Twenty-two and freshly graduated, barely out of his ceremonial garb, Jungkook gets a job.
He’s not hopelessly optimistic to expect to get his dream job right away.
Perhaps this is because his degree is in economics and business—and Jungkook, well, he wants to be a writer. Jungkook’s reasonable enough to recognize that the disparity between his deepest aspirations and his degree could create some dissonance in his life.
But he also didn’t expect to find himself stuffed into a cubicle at a stuffy office job.
But twenty-two and freshly graduated, here he is.
Jungkook had applied at the company after hearing through friends that his collegiate idol and crush, Do Kyungsoo, works closely with the CEO.
When he gets the job and tells Taehyung and Hoseok, they each exchange a knowing look and waggle their brows teasingly.
Yoongi’s face doesn’t betray much but Jungkook can tell he’s amused too.
After a couple of nerve-wrecking interviews in which Jungkook had sweated enough to quench the thirst of a dehydrated forest, he’d been phoned and informed that he’d procured the job.
Jungkook had silently cheered.
He hadn’t known then that he’d quickly regret his swift decision to accept the company’s offer.
This is where he meets his greatest kryptonite—Park Jimin.
Park Jimin ends up being Jungkook’s cubicle partner.
For whatever reasons, mostly involving what Jungkook suspects is budget-cutting, each cubicle has just enough room to house two bodies. Jungkook observes with quiet distaste the dissatisfying amount of room between each partnering duo’s elbows and he curses.
He doesn’t even like talking to his local barista, never mind sharing a work space with some pompous office dork.
His thoughts are interrupted by the droning voice of his supervisor, Byun Baekhyun.
“So,” he drawls apathetically. “This is your desk—and that miserable, shapeless lump resembling a human being we’ve had the misfortune of hiring is Park Jimin.”
Park Jimin doesn’t stir.
He doesn’t raise his head to acknowledge Jungkook or Baekhyun.
It’s probably because he’s currently fast asleep, his head resting on his hands as he snores quietly away in front of the increasing frustration of their supervisor.
Finally, when Baekhyun has enough, he slams his fist onto the space next to Jimin’s head.
Jimin starts awake, and blinks blearily at Baekhyun.
“Huh? What? What’s wrong?”
Baekhyun gets very close to Jimin’s face and snarls threateningly.
“What’s wrong is that you’re on our fucking payroll and you’re fucking asleep when everyone else around you is slaving away and trying to better our company.”
Jimin doesn’t look concerned, pointing lazily somewhere behind Jungkook and Baekhyun, and says, “The only improvement I’ve seen all morning is Jongdae-hyung’s Fruit Ninja score—just curious how that’s bettering our company?”
Jungkook flinches but doesn’t dare whirl around when a betrayed voice hollers, “Fuck you, Jimin!”
Jimin just flips off the man, whom Jungkook assumes is Jongdae, in return while smiling charmingly at Baekhyun.
Baekhyun’s face is red with fury.
“I don’t care what the fuck you morons get up to when I’m not here to witness you all fuckin’ around, but you better get your shit together real fast when I’m here to oversee you. We’ve got an evaluation next week and if—god forbid—you’re the reason we fail, Park Jimin, I’ll haunt you day and night and you won’t sleep a wink ever again.”
He leans in to hiss the last part to Jimin.
“And that’s a fucking promise.”
To Jimin’s credit, Jungkook feeling distantly impressed, he doesn’t even wince.
(Jungkook privately acknowledges that his striking admiration for Jimin may not only stem from his new co-worker's ballsiness.
It's hard to ignore the way his heart begins racing, eyes wide with fascination as he analyzes the statuesque features of Jimin, and it's all in the details—the way his dress shirt enhances his chest, the way his eyes squint as he laughs in delight at Baekhyun's rage, the way his mouth purses as he scrutinizes Jungkook, the way the watch on his right wrist look antiquated and well-loved, and the way he exudes his own idiosyncratic, lazy confidence.)
Baekhyun turns back around and smiles so wide it frightens Jungkook.
“Anyway, Jungkook, my newest recruit, my shining star,” he rambles charismatically, “this is your desk partner Park Jimin and he’ll be showing you the ropes. If you have any trouble with him, don’t hesitate to come talk to me, alright, kiddo?”
Jungkook nods feebly.
With that Baekhyun grins artificially and saunters off.
There’s a silence.
“Hi,” Jungkook tries weakly.
Jimin doesn’t look at him, leaning his head against one wall of the cubicle, as he tells Jungkook, “Make sure none of your shit touches mine. Don’t bring coffee to the cubicle ‘cause if you spill anything on my work, I’ll fuck you up. And if you’re going to eat, go to the conference room or staff room, ‘cause my nose is sensitive as fuck. Got it?”
Before Jungkook can agree to the very unequal terms of cooperation, Jimin is already asleep again.
Jungkook sinks into his chair.
What have I got myself into?
It’s hard to get a read on Park Jimin.
Jungkook quickly realizes that while Jimin’s not a cruel person, he’s unequivocally not a warm person.
The older man had helped Jungkook enough that he’s not a lost lamb in a forest of wolves on his first few days, but he’d never gone above and beyond to try and collect an apprentice in the fine craft of cubicle work.
Jimin had answered Jungkook’s questions with an impressive mix of contained annoyance and muted patience. He’d also showed Jungkook around once when he’d been about to take a bathroom break; unfortunately, this means Jungkook now only knows where the bathroom and their shared cubicle is.
Eventually, he manages to stumble in enough rooms and corners to figure out a rough blueprint of the floor he works on.
Jungkook also learns that while he personally tends to distribute his focus more equally, never entirely detached or absorbed in his work, Jimin’s only ever got two modes.
Either he’s fully slumbering, lost in dreamland as he gurgles in sleepy contentment, or he’s attacking his paperwork or phone calls with the vigilance of man with no other given purpose in life.
He doesn’t understand Jimin’s work habits and his underdying fearlessness of their loudmouth supervisor, but it doesn’t seem to surprise anyone else.
Overall, it’s not the most pleasant work atmosphere.
This sentiment is further emphasized by how Jimin never greets Jungkook in the morning and only salutes him before pivoting on his foot to join their coworkers for drinks after their shift.
Jungkook’s never invited.
He picks up his belongings and begins his slow walk home.
The next few months of Jungkook’s life is incredibly lonely.
When he meets up with Taehyung, Hoseok, and Yoongi, it hurts that he can’t contribute with jovial tales about his workplace like they always do.
Over drinks, Taehyung’s always talking about the bossy girl who fucks up their code more often than Trump goes golfing (“she’s so sweet outside of work though,” Taehyung had insisted when Jungkook had made a face).
Hoseok’s always got stories to share about Jongin, Taemin, and Ten at his dance studio when he treats the gang to coffee and pastries on the weekends.
And while Yoongi doesn’t contribute as many personal anecdotes, on occasion he’ll speak warmly about the producers he works with in the last minutes of a hangout before the men all head home to their respective apartments.
Jungkook wants to share the harrowing loneliness and overwhelming discontentment he feels at his job, but he feels small and inadequate in the shadow of his successful older friends.
And so, he stays quiet.
It’s another Friday evening that Jimin leaves him sitting amongst the scattered papers and jotted notes as he catches up to the rest of Jungkook’s older coworkers as they head out for a night on the town.
Jungkook thinks he hears them mention a “strip club with the hottest chicks”’ and “drinking ‘til the sun comes up” and tries to convince himself that it’s not for him.
And truthfully, it’s not for him.
