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Anger Is a Secondary Emotion

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Jungkook feels like shit. 

It’s his own fault for staying up drinking with Yoongi until 3 am last night. It was fucking stupid, and he shouldn’t have done it because they have an interview in a few hours and they’re supposed to perform later, and now it feels like all the moisture has been sucked out of his eyeballs and someone’s repeatedly hammering against his cranium with a mallet and his stomach is churning to the point that he doesn’t trust himself to move without puking everywhere. He knows he looks as bad as he feels, too. Plus, it’s hot and he can smell the alcohol sweating out through his pores.

He’s sitting in the least comfortable chair in the entire universe waiting for someone to fix his hair, and glaring across the room at where Taehyung’s having his makeup done by this girl named Chan-sook. Both of them are giggling non-stop, and it’s irritating Jungkook so fucking much. He’s not exactly sure why. It might have something to do with the fact that they’re both acting all annoyingly cheerful and happy while Jungkook feels like he’s been hit by a truck and then reversed over afterward. Plus Chan-sook’s high-pitched laughter is making his head pound even harder than it already was. 

He hates it when the hair and makeup people try to flirt with them. He hates it when any staff people try to flirt with them. It’s their fucking job, not an opportunity to get laid. He doesn’t mean to be a snob, it’s just impossible to trust people now. You never know when someone has an ulterior motive. Jungkook just thinks they should be able to relax sometimes, especially around people who are supposed to be paid professionals. And it’s bugging him that Taehyung is flirting back, anyway. He shouldn’t be encouraging it, it’ll only make things worse.

“You look like shit,” Jin says, flopping down in the chair next to Jungkook with a giant piece of pizza. It somehow smells amazing and revolting at the same time, like Jungkook wants to stuff it in his mouth and also puke everywhere.

He wouldn’t mind puking on Jin right now, actually.

Or Chan-sook.

He just shoots Jin the finger and Jin does his ridiculous, unhinged laugh that usually sets Jungkook off right along with him, except now it makes his head feel like someone lodged an axe right down the middle, splitting his skull in two.

“Awww, poor baby,” Jin says happily while chewing. “Rough night?”

Jungkook grunts.

“Pizza?” Jin asks, holding the slice out.

Jungkook curls his lip and glares.

“Okay,” Jin says, getting up again. “Great talk!”

Jungkook knows he’s being a dick, but he really couldn’t care less.

He glances back over at Taehyung and Chan-sook. Their heads are pushed together now, looking at something on Taehyung’s phone and smiling like idiots. Jungkook should probably ignore them, but for some reason he can’t. He glares until Taehyung glances up and meets his gaze, and then he glares even harder, willing Taehyung to read his mind, to feel how annoyed he is, so he’ll stop.

But Taehyung just smiles even wider and waves at him, long, ring-clad fingers wiggling around in the air. Then he whispers something in Chan-sook’s ear and it sets that high-pitched shriek off again and Jungkook wants to kill them both. 

When the hairstylist finally comes and starts yanking at his roots it takes everything in him not to scream at her. It’s like he can feel every lock of hair on his head, like the pain is shooting up through his scalp and out of his follicles, so every single strand is throbbing and burning and screaming in agony.

It doesn’t help when Yoongi saunters in a few minutes later, looking fresh and well-rested and pain-free, and stops in front of Jungkook with a giant grin on his face.

Jungkook snarls at him. Fuck Yoongi and his perpetual ability to somehow drink Jungkook under the table and still wake up looking normal every time.

Unfortunately Jungkook’s facial expression has the opposite effect to what he intended, and Yoongi immediately starts laughing.

“Don’t drink with the big boys if you can’t handle the consequences.”

“Don’t be a dick if you don’t want me to beat the shit out of you.”

Yoongi just laughs even harder. “You’re funny, Jungkook.”

It’s a bad fucking day.

 


 

But then a week later Jungkook goes to grab some food in the little common area of their rented practice-studio and Chan-sook is there.

She’s just sitting at the table beside Taehyung eating fruit and granola and laughing. And even though Jungkook isn’t hungover at all this time, feels perfectly fine and well-rested, even, it’s still so fucking annoying. Jungkook doesn’t know why she’s here and he doesn’t know why Taehyung would even want her here. 

Jungkook isn’t stupid. He knows Taehyung is probably fucking her, or at least trying to; laying the groundwork, maybe. But it seems like he’s putting way too much effort in. By the way Chan-sook keeps flipping her long hair and squeezing Taehyung’s arm and batting her eyelashes Jungkook is pretty sure Taehyung could just fuck her on the table right now, in front of everyone. 

And if they have already fucked then why is she still around? It wouldn’t be the first time it’s happened, that one of them fell into bed with a makeup artist or a dancer or a security person. Jungkook doesn’t shit where he eats, but he understands why the other guys might. They’re only human. And it’s not like they can just go out and meet someone, just hook up with a random stranger. It’s just that he’s not used to seeing multiple interactions like this, for one of them to sleep with someone and then bring them to lunch the next day. Usually it’s a one-time thing. They don’t have rules about dating, they just don’t do it. Or they never have before, anyway.

It’s weird and it could get really messy and it bothers him.

He’s suddenly lost his appetite so he pours some tea into a mug and sits down at a table by himself. 

A few minutes later a very sweaty Yoongi stumbles in chugging thirstily from a giant bottle of water. He flops down on the chair beside Jungkook, metal legs screeching on the linoleum floor. “I’m too old for this shit,” he says, slamming the bottle down and wiping his face with his sleeve.

Jungkook snorts.

“I’m gonna need a hip replacement before I’m 30!” Yoongi moans. “I need a break.”

“Looks like you’re taking a break right now, grandpa.”

Yoongi rolls his eyes. “I mean, like, a break where I get to sleep for a solid week and don’t have to listen to you disrespect me all fucking day.”

Jungkook laughs. “Sorry. Grandpa-hyung.”

Yoongi looks at him with disdain and Jungkook laughs even harder, until the grin is wiped off his face by another one of Chan-sook’s irritatingly high-pitched shrieks.

“What’s the deal with that?” Yoongi asks, lifting his chin in the direction of Taehyung and Chan-sook.

Jungkook shrugs. “Don’t know, don’t care.” 

He doesn’t want to talk about it.

But then Hoseok saunters over and drops a giant, steaming bowl of soup on the table and plunks down on the other side of Jungkook and decides (to Jungkook’s ever-increasing irritation) to continue the conversation anyway. 

“Is that gonna be a problem?”

“Nah,” Yoongi says. “Let the kid have some fun.”

“It’s kinda cute,” Hoseok replies, before noisily slurping from his spoon. 

Jungkook doesn’t think it’s cute at all. Not even remotely. It’s the opposite of cute. It’s completely nauseating, actually.

What’s cute?” Namjoon asks, joining them at the table.

Jungkook can’t help the annoyed sigh he lets out. It’s bad enough that Chan-sook is even here, he doesn’t want to have to talk about it for the entirety of their very short lunch break.

“Tae and his little girlfriend.” Hoseok cocks his head towards them.

“Oh,” Namjoon says, squinting his eyes. “Is that, like… a thing?” He turns and looks at Jungkook, and it’s apparent that the question is directed at him, specifically. Of course.

Jungkook shrugs and rolls his eyes. He really wishes they’d talk about something else. Anything else. He hasn’t brought it up with Taehyung so he honestly doesn’t know. And he doesn’t want to know, either. He wants to spend as little time thinking about Chan-sook as possible.

“Jungkook’s pissy because he has to share his puppy with someone else,” Yoongi says, smirking.

“Fuck off. Am not.”

He isn’t. Not really. Not completely, anyway.

“Well you’re brooding about something,” Yoongi shoots back.

“I’m not brooding. I just don’t feel like talking about it.”

“Okay, Jungkook.”

He sees Namjoon give Yoongi a look, and it shuts him up.

“You okay?” Namjoon asks. And then he feels Hoseok squeeze his knee under the table, and he knows they’re trying to help, but it just makes him feel even more prickly. He doesn’t want this right now, for everyone to be all concerned and feeling sorry for him. He wants the whole thing to go away. The more they coddle the worse he feels. He doesn’t know how to tell them to stop without seeming like even more of an asshole, though.

“I’m fine,” he says, in a more irritated tone than he was going for. “Just stop asking. I said I don’t know.”

“Sure, yeah,” Namjoon says. “That’s fine.”

But everyone’s looking at him now and it’s awkward and there’s no real way to salvage it, so he decides to just spend the rest of his free time outside by himself with his headphones on. 

It ends up becoming kind of a habit.

 


 

Touring is like torture, but it also contains multitudes. It’s a kind of endless grey discomfort sprinkled with the sweetest moments of joy that Jungkook has ever experienced in his short little existence.

It’s constantly waking up in different beds and none of them are yours. It’s long plane rides and car rides and bus rides. It’s living your life in backstages and green rooms, falling asleep on floors and couches and sometimes even toilets. It’s answering the same questions over and over and over again and then doing it again the next day. It’s being grabbed at and yelled at and posing for photos. It’s not posing for photos and having them taken anyway. It’s missing the people and places and foods and smells and sounds that make you feel like home.

But it’s also all the other stuff, the best stuff. It’s new people and new cultures and new experiences. It’s the intense emotional rollercoaster of performing to thousands of people, and the high that lasts for days afterward. It’s the reward for the endless hours of sweating and restricting and pushing, of never getting enough sleep, of having no privacy or being able to do normal things. It’s inspiring people and having them inspire you. It’s constantly being humbled by the love people give, by the selflessness and hope and wonder they share.

And yeah, it’s a fucking cliché, but being onstage makes Jungkook feel alive. The screaming and chanting, the lights, the fucking adrenaline. He wouldn’t give it up for anything. 

It’s hard to say why some nights are better than others. They’re all incredible, but a few of them seem to be made of pure magic; when they’re all on their A-game and they’re vibing on the energy between each other and the crowd, and it feels effortless, like they’re caught up in something bigger than themselves, some massive unseen force cradling the seven of them and the thousands of cheering fans in the shallow dip of its enormous stretched-out  palm.

This night is one of those nights. Jungkook is on fire, body moving without command, hitting every step like he’s inside the beat, voice flowing out from that secret spot inside him like lava from an erupting volcano. 

So when they finally finish, after Jungkook has drawn it out as long as he can, lingered under the warm blanket of the crowd until he can’t reasonably stay another second, he’s feeling pretty good. He’s sweaty as fuck, but he doesn’t feel tired at all. It surprises him every time he gets offstage, how he somehow feels like his body has more energy than when he started.

He’s still in his head a little, so he doesn’t notice where he’s walking, and he smacks right into Taehyung in front of him. When he turns around his cheeks are scrunched up into a giant grin and he doesn’t have to say anything because Jungkook knows they’re both feeling exactly the same way.

Taehyung falls into step beside him and presses his palm against Jungkook’s, twining their fingers together.

“Let’s ride back together,” Taehyung says.

Sometimes Jungkook prefers to be by himself, to have a moment to soak it all in on his own, to sober up from the high just a touch and reflect on all of it. But tonight it seems good to be with Taehyung. It feels like they’re on the same wavelength anyway, which has been happening less frequently of late.

“Yeah,” Jungkook says, squeezing Taehyung’s sweaty hand in his own.

It’s a nice night, cool with a lingering warm breeze from the day, as if the air had soaked up some of the heat from the sun and saved it for later. They crack the window an inch or two to take advantage of it.

“It was good tonight, wasn’t it?” Taehyung asks quietly.

Jungkook turns his head and nods. It’s dark, but Taehyung’s face keeps lighting up briefly as they pass under the yellow-orange glow of the streetlamps, and Jungkook sees the corners of his mouth tug up into a small smile.

It still feels unbelievable to be here sometimes, that they’ve gotten this far. It’s difficult to grasp the magnitude of it most days. It’s these moments, though, the quiet ones when two of them are sitting together and Jungkook knows they’re both feeling the same thing, that he gets that rare moment of clarity, the ability to appreciate it in its entirety. 

Jungkook has his hand splayed flat on the leather seat beside him and he feels Taehyung’s fingertips feather over the backs of his knuckles in the dark before he presses his warm palm down on top. 

"You were good,” Taehyung says. “Sometimes I wish there were two of me so I could be onstage beside you and also watch you from the crowd.”

Jungkook laughs softly, but he feels warm all over, like Taehyung’s words and presence and touch are heightening the buoyant sensation inside him.

“Do you want something?” he asks.

“What?” 

Jungkook can’t see very clearly, but he knows Taehyung’s nose is scrunched up in confusion. 

“Feels like you’re buttering me up so you can ask me to do something for you.”

The car fills up with Taehyung’s deep laughter and it makes Jungkook feel intensely at ease. 

“I can’t say something nice about you without an ulterior motive?” he asks.

“You can. I just wasn’t sure if you were .”

“Jungkook. Will you ever just accept a compliment instead of trying to start a fight?”

“Shut up.”

“You shut up. I’m the biggest fucking Jungkook fan on the planet. Fight me all you want. I’m still gonna say it.”

It’s dumb, but Jungkook feels his face starting to flush. He flips his hand over where it’s still trapped underneath Taehyung’s so that they’re palm to palm. It doesn’t take a second before Taehyung twines their fingers together again.

“You were good, too,” Jungkook says. He wants to say more, but it isn’t his style. Taehyung knows that, though. He knows what Jungkook means; that Taehyung was incredible, that Jungkook wouldn’t want to do this without him, that he’s the biggest fucking Taehyung fan on the planet.

Taehyung squeezes Jungkook’s hand tightly.

When they pull up to the back entrance of the hotel and Jungkook clambers out behind Taehyung he sees her immediately, thin and graceful in a little black dress, long hair flowing in shiny waves down her bare arms, waiting just inside the glass door.

He knows the moment Taehyung sees her, too, because his demeanor changes. He straightens up, presses his shoulders back, slides a hand through the front of his hair.

He turns around and winks, but he keeps walking, stepping carefully backwards. “See ya later, Jungkook.”

 


 

A few days later Taehyung introduces them and it’s fucking awkward. It’s not even really an introduction, they already know each other. But Jungkook can see immediately that it’s meant to be one. Or it’s meant to be a re-introduction anyway. An introduction to Chan-sook, Taehyung’s… whatever she is, rather than Chan-sook their makeup artist.

“You know Chan-sook,” Taehyung says to him, gesturing to his right where Chan-sook is lingering a step behind him.

Jungkook hates it when people say that. You know Chan-sook. Yeah he fucking knows her. So what? It isn’t a question, just a weirdly obvious statement. It’s

impossible to respond to without sounding like an idiot.

“Uh… Yeah, sure.” Jungkook says.

And then Taehyung slides an arm behind her back and pushes her forward, so she has to step right into Jungkook’s space, and she lowers her head briefly in a quick bow and then Jungkook has to do it back because he’s not a fucking animal, and all he wants is for this to be over so he can go listen to music in his headphones and scowl.

