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the electric feeling in between my ribs

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On a Wednesday morning, Yoongi wakes up to fifteen unread text messages.

Two of them are from Namjoon during his Red Bull-induced breakdown from the night before (HA HA HA YEAH THE MIDTERM'S ONLY WORTH HALF OF MY GRADE HYUNG NO BIG DEAL) and another one is from Jeongguk, a quiet and harmless gn hyung!!!^__^ after Yoongi fell asleep.

The rest—all twelve text messages—are from Hoseok.

Special delivery is the first thing Yoongi sees, written in a giant rainbow-coloured font on a cartoon box filled with tiny little hearts that cartoon Hoseok is carrying. Yoongi squints at Hoseok's Bitmoji, a big head with comically big brown eyes and a tiny body clad in an orange Adidas tracksuit (Oh god, Yoongi thinks immediately, Bitmoji-gate is back).

There's another one of Hoseok's cartoon face plastered on a stuffed animal holding a heart, another one of him dressed up as baby cupid and another particularly disturbing one of Hoseok's Bitmoji surprising—what looks to be—Jimin's Bitmoji with more hearts from a toilet. And another one and another and another—

HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, HYUNG ❤️❤️❤️ is the first normal text of the series and Yoongi groans.

Of course. Valentine's Day.

Yoongi chucks his phone across the room and goes back to sleep.

When Yoongi wakes up again, it's two in the afternoon and he hears Hoseok's laugh and Jimin's tinkling voice from the kitchen.

He thinks it might've all been a strange dream, like some weird twilight zone where Hoseok's Bitmoji forced him to celebrate an arbitrary holiday. Yoongi tells himself it's probably a nightmare, because it definitely sounds like something only a deep REM cycle could conjure up.

But when Yoongi pads into the kitchen, he's greeted with the same rainbow-coloured Special Delivery! with Hoseok's Bitmoji grinning madly behind it. Yoongi nearly screams.

When he takes a closer look, he realizes someone had replicated it onto a big Bristol board but it's done badly and with an unnecessary amount of glitter. It's cute, Yoongi supposes, but it also makes him want to fall down a well.

"Hyung!" Jimin's voice greets from an unknown corner of the kitchen. Hoseok's voice pipes in a beat later, sings songs, "Finally awake, sleepyhead~~"

It's hard to place where Hoseok and Jimin actually are, because there are flower bouquets everywhere and way too many heart-shaped boxes of chocolate and stuffed bears holding little hearts. His kitchen looks like the Valentine's Day aisle at a department store.

Past all the flowers and decorations, Yoongi catches a glimpse of Hoseok at the stove, stirring something in a pot; Jimin cuddled up to his side, reminding Yoongi weirdly of a Calico cat.

"Did you get my texts?" Hoseok chirps as Yoongi maneuvers his way through the thicket of flowers.

"Yes." Yoongi deadpans, "All twelve of them."

Jimin answers for Hoseok, doesn't bat an eyelash at Yoongi's sarcasm, "Cute, right? Bitmojis are so fun."

Yoongi almost doesn't want to ask, but it comes out anyway, "What are you guys doing?"

"We're making fondue!" Hoseok says. "We actually got each other so much chocolate, we figured we put it to good use."

Yoongi doesn't prompt him, doesn't even show that he was listening in the first place, but Hoseok rambles on anyway, talking rapidly and excitedly about their morning and about their brilliant fondue idea while Jimin supplements a few of his own anecdotes.

Halfway through the story, Yoongi is overcome with a strange feeling. He mentally prepared for this, knowing that Valentine's Day has always been one of Hoseok's favourite holidays, even when he didn't have Jimin. Hoseok is pure in that way, enjoys everything in its entirety, in its spirit. So none of this should come as a surprise, shouldn't stir any other feelings but heavy endearment, because his two best friends are happy and in love and that makes Yoongi happy.

But there's a tiny ugly part of him that feels angry and bitter, which doesn't make sense, because there's nothing to feel angry and bitter about. It's not Hoseok and Jimin's constant hand holding or touching or quick kisses they share when they think Yoongi isn't looking. He's used to that, something of second nature.

"—and it's funny, because we actually got the flowers from the same florist, like what are the odds—"

And that's when Yoongi decides that it's all that stupid overpriced chocolate and the fucking flowers and the infuriating idea of companies capitalizing on love and turning it into a commodity and perpetuating unhealthy notions of love and the fact that—

"Seokjin never got me flowers and we were together for three Valentines," is what Yoongi says out loud instead, cutting off Hoseok's story about his florist.

There's a mortifying silence that greets him, the words dangling in the air among all the flowers and chocolate and hearts. Yoongi hopes the roses somehow snuffed out everything he said. But Hoseok has his Worried Face on, his lips quirked downwards at the corners and Jimin is saying "Aw, hyung~" in that cloying tone he does when he feels bad for someone.

