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you're the train (i'm tied to the track)

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Go to the grocery store after your classes and get a carton of milk. We’re out.

Jeongguk pursed his lips as he stared up at the large whiteboard in the middle of the kitchen where the short message was displayed in his roommate’s rough, chunky handwriting. He growled. One, just because Min Yoongi already graduated and was accepted into the university’s graduate program did not mean he could dump all the chores on Jeongguk, and two, couldn’t he have at least been polite about it?

He sighed, quickly shooting Yoongi a text saying that yes, hyung, I’ll pick up the fucking milk, before pocketing his phone and quickly gathering his things for his first class of the day. He silently cursed Yoongi under his breath. His last class was in the late evening, and he knew for a fact that Yoongi would get back to their shared apartment before him.

Jeongguk supposed he knew what he was getting into the moment he agreed to be roommates with Yoongi. Though, Yoongi would probably argue that it was Jeongguk who had begged him to share a place, but that was just a load of bullshit. Jeongguk knew the truth.

So, Jeongguk trudged onto the university’s campus, yawning in distaste as he made his way over to the humanities building. He was a freshman, sure, but with a major in literature, he had learned his way around the particular building well enough to be able to navigate himself even in his sleep-induced state.

And right into someone.

“Gah!” Jeongguk cried, hands flying in front of him to stop himself from tumbling backwards. He quickly rubbed his eyes, right before widening them in surprise at the sudden shock that came from bumping into whoever it was.

“Oh my- I’m so sorry!” someone was saying. The voice was low- definitely a male’s.

Jeongguk glanced up, his line of sight finding the slightly familiar-looking body of a tall figure in skintight black jeans and a loose gray t-shirt tucked in at the hem. The man had a dark jacket hanging off of his frame and locks of bright red hair messily attached to the top of his head. He was gazing at Jeongguk with wide eyes, in a similar state near the floor with his back hunched forwards.

Jeongguk shook his head, pressing his lips together to stop himself from doing anything stupid.

“It’s fine,” he brushed it off with a small nod.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” the man asked, brows pinched together in concern as he took a bold step in Jeongguk’s direction. He was frowning, looking like he was legitimately worried about Jeongguk, and the thought made something strange sprout in Jeongguk’s chest.

“Don’t worry about it,” he shook it off with a wave of his hand. Jeongguk slung his bag tighter over his shoulder. “Are you okay, though? I kind of hit you pretty hard.”

Honestly, if Yoongi were here he would be proud of Jeongguk for attempting to make conversation and actually sound normal whilst doing so. Usually, Jeongguk wasn’t the best in social situations like this, and he generally preferred to stray clear of interaction with other human beings. He commended himself for being so calm when there was so clearly nothing to be calm about.

“Oh, I’m fine,” the man said then, before gathering his things again and zipping up his bag. “Sorry again!” he said, before offering Jeongguk a dazzling smile and walking away.

Jeongguk stood there, toes numb and lips parted as he racked his brain for any memory of the boy he could possibly have. One thing was for certain, though. That was not the first time Jeongguk had seen him, whoever he was.

-

“Did you get the milk?” Yoongi grunted as Jeongguk trudged inside their apartment later that evening. The elder was typing away at his laptop, barely even glancing up as Jeongguk entered and heaved three bags of groceries onto the kitchen counter.

“I did the fucking groceries while I was at it,” Jeongguk drawled, a sarcastic tint to his voice laced in when Yoongi finally did look up. Yoongi shot him an unimpressed look, but generally looked pleased with the news that he wouldn’t have to go shopping for a few days now.

“Don’t curse, you fucking brat,” Yoongi muttered, setting his computer aside and standing up to help Jeongguk unload everything into the kitchen. The two of them stayed in relative silence for the duration of a full seven minutes, their sock-covered feet sliding across the spanse of white tiles on the floor as they stuffed boxes of cereals and snacks into the pantry.

“I made a fool of myself this morning too,” Jeongguk said as he rummaged through the fridge for something to eat. “I banged into this guy on my way to class. Which, by the way, wouldn’t have happened if my mind wasn’t on your horribly messy handwriting.”

“Well excuse me,” Yoongi rolled his eyes. He sighed, leaning back against the sink and crossing his arms. He looked at Jeongguk as the younger popped open a can of soda and dumped it into his mouth within a few seconds, not at all amused by the display. “Also for your information, that was the last can.”

“Good, less for you,” Jeongguk retorted, pushing the fridge to a close and turning around to face his roommate. “Now, are you going to ask me about my misfortunate morning, hyung?”

Yoongi just snickered. “Nope, but you’re going to tell me what happened anyways.”

“I can’t believe I actually did that,” Jeongguk groaned, reaching up to wipe his palm across his face in exasperation. “He was really hot too. Like, eleven-on-ten would smash if I met him at a party.”

“You don’t go to parties, and you definitely don’t do hook-ups.”

“Not important.”

“Continue.”

“He was like, genuinely concerned for me? Because, you know, after knowing you for so long that kind of treatment rarely comes around-”

“I didn’t agree to listen to this only to be insulted.”

“-and like,” Jeongguk kept going, blissfully ignoring his hyung’s unnecessary input on the matter, “I don’t know? I didn’t even properly see him till his red hair got out of the way, which, by the way-”

“Hold up,” Yoongi cut in, raising a hand and efficiently cutting the younger off mid-sentence. Jeongguk looked mildly annoyed, but knew better than to continue when Yoongi made it clear he wanted to say something. “Did you just say he had red hair?”

“Has, hyung. Not had.”

“I know you’re an English major, but isn’t that a little much.”

“Get back to your point.”

“The guy with red hair,” Yoongi said, raising an eyebrow, “what did he look like?”

Jeongguk mulled over it for a few moments. “Lean, really deep voice? Tall, but probably a little shorter than me.”

“You think everyone’s shorter than you,” Yoongi said pointedly. “Anyways, I know who that is. Kim Taehyung. Third year astrophysics major. You’ve probably heard of him, right?”

Jeongguk eyes widened in recognition. Kim Taehyung was possibly one of the most well-known students on the entire college campus. He had graduated out of one of the most prestigious high schools in South Korea and had proceeded to become a top student at their university, giving moving speeches on the regular to incoming students and generally being an icon to everyone on campus.

And Jeongguk had bumped into him, made a fool out of himself in front of him, and ruined possibly any chance of making a good first impression.

He visibly winced. “I can’t believe this.”

“You’ve already said that twice in this one conversation.”

“It’s true!” Jeongguk said, throwing his hands up in the air and growling in distaste. “It’s Kim freaking Taehyung! The universe actually hates me, hyung. It holds this really ugly grudge on me and it never wants me to show my face in public ever again.”

Yoongi stared at him evenly. “You are quite possibly the most dramatic person I know.”

“Thanks,” Jeongguk deadpanned.

“Much welcome,” Yoongi said, before pushing himself back upright and walking out into the living room. Jeongguk watched as he sat back down on the couch, opening up his laptop and resuming his typing.

“That is-”

“Grammatically incorrect, I know.”

Jeongguk, despite himself, cracked a smile.

“You know,” Yoongi continued, eyes now firmly trained on his computer again, “I don’t understand why this is such a big deal to you. It’s just a… socially adept junior. Nothing to be overly hyped about, honestly. Kim Taehyung isn’t just good things.”

“What?” Jeongguk asked, walking out to sit on the couch across from his hyung. He raised an eyebrow at the last part of the statement. “What does that mean? Not good?”

Yoongi glanced up. “Don’t tell me you haven’t heard the bad rumors about the kid,” he said slowly, before sighing deeply. “Honestly, why am I even surprised. You avoid bad rumors like the plague.”

“Yes, because nine times out of then they’re true!” Jeongguk protested, clasping his palms around his knees and desperately leaning forwards in his seat. Was it really true? Was there some bad stigma associated with Taehyung that he didn’t know about? It would make sense, since there was obviously going to be a few inaccuracies with the image of what Jeongguk would have hoped to perceive as a perfect man, so the fact that Taehyung might have done some bad things didn’t come as as much of a surprise to Jeongguk than he would have initially thought.

“Well I don’t know how true Taehyung’s are,” Yoongi replied, and Jeongguk could see that he was being honest. Yoongi had multiple tells, and Jeongguk had learned each and every one of them over the course of the many years he had known the elder. “I could probably find out, since I know Jimin, but-”

“Jimin?” Jeongguk cut in, eyebrows furrowing at the unfamiliar name. “Who’s Jimin?”

“Taehyung’s roommate,” Yoongi said. “They’re the best of friends. Practically inseparable. Honestly, I’m unsure why he wasn’t there when you and Taehyung met today.”

“Come to think of it,” Jeongguk started, “why was Taehyung in the humanities building in the first place? He’s an astronomy major, so shouldn’t he have been in the science building instead?”

“Namjoon,” Yoongi said simply, going back to his work and ignoring the weird look Jeongguk delivered to him a few moments later.

“Yeah, because that explains everything,” Jeongguk said with an eye roll. When Yoongi didn’t look like he was going to be moving any time soon, Jeongguk sighed deeply. “Okay, enough,” he said, reaching out and snatching Yoongi’s laptop out of his lap and clicking it shut. He moved quickly so that he could slide the computer behind him and pressed his back against it.

Yoongi glared at him. “That was completely unnecessary,” he deadpanned. “I was listening to you.”

“Who’s Namjoon?” Jeongguk asked in lieu of answering him. “Is he a humanities major?”

Yoongi nodded with a shrug. “History and English Sciences double major. Good friends with Taehyung and Jimin too.”

“I’m confused,” Jeongguk said when he suddenly realized something. “How do you know all of this?”

“You do realize I graduated out of your college, right?” Yoongi said with a pointed eyebrow. “I did have friends. Still do. I talk to Namjoon sometimes, actually. Just texted him two weeks ago.”

“You suck at keeping in touch with your friends,” Jeongguk deadpanned. “Two weeks? Were you not that close in undergrad?”

“I was close to all of them!” Yoongi said, trying to defend himself but miserably failing. “Okay, well, I didn’t go to every single one of their little gatherings. Hoseok always told me I was a bit of a, ah, what did he call it?”

“A party pooper.”

“Yes, a- wait, how did you know?”

“Because you’re still one,” Jeongguk responded with a small pout. “And why didn’t you tell me you were friends with Kim Taehyung! I’ve known you since before high school!”

“Honestly, I was the least close to Taehyung out of all of them,” Yoongi said with a shrug. “Which is surprising, because I talk to Jimin the most nowadays.”

Jeongguk lifted his right eyebrow delicately.

“He’s a brat. Won’t leave me alone and pesters me till I respond to his texts,” Yoongi explained, and Jeongguk chuckled. It was surreal, hearing about Yoongi’s past with all these people whom Jeongguk had never heard of before. Sure, it stung a little that Yoongi never told him about them or introduced him, but it was nice to know for sure that his hyung wasn’t completely alone during his four years of college. Jeongguk always had kept the mindset of a lonely, grumpy Min Yoongi, but that was clearly not the case.

“I like him already,” Jeongguk snickered.

“Wanna meet him?” Yoongi asked, leaning back on the sofa seat and reaching for the television remote. When Jeongguk shot him an incredulous look, Yoongi quickly elaborated. “Jimin, I mean. He runs a dance club on campus and I heard he’s looking for some new dancers.”

“A dance club?” Jeongguk blinked. “You mean, an actual dance club with real dancers and everything?”

“As much as regular old college students can be, I guess,” Yoongi shrugged. “He told me so far it was Hoseok and two second years.” He paused. “Actually, I think there’s a freshman there too. Hoseok’s a senior and Jimin’s a junior. You’ll be right at home.”

Jeongguk mulled over it. He had told Yoongi he wanted to join a dance troupe upon being accepted to the university, and Yoongi had said that he would see if he could find something for him. What he didn’t mention, however, was that two of his old friends were dancers in the first place.

Honestly, Min Yoongi could rot in a ditch for all Jeongguk cared.

“You’re a sucky best friend,” Jeongguk pouted, crossing his arms underneath his chest. “You didn’t tell me your friends were dancers! You could have introduced me ages ago! I want dancer friends!”

“You have me,” Yoongi smirked.

“You can’t dance.”

“I can!” Yoongi protested. “You’ve just never seen me dance, so you wouldn’t know. Let me just say that I can bust out moves just as much as any member of Hoseok and Jimin’s little club.”

“The club that you’re going to be taking me too,” Jeongguk said, leaning forwards and batting his eyelashes innocently in his hyung’s face. “You know, in return for never telling me all of these things about you. Suddenly you’re not as much of a mystery anymore. Who would have thought the great Min Yoongi would actually have friends?”

“I’m not some statue that gets absolutely no social interaction, you know,” Yoongi scoffed, “I was possibly even more social than you are now in school.”

“That’s because I don’t go out to parties,” Jeongguk pointed out with a pout. He stopped with a short gasp just as Yoongi groaned loudly. “Wait, did you used to go to parties, hyung?!” The thought almost made Jeongguk squeal. The prospect of Yoongi going out and dressing up, getting drunk and partying till midnight like a young college student was more than a little disturbing, if Jeongguk was being honest, but he could sort of see it if he closed his eyes and really tried to imagine.

On second thought.

“How do you think I met all those crackheads?” Yoongi asked with a pointed raise of his eyebrows. He picked up his discarded bottle of water and rolled it around in his hands, looking thoughtful. “I went to one and saw some guy about to puke. Helped him out a little bit and got introduced to the rest of his friends. That guy? Kim Seokjin.”

“What the fuck?!” Jeongguk spat, scrambling to his feet and staring at Yoongi with a hard glimmer in his eyes. “What do you mean, Kim Seokjin?”

“Come to think of it, isn’t he going to make his acting debut soon?” Yoongi continued casually, not looking affected by Jeongguk’s sudden outburst at all. On the contrary, Jeongguk didn’t exactly blame him. Yoongi was more than used to his… antics.

“Yeah,” Jeongguk nodded frantically, “but he’s also Kim Taehyung’s amazing older brother! He’s a legend in the arts department here, hyung! Why didn’t you tell me you know all these amazing people! You could have hooked me up with Kim Seokjin ages ago!”

Yoongi rolled his eyes. “Your expectations are way too high for me,” he snorted. “Chill, Jeongguk. I’ll take you to see Jimin tomorrow or whatever. I don’t have any classes till late in the evening anyways.”

“Only a fool would take evening classes,” Jeongguk said. “What happened to studying late? Or, in your case, partying?”

“Well, only a complete idiot would take morning ones,” Yoongi retorted. “And I don’t party much anymore. How many eight A.M.’s are you taking this semester? Remind me, dearest Jeonggukkie.”

Jeongguk grumbled something under his breath. “Just three. It’s not that big of a deal when you’re a morning person.”

“Wow, I wish that were me,” Yoongi said, his lips quirking up to form a small grin. “You know, I think you and Jiminnie are going to get along well. You both love annoying the shit out of me.”

“I mean, if he’s giving me a dancing opportunity,” Jeongguk said with a shrug, “I know I’m going to be able to tolerate him just fine.”

“Just tolerate?” Yoongi asked, lifting an eyebrow in a questioning look.

“Well, he’s friends with you,” Jeongguk said, scrunching his nose slightly as his eyes grazed over Yoongi’s figure. The elder snorted in response to that, but didn’t say anything more in retaliation. Jeongguk continued, “So that automatically makes my respect for him go down by a full thirty-percent.”

Yoongi just rolled his eyes. “You’re a fucking brat, Jeon Jeongguk.”

Jeongguk smacked his lips together, a pleased little smile making its way onto his face. “That I am, Min Yoongi.”

-

True to his word, Yoongi didn’t fuss the next morning when Jeongguk dragged him out of his bed to accompany him to the dance studio. It was Jeongguk’s first time ever going there, seeing as he had never had much of a reason to before. He had always thought about it, of course. When someone was as much of a dance freak as Jeongguk was, it was hard to think of anything else.

“I remember why I didn’t bother telling you early about Jimin and Hoseok’s club,” Yoongi began in a deadpan voice as he watched with an unamused glare as Jeongguk practically bounced in his spot next to him. “It was because of this. You get way too excited about silly stuff like this.”

“Ah, hyung, it isn’t silly!” Jeongguk said, chewing on the flesh of his bottom inner lip as he smiled thoughtfully. “It’s dance! Dance is an art.”

“You’re looking to become an author,” Yoongi snorted as he led the two of them inside the large building. Jeongguk took a moment to admire the interior design of the place, eyes widening at the high ceilings and glass windows that allowed the morning shine to filter in. He breathed in the soft air, his smile widening with each and every passing second. “That’s practically the arts right there.”

“That’s kind of a stretch,” Jeongguk shrugged. “I still haven’t decided whether I want to do creative or factual writing, anyways. If I do factual, I can go into research if I want to, but creative writing is just so fun, you know?”

Yoongi hummed as he mulled over Jeongguk’s words. “Research can be useful for later in life if you ever find yourself stuck, but you’ve always had a knack for storytelling,” he said slowly. “Remember our sleepovers? You used to tell stories you wrote yourself and I know you enjoyed doing that.”

“I’ll think about it,” Jeongguk bit his lip. “Now, where’s the dance room? I wanna see my new home!” His eyes were wide in fascination, and he was letting every single one of his overwhelming emotions ooze out. Jeongguk wanted nothing more than to go and dance, and he had been wanting to do just so ever since he first stepped onto campus. His parents, however, thought he should focus on his studies rather than look for clubs to join. There would be plenty of time for that later, they had told him, and Jeongguk had reluctantly agreed.

“Ah, here we are,” Yoongi said, stopping in front of a door with a slight platform in front of it to enter. Yoongi bent down to take off his shoes, prompting Jeongguk to do the same. They padded around in their socks, before Yoongi reached for the door handle and turned it, opening the door and walking inside with Jeongguk closely behind him.

“Yoongi-hyung!” was the first thing Jeongguk heard upon entering. He looked up quickly to see a short boy with lovely locks of blonde hair flailing his arms around as he ran up to Yoongi. Yoongi, much to Jeongguk’s surprise, just chuckled, allowing the boy to leap into his arms and embrace him tightly.

“Yah, Park Jimin,” Yoongi said, his voice dripping with affection as he gave the boy a rough noogie.

Jeongguk, in all his glory, dropped his bag to the floor. His jaw opened wide as he openly stared at Jimin, who was now looking back at him with a confused raise of his eyebrows.

Out of the corner of his eye, Jeongguk saw Yoongi smirk.

“Min Yoongi,” Jeongguk shrieked, his hands flying up to his face to openly gawk at Jimin, “you didn’t tell me the Jimin you were talking about was Park Jimin!”

“Oh, didn’t I?” Yoongi mused, looking around innocently just as Jimin burst into a fit of high pitched laughter. Jeongguk’s mouth opened and closed a few times in shock, before he gulped a load of saliva and ran a nervous hand through his hair.

Park Jimin was a student dancer who had already won dancing tournaments at the national level. He had been in the news multiple times and Jeongguk had kept a close watch on his statistics for the better part of the previous year. Jeongguk had actually looked up to Jimin a lot for much of his high school life, because he was just two years his senior, and he had already accomplished so many amazing deeds as a dancer.

He didn’t even know Jimin went to the same university as him, let alone that he was friends with Yoongi. Close friends too, now that he took a good look at them catching up like old buddies.

“Hyung, you haven’t been here in ages,” Jimin was saying with a pout when Jeongguk finally snapped back into reality. “What’s up with you? Grad school keeping you busy or something?”

“Or something,” Yoongi said with a small grin. “I’ve also been taking care of the brat over there.” He pointed towards Jeongguk, and Jeongguk cowered in on himself when Jimin started laughing openly again.

“I hate you, hyung,” Jeongguk whined, before quickly getting over himself and straightening up. He cleared his throat, pushing his nerves aside and taking two long strides up to where Yoongi and Jimin were standing, holding out his hand to the dancer and shaking his head nervously. “I’m Jeon Jeongguk.”

“This kid used to have all your performances on loop, Jiminnie,” Yoongi snorted when the two of them shook hands. “He’s a huge fan.”

Jeongguk elbowed him roughly. “Hey! Stop that! It isn’t my fault you’re acquainted with so many famous people!”

“Famous people?” Jimin suddenly said, turning to Yoongi with a raised eyebrow. “Hyung, why didn’t you tell me you know famous people! You could’ve hooked me up with them ages ago!”

“He’s talking about you the rest of your friend group.”

“Oh.” Jimin spun on his heel, shooting the elder a confused look of surprise. “Wait, we’re famous?”

Yoongi rolled his eyes, and Jeongguk felt like crying.

Yoongi stared at Jimin. “Just a bit.”

Jimin just shrugged, which made Jeongguk want to cry even more. The dancer glanced over to Jeongguk and smiled brightly at him.

“Nice to meet you, Jeongguk!” he said, lifting himself up on the balls of his feet so the two were at a similar height. “Yoongi-hyung told me that you were looking into joining the club?”

Jeongguk nodded with a dumb fixated look burned into his eyes. “Yeah,” he nodded with a small gulp. “I didn’t see your club on the list, though.”

“‘S because it’s private,” Yoongi said from behind his shoulder as he turned away to retire to a lone corner of the room. “They weren’t accepting any new people outside of an invitation. You’re welcome, Jeon Jeongguk, because I’m your invite.”

Now instead of crying, Jeongguk felt like crying and kissing Min Yoongi. Wait no. He didn’t. That was disgusting. He was going to have to very profusely thank him later, though. He shot Yoongi a look that said as much, and the elder just returned it with a discreet nod so that Jimin wouldn’t catch on to it. The small gesture was enough to get Jeongguk’s heart all warm and fuzzy.

“So, Jeongguk,” Jimin said once Yoongi was all settled down with his laptop between his legs, “show me what you can do, hm? I don’t let just anyone into the club.”

Jeongguk gulped, but nodded when he saw Yoongi give him a thumbs up. Jimin grinned cheekily, not at all looking put off by the situation and sauntering off to where the stereos and music players were. He scrolled through someone on his phone, clicking a song and it booting up to the system as Jeongguk waited in the middle of the practice room.

“I’ll dance with you,” Jimin said once he set the device down and stretched his arms up above his head. “Oh, is that okay? I’m okay with just watching you too.”

Jeongguk nodded wordlessly, because who was he to say no to one of the best dancers in his generation?

“Okay, just some freestyle is fine for now,” Jimin nodded when the background music started playing on the loudspeakers. “It’s a warmup. We can go through some more serious stuff once Hobi-hyung gets here. I’ll do a move, and then you repeat it.”

‘Hobi-hyung’ was probably Hoseok. Jeongguk pressed his lips together as he watched Jimin step away so he was standing just a little behind Jeongguk but still to his right so he could dance while still observing Jeongguk’s backside. They stood facing the mirror, and Jeongguk took a deep breath when the reality of his situation sunk down on him.

