Actions

Work Header

I Can't Stop Love Love Love

Work Text:

The roof of the radio station where Yoongi worked was one of his favorite places in the world.

And not just because it was one of the few places in Seoul where he could smoke weed outside and not get the stink-eye. In a city of 10 million people, sometimes it felt like there was no such thing as privacy or personal space or breathable air.

God. He needed to take a trip out to Jeju Island. Maybe if he could sell another song, he could scrape together the funds. Maybe he should look for another job.

“You ever think about how there’s more than 10,000 people per square kilometer in this city and you’ll probably meet only a few of them? 10,000 people practically living on top of you that you’ll never know.”  

“You need to get laid, hyung,” Hoseok replied.

Yoongi knew he was joking. They’d been friends long enough for Hoseok to know that sex was not Yoongi’s preferred means of distraction.

“Is that an offer?” Yoongi asked, playing along.

“You’re not my type.”

“You know, I don’t think I have a type.”

Hoseok started laughing.

“What?”

“Oh that was good. I don’t even think it’s the weed,” Hoseok said, still giggling.

“How was that funny?”

“You really have no idea, do you?”

“Enlighten me.”

“You like creative types exclusively, specifically singers or rappers, and you like them to be feisty but soulful, and they have to lowkey worship the ground you walk on.”

“That’s not—” except that exactly described every person Yoongi had ever been interested in, although, to be fair, the sample size was extremely small. “You make it sound like I’m a narcissist.”

“You kind of are.”

“How can I be a narcissist when I’m also wildly insecure?”

“You’re a mystery, Min Genius. Don’t you need to go on the air soon?”

“Oh, shit, yeah. Thanks.”

“Well thank you for smoking me up,” Hoseok said. “Though I got a tip on where I can get edibles. You interested?”

“Hell yeah I’m interested.”

They went back inside and Hoseok left to go do whatever it was he did after ten on a Friday night.

The evening DJ was just finishing her sign off when Yoongi got downstairs. She told him to have a good show and then bolted out of there saying something about a date.

Yoongi settled into the DJ booth. It was just college radio, but they broadcast through the whole city. They had a decent-sized online following and a reputation for finding new music, since they didn’t have to play chart-toppers.

Yoongi had the night shift on Tuesdays and Fridays, and the occasional Saturday. He mostly played older songs, a lot of foreign stuff, but sometimes he found new tracks, new rappers usually, that were worth a listen. He hadn’t found anything good lately though.

He had sort of lost touch with the underground scene, and he didn’t really know how he felt about that. He missed it, sometimes, being in front of a mic on a shitty little makeshift stage in a grimy club. But he also didn’t really want to go back to the mental space that life required, being angry, on edge, having to defend himself in his lyrics.

He hit the “on air” button.

“Hey listeners, it’s DJ Suga here to keep you company while you cram for exams or work the night shift. Our first track tonight is straight from Japan. This is S.L.A.C.K. with ‘But This Is Way.'”

He always had a theme to the songs he played, though he never told his listeners what the theme was. Sometimes it was obvious, like the night he only played songs with colors in the titles. Other times it was a little more obscure like the time he only played closing album tracks.

If a listener could guess the theme, then he would take their request for a song following that theme via the station’s website or social media accounts. He had a decent following for a pretty unpopular time slot.

But tonight’s theme was personal. He was playing his internal list of the songs that were formidable to his emotional development.

He didn’t feel up to taking requests, and this pretty much guaranteed he wouldn’t have to.

He let S.L.A.C.K. fade into James Brown.

His high was wearing off. But he had the same thought as before rattling in his head. It did eat at him sometimes, the sheer number of people in the world, the way every single person had their own story, how two people might share the same fears, the same outlook, but never find comfort in one another.

He took out the little notebook that he kept in his jacket pocket and scribbled down a few lines about feeling miniscule and insignificant.

The only way to curb it that Yoongi had ever found was putting yourself out there, being open with your insecurities and your fears in the hopes that someone might hear you. It was incongruent with how he was raised—to swallow all your inner life and not let it show that you might be different in some way.

Fitting in was more important than being honest about who you were.

He hadn’t written a full song in ages other than for school assignments. He still felt the ideas, they were all up there, but it was like he was on the brink of something fuzzy he couldn’t quite reach. Music was his preferred form of therapy, and all he wanted to do was help other people somehow, if he could only get over his current creative hurdle. He was hoping his set of songs that were important to him would help.

He introduced “u” by Kendrick Lamar and started looking through Twitter to see if anyone was listening.

@HLKLFM Songs about bad relationships?
@GDragonzGirl Good try, but no. -Suga

@HLKLFM Songs from imperialist nations?
@Hegelfan Go to bed, Namjoon. -Suga

To spite Namjoon, he played Verbal Jint followed by Drunken Tiger. Then he set up Lupe Fiasco before going outside with his notebook for a quick cigarette. The air was starting to get crisp, perfect smoking weather. He knew from experience that he could finish a cigarette in enough time so he wouldn’t face dead air.

He and his friend Donghyuk had a long-standing argument about song length. Donghyuk firmly believed that no song should be longer than a cigarette, but Yoongi wasn’t so inclined to agree. And not just because it afforded him smoke breaks while DJ-ing.

He slipped back into the booth with 30 seconds to spare.

“That was Lupe Fiasco with ‘The Show Goes On,'” he said into the mic. “Around the same time Lupe was dropping the album Lasers in Chicago, a lad from Ilsan by the name of Runch Randa teamed up with Seoul’s own Zico and gave us this masterpiece, “필청 최고인듯 (Fuck Cockroachez).”

If Namjoon was still listening, he would probably take it as a joke.

Yoongi had met Namjoon on a message board the summer before he started high school. The board was supposed to be about making music, but most of the posters didn’t talk about music production so much as they rated other people’s work—and of course everything was always somehow overrated.

But Namjoon, or Runch Randa, was different. He actually talked about the production process and trying to fit meaning into lyrics. They became friends and ditched the message board.

They met in person for the first time when Namjoon took the train down to Daeju during his summer vacation a year later. their parents both thought they were crazy, making friends on the internet, but Yoongi’s parents had very little control over Yoongi’s choices—a fact that had always been a wedge between them. And they let Namjoon spend the night without any fuss. It helped that Namjoon was extremely intelligent and polite. After he left they asked about “that nice Namjoon boy” and what he was doing, and their visits were allowed to continue.

Namjoon was the reason Yoongi moved to Seoul, the reason why he started to believe he could actually make it in the music business, if not as a performer, then as a producer. Making music with Namjoon was something Yoongi never wanted to stop doing, even if for Namjoon it was only ever going to be a hobby.

As far as formidable figures in Yoongi’s life and emotional development, Namjoon was up there.  

It was nearly two when the morning when he played the last track of his set.  

“That was ‘Mr. Nobody’ by REKS. The next one is the last one of the night, kids. None of you guessed the theme tonight, but l forgive you because it was tricky. It’s hard for me to pick just one song from Epik High to finish this out. Not to sound corny or anything, but this one saved my life. Here’s “풍파.” This is DJ Suga signing off.”

As he listened to the words of Mithra Jin and Tablo, he felt a wave of sadness come over him. It was always like that, listening again to the music that he depended on when things got bleak.

He waited for Tablo’s line, “Even though I may break down today, I got tomorrow,” then he set up the autoplay for the next four hours and locked the station.

* * *

The next morning, Yoongi was rudely awoken by Namjoon pounding on his door.

“I can’t believe you played Runch Randa on your show last night, you dick.”

Yoongi tried to pull his covers over his head, but he heard the door open and Namjoon’s approaching footsteps right before the duvet was roughly pulled back.

“That was your best track in high school and I still love it and why are you waking me up? It’s Saturday,” Yoongi grumbled, clinging to his pillow before Namjoon pulled it out of his hands.

“It’s two in the afternoon, and we’re going grocery shopping.”

Yoongi groaned and tried to sit up.

“Why do we need groceries?”

“Um, basic nourishment so we don’t die?”

“If you’re going to bring logic into it. This still doesn’t explain why you need me.”

“Because you demanded to be in charge of shared household finances after the, well, you know.”

Namjoon was easily the smartest person Yoongi had ever met in his life. He took upper level math classes for electives, but basic household finances escaped him. Hoseok and Seokjin weren’t much better. They had no concept of what food cost or how to not let food go to waste.

They all grew up from families that were well-off. Seokjin’s parents were loaded. But none of them ever had to learn how to scrape by on next to nothing, to have to skip a meal.

None of them had to have jobs while going to school.

But slowly their parents were starting to cut strings, and they all relied a little on Yoongi to teach them about the adulthood that had been forced on him a long time ago. His proudest accomplishment in life was still teaching Namjoon how to do his own laundry.  

Seokjin drove them to the supermarket, and Yoongi insisted on the front seat so he could control the music. He turned on the stereo to sync up his phone when the radio came on blasting some pop song he didn’t know.

“You’re listening to my competitors?” he asked with an exaggerated gasp.

“I’m really hungover. Leave me alone,” Seokjin grumbled.

“Wait. I have a song for this.”

He finished syncing and put on Kid Cudi’s “Pursuit of Happiness.”

“Good one,” Namjoon said from the backseat.

There was a song for every moment. And Yoongi was certain he could find one for each one.

* * *

When they got back from the store, Yoongi was considering taking a nap, but he figured he could work on his midterm project for his audio production for visual media class. They had to take a video clip from an existing film and either add in sound effects or a score. Yoongi had chosen a clip where the actor was pretending to play the piano. It was just a few minutes of music and maybe a few sound effects, but Yoongi was dragging his feet on it.

He didn’t have to compose something original, the point of the project was to mix the sound and the visual, but since he had to record something to get the raw file anyway, he figured he may as well.

He plugged in his headphones, sat down at his keyboard, and tried to pluck out a sad tune the protagonist might be playing. The trouble was his fingers seemed to want to play songs he knew.

The first song that came to him was Beethoven. He used to perform in recitals back in Daegu when he was a kid. But then his family stopped being able to afford piano lessons, so Yoongi gave it up for a while. The old upright still sat in the corner of their living room, though, and sometimes Yoongi would walk past it and brush his hand over the keys without playing it in an apology to the instrument. But no lessons meant no money, and even though it was his parents’ shame, Yoongi carried it like it was his own.

The day he heard the piano introduction to Remapping the Human Soul was the day he started to play again. He’d always associated the piano with classical music, with lounge singers, with ballads. He had the technique. He knew how to sight-read music, but the piano never felt like it could be his voice until that day.

Yoongi initially started listening to hip-hop because his older brother did. But it had him in its grips immediately.

There was more emotion, more honesty, to Yoongi in hip-hop than there was in pop music or the terrible trot records his mom listened to, crooning about love in such a fabricated way. At first, he liked rappers like Outsider and Double K, because they went hard and fast, and he was an angry teenager and that’s what he needed. It was only after he grew up a little, started listening to different styles, that he he saw his own anger for the pain it was, and he started to appreciate the way his musical heroes shaped it, expressed it with rhyme, with their delivery, with their flow. There was so much variety in American rap and hip-hop it was like opening up a whole new world of expression he didn’t know existed. As he learned more English and read translations, he realized that even though he hadn’t understood the words of the artists he liked, the songs he unconsciously drifted to were songs about personal struggles—usually very different from his own, but he felt the rawness and self-awareness they were expressing in his soul. And he knew that’s what he needed to do with his life.

Before this revelation, he wanted to go into political science. His parents supported him when he was 12 and he told them he wanted to become a politician. They were so proud when he got elected to the student council at school. They never saw the shift that happened inside him. So when he told them he was moving to Seoul to study music production, it wasn’t that they disowned him exactly, but they didn’t get it. At all.

The guilt gnawed at him still, when he called his mom and she tried to ask him stilted questions about how school was going. How he couldn’t share his excitement with them when he sold his first song. How sometimes even he thought he was totally wasting his life.

But then Namjoon took a women’s studies class and told him about the idea that “the personal is political.” And that’s when Yoongi understood that you didn’t have to go into politics to make an impact. You didn’t have to write protest songs. You could also write about your personal story, the impact that being forced to conform had on you, being gay in a conservative culture, and that could have an impact on others, on the body politic. If democracy was supposed to work at all, then the way people saw themselves mattered.

He forgot about the score he was supposed to be writing and dug the notebook out of his jacket pocket and started adding to the lyrics.

It felt like it had a been a long time since he wrote more than a stanza. His classes had been more geared to composing and production, and so he felt further away from MC Suga who spent his first year of college balancing the underground rap scene with Namjoon—still in high school at the time—working, and taking classes.

But the urge to write his own material, not for other people to perform, not for assignments, was starting to come back to him.

It just wasn’t all the way there yet.

He hit another wall with the lyrics, so he finally picked himself up and went to Namjoon and Seokjin’s room.

Namjoon was reading Siddhartha for probably the millionth time.

“Hey, I need some help with lyrics.”

“For a class?”

“No, no, for me.”

Namjoon grinned. “Let me see what you’ve got.”

Yoongi passed his notebook over to Namjoon.

“I, um, I got the idea while sitting up on the roof of the radio station the other day. It’s probably stupid.”

“No, no, these are really good.”

“Yeah?”

“I like the rhyme scheme a lot. It’s annoying how good you are at that, you know. What are you thinking? You want me to do a middle verse?”

Yoongi breathed a sigh of relief. Generating enthusiasm from Namjoon was one of his guideposts for determining the quality of a song.

“Maybe? I haven’t really thought about it too much. I’m just happy to have an idea at all—you’re sure they’re okay?”

“I wouldn’t say so if I didn’t think so.”

“I know,” Yoongi replied. “I just haven’t really been feeling it lately.”  

It wasn’t like writer’s block exactly, it was more like “what the fuck am I even doing” block, and Yoongi didn’t know how to get over that. He just knew that Namjoon could help.

“You’ve been busy.”

“Nas released Illmatic when he was 20.”

“You’re not Nas. You’re Min Yoongi. Also, he had helped from MC Serch and Q-Tip. And the world’s different now. Even Epik High signed with YG. Also, I don’t think I’d use Nas a role model in general.”

“Yeah, I know. I just—”

“No, I know,” Namjoon replied. “I get what you’re saying.”

That’s why Yoongi loved Namjoon. Because he did get it.

“Thanks for the help. I’m glad you’re my co-writer.”

Yoongi said it because it was true. But Namjoon ducked his head shyly at the sentiment anyway.

“Well I’m going to have to think about this a little bit.”

“But you will?”

“Of course.”

“Thanks, Joon-ah.”

He went back to his room and his half-finished piano score, but the pull of his bed was just too much, and he curl up under the blankets and went to sleep.

The next thing he was conscious of was Hoseok bursting into the room and shouting,

“Happy Birthday!”

Yoongi startled awake and groaned.

Hoseok was peering down at him shaking a little plastic baggie with a few gummy bears in it in his face.

“The thing is,” Yoongi said, sitting up and rubbing his eyes. “I know you don’t know when my birthday is. So wouldn’t you feel like an asshole if it turns out today really is my birthday and all you got me is a few gummy bears?”

“Wait, is it your birthday?”

“No.”

“Maybe I won’t give you the magical gummy bears then.”

“Magical gummy bears? How high are you?”

“Exactly,” Hoseok replied, beaming. “Remember when I told you I had a hookup for edibles.”

“I was expecting baked goods.”

“I know, but these are even better. I’m so fucking high right now I want to pet you even though I know you’d probably slap me. The guy was telling me that they’re made with a CBD-THC tincture—”

“The guy? What guy? This sounds shady.”

Yoongi force himself to stand up and stretch. It was near dusk, which meant he had been asleep for two hours. He plopped down in his desk chair and glared as the unfinished score.

“Not shady! He goes by V. He was wearing a white face mask that had a cartoon moustache on it. And sunglasses. And a hoodie. In fact, I’m pretty sure he was disguising his voice, too. It was kind of raspy like yours, hyung.”   

“Seok-Seok?”

“Hmm?”

“You’re rambling and this still doesn’t sound not shady.”

“It really wasn’t! We met on campus! In broad daylight! I think he must be a student and that’s why he’s hiding his identity—I mean, and because he’s a drug dealer and it’s super illegal. Wouldn’t it be shadier if he didn’t try to hide his identity?”

“You don’t think a brave drug dealer is more trustworthy than one who uses a disguise?” Yoongi asked.

“A brave drug dealer clearly has ties to the Jopok.”

“You think? I mean, a mask and hoodie isn’t really a disguise. And if he’s dealing drugs right out in the open on a Sunday afternoon, this guy actually sounds pretty brave to me.”

Hoseok’s eyes had gone wide.

“Oh no, do I owe a favor to the Jopok now?”

“No. He’s probably just a college kid like you said. Did you pay for these? If you paid for them then at worst you did a business transaction with someone who probably doesn’t have mafia ties.”

“Yes. And I’m sharing them with you because I love you.”

“I can pay for them.”

“No, no, these are on me. You let me smoke your last gram with you.”

He and Hoseok always shared pot. It wasn’t always easy to come by and they both hated asking Seokjin because he would lord it over them in exchange for favors, so they had a tacit agreement to split what they got, lest their various suppliers dry up.

“So you’re sure about these? Where does he get them?”

“He didn’t tell me where he gets the tincture, but he makes the gummies himself.”

“And they’re good?”

“I feel so good right now. Way longer-lasting than smoking. I actually asked Namjoon about his thesis earlier and his answer made sense.”

“Okay,” Yoongi replied. “I think I’ll save them for later. A reward for finishing this stupid project.”

“You are very wise and responsible,” Hoseok said. “Can I pet you?”

Yoongi rolled in his desk chair over to Hoseok.

“Go for it.”

Hoseok started petting his head.

“Your hair’s so soft, hyung.”

“I use a conditioning mask.”

“And yet you won’t use toner.”

“Sana-noona left the hair masks behind after she and Seokjin-hyung broke up.”

“I’m telling on you.”

“There’s only one left anyway. And you can’t tell on me, because I know you stole the clothes she left behind.”

“I resent this wild accusation.”

“So if I went into your closet right now—”

“It was just a skirt! And it looks better on me anyway. She didn’t have the ass for it.”

“You do have a great ass.”

“This is why you’re my favorite,” Hoseok said, still petting Yoongi’s hair.

If Yoongi was a cat, he probably would have purred.

* * *

It wasn’t until Friday that Yoongi got a chance to try the gummy bears. The week had been utter hell. He finally finished the score for his audio-visual class, and on top of that finished a big project for his advanced mixing techniques class, along with the regular weekly assignment for his composition class and his history of Korean aesthetics class, only to get another video project and a history paper assigned.

So by two in the afternoon, he was totally and utterly done.

