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Guess I'm Your Canvas, Beautiful, Black And Blue, Painted In Mercy's Hue

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It’s just edging past 8:30 in the evening when Jungkook reaches the third floor art studio, sketchbook in one hand, a coffee in the other, and, in stereotypical ‘I’m a poor art student who cannot afford a pencil case’ fashion, a pencil tucked behind his ear. He pushes open the door with his back, careful not to tip his coffee and let any of the loose pages in his sketchbook flutter to the ground because God knows, he’s never be able to get them in order again. He turns and he freezes.

Okay, so Jungkook’s probably being a bit dramatic, but he didn’t really expect anyone else to be in the studio and here’s this dyed-blond guy he’s never seen before hunched over some paper with incredibly bad posture and drawing with long swooping lines and flicks of his wrist. He looks up and when Jungkook sees his face, he's immediately reminded that of a cat.

With that small pink pouty lips and cat-like eyes peering up at him and that lax bad posture, the guy really does resemble a cat. Kitty.

“Oh, hey. You here to work on something?” Kitty Guy asks, his voice surprisingly deep and gravelly for his small frame, and Jungkook nods, still not having moved from the doorway. “Alright, cool, Prof gave me the key and I’m going to be here for a while, so you can stay as long as you want.” Jungkook nods again and Kitty Guy goes back to his sketches and Jungkook steps out from the doorway.

He sets up on one of the desks in the back, as far away from the other student as he can manage. He doesn’t want to be annoying or anything, Kitty Guy was here first. He sets his pencil down on the desk and hunkers down into a bad posture to rival this other guy’s. Jungkook starts thinking about his project.

Sketching a person is… not hard. It’s what got him into art and it’s probably what he’s best at. It’s a kind of reluctant talent, he supposes, because when you’re good at drawing people, people ask you to draw them and that’s a whole other can of worms. The project wouldn’t be stressful if it was just drawing someone, but it’s not. Of course it’s not. He has to have a rough sketch done in a week, transfer said sketch to canvas, and then paint it in watercolor, which is arguably his worst media. Definitely his worst media. There was a reason he hated art class in elementary school. He shakes himself a bit and tries to get back on track. Paper meets pencil and then, he’s just drawing.

He fills the page with half ideas and half people. Hairstyles and eyes and noses all over the page in no particular order. Legs, crossed and uncrossed, hands and wire straight poses next to more relaxed ones. It’s like Mary Shelley’s dream, there are enough body parts here for at least three and a half Frankenstein’s. Jungkook is in the middle of drawing a torso - oddly shaded for it just being a simple sketch - when the blond at the front of the room stretches and groans, neck popping audibly. Jungkook’s head snaps up and he leans back, rubbing at his eyes and letting his pencil fall to the desk. He pushes his paper closer to the edge as the blond walks over.

“What are you working on?” He asks, glancing at Jungkook’s rough sketches.

“Project with people.” Jungkook explains. “I mean, not with people, but about them. On them? I don’t know, I just have to draw people.”

The blond nods, once, twice, glances at the clock on the wall. “Jesus, it’s almost midnight.” He chuckles, stretching again. “Are you planning on staying any longer?”

“No!” Jungkook says, quickly, and the blond raises an eyebrow. “I mean, not if you’re not. I don’t want to inconvenience you or anything.”

“Nah, man, I always stay really late.” Kitty Guy shakes his head. “Don’t worry about that. I’m just kind of winding down right now and I’m probably going to go grab some coffee, I wanted to know if you wanted to come.”

“Isn’t the cafeteria closed?” Jungkook asks, rolling his pencil in between his hand and the desk.

“Well, yeah, but there’s a good place I know, some place near that literally never closes. You in?” Kitty Guy offers and Jungkook shrugs.

“I mean, I guess.”

The walk to the coffee place doesn’t take that long and at least it’s cooler at night than it is during the day. The blond greets the staff by name and they smile back, return his hello’s. They get their coffees and collapse in a table next to the window.

“We probably should have done introductions before going out for coffee, but what can you do? I’m Yoongi. I'm a senior, by the way,” Kitty Guy - Yoongi - reaches out his hand and Jungkook shakes it.

Jungkook's eyes widen at that. "Jungkook. Sophomore. I can't believe you're older than me," he disbelievingly says as he looks at the smaller male in front of him, because who would've thought the blond's older than him? He looks like a freshman. "How come I've never seen you around?" Realizing that he didn't say any honorifics, he suddenly adds, "Hyung," making Yoongi chuckle. "Also, I can’t believe I didn’t know about this place."

“I just recently got back from military service after two years. And well, I rarely stay at the studio. I prefer to work at my  own place," Yoongi chuckles. "And about this place? It’s a well kept secret,” he winks and adds. “I mean, it’s not. It’s a business, I can’t be the only customer coming here or they’d never turn a profit.”

Jungkook takes a sip of his coffee. “Well, I personally don’t know how much you put into this place, but I’m going to sink in a heck of a lot more money now. This coffee is so good, hyung." Jungkook laces his fingers around the cup and Yoongi is looking at him and shaking his head. “What?”

“Did you really just say ‘a heck of a lot’?” Yoongi asks, incredulous, and Jungkook rolls his eyes.

“Shut up, hyung,” Jungkook says and Yoongi shrugs. “Leave me alone, I’ve done nothing wrong.”

“A heck of a lot of nothing,” Yoongi agrees and Jungkook groans.

“Why are you like this?” He asks and Yoongi laughs, loud in the quiet business of the coffee shop, even though they’re the only two customers in it.

“Look, okay, I’m sorry for teasing you,” Yoongi apologizes, but there’s a smirk pulling at the edges of his lips. “I guess I’m going to heck.”

“Heck off,” Jungkook retorts and Yoongi utterly loses it, cackling with his head thrown back, and Jungkook grabs his coffee off the table to prevent it from getting spilled. He decides, with a sip of his coffee and a small smile while Yoongi nearly dies, that he does not hate this guy.

They leave the coffee shop together not long after that and Jungkook checks his watch.

“Oh, it’s really late. I should probably go to sleep if I want to be semi-conscious tomorrow,” Jungkook says, pulling his sleeve back down.