This was his chance to finally dance after so long. The last time he had done something like this was his underclassman high school days, before his life got so overrun by work from his regular classes. After all, not just anyone could go to this university. It was home to some of the most influential alumni and was considered one of the best in the country. Jeongguk had cried for days when he got his acceptance letter through his email earlier that same year.

So, when the music started up and Jimin started, Jeongguk watched the elder through the mirror with a sharp gaze. Jimin’s movements were fluid, and the precise definition of graceful. Jeongguk almost wanted to start crying again.

Jimin nodded at him, and Jeongguk allowed himself to move to the beat of the music playing around them. Clearly, he had done something good since when he finished, Jimin was staring at him with wide eyes and an even wider smile.

They repeated the pattern, with Jimin doing a move and Jeongguk copying him. The song he had selected seemed to be specifically tailored for this exercise since the same few phrases kept repeating themselves. Jeongguk was quick to catch on to every single thrust of his hips and roll of his back that Jimin was demonstrating, the moves getting harder and harder with each passing second.

By the end of it, the two of them were panting heavily and Jimin was laughing at the top of his lungs, Jeongguk in a similar state. The two of them stared at each other for a few moments, which only made them clutch their knees and laugh harder.

“When… when hyung told me you were a dancer,” Jimin panted out, giving Jeongguk a positively dazzling smile, “I was just expecting someone else to reject. You, however, are amazing, Jeon Jeongguk!”

Jeongguk looked away, a small blush forming on his face at the praise. Of course, he knew that he was good. Of course he was good. He was the top dancer in his high school, so that didn’t come as much of a surprise.

“Thanks,” he nodded earnestly, and he could faintly hear Yoongi cackling behind him. He turned around to shoot him a sweet glare, but instead found him sitting next to another boy with bright orange hair, showing him something on his computer and laughing about it. The boy was shaking his head, trying to close the lid of the laptop.

Jeongguk raised an eyebrow at the stranger, and the boy looked up. He perked at the sight of Jeongguk looking at him, quickly jumping up and walking over to him.

“Jung Hoseok,” he introduced with a bright smile, and Jeongguk had to stop himself from saying something bad. Why was everyone in this studio so... happy all the time? So far both Jimin and Hoseok had greeted him with smiles way too large for struggling, broke college students. Then again, Jimin was practically a celebrity in the dance field, and he wouldn’t be shocked if Hoseok was something amazing too.

“Jeon Jeongguk,” Jeongguk said with a smile, and Hoseok nodded.

“Yoongles told us you would be coming today,” he said, giving him a thumbs up. “He also said that you were pretty good, and Min Yoongi doesn’t just compliment anyone like that, so I knew you were going to be amazing.” His eyes widened as he paused, looking over Jeongguk and glinting his eyes thoughtfully. “Then again, I didn’t expect you to be that amazing.”

“Excuse me,” Yoongi cut in. “Firstly, don’t call me that. Secondly, you both need to have more faith in my judgement.”

Jimin smirked and elbowed Jeongguk. “You know, Jeongguk,” he began and Jeongguk raised an eyebrow, “hyung was quite the dancer back in the day.”

“Back in the day?” Yoongi sputtered. “I’m not some old man, Park Jimin! I’m only two years older than you and one year older than Hobi!”

“My point is,” Hoseok said, stepping in front of Jimin so Yoongi couldn’t see him, “Jeongguk, are you interested in joining the club?”

“Yes,” Jeongguk nodded immediately.

Jimin grinned. “Alright, so now we only need to do one more thing. We need to have Taehyung survey you to see if you’re, ah, worthy.”

Jeongguk blinked. “Taehyung? What?” The mention of the boy’s name had Jeongguk almost cringing, because he suddenly remembered back to his first unfortunate encounter with the boy. If Taehyung was going to be the deciding factor of whether or not Jeongguk would get to join the club, that meant all his chances were completely and utterly gone. There was no way Taehyung was going to accept him into the club, especially if he was the one who caused Taehyung to be so embarrassed that morning.

“Taehyung’s Jimin’s best friend,” Hoseok quickly jumped to explain, and Jeongguk gulped nervously. “Whenever there’s a new person looking into joining the club, which often doesn’t happen actually, we get Taehyung to look them over. If Taehyung disagrees, we don’t accept the person.”

“He’s also super picky,” Jimin snorted, which only made Jeongguk want to curl in on himself even more. “Like, we’ve had to reject so many people because Taehyung came up with reasons not to accept them.”

Yoongi sighed. “Well, he’s right every time. Most of the people wanting to join you guys is only doing it to get to know Jimin.”

“And Soonyoung,” Hoseok added.

Jeongguk froze. “K-Kwon Soonyoung?”

Jimin giggled. “The one and only!”

Jeongguk spun around, turning to face Yoongi who was absentmindedly typing away at his computer. He growled at him, marching up to his hyung with his fusts curled by his sides.

Yoongi looked up, alarmed. “What?”

“We,” Jeongguk began, looking down at him with a hard look in his eyes, “are going to be having a very long talk about what it means to be a nice hyung to your favorite dongsaeng and letting me know that you know so many dancing legends.”

“Who said you were my favorite dongsaeng?” Yoongi said immediately after. Jeongguk gaped at him, hearing the other two snickering behind his back as Yoongi simply stared up before shrugging and going back to his work.

Jeongguk groaned. “Everyone hates me!”

Jimin came up behind him, slinging an arm around Jeongguk’s shoulders and giggling cutely. “Taehyung can probably come in tomorrow morning. He has an afternoon class, so does right before noon work for you, Jeonggukkie?”

Jeongguk mentally flipped through his schedule, before nodding. “I have an eight A.M., but right after that is fine.”

“I wouldn’t be able to live with an eight A.M.,” Hoseok said, scrunching his nose.

“And that is why Hobi’s my favorite dongsaeng,” Yoongi piped up, earning him a glare from both Jimin and Jeongguk.

“Hey!” they both said simultaneously.

Hoseok rolled his eyes. “We all know Taehyung is Yoongi-hyung’s true favorite dongsaeng. No one can compete with him.”

“No one can compete with Taehyung at anything related to who someone’s favorite is,” Jimin rolled his eyes.

Jeongguk looked away, biting his lip. He decided that yes, he could definitely wait till the next time he saw Kim Taehyung in the flesh.

-

“I actually hate you,” Jeongguk groaned as he and Yoongi stood in line in front of the lamb skewers shop. He had managed to convince his ‘best friend’ to treat him in return for keeping so many secrets from him, and Yoongi had just smiled and nodded without much hesitation.

“Join the club,” Yoongi said with an eye roll. He sighed, turning to Jeongguk and crossing his arms. “Alright listen, I’m sorry I didn’t tell you about my college friends. I figured you’d meet them soon anyways since you were accepted to the same place.”

Jeongguk pouted. “I forgive you,” he said, “but just because you’re buying me food.”

“So,” Yoongi said as they took their numbers and went to take a seat, “what do you think of Jimin and Hoseok?”

“They’re really cool,” Jeongguk said, placing his head in his hands and leaning forwards so he could better see Yoongi from across the table. “But why does Taehyung have to be the person who decides if I get to join the club?”

“Jimin’s sentimental like that.”

“I don’t like him anymore.”

“You’re so dramatic,” Yoongi said. “It’s just Kim Taehyung.”

“Yeah, it’s only Kim Taehyung.”

Yoongi quieted down after that, gently playing with his fork in his fingers and staring down at the top of the table with twisted lips and a slight frown. Jeongguk stared at him, surprised at the sudden mood change.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Yoongi began, “remember those bad rumors I told you about? The ones about Taehyung?”

Jeongguk raised an eyebrow. “What about them?”

Yoongi heaved out a sigh, and Jeongguk had to stop himself from ripping the older boy’s hair out. It wasn’t often that he would get a straight answer from Yoongi right off the bat, which was sometimes frustrating but more times just plain annoying. Yoongi always knew just how to get under Jeongguk’s skin, but that was a practice many people close to him had learned over time. Jeongguk couldn’t be particularly surprised at how his hyung was acting.

“I think the biggest one is one that probably everyone already has heard of,” Yoongi said, swirling his straw around the milkshake he had ordered. “You know, everyone except for you, because you never busy yourself with all of that.”

“We’ve been over this,” Jeongguk said, crossing his arms. “I don’t want to know.”

“But you should know, Jeongguk,” Yoongi pressed, “it’s something that could probably change your entire perception of him, and if you’re going to be friends with him I want to see if you’re actually worth being friends with him in the first place.”

“Okay first off, I never said anything about being friends with him,” Jeongguk said, “and secondly, what could he have possibly done that’s so bad?”

“You’re joining Jimin’s dance group,” Yoongi said, “you’re going to be friends with him. Trust me. And no, I don’t believe in any of the stupid shit people spread about him, but a lot of other people do. I don’t want you to believe them and then completely see Taehyung in a different way, and I know you usually believe rumors.”

Well that did make sense, if Jeongguk thought about it. Taehyung and Yoongi were friends, even if they weren’t the closest. They were still friends that used to talk and hang out with one another frequently, and that alone was enough for Jeongguk to understand why Yoongi was getting more than a little defensive over him. All Yoongi was saying was that he didn’t want Jeongguk to make friends with him if he believed whatever bad thing was being said about him.

Jeongguk didn’t busy himself in campus rumors, but clearly this was something Yoongi himself learned about and actively avoided. Jeongguk could safely say his curiosity was piqued and he was just a little interested in it.

“Fine,” he huffed, propping his feet up and lifting an eyebrow. “Lay it on me.”

“Well, the rumor is that he didn’t actually do any of the amazing shit he’s done,” Yoongi said, “that he cheated to get himself up there.”

Jeongguk froze.

“What?”

Yoongi sighed. “It’s just a rumor, and it’s not true, Jeongguk. I know Taehyung, and the kid’s an actual genius. There’s no way he didn’t do all of the stuff he’s done. Practically impossible if you look at it from a realistic point of view.”

The younger cocked his head to the side, licking his lips as he allowed the information to sink in. He didn’t exactly know why it was bothering him so much, since he didn’t even know Taehyung personally. There was no need to start getting so defensive over someone he never even talked to. Taehyung didn’t even know he existed.

“What does that even mean, though?” he asked instead, watching intensely as Yoongi let his shoulders fall in relief that Jeongguk wasn’t taking his words too seriously.

“The Kims are a very influential bunch,” Yoongi said pointedly, taking a sip of his drink while he spoke. “Taehyung’s father has a lot of connections, being the big shot he is. I suppose that’s what added fuel to the fire, the fact that it’s actually possible for it to have happened. It didn’t, of course, but no one actually knows that because whenever someone brings it up to Taehyung, he gets all snappy and ignores it.”

“I don’t blame him,” Jeongguk supplied.

“Me neither,” Yoongi nodded. “That must be tough, but at least he has all his friends on his side. Those are the people that really matter.” He stopped to look at Jeongguk for a few moments. “Though I am confused as to why you didn’t know about all of this. Sure, you stay away from rumors, but this is one of the biggest ones on campus.”

“I’m just super good at avoiding things I don’t wanna hear about,” Jeongguk said. “They don’t call me a golden boy for nothing, hyung!”

“People literally never call you that.”

“They did! In, like, tenth grade!”

“Who actually still remembers their high school days except for the crippling depression parts?”

“Ah, hyung, I think that’s just you.”

“Fair enough.”

Jeongguk sat back in his seat, eyeing his food with a frown never leaving his face. He didn’t believe the rumor of Taehyung cheating, of course, but it did make him think. Jeongguk himself had never been involved in anything of the sort, but he couldn’t even imagine how it must have been like for Taehyung on a daily basis. He didn’t want to make any assumptions, but now more than ever he wanted to steer clear of the upperclassman.

Yoongi, Hoseok, and Jimin were all good friends with Taehyung, and he himself had just met Jimin and Hoseok a few hours ago. They all seemed like amazing people, so he couldn’t see Taehyung as any different, no matter what silly rumors were surrounding him.

Then again, Yoongi did say that no one exactly knew for sure whether or not the rumor was true, and the thought made Jeongguk’s stomach churn uncomfortably.

“I mean, there are more tame ones, like the one that says he’s slept with half the campus,” Yoongi continued, “but that’s obviously not true because if it was, he would have tried to get it on with you the minute you two bumped into each other yesterday.”

“What does that me-”

“Plus, Taehyung’s the most innocent kid I’ve ever met, and I know many children.”

“He’s like twenty-one.”

“And you’re what, fourteen?”

“I’m nineteen, hyung.”

“Details,” Yoongi waved it off.

So yes. Jeongguk could most definitely wait till he met Kim Taehyung.

-

Turns out, he didn’t have to wait very long.

Later that very same evening, Jeongguk had grabbed his books, stuffed them into his bag, and trudged across campus to the library with a medium iced caramel latte in his hand and a tired expression on his face.

He walked over to the corner of the library where there were a few empty tables and slid into one of the seats. Jeongguk sighed, taking his laptop out and slipping it onto the desk. He opened up his word document, silently pleading that the Study Gods would allow him to get a headstart on brainstorming ideas for a fictional piece due for one of his classes. A creative writing class too, and one of his favorites.

His lips twisted in thought as he began typing away on the blank document, thinking of different character traits and how people would interact in his work. He knew he wanted his protagonist to be a college male, and his love interest an upperclassman girl who he frequently ran into. The prompt for the assignment was simple enough, Love. It was so abstract and general that Jeongguk himself had to do a double take when he saw the word written on the requirements page of his professor’s website.

Creative writing was usually something he aced in, and he had never gotten below an A on a piece he submitted for grading. Yet, somehow this specific assignment had him tripping over his feet. Writing was something he greatly enjoyed, but with a topic like love, it was suddenly so much harder and that was something Jeongguk himself couldn’t exactly explain.

Maybe it was because he himself had never been in love, so he couldn’t speak for others (in this case, his characters). But Jeongguk didn’t think that was what it was, really. After all, many authors had written lavish romance novels while they themselves had never experienced anything of the sort. Bachelor and bachelorette writers also often did well for their first few novels, and Jeongguk respected them greatly.

He wrote down a few key details. Male. 20 years old. Math major. Whimsical, pragmatic, out of control, breathtaking.

He then began planning out emotional arcs for his character. Static throughout. Start: open mindsets, open about everything in general. End: emotionally developed in multiple senses due to meeting love interest, but still open minded.

Jeongguk’s thoughts were- very rudely- interrupted by someone plopping their things down in front of him. The person heaved a deep sigh and then took a seat, taking their things out and slapping them onto the tabletop.

Jeongguk, alarmed, looked up in surprise, only for his breath to hitch in surprise.

A tall figure with bright red hair was sitting across from him, an earbud hanging out of his left ear and a pencil twirling around in his hand. Jeongguk had to stop himself from choking when he realized it was Taehyung, in all his glory, and he was currently staring back at Jeongguk with a bright smile on his face.

“Hi!” he greeted, sticking his hand out across the table and tilting his head in a manner Jeongguk could only describe as cute. He gulped, praying that Taehyung didn’t remember him from their first fateful meeting. “We didn’t get a chance to introduce ourselves when I bumped into you yesterday. I’m Taehyung!”

Nevermind.

“Jeongguk,” Jeongguk managed, taking the offered hand and lightly shaking it.

Taehyung hummed in acknowledgement. “Jeongguk, huh?” he asked, his eyes narrowing curiously. Jeongguk wordlessly nodded, the thought of why Taehyung was acting so surprised to hear the name swirling around in the back of his mind. He looked away, allowing the elder to mull over his thoughts for a few moments. “Oh!” Taehyung said suddenly, nodding, “you’re the guy Jimin’s been ranting about since this morning!”

Jeongguk’s jaw went slack. “W-what?!”

Taehyung nodded happily, like there was absolutely nothing wrong with what he had just said. “Jeon Jeongguk, right? Jimin told me you came in through Yoongi-hyung’s recommendation. And that you were apparently really good at dancing.”

Jeongguk stared at him. “I…” he trailed off, searching for the right words. “I did dance with Jimin today, but I didn’t think he’d have already told you.”

“Oh, we’re roommates,” Taehyung said, waving his hand like it was no big deal at all. Which it wasn’t. It wasn’t. “And best friends too. We tell each other everything, and you were something Jimin was raving about.” Taehyung ran his tongue over the bottom of his lip, placing his head in his hands and leaning forwards on the table. “So,” he began again with a bright smile, “you think you have what it takes to pass the Taehyung Test?”

Jeongguk stitched his lips together and didn’t say anything.

Taehyung laughed, throwing his head back and allowing his voice to echo out. The librarians shot them both glares, shushing Taehyung who just smiled apologetically. Then, the librarian, who was evidently just a college girl working for part time, blushed and looked away.

Jeongguk couldn’t even blame her.

Taehyung rolled his eyes when he too noticed this, turning back to Jeongguk and shrugging. “I tend to have that effect on people,” he said casually, and again, Jeongguk was rendered speechless, “especially girls, you know? Which makes no sense, because guys shouldn’t be afraid to gawk at beauty.”

Well wasn’t he just the charmer. Jeongguk, despite literally everything about the situation and himself, snickered at Taehyung’s words, and the gesture made Taehyung’s smile widen even further.

“I was just kidding, by the way,” Taehyung said quickly. “There isn’t really any test, but Jimin’s always made me check out the guys in the club before letting them join. I’ve said no to tons of people, of course, but that’s just how business is.” He paused, eyeing Jeongguk carefully. “Yoongi-hyung said he knows you pretty well, so I’m guessing you’re trustworthy enough, but just in case, I should ask you something.”

Jeongguk decided that this was probably a good time to say something. “Ask away,” he said, leaning on his arm in an attempt to be suave. Judging by the look Taehyung was giving him, it didn’t seem to be working.

“You do know who Jimin is, right?” Taehyung asked, crossing his arms. “Like, his whole dancer history. I’m only asking because a lot of people who want to join the club are only doing it because they want to be friends with Jimin, or get some special boost in popularity because of it. That’s why we decided to make the club private in the first place.”

“I didn’t know who Jimin was till I actually went there this morning,” Jeongguk admitted, chewing at his lips nervously. It was his first test, really, getting past Taehyung. The others had made it clear how much they valued the redhead’s opinion, and Jeongguk knew that if Taehyung didn’t like him, there was no way he was going to be getting the spot in Jimin and Hoseok’s club.

“Really,” Taehyung said, gesturing for him to continue. “Keep going.”

“And yeah, I am a fan of Jimin,” Jeongguk said with a slight shrug. “Though I think that’s because I’m a dancer myself, at least as a hobbyist. I do know who Jimin is, but I don’t think I’m going to let that constrict me from-”

“Woah. Are you a lit major or something?”

The sudden question had Jeongguk’s eyes widening for the umpteenth time that day. It was such a random thing to ask, he flinched when Taehyung had interrupted him.

“Sorry?”

“A literature major. Are you one?” Taehyung asked, making wild gestures with his hands to display, well, Jeongguk didn’t really know. “You were using such formal language and shit, I just thought…”

“I am,” Jeongguk nodded. “That’s impressive, finding that out just from my language.”

“I am pretty impressive,” Taehyung smirked, delivering a wink that had Jeongguk almost choking at it’s suddenness.

If anything, Jeongguk was just a little concerned with how he and Taehyung had seemed to click so effortlessly. Jeongguk was usually a social flop, and the fact that he and Taehyung had been making easy conversation for the past few minutes stunned him to his very core. He was honestly proud of himself for doing so, and he knew if Yoongi were there, the elder would give him a big pat on his back.

“You are,” Jeongguk nodded.

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “What? So you know who I am already?”’

Jeongguk wanted to roll his eyes, but he knew that would be considered rude. “Of course I know who you are,” he said slowly. “Just like you don’t know who Jeon Jeongguk is, I know who Kim Taehyung is.”

Taehyung smirked, and Jeongguk found it more endearing than anything else. “You’re wrong,” Taehyung said in a sing-song voice, “because I do know who you are.”

“Through Jimin.”

“Does it make a difference?”

“Jimin’s your best friend. It doesn’t count,” Jeongguk said pointedly, and Taehyung huffed.

“He’s my best friend, so it should count the most,” he said.

“Wow, I beg to differ.”

“You really shouldn’t.”

Jeongguk, for a split second, thought back to his previous conversation with Yoongi regarding Taehyung. Of course, he couldn’t base it on assumption just yet, and he definitely needed to look more into Kim Taehyung on a personal level, but suddenly the thought of making friends with the guy didn’t sound as intimidating.

Taehyung, actually, seemed like a very sweet person and Jeongguk didn’t know what to think of that. He had been completely expecting the boy to turn out to be a snob who flaunted his talents, which Jeongguk would honestly not even blame him for. Some people had talents worth showing off, and Taehyung’s achievements were no easy feat.

He barely even knew the boy, but suddenly what had happened between the two of them the day before seemed all the more insignificant.

“You’re wrong, by the way,” Jeongguk said, remembering back to when Taehyung had first introduced himself in this godforsaken library.

“Wrong?” Taehyung repeated, blinking steadily as he stared back at Jeongguk with an unwavering gaze. “How so?”

“You said you bumped into me yesterday,” Jeongguk explained, “but you didn’t. I was sleepy and irritated because Yoongi-hyung told me to get milk when he could have easily gotten it himself. I bumped into you because I didn’t pay attention to where I was going.” He stopped, locking eyes with Taehyung from across the table. “Sorry about that, by the way. You were probably trying to get somewhere important.”

Taehyung’s lips parted, and Jeongguk didn’t exactly know how to take that. “No no, it’s completely fine!” he quickly said, waving his hands in front of his face and shaking his head. His eyes were firmly set on the table and he refused to look up, much to Jeongguk’s surprise. “You didn’t mean it! I… yeah.”

Jeongguk stared at him. “Did you think you were the one who bumped into me?”

Taehyung nodded. “I did! I know for certain I did! I wasn’t looking where I was going either and I was looking down at my phone. Stupid thing to do, really.”

“So… we bumped into each other, then?” Jeongguk said.

“I guess, yeah.”

This was the boy who had gotten early admission to this college. The boy who had given countless speeches in front of thousands of people. The boy who had become an inspiration to practically every student on campus. The same boy who was blushing in embarrassment in the university library in front of someone he barely knew.

Jeongguk smiled, and suddenly, the idea of getting to know Kim Taehyung was much more appealing than before.

-

The next morning, Jeongguk found himself back in the dance practice room with both Jimin and Hoseok in front of him, going through some complex routine while the three of them waited for Taehyung to show up. Yoongi had told him to go by himself when Jeongguk had asked, because apparently he needed to catch up on his sleep.

It was the first time Jeongguk saw Hoseok dance, and he was more than a little impressed. He knew Jimin was an incredible dancer, and watching Hoseok go at it set his standards even higher for both himself and the rest of the club.