All he wanted to was curl up in his bed, relax, and watch Netflix until he had to go into the radio station for his show.

Hoseok warned him to eat one gummy bear at a time, and definitely not more than two, but the trouble with edibles was that you never knew when it was going to hit you, because it depended on your digestive system. Yoongi compromised and chopped one of the bear’s heads off to make it one and a half gummy bears. They tasted a little off, but he figured there was only so much you could do.

When he opened Netflix, he went right for the art documentaries. He found one on design and color theory that looked interesting but also soothing.

He didn’t know exactly when the gummy bears kicked in, but he did know that the art of Wassily Kandinsky shouldn’t have been making him horny, like, uncomfortably horny. He hit pause on the documentary, briefly considered what the odds were that Hoseok would walk in on him, then unbuttoned his jeans, wiggling out of them enough to slide his hand into his briefs and get a grip on his dick.

He started stroking himself firmly, and bit down on his fist to muffle his moan of relief. But he knew it could feel better, with lotion, which he didn’t have.

Annoyed, he got up and, with his jeans around his thighs and his dick out, basically waddled over to Hoseok’s desk to poke around in his highly-organized stash of beauty products. He did find some hemp lotion, which was almost too on to the nose, but lotion was lotion.

And the difference was worth it.

Jerking off while high was always a weird sensation—almost like a different person was doing it, like his hand was disconnected from his body. He wasn’t here to drag it out, though. He hadn’t felt so horny for no reason since puberty and he just wanted to get off.

He stroked himself faster, feeling every stroke more intently because of the high. He used his other hand to tug gently on his balls, which made him groan, not caring that Seokjin was in the next room. It felt so good, he tugged off his jeans and his briefs so he could spread his legs wide.

He slid his fingers down under his balls, massaging his taint and then circling his hole. It had been a long time since he’d played with ass. Somewhere in a box under his bed was a couple dildos, but there was no time for that now. Just running his finger across his hole, teasing, was enough to trigger his nerves, and he felt his orgasm coming.

In a few more strokes, he came so hard he got come on his chin. He let himself lie there for a minute before him cleaned himself off with a tissue.

The whole ordeal had required what felt like a lot of effort and he was pleasantly boneless. He could feel himself drifting off, but he had the radio show later that night, so he managed to retrieve his underwear and set an alarm for 8:00 just in case.

It was Namjoon’s voice asking for him that woke him up. He dragged himself out of bed, pulled his jeans back on, and stumbled out into the living room, a little disoriented. He never should have fallen asleep. Waking up still high was always disorienting.

“What do you want?” he asked Namjoon, who was still wearing his coat.

“Rude,” Namjoon replied.

“You woke me up.”

“How did I wake you up? Jin-hyung’s the one yelling at the TV like it called him ugly.”

“Please, no one has ever called me ugly,” Seokjin said from the couch, where he was playing some video game Yoongi didn’t recognize.

“You said my name,” Yoongi said.

“You wake up when anyone says your name at a reasonable volume from the next room?”

“Yes?”

“Since when? Are you high?”

“Probably a little.” He was definitely still high. And he still had the same feeling of arousal curling in his belly. “Fuck. Seok-seok got a new dealer, some kid that just goes by V. Gave me some edibles to sample. Have you ever heard colors?”

Namjoon shook his head, and Yoongi could see the disbelief on his face.

“Maybe you should go back to sleep. Don’t you have your radio show tonight?”

“Find me a midnight DJ who isn’t high and I will find you a liar. But I was thinking about hearing colors before I ate the gummy bears. Like if the bridge is blue, then you need the verses to be green or maybe orange as a complement, but not red because that would be tacky or yellow because that would be too bright.”

“Um…”

“It’s a thing! Some people link it to synesthesia, which is technically classified as a mental disorder, but there have been studies on the connection between music and color and the whole theory kind of dates back to Newton. It’s how Kandinsky painted.”

“That actually kind of makes sense about Kandinsky,” Namjoon replied, giving Yoongi the same pointed look he always gave him when he started to ramble. Even Yoongi’s brain felt like it was telling him to shut up.

“Wait, I’m awake right now. And I wanted to be asleep. The fuck? Did you want something?”

“Yeah, instead of working on my thesis like I was supposed to, I worked on the lyrics a little.”

Yoongi grabbed the piece of paper out of Namjoon’s hands and started to read. Namjoon had totally understood the theme Yoongi was going for.

“These are really fucking good,” he said.

“I mean, it’s mostly just an idea I got from a Rumi poem,” Namjoon replied, deflecting as always. Yoongi didn’t know how to convince him that he was good. Whatever philosophy did for Namjoon, it wasn’t ever going to be enough. Namjoon was too creative, too smart to be wasting his time with a bunch of stuffed shirt, ivory tower elitists, but he also knew Namjoon would make an awesome professor. He would come home so happy after one of his students came to his office hours to talk about Foucault or Aristotle or whatever.

“Who?” Yoongi asked.

“We’re reading him in the class I TA for. He was a Persian poet. You really never read Rumi poems in school?”

“I’m a music production major. Unless Rumi invented the synthesizer, I’ve never heard of him.”

“Wasn’t that Moog?”

“I’m not even dignifying that with a response because I know you said it to piss me off.”

Yoongi grabbed the notebook that he had left on the table and started writing around the lines Namjoon wrote, trying to remember the original ones he had written, trying to hear the song in his mind.

“You gonna record this with me?” Yoongi asked.

“Sure, I mean, if you want.”

“Of course I want,” he said. Even though he still couldn’t quite piece it all together. There was something missing from both their sets of lines, like it needed a chorus. Musing out loud, he said, “Though, we really might need a singer to cut through this.”

“Seokjin-hyung would do it,” Namjoon said, nodding over toward the couch.

“Seokjin-hyung will do what?” Seokjin called back.

“Sing for us,” Yoongi said. “If you can sweeten your tone a little. You have to reign in your inner trot singer.”

“You’re going to have to buy me a cake for that,” Seokjin replied. “Get it?”

“Just for that I’m going to find another singer.”

He heard Namjoon apologizing for him as he went back into his bedroom, trying to get a melody to come to him. The truth was he loved Seokjin’s voice, and Seokjin knew it. The last time they got high together, somehow Seokjin convinced him to go out to a norebang to sing old Park Hyunbin and Tae Jin-ah songs.

He couldn’t get the song to work in his mind, and he knew he was going to need to lay down a guide to figure it out. But he was still horny and tired, so he crawled back into bed.

That night his set was songs about sex. He got a lot of requests from listeners for a whole lot of pop songs he had never heard before, but he humored his listeners and played them anyway. He even learned a couple new euphemisms—by the end of the night he was even scandalized by the idea of drinking tea.

Straight people were weird.

Namjoon’s lyrics were still lingering in his mind the next day, though. When he had started scribbling out the idea for a song about feeling alone in a city full of people, he thought Namjoon would counter the idea in a call and response type of thing. Namjoon was all about connectedness and the world-spirit philosophy stuff he was always trying to get Yoongi to read. But instead of that, he built on it, using the idea that loneliness was universal. It definitely needed a singer’s voice in it now, a chorus, something to mimic the din of voices that Yoongi was struggling to feel included by.

It was the first time he felt excited about a song in ages. Later that week, he went into the recording studio on campus. There were smaller studios that students could sign out, but he needed feedback.

Back when he was trying to break into the underground scene, he practically lived in the studio building. He was supposed to be using the resources for class work, but he befriended Donghyuk, the studio tech who worked with the students. It turned out he was an underground rapper, who’d had a falling out with one of the “Big Three” and got the gig at the university.

Donghyuk didn’t even ask if what Yoongi was working on was for a class. Yoongi played him his beat, and then Donghyuk adjusted some levels for Yoongi’s vocals. It felt good to spit lyrics again.

He was going to need Namjoon’s vocals, but he could get Namjoon in the studio later if he could somehow manage to wrestle him away from his thesis. He got the guide down on Namjoon’s part and then had Donghyuk play it back.

“This is good, man,” Donghyuk said. “I think you’re right that it needs a chorus, but your beat and lyrics are sick.”

“Yeah?” Yoongi said, trying not preen a little. He trusted Donghyuk, and his confidence had been in the tank lately.

“It’s like Min Yoongi 2.0. Your old stuff used to be a lot angrier.”

“Thanks, man.”

It felt good, kind of, but the song itself still didn’t feel right, like he was forcing it a little. Namjoon’s vocals and energy would help, but there was something missing and he wasn’t sure that Seokjin singing a chorus—if Yoongi could even write one—would fix it.

It was like he had a spark, but nothing to build the fire with.

* * *

He saved the next gummy bear for Hoseok’s dance showcase.

Yoongi actually liked watching Hoseok dance. Not a dancer himself at all, he could still appreciate the way Hoseok could get his body to express music. His style was so dependent on rhythm, Yoongi was always trying to convince him he should make his own beats.

But dance was something better experienced while under the influence.

The problem was the horniness he felt with the first gummy bear wasn’t a coincidence. There was something in it that was working like an aphrodisiac, along with the normal calming effect it was supposed to have.

He sat with Namjoon in the theater. Seokjin had gone to dinner with his family, promising to go to the next day’s performance, though Yoongi wasn’t completely convinced it hadn’t been an excuse not to go with him and Namjoon specifically. And he didn’t know if it was because he and Namjoon could occasionally be embarrassing in public or if Seokjin wanted Hoseok all to himself.

Hoseok’s first dance was a house-style dance. The music was a little hypnotic, Hoseok’s dancing was a little less sharp, like he was moving like water, and Yoongi could feel himself slipping into an extremely relaxed state.

Namjoon elbowed him awake during intermission to tell him a kid in the philosophy class he was a TA for—the kid who always came to his office hours—was in the next dance. Before Yoongi could ask any follow-up questions, or continue to scold Namjoon for waking him up, the house lights went down.

The stage lights were low as two shadowy figures walked onto the stage. Namjoon pointed out which one was his student.

When the lights came up, the first thought in Yoongi’s head was that the kid was attractive, like, really attractive. Yoongi wasn’t shallow. He really wasn’t. But then the kid started rolling his hips like he was an exotic dancer. Yoongi intellectually knew that women always danced that way and it was supposed to look out of place, but his hind brain, which almost never kicked in, just wanted .

“Fuck,” Yoongi whispered, not realizing he said it out loud until Namjoon whispered a “fuck” back in agreement.

“Stop perving on your student, so I can perv on him,” Yoongi hissed.

“I wasn’t,” Namjoon whispered back. “I was perving on the other guy.”

“Oh,” Yoongi replied. He had hardly noticed the other dancer.

“He’s really bendy,” Namjoon whispered.

He was really bendy. They both were. And then they started doing a body rolls while running their hands down their chests.

“Did they just—well, fuck me running.”

Yoongi was getting hard. It was partly the weed muting everything around him, but it felt like the kid, Jungkook, was giving him a private dance. At one point Jungkook grabbed his crotch and thrust his hips, and Yoongi had to bite down on the inside of his cheek to not to gasp.

“We’re going to hell,” Namjoon muttered.

“No. They know exactly what they’re doing. And since when do you believe in hell?”

They had to sit through three more dances until the final group number that Hoseok was in. Yoongi managed to will away his hard-on, but then Jungkook appeared in the final dance with Hoseok, wearing skin-tight leggings and all hope of erection control was lost.

Because it wasn’t just that Jungkook was objectively hot, which he was, it was the way he moved, the way he occupied his body. The way his thighs rippled—fucking rippled—when he danced was too much. Yoongi was definitely still high. His sex drive was generally pretty low, but he swore he could feel the blood in his body moving toward his dick in time with the music. Every move the guy made was like a mating call.

When the lights came up, Yoongi was gripping the arms of the seat, breathing slowly through his nose, trying to calm himself the fuck down.

“Are you alright?” Namjoon asked Yoongi.

“Thighs,” was the only word available to Yoongi’s voice.

“What?”

“You never thought to mention that one of the students in your class has thighs of steel that you want to be suffocated by when he sits on your face?”

“Jungkook?” Namjoon genuinely looked confused. “Um, I’ve never noticed. And that’s really specific.”

“Are you blind?”

He tried to inconspicuously adjust himself. He was going to kill Hoseok, because it was too much to be a coincidence. There was something in those gummy bears that wasn’t CBD or THC.

As soon as they stepped into the lobby, the first thing Yoongi spotted was Jungkook. His hair was mussed, damp with sweat, and he was still wearing the leggings that looked like second skin. But as he was talking to one of the other dancers, his eyes were so open and his expression so earnest, Yoongi couldn’t help but think that there must be an interesting mind behind those eyes.

There was no way he could be introduced to the kid while still kind of high and sporting a hard-on.

Luckily Namjoon was both tall and mildly oblivious to his surroundings, so Yoongi took the first opening he saw, when Namjoon was preoccupied staring down the kid who was dancing with Jungkook. He ducked behind Namjoon and darted toward the door. Of course he ran into Hoseok on the way.

“You were fucking awesome and I will tell you in great detail later about how much I appreciate your new-found love of house music, but I need a cigarette after that.”

Hoseok gave him a bewildered look in response, but Yoongi just needed to get out of there.

He stumbled outside where the air was just the right side of crisp to cool him down. As he took a few slow deep breaths, he also tried to will away his embarrassment. He was way past the age of awkward boners.

But by the time Namjoon and Hoseok came outside, Yoongi felt a little more sober and a lot less inclined to ask Hoseok and Namjoon if they knew where Jungkook lived so he could go find him and peel the leggings off Jungkook’s thighs with his teeth.

* * *

Yoongi tried not to ask Hoseok or Namjoon about Jungkook after that. Instead, he wracked his brain trying to remember the things Namjoon had already told him back before Yoongi knew the kid’s name.

He knew that Jungkook almost always went to Namjoon’s office hours after class and that Namjoon was whining the other day that he should have waited to grade his paper last because it was so much more insightful than the others.

If the class hadn’t been a morning section, Yoongi probably would have pathetically gone to meet Namjoon at his office and “accidentally” ran into Jungkook, even though Namjoon would have made fun of him for it mercilessly.  

He wasn’t like this. He didn’t obsess over people. And certainly not over some guy he didn’t even know.  

Luckily he was out of the gummy bears, which Hoseok found out had horny goat weed in them, or he probably would have gotten high and jerked off to the kid.

Apparently V the drug dealer—with the potential Jopok ties—had been very apologetic when Hoseok asked him about it. Gummy bears looked the same with horny goat weed in them as they did without horny goat weed. He’d given Hoseok a free gram of his premium weed as a result of the mix-up, which Hoseok had offered to smoke with Yoongi. But Yoongi wasn’t about to try another mysterious product that had the potential to be laced with an herbal erectile dysfunction supplement.

And he was actively trying not to think about Jungkook in that way. All previous life experiences had shown that Yoongi needed to get to know a person before he could muster real sexual interest in them.

But then he saw Jungkook dancing again.

It wasn’t intentional. There was no way he could have known that the kid was going to be in the dance building. Yoongi was meeting Hoseok so he could film him for a video editing project,  and Yoongi happened to look into the big dance studio where Hoseok usually practiced. And Jungkook just happened to be in there alone, wearing jeans and boots and a loose white shirt, humming along to what Yoongi figured out was a Drake song while he danced. Yoongi couldn’t explain it. He was just drawn to him. It was like a magnetic attraction.

Until he felt a hand clamp down on his shoulder and he nearly screamed.

“I really want to call you a pervert right now, but the expression on your face is so soft I can’t even do it. The kid’s really good, isn’t he? It’s hard not to watch him. Look at how much power he dances with.”

“You’re not helping.”

“And no gummy bears even this time.”

“Fuck you.” Yoongi said weakly. It wasn’t the horny goat weed. Yoongi was attracted to Jungkook in spite of the fact that he’d never even had a conversation with him. It made no sense.

And then Hoseok, extrovert with a capital E, pushed open the door fully and went into the room, but not before he grabbed Yoongi’s wrist and put a death grip on it so he could drag Yoongi in behind him.

“You’re a half beat behind on the turn,” Hoseok said. “Otherwise it’s flawless.”

Jungkook startled, but he didn’t seem alarmed that Hoseok had been watching him.

“Yeah, I felt a little slow.”

“Do it again,” Hoseok insisted.

Jungkook pulled his phone out of his back pocket, took out the headphones, and handed it to Hoseok. Hoseok pressed play, and Jungkook did the dance again while Yoongi stood awkwardly at the edge of the room watching.

“Better,” Hoseok said.

Jungkook smiled, and then he finally looked over at Yoongi.

“Oh, sorry. This is Yoongi-hyung,” Hoseok added. “He’s filming me for a project.”

Jungkook’s eyes went even wider with recognition, like he knew about Yoongi, like Hoseok had clearly talked about Yoongi to Jungkook.

Jungkook bowed very politely, and it was the most endearing thing Yoongi had ever seen that he almost cooed.

“It’s nice to meet you,” Jungkook said.

“It’s nice to meet you, too,” Yoongi said. “You can—it’s okay to, um, since you know Hoseok and Namjoon, you may as well call me ‘hyung.’”

“Well then it’s nice to meet you Yoongi-hyung,” Jungkook said, his cheeks looked flushed, and Yoongi didn’t think it was just from the dancing. “I’m, um, I’ll get out of your way for the filming.”

And then he darted out of the dance studio.

As soon as he was out of the room, Yoongi turned to Hoseok and poked him in the chest hard.

“What did you tell him about me?”

“What?”

“Don’t play dumb, Jung Hoseok.”

“Nothing—I mean, nothing bad . He was looking for a new hip-hop song to dance to, and I said that you were the hip-hop guru and could probably give him a recommendation for the exact mood he was going for with his dance.”

“He never asked me for a music recommendation.”

“Well then I might have sort of said that the two of you were perfect for each other and clearly the kid has been thinking about that too much ever since.”

“You did what?”

“The two of you are perfect for each other.”

“But you planted a seed! Now he’s going to expect something from me.”

“No, he won’t. I swear, he’s just shy around new people. That was his normal amount of awkwardness.”  

“I don’t date,” Yoongi said firmly, crossing his arms.

“I know—”

“I’m not like you, Seok-Seok.”

“I know—”

“It’s too much pressure and you know I don’t have a good track record.”

“I know , would you just listen to me for a fucking second?”

“Sorry,” Yoongi said. He was getting worked up.

“Jungkook’s not a serial dater, and he’s not the kind of guy who would ever fuck someone over.”

“What makes you so sure about that?”

“Well for one, he could hardly talk to you just now—the kid is clearly not a player. Two, he never once asked me anything about what you look like. And three, he’s like a little sponge. I’m pretty sure he just wants to talk to you about music. Namjoon said he’s the best student in his philosophy class and he’s not even a philosophy major.”

