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you've got a Friend in me

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Ding!

 

The elevator doors slide open and well, there’s an ass on the ground. A bouncy butt. Twerking. Or grinding the floor, if you choose to look at it that way.

 

“Oh my god, I’m so sorry!” says the ass. Or rather, the person in possession of the no-longer-twerking ass.

 

Certainly not the first thing Seokjin expects to see or hear from a fellow college freshman on his first day at the BigHit University dorms. Naturally, giggles flow out. Beside Seokjin, his father, mother and little brother join in. They don’t stop for at least ten minutes.

 

Red Faced Twerker, now apparently trying to hide himself in one of the elevator corners, smiles sheepishly when the Kim family finally regain their composure. “I’m Hoseok. Hoseok Jung,” he says, grinning when Seokjin smiles back. “I apologize for that… show. Was nervous… And I was on the dance team in high school… Nobody else has moved in yet… so…”

 

“We loved it!” squeals Jungkook, delivering a punch onto Seokjin’s neck. Hoseok smiles a little wider, but it doesn’t meet his eyes. Can’t blame him. One does not enter college expecting to greet their new dorm mate and his family with a sexy dance.

 

“Don’t hit your hyung!” scolds Mama Kim. Papa Kim just bursts into laughter all over again.

 

“But I won’t get to do that until Thanksgiving!”

 

“Fine.” Another punch, this time onto Seokjin’s chest. It hurts like a bitch. Jungkook’s stronger than the average sixteen-year-old, and it kind of sucks that Seokjin won’t be around to see him grow up some more.

 

“I’m Seokjin Kim,” says Seokjin, extending his hand for a handshake. Hoseok accepts eagerly. “And this is my dumb baby brother.” Jungkook manages an awkward wave. “My parents.” Polite nods, stifled giggles.

 

It’s too tense. Ignoring the heat that rushes to his ears, Seokjin adds, “Don’t feel bad. That’s a nice butt.”

 

“Seokjin!” chorus his parents. Oops, he thinks, when Hoseok’s eyes grow wide with shock. Awkward with a Capital A.

 

He coughs. “And by butt… I mean… Nice dancing! Nice butt dancing!” Jungkook’s nodding so hard his head must hurt. Bless him for having his brother’s back. Ah well, Seokjin supposes he’ll let him punch, slap, and kick all he wants for the next couple of hours. He’ll miss that.

 

“HAHA!” exclaims Hoseok, clutching his stomach. “Oh thank god.” He heaves a huge sigh of relief. “I like you. Let me help you with your stuff! Did you guys drive very far?” says Hoseok, eyeing the numerous suitcases and boxes stacked beside them. He sounds so warm and sincere that Seokjin instantly wants to oblige, even if he’s nervous about bothering a stranger.

 

But then again, strangers are Strangers until you give them a chance; you interact with them long enough and decide to upgrade them to Acquaintance, and then eventually to Friend. For some people, it takes a mere thirty minutes. For others, it may take days, weeks, years even. There’s something about Hoseok’s earnest smile (and fine, the butt thing was pretty damn funny) that tells Seokjin that it won’t be long before the College Best Bro upgrade is awarded to Hoseok.

 

“Sure!” says Seokjin, beaming as he hands over a box labelled Music Shit to Hoseok’s outstretched arms. “We drove about three hours… Was okay. What about you? Where are you from?”

 

After that, Seokjin finds that small talk with Hoseok comes easily; the latter letting out an extremely loud shriek of delight when he realizes that they’re both going to be living on the seventh floor (“You’re my first college Friend and we’re living so close? How cool and awesome is that!”). And then, an even shriller scream when he discovers that they’re both in the Faculty of Music and Fine Arts. He’s friendly and weird in a way that Seokjin quickly finds himself enjoying.

 

They bid a quick farewell outside of Seokjin’s room, with vague promises to hang out later (“You’re cool.” “I like you, let’s chill, yeah?”).

 

It takes an unexpectedly long time for Seokjin to unpack and set up his room, even with his family’s assistance. He hadn’t realized he’d accumulated eighteen years of random junk until it was time to pack up and leave. Deciding what to take with him and what to leave behind proved a tough challenge, and so he decided to fuck it, and take most of it along with him.

 

A few hours later, the rest of the Kim Family has left for home. Seokjin lies on the bottom bunk (he hopes his roommate won’t mind that he’s picked first), idly scrolling through his phone messages. But maybe he shouldn’t do this to himself? Even a short “Good luck! Love you!” from Mama Kim and he’d be on the brink of the tears, again. He shouldn’t text his father either. Not when Papa Kim’s driving and has to keep his eyes on the road.