But still, it’d be nice to feel as though they’d actually bothered to think of including him.
He stays for half an hour longer cleaning up the cubicle and then heads home.
Jungkook drinks a couple glasses of wine, half-heartedly watches a movie, before he showers.
Pulling himself off with a low grunt, nothing and no one really coming to mind, Jungkook feels the exhaustion set in. He scrubs himself with the aromatic body wash and shampoos himself before he finally finishes up.
Then, he goes to sleep.
“Do you ever talk?”
Jungkook pulls his earphone out and stares blankly at Jimin.
It’s too early and it’s too fucking Monday for Jimin to be asking this of Jungkook—especially after he’d spent his entire weekend stuffing his face with shrimp crackers and yogurt drinks after being ditched by all his friends for other obligations.
“I do, Jimin-ssi,” Jungkook informs Jimin slowly, a sour expression spreading across his face. “You’ve just never bothered talking to me.”
Jimin remains sedate, looking terribly unbothered at Jungkook’s implicit reprimand, as he mulls the sentiment over. He leans back in his chair and criss-crosses his fingers at his nape, resting his head in the makeshift basket.
“Yeah, maybe, I haven’t, but it’s not like you’ve tried talkin’ to me much either,” Jimin points out.
“I don’t know, it’s not like you really encourage conversation between us.”
Jimin raises his eyebrows, looking fully bewildered by the tacit accusation, and something in his eyes just irks Jungkook. And whatever had sparked the ember of frustration in him is enough to open the floodgates, a chamber of vitriolic annoyance rushing out.
“I mean, just think about it, man—when I met you, Jimin-ssi, you were sleeping. The next day you gave me barely enough help for me to get through my first day without getting fired and when I asked questions you made me feel like I was overstepping.”
Jimin’s mouth opens and he frowns defensively.
Jungkook cuts him off.
“You always go out with your friends and you don’t bother inviting me—which is fine, whatever, I’m not mad about being unwanted but it’s like, you didn’t even think about how I’d feel? Did you think how I’d feel being the youngest kid on the team and no one even acknowledging I’m alive? Did you think about how lonely it’s been working on a team that probably wouldn’t care if I got sick for a week?”
Jungkook stops himself, feeling embarrassed as a ripe flush spreads across his cheeks, and his throat clots painfully. He swallows loudly, trying to suffocate the bile of emotions sitting in his belly, but he thinks it’s a lost cause—judging by the way Jimin’s eyes travel over his trembling body.
“It sucks—but yeah, to answer your question, Jimin-ssi, yes, I do talk.”
He stuffs his earphones back and turns the volume up, resolutely ignoring Jimin.
But he can feel the way Jimin’s eyes linger on him for the rest of the day.
That same Friday evening, some five days after Jungkook’s meltdown, Jimin salutes at the younger man.
It doesn’t seem that Jungkook’s complaints had made much of an impact on Jimin’s narrowminded way of thinking because the older man hadn’t delved into further conversation with him throughout the week and it doesn’t seem that an invite’s about to be extended either.
Jungkook stifles a sigh and waves back.
He waits for Jimin’s signature pivot and glide, but the soft, shuffling sounds of his sliding footwork never come.
Curious, Jungkook looks up.
Jimin’s standing there, a contemplative expression on his face.
“Do you want to come tonight?”
Jungkook’s mouth dries and he can tell his eyes have widened.
Jimin scoffs, an embarrassed blush coating the high points of his cheeks, as he adds snippily, “Don’t make it weird, newbie, I’m just extending the invite. Me and the rest of the guys, we’re just going for some tapas and drinks—figured that wouldn’t be too hardcore for your innocent, virginal soul.”
“I’m not a virgin!” he cries defensively, getting up to his feet, and wincing as he accidentally knocks over their penholder. Their utensils dribble off their desk and onto the floor.
“You sure?” Jimin smirks. “Doesn’t seem like you have great handling skills.”
“Shut the fuck up.”
From the elevator, Jongdae shouts, “Jimin, man, are you coming? Hurry the fuck up!”
Jimin walks over and helps Jungkook put the rest of their materials away before he tugs gently on Jungkook’s sleeve and nods towards the elevator.
“Well,” he asks softly. “You comin’ or not?”
Jungkook knows if he over thinks this, he’ll end up declining.
So, he decides he won’t think about it at all.
“Yeah, okay, I’ll come.”
And so, Jungkook allows Jimin to lead the way.
Jungkook’s the youngest in the crowd.
Though Jimin’s obviously the next youngest, he’s not nearly as deferential as Jungkook is.
He easily makes pointed jabs at Jongdae’s skills with women throughout the night, snidely ribs Chanyeol for his general lack of common sense, laughs uproariously at Jinhwan’s abysmal failure to impress Kyungsoo that week, and sniggers about Seunghoon’s fight with Baekhyun.
He also makes no effort to pour drinks for any of his older coworkers and lets Jungkook take the reins of being the lead team bitch.
Jungkook wonders bitterly if this was why he’d been invited.
It’s not a pleasant experience and when Taehyung texts him asking to meet up for drinks and food, he doesn’t even bother informing his friend that he’s already drunk and fed—he just agrees.
He barely needs to make excuses, leaving behind an impressive contribution to the bill, and takes off.
Jungkook doubts anyone even noticed.
“Did you have fun with us?”
Jungkook hasn’t even sat down yet and Jimin’s ambushing him with an unwanted question.
He sighs heavily and lets silence fall as he unpacks his belongings and sets himself up for the day. Despite the fact he knows that Jimin must know his regular pre-emptive habits, he still stalls by pulling out his prepacked lunch and a crumpled notepad he never uses out of his briefcase.
Then, he pulls out a stick of lip balm and spreads it across his lips.
Jimin waits patiently.
Finally, when the pause has lingered for much too long, Jungkook speaks.
“Sure,” he says unconvincingly. “It was fun.”
Jimin nods thoughtfully.
And that’s that.
They don’t speak for the rest of the day.
To Jungkook’s great surprise, Jimin invites him again that Friday.
But this time, Jungkook declines—he’s got plans to have a movie marathon with popcorn and soda with Taehyung, Yoongi, and Hoseok. And the thought of making connections with his coworkers is simply not temptation enough when put next to spending time with his precious friends that he’s comfortable around.
“No, I’ll be alright, I think.”
“Hope you have fun though.”
Jungkook notices a faint expression of consternation on Jimin’s face before the image blips and disappears. Jimin’s open stature, feet and shoulders fully pointing towards Jungkook with his soft eyes, closes off in that instant. He begins backing away and his eyes have shuttered again.
“Yes, fine. I’m sure it’ll be great.”
Jimin turns his back to Jungkook and he’s left with the feeling that he might’ve made a mistake.
For whatever reason, Jimin has taken immeasurable offense to Jungkook’s rejection and he returns to ignoring the younger man throughout the long hours of their shift.
Both men are hardworking, in their own idiosyncratic ways, so they cooperate to get their workload finished efficiently but once any professional incentive for conversation ends, their cubicle falls into uncomfortable silence again.
It’s another month of ostracized loneliness for Jungkook.
But this time, it feels somewhat self-imposed.
One Thursday the following month, Jungkook’s pulled into Baekhyun’s office.
There, he’s questioned for half an hour about his experience with the company so far and how satisfied he is currently. After this whirlwind of questions concludes, he’s then battered with an employee eval for another thirty minutes. The overall consensus is that the company is pleased with his performance, but he’s told that it’d be nice to see “greater enthusiasm and workplace participation” from him.
He smiles tersely and agrees.
