Actions

Work Header

Twelve Tracks

Chapter Text

[track 1: ocean eyes by billie eilish]

 

“i’ve been watching you for some time, 

can't stop staring

at those ocean eyes.”

 

Moving out of the place Taehyung had practically lived in all his life was something he was definitely not looking forward to.

 

Daegu is completely different from Busan, as to what Taehyung has observed ever since he got here seven hours ago. Daegu is all mountains and hikes while Busan is a seaside location, good beaches and a calm environment.

 

His people back in Daegu were practically hooligans, always so loud and unruly. Teenagers were always drunk and yelling loud on the streets but instead of finding it annoying, Taehyung finds it startlingly impressive. The sound of their unconfined laughs ring inside Taehyung’s head whenever he goes to bed and stares outside of his window habitually every night, wondering if he’d be that carefree and happy one day.

 

Busan, on the other hand, is quiet and tranquil. The people seemed too soft spoken and gentle. Many helping hands. And practically everything that Taehyung isn’t used to.

 

“Tae, honey? Could you please push that box towards my way?”

 

His mother’s voice disrupts his thoughts, making him look away from the beach just outside of their house. Their parents had rented a house that was close to the shoreline, said something about it being relaxing.

 

Taehyung can’t exactly say he hates it. The sound of the waves echoing in his ears probably just felt new to him. It’s as if he’s five years old again and he’s sticking his ear inside a large shell, too curious and excited to find out how the sea sounds like.

 

Well, now, it’s in front of him. Although, the only difference is that he was five back then and now he’s seventeen. And he doesn’t know if he’d still want to hear the sound of waves lulling him to sleep every night because he had already grown accustomed to the obstreperous laughs echoing outside their house as the teenagers walked on the streets, drunk and wasted.

 

Taehyung turns away from the transparent door before crouching down so that he could be able to push the box towards his mother.

 

“Do I really start school tomorrow?” Taehyung asks, not wanting to sound too disappointed so he keeps his voice neutral.

 

“Yes, sweetheart. It’s because you’re already two months behind, so you need to attend as soon as possible,” she answers before opening the box to inspect some of the things inside. “Is there any problem?”

 

“No,” Taehyung whispers, shaking his head before glancing over his shoulder to look at the beach again. “I just miss Daegu.”

 

His mother sighs before she shuffles over to where he is. She tousles Taehyung’s hair playfully before giving him a small smile.

 

“It’s okay. The people here are nicer than the ones you’ve grown up with. They aren’t as noisy as the crowd back home. You’ll get used to it in no time.”

 

Taehyung could only wish that he would.

 

//

 

“I—I’m Kim Taehyung. I’m from… Daegu.”

 

His heart pounds loud and harsh and it feels like it would leap out of his throat any minute now. The school, as to be expected, is a whole lot different from his previous one. The students back in Daegu were always loud, always laughing hysterically even if there was no reason to and if there were any new students, it was always a big deal.

 

The students here, on the contrary, were quiet. Even though some of them babbled excitedly at the back of the classroom, most were still silent—opting to keep themselves seated properly with their mouths shut.

 

“Okay, Mr. Kim, you can sit down now,” the teacher says, smiling at him gently before putting her attention towards the whole class. “I want you all to help Taehyung catch up to the lessons he’d missed. He’s two months behind and his family just moved here yesterday. Please welcome him warmly.”

 

Taehyung takes a look on the last vacant seat, which is fortunately situated in the front row, saving him from doing the walk of shame. He pulls the chair as careful as he can, muttering an apology with reddened cheeks when the metal foot of the chair scrapes against the floor, making a very irritating sound.

 

The whole class is quiet and it only stirs up his anxiety even more but he forces himself to push it to the back of his mind because he’s got no other choice other than to suck it up.

 

Once he’s seated, he just stares straight at the whiteboard in front of him, trying to keep his breathing even and calm as he fiddled with the sleeves of his oversized uniform.

 

The teacher started discussing after that, tackling lessons that Taehyung is not even slightly familiar with. He wasn’t the best student back in Daegu. He studied, tried to do well in his tests but he’s definitely not one of the top, so he would obviously have a hard time catching up.

 

Taehyung doesn’t know how many minutes pass or maybe hours, of the teachers discussing, but he does know that by the end of it all, the board is now filled with equations and solutions he couldn’t follow.

 

When the bell rings, Taehyung thinks that his third subject had just finished and he’s staring at his notebook filled with notes he doesn’t understand. He’ll definitely need to self-study to catch up because there’s probably no classmate of his that’s interested to help him—

 

He feels someone stand beside him so he risks a glance, only to be greeted by the sight of his classmate smiling so brightly at him that Taehyung thinks he could get blind just by looking at it.

 

It’s the guy who always recites and participates during class.

 

“Hey, I’m Jimin! Park Jimin. You can call me Jiminie if you want. Mrs. Kang said you just moved here yesterday from Daegu? That’s honestly so cool. I’ve heard a lot about Daegu. But, anyways. Do you like Busan so far?”

 

Every question, every sentence comes out of his mouth with no pause and Taehyung’s really overwhelmed but it’s definitely on the good side of overwhelmed. He feels his chest warm up because this, this is the thing he’s used to.

 

Loud and boisterous. Filled with energy. Someone cheerful.

 

“H-Hey—”

 

“Oh, crap, wait—I’m sorry. I really am noisy. You seem like the type who’s quiet though—”

 

This makes Taehyung smile a little and Jimin’s eyebrows raise at this. He grins to himself and he internally pats himself on the shoulder because he made the new kid smile. That’s a good start.

 

“It’s okay. I like noisy,” Taehyung mumbles and before he even knows it, his notebook was already being slammed into a close and Jimin was pulling him up to his feet.

 

“Well, that’s good you like noisy. Because. It’s break time and I’m going to introduce you to my friends. And they’re a bit noisy.”

 

Taehyung feels his classmates eyeing the back of his head once Jimin pulls him out of his seat and out of the classroom but he pays them no mind because Jimin doesn’t even give him time to look back.

 

Not even a second later when they’re out of the classroom, someone was already jumping on Jimin—accidentally removing Taehyung’s hold on him—with a booming laugh.

 

Fuckin’ boy! I missed you! Why were you absent last Friday? You didn’t even reply to my texts during the weekend.”

 

Taehyung blinks a few times, trying to comprehend what’s currently happening in front of him. A boy with blond—almost a shade of white—bleached hair had his arms around Jimin’s neck, as though he was trying to bring him down to the ground.

 

“My God, shut up!” Jimin cackles, holding on the boy’s wrist and trying to pull it away from his body. “Get off me! I have to introduce someone—!”

 

The boy ceases his movements before looking over to where Taehyung’s standing awkwardly, his eyes wide as he blinks foolishly at the two boys messing around. His uniform is definitely too huge for him since it looked like he’s almost swimming in them.

 

“Hoseok, this is Taehyung, the new kid. Taehyung, this is Hoseok, the friend I’m telling you about—and oh, wait—” Jimin pauses, looking around for a while before asking, “Where’s Jeongguk and Seokjin?”

 

Taehyung looks around as well, curious about who Jimin was talking about, but only seeing a few of the students hanging outside of their classrooms and some just walking along the halls.

 

“Said they’ll meet us in the canteen,” Hoseok says, before flicking his fingers on Jimin’s forehead and grinning when the younger male groans in pain. He then peers at Taehyung before he offers a bigger smile.

 

“Hello, Kim Taehyung, right?” Hoseok asks, his smile so vibrant that Taehyung can’t help but give a small smile back. But he blinks a few times upon realizing what the other had just said.

 

“H-How do you know my last name? Jimin hadn’t told you about it yet—”

 

“Oh, kid, you don’t even know,” Hoseok chuckles as he throws an arm around Taehyung’s shoulder. “You’ve been the talk of the town since last week. Didn’t expect you’d be this tall, though. Are you turning seventeen or have you turned seventeen already? You’re taller than Jimin—”

 

“Hyung! Stop bringing my height into everything,” Jimin aims annoyed glares to the man clinging onto Taehyung. “It’s getting really old.”

 

Hoseok begins walking away from the classroom, taking Taehyung along with him. Jimin also takes long strides beside them so that he could be able to keep up, trying his best to walk sideways despite the struggle because he appears to be interested with what Taehyung is going to say.

 

“Oh—” Taehyung stammers, “I’m actually turning eighteen this December. I started studying when I was five, so I’m one year late.”

 

“Mhm. That explains why you’re damn tall already even if you’re just in tenth grade,” Hoseok hums. “Anyways, how do you like it in Busan so far? You still missing Daegu? Did you leave some baggages back there? A girlfriend? Or a boyfriend, perhaps?”

 

“Hyung, stop! That’s personal,” Jimin shushes him but Taehyung only laughs quietly as he shakes his head.

 

He’s already getting their pace and he feels himself getting more and more comfortable as each second passes because it’s as if he’s breathing fresh air again whenever the two boys he’d met just minutes ago start speaking. They spoke with an accent, unfamiliar yet distinct every time it would resound in his ears, but Taehyung’s probably the only one who could notice it because he’s from Daegu. Busan has an entirely different dialect.

 

“No, it’s fine, Jimin-ssi,” Taehyung answers, “No girlfriend or boyfriend. I did leave a few friends back there, though. And I’m still kind of adjusting. Busan’s more quiet than I expected. It’s loud back in Daegu so…”

 

Hoseok cackles before ruffling Taehyung’s hair into a mess. “Don’t worry. You have us now. We are pretty loud. Others though, can’t say the same. They’re just chill.”

 

“Agreed,” Jimin sighs before snapping his fingers just a few centimeters away from Taehyung’s face, “Also. Drop the honorifics, please. No need to be so formal around me. Jiminie, Chim-chim, Jimin-ah, call me whatever you want.”

 

Hoseok grasps on his fingers before moving them away from Taehyung’s face, “You’re forgetting the fact that he’s turning eighteen next month and you just turned seventeen.”

 

Taehyung didn’t even notice that they’ve arrived in the canteen already, too caught up with Hoseok and Jimin’s energy to put his attention elsewhere. He also missed the curious glances coming from other students as they passed halls and other classrooms.

 

“Jimin! Watch out!”

 

There comes a shriek, catching everyone’s attention including Taehyung’s—and the next thing he knows is that someone’s jumping on Jimin, again, and his classmate almost falls onto the ground.

 

“Jeongguk, what- holy- what the fuck?! Fucking let go of me, you’re fucking heavy,” Jimin spits out a series of curses but the other guy just won’t let him go, even laughing when he pins Jimin’s neck underneath his arms and pushes him down.

 

“Yeah,” Hoseok just nods before looking at Taehyung and scrunching his nose. “We missed him, a lot. He didn’t go to school last Friday and he didn’t even text us where he went.”

 

Taehyung purses his lips while nodding as he continued to stare at the two boys pinning each other down—almost wrestling each other’s bodies down the floor.