“What about your stuff?” Yoongi questions.

“I’ll grab it in the morning before my classes, don’t worry about it.” They stop at the crossroads where their paths diverge, Jungkook heading left, Yoongi continuing straight. “Hyung, you gonna be working tomorrow night?”

“I’m in there almost every night, Jungkook, you’ll be hard pressed to find me somewhere else,” Yoongi laughs.

“Strange, you struck me as the type of guy who loved to party,” Jungkook jokes and Yoongi pushes Jungkook slightly.

“Heck off, man. I’m the exact opposite. I’ll see you tomorrow, then?” Yoongi questions and Jungkook nods. “Cool, g’night.” Their paths split there.

 


 

Jungkook, being true to his word, is there the next night, once again pushing the door open with his back to avoid spilling either of the coffees in his hands.

“Hey, Jungkookie,” Yoongi greets, waving from his desk. “Brought you some coffee.”

“Uh…” Jungkook holds up the two cups in his hands. “Me too.”

“Christ, we’re a mess,” Yoongi laughs and Jungkook nods, moving to put his stuff down at the desk next to Yoongi’s. They trade coffees. “We should have alternating days for bringing coffee, then, if this is going to keep happening. I’ll take tomorrow?”

“Sounds like a plan,” Jungkook agrees. He sits down, takes a sip of his coffee, and flips open his sketchbook.

They work in semi-silence for a while, interrupted occasionally by Yoongi muttering something or growling at his work. It’s kind of cute, Jungkook thinks, to see him get flustered like this over his own work. Jungkook also thinks that he probably needs to stop.

Jungkook only takes a break from sketching when his neck starts to hurt. He groans, stretching, and leaning back in his chair. He rubs his eyes under his glasses and looks back down at his drawings.

It takes him about four seconds to realize that all of the sketches are of Yoongi. Whoops. He looks over it again. Yep. All Yoongi. Honestly, it’s not that surprising. This kind of thing happens a lot, especially when he’s trying to sketch realistic people. The faces and figures around him just make their way onto the page.

“Is that me?” Yoongi asks, peering at Jungkook’s sketchbook.

“Yeah, sorry, it just kind of happens sometimes,” Jungkook shrugs. “Sorry, I can get rid of them if you want.”

“No, no, it’s fine,” Yoongi chuckles. “You made me look good. Plus, I’ve got this.” He tilts his sketchbook toward Jungkook and Jungkook looks at it. It’s a couple of cartoonish sketches of someone that looks a lot like him. “I can get rid of them, too.”

“It’s fine. I like the one where I’m juggling coffee cups,” Jungkook sheepishly says.

“Yeah? Me too,” Yoongi nods and they go back to working.

 


 

The next night is Yoongi’s turn to bring coffee and they hang out in the art studio, half-working, half-talking and it’s good. It’s easy. It’s enjoyable.

When Jungkook gets there the next night, coffees in hand, Yoongi seems… out of it. Out of it as in he drops his sketchbook when Jungkook enters the room and they spend a few seconds staring at each other before he stoops to pick it up.

“Hey," Yoongi greets him and Jungkook nods.

“Hey. Brought you coffee.” He sets the cup down on Yoongi’s desk.

“Oh my God, thank you so much. You don’t know how tired I am,” Yoongi says, chugging the coffee. It’s understandable that he’s tired, he was here working much later than Jungkook the previous night. Jungkook sets to work sketching again.

The next time he glances over at Yoongi, he’s asleep, head down on his desk and pencil still gripped loosely in his hands. Jungkook chuckles and drapes his hoodie over his shoulders and he leaves not long after that. He doesn’t want to disturb Yoongi. God knows, he needs more sleep than he gets.

 


 

Jungkook is in the cafeteria the next day, fixing to eat lunch when he hears someone calling him.

“Jungkookie!” He looks around and sees Yoongi waving his arms and beckoning him over to where he and a tall, broad, really attractive stranger are sitting. So, he goes, setting his plate down at one of the empty chairs. “Hey.”

“Hey. How are you, hyung? Feeling better?” Jungkook asks, sitting down, and Yoongi nods.

“Yeah, yeah, thanks. Oh, and this is Seokjin, they're studying art and gender studies.” Yoongi introduces and Seokjin gives a little wave. “Seokjin, this is Jeon Jungkook, studying…” He looks at Jungkook for some help.

“Oh! Art and sociology.” Jungkook finishes.

“Cool, nice to meet you,” Seokjin smiles at him.

“Kook, I’ve got something for you,” Yoongi ducks down and rummages through his bag, coming back up with Jungkook’s hoodie in his hands. “You left this last night. Sorry I fell asleep right after you came.”

Seokjin chokes, a hand pressed over their mouth. Yoongi glances at Seokjin. “You okay?”

“Peachy," Seokjin wheezes, trying to keep a straight face.

“Thanks, it’s no big deal, really, hyung.” Jungkook takes his hoodie back, similarly trying to keep from blushing. “I just thought that you might get cold.”

“Well, thanks. Still sorry that I fell asleep so early, next time I’ll do the same for you, if you want?” Yoongi offers. Seokjin coughs loudly and Jungkook is reasonably sure that he’s blushing bright red now, despite his earlier attempts to avoid it.

“I didn’t- We didn’t- We were working in the art studio.” Jungkook says, shaking his head at Seokjin.

“Don’t worry, I know. There’s like a zero percent chance of Yoongi ever actually sleeping with somebody because he spends all his damn time in his apartment. Plus, there’s the-” Yoongi clears his throat and Seokjin stops, awkwardly. “The work ethic. I don’t know when he’s not working.” Seokjin tilts their head at Yoongi, who huffs. “I was surprised when he said he was talking to someone new.”

“I have other friends than you, y’know.” Yoongi points out and Seokjin just shrugs.

“Yeah sure, you’ve got, Yoongichi," Seokjin snorts.

“I’m an okay friend!” Jungkook defends himself.

“Look, Yoon, I’m not saying that you aren’t, but is there any time you’re actually outside of your friend group?” Seokjin asks Yoongi.

“Look, fuck you, Jin, we have the same friend group.” Yoongi sighs and Seokjin nods, leaning back.