“You did well today,” Chan-sook says politely.

They’d just finished a live performance on a talk show, and they’re supposed to be taking a ten-minute break before they head off for whatever’s next in their packed schedule. Jungkook can’t even remember. He’s been up since pitch-dark o’clock and all he really wants is to take a long nap. The longest nap ever. Preferably 12 hours or more.

Jungkook glances up at Taehyung’s face and he’s staring back, eyebrows raised. He jerks his head toward Chan-sook, almost imperceptibly, and Jungkook has to fight down the urge to roll his eyes.

“Thanks,” Jungkook says.

Chan-sook just nods and Taehyung shakes his head slowly back and forth in disappointment.

But fuck Taehyung. She paid Jungkook a compliment and he thanked her. What the hell else is he supposed to say? He’s not in the mood for this.

“We’re gonna hang out later, maybe get some food and watch a movie or something,” Taehyung says.

“Uh. Okay,” Jungkook replies. Congratufuckinglations , he thinks. Why the fuck do I care? “Have fun, I guess?”

He turns to leave and find somewhere semi-comfortable to crash for his remaining five minutes of freedom, but he feels Taehyung reach out and clutch at the cuff of his shirt, warm fingertips brushing the inside of his wrist.

“What?” Jungkook asks, turning back to face them.

Chan-sook looks sort of uncomfortable. Not really annoyed, and not really intimidated, but maybe something close to what Jungkook is feeling himself. When Jungkook shifts his gaze over to Taehyung he’s smiling kind of ruefully and rolling his eyes.

“Do you want to come?” Taehyung asks.

What?” Jungkook sounds like an idiot, but he actually doesn’t know what Taehyung’s talking about.

“Do you want to come hang out with us? Later?”

“Uh…” 

No. He fucking doesn’t. Third-wheeling with Taehyung and Chan-sook is literally the last thing on the entire planet he wants to do. It’s Jungkook’s personal idea of hell.

He stands there, shuffling his weight back and forth between his feet for a few seconds, trying to think of something nicer to say than ‘I’d rather cut my eyeball out and eat it in a sandwich.’

And then he looks back at Chan-sook and he gets it, the look on her face. She doesn’t want to hang out with Jungkook anymore than Jungkook wants to hang out with her. She’s all tensed up, on-edge while she waits for him to answer, praying he’ll say no.

It almost makes him say yes. Almost .

“No thanks,” Jungkook says, turning back to Taehyung when Chan-sook relaxes her shoulders and lets the tiniest of exhales out. “I need to sleep. I can barely stand up right now.”

Taehyung’s mouth flattens out into a straight line. Jungkook knows what that means. He’s disappointed with Jungkook, but he isn’t surprised.

Jungkook doesn’t get why the fuck it even matters. Why would Taehyung want Jungkook to hang out with him and some girl he’s fucking? It’s weird. 

“Okay,” Taehyung says. “Well, maybe another time.”

Jungkook nods. “Sure.” 

He’s pretty sure all three of them know there will never be another time.

 


 

Three days later, in a brand new city, Jungkook is sitting on the hard concrete of Jimin’s hotel balcony watching the sun set with Jimin and Taehyung. They’re way up high so the only thing they can see is the pinky-orange fade and the tops of other buildings around them. It’s warm and breezy and the air smells like lilacs and dust and asphalt. Jungkook feels sort of weightless, like the balcony is its own separate entity, unattached to any building; like they’re suspended above the city, cradled in their little concrete box.

He feels lighter in another sense, too, in more of an abstract way. His limbs are loose and his shoulders are slack and the edge on the irritation he’s been feeling is blunted.

“Do you guys think they’ll figure out how to significantly extend our lifespans before we die?” Jimin asks. He’s stretched out on his stomach in front of where Jungkook and Taehyung are leaning against the sliding glass door.

“What?” Jungkook asks.

“Like, will they be able to grow human organs inside pigs and stuff like that so we can all just keep replacing them every few years?”

Jimin’s been doing this thing lately, where he’s obsessed with mortality. Jungkook doesn’t know where it’s coming from, but it’s fucking morbid and kind of weird.

“I mean, they’re basically already doing it anyway,” Jimin continues. “It’s not that far-fetched.”

“But how many times could you reasonably replace your organs? You’d have to be having surgery all the time.” Jungkook isn’t sure why he’s entertaining this topic of conversation.

“But wouldn’t they probably have less-invasive surgery techniques by then? Like laser robots or something. Or, like, doing the whole thing with miniature tools so they only have to cut the tiniest little hole in you. Or maybe they could do it through your ear canal?”

“You think you’re going to have your organs grown in a pig and then transplanted by laser robot surgeons through your ear canal?”

Jimin props his head up on his hand and glares at Jungkook. “You’re making it sound crazy on purpose. It’s not crazy. It’s science.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes. “You aren’t thinking about the logistics. Bodies can reject organ transplants. And repeated surgeries take a toll on you. Plus, like, what about your outsides? Are you replacing all your skin, too? Or will you be a shrivelled prune with the kidneys of a 12-year-old?”

“Jungkook when did you stop being fun?”

“Fuck you! I’m fun.” 

He kind of isn’t, though. Or he hasn’t been lately. Not as fun as he used to be. 

“You’re grumpy.”

“You’re the one being all weird and morbid. You’re going through some sort of delayed teen-angst goth phase.”

“I’m going through a quarter-life crisis!”

“I kind of want to be an old man,” Taehyung says suddenly. Taehyung’s good like that. He stays out of it until it gets too heated and then he says a Taehyung thing and it makes everyone forget they were bickering in the first place. “Old people get to say and do whatever they want and nobody cares. Old people don’t give a fuck. And they’re cozy.”

Jimin laughs and it echoes in the twilight, bounces off the concrete and floats back on the balmy breeze. “They’re cozy?”

“Yeah. You know. They’re just all slow-moving and warm. And they tell long rambling stories about when they were young, and they drink tea and wear slippers all day.”

Jungkook doesn’t know why he ended up with a bunch of crazy people for friends.

“You’ll make a cute old man, Tae” Jimin says.

“Awww, thanks Jiminie!”

Jungkook just looks back and forth between them and shakes his head. 

He kind of agrees, though. Taehyung will be the cutest old man.

“Do you think we’ll all still be friends when we’re old?” Taehyung asks.

“Of course,” Jimin says, like it’s a stupid question. 

“We’ll probably still be doing this,” Jungkook says.

Jimin looks at him. “Sitting on a balcony talking about organ transplants?”

“Maybe. I meant all of it, though. We’ll be the first geriatric idols. Performing with canes and in wheelchairs.”

“We won’t need ‘em,” Jimin says. “We’ll have pig organs and robot skeletons and regenerative muscle tissue and our skin will never change because it’ll be made out of some sort of artificial material that looks and behaves identically to actual skin.”

Jungkook laughs, and it feels really good. “Except Tae. We’ll all look the same and he’ll just be a regular, cozy old man.”

Taehyung rests his head on Jungkook’s shoulder, so when his hair flutters in the breeze it tickles Jungkook’s cheek. 

“I’ll be everyone’s grandpa,” he says. “I’ll wear slippers and pajamas all day and you’ll all take care of me and make me tea and listen to my weird stories.”

Jimin says it before Jungkook can even open his mouth. “How the fuck is that any different from now?”

Taehyung pinches Jungkook’s thigh and kicks a leg out at Jimin when they laugh at him.

It’s almost dark now, just a hint of orange peeking over the balcony railing and melting into the purple evening sky. It’s cooling down, but Jungkook feels warm with Taehyung pressed up against him.

“Maybe our kids will be friends,” Jimin says, crossing his arms on the concrete in front of him and resting his cheek on them. “We’ll have big family dinners and it will be loud and chaotic and crazy.”

“Probably,” Taehyung says. “That sounds nice.”

It does sound nice. Jungkook likes the idea of it, that even when all of it ends they’ll still have each other. It’s fucking sappy, but even he can admit that it’s comforting.

“Who do you think will get married first?” Jimin asks.

“Seokjin-hyung,” Taehyung says immediately.

“Just because he’s the oldest?”

“No,” Taehyung says. “I don’t know. Maybe. Just seems like the type. He’ll be a good dad.”

“Maybe it’ll be you,” Jimin says, wiggling his eyebrows in Taehyung’s direction.

Jungkook knows what he means. He hates it. He wanted to go one fucking day without talking about it.

Taehyung giggles a little against Jungkook’s shoulder.

“I’m gonna go live in a cabin in the woods by myself for five years before I get married,” Jungkook says, to change the subject. “So that everyone forgets who I am.”

Jimin laughs. “Okay, Jungkook. Sure you are.”

Taehyung doesn’t laugh, though. He puts a warm hand on Jungkook’s thigh and rubs it gently.

“It’ll take a lot longer than five years for people to forget you,” Jimin continues. “And why would you want that anyway? What’s the point?”

Jungkook looks up at the sky, at the twinkling stars, at the vast, emerging darkness. It always comforts him, in a weird way, thinking about how small and insignificant he is.

“Because it’s the only way to be sure someone loves you for who you really are,” Taehyung says softly.

Jimin stops laughing.

 


 

“What do you mean you’re dating?”

Jungkook is glaring at Taehyung, at the stupid, smug expression on his face. They’re backstage before soundcheck, where Taehyung had finally cornered Jungkook after repeatedly mentioning he had “something important to say.”

Jungkook had been avoiding him all day because he had a feeling he wouldn’t want to hear whatever it was. Turns out he was right.

“I mean we’re dating. Like, we’re together. Seeing each other.”

“Seeing each other where?”

Taehyung rolls his eyes. 

It’s so irritating. They can’t date. They can’t even go out in public. It’s stupid. He means they’re hanging out and fucking. It’s not serious. She isn’t his girlfriend.

“I mean she’s my girlfriend,” Taehyung says. “We’re a couple.”

Oh. 

Jungkook snorts. “That’s stupid.”

Taehyung looks kind of hurt for a moment, and Jungkook sort of feels bad, but not enough to take it back.

Anyway, Taehyung recovers pretty quickly and just shrugs his shoulders. “Luckily whether or not you think it’s stupid doesn’t really have any bearing on my relationship.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes harder than he’s ever rolled them in his life. Like, it actually kind of hurts. But Taehyung deserves it for referring to whatever the fuck he’s doing with Chan-sook as a relationship.

“Okay, great,” Jungkook says. “I’ll check the mail for my wedding invitation.”

Taehyung shakes his head. “What’s your deal lately?”

“My deal?”

“Yeah. You’ve been all bitchy.”

“I haven’t been bitchy.”

He kind of has, though. Like, not bitchy. That’s not the word he would use. But just, like… pissed off. Uncomfortable in an unexplainable way. Short-tempered maybe. He’s not sure why even. He isn’t stressed or anything. He’s been sleeping okay. Everything just irritates him.

Maybe it’s because everyone else is being so fucking irritating, though.

 


 

And then Taehyung just starts bringing her everywhere. Fucking everywhere! 

It’s fucked up because some things should really be off-limits. Some things should only be the seven of them, they all know that. Sacred bonding time and shit. Except nobody else seems to be as concerned as Jungkook is.

“Don’t you think it’s kind of weird?” Jungkook asks Jin and Jimin. They’re backstage in a green room waiting to be interviewed for a radio thing and the three of them are standing at the table full of snacks in the corner, shovelling food into their mouths.

“Why is it weird? They’re dating,” Jimin responds between mouthfuls. 

“Yeah, but that doesn’t mean she has to come everywhere.”

“She’s not coming everywhere.”

“Most places, though.”

Jin grabs a handful of some sort of strange candy that seems to be half chocolate and half gummy bear and shoves it into Jungkook’s mouth so he has no choice but to chew. “Eat these, they’re weird.”

“I mean, she does also work for us,” Jimin says. “And it’s not like we have a lot of free time. It’s a weird situation to get to know someone in. They have to improvise.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes and tries to chew faster so he can swallow it down and keep talking. He holds a finger up to indicate he still has more to say. “Isn’t that a sign that maybe this isn’t the best time to get to know someone? We’re working.” He hasn’t quite managed to swallow so it comes out sounding all sloppy.

Jin laughs. “We’re always working. Are we supposed to be monks?”

“That’s not what I’m saying. We don’t have to be celibate. But getting into something serious while we’re on tour seems sort of stupid. Or pointless, anyway.” Jungkook doesn’t get how they don’t see this.

“Why do you even care, Jungkook?” Jimin seems kind of irritated now, which makes Jungkook feel irritated because why doesn’t anyone understand that he isn’t the irritating one here? “It’s not hurting you. It has nothing to do with you.”

Jin reaches out and pats Jungkook on the head placatingly. “Poor JK. Your little buddy’s getting laid and now he doesn’t have any time for you.”

Jungkook slaps Jin’s hand away as he and Jimin laugh. He wishes everyone would stop saying that. It isn’t the fucking problem. Taehyung can do whatever he wants. But what Taehyung does affects the rest of them, too. It’s selfish. 

“That isn’t the issue,” Jungkook says. “We don’t even really know this girl. Why should we trust her?”

Jimin sighs and wipes his hands on a napkin. “Her name is Chan-sook.”

“I know her fucking name.”

Jimin just shakes his head and turns to leave, and Jin flashes him a small smile. “Eat some food and take a nap, Jungkook. You’re cranky as fuck.”

 


 

It wasn’t just that one day with Yoongi that Jungkook drank too much; the day before he noticed how much time Taehyung was spending with Chan-sook, how irritating they were being. He’s been doing it a lot lately. It’s not like it’s a problem or anything. Not yet. But he’s starting to see how it could become one. 

It’s just that he keeps getting this feeling, like he’s uncomfortable about something and he doesn’t know what it is and it’s frustrating. It’s not just the Taehyung thing. It’s more than that. And when he sits and tries to figure it out he just gets even more frustrated and uncomfortable and then he feels like he needs a drink.

He isn’t stupid. He knows alcohol isn’t a healthy way to solve your problems. But that isn’t what he’s doing. He doesn’t even know what his problem is , so how can he try to solve it? He just wants to relax for a minute. He just needs a break. So fucking sue him.

He’s down in the little hotel bar, sitting in a dark corner by himself. They’d rented the bar out for a private celebration after the show. They have a day off tomorrow before they move on to another city and everyone’s there, the seven of them and all the staff. The mood is light and celebratory but Jungkook can’t get into it. He’d been trying not to drink too much so he could go out exploring with Jimin the next day, but then he’d caught a glimpse of Taehyung laughing with Chan-sook and he felt all irritated again.

So now he’s sitting in a leather chair all alone starting in on his fourth Jack and Coke. Namjoon had come by to chat but Jungkook’s heart wasn’t really in it. He feels sort of bad now, but he also knows he wouldn’t have been able to keep up a conversation for long and he thinks Namjoon is better off where he is now, in the thick of it, with people who are a lot less miserable.

