Actions

Work Header

strawberries and tidal waves

Chapter Text

 

yoongi blames it on the butterfly effect. 

it's funny how he believes so much in facts and logic but still manages to find comfort in a theory. he knows the reason why he focus on the subtle things - like the way jungkook pronounces his name, or they way he looks at yoongi when he's had too much work and too little sleep - is because he needs to understand all that happens around him, all the causes and its consequences. yoongi knows he's not looking at an exception when he stares at the mirror but at a standard. he knows the gleam he believes that takes over jungkook's gaze when they lock eyes is just distorted data produced by his tired brain. he knows (he does) that the feelings he tries to keep buried under pounds of bones and exhaustion are nothing but coffee-induced hallucinations. 

(at least that's what he tells himself at night.)

but the butterfly effect: it makes sense at 3 a.m. if it weren’t for late alarms, he and jungkook probably would have never met. maybe, possibly, they’d cross paths at some point (they still went to the same university, after all), but they wouldn’t be anything more than acquaintances, than random faces with no names to be associated with. if it weren’t for the poor sense of direction yoongi deals with every day before having his first cup of coffee, or for the fucking optimistic haze that traps jungkook’s bright eyes in a hypnosis every once in a while, they wouldn’t have tripped over each other. jungkook wouldn’t have spilled an entire caramel macchiato on yoongi’s flannel shirt. they wouldn't have exchanged numbers ("oh my god, i'm so sorry, i didn't see you there. you can take my jacket, i'm not even wearing it anyway. keep it for the day, i'll give you my number so i can get it back") and everything that happened after that just wouldn't. exist.

it hurts thinking about it that way. of course, yoongi is grateful for the unintended consequences. he's thankful for them when jungkook smiles at him, pretty and oblivious, like nothing else matters in the world. until he remembers it's just trickery. lies dressed up in difficult grammar and beautiful words. and then, only then, he wishes causality didn't know who he was. he wouldn't have jungkook, but it would be easier somehow.

(he wants to gather these thoughts and set them on fire each time they cross his mind.)

  

-

 

"but hyung," jungkook continues, his brows furrowing as he scribbles on his notebook. "he's just so strange. he comes in everyday, goes to the biology section, flips through some books and leaves. he has never bought anything or sat down to actually read. i'm getting scared," jungkook has been going on about this creepy man who visits the bookstore he works at for fifteen minutes now. yoongi is almost telling him to shut up, but then he looks at the other boy and immediately knows he helpless.

"maybe he has a crush on you," yoongi bets it's not a rare occurrence. "i don't think he's dangerous, though. wouldn't he be shuffling through serial killer biography books if that was the case?" 

"not really. jimin likes that stuff and he's jimin," jungkook is doodling tiny aliens on the borders of his paper. he has apparently given up on writing a draft for the essay yoongi knows it's due in two weeks. it's a normal occurrence: his friend will procrastinate on doing his work until there's barely any time left, until he's freaking out and calling yoongi to bring him a liter of his favorite energy drink, until they stay up all night locked in jungkook's room, in the middle of an array of sheet music and psychology books. the younger boy still manages to get good grades, while yoongi, despite of all his planning, feels like the tracks he spends hours and hours pouring his entire being into are getting him nowhere.

he hates jungkook sometimes. it's selfish of him but he can't help it. yoongi hates how he always manages to look on the bright side of things, as if he had a fucking lantern with infinite battery stuck on top of his head. he hates his smile, the one that tells yoongi everything is going to be alright, when, in fact, it isn't. he hates jungkook for making him feel the way he does. he barely: can determine where the fine line between hate and love is located. and he almost: wishes this line could be cut with scissors, making his feelings drip and bleed into each other like water paint.

"hyung," jungkook's voice rips him out of his daydream like cold water. "how are the tracks going? have you finished any of them?"

"they're just. going." yoongi sighs. he doesn't want to admit out loud that they're a complete disaster. he hopes - the small part of him that is still capable of doing such - that soon everything will be better. it's only a bad month week, he had them before. he got over them before. it's the same old thing; there's no reason to panic.

(he forgets to highlight that, no, they have never been this bad, and that, yes, maybe this turn is different. the last time he was blocked, there was still a hint of color adorning his cheeks. his mixtape was selling well and his grades were good. he didn't have to work part time jobs to be able to pay rent.

the last time, he still dubbed the warmth that took over his chest when he met doe eyes and bunny teeth as nothing more than a crush. looking back, he acknowledges he already was 98,5% in love. the first 90% came from leather jackets and too-sweet coffee. the remaining 1,5% would come from falling asleep at the same bed and waking up with his face pressed against jungkook's chest, only to realize he was completely, utterly fucked.)

"i just think i'm not getting the feeling i want them to have quite right," yoongi continues, looking up to face jungkook. wrong move.

"maybe it's because you're focusing too much on it," how can he not? "you look too tense, hyung. from all i know, you're most likely living off instant coffee and two-hour naps. sometimes it's better to let go and allow things to figure themselves out."

that's one of those times. when he wants to open up jungkook's skull and explore his memories, looking for what didn't happened in his childhood that made him so optimistic. when he wants to stand up and shout stop you believe too much you dream too high stop i don't want life to hurt you. he stays silent.

"but, maybe you could use somebody else's opinion? i can come over today if you want. you're going to the studio after class, right?" yoongi nods. "perfect. hoseok hyung is meeting with the wardrobe staff today, so he called off dance practice. i will stop by at 9 and bring food. does it sound good to you?"

yoongi has learned that, when it comes to jungkook, "no" is a word he has yet to add to his vocabulary.

 

-

 

jungkook does show up like he said he would. yoongi is working on a hook when the door of the university studio (his studio, he likes to call it. he spends more time at the recording room 205 than at home, anyway) opens and jungkook comes in, with a white shirt, chinese takeout and a smile.

“hey, hyung,” jungkook says, putting the food on the table and his backpack on the ground. “i got those noodles i know you like. the spicy ones,” he only mentioned liking them once, but jungkook remembers. it’s the little things, that bring promises to yoongi’s mind and make him question it all. 

“kook,” yoongi grins, as jungkook takes one of the small wooden seats they keep there and sits close to yoongi. “hi. so, do you want to listen to the stuff i have came up with? it’s kind of a mess, though.” 

"please, hyung," jungkook rolls his eyes. "that's what i came here for. and it can't be bad if you made it, you know that."

he really, truly doesn't.

yoongi is in his senior year of college. the semester has barely started but yoongi is already neck deep in the project his class has to hand in at the end of the school year. he guesses picking a concept and writing a mini album based on it shouldn’t be that hard. he was is good at making music, after all. it should be easy, natural, like knowing the way back home when you’ve never gone too far. effortless, as jungkook would say. 

(but a lot of things aren’t easy anymore. yoongi is reminded of it by the ugly stares unhappy customers give him, by the mismatched notes blurring into one another at dawn.)

yoongi has been producing music since he was thirteen and got a nice computer as a birthday gift. before that, he already knew the piano keys better than he knew himself. yoongi isn't a man of many talents, but music was innate for him. although his high standards never let him consider his abilities typical of a genius, making music was something that gave him some sort of self-pride.

he made his first mixtape when he was sixteen, frustrated about high school and parents and trivialities like every other teenager. he rapped about breaking systems and falling in love, even though he hadn’t learned the meaning of that word yet. the melodies were overflowing angry chords and heavy beats, products of the goose bumps he got whenever he saw a boy smile that just shouldn’t be there.

people liked his music. he didn’t expect it to happen when he uploaded it to the internet, but it did anyway. things proceeded to happen naturally after that. he applied for a music program and he got accepted. his parents - to his surprise - weren’t exactly unhappy about his choice. they helped him with rent and food during his freshman year, despite of the fact they still preferred their son to be a lawyer or a engineer. yoongi kept making mixtapes and gigs on the weekend; they would provide him financial stability if his parents decided not to help him anymore. 

then - of course there was a then - everything around him got too bad too fast. his father lost his job. rent got more expensive. college made him busier so that he rarely performed anymore. the endless inspiration that burned bright inside of him just. died. it wasn’t like he never saw it coming. he felt it dimming and flickering: it was never that difficult to get the words right before. he watched helplessly as it darkened, becoming nothing but a weakened gleam. yoongi wishes he had an excuse, like someone broke my heart or i already reached everything i had to reach. none of those were the case; his heart, though it might be damaged, is not fully shattered yet. and he still has so much to reach. he remembers clearly how all the words and ideas and stories to be shared bumped into each other inside his brain. he understands he has plenty to accomplish. he would like to have an alibi, but since he doesn’t, he tries his best to accept that it just happened, like an accident.

he persuaded himself into accepting that a part-time job was necessary, into believing he didn’t really need more than four hours of sleep. his days now consisted of waking up before the sun rises, working and attending his classes, meeting jungkook if they both had a free time on their schedule (if yoongi woke up lucky enough) and staying at the studio, partly producing a tune and writing lyrics his past-self wouldn’t want to call his, mostly staring at the computer screen until it is midnight and his eyes are sore. 

yoongi reckons it's because he's weak. he's fragile and spoiled and can't handle the pressure. a lot of people deal with doing too much and feeling like they're not enough, so why can't he? he's young, he should be able to manage a busy life and bad times without breaking down into despair like a nine year old child. his friends do it. jungkook does it.