 

Seokjin’s nearly all cried out and maybe it’s time to open the door and do a feeble attempt at socializing. He'd heard plenty of shuffling and chattering out in the corridor in the time he’d left the door shut. No sign of his roommate yet, but maybe Seokjin shouldn’t wait for his arrival? Maybe he should try enjoy the short time he’s got the room alone to himself? But perhaps leaving the door shut would send the wrong message? He sure does not want to come off as unapproachable.

 

A loud thump on the door interrupts his wandering thoughts. He leaps up from the bed, wiping his tears on his sleeve before he answers the door.

 

“Hey Seokjin! You alright there?” says Hoseok, looking concerned. Seokjin smiles weakly. There’s a shorter boy next to him, whose lips are curved into a soft smile. “This is my roommate, Jimin Park.”

 

“Hello!” says Jimin shyly, cheeks tinted with a pinkish hue. “Nice to meet you!”

 


“Isn’t he just adorable?” says Hoseok, fingers poking at Jimin’s puffy cheeks. Jimin looks embarrassed, but mostly pleased. “He’s going to be a dance major, just like me!”

 

Seokjin nods in affirmation. Jimin’s face blushes ten shades redder as he says, “You’re both really adorable too!” Jimin really is cute and upfront with compliments, possibly a product of being around the perpetually cheery Hoseok. Seokjin likes that. And it’s nice that Hoseok is introducing him to another potential Friend.

 

“Wanna get dinner?” asks Hoseok, and of course, Seokjin’s going to have to say yes.

 

At the lobby, they bump into more potential Friends, in the form of a tall guy tripping over a huge box, and his new roommate, who’s trying (but failing) to push the box towards their room. “My saxophone maintenance supplies,” says said roommate, breaking into a wide boxy grin that Seokjin can’t help but mirror. “I went overboard with the E-bay and Amazon shopping. My first debit card, y’ feel me?”

 

Seokjin actually does feel him. After all, he does own a guitar maintenance kit and a whole bunch of oddly-shaped dildos, thanks to the first debit card in his name. Definitely a Friend, he decides.

 

All of them end up pushing at the box together. “Team work makes the dream work,” says the taller boy, possibly with his entire heart, dimples emerging when they finally succeed. Seokjin finds himself agreeing. And there he is. College Friend #4.

 

So that’s how Seokjin gets roped into his first ever college take-out pizza party, in what he now knows to be the Taehyung Kim and Namjoon Kim (also known as Kim Bros, at least according to Taehyung) room.

 

xxx

 

Seokjin soon learns that a college pizza party isn’t a party without alcohol. Or so sweet little Jimin (Or was it Diminie? Seokjin’s unsure, either his head or the room is spinning) had insisted, as he poured everyone shot after shot of surprise vodka seemingly conjured from thin air. Seokjin foresees an upgrade to Drinking Buddy in the near future.

 

“Bottoms up!” screams Jimin, handing out beer in red solo cups this time. (The other times it was wine, soju, cider, etc.)

 

Ignoring Jimin’s pleading look as he attempts to pass over more beer, Hoseok bows down to the ground, sticking his ass up in a super flexible version of the downward dog pose that Mama Kim sometimes does when she’s practicing yoga at home. Hoseok’s miles better though. He winks, and Oh, Seokjin gets it.

 

“Y-You can fold your body in half like that?” squeaks Namjoon, jaws dropping in wide eye wonder as Hoseok closes the distance between his hands and feet. “Nice butt!” That’s either drool, beer, or both flowing out of his mouth. He’s a lot more outgoing and transparent when he’s drunk, Seokjin notes. Then again, who isn’t?

 

“Bottoms up!” laughs Seokjin, pointing at Hoseok, who yells “YES! MY BRO!” and cracks up.

 

“But I-I already finished my beer,” says Jimin, hastily pouring himself another shot.

 

“No, his bottom is literally up,” explains Taehyung. Jimin trips over his feet as he giggles into Taehyung’s chest.

 

“Exactly!” says Seokjin, holding out his hand. Namjoon tries to high five him but Taehyung is faster.

 

A disappointed Namjoon dramatically chokes on his beer. Seokjin barks out a laugh.

 

He doesn’t stop laughing for the rest of the night.