 

“Hello, and who do we have here?” Someone shows up beside Hoseok with a curious smile plastered on his lips as he looks over to where Taehyung is. Hoseok still hadn’t let go of him and his arm around Taehyung’s neck tightens in excitement as he starts speaking.

 

It seems like a switch had been flipped and suddenly the boy who’s wrestling Jimin stops, head snapping up instantly to find out what’s currently happening.

 

Taehyung’s lips part a little when he sees the boy staring back at him with a curious glint in his eyes. His dark hair looked like it was soft since it bounced around with every movement he made.

 

He lets go of Jimin, who just looks annoyed at this point, and he buries his hands underneath the pockets of his hoodie as he straightens his posture when he realizes that they have new company.

 

“... -aehyung. You know? The new student everyone’s been talking about.”

 

In a snap, Hoseok’s familiar energetic voice reverberates in his eardrums and he snaps out of it immediately. Taehyung blinks a few times and looks away. For a moment when the guy had looked over his way, it’s as though he went deaf and he couldn’t hear shit.

 

“Hi, Taehyung. I’m Seokjin. Year Twelve, yeah, whatever, all that shit,” the guy beside Hoseok says, offering a hand for Taehyung to take. “I’ve heard a lot about you.”

 

And Taehyung takes it, only shaking it shortly before questioning, “A lot about me?”

 

“Don’t mind him. He means he just knows you’re from Daegu,” Hoseok shakes his head at him, jiggling Taehyung’s body a little as he laughs. “Told you, we’ve known about you for a week now.

 

Jimin clicks his tongue before pointing over to the guy beside him. “The guy who jumped on me earlier- this man, is Jeongguk, Tae. He’s a bit wild. Maybe the loudest—”

 

“What do you mean ‘maybe’? He is the loudest,” Seokjin cuts him off, pushing the other guy’s shoulder harshly but Taehyung could see that it was only a joke since Jeongguk didn’t seem bothered.

 

Jeongguk gives him a small smile, so boyish and almost cheeky that it makes Taehyung’s stomach churn gratifyingly for a reason he’s not sure of.

 

“Hey,” he mutters, nodding at Taehyung.

 

Taehyung only nods back before letting out a small smile, “Hey.”

 

[track 2: turning page by sleeping at last]

“i’ve waited a hundred years,

but i’d wait a million more for you.”

 

 

“I know how much a struggle it is for you to try and catch up with the lessons,” Mrs. Kang says as she starts arranging the pile of test papers in front of her. “That’s why I’m going to assign someone to help you.”

 

She asked Taehyung to stay for a few minutes because she said she wanted to discuss something with him privately and that Jimin shouldn’t wait because it would be a long time.

 

His first day was just three days ago but it’s as if it’s been weeks because of the tests, lessons, requirements and other shit making Taehyung more occupied than ever. Ever since his first day, Jimin and Taehyung had been joined at the hip, and the younger male even volunteered to be the one to help with the lessons Taehyung had missed.

 

That’s why Taehyung is wondering why Mrs. Kang is still assigning someone who’ll be able to help him because it had been more than noticeable that Jimin’s the one assisting him.

 

“Uhm,” he mutters, “Jimin is already helping me with the lessons, ma’am.”

 

“Ah, yes, of course,” she sighs, “I’ll give him extra credit for that. But one of my Year Twelve students is asking for some extra credit as well, I figured I’d let him help you since he needs it more than Jimin does. He knows more about the lessons too since he’s a couple of years older than you.”

 

Taehyung purses his lips before nodding slowly, agreeing with what his teacher just said. Besides, he’s also getting kind of guilty since he knows that Jimin’s struggling to balance his own studies and guiding Taehyung with their past lessons at the same time. Even if he doesn’t show it, Taehyung knows it and he really hates being a burden.

 

“That’s- that’s great, I guess. Thank you, ma’am,” Taehyung says, “He’s in Year Twelve, right?”

 

“It’s absolutely no problem, Taehyung. And yes, he is in Year Twelve. He’s a great kid and an even greater student, so don’t worry,” she says, giving him a small smile. “I’ve arranged the schedule for your benefit and his. One hour after classes at the school library. Is that fine with you?”

 

Taehyung’s eyes widen at this, somewhat astonished because his teacher is being more than considerate with his situation.

 

“R-Right, ma’am. It’s more than fine,” Taehyung mutters, nodding repeatedly and she just smiles—seemingly amused with how Taehyung was acting.

 

“Right, okay. Then it’s settled. Are you fine with starting today? If not, it’s okay. I’ll just tell him that you guys will start tomorrow.”

 

“No, it’s absolutely fine, ma’am. I can do today. Today’s more than good. Jimin and I usually study around this time of the day anyway.”

 

Mrs. Kang’s smile grows bigger at this. She then stands up to her full height and puts the papers aside.

 

“Well then, let’s go. I have to introduce the both of you.”

 

The library isn’t that far of a walk from his classroom so they’ll get there in no time. On their way there, Taehyung sees other students rushing towards the stairs, probably because they want to go home as soon as possible, and he also comes across his other classmates—some of them even waving over his way.

 

He gives them a small wave before looking ahead of him and seeing Mrs. Kang striding towards the library with her head held high.

 

The librarian greets the both of them and Taehyung just bows a little in greeting before putting his attention back to his teacher.

 

Mrs. Kang leads him towards a certain table towards the deeper part of the library but when Taehyung recognizes the only person occupying that table, he quickly halts his footsteps.

 

He blinks a few times, not believing the sight in front of him, but as the boy looks up—eyes directly meeting Taehyung’s own—it’s as though the air inside his chest has been punched away.

 

“Taehyung, this is Jeon Jeongguk. He’ll be your personal tutor as of the moment,” Mrs. Kang talks, oblivious to the fact that Taehyung’s rapid heartbeat is currently blocking out any sounds around him.

 

He gulps, remembering how he personally told Jimin how he finds Jeongguk slightly intimidating. He doesn’t know why exactly and it’s not like the older male is giving him any reasons to be intimidated.

 

Taehyung had only hung out with him during the first day. After that, he was always missing because he was busy—according to Hoseok and definitely not because he asked, by the way. It had been a topic between his new friends and Taehyung just happened to overhear.

 

Jimin had teased him about it, saying he probably has a crush on Jeongguk that’s why he’s intimidated but Taehyung strongly denied it. Having a crush on someone you just met? Nope, absolutely not. That’s absolutely not him.

 

“Taehyung?”

 

He snaps out of his thoughts straightaway, blood rushing to his cheeks and ears when he realizes that he’d been caught staring.

 

“U-Uhm,” Taehyung stutters, quickly looking away from Jeongguk who’s now pursing his lips as though he’s trying not to laugh. He blinks foolishly as he stared at his teacher’s expectant face. “W-What was- I’m sorry. What did you say, ma’am?”

 

His teacher just cracks a smile before saying, “I asked if you’re okay with him teaching you.”

 

“Yeah,” he squeaks out. “Of course, ma’am.”

 

At this point, he’s pretty sure that his cheeks are already too red because he feels it. He feels the shameful warmth basking on his face, so evident and apparent, and it only embarrasses him even more.

 

“Okay, I’m going to leave you both to it then,” she smiles at him. “I expect you’ll catch up as soon as possible, alright?”

 

Taehyung nods quietly and he hears Mrs. Kang thank Jeongguk before she gives Taehyung one last smile and then walking away from them both.

 

“Taehyung-ssi?”

 

The library is quiet and his voice resounds throughout the place. Taehyung can’t tell if he was mocking him or if he really just sounds like that and he’s just plainly calling Taehyung’s name.

 

Taehyung chooses to believe the latter.

 

He clears his throat before looking away from the library’s entrance and putting his attention on Jeongguk instead.

 

It seems as though he’s correct, since Jeongguk’s just staring back at him with a small friendly smile, nothing else.

 

“Yeah,” his voice cracks, making him shut his eyes for a few moments, “I mean, yeah. It’s me.”

 

Jeongguk’s grin grows wider at that, almost as if he’s holding his laughter back. “Okay, so… Let’s sit down?”

 

Taehyung nods as he pulls the chair right across from Jeongguk, removing his bag from his back before occupying the seat.

 

“You’re used to a loud environment, right?” Jeongguk asks as Taehyung begins taking his things out so he can sprawl them on the table. “Do you want to blast music while we study?”

 

Taehyung halts his movements, blinking at him owlishly. “How did you know that?”

 

Jeongguk’s eyebrows raise at the question. He seems confused at first but once realization sets in and he looks back on what he just said, his mouth parts in understanding.

 

Ah. I hope you’re not thinking I’m some creepy stalker or whoever because I’m not. I asked Hoseok about you and that’s the first thing he said.”

 

“Oh,” Taehyung says, the word sounding so plain and awkward when it comes out of his mouth. But in his defense, he really doesn’t know what else to say because the sudden flutter in his tummy is distracting him.

 

Why would you be asking about me?

 

The question sits on the tip of his tongue, ready to stumble out of his mouth. But Taehyung closes his lips immediately, afraid he’ll say something foolish.

 

“Yeah, some music would be great,” he ends up saying instead.

 

Jeongguk nods and Taehyung sees him pulling his phone out, scrolling through it and picking a song.

 

The sound of piano keys playing instantly fills the tranquil atmosphere and Taehyung finally finishes setting up everything on the table. Jeongguk picks up his notebook and flips through the first few pages.

 

“I’ll need like five minutes to refresh my memory about this lesson. Is it alright?” Jeongguk asks, glancing at him for a second and Taehyung nods instantaneously.

 

I've waited a hundred years.

 

The song echoes throughout the serene ambience of the room. Despite it being serene and calm, it still doesn’t make Taehyung any less nervous, and he doesn’t entirely know why he’s damn anxious in the first place.

 

Taehyung looks down on his fingers, fiddling with the hem of his uniform again.

 

But I'd wait a million more for you.

 

He risks a glance towards the older male and when he happens to see Jeongguk staring back at him, he feels his stomach tighten instantly as a reaction for the millionth time that day.

 

Nothing prepared me for… what the privilege

 of being yours would do.

 

Jeongguk looked a little startled when Taehyung caught him looking, but still—he managed to crack a smile before putting his attention back to the notebook he’s holding.

 

It’s the same smile Taehyung had first seen of him. Somewhat cheeky, boyish and confident but still kind of shy. The one that can pull the strings on Taehyung’s stomach and twist it, tighten it.

 

Maybe Jimin was correct. Maybe Taehyung really had a small, tiny crush on this guy.

 

[track 3: chariot by jacob lee]

 

“your heart.

it beat in perfect time with me.”

 

 

“The library’s closing in a few minutes. I’m going to have to request you kids to wrap it up.”

 

Taehyung glances on his wristwatch. 5:46PM.