jungkook - he works so hard. the younger boy is majoring in psychology (because he wants to help people help themselves, he told yoongi one night) with nothing but achievements and good grades. he works at a bookstore and tutors underclassmen to get his money. he goes to the gym, practices dance. he is part of the university's baseball team and just last month he started taking french classes and - he does too much. yoongi wonders how he handles such a timetable with a smile on his face and hope on his eyes. yoongi spends enough time around him to know jungkook focuses fundamentally on the future, bringing up new ideas and goals he wants to reach like clockwork. his heart is too big for his body and the nights are too short to cage all his dreams, so they often find their way into daytime in the shape of vacant eyes and inspired words. he wants everything he can have, you can tell it from the moment he opens his mouth to talk. jungkook wants the world and yoongi believes that if anyone has the capability to get it, it's him.

jungkook pours his heart into everything he does, so the aftermaths of his actions are always perfect (always is a strong word and so is perfect, but hyperboles are always appropriate when it comes to jungkook). yoongi knows he is some sort of a role-model to the other boy. he doesn't quite grasp how he can be an example to another person when he's still trying to mold himself into someone he considers adequate. however, there's no denying the visible admiration that took over jungkook's expression when yoongi showed him his music for the first time. that was two years ago. yoongi has lost his shine, lost whatever he had that made jungkook appreciate him.

right now, jungkook's eyes show the same expectation they always did whenever he was about to listen to something new. jungkook expects too much and yoongi cares more than he should. this is the reason why he is reluctant to start the song and consequently demolish the vision jungkook still holds of him (which is one of the few things that are keeping him together. jungkook's recognition is a lifejacket and he doesn't want to dismiss the safety checks that are stopping him from drowning).

yoongi presses play.

he knows that, in reality, the song is not half as bad as he thinks. it's not mediocre, yoongi can acknowledge that much. but it seems almost automatic. robotic. there is no feeling to it, no happiness or pain or fear. the standards yoongi had set for himself are high, and this fact certainly has an influence on how critical he is of what he produces, but this requirement is only there because he had the ability to reach it once (or almost reach it, at least). he could press some piano keys, scribble some words and the final product would still feel like an audio version of who he is. now, the beat coming out of the speakers is far too feeble, the words his recorded voice is rapping are shallow and meaningless, and yoongi can't bring himself to look at jungkook's face.

jungkook is familiar with yoongi's old music. he most likely notices the metamorphosis that perturbed his style. yoongi is not looking forward to dealing with disapproval (although he knows jungkook is not like that. he's too thoughtful and too kind for his own good) so he finds entertainment in a loose string of his sweater until the track ends.

it ends abruptly. it takes yoongi way too many seconds to gather enough courage to look up. jungkook is staring at him.

the silence seems to last forever.

“so,” yoongi breaks it. he focuses his vision on everything but jungkook. the cracks on the wall. the cd collection the students collectively put together. the bright light of the computer. “it’s awful, right?”

“what?” jungkook seems startled. the crack in his voice makes yoongi look up. “no! hyung, it’s not awful.” yoongi can sense the hesitation staining his voice. the holding something back. he thinks it would hurt less if jungkook just said it all at once, as if ripping out a band-aid. 

(but jungkook is not like that.)

“you can say it, kook. it’s not even the slightest similar to my other tracks. it’s shit.” yoongi says. his words come out bitter, veiled by a thin layer of self-hatred. he has an ugly quirk to expect from other people the feedback he gets from himself. angry. harsh. way too critical. he extends this expectation to jungkook as well. he wants to free himself from the pre-determined judgment his subconscious utilizes as a rope curling tight around his neck just once, just once, just once. but breaking bad habits is easier said than done.

"no! it's not shit. i mean, it's different. i can see why you seem so upset about it. it's different from what you usually do but it doesn't make it bad," jungkook is twisting the rings on his fingers. yoongi is still fiddling with the sleeve of his sweater. "don't worry, hyung. it's still a good song. send that frown away from your face."

"but-" yoongi sighs. rubs his hands over his eyes. he gets up and walks over to the sleazy sofa on the opposite side of the studio. the one that makes his back hurt when he sleeps there, too tired to walk back home. he sits on one end. jungkook follows him. he's looking at yoongi, waiting for him to continue.

"i feel like - like whatever i'm doing on that computer is not worth much. i don't want other people to see it. i should have just, fuck, i don't know. maybe it wouldn't be like this if i had chosen another concept? but it's too late now, the professor said we can't change it anymore and-" jungkook's hand on his back stops the brainstorm from rushing out of yoongi's lips.

"breathe, hyung," there's warm fingers rubbing his shoulders over his clothes. "you didn't tell me there was a concept before. what's yours?" 

"love," yoongi laughs. "it's love, jungkook. can you believe it? there is so much to talk about and i picked a boring, cliché conceit that half the class is probably doing. I thought it would be a lot more - a lot easier, you know?" jungkook nods, but doesn't say anything. he knows yoongi is not finished. "i was already having trouble coming up with new songs for a while, so i reasoned composing about such a banal subject would be the best to do? everyone writes love songs, it can't be that bad, right? but it is. it's like i'm trapped and i have no idea how the fuck to get out. maybe i'm not feeling enough," maybe he's feeling too much.

he wouldn't do it, he had thought before. tell jungkook about his problems. talk about the things that have been bothering him. it's not all (it's not even a third of it) but it's still something. jungkook doesn't need to know about everything anyway. yoongi figures he doesn't need other people's problems thrown in his direction like rocks (which is ironic, since jungkook is studying to be a psychologist. phrasing it better: he doesn't need yoongi's shallow, self-pitying troubles. especially when they're partially induced by the unnecessary feelings yoongi harbors for his best friend). but then again, letting a part of what has been pilling up inside his mind is somewhat cathartic. although there are still chains around his feet, they feel significantly lighter. he takes jungkook's tender stare and the steady pressure his hands apply on yoongi's neck as a sign to keep talking.

"it doesn't feel like me," his voice is small. "it doesn't mean anything. and it has to. what's the point if it doesn't? this is not about finishing university with an excellent mark on my last assignment. i used to - no, i love music. it's the most important thing for me. so, yeah. it's more than just school work that doesn't end the way I intended it to."

jungkook is quiet for a few minutes. while yoongi was lost between thought and speech, he moved closer. their knees are touching and there's scarcely any space between them.

"i can't say i get it, hyung. of course, i get the idea behind it. but it would be disrespectful of me to say i understand exactly what you're going through. i don't have a passion. a talent. there's loads of things i have an interest in, and there are some of them i can do well. but i wouldn't be torn if they were taken away. i’d be sad, really, but it would be more out of habit than anything else," jungkook has a talent, yoongi believes. he is talented at making people feel again. feel better. yoongi knows it, and he knows jungkook knows it. (but jungkook is humble. he doesn't boast about anything, though he could. jungkook is kind and he's not. like. that. 

"what you're dealing with - it's something you need to fix yourself. because nothing i say, or your professors say, or anyone, in that matter, says is going to help. so you just need to let it heal itself over time. it will get better, eventually, everything does. what you can't do is believe you'll never get out of this situation - that'll only push you deeper into it," jungkook's words are wise, despite his little age. that's one of many things that make yoongi question how does he do it.

"thanks, jungkook. i feel a lot better," he means it. yoongi doesn't feel completely cured, by any means. but now, there's is a bandage on his wound and, though it's thin, it'll keep the blood from escaping for a while.

"and as you said, yoongi. it's not about the project itself. so remember to don't stress about too much about it. the melody is good, your voice sounds nice and the lyrics - in my opinion you really captured the feeling of being in love, even though you aren't in love," lies lies lies. "you're good at what you do, hyung. you may feel like you're not, but you are. don't forget that."

yoongi stares at jungkook. he's so close he can count his eyelashes. see the mole under his lips. if they were in an alternative universe, they would kiss. it would be allowed. yoongi would cup jungkook's cheeks and press their mouths together. tangle his hands on the boy's hair and bite his lower lip. but this is not an alternative universe, so yoongi does what he is allowed. he buries his head in jungkook's chest and circles his arms around his thin waist. jungkook is startled and motionless at first. then, he wraps his arms around yoongi's torso. jungkook is warm and yoongi holds him tighter.

they stay like that for some time. it could have been minutes, it could have been hours. yoongi wouldn't be able to know. all his notions of time were replaced by jungkook's vanilla scent. it's his body wash, or maybe his shampoo; yoongi can't tell. it's sweet - too sweet, and in any other situation it would make yoongi want to retch. when jungkook is the source of that scent, though, yoongi's stomach turns for completely different reasons.

"you look like you haven't had a break in seventy five years, hyung," jungkook voices when they finally separate. "sleep at mine tonight. we can watch a movie, or those romcoms you like. try to forget about everything for the rest of the day. maybe it'll do you some good."

yoongi likes the idea. 

(there have been lots of liking lately, but at this particular moment they don't bother him as much as they usually do.)

while he is packing his things to leave the building, he takes one last glance at the computer. he hopes jungkook is right.

there is a street on the way to jungkook's house that has the narrowest sidewalk yoongi has ever seen. on an average day, he hates it. it's dangerous and odd and someone always slams into him when he walks through it. now, the street is empty except for the two of them. their shoulders bump and their hands brush from time to time. yoongi feels a warmth takes over his chest, but it's not the kind that makes him want to scream and rip his lungs open. it's rather pleasant.

(he manages to follow jungkook's advice: from the time they enter his flat till dawn, all the worries running wildly inside his head are replaced by his favorite episodes of friends and the quiet snores that make jungkook's body tremble ever so lightly when he sleeps.)