There were three others in the room as well, drinking water and chatting among themselves. They had introduced themselves as Xu Minghao, a fellow freshman who Jeongguk recognized from a few of his lectures, Wen Junhui, and Kwon Soonyoung. The later two were both on a similar show as Jimin, and Minghao had been a stunt dancing double for a few well known actors in the industry.

They were a powerful, very talented group, and Jeongguk wanted to curl up in on himself as he couldn’t help but compare himself to them.

So far Hoseok was the only one who didn’t have some secret celebrity background, but he had overheard Yoongi saying something about him almost becoming an idol over the phone to Jimin.

Jeongguk shuddered, because although there was next to no way he could compete with all of these people, he knew he would definitely give it his all and try his very best. It was the least he could do, and he would prove himself to be up to the challenge if he was selected to join the troupe.

Right on time, the front door to the studio opened to display a casual looking Kim Taehyung, clad in gray sweats and a form fitting t-shirt. Jeongguk looked away as he entered, giving Jimin a bro hug and greeting the other members in a similar fashion. When Taehyung finally did turn around to see Jeongguk standing a little away from them, he grinned wildly and waved.

“Hey, Jeongguk!” he said with a bright smile painted on his features. “You ready for this?”

“Sure,” Jeongguk said, taking a quick gulp from his water bottle and tossing to the back of the room. He did a quick stretch as he watched Junhui jog over to the speakers and pick up Jimin’s phone which would play the music. He gave Jeongguk a thumbs up as everyone around them dispersed to the sides of the room, and Jeongguk caught Jimin grinning excitedly at him, clearly looking forward to watching Jeongguk dance again.

The music started, and Jeongguk immediately began.

It was a song he used to dance to back in high school, the tune a familiar hum under his skin as he moved to the beat. It was a nostalgic feeling, dancing to this song after so long, but Jeongguk was determined to do his very best.

Sure, he was also trying his hardest to impress all the big shots in the room, but more than anything else he was proving to himself that he could still do the one thing he loved to do so much. Dancing had always been Jeongguk’s passion, and although he enjoyed writing greatly and would never regret choosing to major in it, he always knew he would one day come back to dance as a hobby and as something to do in his free time.

He felt the slick heat on his pale skin cool and warm simultaneously, sending him chilling reminders that yes, this was real. Yes, he was doing this. He was dancing in front of an entire group of incredible dancers (and Taehyung, but Jeongguk wouldn’t put it past him for him to also be a secret dancing legend).

When finished, he fell forward, clasping his hands around his kneecaps and panting heavily. Trickles of perspiration rolled down his forehead and cheeks, his entire shirt laced with sweat.

He looked up, only to see the others staring at him in mild shock and Jimin and Hoseok smirking with crossed arms.

“That,” Hoseok started, pointing to Jeongguk and winking, “was incredible.”

The room burst into noises of agreement, with Minghao excitedly coming up to Jeongguk and telling him how amazing he was, to Soonyoung and Junhui nodding at him and telling him every last detail they enjoyed. Jimin laughed, patting Jeongguk on the back and murmuring to himself something about thanking Yoongi, and Taehyung just kept his eyes on Jeongguk without saying a single word.

Jeongguk turned to him, raising an eyebrow. “Well?” he asked.

Taehyung snapped up, evidently coming back to reality as he pressed his lips together in a tight line and nodded animatedly to Jeongguk.

“Jeongguk!” he exclaimed, running up to him and throwing an arm around his shoulder. “You were… that was fucking fantastic!”

“Thanks,” Jeongguk grinned, running the back of his hand over his forehead and releasing a long breath.

“So, Taehyung,” Jimin grinned, creeping up behind the two of them, “what’s the verdict? Is Jeongguk in or out?”

Taehyung hummed, lifting his hand to scratch the bottom of his chin. He stared at Jeongguk, who gazed right back with a determined expression set still on his face. Taehyung then turned to Jimin.

“I don’t know, man,” he said, making Jeongguk’s eyes widen.

Everyone’s jaws dropped in surprise, including Jeongguk’s. He was so, so sure that he would be getting in, but now-

“Kidding!” Taehyung quickly said, openly laughing at the rest of them. “You should have seen your faces! Oh my God, did someone record that? Please tell me someone recorded that!”

“Tae,” Hoseok whined. “You almost gave me a heart attack.”

“I actually hate you,” Jimin said with a playful glare. “Anyways, even if you did say no, I’d still take him.”

Taehyung raised an eyebrow. “You have no idea how much I doubt that.”

Jimin shrugged, but didn’t respond.

“So,” Jeongguk started, everyone turning back to look at him, “am I in? Do I get to join?” It was a childish question, sure, but he allowed himself to act like that just for the split second in the moment. After all, it wasn’t every day you were accepted into a troupe full of prestigious dancers, and Jeongguk was going to scream about it to himself if he wanted to.

He would also be screaming about it to Yoongi shortly, but that was a different story.

So, instead of hyping himself up just yet, he simply nodded with the biggest smile he could possibly muster.

“Awesome.”

-

Being a part of the dance club became a routine. Everyday after his classes, Jeongguk would make his way over to the practice room and stretch for a bit before someone else joined him. Nine times out of ten it was Jimin, who usually got off lectures at the same time as him, but sometimes he would find himself dancing with Minghao, Junhui, and even Soonyoung.

Hoseok, however, was always in class whenever he practiced, but whenever he did get a chance to dance with the eldest in the group, he made sure to make the most out of it. Hoseok was by far the most skilled, but Jeongguk guessed that was mostly because he took part in a similar, fast paced club back in high school whereas most of the rest of the group picked it up before entering college.

Either way, they were all a very talented bunch and Jeongguk considered himself very lucky to be a part of it.

The best part of it, though?

“Jeongguk!” Taehyung said, poking his head into the practice room just as Jeongguk was practicing a particularly difficult body roll to the beat of the choreography Jimin had told him to try out.

Jeongguk turned around to see Taehyung waltzing into the room, putting his things down and offering a small smile to him. Jeongguk returned it, albeit a little cautiously.

“Ah, Tae, are you dancing with us?” Jimin asked.

Taehyung quickly shook his head. “What- no! You know I can’t dance.”

Jimin shrugged. “Not true, but whatever.”

“I just came here to see if Jeonggukkie wanted to go out to eat with me,” Taehyung said, directing his gaze back to Jeongguk and smiling sweetly. “Unless, of course, you already have plans for lunch?”

Jeongguk’s jaw went slack as his mild reeled around the odd request. He and Taehyung barely knew each other, yet here the elder was, asking him to go out and eat lunch with him. Jeongguk could faintly hear Jimin snickering behind him, but he chose to ignore that in favor of nodding at Taehyung.

“Okay,” he said, shaking himself out before walking over to gather his things in his bag. “I don’t have any plans.”

Taehyung grinned. “Perfect!” he said, skipping over to where Jeongguk was and helping him pack up his things.

They waved goodbye to Jimin and ended up wandering through the campus streets aimlessly, Taehyung humming as he stepped along and Jeongguk trying to convince himself that no, this wasn’t awkward at all. The silence that was ringing through the atmosphere wasn’t anything of the sort, nope nope nope.

“So, Jeongguk,” Taehyung began as they entered the main quad, “what’s your major?”

Jeongguk raised an eyebrow. “You already guessed it though,” he pointed out. “Literature? Remember at the library?”

Taehyung nodded absently. “Yeah, but what kind of lit do you specialize in?”

Jeongguk gulped. “For now I do creative writing,” he admitted. “You know, fiction. Stories.”

“Oh that sounds lovely,” Taehyung gushed, “I’ve always wanted the patience to be able to just sit down and write for hours. I’ll never know how people do it.”

“You get used to it after a while,” Jeongguk laughed nervously.

Taehyung nodded like he understood. “You said for now? Are you gonna switch?”

Curse him and his perceptiveness. “Ah,” Jeongguk began, reaching up to scratch the back of his neck, “my parents really want me to try our research. Like, nonfiction writing. They think it’ll make for a better profession after school’s over so I can earn more.”

Taehyung frowned, his lips curling down deeply as he stared at Jeongguk with a look that could only be described as pity. “Well that’s not very fair,” he said, not sugarcoating it in the slightest. “It’s your life. If you enjoy creative writing more than nonfiction, then you should be able to do it.”

Jeongguk shrugged. “I guess,” he said. “They’re not really opposing me from doing creative, but they just said they’d like it if I change.”

Taehyung winced. “Ouch. That’s even worse.”

“Exactly,” Jeongguk nodded. “I know they mean the best, so I’m not really in any place to oppose them, you know?”

“I mean, my parents wanted me to become a doctor like them,” Taehyung revealed, “so when I told them I wanted to give astronomy a try, they weren’t exactly all for it either. It was Jin-hyung who got them to see reason when he told them he wanted to do theater instead of going to med school.”

“Med school sounds harsh.”

“I know right. I can’t even imagine myself in there.”

It was then when Jeongguk realized just how much attention the two of them were getting on campus. With one glance around he could see practically all the students’ eyes bearing holes into his back. Jeongguk gulped, knowing well that it was because Taehyung was walking with him, and no other reason.

Taehyung was a bit of a celebrity on campus, and Jeongguk knew that well. Everyone knew who he was, rumors be damned, and almost everyone had a mostly positive view on him. So Jeongguk could only imagine everyone’s surprise upon noticing the campus sweetheart walking around with a freshman nobody. He knew he was going to be shit on a lot for this, but he couldn’t really bring himself to care too much. He was having way too much with Taehyung to particularly care, if he was being honest.

“They’re staring, aren’t they?” Taehyung said, eyes trailing on the floor. He must have noticed Jeongguk’s lack of response and only jumped to the most logical conclusion, judging by how Jeongguk had begun looking around. “They’re always staring, no matter who I’m with. Even if it’s Jimin or Hobi-hyung. Gets kind of annoying sometimes, but whatever. I’m gotten used to it by now.”

Jeongguk’s head darted to face Taehyung. “What? No, I’m not bothered or anything,” he quickly said to relieve Taehyung from some of the worry he was undoubtedly going through. “It’s not like I actually care or something.”

“You probably do care a little though,” Taehyung frowned. “I mean, it’s not everyday something like this happens to you, right? I don’t want to drag you into something you’re not comfortable with.”

“Hyung, I think being a part of your friend group will put me in situations I’m even more uncomfortable with.”

Taehyung scrunched his nose in distaste. “Ew. No. Don’t call me hyung. That sounds so weird since I’m usually the youngest in groups.” He stopped, looking out a bit. “Actually, no one’s ever called me that except some freshmen who come up to me and think that they can get away with being disrespectful, and you’re not doing that. It sounds off. Don’t do it.”

Jeongguk nodded slowly. “Uh, okay, but it’ll also be the first time I’m not calling someone hyung, honestly. Everyone’s older than me.”

“Me too!” Taehyung exclaimed, his lips parting. “Wow, we’re practically twins.”

“You’re two years my senior.”

“Details.”

They fell into yet another silence, but this time it felt much less awkward, and more like something two friends would probably undergo when conversation points ran low. Jeongguk savored it, since he knew alone time with Taehyung was sparse in general, considering their conflicting statuses and schedules. Taehyung did seem to genuinely be enjoying himself, but for all Jeongguk knew, it could just be a farce put on by him. Nothing was ever truly concrete, right?

He shook the thought out of his head, not wanting to think about it. For now, he would savor this for what it was.

“Alright, where do you wanna go to eat?” Taehyung said, slightly hopping as he walked next to Jeongguk.

“Anywhere’s fine,” Jeongguk said with a shrug. “I’m not picky.”

“You know that only makes it harder to decide,” Taehyung said with a small laugh. “Okay then, how about the new café that opened two weeks ago right off campus? I’ve never been, but Jimin went the other day with Namjoon-hyung and Hobi-hyung.” He stopped to huff. “Didn’t invite little ol’ me because I had class that time. Had to make do with the bad coffee in the campus cafeteria.”

Jeongguk scrunched his nose. “Disgusting.”

“I know right. If I had known you back then, I could have probably gone out to eat with you.”

Well, wasn’t he bold.

“Then… that makes us friends?” Jeongguk said, a sudden weight of shyness overtaking his body. Taehyung looked over to him with a questioning raise of his eyebrows.

“What else?” he said, running his tongue across his top lip delicately. “I don’t just take strangers out to eat, you know. You’re friends with all my friends already, so it only makes sense for me to get to know you as well. You know, not from the words of Park Jimin, however reliable he may or may not be.”

“I don’t know what that means, and I’m frankly too afraid to ask.”

“Good choice.”

-

Hanging out with Taehyung after practice became a regular thing for Jeongguk, and had him scrambling around his schedule just to make time for the junior. He wasn’t opposed to it either, since Taehyung provided some of the best company he could ever possibly get. Taehyung was sweet, and funny, and always knew what to say to Jeongguk to get him to have a good time.

Jeongguk was proud to consider himself a friend, no matter what the repercussions were. He would often get strange looks from people on campus while he was walking around and minding his own business.

He got used to it though, and found it even easier to forget about whenever he actually was with Taehyung. Taehyung had something about him that made him push everything aside and focus on the only thing important. In this case? Him.

Jeongguk especially liked it when Taehyung himself would make a point to the others around them, staring at them openly without any ounce of self restraint. In those moments, he would clutch Jeongguk’s wrist in his grasp even tighter, leaning closer to him and laughing more than he would usually. He already laughed more than a regular stressed student, so it was more hilarious than anything else. Jeongguk would make fun of him afterwards for it, but it didn’t look like Taehyung particularly cared.

After one of their outings, Jeongguk trudged back into his apartment with a shit-eating grin plastered on his face. Yoongi looked up from whatever he was doing when he heard Jeongguk entering, and openly cringed upon seeing his facial expression.

“You look like your birthday just came early,” he said, shutting his laptop and getting up to help Jeongguk with his things. Jeongguk rolled his eyes at his best friend’s awkward comparison, just shaking his head. “What did you and Taehyung do today, hm?”

Jeongguk’s eyes widened. “How did you know I was with Taehyung?”

“You two aren’t exactly the most subtle with whatever weird relationship you have going on,” Yoongi said like it was the most obvious thing in the world. “Which, frankly, I don’t want to know about, so please do us all a favor and save me from the details.”

“You’re acting like we’re secretly dating and doing the do everyday behind the math building,” Jeongguk snorted.

Yoongi raised his left eyebrow delicately. “I wouldn’t be surprised.”

“We’re not!”

“Uh huh.”

Jeongguk huffed, crossing his arms before throwing his bag onto the couch and sitting down right on top of it. Yoongi followed shortly after, placing himself back on his own seat and reaching for the television remote.

“Did you eat dinner?” he asked as he flipped through the channels with Jeongguk stopping him every now and then to see whatever was being displayed on the screen more closely. “I bought a loaf of bread today, so if you haven’t I can make you a sandwich.”

“I already ate, but thanks,” Jeongguk nodded. “Did you finish whatever work you were doing?”

“I finished an hour ago,” Yoongi said, “I was just waiting for you to come so we can watch something together.”

“What a sweet roommate you are,” Jeongguk said, grinning sweetly. “Jimin told me you were going to dance with us tomorrow at the studio, by the way.”

Yoongi almost dropped the controller in surprise. “What?”

“Mhm. We even picked out a song for you and everything.”

“He never told me this.”

Jeongguk snickered.

Yoongi’s eyes narrowed. “You’re pulling on my fucking leg, aren’t you.”

“Mayyybe.”

“Brat.”

Jeongguk laughed, and Yoongi smiled back at him. It was moments like these in which Jeongguk was truly grateful for having a best friend like Yoongi. Someone who was always there, but still gave him the space he needed. He considered himself more than a little lucky to have met him before his famous squad, since had no doubt that if he hadn’t, he may have not been able to get Yoongi to open up to him as easily.

Yoongi had been graduating high school when Jeongguk was graduating middle school, and now Jeongguk was a freshman in undergrad and Yoongi a freshman in grad. It was amazing, how time passed so fluidly and in everyone’s favor. He knew now that Yoongi cared for him just as much as he did, and the thought that no matter what, he would have someone he could trust comforted him greatly.

“Hyung, tell me more about Taehyung,” he said suddenly, and Yoongi glanced over to him with a raised eyebrow.

“What do you want to know?” he asked, but Jeongguk knew the elder already knew.

“I mean, I’ve been talking to him for a few weeks now,” he said, and Yoongi nodded to show that he was listening, “and whenever I walk around with him everyone stares at us because, you know, he’s super well known and everything, but what about those… ah…”

“The rumors?” Yoongi supplied.

“Yeah,” Jeongguk nodded.

Yoongi sighed, reaching up to rub his temples. “You know, you could literally just ask around and you’d get so many different versions of the same story. I’m biased, anyways, so I’ll only tell you why Taehyung is a good person, not a bad.”

“He doesn’t seem like a bad person,” Jeongguk defended quickly.

“Because he isn’t one,” Yoongi responded, crossing his arms and pursing his lips. “Everyone’s just way too fucking pretentious and jealous of where he is now, and he worked hard for his position. He deserves to be treated well, not like crap just because other people want what he has.”

Jeongguk winced at Yoongi’s harsh tone. “You know what, maybe I should just ask someone else instead-”

“Nope, you asked to get into this, so there’s no getting out now,” Yoongi shook his head, quickly turning the TV off and settling into a more comfortable position on the couch. “Now, where should we begin our story?”

“I’m genuinely scared because of how dramatic you’re being, hyung.”

“It’s necessary,” Yoongi dismissed him with a wave of his hand. “I think it started when Taehyung got into the high school that he did. Ranked first in the nation and everything. Known for extremely difficult tests and horrible stress on its students.” He sighed. “It drills kids in, prepares them for hardships they won’t even experience in real life.”

“Sounds intense,” Jeongguk said, scrunching his nose in distaste.

“See, that’s what most people say, right?” Yoongi said. “Taehyung, however, aced everything he ever submitted to any class he took. If he didn’t get a perfect score, he never got below a ninety-percent on any of his exams.”

“Seriously?” Jeongguk said, lips parting in surprise. “That’s incredible!”

Yoongi nodded. “I know, it really is. Taehyung’s amazing, but some people didn’t think that way. They thought his parents rigged the system for him, or paid for him to be at the top constantly. They have the money, so the prospect of it wasn’t exactly shut down, and rather promoted. Taehyung… he didn’t have anyone in that school who he could really count on. He didn’t have any friends.

“Some people started shutting them down, because even after all of the rumors and scandals, Taehyung still kept getting consistent scores at the top. They thought that if he actually was rigging the system, he would have stopped getting those kinds of scores since he needed to shut them down. Which, of course, proves his innocence, but stupid idiots never let up. They never left him alone about it, which made him the butt of so many rude jokes and bullying.

“He got into this school, but he had been accepted into much more prestigious ones as well. Taehyung chose to come here because he got tired of everyone constantly being on his back, or at least, that’s what he told me. He came here, became an icon for the entire school, and life just seemed to be getting better for him. He wasn’t bullied anymore, because it’s college.” Yoongi ended the story with another huff, curling in on himself further.

Jeongguk stayed silent for a few minutes after that, letting the entire story sink in. It was sad, sure, but above anything else, it was frustrating. Jeongguk didn’t know what he would do if he was in a situation like Taehyung’s, where people simply wouldn’t believe him for having natural smarts. Taehyung very obviously worked for where he was now.

“If he didn’t have any friends, then he must have just been studying constantly since he didn’t have anything better to do,” Jeongguk realized, his eyes growing wide. “That’s why he never got a bad score on any test.”

“Exactly,” Yoongi nodded. “Honestly, if they wanted to stop him from being on the top, they should have either made friends with him, or stopped loitering around and actually try to study. It may have been one of the best schools, but it’s what the students do that really matter in the end.”

Jeongguk pressed his lips together in tight frown as he mulled over the information. “That isn’t fair on him,” he muttered, bringing his knees up to his chest and hiding his face in them. “I hate this. Why didn’t he do something?”

“He was young then,” Yoongi said, “but if anything like that happened to him now, I’m pretty sure he wouldn’t let it go.”

“Do people still think that way about him?” Jeongguk asked, already dreading the answer.

“Some do,” Yoongi said with a shrug, “and I know sometimes it gets a little too much for him. He’s told me. But it’s gotten a lot better than before. He knows how to ignore what needs to be ignored.”

Jeongguk twisted his lips. Sure, that was a good thing, but he still wasn’t completely convinced. He knew Yoongi was a good friend of Taehyung’s, and had known him for much longer than Jeongguk himself had, but Yoongi had also said that he didn’t know Taehyung as well as the others in the group. From what Jeongguk had began noticing while he and Taehyung walked around campus together, Taehyung still left lingering glances on the people around him whenever he saw them staring.

It was a sign of insecurity, and Jeongguk knew that as he too was used to giving off that kind of feel. He wasn’t the subject of past bullying like Taehyung, but everyone had things they didn’t exactly appreciate about themselves.

It hurt Jeongguk to think about how Taehyung probably went through this every single day, and he couldn’t be more thankful for how college students were a lot more mature than high schoolers, and chose to not bring up Taehyung’s past around him. Did everyone on campus really have their own version of the story Yoongi had just told them? That could only mean that word of it had also gotten around to Taehyung himself, and Jeongguk didn’t like the thought of the rumors around campus making an impact on Taehyung’s own thoughts and feelings.

Taehyung was Jeongguk’s friend, and Jeongguk told himself that he would do the same for any of his friends. He would feel this way about anyone he was close with. It wasn’t just Taehyung. It wasn’t.

But Taehyung was so, so sweet. He had been nothing short of welcoming to Jeongguk, and hadn’t once been opposed to him suddenly joining his circle of friends. Taehyung had made Jeongguk feel welcome in a group that wasn’t just Yoongi, which was something he didn’t have access to a lot of the time, considering that Yoongi was his closest friend but also a full four years older than him.

Taehyung didn’t deserve the shit he got from people, even though none of it was really said out loud anymore. Taehyung didn’t deserve not having friends in high school, he deserved more than that. He deserved to be the most popular person in school (which he technically was now), and nothing short of the most high-tier praise said by a human.

Maybe Jeongguk was exaggerating, and maybe he was getting to attached to the first person he really could attach himself to, but that wasn’t something he could help, at least, not from the perspective he was using to see things.

He exhaled from his lips. He was going to make sure Taehyung knew just what extent Jeongguk was willing to go to make sure nothing like that ever happened again.

-

Jeongguk got used to seeing Taehyung everywhere he went, whether it be with someone from his dance troupe or one of his other friends. When he was walking out of practice with Jimin and Hoseok, Taehyung would meet them outside. When he was on the way to his next class, Taehyung always somehow found him on campus and strolled alongside him.