When he heads back to his cubicle, feeling emotionally exhausted, he realizes that he’s accidentally crept up on Jimin—hard at work. This normally doesn’t happen since the other man is usually dead asleep or fully aware of his surroundings.
There’s never an in-between—if Jimin is asleep then he’s free game to startle but if he’s awake then there isn’t the slightest chance that anyone could take the austere man off guard.
He’s also, unexpectedly, humming under his breath—a happy, whimsical little tune that doesn’t really suit the image of Jimin that Jungkook has.
This is also something new.
“Hey, what are you working on?” Jungkook asks softly, trying to break the stubborn silence Jimin had been adhering to.
The reaction he gets is unprecedented.
Jimin starts horribly, whirling around with his eyes wide and frightened, and he instantly slaps a notebook on top of whatever he’d been fastidiously working on. His mouth opens and closely lamely for a few seconds before it firms into a defensive curl.
“What the fuck, dude? Why are you creepin’ up on me like that?”
Jungkook puts his hands up in the air.
“Sorry, I didn’t mean to scare you, I swear,” he promises heatedly, hopelessly desperate that Jimin will believe him. “I just wanted to see what you were working on, so I could try to help or something.”
Jimin scoffs frostily.
“I don’t need anything from you.”
Jungkook takes a step back, the hurt panging in his chest so poignant that he can’t ignore it.
“I’m sorry,” he cries hoarsely before he runs off to the washroom.
There, he sits in a bathroom stall and tries to reign his breathing in.
He knows that what’d happened isn’t that big of a deal.
Not on the larger scale of things.
But after the criticism he’d faced at the hands of his supervisor following months of isolation and loneliness at a company that’s as unenthusiastic about his involvement in it as he is about it, the cruel manner with which Jimin had handled him just struck him the wrong way.
After he gets his breathing under control, Jungkook calmly washes his hands and heads back.
Jimin doesn’t even acknowledge him.
The next day, Friday evening, Jimin turns to Jungkook several hours before their shift is about to end.
Jungkook hasn’t been in much of a mood to converse with Jimin so he ignores the heavy gaze that he feels weighing his shoulders down and hopes that his stony message will be received. But it seems that Jimin’s determined, absolutely undeterred by Jungkook’s nonverbal desire to be left alone.
Jungkook reluctantly straightens out, pulling himself away from his work, before he swivels in his chair to look back at Jimin.
Jimin looks nervous, his stolid confidence completely absent, as the older man chews on his lips and picks at his nails relentlessly throughout the pause that fills the space between them. Jungkook waits for a few moments, but then shakes his head and begins hunching over to attend to his work again.
“Do you wanna hang out after work today?”
Jimin must be kidding.
“No, not really,” Jungkook admits flatly.
His heart wrenches a little when Jimin deflates at the immediate refusal.
He watches the way Jimin starts and stops, clearly at a loss for words, before he curls his hands into fists and perseveres valiantly. He latches his eyes onto Jungkook and he blurts—
“Is it because I was an asshole?”
Jungkook nods remorselessly and admits, “Yup.”
Jimin looks startled, but then breaks out into laughter, and Jungkook can’t help but joining in. Once the heaviness of the moment drains out a little, their combined giggles a needle into the awkward balloon of a situation they’re in, Jimin continues.
“Well, will you let me make it up to you?”
Jungkook considered it, but he decides he won’t be letting Jimin off the hook so easily this time.
“Will you tell me why you were so mean to me?”
“No,” Jimin openly admits but he makes a counteroffer. “But I can grovel at your feet and tell you how handsome you are until you forgive me.”
Jungkook crosses his arms and gesticulates for Jimin to keep going.
“Now we’re talkin’. Alright, my dude, keep speakin’ my language.”
Jimin hits him for his insolence, the first bit of physical contact, they’ve ever had, and it sets off an avalanche of sensation beneath his skin. The explosion of warmth and wanting snowballs abruptly, but Jungkook quickly snips that thought right in the bud before it grows into an unmanageable mass.
He tunes back in as Jimin makes another tempting proposition.
“And I’ll treat you to tonight’s dinner and drinks?”
Jungkook nods rapidly, eyes wide with excitement, drooling over the thought of sumptuous meat and stir-fried vegetables—add a cold brew to that equation and he’d forgive anyone of anything.
But Jungkook’s nothing if not talented at milking situations for all their worth, leaving no teat untouched, ensuring he’s drained it all.
Jimin’s beginning to look annoyed, but he adds, “And I’ll be nicer to you from now on?”
They smile at each other tentatively.
“Damn, kid, you drive a hard bargain.”
Jungkook smiles cheekily.
“I’m always the youngest in my group of friends. And they always give me what I want.”
Jimin raises his eyebrows and leans back into his chair.
“So, what I’m hearing is you’re tellin’ me you’re spoiled?”
Jungkook shakes his head vehemently.
“Nah, man, you’re underselling my talent here—I’m just gifted.”
Jimin laughs and Jungkook smiles back.
This feels like the beginning of something new.
Unsurprisingly, Jungkook doesn’t have fun.
But surprisingly, he does have more fun than last time.
And when Jimin asks him if he’d had fun on Monday, he’s honest—
Jimin looks frustrated, and if Jungkook were a touch more observant, he looks wounded too.
And worried that Jimin would misconstrue things again, Jungkook decides to be more upfront.
“It’s not you, though, I promise. I just don’t have much fun in big group settings unless I know and like everyone that’s going.”
Jimin’s aggravated expression has dissipated and it’s clear he’s listening so Jungkook presses on.
“it’s like this—for each person you add to a situation, I just get more overwhelmed. So, one-on-ones with people I like are the most ideal. But a trio or quartet of people I fuck with is fine too. But then when it starts climbing into five or six people—never mind double digit groups—I’m just ready to go home.”
It’s not too frequent that Jungkook can sense the other person is genuinely trying to understand him when he exposes his highly introverted personality, so when Jimin nods pensively and Jungkook can’t articulate how much he appreciates the fact that his co-worker looks completely judgment-free.
“So, you didn’t have fun because there were too many people? Is that mainly it?”
“I mean, there were definitely too many people, but it’s also just the fact that there were too many people that I don’t know that well and that I’m not that comfortable with. And they’re all pretty loud too,” Jungkook tells Jimin.
Jimin laughs and points out, “I’m pretty loud. And I talk a lot.”
And turning away, blushing madly as he confesses, Jungkook says, “Yes. But it’s different.”
The way the color of Jimin’s cheeks match his own in vibrancy, Jungkook knows they both hear the underlying message—
Before they both turn away to start working, Jimin speaks so quietly that Jungkook has to strain to hear what he’s trying to say. Over the raucous voices of Jongdae and Chanyeol demanding for Baekhyun to stop micromanaging them, Jungkook counts his lucky stars he even hears Jimin’s gentle offer—
“Maybe next time, it can be just us two.”
His heart stops.
Then, he smiles.
“I’d like that, Jimin-ssi.”
He would really like that.
And in that moment, he tries not too worry too much about why that might be.
When Do Kyungsoo finally shows his face on their floor, Jimin’s loudly lamenting over the bright pink stain on his crisp white button down. He’d spilled his dragon fruit iced tea on his shirt after a woman had carelessly bumped into him on the subway.
Jungkook initially notices the way Jimin’s complaints die a swift death in his mouth as Kyungsoo steps out of the elevator, Baekhyun behind him with a pale countenance.
He also can’t help but notice the prominant way Jimin’s face darkens.
