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slowly drifting to you

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It’s kind of a funny story, really, looking back. Well, actually that’s a lie, it isn’t funny at all. But Yoongi can laugh about it - he’s reached that point in his life. He had a plan, is the thing, from when he was young. He wanted to make music - the kind that people would listen to. He could take or leave the fame, that wasn’t an issue, but the music. The music was vital.

Now, at twenty-four, there is still music, in a way, but there is also a hotel in Santorini and a travel blog that needs updating, and Kim Namjoon sighing over his shoulder.

“Are you really going to post this?”

“Yeah,” he says, pretending that he can’t see Namjoon’s look of deep exasperation in the reflection of his computer screen. “This is quality content, Joon-ah.”

Namjoon sighs again, louder than before. “Is it?”

“Yes,” Yoongi insists, preparing to hit post.

The sun is hot outside their open windows, warming the carpet where it stretches fingers across the floor. A June breeze is coming off the sea, though, fluttering the curtains and brushing against the back of his neck. They came from Athens, where the temperature was climbing towards oppressive levels, and he’s grateful for the relief that the ocean provides.

He never expected to be here, three years ago, when all his dreams looked different, but he isn’t complaining, really.

He gets to travel, and he doesn’t have to do it alone - Hoseok is out there somewhere trying to hunt down a brunch place that apparently is the “best in the Mediterranean,” and Namjoon has now moved to the bed for an afternoon nap. It’s just that … well, he thinks about “could have been” sometimes and his chest twinges.

Subtly. Barely noticeable.

Doesn’t hurt at all.

He blows out a long breath and hits “post.”

 

_ _

Santorini

THE CATS OF SANTORINI

 

Exactly what it says in the title. Buckle up.

 

cat 1

A majestic fellow with a very fluffy tail. 10/10.

 

cat 2

A lovely lady with bright coloring. 10/10.

 

cat 3

Proudly orange. 10/10.

 

cat 4

Camera shy, but lovely. 9/10.

 

cat 5

Lazy boy. 10/10.

 

cat 6

Wouldn’t hold still for a photo. 8/10.

 

Right, we’re here for two weeks so I’ll keep you updated with more cats as I meet them. 안녕

- MYG

 

 

16 Comments

 

K Seokjin says:

This is going to be the only article you post about Santorini, isn’t it?

 

MYG says:

Hardly. Joon’s got a very in-depth travel guide planned out. I’m just supplying the

best content first. Before he bores you to death.

 

Grigory says:

Love cats. Good content.

 

Brielle says:

They’re all so adorable! J'en veux un!

 

JK says:

Why the hell did you give one 8 out of 10? What did he do to deserve that?

 

MYG says:

He wouldn’t sit still. Couldn’t get a good photo. 8 out of 10 is still pretty high, you know.

 

JK says:

Maybe he just didn’t like you shoving a camera in his face. You interrupted his day.

 

MYG says:

I have a zoom lens. The camera was hardly in his face.

 

JK says:

I still think you’re being very unfair here. How would you feel if someone gave you a lower ranking on something just because you’re shy?

 

MYG says:

It was still an 8 out of 10!

 

JK says:

And lower than everyone else!

 

KNJ says:

Yoongi, if you’re going to argue with someone please do it outside of the comment section of our professional blog.

 

MYG says:

Fine. JK, this isn’t over. Email me: myg@bigadventureboots.com.


_ _ 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Animal Cruelty

Seriously, what’d the cat ever to do you? It’s a nice cat! Look at it’s fluffy tail! And the way it balances on that fence! It deserves a 9 out of 10 at LEAST.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Animal Cruelty

Seriously what is your problem? It was a joke. That’s it. You know. Ha ha? If you follow this fucking blog you’d know absolutely nothing we do is serious.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Animal Cruelty

It’s a mean joke. That poor cat….

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Animal Cruelty

… are you okay?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Animal Cruelty

Hello?

 

_ _

 

“Did you really give your email out to a random person on the internet?” Namjoon asks the following morning. “Because they were arguing about your cat ratings?”

“Cat ratings are serious business,” Yoongi argues, staring at his final, unanswered email to JK - sent at nearly one in the morning. Normally he doesn’t care, people are shit on the internet all the time and the guy was just standing up for a cat. Admirable, really. But he seemed … sad. In a lingering way that Yoongi knows intimately - the kind of sadness that doesn’t just wash out with cute animal videos or an evening with friends. The kind that settles in your bones and stays, making them heavy.

It’s possible he’s projecting.

Either way, JK never answered him and that was probably that. Hoseok’s dragging them all to the beach this afternoon - after insisting that Yoongi needed more Vitamin D because he was starting to go translucent - and then they’ll have dinner at a cute seafood place downtown (in spite of Namjoon’s protests). Then a few more days on the island before they move on to … wherever is next. They never really plan. Just pick points on a map and look up airfare prices and decide in the moment what their new destination is going to be. So far they’ve spent several months in South America, several more in America, a memorable winter in Morocco, and a summer in Japan. Then, for the past few months, they’ve been slowly winding their way through Europe. They’ll probably head to the South Pacific sometime soon, even if Yoongi is a little sick of sun and beaches.

“Alright, then,” Namjoon says and Yoongi realizes they’re still kind of having a conversation. “Did you win?”

“I don’t think so,” Yoongi mutters, staring at the sent email again.

Namjoon shakes his head and puts a hand on Yoongi’s head, carding long fingers through recently-bleached strands. “Let’s go, then,” he says, with a strange softness - the tone he always gets when he’s looking through Yoongi, to the messy, still-healing parts of him. “Hobi’s waiting.”

(He never knows what to do with that look.)

“We’d better not get food poisoning this time,” he grumbles and shuts off his laptop.

“I double-checked the restaurant this time. It looks fine,” Namjoon says. “Good health ratings, at least, and decent reviews.”

“Good. Otherwise, I’m never letting Hoseok pick food again.”

Namjoon laughs at that and the earlier atmosphere dissipates complete. There are things neither of them are saying - especially Yoongi, who still struggles to bring his broken pieces to the table and accept help - but it’s alright for now.

It’s better than it was, at least. It’s so much better than it was.

 

_ _

 

Mother Hen [1:30pm]

have you thought any more about it?

 

Yoongi [1:31pm]

no

 

Mother Hen [1:32pm]

well skype me soon at least. i want to know how you kids are doing.

 

Yoongi [1:32pm]

you’re three months older than me

 

Mother Hen [1:33pm]

age is just a number yoongi-yah

 

Yoongi [1:35pm]

what does that even mean?

 

Mother Hen [1:36pm]

just skype me

 

Yoongi [1:37pm]

fine. tomorrow?

 

Mother Hen [1:38pm]

tomorrow

 

_ _


santorini beach

1,307 likes

bigadventurebootsblog great weather on the island!

#santorini #lookingforcrabs #KNJ

 

3 hours ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome you have time to lounge on a

beach but no time to message me back? really?

 

HopeOnTheStreet you didn’t credit your photographer!

i suffered to get that picture. #It’sTooHot #sunburn

 

kimdaily you’re the one who wanted to

spend the afternoon on the beach.

 

myg93 this is why i stay indoors.

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 and look like a vampire. #sparkles

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet i hate you

 

_ _

 

He isn’t expecting the email in his inbox when they get back from the restaurant that night - bellies full and tipsy from ouzo - but it’s there, tucked among comment notifications on his stupid cat post.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: So Sorry

Dear Yoongi-ssi,

I’d like to apologize. I was pretty drunk last night and didn’t mean to start an argument. I’m a big fan of your blog, actually.

Sorry again,

JK

 

Well.

He should let this go, he knows. Write back no problem, kid (because JK really does seem like a kid) and leave it at that.

But he’s tipsy. And curious. And sad in some ways he’s still trying not to be.

So he writes back this:

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: So Sorry

Don’t worry about it, JK. I had fun arguing with you, and I’m sure the cat is grateful he’s got you in his corner. I’ll be sure to let him know if I see him again.

Yoongi

 

And it’s stupid, god it’s so stupid. It’s close to fucking flirting, which he doesn’t really do, not since - a long time ago. He’s probably going to regret it in the morning, but he hits send.

“Yoongi?” Hoseok mutters from the bed, hazy with drink and sleep.

“I’m coming,” Yoongi says and goes, letting Hoseok pull him down and in.