“So why’d you have to go and tell him that we’re perfect for each other?”

“Because you are. And this is the dude you wanted to bone, so I don’t really see what the problem is. If you talk to him and you end up liking him, then what’s the harm?”

Yoongi didn’t have much interest in having a relationship or dating. He tried when he first moved to Seoul, but he was always getting burned by closet cases or guys who only wanted to fuck and then go back to their illusion of straightness. Yoongi didn’t do anything casually, and so he protected his heart by turning that part of himself off.

Until he developed this unsettling crush on Jungkook, that is.

“Is he even gay?” Yoongi asked weakly.

“Yep.”

“How do you know?”

“Some kid was waiting for his girlfriend after dance practice on time and he asked, loudly, if she was does with the ‘dance fags’ yet. Jungkook was talking to her and he snapped. Did some fancy Taekwondo move and was about three inches away from kicking this guy in the face—clearly holding back on purpose, you know? And then he said ‘do you want to wait a goddamn minute or do you want to get your ass kicked by a fag?’”

“Jungkook did?” Yoongi asked.

That shy boy with the big doe eyes who blushed after Yoongi told him to use the familiar?

“If the situation hadn’t been so offensive, it would have been kind of hot.”

“That doesn’t mean he’s gay.”

“No, but he apologized to me afterward for being so disrespectful, and he told me why it struck such a nerve. He’s been out since he was 14 or 15.”

“Oh,” was all Yoongi could reply.

“So are you ready to film this? Because my body is ready.” Hoseok ran his hands down his chest and batted his eyelashes at Yoongi.

“Why are you like this?” Yoongi asked.  

“Baby, I was born this way,” Hoseok sang, sashaying toward the center of the studio.

* * *

The next time Yoongi saw Jungkook was at the week-before-Halloween party Seokjin and Hoseok insisted on having.

Yoongi wasn’t really opposed to having the party, so long as he didn’t have to do any preparation or clean-up or really be involved at all. But he complained about it loudly anyway until Hoseok assured him that he just had to show up in a costume and not get into a fight with anyone—that had been one time, and it was one of Seokjin’s uppity actor friends who was bad-mouthing Seokjin behind his back.

He secretly liked dressing up for Halloween. Though the previous two years that Hoseok dragged him out of the house to Halloween parties where he only knew two people, including Hoseok, he had put on cat ears to be contrary, and then it just kind of became a thing.

So an hour before the party, he put on some skinny black jeans, an over-sized black sweater, and his cat-ear headband.

Hoseok, who was being secretive about his own costume eyed Yoongi up and down.

“I let you get away with this because you’re cute, but you really need whiskers.”

“Okay,” Yoongi said.

“Wait. Really?”

“Sure, why not?”

Hoseok clapped excitedly, and then he was pulling out a bag of his stage makeup. He gave Yoongi a black nose and a few whiskers.

“You really need eyeliner.”

“Fine.”

“Why are you being so agreeable about this?”

“I like making you happy?”

Hoseok stopped administering eyeliner and crossed his arms.

“You don’t want Jungkook to find out that you’re actually a grumpy old man, do you?”

“And how would cat makeup do that?” Yoongi said defensively.

“Don’t worry. I’ll make you look hot.”

Hoseok went back to work lining Yoongi’s eyes, which turned into eye shadow. But the end result was actually kind of hot—if cat makeup could be hot.

“Thank you,” Yoongi said meekly, after admiring himself in Hoseok’s mirror.

“Your crush on Jungkook only makes you cuter. Not get out of here and let me put on my costume.”

Yoongi wandered into the kitchen where Seokjin was concocting some kind of punch, and he appointed himself official taste tester. He wasn’t a big drinker, but Seokjin hadn’t once led him astray on food or drink.

The punch was still a work in progress when Hoseok appeared in the doorway.

Seokjin turned and burst out laughing. Yoongi just shook his head.

“What?” Hoseok asked innocently.

“Why are you like this?” Seokjin asked with a sigh.

“It’s a wonder,” Hoseok said with a grin.

Hoseok was dressed in a Wonder Woman costume nearly identical to Gal Gadot’s from the movie—red breast-plate, blue skirt, gold knee-high boots, and gold headband.

“But don’t I look good? I was considering Harley Quinn, but I couldn’t get the ‘Puddin’ down right. And honestly it felt a little cliche.”

“Where did you even find that?” Yoongi asked.

“I bought it online, but I had to make some adjustments, you know, because I don’t have tits. Dawon helped. You still haven’t answered my question.”

“You look hot,” Yoongi said, because it was true. “You have killer legs.”

Seokjin was suspiciously silent regarding Hoseok’s question. Yoongi always kind of thought Seokjin was too straight to be hanging out with him, Hoseok, and Namjoon—three sometimes brazen, rainbow-wearing queers in a society that still largely saw them as sick. But Seokjin went with them to the Seoul pride parade that summer, which had been a shock to Yoongi.

Seokjin had just shrugged it off with a “I want to support you guys.”

But then sometimes Yoongi thought Seokjin was a little in love with Hoseok and had no idea what to do about it.

“Shit,” Hoseok said. “I forgot we need ice.”

“Nope,” Yoongi replied immediately. “I have whiskers on my face. I am not going out in public.”

“I’m in zombie makeup,” Seokjin said.

“And I’m pretty much asking to be refused service,” Hoseok said looking down at his extremely short blue skirt. “I’ll just text Jimin and Jungkook.”

Hoseok wandered away muttering about the lack of places to carry his phone in his costume.

“Try this,” Seokjin said, holding out a spoon to Yoongi.

He took a sip of the bright pink drink.

“What did you add to this? It tastes like strawberry MyChew now.”

“Perfect.”

“That’s what you were going for?”

“I was going for something people would get drunk on before realizing they’re drunk.”

“You’re chaotic evil.”

“No, I’m chaotic good. Chaotic evil wouldn’t have bothered to make it taste good.”

Yoongi took another healthy taste of the dangerous drink.

“Good news!” Hoseok called out from the living room. “Jungkook’s bringing ice. They’ll be here in 15.”

“I’m going out for a smoke,” Yoongi announced.

“Coward!” Hoseok called after him as he slipped out of the apartment.

He ignored Hoseok and went outside, wandering away from the well lit building doors.

He put in his headphones and put on Namjoon’s trip-hop playlist that Yoongi promised he would give a chance to. Namjoon’s selling point was that Dan the Automator produced some trip hop albums, and so he had loaded the playlist with Deltron 3030 tracks. Yoongi was looking for reasons to tell Namjoon why he hated it, but the use of the mellotron was actually good, and Yoongi was kind of mad about it.

He stayed outside so long that by the time he went back inside to yell at Namjoon about making him enjoy a mellotron, the party was already going on in full swing.

Jungkook was there. He was dressed up as a pirate, which meant he was wearing a loose white shirt that had a very wide open vee, which meant Yoongi couldn’t not ogle him a little. He went to the cooler to grab a beer and then positioned himself strategically in one of Hoseok’s bean bag chairs so he had a good vantage point of the whole room and access to the sound system so he could veto songs on Hoseok’s playlist. Hoseok didn’t have terrible taste in music, but he was still not to be trusted. Yoongi had already threatened to castrate him if he heard “Despacito” even once during the course of the evening.  

Jungkook was holding a beer, taking long pulls from it and swallowing in a way that made Yoongi’s throat go dry.

Yoongi had been content to watch him, but then he saw Hoseok go up to Jungkook and gesture in Yoongi’s direction. Hoseok was far too observant for his own good.

Yoongi stomach was starting to twist, thinking of what he could say to Jungkook before Hoseok did his worst when another guy—Taehyung, Yoongi thought—was coming toward him, dragging Jungkook with him. Yoongi heard Taehyung say, “You’re going to talk to him if it kills me, Jeon Jungkook.”

And then Jungkook was right there in front of him.

“Hi, Yoongi-hyung,” he said, biting his lip. It was too adorable.

“Hi, Jungkook,” Yoongi said.

“This is Taehyung. I don’t think you met him at the dance showcase.”

“Ah, no, but we’ve met before. I helped with the sound at The First Queen last year.”

“You remember me from that?” Taehyung asked.

“I don’t forget faces. Also, you were the one who ripped Bogum’s wig off during dress rehearsal because it looked ridiculous.”

Taehyung laughed.

“It was so hideous everyone was messing up their lines,” Taehyung insisted. “Are you still doing sound for the theater department?”

“Not this term.” The radio station was a paying gig, which took priority over student volunteer work.

“You lucked out. The final production this year is…” he trailed off, wrinkling his nose in disgust in lieu of an explanation.

“So why pirates?” Yoongi asked, looking at Jungkook, hoping he could draw him into the conversation.

“Mostly so Jungkook could show off his chest,” Taehyung replied and then laughed as Jungkook tried to elbow him in the stomach.

“It’s actually because Taehyung owns an inexplicable amount of scarves,” Jungkook said, finally speaking, glaring at his friend.

Taehyung grinned. You could see another retort coming when a new song came up on Hoseok’s list and Taehyung gasped.

“Sorry, boys. Rihanna is calling me. Nice to see you again, Yoongi-hyung.”

Yoongi turned to Jungkook.

“Is Rihanna calling you too?” he asked, nodding toward the makeshift dance floor where some kind of choreographed number was happening. Partying with dancers was always something else. Yoongi had no idea how they could keep so many movements memorized in their bodies.

Jungkook shook his head.

“Then sit down?”

Jungkook sat down in the bean bag chair next to Yoongi. He took another drink of his beer.

“Are you having fun?” Yoongi prompted.

Jungkook nodded.

“Not big on small talk?”

“No, I just—um. Hoseok-hyung said you’re a music production major?” Jungkook looked so shy that Yoongi almost reached out and grabbed his hand to reassure him.

“I am. Hoseok told me you’re into hip-hop?”

“Yeah, I—” Jungkook furrowed his brow a little. “I’m sorry it’s just that your voice sounds really familiar. Ever since Hoseok-hyung introduced us, it’s been driving me crazy.”

That he wasn’t expecting.

“Oh, um, do you ever listen to the student radio station?”

Jungkook’s mouth dropped open.

“That’s it! You’re DJ Suga! Oh my god, I love you.”

“I—really?”

He knew he meant it in the “I love your radio show” sense of “I love you,” but Yoongi’s heart stuttered anyway.

“Yeah! Holy crap. The first time I listened you played Shinobi Ninja and I’ve been listening ever since.”

“You know Shinobi Ninja?”

“Of course. I’m not a heathen.”

It was Yoongi’s turn to gape. No one had ever heard of Shinobi Ninja.

“Have you ever listened to Digable Planets?” Yoongi asked.

“Just Blowout Comb .”

“The instrumentation on that record still holds up,” Yoongi replied.

“What do you think about Dotama?” Jungkook asked.

That sent them into another ten minute tangent about avant garde music and if it had artistic merit or if it was always a gimmick.

“There’s this other American group—Shabazz Palaces—they do experimental better,” Yoongi said.

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard them,” Jungkook replied.

Yoongi pulled out his phone and gave the earbuds to Jungkook, then he pulled up “Endeavors for Never” before handing Jungkook his phone.  

“Do you want another beer?”

“Sure,” Jungkook replied.

“Listen to that. I’ll be right back.”

When he sat back down, Jungkook’s eyes were closed and he was nodded his head along to the music.

“They kind of remind me of De La Soul.”

“Yeah, the jazz influence.”

“You know who I’ve also been listening to a lot lately is Gorillaz,” Jungkook said. “Talk about gimmicky, but I finally gave them a real chance, and they really did interesting stuff musically. I’m not sure how I feel about Humanz yet, though.”

“Yeah, I think the ability to hide behind cartoon characters helped them play around with sound a little more. But Humanz wasn’t my favorite,” Yoongi confessed.

“You played ‘Feel Good Inc.’ on your show a few weeks ago.”

“You remember a show from a few weeks ago?”

Yoongi flushed at the inadvertent compliment. The idea that Jungkook listened to his show was one thing, but enough to remember his playlists was another.

“Well it was the one where no one guessed the theme, and so I looked at the playlist you posted to try to figure it out.”

“Did you?”

“I think so,” Jungkook said, looking as shy as he had when he first came over to talk to Yoongi.

There was no way in a million years he would be able to guess the theme. There was nothing that connected the songs Yoongi had played other than his own biography.

“I think it was—songs that were important to you personally, like emotionally significant, which is really kind of cheating because nobody would be able to guess that.”

Yoongi almost grabbed him and kissed him. Jungkook got it. He actually got it. Yoongi knew he was staring, but he didn’t know what to say short of asking Jungkook to marry him right there.

“So am I right?” Jungkook prompted.

“Yeah, I—yeah, you’re exactly right.”

Jungkook grinned, and Yoongi suddenly felt like he couldn’t breathe.

“Hey, I need a cigarette. Do you want to come outside with me for a minute?”

Jungkook scrambled to his feet.

He did need a cigarette, but mostly he needed to clear his head.

“It’s chilly. Do you have a coat?”

Jungkook nodded.

“Namjoon-hyung hung it up.”

So they went to the closet and grabbed their jackets before stepping outside. Yoongi didn’t speak as he led Jungkook to his favorite smoking spot, against the building and out of the wind, but close to the laundry room and away from any windows so no one could complain about the smell.

“So how do you know so much about music?” Yoongi asked, after he took his first drag.

“Oh, I—well, coming out was hard. Music was kind of all I had. And Jimin—he’s my best friend. My family came around a little bit. I think it helped that my brother’s older and will definitely carry on the family line and all that crap. But, yeah, Troye Sivan and Frank Ocean kind of saved my life.”

“I get it,” Yoongi said.

“Even though I didn’t understand the words, I could tell, you know? Like I gravitated to the songs I needed, even if I didn’t get why.”

If Yoongi had to pinpoint the exact moment he fell completely in love with Jungkook, that might have been it.

“I know what you mean,” Yoongi said, a little bewildered, like maybe Jungkook wasn’t a real person and more a figment of his imagination. “It was the same for me.”

“And then I started getting into hip-hop,” Jungkook continued. “But mostly American stuff because musically it’s just better than most of what you can find here. Like Black Milk? Or  Kendrick Lamar? Game-changer.”

To Pimp A Butterfly changed the whole way I started looking at arranging tracks,” Yoongi agreed.

“I started trying to learn English because of Kendrick Lamar,” Jungkook said. “I posted my translation of DAMN. on my music blog and now it’s like the second or third thing that comes up on Naver when you search for the lyrics.”

No wonder Namjoon liked this kid.  

“Wow. That’s awesome. I’ve probably read your translation, then. It was Lupe Fiasco who really made me want to start learning English,” Yoongi said. “His rhymes are crazy good once you start to understand them.

He started rapping. “You don’t stand a chance, matter of fact, you don’t have half the stance. To stand if you stood half a chance.”

Jungkook was looking at him with his mouth a little agape.

“I kind of want to have Lupe Fiasco’s babies,” Jungkook blurted out. “Oh god, I’m a little drunk. Pretend I didn’t say that.”  

“No, no. It’s cool. I get it. I’d have his babies, too.”

“He just seems so smart,” Jungkook replied.

“If you want embarrassing. The first crush I ever had was on Tablo,” Yoongi confessed.

“That’s not embarrassing. Tablo’s cool. My first crush was on Justin Bieber.”

“Listen, I will fight anyone who says Believe wasn’t a good album,” Yoongi replied. “The production was sick.”

“I’d like to be, anything you want,” Jungkook started singing.

“Whoa,” Yoongi said.

“Hmm?”

“You can sing. Holy shit. Do that again.”

Jungkook’s voice was beautiful.

Unfortunately it was right when he got to “if I was your boyfriend I’d never let you go” that Hoseok chose to burst outside to find them.

“Am I interrupting something?” he asked wagging his eyebrows. “Taehyung was worried you eloped.”

“Taehyungie-hyung needs to mind his own business,” Jungkook said, his cheeks flushing.

“Well, I hate to interrupt the non-elopement, but Seokjin-hyung challenged me and Yoongi-hyung to a game of beer pong.”

“Why does he do this every time?”

Yoongi and Hoseok were undefeated at beer pong—a fact which they lorded over Seokjin and Namjoon and that Seokjin was still unable to accept.

“Are you ready to go in?” Yoongi asked Jungkook, ignoring Hoseok’s sputtering about priorities. “It is kind of getting cold.”

“Yeah,” Jungkook replied. “I want to watch you play.”

So they went inside, and Yoongi and Hoseok remained undefeated at beer pong. But in spite of the victory, all Yoongi really wanted to do was keep talking to Jungkook.

They did exchange numbers before Jungkook left with Taehyung and Jimin, but they couldn’t make plans to hang out again with all their meddling friends hovering around.

After Jungkook left, Yoongi slipped into his room while the party continued and crawled into bed—mostly sober but feeling dazed, still not sure if his conversation with Jungkook was real or just some elaborate hallucination.

He woke up in the middle of the night with a melody in his head. He had no idea what time it was, but the suite sounded quiet, and there was a lump resembling Hoseok lying in Hoseok’s bed. He scrambled out of bed as quietly as possible to record the song on his keyboard.

* * *

The next Monday in his music composition class, Yoongi started playing the melody again.

The class was taught by Yoongi’s favorite professor. He didn’t mind that Yoongi wasn’t interested in writing symphonies for an orchestra or sweeping soundtrack scores.

The music Yoongi wrote wasn’t that much different from an orchestral piece in terms of compositional skill. There was a complexity to the way the different rhythms and instruments and melodies and lyrics all had to balance together. In the end, when he did recordings, he had just as many layers as an orchestra had parts.

His professor was classically trained, but had also composed OSTs for a couple dramas. He had helped Yoongi sell a couple of his songs, teaching him some of the ropes about copyrighting and not getting screwed over by record labels.

Yoongi was supposed to be working on a composition that used time signature changes, which should have been the easiest thing in the world for him, but he was stuck.

He couldn’t get the melody out of his head. It didn’t fit the song he and Namjoon were working on. It certainly didn’t fit the work he had already done on the composition project. It was too bright. He didn’t know what he was going to use it for, but he knew he didn’t want to forget it, so he played it again to commit it to memory.

“You’re not going classical on me, are you?” the professor teased, as he made his rounds around the room, asking to hear what people were working on.

“Never,” Yoongi replied.

“Well, whatever you’re playing sounds a lot more melodic than I’m used to hearing from you.”

“It just came to me the other night,” Yoongi said.

It was then that he realized he was writing a song about the way Jungkook looked when he was talking about a song he liked.

Wow. He really had it bad.

But that realization didn’t stop him from scribbling down the notes on a fresh piece of staff paper the old-fashioned way.