Jungkook looks up from his drink and sees Taehyung wandering over, pushing himself through a group of people milling about near the bar. Jungkook is relieved to see he’s alone.

“What’s up, hermit?” Taehyung asks when he approaches, ruffling Jungkook’s hair and then flopping down in the leather chair beside him.

Jungkook reaches up to smooth his hair back in place while Taehyung laughs.

“Nothing. Can’t a man drink in peace?”

“There are a lot more peaceful places to drink than a crowded bar full of drunken revelers.”

Taehyung looks like he might be a little bit drunk himself. His forehead is glistening damply under the dim lights and his face is flushed a mild pink colour. 

Jungkook just shrugs. “I’m too tired for small talk. Didn’t wanna be rude and not show up, though.”

Taehyung’s eyebrows shift down in concern. “You okay?” His tone has a more serious edge to it now.

“Yeah, yeah. I’m fine. Long day.”

Taehyung reaches out and squeezes Jungkook’s hand tightly. The gesture makes Jungkook’s chest ache. He realizes suddenly that he misses Taehyung. He can’t actually remember the last time they’d hung out alone, just the two of them. He’s always with Chan-sook now.

“Hey, what are you doing tomorrow?” he asks, without thinking. “Let’s do something fun. Just the two of us. It’s been a while.”

When Jungkook meets Taehyung’s eyes he looks sort of sheepish and uncomfortable, like it’s suddenly awkward between them.

“Uh… “ Taehyung starts. “I can’t. I’m spending the day with Chan. She has a bunch of stuff planned, I promised her a while ago.”

Of course he’s spending the day with her. Of course he is. Jungkook feels like an idiot.

“Yeah,” he says. “Fine. It’s fine. I forgot I’m supposed to hang with Jimin anyway.” He looks away and takes a long, hard sip of his drink.

“Soon, though, okay? Maybe next week.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes. “Sure. Whatever.” He hates feeling like an idiot.

“Jungkook… “

“I said it’s fine. Go hang out with your girlfriend.”

Taehyung sighs. “I was just on my way to bed, actually. I came over to say goodnight.” He stands up, but he lingers for a while, looking down at Jungkook while he takes another gulp from his glass. Jungkook doesn’t feel like looking at him.

“Don’t drink too much, okay?” Taehyung says softly, before turning around and walking away.

And the thing is, Jungkook wasn’t going to. He was planning on leaving and going to sleep after this one. But fuck Taehyung. He orders another just to spite him.

He stays in his corner, stews in his resentment with a surly look plastered on his face to warn away anyone who might attempt to approach him. Someone’s turned the music up and it’s loud and bass-heavy, to the point that Jungkook’s glass rattles a little when he puts it on the table. He isn’t in the mood for this lousy EDM shit, but he doesn’t have any alcohol in his room. He could probably get room service or something, ask the concierge or send someone out to a store. But it’s a thing now. He’s trying to prove something even though nobody else gives a shit.

He’s looking down at his phone (not because he actually cares about anything on it, but because he’s trying to seem closed-off and occupied) when he feels someone sit down in the chair beside him again. 

When he looks up he’s face-to-face with Chan-sook.

“Hey,” she says.

Jungkook is kind of stunned. It seems pretty bold of her. It’s not like they’ve even spoken much before, besides when she’s done his make-up, or the one time Taehyung awkwardly introduced them. They aren’t friends. And as much as he doesn’t want to talk to anyone right now, if he were forced to have a conversation with a current occupant of the bar, and he made a ranked list from the person he’d be most willing to endure to the least, Chan-sook would be the very last name he wrote down. She’d be so fucking last that she’d be on her own separate page.

“Uh…“ he says. “Hey.”

Chan-sook laughs like something is funny. Jungkook hates when people do that. It isn’t flattering, it’s stupid. She is kind of pretty, though. She has smooth, soft looking skin, and giant brown eyes, and a perfectly symmetrical nose. 

“How come you’re over here all alone?” she asks.

Jungkook shrugs. “Felt like it.” He still feels sort of taken-aback and shocked that she’s even talking to him. He knows he’s being snotty, but he doesn’t really care. “How come Tae went to bed and you’re still here?”

Chan-sook rolls her eyes. “Because it’s not 1950 and I can do what I want.”

She has a point. He didn’t really mean it like that anyway, like she’s not allowed to be out on her own when she has a boyfriend. It’s bothering him, though. On Taehyung’s behalf. Something about it seems suspect. 

As if to prove his point, Chan-sook flicks her hair over her shoulder and crosses her legs, so her already-short skirt rides up her smooth, toned thighs. Jungkook can’t help looking, and he thinks he sees her smirk when he does.

The thing is, Jungkook can appreciate her in the physical sense. He’s not dead. To be honest, she’s more his type than Taehyung’s. While neither of them have ever cared too much about gender, Taehyung tends to lean toward extremes. Most of the times Jungkook has seen him leave with someone it’s either a pretty masculine dude, all hard angles and lean muscles, or a sweet, quirky, girl-next-door type. Chan-sook is beautiful, but in that sort of androgynous, model-esque way. Which is generally what Jungkook goes for, regardless of what’s between a person’s legs.

Jungkook downs the rest of his drink in a few quick gulps. When he’s finished he slams the empty glass on the table and lifts his t-shirt up by the hem to wipe his mouth. He doesn’t look back at her right away, gives it a couple seconds after he drops the fabric again before glancing back at her face.

But her eyes are still focused down, lingering on Jungkook’s recently exposed midriff. And half a second later he sees the tip of her tongue dart out, watches it leave a little trail of saliva over her muted coral lipstick.

Bitch, Jungkook thinks.

“I’m not Taehyung’s property,” she says.

Jungkook watches her, waits for her to break eye contact. She doesn’t, though. She keeps holding his gaze like they’re playing a game of chicken and she refuses to lose.

“No?” he breathes, lifting an eyebrow.

And it doesn’t even feel like he’s doing it, seems like he’s watching himself from outside his own body when he reaches a hand out and rests the cold tips of his fingers, damp with condensation from his icy glass of whiskey, against the warm, soft skin of her outer thigh.

“I guess this wouldn’t bother him then?” Jungkook feels fuzzy and slow, like he’s in a dream and none of this is real. 

“Not if he doesn’t know.”

“How responsible of you.”

Chan-sook giggles and Jungkook pushes his hand further up her thigh toward the edge of her skirt. He knows he shouldn’t. He does. Part of him is fucking pissed at her, that she’d do this to Taehyung. He wants to see how far she’ll go, if she’ll recover her morals at some point and stop him. He wants to expose her. If she’ll flip her affections this easy he thinks it’s only fair that Taehyung knows.

That’s what he tells himself anyway.

She giggles again, that infuriating high-pitched squeak. It makes him cringe, but he bites it back, swallows it down like a shot of whiskey, lets it burn a trail from his throat to his stomach. He smiles at her, makes it sickly sweet like he thinks she’ll like. He leans forward and brushes her silky hair behind her ear, brings his mouth slowly toward the creamy, soft skin of her neck, gives her all the time in the world to stop him.

He wonders briefly, when his lips finally graze against her jugular, how many times Taehyung has kissed her here. He wonders what Taehyung’s lips feel like compared to his own, which one of them she prefers.

She spreads her thighs as he kisses up her neck, silently invites Jungkook to slide his palm up and over to the inside of her leg. He does, just a little, but he pulls his head back, too, suddenly remembers where they are. It’s dark in the corner, but it isn’t that dark. He glances about to check if anyone is looking, but everyone’s attention is elsewhere, lost in conversation or laughter or flirting.

“It’s late,” Chan-sook says. 

For a second Jungkook thinks she’s actually grown a conscience. But the way her eyes are slightly squinted and sparkling in the dark tells him he’s wrong. 

“Invite me up for a drink before bed.”

There it is. It isn’t even a question. She’s telling him what to do. It would piss him off if he were still capable of feeling anything.

“I don’t have anything to drink,” Jungkook says, just to make sure. Just so they’re crystal clear.

“I didn’t say you had to give me one, I just said invite me.”

When they get to his room Jungkook doesn’t bother turning on the lights. He pushes her against the wall and kisses her roughly, slides his hand up under her skirt and presses between her legs. The soft cotton is already damp under his fingers and Chan-sook mewls into his mouth.

He doesn’t feel like being careful, and he doesn’t think Chan-sook does either. The entire thing is dark and fuzzy, murky and clouded like they’re floating in swampy water. He pulls the deadened buzz up around him so he can’t think about it too much when he scrabbles at her clothes, when he licks and bites at her skin, when he pushes her down onto the stiff hotel bed, when he presses his fingers inside her and she curls hers around him and squeezes.. 

When he rolls the condom on and pushes inside her his ears are still ringing from the thumping bass in the bar, so that even the sounds of their voices feel faraway and muffled, like they’re coming from two other people in a separate room a few doors down. When the words come he isn’t sure if they’re real, if he’s saying them out loud or if they’re still in his brain, rattling around somewhere under the piercing shriek in his ears.

Is this how he does it? Does he touch you like this? Does he kiss you here until you squirm underneath him? What does it feel like when he presses his body on top of yours? Is he soft and slow and gentle or does he push and bite and take? What dirty things does he whisper in your ear? How does his deep voice sound when he’s hard and hot and thrusting himself inside you? How does he smell and taste and feel? What does his face look like when he comes? 

Does it break you open inside when he pushes you over the edge? Does it crack the armour of the secret spot inside your chest until the contents spill out and consume you and you’re reduced to a quivering pile of burning nerve-endings in his arms? Does it make you forget? Does it erase all the things you’ve been hiding, packing down deep inside yourself for so many years that you don’t remember what it was like before?

It surprises him when he comes, how good it feels, how strong it is, how it rolls through his body and makes him shake. He can’t think about why that is, why it feels this good with someone he couldn’t care less about, who couldn’t care less about him. He can’t think about it because if he does he’ll have to think about what he’s done, how shitty it is, how badly he’s fucked up. He can’t think about it because thinking about it will rip a hole in his hard outer shell, breach the hull, and the guilt will come flooding in so fast that he drowns.

He can’t think about it because thinking about it will mean admitting something he’s too afraid to name.

He rolls off of Chan-sook, plants his face in the pillow and stays there, listens to her slip into the bathroom, then come back out and get dressed. He hears the rustling of fabric, a zip and some snaps, her quiet breathing. He doesn’t lift his head, even after he hears the door click shut behind her.

He drifts off to sleep almost immediately, thankful he drank enough that he can’t feel the pain.

 


 

Jungkook wakes up to the dull thump, thump, thump of someone banging on his door. He rolls over in bed and sits up, cradles his head in his hands for a moment and tries to ignore the alarmingly familiar feeling of starting the day with a hangover. As he’s rubbing at his dry, swollen eyes, he gets a little flash in his brain, a tiny frame like a movie he saw but can’t completely recall the plot to. It’s just for a second, the sound of a high-pitched moan, the feeling of long hair brushing his shoulder, the smell of perfumed skin.

Fuck. 

For a second he thinks he’ll be sick, but he takes a deep breath and it passes. He’s left with a sinking, empty feeling, tinged with a sharp ridge of panic.

He jumps when the knocking comes again.

“Hang on!” he yells. 

If it’s a hotel maid he’ll be livid. He’s 99% sure he left the ‘Do Not Disturb’ thing on the door handle before he even went down the bar last night. 

He clambers out from under the sheets and grabs the first pair of sweats he can find, trips a little as he tries to step into them.

When he looks through the peephole his stomach lurches again and he has to press a palm to the door because the floor is tilting and he feels a little dizzy. 

Standing in the middle of the hallway is Taehyung. 

Jungkook presses his face back up against the door, squints one eye shut and peers through again. He’s just standing there, arms behind his back, looking around. He doesn’t seem mad or anything. 

Jungkook curses himself for calling out from the bed earlier. He’s sort of fucked now. He can’t really pretend he’s not here or that he’s still asleep. He takes a deep breath and turns the door handle. When he peeks into the crack Taehyung looks at him and smiles.

“Didn’t take my advice, huh?”

“What?” Jungkook asks, blinking stupidly back at him.

“Last night. I told you not to drink too much.”

“Oh. Uh. Guess not.”

Taehyung laughs and it echoes down the empty corridor. “Let me in, I’ve been standing out here forever.”

Jungkook steps back so Taehyung can squeeze past him. He pushes into the room and immediately flops down backward onto Jungkook’s unmade bed.

“Apparently Chan-sook didn’t take my advice, either,” he says. “She says she’s too hungover to function. So if you still wanna hang out and don’t mind being sloppy seconds I’m available!”

Jungkook would laugh if he didn’t feel like crying.

“Uh… “ Jungkook says. “I’m probably also too hungover to function.”

Taehyung shrugs. “We can just order a bunch of food and watch movies or something.”

It makes Jungkook feel even worse. He can tell Taehyung is trying, that he feels bad about the conversation last night, that they haven’t been spending much time together lately. He’s trying to make it better, but he doesn’t know that Jungkook doesn’t deserve even a second of his time.

But what is he supposed to do? Say no? Just fuck his best friend’s girlfriend and then tell him to fuck off when he wants to hang out?

“Sure,” Jungkook says, walking over and flopping back down on the bed beside Taehyung. “Sounds good.”

And like, if he didn’t feel so suffused with remorse, so full to bursting with shame and self-loathing and regret, this would be absolutely perfect. It would be exactly the day he’s been wanting, just chilling and talking and laughing in his bed, just the two of them. But there’s no way to enjoy it now.

“Are you starving-hungover or barfing-hungover?” Taehyung asks.

Jungkook thinks. He doesn’t exactly feel sick from drinking, but he doesn’t have an appetite either. Mostly because he hates himself. “Somewhere in between?”

“Well I’m hungry as fuck. Let’s just order tons of food, you’ll probably want it when it gets here, and if you don’t we’ll give it to someone else.”

“Sure. Sounds good.”

“What should we have?” As Taehyung says it he shifts onto his side in the bed, turns to face Jungkook. And when he drops his elbow onto the pillow so he can prop his head on his hand, something small and silver and shiny tumbles down off the pillowcase and lands on the mattress between them.

Jungkook sees it, feels the panic start to rise into his throat like bile almost immediately. Taehyung looks down at Chan-sook’s earring, then up at Jungkook, and then back down at the earring for a while. He stares at it puzzinglingly, like he’s trying to work something out. It’s excruciating how long it takes him. Jungkook just has to lie there and wait, willing Taehyung to get there faster, to figure it out and yell at him like he deserves so they can get the whole thing over with. 

Eventually he sees Taehyung’s forehead get squished as his eyebrows press closer together.

Finally, Jungkook thinks.