The fan whirs lazily above them and the sheets stick to his sweaty skin. Hoseok drapes an arm over his stomach, easy as always, and he swallows down air thick from the muggy heat. Namjoon is already snoring on the second bed, but Hoseok shifts closer and whispers, “do you miss it?”

Yoongi wants to play dumb, to pretend he doesn’t understand, but that seems like a pointless endeavor. Like Namjoon, Jung Hoseok knows him inside and out.

“Sometimes,” he admits.

He misses the bustle of it - Korea’s biggest, fastest city. He misses how small the towering skyscrapers made him feel, how anonymous he could be in the rushing crowds. He misses the rivers and the mountains surrounding the city - the climb to the top that gave you a perfect view of all the sprawl.

He misses how big his dreams were there. Then.

“Do you?” he asks now, five thousand miles and three years away from Seoul, and the boy he was.

“Yeah,” Hoseok says. “My family mostly, even though I call them all the time. Hearing Korean everywhere. That noodle place near the dorm, do you remember it? We used to eat there every fucking Friday.”

“I remember,” Yoongi murmurs. “Got in trouble for sneaking out.”

“Yeah,” Hoseok says with a soft laugh. “Never stopped us, though.”

“Do you want to go back?” Yoongi asks instead of continuing down memory lane. It tends to be riddled with landmines.

Hoseok squeezes his waist, not nearly as narrow and bony as it was three years ago. “Nah. Not yet.”

Not until you’re ready, goes unspoken - another thing Yoongi doesn’t know what to do with.

“Okay,” he says, even though it isn’t enough.

Hoseok hums. “Get some sleep.”

He’s out like a light but it takes Yoongi much longer - minutes ticking by as he stares out the open windows to the silver ocean beyond.

 

_ _





namjoon santorini

1,507 likes

bigadventurebootsblog great weather continues!

#santorini #KNJ

 

1 hour ago

view all comments

 

HopeOnTheStreet once again you forgot to credit

the photographer. #IQuit

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet excuse me i took that photo.

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 oh whoops. i was standing up

for you. #sope #soulpartners

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet such a liar.

 

worldwide_handsome namjoon those sandals are hideous.

 

_ _

 

Kim Seokjin has always been a strange presence in Yoongi’s life. An almost-idol, something-of-a-mentor, and a friend all rolled up into one eccentric package. He was there for most of the original detonation, got almost as rubble-strewn as Hoseok and Namjoon, but Yoongi has never been as close to him. Perhaps because it always seemed like Seokjin fit into the glittering world of wealth and stardom in a way that Yoongi didn’t. Perhaps because neither of them are good at feelings. They can’t soothe with a smile and optimism like Hoseok, or dig in deep for the painful roots like Namjoon. So Seokjin leaves snarky comments on all of their blog and Instagram posts and they good-naturedly snipe at each other over bi-monthly Skype sessions (permitting good internet), and leave it at that.  

Right now, when the Skype window bubbles up and the video chat clicks on, Seokjin’s dressed casually in an oversized pink hoodie with his dark hair free of product. He looks handsome even on a pixelated screen and his smile is wide and genuine.

“Yoongi-yah.”

“Hyung,” Yoongi says.

“How is it that you’re staying on the beach and you’re still so pale?”

Yoongi rolls his eyes.

“Have you gone outside at all?” Seokjin presses. “Are you secretly a 19th Century vampire and have neglected to tell us? It’s the second one, isn’t it? Min Yoongi, haven’t I taught you not to keep secrets?”

“Yes,” Yoongi deadpans. “I was actually born in the mid 1800s and if I venture outside, I’ll burn to a crisp. I’ve been meaning to turn Hoseok and Namjoon for years, but haven’t gotten around to it. Congratulations on figuring it out.”

“Of course,” Seokjin says airly. “I’m a genius.”

Yoongi sighs. Sometimes, when the sadness gets heavier than usual, Kim Seokjin is also exhausting. “Do you need something?”

Seokjin’s eyes widen in an expression of faux innocence. “What, I need an ulterior motive for checking in on my favorite dongsaeng?”

“Namjoon is your favorite,” Yoongi points out.

“True,” Seokjin admits easily. “But I definitely like you more than Hoseok.”

“Thanks,” Yoongi says flatly.

Truth is: he knows exactly why Seokjin’s calling. He worries, even though he pretends he doesn’t, and he wants them home, even if he’ll never ask outright.

It’s lurking there, obvious when his jovial expression drops slightly and his gaze turns piercing. “Yoongi-yah, the offer’s still on the table, you know.”

“I know,” Yoongi says, because Seokjin brings this up during every Skype call. “Not yet, hyung.”

Seokjin’s perfectly sculpted eyebrows furrow. “Yoongi-yah, it’s been three years. You can’t run forever.”

Watch me, Yoongi almost says, but he’s far enough beyond the explosion, the collapse, to know that Seokjin is right. He’s going to have to turn around at some point and start rebuilding. Just … not yet. Not when Seoul looms like a phantom in his memory, full of ghosts, including his own.

“I’ll let you know,” he says instead of trying to explain. They don’t do depth. “Soon.”

“I’ll hold you to that,” Seokjin says and then, true to fashion, launches into a ridiculous story about an awards after party he attended last week and the actor who got a little too drunk on the expensive champagne and spilled red wine all down the front of Seokjin’s Saint Laurent suit jacket, then spent nearly thirty minutes rambling about the actress who left him.

Yoongi listens, grateful for the distraction that Seokjin always provides but also trying not to picture himself at that party, mingling with Seoul’s rich and famous and decked out in a custom suit. The image mostly makes him want to laugh.

“Anyway, I should go to bed,” Seokjin finally says, winding the story down. Yoongi glances at the clock on his bedside table and does a quick calculation: almost three in the morning in Seoul. Namjoon and Hoseok will also be back from their moonlight beach walk (a chance for Namjoon to look for crabs and Hoseok to take ridiculous pictures and both of them to give Yoongi and Seokjin some privacy) soon.

“Yeah,” he says. “Good talking to you, hyung.”

It always is, even when Seokjin annoys him half to death.

“You too,” Seokjin says. “Tell Namjoon we’re overdue for a chat and he can’t ignore me forever. And Hoseok that I’ve forgotten every piece of choreography he tried to hammer into me and my life is better for it.”

“Sure,” Yoongi says, and they both know that he won’t be conveying either of those things.

Seokjin hangs up without saying goodbye, because that’s just another thing they suck at.

 

_ _


To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: So Sorry

Yoongi-ssi,

Thanks for understanding. Sorry again if I bothered you in any way. I really do love the blog, like I said. I’ve been following it for the last several months. Since you were in Sweden, and complaining about the rain. It made me laugh, because it had been raining in Seoul for nearly a week and I was frustrated, too.

Anyway, you don’t care about that. Sorry.

JK

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: So Sorry

 JK,

It’s alright, and I do care. Just for the record. It’s nice to know that someone all the way back in Seoul is reading our dumb blog. What do you like about it? Besides dumb griping about the weather.

Yoongi

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: So Sorry

All the traveling. I’ve never really been anywhere important or interesting, but I’ve always wanted to go. It’s like living vicariously through someone. Probably dumb, I know, but I like it.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: So Sorry

It’s not dumb, kid. If you could anywhere in the world, where would it be?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: So Sorry

Dubai. Maybe that’s silly when there are so many other interesting places out there, but I like the desert and I’ve always wanted to see a camel in real life.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: So Sorry

Dubai’s a good choice. I’ve never been there.

 

_ _

 

“Dubai?” Namjoon asks with an arched eyebrow.

They’re all gathered on the beds in their Santorini hotel room. The temperature has risen with the late afternoon sun and the fan is working overtime, creaking softly as it rotates.

Yoongi shrugs. “We haven’t been yet, right? And it isn’t too long of a flight. From there we could travel to Jordan and Kuwait and Israel, etc. We haven’t done the Middle East yet at all.”

Namjoon and Hoseok trade a long glance.

What do you think? asks Namjoon’s arched eyebrow.

Seems like fun, replies Hoseok’s shrug.

“Alright,” Namjoon says with a laugh. “Dubai it is.”

 

_ _


h + y plane

1,809 likes

bigadventuresbootsblog goodbye Santorini, hello Dubai!