"I'm leaving," Yoongi says abruptly and immediately runs off to his room despite the flurry of protests ("Hyung, no, wait! Let's talk about it! We're here for you!" "Let me open a bottle of win—").

When Yoongi shuts himself in his room, he realizes with a startling clarity that a) this is, unfortunately, not a dream, b) he is very much alone and c) he is still arbitrarily and pathetically mad at his ex-boyfriend. On Valentine's Day.


Jeongguk comes over later in the day unannounced as always, waltzing into Yoongi's room with a halfhearted knock on the door that's meant to appease Yoongi, but does the opposite.

"Hi, hyung," Jeongguk greets around a mouthful of stolen chocolate as he hovers over Yoongi's shoulder. "What are you doing?"

"Nothing," Yoongi grunts. "Working on an old song."

Jeongguk hums in acknowledgement, but stays rooted behind Yoongi's chair, always too quiet and way too close. There's no way Yoongi can be productive now, not when he can feel Jeongguk's eyes boring into the back of his head, not when he can feel that familiar warmth that Jeongguk always radiates in distracting waves.

"Aren't you supposed to be in class?"

"Yeah, but I don't feel like going," Jeongguk says. "It's been a weird day."

"Oh, yeah? How come?"

Jeongguk leans forward, hooking his bony chin onto Yoongi's shoulder, "You want to hear something pathetic?"

Yoongi squirms, but nods, "Always."

"I booked a reservation months ago at this cool restaurant in Hongdae and I totally forgot I did until they called me today and asked me if I was still coming. Then I remembered Taehyung and I aren't together anymore and I had to cancel," Jeongguk says, all in one rapid breath. He doesn't sound mopey or sad; nostalgic maybe, perhaps a little embarrassed. "I brought flowers today too and I didn't even notice until I realized I don't have anyone to give it to."

"It was a tradition we did every year," Jeongguk continues when Yoongi doesn't answer and he huffs, a motion Yoongi feels against his cheek. "It just came naturally to me, I guess, even now. Pathetic, right?"

"Very," Yoongi says as a joke, but Jeongguk feels like a sad blob against his shoulder so he swivels around to look at him. "It's okay, Jeongguk-ah. If it makes you feel any better, I said something stupid about Seokjin not getting me flowers to Hoseok and Jimin and now they think I'm sad."

"Are you?" Jeongguk asks, then clears his throat. "Sad, I mean."

"Not really," Yoongi shrugs. "It's over and that's fine. I just don't know why my unresolved anger has to come out now of all days."

"It's the holiday, hyung," Jeongguk says sagely, eyebrows furrowed in a pensive look. "It gets to the best of us."

"You know what," Yoongi decides, suddenly feeling uncharacteristically whimsical and spontaneous. "Let's go get lamb skewers."

Jeongguk looks up, doe-eyed, "Right now?"

"Yeah. I'm feeling restless. And hungry," Yoongi says, even though the truth is Jeongguk looks a little sad, sadder than he's letting on and it feels weird, almost wrong, to ignore it.

There's a cheeky grin on Jeongguk's face as he straightens up, "Is this a date?"

"This is not a date," Yoongi mutters, ducking his head. "It's an anti-date. Opposite of a date. A rebellion against everything Valentine's Day stan—Whatever, okay? I don't even like you that much, punk. Let's just go."

Jeongguk laughs, "Whatever you say, hyung."

The brat is still grinning even when Yoongi slaps him on the arm and threatens not to pay.

"If it wasn't Valentine's Day, I would've just seemed bitter and mad, you know, whatever, those are my usual moods anyway. But because it is Valentine's Day, I look pathetic on top of that, like I'm jealous or I'm desperate for love or something when I'm not."

The food cart is tiny and cramped with people on each side, boxing them in. The fumes from the grill make Yoongi's eyes water and he already smells strongly of charcoal and meat. But it feels homey and familiar and Yoongi feels less tense, less antsy. Jeongguk is pressed against him, once again, too close and too warm.

"Anyone who says they're not desperate for love is, to some degree, desperate for love, hyung," Jeongguk says around a mouthful of lamb.

There's oil dribbling down his chin and Yoongi absentmindedly wipes it with his thumb. He bristles, "Seriously though, I'm not. I'm just—something about today keeps reminding me about how much time I wasted in that relationship when all of the warning signs were there."

"When you're in love, you don't see any warning signs," Jeongguk says and Yoongi is impressed by his maturity for all of two minutes before Jeongguk is shoveling another portion of lamb into the abyss he calls his stomach. Jeongguk is mid-chew when he adds, “It’s fine, hyung. Nothing beats what I did anyway. I’m the poster child for Pathetic.”