At first, he wonders why Jimin would have such a staunch distaste for someone whom Jungkook had idolized for so long, but he quickly discovers why.
Kyungsoo is a Type-A perfectionist.
Jungkook knew this from his college days with his hyung, but he supposes he could understand why others working under him may not take to this as kindly as he’d done.
He’s quick to scold Baekhyun for his lax practices with his employees and he doesn’t hesitate on criticizing the way Jongdae, Chanyeol, and Seunghoon’s work stations are set up. It’s clear that Kyungsoo is successful with good reason but it’s undeniable that he expects the same dogged meticulousness from his workers too.
Jungkook’s nearly pooling out his seat from all the anxiety he’s been sweating, but Jimin remains concretely stoic next to him.
When Kyungsoo finally reaches his shared cubicle with Jimin, his hard expression softens for a moment and he raises his eyebrows in immediate recognition.
“Jeon Jungkook,” he greets quietly. “How are you?”
Jungkook stands up and shakes his hand, bowing discreetly, as he stammers childishly through an awkwardly polite greeting. He can’t help himself as he rambles on and on about what he’s been up to after graduation and how Kyungsoo’s placement at the company had led him here.
Kyungsoo smiles fondly, the only sincere look he’s had on his face this entire time, and he pats Jungkook on the shoulder kindly.
“That’s too flattering of you, Jungkook. You were always so talented in everything you dabbled your hand in so I’m glad you picked our company as your first job. If you need anything or have questions, I’ll be here for you, okay?”
Jungkook nods earnestly.
Kyungsoo fixes his gaze onto Jimin and the two men just nod their acknowledgement at one another—Jungkook notices how Jimin’s head dips in deference to Kyungsoo despite the stiff way he holds himself up.
“Park Jimin, make sure you take care of Jungkook,” Kyungsoo instructs him. “I’m entrusting that under your guidance and care, Jungkook will flourish as the worker I know him capable of being.”
Jimin nods tightly.
Then, turning away from the two men, Kyungsoo walks away and heads back to the elevator.
He presses the button and while he waits for the elevator to arrive, Kyungsoo turns back around to tell everyone sternly that he’ll be back, and he’ll be banking for improvements on everything that he’d deemed unacceptable or underwhelming in the next month or two.
“Be very well prepared,” he warns them. “And don’t disappoint me.”
The elevator pings.
It’s not a Friday that Kyungsoo had dropped in on them like an unwanted pop quiz.
In fact, it’s a random Tuesday.
This is precisely why, when Jimin asks Jungkook to go out for drinks with him a few hours after Kyungsoo leaves, the latter looks up with undisguised surprise.
“What? Like, tonight? We work tomorrow though?”
Jimin shrugs, as he massages his temples, his eyes clamped firmly shut.
“Yeah, so what? This whole day has given me a fuckin’ headache and I just need a drink after that impromptu investigation.”
Jungkook laughs lightly and ribs him.
“What? It’s not like you were even on his radar of shitty workers or anything, Jimin! I mean, okay, fair, he did literally shit on all your friends for their work ethic, but he didn’t have any issues with you—”
“Yeah, well, he seems quite taken with you,” Jimin mumbles under his breath, a grimace working its way to the surface of his face despite his eyes remaining tightly shut. “Must be nice being the top dog’s favourite pet.”
Jungkook’s smile vanishes and he can’t help but feeling hurt.
“Why are you saying that? Kyungsoo-hyung worked hard to get to where he is, and you know I work hard too. Plus, I’m not his favourite and I didn’t use any connections to end up here. I just applied and had to do the interviews like everyone else,” he defends himself hotly.
Something about Jimin’s presumptuousness about Kyungsoo drives him off the edge and Jungkook can’t help when his prickly anger evolves into something even more barbed.
“Why are you sayin’ things like that? I know Kyungsoo-hyung because we were both in choir together in college and he was my upperclassman. He always encouraged me and helped me and was really good to me. And when I was a freshman trying to find my way around, Kyungsoo-hyung always went out of his way to be nice to me.”
Jimin makes a mocking gurgle in his throat which only fuels Jungkook to force the other man to understand him even more—even though he suspects it might be pointless.
“I couldn’t help but idolize him, Jimin, don’t you see where I was coming from? Kyungsoo-hyung was talented and he was handsome, and he was kind and quiet too. It’s everything I wanted to be and everything that I aspired to have.”
He takes a sharp inhale before he keeps going.
“I was just some quiet, lame kid that wasn’t great at school and when I looked at Kyungsoo-hyung, I had someone similar enough to be to make a goal to reach for. He told me he wasn’t great at school either and didn’t liking reading, but he liked singing and acting.”
Jimin looks like he’s being forced to swallow several cups full of wet coffee grinds, the bitter shards of Jungkook’s reality too much for him to handle.
But Jungkook doesn’t care.
“And when we got closer and I realized he was quiet like me and doesn’t like loud noises or loud places or loud people like me, it made me feel better—like I wasn’t some fuckin’ weirdo.”
Jimin’s pained expression is worsening at every word Jungkook utters.
“So, you’re going to have to excuse me, but don’t ever fuckin’ bad mouth Kyungsoo-hyung around me. I won’t let you.”
Jimin seems to finally have had enough.
“You know what, Jungkook? If that’s how you feel, then just go ask Kyungsoo-ssi out for drinks instead. Just stop this weird hero worship garbage and just fuck right off with this bullshit. I’m not down to listen to you kiss ass for the whole night so just…I’ll go with Jongdae-hyung and the others instead.”
And when Jimin gets up, chair rolling away pitifully behind him, he jabs Jungkook in the chest roughly.
“And don’t bother coming—because we’re loud fucking people going to a loud place with loud noises. Wouldn’t want your delicate sensibilities to get all out of whack.”
Jimin storms away.
They don’t speak at all for the next few days.
On Friday evening, right before the final minutes of their shift are up, Jungkook is very nervous.
After multiple days of uncomfortable silence between the pair of them, Jungkook had decided that he needs to step up his game at the company. He’d even confided and conferred with Taehyung about his insecurities with the company, his co-workers, and with Jimin and the two men had come to a conclusive decision—
Jungkook would go out with all his co-workers this Friday evening and he was determined to have himself a good fucking time.
Normally, Jungkook would never force himself so far out of his comfort zone just to get a couple friends, but he’d convinced himself it was for the betterment of his partnership with Jimin.
Park Jimin-ssi who is his cubicle mate and his closest co-worker.
He’s just advancing his professional relationship with Jimin.
And while Jimin had raised his eyebrows in surprise when the younger man had approached him quietly, he’d been polite enough about accepting Jungkook’s request to attend the nights festivities.
Tonight, they were apparently going to a strip club.
Of course, Jungkook sighs. Of course, they were.
But keeping his inorganically artificial smile pasted on his face, Jungkook nods.
And so, the group of men hail multiple cabs to drive them over to a nearby strip club.
Upon entering the establishment, Jungkook is pleasantly surprised to see that it’s not as grubby or sleazy as he’d expected. It looks mostly clean and the only grimy part of it is the gross clientele that he sees.
Handsome faces with revolting demonic souls residing in their bodies, Jungkook thinks.
He expects Jimin to fully participate, thinking the extroverted man would be sure to have his hands delving into his pockets to pay the strippers and anticipating catcalls or wolf-whistles or something, but…nothing.
Jimin just stands by the bar consuming drink after drink as he watches and laughs at his friends.
He’s inexplicably uninvolved in everything.
So, Jungkook hesitantly walks over and joins Jimin at the bar.