For a second, when Taehyung first looks up, he looks devastated. He looks grief-stricken and sad, like somebody died. And he looks a tiny bit shocked, too, like he can’t believe it’s happening.

But then he’s up and out of the bed, all at once. It’s like one second he’s still lying there and the next he’s on his feet, looming over Jungkook with his hands in fists at his sides. It’s like his entire demeanor has changed in an instant, from heartsick to enraged.

“You’re a fucking dick,” Taehyung spits at him. His eyes are blazing. He’s more mad than Jungkook’s ever seen him.

“You’re mad at me?” Jungkook asks incredulously. 

It’s stupid. It’s so stupid. He doesn’t know why he says it that way. Of course Taehyung is mad at him. He did something so shitty. It’s unforgivable, really. It had been easy in the low light, with the loud music overpowering his logic, and the alcohol flowing through his veins and muddying up whatever sense of decorum he had left, to convince himself he was being a friend, helping a brother out, exposing Taehyung’s parasitic girlfriend for who she really is. 

But now he’s just being an asshole, digging the knife in even further. He can’t stop himself, for some reason. He should just apologize, come clean. It won’t really help right now, but it’ll mean something later, if Taehyung ever decides to forgive him. He can’t make himself do it, though. He keeps playing dumb, like if he denies it enough Taehyung will start to believe him.

“Yes!” Taehyung says. “I’m fucking mad at you!”

“That doesn’t make any sense!”

Jungkook could just shut up. Even that would be better. Why can’t he stop pushing ? He thinks that maybe he wants to see how Taehyung will react. Like it’s some sort of competition. Like if he can get Taehyung to blame Chan-sook, then Jungkook will win somehow. He doesn’t know what he’ll win, but he thinks maybe it will feel good.

Anything would feel better than this, than Taehyung looking half-angry and half-devastated, like Jungkook broke him, like Jungkook took something from him for no reason at all.

You did, a tiny voice says in the back of Jungkook’s head. He grits his teeth until it goes away.

“Shouldn’t you be mad at Chan-sook, your girlfriend?” Jungkook asks anyway. Because he’s a fucking asshole, a sorry excuse for a human being, the scum of the earth.

Taehyung goes still for a moment, and his face turns red, and then he starts shaking. It’s almost imperceptible, because he’s barely moving. It looks more like he’s out of focus, trembling so fast but barely at all, so his whole body is slightly blurry in Jungkook’s vision.

“Fuck you, Jungkook,” he says. His voice cracks a little bit on the last syllable of Jungkook’s name, and Jungkook realizes the shaking is Taehyung using his whole body, all of his muscles tensed up, fists curled against his thighs, to keep himself from crying. His eyes are shining now, thin pools of wetness lining his lower eyelids and threatening to spill over onto his cheeks.

Part of Jungkook is rooting him on, hoping he’ll hold it in, that he won’t let Jungkook see him cry, that he’ll be strong and keep his composure.

“I’m not fucking mad at the person I’ve been dating for a fucking month,” he says lowly and evenly. “I’m mad at my piece of shit excuse for a best friend who fucked her just because he could.” 

Taehyung glares at Jungkook and presses his lips together, tries to keep the sob inside. He almost makes it, too. But it escapes just as the first tear slides out over his smooth cheek and he turns on his heels and quickly leaves the room.

After that Taehyung stops spending time with Jungkook altogether.

 


 

“Why aren’t you sitting with Tae?”

They’re boarding the plane and Jungkook is slumped in a seat by the window as far away as he could get from where Taehyung and Jimin are, across the aisle at the opposite end of the cabin. Namjoon is standing over him looking confused.

Jungkook shrugs. He doesn’t have an answer that isn’t ‘Because I fucked his girlfriend and he hates me now.’

Namjoon drops his bag on the seat next to Jungkook’s, but doesn’t say anything else. 

It’s probably obvious they aren’t talking. It’s true that Jungkook almost always sits next to or near Taehyung on a plane, and it’s probably an immediate indication that something isn’t right when they’re this far apart. Jungkook isn’t about to volunteer the details though. Taehyung will tell someone at some point (Jimin probably, if he hasn’t already), and then everyone else will know soon enough.

He hopes Namjoon doesn’t do that thing where he forces them to talk until they work it out. Jungkook doesn’t expect it would go very well this time.

Once they’re in the air Jungkook puts his headphones on and reclines back and tries to ignore the world. Usually he’d have a drink to relax a bit before passing out, but this time he doesn’t bother.

The funny thing is that all of a sudden Jungkook doesn’t want to drink at all. Ever. Even thinking about it makes him feel sick. It reminds him of the taste of Chan-sook’s lipstick, her stupid laugh, her warm skin under the pads of his fingers. It reminds him of Taehyung’s face, how it looked when it was melted with rage and pain and betrayal. 

So he sleeps, mostly, where before he would have drank his feelings into numbness. Or he tries to. He lies in bed or whatever spot he can find and closes his eyes; shuts everything out.

He isn’t sure what the status of Taehyung and Chan-sook’s relationship is. Despite what Taehyung had said about not being mad at her Jungkook guesses that isn’t completely true. He’s seen Chan-sook a couple times, from a distance, but he hasn’t seen her with Taehyung. They’d been attached at the hip before. Jungkook will never fucking forget it. To be fair, though, he’s only really seen Taehyung from a distance as well, besides when they have to be together because it’s their job. It sucks, if he’s honest. It’s exhausting pretending everything is fine.

He drifts off for a while, but his headphones are still on and the music mixes into a weird dream where Taehyung and Jimin are singing songs to each other behind a fence and Jungkook can’t find a way to climb it.

When he wakes up he has to piss, so he climbs up and over Namjoon’s sleeping form beside him and creeps up the aisle to the bathroom, trying to be as quiet as possible.

When he comes back out he closes the door softly behind him, steps back into the cabin, and looks directly into Taehyung’s bloodshot eyes.

Jungkook freezes. Taehyung is half sitting up in his fully reclined seat, propped up on one hand, underneath a fuzzy white blanket. It’s dark, but Jungkook can see him well enough, mouth set in a hard line, nostrils slightly flared.

The worst part is his eyes, though. He looks like he’s been crying a lot, and also like he hasn’t slept in a week. And the expression in them, the way he’s glaring into Jungkook’s soul, is fucking awful. He looks wrecked, and full of pain, and like he’d be perfectly happy to open the door and give Jungkook a little push into the freezing cold, high-altitude air.

Jungkook wants to say something, but there’s nothing to say. Not like this, anyway. So he stands and stares, lets Taehyung burn a hole in his chest with his gaze, waits while the guilt and shame and regret come pouring in.

Finally, Taehyung blinks and looks down, turns his body away from Jungkook, towards the window, and lays his head back down, pulling the blanket up to his chin.

Jungkook stands for a few more seconds, watches Taehyung’s back as his shoulders rise and fall with his breathing.

When he gets back to his seat Jungkook doesn’t even bother trying to sleep again. He knows it won’t happen now, not after that. He puts his headphones back on, finds the loudest, angriest songs he knows, and turns the volume up; plays them over and over again on repeat.

Anything to drown it all out.

 


 

So basically now Jungkook feels even shittier than he has since Chan-sook showed up, plus his best friend isn’t talking to him, and everyone else knows something is weird between them so they’re all walking on eggshells. And even though it’s true, he’s sort of annoyed that everyone assumes he’s the one who fucked up. Obviously he did. Obviously it’s always him. Taehyung is sweet and sensitive and Jungkook is temperamental and can’t keep his anger in check, and he gets annoyed when things are out of his control. And he knows he’s jealous and possessive, especially about Taehyung for some reason. Everyone else knows that, too. So he gets why they assume he’s the reason Taehyung is moping around with puppy-dog eyes. 

But still. 

And then, the last fucking thing he needs is Jimin getting involved.

“Why are you like this?” Jimin asks.

They’re in a car together on the way to soundcheck and Jimin is attacking him and Jungkook feels trapped. He wonders if he could just open the door and roll out into the street and go hide somewhere for a while. Just get lost in a crowd and be normal for an hour or two.

“Like what?” he asks, rubbing at his left temple.

“Possessive. Like a three year old who doesn’t understand the concept of sharing.”

Jungkook sighs and looks out the window. He’d figured it was only a matter of time before Taehyung told Jimin what he’d done. He wants to put his headphones on and pretend Jimin doesn’t exist. Except he can’t because he fucked up so he has to take it. It’s so annoying. This whole thing is so fucking annoying.

“And anyway,” Jimin continues. “Taehyung’s not a toy. He’s not some lit pair of sneakers someone borrowed from you without your permission and returned with a scuff mark. Chan-sook didn’t drink the banana milk you left in the fridge without asking.”

Okay ,” Jungkook says, rolling his eyes. “I fucking get it.”

“Do you?”

Jungkook says nothing. It doesn’t matter what he says. Jimin’s already decided for him.

He’s not that possessive, anyway. It’s not how Jimin thinks. Like, yeah, sure, it was irritating that Taehyung was spending all his time with Chan-sook. But Taehyung was also irritating with Chan-sook. They were irritating together , giggling and flirting all the time. Jungkook didn’t want to watch it while he was trying to choke his food down. Plus the whole point is that Taehyung could do way better. And he’s all soft and sensitive and easy to take advantage of. Jungkook was just looking out for him.

He can’t even try to explain it, though, because Jimin won’t stop fucking talking.

“Taehyung can have a life. He doesn’t have to dote on you every second of the fucking day. You won’t die.”

“I said I get it,” Jungkook snipes. He’s so over this. He was over it before Jimin even started.

“Grow up, Jungkook,” Jimin says.

And then Jimin puts his headphones on and looks out the window for the rest of the ride and Jungkook just sits in silence. 

Which ends up being good practice because after that Jimin stops talking to him, too.

 


 

The problem is that it can’t go on like this. They can’t just continue on forever with Taehyung (and Jimin now) refusing to speak to Jungkook in private, and then pretending everything is fine in public. It isn’t sustainable. Eventually everyone will be involved, and it’ll be dramatic and annoying, and once they know what happened it’ll be on Jungkook to fix it anyway because even he can see he has zero defense here.

So he may as well try to get ahead of it. It’ll look better anyway, when someone starts lecturing him, if he can say he made some sort of an effort. And honestly, it’s been boring as hell having nobody to talk to. Taehyung and Jimin are the people he spends the most time with. And even though everyone else is still speaking to him for now, he’s mostly been avoiding them because he knows they’ll start asking questions and he doesn’t have any answers.

He thinks the only thing he can do to make this right is to try and put everything back how it was. Which means swallowing his pride, finding Chan-sook and bringing her back to Taehyung. It also means taking responsibility for all of it, for everything that happened. It sucks. He really doesn’t want to. Part of him still feels like he’s been right the whole time, that Taehyung is too good for Chan-sook, that he deserves better than someone who would fuck his best friend the first chance she got. 

But if he’s really honest, he also knows he did it because he hated the idea of Taehyung being close with someone else, someone who isn’t Jungkook.

Except now he doesn’t have Taehyung at all, so if he has to share him, then fine. He’ll fucking share him.

He starts asking some of the other hairdressers and makeup artists if they know which room she’s in. They all look at him like he’s crazy. He hates it so fucking much, looking like he’s desperate for some girl.

Eventually someone gives him the number, but it takes him two more days to swallow his pride and go find her.

“Hey,” he says when she opens the door. She glances at the hallway behind him and then back at his face. She looks confused. He forgot how pretty she is, actually. Not as pretty as Taehyung, but like, he can see why Taehyung’s into her. 

“Um… “ she says. “Hi?”

They stare at each other in awkward silence. 

“Can I come in?” he asks. “This won’t take long, I promise.”

She shrugs and steps back, holding the door open. “Sure,” she says.

Her room is smaller than Jungkook’s, but it’s clean and tidy. Some of her clothes are folded neatly in her suitcase, the rest hung on the clothing-rack in the corner. Jungkook perches uncomfortably on one of the wooden chairs at the table under the window, and waits for her to sit down across from him. She pours water from her little hotel-provided kettle into two mugs with tea bags in them, and then brings them both over, setting one in front of Jungkook. He wishes she wouldn’t have bothered. He feels like it’s impolite if he doesn’t drink it, but he really doesn’t give a shit about the tea. He wants this over and done with as quickly as possible.

“So… “ she says finally.

Jungkook resists the urge to roll his eyes. He has no idea what she thinks is going on here. He wants to cut to the chase, but he probably needs to grovel a bit. It makes him feel sick even thinking about it.

“Look,” he starts. “I don’t know how you feel about Tae, but he really liked you. And I shouldn’t have done what I did, it was an asshole move. But I think maybe I can fix it. If you’re still into him and you want to help me?”

“Oh,” Chan-sook says. 

Jungkook looks up at her. She’s scrunching her eyebrows so her usually smooth forehead has a bunch of lines in it. She looks bewildered and maybe a little bit uncomfortable. And also amused? There’s a hint of laughter in her big, dark eyes anyway.

“He’s not talking to you, hey?” she asks finally.

“Uh… “ Jungkook says. “What?”

“That’s why you’re trying to fix it? Because he’s mad at you?”

Jungkook hates that he’s so transparent, that Chan-sook of all fucking people gets it immediately. It probably doesn’t matter, but it annoys him. He’s been so annoyed for months, even before Chan-sook. He’s sick of being irritated and uncomfortable all the time; sick of feeling like something’s eating at him, like he wants to crawl out of his skin.

“I mean, sure,” Jungkook says. “Of course he’s mad at me. I slept with his girlfriend.”

Chan-sook sighs and flicks her long hair behind her shoulder. “Why did you?” she asks.

“Why did I sleep with you?” Jungkook is out of his depth. He didn’t think she’d ask so many questions. He assumed she’d be grateful that he was even giving her a chance to get back with Taehyung.

Chan-sook nods.

“I don’t know,” Jungkook says. “I was drunk and I felt like it?”

Chan-sook glares at him and it actually makes him kind of uncomfortable.

“Just be honest, Jungkook,” she says evenly. “It’s not like either of us have anything to lose here.”

“Why did you?” he asks, instead.

She smiles and gives him a pitying look. “I was drunk and I felt like it,” she says.

Jungkook hates her, but he kind of admires her too. He’d thought she was sort of stupid and spineless, but he sees now that he was wrong.

“That can be your reason and not mine?” he asks. “Seems kind of unfair to expect an honest answer from me when you won’t give one yourself.”

Then she laughs, and it’s genuine, actually. It’s high-pitched and annoying like always, but it’s genuine.

“I am being honest,” she says. “I’m a 23-year-old makeup artist. I got this crazy job working for insanely famous people. What was I supposed to do? I’m young and having fun. You both offered! Show me someone who would have turned you down.”

Jungkook furrows his brow. She does have a point. She’s still an asshole though.