"Is this what I sound like when I'm trying to instill my wisdom on you?"

Jeongguk grins, "I only learn from the best."

It's not a date, Yoongi clarifies again in his head; it's not a date if they're eating street meat and sharing the same, cramped space with six other strangers. It's not a date if Jeongguk keeps stealing Yoongi's freshly grilled skewers off his plate and they keep arguing about who gets first dibs. And it's most definitely not a date if they keep talking about their exes and how pathetic they must seem.

But when Jeongguk taps along to the music blaring from the radio on the back of Yoongi's hand; when Jeongguk playfully pats Yoongi's stomach and laughs; when Jeongguk presses soft hands on Yoongi's shoulders as a thank you for him paying, Yoongi thinks: hypothetically, if this was a first date, he really wouldn't mind all that much.

They should've gone home, because Yoongi has had enough of all the Valentine's Day reminders glaring at him from every store front, but Jeongguk insists on karaoke ("You know what's anti-date, hyung? Karaoke!"). So Yoongi allows it, lets himself be dragged into the dingy, neon lit room with the questionably stained couch and the outdated lava disco ball.

Yoongi butchers every song he sings while Jeongguk dances along, waving the tambourine around wildly enough to poke someone's eye out. When it's Jeongguk's turn, he picks a slow, sad ballad and Yoongi watches as he sings, a soft, sweet lilt to his voice that reminds Yoongi of candy floss and popcorn.

"I forget how nice your voice is," Yoongi says as the song ends and Jeongguk sags on the couch next to him.

Jeongguk looks embarrassed, the side of his face pressed into Yoongi's arm, "'S nothing."

"You know what I realized?" Yoongi says to no one in particular when the karaoke shouts out a rating (98%, NOT BAD!). Jeongguk cranes his head to look at him. "It's okay that you did all of that. You know, booked the dinner reservation, bought flowers. It's a sweet gesture, Jeongguk-ah. You'd do anything for the ones you love even if they're not in your life anymore."

Jeongguk doesn't look at him, his fingers absentmindedly playing with the hole in Yoongi's jeans. He looks like he wants to say something, lips quirked into a small smile, but Yoongi's favourite song starts blaring from the speakers and Yoongi is already dragging Jeongguk to his feet.

On the way home, they don't hold hands, because they're not on a date, but Jeongguk has his arm around Yoongi's shoulders the whole time, solid and firm like he thinks Yoongi might fly away.

The topic of their exes is over, well exhausted from earlier that night, which Yoongi is more than happy about, because that means Jeongguk talks about music and movies and work and school; tells Yoongi all these little details like wanting to take up the drums, wanting to learn the piano ("You'd be my piano teacher, right? Please, Yoongi-seonsaengnim!"), wanting to skydive, wanting to sing more, wanting to dance more.

Jeongguk tells him everything that matters.

There are no flowers or chocolates or heart-shaped anythings here; just him and Jeongguk and nothing feels pathetic about that.

Yoongi comes home, exhausted, smelling of charcoal and sweat and Jeongguk's mild scented cologne, but he feels lighter, warmer and not even Hoseok's butchered Bitmoji hanging in the kitchen can upset him.

When he walks into his room, the first thing he notices is a small bouquet of carnations sitting on his desk. For a second, Yoongi thinks it's Hoseok and Jimin's way of trying to placate him for being lonely. But when Yoongi flips over the cream-coloured name card, it says, to his surprise: From: Jeongguk.

Right at that moment, Yoongi gets a perfectly timed ping! from his phone.

jeonggukkie (10:58PM): hyung~~~ thanks for taking me out on a date! ^__^
jeonggukkie (10:58PM) i mean
jeonggukkie (10:58PM) ** Not A Date
jeonggukkie (10:58PM) ** Anti-Date
jeonggukkie (10:59PM) i forgot to mention
jeonggukkie (10:59PM) i might've accidentally u know totally by accident not on purpose left the flowers i got today on your desk
jeonggukkie (10:59PM i guess you're going have to keep them heh
jeonggukkie (10:59PM) it might be my way of saying:
jeonggukkie (10:59PM) if i were seokjin, i would've gotten you flowers, hyung. really. valentine's day or not.

Yoongi tries not to smile, but he does anyway; a real, big grin that hurts his whole face.

(11:00PM): cheesy
(11:00PM): but i'll take it i guess
(11:00PM): just to clarify: today wasn't a date
(11:01PM): i'd like to take you on a REAL one actually
(11:01PM): maybe
(11:01PM): some other time. if you'd let me
(11:02PM): you know an actual date where you're not arm wrestling me for lamb skewers

jeonggukkie (11:03PM): maybe hyung ;)
jeonggukie (11:03PM): happy valentine's day ❤️

Of course. Valentine's Day. This time, Yoongi grins.