“Proves my point,” they state.

“What are you trying to prove?” Yoongi questions, confused.

“I… I’m not sure. I had a point when I started out, I promise,” Seokjin says, shrugging. “I really, really did. I think it was about Yoongi being the most excitable person you will ever meet in your entire damn life and how you’re blessed that you met him because you will never meet anyone better than him, but I kind of devolved into insults, so…”

“That’s so sweet.” Yoongi places a hand over his heart. “So sweet, Jin. Love you too.”

“Gross.” Seokjin wrinkles their nose.

Jungkook decides that he likes Seokjin while he’s walking down the steps from the cafeteria and he can hear Seokjin's loud voice singing something just before the doors close.

When Jungkook pushes his way into the studio that night, he can hear Seokjin again.

“Yoon, you don’t know what you’re talking about! It’s obvious to literally everybody else! You have to do something.” Seokjin is leaned against Yoongi’s desk and Yoongi himself is tilted back in his chair, arms crossed and chin raised.

“I don’t have to do anything! There’s literally no chance, okay? Plus, there’s the whole thing with… The Thing.” Yoongi bites his lip, white indents on pink pouty lips and before Jungkook can let them know that he’s here, Seokjin is talking again.

“That doesn’t matter, it doesn’t. You have to do something or I am literally going to die.” Seokjin looks up and finally notices Jungkook, standing awkwardly by the door. “Hey, Jungkook.” Yoongi coughs suddenly, spinning around so quickly that his already tilted chair leans over even more and he falls backwards onto the floor.

“You okay?” Jungkook asks, rushing over to help pull Yoongi up.

“Yeah, yeah, I’m good.” Yoongi runs a hand over his face. “Just scared me. Guess I should’ve listened when adults told me not to tilt chairs back, huh?” Yoongi brushes pencil shavings off his shoulder.

“I mean, probably. That might have been smart.” Jungkook glances over at Seokjin, who’s watching both of them carefully. “Are you working in here with us tonight?”

“God no.” Seokjin laughs, doing something with their hair. Jungkook isn’t sure what, but they did something. Maybe tucked a piece behind their ear, it’s hard to tell. “I spend enough time here during the day. The night is my time. You two are just insane enough to work around the clock. Also, I brought you muffins.”

“Good muffins," Yoongi chimes in, nodding. “And there’s coffee.” Jungkook nods, appreciatively, and Yoongi nods back. Unable to think of a proper response, Jungkook nods again and Yoongi does the same. And Jungkook still can’t think of anything else to say, so he nods. And so does Yoongi. And Seokjin groans loudly.

“Jesus Christ, how are the both of you so bad at human communication? I can’t be in this room anymore, I’m going to suffocate with all this awkwardness,” Seokjin presses two fingers to their lips and raises them in a small salute. “Have fun, boys. Stay safe.” They wink and turn around, waltzing through the door.

“Fucking Kim Seokjin.” Yoongi shakes his head, exasperated, and Jungkook laughs. “Like, actually the worst person I have ever met in my entire life. Love them to death.”

“I can see why. They bring muffins.” Jungkook tosses his sketchbook onto his desk and it flutters open to a blank page. “But you bring coffee. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you’re both fighting for my affection,” Jungkook laughs, sliding into his seat. Yoongi snorts.

“You wish,” Yoongi jokes and Jungkook tilts his head down so Yoongi won’t see him blush because if only he knew.

Jungkook settles into his chair, flipping through his sketchbook. He needs to start painting today, at least outline it on the canvas, which means that he definitely needs to choose tonight. He thumbs through the pages, tracing a careful finger over the rough lines of people. The one of a woman in a coffee shop has her head tilted weirdly, scarf wrapping too far over her mouth. The one of the kid in the park is unfinished, only half of a profile in uneven lines. The others are disproportionate, too short or too long or too small or too big and hell, he can’t even draw people.

This is bad. This is very bad.

He needs to be painting right now and he has no sketches for basing. Oh God, this is what he thought he was good at. If he thought he was good at this, how bad is he at things he thought he was bad at? He needs to be painting right now, he needs to be working, and he has nothing to go on, he has nothing to draw from. He can’t do anything. He needs to be working and he can’t. He’ll have to start over. He has to start over, oh God, all this lost work, all these unusable drawings. None of these are good enough to be turned in as a rough sketch, none of these are even slightly okay.

“Jungkook?” There’s a hand on his shoulder and Jungkook jumps, whipping his head up to see Yoongi standing over him. “You need to calm down, okay? You’re breathing really fast, you’re gonna spiral into hyperventilating or something, okay? You need to calm down.”

“No one needs to do anything.” His words are run together like thin watercolor on paper. “Should I be calming down? Yes. Am I? Not a chance.”

“C’mon, Kook, it’s alright, just breathe. You can calm down, nothing’s wrong, everything is going to be a-okay,” Yoongi reassures him and Jungkook lets out a huffed, stressed laugh.

“I can’t believe you say ‘a-okay’. Are you even real?” Jungkook pushes lightly against Yoongi’s chest. He is warm. Or is Jungkook just cold? He isn’t sure.

“Yep, I’m real,” Yoongi chuckles. “Very real. And you still need to calm down. Deep breaths, yeah? And then you can tell me what’s stressing you out.” Jungkook nods, trying to take even breaths, and when his pulse is finally not at a breakneck speed, and when his hands are no longer trembling, Yoongi gestures for him to speak.

“It’s just- It’s the- the painting. It doesn’t wan-” Yoongi holds up a hand, slowly and carefully, and Jungkook stops mid-sentence.

“You’re going to have to slow down, I can’t understand you," he says and Jungkook nods.

“Okay, okay. Yeah. No. I’m just stressed out. None of the sketches I have are good enough to be turned in for a grade.” Jungkook furrows his eyebrows. “The ones of you are okay, but really unfinished and I can’t exactly draw you for my project.”

“Why not?” Yoongi asks. “If you think they’re alright, then use them. I don’t mind, if it makes it easier for you. It would be kind of cool, actually. See how much my face is worth on a grading scale.”

'Don’t think I could do it justice actually,' Jungkook thinks and then blushes because he really needs to stop now. Stopping is number one on his priority list.