“Kind of shitty though, isn’t it?” he asks. “Just as a human being. Doing whatever you want without worrying whether it hurts someone who cares about you?” 

As soon as it’s out of his mouth he realizes he may as well be talking to himself.

Chan-sook does the pitying look again, and adds a head-shake and an eye-roll this time. Under different circumstances Jungkook would be thoroughly impressed by her ability to assemble her features into some of the most pointedly cutting expressions he’s ever had the misfortune of being on the receiving end of.

“Taehyung doesn’t care about me,” she says. “And it’s no shittier than the two of you using me because you’re too chicken-shit to just fuck each other.”

Jungkook feels it like a punch to the gut. It’s fast and hard and painful, and he wasn’t the least bit prepared. He doesn’t want to give her the satisfaction of reacting, but by the way Chan-sook is smirking at him he thinks he’s probably doing a bad job of swallowing it down. He chooses silence, not because he doesn’t have anything to say, but because he doesn’t trust his voice to come out without cracking.

“Look,” she says. “If I actually thought Taehyung gave a shit about me I wouldn’t have done it. But let’s not pretend I’m the asshole, here. He dated me to make you jealous, and it worked. But you’re even worse than Taehyung because you’re a coward. You’re so afraid to admit how you feel that you fucked me instead of him so you could go back to how things were, to having him all to yourself and pretending you don’t want him. At the end of the day I’m a blip on your radar, and you’re a crazy story for me to tell my friends. You shouldn’t even be here.”

Jungkook has had about enough of this. He doesn’t like how she’s talking to him, like she knows anything about him or Taehyung or their interpersonal dynamics. Who does she think she is, anyway? They’ve spent all of a couple hours together at best, and most of it hadn’t really involved much conversation.

Besides, he can see he isn’t getting anywhere here so he isn’t sure why he’s enduring her bullshit anymore. It’s humiliating.

“Guess I’ll get out of your way then,” he says, getting up. “See you around, Chan-sook.”

“You won’t actually. I’m heading home tomorrow.”

Jungkook suddenly feels kind of bad. Even if her armchair psychology is all wrong, it is pretty crappy what he did. It’s not just crappy to Taehyung, it’s crappy to Chan-sook as well. Whatever he thinks of her, Jungkook doesn’t want to be the kind of person he’s been lately. It isn’t fair and it isn’t kind, and he sees now that whether she was flirting with either of them or not she was trying to live her life and figure her shit out like anyone else. 

And the thing is, Jungkook has always prided himself on being responsible with his fame, remaining grateful, not being egotistical or taking advantage of people. They all have. So he hates that maybe that’s what he did here, treated Chan-sook like an accessory, like she wasn’t a real human being with feelings. It feels like maybe he lost sight of himself somewhere over the past few months, like he let himself sour and go bad.

“Sorry if it’s because of… all this shit,” Jungkook says awkwardly. “Sorry for dragging you into it. For whatever that’s worth.”

She waves her hand in front of her face. “It’s all good,” she says. “I’m tough. I just wanna get home and see my people.” 

“Yeah,” he says. “Uh… Good luck, I guess.”

Chan-sook smiles. She’s pretty when she smiles. “Figure your shit out, Jungkook. I promise you it’ll feel better than being pissed off all the time. It’s not a good look for you.” 

She’s still kind of a dick, though.

 


 


“Fuck off, Jungkook,” Jimin says.

Jungkook is standing outside Jimin’s hotel room door, weight pressing against the hand he’s using to grip at the door jam. He can hear Yoongi cackling from inside, which is just great. That probably means Jimin told him what happened, which means news is spreading and before long everyone else will know, too.

“Is Tae in there?” Jungkook asks, tossing his hair back and trying not to sound pissed off.

“Are you serious?” 

“Why wouldn’t I be?”

Jimin looks at Jungkook with complete disdain, like he’s so painfully stupid that it hurts Jimin to look at him.

“I’m allowed to try to fix it,” Jungkook says defensively.

“Fuck off, Jungkook,” Jimin repeats, before he slams the door in Jungkook’s face.

He’s left awkwardly leaning forward with a view full of the opposite side of the peephole. He pushes his weight fully onto his feet and cracks his neck. He can hear Jimin’s and Yoongi’s muffled voices and he can tell from the tone and back-and-forth of them that they’re arguing. It’s probably about him. He shakes his hair out, then shuffles his feet on the ugly hotel carpet, waiting to see who’ll win. It smells like industrial cleaning supplies out here; like bleach mixed with fake fruit and an old lady’s floral perfume. It’s making his head throb.

He paces slowly, takes three steps to the right, heel to toe like he’s doing a sobriety test. Then he pivots on the soles of his sneakers and does the same back the other way. The ugly wall sconces are flickering in a sort of ominous horror movie fashion and he’s worried he’s going to get a migraine soon.

Suddenly the door swings wide open and Jimin is standing there again, one hip cocked to the side, face as sour as ever.

“Fine,” he says, gesturing to his hotel room behind him.

Jungkook pushes through the door past Jimin and walks into the room. Yoongi looks up grinning and waving from where he’s lying on one of the hotel beds, ankles crossed, hands behind his head on the pillow.

“Hey, idiot!” he says happily. He laughs as Jungkook shoots him the finger before flopping down on the bed beside him. 

Usually he thinks it’s kind of funny how much joy Yoongi gets from other people’s minor misfortunes, but right now it’s just annoying. Plus, he feels like this particular misfortune isn’t actually that minor, and he would prefer it if Yoongi would do the other thing, where he admits he’s actually soft as fuck and goes all concerned and parental and sweet.

Jimin plunks down on the other bed, crosses his legs and glares.

“I’m fucking sorry, okay?” Jungkook says defensively while Yoongi cackles.

“Were you actually looking for Taehyung?” Jimin asks.

“Maybe. I don’t know. Kind of.” He was and he wasn’t. Maybe he just wanted to talk. Maybe it seemed less complicated and less futile to get Jimin to stop hating him than to try with Taehyung.

“You can’t just show up at his door and do your puppy-dog face and tell him you’re sorry,” Jimin says.

“I know that,” Jungkook sighs. He deserves this. He knows he does. He just wants to get it over with, though.

“So what the fuck was your plan?”

Jungkook closes his eyes and rubs his face with his palms. He doesn’t know anymore. He had a plan and then he tried to do the plan and the plan exploded all over his face and now he doesn’t know how to make a new plan because he doesn’t even know what the purpose of the plan is, what he’s trying to accomplish with it.

He opens his eyes and looks at Jimin. He’s tiny and fierce, but he also looks a little concerned. Jungkook can tell he’s starting to soften.

“I went to see Chan-sook,” he says. “To try to get her back.”

He hears and feels Yoongi sitting up beside him, rather than actually seeing him, because he’s watching Jimin’s face for a reaction.

“Wait. What?” Jimin says. 

“For yourself?” Yoongi asks.

Jungkook rolls his eyes. What a stupid fucking thought. Is that what everyone thinks? That he wanted Chan-sook for himself?

“No, you fucker. For Taehyung.”

Jungkook looks up at Yoongi and Yoongi starts laughing. He turns his head to Jimin, who isn’t laughing, but he has his lips pressed together like maybe he’s trying not to, and he’s shaking his head lightly and looking at Jungkook like he feels sorry for him.

“What?” Jungkook asks.

It only makes Yoongi laugh harder.

“Jungkook you’re kind of clueless, hey?” Jimin asks.

Is he? He doesn’t get it. He hates that he doesn’t fucking get it. It’s like being 15 again, like everyone understands everything about him, but won’t actually explain it, will just keep laughing at him and pitying him instead.

“I’m fucking trying, okay?” Jungkook says. “You can’t keep wanting me to try and then laughing when I do.”

It comes out more defensive than he means, and now Yoongi is being softer, because he reaches out and squeezes Jungkook’s shoulder. But it doesn’t help because it feels more like pity than reassurance.

“Jungkook, I don’t think Tae wants Chan-sook back,” Jimin says carefully. “I don’t really think this is about Chan-sook.”

Which is stupid as far as Jungkook is concerned because of course it’s about Chan-sook. Everything was fine before she came along. 

Kind of. 

Mostly.

Jungkook doesn’t know if Jimin means what Chan-sook meant, if Jimin also thinks the thing about the two of them using Chan-sook as a shield. Maybe everyone thinks it. Maybe they’re right. He doesn’t fucking know. And he sure as fuck isn’t going to ask Jimin about it.

“Well that’s good,” he says instead. “Because she definitely doesn’t want to go back to him.”

Jimin does smile at that. “You really went there? To try and get her back for Tae?”

“Yeah. It was fucking humiliating.”

Jimin starts giggling. “It’s kind of cute though.”

“That girl scares the shit out of me,” Yoongi says.

Jungkook snorts. “She’s fucking savage.”

“Kind of turns me on, though, too.” Yoongi replies.

Jimin chucks a pillow at Yoongi, but he’s giggling even harder now, and it makes Jungkook laugh, too, just a little.

“But what do I do?” Jungkook says helplessly. Jimin and Yoongi exchange a look. Jungkook knows he isn’t supposed to see it, but he does.

“Be honest,” Jimin says. “Tell him you’re sorry.”

“You said I can’t just knock on his door and give him puppy-dog eyes.”

“You can’t. You have to figure out what you’re sorry for first. And then that’s what you have to apologize for.”

Jungkook scrunches his eyebrows up. “I thought I was sorry for fucking his girlfriend behind his back.”

“No,” Jimin sighs. “I don’t think that’s what you’re sorry for at all, Jungkook.”

 


 

Jungkook spends exactly one day feeling grateful that Jimin is talking to him again before deciding to wring his stupid little neck.  

I don’t think that’s what you’re sorry for at all, Jungkook.  

Well what the fuck does Jimin know anyway? And if he’s so fucking smart then why doesn’t he just tell Jungkook what he thinks he’s sorry for and save everyone the headache?

Because Jungkook has thought about it. He’s thought about it so much his brain feels sludgy and sticky and his eyeballs hurt and he’s pretty sure he’s lost some IQ points. He might have a concussion, too. A metaphorical concussion. From too much brain usage.

He keeps coming back to the question: what is he sorry for? And it seems easy at first. He’s sorry for hurting Taehyung. That part is true, and he knows it’s true. Jungkook can be a dick sometimes, and he isn’t great with feelings, but like, he fucking loves Taehyung. He loves all of them. They’re his brothers and his best friends. So yeah, he did something shitty and it made Taehyung feel bad and Jungkook is genuinely sorry for that, like he always is.

So then he asks himself what he did to hurt Taehyung. Like, what the action was. And then he gets stuck because the answer is that he fucked Taehyung’s girlfriend. That’s the thing he did that hurt Taehyung, so that must be what he’s sorry, for right? Except Park fucking Jimin, who thinks he’s some magical wise genie or some shit, says that’s not what he’s really sorry for, and if he goes and says that shit to Taehyung then Taehyung will tell Jimin and then everyone will still be mad and he’ll have given himself a brain hemorrhage for nothing.

To make matters worse, everyone definitely knows what he did now. And it sucks because even though all he’s been wanting for months is for everyone to leave him alone, now that it’s actually happening he kind of hates it.

It’s not that anyone’s being mean, or like they seem mad at him, exactly. Jimin’s actually been way nicer since they talked the other night. And Yoongi’s just the same as always. But when they’re all together Jungkook knows he’s the odd man out, even if nobody really acts like it. It’s a feeling, mostly.

He wouldn’t change it. He doesn’t want anyone to take his side. He wants them all to be there for Taehyung. But he’s lonely. If he’s honest with himself he’s been lonely for a long time. But he also knows he created the loneliness all on his own and that other people have been trying to break his walls down. Taehyung most of all. And he just keeps fortifying the ramparts, building his little fortress up brick by brick. The only person who can dismantle it now is himself, and he isn’t even sure he knows how.

He feels stuck, and it suddenly seems like the only way to get un stuck is to apologize to Taehyung. Except he has to apologize in the right way, for the right thing and he’s starting to understand that figuring that out means facing some stuff he’s been too afraid to look at for a very, very long time.

 


 

In the end Jungkook doesn’t have to decide anything because Taehyung decides for him. Which is honestly what he should have expected all along because that’s exactly how the two of them work. Jungkook shoves all his gross feelings into his vault, as deep as he can get them, and then he slams his anger shut like a bulletproof steel door so they can’t get out. 

Then Taehyung comes along and starts picking at the lock. 

(Anger is a secondary emotion, Jungkook, he always says. Fucking pisses Jungkook off even more.)

He hears a soft knock on his hotel room door late one night, and he crawls out of bed to go squint through the peephole. Taehyung is standing there in the hallway, just like the last time they talked, face distorted through the lens. 

Jungkook freezes for a while, realizes he didn’t give any indication that he heard Taehyung knocking this time, and thinks about pretending to be asleep.

“I can fucking hear you, asshole,” Taehyung growls at him through the door.

So in the end Taehyung decides, and Jungkook fails completely at refusing him. He just sighs and opens up and steps back as Taehyung marches angrily past him into the room.

Jungkook clenches his fists and squares his shoulders, braces himself for the onslaught.

“At least tell me why,” Taehyung demands, spinning around and glaring at Jungkook. He’s definitely still mad, but he’s softened since the last time they talked. He’s lost some of his fire. Jungkook can tell it’s mostly an act now, bravado worn like a mask over the pain.

“Oh! Hey, Taehyung! Nice to see you, too,” Jungkook chirps sarcastically as he shuts the door behind him.

Taehyung rolls his eyes and widens his stance, crosses his arms over his chest.

Jungkook bites back a grin. Taehyung is cute like this, when he pretends to be tough. Like a little kid mimicking an adult. He’s going for menacing, but he’s too soft and sweet to be scary.

Or not cute. Not like, cute cute. Like, funny cute. In a platonic way.

“I at least deserve to know why,” Taehyung says.

And of course that’s the fucking question. It’s the one Jungkook’s been asking himself for days, the one that he keeps getting further and further away from solving the more he turns it around in his head. He’d love to tell Taehyung why. He wishes he could tell them both why and then he could apologize and Taehyung could forgive him and they could finally move the fuck on.

But Taehyung is just standing there expectantly, and Jungkook is tongue-tied because he doesn’t know the answer and anything other than the answer will seem like a deflection.

He thinks about what Jimin said. Not about figuring it out and apologizing, but the thing he said before that. Be honest .

Jungkook takes a deep breath and chews on the fleshy inside of his cheek for a moment. It tastes like salt and iron and emotional fucking panic.

“The thing is, I’m not actually sure,” he tries. He glances up at Taehyung, who still looks kind of annoyed. He isn’t leaving, though, so that’s something. “I’m not sure why I did it. I wanted to apologize, but… I was trying to figure it out first. Why I did it. What to apologize for .”

“Oh,” Taehyung says. He drops his arms, and his shoulders sag, and the mask slips the tiniest little bit.