It was a rare day when Yoongi didn’t have any classes, and he had decided to tag along with Jeongguk everywhere. After Jeongguk’s only class of the day- his usual morning lecture- the two of them had decided to go out and get ice cream together.

Taehyung found the two of them just as they were exiting campus. He skipped over to them with a bright smile on his face, one which Yoongi returned with a nod and Jeongguk returned with a smile of his own.

“Are you guys going somewhere?” Taehyung asked, taking a spot next to Jeongguk and beginning to step in time with him. He playfully pinched his side, and Jeongguk laughed.

“Ice cream,” Yoongi answered. “You wanna join, Taehyungie?”

Taehyung nodded excitedly. “Yeah!” he exclaimed, clapping his hands together. “Can Jimin come as well? I promised him I’d hang out with him today since neither of us have any classes.”

“I guess it’s just a day where no one really has anything to do,” Jeongguk said, “but yeah. He can come. I don’t have any problem with it.”

Yoongi simply nodded to show that he too was on board with the plan.

“Great! I’ll text him and he can meet us there,” Taehyung said. “Is it the same parlor that we usually go to on days off?”

“Unless you know any other ice cream shop, then yes,” Yoongi nodded. Taehyung began tapping away on his phone, giving Jeongguk a moment to share a strained look with Yoongi. Yoongi just shook his head, knowing that the only reason Jeongguk was looking at him like that was because Yoongi himself had never seen Jeongguk and Taehyung together and interacting before. Jeongguk wanted to make sure Yoongi wouldn’t be weird about this.

The three of them ventured out into the streets, with Taehyung stepping besides Jeongguk and Jeongguk in the middle of him and Yoongi. It started with a pretty calm, quiet atmosphere, but soon the three of them were chattering away like there was nothing to be awkward about at all (and there wasn’t).

“Taehyungie, how are your classes going?” Yoongi asked. “I haven’t seen you properly in so long.”

“They’re going well, hyung,” Taehyung nodded. “I got an essay back the other day and I was the only one in class with a perfect score.”

“Congrats,” Jeongguk said, smiling earnestly. “That must not be easy to do.”

Taehyung shrugged, and Jeongguk caught the warning look that Yoongi was sending him with perfect clarity. Jeongguk knew he was delving into restricted territory by bringing something like that up, but they were all friends here.

They got the ice cream shop, finding Jimin already waiting for them and eagerly nibbling on a cone. He was casually leaning against the wall on his phone, and when he saw the three of them approach he quickly slipped the phone into his pocket and held out the ice cream cone.

“Anyone want a bite?” he asked, waving it around under all three of their noses.

Jeongguk and Yoongi scrunched their faces up in disgust.

“Jimin, I love you and all, but no,” Yoongi said, silently pushing away the waffle cone and rolling his eyes. Jimin pouted, turning towards Jeongguk and wiggling his eyebrows.

“What about you, Guk?”

Jeongguk noticed Taehyung mouthing the word Guk, but thought nothing of it. It was probably just Taehyung being Taehyung.

“I’ll pass,” he said, forcing a smile onto his face.

“I will!” Taehyung exclaimed, flinging himself onto his best friend and taking a bite of the cone. His eyes flitted shut as he released a low growl of pleasure. Jeongguk’s eye twitched as the sound went straight to a place he would rather not think about. Taehyung smacked his lips, eyes opening wide as he stared at Jimin. “Mm, raspberry?”

“You got it,” Jimin winked, before finishing the cone in two large bites. Jeongguk stared at Taehyung for a few lingering moments, wondering what the heck had just happened. Deciding not to dwell on it, he followed Yoongi to the counter.

“Hey, Jeonggukkie, could you get me strawberry?” Taehyung called after him. Jeongguk glanced back and nodded.

“Sure.”

Yoongi and Jeongguk got the ice cream for everyone, and Yoongi got another cone for Jimin. They took a seat at a table at the edge of the parlor, with Jimin and Yoongi on one side and Jeongguk and Taehyung on the other.

Jeongguk lightly licked at his vanilla cone, before feeling a slight pressure on the side of his waist. He looked back curiously, only to see Taehyung staring at him.

“Can I try?” he asked, pointing at Jeongguk’s ice cream.

Jeongguk’s lips parted in surprise. “Uh, what?”

“Can I try a bit of yours?” Taehyung repeated. Jeongguk glanced down at his cone, gulping and nodding briefly.

“Uh, yeah, I guess. Do you need me to go get you a sampling spoon or-”

“Nah,” Taehyung waved his hand in front of his face before diving in and placing his head by the ice cream. Jeongguk’s eyes widened in surprise as he watched Taehyung’s tongue flick out and gently move across the surface of the cream, the dessert sticking to the muscle as he took it in and swallowed.

Before Jeongguk could say anything, Taehyung frowned. “Vanilla?” he asked.

Jeongguk blinked. “Yeah.”

“Never would have pegged you for a vanilla kind of guy,” Taehyung said, before raising his eyebrows and smirking suggestively. Jeongguk choked on his ice cream, bursting into a flurry of coughs as Jimin and Yoongi looked on at the scene, throwing their heads back and laughing at Jeongguk’s very apparent misery.

“I hate you all,” he muttered, wiping at his lips. Taehyung snickered.

“You’re so innocent. So pure,” he said, leaning in and winking in an exaggerated manner. “So… vanilla.”

“Suddenly I can’t eat this anymore,” Jeongguk winced, tossing his half-cone into the trash can a few feet away from them.

As the others went back to laughing at him, Jeongguk took a moment to stare at Taehyung. His mind reeled back to what had just happened moments before, with Taehyung licking (and indirectly kissing) Jeongguk, and then proceeding to make sexual innuendos about the situation. Despite himself, he began to laugh as well, because literally only Kim Taehyung could make something so stupid so funny.

And Jeongguk?

Jeongguk was falling.

-

The next time Jeongguk saw Taehyung, he was mentally prepared, even though what he did see shocked him out of his mind.

He had just finished his classes for the day, and was walking through the campus towards the exit. All Jeongguk wanted to do was go home and go to sleep. He would probably do a little work before passing out and preparing for his early class the next morning.

What he didn’t expect, however, was to see Taehyung talking to someone who looked to be another freshman talking to him by the corner of campus. Jeongguk squinted through the evening air just enough to see the slightly uncomfortable look that was hosted on the older boy’s face, and didn’t hesitate for a second to casually stroll up to them and stop behind where the underclassman, who Jeongguk recognized from his Wednesday lecture, was standing. Jeongguk saw Taehyung look past the boy’s shoulder to stare at Jeongguk with wide, surprised eyes, to which Jeongguk responded with a simple shrug. The underclassman didn’t notice, which was even better since Jeongguk now wanted more than anything to know what the two of them had been talking about.

“So? Is it true, Taehyung-ssi?” the boy asked. “Did you really get your parents to change the school requirements for you so that you could pass high school at the top?”

Jeongguk’s lips parted in surprise at the question, his mind immediately going back to his conversation with Yoongi about this topic. He watched as Taehyung’s face shifted to an even more uncomfortable one, probably because now Jeongguk was listening in.

“I don’t have time to talk to you about this,” Taehyung responded, putting his hands in his pockets. “You should probably get to your class, Seokmin-ssi. I wouldn’t want you to be late because of me.”

“If it’s because of you, my lecturer won’t mind,” the boy dismissed with a wave of his hand. Jeongguk had to stop himself from blanching at the informality, knowing well that Taehyung was probably thinking the same thing. Jeongguk knew that Taehyung was a stickler for respect from his juniors. “I went to the school you went to for high school, and all everyone could talk about there was you and how you cheated. I just wanted to know if it was true.”

Taehyung pressed his lips together into a tight line before responding with a strained smile. It was obvious it was beginning to get difficult to keep up with whatever the underclassman was spouting on about, and Jeongguk couldn’t help but feel bad.

It was also obvious that what the boy was saying was getting to Taehyung. Jeongguk hadn’t known him for too long just yet, but he knew how to read body language when it was needed. The last thing Taehyung wanted to be doing in that moment was talking about this, never mind being accused of something he used to be shit on about years ago.

“I don’t know who you think you are,” Taehyung said casually, and Jeongguk bit his inner gum to stop himself from grinning, “but I think you need to go back home for a second and reconsider your stance. I told you. I don’t want to talk about this any more than I have to, and all I did have to do was finished years ago.”

Jeongguk decided now was a good time to cut in.

“Ah, hey Taehyung, am I interrupting something?”

The underclassman quickly whipped his head around to stare at Jeongguk, who returned the gaze with a polite smile.

“No no,” Taehyung said, quickly maneuvering around Seokmin so that he was standing in front of Jeongguk. He leaned in, pinching Jeongguk’s ears affectionately. “He was just leaving. I promised you dinner, didn’t I, Jeonggukkie?”

“You did,” Jeongguk said easily, knowing well what Taehyung was trying to do. He wanted to get away from the freshman, and Jeongguk was more than willing to help him out with that. “Shall we go?” he asked, holding out his arm for Taehyung to loop himself around. The two of them waved back at Seokmin, who looked completely dumbfounded at what had just happened, before quickly making their retreat.

They wandered out off-campus and onto the streets in silence, up until Jeongguk was sure they were far enough away for Seokmin not to be able to see them anymore. Jeongguk quietly let go of his hold on Taehyung, smoothing out his shirt and dropping his shoulders down so he was more relaxed. He glanced to his side to see Taehyung looking down at the floor, hands hanging limply by his sides.

With a frown, Jeongguk bent down to better look at Taehyung’s face, surprised to see him blinking rapidly down at the pavement. Taehyung’s hands clenched into tight fists, and Jeongguk blinked in surprise.

“Taehyu-”

“Thank you.”

Jeongguk stilled. “Ah, no it was nothing. I’m glad I could-”

“Jeongguk,” Taehyung cut him off, finally looking up and meeting Jeongguk’s eyes in perfect contact. He gave Jeongguk a meaningful look, and the younger only gulped from the sudden intensity the atmosphere had taken over. “I mean it. Thank you for that. You really didn’t have to. You still barely know me.”

“Listen,” Jeongguk started with a deep breath. He knew about the rumors and everything, but he was unsure if Taehyung knew that he knew, so it was best to keep quiet about it. “You didn’t look the most comfortable talking to him, so I thought I’d just see what was going on.”

“Jeongguk, do you…” Taehyung began, before trailing off, “do you… know?”

“Know what?” Jeongguk asked, though he already knew what was about to come.

“Do you know what Seokmin was talking about?”

All Jeongguk could do was nod helplessly. “Yoongi-hyung told me, yeah.”

Taehyung released a breath. “And… do you believe it?”

Jeongguk shook his head immediately. “I don’t, Taehyung.”

Taehyung stared at him blankly. “What? Are you serious?”

Jeongguk nodded slowly. “Taehyung, why would I believe those kinds of rumors? I know you. I’m your friend. I don’t think you’d do something like that.”

Taehyung’s eye twitched. “And if I did do it?”

Jeongguk just shook his head. “You didn’t.”

Taehyung fell silent, looking at Jeongguk like he was contemplating something very deeply. Jeongguk stared back at him, unsure where else to look.

“Jeongguk,” Taehyung said suddenly, taking a step closer to him. Jeongguk’s breath hitched in his throat, his eyes drooping as he took in Taehyung’s figure in front of him. “I’m going to kiss you.”

Jeongguk didn’t say anything, just leaned in closer. He wasn’t thinking straight, and if he was he probably would have given more of a verbal reaction. Him not saying anything, though, gave Taehyung the consent he needed.

The elder leaned forwards, lifting his hands so they were cupping around the sides of Jeongguk’s face. When their mouths did meet, it was more of a pressing of lips than an actual kiss, but then Jeongguk was wrapping his arms around Taehyung’s waist and Taehyung was applying just the right amount of pressure to make it all the more intense.

Something burned in Jeongguk’s chest as they pressed even closer together, lips intertwining and fingers threading through hair. Taehyung was so, so soft, with every movement paving its way into the depths of Jeongguk’s senses, milky skin on milky skin.

They kissed till Jeongguk was breathless, coming undone and pushing their foreheads together. Their breaths mingled as their hot skin touched, slight tingles of euphoria spreading across the cells of their skin.

“You just kissed me,” Jeongguk whispered a few moments later, and he wanted to cry from joy upon hearing the giggle Taehyung emitted next.

“You’re right,” he said, a teasing glint in his eye, “and you kissed back.”

“I did,” Jeongguk nodded. The corners of his mouth quirked up as Taehyung mirrored his movements. Jeongguk’s hand reached forewords, gently tugging at Taehyung’s before clasping it in his. Taehyung licked his lips, no doubt out of excitement, and Jeongguk took that as permission to lean in and connect their mouths once again.

It was a lot messier this time, their lips parting to allow each other completely in. Jeongguk’s knees felt weak as Taehyung pressed their chests flush against one another, his head tilting to the side to take more of Jeongguk in. Jeongguk felt like he was on fire, his heart beating madly in his chest. He felt strange, though it was the kind of strange he welcomed with open arms. He was on an all time high, wanting more and more and more.

They broke apart again, the sun quietly setting somewhere behind them. This time, Taehyung lingered a little, pressing another small, chasté kiss against Jeongguk’s lips. Jeongguk sighed in contentment, and Taehyung giggled from in front of him. Jeongguk smiled, finally opening his eyes and looking at the elder with an emotion that could only be classified as adoration.

“You just kissed me,” Taehyung said, and Jeongguk snickered at the sudden role reversal.

“You’re right,” he nodded, tugging Taehyung’s hand up so their interlocked fingers were at eye level, “and you kissed me back.”

“I did.”

Jeongguk smiled softly back at Taehyung, using his free hand to wrap around his neck and pull him in again.

When their lips met the next time, a faint flicker of something Jeongguk couldn’t quite identify ignited somewhere deep in his chest.

-

Jeongguk stared at himself through the mirror, his knees buckling underneath him as he panted heavily.

The new choreography Hoseok had created for the troupe was one of the toughest he had ever done. It was filled with difficult turns, thrusts of his hip, and body rolls from all different dimensions. Jeongguk muttered something inaudible under his breath, probably cursing Hoseok for doing this.

It was one of his private dance sessions. Every once in a while, Jeongguk would find the practice room completely empty of people. He would take these times to practice whatever routine he was currently working on, the entire ordeal being a stress-reliever and very therapeutic.

“I love it when you dance,” a new voice interrupted his thoughts. Jeongguk whipped his head to the entrance of the room, surprised (and pleased) to see Taehyung leaning against the frame, his arms crossed and a smirk on his lips.

Jeongguk gulped. “How long have you been standing there?”

“Long enough to see you trying to break the mirror in frustration. Nice moves, by the way.” He had the audacity to wink then, and Jeongguk rolled his eyes.

“C’mere,” Jeongguk murmured, opening his arms out in front of him, smiling when Taehyung laughed and waltzed towards him. He dropped into the younger’s embrace, humming in a pleased fashion.

“Is Hobi-hyung’s dance really that hard?” Taehyung said into Jeongguk’s chest.

“No, but his technique is,” he responded gently threading his fingers through Taehyung’s hair. Taehyung sighed deeply, letting go of Jeongguk and playfully pinching his cheek. His eyes leaked pure affection for him, and Jeongguk couldn’t help but return the gaze with just as much intensity.

“I can always ask him to try and slow down a bit if you want,” Taehyung said, frowning from concern. Jeongguk quickly shook his head.

“Tae- no! I’m not actually having any trouble with it. It just takes a little practice. Junhui-hyung already taught me some easier ways to do the step, so I’m really fine.”

Taehyung shrugged. “If you say so.”

“I know so,” Jeongguk said, relaxing back into his normal standing pose. He hopped over to the music station and grabbed his water bottle, taking a long sip as Taehyung stared at him. He blinked, wiping his mouth. “What is it? Is there something wrong?”

“No, you just look really good right now,” Taehyung said, and Jeongguk almost did a double take from how casual he sounded.

Jeongguk didn’t exactly know where the two of them stood at the moment. It had been a few days since their kiss (though let’s face it, it was more of a makeout session than anything), and they hadn’t yet gotten a chance to discuss the status of their relationship. Jeongguk was confident that Taehyung did like him as more than a friend, though, and Jeongguk also knew that he returned those feelings. It wasn’t hard to come to that conclusion after the first time they kissed.

For now, though, he was content with what they had. He loved the lingering touches and gazed of affection they exchanged, and it was better than just simply being friends when he felt what he did.

Jeongguk scoffed, taking another long sip and setting the bottle down as he swallowed. “I always look good,” he said with a pointed lift of his right eyebrow.

Taehyung rolled his eyes in an exaggerated manner. “I know, but you don’t have to be cocky about it.”

“Get used to it,” Jeongguk said, grinning teasingly at him. Taehyung shoved him away slightly, and Jeongguk pouted from the loss of contact.

“You’re cute,” Taehyung said, his voice suddenly an octave lower as he leaned in and gently nipped at the skin of Jeongguk’s left cheek. Jeongguk glanced up at him, surprised at the sudden shift in mood, but was definitely not opposed to it as he too pressed into the touch of Taehyung’s lips against the side of his face.

It didn’t take long for Taehyung’s mouth to open just a little wider and for his teeth to become his gums. Wet noises erupted by Jeongguk’s ear as Taehyung began to gently kiss down the side of his neck. Jeongguk sighed, tilting his head back to allow Taehyung better access to the skin there. He pressed his lips into a tight line in order to stop an obscene sound from escaping.

If Taehyung hadn’t quickly jumped away from him all of a sudden, Jeongguk would never have heard the footsteps coming their way from outside the room. Jeongguk was more impressed than anything that Taehyung had managed to listen while doing what he was doing to Jeongguk.

The door burst open, Jimin and Minghao walking inside while chatting amongst themselves. Jeongguk quickly lifted his hand to wipe his face, removing any signs of what he and Taehyung had been doing.

Minghao was the first to notice them. He looked at them quizzically, prompting Jimin to turn around and do the same.

“Jeongguk? Taehyung-hyung?” Minghao asked, tilting his head curiously. “What are you two doing here?”

Jeongguk noticed Jimin staring between him and Taehyung with a strange look, and he was quick to elaborate. “I was practicing by myself and Taehyung tagged along since he didn’t have class to go to.” It wasn’t the complete truth, but who could blame Jeongguk for leaving out exactly what they were doing?

Jimin shrugged, clearly buying it and Jeongguk felt the slightest amount of guilt. He didn’t mean to hide whatever he had with Taehyung from his friends, but the two of them themselves hadn’t had the conversation about what they were exactly yet, and the last thing Jeongguk wanted to do was jump the gun like that and assume something.

“Ah, Guk, do you want to go over the second verse for Hobi-hyung’s new dance since we have Minghao here and he takes center for the part we haven’t practiced yet?” Jimin asked instead of questioning them further.

Jeongguk nodded. “Sure,” he said, moving back to the speakers and using the scrolling bar on his phone’s screen to go to exactly where Jimin wanted to practice from. “Tae, can you press play when I tell you to?” he asked, looking up at Taehyung with a small smile. The elder nodded happily, skipping over to where Jeongguk was and lightly bumping their hips together as Jeongguk showed him exactly what to do.

Jeongguk went back to the middle of the room, taking his position behind Minghao and bending over so he was in the move that the verse would start with.

He barely missed Jimin’s weird look directed at him before the music began, and Jeongguk allowed himself to immerse his entire being into the beat of the music.

-

Text Message: Tae&Gukkie

taebae: you done w ur classes?

gukkie love: i just got outta my last lecture yeah

gukkie love: what’s up??

taebae: i miss uuuu~~

taebae: ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

gukkie love: we saw e/o this morning!!

taebae: so???

gukkie love: ok yeah i miss you too ♡

gukkie love: you wanna come over? yoongi hyung’s sleeping over at jimin’s tonight. said something abt properly catching up

taebae: is that what they call it nowadays

gukkie love: lmao

taebae: but yea !! ♡♡ can i come over? really??

gukkie love: ofc ♡ come whenever i’m free all night

taebae: i’ll be there in 30?

gukkie love: see you ♡♡♡

taebae: ♡♡♡♡

-

When Jeongguk opened the door of his apartment upon hearing the doorbell sound, he wasn’t surprised at all to see Taehyung standing across from him, holding a tray of coffee and a bag of donuts. Jeongguk raised his eyebrows at the snacks, but quickly ushered him inside before closing the door tightly shut behind him.

“I brought food,” Taehyung said, smiling sweetly as he placed his things down onto the dining table. “Got powdered sugar on yours too, Gukkie, just the way you like it.”

Taehyung had taken to calling Jeongguk Gukkie recently, not that Jeongguk was complaining. Taehyung said that Jimin got to call him Guk, so Taehyung could call him Gukkie. Jeongguk didn’t exactly see the reasoning behind that, but he shrugged and let it slide anyway. Jeongguk himself had started calling Taehyung by his own nickname for him , so they were even.

“Thanks, Tae,” he said, taking the treat out of the bag as he watched Taehyung take his own strawberry frosted one and biting into it happily. Jeongguk followed suit after, swallowing a bit of his own donut and grinning back at Taehyung as the two of them laughed.

“Can I try a bit of yours?” Taehyung asked, leaning forwards across the table and batting his eyes innocently. Jeongguk blinked.

“Sure,” he said, looking down at his donut and unwrapping it. He glanced up again, holding out the pastry for Taehyung to easily bite into.

Instead of eating the donut, however, Taehyung grinned wickedly and fell forwards, planting his lips right onto Jeongguk’s mouth and immediately prying it open, licking inside and smiling against Jeongguk’s lips. Jeongguk squeaked in surprise at the sudden kiss, but wasn’t opposed to it at all. He moved so he was right in front of Taehyung, the table between them ceasing to exist.

Taehyung pressed the palms of his hands onto Jeongguk’s chest, pushing him against the table and wordlessly positioning him so that Jeongguk was sitting on it, his legs wrapped around Taehyung’s waist.

The kiss was wet and sloppy, different than all of their others yet still holding the same underlying sense of passion they constantly had for each other. Jeongguk reached for more of Taehyung and Taehyung gladly gave it to him, their physical connection becoming more and more intimate with each passing second.

Jeongguk’s mind was fuzzy as his thighs tightened around Taehyung, his thoughts spinning around in circles as he tried to make sense of what was going on. It was strange, how quickly Jeongguk was able to succumb to Taehyung’s charms without even knowing the true extent of their relationship. He knew that if it were anyone else, he would be much more reserved about himself than he was with Taehyung, but somehow, the elder made him forget about all of that in favor of putting all of his attention on him.

They broke apart, and the words flew out of Jeongguk before he could mull them over in his head.

“T-Tae,” he panted, quickly dipping down for another kiss, “what are we?”

Taehyung stilled for a moment, returning Jeongguk’s second kiss without a beat of hesitance before locking eyes with him. Jeongguk stared back at him, watching as swirls of emotions and things he couldn’t identify clearly swam around in his dark orbs.