“I don’t have any finished ones, though," Jungkook points out. “And in half of these you can’t even see your face.”

“Well, the sketch isn’t due for two days, right?” Yoongi asks and Jungkook nods. That is the deadline, after all, even if he was going to try to turn it in early so he could get a head start on the painting. “Why don’t you come over to my apartment tomorrow afternoon? I’m free and I’ll model for you, even.”

That could work, now that Jungkook thinks about it. He wouldn’t be able to get ahead, but that’s okay, it would end up being fine. Also, there’s an opportunity to get Yoongi to pose for him and he really wants that.

“Okay," Jungkook nods and Yoongi beams. “Yeah. That’ll work.”

“Good.” Yoongi reaches across Jungkook and flips his sketchbook closed. “But now you’re going to sleep. Go get in bed, Kook. You’re entirely too stressed. I’ll text you my address.”

“Just let me stay a little more,” Jungkook bargains and Yoongi responds by physically dragging him out of his seat, pushing him through the door, and closing it behind him.

Jungkook spends approximately two minutes banging on the door, trying to get Yoongi to let him back in, before giving up and trudging across the campus to where he knows sleep is waiting for him. It’s a more comforting thought than it should be. If Jungkook’s this tired after only a couple days of this routine, he doesn’t know how Yoongi does it. Can’t fathom how Yoongi does it. The only possible explanation for it is that Yoongi’s not human, but his tired mind does not what to think about the possibilities and implications of that.

 


 

True to his word, Jungkook shows up at Yoongi’s apartment the next afternoon after his classes. He’s about to knock on the door, fist raised, when it swings open in front of him and Yoongi is standing there, grinning, and Jungkook is blinking because didn’t there used to be a door there literally half a second ago?

“Hey, you came!” Yoongi greets him, pulling Jungkook inside the apartment by his sleeves.

“Yeah? I said I would.” Jungkook detaches Yoongi from his hoodie and Yoongi slams the door, quickly. Jungkook raises an eyebrow. “What’s up with that?”

“Mm? Oh, if anyone stands in the hallway for more than about a minute, the neighbor’s will take notice. Only if they’re standing in front of my door. And then if I ever run into them they’ll want to grill me on my new ‘relationship’ and if Jin knows I’m cheating on them,” Yoongi shakes his head. “I hate them all, man. You would not believe how many times I’ve explained to them that I’m not dating Jin and they always seem to conveniently forget that.”

“Sounds stressful,” Jungkook remarks and Yoongi nods.

“Oh, definitely. Especially when Jin is around and someone decides to bring it up and well… Jin is a very affectionate person that likes to see me suffer. I’m not even kidding. One time someone asked if we were dating at a barbecue and Jin went full on make out mode and then turned around and said no,” Yoongi huffs. “Like, platonic affection should totally be normalized, but now everyone here thinks I’m a weird fuck-up that can’t get his relationships in order.”

“Well, y’know,” Jungkook shrugs.

“I know what?” Yoongi asks, looking confused.

“Just y’know,” Jungkook says, afraid to nod because that might start the head bob cycle all over again.

“I don’t know actually. I’m sorry," Yoongi laughs.

“No, it’s good. You bring your art stuff?” Yoongi questions and Jungkook places a hand over his heart.

“What kind of self-hating artist do you think I am? Of course I did.” He pats his messenger bag. “Got everything I’ll ever need in here.”

“Alright, well, I guess we’re good. I’ve been told that my kitchen has excellent lighting by a few artists if you want to go in there, but we can go anywhere, pretty much," Yoongi says and Jungkook shrugs.

“Kitchen works for me.” Yoongi reaches out to take his arm again, thinks the better of it, and lets his hand back down to his side, leading Jungkook to the kitchen without contact. He was right, it did have good lighting, surprisingly good lighting for a kitchen in an apartment. “Out of curiosity, who were the artists who liked this lighting? Were they you and Seokjin ssi?”

“No! Maybe. Yes,” Yoongi admits sheepishly. “Look, I’ve had people that aren’t artists say that the lighting is great. Jimin, for one.”

“Who’s Jimin?” Jungkook questions, setting down his sketchbook with a dull thud.

“Oh, yeah, you haven’t met him yet. I’ll get him to sit with us at lunch sometime, he’s great.” Yoongi stands awkwardly next to the table. “Anything I can get you? Or me? For modelling? I don’t know what I’m doing?”

“You might want to get some water, this might take a while. And I’ll tell you what you need to do, don’t worry about it,” Jungkook instructs and Yoongi nods, filling a glass with water from the sink before sitting down. He nearly falls out of his chair. “Hyung, you’re going to have to calm down. You’re going to hurt yourself.”

Yoongi laughs. “Probably. Okay, tell me how to sit now. Like this?” He strikes a ridiculous pose and Jungkook snorts.

“You’ll get tired like that. Here, sit like this.” Jungkook assumes the proper form and Yoongi follows suit, head tilted up. His shirt is slipping down over his shoulder and yellow sunlight is pooling in the well of his collarbone. Jungkook bites the eraser of his pencil and flips open to a new page of paper.

One and a half hours later, Yoongi is trying very hard not to shake in his pose and Jungkook is still drawing, gnawing on his pencil again. Conversation went out the window during the first fifteen minutes when Yoongi realized that Jungkook couldn’t concentrate and chat at the same time. And now, Jungkook is so deep into his self-dubbed ‘art mode’ that he doesn’t hear the door to the apartment enter and someone walk up behind him.

“Looks good.” Jungkook jumps, throwing his sketchbook halfway across the room and barely managing to keep a hold on his pencil. Seokjin snorts. “Oh, sorry, didn’t mean to startle you.” Yoongi breaks his pose to laugh as Jungkook stands up to retrieve his notebook.

“Jin, what exactly did you expect?” Yoongi asks and Seokjin shrugs.

“I didn’t see you warning me about them,” Jungkook points out. Yoongi crosses his arms defensively, pouting.

“Hey, I was zoned out, okay? I was too deep into the black hole of modeling to notice anything else," Yoongi defends himself and Jungkook chuckles.