Huh. Jungkook is surprised. It seems like the whole honesty thing might be working. Who knew? 

He’s never ever going to tell Jimin about this. Ever.

“Like…” Jungkook starts. “I am sorry. I even…” 

He’s not sure whether to say this part. But then he’s trying to do this differently, the way Taehyung would want him to. To be more open and vulnerable and sincere. To endure his own discomfort for the sake of their friendship.

Jungkook sighs and closes his eyes. “I even went to see Chan-sook. To get her back for you.”

It’s so uncomfortable confessing that. So fucking uncomfortable he can feel it physically. Every muscle in his body is clenched and stiff. He wants to scream and yell and shake until the mortification passes and he remembers how to breathe. 

When he finally opens his eyes again and looks cautiously at Taehyung’s face Taehyung is staring back at him, wide-eyed.

And like, he is cute. Like, really fucking cute. The cutest. 

Also hot. 

Fucking Chan-sook and her savage mouth. Fucking Jimin.

“Uh... “ Taehyung says.

It’s uncomfortable again. So unbearably awkward and uncomfortable. Jungkook wants to slam the anger down, wants to tell Taehyung this whole thing is fucking stupid, that he’s over-reacting and it wasn’t even that big of a deal. He wants to wear his fury like a blanket, build a fort with it and hide inside until it’s safe.

He doesn’t though. He fights it off, struggles with it under Taehyung’s gaze.

“Jungkook, I’m not really…” Taehyung stops and scratches his head. “Chan-sook wasn’t, like… a thing. It wasn’t serious or anything. I don’t even think she really liked me.”

Jungkook shakes his head. “She didn’t.”

He doesn’t mean to say that. It just comes out, all blunt and dull and cold. He winces immediately.

Taehyung smiles, though, squeaks out a tiny one-syllable laugh, even. “She didn’t want me back, huh?”

Jungkook shrugs sheepishly. “Uh… no. Sorry?”

And then Taehyung laughs again, and Jungkook thinks about how Taehyung is radiant when he laughs. Like, he’s beautiful all the time, but when he laughs and half his face is taken up by his giant smile he looks goofy as fuck and that’s actually kind of even more beautiful.

Like, objectively. Objectively beautiful. Like, if Taehyung weren’t his best friend and bandmate and just someone Jungkook met somewhere and wanted to fuck then that’s something he might think is beautiful about him. 

He guesses.

“Whatever,” Taehyung shrugs. “She fucked my best friend. Who needs her?”

Jungkook lets himself smile. He knows Taehyung’s resolve is slipping, if it hasn’t already fallen away completely. He could probably just say something endearing, wedge himself up under the opening and pry the rest of his way inside.

Except then nothing will have changed. It’ll be exactly like it always was. Taehyung will forgive him even though Jungkook doesn’t deserve it (he never deserves it), and Jungkook will keep locking everything up, and then eventually he’ll do something even shittier and they’ll repeat the cycle all over again.

“Chan-sook said you were only dating her to make me jealous.”

His mouth is just blurting shit out without his permission now, apparently. So that’s fucking great. He’s never taking Jimin’s advice again. Jimin is the worst friend ever and he gives really bad advice. Everything was fine before this. Taehyung was thawing and everything was fine. Except Park Jiminie fucking Cricket is apparently Jungkook’s conscience now and he can’t turn his voice off inside his brain.

Taehyung is looking at Jungkook curiously, like he’s never seen him before. His cheeks are a little bit flushed and he keeps blinking his stupid pretty eyelashes against them and every time he does it’s like Jungkook can feel them fluttering in his own belly.

“If I were trying to make you jealous…” Taehyung says carefully. “If that’s what I was doing…” He blinks again and cocks his head to one side, searches Jungkook’s face a little bit longer before finishing. “Did it work?”

Jungkook’s entire stomach rolls over then, does a giant back-flip, and then rises up into his throat and sticks there, choking him. His heart is hammering in his ears and he feels a little bit faint and woozy, like when you’ve been sitting for too long and then stand up really fast. His stupid mouth is betraying him the other way, now. It’s gone all dry and frozen and he can’t make his jaw move.

Taehyung is waiting. He looks apprehensive and terrified, but also kind of hopeful. Except the longer Jungkook stands there doing nothing while his brain screams at him to speak, the more the hope starts to drain from Taehyung’s eyes.

It’s the panic that pushes him over the edge in the end; the horrifying possibility that he’ll say nothing, and then Taehyung will leave and he’ll play this moment inside his head, over and over again, for the rest of his life.

“Yeah,” he says finally. It comes out raspy and hoarse, more air than sound. “Yeah, it fucking worked.”

And he moves to close the gap between them, except he’d been expecting some sort of resistance, like his muscles would betray him the same way his mouth had and he’d have to fight to get himself to move. 

But he’s wrong about that. It’s more like saying it, telling Taehyung the truth (or part of it anyway), telling it to himself and telling it to Taehyung, opened all the floodgates and his body moves without him, flows like running water so he uses too much force and knocks into Taehyung awkwardly.

He fixes it by letting go. He pushes into Taehyung and he feels Taehyung start to tumble back, so he just stops trying, lets himself move against Taehyung’s body until something else can stop them. He crashes into Taehyung with a thud, and he’s warm and solid and good and they’re moving back across the room and they might fall over eventually, except they don’t because they hit the wall and then Taehyung can’t go away anymore because he’s stuck, sandwiched between Jungkook’s body and the ugly hotel wallpaper.

Jungkook looks at Taehyung then, into his eyes, and it melts the last vestiges of doubt from his heart, because Taehyung looks fine with it. He looks more than fine with it. He looks like there’s nowhere in the world he’d rather be than trapped between Jungkook’s body and a hotel room wall.

“Worked that well, huh?” Taehyung asks, smirking.

Jungkook can’t help it. He growls at Taehyung, right in his face. It’s stupid, probably, but he thinks that growl has been lodged in his chest, trying to get out, since that day he saw Taehyung flirting with Chan-sook in the make-up chair. Probably longer, even. Years, maybe. It’s the thing inside him that he’s been stuffing down and trying to extinguish, the thing he really wanted to let out when he was with Chan-sook. The thing that’s been saying fuck you and step-off and mine .

The growl makes Taehyung laugh, and then it makes him shiver, and then Jungkook doesn’t see what else it makes him do because he presses his face forward and crashes his mouth on top of Taehyung’s and licks his lips apart and it’s hot and wet and good and nothing else matters anymore.

He kisses Taehyung, and he presses his hips against Taehyung’s hips, and Taehyung presses back, and the friction feels incredible. And Jungkook lets it feel incredible, lets himself admit that this is the thing he’s been wanting, that this is the reason he did what he did with Chan-sook. Because he wanted Taehyung back. He did. He wanted Taehyung’s attention back and his time back and his affection back. But he also wanted to know what it was like, to be like this with Taehyung. And he thinks that maybe somewhere in his brain he figured that if he fucked Chan-sook that some of it would rub off on him somehow. Like, maybe he could fuck Taehyung through Chan-sook.

He really misjudged her, actually. She’s smarter than all of them.

Jungkook,” Taehyung whines against his mouth, hands gripping two fistfuls of Jungkook’s t-shirt.

Jungkook grinds his hips down and leans forward, props himself up with one palm flat against the wall.

“What?” he asks between licks and bites and clumsy clicks of his teeth against Taehyung’s.

Taehyung unclenches his fists and drops his hands to Jungkook’s waist, pushes them up under Jungkook’s t-shirt until the warm pads of his fingertips brush over Jungkook’s nipples.  

“Fuck,” Jungkook groans. It’s like his nipples are wired to his dick and Taehyung just gave him a jolt of electricity. His cock twitches in his pants and he grinds down hard again.

“Please fuck me now,” Taehyung says.

Jungkook slides a hand down between them, presses it between Taehyung’s legs and watches Taehyung’s head fall back against the wall with a dull thud. He’s half-hard under Jungkook’s palm and his eyes look drunk and his mouth looks like what Jungkook pretends not to think about when he jerks himself off.

“Want you in my mouth first,” Jungkook pants. 

“Fuck,” Taehyung moans. “Okay, yeah. Please. Anything.”

Jungkook knows by how desperate Taehyung sounds that he’s been thinking about this just as long as Jungkook has. If he wasn’t so blinded by finally getting the thing he’s been too chickenshit to admit he wanted he would probably laugh. It’s kind of funny, how stupid they are. 

Jungkook scrabbles at Taehyung’s fly, watches Taehyung’s face as he pushes his hand inside and grips his cock roughly. Suddenly he feels overwhelmed with need, like all the lust and longing are coming to the surface at once.

“Yeah,” Taehyung breathes out raggedly. It turns into a choked whimper and Jungkook knows he’s feeling it too, knows the tension is finally breaking and the years of ache and denial are spilling out into this tiny room that feels too small to contain it. It’s like drowning, but in a good way. Like fear and panic mixed with the most intense relief.

Taehyung’s cock feels hot and solid in Jungkook’s fist, and somehow exactly like Jungkook thought it would feel. Like he spent so much time thinking about it that he imagined it into reality. Like he knows Taehyung so well that they’ve become telepathic or some stupid shit like that. Some dumb thing Taehyung would say.

When he dips his head down and licks at Taehyung’s collarbone it feels familiar. And the way Taehyung’s deep voice goes even deeper when he groans in Jungkook’s ear feels familiar, too. And the familiarity makes it all even hotter, somehow; makes Jungkook’s dick get harder; makes his body shiver with the thrill of it.

“Fuck,” Taehyung says. “Don’t make me come before we even get our clothes off.” 

Jungkook knows what he means. Don’t make the first time into an embarrassing memory. That shit matters to Taehyung. He’s sentimental and romantic and cares about setting moods and creating memories and all that crap. He’s so fucking soft.

“So take your fucking clothes off then,” Jungkook says.

He pushes Taehyung’s t-shirt up over his hot skin, feels the backs of his knuckles dig into Taehyung’s hips as he grabs his pants and slides them down. It’s fast. It’s like one second Taehyung is completely covered and the next he’s just standing there against the wall incredibly naked and Jungkook hadn’t stopped to prepare himself.

“I’m… fuck,” Jungkook says stupidly.

Taehyung huffs out a breathless laugh. “You’re fuck?”

“Shut up,” Jungkook says.

“Make me.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes. It’s so stupid and lame. Such a fucking cliché.

Except it’s even more stupid and lame how it makes his stomach flip over with arousal, how it spills down into his cock. How he can’t help the embarrassing whine that sneaks past his lips when Taehyung reaches out and grips him through his sweatpants.

And then they’re both pushing and tugging at Jungkook’s clothes, Jungkook’s elbow connecting lightly with Taehyung’s head as he leans forward to push Jungkook’s pants down his hips and Jungkook grips his shirt and rips it off his body.

Taehyung doesn’t even wait. Jungkook is still disoriented when Taehyung’s fingers wrap around his cock, so he feels all dizzy and confused and his knees turn to liquid and go wobbly for a second.

“Jesus christ,” he says. “Fuck.”

When he looks down, he can’t make his brain process it, Taehyung’s hand on him. He sees it, but he doesn’t; like his eyes are all fucked up. He feels desperate suddenly, needs to regain the upper hand so Taehyung won’t know much he’s affecting him.

He pushes forward again, rips Taehyung’s hand away and presses their bodies together against the wall, leans down and bites Taehyung’s lip as he grinds their cocks together. The friction makes him shudder, the hot press of skin on skin, Taehyung’s breath in his mouth, Taehyung’s hands on his hips. 

Taehyung’s cock on his cock. 

He bites and licks and kisses his way down Taehyung’s neck, loves how Taehyung tips his head back immediately.

“Jungkook,” Taehyung breathes. “If you’re gonna suck my cock you better do it soon.”

Jungkook grinds his hips again, kisses the moan out of Taehyung’s mouth. He wants to do everything. It’s kind of a problem.

“Yeah,” he says. “Yeah, I wanna.”

He drops to his knees a little too quickly, so it hurts. But he forgets about it when he feels Taehyung’s fingers in his hair, when Taehyung pushes his hips out so his cock connects wetly with Jungkook’s lips.

"Okay,” he says, pressing Taehyung’s hips back into the wall. “Fucking impatient.” 

He loves it though, how Taehyung can’t wait, how the frustrated whine cuts off as his ass hits the wall.

“Doesn’t count as impatient when it’s been this fucking long,” Taehyung says. “That’s the definition of fucking patience. If you weren’t so fucking stubborn-”

His annoying little tirade turns to a choke when Jungkook cuts him off by sliding Taehyung’s cock to the back of his throat.

Something about having his face pressed into Taehyung’s belly, soft hair tickling the tip of his nose; how it smells like Taehyung but more; how Taehyung immediately presses his fingers into the crown of Jungkook’s head and murmurs his name; all of it together unfurls something in Jungkook’s chest. It’s like he’s releasing something, like he’s letting it go.

Having Taehyung’s cock in his mouth is pure fucking bliss. He’s the perfect size and he tastes good and he makes the hottest noises and he thrusts back the exact perfect amount, so it feels like Jungkook is still control, but also like Taehyung wants more of him, like he wants to push it a little.

“Your fucking mouth,” Taehyung groans as Jungkook hollows his cheeks and drags his tongue. Jungkook wonders, as he slides his mouth up and down on Taehyung’s cock, if he’s thought about this too, if he feels the same mix of astonishment and relief at how it’s actually happening for real. He curls his fingers against Taehyung’s hip and digs them into Taehyung’s velvety skin as Taehyung grips a fistful of Jungkook’s hair.

It’s hot and sloppy now, and Jungkook doesn’t care. He can taste the bitter saltiness of precome mixing with his saliva, can feel Taehyung’s body quivering with pleasure. He pushes down until Taehyung’s cock is at the back of his throat and then he swallows around it. His whole body buzzes in satisfaction when Taehyung’s guttural groan turns into a squeak and Taehyung presses his hand against the back of Jungkook’s head.

“Jungkook,” Taehyung says when Jungkook pulls back and swirls his tongue against the head of his cock. It’s shaky and the vowels are drawn out and it’s the best way anyone’s ever said Jungkook’s name in his whole, entire life.

He looks up and Taehyung is looking down at him and he’s flushed and dazed and it makes Jungkook feel elated, being looked at like that. He knows it’s probably obscene, how Taehyung’s cock is in his mouth and everything is slick and shiny with his spit and he’s staring back with no shame. But Taehyung looks captivated. He looks like he adores Jungkook, like looking at his cock in Jungkook’s mouth is making him drunk or high or both.

Jungkook wraps his fist around Taehyung’s cock and pumps, opens his mouth and lets hits tongue flutter underneath the head. He keeps looking at Taehyung, watches his eyelids droop, listens  to how he sucks a quick gasp in and then hiccups out a whimper that turns into a groan. Taehyung reaches out and brushes the back of a knuckle against Jungkook’s cheekbone.

