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Trouble Comes in Twos

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It’s three o’clock on Sunday afternoon, and Jimin is sitting on the kitchen floor in his dormitory, shovelling another spoonful of cookie dough ice cream into his mouth, while Taehyung sits next to him, nursing his own tub of strawberry cheesecake. Today was move-in day. Classes haven’t even officially started for the semester, and he’s already on the brink of a school-related breakdown.

It’s not that there had been anything particularly traumatic to trigger Jimin’s sudden need to eat his bodyweight in ice cream – nothing happened at all. And maybe that’s the problem. As soon as Jimin and Taehyung had finished unpacking and getting settled in, they headed out to get some groceries and last-minute supplies, and now here they are on the floor, spoons-deep in ice cream, trying to get in the last taste of summer before it's gone completely.

“You know,” Taehyung says, shifting Jimin’s focus onto him instead of the kitchen cabinets he’d been zoned out on. “It’s not gonna be that bad.”

Jimin smiles half-heartedly around his spoon. Taehyung is always encouraging – always looking on the bright side, and if Jimin can be thankful for one thing right now, it’s him. They’d been inseparable since meeting in their first year of university, and even though Jimin isn’t necessarily looking forward to this semester, he is looking forward to getting to spend another year living with his best friend.

“I know.” Jimin rests his spoon in his ice cream, deciding not to dwell on the fact that the tub is already half empty. “It’s just that this year is gonna be the exact same as last year…and the year before that.” He sets his ice cream on the floor beside him, and brings his knees up to his chest. “I just wanna get my degree and start my life, you know?”

“Yeah.” Taehyung looks down, dark brown hair covering his eyes as he pokes at it his ice cream with his spoon. “I know the feeling.”

It’s not that Jimin’s university experience has been bad – in fact, he’s had a lot of fun these last few years. He just wants a change of pace, wants something different, wants to move on to the next stage of his life, and maybe he’s impatient and getting a little ahead of himself, but he can’t help it. Knowing that he still has three full years standing between him and his teaching degree is kind of an annoying reality.

Jimin is fully aware that he’s being pessimistic and unreasonable, and he doesn’t intend on wallowing in his own negativity for the entirety of the school year. It’s just that he needs one day of ice-cream eating and overdramatic venting before going back to normal.

It’s relatively quiet for a good minute or so following that, with just the sound of Taehyung’s spoon scraping the bottom of his ice-cream container filling the air while Jimin contemplates the quickest way to get over these move-in day blues.

“You know…” Taehyung clears his throat suddenly. The hesitation in his voice coupled with the apologetic smile he’s wearing sets Jimin on edge. “This year is actually gonna be a little different.”

Jimin raises his eyebrows, reaching for his ice-cream once more, like he’s preparing himself for bad news and only ice-cream can protect him. “What do you mean?” He asks slowly, proceeding with caution.

Taehyung on the other hand, opts for diving in headfirst. “I’m getting a part-time job.”

Jimin freezes, his spoon halfway to his mouth. “A what?”

“I’m starting next week.”

“Tae, I’m never gonna get to see you.”

“You’ll still see me...just not as much as you did before.”

“Who am I supposed to hang out with?” Jimin doesn’t bother concealing his pout.

“Are you kidding me?” Taehyung asks, eyes widening in disbelief. “You have tons of friends!”

“No. Yoongi and Hoseok graduated, and Taemin transferred schools to do his masters–”

“You have other friends!”

Jimin leans his head back and slumps down against the cabinets, his blonde hair sticking to them and fanning out above his head. “No one else would sit on the floor with me while eating a bucket of ice-cream, and not question my sanity while they do it.”

“The only reason I don’t question your sanity is because I already know you’re insane.”

“See! No one else would ever say that to me. This is why I need you.”

“You’ll meet other people and make other friends. Maybe one will be as weird as you.” Taehyung pauses, giving time for a teasing smile to stretch across his lips. “Unlikely, but.” He shrugs. “It could happen.”

Rolling his eyes, Jimin repays Taehyung by giving his foot a playful nudge. “Always so supportive.” And even though Jimin is full of sarcasm, his words are true. Taehyung is a good friend – he’s always supportive of Jimin no matter what, and Jimin feels guilty for not showing that same support to him right now.

“I try.” Taehyung hums. “And hey, I’m only gonna be working at the coffee shop on the south side of campus. “You’ll be able to stop by whenever.”