#IWantToPetACamel #JHS #MYG

 

7 hours ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome why are you taking a vampire to a desert?

is this an execution?

 

myg93 @worldwide_handsome you think I’m actually going to leave

the hotel?

 

HopeOnTheStreet @myg93 you’re petting a camel with me.

Non-negotiable.

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet ugh.

 

_ _

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Dubai?

Yoongi-ssi,

You’re actually going?

JK

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Dubai?

Yeah. Just got to the hotel.

hotel

And for the love of god, kid, just call me hyung.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Dubai?

Whoa. Fancy.

And what makes you think you’re older than me?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Dubai?

They’re giving us a discount because we’re “influencers.” Whatever the hell that means. Probably something to do with blog hits or Instagram numbers. I’ve never paid much attention.

And it’s an intuition. A vibe. Bet I’m right.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Dubai?

Your blog IS very popular.

And you’re right. I’m nineteen.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Dubai?

Fuck if I know how that happened.

And ha. I knew it. So that’s hyung to you. Do I get a name, too?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Dubai?

What’s wrong with JK, hyung? :)

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Dubai?

Fair enough, brat.

 

_ _

 

Dubai is hot. Oppressively so. A piercing dry heat that makes your throat hurt and your lungs sting.

But beyond the city, the desert goes on forever in an endless wave and it makes him feel small in the same way the sea did. He sits on the balcony after dark, watching the blinking lights of the surrounding skyscrapers and the silver dunes rippling in the distance. Wonders about the people who still traverse the desert on camel and horseback, forever wandering from place to place with their lives strapped into carts and saddlebags. Pitching their tents by water, beneath the moon.

Centuries ago, water flowed here and plants grew from the fertile earth, but the sun is unforgiving. Took it all piece by piece. What if the reverse were true someday? The desert turning back into a sea? Like the way the forest grows back after a fire. In a few decades, when the trees are tall again, does anyone remember the original devastation?

He scrubs a hand over his face, rubs at his aching eyes.

God, he really needs to stop thinking in silly metaphors. This is what six years in close quarters to Kim Namjoon will do to you.

He thinks about the mysterious JK instead and what compelled him to choose Dubai. Why he wants to go out tomorrow and take a picture of a camel, just for him. Even though he’s heard that camels are mean and prone to spitting at you. It’s been so long since someone new has entered his life that he’s excited about a handful of emails. Is that pathetic? Probably. He’s not sure he cares.

He’s learned what matters and what doesn’t, in the run of things.

 

_ _

 

Music still happens, he mentioned that, but now it’s like this: a portable studio meticulously set up in his hotel room; a notebook full of ideas scribbled in his horrible handwriting; sessions recorded in the dead of night -  him and Namjoon and Hoseok all taking turns at the mic, or crowding in close together; editing and mixing until the sun comes up, hunched over his battered, but still functional laptop; files on SoundCloud, under a new name than the one he had in Seoul; a modest following that seems to be growing steadily.

It isn’t much, really. But it’s his. Every note, every verse, every word. It’s all his and no one else gets a say in what it should or shouldn’t be.

And that’s almost worth everything that happened, everything that broke. Plus, there is a special kind of joy in watching the sun rise over the desert while his head is full of music, beats echoing over his headphones, waiting to be shifted into song.

 

_ _


hubert

2,056 likes

bigadventurebootsblog hey, JK, Hubert says hi. #MYG

 

46 minutes ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome and who exactly is JK, Min Yoongi?

Hubert also looks very majestic.

 

j_seagull oh my god, he’s amazing. say hi back, please.

 

kimdaily why are you posting pictures of Hubert? He

nearly bit my hand off.

 

myg93 @kimdaily he just didn’t like you.

He posed very nicely for me.

 

HopeOnTheStreet min yoongi, camel whisperer.

 

_ _


To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

Thanks for the camel picture, hyung. You didn’t have to.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

I wanted to. And he really was magnificent. You should have seen the way he went after Namjoon.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

Lol. Are you liking Dubai? What’s the desert like?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

Hot. Really, really hot. But kind of majestic, too. The dunes are huge.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

I want to roll down one.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

And get sand everywhere?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

It would be worth it. Roll down a sand dune for me, hyung.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

Oh, you’re making demands now, brat?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Hubert the Magnificent

Requests. And I’m living vicariously through you, remember?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Hubert the Magnificent

I’m not rolling down a sand dune.

 

_ _

 

Hoseok nearly drops his phone off their balcony trying to show his sister the view from their hotel room via FaceTime and Namjoon spends nearly two hours spamming his family groupchat with various photos of the hotel and the city and probably unflattering shots of Yoongi and Hoseok. It’s nice, watching them grin at their phones, but his chest aches somewhere deep, too.

Because he hasn’t talked to his family in nearly six years and he doesn’t think that’s going to change any time soon. They didn’t approve of his love of music, his love of boys, or his desire to move to Seoul. Didn’t even reply when he texted them that he was leaving the country. He hasn’t tried reaching out since, gave up on trying to get them to love him, but the pain still rears its ugly head sometimes.

Next to that old ache is the guilt that Hoseok and Namjoon are so far away from home because of him. He was the one that needed out, needed to run. Took all of their dreams and shattered them like glass on a hard floor.

You didn’t ask, Namjoon has said a thousand times, we offered.

We wanted to come, Hoseok always adds.

But Yoongi has trouble believing them, even if they were the ones that showed up on his doorstep with backpacks and plane tickets and determined faces.

You’re not doing this alone, they’d said, back then, and he was too grateful and relieved to refuse.

So he shoves the pain down somewhere deep and spends the afternoon writing up a new blog post reviewing the various pretentious restaurants they’ve been to in the past few days, then retreats to the hotel’s frankly ridiculous bathroom to take a bath.

The water is warm and soothing against his tense shoulders when he sinks in, soaking in the smell of the jasmine bath oil the hotel provided. He has medications lined up on the counter - two small bottles - that have been a bitch to keep refilled over the past few years. His doctor in Seoul gave him a large supply, but not enough to last for three years, and Namjoon and Hoseok refuse to let him stop taking them so he’s spent hours in various clinics all over the world, presenting letters from Seoul and making his case using translator apps and long-distance phone calls. It’s exhausting, usually, but some things are worth their cost.

That’s another lesson he’s learned.

He’s letting the warmth of the bath move him towards sleep when there’s a knock on the door. Namjoon, he suspects, because Hoseok’s conversations with his sister have been known to last hours, regardless of time difference.

“Come in,” he calls and sure enough, Namjoon slips inside and sinks cross-legged onto the tile, back against the tub, uncaring about Yoongi’s nakedness beneath the thin layer of bubbles and scented water. They’ve spent years living on top of each other, and seen each other in all kinds of states. Sometimes, Yoongi thinks that Namjoon and Hoseok know him far better than he could ever hope to know himself.

“Hey,” Namjoon says, and then nothing else.

“Come to check on me, Joon-ah?” Yoongi asks without any heat. They all know how Yoongi gets about family.

Namjoon shrugs. “Maybe.” He eyes the bath. “That’s a lot of jasmine.”

“Hotel’s dime, not mine.” Yoongi reaches out to poke Namjoon’s shoulder. “And I’m fine. Just in case you were checking.”

That earns him a smile. “Good to know.” Then Namjoon reaches out and twists a few strands of Yoongi’s wet hair so that they stick up from his head in little spikes. “Any thoughts on what else we should do while we’re here? Besides riding camels because I am not getting on one of those things.”

“Hell no,” Yoongi agrees immediately. They look terrifying. Hubert had barely let him get a picture. He shifts. Stares up at the ceiling and feels more than a little foolish even as he says, “I want to roll down a sand dune.”

Namjoon stares at him for a long moment, then starts laughing - loud and bright.

 

_ _

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

Subject: Your Fault


sand dune

I have sand everywhere. This was a terrible idea and not worth it at all.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

Oh my god, you actually did it! Was it fun? I bet it was actually fun.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

It was kind of fun. Even if my hotel room currently looks like a sandstorm hit, especially the shower.

I think you owe me something now, though. I rolled down a sand dune for you, brat.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

I knew it!

And I guess that seems fair. What do you want?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

Answer a question for me?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

Okay. Just not my name. You asked that one already. Pick a new one, hyung. :)

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

Fine. Are you from Seoul?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

No, I’ve only lived here the last few years. I was born in Busan.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

Busan, huh? I’m from Daegu. Spent a while in Seoul, though, too.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Your Fault

Why’d you leave?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Your Fault

Sorry, JK-ah. I’m still holding on to some of my secrets.

