"Jimin,” Taehyung groaned, sitting cross-legged on his bed, wrapped in a crumpled blanket, “His fucking arms.”
He buried his face in his hands wondering if there was a way to go a whole year back in time and tell himself to wait literally two seconds before walking into the lecture hall so he wouldn’t walk straight into the most gorgeous boy he’d ever seen. Or convince his mind not to notice his wide, startled doe eyes that made him feel a certain way, or his sharp jawline, soft cheeks, his coral red lips, or the way his front teeth, peeking out from under his upper lip along with his pale pink oversized hoodie made him look so adorable he wanted to cry.
Or at least to tell himself to get a fucking mind-to-mouth filter, and apologize like a normal person instead of staring blankly at him for a good five seconds before quietly booping his nose, whispering, “Bunny!”
Jimin, his roommate and best friend, had laughed his head off when Taehyung told him about it that night, quickly recognizing the boy as Jungkook, the new kid on their dance team. Jimin loved drama, and Taehyung hadn’t known if he should rejoice or curl up in a ball of embarrassment and die.
He had lost count of how many times he tried to talk to Jungkook ever since, asking for help he didn’t really need for an essay, or maybe offer some candy. Once he even read a whole book because he saw it on Jungkook’s desk, just to have something to talk to him about, only for Jungkook to flinch, stammer, look pointedly away, like every single time he’d tried before, and tell him politely, in that beautiful breathy voice, that he wasn’t sure about the essay himself (Liar. He got an A+.), that he didn’t like sweet things (Liar. He visited the ice cream place off campus far too often wearing those comfortable looking hoodies.), that he decided not to read the book after all (Liar. Taehyung had seen the bookmark travel down the pages until the end.)
At some point, Taehyung had tried to give up. Jungkook hated him anyway. He wasn’t going to keep bugging him and make it worse. It probably just wasn’t meant to be. Fate, destiny, all of that.
As the chilly breeze of spring turned into a leisurely warm summer, all of Taehyung’s efforts went downhill when, one exceptionally fine day, Jungkook walked into class wearing, not another oversized hoodie, but a white half-sleeved t-shirt revealing his beautiful, veiny forearms and biceps that flexed even as he simply fixed his hair, and Taehyung wanted to drop down to his knees.
Honestly, it wasn’t even about his major, all-consuming crush at this point. He wasn’t expecting Jungkook to suddenly realize that he ‘like’ liked Taehyung too. It just really hurt to be hated by someone he had come to care so much for. All he wanted was a fair chance to apologize, perhaps to have some mutually non-escapist conversation. He wouldn’t even dare to hope to be friends.
All he wanted was a fair chance to talk. Was that really too much to ask?
Taehyung shook his head, willing himself not to wallow in self-pity again.
“He’s so hot, Jimin,” Taehyung let out a dramatic sigh, pulling his blanket like a hood over his head, “I wanna bite him.”
Jimin nodded, not looking up from where he was typing furiously on his phone.
“Park! Ji! Min!” Taehyung tried again.
“I’m listening,” Jimin mumbled, frowning at the screen, clearly not paying attention.
“Jiminie is a meanie,” Taehyung pouted.
“Ugh, alright,” Jimin rolled his eyes, putting his phone down, “So, did you finally talk to your Jungkook?”
“My- Wha- talk to him?!” Taehyung spluttered, “He can’t even look at me without flinching. You know that.”
“Maybe,” Jimin began slowly, “maybe he’s just- I dunno- shy?”
“Yeah, right.” Taehyung scoffed, pulling his blanket over his head, “It’s been over half a year. He hates me, and I’m not going to make it worse.”
“Sure,” Jimin bit the insides of his lips to hold back a smirk, “You were saying…?”
“Oh god, Jimin,” Taehyung groaned, “He wears short-sleeved shirts every single goddamn day now, and ugh, his arms are just so fucking unfair. I just wanna suck his dick.”
“You should come and visit the studio,” Jimin laughed, “He sometimes takes his shirt off when he gets too sweaty.”
Taehyung’s mind decided to create a tempting image of a shirtless dancer Jungkook with dark eyes and sweat-damp hair, and almost whimpered, faceplanting onto his pillow.