 

As liquid courage takes over, Seokjin becomes more brave, less terrified. The huge weight on his shoulders evaporates just like that, as it sinks in that his new Friends are actually his brand of silly and weird. It’s also a relief that they share the same worries, nervousness, excitement about starting anew in college. A flood of puns, lame jokes, and nonsensical debates (including one about the merits of pineapple on pizza; Namjoon contributed plenty to that particular discourse) fill the room. Seokjin feels his heart ringing with joy. It’s going to be okay.

 

The slight irritation from the empty pizza boxes piled at the corner of the bottom bunk wanes with each drink, evolving to pure amusement when Hoseok and Namjoon climb on and knock the boxes onto the ground. Crumbs, parmesan, pepper flakes, cheese dip spill out near the Saxophone Stuff box of Taehyung’s. Seokjin kind of hopes his roommate will be a little more concerned about cleanliness than Drunk Namjoon and Hoseok.

 

“What a fucking mess!” yells Jimin, entire body shaking from uncontrollable laughter. Throughout the night, his little hands have become perpetually stuck onto some part of Taehyung’s body.

 

“Ha. That’s my bed. And! My saxophone kit. Hahaha!” agrees Taehyung, deep rumbling laughter echoing throughout the room. “I’m going to kill my roommate tomorrow.” Jimin simply holds onto Taehyung’s hand and laughs harder.

 

“I don’t want you to go to jail, Taetae,” he whines.

 

“I won’t! B-but I love my sax and I really need those supplies…”

 

“I love your sax too,” interrupts Jimin, batting his eyelashes. “Hehe. I love sax.”

 

Secretly proud of Jimin’s pun, Seokjin forces himself to groan and roll his eyes. He shifts his gaze to Namjoon and Hoseok, oblivious to the rest of the world despite the ensuing ruckus from their roommates. Their backs are against the wall as they frantically whisper into each other’s ears. At some point, Hoseok’s eyes turn teary as Namjoon reads him something from his phone. The formation of a strong emotional connection, it seems.

 

Seokjin feels like an intruder watching the scene unfold right before his eyes, so he turns to the other side of the room, where Jimin has started performing a series of body waves while winking sultrily at Taehyung. (How had their sax argument progressed into this?) A 90s-esque R&B jam plays from a phone resting atop one of the desks. It isn’t quite loud enough, but Jimin persistently dances on, keen on ensuring that his entire little body remains the sole focus of Taehyung’s starry-eyed gaze. Jungkook’s portable speakers could have come in handy here, thinks Seokjin. Definitely would have set the mood, for whatever seduction plans Jimin has in mind.

 

Ah. College. Seokjin had known it was coming – the parties, the hookups, the drama, the romance. It’s clear that Jimin was set on making Taehyung College Hookup #1. He isn’t too sure about Namjoon and Hoseok though; College Boyfriends seems a likely path. Seokjin briefly wonders how it would all unfold for himself.

 

And then most of the night is a blurry mess after that, but certain pieces remain clear and vivid in his mind-

 

A loud “Open up! It’s your RA!” from outside the door.

 

Nobody budging. Hoseok cursing as he finally opens the door.

 

“Is Diminie in twouble?”

 

Pondering upon the possibility that many a pout had saved Diminie from twouble before.

 

“Don’t get caught with alcohol, youngins.”

 

Collective gulps. More silence.

 

“But if you do get caught, don’t forget to offer some to your lovely RA.” Finger guns, cheeky winks.

 

The RA wishing them goodnight, urging all to stay safe. Taehyung kindly offering to walk everyone home.

 

A long, warm group hug outside Jimin and Hoseok’s room. Hoseok smelling like flowers.

 

Taehyung saying, “Wait! You’re at room 711? Your roomie’s my buddy!” at Seokjin’s door.

 

Yoongi Min. Yoongi Min. Yoongi Min echoing in his head. Bad texter as well, as he thinks about their extremely short exchanges over the summer. “W-What’s he like?”

 

Taehyung singing praises about his awesome, talented, funny Highschool Bro Yoongi. Then a beaming grin as he proclaims, “You’ll get along just fine! Goodnight!”

 

A text stating You took my favorite shirt!!! Asshole, from Jungkook.

 

Texting SS00wry, then Luuuiv yuu nerrvous ab0ou5t ro000omate back.

 

Reading Stay safe. Dw if he’s bad when I come over for my shirt I’ll kick his ass, as his eyelids grow heavy. Feeling a strong surge of relief, hope, but mostly, love before succumbing to sleep.