 

-

 

kook [7:23 p.m.] hey hyung is there any chance you're free rn? if yes can you help me with something?

yoongi hyung [7:25 p.m.] i have time until 10 and yes.

kook [7:25 p.m.] cool! are you home?

yoongi hyung [7:26 p.m.] i am.

kook [7:26 p.m.] i'll pick you up in five

 

“when you said you needed my help that was not what i had in mind.”

yoongi is standing in the middle of a room fully clad with mirrors, in front of a very handsome and very underdressed jungkook. 

“what did you think i was going to ask you? to elope and go live somewhere in the north pole?” jungkook jokes (it hurts a little). he sits on the ground and spreads his legs, beginning to do his stretching routine. his hands reach his feet, causing his body to bend in a way it shouldn’t be able to bend. fuck.

“that makes more sense, actually,” yoongi says, resting against the reflective wall. jungkook proceeds to doing a split. he leans backwards, torso arching. fuckfuckfuck. “i’m sure you’re aware that i know absolutely nothing about dance. i have zero experience. nothing. nada."

"everyone else who could help me with this is busy. hoseok is working, jimin is on a date, momo has a lecture and so it goes. but you're free. it must be destiny, you should know better than to ignore it," yoongi knows that jungkook has more friends who share his interest in dance than the ones he mentioned. knowing that he still called yoongi, chose yoongi, makes his request seem a little bit less dreadful. 

"you can't blame me if i mess up your whole performance with my exceptional judging skills," yoongi says, in part because he truly has no idea how to do this, but also because he's still hoping there's an way out of the whole watching jungkook moving sweating being beautiful thing. he hasn't seen jungkook dance in a long time, and from what he remembers, this particular situation was not kind with his heart.

“you know a lot about music. it’s the same, hyung. the only difference is that my instrument is my body instead of a piano or something like that,” jungkook gets up. he’s wearing a nearly transparent tank top and some ridiculously short shorts. the sight itself makes yoongi’s mouth go dry. he doesn’t even want to know what jungkook would look like doing hip thrusts. “i only need you to tell me if my moves are coordinated with the song. i usually can do this on my own, but this routine is really tricky. come on, it’s not that hard. just rhythm and shit. you’ve got a sharp eye,” jungkook goes over to where his phone is charging. he turns on the speakers before yoongi can say anything. yoongi rolls his eyes, defeated.

the track is one he has never heard before. an english song. he doesn't understand precisely what the lyrics are saying (his english skills are not the best), but he doesn't really need to. the vibe delivers the meaning on its own. it's a heavy, sensual song. jungkook's moves do it justice. the first steps are tame, almost shy, like something is being held back.

then the chorus comes.

yoongi can feel his cheeks heating up when jungkook moves his hips. he feels his breath hitch and his skin prickle. the boy's movements are controlled and sharp and powerful. his body slides along the melody, in perfect timing. it's clockwork. yoongi feels mesmerized. jungkook has said earlier that his body is the instrument, but yoongi disagrees. the song is not playing him, he is playing the song. he has the upper hand, craning his neck and twisting his arms, molding audio into vision. ethereal, yoongi decides.

yoongi's exterior stays frozen as jungkook finishes his dance number on the ground. his mind is frenzied when jungkook stands up and walks to his direction.

"so," his eyes are shining and his chest rises and falls quickly. yoongi presses his hands together. they're clammy. "what did you think?"

yoongi mulls over his question for a while (not that he has to, obviously. he already knows what he thinks. he just can't say it). "it's really - it's amazing, jungkook. you don't have to worry about not being in sync. everything is perfect from what i can see."

"thanks, hyung," jungkook is smiling. the pretty smile, the smile that makes his eyes small and his nose crunch. the smile that makes yoongi's heart cry a little. "i had recorded myself dancing about five times before, but it's not the same as having someone else judge you. it's easy for your mind to come up with mistakes that aren't even there, you know," yoongi knows it drastically well.

"yeah, but i can assure you my mind has no ability of doing such a thing. not when it comes to other people anyway," yoongi says while jungkook chugs down a bottle of cold water. his skin is glowing and his hair is messy and yoongi is weak. "but if i were you, i'd still go over things with someone from your dance crew. just to make sure," yoongi doesn't give this advice because of jungkook. he knows his performance is flawless. but something inside his head, the awful noise that doesn't let him sleep at night, tells him he shouldn't be trusted with anything. that his opinion can't be someone else's safety pin.

(although yoongi tries, and tries hard, he hasn't learned how to kill this particular sound yet.)

"there's no need. i trust you, hyung."

(the voice doesn't go away, by all means. but it gets significantly quieter.)

"so," jungkook voices as he leans against the mirror beside yoongi. "it's still half past eight," his head gestures to the big clock hanging on the wall. "do you want to hang out? maybe we could go grab something to eat. go to the playground. it's been a long time since we did it."

jungkook is right. there is a playground near jungkook's apartment they used to go to all the time when yoongi was a sophomore and jungkook a freshman. they would get there after sundown and spend time until they were barely awake or nearly bored. yoongi'd bring food: chips and soda and those gummy candies jungkook likes. jungkook'd talk about whatever the stars inspired him in that particular day. sometimes, when vodka was involved, he'd insist that the playground was actually haunted by lonely ghosts who didn't get enough love when they were kids. yoongi would laugh, but scoot closer to jungkook just to make sure.

(they eventually stopped with their impromptu playground antics. by the time yoongi's junior year was coming to an end, ghost banter and swings brought nothing but distant good memories to his mind.)

"you're right. i miss it," i miss you. "let's go and get some fried chicken to take," yoongi finishes, stepping away from the wall. as jungkook skips to where his bag is thrown on the ground, yoongi takes a look at himself on the mirror. he looks awful. his blond hair is dry and desperately in need of a salon appointment. his cheeks are sunken in and his eyes look dull. yoongi knows he's staring at all the results of the constant agony gnawing on his brain. his creative block - he reasoned it would be less horrible if he gave it a pretty name - is still perpetuating its presence in yoongi's days. the tactic he settled on to fight it was simply ignoring it until it had enough of his misery and went away; clearly his plan was not working.

“i’m ready,” jungkook’s voice jolts him. yoongi follows him through the way out of the dance studio.

the streets are windy. it’s the start of october, that awkward time of the year when it’s no longer hot enough to go out with a t-shirt only, but still not cold enough to take out the heavy coats that have been littering the back of your closet. yoongi wears a jacket and a jumper underneath it. he is always icy, even when the weather is still pleasant and the leaves are burning bright orange on the trees. jungkook hasn’t put anything over his tank top. maybe exercise really does warm you up. probably, jungkook is warm all on his own.

as they walk towards the fried chicken restaurant they both like, jungkook asks yoongi about the project. he answers that nothing has changed. they don’t talk about it the rest of the way. jungkook’s report on the new TA for his statistics class who is just so smart and so beautiful fills every last bit of silence.

(yoongi fights the green jealous monster that wants to make its presence known inside yoongi's heart. the better, rational side of him knows he's not entitled to be jealous. jungkook is not his property. but there's still the human, messy side that wants to tell that seokjin guy he can go fuck himself for all he cares.

yoongi doesn't like that side.)

they end up ordering enough food to feed five people because jungkook is starving, as he erroneously phrases it. they stop at the convenience store to get something to drink. they argue on who should pay it. yoongi gives up his pride and lets jungkook handle the bill ("come on, hyung, it's just beer, i have to treat you from time to time"). the cashier gives them a weird look, but neither of them comment on it.

when they get to the playground, it's luckily empty. it hasn't changed much, from what yoongi remembers. the swings are still old, the slide is still dusty and the cats still like to think of the little garden as a chemical toilet, from what it looks like. he and jungkook climb up the tree house (he can't remember if it's strong enough to support their weight) and settle the food on top of the sweater jungkook had in his bag. there's no weird noises. good.

"wow," jungkook says as he opens a bottle of beer. "look at the moon, yoongi. it looks so pretty today. a full moon. i wish i had a camera here to take a nice picture."

"i know you have over a hundred pictures of a full moon on your computer," yoongi voices as he opens the box of chicken. "i think it's becoming an obsession, kook."

"i just like to capture the beauty of things," is jungkook's explanation. yoongi takes a look at the sky. jungkook's right. the moon looks particularly good today. he doesn't know if it's the clear sky, or the nostalgia starting to creep up his body, but yoongi wants to take a picture of the moon too. although he's not a fan of photography like jungkook, it'd be nice to - 

click.

a strong light comes from his right. yoongi startles. that was definitely a camera noise. an digital one, like phones make, but still. he turns around to look at jungkook and is surprised when he sees the younger holding his phone to yoongi's face.

"jungkook," yoongi's voice is stern. he's not angry or anything, only confused. "did you just take a picture of me?"

"yes i did," jungkook answers, smiling. he shows his phone screen to yoongi. "look, hyung. you're a literal puppy," in the photo, yoongi is holding the bottle close to his lips, like he had just finished taking a swig from it. his eyes are droopy and - is that a pout? 

"may i know why you took a picture of me, looking very stupid?"

"you don't look stupid. you look sleepy. that's not a bad thing," jungkook takes a piece of chicken and fits it all in his mouth. once he's done with the whole chewing and swallowing process, he gives yoongi an answer. "and it's like i said, yoongi. i enjoy taking pictures of pretty things." 

yoongi's arm that is reaching for another beer halts. pretty? did jungkook just call him pretty? the hint of a smile starts to tug at the corner of his mouth. yoongi can feel the pink hue forming on his cheeks. he can't help but to be somewhat happy.