Jimin laughed. The nerve.
“But you’re coming to the group study at Jin and Joon hyungs’ place tomorrow, right?” Jimin sat up on his bed, groping his desk blindly for his phone’s charger.
“Is he going?” Taehyung mumbled into his pillow.
“I guess,” Jimin scrolled through something on his phone, “Jin hyung said it’s the two of them, two of us, Jungkook, Hobi-hyung and Yoongi-hyung.”
“Hmm, I’ll stay back this time,” Taehyung responded sleepily.
“No, you won’t,” Jimin countered, walking over to his bed, “Remember how you clicked a picture of Jungkook when he fell asleep in class and I promised I wouldn’t tell him anything?”
Taehyung pulled the covers down to this nose so he could look at Jimin, now glaring down at him, eyes narrowed, “Ye-s…?”
“Maybe I should, y’know, reconsider that promise,” Jimin continued, mischief bright in his eyes, “What do you think?”
Taehyung stared. Jimin wouldn’t really do that. Even though he and Jungkook were close friends and on the same dance team, even though… Jimin wouldn’t really tell him…or would he?
“Fine,” Taehyung sighed, “What do you want?”
“Ungrateful brat,” Jimin began, exasperated, “I’m doing this for you and your future boyfriend’s happiness.”
“Yeah, yeah,” Taehyung waived him off, impatiently, “What do you want from me?”
“There’s a bunch of summer sales going on, and I want you to come shopping with me tomorrow morning,” Jimin paused.
Taehyung blinked. That’s it?
“You didn’t have to blackmail me for that, Jiminie,” Taehyung couldn’t help feeling a little hurt. They were best friends, right? Of course he’d go shopping with Jimin.
“Yeah, no. That’s not all. You’re going to try on all the clothes I ask you to. Then you’re going to let me buy you clothes of my choice.”
“Also, we’re getting your hair dyed,” Jimin concluded.
“My h- I mean, not that I mind, but, like, why?”
“Because I said so,” Jimin responded pompously, with a suspicious smirk.
Great. Taehyung wondered briefly what colour Jungkook would like, before realizing it wouldn’t matter. It wasn’t like Jungkook would even look at him.
“Um. Question?” Taehyung sat up slowly, “What do you get from this?”
“I dunno,” Jimin sighed, “Inner peace?”
“Blue,” Taehyung sighed, climbing the last flight of stairs to Namjoon and Seokjin’s apartment, “I can’t believe you convinced me to dye my hair blue.”
“I can’t believe you let me,” Jimin snickered, ruffling Taehyung’s newly dyed hair.
“I wanna go home,” Taehyung mumbled glumly, elbowing Jimin in the ribs, “I look like a freak.”
“No, you don’t,” Jimin responded, firmly, “You look beautiful. Like a sexy little blue fairy. Trust me.”
Taehyung wanted to trust him. He really did, but all he felt was awkward in the loose, creamy-white top with the neck too wide for his introverted tastes, and light blue jeans that hugged the skin so tight that Taehyung felt naked. He scoffed. Trust Jimin to mess with him, more like.
“I’m serious. You look great,” Jimin turned to face Taehyung as they reached the front door, “Confidence, yeah? Oh, and if you don’t go and sit beside him, I’m telling everyone you painted a portrait of Jungkook for your acrylics project.”
“You wouldn’t,” Taehyung laughed as he rang the doorbell, “I’m your best friend and soulmate.”
“Try me, bish,” Jimin narrowed his eyes, smirking, and Taehyung would be lying if he said he wasn’t suddenly very nervous. God, why was he even friends with this miniature incarnation of Evil.
The door clicked open to reveal a very annoyed Seokjin.
“You’re literally over an hour late,” Seokjin stated, exhaustion evident in his voice. Taehyung wondered if Namjoon had set their kitchen on fire again.
“Yea, well,” Jimin began, guiltily, gesturing to Taehyung’s hair and clothes, “We got a little caught up.”
Seokjin tilted his head with a slight frown, studying Taehyung’s new look before stepping aside with a curt nod, “Good work, Jimin-ah.”