“Whatever you want us to be,” Taehyung said in response, before locking Jeongguk back against him and roughly planting his mouth on his again.

Jeongguk’s eyes slid shut for the third time that day, pressing back with just as much intensity before breaking apart from the elder. “What do I want us to be?”

“You can decide that,” Taehyung said.

Jeongguk frowned. “What if what I want us to be is something you don’t want us to be?” he asked, and Taehyung tilted his head back and released a tinkling laugh. The sound reminded Jeongguk of bells, and it sent shivers through his chest.

“I already told you, Gukkie,” Taehyung said with a smile, capturing his lips and pulling away just as quickly, “we can be whatever you want us to be. Don’t think about what I want, because I want whatever you want.”

“But you don’t know what I want,” Jeongguk shot back.

Taehyung smirked, the corner of his mouth twitching. “What do you want, then?”

The words spilled out, “I want to be with you.”

Jeongguk didn’t know what exactly he was expecting when he told Taehyung that, but whatever it was, he was glad that all Taehyung did was smile wider back at him. “Then I want to be with you too. Actually no, I do want to be with you, even if you don’t want to be with me.”

Jeongguk had to stop himself from breathing out a sigh of relief. “I do want to be with you, Tae,” he said softly.

Taehyung grinned, licking his bottom lip. “Let’s be together then, yeah?” he said, his eyes crinkling together cutely. “You wanna be my boyfriend, Gukkie? You wanna be an official couple?”

Jeongguk nodded, because what else could he do? “Yeah. Yeah, I really want that. I want you to be my boyfriend too.”

“Then let’s be boyfriends,” Taehyung said, clasping his hands behind Jeongguk’s back and pulling him in again. He placed his lips back on Jeongguk’s, and this time the younger was much quicker and more eager to deepen the connection. He silently laughed when Taehyung lifted him up and walked over to Jeongguk’s living room couch, sitting himself down and allowing Jeongguk to get comfortable in his lap.

“Don’t like this,” Jeongguk murmured into Taehyung’s mouth.

“Hm?” Taehyung hummed, his grip around Jeongguk’s biceps tightening. “What do you not like, Gukkie?”

Jeongguk didn’t say anything, just breaking apart from Taehyung and climbing off of him. He stood up in front of the older boy on the couch, turning around so he was sitting down right next to him. He leaned over, pulling Taehyung up and putting him onto his own lap, using his arms to wrap Taehyung’s legs around his small frame before looping them underneath his armpits and dropping them both against the backrest of the couch. Their positions were flipped now, with Taehyung sitting on top of Jeongguk and Jeongguk underneath him.

“Much better,” Jeongguk purred back into Taehyung’s mouth as the elder laughed at his antics.

“You’re so childish,” Taehyung said, rolling his eyes.

They made out for a little while longer, and Jeongguk couldn’t blame them when it ended with Taehyung laying back on the couch with Jeongguk on top of him. Jeongguk was simply exploring with his new boyfriend- something he hadn’t been able to do in a while as he hadn’t been in a proper relationship for a few years now. His last one was in his second year of high school, though that ended because the boy he was with realized that he wasn’t as gay as he thought he was initially.

Jeongguk was hurt initially, but he had quickly moved on as he too realized that high school relationships simply weren’t what he was looking for.

Jeongguk didn’t even know for certain if Taehyung was what he was looking for, but he liked him enough to want to give them a chance. It had been some time since Jeongguk’s last relationship, yes, but he was willing to try out having a boyfriend again if it meant he could be with Taehyung.

A few hours later, they were cuddled up underneath the same blanket, watching a random drama that was showing on a channel they weren’t familiar with. Taehyung had his head resting on Jeongguk’s chest, and Jeongguk had his arm securely wrapped around Taehyung’s shoulders. They stared at the screen, though Jeongguk knew that neither of them were particularly paying attention to whatever sappy love story was playing.

“Hey, Gukkie?” Taehyung began in a small voice. Jeongguk hummed to show that he was listening. “Can I ask you a question? Or, it’s more of a request really.”

Jeongguk shifted so that he could look down at Taehyung. Taehyung also moved so he could easily see Jeongguk’s face.

Jeongguk smiled. “Of course, Tae.”

“Can we… can we keep this a secret for a bit?”

Jeongguk blinked, Taehyung’s word washing over him quickly and efficiently. He looked down at Taehyung, who was staring back at him with a nervous smile gracing his lips. He looked oddly hopeful, and Jeongguk scrunched his lips together and frowned.

“Why?” he asked, tilting his head genuinely. He didn’t really have much of a problem with keeping their relationship to themselves for a while, since he knew sometimes people needed their time to take new information and such in. Jeongguk supposed Taehyung wanted some space from people pounding on him for a relationship, and he respected that.

Well, to an extent.

“I just want to enjoy what we have and keep it to myself for a while, you know?” Taehyung said, a small smile quirking at the corners of his lips. “You’re wonderful, Jeonggukkie. I want you all to myself. Just for a bit, okay? Plus…” Taehyung trailed off, biting his lip, “I don’t want even more rumors to start because of us being a thing. I wouldn’t want you to be talked about badly like that.”

It made sense, even though Jeongguk knew he could handle whatever rumors there would be revolving around his relationship with Taehyung. “Then… should we tell our friends?” he asked.

Taehyung shrugged. “We don’t have to. We can let them find out themselves, just be super obvious till they just have to know.”

Jeongguk laughed at that, rolling his eyes in an exaggerated manner as Taehyung snickered.

“How evil,” Jeongguk said, “but sure, yeah. I don’t mind.”

Taehyung grinned wickedly at his answer, and Jeongguk couldn’t help but return it as he enveloped the older boy back into his arms, content with staying like that for the rest of the night.

-

Jeongguk met Kim Namjoon when he was walking with Taehyung through the humanities building on his way to his class. His boyfriend was accompanying him, the two of them laughing about something silly before quite literally bumping into the senior.

“Ah, Joon-hyung!” Taehyung exclaimed, helping him up and grinning wildly at him. “Were you finishing up with your class?”

“Oh, Taehyung,” Namjoon nodded as he shook his head from the slight interference. Jeongguk blinked as he stared between the two of them, unsure whether it was okay to say something. “Yeah, I just finished.” He side-eyed Jeongguk for a split second, raising a curious eyebrow. “Who’s this?”

“This is Jeongguk!” Taehyung said happily, taking Jeongguk’s arm and waving it up wildly above his head like Jeongguk was some kind of prize he had won. “Gukkie, this is Namjoon-hyung.”

Namjoon held out is hand in a polite gesture, and Jeongguk nervously took it while biting the inner flesh of his bottom lip. “It’s nice to meet you, Jeongguk. I’ve heard a lot about you from the others.”

“Good things I hope,” Jeongguk said, unable to rack away the nerves boiling in his chest.

Namjoon laughed. “Very good things, actually!” he said, tilting his head back. “Heard you’re Yoongi-hyung’s best friend as well, and putting up with him every day takes a lot of… ah, internal struggle.”

Taehyung snorted then. “You did it for the past three years,” he said with a dramatic eye roll. “You and hyung were super super close. You still probably are, to be honest.”

“Hm, I haven’t talked to him in a few days,” Namjoon said, smiling thoughtfully. He looked over to Jeongguk, “Will you tell him I said hi for me?”

Jeongguk nodded. “Sure.”

The three of them began to walk, heading in the direction of Jeongguk’s class as they made casual small talk between them. Taehyung’s hand remained clasped around Jeongguk’s the entire time as he chatted his ear off to Namjoon while Jeongguk remained to the side, giving his input every once in a while but moreover listening in on the conversation.

He faintly caught Namjoon staring down at their interlocked hands for a brief moment, raising his eyebrows in their direction. He was blatantly ignored by Taehyung when he asked about it, and Jeongguk had to suppress his laugh.

“Okay, spill it,” Namjoon said suddenly after Taehyung delivered a very quick kiss to Jeongguk’s cheek when Namjoon was looking away, “what’s going on between you two?”

Jeongguk remained quiet. It was better if Taehyung took over this conversation for now.

“Whatever do you mean, hyung?” he asked with a devilish smirk in his eyes. “We’re not doing anything out of the ordinary.”

“Yeah, except acting like a newlywed couple on their honeymoon,” Namjoon said with a roll of his eyes, and Jeongguk commended him on the comparison. “Are you two, ah, dating or something?”

Jeongguk exchanged a look with Taehyung for a brief moment, and when the elder delivered a subtle nod in his direction, Jeongguk shrugged. “We are,” he said, holding up his and Taehyung’s locked hands.

Namjoon’s eyes widened for a second, his eyes flitting between Taehyung and Jeongguk. He stared at Taehyung for a moment, before sighing and dropping his shoulders, shaking his head while looking down at the floor.

“Well, congratulations,” he said, and Jeongguk could tell the gesture was genuine just by looking at Namjoon’s face. “I hope you two are very happy together. Though I must say, I didn’t know Taehyung was in the dating scene. He told me he didn’t want to be with anyone till at least senior year because of his schoolwork.”

Taehyung shrugged then. “Yeah, but then I met Gukkie,” he said, and Jeongguk couldn’t even blame his heart for doing a thing upon hearing those words. “I wasn’t going to be in a relationship, but I did want to be in one with him. Besides, I think I’m ahead enough when it comes to work.”

“Well I can’t argue with that,” Namjoon said, reaching over to pat Taehyung affectionately on his head. “I should get going. Jeongguk should go to his class, too. I’ll see you both around, yeah?”

“Ah, Joon-hyung,” Taehyung said quickly as Namjoon turned around, “the others don’t know yet. Could you keep it to yourself for a bit, just till the rest of them figure it out?”

Namjoon raised an eyebrow. “You’re planning on hiding it from Jimin? Wait, you think you’re going to be able to hide it from Jimin?”

Taehyung cringed. “Okay, maybe Jimin will be one of the… first ones to find out, but I am a strong-willed person who will prevail in the end!”

Namjoon just stared at him, unimpressed. “Right.” He gave them a short salute, before stalking off with a final wave. “Have fun with that, Taehyung-ah! You two enjoy yourselves.”

“Will do, hyung!” Taehyung called after him, before turning to Jeongguk with a brilliantly bright smile plastered across his facial features. “You ready for class, Gukkie? Come over once you’re finished, yeah? Jimin’s making ramyun.”

Jeongguk grinned, giving Taehyung’s hand one final squeeze.

“I’d love to.”

-

The others figured it out fairly quickly after that. Jimin was first, of course, and it happened right after Jeongguk’s class that day. Jimin was in the kitchen cooking the noodles and came into the room at the exact time Taehyung had decided to kiss Jeongguk, resulting in spilled ramyun and a very angry Jimin because I’m your best-fucking-friend, Kim Taehyung! You should have fucking told me!

Hoseok had found out next, when Jeongguk had called Taehyung during one of their water breaks and had accidentally let a pet name slip through his lips.

Hoseok could not keep secrets for the life of him, so it wasn’t soon after that when Yoongi found out as well. Jeongguk hadn’t bothered physically telling Yoongi about it, but he knew the elder already knew about his relationship with Taehyung because they were the most obvious when they were at Jeongguk and Yoongi’s apartment. They decided it was the best, since Yoongi hardly cared enough to look into what Jeongguk was doing with Taehyung, so when Yoongi did get his thoughts confirmed, he didn’t bother acting surprised.

“I already knew,” he had said with an eye roll. “You two aren’t exactly quiet when Taehyung’s over, you know.”

Later, Jeongguk found himself in the library with his usual iced caramel latte in hand. He slipped into one of the chairs by the large shelves of books, taking his laptop out of his bag and opening up the document he had been typing on for the past couple of days. His story that needed to be in to his professor by the end of the following week had been on a bit of a hiatus, but now Jeongguk finally felt like he could get somewhere with it.

With love as his prompt, he didn’t have many ideas in the beginning. It was only after he got involved with Taehyung that he allowed himself to free write his ideas down. The plotline itself was pretty similar to his own situation regarding his boyfriend, and Jeongguk was glad that he could relate to his protagonist.

So far, he had managed to write about three thousand words, and was just starting to delve into the first meeting between the main character and his love interest. The actual assignment itself had a minimum of seven thousand words, but more often than not Jeongguk found himself going way over the requirement. There wasn’t a single thing he had submitted that didn’t go at least five thousands words over the minimum, while he knew most of his peers struggled to meet the requirement too.

Jeongguk enjoyed creative writing, to put it simply. It was something he had been into even as a child, writing stories and even sometimes getting the courage to post his work online. When he did that, Jeongguk always got tremendous amounts of amazing feedback, people all over the world reading his stuff, liking it, and leaving written comments on it. As a young teenager, Jeongguk used to stay up late, refreshing his page where he would post his stories and watch in awe as the views rolled in.

He never told anyone about his work being posted online. He kept it a secret that only he knew of- something he could keep close to his heart. He stopped posting on the internet during his high school years, making his readers mourn for the loss of an amazing writer. They were significantly happier, though, upon finding out that Jeongguk was planning on majoring in writing in college, and had received lots of advice from his older fans regarding the university experience.

When Jeongguk had entered university earlier in the year, he felt prepared. He attended his classes, wrote during his free time for said classes, and absolutely loved what he was doing. He would call his parents frequently, frowning when they told him about the research program his school offered, and even saying that would pay for the expenses that came with switching majors.

It hurt Jeongguk, seeing his parents doing so much for him when Jeongguk himself didn’t want to follow through with what they were asking of him. He understood where they were coming from, of course, and he couldn’t blame them for asking Jeongguk to get on a more stable career path, but Jeongguk knew himself better than that.

He knew that if he wanted to become an author, he would be able to. He had loyal readers from years ago that he knew would diligently read his published works, and above all, he would be doing something he loved with his entire heart.

Jeongguk smiled as his hands flew over his laptop’s keyboard, writing out the scene he was currently working on. It was when his main character would bump into the girl he was destined to be with for the first time, and with a quick glance at his outline, Jeongguk grimaced. The scene itself was set to run for at least two thousand words, and that was just the beginning. He knew that if this continued, the story would end up much, much longer than both he and his professor would like.

His professor enjoyed having Jeongguk in her class, of course, but she had told off Jeongguk many times for writing too much for every creative writing assignment she set for them. She said that she didn’t have time to read all of it, but Jeongguk knew well that she very much liked his work. She wrote in the comments section only praise for him, and complimented him during lectures. His classmates envied him for having such prominent skills, especially when their professor would reference something from Jeongguk’s writing.

Jeongguk, however, enjoyed every second of it. He was practically oozing around in the praise, grinning ear to ear as he shared secretive smiles with his teacher.

Creative writing was something he had grown to adore. Writing was his second life, and he didn’t mind pouring hours into writing something, whether it be for his own personal enjoyment or for a class. Either way, he did a lot of it, and he had never been happier. His writing took him to places in his mind he wouldn’t have even dreamed of going to, and he immersed himself in the fictional world he drew out for his characters.

As he typed into the fourth page of the day, Jeongguk was momentarily distracted by his phone buzzing on the table. He frowned, pausing his music and unplugging his earphones. He quickly picked up the call, standing up and moving to a corner of the library so he wouldn’t disturb the other students while they were working.

“Hey, Mingyu, what’s up?” he murmured into his phone. Kim Mingyu was a freshman in his advanced writing class, and the two of them had become good friends while doing writing sprints together whenever they were both free and away from their respective boyfriends. He was also Minghao’s best friend, and Jeongguk had initially met him through that connection when Mingyu came around during one of their dance practices.

“Hey Jeongguk!” Mingyu said from the other end of the line. “What’re you up to?”

“Writing in the library,” Jeongguk replied. “Why? Did you want to come down and join me?”

“Oh, no, I was planning on spending my free day with Wonwoo,” Mingyu said, and Jeongguk muffled his laugh. “I just wanted to ask you about something I heard around campus? I didn’t want to make any assumptions before forming an opinion, you know?”

Jeongguk’s mouth turned downwards into a slight frown. He already didn’t like the sound of that. Was there some rumor circulating around about him?

“What happened?” Jeongguk asked, genuinely curious now. Usually he wouldn’t care much about something like this, but it was coming from Mingyu, one of his friends. He knew he could trust Mingyu, since he was the only person who truly shared his passion for writing. The two of them had bonded many times over it, and Jeonguk knew that he could count on the freshman for anything. Mingyu was simply like that.

“Something about you, ah, how do I say this…” He trailed off, which only made Jeongguk more anxious.

“What?” he asked. “C’mon, dude. Just tell me.”

“Um, something about you fucking Kim Taehyung?”

Jeongguk blinked, the palms of his hand becoming sweaty as Mingyu’s crude words sunk in. He had phrased it rather harshly, sure, but Jeongguk also knew that that was also because it was Mingyu, and he was like that. Blunt. To the point. Usually Jeongguk would have appreciated that, but this was not one of those moments.

“Me doing what with Kim Taehyung?” he asked, his voice coming out in a hushed whisper now, because honestly, what the fuck? What kind of rumor was that?

“You and Kim Taehyung being fuckbuddies,” Mingyu repeated, this time being a little slower with his words, like he himself was contemplating them. “I didn’t really know what to make of that, haha. I know you’re friends since I see you hanging out together sometimes, but I didn’t know the extent to which that friendship ran, you know?”

That was the thing. He didn’t know.

“I-I’m not,” Jeongguk stammered, his head spinning. “Who even… who even started that?”

“Don’t know,” Mingyu responded, “I think it was a few people who saw you two clinging onto each other in the quad.”

“Why did they come to that conclusion, though?” Jeongguk groaned. “Why not something like, I don’t know, us dating each other?”

There was a pause on the line. “Are you dating him?”

“No,” Jeongguk denied quickly, because Taehyung didn’t want anyone to know just yet, and Jeongguk knew he had to respect that.

Which also meant that he had to go with whatever shitty thing that was being said about him. Jeongguk groaned when the realization came to him.

“Whatever. I’ll deal with it,” he muttered, hearing a sigh across the line. “Just… if you hear it again, do me a favor and shut it down for me, will you, Gyu?”

“Sure, Guk,” Mingyu said, and Jeongguk knew he was smiling.

Because that was Mingyu. It was how he was.

“Anyways, thanks for calling and letting me know,” Jeongguk said sincerely, extremely grateful that he had heard about it through Mingyu and not through word of mouth. The latter would have been far too confusing for his liking, and Jeongguk was never one for dramatics.

Well, that was a lie.

This, though?

Jeongguk frowned, knowing that it was better if he didn’t bring it up with Taehyung. The only reason the elder wanted to keep them a secret in the first place was because of the rumors, and this would only add to his stress. Jeongguk didn’t want that, so he decided he would keep quiet about it for now.

-

“Hey, Jeongguk, can you come here for a second?” Yoongi called from the kitchen. Jeongguk glanced up from his work on the dining table, closing his laptop cover that was currently open on his story. With a sigh, Jeongguk stood up and trudged into the kitchen to see his roommate hunched over the fridge.

“What is it, hyung?” he asked, raising his eyebrow as he saw Yoongi’s head bump against the fridge door as he quickly glanced in the younger’s direction.

“Do you know if we ran out of milk?”

Jeongguk groaned. “We did. I told you about this yesterday.”

Yoongi raised an eyebrow. “How did we run out already?”

“You’re the one who eats cereal with, like, two bowls of milk every morning,” Jeongguk retorted. “I just drink my banana milk.”

“Did we run out of banana milk too?” Yoongi asked, his eyes going back to the fridge and scanning it. “And for your information, I drink one bowl in the morning and one in the afternoon.”

“We could never. I stock up every single week,” Jeongguk said, an air of pride in his tone while he completely ignored the second part of the statement. Jeongguk took his banana milk very seriously, and he simply didn’t understand how Yoongi could drink the regular kind. If his roommate wasn’t drinking regular milk, he was drinking strawberry milk, which was even worse.

“Of course you do,” Yoongi said with an eye roll, before shutting the door of the fridge and leaning against it. “Now, what’s this about you and Taehyung that I’m hearing about from literally everyone on campus?”

Jeongguk’s eyes narrowed at the sudden question. He stared at Yoongi, who in turn stared back at him with a less than impressed look plastered on his face.

“What?”

“I thought you two were dating,” Yoongi said, lifting his eyebrow skeptically. “And now I’m hearing that you’re only in it for the physical connection and hanging around him because he’s, what, smart?”

Jeongguk blinked slowly as the information sunk in. He already knew about the first part, thanks to Mingyu, but the second part? Who even had the time to come up with these things?

“You actually believe all that?” Jeongguk said instead.

“No, I think it’s bullshit,” Yoongi responded with a light shrug. “How can I even think differently? You two are so disgusting together.”

“We are not.”

“You are.”

“No we’re not! You just don’t understand and you don’t have any emotions!” Jeongguk said, before pausing for a second. “Well, except for when it comes to Jimin. Maybe Hobi-hyung too. Possibly Namjoon-hyung. Oh, and Tae. I don’t know Kim Seokjin, but from what I’ve heard you’re probably good with him too.”

Yoongi’s eyes narrowed. “What’s that supposed to mean.”

“You’re soft for your friends!” Jeongguk said, his tone defensive. “What’s wrong with that?”

Yoongi ignored him, instead moving to cross his arms beneath his chest. Jeongguk gulped, knowing the look the elder was giving him well. He had been on the receiving end of it many times before, and had gotten more than used to it as the years had passed.

“Jeongguk, why did Taehyung want to keep what’s going on between you two a secret? Your relationship?” he asked, and Jeongguk twisted his lips anxiously.

“He didn’t want rumors started about us,” he said.

“Rumors,” Yoongi repeated.

“Yeah.” It sounded lame to Jeongguk’s ears as well, and he knew that Yoongi didn’t think much differently, judging by the look on his face.

“And you do realize that’s exactly what’s happening right now, right?” he asked slowly, like Jeongguk was a little child that couldn’t understand the words coming out of his mouth. The younger frowned. He hadn’t really thought about that.

“It’s fine,” he said weakly.

Yoongi sighed, walking up to Jeongguk. He stopped in front of him and placed his hands on the younger’s shoulders. He looked at Jeongguk, who stared right back with a nervous glint in his eye.

“Jeongguk-ah,” Yoongi started, “are you okay?”

“I’m fine, hyung,” Jeongguk said immediately, which made Yoongi’s frown deepen further.

“Are you sure?” he asked. “I know it can’t be easy having people talk about you like that, and I also know that you’re not going to say anything about it because Taehyung doesn’t want anyone to know about you dating him.”

“Whatever,” Jeongguk said in a meek attempt to push it away. Yoongi shot him another look, which Jeongguk very pointedly ignored. Yoongi sighed deeply, shaking his head before backing away from him, going to the entrance of the apartment and picking up his jacket from the coat closet.