(it doesn't last much, though. it takes him a few seconds, but he remembers that jungkook is a natural flirt, and he probably says stuff like that to everyone. yoongi is not an exception. yoongi is a standard, and this recurring thought that appears at all the worst moments makes yoongi's hands tremble for all the wrong reasons.)

when he looks back up, jungkook is still staring at him. he's waiting for something. yoongi coughs.

"thanks, kook. you're not too bad yourself," jungkook smirks.

they finish eating in a comfortable silence. then, they take the remaining beers, the empty box and sauce packets and get back to the ground. jungkook takes the trash to a nearby trashcan and yoongi goes to the other side of the playground, sitting on one of the swings. they're big enough to fit him - small miracles. jungkook comes back and sits beside him. 

"hyung," jungkook's voice is chirpy. "are you free on sunday afternoon? i have a baseball game and after i'm going to go out with namjoon and some other friends. do you want to come watch me play? and then hang out? if you can, of course," jungkook stutters a bit at the end. yoongi doesn't really want to know why. it's likely nothing. maybe one of the pebbles jungkook is kicking was slightly too big and gave him a tiny scare. yoongi stills wishes, though, that jungkook seemed nervous because he truly wants yoongi to go (it's the side of him that is greedy and desperate and just wants to be wanted). 

"i have a clear schedule on sunday. i'll be there," yoongi replies. he doesn't have any shifts at the convenience store on sunday and he hasn't taken any other side job on that particular day - big miracles. he was planning on spending the entire day locked inside the studio, of course, but it can be postponed. he's not getting anything good out of it anyway.

"great! it's going to be fun, pretty much everyone's going. jimin, tae, hobi hyung, tzuyu, jihyo, everyone. we haven't been out together in ages," it's true. they used to go out a lot, before life, well. happened. yoongi misses his friends. he still meets up with them when possible, obviously. not as much as he sees jungkook, but that's because of reasons yoongi knows way too well. he doesn't think he has ever met tzuyu, though. it’s a triviality jungkook doesn't notice and yoongi doesn't mention. 

yoongi looks at his clock. 9:27 p.m. he has some time left - it's not enough time, yet it's better than nothing. he watches jungkook as he drinks his beer. it must be what? his fourth one? yoongi doesn't know. he stopped drinking after the second. he might have an high alcohol tolerance, but there's a five hour night shift at the convenience store waiting for him. the person who works at this time of the day is sick and yoongi could use the money. it doesn't bother him as much: not a lot of people visit after ten, so he can get some work done. write some lyrics. or random words on paper. same thing. 

the crickets and city noises are the only background sounds for some time. it makes yoongi starts dwelling.

(not that he needs a trigger or anything. he doesn't need to get bored. yoongi starts thinking, and thinking hard, all on his own in most occasions.)

(sometimes, he wishes a scientist would come up with a nano white noise machine that can be implanted on human brains. he hates white noise. maybe his thoughts would quit screaming at him if they had something else to shut up.) 

when it gets too much, yoongi breaks the pseudo-silence.

"how do you do it, kook?" yoongi's voice is barely louder than a whisper. 

"do what?" jungkook asks, eyes glued on the sky. yoongi looks upwards as well.

"how do you make it seem so easy? i mean - it's like you never stop. i just can't-" jungkook cuts him off before he can finish.

"do you know the stars, hyung?” yoongi looks at him for a few moments. then, he nods. "you see, some of them are not actually there. they have died millions of years ago, but we still see their light when it gets dark. it happens because they're so far from earth it takes forever for the light to get here. so, in the end, we don't take the actual stars into consideration, just the afterimage of them."

yoongi doesn’t say a word. jungkook takes his quietness as a cue to continue.

"it’s been a long time since they have blown up into infinite pieces, but the idea just lives on. so yeah, that’s what i do, i guess. keep traveling, like their light. even if what gave me the flight impulse is no longer there, there’s still a destination i have to reach," his words melt into each other. yoongi has to take some time to process them. he realizes he's more tired than he deemed he was (he knows he didn't drink that much).

"i still don't know what you mean."

"what i mean is that i try not to care so much about what it is, and choose to think of what it could be," yoongi steals a glance at jungkook. the moonlight makes his eyes seem shiny, almost like they're about to be flooded by tears. "i know how tired you are, hyung. i can see it in your eyes and hear it in your music. i'm tired too. but we have to keep moving on. we have to keep waking up early and working shitty jobs and maintaining a poor sleeping schedule. we have to believe that there's something better waiting for us down the road. it might sound silly to get your energy and motivation from a simple possibility, but that's what humans have been doing until now, right?"

yoongi looks down at his hands. he cracks his knuckles and muses about what jungkook just said. it's true. humans actually have been living off potential energy, he guesses. discovering things based on what ifs and curiosity. building the present based on the future. yoongi has never been a prospective kind of guy. he cared about the now, about what he could do to get bigger at that moment. a good future would come naturally after a good present, he reasoned.

then he hit a crossroad. he met the bad present. he has no idea how to withstand it and try to see the light shining from miles and miles in front of him.

(that night, when it's almost one a.m., when there's no one looking for ramen or condoms and the only bearable thing playing on tv is a show in which two men blow up things for scientific purposes, yoongi takes out his notebook from the front pocket of his backpack. he thinks about jungkook, about possibilities and chemicals explosions. he thinks about a lot, as he writes too fast and his handwriting gets messy.

he goes back home with a headache and the best lyrics he has written in a long time.)

 

-

 

1:34 a.m.

yoongi has a tab that reads thesaurus open on his phone. he alternates it with buzzfeed nonsensical personality tests.

 

1:38 a.m.

he can’t pick a word that rhymes with cosmic. they all sound dumb and add no meaning to what he is writing. he closes the thesaurus website and rests his head on the keyboard.

 

1:44 a.m.

yoongi has officially given up™. when he is scrolling down the buzzfeed homepage, he comes across an article on beautiful words. he clicks on the link.

 

2:13 a.m.

yoongi writes a mental review for his favorite ones:

 

 

aquiver (adj.)

quivering, trembling

it's in his hands when jungkook gets too close. it's in his heart when they hug. it takes over his mind when he walks home from the studio at ungodly hours, controls his torso and makes his stomach churn. it runs through his whole body when the nights are too cold, and he's thinking too much and just wants to be static.

 

mellifluous (adj.)

a sound that is sweet and smooth, pleasing to hear.

jungkook's voice is akin to the rain. sometimes, it is loud and it is bold and it is storm. his vocal chords tell yoongi about theories that will never be proven true, about worlds better than our own, about dreams and reveries and all sorts of things that make yoongi want to press a pillow into his ears until the heavy drops stop hitting his window. most times, it is soft and it is gentle and it is drizzle. his adam's apple will bob up and down as he discloses about his day, about the stray cat he saw on his way to work, about the same dreams and the same reveries that eventually manage to venture into yoongi's mind and whisper it's okay to simply believe. yoongi likes this voice better, he ponders; the one that is barely audible when it drops on the windshield as he falls asleep.

 

hiraeth (n)

a homesickness for a home you can't return to, or that never was.

(yoongi thinks the movie playing on the screen of his laptop is about aliens. or superheroes. maybe both. he hasn't been paying attention. jungkook and yoongi are laying down on the bed, shoulders touching. they're sharing a blanket. something blows up and pixels shake erratically. jungkook makes a tiny surprised noise and yoongi comes to the conclusion that there are two reasons why he's so aloof. 

  1. he misses his music. the old one. he misses staying awake after hours because he had so many ideas and sleeping would be a waste of time, instead of staying up so he would be able to tell the mirror the next morning that he tried. he misses it bad. he also knows that, as of now, it stands at the starting point of a labyrinth, but he's lost in the middle and left no trail to find his way back. 
  1. he misses jungkook. if that makes sense. he's here, on yoongi's bed, and there's almost no space between their bodies, but he's the furthest he's ever been. yoongi wonders if jungkook is staying the night. he hopes he is (he hopes he goes home). yoongi questions if it is possible to long for something you never had. he thinks about the 'could be' jungkook is so fond of and declares it is at least partially logical. he misses him, especially, because he doesn't have anything to miss.)

 

epiphany (n)

a moment of sudden revelation.

yoongi wouldn't diminish it to a single moment. it was a series of small mishaps, that make him think he should have noticed them before. text me when you get home, it's freezing out there so take my scarf and all the actions we often deem to be courtesy but speak louder than any confession do.

 

oblivion (n)

the state of being unaware of what is happening around you.

("yoongi. hyung. yoongi hyung," is what takes for yoongi to stop spacing out and face jungkook. although he's pretty sure he has been staring at the mole under jungkook's lips this whole time, he decides to trust his luck for once and suppose the other boy never noticed it.)

 

ephemeral (adj.)

lasting for a very short time.

this word describes the thoughts yoongi gets at dawn. the ones that are so brief sometimes he doesn't even notice them. the why do you keep trying, the you should just give up, the stop, you don't do anything right. they are blatant and in the split second they come to life, their power is enough to chew on yoongi's heart and drain the blood from his veins. for some reason yoongi has yet to figure out, they never get too far, fading quickly like blown candles.