Taehyung followed Jimin into the living room where Namjoon, Hoseok, Yoongi and Jungkook were sitting on the carpet around a long, low table, laughing.
Jungkook was wearing one of his loose, black t-shirts, smiling like the gorgeous angel bunny that he was. Taehyung didn’t want to see it. He didn’t want to watch the way the Jungkook’s eyes lit up with he laughed at something Namjoon said. He didn’t want to notice the way muscles of his biceps flexed, the way the veins in his forearms popped when he erased something in this notebook. Taehyung had seen it all. He didn’t want to see the way Jungkook smiled at everyone but him.
So he looked away. Fixing his gaze on the empty spot beside Jungkook, completely missing the way Jungkook lost track of his words the moment Taehyung walked in. He missed the way Jungkook’s eyes widened, eyebrows disappearing into his bangs, the way his lips remained parted as he drew in a sharp breath, the unfinished sentence catching in his throat. He missed the way Jungkook tensed, fingers tightening around the eraser in his hand, swallowing hard as Taehyung stepped over a stray worksheet, making his way towards him.
“Jungkook?” Taehyung spoke up, tentatively. Jungkook snapped out of his daze and blinked slowly up at him from where he sat on the carpet a little away.
“Hi,” Jungkook breathed, quickly looking down at the worksheet on the floor. Taehyung grit his teeth. Great. So Jungkook wasn’t even going to look at him.
“Can I sit there?” Taehyung asked softly, willing his voice to stay steady as he pointed to the empty space beside Jungkook.
The tense silence in the room was uncharacteristic when the seven of them were in a single room. Honestly, fuck Jimin. He was probably having a good laugh while Taehyung messed up all over again with the guy he really, really liked.
Jungkook made an awkward sound, then cleared his throat. He still wasn’t looking up, but Taehyung could see that his ears were bright pink. Perfect. So Jungkook was polite little marshmallow, too embarrassed to actually ask Taehyung to fuck off. He spotted Jimin, silently laughing at his state. Maybe he should leave. This was making things worse and Taehyung felt like he might cry if Jungkook actually asked him to back off.
“S-sure,” Jungkook mumbled. Taehyung nearly jumped at the soft voice, heart stuttering, because how could anyone sound this precious, damn it?
Taehyung hesitated. He would never want to do anything that might make Jungkook uncomfortable. Now Jungkook was awkwardly scratching the back of his head, and all Taehyung wanted was to ruffle his hair.
But that was exactly what he was doing, wasn’t he? He was making Jungkook, sweet, considerate Jungkook uncomfortable, because now, Jungkook couldn’t ask him to sit somewhere else without being rude. This wouldn’t do.
“ I- I mean- I didn’t-” Taehyung stammered. God, why couldn’t he even talk normally around Jungkook, “You don’t have to- I mean, I- I’ll sit over there, yeah?” he made to move towards where Jimin was sitting by the kitchen door, furthest from Jungkook.
“ Wait- No- Please-” Jungkook scrambled forward and gripped the edge of Taehyung’s shirt, then quickly pulled his hand away as if it were burned. Taehyung’s heart was racing, because who allowed this kind of adorableness, as he tried not to focus on how quickly Jungkook had recoiled. Was Taehyung that revolting that Jungkook couldn’t even touch his shirt without flinching?
Taehyung turned to find Jungkook staring up at him, his eyes wide, shining suspiciously bright, as if they were full of galaxies, Taehyung’s stupid mind supplied, and Taehyung froze, idly wondering if his heart was just a speck of broken dust somewhere in there.
Jungkook drew in a shaky breath, “S- sorry- Just- I-” he swallowed thickly, “I want you to…sit with me…if that’s okay…” Jungkook gazed steadily up at Taehyung, even as his voice faded into a whisper, a light blush on his cheeks, and what was Taehyung supposed to say- No?
Taehyung told himself to get a fucking grip as he stepped over the mess of textbooks and highlighters on the floor. He willed his hands not to tremble as he settled down cross-legged beside Jungkook, making sure to maintain that solid two inch gap between them.
Taehyung nearly jumped out of his skin when Hoseok snorted from the other side of the table, facing them, shattering the icy tension.