Jimin perks up a bit at that, and offers his friend a genuine smile, wanting nothing more than for him to know that he has his support too. “I’ll bring you food on your breaks.” His smile widens into something more mischievous. “And I’ll make sure to order the fanciest and most complicated drinks on the menu. To put you to the test.”

When Taehyung laughs, Jimin instantly feels a bit warmer. “Wouldn’t expect anything else from you.”

“Seriously though.” Jimin says, adopting more of a serious tone as he sits up. “I know you’re gonna have a lot on your plate with all your classes and a part time job, so if you ever need help with anything, just let me know.”

Taehyung grins. “Thanks, Jimin.” He reaches out and offers a spoonful of his own ice-cream, and Jimin leans over to accept, letting Taehyung feed it to him. “Let’s just get through this first week, and then on Friday we can go out and get hammered at Jackson’s party. Like the good ol’ days.”

Getting drunk with Taehyung is always an adventure. Now, Jimin has something to look forward to, something to help him make it through this first week. He’s planning on making this Friday night a night to remember.

Smiling, Jimin gives a firm nod. “Deal.”

They end up finishing all of their ice-cream (they’d already made it past the halfway mark, why not just finish it off?), and they decide to spend the rest of the day watching movies and relaxing before the reality of school really sinks in.

Taehyung had dismissed himself a while ago to use the washroom, leaving Jimin to set up his laptop for them. He’s just starting to scroll through movies when he hears Taehyung call out to him.

“Hey, Jimin?” His voice echoes in the bathroom, and Jimin immediately stops what he’s doing to listen. “You know how you said you felt like we were forgetting something when we were in the checkout line at the grocery store?”

“Yeah…”

“I think I know what we forgot.” There’s a beat of silence, and then: “toilet paper.”

“Shit.”

“Literally.”

Jimin hopes this isn’t a sign of more bad things to come.

---

The first week of classes passes by rather uneventfully. Jimin spends most of his time hanging out with Taehyung and doing homework – making sure to keep up with all of his readings, because after two years of this, he knows just how easy it is to fall behind in his classes.

Jimin is a good student. He’s a hard worker, maybe even a bit of a perfectionist, and he really likes when he can actually smile after reading the feedback he gets on his papers and assignments.

And even though he does all his homework this week, even though he’s practically a model student, the only thing getting him through it all is the prospect of Friday night’s party. It’s not like this week has been bad in any way, and it’s not like he’s looking for an escape by getting drunk, but he really misses partying with Taehyung, and doesn’t know how often they’ll get to go out once he starts working.

He wants to make sure they have a really good first weekend back, and hopefully if they have a good first weekend back, it’ll set the tone for the rest of the year. So, when Friday night finally rolls around, Jimin is pretty much buzzed just from his excitement alone.

Jimin and Taehyung aren’t at the party just yet. Right now, they’re sitting at the table in their dorm room, listening to music and chatting as they sip on sugary coolers that are way too sweet, but are tolerated because they taste nothing like beer.

Tonight is a night where Jimin’s smile comes even more easily than it usually does, and where his laughter is always lying just below the surface – ready to make an appearance at any time. In fact, he’s in the middle of laughing at Taehyung as he shows off some new, rather avant-garde dance moves when he’s interrupted by a sudden knock at the door.

Jimin’s laughter dies down immediately, his amusement replaced by curiosity as he glances at the door. They weren’t playing their music very loud, so he doubts it’s an RA coming over to complain about the noise. His quizzical gaze shifts to Taehyung instead, and now Jimin finds himself more suspicious than curious when he notices the sly smile teasing the corners of Taehyung’s lips.

“Tae…” Jimin narrows his eyes at him.

Taehyung remains unbothered. “I invited someone over.” He supplies with an air of nonchalance. 

Jimin’s lower lips juts out. “I thought it was just gonna be us tonight.” His words sound suspiciously whiny.

“I know, but this guy is super nice – and he’s really cool.” Taehyung takes a step backwards towards the door, remaining facing Jimin so that he can clearly see the way his smile never falters but only grows. “He’s from my economics class…and I really think you guys will get along.”

It doesn’t take Jimin very long to clue in. “Are you trying to help me make new friends?"

“What?” Taehyung gasps melodramatically. “Jimin, I am offended that you think I would do something like that. I know you don’t need my help to make friends."

Jimin isn’t necessarily mad at Taehyung for inviting someone else, and he doesn’t care whether or not Taehyung really is trying to push him into making a new friend. It’s just that he expected it to only be them tonight.