“Fuck, I wanna come on your face,” he pants. “In your mouth and all over your face.”

Jungkook wants him to. He really does. But also he has to fuck him or he’ll die.

He gives Taehyung a few more strokes with his hand, then sucks him all the way into his mouth again before pulling off.

“I wanna come in your ass,” he says.

Taehyung’s breath flutters and he looks sort of dizzy. “Fuck.”

Jungkook feels as dizzy as Taehyung looks when he pushes himself back up onto his feet. He can’t help leaning forward and kissing Taehyung again, letting Taehyung taste himself on Jungkook’s tongue. Jungkook is on fire. He wants to touch Taehyung everywhere, but all at once. He can’t make up his mind, keeps moving his hands to new spots every couple seconds. And then Taehyung wraps his hand around Jungkook’s cock again and Jungkook feels crazy, and almost panicked, like it’s so good that he doesn’t know what to do with himself.

“Bed,” he says breathlessly against Taehyung’s mouth. He can feel Taehyung smirking against his lips.

“I’m kind of stuck,” he says.

“Well I’d be more likely to move if you stopped jerking me off.”

Taehyung laughs and takes Jungkook’s bottom lip in his teeth before letting him go and pushing lightly at his chest.

When Jungkook steps back to let Taehyung move past him, he finally gets a little bit more space to look. There’s more distance between them now, so he watches gratefully as Taehyung climbs onto the bed on his hands and knees with his naked ass in the air. It’s fucking glorious. 

“Stop,” Jungkook says as Taehyung goes to flip over onto his back.

Taehyung turns and looks at him questioningly. He’s leaning forward on his elbows up by the pillows and his cock is hanging heavily between his legs and his ass is all soft and round and perfect and Jungkook feels weirdly enamoured. Like, he has butterflies for some reason. Like, it’s hot and sexy and dirty, but it’s making him feel like he’s fourteen and his crush just acknowledged his existence for the first time ever.

“What?” Taehyung asks.

Jungkook is on the bed in an instant, crawling up behind Taehyung on his knees and then settling back on his heels. He’s staring down at Taehyung’s naked ass, howit curves up and then slopes down to his tiny waist and broad shoulders. And he can’t help what he’s thinking about. He can’t. It isn’t fair.

“I’m gonna rim you,” he says.

“Uh…”

“No?”

“No, yeah. Yes, yes. Yeah. Sorry, my brain short-circuited.”

Jungkook laughs and smacks Taehyung’s ass lightly. He grips his cheeks and spreads them open, lets the sound of Taehyung’s hard panting wash through him.

“Fuck, you look good like this,” Jungkook breathes. He does. So fucking hot and open and inviting.

Taehyung presses his face into the pillow and Jungkook loves the shielded sound he makes, how the fabric softens his whimper. He does it again, but deeper, lower, when Jungkook leans forward and flattens his tongue against his asshole. He stops for a minute, holds his tongue in place and waits for Taehyung to squirm. Then he very slowly licks down, before changing course and dragging his tongue back upward. He feels Taehyung’s body vibrating as legs start to tremble slightly.

“Oh my God, Jungkook,” Taehyung chokes out harshly. He must have turned his head because it’s louder now, more clear and unhindered.

Jungkook licks up and down again, then flicks his tongue against the taut muscle. He presses against it gently, pushes inside a tiny bit.

“Fuck, that’s good,” Taehyung moans as Jungkook pulls out again. He runs his tongue higher, along Taehyung’s asscrack, stops to bite gently at his cheek before dragging his tongue back down. 

Jungkook is a fan of rimming. The biggest, hugest ass-eating fan. He is. He’s a fan of doing it and a fan of receiving it. He loves how dirty it feels, how good it is not to give a fuck, how the filthiness only adds to the pleasure. He loves how the only way to really enjoy it is to let go of the shame, or else let the shame mix into the pleasure so it’s intimate and vulnerable and overwhelming. It’s freeing as fuck, actually, to just let yourself feel good, to make someone else feel even better. 

Doing it to Taehyung is like… insane. It’s like his body is running on arousal, like his heart is pumping lust through his veins and he’s about to explode.

Taehyung keeps pushing his ass back, keeps wiggling it against Jungkook’s face and shoving Jungkook’s tongue even deeper. He’s keening and mewling and swearing. He keeps saying Jungkook’s name in this ragged groan and Jungkook’s tongue is so deep inside him, licking and pressing, and it’s so fucking hot that Jungkook feels high. Like, actually high. Like Taehyung is in his bloodstream and it’s making him euphoric. Like Taehyung is his worst vice and he hasn’t had a hit in years.

“Jungkook I can’t,” Taehyung says, in this desperate, throaty whine that makes Jungkook’s cock twitch. “So fucking good, you’re making me feel so good.”

Jungkook fucks his tongue in and out, steadies Taehyung’s shaking body with his hands. He licks against the inside of him, pulls out and drags his tongue again.

“Fuck,” Taehyung pants. “Fuck, Jungkook. Get some lube.”

Jungkook almost doesn’t want to. He actually feels like he could do this forever; could just lick Taehyung and listen to him whine like that and never stop. 

But then, like, he thinks about how it could be his cock inside Taehyung instead of his tongue, how he could feel Taehyung clench and push against him just the same way. And… yeah. Fuck.

“Now, Jungkook. Please.”

Jungkook pulls back and waits for the room to stop spinning, for his heartbeat to slow and his skin to stop doing that weird, buzzy thing. 

It doesn’t though. Fuck it.

“Hang on,” he says. He gets up unsteadily and roots around through his suitcase until he finds the lube and a condom.

“Hurry up,” Taehyung whines.

Jungkook knees his way back over to Taehyung and swats his perky ass. It’s not really a spank, but Taehyung grunts and then whimpers, and Jungkook files it away for later.

“Stop being so bossy,” he says. 

“Stop being so fucking slow,” Taehyung responds.

“I’ll go as fast or as slow as I want. Don’t do this topping from the bottom shit.”

“Then fucking top me, asshole.”

Jungkook swats at him again. “Shut up and let me. Next time you can top and be as big of a dick as you want.”

Taehyung lets a shaky breath out. “Oh God,” he whimpers. “Fuck.”

Jungkook just smirks and pops the lube open, slicks two fingers up so they’re shiny and wet.

“Two okay? Or want me to start with one?”

“I don’t care if you shove your whole cock in, Jungkook. Just do something!”

Jungkook thinks about it, but decides that even he isn’t that much of an asshole. Instead he pumps his cock a few times with his left hand and presses his two lubed fingers against Taehyung’s entrance. He thinks it’s probably fine, he’s already stretched from Jungkook’s tongue. 

The thought makes him feel crazy and high all over again.

When he pushes in Taehyung holds his breath and pushes back, and then he lets a soft grunt out. Jungkook keeps pushing against him slowly, watching his fingers disappear past Taehyung’s rim, knuckle by knuckle.

“Okay?” Jungkook asks, pausing for a moment.

“Fuck, yes. Really, really okay.” 

Taehyung’s voice sounds wobbly and slurred, like that sound just before a sob. Jungkook keeps stroking and squeezing himself. It feels sort of weird with his left hand, but he can deal with it if he gets to keep looking at this, at Taehyung ass up and naked with Jungkook’s fingers sunk deep inside him.

Taehyung groans, deep and rough and filthy, as Jungkook pulls his fingers out slowly and then pushes them in again. He slides them in and out, fucks Taehyung with his fingers and fucks his own fist with his cock, thinks about how good it’s going to feel to slide himself past Taehyung’s tight rim.

Jungkook scissors his fingers, stretches Taehyung open, watches Taehyung’s hips move back and forth. 

“Your fingers feel so fucking good,” Taehyung whimpers. He struggles up onto his hands and turns his neck, stretches his chin over his shoulder and looks at Jungkook behind him. His face is flushed and damp and his fat bottom lip is pressed between his teeth. When he sees Jungkook he whimpers again.

“You’re touching yourself?” he asks incredulously. He looks as high as Jungkook feels though. Like he can’t believe what he’s looking at.

“My cock was starting to hurt,” Jungkook says. “You look like the dirtiest porn I’ve ever seen.”

Taehyung whimpers again.

“Sound like it, too,” Jungkook breathes.

“Fuck,” Taehyung says. “How are you this hot? How am I even alive?”

And then Jungkook curls his fingers, presses them around Taehyung’s walls, probes the muscle until he finds the spot, until Taehyung’s eyes roll back and he grunts and then wails, falls back down on his elbows.

“Yeah?” Jungkook asks, even though he knows.

“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” Taehyung pants. “Yeah, Jungkook.”

Jungkook’s fingers are squelching inside Taehyung now, sloppy and loud and wet. It’s obscenely hot, and Jungkook’s cock is leaking like crazy, precome dripping from the head and seeping under his fingers, smearing down his shaft as his fist pumps down.

“Another one?” Jungkook asks.

“Jungkook just fuck me, okay? Just do it, I can’t anymore.”

“I’m not small,” Jungkook says.

“Yeah, I’m not fucking blind,” Taehyung spits at him.

Jungkook curls his fingers again, presses against the spot and slides the wet fingers on his other hand over the head of his cock while he watches Taehyung come apart. Then he pulls out and adds a third, lines up at the rim and slowly pushes back in. He’d love to shove his cock in hard, bury it inside Taehyung in one fast stroke. But he’s kind of enjoying dragging it out.

“Jungkook, come on,” Taehyung whines.

But there’s more resistance like this, and he thinks even Taehyung knows it was the better choice. Once he’s in as he deep as he can get he lets go of his own cock and brushes his sticky fingers against Taehyung’s balls while he pulls back out.

“Jesus fuck,” Taehyung spits. “Holy fucking fuck.”

Jungkook is having the best time of his life. The best. Everything is hot and good and dirty and sticky. His skin is on fire. He pushes back in with his fingers, wiggles them around, feels Taehyung stretching around him, listens to Taehyung grunt and moan and swear.

“Just fucking do it,” Taehyung says, all rasp and thirst and want. “Fuck me, Jungkook. You fucking sadistic asshole. Want your cock in me so fucking bad. Please .”

Jungkook can’t help laughing. He can’t. It’s so funny, seeing sweet little Taehyung like this, swearing at him while he begs. So funny and so hot.

“Okay,” he says. “Jesus.”

Except it’s all pretend, feigned indifference, a complete and total farce. Jungkook feels exactly how Taehyung looks, on the inside. Like if he doesn’t fuck Taehyung in the next five minutes his body will be a pile of smoking ashes, burned completely to the ground, consumed from the inside out by the blazing inferno of lust in his bones.

Taehyung makes every noise when Jungkook pulls his fingers out. He whines and moans and grunts and chokes and whimpers, all strung together and slurred from his mouth in one.

“Flip over, okay?” Jungkook twists around and pats down the bed looking for the condom he brought over before, while Taehyung flops his shaking body over onto his back.

Jungkook does want to fuck Taehyung how he was. He likes it better like that usually, feels like he can go deeper from behind. He feels like it’s safer, too, not being seen, not having to worry about his emotions showing on his face. But he thinks it’ll matter to Taehyung, that he’ll want them to be able to look into each other’s eyes and shit, for there to be at least a tiny scrap of romance to their first time. Later Jungkook can fuck him from behind, hard and fast and dirty.

(And also, like, there’s a thing somewhere in his chest, lodged way down deep with some other stuff he isn’t ready to let to the surface; a thing that’s fragile and hopeful and intensely embarrassing; where he thinks maybe he wants to look at Taehyung’s face, too. That it matters to him that the first time they do this it isn’t just fucking.)

His fingers close around the little foil packet and he wipes his hands on the bedspread before tearing it open. When he looks back Taehyung is lying there, thighs spread wide, cock curved over his belly, pink and hard and leaking.

“Jesus fuck. You’re gonna kill me,” Jungkook breathes.

Taehyung’s face turns as pink as his dick, but then he looks pleased, cocky even. He licks his lips and smirks. “If you don’t fuck me in the next three minutes I’m gonna go find Chan-sook.”

He’s teasing, trying to get a reaction, pushing at Jungkook’s jealousy to get what he wants. It would be stupid if it didn’t work immediately.

“Chan-sook doesn’t want you, remember?” He’s trying not to sound needy and petulant, but he knows by Taehyung’s arrogant grin that he’s failing miserably. So he decides to just let it go, to give up the pretense entirely.

He leans down over Taehyung’s body and ruts his hips down so their cocks slide wet and dripping against each other. He kisses Taehyung hard, pushes his tongue inside Taehyung’s mouth and swallows his choked little whimper. 

“No,” he says, pulling back a bit and then swiping his tongue out to lick at Taehyung’s lower lip.

“No?” Taehyung breathes.

Mine.” As he says it he grinds his hips down hard and Taehyung’s breath comes out in a fluttery whoosh.

“Then fucking prove it,” Taehyung says, eyes dark and glittering.

Jungkook licks one more time, and pushes himself back up. The opened condom is still clutched in his fingers, so he takes it out, tries to keep his hands from shaking as he rolls it over his cock under Taehyung’s burning gaze.

He grabs at the back of Taehyung’s thighs, pushes his knees up against his chest. 

“Hold your knees,” he says.

Taehyung wraps his slender fingers behind his knees and pulls, shamelessly opens himself up to Jungkook and stares up expectantly.

“Fuck,” Jungkook says. He clenches his fists open and shut a few times to stop his hands from shaking. “So fucking hot,” he can’t help mumbling.

He’s too turned on to be embarrassed. And Taehyung must know because he doesn’t say anything, just pulls his legs back harder and licks his lips. He’s flushed and panting and sweaty like they’ve already been fucking for hours.

Jungkook takes his cock in his hand and nudges his knees a little closer, so they’re up against Taehyung’s soft, fleshy ass. He presses the head up against Taehyung’s stretched out hole, still slick with lube. He feels like he’s going to die if he doesn’t get his cock inside immediately.

“Wait, wait,” Taehyung pants. “Hold on a second.”

Jungkook looks down at him.

“I just need to make sure… “ Taehyung looks pained. He looks like he’s blushing and uncomfortable and nervous. “Is this, like...  “

Jungkook can’t understand what could possibly be this important. The head of his cock is literally pressed up against Taehyung’s asshole and he’s so hard that it hurts and he’s been waiting for this for fucking years and he’s about to lose his shit.

What?” Jungkook asks impatiently. “Is this what?”

Taehyung frowns. “I just mean, like, are we just fucking, or… “

Jesus fucking Christ. Taehyung and his fucking feelings.

“Tae, is there really no better time we could do this than when I’m finally about to fuck your brains out?”

Taehyung shrugs and stares up at Jungkook, all flushed and sweaty and annoyingly cute. “I just need to know first.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes. “I fucking love you, all right? You fucking idiot.”