“Alright, guys!” Namjoon, sitting on Jungkook’s other side, tapped the blunt end of a pencil on the table, “Can we get back to studying now?”
“We all know that differential calculus turns you on, Namjoon-ah” Seokjin sighed, patting Namjoon’s shoulder in fake sympathy, “But you could’ve let us watch the drama of the century for once.”
“God,” Yoongi wrinkled his nose, “Just get a room.”
Taehyung let out an exasperated sigh. Great. Now they were going to tease, and Jungkook would be more uncomfortable than ever. Can this evening just be done now?
“Hyung?” Taehyung held out his open math notebook to Namjoon, ignoring the way the side of his forearm brushed lightly over Jungkook’s, ignoring the way Jungkook froze at the touch, “I can’t get this one right.”
“Oh, hey, Jungkook?” Jimin called out over the quiet jumble of voices, sounding suspiciously overexcited, “You know this one. Why don’t you help Taetae out?”
“U-um,” Jungkook stammered, turning to look at Taehyung, those wide puppy eyes barely inches from his own, and Taehyung didn’t know if he wanted to gently ruffle his hair or kiss him, hard.
“Y-you don’t have to,” Taehyung managed, his mind a little fuzzy from how his knee was now in actual direct contact with Jungkook’s. Why did he always turn into a lovesick twelve-year-old when Jungkook was around?
“No, it’s- it’s okay,” Jungkook took a deep breath, “Which one is it?”
Over the next fifteen minutes, Jungkook spent tried to teach Taehyung differential calculus, and Taehyung tried so hard not to focus on the way Jungkook’s gorgeously thick thighs strained ever so subtly against the fabric of his track pants, or the way he looked up at Taehyung through his eyelashes between sentences, occasionally wetting his coral red lips, or how his voice was slightly breathier than what he remembered.
“...and then you use the negative of the inverted gradient and get the equation for the normal to the curve,” Jungkook concluded, looking up at Taehyung with a small smile. Taehyung wondered if his mind was playing tricks on him or if the light blush on Jungkook’s cheeks was real.
“...So, uh,” Jungkook continued, quickly looking back down at the book. Taehyung mentally smacked himself in the face. Had he seriously been staring at Jungkook throughout? God fucking damnit. Who even does that. Great. Now Jungkook knew for sure that he was a freak and a creep.
Taehyung leaned over to get a better look at Jungkook’s book, “Should I try that one again?”
Jungkook flinched so hard, he promptly dropped his pencil, notebook, and a half-full glass of orange juice on Taehyung.
Taehyung was a theatre kid and was plenty good at keeping up pretences. He had never once in all of one year called Jungkook out on avoiding him, lying to him, hating him, but perhaps everything has that limit.
Maybe it was the orange juice, maybe it was how Jungkook was looking like he’d rather be naked on stage than be sitting beside him, or maybe it was just a whole year of frustration that finally tipped over the line.
“Jungkook,” Taehyung began firmly, ignoring the tears burning at the back of his eyes, “You could’ve just told me you were uncomfortable with me sitting here.”
“Uncomfo- I don’t-” Jungkook looked almost comical, eyes wide, ears an embarrassed red, eyebrows scrunched, voice tight with panic as he held the empty glass shoulder high upside down.
“I would’ve moved,” Taehyung continued, nearly flinching at the cold edge in his own voice.
“W- wait, no,” Jungkook stammered softly, looking like he was barely two seconds from bursting into tears himself, “That’s not- I’m just really, really nervous,” Taehyung heart stuttered at how soft, how vulnerable Jungkook looked, “I’m sorry, I just- I didn’t want you to hate me even more.”
Taehyung blinked. He hate Jungkook?? He shook his head, trying to get his mind around the idea. As if. As if he weren’t halfway in love with him.
“Wai- Wh- I’m sorry, I- What?” Taehyung spluttered, wondering if this was another twisted dream, and if he was going to wake up and realize that the juice, now seeping through his top, was simply water that Jimin poured over him in his evil duty to wake him up, “But you hate me??”
“Why would I hate you?” Jungkook shook his head incredulously, “I like you.”