“I’ll go get the milk,” he murmured, and Jeongguk could only manage a small nod as he watched his best friend slip through the door and go outside. He knew Yoongi cared for him a lot, and he also knew that him brushing him off like that was probably hurting it, but Jeongguk simply was not interested in Yoongi feeling bad for him. Jeongguk signed up for all of this the second he asked Taehyung out, and this was just him living out his consequences.

-

The consequences had gotten to be a little much, and even Jeongguk could see that by now.

Everywhere he went, people would stop, stare, and whisper. The three came in a package deal. Once someone stopped, another would stare, and someone else would whisper. Jeongguk could only hang his head and try his very best to ignore them, but it was getting increasingly more difficult as people began to be more and more verbal with their accusations.

Jeongguk was never one for confrontations, but apparently others were. He had already been approached more than a few times about what was going on between him and Taehyung, his boyfriend. Did people know that he was his boyfriend, though? Nope.

Now, the only question left was: Why?

Jeongguk got the answer from Namjoon.

“He was asked out a lot in freshman year,” the senior said when the two of them bumped into each other between classes in the humanities building. Namjoon and Jeongguk were going in similar directions, and the two had decided to walk together when Jeongguk asked Namjoon about what was going on. “He always said no, so people just assumed that he wasn’t interested in being in a relationship.”

“What?” Jeongguk asked, raising an eyebrow. “What does that have to do with this? That was two years ago.”

“Yes, but he never stopped saying no to potential people who were interested in him,” Namjoon continued with a small frown adorning his features. “Like, he’s had crushes who’ve asked him out and still got rejected by him. It was the only natural assumption, really.”

“Was he just not interested?” Jeongguk asked, his curiosity now genuinely piqued.

“Yeah, I guess,” Namjoon said. “You know how I was a little surprised when I first heard about you two being together? It was because of exactly that. I didn’t think he was interested, but he really seems to like you a lot. Which I understand, but it’s Taehyung.”

Jeongguk glanced down at the floor and knitted his arms together. “Is that why no one’s really thought that maybe we’re dating for real?” he asked, his voice small.

“It’s stupid, but yes, essentially. That’s why people think you’re in it for other reasons, and that you’re using his smarts to make yourself look better or something. Which, by the way, is utter nonsense because if anyone had a brain and actually looked into who you are, they would know that you don’t need a smart person by your side since you yourself are so well off in that department.” He shot Jeongguk a wink. “Don’t think I haven’t asked the profs for some of your stuff. I’m friends with Professor Choi. I had her in freshman year as well.”

Jeongguk’s eyes widened upon hearing that. Professor Choi was his creative writing teacher who he loved so much, and hearing that Namjoon had asked her to read his work was beyond flattering.

“Thank you,” he said genuinely right before they stopped in front of his lecture hall. “Really. For everything.”

“You’re talented, Jeongguk,” Namjoon shrugged. “I’m just telling you the truth. And for telling you about Taehyung? Don’t mention it.”

“Does Taehyung know about the rumors?” Jeongguk asked, because it had honestly been eating at him for a while now, whether or not Taehyung knew what was going on. If he did, why hadn’t he said anything? And if he didn’t, would he do something about it if he did?

“Maybe,” Namjoon responded truthfully, making Jeongguk bite down on his bottom lip from nerves. It wasn’t a yes, but it wasn’t a no either. He supposed Namjoon simply didn’t know if Taehyung was aware of what was going on, just like Jeongguk didn’t either.

They parted ways quickly after that, as both of them had classes to get to and they didn’t want to hold each other up. Jeongguk did like Namjoon a lot as a person, especially since the two were in similar majors and always seemed to bump into each other while they were going to a lecture in their building. Jeongguk wondered why he hadn’t noticed him earlier, before he knew the rest of the group, but chalked it down to the fact that he was just very antisocial.

After his class, Jeongguk took a quick look into his email and was relieved to see that his final lecture of the day had been cancelled due to his professor being sick. It meant that he had the rest of the day to himself, and he was grateful for the free time. He thought about going to the library to try and get another few hundred words down for his story, but then remembered that he hadn’t seen Taehyung since the day before and decided to go see him instead.

When Jeongguk got home, he sat down on the couch and opened his phone, typing out a text to his boyfriend with a small smile playing at his lips.

Text Message: ♡ Tae&Gukkie

gukkie love: hey tae, do you have any classes left?

taebae: i was planning on skipping haha what’s up gukkie?

gukkie love: don’t skip!!!

taebae: you saw nothing ;)

gukkie love: ;/

gukkie love: i was wondering if you wanted to hang out?

taebae: i always want to hang out with u baby why are u even asking ♡♡

gukkie love: do you wanna come over?

taebae: aww no heart back? :(

gukkie love: ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡

taebae: cutie

taebae: i’d looooove to come over ♡ what time?

gukkie love: just show up i’ve already kicked hyung out

taebae: what a sweet roommate u are ♡♡ but sure i’ll be there in 30 mins ok?? ♡♡♡♡

gukkie love: i’ll look forward to it ♡

-

Jeongguk frowned as he stared down at the video Hoseok and Soonyoung had recorded for the troupe. The two of them had come up with an intricate dance routine very different from their usual style, since this one was filled with grace and elegance. It was a breathtaking dance, but Jeongguk was having a bit of trouble with it.

He sighed deeply as he set his phone back down onto the speakers and pressed play on the mp3 track his hyungs had sent him. He allowed his feet to slide nimbly across the floor of the studio, etching every single move he was supposed to memorize deeply into his brain. Getting the steps down was the easy part, but implementing them into the dance routine was something else entirely.

Jeongguk was alright with it, though. He had learned how to cope with the vigorous pace of the club that Hoseok and the others had set out. The six of them had grown close, too, over the course of the time Jeongguk had joined. Jimin, Hoseok, Soonyoung, and Junhui were already familiar with each other, but Jeongguk and Minghao were freshman who had joined just this year, and it was remarkable how comfortable they were all together already.

The door opened behind him with a tinkle, and Jeongguk whipped around to see who it was. He grinned fondly upon noticing Minghao and Junhui walking inside, chattering with their elbows bumping against each other every so often. Jeongguk couldn’t help the slight smirk from gracing his lips upon noticing how closely they were standing next to one another. He had always wondered if there was something going on between the two of them, but had never thought about asking.

“Minghao! Jun-hyung!” he exclaimed, waving to them with a bright smile on his face. The two of them snapped their heads up, not hesitating to grin back at Jeongguk when they noticed him.

“Hi, Jeongguk,” Junhui said, returning the wave with a bright smile that showed off his handsome features. “Were you practicing from the video Soonyoung and Hobi-hyung sent the group chat?”

Minghao scrunched his nose in and pouted. “Are you completely fed up with it too?” he said, and Jeongguk nodded exasperatedly. Minghao laughed. “Yeah, I get that. I think the song’s by Soonyoung-hyung’s boyfriend. He composed it and everything, and Soonyoung-hyung wanted to come up with a routine so he can perform it for him at the showcase in a few weeks.”

Jeongguk blinked. “Wait, what?”

“Soonyoung-hyung’s boyfriend-”

“No, not that,” Jeongguk shook his head. “What’s this about a showcase?”

“Ah, did you not hear about it, Jeonggukkie?” Junhui asked, twirling himself around dramatically for extra effect. “The school’s hosting a showcase for a few of the dance troupes on campus. Hobi-hyung signed us all up yesterday.”

“Yesterday?” Jeongguk said, his lips parting. “I thought you said it was in a few weeks.”

Minghao groaned. “That’s Hobi-hyung for you. He’s the king of surprises and last minute decisions,” he said, but there was a light smile playing at his lips. Everyone in the troupe was fond of Hoseok, no matter how he was. That was just how their dynamic was. “Well, now that you know, are you going to follow through with the participation? I heard we’re going to be performing the group song we’ve been working on- not the one Soonyoung-hyung’s boyfriend sent, don’t worry. I’m pretty sure that’s not even for the group in the first place.”

Jeongguk sighed in relief. “Good,” he nodded.

“Hao and I are doing a duo act,” Junhui said, holding up his hand that was clasped in Minghao’s. “We’re dancing to a song we wrote and sung ourselves, too. We’ve been working on some choreography in our own time and we really think it’ll look good in the end.”

Jeongguk smiled softly upon hearing that. “That’s wonderful,” he said. “I can’t wait to hear and see it.”

“Soonyoung-hyung and Hobi-hyung are doing a duo as well, but I think they’re dancing to a song by a group they both really like. That, or they might even be using the song that they sent to us,” Minghao said thoughtfully, “and Jimin-hyung’s going to do a solo and use a song of his own, just like Jun-hyung and I. What about you, Jeongguk?”

The younger frowned, thinking it over. The others had seemingly already decided what they wanted to do, so the only option was either join one of the others, do something by himself, or not do anything at all. He shook the third one out immediately, because Jeongguk definitely was interested in participating with something other than the regular group performance. He didn’t want to intrude on the others’ acts either, which only left one.

“I think I’ll do a solo,” he said, watching as the other two’s faces lit up with joy.

“Really?” Junhui asked, eyes wide.

Jeongguk nodded. “Yeah.”

“So I can sign you up as a solo act?”

“Sure.”

Minghao then, most suspiciously, started smirking. Jeongguk raised an eyebrow at him.

“Good,” Minghao said, crossing his arms, “because I was lying. Jimin-hyung and Hobi-hyung haven’t decided what they want to do yet, so you could have been in a duo or a trio with them. I just wanted you to do a solo. Oh don’t look at me like that, Jeongguk. I want to display your talents to the world!”

As Junhui snickered and praised Minghao for his little trick, Jeongguk gaped at him in utter distaste. He glared at his friend, who in turn grinned happily at him, presenting him with over-enthusiastic jazz hands because he knew Jeongguk would never go back on his word.

“I hate you so much,” Jeongguk groaned, grabbing his head in his hands and sighing deeply. “I can’t believe this. I actually hate you.”

“So,” Junhui said, “you’re a writing major, right? Are you going to write the song you’re dancing to? You better be.”

“No,” Jeongguk said immediately, because there was no way he was confident enough in his writing to be able to write lyrics and shit. That was something he genuinely believed he couldn’t do until his skills were much more honed and improved greatly. “I can’t write lyrics.”

“Aww, I’m sure you’ll do fine,” Minghao said, reaching forwards to pat Jeongguk gently on his back. The younger frowned, crossing his arms and lifting a skeptical eyebrow.

“You have no place to talk,” he huffed. “This is your fault.”

“It is, isn’t it?” Minghao grinned, nodding cheekily and acting like he was in no way sorry for what he had just done. “But really, Jeongguk, think about it. I know whatever you’ll write will be amazing. Much better than whatever Jun-hyung and I have, at least.”

“That’s not true,” Jeongguk frowned. “You know that’s not true! You’re an incredible dancer, singer, and lyricist, I’m sure.”

Jeongguk’s phone chimed then, making him glance back at it with a frown. Before he could do anything about it, Junhui was already leaning forwards on his toes, his eyes going towards Jeongguk’s phone screen curiously. Jeongguk let it happen, because he trusted Junhui with his messages. Besides, who would be messaging him now with something that was actually important and required his immediate attention?

“It’s Taehyung-hyung,” Junhui said, before closing his mouth. Jeongguk watched as the elder’s cheeks lit up to a bright crimson shade. Jeongguk groaned, knowing that whatever the text read, it was not PG.

“What does it say?” he asked, because Jeongguk was evil like that. He had to get back at the two of them for what had just happened regarding his solo performance too, after all. This was just one step of many.

“Haha, I am not saying it out loud,” Junhui said, before unplugging the phone and tossing it to Jeongguk who caught it with practiced ease. Jeongguk’s eyes scanned the message, and yeah, that was pretty bad. He commended Taehyung for his sex drive, honestly.

“So… it’s true what they say?” Minghao asked suddenly, and Jeongguk raised an eyebrow.

“Say what?” he asked.

Minghao frowned. “About you and Taetae-hyung? I didn’t believe it at first because I never saw you two like that, but if… if your texts are like that, then…” Minghao didn’t even know what the texts said, but Jeongguk knew that judging by both his and Junhui’s reaction, he probably had a pretty good idea.

“What do you mean?” Jeongguk asked, feigning innocence. He knew what this was about, though. It was another one of the rumors that had somehow made it to Minghao and Junhui’s ears. The best part? Jeongguk wasn’t even surprised at this point.

“I mean,” Minghao began, playing with the hem of his t-shirt, “I heard from Seungkwan that Hansol saw you and Taetae-hyung, ah, making out by the science building, and that they heard from a few others that you two were, what, friends with benefits?”

“We’re not,” Jeongguk snapped just a little too quickly. He couldn’t even blame Minghao when he cowered away suddenly, probably realizing that Jeongguk was in no mood to discuss this right now, if ever. “We’re not friends with benefits. We’re not anything.”

That made Junhui raise his eyebrow. “Really? Whenever he comes around you two are always hanging on each other,” he said pointedly, and Jeongguk groaned.

“Well, yeah, we’re dating,” he said. He trusted these two, and they were his friends. Taehyung said that it was okay to tell his friends about the two of them, and Minghao and Junhui were both people he knew he could trust.

But, honestly. None of this would have been happening in the first place if they just came clean about themselves to the rest of the school. Jeongguk silently cursed Taehyung.

He was beginning to get more and more done with the stupid rumors that were surfacing in every corner of the university campus.

“You’re dating?!” the two of them said simultaneously, and Jeongguk rolled his eyes.

“Why is it that hard to believe?” he asked, his lips itching downwards into a frown.

“It’s not!” Minghao said quickly, putting his hands in front of him and shaking his head quickly. “Actually, that makes a lot more sense than whatever the hell is being said about you two. Come to think of it, why haven’t people thought of that?”

“Because according to everyone, Kim Taehyung doesn’t date,” Jeongguk said, crossing his arms and huffing.

He was done with this. He was so fucking done with this.

Weeks had gone by since the time he first heard about all of this from Mingyu, and he hadn’t done anything then and he really was not planning on doing anything at all. But there was really only so much he could truly take at this point, with everyone whispering sweet nothings behind his back and finding sick enjoyment and satisfaction from making a fool out of him in the safety of their minds.

It was one thing to think something bad about someone, but another one entirely to actually be vocal about those thoughts. Jeongguk had enough of it, and he was honestly surprised it took him this long to actually realize that there was something wrong in the first place.

The last thing he wanted to do was confront Taehyung about nothing, but this wasn’t nothing anymore. It was having a negative effect on him, and Jeongguk simply did not like it and wasn’t willing to put up with it anymore.

“Jeongguk…” Junhui frowned, walking up to him and placing a comforting hand on his shoulder. “If it’s really bothering you, you should talk to him about it. He needs to know that it’s not something you like. All relationships are built on communication.”

“Jun-hyung’s right,” Minghao agreed with a nod. “Jeongguk, go find your boyfriend and ask him what’s going on. You deserve it after everything that people have come up with. You wouldn’t believe some of the crazy shit I’ve heard around about you.”

It made his blood boil, constantly having to listen to people telling him about what they had heard around. It wasn’t fair on him, and it wasn’t fair on Taehyung either. Sure, it was mainly Taehyung’s fault that it was happening in the first place, and Jeongguk knew that enough was enough and he had to confront him about it, but Jeongguk also knew that he had walked right into this the second he agreed to keep his relationship with Taehyung a secret.

For the first time, Jeongguk felt actual anger towards the situation regarding the rumors he had to listen to. He wanted to do something about it, and the only thing he could think of was coming clean to the rest of the campus about his relationship with Taehyung.

It wasn’t fair on him. It just wasn’t.

So, without another word, he opened his phone and completely ignored Taehyung’s last message to him, typing out a new one as his cheeks burned red in frustration. Minghao and Junhui were like his awakening to the true leverage of everything that was happening. Jeongguk had to make it up to the both of them at some point.


Text Message: ♡ Tae&Gukkie

gukkie love: where are you

gukkie love: can we talk

taebae: what’s going on??

gukkie love: i want to talk to you about something

gukkie love: please

taebae: um

taebae: ok?? i’m at home w jimin

gukkie love: can i talk to you alone

taebae: i’ll get him to go see yoongi

taebae: gukkie you’re scaring me what’s going on what do you want to talk about

gukkie love: i’m coming over in 15

-

When Taehyung opened the door for Jeongguk, there was an unreadable expression on his face. Jeongguk shuffled inside without much protest, while the elder remained quiet. It was unlike them- usually when they met up at one of their places they would greet each other with a kiss, or maybe even something heavier.

Now, however, neither of them seemed to be particularly in the mood for that.

“Gukkie,” Taehyung said as Jeongguk set himself down on the couch on one side of the room. “What’s going on? You sounded angry over text.”

“Just tired,” Jeongguk murmured, taking his head in his hands and rubbing his temples. Taehyung was quickly by his side, sitting on the armrest of the sofa and gently putting Jeongguk’s hands down. He put his fingers to Jeongguk’s forehead, massaging it for him. Jeongguk groaned in appreciation. His headache really was beginning to get a little much.

“Tae,” Jeongguk started, looking up and frowning. “I can’t do this anymore.”

Taehyung blinked at him, clearly confused in regards to what Jeongguk was talking about. “What? What can’t you do anymore?” he asked, which made Jeongguk gulp back his nerves.

All he had to do was tell Taehyung that he wanted to tell everyone else about their relationship, and accept his answer. That was all he had to do, and yet, he couldn’t stop himself from being incredibly nervous.

He was angry before, but now he was becoming plain miserable.

“Us. I can’t do us anymore.”

And, okay, that was not what he was supposed to say.

Taehyung froze, and Jeongguk’s lips parted in shock at what he had just said. No, he wasn’t here to break up with Taehyung. That wasn’t supposed to happen. Taehyung was the only thing that made him happy, and what was he doing now? Ending things with him? Jeongguk couldn’t form words as he stared at Taehyung in surprise, waiting for the elder to say something.

“W-what? What do you mean? Why?” Taehyung stammered out, probably even more confused now. “What are you saying?”

“Do you know?”

Taehyung frowned. “Do I know what, Gukkie? I know a lot of things. You need to be more specific than that.”

“Do you know what people say about us?” Jeongguk pressed, because all he wanted to hear right now was a No, Gukkie, I don’t even know what you’re talking about.

But since when did anything ever work out for Jeon Jeongguk?

Taehyung nodded, the entire action seeming all too meek. The elder hunched in on himself helplessly, still resting idly on the armrest of the chair. Jeongguk’s eyes widened when he saw how his boyfriend was acting. Guilty. Something that tasted a lot like bile felt like it was rising in the depths of his throat.

“How could I not?” Taehyung muttered, hiding his face in his knees. “I was just hoping that it wouldn’t have reached your ears.”

Jeongguk’s eyes narrowed. “What do you mean? How could it not reach my ears? It’s one of the biggest rumors on campus, and it’s about me.”

“Yoongi-hyung said you didn’t pay attention to rumors,” Taehyung pointed out, “I just assumed that you wouldn’t find out about it since you don’t actively look for them in the first place.” He was implying something deeper, though, and Jeongguk caught onto it with ease. Taehyung did look for rumors, and the realization made the younger want to cry. It really showed off Taehyung’s insecurities, but Jeongguk didn’t want anything like that for him, no matter what he was feeling in the moment.

“Word travels around,” Jeongguk said defensively. “You can’t just expect that I won’t hear about something, especially if it’s your fault that it’s happening in the first place.”

That made Taehyung stare at Jeongguk for a good few seconds, allowing Jeongguk’s words to sink in.

“Wait, how is any of this my fault?”

Jeongguk’s lips turned downwards. “You wanted to keep us a secret. If we didn’t keep ourselves a secret, do you really think people would, what, think we’re fuckbuddies? Or that I’m just trying to get with you to make myself look better? Do you fucking enjoy that?”

“I don’t,” Taehyung said, shaking his head. “But it’s also not my fault that people say what they say. That’s something I can’t apologize for, so I don’t see what you could want from me.”

“But you can try and prevent it from happening,” Jeongguk said, crossing his arms and looking to the side to meet Taehyung’s eyes in perfect contact. “You wanted to stay secret because of the rumors in the first place, right?”

“The rumors would be even worse if we told everyone we’re dating,” Taehyung said, looking away with a sullen look on his face. “You don’t know what it’s like, Jeongguk. You haven’t had to live all your life with horrible things being said about you constantly. This is nothing compared to what’s usually being said about me.”

Jeongguk didn’t want to believe what he was hearing, because who in their right mind would put their own struggles above others’?

“Well that’s really fucking hypocritical of you,” Jeongguk spat, suddenly standing up and turning to better face the elder. “If you know how it feels to be talked about, why didn’t you do anything about it when you knew I was going through the same thing? Don’t give me the excuse of you thinking I wouldn’t find out, because you know just as well as I do that that wouldn’t have happened. I was going to find out sooner or later, and I might have even found out before you did, since someone told me just when they were beginning to come up around school.”

“Jeongguk,” Taehyung said, looking absolutely helpless, “don’t do this.”

“I want to come out about us,” Jeongguk said firmly, ignoring him. “I want to be able to tell people that yes, Kim Taehyung is my fucking boyfriend and I’m fucking in love with him.”

Taehyung’s head snapped up at Jeongguk’s sudden confession. They were yet to say that they were in love with each other, even though they knew that they were. Not when they were kissing, cuddling, or even making love. It was a boundary they hadn’t had the courage to cross yet, and the fact that Jeongguk had blurted it out right then and there made something in his chest crack, if ever so slightly.

“I’m in love with you too,” Taehyung said, and Jeongguk felt the tiniest amount of guilt when he saw tears spring up in his eyes. He didn’t know what the tears were from, though. They could have been from anything. Sadness, happiness, frustration… it picked at Jeongguk’s weak spots when he realized he simply did not know. “Jeongguk, I really-”

“If you are, then you’ll let all of this stop,” Jeongguk cut in, his voice so much more softer now. He stared back at Taehyung with pursed lips and desperate, craving eyes. He wanted to stay. He wanted to do anything that would make their relationship be saved.

But he knew it wouldn’t work, because that was just the kind of person Taehyung was.

When Taehyung shook his head, something inside Jeongguk broke.

No words were exchanged after that. Jeongguk looked down at Taehyung steadily, his knees wobbling slightly as he fell backwards, towards the door. Taehyung stared after him as Jeongguk backed away, something helpless stuck deeply in his eyes.

Jeongguk opened the door and slipped outside, his eyes closed as he shut it behind him and leaned against it with a sigh.

Well. That could have gone a lot better.

-

“You what?” Jimin gaped at Jeongguk a few days later as they were sitting on the floor of the dance studio, going over their performance for the upcoming showcase. “Is that why he’s been moping around the apartment so much? You two broke up?”