“Sorry for interrupting, though," Seokjin apologizes. “Looks good, though. Ten out of ten, would scare Kookie to look again.” Jungkook sticks out his tongue and Seokjin raises an eyebrow in response.

“Do you live here?” Jungkook asks because it would make sense, wouldn’t it? With everything Yoongi has told him, plus the two are basically best friends.

“Pff, no,” Seokjin chuckles. “Of course not, I’ve just got a key.”

“I don’t know how they got it,” Yoongi stage whispers and Jungkook covers his mouth to keep from laughing.

“Yoongi, one night in first year in the art room, you fell asleep. I had to carry you back to your apartment and dig the key out of your back pocket. This happened again. And again. And again. And I got tired of fondling your ass, hard to imagine, I know, but it happened. I got a copy of your key made while you were asleep and put the original on the kitchen table," Seokjin explains. Yoongi shakes his head and Seokjin looks annoyed. “I’ve literally told you this story before.”

“And I still don’t believe you,” Yoongi says.

“Is it because of the ass thing? Look, Yoongi, I’ve told you before, you have like two pairs of jeans that make you look good and you never wear them.” Seokjin holds up their hands in a mock defense, palms out. “You literally can’t blame me here. I hate to admit this but you have a better ass than me--"

"That’s because you got a flat a--" Yoongi interjects.

Seokjin raises his voice a bit to loud so he can overlap Yoongi's sneaky remark as he continues, "--so it's really such a waste of good asset."

“I don’t think I’m ever going to understand your friendship," Jungkook remarks, bemused.

“All you need to know,” Seokjin claps him on the shoulder, “is that this guy may be tiny but I'm the cuter one.”

Yoongi huffs. “I beg to differ," he sniffs. “I don’t see Jungkookie sketching you for a project.”

“Please leave me out of this,” Jungkook pleads. “I am an innocent bystander who does not need this right now or any other time.”

“Fine, fine, truce?” Yoongi offers, stretching out his hand.

“Truce,” Seokjin takes it, shaking lightly. “But we’re picking this up later, believe me.”

“I wouldn’t expect any less from you, don’t disappoint me now.” Yoongi shakes his head as Seokjin lets go.

“Of course not," Seokjin nods, clicking their tongue. “How could you think I would? I’m a perfect model of a human being,” Jungkook snorts and Seokjin turns toward him. “You got something to say?”

“No, no, of course not.” Jungkook shakes his head, hands up. “I think you’re perfect.” Seokjin nods in approval. Yoongi groans loudly, cracking his neck with a quick roll.

“This is more stressful than you’d imagine. Modeling? Painful too. You need me to get back in position?” Yoongi asks and Jungkook looks down at the sketch.

“No, we should be good. They’re a couple of details that I can fill in with a picture of you, I don’t want to hurt you anymore by staying still like a statue, hyung," Jungkook says and Yoongi waves him off.

“Yeah, I’ll text you later. And don’t worry about hurting me, no beauty without pain, right?” Yoongi grimaces. “I hate that saying. It’s horrible. God, it’s so bad.”

“Really gross," Seokjin agrees, shaking their head. “Like, the absolute worst. Disgusting. Reinforcing the patriarchy with sayings. The fuckers. Hate them all.”

“It’s bad. And it’s been getting worse when it should be getting better,” Jungkook chimes in and they fall quietly introspective. It lasts for a minute and a half before Yoongi clears his throat and offers up a few rounds of Mario Kart. Jungkook, priding himself on not being a total idiot, takes him up on it.

They end up not going to the studio that night and Jungkook doesn’t leave Yoongi’s apartment until 10:30 in the evening.

 


 

Jungkook pushes into the studio the next evening, coffees in hands, and finds Yoongi, head in his hands and surrounded by messy piles of paper.

“What’s up, hyung?” He asks, setting down the paper cup with a small noise. Yoongi groans and looks up.

“This story. I can’t tell if it’s cohesive. Or simple enough for kids to understand.” He drags a hand over his eyes. “Writing for children is hard, Kook. I literally hate them.”

“Aw, don’t be like that, hyung," Jungkook slips into his chair. “If you want, you can read it to me. I have the attention span of a toddler most of the time, so it’ll be like a test run.”

“Really?” Yoongi brightens and smiles so wide, his gums are showing. Jungkook is absolutely charmed by the sight, causing him to smile as he nods. “That would be great.” He pushes the papers together, rifling through them quickly. “Okay, so keep in mind that this is a really, really rough plan and it’s not anywhere close to being done.”

“You’re not supposed to tear down your work before you present it," Jungkook reminds and Yoongi rolls his eyes.

“That’s like, literally impossible, okay? Do you know how hard it is to think your own work is actually any good?” Yoongi asks, fiddling with the paper in his hands, creasing and uncreasing corners, smearing the small lines of graphite into small patches of grey.

“I think you forget that I’m an artist too. You witnessed one of my work breakdowns, those happen more than I’d like to admit," Jungkook smiles softly at Yoongi. “But I’m sure your story is great. Anything you do is great, trust me.”

“You sound like Jin,” Yoongi groans, but he’s blushing, pinky peach on pale cheeks. Sunset at the beach when the sand is white and the sky is painted in glowing pink.

Pretty.

“Is that a compliment?” Jungkook questions, unsure, still smiling.

“One of the highest," Yoongi murmurs. “Jin is the best person I’ve ever met, trust me. They’re a treasure. And not in the weird condescending way old ladies say it, but an actual legit treasure.”

With that genuinely endeared look on Yoongi's face, Jungkook wonders how the two met for a brief moment, how Yoongi came to have this mindset about Seokjin. He can see why he would, definitely, but what got it to this point? He doesn’t even know when the two met, he’d hazard before college, though, because they have a camaraderie that has to date back more than four years.

Yoongi claps his hands, pulling Jungkook out of his thoughts. “Okay, enough stalling. You ready?”

“Of course.” Jungkook leans back in his chair, crossing his arms across his chest. “Hit me with it.”