 

-

  

if yoongi said sunday didn't take forever to come, he would be lying.

he didn't see jungkook for the rest of the week, but they talked through texts that were always answered three hours later. yoongi spent a fair amount of time locked up in the studio, where he barely managed to get something acceptable done. when he read over everything he wrote that week, it ended up being too abstract and also too personal to use in his project. he did want to find his connection with music again, but citing names wouldn't do it. the instrumental he came up with was useful, though.

on sunday, yoongi has lunch at the university cafeteria. he sits alone, observing other students. on a table next to him, a boy is feeding his girlfriend strawberries. she ends up licking his fingers the majority of time. gross. but if he couldn't find inspiration within himself to get the love concept nailed down, the outside world would have to do it. 

he goes back to his apartment and mindlessly watches variety shows until two. he is supposed to meet everyone at jimin's apartment - they would go to the uni stadium from there. jungkook had to meet up with the team earlier to run through game strategies or something similar. when the alarm he set on his phone rings, he gets changed, grabs his keys and leaves the flat.

he had never been to jimin's house before, so he checks the address they sent on the group chat once again. that has to be it. he rings the bell. a few moments later, the door flies open, revealing the pretty eyes and the pretty hair and the pretty girl standing behind it. joohyun.

"yoongi!" her voice is saccharine. just like how yoongi recalls it. "i haven't seen you in forever," she pulls yoongi in for a hug and he lets her, hugging her back.

joohyun and yoongi were really close, once. he met her when he first got into college. he was a freshman who believed he held the world in his hands and she was the gorgeous upperclassmen he chose to look up to. they started to talk: he asked for help with his classes and tips for dealing with grumpy teachers and she always gave him good advice. a year later, she graduated early and they lost any contact other than social media. he wonders why she's here - jungkook never met her in person. however, he's glad they have the chance to meet again.

he thinks he would have fallen for her, if he were into girls. somewhere in the multiverse, a random version of him who is straight assumably did. he wishes the feelings of his alternative self are corresponded. 

"hi, noona. i've missed you," he mumbles into her hair.

"i missed you too, yoongi. oh! you dyed your hair. it looks good on you," her smile is bright and familiar and it pours over him like deja vu. "come in, almost everyone is here already. we were just waiting for you and tzuyu, then we'll leave. she should be arriving soon."

yoongi follows her into the apartment. he sees jimin, hoseok and momo on the kitchen using the mixer. making some kind of dancer protein smoothie, he thinks. he wouldn't be able to tell. he greets them and moves on to the living room. there, he spots taehyung, jihyo, namjoon and seulgi sitting on the couch and reading chairs. he greets them as well and slumps in one of the empty spaces.

they fall into easy talk. yoongi is not so fond of chit-chat, but it is the most effortless way to warm up to friends you haven't seen in a while. once they're past topics about the weather and schoolwork, they find real (and useless) subjects to talk about. in the midst of a deep conversation about how it's impossible to calculate the number of chairs that exist in the world (courtesy of namjoon: "humans have houses. houses have tables. six chairs average. but there are restaurants. and houses that for some reason don't have tables. don't even get me started on furniture stores," and other nonsense around these lines), yoongi notices that joohyun goes over to seulgi and sits on her lap. the younger girl wraps her arms around joohyun's waist and kisses her cheek.

oh. seulgi is on jungkook's dance crew. so that's how joohyun ended up here. destiny, the bastard. yoongi notices he could afford to loosen up to fate a little.

"guys!" jimin's voice is loud. "we can go now. tzuyu is here," yoongi notices a girl standing beside hoseok. she's tall and looks like someone you only see in magazines. tzuyu, he supposes.

they leave jimin's apartment. while they walk to the stadium, the air is constantly filled with voices, all kinds of voices. low and tenor, like taehyung's. rushed and mellow, like jimin's. soft and gentle, like joohyun's. yoongi likes the noise. it's comfortable and silences his thoughts a little.

yoongi falls behind along with joohyun and seulgi. he doesn't know seulgi that well, but he knows of her. the sweet, hard-working girl who has a innate talent for dancing and helping others. the one everyone had a crush on at some point, even jungkook. those were strenuous three weeks, on yoongi's behalf. 

joohyun updates yoongi on how she's been doing. she works at a record label now, and teaches piano lessons for kids. yoongi doesn't tell her much about how he's doing. not that he minds - her life seems significantly more interesting. joohyun tells him about how she met seulgi at a party on march, how the neon lights shined so pretty on her joohyun knew exactly at that moment she was in love. from the blush that takes over seulgi's cheeks every time joohyun smiles at her, yoongi knows the feeling is equally mutual. 

(it makes him bitter to a degree, though he won't admit it. it leads him into to thinking that he wants love as well, he wants jungkook someone to look at him that way. he wants it so much and why can't he have it why why why.) 

when they get to where the game is going to be held, the place is already half full. people yoongi has never seen before wearing the university colors fill out the seats. they find an area that has enough chairs for them to sit together. yoongi ends up with joohyun on his left and namjoon on his right. jimin and momo announce they're going to buy some snacks, asking everyone what they want to eat. yoongi picks cotton candy. 

"have you ever been to one of jungkook's games, hyung?" namjoon asks. he almost misses it: the stadium is filling up fast and getting louder and louder.

"no, actually," yoongi says. "it's the first time i watch it."

"oh! i figured you had already," jungkook had asked him to go to his games before. he had wanted to go. jungkook got into the baseball team last year, around the same time yoongi started working part time jobs. every match before this one seemed to be on a saturday and saturday is a particularly busy day for yoongi, so he never made it. "you better prepare yourself, then. jungkook is a beast on the field. it's a life changing experience." yoongi knows namjoon has a fondness for exaggerating things. so, when he says it, yoongi guesses it's just one of his hyperboles.

and then the game starts.

when jungkook walks in with the rest of his team, yoongi's mouth goes dry. he looks good, hair mussed, holding his baseball bat. his uniform has stripes and it fits tight on his body. jungkook scams the crowd for a while. when his vision gets to where they're sitting, his eyes meet yoongi. jungkook smiles and yoongi's heart melts like the candy inside his mouth.

yoongi knows nothing about baseball, so he asks namjoon to give him an overall about how the sport works. after they're done, yoongi goes completely silent. his entire focus is on jungkook, on how good he looks facing the pitcher. he stays quiet until jungkook scores a home run. then, he stands up like the rest of his friends and cheers.

there are more points after that. jungkook is not the only good player; from what it looks like, his university has a strong baseball team. they end up winning the match. when the victory point is scored, jungkook takes off his cap and starts to run across the field, smiling and glowing and screaming.

it's the most beautiful thing yoongi has ever seen.

when the game is over and everyone in the audience is leaving, yoongi's phone rings.

 

kook [6:12 p.m.] hyung tell everyone i'm waiting outside, in front of the water fountain

 

yoongi lets jungkook's message be known. they take a while to leave the stadium, because taehyung just swears there's an easier way out than the one most people are going towards. it turns out there isn't. fifteen minutes later, after they turned the other way around from the empty locker room taehyung has lead them to, they finally manage to leave the building. jungkook is at the fountain, like he said he would be. he's wearing a varsity jacket, his bag thrown across his shoulder. his brows are furrowed as he stares at his phone screen, probably trying to beat his own high score in some game. when he sees them approaching, he puts the phone in his pocket and runs to their direction.

"hyung!" jungkook doesn't say his name, but yoongi knows he's talking to him. "you came," jungkook stops in front of him. from up close, he looks even better.

"i said i would, didn't i?" yoongi looks from jungkook's lips (sometimes he wonders how he hasn't been exposed yet) to his eyes, which are big and pretty. he forgets there's other people around them. their friends, who became silent and resorted to stare at the both of them with curiosity printed on their faces.

"jungkookie!" jimin is the one who bursts the bubble yoongi and jungkook were trapped in. "have you forgotten about your jimin hyung?"

"hello, jimin hyung," jungkook says, rolling his eyes as jimin wraps him in a headlock. "hi, guys," he greets everyone else.

"you were so good out there!" taehyung chimes in. his words incite a storm of compliments to fall over jungkook. when yoongi takes part and says jungkook played really well, that he could tell he was a good player even with his limited knowledge of baseball, jungkook smiles wider.

they go to a italian restaurant. to celebrate, as hoseok says, but yoongi knows they would have gone there as well had jungkook's team lost the match. it's still nice, though, to think of it as a celebration. makes the food taste better and the people look happier.

yoongi sits beside jungkook, who orders for both of them. the plate of pasta that comes for each is big and hot and bright red. jungkook pours a glass of wine for him and yoongi, who has never actually liked the taste of it but drinks it anyway. celebration, he remembers.

"and then she said her friend told her that i was the one who asked for her number, when clearly that wasn't what happened. but she was cute, so we're going on another date next week," jimin is talking about the girl he went on a date with, about her shiny eyes and her creepy friend who pretty much stalked him in order to give him the girl's number.

yoongi feels good. he feels nice, even. he muses that going out with friends is one of those things you don't realize how much you miss until you get it back. he watches everyone's smiles. watches seulgi and joohyun impersonating the spaghetti scene form the lady and the tramp (which, originally, is supposed to be gross. yoongi doesn't like cheesy and corny but seeing his friend so happy compensates it for him), taehyung and namjoon immersed in deep discussion on whether noodles are chinese or italian, the lovesick glances jihyo and tzuyu are stealing from each other. he watches how neither of them seem to be aware of it.

"hyung," jungkook says. his cheeks are burning bright pink from the alcohol and he looks alluring under the yellow light of the restaurant. "you look happy."