“I highly doubt he’s moping,” Jeongguk frowned, flicking his sweat-dripped bangs out of his eye, “and I wouldn’t call it a breakup, since I never actually said that I was breaking up with him.”

“Jeongguk, I’m pretty sure he’s taking it as a breakup,” Jimin said, and Jeongguk sighed. “What even happened between you two? Taehyung wouldn’t tell me what’s going on and I haven’t actually seen you properly in a while.”

“I asked him if he knew about the rumors being said about us,” Jeongguk said, crossing his arms and huffing. “He said yes, Jimin. He fucking said yes and he still didn’t do anything about it. I asked him to come clean with everyone and tell people that we’re dating and not just fuckbuddies or whatever, and he said he wouldn’t do it because apparently the rumors out of that would be even more severe than what’s been going on now.”

“Okay, yeah, that’s pretty bad,” Jimin said, pressing his lips together and outwardly cringing. “Ouch. Yeah. I’ll talk to him about it.”

Jeongguk sighed. “No need,” he said, reaching up to rub his temples. “I said what I needed to say. I just… I just really wish he had done something to stop me, you know?”

“Jeongguk… you also need to understand that Taehyung really hasn’t had the best experiences when it comes to rumors,” Jimin said, biting his lip nervously as Jeongguk stared at him. “I guess, to an extent, I do sympathize with him because he might have only wanted to protect you from bad things being said.”

“But bad things were said anyway,” Jeongguk refuted, “and he knew about them. If that was true, why didn’t he do anything about it when he first heard about it?”

“Because Taehyung thinks that you being in a relationship with him isn’t something everyone else would like, and therefore they would give you even more crap about it,” Jimin said, and Jeongguk snapped his head in the junior’s direction. “I think that’s what he meant when he said revealing your relationship would cause worse rumors, though I don’t agree with him.” Jimin paused. “I don’t think it would cause worse rumors. They’d be a lot better, if there would even be any in the first place.”

“So you also think that Taehyung should have just come clean about it,” Jeongguk deadpanned, because Jimin was being damn confusing.

“Yeah, he should have,” Jimin said, “but he probably just wasn’t thinking. He didn’t want to lose you, Jeongguk.”

“He hasn’t,” Jeongguk said, his voice just a little too throaty for his liking. “Does he think he’s lost me? God, Jimin, he hasn’t.”

“Then what, Jeongguk?” Jimin said, turning his head so his hair swished in front of him. His expression was one of exasperation, and Jeongguk couldn’t help but purse his lips in a guilty reaction. “If he hasn’t lost you, and he doesn’t have you either, what does he have?”

“We’re taking a break,” Jeongguk muttered. “I didn’t break up with him.”

“Then maybe you should tell him that,” Jimin said.

“But I don’t want to talk to him right now,” Jeongguk said.

“Jeongguk, I can’t tell him everything for you. I won’t do that. Communication is key,” Jimin said.

“That’s what Minghao and Junhui-hyung said too, but look how that worked out.” Jeongguk groaned, burying his head in the crook of his elbow. “I seriously didn’t mean for any of this to happen. I didn’t want to cut things off with him in the first place. It just… happened.”

“Hm,” Jimin said, before shrugging and pushing himself off of the floor. Jeongguk could clearly tell that he was done with the point of conversation, but he also knew that he could trust Jimin with talking to Taehyung. Jimin and Taehyung were the closest two friends could possibly be, and whenever Jeongguk looked upon their friendship, his heart would warm. Now, though? He didn’t know what was going on anymore, but he was at least glad that Jimin was supporting him through his rough patch with Taehyung.

He knew that if it was someone else, like Yoongi for example, the elder wouldn’t take the side of someone who wasn’t his best friend. It was one of the many things Jeongguk was thankful for when he considered his friendship with Yoongi. He knew the elder would always have his back no matter what.

“In other news,” Jimin began, looking down at Jeongguk with a strange smile adorning his features, “I’m planning on doing a solo for the showcase since Hobi-hyung and Soonyoung are doing their own thing. I think they’re performing the video they sent us last week?”

Jeongguk nodded. Junhui had told him about that the day before, and he was very excited for his hyungs. “Nice, you’re doing a solo. What song?”

“I’m using something from an assignment for my vocal class,” Jimin said, and Jeongguk’s eyes widened upon remembering that the boy was minored in vocals. “You know how Jun and Hao are using their song, My I? I wrote something a few months ago called Serendipity, and Yoongi-hyung helped me produce a backing track to it last week so I’m officially all set to use it.”

“Hyung didn’t tell me anything about it,” Jeongguk said, tilting his head to the side. “Good for you, Jimin! I can’t wait to hear the song.”

“Yoongi-hyung told me he wouldn’t tell you because then you’d pester him and try to get him to let you hear it, and I want it to be a surprise for everyone,” Jimin explained. “Minghao told me you were doing a solo too.”

Jeongguk groaned. “I only hate one person in the world and his name is Xu Minghao.”

Jimin snickered. “Are you writing your own song too?” he asked. “You’re a creative writing major, Jeongguk. Please tell me you’re writing your own song.”

“Nope,” Jeongguk said, popping the ‘p’. “There’s no way I’m writing a song and performing with it, haha no. Not a chance.”

Jimin pouted, sticking his bottom lip out and allowing his eyes to go wide on his face. “But Jeongguk, Yoongi-hyung already allowed me to read some of your regular stuff, so don’t think I don’t know how good you are. Besides, anything you write will be amazing, and song lyrics are just… something that can come naturally to you.” Jimin paused. “Okay, maybe not, but at least consider it.”

“I have,” Jeongguk sighed, “but the showcase is next month. I don’t have time to write a song, record it, and create choreography to match it as well.”

“You don’t need to record it,” Jimin pointed out. “You could always just sing live. From the heart, you know?”

Jeongguk deadpanned, “No.”

“Why not?!”

“I’m a writer, not a singer. I’d be okay with recording something, but I am not singing live.”

“I’ll help you!” Jimin insisted. “I’ll help train you and everything! All you need to do is write a song! I’ll get Yoongi-hyung to produce a backtrack for you and if you really need help I’ll ask Namjoon-hyung to write something with you!”

Jeongguk’s eyes grew wide. “Why do you want me to do this so badly?”

“Because you’re talented,” Jimin said, his eyes going hard. “Show everyone that you don’t need a Kim Taehyung by your side to make yourself look better.”

And well, how could Jeongguk say no to that?

-

Taehyung frowned as he punched in numbers into his graphing calculator. His eyes skimmed over his computer screen, wavelength frequencies charting live in front of him as he desperately tried to keep up and read each and every one with careful detail.

“Did you get four-zero-seven?” he murmured to the person who was sitting on his right. Jisoo glanced up from his own work, nodding and sliding over his sheet so Taehyung could get a look.

“Here. What about six-seventy-five?”

“I got it but I don’t think it’s right,” Taehyung said, glaring at his calculator. “I think the system was solved incorrectly. Did you ask Jeonghan for the answer?”

“He said he’d ask Seungcheol later tonight,” Jisoo nodded. He sighed, shutting his computer and leaning back with his eyes closed. “I’m so done with this. Can’t we move onto Venus already? Mars is getting so boring.”

Taehyung rolled his eyes. “Be happy you’re not Jeonghan who has to do Mars and Earth.”

“I genuinely do not know how that boy lives,” Jisoo muttered, “I mean you’re doing three planets, but at least it isn’t Earth.”

“Should have majored in extragalactic astronomy,” Taehyung tutted with a small smile playing at his lips. “Then you could have explored outside of the Milky Way and everything.” He glanced up upon noticing the doors to the room open. “Oh, there comes Jeonghan now.”

Said boy was currently walking up to the two of them with a bright smile on his face. He greeted Taehyung with a cheerful wave and Jisoo with a flirty wink. Taehyung grinned back at him as he slid into the seat next to Jisoo and took out his own computer.

“Y’all doing the calculations Professor Yoon set out for us? What planets?”

“Whatever it is, at least it isn’t Earth,” Taehyung shot back.

Jeonghan scowled. “Rude.”

“We’re doing Mars right now,” Jisoo said, going back to anxiously looking between his screen and his graphing calculator. “I genuinely feel like something’s wrong with my calculator. None of these numbers seem right.”

“Or maybe you’re just bad at using calculators,” Jeonghan said with a shrug. “Get Seungcheol to give you lessons. Or Taehyung.”

“Where’s Seungcheol been, anyway?” Jisoo murmured, scribbling down a few numbers in his notebook with his eyebrows knitted low on his features. “Did he say he was going to visit his little brother? When’s he coming back?”

“Chan made him extend his stay, yeah,” Taehyung responded, shutting his computer because he was frustrated and done with whatever he needed to finish for the day. “Anyways, what have you two been up to lately?”

Taehyung watched with mind curiosity as Jisoo and Jeonghan exchanged a glance between them, biting their lips nervously.

“You know what a better question is?” Jeonghan said, crossing his arms underneath his chest. “What have you been up to lately? You know, with that freshman kid everyone’s been seeing you with. What was his name? Jeon Jeonluk?”

“Jeongguk,” Jisoo corrected, before also turning to face Taehyung with a frown. “But yeah, he’s right. We’ve only heard rumors, but-“

“There’s nothing going on,” Taehyung cut him off smoothly, directing his eyes to the ground. “Whatever you’ve heard was just a silly rumor.”

“Taehyung, are you sure?” Jisoo asked with a small frown. “Jeongguk’s in one of my lectures and he’s talked to me a few times. He’s really a sweet guy.”

Taehyung grimaced, because yes, he knew that Jeongguk was a sweet guy. In fact, Jeongguk wasn’t just a sweet guy. He was a fucking perfect guy who didn’t deserve any of the shit he was getting. He was perfect enough to even realize that what Taehyung was doing was wrong, when Taehyung himself couldn’t.

“He’s also been pretty quiet nowadays,” Jisoo continued thoughtfully. “Ever since last week, he barely raises his hand when the professor asks a question and he doesn’t really talk to his friends much anymore. I mean, we’re not exactly close or anything, but when I say hi to him he usually says it back and lately-”

“I don’t know what’s going on with him,” Taehyung snapped, giving Jisoo a sharp eye. The boy narrowed his eyes at Taehyung, like he was searching for something that he simply couldn’t find. “Look, we were friends. I didn’t do anything to him. I don’t know what you’re implying, Jisoo, but-”

“I’m not implying anything!” Jisoo exclaimed, his already high voice becoming a pitch higher. “Taehyung, what are you talking about? We were just asking you if you knew anything about it since we’ve heard talk about you being involved with him.”

“Well not everything you hear is the truth,” Taehyung muttered, eyes downcast as he stared at his lap dejectedly. “Whatever. It’s my fault he’s like this.”

Jeonghan spoke up, “So… you do know.”

Taehyung sighed. Oh well. These two were his friends. They had been with him in the astronomy program ever since freshman year, going through every class and assignment by his side. Of course, Taehyung was closer to his other friends, like Jimin and Hoseok, but he appreciated his astronomy friends more than anything.

“We dated,” he confessed, watching as their faces changed into ones of understanding. “We dated for a little more than a month, and I ruined everything by not doing anything about those rumors you guys have been hearing.”

“Yeah, uh, they were pretty bad,” Jeonghan said, outwardly cringing.

The best, and possibly most concerning part of the entire ordeal, was that Taehyung felt a strange sense of relief wash over him after admitting to his relationship with Jeongguk. It was the first time he had admitted to someone other than his friends that he and Jeongguk were involved with one another, and frankly, Taehyung didn’t know how to take it.

In all honesty, he had been expecting Jeonghan and Jisoo to act more surprised at the news, but instead, they had taken it without much drama. Taehyung frowned when he came to that particular realization, because it wasn’t what he was prepared for at all.

“Wait, so, are you two not surprised?” Taehyung asked carefully.

Jeonghan shrugged. “I mean, not really? You haven’t dated anyone throughout your entire college life, Taehyung. You were bound to eventually get together with someone, Jeongguk or otherwise.”

“And what about what I said during freshman year?” Taehyung continued.

“Oh, that?” Jisoo said, eyes widening in recognition. “Taehyung, you were a freshman. It was two years ago. I’m pretty sure a lot of people don’t hold you to not following through with whatever you said about not wanting to date back then. People change, and you’re just one of the ones who actually did.”

“But, okay, think about it like this,” Taehyung said, shuffling around in his seat and setting his eyes on the two of them, who were looking at him expectantly. “Us not telling anyone about us already caused so many bad rumors to appear, right? Now, imagine if we had told people. Wouldn’t that just make even worse rumors? Wouldn’t people be accusing Jeongguk of more stuff if they knew we were in an actual relationship?”

They furrowed their eyebrows at him.

“Sorry, dude, I don’t see the logic there,” Jisoo said frankly.

Taehyung groaned. “Think about it. People have been calling us, what, fuckbuddies? They’ve been telling Jeongguk that he’s only in it for the fame of being associated with me? If they knew we were dating, wouldn’t they just say things like, I don’t know, him drugging me into saying yes? Our relationship being a complete scam? They’d go after him for dating me, you guys. There are people who would do extensive things for me, and that's not my ego talking.”

“Yeah, but that’s a really big stretch, Taehyung,” Jeonghan frowned. “And even if all of that did happen, you two would at least still be together. Jeongguk wouldn’t have left you, Taehyung, if you didn’t just keep him as your dirty little secret.”

Jeonghan’s words were harsh, but both him and Taehyung knew that he had to hear them. Taehyung winced at the implications, but he could not deny them. After all, that was exactly what had happened, right? Taehyung had hid Jeongguk and made him feel absolutely worthless. That was what led to the two of them breaking things off with one another, and Taehyung did know that.

He just wondered why it had taken him so long to realize the consequences of his actions.

“Taehyung,” Jisoo began, placing a comforting hand on Taehyung’s shoulder, “why don’t you talk to someone about this. We’re your friends, yes, but I don’t know how qualified we are to talk to you about what’s going on between you and Jeongguk.”

Taehyung managed a weak nod in response, slumping down on Jisoo’s shoulder as the slightly older boy rubbed his back comfortingly. Jeonghan did the same, the three of them melting into a tight embrace.

-

“Hyungie,” Taehyung began as he shuffled into the kitchen of his apartment, “how have you been?”

Seokjin sighed happily on the other end of the line, which lifted Taehyung’s spirits, if only slightly. The younger boy hadn’t gotten a proper opportunity to give his older brother a call ever since the year started, and it just so happened that a Seokjin had a bit of free time just when Taehyung needed him the most.

“I’ve been really well, Taehyungie,” Seokjin said, and Taehyung could tell he was grinning. “Why the sudden call? Haven’t heard from you in a while since you’ve been so busy with school and all. How are the others?”

“They’re all doing well,” Taehyung said. “Jimin and Hobi-hyung are still as busy as ever with the club, and Namjoon-hyung’s been here and there. Yoongi-hyung, uh, ever since he joined grad school he’s been a little busy and everything, but, ah, his best friend joined the college this year.”

“Really?” Seokjin asked. “Yoongi used to talk about him sometimes, but that dongsaeng’s so private about his life that I never got much out of him. What’s the boy’s name, again?”

Taehyung gulped. “Jeongguk. J-Jeon Jeongguk.”

“He’s a freshman, correct?” Seokjin asked. “Fresh meat, that kid is. I hope you and the others have welcomed him well, Taehyungie. Did he meet Jimin? Jimin’s a good starter for the whole friend group since he already knows Yoongi. Well, you all do, but him a little more than others.”

“He joined the dance club,” Taehyung said, pride leaking into his voice because yes, Taehyung couldn’t have been prouder of Jeongguk for getting into the club, even if it was his say in the end that decided it. Taehyung considered himself fair in that aspect. Even if he didn’t know Jeongguk beforehand, he wouldn’t have hesitated to accept him.

“Jimin and Hobi’s club?” Seokjin asked incredulously, and Taehyung couldn’t even blame him for how surprised his sounded. “Wow. He must be really good, then. Did you let him in?”

“Yeah. He deserved it,” Taehyung said, and before he could even stop himself he added, “He deserves so much more than that, though.”

There was a pause across the line, and Taehyung mentally slapped himself for his tiny slip up. Well, he had been planning on easing into the topic of how he and Jeongguk were involved to Seokjin, and that sure was one way to go about it.

“Uh, Tae, is there something you want to tell me?” Seokjin asked, but by the way his tone was sounding, Taehyung already knew that Seokjin had a pretty good idea of what was going on.

Maybe it was the way his older brother was talking to him, all sweet and sympathetic and in a way Taehyung knew he wasn’t worth of. Or maybe it was the usage of the nickname Tae, the name that Jeongguk used to call him, that Taehyung finally broke down right then and there in the middle of the kitchen.

Taehyung’s knees shook beneath him and he let out the faintest choke of a sob escape his chapped lips, crinkling and hard from the absence of his favorite cherry lip balm. His mind was in a swirl of thoughts, mostly memories about his short relationship with his ex-boyfriend. Jeongguk’s face faded in and out of Taehyung’s mind as he finally allowed himself to cry over how badly he had messed up.

Jeongguk was his first relationship that he actually gave a shit about. It was the first time he had genuinely cared about someone and wanted to extend that into a romantic relationship. Jeongguk was many of his firsts, but he was also the first time Taehyung truly felt lost about everything. He considered himself a very put together person, yet when it came to Jeon Jeongguk, he couldn’t bring himself to feel the same way that he used to about himself.

“Oh- God, Taehyungie, don’t cry!” Seokjin’s voice sounded again, and Taehyung was immediately calmed once again. There was simply something comforting about his brother, something that cooled down whatever raging emotions that were pent up inside of him. “What’s wrong, love? Did Jeongguk do something to you? Do I need to come over there and beat his-”

“N-no!” Taehyung quickly set, effectively silencing Seokjin cold. “Jeongguk didn’t do anything, and I’m not crying.”

“You sure about that?”

“P-positive.” Taehyung gulped. “Actually… it was me who did something to him. Not the other way around.”

Seokjin didn’t say anything for another few moments. “What? What did you do?” he asked, and Taehyung shuddered as he recalled the past few weeks. “Taehyung, what was he to you?”

“We were dating, Jin-hyung,” Taehyung said, biting his lip as he decided it was okay to spill the beans. “We met through the others and I got close to him. I realized I really liked him and I kissed him one day and then we started going out together. I… The only thing wrong with it was that I asked him to keep it a secret from the rest of campus and that he should only tell our closest friends.”

Seokjin immediately hissed, showing his reaction very verbally which made Taehyung cringe.

“And I take it that didn’t go exactly well, did it,” he said, and Taehyung let out a whimper to express his agreement.

“There were so many rumors, hyung,” he said, his voice lowering to a whisper. “It was so bad. You should have heard the things people were saying about us. Everyone kept thinking Gukkie was in it for the fame or whatever and no one actually thought we were in a proper relationship because of what I stupidly said during freshman year.”

“And you, being who you are, ignored all of that because you were too afraid of losing Jeongguk,” Seokjin finished for him, his words making Taehyung’s eyes go wide. He had never thought about why he had done what he did in the first place, and he supposed Seokjin had just answered his question.

Because what was exactly what had happened, hadn’t it? Taehyung was scared of what Jeongguk would do and hear if they came out to the rest of campus, and his inner, ugly conscious told him that the younger would break up with him. Why? Taehyung didn’t exactly know, if he was being honest.

“I… I guess I was,” Taehyung murmured. “He came to me the other day, all anger and bulk, and demanded that I tell him if I knew what was being said about us. I panicked and said that I did, and then he… he broke up with me, hyung. The guy I love broke up with me.” He paused, tasting regret on the tip of his tongue. “That’s funny too, since we told each other we love one another while we were breaking up.”

“Taehyungie…” Seokjin began, trailing off near the end and sighing deeply. “I don’t know what to say, to be honest. I just hope you know that none of this is Jeongguk’s fault.”

Taehyung winced. “Don’t worry, I know.”

“But does Jeongguk know that you know?” Seokjin asked, his voice smooth and sweet. Taehyung’s face scrunched up as he felt like crying again. Just why was his brother so nice to him, even after hearing Taehyung’s story?

“I… I don’t know,” Taehyung admitted softly. “I haven’t talked to him since that time.”

“You said he told you he loved you then,” Seokjin said, “as in, when you two were breaking up. Taehyung, that means he still feels that way about you. You can’t give up.”

“Hyung, I don’t want to give up,” Taehyung said with a long sigh. “I love him, hyung, I really do. Like, I haven’t ever genuinely loved another person like this before and I can’t believe I messed it all up like the idiot I am.”

“You’re not an idiot, Taehyung,” Seokjin said, and Taehyung could tell he was frowning. “You just made a mistake, and to me it sounds like Jeongguk knows that. If you do want to make things better, though, you need to do something about it.”

“Like what, though,” Taehyung said, eyes downcast.

“You said he’s in the dance club, right? When’s their next showcase?”

“Next month,” Taehyung responded, his eyebrows knitting together carefully as he tried to make sense of what Seokjin was telling him.

“Okay. Do you know if he’s performing?”

“He is,” Taehyung nodded, even though he knew Seokjin couldn’t exactly see him. “Jimin told me he’s even doing a solo on a song he’s working on himself.”

“Yeah? Good for him,” Seokjin said. “Now, what you need to do is go to that showcase, since I know you weren’t planning on it. Go to it and support him. Talk to him afterwards during the rush and I’m sure he’ll listen to you without complaint.”

Taehyung stopped, pressing his lips together as he contemplated the suggestion. Seokjin was right, though. He hadn’t been planning on going to the showcase since he was simply too scared of seeing Jeongguk again. He had already told Jimin about that, and his best friend had been a little sad that Taehyung wouldn’t be there to see him, but promised to take lots and lots of videos. Taehyung truly did not deserve a friend like Jimin, and that was proven day after day with every little thing the elder did for him.

“I… I don’t know,” Taehyung muttered, reaching the free hand that wasn’t holding his phone to rub at his temples gently from exasperation. “I don’t think he really wants to see me.”

“Did he tell you that?”

“No, but he broke up with me, hyung. What else could he want?”

“An explanation, maybe?” Seokjin offered.

“I tried giving him one,” Taehyung argued, growing more and more reluctant about the entire situation. He wasn’t sure if he was completely ready to succumb to himself and do what he was being told to do, but he knew he had to.

“Try harder, then,” Seokjin encouraged, “but I also hope you know that actions speak louder than words. You giving him an explanation will only get you so far, you know? You need to show him that you don’t intend on keeping him a secret from other people anymore, since that was probably how he was feeling when you two were together.” Taehyung cringed at the use of past tense, but didn’t say anything about it. “If you want to fix it, you’ll have to show Jeongguk that you want to keep the relationship alive and well if you two were to revive it.”

“I get that,” Taehyung agreed. “I just don’t know how ready I am.”

“Taehyung-ah, let me ask you something,” Seokjin said, and Taehyung’s ears perked as he listened in closely. “Do you want Jeongguk to be your boyfriend again?”