He was still playing it on his own keyboard in his bedroom, adding to the sheet music as he built on the original melody, when Hoseok walked into the room that night.

“You okay?” Hoseok asked.

“Um, yeah? Do I not seem okay?”

“There’s something different about you.” Hoseok started looking at him in a scrutinizing way.

Yoongi stared back at him unbothered, until Hoseok came up to him and started sniffing.

“Why are you sniffing me?”

“I’m trying to figure out what’s diff—oh my god, you’re in love.”

“Wha—how did you come up with that from sniffing me?”

“You reek of it.”

“What does that even mean?”

“You’re giving off pheromones.”

“You can’t smell pheromones.”

“What if I can?”

“You literally can’t.”

“But I can read.”

“Huh?”

“You wrote ‘Jungkook’s Theme’ on the top of your sheet music.”

* * *

He met Jungkook for lunch the next day. It wasn’t a date date. They figured out that they both had classes in the same time slots on Tuesdays and Thursdays. There was a little cafe in the building across the street from the music building, and they had to eat something between their morning and afternoon classes anyway.

Initial shyness gone, Jungkook started right in talking about the classes he had that morning. The kid really was taking too many, but it turned out he hadn’t chosen a major yet and was sampling classes.

Yoongi was already rooting for him to go with something production related or vocal performance, for purely selfish reasons. Though, he wasn’t at all opposed to seeing Jungkook dance again.

“And I have to do a video for my intro to video production class—do you think it’s cheating if I use footage from video I took this summer?”

“Are you the one who filmed it?”

“Yes.”

“Then how could that be cheating?”

Jungkook shrugged. “Because it’s sampling from past Jungkook?”

“Are you not the same Jungkook?”

“I don’t know. I mean, it’s like the ship of Theseus. If they replace every single part of the ship piece by piece is it still the same ship?”

“Okay, fine. Technically every cell in your body replaces itself every seven years. But your body isn’t your identity.”

“I don’t know. I mean, most people aren’t mind-body dualists anymore. Embodied subjectivity is kind of a big deal.”

“You’re out of my wheelhouse,” Yoongi admitted.

“It’d be like Dr. Dre sampling N.W.A.,” Jungkook said. Then he amended, “Except he’s Dr. Dre and can do whatever the hell he wants, and I’m just trying to pass a college class.”

“Dr. Dre is a copyright holder on most N.W.A. songs, though.”

“How do you even know that?”

“You have to take a class on copyrights for my major and I wrote my final paper on Dr. Dre. He doesn’t own ‘Fuck Tha Police,’ but he could sample ‘Something Like That’ without issue. You probably haven’t copyrighted your vacation video, but the ownership is implied.”

“And you don’t think that’s cheating?”

“I use songs I write for one class and use them for other classes all the time. You’re supposed to build on your body of work, not start over every time.”

“Thank you,” Jungkook said. “That makes me feel better.”

Then, in a non sequitur for the ages, Jungkook asked, “Oh, before I forget. Is Namjoon-hyung gay?”

Yoongi nearly choked on his eomuk.

“Uh, can I ask why you’re asking?”

“Jimin-hyung is being stupid after their almost date, and I thought you would know.”

“Ah,” Yoongi said with understanding. “I’ve never heard Namjoon put a definitive label on his sexuality other than “open,” but I’m pretty sure he’s a nerdosexual.”

“A nerdosexual?”

“He’ll bang anyone who can spell Nietzsche.”

“And just to be clear. ‘Anyone’ includes people with dicks?”

“Yes.”

“Okay, thanks. I’ll tell Jimin-hyung.” He chewed on his bottom lip for a second before looking back up at Yoongi. “And what about you?”

“Spelling Nietzsche isn’t a requirement, but wanting to have Lupe Fiasco’s babies is,” Yoongi blurted out.

“Oh,” Jungkook said, sounding disappointed, until it clicked. “Oh.”

“Sorry, I—” He didn’t know why he said it like that. He didn’t have much of a filter when he came to saying what he thought, but usually thought about it a little first. Maybe Jungkook just wanted some kind of gay mentor, or someone to talk about music with.

“Don’t take it back,” Jungkook interrupted. “Please don’t take it back.”

“Okay.” Yoongi replied. He risked looking up at Jungkook, who looked just as bewildered as Yoongi by their conversation.

“That’s good. That’s, um, my criteria, too.”

“Well, it’s a good thing we found each other, then,” Yoongi said, staring at Jungkook, feeling totally and completely out of his element.

“It is,” Jungkook replied, also looking a little dazed.

“Yeah,” Yoongi agreed again dumbly. He didn’t really know what was happening, but he felt a little like he imagined drowning in starlight would feel like.

“And just so you know, I mean, in the spirit of transparency, I like you more than I like Lupe Fiasco,” Jungkook finally said.

“Bold words. You’ve never heard me rap.”

“I don’t need to hear you rap to know,” Jungkook replied. “Though I would like to hear you sometime.”

“Okay, yeah. We can do that,” Yoongi said absently, still staring at Jungkook with bewilderment.

* * *

Jungkook came over to the suite on Thursday evening with the excuse of needing to use Yoongi’s MIDI controller for one of his classes, and he did work on his project for a while, but eventually they ended up on Yoongi’s bed listening to music, sharing Yoongi’s earbuds.

“I want to hear your old raps. Do you have any of your stuff?” Jungkook asked.

Yoongi tried to choke down the spike of panic.

“It’s a little embarrassing.”

“I won’t judge! I just want to know past Yoongi.”

“Even if I’m not the same Yoongi?” he teased.

“I want to know all the Yoongis.”

As if Yoongi could say no to that. If only Jungkook knew the power he wielded.

Yoongi brought over his laptop and played some of the songs he wrote with Namjoon back in high school. They weren’t very advanced in terms of production, but the lyrics were pretty good for a couple teenagers.

“That’s Namjoon-hyung?” Jungkook asked after the first track.

“Yep.”

“Runch Randa is the same person who explained Plato’s theory of Forms to me?”

“Boggles the mind, doesn’t it?”

“He came to class wearing mismatched socks and shoes yesterday.”

“Namjoon lives on a different level of existence from the rest of us.”

“Do you have any songs that are just yours?”

“Oh, um, yeah,” Yoongi said, trying to pretend like he wasn’t using the songs he wrote with Namjoon as his safety net.

Normally he didn’t mind sharing his songs with other people. He tried to write songs that other people could relate to—that was the whole point. But with Jungkook, he wanted to listen to Yoongi’s songs because he wanted to know Yoongi . It was categorically different. It wasn’t sharing a song, it was exposing the little parts of him, the ugly parts, and leaving himself open to criticism from the one person whose opinion now mattered to him more than anyone else’s. There was no going back after this.

“Wow,” Jungkook said, after the first song. “Oh wow. This is—wow.”

“Thanks?”

“No, I mean it. The way you talk about your anxiety is really—it hits close to home is all.”

Jungkook slid his hand over to cover Yoongi’s, gripping onto it and giving it a squeeze. Connected at that point, skin to skin, felt like an anchor Yoongi. But Jungkook let go too quickly, with a noise of surprise like maybe he hadn’t meant to do it.

He put on another of his songs, one less personal, one he wrote when he was trying to figure out his own style.

“What the—holy shit, Yoongi-hyung.”

“Uh, I don’t, um, what is this reaction? Do you like it?”

“You’re faster than Outsider.”

“I’m not faster than Outsider. He does like 22 syllables per second.”

“You’re close.”

Jungkook was looking at Yoongi with an expression that Yoongi interpreted as awe.

“I don’t do a lot of speed rap anymore. I mean, I don’t do a lot of rapping anymore anyway.”

“You should. You’re really good, and I’m not just saying that. I’m really not.”

Yoongi wasn’t normally embarrassed by flattery, but when Jungkook said it, he felt like he was melting. Everything about Jungkook was turning him inside out, but the funny thing was, he didn’t really mind.

“Uh, speaking of speed, though. Have you heard Tymee’s latest?”

“You’re lying. She doesn’t have a ‘latest,’” Jungkook said.

“She does when you’re a DJ for an independent radio station and she’s writing songs again under a pseud.”

Jungkook crammed the earbud back in his ear.

“Play it.”

Luckily Jungkook was easy to distract. At some point, Yoongi relinquished control of the music to Jungkook and started relaxing back against his nest of pillows, dozing a little as Jungkook shuffled through Yoongi’s music collection.

He didn’t realize how late it was until Jungkook jolted upright.

“Shit. It’s late. I should—”

“Stay,” Yoongi murmured. “Sleep here.”

“I have class in the morning.”

“Set an alarm. S’too late to go back across campus.”

“But Hoseok—”

“He won’t mind. Really. He has people over all the time.”

“Okay,” Jungkook said. “Yeah, okay. I’m going to use the bathroom. I’ll—um—be right back.”

Yoongi changed into sweatpants when Jungkook was in the bathroom, then crawled under his covers scooting over to give Jungkook room to get in.

When Jungkook came back, he was clearly tentative as he approached the bed.

“Is it okay if I take off my jeans?” he asked.

“Of course,” Yoongi replied. And then under his breath. “Please free your thighs.”

“What?”

“Nothing, um. I can get you some sweatpants or something, though. If you want?”

“I usually just sleep like this,” Jungkook said, standing awkwardly beside the bed wearing only black boxer briefs and a white t-shirt.

Yoongi had to bite his lip to keep from saying anything else embarrassing. The muscles of Jungkook’s legs were even more impressive than Yoongi’s initial impression of them in the leggings. It wasn’t fair. Yoongi wondered how Jungkook would react if he asked to bite them.

Given the hesitant expression on his face, Yoongi decided against it. Instead, he pulled back the duvet and gestured for Jungkook to get in.

Moment’s later, Jungkook was lying stiffly on his back next to Yoongi, a careful 20 centimeters between them.

“Are you uncomfortable?” Yoongi asked.

“No, this is a really nice mattress. How do you have such a nice mattress in campus housing?”

“I bought it. I tried to sleep on the mattress they provide for three days before I gave up and bought a real one. And I got a memory foam topper,” Yoongi had spent way too much money on it, but he had just sold a song and decided the pleasure of sleep was worth it in the long run.

“Well, it’s nice. I bet you sleep well.”

“I do. But that’s not what I meant,” Yoongi said. “I can take the couch if you aren’t comfortable sharing a bed with me.”

“No, it’s—I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t want to be. I just—I don’t know how to position myself so I don’t, um—”

“Do we need to construct a pillow wall? I have extra pillows.”

“No,” Jungkook said. “Why is this so—um, what’s the opposite of a pillow wall?”

“Cuddling?”

“Yes. That.”

“You could have just said.”

“I didn’t know if you wanted. I mean, you might not be into touching. I just didn’t want to accidentally cuddle you in my sleep if you weren’t into it.”

“That’s very considerate of you.”

“I’m a big fan of consent,” Jungkook replied.

Yoongi wondered if there was a story there, but Jungkook’s voice didn’t betray any emotional baggage. Maybe he had escaped the bullshit Yoongi had gone through when he first moved to Seoul.

“I know I can seem kind of prickly, but, yes, I consent to cuddling with you.”

“Good. That’s good.”

“So big spoon or little spoon?” Yoongi asked.

“Little spoon,” Jungkook said softly.

“Okay,” Yoongi replied.

Jungkook rolled over onto his side, his back to Yoongi.

“Are you comfortable now?”

“Mmmhmm,” Jungkook murmured sleepily.

Jungkook was emitting warmth. Yoongi snuggled closer to him, throwing his arm over Jungkook’s waist and pressing up against him.

“Me too,” Yoongi whispered behind him.

* * *

The next day, after Jungkook had tried to slip out of his bed quietly, after Yoongi had woken up anyway and told Jungkook to have a good day, after Jungkook looked down at him with a soft smile, after he went back to sleep, he woke up with a series of texts from Namjoon.

[Namjoon]: I ran into loverboy trying to sneak out of the apartment this morning.
[Namjoon]: I told him not to break your heart.
[Namjoon]: But you better not break his either.

Odds were pretty good he’d scare Jungkook away and effectively break his own heart, and he texted Namjoon something to that effect. Namjoon sent him back the cow plus the poop emojis, and Namjoon never used emojis. But Yoongi had been serious. He felt out of control with how fast he was speeding toward wanting to be around Jungkook all the time.

But he wasn’t about to stop.

He wasn’t sure he could stop even if he wanted to.

He hoped Namjoon hadn’t given him some kind of lecture about relationships, or, worse, about all the shit from Yoongi’s past.

[Yoongi]: Hey, don’t let Namjoon scare you. I’m glad you stayed over.
[Jungkook]: Really?
[Yoongi]: Really. You’re very comfortable.

About a half hour later Jungkook responded.

[Jungkook]: What are you doing for dinner?
[Yoongi]: I don’t know. What am I doing for dinner?
[Jungkook]: Letting me take you out for lamb skewers.
[Yoongi]: Oh am I?
[Jungkook]: Yes. Because I happen to know you’re in the music production building and I’m outside waiting for you.

Yoongi didn’t need to be convinced. He saved what he was working on and bolted downstairs. He flung the door open, and there was Jungkook standing with his phone in his hand, looking ridiculously adorable in a black hoodie pulled over his head.  

“Hi,” Yoongi said.

“Hi,” Jungkook replied, smiling at Yoongi like he was genuinely happy to see him.

Yoongi wanted to kiss him. Every second they spent together was getting harder to keep his hands to himself. But then he’d remember that Jungkook said he didn’t know any gay kids his own age in Busan. And the last thing he wanted to be was like one of the complete pricks from his past who were only interested in getting off with Yoongi, not getting to know him or even thinking about him like he was a person and not a fuck machine. And so he was holding back, even though he hoped it was abundantly clear to Jungkook that Yoongi liked him.

They hadn’t really talked about what they were doing, about what was happening between them, but it was clearly something.

But he was pretty sure Jungkook was waiting for him to make the first move, like with the cuddling the night before. Yoongi was older, and Jungkook wasn’t reckless enough to throw away social ladders entirely—hell, he had bowed when they first met. Yoongi just needed the right moment. And it wasn’t outside the music production building on a big campus where anyone might see.

“Did you miss me?” he asked, trying to sound teasing, but failing.

“Well, yeah,” Jungkook said, with so much earnesty that Yoongi wanted to cry.

Yoongi nudged him with his shoulder.

“Don’t worry, I missed you too.”

“How are we this sappy when we haven’t even—I mean, when we’ve only known each other for a couple weeks?”

“Not true. You’ve known me since you started listening to my radio show.”

“That doesn’t count.”

“If you know the music I love, then you basically know everything.”

“But so does anyone else who listens.”

“But no one else understands or cares that that’s what they’re listening to.”

And that’s why I feel like I know you, too, Yoongi thought.

Jungkook cleared his throat, and Yoongi ached to know whatever unsaid thought was there that Jungkook wasn’t sharing.

“I’ve been thinking about your old songs, and how you said you don’t rap much anymore. But you have so much material. Have you ever thought about modernizing the production or doing remixes or something? I mean, 2Pac had just as many albums after he died than when we was alive.”

He was getting music input from the guy he was already falling in love with. It was everything he ever wanted in another person. Yoongi nearly tripped over his feet.

“That’s a really good idea. I’ve sort of been feeling blocked, but maybe that would help.”

“You said you were trying to find your back then style, maybe you have a different one now,” Jungkook replied. “Anyway, it was just an idea.”

If Jungkook didn’t change his mind and go into music production specifically, Yoongi was going to cry.

“It’s a great idea. Thank you. Maybe you can help?”

“Would you really let me do that?”

“Of course.”

Jungkook looked so happy at the prospect, Yoongi thought his heart might burst.

They got to the restaurant, a little hole in the wall that Yoongi loved, and he was temporarily distracted by food and the adorable way Jungkook ate like it was his last meal. But he was still thinking about what Jungkook said, about his style changing. The music he wrote as a teenager was raw, honest but unpolished. He learned too much about production to go back to that, but the things he wanted to express were still there.

And he wanted Jungkook to be a part of it. Maybe with the production, but maybe in another way.

“Will you sing for me?” Yoongi asked. “I mean, on a song?”

“What?” Jungkook asked, his mouth full of lamb.

“I finally had an idea for a new song recently, and Namjoon wrote a verse for it too, but it needs a singer, maybe two, to cut through with a chorus. I think—I think it’s what you said. My style is different. I just haven’t figured it out yet.”

“Why didn’t you tell me you were working on something?” Jungkook sat back and crossed his arms, pouting.

“Because it’s not finished. I mean, I don’t even have a chorus yet.”

“But you know you want me to sing on it?”

“Yeah.”  

“Okay,” Jungkook replied. Then he smirked. “Unless it’s shit.”

Yoongi threw a wadded up napkin at his face.

* * *

The next night—on actual Halloween night. Jungkook came to the radio station with Yoongi. Yoongi had volunteered to take the shift because he knew no one else wanted it. Normally Yoongi didn’t like to have anyone there with him. But there was probably nothing that Jungkook could ask him for that he would say no to. Plus, he had made Yoongi a playlist—he titled it “Hip-Hop Halloween.”

And Yoongi fell a little bit more in love with him.

Even after he saw it had an Insane Clown Posse song on it.

“I had to!” Jungkook insisted, after Yoongi mocked him for it. “They dress up as insane clowns. And The Amazing Jeckel Brothers really wasn’t that bad. Snoop Dogg’s on it.”

“That still doesn’t make it right.”

But Yoongi agreed to play the list without editorial input. He had obviously spent a lot of time—too much time given all his course work—putting the list together.

As they settled into the booth, Yoongi had to ask,

“You don’t have a party to go to tonight?”

“Nope,” Jungkook said. “I went to your Halloween party last week and thus met my quota of college shenanigans.”

It had only been a week. How could it have only been a week? Yoongi’s entire world had shifted on its axis and he couldn’t escape the feeling that there was no going back. There was before Jungkook and there was after Jungkook, and he wouldn’t survive having to return to the way things were before. He wasn’t drowning in starlight anymore. He was being swallowed by the universe.

“There’s a quota?” he asked.

“Taehyung has a checklist. He’s really big on lists. Don’t ever ask him about spreadsheets.”

“Noted,” Yoongi said. “So what’s your DJ name?”

“I don’t have a DJ name.”

“Well how am I going to introduce you if you don’t have a DJ name?”

“Why would you introduce me?”

“So you can talk about your playlist.”

“On the air?”

“Yes on the air. It’s your list, don’t you want credit for it?”

“I mean, yes, but really? Are you sure?”

“Of course. I’ll just ask you a couple questions about it. It’ll just be like you and me talking about music like we always do. Unless you really don’t want to go on the air.”