 

It’s already their seventh session and it’s been a week since the first but this is the first time they’ve ever stayed in the library this late. They usually end around five in the afternoon, but today’s a little different since the lesson is kind of heavier than the usual ones.

 

“Shit, I didn’t notice the time,” Jeongguk mutters as he hurriedly collects Taehyung’s things. “I’m sorry. Your parents must be worried sick.”

 

“Oh, no. No, it’s okay. They’re not really overprotective with curfew shit and everything. They actually prefer me to be like all out and about,” Taehyung mumbles in return and then quickly biting his tongue afterwards because he might be oversharing and Jeongguk didn’t ask anyways.

 

“Oh,” Jeongguk says, his movements ceasing as he looks at Taehyung again. “Do you still want to continue? I mean the library’s closing—”

 

“I think I’m good,” Taehyung answers honestly, gathering his things from the older male’s hands and putting them inside his bag. “I’ll see you around, hyung.”

 

When Taehyung stands, Jeongguk stands up too—quick and rushed as though he’s going to tell something—so it catches Taehyung’s attention and he stops to listen to what the older male has to say.

 

“Actually,” Jeongguk starts. “Uhm, do you have any plans?”

 

“H-Huh?”

 

Taehyung blinks, eyes wide and curious as they bore straight into Jeongguk’s own.

 

The senior student laughs slightly, “I mean like… are you going to do something? Have plans with anyone tonight?”

 

Taehyung gulps, “Uhm- no? I mean like- I don’t have any plans. I’m just going to- wait- why?”

 

His words are jumbled and he can’t even form a coherent sentence because his heart won’t calm down and his brain is almost going frenzy.

 

He thinks he knows why Jeonguk as asked him that but he doesn’t want to sound like a complete delusional.

 

“I don’t know… Do you, maybe, want to hang out? For a bit? There’s this ice cream shop that just opened so…” Jeongguk shrugs, “Maybe you want to try?”

 

Taehyung opens his mouth, closes it, only to open it again like a fish, “Y-Yeah. Okay. It’s- I would love to. I’m not going to do anything anyway. Are you? Do you have plans?”

 

The corners of Jeongguk’s lips curl upwards into a mocking grin before he narrows his eyes slightly, “I mean I was the one who asked you out. So, no, I don’t have any plans.”

 

There goes Taehyung’s poor heart. God, he’s really going to have a heart attack soon at this rate if Jeongguk keeps doing whatever the hell he’s doing.

 

Right. Yeah. Okay. Of course. I’m sorry,” Taehyung shuts his eyes tightly, his nose scrunching, when he realizes what he had just said a while ago. “I sounded stupid, didn’t I?”

 

He hears Jeongguk laugh and he can’t help but open his eyes at the sound. This is the first time he’d heard Jeongguk laugh and the sound of it is just as beautiful as he is. Cozy and hearty. And it fills Taehyung’s chest with warmth.

 

“No, you’re fine. You didn’t sound stupid,” Jeongguk answers, still with that bright, wide smile plastered on his lips. “Let’s go?”

 

Taehyung swallows once again before nodding and zipping his bag up.

 

“Yeah. Let’s go.”

 

They make their way out of the library quietly, Taehyung being the one to lead the way and Jeongguk following him before swiftly coming up to Taehyung’s side so they can walk together.

 

There are no other students in the school premises anymore and they don’t even bump into some teachers or other workers while they walk through the hallways.

 

The silence sitting between them is kind of awkward, or that awkward ambience might just be in Taehyung’s head and not Jeongguk’s because he’s the only one whose palms are already sweaty and a stupid heart that won’t stop racing.

 

They make it out of the campus and Taehyung sees that the sun is already starting to set. The orange rays blending with pink and yellow hues softly glows in the sky as the sun dipped into the horizon. There are somewhat a lot of people walking on the sidewalk and some even on the main road since there aren’t that much vehicles in this part of Busan so there’s not much to worry about.

 

The breeze is colder than usual and Taehyung feels himself shivering once it cuts through his skin.

 

“Are you cold?” Jeongguk questions.

 

Taehyung glances at the man beside him, seeing how his hair fluttered together with the wind and how his skin looked even more glowing as the orange rays shined upon it.

 

“No. I’m fine,” Taehyung says before chuckling silently, “Is this really the perfect time for ice cream though? It’s cold.”

 

Jeongguk grins before nudging his elbow towards Taehyung’s arm, almost pushing him towards the road but luckily Taehyung catches his balance on-the-spot with a hushed chuckle.

 

“Ice cream is perfect for any time.”

 

Taehyung clears his throat but the smile on his face doesn’t dissipate, “I guess I can’t disagree with that.”

 

“So, are you still feeling nostalgic?” Jeongguk asks, shifting the topic easily. “Missing anyone or anything back home?”

 

Taehyung thinks that’s one of the qualities he finds quite attractive in Jeongguk. He’s confident and he takes the lead. He knows how to deal with things. Awkward things. He knows exactly what to do to make things feel better.

 

“Not too much. I mean… I don’t know. Still feels pretty weird that I don’t hear a bunch of drunk teenagers in the middle of the night ‘cos that’s been like my lullaby since I was a kid.”

 

Jeongguk chuckles, “Damn. Daegu must really be loud and rowdy, huh?”

 

The corners of Taehyung’s mouth threaten to curve upwards. “It’s our charm.”

 

The wind blows again.

 

“Honestly, you didn’t strike me as the type who’s noisy. Or it’s probably just because the people here are too quiet- Jesus, wait. You must be cold—” Jeongguk stops his tracks, catching the younger male’s attention.

 

He was way too focused with listening to what Jeongguk had to say that he hadn’t noticed that his body was already curling in on himself as a reaction to the harsh temperature of the breeze.

 

He’s about to turn his head to look over Jeongguk and to see what he’s doing but before he can even do it, he already feels a thick layer of warm fabric placed on top of his shoulders.

 

“You should wear that.”

 

His cheeks go crimson when he realizes what the other male had done mostly because he’s faintly caught off guard. He tried matching Jeongguk’s confident nature but he can’t. It’s too much. Sometimes, when he talks to Jeongguk, Taehyung feels like he’s slowly getting down to be able to walk on his own feet and not feel like he’s floating anymore—that he’s finally cool with everything—but most of the time, Jeongguk would do something that’s quite unexpected and Taehyung would always ends up flustered and looking like a fool.

 

He looks at the other male with wide eyes, ready to take the jacket off because he’s really getting more and more shy with each passing second.

 

“U-Uhm, it’s- it’s okay. Really. I-I can stand the cold,” Taehyung lies.

 

He can’t stand the cold for shit and he’s really regretting that he didn’t bring one of his jackets earlier, thinking that it’ll just be hard to carry throughout the whole day. So now, he’s faced with the consequences of his stubborn head.

 

He tries to look straight at Jeongguk so that it could come out convincing but the latter only shakes his head as he squints at Taehyung with a knowing smile on his face.

 

“Wear it. I don’t want you to be shaking like a leaf once we get ice cream,” Jeongguk says, not waiting for his response and he starts to walk again.

 

Taehyung bit the inside of his cheeks, slowly letting himself relax so that he can shoot his arms inside the sleeves of the jacket while he tries to match Jeongguk’s long strides.

 

Once he’s finally wearing the jacket properly, he finds himself sighing in relief internally as he basks in the warmth and how snug the fabric feels against his cold skin.

 

“Feel warm?”

 

Taehyung should hate how Jeongguk sounded so confident, kind of cocky and mocking even, but the knots in his stomach prove that he doesn’t hate it. Not even a bit. He’s enjoying the attention he’s getting from Jeongguk too much.

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung mumbles, earning a glance from Jeongguk followed by a teasing grin which he missed completely because he was too busy looking down on his feet.

 

“It looks good on you.”

 

[track 4: kiss me by ed sheeran]

 

“this

feels like falling in love.

we’re

falling in love.”

 

 

“Hypothetically speaking.”

 

Jimin perks up at this, looking up at him at lightning speed. His eyes are full and intrigued as he stared at Taehyung expectantly.

 

They’re both inside the classroom waiting for their next teacher to come. Everyone’s out of their seats yet even though they’re talking, the noise is still muffled and inaudible.

 

“What would you do,” Taehyung pauses, kind of hesitant if he should be asking this or not. “If a friend of yours happens to have like… a crush on your other other friend?”

 

Jimin squints at him.

 

“I mean like- not a major crush! Just a small, tiny, harmless crush- like- nothing too major,” Taehyung blanches, cheeks becoming rosy as he tries to backpedal. He repeats, “Nothing too major.”

 

Jimin’s eyes just narrow even more and a small smirk is already starting to form on his lips. He shifts on his seat so he can get a better look of Taehyung.

 

Right. Nothing too major,” Jimin raises an eyebrow, looking entertained and it’s as if he’s enjoying the elder’s defensive and flustered condition. “Wait. So, let me just translate this real quick. That friend of mine happens to be you and the “other other” friend is Jeongguk, right—”

 

“No!” Taehyung shouts in a whisper, eyes frantically looking around to see if anyone is listening in. “Be quiet.”

 

He knew this was a bad bad idea. He knew it. Jimin isn’t stupid and if there’s an underlying truth beneath a small lie, he would know it.

 

“No, okay?” Taehyung reiterates, “I said it was a hypothetical question—”

 

“People who say that they’re asking a hypothetical question often mean that they’re referring to themselves,” Jimin points out before shrugging and facing away from Taehyung so he can sit properly. He gives the older male one last look and winks at him. “Don’t worry, though. I’m good at keeping secrets.”

 

“But—”

 

The door opens and Taehyung sees his classmates shuffling over to their seats. Jimin’s the first one to stand up to greet their teacher and everyone just follows him, including Taehyung.

 

Once their teacher greets them back and sets the book on the center table, they all sit down and Taehyung speedily opens up a notebook before writing down on it at a breakneck speed.

 

I don’t like him, okay?

 

He tears the paper from his notebook, folds it rapidly and hands it over underneath their desks.

 

When Jimin opens the note, Taehyung thinks he hears a snicker before the sound of a pen scratching over a paper surfaces over the stagnant atmosphere.

 

Jimin hands the note over to him exactly when their teacher starts speaking and he grabs it immediately, eager to know what is written on it.

 

My mouth is zipped, Tae. Promise. ;)

 

Taehyung lets out an aggravated huff before glancing over his shoulder to see Jimin but the latter isn’t looking back at him anymore. He’s looking straight at the teacher with a pen between his fingers, giving the impression that he’s seriously listening to what was being discussed.

 

Taehyung, on the other hand, was absolutely not listening. Instead, he looks down on the paper in front of him displaying the messy scribbles of his handwriting, before he sighs.

 

He does feel a lot lighter after telling someone else so that’s something good, he guesses.

 

Taehyung had been itching to tell someone about how he feels and this is the first time. Normally, when he’s attracted to someone, he just keeps it to himself.