 

_ _

 

Their last night in Dubai, they go out to eat at a bedouin camp and Hoseok, bolstered by a little too much alcohol, gets up on stage to try belly dancing. Yoongi and Namjoon howl with laughter and Yoongi films the whole thing for posterity and it’s one of the better nights he thinks he’s had in awhile.

Back at the hotel, packing up everything into his careworn backpack, he finds himself wondering what JK is doing back in Seoul. He’s a student, probably, if he’s nineteen and living away from home. So studying, maybe - hunched over a desk with notebooks spread out in front of him. Or out with friends, enjoying one of the city’s many clubs or bars. It’s harder to picture him, there - amidst pulsing music and lights and sweaty people. He seems like the quiet type, but really what the hell does Yoongi know?

And why does he care so much?

He settles for matching up his socks instead of contemplating an answer.

_ _

 

Mother Hen [10:30pm]

how’s dubai?

 

Yoongi [10:31pm]

why the fuck are you messaging me at 3:30 in the morning?

 

Mother Hen [10:32pm]

insomnia, had it since i was a kid. you know this.

anyway, you didn’t answer my question

 

Yoongi [10:33pm]

dubai’s fine. hot. lots of sand.  

 

Mother Hen [10:34pm]

i know namjoon sent me video of you rolling that dune

your shrieking was delightful

 

Yoongi [10:35pm]

i didn’t shriek. i just yelled a little.

 

Mother Hen [10:36pm]

you yowled like a dying cat, yoongi-yah

it’s my ringtone now

 

Yoongi [10:37pm]

fucking hell

did you just want to bother me?

 

Mother Hen [10:38pm]

you looked like you were having fun

 

Yoongi [10:39pm]

i was

 

Mother Hen [10:40pm]

that’s good

i was worried you’d forgotten how to have any

 

Yoongi [10:41pm]

go to bed, hyung

 

Mother Hen [10:42pm]

there are things back here, you know

opportunities

a life

if you want it

 

Yoongi [10:45pm]

go to bed

 

_ _

y dubai

2,030 likes

bigadventurebootsblog our very own elusive vampire

out to dinner on our last night in Dubai!

#PhotoByJHS #ModelMYG #SadlyNoSparkles

 

Posted 6 hours ago

view all comments

 

worldwide_handsome how did you lure him outside?

 

HopeOnTheStreet @worldwide_handsome free food

 

j_seagull is this after you rolled down the sand dune?

 

myg93 @j_seagull most uncomfortable dinner of my life

 

j_seagull @myg93 hahahahaha

_ _

 

Jordan has more sweeping deserts and the city of Amman unfolds in an seemingly endless sprawl. It’s overwhelming, in many ways, with the traffic and the outdoor markets and the buildings that are ancient and beautiful and so different from anything back home.

They leave it behind after only one night, renting a car and driving the thirty kilometers to Madaba. Namjoon wants to see the mosaics at the Church of St. George and Yoongi finds himself using up half an SD card on the intricate maps spread across the floors, detailing this land and the city of Jerusalem as they were during the Byzantine Empire. It feels strange, to be so close to echoes like this. Makes him think about the things that last, that get left behind.

What would the original artists think, he wonders. Fourteen centuries later, and a tourist from halfway around the world is taking photos of their work. Wars and unrest and fallen kingdoms and shifting geographical borders - their maps endured them all.

He remembers when he used to picture his music as something like this: enduring, a little bit immortal. Maybe not enough for centuries, but more than his fleeting life.

It feels foolish now, looking at all this history, but when he gets back to the hotel that night he writes and writes and the lyrics feel like opening a fissure in his chest - blood and darkness and memory all spilling out.

 

_ _

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Where in the World?

...are you now, hyung?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Jordan. We’re driving the King’s Highway from Madaba to Petra. Lots of ancient ruins, so Namjoon’s freaking out.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

Do you like it there?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Do you like it in Seoul?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

Sort of? It’s a great city, but it’s easy to feel alone here.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Here, too.

Are you studying?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

Something like that.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

You’re really elusive, JK-ah.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

I know, I’m sorry. But I have my reasons.

Let’s talk about something else. What’s your favorite place in the world, hyung?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

I really liked New York City. It was just as massive as Seoul, just as easy to get lost, but it felt older. More eclectic. Everyone there was just themselves. Unapologetically. Whether that meant wearing a kilt and a leather jacket on the subway or dying their hair rainbow colors or having lots of piercings and tattoos. You could walk through a neighborhood and hear over two dozen languages - see people from all over the world. I liked that. The freedom there.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

That sounds really nice, hyung. I think I’d like it there. Probably more than Seoul. I don’t get a lot of opportunities to be myself here.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Is that why you keep emailing me back? I can’t be that interesting, JK.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Where in the World?

You are. Truly. I like talking to you. Metaphorically.

Take some pictures of ruins for me, okay, hyung? I like old things.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Where in the World?

Okay, kid.

 

_ _

 

He takes pictures of ruins - the churches in Khirbet Mukhayyat and the lonely columns of Machaerus, all that remains of a once-majestic fortress on a hill. From there, you can see all the way to the Dead Sea.

“John the Baptist was beheaded here,” Namjoon says, running his hands down one of the more intact columns. “Before it was destroyed by Rome in 72 AD.”

“Why bomb their own fort?” Hoseok asks, turning in a slow circle. “It was under Roman control, then, right?”

“Jewish revolt. Rebels took over the fort and managed to fend the Romans off long enough to get away. Then Rome destroyed the fort. Probably so one else could control it, and maybe they were embarrassed that a bunch of rebels beat them.”

Hoseok makes an affirmative noise. “That’s pretty badass,” he murmurs as he crouches to get a look at part of the still-intact marble floor. “That they managed to one up the Roman Empire.”

“Yeah,” Namjoon replies quietly, with a reverence he always gets in the presence of history. “They wanted freedom. Gave them bigger stakes in the fight, I think.”

Yoongi takes a picture of the ruins with the Dead Sea as a blue line on the horizon. Sends it to JK that night with the caption freedom. There’s no immediate response, but it’s nearly two in the morning in Korea and he’s stupid for the twinge of disappointment he feels when he climbs into bed.

The next morning, there is a message in his inbox.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Can’t Sleep

It’s 4 a.m. here. I didn’t look up what time that is in Jordan. I keep trying to picture you there, but I don’t know enough about the country to get it clear enough in my head. The picture you sent is beautiful. Old places like that always make me think of immortality. How the things we build so often outlast us.

I’m not sure whether it’s a sad thought or not: that we can only live on in the things we create. Maybe that’s beautiful instead?

Sorry, I know I’m not making any sense. And I’m not even drunk this time. It’s just - there are over 9 million people in this city and I’m bad at talking to all of them. But I like talking to you. Even if I barely know you. Is that weird? Probably. You don’t even know my name.

It’s Jungkook. You’ll keep it safe, won’t you?

Sorry. This is probably way too much. Sorry.

I should try to get some sleep.

Goodnight, hyung.

JK

 

He reads the email once, then again, and then a third time for good measure. JK’s sadness crawls between the lines like a living thing, so recognizable. He knows what it’s like to feel alone in a city, to feel weighted by the dark, to be the only one awake in a sleeping world because your thoughts won’t let you breathe. Circle like wolves until you’re small and hunted and exhausted.

He clicks reply. Checks the clock. It’s three p.m. in Seoul.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Can’t Sleep

It’s okay. Talk to me if you can’t sleep, kid. I like hearing your thoughts. Like talking to you, too.

Jungkook is a good name. I’ll keep it safe.

Yoongi

 

He gets a response back only twenty minutes later. Just a simple thank you, hyung but he can feel the sincerity behind it and it makes him smile.

 

_ _

 

They follow the King’s Highway south, winding their way south towards Petra. Hoseok and Yoongi takes turns at the wheel while Namjoon plays navigator - both because he never learned how to drive and because he’s by far the best at reading a map. The mountains rise around them, barren and majestic, and the land feels untouched and unchanged in spite of the highways cutting through it. A few centuries ago someone would have seen these same dusty hills, these deep canyons, traveling by horse or donkey from one city to the next.