“Once upon a time, there was an artist and there was a boy, but these two were one and the same. A boy artist.” Yoongi licks his lips, slowly, and Jungkook can clearly see that the artist boy on the page is based off him, with the glasses and the hair and it looks very similar to those sketches Yoongi did of him on that second night. “This boy artist loved to draw. People and plants and animals and anything, really. But one day, he had nothing to draw, not a single thing. So... he packed up his bag with pencils and papers and he set off to find the perfect thing to draw.”

Yoongi’s story is nothing short of amazing, the boy artist ends up travelling all around, sketching multiple things and being disappointed with them, while the subjects are immensely pleased and ask to keep them for themselves. The boy obliges. He gets tired, after a while, and he settles down underneath a tree to nap. He wakes up to another artist boy drawing him, and he, in turn, starts to draw the second boy. It turns out perfectly and both of them are very happy and promise to draw together again sometime.

It also might help that Yoongi is a fantastic story teller, his deep voice is so soothing as he narrates the story and he's also doing all the voices in that children’s book kind of way, exaggerated and slightly ridiculous, but perfect. Too perfect. Jungkook never actually read a ton of books gauged toward children when he was one, but he can see the appeal of this story, and he’s sure that it’s going to do great when Yoongi gets it published, because there’s no way he won’t.

He praises Yoongi, voices everything that was so good, so all of it. He voices all of it. Yoongi blushes, peaches and cream. Pastel. Pink. Perfect.

Jeon Jungkook is definitely Gone with a capital ‘g’, and really he’s just mad at himself. He doesn’t long after people, never has, and now here he is flipping through a children’s book written about him and trying not to look up at Yoongi because that gummy smile will make him say something he'll regret, he knows it. Damn it. Pine is a type of tree, not an emotion reserved for over-excitable happy pretty boys with blond hair.

Their lives go on after this, a continuation of the studio nights and coffee and lunch dates that aren’t really dates even though Jungkook would like them to be. Jungkook gets his rough sketch back, a red one hundred written on the back in pen, and he starts transferring it to the canvas. God, he really hates painting.

Yoongi is doing yet another mock-up, a more professional one, he explains.

And then something unprecedented happens. Jungkook gets to the studio before Yoongi.

It’s odd, that kind of feeling you get when you’re in a large store at 11:30 at night and there is no one else around. Jungkook feels like he shouldn’t be here, but he shakes it off and sits down at his desk. Opens his notebook. Starts to press pencil to paper.

The door bursts open, suddenly, and Jungkook breaks the graphite, splintering on the paper, as Seokjin stands, panting in the doorway.

“Are you ok-” Jungkook begins to ask, worried, but then Seokjin is rushing over to him and pulling him up from the chair, both hands closed around his collar. If Jungkook didn’t know any better, this would look like a scene in a romantic movie where the main character goes to reclaim their lost love interest.

“Shape the fuck up and stop being such a damn circle!” Seokjin orders, voice raised, and that kind of shatters Jungkook’s relation to any sort of romantic movie. “Ask Yoongichi out! Square up, fucker!”

“What?” Jungkook manages and Seokjin sighs, releasing Jungkook’s shirt to press a hand against their face.

“You have to ask him out. At this rate, you’re both going to die before anything happens,” Seokjin rolls their eyes. “I’d rather have one of you alive for the wedding, yeah? And at this rate, Yoongi's going to die before he gets out of college simply due to lack of sleep so you need to step up your efforts. Get your head in the game, son!”

“I’m sorry?” Jungkook says, again, bewildered. Seokjin huffs.

“You’re going to kill me. You like him. I know you like him. Literally everyone knows you like him except for him. You. Just. Have. To. Go. For. It," Seokjin punctuates every word by poking Jungkook in the chest. “Seriously. Dude. You have an opportunity here, Yoongi is the best person in the entire damn world, and if you don’t take it, you’re going to kick yourself forever. Alright, you got it?”

Jungkook shrugs. “I guess-”

Seokjin cuts him off again. “Okay, good, nice chat, great to see you again, gotta dash before Yoongi comes and kick my ass!” They kiss their fingers and raise them in a salute. “Get that poor little dumpling! Give him your whole damn heart, that tiny guy deserves nothing less! Alright, see you!” They leave the room as quickly as they entered it and Jungkook is left, standing, with a dull pencil in his hand.

He’s still stuck like this when Yoongi rushes in, gasping, face bright red.

“Hey, hi, hi, hello, sorry," he says between breaths. “Jin fucking- they threw my keys out my window and then ran, sorry, they can be horrible. But they landed on my neighbor’s balcony, somehow, I don’t know, but I had to go over there and then she wouldn’t let me leave and kept saying I reminded her of her husband and showed me pictures of him from the war and then said that the moon-landing was faked and I think I should move. I think she’s planning on killing me. Did you know she was also an avid fan of taxidermy because I didn’t until she showed me the corpses of her eighteen cats.”

“I’d be less worried about her killing you and more about her killing you, then stuffing you and keeping you in her apartment as a tribute to her dead husband,” Jungkook points out. Yoongi looks slightly horrified.

“Why did… why did your mind immediately go to that? Should I be worried about you instead? I can introduce you to Jangmi ssi, you’ll probably remind her of her dead brother, or something. You’ll have a friend and then you won’t have to talk to me about this.” Yoongi is trying to look serious, face set in a hard line, but his eyes are shining with unvoiced laughter.

Jungkook said that mainly because Yoongi mentioned about the lady who apparently makes cat mummies for a hobby, and frankly, Yoongi looks like a cat, so there's a chance he's going to be the lady's target. Well, that and, “Look, okay, we had to read this short story in high-school about a woman that stuffed people and it stuck with me.” Jungkook holds up his hands. “Blame my Literature teacher, not me.”

“Sure, as if you didn’t lobby to read that.” Yoongi slides his sketchbook onto the desk. “I think I read that story, though. Part of it, at least. It freaked me the fuck out," Jungkook snorts. Anyone who wasn’t freaked out by that story was at least partly a psychopath. “But now you know that if I go missing, you should check Jangmi ssi's apartment. And then Jin’s apartment.”

“You think Seokjin ssi would stuff you?” Jungkook asks, eyebrow raised, skeptical. Yoongi shrugs.

“I don’t know. Maybe. Never place bets on what you think Jin is going to do, they’ll just end up doing something you never even considered.” Yoongi shakes his head.