"i am. i really am," yoongi grins. he doesn't know if he's starting to lose any sense of space perception or if jungkook is actually getting closer and leaning in and -

"guys!" hoseok suddenly stands up, hitting his open hands on the table. "you fuckers haven't forgotten about the halloween party, right? because jimin and i are putting a lot of effort for it to be perfect and i hope, for your sake, that you all manage to show up. thank you," he goes back to his seat.

"halloween party?" yoongi asks, to no one in particular. he seems to be the only person on the table who doesn't know about it.

"yes, hyung, i was about to tell about that," jungkook says. "hobi hyung is hosting a party. on halloween night. he's telling everyone about it in advance so no one misses it, which is kind of inevitable but. you're invited too, obviously. do you think you can make it?"

yoongi thinks for a second. he doesn't recall having anything in particular scheduled on halloween. he has work, a morning shift. and afternoon classes. studio sessions but that can be arranged. other than that, there's no reason for him not to go.

"i can. i can go," yoongi answers.

"great!" jungkook says, grabbing a piece of bread from the tiny basket and dipping it on the remaining sauce on his plate. "it's a costume party, of course, so you might want to start thinking what your costume is going to be."

"costumes? do we have to?" yoongi doesn't want to be a party killer but the idea of wearing a costume doesn't stick well with him. he hasn't worn one since middle school.

"well, not exactly. though it would be way more fun if we all wore one. i'm going to," he notices the uneasy look on yoongi's face. "let's do it do, hyung. we can even get matching costumes. please. for me."

yoongi looks away from jungkook's persuasive expression and pours himself another glass of wine.

 

 

yoongi has yet to learn how to deny anything jungkook asks him. 

that’s how he ends up, a week later, browsing through costume stores with the younger in tow. no matching costumes, though. they agreed on that once there was no more booze blurring their thought process.

 

-

 

there are some points in yoongi and jungkook’s relationship that are more important than the others. milestones, whatever one may call it. like when they went from strangers to friends or when yoongi finally came to terms that the turmoil disrupting the bottom of his heart every time jungkook smiled was not undiagnosed arrhythmia.

 

september 19th 2015

 

yoongi stares at the contact information that has been recently added to his phone. jungkook, it says. 

the worn out leather clings to his flannel shirt. if he zips it up till the top, the brownish stain that decorates the front of his clothes will pretty much be unnoticeable (he doesn’t really care about his dirty garments, though).

the clock on the studio wall reads 5 p.m. he figures the boy who was kind enough to give him his leather jacket that morning shouldn’t be too busy by now.

(he is a freshman, yoongi assumes. he must be, judging by the nonchalant expression he was wearing so soon in the morning, giving in the aura of someone who has barely started university. 

he’s most likely a freshman: yoongi didn’t have a tight-knit schedule during his first few weeks of college, so he guesses, based on the entirety of jungkook’s demeanor, that the other boy doesn’t as well.)

yoongi’s mom had taught him from a very young age that he should always be nice to people who are nice to him. so, with the intention to return the jacket and at least buy a replacement for the coffee that is now cold and crusty on the front of his shirt, he presses the contact name and makes the call.

 

september 29th 2015

 

yoongi doesn’t know exactly how it happens, but getting coffee with jungkook becomes an almost fixed task on his daily to-do list. on the first time they get together at a café, after yoongi returns the jacket and buys jungkook a steaming caramel macchiato (dealing with some protest from jungkook’s part), they start to talk.

yoongi finds out that jungkook is, indeed, a freshman. psychology major. he asks yoongi about uni life, and even though they have different majors, yoongi is able to answer most of his questions.

they normally meet up in the late afternoons, when jungkook is done with his classes and yoongi is in dire need of a break before he heads to the studio, but on a particular day, the two of them find themselves drinking americanos at 11 p.m.

after the coffee shop they usually visit closes for the night, jungkook takes yoongi to this weird looking playground. they drink a lot of soju, talk about their similar taste in music and, well. the rest is history.

 

april 2nd 2016

 

over the past week, jungkook has acquired a new denim jacket, a year worth supply of instant coffee and a crush. yoongi spends two hours hearing about how seulgi is so pretty and so talented and, though he's ashamed to admit it, he fights the urge to rip out the straws from their drinks and stick them in his ears.

during the time they spend at the library hunched over their books (but they don't study. unless the detailed description of the way seulgi's shiny hair bounces when she dances is considered studying), yoongi comes to the realization that this is the first time jungkook talks about someone that way. his first puppy love since the time he and yoongi have met (maybe not the only crush he has during this time, but the first one he deems important enough to let other people know about them). yoongi doesn't know what to do with the obnoxious feeling he gets every time jungkook mentions seulgi's name. it's not like he hates her (he doesn't even know her). but he hates what she represents.

it's only a month later, when jungkook has gathered enough courage to ask her out just to be turned down with a i think it's better if we're just friends, that yoongi can finally sleep well again.

 

october 7th 2016

 

yoongi sighs as he checks the chips and candy packages on the cashier machine. his eyes feel heavy and he wonders what someone could possibly do with so much junk food. he glances at the angry frown that takes over the customer’s face and comes to the conclusion he doesn’t want to know.

the tv is displaying a video of an idol group performing a song that he actually really likes, but he can’t focus on the pretty girls dancing up on stage.

the phone call he had with his mom a few weeks ago keeps replaying in his mind.

(“yoongi, honey. your father lost his job. we can’t keep sending you money anymore.”)

it’s not that he hates the idea of having a job. he has noticed he doesn’t enjoy working at a convenience store during the little time he has been working in one, but it’s not the worst thing ever. yoongi has been lucky by now. he had a family who sent him cash every month so he could focus on college, he had the support a lot of students never had. 

(so. he should be grateful that he didn’t need to get a job until his junior year. he doesn’t want to be the one who harbors a deep distaste for something that almost everyone does with no major complaints. but the dull, tired pain that has settled in the back of his eyes and the fact that his studio hours don’t feel as productive anymore makes him admit to himself that, yes, he hates it a little bit.)

when there’s only fifteen minutes left till his shift ends, the bell attached to the door of the establishment rings. yoongi is surprised when he looks up and sees it’s jungkook instead of just a regular costumer.

“hey, hyung!” jungkook says. “i just finished my shift at the bookstore and i thought i’d bring you something. you looked kind of down earlier,” yoongi notices that jungkook is holding a paper cup. he hands it to yoongi. the beverage warms his cold hands.

“oh. thanks, kook. you didn’t have to,” yoongi says, sipping the drink. it’s coffee. dark roast, yoongi’s favorite.

“i wanted to.” jungkook shakes his head and smiles.

and in that moment, when he grasps that such a casual thing can mean that much and make his day ten times better, yoongi realizes he can’t keep denying the things that have been bubbling up inside of him anymore.

 

-

  

unlike jungkook's baseball game, halloween comes around faster than yoongi expected it to. maybe it's his time perception that has changed. the hours tend to go by faster when you're happy.

(he wouldn't say he is happy. but he's technically not miserable anymore. over the past weeks, he has been seeing jungkook and his other friends a lot more. he got a raise on his job, which is unusual but welcome. he's been spending less time on the studio since he has become way more productive. consequently, he's getting more hours of sleep. last friday, yoongi has managed to finish two songs that don't make him want to rip his eyes out.

he's not happy but he's getting somewhere.)

when his last class finishes, he goes straight home to get changed. he has some time until eight, but he assumes perfecting his look will be a bit difficult, considering his excellent make up skills. 

after he showers, gets dressed and spends nearly two hours living under the constant danger of poking himself on the eye with an eyeshadow brush, yoongi is finally ready. he gets his phone, his keys and leaves the house.

he doesn't get any weird looks from passersby. a good part of the people on the streets are either dressed up as well and on their way to some party, or simply too preoccupied with their own lives to care about how someone chooses to dress. good for them, yoongi thinks.

twenty minutes later, he arrives at hoseok's apartment. yoongi can already see it's much bigger and more expensive than his own. he tells the doorman he's there for hoseok's party and the man lets him in, no more questions asked. great apartment, doubtful security. when he gets to hoseok's door, yoongi texts the group chat since there's no way anyone will hear the doorbell with all the noise coming from inside.

"i don't know if i'm supposed to cry over how cute you are or run off to look for someplace to hide because you actually look scary," taehyung says. it's the first thing he hears when the door of hoseok's flat opens. taehyung stands in front of yoongi, leaning on the wall. he's dressed as the joker, the red lipstick on his lips accentuating his smirk. taehyung takes a step backwards for yoongi to come in.

"uh, thanks? i guess. your costume looks good too. very accurate," yoongi says as he follows taehyung through the small crowd of people that appears to be forming, though the party has barely started.

"i know. i put a lot of thought into it. i personally find that this outfit makes me slightly hotter than i already am. i'm glad to hear you agree with me, hyung."

yoongi smiles, choosing to ignore taehyung's commentary. it's true, after all. he takes a look around: the house is meticulously adorned with halloween miscellaneous, from the themed snacks on top of the table to the fake spider webs that hang on every corner of the ceiling.