“No, I do. That sounds—good. I just wasn’t expecting it.”

By the time Yoongi set up another microphone and headset for Jungkook, it was time for his show to start.

“Hello, loyal listeners. For the next few hours on this Halloween night, I have a treat for you. A guest DJ has put together a playlist for your listening pleasure, and I have him here in the studio. Say hi, Kookie.”

“Hi, Kookie.”

“Very funny,” Yoongi said. “So, before we get started, tell our listeners a little bit about this list. What was your inspiration?”  

Jungkook took a deep breath.

“Well, hip-hop explores some dark themes, but there’s also a whole genre called horrorcore.”

“Like The Geto Boys and Kool Keith,” Yoongi prompted.

“Yeah. There were a couple of earlier songs about vampires, and even Jazzy Jeff and the Fresh Prince had a song about meeting Freddy Kreuger that I put on this list, but it was really Kool Keith who turned it into a genre. It was hard not to put the whole Dr. Octagonecologyst album on here, which was produced by Dan Nakamura, who did the Gorillaz’ first album.”

Yoongi thought he might combust. Jungkook dancing was attractive, but Jungkook talking about one of Yoongi’s favorite producers was on a whole other level.  

“Also known as Dan the Automator,“ Yoongi threw in, trying to compose himself.

“Right,” Jungkook replied. “The Glue Factory has always been putting out experimental stuff.”

“But this list isn’t all pure horrorcore.”

“No. Some horrorcore is violent and it’s hard to listen to for an extended period of time. Most people have probably heard of Eminem, and Relapse is probably his most horrorcore album—if you want to categorize it as that—but there are some tracks on it, like ‘Insane’ that he said he specifically wrote to disgust people.”

“That whole album is full of imagery of serial killers. It was never my personal taste, but it is a solid contribution to the genre. So what else do you have in store for our listeners that’s not horrorcore?”

“Well, some of my favorites are Kid Cudi with ‘Maniac’ and then B.o.B. ‘Ghost in the Machine.’”

“This is such a good list, listeners. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Is there anything else you want to add, Kookie?”

“I guess before anyone wants to point out that it’s not hip-hop, I should say that I was contractually obligated to put ‘Thriller’ on the list.”

“It’s the rules,” Yoongi added. “Well, thank you so much for introducing the list. Without further ado, here’s Ras Kass with ‘Interview with the Vampire.’”

He hit the button to mute the mics, and then took off his headphones. Jungkook did the same.

“Was that okay?” he asked eagerly.

“Okay? Jungkook, I could talk to you about music for the rest of the show and be perfectly happy.”

“Yeah?” Jungkook asked.

His eyes were dancing with delight and he had a smile so bright it was emanating joy. Yoongi couldn’t not kiss him.

So he leaned in and planted a kiss right on Jungkook’s lips. It was a soft kiss, just a quick pressing together of lips. Yoongi pulled away slowly, almost afraid to look up at Jungkook, to see if what he had done was the right thing in that moment.

If anything, Jungkook’s smile was brighter.

“Come back,” Jungkook whispered, reaching for Yoongi’s shirt and pulling him back in—until Jungkook was the one slotting his lips against Yoongi’s. The second kiss was firmer, longer, and Yoongi tried to drink Jungkook in. Jungkook was the one who deepened the kiss, who parted his lips, who licked into Yoongi’s mouth.

They made out in the DJ booth for a solid hour, and whatever experience Jungkook had or didn’t have, Yoongi had never in his life just kissed someone for that long. There was never time or sustained interest in something that wasn’t going to lead to fucking. He remembered his friends in grade school talking about making out with girls and just assuming he would never know what that was like. It turned out he liked it.

They had to break apart eventually. Yoongi was technically at work and they had to take listener requests and identify songs. But in between there were more stolen kisses, and Yoongi was giddy when they left the studio. Jungkook’s hair was a mess and his lips were a little swollen and he looked a little like he couldn’t believe what just happened. And Yoongi was pretty sure he looked the same.

“Do you want to go to 7-11 and eat something? See if there are any people walking around in costumes outside the clubs?”

“Yeah.”

He slipped his hand into Jungkook’s as they walked. It was two in the morning, no one would care. It was warm enough to sit outside with their ramen, tangling their feet together under the table.  

When they got back to campus, Yoongi still wasn’t ready to let Jungkook go.

“Come home with me.”

“Really?”

“Our first kiss lasted for an hour. I’m kind of addicted now.”

Jungkook flushed.

“Are you really sure your roommates don’t mind?”

“Hoseok went out with Kwon and Lea, which means he probably won’t be back until tomorrow afternoon and he’ll be covered in glitter and I’ll be finding it in my shoes for the next month.”

“My roommate probably brought his girlfriend home. I bet he already texted me to ask if I can go sleep somewhere else.”

“Does he do that a lot?”

“Yeah, I sleep on Taehyungie-hyung and Jimin-hyung’s futon a lot.”

“Well then you might as well come home with, so you don’t have to deal with him.”

Yoongi wanted to tell him that he could always stay over with him, that he belonged in his bed, but he was trying really hard not to come on too strong.  

“Okay, but you can’t pull me into your orbit of coziness and sleep. I know how you operate now. I have a ton a school work to do tomorrow.”

“Set an alarm like you did during the week. Hell, I’ll even get up when you do. I really need to finish overdubbing the dance demo Hoseok helped me with.”

The fact that he was willing to forego sleep for Jungkook was a definitive sign that he wasn’t “falling in love with” Jungkook. He was already there. Already all in. Past the point of no return.

It was nearly four by the time they crawled into bed, but now that the dam had broke, Yoongi really couldn’t have Jungkook in his bed without kissing him.

“Goodnight, Jungkookie,” he whispered, after they had settled.

“Goodnight, Yo—”

Yoongi cut him off with a kiss. Jungkook’s surprise was short-lived and he kissed Yoongi back. It wasn’t frantic. It was too late and Yoongi was far too tired for it to really go anywhere, but he really was starting to get addicted to the way Jungkook tasted, the heat his body gave off, the way he tugged on Yoongi’s hair, the way he moaned a little when Yoongi kissed the spot on his neck right behind his ear.

Eventually they settled on their sides, legs tangled together, kissing like they were slowly taking sips from the other’s mouth when Jungkook finally pulled back a little.

“Is it always like this?” Jungkook wondered out loud.

“I wouldn’t know,” Yoongi replied.

“Really?”

“Really. But my gut tells me this is better.”

He could feel Jungkook smiling in the dark.

He knew, objectively, that at some point they should probably have a conversation about the bullet train they were speeding along on, but it wasn’t the time for that. It was late, Yoongi was tired, and the last thing he wanted to do was stay cautious.

* * *

When Yoongi woke up the next morning to the sound of Jungkook’s alarm, he was curled up with his head on Jungkook’s chest, his arm flung across Jungkook’s waist. Jungkook was fumbling with his phone.

“Snooze?” Yoongi asked with his mouth still full of sleep.

Jungkook groaned. “Why do you have to be so fucking cute when you’re sleepy?”

“I’m not cute,” Yoongi pouted.

“You’re so cute it should be illegal.”

“I’m older than you.”

“You’re still cute.”

“Hmph. You’re cute.” It was not a strong comeback, but in his defense, Yoongi was still half asleep.

“Thank you,” Jungkook said. “Look at me taking a compliment like a normal person.”

“Does being cute get me more sleep?”

“Fifteen minutes?” Jungkook offered.

“I’ll take it. Come ‘ere.”

When the alarm rang again, Yoongi couldn’t convince Jungkook to give them another fifteen minutes, and before he realized what was happening, Jungkook was herding him toward the bathroom, instructing him to take a shower because they were going to the library whether he liked it or not.

They worked in the library together while Yoongi caught up on his history reading and Jungkook worked on a philosophy paper. Then they went to the production studio so Yoongi could work on his video of Hoseok while Jungkook worked on one of his projects.

The fact that he could get work done with Jungkook beside him was just one more bizarre revelation in the string of bizarre Jungkook-related revelations. Yoongi always worked alone in his own space, even when he was collaborating with someone.

It was too much, too fast, and Yoongi kept waiting for Jungkook to push him away, to tell him it was too much.

After Halloween, they were hardly ever apart. But Jungkook never seemed to get tired of him. Every time Yoongi told himself to give Jungkook space, forced himself to not ask Jungkook to come over to sleep, Jungkook would text him that his roommate was kicking him out for the night and he didn’t want to bother Taehyung and Jimin.

It didn’t make sense. Nothing in Yoongi’s life was ever so easy, other than his decision to make music. But he and Jungkook fit so well together it wasn’t even a question.

He tried not to think about it too much. He tried not to think about all the ways it could totally backfire. He tried not to think about all the ways Jungkook could break his heart.

He came home by himself one afternoon later that week to find Hoseok doing yoga in their bedroom.

“How’s the boyfriend?” Hoseok asked from the most awkward position Yoongi had ever seen a human twisted into.

“What is that?”

“What’s what?”

“That position.”

“Ear pressure pose,” Hoseok answered.

“Why does your ass have to be in the air to relieve ear pressure?”

“Why are you avoiding the question I asked you about your boyfriend?” Hoseok retorted, his ass still straight-up in the air.

“Shouldn’t you be at dance practice?”

“My dance group isn’t practicing today, and the fact that the only reason you’re here right now is because you couldn’t justify following Jungkook to his practice actually answers my question.”

Yoongi sat down on his bed and put his head in his hands.

“Hyung?” Hoseok asked. “I can’t read your body language from this position. You’re going to have to use your words.”

“We need to have a suite meeting,” Yoongi said with a groan.

“It was your rule,” Hoseok replied in a sing-songy voice.

“Wait. You don’t mind him staying over, do you? I wouldn’t ask him to stay over if I thought it would bother you at all. I mean, his roommate sucks, but I’ve slept over there and it’s not that bad.”

“Save it for the meeting,” Hoseok said, finally unrolling himself and sitting up.  

“Hoseok.”

“Oh relax. I like Jungkook. Based on the panic in your voice—you’re really serious about this aren’t you?”

“Yeah.”

Hoseok didn’t scold him or try to tell him everything was going to fast, that Jungkook was too young and impressionable. But then, Yoongi had a year on Hoseok, and Hoseok wasn’t the type to step in with unsolicited advice. Plus, Hoseok knew both Yoongi and Jungkook, knew what they were like, and already thought they were perfect for each other. It was Seokjin who was probably going to scold him.

Yoongi reluctantly took out his phone and opened their group chat, calling for a suite meeting that evening if everyone was free.

At 8 p.m. sharp they were all in the living room, sitting on the sofa in a row, looking at Yoongi with expressions that ranged from knowing smirks to Hoseok clearly laughing behind his hand.

“So, um—” Yoongi started.

“What’s this about?” Seokjin said feigning innocence.

Yoongi glared at him.

Hoseok cleared his throat. “Per the suite rules, when someone is engaging in a serious relationship where said boyfriend or girlfriend is sleeping over for more than a one-night or one-weekend stand, roommates must have a conversation about their level of comfort with having said boyfriend or girlfriend around.”

“You’re enjoying this too much. This is all because of that sea witch you dated,” Yoongi shot at Hoseok.

“No, it’s because Seokjin-hyung had sex with Sana-noona on the kitchen table,” Hoseok replied.

“You all liked Sana!” Seokjin protested.

“She hated dogs. Who hates dogs?” Yoongi said.

“She didn’t hate them. She was afraid of them. And why did it matter? We can’t have pets here anyway.”

“It’s kind of a character flaw to not like dogs,” Namjoon said.  

“Oh come on. Son of Sam had a dog!” Seokjin insisted.

“No, Son of Sam accused the neighbor’s dog of being a demon. That doesn’t mean he liked dogs,” Namjoon corrected.

“It kind of sounds like he didn’t like dogs,” Yoongi said. “Who accuses a dog of being a demon?”

“Probably Sana-noona,” Hoseok said.

Seokjin kicked Hoseok.

“Anyway you’re just being defensive because you have a boyfriend and you’re trying to deflect,” Seokjin said.

“That is the reason for the matter at hand,” Hoseok said. “The floor is yours, hyung.”

“But you guys already—”

“Rules are rules,” Hoseok replied.

“Fine. So, Jungkook and I are dating.”

“Ooooooo,” Hoseok and Namjoon crooned.

“Officially?”

“I didn’t pass him a note that said “Do you want to be my boyfriend, check yes or no?”

“Maybe you should do that,” Namjoon said. “Jungkook likes clarity. He argued with me at my office hours about an ambiguous translation in the Phaedo for like an hour.”

“So you may or may not have a boyfriend,” Hoseok said.

“I have a boyfriend,” Yoongi insisted.

“And?” Seokjin prompted.

“And I really like having him around and he likes doing his homework here because his roommate is kind of a nightmare and he uses my MIDI controller for some of his homework.”

“And?” This time it was Hoseok.

“And I already know that you all like him because he’s awesome, and you’re just doing this to torture me.”

Seokjin studied Yoongi for an uncomfortably long time

“Can he bring Jimin with him sometimes so Namjoon can pull his head out of his ass?”

“Hey!” Namjoon yelled. “I resent that.”

But in the end, they all agreed that Jungkook had blanket permission for sleeping over, so long as he followed all suite rules, 95% of which were about not eating Seokjin’s food.

After Yoongi escaped back into the safety of his room, he texted Jungkook.

[Yoongi]: We had a suite meeting. I promise it’s cool with them if you stay over.
[Jungkook]: You called a suite meeting for me?
[Yoongi]: I mean, I don’t want you to feel pressured to come over if you don’t want to.
[Jungkook]: I want to.
[Jungkook]: I always want to.
[Jungkook]: Except probably not tonight because dance practice kicked my ass so hard I don’t think I can physically move.
[Yoongi]: We can sleep apart for one night.
[Jungkook]: :(
[Yoongi]: I can come to your room?
[Jungkook]: :)

He kept trying to give the kid outs. But Jungkook never seemed to take them. It was hard for Yoongi to reconcile the idea that maybe Jungkook didn’t want an out.

* * *

The next Friday, when Yoongi had his radio show, Jungkook hung out with Jimin and Taehyung. It was the first night Yoongi slept alone in a week, and it felt weird not having Jungkook beside him in bed. On Saturday, Jungkook texted him to inform him that Taehyung had kidnapped him and was still demanding friend time for the afternoon.

Yoongi understood—he did—he had definitely been spending a lot less time with his friends, too. And a lot less time alone. Any relationship expert in the world would probably tell them they were spending too much time together, but it wasn’t like Yoongi was losing sight of who he was or he wanted Jungkook all to himself. They hadn’t done anything much more than kiss, and even though Yoongi got turned on by Jungkook, sex wasn’t some milestone they needed to reach. It wasn’t about that either.

He just really liked being around him.

But with a free afternoon that he had been planning on spending with Jungkook, Yoongi didn’t know what to do.

He started getting the antsy feeling he got sometimes, when his mind started to spiral into doubt and worry and then to problems that were much bigger than himself that he could never fix. He went outside to walk and smoke, but it was too cold to stay out long. And so it didn’t seem to help much.  

Usually music helped, but he scrolled through his whole music library and couldn’t find anything that really fit his mood.

He wanted to work on the song with Namjoon, but Namjoon was in a perpetually grumpy mood since he was moping about Jimin. And, he told Yoongi he was working on lecture notes for a class session he was teaching the next week.

So Yoongi cornered Hoseok in the kitchen.

“We have to do something about Namjoon.”

“We can’t make him date Jimin.”

“But he clearly likes Jimin, and from what I’ve gathered from Jungkook, Jimin likes him.”

“Let Namjoon get there on his own time.”

“Why are you being so rational about this? I hate it when you make sense.”

“Have you ever gotten Namjoon to do something he didn’t want to do?”

Yoongi thought about it.

“Well, now that you mention it, no. He’s a stubborn bastard.”

“I pick my battles,” Hoseok replied. “Why are you suddenly concerned about Namjoon’s love life?”

“I’m not?”

“What’s wrong?”

“Nothing.”

Hoseok gave him a look that said he didn’t believe him, but he didn’t push.

He could have tried to explain it to Hoseok, but it was Namjoon that Yoongi really wanted to talk to. Namjoon got Yoongi in a way that most people didn’t, because he was like Yoongi.

Namjoon was sitting at the kitchen table, his laptop open in front of him and about ten books and notebooks spread out everywhere.

“How’s the lecture coming?” Yoongi asked.

“Can I show you my slides?” Namjoon replied. “I think they’re okay, but if I could run through them once with an audience, it would help me a lot.”

“Sure,” Yoongi said, sitting down in the one chair that didn’t have books on it. “Teach me about Hegel.”

So he listened to Namjoon’s lecture. To him, it sounded a lot like Marx minus all the economic stuff, but he didn’t dare say that to Namjoon. He got weirdly defensive about certain philosophers that Yoongi had stopped trying to talk to him about them.

Of course, Namjoon had his lecture down, and it was a lot more interesting than Yoongi was expecting. Namjoon was a good teacher, and it made it even harder for Yoongi to be mad that he was studying philosophy and not music.

“Sorry I blew you off earlier,” Namjoon said after Yoongi assured him his slides were good. “Is it the song? I will record it. I just—my thesis is driving me crazy and I’m behind on my other course work because I have to keep up with teaching assistant obligations.”

“I get it,” Yoongi replied, “I know you’re stressed out. The song’s not even done anyway. I’m still trying to figure out how to cut in singing. I think if I add an underlying baseline with the piano it will make sense musically or maybe a chaotic bridge after you do the second verse to kind of capture the cacophony of the city.”

“I like that a lot. I think I had something similar in mind for a bridge. So it’s really the chorus that has you hung up?”

“I have the melody that I wrote for it originally, and I’m not totally happy with it, but I think it still works. But all the lyrics I try to write now are lame.”

“Let me guess,” Namjoon started. “They’re too sappy and sentimental?”

“If you’re suggesting that I can’t write good lyrics because of my relationship with Jungkook, I will stab you.”

“Well, you started writing the song because you were lonely.”

“Not lonely lonely. You of all people should know the difference. You just lectured me on the Other.”

“You were really paying attention?”

“Of course I was. It was a good lecture. You’re a good teacher.”

“Thanks,” Namjoon said with a pleased smile.

“I wouldn’t say it if it wasn’t true.”

Namjoon brushed off the second compliment.

“Your relationship with Jungkook is a big change. Are you sure it’s not throwing you off? And I don’t mean in a bad way—it’s just any big difference in someone’s life might throw them off.”

Yoongi sighed.

“I’m not struggling with this chorus because of Jungkook—” Yoongi started. “Not in that way. But maybe, maybe I’m scared. I always get blocked when I’m scared.”