 

But what happened last Friday kept replaying inside his mind. It’s not like they did something out of the ordinary but he found himself enjoying Jeongguk’s company more than the usual. They talked a lot. About nonsense things, mostly, like whether strawberry ice cream tasted better than chocolate or if Taehyung preferred being in a car or taking long walks instead.

 

All random topics. But still. The whole time, Taehyung felt too light and happy and he never wanted it to stop for even just a moment.

 

It was becoming too much to handle.

 

He’ll tell Jimin about this later because he trusts the younger male on this one. He does. And he’s aching so bad to tell someone because he wants the flitting butterflies inside his tummy to calm down when Jeongguk’s around.

 

He just needs some sort of outlet. He knows that. Once he tells someone, his feelings wouldn’t be as complex to fathom.

 

//

 

“No tutoring today?”

 

“Oh my God, seriously, shut up,” Taehyung sneers, glowering at Jimin because he won’t stop teasing. “You told me you’d zip your mouth. So, zip it.”

 

Jimin cackles, holding on Taehyung’s arm while shaking his head profusely, “No, no. I’m genuinely curious. Why aren’t you guys staying back?”

 

They’re walking down the stairs, on their way to meet Hoseok and Seokjin. This was the routine before Taehyung had tutoring lessons with Jeongguk. It still is, since Jimin still walks home with the two once dismissed. Taehyung, contrarily, always walked home alone after his lessons. Except, of course, last Friday. Jeongguk had walked him home.

 

“I don’t know—”

 

“Taehyung!”

 

The sudden call startles him a little, making him look back to wherever the noise came from only to be greeted by the sight of Jeongguk in a hoodie while waving at him.

 

His jaw drops, heart momentarily stopping before he waves towards the older male’s direction. He’s alone. And he’s also jogging to where Taehyung is and making the younger male frown in confusion.

 

Jimin stands beside him with his eyebrows raised so high that they might pass his hairline. He takes a look on Taehyung before glancing at Jeongguk and he tried suppressing the knowing grin that was starting to form on his face.

 

Keyword, tried.

 

“Hey, I was waiting for you, actually. I didn’t see you come out of your classroom,” Jeongguk says before looking at Jimin briefly. “Hey, Jimin. Didn’t see you there.”

 

The smile on Jimin’s face instantly vanishes and a displeased grimace takes over it. “Is that supposed to be another joke about my height?”

 

“I didn’t say that. You said that yourself,” Jeongguk purses his lips, obviously trying to stifle down a laugh. “Anyways, are you guys going to walk home?”

 

“Yeah, we’re going with—”

 

Jimin cuts Taehyung off, “No! What Taehyung means to say is that he’s walking home. I’m still going to stay and wait for Hobi-hyung and Seokjin-hyung.”

 

Taehyung frowns, turning to peer at the younger male. But Jimin isn’t looking back at him, he was looking at Jeongguk with a bright smile on his face and right at that moment, it dawns in Taehyung’s mind what Jimin is trying to do.

 

“So, why don’t you guys just walk together, hm?” Jimin suggests, not being very obvious. At all. Note the sarcasm.

 

Jeongguk squints, noticing Jimin’s unusual demeanor, “Yeah. That’s the reason why I was waiting for him.”

 

Both Jimin and Taehyung’s eyes widen at that, not expecting the response, but because Jimin is always exaggerating, his expanded eyes are much bigger and his mouth is gaped open.

 

“Right,” he shuts his mouth before pulling a knowing grin, still mixed with a hint of excitement, and nodding. He—not so discreetly—winks at Taehyung. “Of course. I’ll be going now.”

 

Hold on, how did everything happen so fast?

 

Taehyung blinks stupidly as he stares at Jimin’s back, hoping for the petite man to turn around at least—and he does, only to mouth ‘get your man!’ with a fist in the air and a very excited smile and then turning back around before Taehyung could even glare at him.

 

“Why’s he being weird?” Jeongguk asks, mirth leaking from his tone.

 

“Uhm,” Taehyung turns his head towards Jeongguk in a snap, “Yeah. Weird. I don’t know why he started acting like that.”

 

Silence settles between them and Taehyung hopes that the older male hadn’t noticed anything. Jeongguk just squints at him before that same, damned cheeky smile gradually appears on his lips.

 

“Sure,” Jeongguk says, nodding as though he’s agreeing to whatever Taehyung said. “You don’t know why.”

 

Taehyung gulps as his brows furrow. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

 

The grin on Jeongguk’s face melts away and is replaced by a confused and innocent look, which in Taehyung’s opinion—seems faux. “Is that supposed to mean anything?”

 

The blush on Taehyung’s cheeks feels hot and he quickly looks away, hoping to avert the topic.

 

“No- I- no. Let’s just go,” Taehyung goes down the stairs as he stumbles over his words.

 

He misses the way Jeongguk looks at his back with an eloquent yet genuine smile, appearing to be someone who knows something. He also misses how some of their schoolmates had been watching them both, eyes full of wonder and curiosity.

 

The older male just follows him, no words said.

 

//

 

“How are you doing with the tests, by the way? Mrs. Kang said I was doing a good job helping you.”

 

The school is not far from Taehyung’s house. Mostly a fifteen-minute walk if you’re slow. He normally takes ten minutes when he goes to school in the morning.

 

“You’re doing more than a good job,” Taehyung mutters, the wind blowing through his air. He brought his own jacket now, that’s a good thing. He smiles sheepishly. “I’ve been getting almost perfect scores.”

 

“Ooh,” Jeongguk cheers, “Honestly. That’s all on you. I teach a lot of people but you’re one of the only few people who absorb everything easily. You’re smart.”

 

“M’not, really. I’m not smart,” Taehyung says, because it’s the truth. He’s only inspired with learning new shit because of the person who’s been teaching him. And that person is right beside him right now. He takes a deep breath before shifting over to another topic, “Also, I think Hoseok-hyung misses you. Also Seokjin-hyung.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyebrows lift up, “Yeah, they just texted me last night. I miss them too. But school shit’s been piling up lately so…”

 

“If the tutoring sessions are hassling you in any way—”

 

“Oh, no, no,” Jeongguk interrupts him, glancing over Taehyung’s way and catching his eye, “Not at all. The reason why I cancelled the session today is ‘cos I need to finalize my project. We’re back to regular tomorrow.”

 

“Yeah, but—”

 

Jeongguk shushes him, shaking his head with a frown, “You’re not troubling me, Tae. Swear. Please don’t think that again. I volunteered. I wouldn’t have asked Mrs. Kang if I had so much on my plate, okay?”

 

Taehyung lets out a dissatisfied huff. “Okay.”

 

The older male stops his tracks and Taehyung takes a glimpse on his right, seeing the front porch of his own house.

 

“Well, I guess, I’m here,” he mutters.

 

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” Jeongguk smiles at him before lifting his hand and ruffling it through Taehyung’s hair and making a mess. “Don’t stress too much.”

 

Taehyung’s lips part and he blinks a few times when he realizes what Jeongguk just did. The older male already turned his back on him and was already walking away but here he was, having a delayed reaction.

 

He gulps for the nth time that day before his mind starts yelling at him to go inside his house. His feet begins to work on their own and it takes him to his front porch but his mind is still reeling, his cheeks are burning hot and his heart probably stopped functioning.

 

He didn’t see the way Jeongguk looked back, checking to see if Taehyung had safely gotten in—only to grin when he sees that the younger male is slowly walking towards the main door looking so flustered and confused.

 

Taehyung’s wrong.

 

He thought telling Jimin would have lessened the knots in his stomach. But boy, he was so wrong. Because right now, the butterflies and knots in his stomach didn’t lessen, that’s for sure. They’re much more intense and it’s all too much but he can’t find it in himself to want it to stop.

 

He doesn’t ever want it to stop.

 

//

 

Right when Taehyung thinks he’s done for the day, fate jumps in and slaps him across the face.

 

He’d been brushing his teeth that same night, having just finished studying for his History test tomorrow. He wanted nothing else but to crawl underneath his covers and sleep soundly.

 

His phone sitting right beside the sink vibrates, notifying a new text message and when he glances at it, he frowns because it’s from an unregistered number.

 

He quickly rinses his mouth and washes his face, curious as to who would be texting him at this time of the night. When he grabs a towel so that he can pat his face dry, he grabs his phone at the same time so he could check who had texted him.

 

hey, it’s jeongguk. got your

number from jimin. u awake?

 

To say that his heart drops would be an understatement. Because it does more than that. He thinks his heart and stomach and all other internal organs are now tied together and he can’t find it in himself to breathe in some air.

 

“Oh my fucking God,” he shakily mutters to himself, quickly getting out of the bathroom with all his nerves spiked up and awake.

 

Yeah, wanting to sleep peacefully? That’s all gone now. He’s definitely not getting any of that.

 

He hastily wipes his face dry before hanging the small towel on his chair so that he can type a reply.

 

hey! yes i am, do u

need anything?

 

The reply comes in fast and it slightly makes Taehyung’s heart flip.

 

nothing too important haha

just finished finalizing my

project so im just chilling

 

wbu? doin anything?

 

ohhh that’s great hehe c:

 

m’not doin anything too just

finished studying!

 

Taehyung really has his heart in his motherfucking throat now because he feels like it’s about to come out of his body with how loud it’s beating.

 

can i call u?

 

Taehyung’s jaw drops and he somewhat doesn’t know what to reply. A part of his mind is screaming at him to say yes but another part is yelling at him to say no, because what if his voice sounds ugly in the call? People say his voice is different on the phone—

 

God, he’s being fucking ridiculous right now. He lets his fingers type a reply recklessly, not caring if there would be consequences.

 

uhm sure? okay…

 

Taehyung doesn’t know what to expect but when a call coming from Jeongguk’s number arrives in less than a minute, he feels like his lungs had really finally stopped working and he can’t breathe.

 

He takes a deep shaky breath, lets it out before accepting the call and lying down on his bed to stare up mindlessly at the ceiling.

 

Taehyung clears his throat before putting his phone right against his ear and muttering a, “Hello?”

 

“Hey,” Jeongguk, on the other end, replies almost instantly. “I mean, hey, wow.” A chuckle.

 

Taehyung can’t help but smile so widely too. Jeongguk can’t see him smiling like a fool from the other end so he can do whatever the fuck he wanted.

 

His heart is beating so so fast for it to be normal right now.

 

“So…” Taehyung starts, keeping his voice neutral but kind of failing because it still ends up kind of wobbly. “It’s ten minutes to twelve. Random for you to call. What’s up?”

 

Jeongguk lets out a quiet laugh. “I just… I don’t know. Kinda tired.”

 

“Oh,” the smile on Taehyung’s face disappearing little by little, “You should probably get some rest then?”

 

“Silly,” Jeongguk says, “Why would I want to call you if I wanted to rest?”