“Well, when you said next time we hang out it could maybe be just the two of us,” Jungkook says as he slides into the seat next to where Jimin’s standing, “I wasn’t expecting us to be the two lone wolves watching our co-workers get wrecked by strippers. Just look at Minho! I swear his tongue's gonna get caught on that chick's garter belt and he's gonna lose it real fast."
Jimin laughs stiffly, still avoiding Jungkook’s gaze, and the situation doesn’t improve even as Jungkook tries his very best to make conversation with the obstinate man. Finally, driven mad with frustration, Jungkook yanks Jimin’s drink out of his hand and gulps it down.
Jimin looks astonished.
“What the fuck, dude?”
“C’mon, Jimin, are you gonna be mad at me for fifty years again? You’re already older than me and you don’t have much time to waste before you die, and you’ll just spend your whole afterlife wondering why you didn’t makeup with me so consider this me doing you a favour.”
He ignores the way Jimin grumbles under his breath, clearly malcontent with the way Jungkook’s casually dropped honorifics without his explicit permission.
But as Jungkook chitters on, mostly joking, Jimin doesn’t answer him.
Instead, with a disgruntled look on his face, as Jimin orders six shots from the bartender.
Jungkook waits for Jimin to ask for a tray to carry the drinks over to his friends, but instead, Jimin pushes three of the shots over to him.
Jungkook, totally bewildered, looks beseechingly up at Jimin.
“You started this,” Jimin tells him stonily. “So, you’re gonna have to finish these.”
Not wanting to back down, Jungkook grits his teeth and picks up the first shot glass.
And so, this is where the night really begins.
And where Jungkook’s memory effectively fails him.
Jungkook wakes up the next morning with a wicked hangover.
It eats at his head like a small parasite, gnawing through all his brain matter, and he isn’t quite sure whether he’s going to vomit or not. He’d tried blinking himself into a state of more immediate consciousness, but instantly fell back into the pillows with his arm covering his eyes.
“Looks like you ain’t doin’ so good, hot shot.”
Jungkook jolts, wincing as he leaps out of the bed.
It’s Jimin standing in his doorway.
The other man has his slacks on from the night before and he’s midway through buttoning up his dress shirt as he strolls into the room and leans against Jungkook’s dresser. Jungkook’s eyes widen as he notices small finger shaped bruises on Jimin’s torso coupled with a smattering of ugly love bites and thin scratches.
“Uh,” he gawps unintelligibly as he runs his eyes down Jimin’s body, noting the tousled hair and swollen mouth.
Jimin’s face doesn’t stir from its neutral expression and he shrugs nonchalantly.
“If you’re wondering,” Jimin drawls tonelessly, “yeah, we fucked last night.”
It’s when Jimin confirms this that Jungkook’s assaulted by a battery of images—
The way that he’d pressed himself up against Jimin after the drinks had all struck him with the urgency of an emergency vehicle with an inebriated driver behind the wheel. And how Jimin’s eyes had flickered hesitantly from Jungkook’s eyes to his lips, hands shyly making their way onto the younger man’s hips and pulling him in.
All the bubbling anger and stifling awkwardness since their uncomfortable argument at work had dissipated and had left behind only a plume of sensuality and attraction between the pair.
So, it was totally unsurprising that they’d ended up kissing—oh, how their lips had meshed together in a toxic brew of soft mouths and wet flesh, eager teeth and closed eyes, the whole event sealed with the lingering taste of liquor.
They’d pulled away after an indeterminable amount of time had passed and Jungkook had timidly suggested going back to his apartment, not knowing what he’d be getting himself into and whether it was his greatest decision fraternizing so intimately with his desk mate.
But all his worries had been abolished when Jimin had seamlessly agreed, desperation in his movements as he’d pulled Jungkook even closer to his body.
Then, they’d been in the cab.
Jimin had tested the boundaries of Jungkook’s self control the entire way through, Jungkook left panting and breathless, which had only translated into crushing desperation when they’d finally made it through the doorway of Jungkook’s home.
The rest of the evening begins to get patchier and patchier, the images becoming lost to both the carnal pleasures of Jimin driving himself inside Jungkook’s body and the impressive amount of liquor they’d imbibed really hitting them at the peak of their evening.
“Oh,” Jungkook finally breathes, playing with his sheets surrounding him. “I remember.”
“Do you?” Jimin smiles faintly. “I’m impressed, didn’t think you’d even remember your name this morning.”
Jungkook scowls and pouts.
“Is that a dig at my low alcohol tolerance or you just hypin’ your own dick game?”
Jimin finishes up the last button on his shirt and wrings his tie around his neck.
“Who knows? Maybe both.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes childishly, but then he stiffens.
He can’t help but wonder what will become of them now.
Will they explore this new facet of their relationship?
Jungkook can’t imagine wanting to be Jimin’s boyfriend anytime soon, but he’s obviously attracted to his co-worker enough to sleep with him and he’s interested enough in the man’s personality to want to know more.
He's always been good at sensing people and what they're about, and so despite Jimin's ambivalent moods and reactions to Jungkook, he instinctively knows there's something worthwhile to be discovered in his hyung.
And so, soft-hearted Jungkook, romantic and sweet at the core, isn’t turned off by the idea of eventually dating Jimin.
However, perhaps he should be.
But right before he can articulate his thoughts into a coherent question, Jimin interrupts his train of thought.
“Anyway, I gotta head out. I called the office and told ‘em that I had a family emergency so I’m gonna be an hour or so late to work. I gotta head back to my place and get new clothes and freshen up and shit, I guess I’ll see you at the office then.”
Jungkook tilts his head, an adorable vision of confusion, looking as lost as a puppy.
“Wait,” he cries as Jimin turns to head out the door. “I just…I just wanted to know something.”
Jimin waits but Jungkook can tell his patience is wearing thin by the way he keeps checking his watch.
“I just...is that it? Are we gonna talk about what happened? I mean, I’m not tryna be weird or anything, I just wanna know…are we good?”
Jimin looks bemused.
“Yeah, Jungkook, we’re good,” he tells him slowly, a guarded expression on his face now. “I mean, we fucked. So, what? It doesn’t have to be a big deal.”
Jungkook’s heart sinks in his chest.
“It doesn’t?” he asks meekly.
“No, of course it doesn’t. We fucked, it was good, the morning after could’ve been more awkward—and luckily, it wasn’t. I mean, we both got a good night and an orgasm out of it—let’s just call it a ‘team building activity’,” Jimin rattles on. “We were just boostin’ the morale of our professional partnership.”
“Or somethin’, iunno.”
Jungkook doesn’t know why his heart sinks, but it’s a wreckage that he’s sure matches the destruction of the Titanic, sitting lonely and forgotten at the ocean floor.
“Right, okay,” he agrees, completely defeated.
Jimin waves at him, chancing at glance at his worn-out watch, and makes his way to the front door.
“Well, I’m definitely gonna be late but if you haul ass now, you can shower and still make it to work on time. If you don’t want any of those nosy assholes we went out with last night buggin’ you all day and makin’ weird innuendos, I’d try to make it to work on time.”
With a final click, Jimin opens the door and calls out a rushed ‘bye’ before he slams it behind himself.
Jungkook gets up slowly, trudges to the shower, where he proceeds to drown himself in his shower.
He still makes it to work on time though.
For the most part, things don’t change too noticeably after their one night in paradise.
Jungkook still prefers working at his own pace and Jimin still prioritizes napping over working if he’s completed all his work for impending deadlines. Jungkook still wears headphones and mouths the lyrics to his favourite songs while Jimin still likes working in silence better.