"jungkook and the others were in hyung's room last time i checked," taehyung says once they get to the living room. there's people, some that yoongi has never met, sitting on every surface available, treating human laps as makeshift chairs. "they're playing truth or dare or something - not that important. everyone's still pretty sober so these games are no fun at the moment. you can meet them there, or chill in here if you want. i have to stay here for the people that are still arriving. there's no need for that, but you know how hoseok is," yoongi nods at his words. taehyung goes away into the kitchen and he is left alone.

it takes a few minutes, but yoongi is able to find hoseok's room (after he opens the bathroom door and accidentally is met with too much noise, too much skin, and an image imprinted on the back of his eyes that he certainly could live without). when he opens the door, he sees some of his friends sitting in a circle. there's a bottle in the middle. 

when jungkook looks up and sees yoongi, he stands up and walks to him, almost tripping over a dancing jimin, who's in the middle of doing really inappropriate moves to the floor. 

"yoongi!" jungkook says. he's a police officer for tonight. predictable, yoongi would say, but he lets it pass since jungkook's costume fits him well. too well. his pants are tight, his shirt shows his toned body, leaving little to imagination. there's a golden badge on his chest and fucking handcuffs hanging from his belt. his hair is slightly more put together than usual. he looks almost professional. it shouldn't make yoongi feel the things he's feeling but it does. he bets everyone in the room has the same problem. "you're early!"

"hi, kook. are you by any chance implying that i'm usually late?" yoongi jokes, trying his best to keep his gaze away from jungkook's lips (they're more pink than usual. don't blame him).

"no! no, it's just. i figured you would take a longer time to get ready. because of the make up and stuff," jungkook gestures to yoongi's face. "which, by the way, looks really good. i told you this would be perfect for you," there's a pause. jungkook's brows furrow. "wait, is your hair color lighter?" 

"uh, yeah. i bleached it again yesterday," yoongi figured it wouldn't cost him anything. it would complement the whole look. yoongi was reassured of that when he looked at himself on the mirror one last time before leaving. he is dressed in all white, shirt and pants ripped at the ends. his eyeshadow is dark, strong and smudged around his eyes. a layer of translucent foundation and dark red lip tint finish it off. when jungkook first brought up the idea of yoongi dressing as a ghost, he hated it. he thought he would look stupid and plain and overall boring. but he was wrong, it seems.

"it looks nice. you look nice. but i already told you that," jungkook says. it seems to yoongi that, lately, there has been a lot more of compliments and awkward flirting and mixed signs.

(he tries to look at it optimistically, but at the end of the day he still can't afford to be optimistic. he can't look at stuff that is there but is not completely there and be totally satisfied. he can't live off maybes or whatever it is that jungkook does. he needs proof and he needs something concrete to rely on.

yoongi is not afraid of love nor he is afraid of being loved. he's afraid of loving too much and not receiving this love back in the same intensity.

he's afraid of giving more than he should and ultimately being left with nothing at all.)

"jungkook! yoongi! come play with us," jihyo extends the last s and that is enough to bring yoongi's attention back to the real world.

"no, thanks. i'm tired of seeing your failed attempts to get a kiss from tzuyu. just ask her already!" jungkook says and yoongi watches as jihyo's cheeks turn bright red.

"come, hyung. let's get something to drink," yoongi doesn't know it yet but this moment is the telltale of disaster. the catalyst of every other event that would come after. but he doesn't know it yet, so he just follows jungkook, holding his belt loop with the excuse that they would drift apart if yoongi doesn't (which is not true. the number of people in the hallways is constantly increasing but it's not abnormal. yoongi wants a way to be closer, so he takes what he can get).

as soon as they enter the kitchen, jungkook grabs two paper cups and creates a colorful concoction. yoongi swears he mixes three types of alcoholic drinks, and it can't be harmless but there's blueberries and lime and yoongi honestly doesn't care. it ends up a pretty blue and it's sweet. he couldn't ask for more.

they stay in the kitchen drinking as the minutes pass. joohyun and seulgi arrive and go talk to them. seulgi is dressed as little red riding hood. joohyun wears a pretty black dress and fluffy ears on top of her head. yoongi assumes she's a wolf. cute.

the girls go away after sometime, which leaves yoongi alone with jungkook, some people he doesn't know and the decreasing amount of vodka inside the bottle. his vision is blurry, getting blurrier by the minute. jungkook is pretty, getting prettier by the second. he should have stopped there. no more than three fruit flavored drinks and catastrophe would most likely be avoided. but, of course, this yoongi perched on top of the kitchen counter, who's paying close attention to all of jungkook's dumb jokes, doesn't know it yet. so he downs another shot of tequila while wishing he had someone to lick salt off.

"yoongi. my dear yoongi hyung," jungkook stutters. "did you know. that. i'm going to be an astronaut someday?" jungkook looks serious for a second, then he laughs loud and high pitched. yoongi follows suit. "why are you laughing?"

"i'm laughing because you're laughing!"

"but i mean it!" one of jungkook's hands finds its way to yoongi's thigh. he squeezes it. yoongi's laughter comes to a halt for a moment. "i'm going to wear one of those really awesome space clothes. when i get off the spaceship and land my feet on the moon i won't even walk. i'll fucking run."

"yeah, you just have to overcome the moon's gravitational field first," yoongi says. jungkook's fingers continue to knead yoongi's leg. he doesn't seem to be aware of what he's doing.

"hyung. anything is possible until proven otherwise. and even then there has to be some way to breach the rules," jungkook gets closer. he stands practically between yoongi's legs; both of his hands rest on yoongi's body now. "and then i'll go to mars as well. try to find life in there or some shit. you can come with me. you should come with me, earth is becoming a horrible place."

"i know it is. i'd run away with you any day," yoongi replies. here's the problem: yoongi is quite drunk, but he's not nearly drunk enough to withstand jungkook's hot breath hitting his face every time he says a word. he grabs the bottle on his left and drinks straight from it as jungkook keeps rambling about aliens and interstellar trips.

if someone asked yoongi how he would describe being in love at any other moment, he would say it feels like gulping down a very delicious, yet very scorching cup of unsweetened coffee. yoongi appreciates coffee. he likes to have a mug filled with it first thing in the morning to prepare him for his day. he likes coffee, and he likes it hot, but burning the skin of your throat when you could simply enjoy it is not a pleasant experience.

that’s what love feels like to him: something that helps you go on with your day but usually ends up hurting you and making you gag. it keeps you up all night if you have too much. the reason why he has this opinion is not because he believes love can't feel gentle and lukewarm. he knows some people are lucky enough to find this kind of love.

but coffee has never been anything other than painful and bitter to yoongi. he is so eager to have it he always forgets to add sugar and let it cool down for a bit, which forces him to deal with a numb tongue for the rest of the day. with love is all the same: he knows the potential for it to be something sweet and good is there. yoongi just wants to taste it so bad he forgets to wait and prepare it correctly.

right now, though, as he watches jungkook talk from where he’s sitting on the kitchen counter, love feels more like a vanilla frappuccino. saccharine and delicious and if he drinks it everyday he’ll probably end up with some extra pounds and annoying breakouts on his skin. he can’t say he gives a fuck. he just wants to find out if the chantilly on top taste as good on his tongue as it looks.

"hyung," jungkook's lips are almost touching his ear. "let's dance."

"what? no, you know I don't dance," yoongi says, but jungkook has already managed to get him off the counter and is pulling yoongi by the hand to the middle of the living room, where, well. no one is dancing.

"everyone dances, yoongi," jungkook says as he comes to a halt. he turns around and put both hands around yoongi's waist.

"i don't see anyone dancing now," yoongi replies. jungkook doesn't seem to mind being the center of attention, though, because he keeps moving his body and pushing yoongi to do the same. it's weird. they're slow dancing to fucking do re mi. yoongi doesn't know if it's the alcohol induced adrenaline running through his veins, or if is the way jungkook is muttering the lyrics with both eyes closes, but by the time the chorus comes, he has his hands wrapped around jungkook's neck. they're trembling. 

"the people are just waiting for a kick starter," jungkook says. he turns out to be right, because three songs later there's a considerable number of bodies on the improvised dance floor. girls in short clothes, dressed as sexy you name it, boys in all kinds of uniforms, each one of them smiling and having fun.

"weren't you the one who said he can't dance?" jungkook asks. his voice hits yoongi's nape. jungkook is pressed against yoongi's back now, the slow dancing completely left behind. their hips move according to the beat of the song that's playing.

(yoongi would say, if the two people almost grinding in the middle of the living room weren't he and jungkook, that this is classified as flirting. fuck, it is definitely classified as flirting, whatever it is they're doing. but yoongi doesn't allow himself to think of it like that. they're just friends and they're just drunk. there is a lot of justs that can be applied to their situation and each one of them reinforces the conviction yoongi has that none of this, in fact, really means anything.) 

"and i can't," yoongi says. he feels the music going through his whole body, feels the bass making its way from his eardrums to his stomach. he's nauseous, but it's the good kind. the kind of nauseous you are when you see a beautiful person, when you feel someone else's hands running through your body.

"keep lying to yourself then," yoongi's foggy mind is able to catch the sly jab thrown his way. he's aware that's not what jungkook meant, he truly is. but it's hard to ignore such a statement when all he does is, as a matter of fact, deceive himself.

they stop dancing a few minutes later, when jimin trips on the stereo cable, shutting it off. for some reason, it won't turn on again. while namjoon and tzuyu are crouched over the machine, trying to fix it, they sit on the couch: yoongi is on jungkook's lap (but that's solely because there's nowhere else to sit, yoongi muses). taehyung is on their right, trying to decide what is the worst way to die in a horror movie. hoseok is screaming at jimin, about how he's gonna burn the house down someday. jimin ignores him and keeps dancing with momo.

there is another cup on his hands; he doesn't know how it got there. jungkook is nursing a drink as well, something sweet. yoongi can tell it is when jungkook leans in and asks:

"hyung," jungkook's voice is low and husky. "let's get out of here."