 

Taehyung gulps, audible and loud, “I-I don’t know. Why would you?”

 

There’s silence for a few moments before Jeongguk decides to reply.

 

“You’re going to cringe if I say why. And you’re going to think I’m weird and creepy,” Jeongguk answers and Taehyung bursts out laughing.

 

He stops instantly when he realizes that it’s almost midnight and he can’t be too loud, resulting into a fit of hushed giggles instead.

 

“Why?”

 

“Don’t wanna.”

 

“Just tell me why,” Taehyung says, biting his bottom lip to try and quiet himself down.

 

Fine. It’s because…” Jeongguk drawls out and Taehyung could almost see the familiar grin that comes with it. “I really like talking to you and I wanted to hear your voice...?”

 

It’s a good thing that the sound of Taehyung’s breath hitching wasn’t audible at all because it does, so bad, and he feels like all the air filling his lungs had been taken away because he suddenly can’t breathe.

 

“Shit,” Jeongguk chuckles nervously, “M’sorry. You think I’m a creep now, don’t you—”

 

Taehyung thinks that’s the first time he’s ever heard Jeongguk nervous.

 

“No!” Taehyung intervenes, only pausing for a bit so he can lower his voice down a little, “I mean- no. I don’t think you’re a creep. Okay. It’s- it’s good… all good.”

 

“Really?” Jeongguk says, sounding genuinely concerned and Taehyung shuts his eyes before biting on his lower lip harshly because this is really not good for his heart.

 

Really,” Taehyung repeats as the smile on his lips starts growing again, “Like… really.”

 

[track 5: yellow lights by harry hudson]

 

“don't cut the lights, just take it slow.

we’re moving fast, we’ve lost control.

but, i feel safe with you.”

 

 

“Hah,” Jimin sighs in relief when the two bowls of ramen they ordered are served to their table. “Smells so fuckin’ good. Christmas is starting, indeed.”

 

Taehyung nods in agreement as he closes his eyes and breathes in, taking in the delicious smell of the freshly cooked noodles. “Shit. It does smell good. M’gonna dig in.”

 

Their Christmas break started literally just an hour ago and the first thing they do is run to Jimin’s favorite restaurant so they can treat themselves a good meal after their exams.

 

The glasses filled with water sitting atop their table are starting to moisten because of the steam coming from the noodles and Taehyung’s stomach is already growling at him to go pick up his chopsticks so that he can start eating.

 

That’s exactly what he does, although before he can even shove the noodles in his mouth, his phone vibrates and makes their whole table rattle.

 

“Who is it?” Jimin asks with a mouthful of noodles. He didn’t seem too curious, though. Seeming like he’s more caught up with wolfing down his noodles more than anything else.

 

Taehyung grabs his phone with one hand just so he can take a glimpse of who texted. It might be his mom telling him that they’ll be out or Yoongi asking about how’s Busan during December—

 

However, it wasn’t from his mom and neither was it from Yoongi. It was from Jeongguk.

 

Taehyung feels his lungs constrict and he swiftly glances at his friend to see if he was looking but fortunately, he’s still absorbed with the noodles to notice Taehyung freezing like a deer caught in the headlights.

 

Even though, he and Jeongguk have been texting and calling and even walking home together for more than a month now, a small bit of attention from the older male still catches him off-guard and he thinks he’ll never get used to it.

 

He softly puts his chopsticks down so he could read and reply to what the other had texted him.

 

just finished my exams :D

wru?? im waiting outside your

classroom

 

Taehyung’s eyes widen, having forgotten their usual routine.

 

omg sorry our

exams finished earlier than

yours so im out w jiminie now

 

awh :( bummer.. anw

enjoy !! mssg me

when ur free

 

“That Jeongguk?”

 

“Huh?” Taehyung jolts, quickly locking his phone as though Jimin’s going to snoop through his phone. “Nope.”

 

Jimin just grins cockily, his chopsticks currently being held in the air just right in front of his mouth. “You sure? Your cheeks are red again.” He shoves the noodles in his mouth before staring back at Taehyung with chipmunk cheeks.

 

“W-What,” Taehyung furrows his brows and shakes his head. “It’s ‘cos of the steam.” He picks up the chopsticks, ready to dive in his food but Jimin begins talking again.

 

“Seriously, Tae. You don’t have to lie to me,” Jimin says as he busies himself with the side dishes. He stops for a moment before giving the elder a bright smile. “I mean… I’m in no place to say this but I’ve never seen Jeongguk this happy before. His relationships—I don’t even know if you can call it that because all he had were flings. Messy breakup. All that shit.”

 

“Flings?” Taehyung asks, leisurely stirring the contents of his ramen before he starts eating.

 

Jimin nods. “Many flings. Most lasted about a month but the longest was, I don’t know… two months? At most?”

Taehyung swallows, suddenly uncomfortable with the topic. He doesn’t think Jimin notices because he was too occupied with the food, just like everyone else in this restaurant. Taehyung’s probably the only one whose stomach is somewhat tense.

 

He blinks a few times before muttering, “Yeah?”

 

“Mhm,” Jimin hums in agreement, almost looking spaced out and not himself as he blabbers. He’s too engaged with picking which side dish to eat that he probably doesn’t know what he’s saying. “But he literally can’t shut up about you. Which he never does and it’s becoming unusual. Taehyung here, Taehyung there. I can’t go, I’m going to walk Taehyung home. I can’t call, Taehyung needs help with his quiz tomorrow. You’re literally the only thing that comes out of his mouth, that’s how much he likes you—wait—holy shit. I shouldn’t be telling you this- I’m dead fucking meat. Hey, can we pretend I never said that.”

 

Taehyung blinks. His fucking pea-sized brain is still trying to comprehend the words that just slipped out of Jimin’s mouth because that can’t be real. Holy shit. That can’t be fucking real.

 

“Taehyung. Hey.” Jimin snaps his fingers, now looking alert and nervous. “Hey. Can you promise you won’t say anything to him. He’ll kill me. I swear to God- me and my fucking loose mouth.”

 

“Uhm,” Taehyung grits his teeth together as he speaks because not only are his cheeks burning but his entire face, ears and neck all feel hot. Even his stomach feels full. And he’s barely eaten the ramen yet. “O-Okay.”

 

“Fuck,” Jimin curses, pouting a little. “I really wasn’t supposed to say that. It just slipped out.”

 

“I’m not going to tell him,” Taehyung reassures him, looking away and focusing on the steaming noodles in front of him instead. He starts eating but his actions are slow, almost calculated as though there’s something he’s thinking about.

 

“Don’t think about it too much.” Jimin tells him.

 

Taehyung thinks he’d do the exact opposite.

 

//

 

It’s December 29th, the day before his birthday—or he should probably say just a few minutes before his birthday because it’s currently 11:56 in the evening.

 

It’s been thirteen days since his Christmas break started and it’s also been thirteen days since Jimin told the thing.

 

Almost two weeks. Jimin told him not to think about it too much but he did the exact opposite. Thinking about it for even just a single second already makes his stomach tighten and make his head feel light.

 

Jeongguk was still texting him and the older male never forgets to send good morning and good night messages, always reminding Taehyung to eat and not skip his meals, asking if he’s not too busy and if he can call.

 

Taehyung had kept making excuses, saying his family is busy so he can’t call. But the real reason is he doesn’t trust himself to answer a call because who knows if he’ll be able to stop himself from saying shit that will just make him look like a fool? And he’ll probably slip with what Jimin told him, too curious to find out if it’s true or not.

 

He sighs deeply before closing his eyes. He really needs to get some sleep because his parents said they’d go somewhere tomorrow—

 

The sound of something hitting his window wakes all his senses up and his eyes snap open fast.

 

He stares at it, wondering if he was just imagining it or if it’s real. His window is wide, covered with blinds so he can’t see, only a small part of the moon shining. The blinds can be pulled up but Taehyung really has no courage to go near that thing at the moment. A whole person could fit in there if they wanted to, so he’s somewhat terrified because someone might break in.

 

His heart pulsates loud and clear against his chest while he slowly sits up, not looking away from the window for even a second. He doesn’t know if he should run out of his room and go straight to his parents’ but he could only be imagining the sound—

 

Two taps on the window resounds in his room, crystal clear, and Taehyung’s sure he’s not just imagining it anymore. Although, he becomes still as a fucking rock because that just means that someone is trying to break in and he doesn’t know what to fucking do about that.

 

He hears his phone placed on top of the nightstand vibrate and he doesn’t even think twice before grabbing it, as though that can be a weapon in case someone tries to smash his windows—

 

A text message from Jeongguk.

 

hey, r u asleep alrdy

such a grandmaaaaa lol

im outside ur window if u

dont reply in 5 mins i’ll

be going home :((

 

“Jesus Christ,” he mumbles, followed by a few curses before he pushes his blankets out of the way so he can stand up from his bed.

 

He grabs his grey hoodie perched on top of his study table and hurriedly puts it on before walking over to his window and rolling the blinds up as quick as he can. He’s welcomed by the sight of Jeongguk holding his phone, its bright screen throwing light on his features.

 

Not even a second after, Jeongguk’s wide eyes are staring right at him. The older male pockets his phone once he sees Taehyung and he pulls a wide smile, one that makes his own eyes crinkle and one that also makes Taehyung’s knees weak.

 

The anger and fear inside his chest vanishes almost instantaneously. Instead, it’s replaced by warmth and euphoria and his heart completely melts into a puddle.

 

His trembling hands are quick to open the lock and slide the glass window to the right, so that he can face Jeongguk without any barrier.

 

“What are you doing? You scared me to death. I thought someone was trying to break in,” Taehyung says with no pause.

 

Jeongguk has never set a foot inside his house, but Taehyung vaguely remembers telling the other male about how he loved waking up to the sunrise every morning because he had the perfect view of the beach from his room. His parents’ room is placed on the front porch, so he thinks Jeongguk figured out which room is his from that information.

 

“Sorry,” the older male smiles sheepishly, “I wanted to see you.”

 

Cue Taehyung’s heart stopping.

 

“That’s- that’s…” Taehyung pauses, not knowing what to reply because he suddenly feels like his mind had dried up. “That’s.”

 

“Yeah. That’s,” Jeongguk repeats before biting on his bottom lip as if trying to restrain a smile. “Also, I wanted to surprise you and be the first one to greet you.” He pulls out his hands from the hoodie’s pockets just to tap on his wrist watch twice.

 

“Happy birthday.”

 

Taehyung blinks. He thinks the world stops right at that moment. With him staring back at Jeongguk who’s looking at him with so much fondness, with his heartbeat turning gradual—almost peaceful and serene but still loud and firm—as it throbs against his chest, with the sound of the waves rolling and making the atmosphere even more serene and tranquil.

 

For the first time since a long time, Taehyung’s mind feels placid. He’s not panicking. He’s not thinking too hard about anything. He’s just… content.

