“hyung,” jungkook starts, “you know that the police are looking for you? for jaekwang’s death.”

“his murder,” yoongi says, face lit by the edge of the television screen. “right, i know.”

“aren’t you afraid?”

“why would i be afraid? will you tell on me?”

jungkook scoffs at the idea, leaning away from yoongi to face him. “no,” jungkook scoffs. “i just don't want them to find you. what if you have to leave me?”

“that won’t happen,” yoongi tells him firmly. “i spent so long trying to get to you, how could i leave you so quickly?”

“i liked you since that day at your studio, you know.”

“if we’re doing that game,” yoongi leans forward, “don’t play with me. i’ll win.”

jungkook blinks.  

it’s like holding bait in front of an open mouth. “that day when i took you to the hospital. i knew.”

“knew what?” jungkook insists, lazily reaching over to situate himself on yoongi; their bodies match in dips and movements. between them their differences fade into nothing at a single swipe of yoongi’s hand on his thigh, lazy eyes moving this way and that before resting on jungkook’s little frown.

“that you’d be mine.”

“huh,” jungkook thinks, because it’s true. maybe he was like that too, from the very first day. jungkook’s always had a thing for bad boys, but he’s never really understood how far that little obsession has gone. jungkook’s always liked bad boys, but not the type of bad boys that wear leather jackets and punch kids in high school - no, he’s always liked bad boys. people who push. jungkook likes pushing back.

“hey hyung,” jungkook leans forward to rest his chin on yoongi’s shoulder, pressing their chests together, “what’s that?” a peek of dark color somewhere deep down, hidden by yoongi’s dark shirt. spread across his shoulder blades like dark wings, like fallen angels. yoongi’s so still that jungkook wonders if he’s even breathing.

“it’s my birthday,” yoongi tells him, “march ninth.”

“march ninth? three nine?”

“three nine,” he drawls, and jungkook kisses the words out of him furious and quick, so heated his mouth will bruise. jungkook is counting on it. the way yoongi’s fingers curl around his wrist, another at his hip, digging in - he expects it to bruise. this one, jungkook thinks as yoongi pushes him down on the sofa and tangles their legs together - movie forgotten, hand down pants on skin under him over him everywhere so overwhelming that jungkook can’t even breathe -

“you scared?” yoongi murmurs against the kiss marks on his neck, pasting over the ugliness left there underneath. jungkook scoffs, pushing at his shirt, begging closer. “i don’t scare easily.”

“how did i get so lucky to meet you?” yoongi asks, marvels, voice heavy with the weight of his breath. his knee presses against the hardening flesh in between jungkook’s legs; a flush rises to jungkook’s ears. even in the dim light and the dark night, jungkook remembers it like this: yellow light against yoongi’s face, shading him and the planes of his sharp jaw, throwing out all the things that are wrong about jungkook’s life, thinking about yoongi’s hands full of blood and looking at the cops when he’s fourteen - i just came home to him like this, i don’t know what to do - and almost feels like laughing. it’s funny. a giggle spills past his mouth despite himself. three nine three nine three nine three plus nine equals twelve.

“hey,” jungkook goes, when yoongi is hesitating in his touch. it feels like falling down off the edge, into the pit below, waiting to burn. yoongi always asking, waiting, watching for the day jungkook would let him know how easy it is to lose something. how easy it is to meet someone by fate. how easy it is to feel devoured and devout.

jungkook takes yoongi’s palm and puts it to his neck. it’s warm. “keep your hands to yourself.”

yoongi grins.