Petra itself feels like something out of a movie, buildings carved into the canyons themselves. There is a strange hush in the air that’s almost reverence. It makes the crunch of their boots in the sand echo, the click of Yoongi’s camera sound like thunder.

“I feel like I’m in Indiana Jones,” Hoseok whispers in front of Al Khazneh. “Do you think the Holy Grail’s in there?”

“You’d never survive all the traps,” Yoongi says and takes a picture of Hoseok in an adventurer’s pose, anyway - Namjoon laughing in the background.

 

_ _

 

Back in the hotel that night, he composes a blog post about history and ruins and things that last - much more introspective and contemplative than his normal articles, but he has weight that he needs to get off his chest, let out into the world, and maybe other people will understand. He hits post at three in the morning and doesn’t bother waiting for the comments to roll in before he crawls into bed with Hoseok - lets the other boy curl close to him like a magnet.

Old things make him feel sentimental, he decides. Or maybe it’s the ghosts. He can feel them here, across the centuries, but they’re faded and worn by time. Their claws aren’t sharp, like the ones in Seoul. Can’t cut him to the bone.

His sleep, when it finally comes, is restless.

 

_ _

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Can’t Sleep, the Sequel

Hey, hyung, I saw your blog post. Sorry, I can’t remember what time it is in Jordan. Probably late. It’s early here.

Anyway, it was a really nice piece. You’re a good writer, you know? The way you talk about the ruins - it’s like I was there, standing in the middle of them. It’s early here and I can feel the ghosts breathing down my neck.

Sorry, that’s probably morbid, isn’t it? I don’t mind them, really. I think we’re all haunted by something. Taehyung (sorry, you don’t know him, he’s a friend) always says I’m too young to be thinking about stuff like this, but the truth is - I don’t feel young. Not in the ways I think I should. I feel … tired. Faded.

Ha, maybe the ghost is me.

Have you ever had dreams, hyung, that come true and then don’t? Or maybe a better way of putting it is that you have dreams that do come true, but not in the way you thought they would. They’re different. Distorted. Like a reflection on water - not quite solid enough.

Those are what my dreams feel like right now. I know you said you that you want to keep your secrets - I’m not asking you for them - but when you left Seoul, hyung, were you running? Because sometimes I dream about that. Getting on a plane to anywhere and just leaving everything behind. A fresh start. No one knows my name or where I’ve come from or anything about me.

It’s a nice dream.

Anyway, I have a busy day today so I should probably get up. The sun’s rising. I hope you’re happy in Jordan, even if the ruins make you a little sad. I don’t think they’re sad, though. It shows that we’re capable of building things that last for centuries. That’s really cool.

JK

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Can’t Sleep, The Sequel

Yeah, the ghosts like the quiet, don’t they? That’s always when they feel the loudest.

Dreams, Jungkook-ah, are dangerous, you know. They always end up like that, I think - different than you expected. Sometimes better, sometimes worse. Sometimes you give up part way through because they’re not worth it anymore. The price you’re paying.

That’s what I did.

And yeah, I left running. But I’ve learned something, Jungkook-ah: stuff follows you. The heaviness, the sadness, the ghosts. I don’t think there’s anywhere far enough away. They’re under my skin, so I bring them with me.

I like Jordan, though, even if it’s made me feel weird and melancholy. We’re going to Jerusalem next, then on to somewhere else. Maybe back to Europe for the Fall. I like places where the leaves change.

I hope you’re happy, too. In spite of feeling old and all of that. You deserve to be happy.

I know I don’t know you well, but I know that’s true. Look after yourself, JK.

Yoongi

 

_ _





hobi jordan

1,936 likes

bigadventurebootsblog goodbye Jordan!

I’ll be cleaning sand out of my clothes for weeks!

#exfoliation #arghmyeyes #JHS

 

Posted 2 hours ago

View all comments

 

worldwide_handsome those boots are ridiculous.

 

HopeOnTheStreet @worldwide_handsome would

it kill you to post something positive for once?

 

worldwide_handsome @HopeOnTheStreet why would

I do that?

 

kimdaily @HopeOnTheStreet you look very nice hobi

 

Worldwide_handsome @kimdaily you’re too nice for your

own good joonie

 

_ _

 

He doesn’t believe in God, not really. His parents go to church - took him and his brother when he was younger, and he learned all the hymns and recited Bible verses and fidgeted in his pressed clothes - but, well, God’s never done much for him. Fucked up brain, fucked up dreams, fucked up world. Failure like ash on his tongue, there since the first time he kissed a boy in the tenth grade and knew his parents would never accept this part of him. It had no place in their starched lives, their white-walled church.

(He was right.)

So he doesn’t believe in God. But there is something holy about Jerusalem. He doesn’t know if it’s the ghosts again, the cemetaries that surround the city - the dead waiting for the return of their savior. Maybe it’s the grandness of The Dome of The Rock. The way its golden roof gleams in the harsh sun. Maybe it’s the prayers stuck into the cracks of the Western Wall, dozens of rolled up papers full of hope and desperation.

“I wonder if he really rose from the dead,” Hoseok murmurs at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre.

“He was just a man,” Namjoon, who has always been an atheist, says. “No different than the Prophet Muhammad or any of the saints or King David.”

“My mother would shake her head at you,” Hoseok laughs.

“My own mother shakes her head at me,” Namjoon replies.

Yoongi leaves them to their good-natured bickering and takes pictures of the light streaming in through the domed ceiling. He doesn’t believe in God or fate or the universe, or any of it. But he can appreciate seemingly holy things. That they matter to thousands of people who have come here from all over the world, trying to reach out and touch the tenants of their faith.

“What do you believe in, then?” his mother asked him once.

He hadn’t been able to say himself (still can’t say that, if he wants to be completely honest), so his answer had simply been “ life.”

Life. The air that still cycles through his lungs, even on the days that he wished it would stop. The plants that grow out of fire-charred earth or from the side of barren mountains, stubbornly stretching towards the sun. The perfect rhythm of the tides. The rivers that cut their way through bedrock on the way to the sea.

He imploded once, all of him collapsing in in in, and he survived that. He’s still breathing, here in this hushed, ancient church.

Life always finds a way.

 

_ _

 

In the hotel that night, he sits up by his computer long after Namjoon and Hoseok have gone to sleep, a reckless longing churning in his gut.

He shouldn’t. He doesn’t want to push things.

But…

It’s been so long since he’s felt like this - really, truly wanted to know someone - and he isn’t ready to ignore that.

So.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

Subject: Getting to Know You

I want to, you know. I get that you like being mysterious, but surely there are some things you’d be willing to share, kid? Give me some random facts or something.

 

He doesn’t expect a response, not when it’s four a.m. in Seoul, but he’s too worked up to sleep so he dinks around on his computer for awhile, trying to wrestle with the song that’s been giving him problems for weeks now. It’s laid out in scattered pieces in Logic, lacking a thread to tie them all together. He’s not sure if it’s the music, or the voice in his head that keeps whispering about failure, or the intimate nature of the lyrics, talking about things he’s trying to set free from beneath his skin, but he can’t get it to cooperate.

He’s in the middle of throwing some strings in, just for the hell of it, when an email notification pops up.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Getting to Know You

Okay, hyung, I guess that’s fair.

Here are my random facts: 

  1. My favorite animal is a lion
  2. My favorite color is black
  3. I ranked second in the nation in a handball tournament when I was in elementary school
  4. I have a black belt in taekwondo
  5. But what I really like is dancing
  6. I wear a lot of baggy hoodies because comfort is important
  7. I really want to go skydiving
  8. I don’t like bitter foods
  9. But I once ate six cups of ramyun in 30 minutes (don’t ask, I was an idiot)
  10. I like to draw - wanted to be an illustrator for awhile
  11. My friends say I look like a bunny (I guess there are worse animals)
  12. Crowds stress me out
  13. I’m really sensitive to smells
  14. I’ve got a scar on my cheek from fighting my brother for a game when we were kids
  15. I get anxious about a lot things (including if this list was interesting or not)

There you go. Boring old me, lol.

I think this is where I say it’s your turn, right?

JK

 

He reads the list twice and tries to picture Jungkook in his mind. Fit, maybe tall? Bunny face - what does that even mean? Either way, he feels soft. Warm. Yoongi can almost imagine him at his laptop in one of those oversized hoodies he apparently loves, biting his nails as he types up his list and hits send. The faint light of the computer screen illuminating his face and the sun coming up slow over Seoul beyond the windows.