Taehyung grins and his eyelashes flutter and he looks so dumb with his legs spread open and his knees pressed up to his chest and his hair all soft and messy and everywhere. So dumb and so hot and so beautiful.

“Okay,” Taehyung says. “I love you, too.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes again, but his belly goes all fluttery and his heart feels too big for his chest and he’s fighting his own grin down so hard. In the end it’s no use. He feels his cheeks scrunch up without his permission and he knows he looks just as idiotic as Taehyung does.

“Okay,” Taehyung says, laughing. “Fuck my brains out now. You fucking idiot.”

And Jungkook does. He presses the head of his cock past Taehyung’s entrance, feels how hot and tight he is, stops to let him adjust. And Taehyung’s laugh turns into a whimper and his mouth does a little pouty thing and Jungkook feels kind of dizzy, can’t believe he’s actually pushing his cock into Taehyung, finally.

Jungkook moves slowly, even though it feels impossible. He eases himself in and tries not to shake with the effort it’s taking him to hold back. When he’s as deep as he can go he stops to take a breath, and to look. To see himself buried deep, but also to see Taehyung, his hard cock and his pretty face and the way he’s flushed and trembling and staring. To make sure he meant what he said, that he’s still looking at Jungkook like he’s stupid for him. He is. And Jungkook thinks it’s probably like looking into a mirror because he’s stupid for Taehyung, too.

“Okay?” Jungkook asks.

Taehyung whimpers. “Jungkook it’s good, okay? Stop checking. I’m so fucking beyond okay.”

Jungkook smiles, rocks his hips back and then forward, groans louder than he expected because it feels like heaven. Taehyung clenches around him and groans right back.

“Yeah,” he says. “Fuck me, Jungkook. Please.”

Jungkook is afraid, almost, of letting go. But he pushes past it and picks his pace up, and then he forgets to be afraid because it feels too good. Taehyung is hot and tight and so fucking perfect.

“C’mere,” Taehyung whisper-moans.

Jungkook shifts his weight so he can lean down closer, so he can brace himself on his arms while Taehyung shifts his hips a little to compensate. 

“Fuck,” Taehyung groans as Jungkook recovers his rhythm. “Yeah… fuck… so fucking good.”

It’s embarrassing how hot Taehyung is, how much Jungkook’s body is reacting to him. 

“Holy fuck, I love your cock,” Taehyung pants, “Love it so fucking much.”

“Tae, I can’t… “ Jungkook loses his train of thought because Taehyung’s biting at his jaw and whimpering into his skin.

“Can’t what?”

“I don’t know! Just…” he’s burning all over. With arousal, yes, but also with something else. With a little bit of shame and then also frustration. He wants Taehyung to know how he feels, how nothing has ever been like this for him, no person, no experience, no sensation. He wants Taehyung to know how helplessly turned on he is, how it’s because of Taehyung, how good and right and hot and perfect he is. 

But he isn’t good at words. If he were good at words it wouldn’t have taken this long. And maybe then it would be less overwhelming, too. And Taehyung is so good at words, everything he says pushes Jungkook a tiny bit closer to losing it entirely, to hitting the peak and falling over the edge. Jungkook wants to make him feel like that, too.

“Wanted you for so fucking long,” he says finally. “You’re so hot I can’t stand it.” It comes out in a breathy whine and Taehyung works both of his hands into Jungkook’s hair and licks at Jungkook’s lips. It makes Jungkook feel even crazier. “I love fucking you.”

Taehyung moans extra loud when he says it, and that makes it easier. It’s less scary when Taehyung is reacting like this, like it’s turning him on to hear it out loud.

“I love your ass,” Jungkook says. “I love your ass and your mouth and your hands and your voice. You make me fucking crazy.”

Every time Jungkook pushes his cock back into Taehyung Taehyung’s breath hitches in his throat and it makes everything even better somehow. He pushes in hard and holds it for a second, watches Taehyung grunt and grit his teeth.

“Feels good?” Jungkook asks.

Taehyung nods and whimpers helplessly when Jungkook starts moving again. “Faster,” he says. “Fuck me harder.”

Jungkook fucks him hard and fast, stops being careful with him, doesn’t give a fuck anymore. He shifts his weight to his left arm and pushes his hand between their bodies so he can wrap his hand around Taehyung’s cock. 

“Holy shit,” Taehyung yelps.

Taehyung is hot and wet and sticky and Jungkook squeezes him tightly and starts sliding his fist up and down.

“Wanna make you come,” Jungkook says.

“Won’t take long.”

“Same. Fuck.”

Jungkook meant to be a little softer, to draw it out more and make it last, but, like... he can’t. He keeps fucking Taehyung harder and faster. He really can’t help it. He’s possessed at this point. He doesn’t think Taehyung cares anyway. He keeps alternating between low grunts and high-pitched keening and he’s digging his fingers into the back of Jungkook’s neck and he’s flopping all over the place underneath him.

“So fucking close,” Taehyung pants. 

Jungkook leans down and kisses him and it’s sloppy because he’s grinding his hips down with too much force and he’s trying to keep himself upright and jerk Taehyung off at the same time. It’s the hottest kiss of his life, though. Somehow. 

He moves his hand faster over Taehyung’s cock, swipes his thumb over the raised vein, savours how slick and wet it feels, how Taehyung chokes and whines when he does it.

“Gonna come,” he spits out. “Jungkook, gonna…“

Jungkook slams his pelvis against Taehyung’s ass and pumps Taehyung’s cock in his fist. And if someone had told Jungkook he would do this next thing, he would have rolled his eyes and laughed. It’s so fucking lame. But he doesn’t care, and he can’t help it anyway. Right before Taehyung starts to come, when he sucks a deep breath in and clenches around Jungkook’s cock, Jungkook nudges the tip of Taehyung’s nose with his own and then whispers against his mouth.

“Love you, Tae. So fucking much.”

He feels Taehyung’s hot breath burst out against his face, hears the deep, low, moan that follows it. And then there’s a hot rush of wetness under his fingers and it’s even slicker than before and Taehyung is shaking and shuddering underneath him, hips bucking up helplessly.

And that’s what sends Jungkook over the edge, in the end. Of course it fucking is. As if this whole fucking this hasn’t been so stupidly lame and cliché.

But seeing Taehyung come, seeing his face melted in pleasure from Jungkook’s cock and Jungkook’s hand, hearing him make those noises, the kinds of noises that you can’t hold in, that only come out when your body is overwhelmed with pleasure and it feels so fucking hot and good and crazy that whatever comes out of your mouth is completely involuntary, hearing it while he’s thrusting his cock into Taehyung’s ass so hard it almost hurts, pushes him over the line he’s been riding since they started. It feels like an explosion when it happens. It doesn’t roll over him slowly, it erupts from his cock and lower belly immediately so his hips start twitching on their own and a pressure builds in his ears and he’s on fire everywhere.

Taehyung has gone limp underneath him and it’s so slick under Jungkook’s hand that he can’t grip on anymore. Which is good anyway, because he needs his other hand. His left arm is starting to shake, so he lets Taehyung go, tries to shift to his right, but mostly just falls down on top of Taehyung. And it’s wet and sticky and good between their bodies and Taehyung is whispering lightly in his ear as he finishes riding it out.

“Yeah, Jungkook. Come in me. So fucking hot. Love you so much. So fucking much.”

He pushes in a few more times as he groans and spills into the condom inside Taehyung. His face is pressed into Taehyung’s shoulder and Taehyung is rubbing at the nape of his neck and he shivers as his hips start to slow.

His whole body feels weak as he finishes, like he’s used every ounce of energy he had, like when he came it all poured out of him and he’s completely drained. He’s flopped down on top of Taehyung and it’s probably awkward. Taehyung is basically folded in half and they’re both sticky and wet and Jungkook is still inside of him.

But Taehyung just kisses the side of his forehead and keeps running his fingertips lightly down the back of Jungkook’s neck, and Jungkook doesn’t care; he could stay like this forever.

Eventually Jungkook manages to push himself back up to his knees and pull himself out, gripping the condom so he doesn’t make even more of a mess. Once he’s pulled it off and tied it up and chucked it in the garbage he finally lets himself look at Taehyung.

He’s a fucking disaster. The most beautiful fucking disaster Jungkook’s ever seen in his entire life. His skin is flushed and sweaty and his hair is matted and he’s covered in come and his eyes are still kind of dark and unfocused.

Jungkook worries, for a brief moment, that it’s about to get awkward. That they only said what they said because they were drunk on lust, that they’d made a horrible mistake and will have to live with it forever.

“Fucking terrible,” Taehyung says. “Worst fuck of my life.” He’s flashing a cheeky grin, and he reaches up to swipe his hair away from his eyes.

“Fuck you,” Jungkook says, but he’s grinning, too. He clambers over to the bathroom for some towels, does the laziest clean up, the most bare minimum of swipes, before he drops the other one on Taehyung and crawls in beside him.

“I can’t believe you’re such a cheeseball,” Taehyung says as he wipes himself off. 

“Shut up. You fucking loved it.”

Taehyung giggles and throws the towel away. Then he turns to face Jungkook, snuggles up close and drapes an arm lazily over his side.

“I fucking love you,” Taehyung says.

Jungkook is melting. He’s a warm puddle on top of his sheets. He’s such a fucking loser. Taehyung has made him stupid and soft and moronic. He’s completely smitten.

“I know,” he says.

Taehyung slaps him on the hip. “Jungkook! You have to say it.” He flutters his lashes. “You have to say it when your dick isn’t in me.”

“Technically my dick wasn’t in you yet the first time. You made me say it before you let me fuck you.”

Taehyung rolls his eyes. “I didn’t make you say it! I just asked.” 

“Wasn’t really fair, though. You waited until I was just about to do it and then you asked. You were holding your ass hostage.”

“I wasn’t holding my ass hostage!” Taehyung says indignantly. “It wasn’t a fucking negotiation!”

“Wasn’t it though? You wouldn’t have let me fuck you if I didn’t say it.”

“Says who? I would have.”

“Really?”

Taehyung nods. “Would’ve broken my heart, but yeah. Probably, anyway. Waited so fucking long.”

Jungkook brushes his fingers over Taehyung’s cheekbone. “You’ve been pining, hey? Writing in your diary every night about how much you love me?”

“You’re such a fucking dick.”

Jungkook laughs, and then he leans in quickly and kisses Taehyung on the lips. It’s different when there isn’t any lust behind it. It’s sweet and gentle and comforting and nice and it turns him into a puddle of goo all over again.

“I’m your fucking dick,” he says. “Get used to it.”

Taehyung snuggles even closer and wraps his arm around Jungkook’s back. “I’m already used to it. You’ve been a dick for months.”

“Yeah. Sorry. Turns out I’ve been in love with you for years and it was really fucking irritating.”

Taehyung makes a happy little mewl and kisses him again. “Years, huh? Sounds like you’re the one who’s been pining.”

Jungkook bites gently at Taehyung’s bottom lip. “Shut up. I wasn’t pining.”

“No? I was. It sucked.”

“You suck. Could’ve just told me instead of trying to make me jealous.”

Taehyung swats at him again and when Jungkook pulls his face back Taehyung is looking at him with a raised eyebrow. “Seriously?” he asks. “I could’ve just told you?”

“Yeah. Saved us a lot of time.”

“Jungkook. You get weird when I tell you your hair looks like nice!”

“Doesn’t mean I don’t like it.”

“Yeah. I know.”

Taehyung drops his head back down to the pillow and slides a palm up Jungkook’s chest, trails his fingers along Jungkook’s clavicle and then rests them at the back of his neck, twisting a lock of hair between them.

“I feel really bad about Chan-sook,” Taehyung says. 

“Me too.”

“You actually went to talk to her?”

Jungkook nods. “She fucking blasted me, though. Called me a coward.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. It’s okay. I needed to hear it. You ever talk to her again?”

Taehyung nods. “She came to tell me she was leaving. She apologized, but I could tell she didn’t really mean it. Or that she knew what we were doing. So then I apologized and called you an asshole.”

Jungkook laughs. “I bet she loved that.”

“She rolled her eyes and said, ‘You two deserve each other.’”

Jungkook laughs even harder. “I have a feeling Chan-sook’s gonna be okay.”

“You know what’s funny?” Taehyung says. “I actually really liked her a lot.”

Jungkook scowls and pinches him on the side and Taehyung yelps loudly.

“Fuck off! You’re so fucking jealous! I didn’t even mean it like that.”

“Sorry.” Jungkook knows he’s right, that he should probably work on the jealousy thing. He should probably work on a lot of things. 

“I just mean, like, as a person. As a friend.”

“Really?” Jungkook finds it hard to believe. Chan-sook is a lot of things, but she’s not exactly warm or friendly. Not like Taehyung, anyway.

“Yeah,” Taehyung says. “You know what’s even funnier?”

“What?”

“She kind of reminds me of you.”

Jungkook instinctively goes to roll his eyes, but then he stops. He doesn’t mind it so much. He’s been called a lot worse.

“Can we stop talking about her now?” Jungkook asks.

Taehyung nods. “What should we talk about?”

Jungkook takes a deep breath and then lets it out again, very slowly. “About how much I love you. And how fucking terrified I’ve been. And how I’m still fucking terrified.”

Taehyung brings his hand forward and runs his thumb along the underside of Jungkook’s jaw. “Me too,” he says.

“Yeah?”

Taehyung nods and one side of his mouth tugs up into a little half-grin. “You’re really scary, Jungkook.”

Jungkook does roll his eyes this time. “Shut up!”

Taehyung laughs, and then turns serious again. “Sorry. I mean it though. I’m scared too.”

“Really? You never seem scared.”

Taehyung shrugs. “It’s scary. I don’t know what’s gonna happen or how this is gonna work.”

“What if I fuck up and do something awful and you never want to see me again?” Jungkook blurts out.

“Jungkook, you’ve fucked up plenty of times. So many times. When have I ever not wanted to see you again?”

Jungkook thinks. “This last time. This was a bad one.”

“And I’m still here, right?”

“Yeah. I guess so.

“So we’ll figure it out. We can be scared together.”

Jungkook pulls Taehyung toward him, as close as he can get, so their bodies are lined up and touching everywhere possible. “I love you,” he says between kisses. “I love you so fucking much.”

And Taehyung kisses him back, and loves him back, and it is scary. It’s the scariest thing he’s ever done in his life, loving Taehyung. But it’s the best thing, too.

He curls his body around Taehyung’s in the bed and pulls the sheets up over them and takes a few deep, steadying breaths. And he realizes suddenly that the tension is gone, that even though he’s terrified, he feels calm and relaxed and content for the first time in a very long time.

“Tae?” Jungkook asks before they drift off to sleep.

“Yeah?”

“I’m sorry I fucked Chan-sook instead of fucking you.”

“I know. Same.”

“Can you tell Jimin I said that?”