“Scared of what?”

“I’ve never felt this way about something that wasn’t music before,” Yoongi confessed.

Namjoon didn’t laugh, which is why Yoongi needed Namjoon for this, to help sort him out.

“Okay,” Namjoon said. “Let’s think about this then. Do you feel like you have to give up music for Jungkook?”

“No. Definitely not. His ear is so good, he makes my music better. He already started remixing one of my old Gloss songs for fun.”

“Okay, so do you feel like you’re using him to make your music better?”

“No, not at all. He loves music. He just never made much of his own.”

“So do you think he’s using you?”

Yoongi shook his head. “Definitely not.”

“Do you think it’s possible that maybe Jungkook’s relationship to music is similar to yours and that’s why the two of you get along so well?”

Yoongi swallowed.

“This doesn’t happen,” Yoongi said. “He’s like—it’s like he was made for me.”

“Sure it does. My parents met in college and they’re definitely soulmates. They both have rock collections and neither of them are geologists.”

Yoongi didn’t think his parents were soulmates. He wasn’t even sure he believed in soulmates until he met Jungkook.

“But I still have this crawling out of my skin feeling. If it’s not Jungkook, then what is it? Why am I scared?” Yoongi asked.

“Anxiety?” Namjoon suggested.

Yoongi looked down at his lap.

“I think I’m anxious about this song,” he admitted.

“Why do you think that?”

“Because I like it. And I’m excited about it. And what I’m really afraid of is succeeding. Because if you succeed, then the inevitable downfall will feel worse.”

“That must hold you back a lot,” Namjoon said.

“It does.”

That was why he went to Namjoon. There was no advice, no telling him he was being irrational or that he needed to focus on the present. It felt good to admit that’s what he was feeling, except he realized that maybe it mirrored how he felt about Jungkook, too.

* * *

But Jungkook showed no signs that he was looking for an out, for an ending.

At some point, Yoongi had gotten used to waking up to see Jungkook sitting at his desk reading a book or working on his computer or drawing in his sketchbook to unwind.  

“You should sleep,” Yoongi said softly one night, not wanting to wake Hoseok.

“But I have so much to do,” Jungkook whispered.

“It’s not good to go so long without sleep.”

“I have to come up with another idea for a video and the storyboard is due tomorrow and—” Jungkook’s voice cracked.

“Come on,” Yoongi said, climbing out of bed. “Let’s not wake up Hoseok.”

Jungkook didn’t ask any questions, he just followed Yoongi out of the room and through the dark apartment. He mimicked Yoongi as he put on his shoes and coat.

It was only after they left the suite that Jungkook asked,

“Where are we going?”

“Just for a walk.”

“Why?”

“I get my best ideas while I’m either walking or showering, and I can’t shower with you.”

“You could,” Jungkook replied immediately.

“Not if you want to brainstorm a storyboard.”

“You’re going to help me?”

“Of course.”

I’d give you the entire world if I could, Yoongi thought.

“What are the parameters of the assignment?”

“I have to make a video that makes a social statement. And I was going to ask you if I could use one of your raps, but the visual aspects of the video have to make the statement not the music, so that won’t really work. And I know I want to try rotoscoping, but that still doesn’t help me with content.”

“You know how to do rotoscoping?”

“Yeah?”

“Is there anything you can’t do?”

“Rebuild a car engine, ride a horse, breathe underwater,” Jungkook rattled off. There was a bite to his voice.

“Okay, okay. Sorry. Let’s think about social issues then.”

“I thought about doing something about gay pride, but I’m just not ready to put myself out there like that.”

“Yeah, of course. You shouldn’t feel forced to come out to your classmates, especially for a class assignment. So what else bothers you?”

“I don’t know,” Jungkook said.

“The music you listen to says otherwise,” Yoongi replied.

“Well, actually,” Jungkook started. “You said your parents didn’t understand at all that you wanted to go into music.”

“Yeah?” Yoongi said, not yet following Jungkook’s train of thought.

That bothers me. That somehow it’s less valuable to the world to want to create things as opposed to just making money. There’s this thing that Namjoon-hyung was talking about in class this week, about needing to combine everyone’s knowledge.”

“The world-spirit,” Yoongi said.

“You read Hegel?”

“Namjoon practiced his lecture on me.”

“Well, if everyone has to do the same thing, if we have to be civil servants and businessmen who go home and watch the same dramas and read the same news and never create new music or art, then we’ll never have an antithesis. And if we have no antithesis, we’ll never have a synthesis. We’ll stagnate as a species.”  

“Can you turn that into a video?”

“Maybe.”

“You could easily film morning commuters and evening commuters, the people who all line up for bento boxes in the cafe on their lunch break. And you know a lot of artistic people.”

“Yeah, yeah this might work.”  

“Do you need a song?”

“Do you have one? Like an instrumental one?”

Yoongi thought about the song he wrote the night of the Halloween party. The song he wrote about Jungkook.

“Yeah, I think I do.”

Jungkook threw his arms around Yoongi’s and murmured “you’re the best” into his neck.

* * *

On Friday of that week, Yoongi was trying to not be sad that Jungkook was going home to Busan for the weekend. It was Jimin’s brother’s birthday and they had both been planning to go home since before Yoongi had even met Jungkook.

He felt pathetic that he was emotional about Jungkook going home for 48 hours, but he couldn’t help it. He offered to go to Jungkook’s room to help him pack, which was a thinly-veiled excuse to spend the last hour before Jungkook and Jimin had to leave for the train with Jungkook. Jungkook’s roommate had already left for the weekend, so somehow they ended up making out on Jungkook’s bed.

“Why couldn’t he have gone away last weekend so we could have the room to ourselves?” Jungkook pouted.

“There will be other weekends,” Yoongi replied, trying to be logical.

But he felt desperate, needy, and that side of him was winning out as he grabbed the back of Jungkook’s neck and pulled him down so he was on top of Yoongi. Yoongi hooked his leg around Jungkook’s waist, getting even closer, until he could feel the bulge in Jungkook’s sweatpants pressing against his abdomen.

“Jungkook,” Yoongi groaned. “Want you.”

Jungkook pulled away, sitting back on his knees and looking down at Yoongi. His expression was unreadable, and Yoongi couldn’t tell if he had fucked up.

“Was that too much? Yoongi asked. “I didn’t mean to—”

“Not too much!” Jungkook interrupted. “It’s just that I’ve never. I’m really, um, inexperienced.”

“We don’t have to do anything you don’t feel ready for.”

“No, no, no. I’m ready,” Jungkook looked down at his crotch where his sweatpants were still tented. “I don’t feel like I have to. I’m only inexperienced because the only gay person I knew who was even close to my age was Jimin, and he’s like my brother.”

It was always a worry for Yoongi, though, given his own past experiences. There were so many things about Jungkook that seemed so much older—older than Yoongi, even—but luckily getting dicked around by shitty men wasn’t one of those things.

“Are you worried that I might judge you?”

“No. Maybe. I just don’t want to be embarrassed because I don’t know what to do.”

“I think you are severely overestimating my mastery of sex.”

“But you have that line in one of your old raps about sending boys and girls to Hong Kong with your tongue.”

“It was a metaphor.”

Yoongi had had enough sex to know what he liked and didn’t like. But he didn’t feel qualified to give advice to Jungkook. What did sex even mean in a world that didn’t want you to have it if you weren’t a straight man? For Hoseok, it meant to have sex with all the people who were supposed to be ashamed of it. For Yoongi, it was different. Sex with Jungkook would be good for him simply because it was with Jungkook.

“I know, but—”

“It’s not like there’s a lesson plan. You do what feels good and make sure the other person is into it and feels good. There’s not a right way. You’ll learn what you like and don’t like as you go. Just, um, talk to me so I don’t do something you don’t like.”

“But what do you like?”

“You,” Yoongi said honestly.

Jungkook rolled his eyes.

“Okay, look,” Yoongi replied, remembering what Namjoon had said about Jungkook liking things spelled out. “I’m about to confess something to you that is really embarrassing. The first time I saw you dance, I had taken an edible that I didn’t know at the time had an erectile dysfunction herb in it, so I was on edge to be begin with, but I may or may not have obsessed about your thighs a little after seeing you dance.”

“My thighs?”

“They’re so strong but you move so gracefully. You have no idea how hot you are and it’s not fair. I am utterly powerless against them.”

Jungkook grinned.

“So you like my thighs, and?”

“I want to bite them. I want to suck bruises into them. I want to ride them. I want you to sit on my face and let me hold onto them while I eat you out.”

Yoongi got back the upper hand with that.

“Fuck. I—fuck. That’s—”

“But not right now. Right now I want to get my hand on your dick.”

“But that’s—I asked you what you want—”

Yoongi sat all the way up and bit Jungkook’s ear a little to shut him up.

“And I want your hand on mine.”

“That’s it?”

“Lose the sweatpants,” Yoongi said roughly.

He’d never seen Jungkook naked before. He’d seen him in his underwear, had groped Jungkook’s length through his underwear, but they’d never gone this far. It was Yoongi who was a lot more wary of being naked, but he wasn’t sure if Jungkook realized that yet.  

“You too,” Jungkook replied as he stripped off his sweatpants, kicking them off his feet.

“Okay,” Yoongi agreed.

Once his pants were off, he could feel Jungkook looking at him.

“You’re staring,” he said.

“I’ve never had a naked man in front of me before and was allowed to look.”

“I’m not completely naked,” Yoongi replied, his shirt and socks still on.

He swung his leg over Jungkook’s lap, sitting back on his thick thighs before wrapping his hand around Jungkook, stroking him slowly but firmly.

Jungkook let out a strangled sound.

“Oh, that’s—yeah.”

“Tell me what you like,” Yoongi whispered in Jungkook’s ear, and then ghosted his tongue around the shell as Jungkook shivered.

“Faster,” Jungkook said.

“Like this?” Yoongi asked, picking up his pace and twisting his wrist a little.

“Yeah,” Jungkook agreed. “That’s good.”  

“Can you touch me? Or do you just want to watch me get you off first?”

“Multitasking,” Jungkook replied. “I can do that, yeah.”

He licked his palm before reaching down and wrapping it tentatively around Yoongi’s dick. It had been so long since he had been touched by someone else, Yoongi almost jumped in surprise. But then Jungkook started to stroke him and he started to unravel. Yoongi threw his head back, which made Jungkook lean forward and suck on his Adam’s apple.

Yoongi let out a loud, undignified noise that was mostly a high pitched moan from the back of his throat.

“Oh,” he said, stopping his hand on Jungkook’s dick.

“What’s wrong? Did I do something wrong?” Jungkook said immediately.

“No, no, you are doing everything right. It’s just that the acoustics in this room are terrible.”

“Did you just criticize the way sound is transmitted in this room based on the way your moan sounded during a handjob?”

“Um, yes? I don’t, uh, really have an off switch.”

Jungkook widened his eyes, and Yoongi could have sworn he saw his pupils get bigger.

“And I love that about you,” Jungkook growled.

Then he pounced, flipping Yoongi onto his back on the bed and rolling his lithe body against Yoongi’s so their dicks were touching, before proceeding to kiss the breath right out of Yoongi’s lungs. Yoongi managed to get his hand between them and wrapped around them both.

After that, neither of them lasted long.

“So, me talking about acoustics gets you going, huh?” Yoongi said, with Jungkook collapsed on top of him, smearing the mix of their come between them.

“Apparently,” Jungkook replied into Yoongi’s chest.

Yoongi laughed.

How did he get so fucking lucky?

* * *

He wanted to get Namjoon to record his rap verse for their still untitled, unfinished song that weekend, but Jungkook’s video project took precedence, and Yoongi was trying not to overanalyze what that meant. He still didn’t really have an idea for the chorus, which meant Namjoon might have to adjust his rap anyway, but the whole thing had become an albatross on Yoongi’s back.

He even asked Seokjin and Hoseok for feedback.

“You wrote it when you were sad and now you’re not sad anymore,” Seokjin said.

It was almost the same thing Namjoon had said, but Seokjin was thinking about it in terms of the part he would sing, and Yoongi realized what he meant.

“Well fuck. I’m going to have to change it to a major key.”

“I don’t think you really want the chorus to be part of the song,” Hoseok said cryptically.

“What do you mean?”

“You were talking to me on the roof about not knowing anyone else, being a little island of one in a sea of millions. I don’t know how to explain this in music terms, but you want the chorus to be the millions.”

“Oh,” Yoongi said. “Holy shit, I think you’re both right.”

“You’re welcome,” Seokjin said.

“Yeah, yeah, thanks,” Yoongi had said, already re-writing the music in his head.

He had gotten a better version of the piano part down, but Jungkook was so stressed out about his video project, Yoongi promised he’d have the song recorded for him when he got back from Busan.

Yoongi didn’t just want to record a piano part. He wanted something more in Jungkook’s style. Yoongi needed Namjoon’s help for what he had in mind, though. Luckily, Namjoon was happy to help with a recording for Jungkook, and so Yoongi took him to one of the campus studios he signed out on Saturday. But Yoongi didn’t tell him in advance what he wanted him to do for the song, and watching Namjoon get irritated about it was way too much fun.

Namjoon was a little incredulous when Yoongi told him that he wanted him to read some philosophy, specifically lines from Hegel.

“Jungkook was so excited about whatever you’ve been talking about in class this week, and I found this passage where he said, ‘The state of man’s mind, or the elementary phase of mind which he so far possesses, conforms precisely to the state of the world so far as he views it’. And Jungkook and I have talked about the social pressure to conform—why are you looking at me like that?”

“I have spent the last three years talking about Hegel and you never once showed any interest! I can’t believe you right now.”

“That’s not true! I read Marx with you and they’re practically the same thing.”

“Their metaphysics are totally different!” Namjoon scoffed. “Marx was a materialist! And dammit I want to be mad at you but that’s a really cool idea.”

“I know,” Yoongi said with a grin.

So Yoongi played the beat he’d already written for Namjoon, so Namjoon would know how he wanted the words to fit, the pace he needed to read at. Then he recorded Namjoon quoting Hegel in Korean and in German, because of course Namjoon had the book in German on his phone.

When they were done, Yoongi sheepishly asked Namjoon if he would take a selfie with him in the recording studio.

[Yoongi]: Song for your video.
[attached 1 pic]
[Jungkook]: You’re the best boyfriend in the whole world you know.
[Jungkook]: I can’t wait to hear the song.
[Jungkook]: I miss you.

Yoongi stared at the words on his phone. The thing was, he missed Jungkook, too. That wasn’t even a question. He just still couldn’t believe it was happening. It wasn’t supposed to be like this, at least, not for someone like Yoongi.

He needed input.

When he got home, he went into Namjoon and Seokjin’s room.

“Hey, Seokjin-hyung. Can I talk to you about something?”

“You aren’t going to ask me to listen to your song again, are you?”

“No. Thank you, though. Your feedback was really helpful. It’s not about that.”

“Okay.”

“Well, it’s just that you almost got married. I just—”

“Holy shit. It’s too soon to propose to Jungkook.”

“I know! I’m not going to—it’s not even legal, jackass. I just meant that you’ve been in a serious relationship before.”

“It didn’t work, though. I might not be the best person to talk to about this.”

“It didn’t work because she was crazy jealous.”

“She really was,” Seokjin agreed.

“And she didn’t like dogs.”

“Will you knock it off about the dog, thing?”

“I just—what did it feel like when you realized you loved her?”

“You already love Jungkook.”

“I know, but I mean, there’s love and then there’s ‘probably never going to get sick of this person as long as I’m still alive’ love.”

“I don’t think you can know that.”

“Then why were you going to propose?”

“Because I liked being around her. Because I was graduating from college and I thought because my parents got married out of college that I needed to, too. I don’t know. I think we were happy for a while. But I don’t even know now if I really loved her the way you’re asking.”

“Really?” Yoongi said. It didn’t make sense to him, maybe because he would never really have the option of getting married, but it seemed to him that people should be sure about it if they were going to do it.

“The trouble was we didn’t work when we weren’t around each other. She didn’t get that being an actor means pretending to be in love with other people. It’s categorically different with you and Jungkook because you share a brain.”

“We’re not that much alike,” Yoongi insisted.

“I don’t know him that well, but I went to use the bathroom the other day and had to kick him out because he was just singing. He wasn’t even brushing his teeth or anything. And when I asked him if he really needed to be in there he said ‘The acoustics are better in here.’”

“But the acoustics are better in there.”

“Oh my god,” Seokjin replied. “See? Brain sharing.”

“We don’t share it about everything. We’re alike right now. But that doesn’t mean we’ll always be so compatible. I’m going to be looking for jobs soon and he’ll still be in school. And that’s going to totally change things.”

“Are you happy now?” Seokjin interrupted.

“Yeah.”

“And you’re happy with yourself?”

“Yeah.”

“Is Jungkook happy with himself?”

“I think so.”

“Then do you think you can you grow with Jungkook if the parameters of either of your happinesses change?”

“Definitely.”

“Then I think you’re going to be fine.”

“Really?”

“I wouldn’t have been able to answer yes to most of those questions when I was dating Sana.”

“Oh, okay.” Seokjin’s response surprised Yoongi. From the outside looking in, he and Sana had seemed really stable, at least for a while. “Thank you.”

“I’m charging you next time.”

* * *

Jungkook got back into Seoul early Sunday evening, and instead of going to his own dorm, he went straight to see Yoongi.

Yoongi had just finished mixing all the separate tracks he’d recorded into a final song, so he handed Jungkook his good headphones and hit play, watching him nervously as he reacted to it. When Jungkook took off the headphone he was smiling—it was a new smile, one that Yoongi hadn’t catalogued.

“This is amazing.”

“Yeah?”

“I mean, I love the Hegel passages and everything, but the piano is beautiful. You wrote this? You’ve been holding out on me. Here I keep asking to hear your raps and I should have been asking you to serenade me on the piano.”

“You know I have a keyboard in my room. It’s literally right there.” Yoongi reached over and played a chord.

“But I’ve never heard you play play. Not like this. Is this an old song, too?”

Yoongi was afraid Jungkook was going to ask that.

“No. I, um, I wrote it the day after the Halloween party.”

Jungkook looked at him, and Yoongi could see him starting to piece it together.

“My head was full of you and the melody just came to me.”

“You really are a marshmallow,” Jungkook said softly.

“Except it’s true.”

Jungkook was on him then, pushing Yoongi back onto his bed and kissing the life out of him.

* * *

The next weekend was Seokjin’s final play of the semester, so Yoongi made Jungkook go with him. They met Namjoon, Hoseok, and Jimin there, and if they hadn’t been there, Yoongi would have left at intermission.

The play was so bad. It was objectively bad.