“You sound experienced with that,” Jungkook remarks and Yoongi huffs, sitting down. Jungkook follows him.

“You have no idea.” Yoongi launches into a story, but Jungkook is only half-listening. He’s a little pre-occupied by Yoongi’s face, Seokjin’s words ringing in his ears. What the hell is he supposed to do now?

Seokjin comes in a couple of hours later, gets into a brief squabble with Yoongi over the keys but it’s not exactly awkward after that. Though Seokjin keeps giving Jungkook pointed looks whenever Yoongi isn’t looking. Jungkook pointedly ignores them.

 


 

Jungkook turns in his completed painting two weeks after the 'taxidermy incident', as it’s been dubbed, and he decides to celebrate. It’s Friday, after all, he’s allowed to loosen up a little bit. So, he skips going to the studio that night and instead plays Tetris in his apartment. Alone. And he might get more than a little angry. And he might get more than a little drunk. And he might give up on playing Tetris at a quarter after midnight and he might try to text Yoongi.

 

To: Kitty hyung

morning hyung :D

 

From: Kitty hyung

it’s been morning for fifteen minutes. you get fed up with tetris?

 

To: Kitty hyung

tetris can go die (:

 

From: Kitty hyung

jfc how drunk are you? the juncock I know would never insult tetris like this

*jungkook oh my gosh, but I like juncock more

 

To: Kitty hyung

call me juncock and youll end up in the pit w tetris

 

From: Kitty hyung

okay drunk you is scary

 

To: Kitty hyung

thx

 

From: Kitty hyung

that’s horrifying, jungkook

let me sleep now, I dont need these nightmares

 

To: Kitty hyung

but hyung, what am i suppposed to do?

who else amj supposed to talk to yoongi ssi? who else caN i talk to about tetris???????????

 

From: Kitty hyung

go pester jin

zzzzzz

 

To: Kitty hyung

kk

 

To: Seokjin ssi

greetings seokjin ssi!! yoongi ssi told me to talk to you

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Aight. How was tetris?

 

To: Seokjin ssi

whereis the knife emoji i can not find it but it accurately sums up tetris right now

 

From: Seokjin ssi

I think I like drunk you

 

To: Seokjin ssi

pffffffff no i dont even like sober me you dont like drunk me

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Sure I do

What’s up with you and the kitten tho? You need to make some /moves/

 

To: Seokjin ssi

nah

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Nah?

Why nah?

 

To: Seokjin ssi

bcozzzz im not for hom

*jim

*him

 

From: Seokjin ssi

You’re kidding, right?

 

To: Seokjin ssi

im a mess. yoongi doesnt need a mess hes too pretty for rhat

he needs a mop t oo many messes alreadu

he doesn’t need a twenty something year oldthat cant make hsi mind up about secx

heck ignore that pleasthsnks

 

From: Seokjin ssi

I’m sorry if I’m intruding but..

You’re ace?

 

To: Seokjin ssi

no where did you get that idea nope no definitely not i am fine with it fine with

haha

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Dude. it’s good. you’re good. everything’s fine

 

To: Seokjin ssi

ssssssure

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Is that what you’re worried about with Yoongi?

You think he’ll be weirded out?

Won’t accept you?

 

To: Seokjin ssi

maybe. i don’t know. Maybe

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Yoongi is literally the most chill and openminded person about gender identities and sexualities, no joke

He was the fourth person I came out to and the first to accept me, dude. He won’t think of you any differently

 

To: Seokjin ssi

ive been told that beforre seokjin ssi

like not

not good

 

From: Seokjin ssi

You’re gonna have to trust me on this, it’ll be fine.

And btw, just call me jin idc about honorifics

Are you okay?

 

To: Seokjin ssi

might be crying might be the alcohol not sure anymore

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Maybe don’t drink alone anymore. And get some sleep. 

 

To: Seokjin ssi

kkk night

and thank u

 


 

To: Seokjin ssi

sorry about last night, apparently it was a sad drunk kind of evening.

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Don’t sweat it :)

You should go tho

Go get ya man boi

 

To: Seokjin ssi

but like

that’s hard

and he doesnt like me like that, you know that

 

From: Seokjin ssi

He literally wrote a book about you, man. Like. Wrote. A. Fucking. Book. There's no way this isn't some cliche rom-com setup

 

To: Seokjin ssi

people write books about their friends all the time. most children's books are written about friends

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Do you want me to strangle you because I will, I SWEAR. Get in gear i literally told you to ask him out two months ago. you need to push this along

 

To: Seokjin ssi

look okay he doesnt flirt he only does like friendly compliments

and tells me that I look good but he tells that to everybody okay

 

From: Seokjin ssi

YOU DENSE FUCKER

WHAT IS WROG WIT HYOU YES THAT IS FLIRTING,,,,

I AM GOING TO COME OVER THERE AND KICK YOUR ASS YOU HEAR ME?? YOU LITTLE SHIT THAT IS FLIRTING MOTHER OF GOD JEON ‘NEVER INTERACTED WITH A CUTE LOVEABLE PERSON BEFORE’ JUNGKOOK I LEGIT HATE YOU I HOPE YOU CHOKE I HOPE YOU CHOK E AND DIE AND CONFESS YOUR LOVE ON YOUR DEATH BED YOU OBLIVIOUS FUCK

 

To: Seokjin ssi

jin calm down

 

From: Seokjin ssi

HOW CAN I WHEN YOURE SO…

GOD I WOULD LIKE VERY MUCH FOR YOU TO ChOKE ON A GODDAMN PUDDING CUP OR YOU KNWO WHAT MAYBE SOME APPLESAUCE BECAUSE YOU’RE ACTING LIKE A DAMN KINDERGARTENER FANCY FOOTING YOUR WAY AROUND YOUR CRUSHES

THE WORST PERSON I HAVE EVER KNOWN JEON ‘CAN’T FUCKING COPE WITH HIS FEELINGS BECAUSE HE’S STUPID AND OBLIVIOUS AND HIS SELF ESTEEM IS ABOUT THE SIZE OF A FROZEN GOD DAMN PEA’ JUNGKOOK

 

From: Seokjin ssi

now youre just being rude

mean meanie meanie mean

gosh danny darn dinging wing ding wig wam dinner deck dally dab meanie

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Did you have a stroke? Do you even know what dabbing is?