 

half and hour later, as jungkook is hovered over the table stuffing his face with french fries, yoongi chides himself for the thoughts that flashed his mind when jungkook made the invitation to leave.

jungkook was just hungry for fast food, it turns out. that's why they're the only ones sitting at a cheap diner at two a.m.

"these are the best fries i've ever eaten like. ever. in my whole life. don't you agree, hyung?" jungkook asks. yoongi doesn't agree. the ones they're eating now are too oily and they're not fried properly. yoongi bets he can make better french fries and he's shit at cooking. jungkook seems to be adamant on their good quality, though, so yoongi just nods. 

"i wonder who started eating french fries with ketchup. do you like it that way, hyung? i mean, it's like reading your horoscope every morning. it's nice and all, but you can live without it," jungkook says. yoongi knows jungkook believes in astrology, even if he'd deny if someone asked him. he lost count of how many times the other has talked about astral charts and planet positions and other things yoongi doesn't care about entirely (though they're slightly more interesting when jungkook is the one handing out facts about them), but yoongi doesn't comment on it.

"yeah, kook. ketchup is fine." 

"what about mustard?"

"never tried."

"mayonnaise?"

"gross," yoongi is grinning. jungkook laughs as well and pushes another handful of unhealthy food into his mouth. when there's nothing on the little basket but a greasy napkin, they pay the bill and leave.

"let's go back to the party?" yoongi asks once they're out of the establishment, the cold air of autumn hitting his face. "they probably fixed the stereo by now."

jungkook is quiet for a few seconds. he runs his fingers through the brick wall and plays with the handcuffs attached to his belt.

"i was thinking we could go somewhere else. there's probably not much happening at the party anyway," yoongi is surprised by jungkook's answer. the younger boy usually stays at parties till the sun is up and everyone else has already left.

"uh, okay. where do you want to go?"

"the playground. let's go, hyung, maybe we'll find some of your ghost friends," after finishing his sentence, jungkook sprints down the street. yoongi runs after him.

the playground is not too far from where they were but it is still a long walk for yoongi and his short legs to follow jungkook's fast pace comfortably, so he ends up with a heaving chest and red cheeks.

twenty minutes later, they're sitting on the swings. placed on the ground in front of them is the six-pack jungkook insisted on picking up at the convenience store.

after two bottles of beer, jungkook is telling him about time travel and paradoxes.

"but you see, yoongi," jungkook says the moment glass leaves his lips. "there's a big fire. huge. killed a lot of people and everything. and no one really knows what caused it. so this guy decides to travel back in time. it's up to you how he does it. but he goes back and is able to find out why the fire started. he discovers whatever it is he needs to do to prevent it. what do you think he does?"

"he stops the fire from happening? it's kind of obvious."

"i don't know, he could be a pyromaniac or something. but yeah, let's go with the most plausible option. he stops the fire. no smoke, no ashes. everyone is saved. now, here's the thing: if he stopped the fire, then it never happened. if it never happened, he wouldn't need to go back in time to prevent it. my mind," jungkook pauses, shaking his head so hard he almost hits it on the metal that's holding the swing's bench. "is blown."

"our whole existence is a lie," yoongi says. he stands up to toss his finished beer away. jungkook follows him, leaning on the wall next to the trash can. yoongi goes to stand beside him. 

he notices, then, how different he and jungkook really are. yoongi prefers to believe in what has material, literal proof. and all jungkook has been talking about all night are conspiracy theories and dreams and what ifs. it's not that he thinks being a dreamer is a bad thing; he just envies them. he's jealous of how jungkook can look into the future and see meticulously threaded ropes of plans and things he's working on to achieve in a long time from the present. all yoongi has when he thinks about how his life is going to be is a question mark, that increases in size after long nights spent staring at a pixelated screen. yoongi has learned that dreaming is not for him. he has to focus on what he can achieve for now, because good things and great possibilities tend to slip out from his reach like butterflies.

yoongi thinks too much. he thinks too much and he thinks too deep, but jungkook's voice seems to rip him off his merciless brain every time.

"hey, yoongi! check this out," yoongi looks at the direction the sound came from. jungkook's leaning against the wall, legs folded as if he's sitting on air. his arms are up and open. "tell me the truth: do you think i look like a spider doing this? well, a human spider," jungkook's hands make a grabby motion. when yoongi doesn't reply, he stands up straight. "okay. I respect your opinion. i still think i looked like a super realistic spider. but I couldn't exactly see myself, so maybe i looked more like a crab?" yoongi laughs. he doesn't think jungkook realizes his words are not making any sense.

"you're wasted, kook. i think it's time for me to take you home," yoongi steps forward, planning on putting his words into actions and guide them to jungkook's apartment safely. before he can get a foot worth of distance between his back and the wall, jungkook's arms cage him in.

"i think it's time for you to kiss me," jungkook's voice is low. he gets closer and yoongi's back hits cement. he doesn't understand what jungkook said, not instantly. he hears the words, each one of them, yet he dances around the possibility that his subconscious is only messing with his poor, pining self. he can't see jungkook's eyes clearly, but he feels them boring into his lips, dark and dangerous.

"what?" he can't say much more. especially when jungkook's hands travel to his waist, pulling yoongi towards his own body.

"kiss me, hyung," there's wet lips on his cheek. one of jungkook's hands goes to rest on his hips and yoongi wraps his fingers around jungkook's neck instinctively. as the sane, careful side of his mind tells him loudly to stop this isn't how it's supposed to go he's fucking hammered stop, the other part, the mundane part that gets lonely and just wants to feel something, whispers for him to given in. they battle over who can shut the other one up first. yoongi's stomach gets queasy when mutter starts to feel louder than screams. 

"no. no, kook. you don't want this and you're drunk-"

"you're drunk too!" jungkook moves back a bit to face yoongi. he looks stubborn. angry, like a child who just found out they no longer have their favorite cereal. "and i want this, hyung. i want you, please."

"you want me now," now is not enough for yoongi. maybe it is when it's about everything else but not when it comes to jungkook.

"i want you - i have wanted you for a long time. come here," jungkook dives in for yoongi's mouth, but he is quick enough to dodge the kiss. this reaction doesn't seem to please jungkook, since the younger grips tight onto yoongi's hips with one hand and tugs at the corner of yoongi's mouth with the other. he presses their foreheads together.

"jungkook. no," jungkook's breath is warm on his face. the temperature is rising, both figuratively and literally. yoongi has difficulty even when trying to think at this point.

"then will you kiss me tomorrow? if you can't today, then promise me you'll kiss me tomorrow. promise."

"i do. i promise, kook, now let's go," yoongi says. jungkook is doing this because he's plastered, right? he's simply drunk and horny and yoongi knows how cuddly he gets when he needs to sleep. jungkook won't want to kiss him when there's no significant percentage of alcohol in his veins. he won't. yoongi won't even have to break his promise. jungkook will break it himself.

the younger boy has seemingly forgotten about his proposition, because his hands are still holding yoongi's hips and his mouth is still chasing after yoongi's.

yoongi tries to keep jungkook's teeth away from his own. away from his neck. as much as he would like to kiss him, he doesn't want it to be like this. tired. dirty. drunk. yoongi is not sober himself, but he doesn't want to feel like he's taking advantage of jungkook. if they do kiss, he might wake up tomorrow and regret, he might never want to see yoongi again, he might -

"hyung. hyung," jungkook's hand is cold when he cups yoongi's face. "look at me. i want you. i - i want you so much right now. don't you want me too? just kiss - just kiss me, yoongi. please. please, kiss me. i'll do anything."

yoongi doesn't want it to be like this. he doesn't. but jungkook looks pretty under the moonlight. under his thumb. yoongi wants to kiss him and he can think of a million reasons not to; ultimately, he chooses to ignore them all. 

jungkook's lips taste like rum and strawberries.

it all goes downhill from there. the walk to jungkook's apartment is disoriented and they take an extra fifteen minutes because they need to stop at every vacant corner to kiss. when they finally get there, they run up the stairs since the elevator takes too long to arrive.

yoongi's mind, though hazy, is able to capture every single one of the small moments that build up to the to a bigger moment. he mentally labels each scene with a hurried handwriting, hanging them up on the corners of his heart like polaroids. he memorizes scents and senses, touches and images he doesn't want to forget.

like yoongi kissing jungkook's neck as he fumbles with his keys and opens the door.

or jungkook grabbing yoongi by the back of his thighs and carrying him to his room.

also, yoongi being dropped on a messy, unmade bed. everything around him smells like vanilla and liquor and boy.

that night, under the moonlight coming through the spaces of jungkook's curtains, under the euphoria of walking into unknown territory, under blankets and dimmed lights, they are stripped off their clothes and off any notion of carefulness and it's better if we don't that still insisted on gripping tight onto their skin like tattoos.

as jungkook bites yoongi's earlobes and whispers his name, as yoongi whimpers when jungkook grips his hips harder, as they breathe heavy and move fast, yoongi sees it all. he sees the advertised side effects, he sees the collateral damage and warning signs telling him there's a dead end road five hundred meters away.

yoongi has never been much of a believer, but when he feels jungkook's teeth wandering on his collarbones, yoongi mindlessly steps on the accelerator and prays for the best.

 

-

 

the next morning, yoongi wakes up to white noise, black spots dancing around his vision and an empty bed.