“I think I know why Taehyung decided to skip this,” Jungkook whispered to Yoongi.

“He warned us,” Yoongi whispered back.

“Oh god, he did,” Jungkook replied. “Why didn’t we listen?”

The only good thing about it was that Seokjin recognized the play’s terribleness. Everyone went back to the suite to smoke up, including Seokjin, who said it was the only way he was going to survive one more performance the next day.

When Hoseok asked if everyone was in, Yoongi looked at Jungkook, who wrinkled his nose adorably and shook his head. Yoongi wasn’t about to abandon Jungkook, so he herded Jungkook into his room instead.

Jungkook sat down in Yoongi’s desk chair and started spinning side to side, looking at his feet.

“Are you sure you don’t mind? I really don’t care if you want to smoke with them. I just—I’ve never done it before and I don’t really want to do it with a bunch of people…”

“I really don’t mind, Jungkook. Time alone with you while everyone else is distracted? Are you kidding me.”

“Are you sure?”

“I’m glad you said you no.”

“Whatever should we do then?” Jungkook asked cheekily.

“I haven’t checked to see what they’ve added to Netflix this month yet.”

“The thing is,” Jungkook replied. “I can’t tell if you’re being serious or not.”

“Come here and find out,” Yoongi said, sprawling onto his bed.

Jungkook got up from the desk and crawled on all fours across the bed toward Yoongi. When he was close enough for Yoongi to reach, Yoongi grabbed his shirt and pulled him down on top of him. Jungkook kissed him hard.

“Take this off,” Yoongi said, pulling away, tugging at Jungkook’s shirt.

Jungkook was timid sometimes, but he was pretty shameless about getting naked, with good reason. They made out for a while, but it got heated quickly. Jungkook even managed to get Yoongi to take his shirt off.

It was pretty obvious where things were heading, especially once they were both naked and Yoongi was straddling Jungkook. But when Yoongi pushed his ass back so it was rubbing against Jungkook’s dick, Jungkook froze.

“What’s wrong?” Yoongi asked, though he was pretty sure he knew.

“Well, you know I’ve never—um, had sex.”

“You gave me a blowjob this morning.”

“I mean, you know, penetration.”

“We don’t have to do that. Not everyone likes anal sex. I mean, I know you’ve seen my dildos, but it’s okay with me if we never have sex that way. That’s not—that’s not why I’m into you.”

“I know, but I want to. I absolutely want to. I went to a sex store in Busan last weekend and bought a Fleshjack and fucked it thinking about you.”

Yoongi’s brain short-circuited.

“Fuck. Fuck, Jungkook. That’s so hot.”

“The store is run by this gay couple who have been together for 30 years and they’re really discreet. You’d like them. Are you sure you want me to—because I think I could maybe be a switch.”

“Yes. Fuck. I’m sure. Hoseok’s lube is on his desk.”

“Should it worry me that you know this?”

“Imagine being Hoseok’s roommate for three seconds.”

“Okay, yeah, point.”

Jungkook went over to Hoseok’s desk while Yoongi sprawled back on his bed, stroking his dick lazily as he watched Jungkook.

“Why does he have lube in a desk caddy with scissors, paper clips, and a ball-peen hammer?”

“Useful tools? He’s alarmingly organized. Condoms are in the center drawer.”

Yoongi grabbed the lube from from Jungkook’s hand when he came back to the bed and popped the cap.

“I don’t have any nitrates to sniff, and I haven’t done this for a while, so I’m going to need a minute.”

“I can—”

Yoongi shook his head. “This time, I want you to watch me. I want to see that you want me.”

“I always want you,” Jungkook replied, raking his eyes over Yoongi’s body.

Yoongi did, in that moment, feel very wanted.

He spread his legs wider and stroked himself a few times before moving lower to tease his own rim. Jungkook was staring at him with so much desire on his face, Yoongi flushed.

“The whole point is to get your body to relax. Because when you’re tense, you clench.”

He slicked up his middle finger and pushed it inside himself slowly, intently aware of Jungkook watching it slide into his body.

“Wow,” Jungkook breathed. “Wow that’s—”

“What?” Yoongi asked biting his lip.

“The hottest thing I’ve ever seen in my life,” Jungkook replied.

“Do you want to touch me?”

“Yeah I do,” Jungkook replied as he slid his hands up Yoongi’s chest to brush against his nipples and then back down to Yoongi’s thighs, which he pushed even wider, kneading at Yoongi’s muscles, while Yoongi fingered himself until he thought he might die if he didn’t get to feel Jungkook inside him.

“I’m ready,” he said hoarsely. “I need your cock.”

“If you keep saying things like that I’m not going to last long.”

“You’re not supposed to last long. I’m really tight.”

“Hyung,” Jungkook whined. “Don’t say things like that.”

Yoongi grabbed the condom packet and tore it open. As Jungkook sheathed himself, Yoongi turned around and got on his elbows and knees.

“What are you doing?”

“Sometimes it’s easier to do it doggy style at first so you can see what you’re doing?”

“I wanna see your face, though. This is—um—a personal thing, and I don’t really have a personal relationship with your ass.”

Yoongi couldn’t argue with that. He turned around and kissed Jungkook, pulling him down, manipulating them into a workable position while he tried to tell him with his lips and his tongue that it was personal for him too, that of course he’d rather face Jungkook than have his back to him.

“I’m ready, but use a lot of lube and go slow.”

Jungkook did go slow, achingly slow. The expression on his face as he felt Yoongi from the inside, felt Yoongi warm and tight around him, was so fascinating that Yoongi couldn’t believe himself for suggesting a different position that would have meant he missed it.

Jungkook was fully sheathed, looking down at where there bodies were connected like he couldn’t believe it.

“Can I—I don’t know—”

“Come down here so I can kiss you,” Yoongi answered.

The truth was, he needed a minute to get used to having a dick inside him again after so long.

The way Jungkook kissed him was intense. They were so close, their bodies were connected everywhere, sharing breaths with each other as they kissed. Jungkook was worried about mechanics, but Yoongi—Yoongi had never had this kind of sex with someone he cared about before. He hadn’t expected to feel so overwhelmed by it.

“It’s too much,” Jungkook said, squirming a little. “It feels too good. I need to—before I—”

“It’s okay. You won’t hurt me.”

Jungkook experimented a little, pulling out a little and pushing back in slowly, biting his lip in concentration.

“What feels good?” Yoongi asked him.

“When I go faster,” Jungkook admitted.

“Then go faster.”

“But—”

“Please go faster.”

“Okay, yeah,” Jungkook said, and then he started moving and Yoongi threw his head back. He lifted his right leg up to Jungkook’s shoulder, which changed the angle just enough.

“Fuck, Jungkook,” he nearly shouted, as Jungkook’s dick rubbed his prostate at just the right angle.

“Oh wow,” Jungkook groaned.

“Do that again,” Yoongi panted. “Right there, yeah. Faster. Just like that.”

Jungkook did as he was told, biting his lip in concentration, holding onto Yoongi’s ankle at his shoulder and gripping Yoongi’s thigh to hold him place. Yoongi was more than happy to let Jungkook take over, massaging Yoongi’s prostate with almost every thrust.

Yoongi could tell Jungkook was trying to hold back.

“You’re thinking too much.”

“I’m not—I just—”

Yoongi clenched his ass.

“Oh god. Why did you do that?”

Yoongi did it again.

“I’m close too,” Yoongi said. “Stop thinking.”

He took a hold of his cock and started jerking himself off with intent. Jungkook’s thrusts got more erratic, but Yoongi was so far gone, so overwhelmed that it didn’t matter.

He could feel it when Jungkook came, throbbing inside him, shooting into the condom, but it was the noise he made that got Yoongi to the tipping point, the soft “oh, oh, oh,” like he was having a revelation. With a few more strokes, Yoongi came with Jungkook’s name on lips, cum splattering all over his chest.

“Come here,” Yoongi groaned.

He wrapped both his arms around Jungkook’s neck like he was holding onto Jungkook for dear life.

“Was that okay?” Jungkook murmured against the crook Yoongi’s neck.

Yoongi traced down Jungkook’s back with his fingertips, making Jungkook shiver.

“That was a whole lot more than okay,” Yoongi replied. “Are you okay?”

“I’m not even on planet Earth right now,” Jungkook groaned. “Can we just, like, nap for a few minutes.”

“Jungkook, you are my favorite person in the entire world.”

Yoongi dozed a little after Jungkook pulled out and they got into a more comfortable position. At some point he had to get up and piss. When he got back, Jungkook was sitting up in his bed, his legs over the side, staring out the window but looking kind of bewildered.

“What?” Yoongi asked, sitting down beside him, mimicking his position.

Jungkook shook his head. “It’s nothing. I just never thought I’d ever have this.”

“Me neither,” Yoongi said honestly.

“What happened?” Jungkook asked.

“Do you really want to talk about this now?”

“I just want to know. Did—was it something bad?”

“I mean, not really. Not like that. It was always consensual, but never what I really wanted. It’s just—I tried to meet people when I first moved here. But it seemed like being gay always meant just sex. And I tried, but I can’t do that. I can’t—there’s no point in sex to me if I don’t like the guy. And the truth is, I don’t like most people.”

Jungkook nodded. “Jimin took me to a couple clubs in Itaewon at the beginning of the semester and it wasn’t—I didn’t like it. Guys would look at me like I was a sex mannequin or something.”

“And when you look like you, I bet you got hit on a lot.”

“I bet you did,” Jungkook said. “You’re really sexy you know.”

Yoongi shook his head.

“You are. Believe me as the guy who just fucked you. You’re confident. It’s hot.”

“I won’t argue with you,” Yoongi said, turning to comb his fingers through Jungkook’s hair, nosing at his jaw, kissing his exposed neck.

“Good,” Jungkook replied.

“Watch a movie with me,” Yoongi said, pulling away. “You pick.”

“What are you in the mood for—you’re going to fall asleep in the first ten minutes anyway, aren’t you?”

“Obviously.”

“Fine,” Jungkook said, grabbing Yoongi’s laptop.

He opened Netflix and then made a disgusted noise.

“What?”

“All the recommendations are for documentaries.”

“I don’t watch anything else. Life’s too short for fiction.”

“Oh my god, I’m dating an old man,” Jungkook said.

“Hey! Respect your elders. Pick some fiction crap you want to watch and let me sleep on you.”

* * *

Yoongi woke up to Jungkook saying, “Oh god.”

Yoongi groaned and reached blindly for Jungkook. He wasn’t right next to him. Yoongi opened his eyes and squinted.

“What time is it?”

“Um, morning?”

“Why are you all the way over there?”

“Jimin just texted me, ‘Was that your V-card I heard you losing last night?’” Jungkook said, looking down at his phone.

“Virginity is a social construct,” Yoongi said tentatively.

“But they heard . Oh god I’m never going to be able to look Jimin in the eye again. Or Namjoon-hyung. Oh god, Namjoon-hyung.”

“What they heard—if they heard anything—was probably just me shouting your name.”

Jungkook tossed his phone on the bed buried his face in his hands.

“Does it really bother you?” Yoongi asked sitting up and crawling over to Jungkook, wrapping his arms around his waist.

“I mean—it’s—it’s private.”

“Do you not want them to know we’re having sex? Because we’re practically attached at the hip. I’m pretty sure our friends have figured out that our relationship is sexual in nature.”

“I know, but Jimin’s going to tease me, because I’m younger and he always teases me. Oh god, what if your friends tease me?”

“They’re not going to tease you. If anything, they’re going to tease me .”

“Why would they do that?” Jungkook asked, turning around to face Yoongi.

“Well, because we all make fun of each other all the time, and because, um, I don’t do this.”

“Namjoon-hyung told me you don’t let people sleep in your bed,” Jungkook said.

Yoongi laughed.

“I don’t. But that’s not what I meant. I don’t, uh, date. And I certainly never did hook-ups since I’ve lived with any of these guys. Hoseok’s had girlfriends come and go. I used to have curtains around the bed to—yeah. Seokjin was practically engaged six months ago. Even Namjoon has dated casually and had people over. So there have been a lot of awkward moments—you know how loud Hoseok can be as his default state. But they’ve never seen me like this.”

Jungkook was smirking.

“Seen you like what, hyung.”

He had a predatory gleam in his eye, looking at Yoongi like he was the prey.

“Like what? Tell me!”

Jungkook tackled Yoongi onto the bed and started tickling him until Yoongi finally relented and gasped out,

“Hopelessly and ridiculously in love. Is that what you wanted to hear?”

Jungkook stopped the tickling immediately.

“That’s exactly what I wanted to hear.”

Jungkook’s smile was ear-splitting.

“Well, now you know.”

“I mean I already kind of knew,” Jungkook said.

Yoongi started to get a twisting feeling in his gut. He searched around on the floor to find clothes to put on.

“What are you doing?” Jungkook asked.

“Well, we probably should have had this conversation a long time ago, and I don’t want to have it naked.”

“What conversation? Was there more about your past?” Jungkook’s voice was so worried, Yoongi felt like an asshole.

“Sorry if I’m freaking you out. Don’t freak out,” Yoongi said. “It’s not a bad conversation—I don’t think—I just—”

He looked over at Jungkook and lost his train of thought.

“Should I put on pants?” Jungkook asked, following Yoongi’s eyes.

“It can be a pants-optional conversation. I just wanted to say that—I, um—if you ever need to— What I mean is I’m not always the easiest person to be around. I can be a little obsessive, and I don’t want you to feel like you’re one of those things I’m obsessing over. So if you ever need a breather, I understand. I guess what I’m trying to say is that this has been kind of intense, really intense. And in a good way, at least for me, but it’s happened really fast, and we should probably talk about that.”

Jungkook sighed.

“You lied. This really isn’t a pants-optional conversation.”

“I like looking at you naked.”

“I’m putting on pants,” Jungkook said, getting up to pull a pair of his own sweatpants from Yoongi’s drawer and coming back over to the bed to sit beside Yoongi.

“I hear what you’re saying, and I know it’s been a lot. And I don’t think you’re hard to be around at all. I think I’m kind of the same way as you sometimes. Maybe less focused. But, yeah, Jimin has been worrying about me, and he keeps telling me I’m too young and this is too serious for my first semester of college. I’ve actually sort of wondered if it bothered you that I’m younger.”

He said the last part in a rush, like he was afraid of the answer.

“No,” Yoongi said. “Not at all. I didn’t want to feel like I was taking advantage of you or pressuring you. But that was mostly because of shit that’s happened to me.”

“You haven’t,” Jungkook insisted. “It’s everyone else, including myself sometimes, pressuring me to give you space, pressuring me to do things a certain way, because that’s how everyone else does it.”

“But how do you feel about what we’re doing—about what’s happening between us?”

Jungkook started pulling at a loose thread on the duvet cover.

“I guess for me, it’s like—well, coming out? Now that was hard. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But this—us—this is easy. The way I see it is that you’re you and I’m me, and I haven’t been able to just be me around anyone ever.”

“Jungkook, that’s it. That’s it exactly,” Yoongi said, he cupped Jungkook’s face in his hands. “I don’t care if it’s ‘too fast,’ I love you so much.”

“I love you, too,” Jungkook said, leaning forward to press his forehead against Yoongi’s. They sat that way for a minute, before Yoongi had to kiss Jungkook.

The moment was interrupted by Jungkook’s stomach growling.

“Want me to order food so we don’t have to go out there and face them?”

“Yes,” Jungkook agreed. “Though I know this is just a ploy you’re using because you want to keep me in your bed all day.”

“You’re right. I would prefer if you never left my bed ever. Except to go to the bathroom I guess.”

“You guess?”

Yoongi shrugged. “We could get a chamber pot.”

Jungkook shook his head. “The smell would be terrible.”

“We’d get used to it. I don’t think you understand how much I hate moving.”

But when the delivery guy called, Yoongi did move to go get the food. He was greeted by a series of cat calls from his roommates, but he didn’t bother acknowledging them.

Eventually, though, he knew the safe cocoon of his bed wasn’t going to last forever.

Later in the afternoon, as Jungkook was doing his homework and Yoongi was trying to work on his composition final, there was a loud knock on the door followed by Hoseok shouting,

“Are you decent?”

Of course, Hoseok being Hoseok didn’t bother waiting for an answer before walking in.

“I’m going to need your sex schedule. Unless you don’t mind if I walk in on you while you’re doing it. Because I can ignore what’s happening over there in the mystical land of Yoongi’s Bed or, hell, I can watch if you’re into that, but I can’t sleep on that couch.”

Jungkook was beet red, but he did manage to look Hoseok in the eye.

“I never meant to kick you out of your room. Yoongi said it was okay if I stayed over and that you guys had a meeting and everything.”

Hoseok’s whole demeanor softened. The power Jungkook had was unreal.

“Oh no, no. It is okay! I promise. Is there anything about me that makes you think I wouldn’t be cool with having you here?”

“No,” Jungkook said shaking his head.

“Are you embarrassed about us hearing you?”

“A little.”

“Dude. I want to give you a high five. I always figured Yoongi would be quiet in bed. Way to hit that prostate.”

“Why are you thinking about what my boyfriend sounds like in bed?” Jungkook asked.

“Oh, Jungkookie. You don’t want to know what goes on in my mind.”

“You really don’t,” Yoongi added. “I know way too much after living with him for two years and I’m traumatized.”

“But, I do have a couple ground rules,” Hoseok said. “One, we have to open the window because it smells like sex in here.”

“But it’ll be cold,” Yoongi whined.

“Put on a sweater,” Hoseok said.

“Fine.”

Hoseok opened the window immediately.

“Two, if you’re going to use my lube, put it back in the desk caddy when you’re done.”   

“Sorry,” Jungkook said meekly. “Um, you’re really organized. It’s impressive.”

“If everything has a place, then you never lose anything,” Hoseok replied. “And, third, I really prefer to sleep naked, which Yoongi has finally come to terms with.”

“Finally come to terms with? The day we moved in you announced that you sleep naked and I was going to have to get used to seeing your junk because it was non-negotiable.”

“We’ve shared a dressing room,” Jungkook said. “Literally everyone has seen you naked.”

“Okay then we won’t have a problem, will we?”

“Why do I feel like I was just scolded by my mother?” Jungkook said.

“I’m taking that as a compliment, because I’m sure your mother is a fine woman. I’m glad we had this chat. I’m going to practice now. Me and my glistening naked body will be seeing you both later.”

With that, Hoseok grabbed his dance bag and left a stunned Jungkook in his wake.

“Can you close the window?” Yoongi asked. “I really am cold.”

* * *

Later that week, he was in one of the practice rooms playing the piano. He was finally caught up on school work, so he was messing around with the piano part for the chorus of his and Namjoon’s song, trying to force the lyrics to come to him.  