Taehyung stilled as he watched the realization, the beautiful blush, rising in Jungkook’s face. He swallowed thickly, willing his own cheeks to cool down because this had to be a dream, a trick, a something that would have Taehyung regretting that he believed this was reality.
Jungkook brought his hand to cover his face so quickly that he nearly slapped himself. Taehyung tried in vain to get his racing heart to calm the fuck down goddamnit when Jungkook bit down on his lip, peeking through the gap between his fingers, eyes dark, wide, bright, beautiful.
“U- um,” Jungkook stuttered, snapping Taehyung out of his daze.
“So like,” Taehyung’s voice was barely over a tight whisper, eyes burning with tears as his entire reality crumbled, “you don’t hate me?”
“No, just-” Jungkook chewed on his lip, rocking slightly back and forth before he lunged forward, grabbed Taehyung by the wrist and pulled him up, while Taehyung’s mind spun with a flurry of thoughts, most in disbelief, and some in awe and thirst of Jungkook’s trembling, pretty hands and his strong grip that would feel amazing pinning him down on the bed, or the wall, or the floor. Taehyung wasn’t too particular, “Let’s get you dry clothes.”
“Grab something from the left closet in the bedroom,” Seokjin called out as Taehyung followed Jungkook into the house.
“Sit anywhere,” Jungkook mumbled as they stepped into the bedroom, “I’ll find you something dry.”
Jungkook rummaged through the closet while Taehyung sat down on the floor by the edge of the bed, facing Jungkook’s back, wondering if the dim lights hid his blush at all.
“S-So, like,” Taehyung fidgeted with the edge of his drenched top, “You don’t hate me?”
“Why would I hate you?” Jungkook shook his head, incredulous. Taehyung scoffed. Was Jungkook really that oblivious, or did he just think Taehyung was dumb?
“Oh, I dunno,” Taehyung began, glaring at the back of Jungkook’s right shoulder, “You make it a point to keep a ten-foot distance from me, respond in monosyllables, don’t even look at me when I’m talking to you. See? Even right now, you’re facing away. What am I supposed to think?”
Jungkook froze. Taehyung shut his eyes. Great. Now Jungkook was going to tell him exactly why he hated Taehyung, and Taehyung’s eyes hurt from holding back tears.
“Oh god,” Jungkook’s voice was soft and panicky, and Taehyung’s eyes snapped open.
“That’s- That’s not-” Jungkook’s eyes were wide, intense, desperate, “Taehyung, I swear-”
Taehyung managed not to flinch when Jungkook dropped to his knees in front of him, reaching wiping away a stray tear from his cheek. When had he even started crying? Why was he crying anyway? Stop fucking crying!
“I’m so sorry,” Jungkook repeated, desperation creeping into his voice, “I just get really, really nervous.”
Taehyung looked away, focusing on anything but the gentleness in Jungkook’s gaze, the tenderness with which he wiped away Taehyung’s tears because this wasn’t real. It couldn’t be.
“When am I going to wake up?” Taehyung whispered into the empty space in the room.
“I’m so sorry,” Jungkook repeated, “I really do l-like you.”
Taehyung swallowed. Would the universe be cruel enough to put him through through this whole illusion, only to snatch it away when he woke up? Would he even remember this dream?
“I guess I didn’t want you to know that,” Jungkook’s voice was tight, “Didn’t want you to hate me for it.”
Taehyung drew in a sharp breath. Not once had Taehyung even imagined hating Jungkook.
“I’d never hate you,” Taehyung looked up, confused, “I don’t think I can ever hate you.”
“But- I don’t- I like you,” Jungkook repeated, a dark blush rising on his cheeks, softened in the dim light, “Taehyung, I really like you. Doesn’t that creep you out?”
“No, it doesn’t,” Taehyung insisted, fighting down the euphoria, trying to ignore the way his heart skipped a beat every time Jungkook said he liked him, “I- u- um- I really like you too, Jungkook. Is that…okay?”
“Are you…sure?” Jungkook asked, quietly.
Taehyung laughed, his voice cracking. Was he sure he was in love with the love of his life?
“Yes, Jungkook,” Taehyung bit down on his lip, trying to swallow past the lump in his throat.
“Noo, don’t do that,” Jungkook whined all at once, hiding his face with the back of his hand.