There are so many more questions: what does he do? Does he live alone? Is he studying? If so, what? Who the hell eats six cups of ramyun in thirty minutes? Why a lion? What does he draw? How good of a dancer is he?

Yoongi tamps them all down, though. He owes Jungkook a list of his own.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Getting to Know You

It’s a good list, Jungkook-ah, don’t worry. I like learning these things about you. (I have many questions about the ramyun, though. First of all why? )

Here’s mine: 

  1. My favorite number is 3
  2. I hate cold weather
  3. I hate hot weather even more
  4. I’ve thought about becoming a professional photographer (of wildlife, not people)
  5. I kind of want to get a tattoo, but Namjoon squawks at me whenever I mention it
  6. I look at random Wikipedia articles when I can’t sleep
  7. My greatest passion is probably music
  8. I want a dog someday
  9. I have a scar on my ear from tripping on a door (I know, I know)
  10. I have another big one on my leg from a snorkeling incident
  11. I really like whiskey
  12. And iced Americanos
  13. I smoke sometimes when I’m stressed
  14. My favorite color is also black
  15. I get anxious about a lot of things too

There, see? Just as boring as yours.

 

There are so many other things he could say like I have pill bottles on my bathroom counter or I’m afraid of Seoul or even but I’m tired of running. He doesn’t, though, just hits send. No need to burden Jungkook with his demons.

A reply comes only a few moments later, as he’s finally getting ready for bed.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Getting to Know You

We’ll be boring together, then, hyung. :)

 

Yoongi smiles at his computer screen, glad Namjoon and Hoseok aren’t awake to see the affection he can feel dripping from it.

 

_ _

 

They go to the Dead Sea and float in the salty water, eat lunch on the boardwalk.

“This is the lowest place on earth,” Namjoon, walking encyclopedia, says as they stand up to their hips in the lake.

“I’m right at home, then,” Yoongi mutters and Hoseok cackles and smears black mud all down Namjoon’s cheek.

That starts a war, both of them struggling to get much traction in the water as they fling handfuls of mud at each other. Yoongi shakes his head at their antics and drifts on his back again, staring up at the bright sun overhead. This place has healing properties, the internet says. All the minerals from the salt in the air. He breathes in deep and imagines all the wounds inside of him stitching closed.

It’s a nice thought.

 

_ _

 

At an overpriced gift shop, he buys a jar of Dead Sea mud with the absurd idea of shipping it to Jungkook.

Maybe someday, when he wrangles the kid’s address out of him. Until then, he tucks it into his backpack, wrapped up in one of his shirts to keep it safe.

 

_ _

 

They talk briefly about going back to America for awhile, or maybe Canada, but settle for Europe instead. For some reason, Yoongi doesn’t want to stray too far from Seoul, even if he still doesn’t want to go back.

He emails Jungkook, exchanging lists on the plane and then later in hotel rooms in Corfu and Dubrovnik. He learns that Jungkook drinks way too much banana milk and is a decent cook and misses his family dog and the sea in Busan, sometimes. He speaks in Satoori when he’s stressed or excited and he’s embarrassed by it. He has two close friends, Jimin and Taehyung, both two years older for him. They’ve looked out for him, he says, since he moved to Seoul.

He likes riding the metro late at night, when the cars are mostly empty and he can get lost in the rattle and hum around him. Finds trains soothing in general. He’s quiet and a little shy and mostly introverted and he worries about people’s perceptions of him. He loves photography and film and video editing. He has insomnia that he doesn’t know how to shake. He likes traveling but is scared of flying.

And it’s ridiculous, so stupid, but Yoongi likes him. A lot. He’s a strange, fascinating blend of confidence and uncertainty. He’s funny and sharp-witted and loves to tease. He sends long rambling emails when he can’t sleep that never make any sense, but are charming anyway - like the time he spends three paragraphs analyzing the difference between dog and cat people and which one he thinks Yoongi is (a cat person, which is definitely correct, even if he still wants a dog someday).

“You’re getting really attached to this kid,” Hoseok points out, watching Yoongi email pictures of Dubrovnik to Jungkook - just to tease him about being the first one to visit King’s Landing.

“Yeah,” Yoongi murmurs, because there is no use in denying it, really.

“You don’t know what he looks like?” Namjoon asks from his spot on the bed, familiar wariness in his tone.

“No.” Though he’s imagined it - what the curve of Jungkook’s smile might be and the potential breadth of his shoulders and the mischievous sparkle that is no doubt in his eyes.

“Or what he does?” Hoseok presses, hand resting between Yoongi’s shoulder blades.

“No,” Yoongi admits. “I think he’s a student, though.”

“But he doesn’t want to tell you?” He doesn’t have to look up to know Namjoon is frowning.

“No. But there are plenty of things I haven’t told him, either.”

Hoseok makes a faint humming sound. “Just … be careful, hyung.”

I don’t want you to get hurt, lurks beneath the admonition. Like last time.

And Yoongi knows, he does. He trusts too easily, sometimes, and it’s gotten him royally fucked over before. But he learned his lesson last time, back in Seoul, when a stupid mistake exploded in his face epically. When the boy he - but this is different. He’s different now and there isn’t an entire future on the line. If Jungkook is catfishing him, he’ll be upset, sure, but the world won’t end. He’ll learn to laugh about it eventually.

For now, he’s just … it’s just nice, having someone new to talk to. Feeling this spark of attraction in the pit of his stomach when he thought it was dead and gone and he’d never experience it again.

“I’ll be careful,” he assures Namjoon and Hoseok because they’ve earned the right to worry, to caution him, to look at him like they are now: uncertain but still trusting his judgment. “And I won’t … it won’t be like last time.”

I won’t break.

Hoseok’s hand moves to his hair, sweeping through it. “Okay, hyung,” he says, gentle.

“We should head out,” Namjoon says. “If we want to make it to the restaurant on time.”

“How expensive is this place again?” Hoseok ask as Yoongi finally pries himself away from the computer and shrugs on his coat.

“So expensive,” Namjoon says, sounding excited. “And so fancy.”

“Are you sure they’re not gonna just throw us out?” Yoongi asks dubiously, because that has definitely happened before. He’s pretty sure they’re still actively banned from a wine bar in Paris. And a tapas place in Madrid.

“We’ll find out,” Namjoon says and fixes Hoseok’s messy hair with an exasperated sigh.

 

_ _

 

They don’t get thrown out, but there are a lot of judgmental looks from the wait staff and Yoongi’s actively afraid to touch anything because wealth radiates even from the gleam of the cutlery. The prices are almost too obscene to mention, but the view of the Adriatic Sea is nice. He’s already composing a very sarcastic blog post about fine dining in his head, a sequel to the one he did in Dubai.

He writes Jungkook first, though, once they’re finally back at the hotel and he’s sleepy from the seafood and the wine he consumed. 

He’s been holding off asking, but Hoseok’s earlier questions are echoing around in his head.

So.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

Subject: Question

What do you look like?

 

_ _

 

In the morning, there is a message waiting.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

First I have a question, hyung, do you follow what’s going on back in Korea? Like pop culture and stuff?

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

No, I don’t. I’ve kind of been avoiding all of that. For reasons. Why?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Oh nothing, I wanted to talk about a drama that just came out, that’s all.

Here:

j + v

But you have to guess which one’s me. ;)

 

He knows instantly: the one in the hoodie. Even if he hadn’t mentioned his penchant for them, Yoongi would know that’s Jungkook. It just feels like him. It matches the picture in his head.

Fuck, he’s young is Yoongi’s first thought. Followed quickly by: fuck, he’s beautiful.

Yoongi is neither of those things. He feels ancient, most days, and weighed down by his ghosts and his stitched up wounds. Next to Jungkook, he’s plain and boring and just … less and -

Stop it.

He blows out a long breath. Refuses to let himself spiral into the abyss that still sits in his brain - like a sinkhole on the ocean floor: deep and black and all-consuming. He’s fenced it off, built as many walls around it as he can, but it will never go away. He knows that, too. Remembers a doctor in a starched coat explaining chronic depression to him when he was strapped to a hospital bed. But if he leaves it off to his left, doesn’t look at it for too long, he’s okay.