 

“Thank you,” he mutters, “Uh, y-you could have just texted me that and you’d still be the first one to greet me.”

 

“Told you I wanted to see you,” Jeongguk chuckles before standing on his tippy toes briefly as if he’s nervous, “Do you want to hang out for a bit?”

 

“Huh? Where? Here?” Taehyung says, ears turning red when he realizes Jeongguk might be asking to be invited in his room.

 

“No, not here,” Jeongguk shakes his head with a quiet laugh, “The shore, you know, just talk for a bit and stuff. But it’s also definitely okay if you don’t want to. I went here without even telling you.”

 

“Uh, it’s okay- yeah- I’ll go. I can’t sleep either so might as well,” Taehyung shrugs. “I’ll need you to move away a little though, I’ll be going out in this window.”

 

“Yeah, sure, okay,” Jeongguk says, moving away instantly and watching Taehyung as he fits himself in the window so he can go out.

 

The younger seemed like he knew how to do it but Jeongguk still holds onto his elbow in case he falls. In the dark, Taehyung’s reaction is almost invisible so Jeongguk doesn’t notice how the younger’s head goes light and how his tummy pulls taut at the touch.

 

Once he’s perfectly standing outside, Jeongguk’s grip on his elbow loosens and Taehyung finds himself craving the warmth and—

 

Fuck, Taehyung, get a fucking grip of yourself.

 

He grits his teeth, trying to keep his sanity, as he slides the window back to its place so the wind wouldn’t get in his room. He feels the weak, cold breeze brush against his skin.

 

“Captain America pajamas?”

 

Taehyung looks down on his pajamas, completely mortified, and he’s ready to go back inside so that he can change his bottoms but then Jeongguk starts speaking again.

 

“Don’t worry, Tae. S’cute.”

 

“Whatever,” he grumbles, refusing to look the other in the eye as he starts walking away from the window.

 

Jeongguk just follows him and they go towards the shore together, some of the sand getting in Taehyung’s slippers and he should find it irritating but he can’t find it in himself to think about that because the only thing in his mind right now is Jeongguk, Jeongguk and Jeongguk.

 

“Are you going somewhere for your birthday? Or are you just going to stay at home?” Jeongguk asks once they settle down. The sand is dry from where they are but the waves are just a few steps away.

 

“Going somewhere. Just a normal lunch outside or probably breakfast. Not too sure,” Taehyung shrugs, sighing as he stares at the moon on the horizon. It’s illuminating a small part of the sea and Taehyung could see how the waves there aren’t as harsh as the ones in the shoreline.

 

“Mhm,” Jeongguk hums and Taehyung sees him nodding from the corner of his eye. “This your first birthday where there’s no snow?”

 

Taehyung chuckles, “No. It doesn’t snow too much in Daegu too but it is cold there. It’s just a lot warmer here during December but, yeah, still cold though.”

 

“Do you miss it there?” Jeongguk questions this time and the younger male glances at him, seeing that he’s picking out rocks from the sand. “I’ve never experienced snow even once.”

 

“I guess? But not too much anymore,” he answers, “I’m really grateful for Jimin, you know. If it wasn’t for him I would probably still be feeling homesick right now.”

 

Jeongguk looks at him, pausing his actions, before he raises an eyebrow with a sly grin, “Just him?”

 

Taehyung gulps, the action noticeable since Jeongguk’s eyes travel to his throat for a second and back to his face. “U-Uhm. Of course not. Hoseok-hyung. Seokjin-hyung. A-And you. Like. You just… you have a way with- with making everyone feel appreciated. - I…”

 

Jeongguk looks away, toying with the stick he managed to pick up from the sand, before mumbling something Taehyung doesn’t hear.

 

“What?”

 

“I said,” Jeongguk trails off, still not looking at the younger. “Not everyone. Just you.”

 

Taehyung holds his breath, and he’s not sure if Jeongguk heard his breath hitch but he probably didn’t because he didn’t glance at the younger.

 

His mind is a mess and he’s out of words to say. He just knows that he’s surprised and all the blood in his body probably moved towards his face.

 

“Oh,” he says, looking away and gazing at the sea instead.

 

It’s quiet for a few moments, the only sound that could be heard is the waves crashing against the shore.

 

“Jimin told me something,” he starts and Taehyung’s stomach flips. God. If Jimin told Jeongguk about—

 

“He said he accidentally told you that I like you.” Jeongguk utters out.

 

Taehyung breathes out and he bites his lip. His eyes are unsteady and he doesn’t know if he should look at Jeongguk or just focus on the sea.

 

He settles for the latter.

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung voices out. His heartbeat reverberates inside his ears, blaring and almost deafening, and his nerves aren’t no help either. It seems as though he’s whole body is wired, buzzing, as he waits for Jeongguk to continue.

 

“Uhm,” Jeongguk clears his throat, catching the younger’s attention. “It isn’t… awkward with you, right?”

 

Is this really fucking happening or is he just dreaming.

 

“Huh?” Taehyung’s head snaps, looking over Jeongguk at a breakneck speed. “No. No. It’s not awkward. At all. Why would it be awkward.”

 

Jeongguk smiles at him, boyish yet a little anxious. He looks away and shrugs. “Don’t know. I mean…”

 

This is the first time Taehyung sees Jeongguk out of words, almost as if he’s flustered and doesn’t know what to say. And Taehyung’s mind is fucking lost, still trying to process what the other male is saying but he feels like a part his mind is currently in the clouds because it’s starting to comprehend.

 

“Uhm,” Taehyung says, opening his mouth but no words come out.

 

Jeongguk glances at the younger and sees that Taehyung’s wide eyes are gazing at him openly. “Your cheeks are kinda red.”

 

“Huh,” Taehyung breathes out, blinks, before his hand goes up to his face to feel his cheeks, “Oh.”

 

Jeongguk’s features turn serious and Taehyung could only see a little because of the moon shining upon the other’s face, but he definitely saw Jeongguk’s eyes soften.

 

Taehyung was too focused on staring at him that he doesn’t even notice the elder moving closer inch by inch. He just becomes aware of it when Jeongguk’s nose touches his in an affectionate manner, and he finds himself closing his eyes at that.

 

“Tell me not to do it and I’ll stop,” Jeongguk mutters, so soft and gentle it makes Taehyung’s heart ache so good.

 

Taehyung shakes his head, still with his eyes closed, before he whispers, “Please.” He gulps. “I don’t want you to stop.”

 

He doesn’t entirely know what to expect but the moment he feels Jeongguk’s mouth on his, so warm and so soft, he finds himself sighing in relief and clutching on the older male’s hoodie as though he’s holding on for dear life.

 

Jeongguk tilts his head to the right as he starts moving his lips against the younger’s. His hand travels towards Taehyung’s cheek, cradling it gently, as he kisses him, so passionate and slow.

 

Taehyung’s kisses were chaste and naive, showing that he had little or no experience, yet he followed Jeongguk’s actions diligently—mirroring them and moving his mouth against the elder leisurely.

 

Taehyung feels Jeongguk pull away and he doesn’t stop himself from chasing the other’s mouth, greedy to feel it against his own again. Jeongguk doesn’t let him, he kisses the tip of his nose instead.

 

“Needy baby,” Jeongguk whispers, pulling Taehyung closer to him by the waist and leaving a light kiss on the corner of the younger’s lips.

 

Taehyung opens his eyes, dazed and maybe a bit out of it since he thinks he got drunk just from Jeongguk’s kisses. He finds himself smiling tenderly, his eyes crinkling as he stared up at Jeongguk with the same fondness in his eyes.

 

Jeongguk’s arm on his waist felt tight and secure. It’s keeping him warm and he can’t help but relish the moment by snuggling closer to the elder and hiding his face on Jeongguk’s neck.

 

With the kiss, it feels like the last barrier standing in between them staggered down. Taehyung’s comfortable. So happy and contented. He can’t find it in himself to wish for anything else.

 

“When you’re done celebrating with your parents tomorrow,” Jeongguk pauses, leaving a kiss on the younger’s forehead, “How about I take you out on a date?”

 

The butterflies in Taehyung’s stomach go wild.

 

He bites his lip, trying to restrain a smile from showing, before he whispers, “I’d like that.”

 

[track 6: chasing cars by snow patrol]

 

“if i lay here,

if i just lay here.

would you lie with me,

and just forget the world?”

 

“How are you guys doing?”

 

Taehyung looks up from the book he’s currently reading and sees Jeongguk pulling the chair right beside him so that he can sit down.

 

It’s lunch time and he and Jimin had taken the time so they can study for their exams that’ll be happening in an hour. They’re the only ones that are situated in the secluded part of the library since they prefer a calm environment rather than an active one. Most of the students are far away from them, their noise becoming faint and muffled from where Taehyung and Jimin are. And might as well add Jeongguk too since he just arrived.

 

“My brain’s dried the fuck up,” Jimin answers, sounding dead and almost like a robot.

 

Jeongguk scoots closer towards Taehyung, putting his arm over the chair of where the younger male is seated. Taehyung feels his skin tingle at the proximity.

 

“How ‘bout you, baby? Do you need any help?” Jeongguk asks before he decides to leave a quick peck on the younger male’s shoulder.

 

And that’s my cue to leave. You guys are so gross,” Jimin says, almost as though he’s disgusted seeing Jeongguk be all over Taehyung, and then he stands up. “I’m going to the canteen to buy some food. Do you want anything, Tae? Not you Jeongguk.”

 

“Uhm,” Taehyung stutters, “Just anything. Milk tea would be nice though.”

 

“M’kay. My treat. I’ll be back in a few.”

 

Taehyung watches Jimin walk away even when he feels Jeongguk’s eyes boring into his face. He senses the elder coming closer and he shuts his eyes fleetingly when Jeongguk presses a soft kiss on the corner of his mouth.

 

“I missed you, baby,” he breathes out against Taehyung’s rosy cheeks. “You’ve been so busy. Are you having a hard time? Do you need me to help you?”

 

Jeongguk really isn’t shy when it comes to public affection so what he’s doing now shouldn’t surprise Taehyung anymore. But it still does. He still feels his skin prickling in anticipation whenever the older male initiates something.

 

Taehyung turns his head to the right, his nose bumping into Jeongguk’s, “No need. I know you’re busy with your exams too.”

 

Jeongguk sighs. “I know. I’m so exhausted. Make it better?”

 

“How do I make it better?” Taehyung’s brows furrow in confusion.

 

“Kiss me?”

 

Taehyung just furrows his eyebrows even more before he tries to push the other male away. “Stop being such a flirt. We’re at school.”

 

This makes Jeongguk chuckle before he noses on the younger’s cheek. “C’mon. Just one. No one can see us here.”

 

“You’re ridiculous,” Taehyung huffs, turning away from the latter but Jeongguk tilts his face with a finger on his chin.