“Do what?” Taehyung frowned.
“Don’t bite your lip like that,” Jungkook elaborated, “It- It makes me want…stuff.”
Taehyung stared. God, if this was a dream, could he at least kiss Jeon Jungkook before he woke up? If this was a dream, was he allowed to let go?
“What sort of…stuff?” Taehyung asked quietly, letting himself run his hand up Jungkook’s arm, feeling his muscles tense under his touch. He watched as Jungkook swallowed hard, his breath catching in his throat.
“K-kissing you? Maybe?” Jungkook stammered, his gaze flickering down to Taehyung’s lips
“Well, are you going to?” Taehyung asked, pretending like his voice wasn’t wavering, like his knees wouldn’t give out right about now if he were standing.
Jungkook’s gaze darted back up, eyes wide, cheeks flushed as he breathed a quiet, “Yeah,”
Taehyung closed his eyes, feeling Jungkook’s trembling fingers gently card through his hair. If this was a dream, now was about time to wake up. He drew in a sharp breath when Jungkook gently nudged the back of his head, pulling him in, stopping so close that he could feel Jungkook’s breath on his lips. If this was a dream, why was Jungkook hesitating? Just as Taehyung decided to open his eyes, He felt Jungkook’s lips brush against his own, then quickly pull away. If this was a dream, why were Jungkook’s lips so warm, slightly chapped against his own?
“That’s it?” Taehyung asked, raising an eyebrow, biting down on his lip, feeling like his heart was beating right out of his chest.
Jungkook laughed a short, breathless laugh, pulling Taehyung in for another kiss, firmer this time, still shy. Taehyung grabbed the collar of Jungkook’s shirt, pulling him closer, gasping into the kiss when Jungkook tightened his hold on Taehyung’s hair, shivering slightly when Jungkook licked into his mouth, feeling all sorts of hot at Jungkook soft groan when Taehyung sucked lightly on his tongue.
“Oh my fucking god, Taehyung!” Seokjin stood in the doorway, slamming his hand haphazardly on the switchboard until the room was lit like a theatre stage.
Jungkook leapt away from Taehyung, landing ungracefully on his ass, cheeks flushed, breathless.
“Ah- Jin-hyung,” Taehyung began awkwardly, “It’s not- We didn’t-”
“Yes!” Jimin cried as he ran into the room, holding up a half-eaten cookie, “You kissed!”
“I- We- I mean-” Jungkook stuttered, glancing nervously between Seokjin and Jimin.
“Oh, you guys kissed already?” Hoseok strolled into the room, shaking his head incredulously, “Now I owe Jimin a pizza, damn it.”
“You guys bet on us?” Taehyung huffed a laugh, “Seriously?”
“Well,” Yoongi sauntered in with a proud gummy smile, “we thought Jungkook would snap with the blue hair and tight jeans and stuff,”
“You knew?” Jungkook looked like a light pink baby bunny, “All of you?”
“Yeah, well,” Namjoon smiled as he wrapped his arm around Seokjin’s shoulders, “You weren’t exactly hiding anything with all the tsundere flirting.”
“Right,” Jungkook mumbled, shaking his head, now staring at Taehyung’s wet top, “You should take your top off, Taehyu-”
The other five collectively groaned, cutting Jungkook off.
“We’re still here, Jungkook!” Jimin exclaimed, laughing.
Jungkook’s ears were bright red, and Taehyung wasn’t faring much better.
“That’s not- I meant-” Jungkook stammered and Taehyung bit back his own laughter, “I meant because it’s wet and there are dry clothes-”
Taehyung burst into laughter, watching Jimin and Hoseok nearly in tears, clinging to each other on the floor from laughing so hard, Namjoon and Seokjin struggling to breathe between laughs, and Yoongi abandoning his grumpiness to join them.
Jungkook bit down on his lower lip, even his nose taking on a light pink. Taehyung wanted to bite that lip too.
“Stop that, Jungkook,” Taehyung called out over the laughter. Jungkook turned to him, confused. Taehyung tapped on his own lip, “It makes me want stuff too.”
Jungkook buried his face in his hand. Taehyung laughed. Adorable.