After he got sick of that, though, he kept playing just to play. It had been too long since he played for himself, to hear and appreciate music written by others, to appreciate the piano as an instrument and not as a tool he used as a means to an end.

He heard the door open and a set of footsteps approach. He didn’t stop playing. He would recognize those footsteps anywhere.

So he started playing a different song.

Jungkook came up behind him and slid his arms around Yoongi, resting his chin on his shoulder.

“You’re playing my song now.”

“I am.”

“I love you.”

“I know.”

“Can I listen to you play?”

“Sit down.”

Jungkook sat beside him on the piano bench and was perfectly still as Yoongi went through Beethoven, Clementi, and Brahms. Songs he had to memorize when he was a piano student years before. Eventually he switched to pop songs so Jungkook could sing along.

He only stopped because another student had the piano signed out after him.  

“Would you—never mind.” Jungkook started to ask as they were leaving.

“What is it?”

“We have a final showcase coming up and we have to choreograph our own dance. And I thought, um, I listened to the song you wrote for me so much when I was making that video for my class. I kind of started dancing to it and already have it half choreographed.”

“You can use it for your show. Do you want me to take out the Hegel lines?”

“No, that’s—the thing is, there will be a piano there on the stage. And I was kind of wondering—would you play the piano for me, like, live? At the show?”

“Oh,” Yoongi said.

He hadn’t played the piano on stage since he was a kid.

“You don’t have to, I just thought since the piano will be there anyway, and, I don’t know, it would be kind of cool to perform together.”

“Sure.”

“Really? I thought it would take a little more convincing to be honest.”

As if Yoongi could possibly say no to Jungkook.

* * *

That didn’t mean he didn’t have a small meltdown to Hoseok about it later, though.

“You have been playing that song since you met Jungkook. You have it down.”

“But what if I—”

“That’s what dress rehearsals are for.”

“How do you know what I was going to ask?”

“Because you’re like me. You’ll practice incessantly until your fingers can’t possibly forget it, you’ll get the nerves out during the dress rehearsal, and then you’ll kill it during the actual performance.”

“I will?”

“You used to like performing. When I met you, you were going to clubs every weekend to rap.”

“That’s different from piano. And I don’t—I haven’t done either for a really long time.”

“Is it stage fright?”

“I don’t think so.”

“You’ll be fine.”

“Yeah?”

“So fine I predict the dance professor will try to recruit you to play for her ballet classes.”

“Really?”

“Would you be interested? I would have given her your name ages ago if I had known. It’s just that, well—”

“What?”

Hoseok nodded toward Yoongi’s keyboard.

“You seem to have a love-hate relationship with that thing.”

Hoseok wasn’t wrong. It was a symbol of a lot of parts of his childhood that were hard—having to quit lessons after his parents lost their restaurant, the disappointment in their voices when he told them he was going to study music production and how, even though it was totally irrational, he felt like they blamed the piano for him not turning out the way they wanted.

“It hasn’t always treated me well,” Yoongi replied. He grabbed his iced coffee that he had carelessly set down on the keyboard earlier and took a sip.  

“So, speaking of being treated well, how do you feel about anal bleaching?”

Yoongi started choking on his drink.

“You saved that for right when I took a drink didn’t you?”

“Kind of,” Hoseok replied. “Anyway, I want to try it.”

“I can’t believe I’m actually encouraging this conversation, but—why?”

“Assholes aren’t attractive, and I need to make mine as appealing as possible.”

“Um…”

“I want to get Seokjin to admit he wants to fuck me.”

“You don’t bottom.”

“That’s beside the point.”

“How is that beside the point?”

“I need to look as much like a dude in a porn as possible. Seokjin likes porn.”

This was a disaster waiting to happen. Yoongi thought Seokjin almost definitely wanted to fuck Hoseok, but Yoongi didn’t know if Seokjin even knew he did.

“But you don’t actually want to fuck him.”

“I mean, I would.”

“Wait, I’m not your type but Seokjin is? I think I’m offended.”

“You’re not into casual sex. Plus, you have Jungkook, and I think he’d kill me. Also, I like a little more pain involved in sex than I think you’re up for.”

“Don’t think I’ve forgiven you for keeping that girl handcuffed to your bed when you went to class.”

“She asked me to!”

“Which means it was clearly planned. Which means you could have sent your roommate a text, something like ‘Oh hey ignore the naked woman that’s handcuffed to my bed, she’s supposed to be there’.”

“It’s not my fault your class got canceled and you went home early!”

“Someone called the police!”

“Because you screamed too loud.”

“No, because she screamed too loud.”

The truth was they both screamed, but Yoongi wasn’t about to confess to that and change his story after all this time.

“There is a cop somewhere in this city right now that thinks I handcuffed a woman to a bed and lost the key.”

“So?”

“So he thinks I’m an idiot! A straight idiot!”

“So he has a fun story to tell his cop friends. You’re famous.”

“I don’t want to be famous for that.”

“Anyway, I need to bleach my asshole and you’re coming with me, because I don’t want to go to a salon alone.”

“I am? People spend money to lighten their anuses. Their actual hard-earned won. Their labor power.”

“It’s not that expensive.”

“But it’s totally unnecessary.”

“Women in porn do it all the time. I assume men do too. It depends a little on the amount of body hair. And I’m naturally pretty hairless, so I need it to look more uniform down there.”

Yoongi pinched the bridge of his nose, trying to navigate through all of Hoseok’s bravado.

“Because you think Seokjin is somehow going to see you naked and—oh no. You’re bringing back naked Thursdays aren’t you?”

“The thought crossed my mind.”

“And you don’t want to have sex with Seokjin. You just want to look like a porn star to get him to admit that he thinks you’re sexually attractive.”

“Yes. See, I knew you’d get it. Namjoon didn’t get it.”

It was a terrible idea, but Yoongi wasn’t sure if Hoseok realized that Seokjin had a real, actual crush on him. He probably wouldn’t be doing it if he knew. But since Seokjin was probably never going to admit to anyone, Yoongi figured the best thing to do was totally stay out of it.

“What I don’t understand is why you think I’m going to do this with you.”

“I mean, if you want Jungkook to eat your ass, don’t you want it to look as appealing as possible?”

“This kind of shallowness is insulting to Jungkook. He doesn’t care how I look.”

“You say that, but have you ever been properly rimmed?”

“Well, no.”

“But you’ve thought about it.”

“I’ve mostly thought about being the rimmer, not the rimmee.”

“More importantly, do you think Jungkook has thought about being the rimmer?”

“Probably,” Yoongi admitted.

“Well, for what it’s worth. Women are better at it, like much better, but to find a woman who will do it you usually have to pay for it. There was this woman in Thailand that—holy fuck—she knew things, man. You might get lucky, because Jungkook learns dance choreo really fast. But if he watches porn to get tips, he’s going to expect things to look a certain way down there. And I know it’s shallow and it’s supporting a superficial industry that skews expectations in order to perpetuate itself. But if you want to get a rim job, sometimes sacrifices to your integrity have to be made. It’s an ugly cycle, I admit.”

Yoongi thought he had reached the point where Hoseok could no longer surprise him, but the man regularly proved to him otherwise.

“How are you simultaneously the straightest and gayest person I know?” Yoongi asked.

Hoseok spread his arms wide.

“I am a bisexual god.”

* * *

Yoongi tried to curb his nerves by recording more tracks to layer into his song.

As soon as Namjoon turned in his thesis, Yoongi all but dragged him into the studio. But Namjoon was actually agreeable to it, seemed excited even. Yoongi attributed it to the fact that he and Jimin had gotten their heads out of their assess, and Jimin seemed to be an all-around positive influence on Namjoon.

It had been a long time since Namjoon had rapped, but he was good, annoyingly good. He didn’t even need a second take, though he wanted to run through it a few times, to change up some of his diction.

“Are you sure you want to go to grad school?” Yoongi asked him, after he threatened to kick his ass for being so good.

“Yes?”

“You don’t sound confident. Any chance I can sway you?”

“Yoongi-hyung, don’t you remember how awful the underground scene was? I got punched in the face because I was talking to some guy’s girlfriend about her dialect. And how stupid everyone was? I mean, you know I hate to use that word, but honestly. Sexist and bigoted, too.”

“But the underground is more mainstream now. And a lot of what’s coming out is more socially-aware.”

“Look, this was fun. I love this song and the direction your music is headed. And I am never going to stop writing songs with you. But you’re going to have to start your own label to make the music you want to.”

“I might never get there, though.”

“You will if you’re good,” Namjoon said. “I know, I know. The music industry is inherently unfair, and indie labels fail or get swallowed by the big companies all the time. But I honestly believe that you can do it. And that’s why you’re in a music production program and why you network like crazy. You’re doing the right thing.”

It was Yoongi’s dream to own his own label, to be a producer, to sign real artists and give them—and the producers—creative control. But he originally wanted to be a performer, and he shelved that dream thinking he couldn’t do both.

“I think I want to start performing again, too.” Yoongi confessed. “I don’t know how yet, because the scene has changed so fast and I don’t have any clout anymore. But I’ve missed it and I didn’t realize why.”

“I never thought you’d be satisfied with only writing and producing songs for other people,” Namjoon said.

“I have all these ideas that I want to share with people. I convinced myself I was being egotistical, that I wanted people to hear me , and I just needed to get over myself. But even if I write something personal, it’s still a collective idea, it’s still something that may matter to someone else who feels alone. This song isn’t groundbreaking, but it’s about something we need to keep saying in different ways anyway.”

“What does that have to do with performing.”

“You get direct face-to-face communication when you perform. Sometimes something sticks better when it’s a whole experience. And I think I need that experience, too. I mean, if I could ever manage to get anyone to come see me perform.”

“You had a pretty decent following at one point. People still stream your stuff on SoundCloud.”

“Jungkook’s helping me with a mixtape of my old stuff.”

“That’s a good idea,” Namjoon replied. “And I hear what you’re saying. But if part of your motivation is to share ideas and learn from people who listen, then you get why I can’t do this full time. I need to understand the world, and I get that from—”

“A bunch of dead German guys?”

“And from my students. And from teaching.”

“You’re a really good rapper, though.”

“And I’m not going to stop. Our paths converge and diverge and overlap, but you have to let me live my path and appreciate the convergent points when you can.”

Yoongi froze.

“Dammit, Namjoon, you bastard. I think you just finished the chorus.”

They scribbled down the rest of the lyrics that night, and Yoongi was finally happy with them.

Yoongi managed to get Seokjin and Jungkook into the studio at the same time later that week. He couldn’t decide if it was a mistake or not. They hadn’t spent any time together outside of awkward encounters in the dorm suite, but somehow they managed to imprint on each other like brothers and ten minutes into the session they were wrestling in the recording booth.

“I regret this immensely,” Yoongi said into the intercom at them.

But the way their voices blended together for the line “voices can lift one another” was pure sonic gold.

* * *

Yoongi used the song for his final project in his advanced mixing class.

Namjoon was listening to it a couple days before he had to submit it, while they sat eating lunch in their usual cafe.

“This is really good. Your mixing has gotten so much better than when you first started.”

Yoongi watched him hit play a second time, a sure sign of approval from Namjoon.

Jungkook got to the cafe just when Namjoon was passing the headphones back to Yoongi. Of course, Jungkook assessed the situation immediately.

“I can’t believe you let Namjoon-hyung listen to the song before me.”

“He co-wrote it,” Yoongi said.

“Bros before hoes,” Namjoon added around a mouthful of gimbap.

“I resent the implication that I cannot be both Yoongi-hyung’s bro and his ho. You should know better than to commit the false dichotomy fallacy. They should kick you out of grad school.”

Namjoon started laughing so hard he nearly started choking.

Jungkook was hitting him on the back when Jimin got to the cafe.

“What did I miss?” Jimin asked.

“I think Jungkook just philosophied his way out of being a ho,” Yoongi replied.

“Out of only being a ho,” Jungkook corrected, as he stole a piece of kimchi off Yoongi’s plate.

“I don’t think I want to know,” Jimin replied.

“Can I listen to it now?” Jungkook asked, making grabby hands at Namjoon for Yoongi’s phone.

Yoongi watched Jungkook listen to the song. He could tell which part he was at just by the expression on his face. By the end of it he was smiling. But he waved Yoongi off when he finished and hit play again.

“This is so good,” he said, when he finally handed Yoongi back his phone. “I knew you were good, but this is sick. It sounds really professional. Is that a mellotron in the bridge?”

“Uh,” Yoongi said, adjusting his ball cap to stall. “Maybe?”

Namjoon grinned at him. “I knew I’d turn you.”

“Well, it’s awesome, and I’m not just saying that because I love you. Your music needs to be out in the world.”

“Thank you,” Yoongi replied, giving Jungkook’s knee a squeeze.

Jungkook’s approval helped boost his confidence. He thought the song was good, but Jungkook was an obsessive consumer of music just like he was. If he said it sounded professional, then it sounded professional.

“Well, now I’m left out,” Jimin said. “Can I hear it?”

“Sure,” Yoongi said. “I want to know what you think of Namjoon’s rap.”

“I heard him practicing,” Jimin replied. “I already know he’s good.”

Jimin listened to the song and Namjoon watched him the way Yoongi had been watching Jungkook.

“Wow,” Jimin said after he finished. “I know I don’t know as much as you all about music, but I really liked that a lot.”

“And my rap?” Namjoon asked him.

“I’m not sure I should answer that question in mixed company,” Jimin said.

Yoongi and Jungkook laughed as Namjoon ducked his head in embarrassment.

That was when Taehyung spotted them and came up to their table.

“Hey, kids. Oh my god, is this a double date?”

“Aw, I guess it is,” Jimin replied.

“Oh no,” Yoongi answered, shaking his head. “Nope. No this is four people who happen to be at the same place at the same time.”

“What’s wrong with double dating?” Jimin asked.

“Yoongi-hyung doesn’t date,” Jungkook said, grinning at Yoongi.

“Straight people double date,” Yoongi added.

The look Jimin gave to Jungkook said “better you than me.”

Jungkook put his arm around the back of Yoongi’s chair and Yoongi leaned into him.

“Well then, can I join you for a minute? I’m meeting someone here and I want to scope them out before they can scope me out.”

“Sure,” Yoongi said, scooting his chair closer to Jungkook to make room for Taehyung. As Taehyung and Namjoon started talking about something called a frilled shark and Jimin and Jungkook started talking about spring dance auditions, Yoongi just settled back and listened.

According to the Seokjin prescribed parameters of happiness, Yoongi felt like he was pretty damn centered.

* * *

As it turned out, Yoongi could still play the piano in public without making an ass out of himself. Hoseok was right. Of course, it didn’t really matter. The performance was Jungkook’s, and his dancing was so good, no one was paying any attention to the pianist.

Yoongi had bribed Namjoon to film it because he couldn’t watch Jungkook dance over the piano, and he didn’t want to miss it.

“I will only do this on the condition that you won’t jerk off to this.”

“He’s wearing those leggings again, so I really can’t make that promise.”

When Namjoon handed Yoongi his phone in the lobby after the performance, he said “here’s your porn” so loud that half the crowd heard him.

Yoongi was going to get him back for that.

After the show, Yoongi had to rush to the radio station for his shift. Namjoon and Jungkook came with him.

“Good night, ladies and gentlemen. Tonight’s show is a little different. At midnight, that’s 12 a.m., I am going to be debuting a brand new song, playing it here for the first time anywhere. But until then, see if you can guess tonight’s theme.”

He played “Love” by Kendrick Lamar first.

“That’s kind of obvious, isn’t it?” Jungkook said.

“Nah, it’s so obvious no one will guess it.”

But then he followed it up with “You and Me” by Kisum with Jooyoung and “Love You Like Water” by Shing02, and the guesses on Twitter started rolling in.

@HLKLFM Stop being gross.
@Hegelfan You have no room to talk. I can see you texting your significant other as we speak. -Suga

“The next one is by request from one of my special guests in the studio tonight, and a clue to the brand new song that I will be debuting at midnight. So thank Runch Randa for this one, here’s ‘Tell Me’ by Wonder Girls.”

“I probably deserved that,” Namjoon said.

“No one deserves this,” Jungkook replied, wrinkling his nose.

“What’s wrong with Wonder Girls? And you call me a music snob.”

“I don’t have a problem with Wonder Girls, I have a problem with their label not renewing their contract because they got too old.” Jungkook narrowed his eyes at Yoongi. “I swear if you play ‘Marry U’ at any point during this set, they won’t find your body.”

“Someday I’m going to find out why you have such an aversion to Super Junior.”

“I’m Team Shinhwa. I can’t support SM groups anymore than I can JYP. I don’t care how pretty you think Leeteuk is.”

“Please, my bias is obviously Eunhyuk,” Yoongi scoffed.

“He’s not joking,” Namjoon said. “He had a poster of Eunhyuk in his bedroom when I visited him in high school.”

“And my parents were surprised when I came out. But don’t worry, I think you’re prettier,” Yoongi said to Jungkook, who rolled his eyes. “But I appreciate that you stick to your guns about these labels. Donghyuk has told me some stories. When I have my own label artists and producers are going to have creative control, and they’ll only get fired if their music sucks.”

“Or if they’re shitty people,” Jungkook added.

“I won’t sign them if they’re shitty people. They’re going to have to get through Seokjin first.”

Hit hit the “on air” button.

“That was ‘Boyfriend’ by Justin Bieber, and before that was ‘You Got Me’ by The Roots, featuring Erykah Badu and Eve. Some of you have guessed it by now, so give me all your favorite love songs obscure and popular alike. This next one’s a request from a special someone in my life, this is Alina Baraz, featuring Khalid with ‘Electric.’”

“How’d you know I love this song?” Jungkook asked, bewildered.

“I’m that good,” Yoongi replied.

“I take back my threat about Super Junior.”

“So, you’d tell the authorities where to find my body? I’m touched.”  

Jungkook grinned and leaned in for a kiss.

“You do know I’m still here, right?” Namjoon asked.

“Go back to texting your boyfriend. This is our makeout spot,” Yoongi said, kissing Jungkook again.

“Well, you’re going to have dead air in a minute if you keep doing that.”

“Way to be a buzzkill, hyung,” Jungkook said.

Yoongi went back to the requests from Twitter and started playing other people’s love songs. As midnight got closer, he was starting to get nervous.

At 11:59, Jungkook grabbed his hand.  

“Are you ready for this?” Yoongi asked the other two.

They both nodded.

He hit the “on air” button again.

“Well, it’s the midnight hour, so how about I drop this new song for you all? This song is a debut from yours truly, featuring the return of Runch Randa, this is Suga with ‘Alone in a Crowded Place.’”