 

“Please? Just one?” Jeongguk asks, once again, voice so sugary and sweet and it makes Taehyung’s heart quiver.

 

He looks up at Jeongguk’s eyes, trying to appear stern and strict. “Just one.”

 

Jeongguk’s eyes lighten up at that and he smiles as he nods. He mumbles, “Just one, baby. Promise.”

 

Taehyung’s quiet for a few moments before he nods slowly, a little shy, as though he’s giving Jeongguk the permission to do so.

 

He instantly melts when Jeongguk’s mouth crashes against his own, muscles going lax and eyes slamming shut when Jeongguk starts moving his mouth unhurriedly and crowding him with his intoxicating scent.

 

His hand crawls towards the back of Jeongguk’s neck, wanting to feel more and to be able to bring him closer. Jeongguk’s lips have always been soft and warm, almost becoming an addiction for Taehyung.

 

The younger male lets out a tiny whimper when Jeongguk’s mouth travels from his lips towards his jaw. He feels Jeongguk’s hand slither down to his waist, his grip tight. Something in Taehyung’s tummy stirs when Jeongguk pulls him up from his chair.

 

A confused whine comes out of his mouth but Jeongguk only pulls him closer, mouth meeting the warm skin of Taehyung’s neck as he leaves a trail of wet, open-mouthed kisses. “Sit on my lap, baby.”

 

“S-Someone’ll see us,” Taehyung whimpers but lets Jeongguk’s grabby hands jostle him to whatever position he’d like to.

 

“I’ll beat the shit out of that someone if they end up seeing you like this,” Jeongguk mutters against Taehyung’s neck as he grabs on the younger’s inner thighs to be able to pull him into his lap. “No one’ll see us. Promise.”

 

Taehyung grasps on Jeongguk’s shoulders to balance himself but even his hold is shaky and unstable as Jeongguk busies himself with leaving wet kisses on his solid, heated skin.

 

He closes his eyes before gasping quietly when he feels the elder biting gently on the skin and licking it teasingly afterwards, shivers wracking up on his body at the sensation. His stomach tightens with want and the grip he has on Jeongguk’s shoulder goes tense, crumpling the elder’s uniform as he does so.

 

Jeongguk’s hands move towards his waist, pulling him even closer and that’s when Taehyung feels it. Something stiff right underneath his backside making all the blood in his body rush towards his face.

 

This is the first time their kiss had escalated into something heavy and he’s not too sure what to do so he lets Jeongguk lead everything.

 

“H-Hngh,” Taehyung whimpers a little too loud, closing his eyes in mortification and he feels Jeongguk’s erection twitch underneath him when he hears the noise.

 

“Sound so good,” Jeongguk sighs against his skin. His kisses are starting to move upwards, from Taehyung’s neck to his cheeks and to the corner of his mouth. “Fuck, baby—”

 

“For the love of fucking God!”

 

To say that Taehyung pushes himself away from Jeongguk when he hears Jimin whisper-shouting at them is an understatement because he flies the fuck away from the elder. His heart beats loud, thrumming against his chest speedily due to shame and humiliation.

 

Because he was so panicked, his backbone ends up hitting the table and he hisses at the pain. Jeongguk, looking like he didn’t even care that Jimin appeared with two milk teas in hand, grabs Taehyung’s hips softly with a displeased frown.

 

“Tae, are you okay—?”

 

Jesus, oh my God. I did not need to see that. Jeongguk, stop being gross please and let him sit down on his own. I’m pretty sure he can do that himself.”

 

Jeongguk shoots glares on Jimin’s way before he lets go of Taehyung’s hips. “Choke on a dick, Jimin.”

 

As they bicker, Taehyung settles down on his seat with his cheeks so flushed that he can barely even raise his eyes to look at the two of them.

 

“Just go away,” Jimin grumbles as he sets down the milk tea right in front of Taehyung. He sits down and frowns at Jeongguk. “Don’t you have any exams to busy yourself with?”

 

“I’m already done reviewing.”

 

From the corner of his eye, Taehyung sees Jeongguk adjusting his slacks and his cheeks just burn even more, knowing why the older male did so. He licks his lips, hoping Jimin didn’t notice the action.

 

“Fine, whatever,” Jimin grouses as he rolls his eyes. He flips through the pages of his notebook. “Just don’t make too much noise. And don’t bother Tae.”

 

Taehyung feels a hand crawl up to his knee and his heart somewhat falters at the implication, but the touch is innocent and when he feels a squeeze, it’s almost as if Jeongguk’s reassuring him with something. He swallows, having noticed how dry his throat has become, before subtly letting his hand go on top of the elder’s and squeezing it back softly. He then lets go after a few seconds so that he could be able to flip through his notebook.

 

“I’ll help you. What’s the topic?”

 

//

 

“Have you ever had sex before?”

 

The fingers combing through Taehyung’s hair go still at the question. Taehyung forces himself not to frown when Jeongguk stops giving his head little scratches.

 

“Why’d you ask that?”

 

They’re both snuggled up together in Taehyung’s bed, quiet and just savoring the moment, as the small television screen in front of them plays a show that they’re both not interested in but they keep watching it anyway.

 

This had been a routine for when one of them or the both of them need to destress from school. They would hang out for a few hours and Jeongguk would wait until Taehyung’s sleeping before he goes back home.

 

“Nothing. Just curious,” Taehyung mumbles sleepily, eyes almost falling close when Jeongguk starts combing through his hair again, the strokes gentle and soothing. “Earlier…”

 

He’s cocooned on Jeongguk’s side and his arms are wrapped around the older male’s waist, tight and secure as though he doesn’t want to let go.

 

“Did I make you uncomfortable earlier, angel?” Jeongguk mumbles, seeming genuinely concerned as he traces on the younger’s cheekbones as gentle as he can.

 

Taehyung grimaces, eyes opening instantly while he tilts his head up to be able to look at the elder clearly. “No. No. Never. S’not… I-I liked it. I would have pushed you away if it felt uncomfortable to me.”

 

Jeongguk smiles softly before kissing the top of the younger’s nose. “Okay. Just making sure. I’d hate to make you uncomfortable.”

 

“You didn’t,” Taehyung replies, pouting a little. “You didn’t answer my question though.”

 

The smile on Jeongguk’s face disappears little by little but the glee in his eyes stayed while he rubs on Taehyung’s lower lip with his thumb. It’s cozily quiet for a few seconds.

 

“Yeah. I did.”

 

Taehyung nods, the corners of his lips curling upwards. “When was it? With who?”

 

“Why do you want to know about it? I badly want to forget it,” Jeongguk asks, nosing on the younger’s cheek—something he loves doing—while a quiet chuckle leaves his mouth.

 

The younger grins, sighing happily and relishing the fact that Jeongguk’s right beside him. That Jeongguk’s his and no one else’s.

 

“I just want to know. Tell me. So I can make fun of you for it,” Taehyung says.

 

Jeongguk only sighs before giving in like he always does. He enjoys spoiling the younger and even if that involves Taehyung joking about him losing his virginity then so be it.

 

“I was seventeen. With a girl. She was just a few months older than me,” Jeongguk replies. “That’s when I realized I wasn’t into girls. It was so horrifying.”

 

This makes Taehyung laugh but he tries his best to keep it low because his parents might hear him. “Did you finish fast? That’s how first times usually go.”

 

Jeongguk only shakes his head with a grin. “That’s the thing. I didn’t even finish. Plus, she didn’t know how to suck dick.”

 

Taehyung giggles quietly, eyes drooping already. “Poor you. Always getting blue-balled.”

 

“Mhm, whatever,” Jeongguk says. “Doesn’t matter.”

 

“It’s March. Just a few more months before you graduate. Do you have any universities in mind?” Taehyung asks, getting sleepier as each second passes. At this point, his eyes are already closed and he’s slowly drifting towards unconsciousness.

 

Jeongguk goes quiet but Taehyung’s too sleepy to even notice. “I don’t think I’ll be moving to Seoul. I’ll probably stay here in Busan. Local universities or whatnot.”

 

“Hmm, why?” Taehyung asks, a little muffled but Jeongguk still manages to hear since they’re so close.

 

“Not too many reasons to go. Plenty of reasons to stay,” Jeongguk shrugs. “You’re one of the reasons why I want to stay.”

 

“Shuddup.” Taehyung pouts, arms around Jeongguk tightening. He’s already half-asleep that he probably doesn’t even know what he’s saying and the sound of the waves from outside almost sounds like a lullaby lulling him to sleep. “Whatever. Yeah, I guess. Just stay here, please. M’gonna miss your cuddles when you go. Also your kisses. And I’m also going to miss biting your cheeks.”

 

Jeongguk chuckles, chest vibrating with the sound. “Biting my cheeks?”

 

“Mhm,” Taehyung hums drowsily. “I really love your cheeks, Gukkie. It’s soft and a li’l chubby, I want to boop it all the time. Also your eyes. They’re so expressive. I really love looking at it. And your nose. You say it’s too huge but I find it cute. It compliments your features so well. But I love your smile the- the most. Seeing you happy makes me happy.” His words are stifled and indistinct but Jeongguk still understands him.

 

“Yeah?” Jeongguk asks, fingers brushing through the other’s hair. Taehyung completely misses how Jeongguk’s voice seems to wobble because he’s already too sleepy to even function.

 

“Yeah,” Taehyung says, voice a little hoarse and tired yet he still nods languidly. “I know you want to go to Seoul because the universities there offer much better facilities for the degree you want. But… am I a li’l selfish when I say I want you to stay? Because I do… You can study media arts here. I’ll be- I’ll be... your model.”

 

Jeongguk breathes out, trying to ignore how his chest feels so tight. And how his lungs are constricting, almost forbidding him to breathe.

 

He bites his lower lip, noticing how Taehyung’s breathing had become even and gradual. He’s already asleep.

 

Jeongguk moves his thumb towards the corner of Taehyung’s mouth before he presses a delicate kiss on it, too delicate.

 

“Okay, baby,” he mutters. “You’ll be my model then.”

 

No response. Instead, a soft snore coming from the younger male surfaces over them both.

 

Jeongguk smiles, knowing Taehyung wouldn’t hear him but utters out the words anyway.

 

“I love you. So much.”

 

[track 7: please don’t go by stephanie rainey]

 

“i love you more than you could know.

you’ve got a hole inside my soul.”

 

 

“Have you heard from Jeongguk yet?”

 

Jimin seemed frustrated as he types on his phone quite harshly. Taehyung’s eyes widen a little at this, not expecting the outburst to come from his friend.

 

“Nope. I think he’s busy with his finals and preparations for graduation…” Taehyung says, uncertainty leaking from his tone.

 

“That little shit,” Jimin mutters. “When was the last time you guys talked?”

 

“Uhm,” Taehyung grimaces, a little unsure. “Why?”