He won’t sink to a point where Namjoon and Hoseok have to haul him out again.

Jungkook likes talking to him, he reminds himself. Knows what he looks like, even.

It’s fine.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

The one in the hoodie.

And your friends are right. You do look like a bunny.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Damn that was too easy. :P

And hyunnnng, you’re not supposed to agree.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

Can’t argue with the truth, kid.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Well it’s your turn, then. Instagram has been quiet. You owe me a picture of you.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

You know what I look like.

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Still want a picture.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Question

Fine, brat.


y selca

Happy?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Question

Very. :D

 

_ _

 

It rains for two days in Dubrovnik, cold and torrential - like the sky is having a full on sobbing fit - so they stay indoors. Order room service, debate about their next stop (Namjoon wants to see Montenegro while Hoseok wants to head up towards Prague), and work on music. They’ve been dropping tracks on SoundCloud on and off for the past three years - individually and together - but they’re trying to build a whole mixtape. It’s been slow going, time stolen in between their wandering, but for once Yoongi doesn’t have the urge to automatically delete everything they’ve created. It’s cobbled together with their makeshift, portable studio, but it’s good. It has the potential to be something.

Yoongi listens to Hoseok rap into the mic - raspy and fast and even better than he was three years ago, with a whole company trying to hone his potential - and thinks again about returning to Seoul. About Seokjin’s offer for another chance, a better one. Maybe even meeting Jungkook in person. Taking him out … somewhere. Coffee or the Han River or the mountains. Hearing his voice, his laugh. Feeling the warmth of his skin.

He doesn’t say anything as Hoseok finishes his verse and grins at him, fierce and bright like the sun. Or when Namjoon slips the headphones on and takes Hoseok’s place.

He’s not ready yet, he knows that, but for the first time he thinks: soon.

 

_ _


n train station

2,750 likes

bigadventurebootsblog waiting for the train

to Montenegro! It’s definitely getting colder.

#HowManyLayersDoINeed #KNJ

 

Posted 42 minutes ago

View all comments

 

worldwide_handsome that is far too many

layers Joonie. I looked up the temperature there

and it’s 12 degrees. That isn’t cold. #baby

 

kimdaily @worldwide_handsome you’re not

factoring in the wind chill.

 

worldwide_handsome @kimdaily right.

#GiantBaby

 

HopeOnTheStreet @worldwide_handsome you

should see how many layers Yoongi had on.

 

myg93 @HopeOnTheStreet don’t you dare

 

_ _

 

Surprisingly, it’s Jungkook who suggests Skyping. Says, I’d like to talk to you for real, hyung, in another three a.m. email.

Okay, Yoongi answers back before he can second guess himself and finds a private corner in the lobby of their hotel in Kotor. It’s midnight here, seven a.m. in Korea, and Jungkook answers on the second ring.

Yoongi’s breath catches in his throat because there he is - the boy in the picture - with messy black hair and big, big eyes. Beautiful even through a pixelated screen.

“Hey, hyung,” he says and his voice is soft, soft, soft. A little deeper than Yoongi expected, and raspy with sleep.

“Hey,” Yoongi says back, just as soft, and feels his breath hitch again when a smile breaks across Jungkook’s face, warm enough to be close to tender.

“You look good,” Jungkook says, almost shy. “Better than in the pictures.”

“I’m not sure that’s true,” Yoongi argues because he’s in a baggy blue sweater and slippers and his dark roots are starting to show in his uncombed hair. He probably has bags under his eyes because he still struggles to sleep the first few nights in a new place and even with the shitty video quality, he can see how puffy his cheeks are - feel all the weight he’s gained since leaving Seoul (even if Namjoon keeps insisting he’s still too thin and shoving food at him).

“It is,” Jungkook insists, leaning forward. He’s got on one of those oversized hoodies, green this time, and silver hoops in his ears like the ones Yoongi usually wears. “And it’s nice to meet you. Officially.”

“You too. I’m very relieved you haven’t been catfishing me.”

Jungkook puts a hand over his chest dramatically. “I would never.”

Yoongi feels a small burst of laughter punch from his mouth and Jungkook grins.

“Where are you now, hyung?”

“Montenegro. Kotor.” He turns his tablet so Jungkook can get a view of the lobby. It isn’t as fancy as the one they stayed in in Dubai, but it’s still nice. Four star, at least. Namjoon is very good at negotiating deals for them. Has a whole section dedicated to hotels on the blog that he maintains.

Jungkook whistles, still grinning when Yoongi turns the computer back around. The room behind him looks like a hotel, too, actually. “Where are you?”

“Tokyo,” he says.

“Trip with friends?” Yoongi asks. Maybe it’s fall break in Seoul? He never went to college, so he has no idea how the schedule works.

Jungkook’s mouth twitches. “Something like that.”

So still evasive about some things, it seems. Whatever. Yoongi’s excited to be actually talking to him and lets it slide.

“Do you like it? Tokyo?”

“Yeah,” Jungkook says, relaxing again. “It’s a little … loud. For me. A little crowded. But I like it. There’s so much to see. We’re going to Osaka, too. In a few days.”

“Sounds like fun.”

Jungkook leans forward again, conspiratory. “Between you and me, I’d rather be in Montenegro.”

Yoongi laughs through the way his heart clenches at that. How easy it is to imagine Jungkook in this hotel with him, sprawled across the chairs, providing commentary on the ostentatiousness of the chandeliers.

“You’d like it here,” he says. “It’s much quieter than Tokyo.”

“Maybe someday,” Jungkook says, with that slightly sad mouth twitch.

“Yeah,” Yoongi agrees. “Someday.”

 

_ _

 

They talk for three hours. Can’t seem to get themselves stop. Until someone starts knocking loud on Jungkook’s door and yelling at him to hurry up, the car’s leaving soon.

“Catch you later, hyung,” Jungkook says and hangs up quick.

Yoongi sits in the three a.m. stillness with a hand over his chest, where his heart is beating fast and full.

 

_ _

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

Subject: Greetings


j + j japan

From Japan!

P.S. Jimin says hi.

 

To: jseagull@naver.com

From: myg@bigadventureboots.com

RE: Greetings

Of course you went to Disneyland. Was it fun?

 

To: myg@bigadventureboots.com

From: jseagull@naver.com

RE: Greetings

Jimin got sick on the teacup ride. It was hilarious.

 

_ _

 

They keep Skyping. Start Facetiming, too. Yoongi takes Jungkook on a walk through Prague, through Budapest, through Berlin. Shows him the Brandenburg Gate all lit up at night and listens to him marvel at the beauty of the Hungarian Parliament Building and the gothic spires of Prague Castle, even through a phone screen.

Jungkook calls him sometimes when he can’t sleep and appears on screen with tired eyes and slumped shoulders and Yoongi talks about music and Namjoon and Hoseok, even a little bit about Daegu (but never about Seoul). He plays Jungkook songs he’s working on and watches him light up, hum along, insist this is so good, hyung with nothing but excited sincerity.

Jungkook tells about Busan, the ocean, his older brother who’s an artist and his parents who have always supported him. Shows off pictures of his family dog and gets mock offended when Yoongi points out that it’s ugly. (“Sure, but that just makes me love him more. No else would, so I have to.”)

And Yoongi - Yoongi might be a little bit in love, okay? With Jungkook’s energy and his smile and those big, big eyes that seem like they have galaxies in them. With his high-pitched, cackling laugh and the way he fidgets constantly whenever they Skype, unable to hold still even for a second. With the way he seems to love music just as much as Yoongi does, all-consuming, and how he gestures a lot when he’s excited about a subject.

Seoul still terrifies him, in many ways, but he finds himself wanting to go back. To try again. To meet Jungkook in person and see how he tastes, if his arms will be as strong as they look, wrapped around Yoongi.

“I really like you,” he blurts out one night in Salzburg. It’s snowing outside in thick flakes and Christmas is around the the corner - the whole town covered in lights in preparation. “A lot.”

Panic hits right after the words leave his mouth. That this is too much, that this isn’t where they’ve been heading at all and Yoongi’s misread everything. He knows the stakes, in Korea. The cost of this. He’s paid it before and spent months unraveling the self-hatred that came after, soothed by Namjoon and Hoseok’s assurances that there was nothing wrong with him for liking boys, too. That there never would be, no matter what anyone else said.