But there are small changes.
For one, Jimin has taken to bringing Jungkook a coffee every other morning to work.
This kind gesture takes Jungkook by surprise, face melting into a soft smile, but Jimin instantly blushes under the attention.
“Don’t you dare spill a fuckin’ drop, newbie,” Jimin had cautioned him, sniffing primly with his nose in the air. “If I see one stain—one fuckin’ droplet—I’ll slice and dice you. Witnesses be damned.”
Jungkook had raised a quivering pinkie finger in the air.
Then, Jimin buys him a stainless-steel travel coffee mug with a lid.
It’s sleek and large, clearly relatively expensive, and Jungkook had looked up at Jimin in horror. But before Jungkook had been able to vehemently express how he can’t accept an unwarranted gift from Jimin, the older man had shaken his head.
“Take it, Jungkook,” he’d insisted. “It’s just for my own peace of mind—now, there’s a guarantee that nothing will ever spill.”
Jungkook had nodded, a small frown of reluctance marring his face.
It’s not like it’s an engagement ring or a Rolex or anything, but Jungkook’s always had a hard time accepting gifts of any caliber from his friends and family. So, receiving something from Jimin, someone whom he’s not all that close with, feels plain wrong.
But beyond the subtle changes in Jimin’s attitude towards his strict desk maintenance regulations is the older man’s approach to handling Jungkook on the whole.
For one, after Jungkook had meekly enlisted Jimin’s help with using a program he’d never seen before, he’d allowed the younger man to start calling him ‘hyung'. After multiple hours of bickering and Jungkook mucking things up, he’d finally gotten a grasp on the program.
When Jungkook had thanked him, mumbling ‘thanks, Jimin-ssi’ lowly, Jimin had casually back into his chair and winked once before he'd closed his eyes, saying, “Call me ‘hyung’, Jungkookie. We’re friends, aren’t we?”
Jungkook’s heart had swelled with unexpected joy.
And two, Jimin now speaks in softer tones and he’s hardly as dismissive of the younger man as he’d been in the beginning. Though the short-tempered man is prone is occasional bouts of moodiness which spreads across the office like the plague, Jimin’s still much friendlier to Jungkook than before.
Jimin actually looks him in the eye now and each time their gaze catches like a fish on a hook it causes ripples in Jungkook’s heart as it races uncontrollably in his chest.
He also occasionally breaks the silence—the silence that Jungkook knows Jimin so dearly treasures when he’s working—to ask his younger co-worker about his family, his friends, and his life.
It touches him greatly that Jimin, initially so cold and detached, has begun to openly display interest in him via mundane questions about the minutiae of Jungkook’s life.
Jungkook has always cast more importance in people’s actions over their words.
It’s then that Jungkook allows himself to realize that he’s got a burgeoning crush.
A crush, by most standards, is manageable.
Spending one-on-one time with the object of one’s affection to sate the heart boner and a clandestine affair between one’s hand, dick, and imagination can often settle the…well, actual boner.
But Jungkook isn’t afforded many opportunities to spend time with Jimin alone, besides at the droning hours of their work day, and he’s far too introverted to broach the topic of hanging out to Jimin from his end.
And quick tugs and yanks at himself on particularly bad days, when his beautiful crush comes in a particularly flattering set of slacks or when he parts his hair just right, can quench Jungkook’s thirst temporarily.
But it just doesn’t solve anything in the long term.
It especially doesn’t help that Jimin’s physically affectionate proclivities have grown to include Jungkook and the younger man struggles through days where his co-worker runs his small hand down his younger partner’s back.
And there are days where Jimin leans into him as he laughs too hard and days where he rubs Jungkook’s arm to comfort him.
One day when Jungkook had emerged from Baekhyun’s office, nearly in tears after the supervisor had ripped him a new one for being a few hours overdue for a deadline that he’d been slaving at for weeks, Jimin had caressed his back and chest in turn as he talked his younger co-worker down from the proverbial edge.
Each day that Jungkook works with him after they’d slept together, he sees a new side of Jimin that makes his crush grow exponentially larger. It’d started off as a small kitten, eager and innocent, but was quickly developing into a feral puma.
It’s hard not to enjoy Jimin when Jungkook can tell, past his prissy hissy fits and loud whines, he’s got a heart richer than gold and a mind sharper than knives.
Jungkook’s starting to get it real bad.
It’s been a month of their floor working a deadline that looms ominously close on the horizon now.
To say Jungkook’s cataclysmically stressed isn’t overreaching and one morning, thirty-seven hours to the deadline, he has a very contained mental breakdown within the privacy of their shared cubicle.
“Ugh, I never thought I’d say this,” Jungkook moans, “but fuck, I wanna go back to college.”
Jimin stops typing and turns slowly to face Jungkook, a small furrow to his brows and his mouth curled downwards.
“What the fuck? Why?”
Jungkook slams his fist on the desk, startling Jongdae—who’d been dozing with his head resting on his hand in the neighbouring cubicle—and Jimin hides a smirk when he hears the way Chanyeol laughs hysterically when the other man’s head slams into the cubicle’s worksurface.
Jungkook doesn’t even notice the hilarity ensuing.
“This fuckin’ deadline, Jimin! I’d rather be grinding my nose tryin’ bullshit my way through a paper or falling asleep in the library cramming for some stupid test. I swear Baekhyun-ssi breathing down my back is going to age me—I’ll be as decrepit as you,” Jungkook whines, yelping at Jimin punches him for his insolence.
He lowers his head to the worksurface and starts thumping his forehead against it gently, almost moaning in gratification when Jimin starts massaging his back consolingly.
“I just want those good ol’ days where Kyungsoo-hyung would hold my hand and just baby me through everything back.”
Jimin stills for a brief moment before he resumes the massage after Jungkook nudges him demandingly.
Jungkook turns to face Jimin, leaving his head on their shared desk space, as he asks, “What about you? Do you miss college? Or high school? Or is this cubic paradise everything you’ve dreamed of?”
Jimin slaps Jungkook’s shoulder as his face crinkles into a smile.
But as his laughter weans off, a dark shadow cloaks Jimin’s face and silence falls between them.
“No,” Jimin finally says. “I don’t miss anything about high school or college.”
Jungkook feels something in the air, a malevolent shift in the atmosphere, but he doesn’t feel equipped enough to address the darkness sitting in the space between himself and Jimin.
Instead, he cracks a joke.
“Really? You don’t miss not paying rent and your mom’s homecooked meals?”
Jimin smiles and rolls his eyes.
“I mean, sure, I miss not paying someone to live in some kitschy neighbourhood. But my mom? She couldn’t cook for shit, so I’ll take instant ramyeon and rice crackers anyday.”
Jungkook shoves at Jimin’s shoulder as he giggles.
“Wow, what a man. Such a great fine dining experience, ramyeon and crackers, any gu—person would be lucky to date you. Could definitely cook your way into somone’s heart with that promising menu,” Jungkook teases tightly, heart thudding as he hopes that Jimin won’t notice his Freudian slip.
Jimin doesn’t seem to notice anything.
“Yeah, my pantry’s got a five-star Michelin rating,” he jokes back. “You should come check it out sometime—but only if you promise that you won’t fall in love with my charm and extensive cooking skills.”
Jungkook’s smile dies a bit but he still whispers, “I promise.”
He doesn’t know, just then, whether he’s told a lie or not.
The Thursday the deadline falls on, Baekhyun’s actually smiling widely as he praises the entire office for their hard work—and Kyungsoo drops in too.