 

xxx

 

 

Seokjin wakes up warm and sweaty. Yawning loudly, he pulls his T-shirt off and places it over his face to block out the sunlight. Much better, he thinks, shutting his eyes again. Hangovers fucking suck.

 

Somebody clears their throat.

 

“Mom… Five more minutes,” whines Seokjin.

 

“Sorry dear,” says a soft and gentle voice. “Not your mom.”

 

Wait.

 

He lifts up the T-shirt and squints. A grumpy-looking guy decked completely in black, and a petite, older lady come into view. She waves.

 

“Oh my god!” Seokjin shrieks, springing out of bed. His T-shirt’s now on the floor. Fuck. So he grabs the nearest item (a Mario plushie) and attempts to cover his bare chest. “I’m so sorry.”

 

“You’re Korean too, right dear?” She breaks into a gummy grin and it’s just as bright as the morning sun. Beside her, Yoongi is the opposite. Bored, almost glum. He’s staring at everything but Seokjin.

 

“Yeah. Seokjin Kim,” says Seokjin, trying to meet Yoongi’s eyes. He fails miserably. But he’s usually good at breaking people out of their shell, so he’s got to try. “Umm… It’s a pleasure meeting both of you.”

 

“Pleasure’s ours,” she replies. “Right, Yoongi?”

 

“Yeah…” says Yoongi, eyes fixated on the ground. This won’t do.

 

“I’m so sorry! I slept through everything. Do you need help with unpacking?” tries Seokjin again. Yoongi’s got only two suitcases lined up next to the closet, but it’s only polite to offer, right?

 

“Nah,” responds Yoongi. “I’m good.”

 

Mrs Min groans. “Yoongi…” She turns back to Seokjin. “This Dumpling can be shy with strangers.”

 

“Mom! Don’t call me that!”

 

“I’ll call you whatever I want. I’m your mom.” She shrugs, rolling her eyes. “Dumpling, be good, okay? Be nice to Seokjin.”

 

“Mooooom!” Yoongi’s cheeks are pink. He looks like a doll, Seokjin briefly considers. A doll made with a resting bitch face.

 

She chuckles, muttering something about having to rush back home before traffic gets horrendous. “Should probably put a shirt on, dear,” she tells Seokjin, who flushes instantly. “I hope you and Yoongi will live well together.”

 

Yoongi lets out a groan of despair. Nevertheless, he hugs her at the door, whispering a “I’ll miss you.” And then, it’s completely silent.

 

Seokjin watches as Yoongi pulls out a phone from his pocket and sticks some earphones into his ears. He climbs up to the top bunk and just- well. He doesn’t say a thing.

 

“Your mom seems really nice.”

 

“She is.”

 

Dead silence.

 

“I picked the bottom but-” says Seokjin, peering up at Yoongi. “We can switch. If you like. I’m open to both the top and bottom.”

 

Yoongi blinks at him. Then blinks again. “Nah. Ti’s okay,” he replies, sticking some earphones into his ears. He closes his eyes.

 

“Cool, cool.” A long pause. Eyeing him curiously, Seokjin paces the room. He figures Yoongi’s going through the whirl of emotions he’d just lived through the day before. Surely making a Friend would help ease things, and so he asks, “Hey, what music are you listening to?”

 

“Epik High.”

 

“NICE! I loved their Fan album a lot. Actually cried.”

 

“Cool.”

 

“What other music do you like? Do you listen to a lot of Korean music?”

 

“Yeah,” says Yoongi noncommittally, eyes still shut, fingers tapping at his phone. Tablo’s voice has become a lot more audible now.

 

A little slighted, Seokjin hugs his Mario plushie tighter to his chest, which proves to be a mistake as Mario’s hat is kinda tickling his left nipple. He decides to toss the stupid thing onto his bed. “Me too! I really love Korean music in general, you know?” Silence, save for Tablo’s passionate, fast-paced rap, but Seokjin trudges on with, “That’s why I’m aiming to major in Music and sing and write-”

 

“Umm yeah. Great stuff. Gonna nap,” says Yoongi. He pulls the covers over his head.

 

Maybe he needs some space. Seokjin knows too well from firsthand experience that college - new environments, new roommates, new everything! - can be really overwhelming. Seokjin can give him space. “Kay! Tired too. Long night. Back to bed. Wake you up for lunch?”

 

Not a word from Yoongi.

 

Seokjin bends down, picks up his T-shirt and puts it back on. “Have a good nap,” he whispers, sighing as he climbs back into bed.