Do you

Do you know what dabbing is?

 

To: Seokjin ssi

isn’t it when you wave your arms around all chaotically?

 

From: Seokjin ssi

Jeon motherfucking jungkook

That’s flailing

Okay, Jungkook. Do not try to woo the cat with dancing. You’ll only push him away.

 


 

Jeon ‘yes, hello, my name is Jeon Jungkook and I have never once had an interaction with a human that didn’t emotionally scar me or leave somebody crying and subsequently, I have no idea how to receive compliments or pick up on the clues that people are flirting with me, but that's mostly because I am oblivious to social cues and have no idea how regular people talk to each other like humans, whereas I carry myself more like a bird that doesn’t quite know it’s a bird, but definitely knows it’s not human and gets sad very easily thinking of minor things’ Jungkook, as Seokjin has dubbed him as of late, continues to not act on his feelings for three weeks.

Jeon ‘doesn’t understand that asking people to go bowling is definitely a date and Yoongi slinging an arm around him whenever they are within two feet of each other is definitely flirting’ Jungkook continues to ignore countless gestures from Seokjin whenever he and Yoongi are in the same room together.

Jeon "I told Yoongi that I was asexual during a very spirited game of Mario Kart and he ended up yelling “Great job, me too, now you better not throw that fucking blue shell because I swear to god, Kook, I will end you!” and then afterwards wrapped me in a hug and told me that I was fine and valid and perfectly amazing and then he apologized for making me cry and ordered us pizza and I don’t know where the line between a Mario Kart night and a date night even begins' Jungkook continues to pine even though he will never admit it to anyone but himself.

Jeon ‘I did not know how to properly respond to a compliment Yoongi made, so I ran away and did not talk to Yoongi for three days while also stressing myself out and managing to get absolutely nothing done because I was stressing myself out over a compliment because I am a perfectly functional member of society, fucking sike’ Jungkook continues to dance around the situation, somehow managing to be as indiscreet as possible about something he’s trying to be discreet about, but Yoongi never notices.

Jeon ‘I accidentally wore skinny jeans and Yoongi complimented me so I ran away again and ended up on the roof, nearly fell off the roof, and had to call Yoongi to come and open the door so I could come back down because the door locked behind me and there is definitely nothing wrong with me, this is how normal people interact, normal people can’t take compliments, normal people nearly throw themselves off roofs and then awkwardly stand in an art studio for three hours because Yoongi locked the doors so I can’t leave and now he’s bombarding me with compliments and he’s made me promise I can’t say anything but ‘thank you’ and I think I’m going to die because he is simply too sweet and too nice’ Jungkook continues to be a coward motherfucker.

It’s not really something he can help, though. Seokjin has determined that it’s written too deeply into his genetic code to be fixed.

Jungkook getting to the studio has become a more often occurrence nowadays. Mostly because Seokjin trips up Yoongi or does something so they can have a chance alone to threaten Jungkook with bodily harm if he doesn’t get his ass in gear, but that’s neither here nor there.

Jungkook’s staring at his phone, reading texts from Seokjin that are an odd mix of emojis, threats, and variations on ‘I love you, but Jesus Christ’. It’s not the worst conversation he’s ever had. As Jungkook reaches the studio doors and he hears a squeak, like shoes on the slick floor. He looks up just in time to see Yoongi careen around the corner and slam into him.

The floor is very cold.

But the coffee is very hot.

“Oh my God, I’m so sorry!” Yoongi is laughing and when Jungkook brings his head up, he’s on a similar position on the floor, sprawled out and covered in coffee. “Oh my God, I’m the worst, I’m so sorry.”

“It’s fine, really!” Jungkook reassures him, sitting upright. The coffee is spreading all over the floor and the two cups lay crushed and sideways. “I locked myself on the roof, I think we’re even.”

“Practically made for each other, yeah?” Yoongi jokes, grinning, and Jungkook blanks. If his mind was a landscape, there would be a sole tumbleweed drifting across it. There’s a lapse in the conversation, a lull, a drop of silence, and Jungkook can’t stand something like this, where he should be responding, but can’t and he blurts the first thing that comes to his mind.

“Marry me.” In the clarity of a few seconds later, he realizes that it probably was not the best thing for him to say, but it was said and Yoongi is still smiling.

“I think you’d have to take me on a date first.” Yoongi stands, shakily, trying not to slip in the coffee. He offers Jungkook a hand up, which Jungkook takes.

“Well, you know. We are out of coffee,” Jungkook gestures down. “And we need some more,” Yoongi smiles so widely it looks like his face might crack.

“Yeah. Yeah, coffee, date, coffee date. Let’s do it. We’re going to do it,” Yoongi nods and Jungkook takes his arm, guiding him around the coffee and leading him down the hallway to the stairs. “We’re actually doing it, oh my God. I wasn’t expecting this. I didn’t plan this, i swear, I never wanted to cover you in coffee.”

“It’s okay, really. And trust me, hyung, I don’t think you’re that devious,” Jungkook laughs. “But come to think of it, the stairs are on this side of the building…”

“There’s an elevator on the other side, Jungkook. C’mon, we’re going to have to hurry this up, otherwise I’ll fall asleep in your arms before we even get to the coffee shop.”

 


 

From: Seokjin ssi

Boys being boys. Getting coffee alone together. Boys being great friends

Where’s the knife emoji Jungkook I need it right now

 

To: Seokjin ssi

Boys being on dates

 

From: Seokjin ssi

WELL SCRATCH THAT WHERE’S THE ONE HUNDRED EMOJI

PROUD OF YOU TWO BTW

CONGRATU HECKING LATIONS

WHY AM I TEXTING YOU YOU’RE ON A DATE IGNORE ME BUT HAVE FUN DON’T DIE I’M VERY PROUD OF BOTH OF YOU OKAY GOING NOW ONE MORE TIME I’M VERY PROUD AND HAPPY AND HAVE A GREAT TIME BOTH OF YOU ARE GREAT PEOPLE OKAY BYE FOR REAL NOW