Having heard from his subordinate the great amount of blood, sweat, and tears the team had invested into making their client happy, Kyungsoo tells them that he’d thought to congratulate them and thank them in person.
Jungkook likes this quality about Kyungsoo very much and he tells Jimin just as much when their boss begins roaming around the office, ignoring the poorly concealed dour expression on his desk mate’s face.
“I just like how Kyungsoo runs things, you know? He’s pretty good about telling everyone things that they need to work on but he’s never short of compliments or warm words when he thinks someone’s doing a good job too,” Jungkook rambles impassionedly. “I just really respect leaders that appreciate what their employees do for them, you know? It’s really motivating.”
“I’m glad to hear you think so highly of me,” an amused voice sounds from behind Jungkook.
Jungkook jumps in his seat and smiles sheepishly at Kyungsoo.
“Ah, hi, hyung, sorry.”
Kyungsoo’s serious expression gives way to the pleasant squint of eyes and curled mouth when he grins that familiar smile down at Jungkook—that same smile that’d gotten Jungkook through many hard days of late adolescence and early adulthood in college.
“Don’t apologize, kid,” he tells Jungkook cheerfully. “I hear you’ve been doing some quality work for us—but I told Baekhyun earlier on that I’d expect nothing different from you, you know. Nothing but the best from our university’s golden child.”
Jungkook blushes under the attention.
“Aw, shucks, no, that’s—erm, thanks.”
Looking endeared by Jungkook’s characteristic gracelessness, Kyungsoo takes a quick look around and pats his old protege’s head familiarly before he steps back again and clears his throat in an awkward display of professionalism again.
“Well, keep up your good work, Jungkook. I’ll see you around.”
Jungkook nods enthusiastically.
When he faces Jimin, he’s hardly got a thought strung together when Jimin blurts, “Let’s go out tonight. The rest of the guys—you know, the regular gang—are all hitting up a pub tonight and they’re drinking so, I was thinking we could join them too.”
Feeling pleasantly warm from Kyungsoo’s praises and Jimin’s abrupt invite out, Jungkook beams as he agrees easily.
Perhaps, it shouldn’t’ve been such a surprise that Jimin and Jungkook find themselves in bed together again.
But it still somehow was.
The night had been surprisingly enjoyable, the other men finally acknowledging Jungkook’s existence, and with Jimin seated next to him. Jimin had been quick to involve Jungkook in all the topics until eventually Chanyeol had taken the first step to ask the youngest participant in their group some personal questions.
Jungkook had balked under the attention at first, but eventually he’d grown to realize that beneath the loud exterior of all the other brusquer men were good hearts and hard workers. And these qualities, even if he didn’t feel any type of lasting attachment to them, Jungkook could respect.
But eventually, the others had started conversations about topics that didn’t spark any interest in Jungkook, so he’d removed himself from active participation and passively indulged himself by laughing at their crummy jokes.
All the while, Jimin had been relatively quiet and still himself.
His warm, thick thighs had pressed up against Jungkook’s tantalizingly and the lick of arousal had only worsened as he’d gotten drunker and drunker. It doesn’t help that Jimin had eventually daringly placed his hand on Jungkook’s upper thigh and rubbed at the fabric of his pants absentmindedly.
Jungkook had licked his lips nervously, eyes gliding over to observe Jimin’s reaction multiple times, but the older man’s expression betrayed absolutely nothing. This feels depressingly ironic since if Jimin’s fingers don’t stop their creep and crawl across the platform of Jungkook’s leg, his dick’s about to betray him a big way.
Jimin clenches his leg and Jungkook accidentally knees the underside of the table they’re at. Jongdae and Chanyeol turn to look at him curiously over the sounds of Seunghoon and Jinhwan arguing with Minho.
Jimin, thank fuck, comes to his rescue and sweetly informs the others that he and Jungkook are off to grab themselves a few more drinks. Minho looks up long enough to ask whether they’re buying a round but with a swift shake of Jimin’s head, he makes a face and turns away to resume his bickering.
At the bar, Jimin buys them two tequila shots which they both drain before Jungkook follows up by buying them another round.
For whatever reason, attraction fueling the ember of his crush, the ensuing blaze is a forest fire that has Jungkook’s heart burning and burning with want. His high levels of intoxication permit him a hazy disconnect from reality and he bears down on Jimin and presses him against the edge of the bar.
When he leans in to slot his lips against Jimin’s, the other man has already got an impatient hand tangled in the hairs at the nape of Jungkook’s neck while the other hand is digging into the younger man’s hipbone.
This kiss is dirty enough, perfectly wet and just shy of wild, and it stokes the blaze inside of Jungkook until the intensity is nearly intolerable. Jungkook runs his hands down Jimin’s body, forgetting himself and where they are, when the older man abruptly detaches their lips.
Jungkook’s eyes flutter open and he can hear how pathetic he sounds.
Jimin’s eyes slide over to where their co-workers are seated, all thankfully remaining blissfully unaware of the unprofessional near debauchery, and he shakes his head firmly.
“Not here. People will start talkin' if we aren't careful—if we’re gonna do this, let’s go back to my place or yours.”
Jungkook nods fervently as he pants, “Yeah. Alright, okay. I think my place is like a ten-minute cab ride away?”
Jimin pulls away.
“I’ll go make our excuses and pay our portion of the bill. Go call a cab.”
Jungkook hastily obeys.
And when they tumble through his door, the back of Jimin’s head first followed by the parade of their attached mouths and the younger man’s body, something solid and clunky drops into Jungkook’s belly.
The crush that’d been floating around the cage of his chest for the past couple months or so have solidified in this moment, becoming something more substantial and real, only gaining greater momentum and heft as Jimin works him open and delves inside with a breathy gasp.
As their bodies connect and become one, something soft and desperate in Jungkook’s soul tries binding itself to Jimin, wanting and wishing for the other man to feel the same.
This hopeful sentiment is the last thing Jungkook feels before he falls asleep that night, warm and content with Jimin in his arms.
The next morning Jungkook wakes up alone.
He doesn’t know if it alleviates the pang of disappointment he feels that Jimin had left him a note on his bedside table, a hurried scrawl that denotes his intentions on being punctual to work this time. The message itself isn’t particularly cold, but there’s nothing to reveal any fondness or affection either.
It’s mainly just…informative.
It’s nice that he thought to leave a message though, Jungkook supposes.
But when he walks into work, heart having climbed up his throat and sitting there like an unwelcome guest, Jimin’s already there and hard at work.
It’s a little unusual—normally, Jimin focuses best during the afternoon hours.
He tends to be extremely productive past ten in the morning up until around three in the afternoon when his focus begins waning a little again. The hours before and after his maximally industrious slot are normally spent napping but he’s certainly not above horsing around with Chanyeol and Jongdae or antagonizing Seunghoon, Minho, and Jinhwan.
So, naturally, Jungkook frowns as he witnesses this atypical productivity so early in the morning.
Before he can question Jimin, the other man just nods at Jungkook’s travel cup.
“I brought you some coffee—and don’t worry I rinsed out your mug before I put the coffee in it.”
Jungkook slowly puts his things down and clambers into his seat.
The silence between them is terribly awkward but Jimin bravely works past it.
“So,” he tries jauntily, “did you sleep okay? Do you feel alright?”
Jungkook nods stiffly, knowing the vein in his jaw is jumping tremulously as he fights his instinctive need to avoid this conversation.
“Yeah, I did. But…”
Jimin turns to face him and Jungkook feels his face turning bright red.
Jungkook sits in sullen silence before he mumbles, “I dunno. You weren’t there when I woke up.”