 

“Just answer it, Tae,” his friend answers, not even sparing him a single glance.

 

Taehyung’s eyebrows knit together. “Uh… like- a week ago. But it’s okay. I just don’t want to disturb him because I know graduation preparations are hassle. Graduation’s tomorrow, anyway. We’ll go back to normal once it’s all finished.”

 

Taehyung and Jimin just finished submitting all the requirements needed in order to officially finish the school year. They’re in the school’s lobby but it’s as if Jimin’s still going to do something so Taehyung just stops his tracks so he can wait for the younger.

 

Jimin doesn’t reply. The frown on his face only grows and it makes the curiosity peak out of Taehyung. He’s about to open his mouth to ask about what’s going on but he feels his phone in his back pocket vibrate.

 

He’s distracted for a second, opting to check his phone first to see who texted. His eyes widen excitedly when he sees who it’s from.

 

It’s from Jeongguk. The first text he got after a whole week.

 

hey can we talk.

 

now.

 

He frowns a bit, not used to Jeongguk using punctuation marks, especially periods, in his text messages. He types a reply, agreeing and asking where they’ll meet. Jeongguk replies not even twenty seconds after, saying he’s waiting in front of Taehyung’s house.

 

It makes him anxious but he hopes it’s not too serious.

 

“He just texted me now. Asking to meet.” Taehyung says, putting his phone back into his pocket.

 

Jimin looks up at him, a bit astonished. He blinks. “He did?”

 

“Yeah. I’ll go meet him now. If that’s alright? Are you going to be doing something—?”

 

“No, no. S’okay, Tae,” he sighs in relief, and the reason? Taehyung doesn’t know why. “You should meet him. I’ll meet up with Hoseok-hyung.”

 

“Uh, okay?” Taehyung says, so confused with how Jimin’s acting.

 

But before he can ask Jimin what’s going on, the younger male had left him on his own already. He has his phone pressed onto his ear and he talks so quietly but Taehyung thinks he hears Jimin addressing the person on the other line as “Hoseok” so he just shrugs it off. Not wanting to meddle.

 

By the time he reaches the street where his own house is located, he sees Jeongguk sitting on the front porch so he hurries up because, for sure, the older male had been waiting long enough.

 

“Hey,” he greets, a little quiet and nervous, as he walks up the pavement of his own home.

 

His parents aren’t home. They only get home around six in the evening once they’re off their work, and sometimes they do overtime too, so it’s safe for Jeongguk and Taehyung to talk about whatever the hell the older male wanted to talk about.

 

Jeongguk looks up at him, face void of any emotion, before he stands in his full height—slightly intimidating the younger. He’s only wearing a plain white shirt and camo shorts and Taehyung guesses he’d just gotten home from their last graduation practice since he’s dressed so casually.

 

They’re the same at height but no doubt, Taehyung feels so small right now with how Jeongguk is looking at him.

 

“Do you want to get inside?” Taehyung asks, testing the waters but when Jeongguk doesn’t answer, he knows this is more serious than he anticipated.

 

“No,” Jeongguk says sternly, his tone so unfamiliar since Taehyung’s never heard of him speak to him this way.

 

The younger male only blinks. “Oh.”

 

“Jimin told me I should talk to you.”

 

“Ah,” Taehyung sighs. “Right. You must be mad about that. It’s not- I told him it was okay. He asked me when was the last time we talked and I said it was last week but I said it was okay since you’re just busy with your graduation preparations and that we were going back to normal once—”

 

“Taehyung, stop.” Jeongguk says, his jaw clenching as looks away looking like he’s really annoyed.

 

“S-Sorry,” Taehyung mumbles. His heart won’t calm down and his tongue is all tied and he has no idea with what’s happening but he does know that he doesn’t like hearing or seeing Jeongguk annoyed at him. “I’m- I really- I don’t know. I didn’t know he would text you—”

 

“Didn’t I tell you to stop?” Jeongguk frowns, glancing at him and obviously irritated.

 

Taehyung’s heart drops and it feels like he just got punched in the chest, literally and figuratively, because he’s never heard Jeongguk speak to him this way and he doesn’t know why the older male’s angry—

 

“There’s no going back to normal after graduation. This, whatever the fuck this is between us—” Jeongguk pauses and he puts his hands in his pockets. “I want it to stop.”

 

Just when Taehyung thinks his heart couldn’t ache anymore, he’s proven wrong.

 

To say that he’s dumbfounded… isn’t enough. It’s as if his brain is screaming at him to say something or just ask why but it seems like he can’t speak because there’s this huge, annoying lump in his throat prohibiting him from speaking.

 

He licks his lips, and he tries to breathe but he can’t. His lungs feel strained and heavy and his mind almost seems like it’s empty.

 

“W-Why?” He asks. “Did I do something wrong?” His voice wobbles.

 

“Can you not speak like that?” Jeongguk’s voice is sharp, and it’s cutting through Taehyung’s skin and insides and he just wants it all to stop. “And no. You didn’t do anything wrong.”

 

“T-Then, why—?”

 

“Because I’m getting bored, Taehyung. What else,” Jeongguk says, looking vexed because it’s as if Taehyung’s not catching up and he should. “It just doesn’t feel the same anymore. I’m bored.”

 

Taehyung knows he should ask for Jeongguk to stop because his heart can’t take it anymore. Everything feels heavy. His lungs won’t let him breathe properly and it feels as though he’s being crushed and it hurts. It fucking hurts so bad. He wants it to stop.

 

“I-I don’t- I don’t understand,” Taehyung says, voice breaking at the last word. “I-I really don’t. This- this just fuh-feels so sudden. Maybe it’s- it’s because we haven’t been spending- much time lately—”

 

His eyes feel hot and wet and his vision is so blurry, brimming with tears that threaten to spill.

 

“No, Taehyung. You don’t understand. I did that on purpose. I didn’t text you. I didn’t approach you because I was getting bored. And I thought you understood it but then Jimin starts texting me saying I should talk to you,” Jeongguk says with no pause. “I thought you would understand it. Everything was just casual flirting. A fling, Taehyung. You know what that is? We kissed, we made out, had a little heavy petting here and there. But none of that was serious. And I thought you were smart enough to get that.”

 

Taehyung doesn’t know when exactly his head turned down, wanting to avoid Jeongguk’s judgmental gaze as tears spilled down his cheeks continuously. He tried to push out Jeongguk’s words out of his mind, out of his ears because he doesn’t want to listen anymore and everything’s just painful but he can’t. He can’t force them out. And it’s slowly tearing him apart.

 

Jeongguk’s words continue to strike him like knives piercing into his heart.

 

And it sounds pathetic but he doesn’t know what to do. He truly doesn’t know. Because what the fuck do you do when someone’s breaking up with you—is this even called breaking up when there was no relationship to break in the first place?

 

The pain he’s experiencing right now is too extreme. He’s never felt pain like this before. It’s nothing like the times he longed for Daegu. Nothing like the time his first dog died. Nothing like the time he’d heard his parents fighting for the first time.

 

This one feels too raw. Too brutal. Too harsh. It’s like his heart is getting ripped apart into so many pieces and he doesn’t know how to get it back again.

 

And he doesn’t know why. He doesn’t know why it feels like Jeongguk’s not telling him the truth. Or maybe it’s just him not choosing to believe the truth. Maybe because he’d deluded himself into thinking that everything was real—fuck, everything felt so real that he’s having such a hard time right now to believe Jeongguk’s words.

 

But he doesn’t want to voice it out, afraid he’d look even more pathetic than he looks right now.

 

“Delete my number,” Jeongguk says, voice so cold and bleak Taehyung finds himself shivering. “And don’t come to my graduation tomorrow. I wouldn’t want to see you there... I’m moving to Seoul right after the ceremony, so there’s no seeing each other anymore.”

 

Taehyung decides that one’s the final straw. Because he realizes Jeongguk really wasn’t going to tell him that he’s leaving. That he really just talked to Taehyung for the sake of Jimin. That he was planning to leave Busan without any words said to Taehyung.

 

Had he really meant nothing to Jeongguk then?

 

Taehyung wants to yell at him. Taehyung wants to scream his lungs out, because maybe that way he’d be able to breathe again. Taehyung wants to punch him, slap him, hurt him because he’s hurting way too much and he wants the other to know how much pain he’s in.

 

But all he can do is stand there. Looking pathetic like a fool with his hands curled into tight fists by his side.

 

“I hate you,” Taehyung whispers, knowing Jeongguk might not hear him since the older male is already walking away, but still. He says it. “I wish I never moved to Busan so I wouldn’t have met someone like you.”

 

He doesn’t know what happens after, he just knows that he gets inside of his house in a rush, not wanting to look if Jeongguk had already walked away from his house completely. He doesn’t waste any time anymore. He just wants to go in his room and lock himself in there until he feels okay again. Until he feels whole again.

 

Once he gets inside of his room, he wanted to scream about how Jeongguk was just a fling too. He wanted to yell that Jeongguk was nothing but a boy who’ll only be followed by many because Taehyung didn’t even take him seriously. He wanted to say that he felt nothing whenever Jeongguk had kissed him. He wanted to tell everyone, including himself, that Jeongguk held no place in his life and could easily be replaced.

 

But, he knows that all of those are lies.

 

Because Jeongguk was more than just a fling. He knew that every time he’d close his eyes, Jeongguk’s laugh would echo in his mind. He knows that Jeongguk’s kisses had seared themselves into Taehyung’s being. He knows that Jeongguk’s warmth would be incomparable to anyone else.

 

He knows that he’d fallen in love with Jeon Jeongguk.

 

And it hurts. It hurts to know that he didn’t matter to the boy even for just a bit. Even for just a god damn bit. It hurts to know that Taehyung was just a single body out of many he’d held. It hurts to know that everything wasn’t true. It hurts to know that everything they did together is worth more to Taehyung and less to Jeongguk.

 

The sound of the waves crashing against the shore resounds in Taehyung’s eardrums. It sounded calm, soothing, mellow.

 

The complete opposite of how Taehyung’s feeling.

 

His heart is heavy, his lungs are still taut and rigid and the ache in his chest just keeps growing heavier and heavier as each second passes. He just wants it to stop so bad because he’s really afraid that maybe in a second he won’t be able to take it anymore. It’s slowly eating him from the inside. But he doesn’t know how to stop the pain. He doesn’t know how. He doesn’t know what to do.

 

He thinks he’s sobbing loud, crying too harshly, but he’s not entirely too sure because the only thing in his mind right now is Jeongguk, Jeongguk and Jeongguk. How everything started so beautifully and how everything went downhill, going to shit in just a second.

 

He tries to take a deep breath, but he can’t. Everything’s… too painful. His heart is growing numb as the realization starts to set deep in him.

 

Beginnings are always beautiful, after all. Endings, on the other hand, could be the entire opposite. And he’s a fool for living inside his own bubble.