“Yes,” Taehyung responded without hesitation. “I want that more than anything else.”

“Then push your pride aside and get him back,” Seokjin said firmly. “I know you can do it, brother. I believe that you have the heart in you that will help you get the boy you love back to you. I’ll be right by your side no matter how things work out, Taehyungie.”

Taehyung didn’t have much left to think about, did he. He recognized his mistake long ago, and now he wanted more than anything to set things right again and have Jeongguk in his arms again. Seokjin was only speaking the truth, so Taehyung didn’t know why he still was overthinking everything so much. Whenever Seokjin had given him advice on anything at all before, Taehyung had taken it and all had been well in the end.

So, why was now any different?

“Okay, hyung,” he said firmly. “I’ll do it. I’ll make things right with him again.”

-

Jeongguk didn’t know how things came to this.

Every moment he was awake, Jeongguk found himself cooped up in the dance studio with either Jimin or Yoongi, composing, writing, or practicing singing for the upcoming showcase. If he wasn’t doing that, he was working with Hoseok or Soonyoung on choreography help, even though most of the work was being done by him himself.

“What about EDM?” Yoongi was asking Jeongguk as the two of them sat sprawled across the floor. Jimin was standing around them, practicing for his own performance to a track that was lightly humming in the background.

“Okay,” Jeongguk nodded, penciling it into the notebook that laid beneath them, “but I still don’t know what to sing about.”

“Well, it’s a showcase, so you might not want to sing about depressing stuff. So… happiness?”

“Happiness,” Jeongguk repeated.

Yoongi nodded. “Happiness. What makes you happy?”

“Besides questioning your strange mind?”

“Jeongguk.”

“Okay okay, sorry hyung.” He paused to frown. “I don’t know what makes me happy, if I’m being honest.”

“If you don’t know, then who does?” Yoongi deadpanned. Jeongguk tugged at the flesh of his lips, knowing that he had to be a little more cooperative if he actually wanted to get somewhere with this.

“I don’t know what I like, uh. Dogs. Black cherry yoghurt. Overwatch. Writing. My friends. My brother. Um. Constructive criticism, but not the kind that isn’t constructive and is just criticism, because that’s just-”

“We get it,” Jimin called from somewhere behind him.

Jeongguk huffed. “What else? Uh. Travelling. Professor Choi. Did I already say writing? Writing what I’m writing right now. Romance. Writing romance. Reading romance. Taehyu-” He froze, his lips staying parting as he watched both Yoongi and Jimin give him weird looks. Jimin looked strangely pained, while Yoongi just sighed.

“Write about Taehyung,” Yoongi said. “Write about him before the mess that happened between you two.”

“N-no. I can’t have him hearing that and-”

“He’s not coming to the showcase,” Jimin cut in, something glinting wildly in his eyes. “He… he told me that he wasn’t coming since he had something important to do that day.”

“Really?” Jeongguk frowned, because even if Taehyung didn’t want to see him specifically, wouldn’t he at least go to support Jimin and the others? He had more friends than just Jeongguk in the club, so it didn’t make any sense.

Then again, Jeongguk knew Taehyung. Or maybe he didn’t. Not really, anyways. He knew that Taehyung would feel uncomfortable with Jeongguk there as well though, and he understood that. He couldn’t do anything about that, and he didn’t try to either.

“Jeongguk,” Yoongi said, pushing the notebook closer to the younger, “write. What did he make you feel?”

Jeongguk didn’t even have to think about it. “He was… he was the cause of my euphoria.”

Yoongi grinned.

-

Taehyung shuffled into the auditorium with Jeonghan and Jisoo trailing in front of him. He glanced around, not at all surprised to see the entire place bustling with students, some of which he could easily recognize from different parts of campus.

“Come on!” Jeonghan hissed as the audience began to quiet down to make way for the performers that were about to show off their abilities. “I see some free seats back there!”

They sat down near the middle of the place, and Taehyung was pleased with the viewing he had of the stage from where he was. He could easily see the people standing around on there, announcing the acts that were to be displayed.

Taehyung grimaced as he settled back in his seat, training his eyes to the front of the room as he watched the first few acts fly by. They were good, no doubt, but Taehyung didn’t really have any need to actually pay attention to them. He would start paying attention once his friends came on, sure, but no sooner than that.

Finally, Jimin and Hoseok’s club was announced and the entire place went into a ripple of the audience chattering between themselves. Taehyung didn’t blame them, either. The club had grown into a very well-fitting name over the years of it being established, and ever since news of a new Jeon Jeongguk in the club made way throughout campus, everyone had been very excited to see how the freshman would do.

It was extremely hard to get into, and two freshmen were accepted this time around. It made sense that Minghao was accepted, since he was in a few moves here and there, but Jeongguk? No one had ever heard about him before, and the added rumors regarding what he may or may not have done with Taehyung only added to the suspicion everyone held for him.

Needless to say, Jeongguk’s performance was definitely the most anticipated one for the night.

“So,” Jisoo whispered to Taehyung as the stage managers began setting up for the first performance- Minghao and Junhui’s. “Did you end up talking to someone about it?”

“I talked to Jin-hyung, yeah,” Taehyung murmured back, and Jisoo nodded, accepting his answer.

“What did he say?” he asked.

“That I should make up with Jeongguk after the showcase,” Taehyung responded with a sigh. “I decided to do it, since I’m sick and tired of not being able to see him every single day. I miss him so much, Jisoo-ah.”

“Trust me, Taehyung, he misses you too,” Jisoo said with a small frown adorning his features. “You should have seen him at today’s lecture. He was a nervous wreck. Granted, that was probably from nerves from the showcase, but Jeongguk in general has been a little antsy lately, and you know that. I’ve told you before.”

“I wish I could have been there for him,” Taehyung said, looking down at his hands in his lap and breathing in deeply. The one simple action was filled with a bitter taste of regret, and guilt. He was sad, and he knew his friends could see that. “I wish I could have been backstage with him before his performance so I could help him feel better or whatever. It just… it isn’t fucking fair.”

“Let’s just hope that he accepts your apology,” Jisoo said, and Taehyung could only nod with his lips knitted tightly together. “For now, let’s watch Hao and Jun rock this and clap for them super hard, okay?”

“Yeah,” Taehyung said, before settling down back into his seat and watching with mild excitement as two men walked onto the stage. Taehyung recognized Minghao in a suit of white, and Junhui in black, a simple white ribbon connecting their hands.

The music began, and it didn’t take long for Taehyung to recognize both of their honey-sweet voices, watching intently as they mouthed along to their parts, dancing in perfect rhythm with one another. The ribbon was their main prop, made clear as it twirled between them as they danced together. The choreography was absolutely breathtaking, and Taehyung found himself feeling an immense sense of pride for his two friends.

They had done well, and the audience made sure to let them know of that once they were finished, most of the crowd standing up and giving them an ovation, the two boys panting heavily as they took their bows. Taehyung’s grin widened even further when he saw how they clung together, pushing their chests together as they embraced in the middle of the stage for a job well done.

The next performance was Hoseok and Soonyoung’s, which was absolutely breathtaking in its own way. The two of them were fabulously talented dancers, though Taehyung already knew that after hanging around them for the amount of time he had.

Jimin went next, and Taehyung found himself cheering loudly for his best friend. He caught Jimin’s eye from where he was sitting, and the dancer looked at him in surprise. That was right- Taehyung had forgotten to tell Jimin that he had decided to go to the showcase. He knew he was going to be chewed out for his later, but in that moment he couldn’t bring himself to care.

Jimin danced with utmost grace, and Taehyung couldn’t tear his eyes away. The elder’s movements were perfect for the music, and the song itself was one of the sweetest, most beautiful things Taehyung had ever heard. Whenever he asked Jimin to let him listen to the song, Jimin had always replied negatively. He said he wanted it to be a surprise, and even after Taehyung had said he wasn’t going to the showcase, Jimin had still been adamant on not letting him listen.

It was definitely worth the wait, though. The song was glorious.

Jimin finished his dance with a dramatic raise of his hands, sifting easily into his bow as his chest heaved from his tired figure. Taehyung hollered, laughing as Jeonghan and Jisoo joined in without much hesitation.

There was only one more performance left for the club, and when it was announced, the entire room went into an excited chitter.

Jeongguk walked on stage and Taehyung’s breath hitched. The younger was wearing tight blue jeans and a white shirt, finished with a bright yellow jacket. It didn’t exactly look like a dancer’s outfit, but fucking hell he looked amazing in it. Taehyung pressed his lips together to stop his tongue from running over them, but found himself doing exactly that within the matter of minutes.

“Euphoria.”

Taehyung gasped out loud once the speakers sounded with Jeongguk’s voice and the younger began moving on stage.

“Euphoria.”

His movements were already slick and perfectly articulated, his body clicking with the upbeat intro of the song.

“Take my hands now. You are the cause of my euphoria.”

Jeongguk’s English was fluid and absolutely perfect, and even though Taehyung had limited knowledge of the language, he somehow knew exactly what he was saying. With the way Jeongguk was dancing, and the way his voice leaked of only his littered emotions pressing through to be shown to the crowd… Taehyung was rendered speechless.

“Close the door now.”

He had never heard Jeongguk sing before, but suddenly it was the only sound he found himself wanting to hear.

“When I’m with you I’m in utopia.”

When he began the Korean bit, Taehyung’s eyes sprung with small beads of tears. He stared down at Jeongguk, ignoring the way everyone in the room had suddenly turned to stare at him curiously, as if connecting the pieces before Taehyung himself had a chance to.

Euphoria. A feeling of intense excitement or happiness. Utopia. A state where everything is perfect.

Was that how Taehyung had made Jeongguk feel? Was that how he did make him feel?

Jeongguk was a writer, and a damn good one at that. His words were automatically one of the most stunning put down on paper, but this song was something else entirely. The lyrics were full of passionate metaphors and references to things Taehyung couldn’t for the life of him know about. They were, in one word, beautiful.

More tears pricked at the corners of Taehyung’s eyes, and he could faintly feel the comforting hand both Jeonghan and Jisoo had placed on his shoulders. Taehyung’s eyes bore into Jeongguk’s figure on stage, watching as the younger danced his heart out to the choreography Taehyung was sure he had worked his butt off on.

Jimin had told him that Jeongguk’s performance was going to be special, but Taehyung realized that he had severely underestimated his Jeongguk.

His Jeongguk. That was right. Jeongguk was his, and only his. Taehyung was going to make sure of it, no matter what.

He didn’t even realize he was crying till he felt the salty water hit his knee. Taehyung sniffed in surprise, quickly wiping his eyes as he let his back fall against the backrest of the velvet, plush chair he was sitting on. The massive round of applause went in through one ear and out the other as Taehyung sat there, dumbstruck.

Everything moved by in a blur, with the other performances finishing quickly and Taehyung itching to get out of his seat and run backstage. He wanted to go to Jeongguk, jump into his arms, tell him that he was sorry, and kiss the fuck out of him in front of every single person that there was over there.

He wanted to make things right with Jeongguk, and he wasn’t going to let up until he did.

When the showcase did finally end, Taehyung found his feet moving on their own. They carried him out of the door with Jeonghan and Jisoo yelling words of encouragement behind him, saying things like they wished him luck and that Taehyung could do it.

He found himself backstage within a matter of minutes, and the first person he bumped into happened to be Minghao.

“Hao, where’s Jeongguk?” he asked frantically as the freshman stared at him with wide, unwavering eyes. Minghao was still in his performance gear, and when Taehyung realized that he quickly moved to apologize. “Sorry for the sudden... uh, yeah. Good job out there today, by the way!”

“Taehyung-hyung?” Minghao blinked. “I didn’t know you came today, but thank you! Jeongguk’s just a little further down the corridor, or he was the last time I checked.”

Taehyung nodded, reaching out to pat Minghao’s shoulder and offering him a light smile. “Thanks! Tell Jun I said hi!”

“Will do!” Minghao called after him as Taehyung rushed past.

His eyes flitted around, trying to catch sight of a particular yellow jacket, and when it finally did come into view, Taehyung halted in his tracks.

Jeongguk seemed to sense his gaze on him, as he turned away from whoever he was talking to to directly face Taehyung, forming perfect eye contact with him as his lips parted in surprise. The two of them froze right where they were, not at all noticing the crowds of people also stopping to see what was going on.

Taehyung gulped, and took his chance.

In four long, heavy strides, he managed to reach where Jeongguk was standing, going up right in front of him and leaning forwards till he was completely in the younger’s space. Taehyung reached up, grabbing the sides of Jeongguk’s smooth cheeks and pulling him in, connecting their lips in a single, rough movement.

Taehyung faintly heard the gasps from the people around them, but he paid little attention to them as he instead tilted his head to the side, taking in every single ounce of Jeongguk he could possibly access. Jeongguk let out a sound that felt a lot like a squeal to Taehyung’s ears, and the elder allowed himself to relish in it as he kissed Jeongguk’s parched lips harder and harder.

He had missed this, the feeling of Jeongguk completely succumbing to him in his arms, the feeling that he could go home with the younger and make love to him all night- like they once were, and how they hopefully would be again now.

“I’m sorry,” Taehyung whimpered against Jeongguk’s mouth as he captured his lips for the umpteenth time. “I’m so fucking sorry, Gukkie. I didn’t- I didn’t mean for any of that to happen. I didn’t mean to m-make you feel like you were something I didn’t want to show to the rest of the world.”

“Shh,” Jeongguk silenced him, leaning in closer himself and tangling his fingers in Taehyung’s red hair. “It’s okay. You’re okay, Tae.”

Taehyung stared down at Jeongguk, and the younger stared right back up at him with an emotion Taehyung could only describe as love. He was… he was relieved to see that even after all of this, after how Taehyung had treated Jeongguk, he still cared for him. It filled Taehyung with a strange sense of hope, that what he had with Jeongguk might be his saving grace later in the future.

So, without further ado, Taehyung dipped down and clasped Jeongguk’s hand in his, raising it high above their heads and turning to face the people that were still staring at them with shell-shocked expressions.

“Hey, everyone!” he said, grabbing all of their attention without much work. “My name is Kim Taehyung, and I’m fucking in love with Jeon Jeongguk!” And God, if that didn’t feel good to say out loud. Finally.

“Took you long enough,” Jeongguk murmured from besides him, and Taehyung honestly could not help the bright, boxy smile that lit up his face right then and there. “I love you.”

Taehyung’s cheeks warmed and his heart lurched. “I love you too, Gukkie,” he said, turning around and pressing his forehead to Jeongguk’s. “I love you more than anything. Will you be my boyfriend again?”

“Yeah,” Jeongguk nodded and replied without hesitation. He smiled, and Taehyung knew it was because of the sudden cheers that were sounding throughout that small, backstage room. Word would get out sooner or later. He was sure of it. “Yeah, Tae, I will.”

It felt like a promise.

-

✧・゚:* 5 years later*:・゚✧


Bangtan Publishing
To: Jeon Jeongguk
Reply-To: publishingadmin@bangtan.net

Re: Inquiry #JJG

Jeon Jeongguk;

We are pleased to inform you that your novel has been reviewed and accepted by Bangtan Publishing Corporations. Attached is a personalized message from the admins, along with further details on the enjoyment factor of your literary work.

We are willing to offer you a two year contract under our firm, in which you will produce two new short works and combine both to create a finished novel in this time. Reception of said work will determine your contract renewal, and your general audience popularity will also be taken into account when considering various options.

If you are interested in this offer, please reply back to this email within 48 hours with your contact information listed below, and any further questions you may have. We will do our best to get back to you in an efficient manner.

We sincerely hope that you decide to join us. We’re looking forward to having you on board!

Bangtan


Forward Email: Eomma, Appa, yoongi hyung, Jiminnie, Hobi-hyung, Kim Namjoon, jin-hyung, taehyung


taehyung
To: Jeon Jeongguk
Reply-To: kimtaehyung@email.net

Re: FWD. Inquiry #JJG

JEONGGUK OH MY GOD YOU DID IT IM SO FUCKING PROUD OF YOU BABY IM SO HAPPY WHEN I GET HOME WE’RE GONNA CELEBRATE SO FUCKING HARD I CANT BELIEVE YOU GOT IN FUCKKKKKKK CONGRATS BABY I LOVE YOU SO MUCH I’M SO PROUD OF YOU ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡ i’m tearing up you deserve this so much baby boy i love you so much you did so well ♡♡♡

i can’t wait till i get home gukkie just wait till tomorrow and then i can have you in my arms again. :) it’s been almost three weeks i miss you london’s so boring without you :(( let’s do our best love ♡♡♡


Group Message: 7 Bumbling Idiots

jimin: oh my god jeongguk i just got the email

jimin: I’M SO PROUD OF YOU!!!

yoongi: fucking hell guk congratulations

jin hyung: i can’t believe my future brother in law’s being published and everything taehyung better give you the night of your life when he gets home from england

namjoon: congratulations, jeongguk!! you’re very well deserved

hobi: MY MAN

hobi: MY BRO

hobi: THE LIGHT OF MY LIFE

tae: i come online to see hobi-hyung confessing his love to MY fiance

hobi: sorry lover boy but he’s mine for the next ten seconds

guk: guys please

namjoon: there’s the man of the hour!

jin hyung: hey jeonggukkie!!

guk: sigh, hello you crackheads

tae: gukkie why aren’t you responding to my texts ://

jimin: oh dear guk you made the husband mad

guk: we’re not even married yet

hobi: yet

yoongi: oh yeah, when’s the wedding?

guk: we were thinking late july

guk: and i’ll respond to you in a bit tae

tae: :((

guk: :))

jimin: stop flirting in this public domain

jin hyung: “public” we’re seven people with literally no life

tae: NOT true

tae: we have me, a renowned astronomer who’s coming back from london because of work

guk: me, a soon-to-be published author :)

jin hyung: well i suppose i’ve had a bit of luck with my acting career thus far

namjoon: “a bit” you’ve been nominated for actor of the year three times and won once already

namjoon: but yeah a lot of people know about my column

tae: i’m proud of you

yoongi: producer

jimin: you work for an idol company, yoongi-yah

jimin: you’re amazing

yoongi: i am, aren’t i

guk: aww hyung we love you

guk: not as much as jimin does, but whatever

jimin: well

jimin: where’s the lie

yoongi: jeongguk go back to your boyfriend

guk: fiancé*

yoongi: my mistake

tae: gukkie answer my texts

guk: alright taetae

hobi: cute


Text Message: kim jeongguk & jeon taehyung♡♡♡

tae babe: i’m about to board my plane in a few mins and i just wanted to say that i’m really fucking proud of you

tae babe: i love you :((

tae babe: i can’t wait to see you tomorrow morning

gukkie baby: tae i love you so much

gukkie baby: have a safe flight baby

gukkie baby: i’m gonna pick you up at the airport bright and early tomorrow morning and i cannot wait to have you with me again♡

tae babe: i don’t know how i’ve survived these last three weeks without you

gukkie baby: at least it wasn’t a month like that time you went to new york

tae babe: lucky for you this is my last large trip for a while

gukkie baby: no but i have no problem with you going

gukkie baby: you know that right

gukkie baby: i know how much your job means to you and i’ll always support you even when we’re old and grown and you’re probably tired of me

tae babe: never!!!!

tae babe: when did i become so lucky to have you in my life :((( ♡♡♡ i love you gukkie

tae babe: i have to go now

tae babe: i’ll see you soon, ok?

gukkie baby: i can’t wait

gukkie baby: i love you too ♡♡

-

You’re Invited! Jeon Jeongguk Weds Kim Taehyung 2023

From: Jeon Jeongguk & Kim Taehyung
To : The Jeon Family, The Kim Family, Kim Namjoon, Kim Seokjin, Park Jimin, Min Yoongi, Jung Hoseok, Xu Minghao, Wen Junhui, Kwon Soonyoung, Yoon Jeonghan, Hong Jisoo, Choi Seungcheol (+ 107 others)

1 audio file attached:

“Hello. I’m Jeongguk, and this whole personalized invitation thing was all Taehyung’s idea, so do not hold me accountable for your cringing throughout the time you spend listening to this. Oh dear, Taehyung, what if they think it’s a waste of their time? I wouldn’t want them to-”

“Ignore him. Hi, you all! I’m Taehyung, and who you just heard is the weirdo I like to consider the love of my life. He’s kind of silly, but yeah, I love him. A little too much, if I’m being completely honest.”

“What the fuck does that mean, Tae.”

“Anyways. Jeongguk and I decided to tie the knot about seven months ago. He proposed in the most cliché way, you know? It was snowing and we just came back from playing outside, haha. He made me a cup of hot chocolate and in the whipped cream he wrote the words ‘Will you marry me?’ What a sap, really. He put the ring at the bottom of the mug and I almost choked on it, too.”

“I thought we agreed never to speak of that again. Oh my God. This is going to, like, one hundred people, Taehyung, I can’t have people knowing about this-”

“You know, I really think you should let me take over. I’m doing a much better job than you.”

“Absolutely not. Can we just restart this entire thing?”

“Nope. So, where was I? Ah! Right! What’s on the outline for this thing, hmm… Okay how about how we met? So I was just minding my business, you know? I was in the humanities building at our university and all of a sudden this guy slams into me and I-”

“Nothing! And nothing! Nothing happened! I did not slam into him, hahaha. Tae, stop making up these things.”

“What? I’m not making up anything! Do you not remember? You literally bumped into- OW! Hey! Jeongguk, what the fuck? What was that for?”

“This is such a disaster. Can we please just restart?”

“Aw, but then it isn’t as genuine! We’re giving the people a taste of our relationship right now! A beautiful moment in our life, if I’m being honest.”

“Why did I agree to this again?”

“Because you love me.”

“Don’t look at me like that.”

“Aww, Gukkie, do you not love me?”

“I didn’t fucking say that. Don’t put words into my mouth, Kim Taehyung.”

“Jeon Taehyung soon.”

“Did you just wink.”

“Yes! Did you like it? I’ve been working on my winking appeal. I look charming while doing it, don’t I?”

“We’re getting so off-task. Okay, I’m gonna take over. So, everyone, please come join us at our wedding! I’m going to marry this idiot there, and we guarantee a good time!”

“That wasn’t in the script! You can’t just make up stuff like that!”

“None of this was in the fucking script, Taehyung!”

“Whatever.”

“Don’t you pout at me like that.”

“I’ll pout at you as much as I want!”

“Just. Come to our wedding.”

“Yeah! Come for the food and drinks and cake and-”

“And the actual marriage itself?”

“Ehh.”

“Why am I marrying you again.”

“You love me.”

“You’re right. I do.”

“Aww, I love you too, Gukkie- mmph! H-ha- Jeongguk! S-stop! The voice recording is s-still going-”

“Fucking-”

The audio recording has ended.