“I wrote a note,” Jimin protests in a loud hiss, taking care to ensure that gossipy Jongdae wasn’t around. “Don’t make me sound like that asshole that just walked out on you or somethin’. I had a legitimate reason!”
Jungkook has to concede this point to Jimin.
“I guess,” he retorts sulkily, pout sitting heavily on his lower lip until it juts out unnaturally.
Jimin laughs breezily and puts a comforting hand on Jungkook. Try as he might, Jungkook can’t stifle the way his heart instantly perks up at the touch and at the sight of Jimin’s ebullient smile directed at him.
Oh god, Jimin’s so beautiful, he thinks desperately.
And entirely not his.
But then, Jimin sends his world crashing down.
“Besides, c’mon, newbie,” he jokes, punching Jungkook on the shoulder lightly. “It’s not like I’m your boyfriend or anything—we just fucked! Don’t tell me you’re attached already, kid, don't be like that.”
Jungkook must look positively horrified, but it’s not for the reasons Jimin must suspect.
It's just...he can't stand the way Jimin diminishes him using diminutive terms of endearment and it's totally as though Jungkook had been adult last night but was nothing but a forlorn, petulant child today.
He watches in silent dismay as Jimin’s vivacity simmers down in the absence of Jungkook’s response and it physically hurts his heart to watch the atmosphere get dimmer and dimmer because he’s too socially inept and hurt to articulate himself properly.
Jimin tries his best to shake it off and plants an artificial smile on his face.
“Don’t go falling in love with me until I’ve ‘cooked’ for you, Jungkookie,” he says playfully, his smile wavering enough it looks as though it’s about to wilt. “Remember? If the way to a man’s heart is by cooking, you’ve still gotta visit me and my pantry first.”
“I thought you told me not to go falling in love,” Jungkook retorts, knowing that his unsmiling and grim countenance is probably betraying his injured heart more than he’d like for it to.
At that point, Jimin shrinks into himself and pulls himself further away from Jungkook.
“I’m sorry I left this morning, Jungkook,” he says, as he gathers his materials and begins shutting Jungkook out from being able to read his body language.
But even as he shutters the view into his soul, Jimin still tries to brighten the mood one last time.
Nodding at the coffee next to Jungkook’s elbow, he tells him gravely with a comically humourless expression on his face, “Please accept my caffeinated offering of peace—from friend to friend, I only wish upon your meager human vessel the best sugar and caffeine rush.”
Then, he extends his fist and Jungkook stares down at it.
In that moment, Jungkook really wants to punch Jimin’s pretty face.
Considering the heated kisses and passionate fucks they’ve shared, it feels like a slap in the face to suddenly have such platonic terms of endearment thrust in his face. He knows Jimin only intends well and is trying to repair the awkward tension, but his heart doesn’t care for logic or reason.
But Jungkook’s diplomatic and timid if nothing else, so he reciprocates the gestures and bumps Jimin’s fist gently.
Jimin smiles in relief.
Jungkook feels defeated.
By the time the day ends, Jungkook’s ready to go home.
He hadn’t spoken much to Jimin throughout the rest of the day and he doesn’t plan on starting now. Just as he’s about to head to the elevators, a loud voice calls his name from behind.
“Hey, man,” he greets cheerfully as he slings an arm over a suspicious Jungkook. “You comin’ out tonight? I think Jongdae’s out ‘cause he finally scored a date with that chick in marketing he’s had his eye on for a few months now—oh, and Minho’s out ‘cause he’s still hungover from last night that pussy bitch—but the rest of us are all in.”
Jungkook’s ready to make excuses, tell the guys that his mother’s moving into her new home on Neptune or that he and his brother have dinner plans in the innermost core of the earth, when he sees Jimin’s soft gaze fixed on him.
His heart stutters again and he hates himself.
But he still tries his best to decline, muttering under his breath, “Oh, I dunno…”
A plaintive voice suddenly enters the fray.
“C’mon, Jungkookie,” Jimin pleads quietly. “Please?”
It feels a bit like waging a personal war, two pairs of eyes duking it out using nonverbal communication, and Jungkook tries to stay strong and firm. But eventually his determination begins to flicker until it completely dies in front of the prettiest face he’s been victim to.
“Okay,” Jungkook agrees reluctantly.
Jimin cheers happily, eyes collecting into the sweetest squint, his face a scrunch of happiness and unabashed contentment at Jungkook’s acquiescence.
Jungkook hates how much he loves seeing Jimin so happy.
They all clamber into the elevator and the door closes with a soft ping.
This time when they’re kissing on Jungkook’s bed, Jimin stops their passionate embrace and pulls back.
The two men had hardly made it an hour into their plans with their coworkers before insisting they’re both exhausted from two consecutive nights of being out. After they'd settled their portion of the bill, they'd waved off offers of rides or sharing cabs, claiming they're both just heading to their own homes and no one should feel obliged to accompany them.
This, of course, is a terrible lie and has led to their current predicament.
“Hey,” Jimin whispers, running his fingers through Jungkook’s hair, the younger man lying prone and pliant beneath him. “I was wonderin’ something.”
Jungkook tugs at Jimin’s tie and yanks him in for a prolonged but chaste kiss before releasing him.
He feels triumphant at the dazed expression on Jimin’s face.
“Now? You’re really wondering something right now? Like, is it that important?”
Jimin shakes his head slowly, mouthing ‘no’, before he breaks into laughter.
“I guess not,” he admits as he continues to groom Jungkook’s hair with his hands while pressing soft but intermittent kisses between words on his cheeks. “But I really wanted to know if you’d be down to hook up regularly.”
Jungkook starts a little.
“Are you asking me if I wanna be your fuck buddy?”
Jimin shrugs, accidentally shifting his hips in a manner that jostles Jungkook’s cock, causing the younger man to moan in surprise. When Jungkook opens his eyes, Jimin’s madly blushing but he looks determined to see this conversation through.
“I guess I am, yeah. Can you blame me? You’re hot, we’re compatible in bed, and your dick seems pretty interested in my proposition—if you ask me. So, what’s there to lose?”
Jungkook takes a deep breath and releases it.
He’s suddenly deep in thought, considering the pro’s and con’s of the proposed FWB situation, and is entirely unaware of how he captures Jimin’s hands in his own and intertwines their fingers together.
The reality is Jungkook’s a romantic at heart.
He doesn’t get attached to many people, but once he latches on, he knows he’s an almost impossible entity to remove. The tenacity at which he loves those who’ve rented out space in his heart—those like his family or Taehyung, Yoongi, and Hoseok—all acknowledge the awkward tenderness and undiluted devotion with which Jungkook gives his soul to anyone for whom he cares.
So, for someone as sensitive and idealistic as he to accept a fuck buddy situation is a terrible idea.
And if he’s being completely frank, he finds the concept altogether loathsome, too shy and abashed to share his body and soul with someone who doesn’t know his heart and mind.
But Jungkook’s never been smart with love either.
(Although, to be fair, it could be attributed to his general lack of experience in love too).
So, Jungkook accepts and seals the deal with a kiss.
And later that night, when they finalize their agreement through the tacit compliance written in the ropes of come painting their bellies and lines of sweat running down their nape and backs, Jungkook can’t help but think he’s made a mistake.
But after Jimin just laughs joyfully, leaning down to kiss Jungkook with all the affection of a dedicated partner, he thinks that there’d been no other option for him anyway.
He rushes forward to give the kiss his all, holding Jimin’s cheeks in both his hands.
Holding his dream in the palms of his hands.