But Jungkook’s gaze is soft and shy and thrilled all at once. “I like you, too, hyung,” he whispers and it feels heavy, like a confession. “A hell of a lot.”

I want to meet you, Yoongi doesn’t say. This is enough for now.

Especially when Jungkook says, “take me on a date, hyung? Yoongi.”

“Where do you want to go?”

Jungkook shrugs. It’s four a.m. in Seoul and he’s bathed a golden hue from his desk lamp. “Somewhere beautiful. You always show me beautiful things.”

So Yoongi bundles up and sneaks out of the hotel room, leaving behind Namjoon and Hoseok who have gone to bed early. He takes Jungkook down to the banks of the Salzach River that runs along the city. Shows him the snowflakes falling in the halo of the street lamps. Tells him about the dark mountains that rise on all sides - how the snow-covered tops of them shine silver in the moonlight.

“I wish I was there,” Jungkook murmurs when Yoongi finds a bench to sit on, ignoring the cold seeping in through his layers. “I’d rather be there. With you.”

He looks sad, which isn’t what Yoongi wanted. But he can understand, too. Wishes he had the power to reach through his phone screen and run his fingers down Jungkook’s cheek. Through his hair.

“I wish you were, too,” he says instead. Jungkook looks exhausted, so he adds, “but for now go to sleep, Kook.”

“Kook,” Jungkook mutters, drifting off in increments. “I like when you call me that. Goodnight, hyung.”

“Night, Kook.”

And then he’s gone, the screen going dark, and Yoongi is alone in the snow.

 

_ _

 

Yoongi [3:35pm]

is that offer still on the table?

 

Mother Hen [3:38pm]

you know it is, yoongi-yah

 

Yoongi [3:39pm]

i’m interested. skype me?

 

Mother Hen [3:40pm]

give me an hour

 

_  _

 

“So,” Seokjin says. He’s dressed in a black turtleneck, hair artfully styled, which means he must be at the studio. “Why the sudden change of heart?”

“It isn’t sudden,” Yoongi insists, nervously chewing his thumbnail. “I’ve been thinking about it for a long time.”

The offer: a second chance at stardom, this time with Seokjin at the helm. Complete control over their music and image. No forced styling, no revisions to songs, no clothes that make it hard to breathe or crash diets that leave him dizzy and shaking and hating himself in the mirror. It would be just the three of them, Namjoon, Hoseok, and Yoongi, with no threats of forcing them into an idol group.

I’m startin g my own label, Seokjin told them a year after they fled Seoul, and I want to sign you.

No, had been Yoongi’s first response. Never again.

But Seokjin is persuasive and some of Yoongi’s dreams haven’t changed. He still loves music like breathing, loves the thrill of other people listening to his songs and falling in love with them. He’s scared of the lights of a stage and the scream of a crowd, but he loved those once, too, and he thinks he’s healed enough that he could again. Someday.

There is still a rush to performing that is unlike anything else in the world.

He’s needed time, though, to get his head back on straight. To piece himself back together and figure out who Min Yoongi is now - because the eighteen-year-old-kid that signed himself over to a big label with stars in his eyes is gone. Fortunately, so is the broken mess that got hospitalized three years later. It’s taken a long time - miles and cities and crying in hotel rooms while Namjoon and Hoseok held him and pressed kisses to his hair - but he doesn’t mind the current Min Yoongi. Thinks he’s capable of far more than the boy was.

So maybe he’s been ready for awhile now. And maybe Jungkook was just the push he needed.

“I have to talk to Namjoon and Hoseok, but they’ve just been waiting for me.” All of them have been waiting for him- Seokjin, too. “I want to do this, hyung.”

 Seokjin grins and bounces in his seat like a kid. “Yes! Finally!”

“And we still have control, right? Over everything?”

“Of course,” Seokjin assures him. “Everything. I don’t give a fuck what the public or the other labels think. You’re my first priority, Yoongi-yah.”

And he knows Seokjin means that, because he was the first one to visit Yoongi in the hospital with flowers in his hand and seething rage in his eyes. Smoothed Yoongi’s hair back from his forehead and whispered, I’m going to fix this.

He broke his own contract a week later. Never looked back. Started building a company from the ground up with his family’s money and the sheer force of his personality. Yoongi was the first one he wanted to sign.

And god, Yoongi doesn’t deserve him, but is so, so glad Kim Seokjin is in his corner.

“Good,” he says with a grin. “We’ll have to talk some more about schedules and when we want to come back officially, but we’ve already got some music prepared that I think would work for an official debut-”

His phone buzzes on the table. Jungkook, who has taken to texting him random, ridiculous selfies. In this one, he’s got his hair sticking straight up in a weird mohawk and is making an angry face like some kind of punk rocker. He mostly just looks cute, though.

“Oi, what is that?” Seokjin demands, snapping Yoongi back to to the present. “Min Yoongi, what is that lovesick smile? Have you met someone?”

“‘M not lovesick, ” Yoongi insists, though he kind of is. “And his name is Jungkook.”

He doesn’t expect the frown that cuts around Seokjin’s face. The confused furrow of his brow. “Wait. Jeon Jungkook?”

“I don’t know his last name,” Yoongi admits. It’s never seemed important, in the scheme of things, and he’s wanted to respect the secrets Jungkook chooses to keep.  

“Twenty, big eyes, kind of looks like a bunny when he smiles?”

Yoongi’s head is spinning. “Yeah. Yeah … that’s him. How do you know Jungkook?”

Seokjin’s expression is stunned, something in his gaze that Yoongi can’t decipher. When he finally speaks again it’s with uncharacteristic seriousness, “you should look up Jeon Jungkook.”

“Seokjin, what-”

“Just … Google him, Yoongi-yah,” Seokjin says. “And call me if you need anything.”

Then he hangs up with a promise to stay in touch. Yoongi’s stomach is churning, dread amassing in the pit of it. A part of him doesn’t want to do this. Wants to go curl up in bed or just text Jungkook and demand to know how he knows Kim Seokjin of all people. But. But.

Well, he can be too trusting sometimes but he’s never been naive.

He pulls up Google and types in “Jeon Jungkook.”

And a small, terrified part of him was expecting it, but he’s still blindsided by the hundreds of thousands of results that come up. By the endless photos of Jungkook on a stage in glittering clothes and makeup - a microphone in his hand. By the screaming Twitter fan accounts and the fact pages that list Jungkook’s favorite color as black and his favorite animal as a lion, along with his blood-type and his birthday and his astrological sign and so many other things that Yoongi doesn’t - didn’t - know .

An idol group, Ultraviolet, debuted six months after Yoongi left that world behind. Have rocketed to the top of the charts recently, and there is Kim Taehyung on stage with Jungkook and four other beautiful young men, and there is Park Jimin as a backup dancer in one of their big numbers. Here is Jungkook in a practice studio, at a fanmeet, on a stage in Tokyo and Osaka and Seoul, doing a VLive from his dorm with the same golden glow that he usually has on Skype. Here he is at the airport in oversized hoodies and here he is at the fucking MAMAs and fuck, he’s such a good dancer, and his voice.

His fucking voice is gorgeous. Makes Yoongi want to compose - fingers itching for a keyboard. Makes him want to create note after note because they would all sound incredible coming out of Jungkook’s mouth.

The rest of him, though, is cracking at the seams. A scream building in the back of his throat.

Jungkook is an idol and Yoongi … Yoongi is such a fool.

His phone buzzes again. Jungkook, this time in a face mask and ridiculous sunglasses. Yoongi’s heart seizes, contracts his ribcage along with it until everything hurts - his head, his whole torso. He shoves the phone away, hard enough that it goes skittering off the small hotel desk and onto the carpeted floor. Then he slams the laptop closed and crawls into bed, pulling the covers up over his head to shut out the world as best he can.

The door clicks eventually. Namjoon and Hoseok, stomping their feet and complaining about the cold. Distantly, he hears them pause, then shuffle over. The covers are pulled back and he curls up tighter, shoving his face into his pillow so they won’t see the redness of his eyes.

They know, anyway, though.

“Oh, hyung,” Hoseok whispers and then they crawl in on either side of him, shifting the blanket back up over their heads.

Namjoon’s noodly arm drapes gently across his waist and Hoseok’s lips press to the back of his head and he sinks into the warmth and safety of them.

Tries not to break.