And now it just won’t be the same.

Taehyung takes another step backwards, grinning. “No but seriously, I think you’ll really like him.” He’s nearly at the door now. “Oh, and I told him it’s okay if he crashes here tonight, so.”

“Tae–”

“I’m answering the door!” Taehyung cuts him off in a sing-song voice.

Jimin wants to protest, wants to tell Taehyung that he owes him, because now he won’t get to fully enjoy their first night out for the semester, because he’ll be concerned with keeping up appearances, and won’t be able to really be himself like he usually is when it's just him and Taehyung.

But Jimin’s complaints die on his lips and wither in his head the second that Taehyung opens the door.

The stranger greets Taehyung with a smile, and even though that smile is directed at Taehyung, Jimin finds himself smiling right back. Taehyung gives him an enthusiastic pat on the back before ushering him inside. And now, Jimin knows why Taehyung had been so certain that he’d like him.

The guy is attractive. Almost insultingly so. His black hair is parted down the middle to show off a sliver of forehead, his neat fringe just at eyebrow level to keep it out of his eyes. He may be a bit dressed up for a university party, but he’s still dressed simply; wearing dark jeans free of holes, accompanied with a jean-jacket over a plain white t-shirt. The shirt looks so strangely immaculate that Jimin briefly wonders if the guy had ironed it.

As Taehyung leads him towards the table, the stranger's smile comes closer, and Jimin can appreciate it that much more. And yes, the guy is attractive, but he’s not just attractive.

He’s…nice. Jimin can tell he’s nice even though he hasn’t even spoken a word to him. His smile is sweet, and it’s one that makes his eyes crinkle with warmth. They haven’t even spoken one word to each other, and already, the guy has made a good first impression. They haven’t even spoken one word to each other, and already, Jimin wants to be his friend.

His smile is just that nice.

“Jimin,” Taehyung’s bright voice draws his attention, pulling Jimin away from his silent admiration. “This is Jeon Jungkook.” He gestures at the space between the other two, looking rather proud as he does so. “And Jungkook, this is Park Jimin.”

“Hi.” Jungkook is the first one to speak up after the introduction, acknowledging Jimin with a polite nod, that smile on his face just as prominent as ever. “It's nice to meet you.” He offers his hand, which Jimin doesn’t hesitate to take.

“Nice to meet you too." Jimin grins. His dad always told him that you can learn a lot about a person just from their handshake, but he never really put much thought into his dad’s words until now. Jungkook's grip is firm, and he looks Jimin in the eye when he shakes his hand, allowing him see the way the light catches in them.

And Jimin kind of gets the feeling that Jungkook is just as genuine as his smile is.

“You want a drink, Jungkook?” Taehyung asks suddenly, and Jimin is so thankful that his friend is there right now, or else he’d probably spend more time than what is socially acceptable staring at Jungkook and thinking about how good of a smile he has. “We only have coolers, so if you’re a beer guy, you’re out of luck.”

When Jungkook redirects his attention to Taehyung, he rubs the back of his neck rather sheepishly. “Actually, I brought something else.” He sets the sleek leather duffle bag he brought with him on the table “I thought we could all share? It’s the least I can do, I really appreciate you guys letting me stay over here tonight.” Jimin’s eyes widen as he watches Jungkook pulls out two unopened bottles of vodka.

“Oh my god,” Taehyung laughs breathily, obviously sharing Jimin's surprise. “Are you trying to die or to get drunk tonight, Jungkook?”

Chuckling faintly, Jungkook sets the bottles on the table. “Honestly, this will probably be the first and last time I go out all year. I wanna make it good.”

“Amen to that.” Taehyung grins. “I’ll go get us some glasses,” he announces before skipping off to the kitchen to do just that.

Now that he’s alone with Jungkook, Jimin figures he should take the opportunity to test out the waters – to see what kind of guy he is, because even though he’s already convinced that Jungkook is nice, there are so many other things about him that he’s curious about. Like why will tonight be the only night he goes out all year? He’s already intrigued by Jungkook and he hasn’t known him for more than two minutes, and honestly, Jimin is excited to learn more about him. He forgot how much fun making new friends is.

“Not much of a partier, Jungkook?” Jimin asks teasingly, ironically addressing the guy who just pulled out enough vodka to put him in a casket.

Jungkook takes Jimin’s comment in stride, and Jimin doesn’t miss the playful yet subtle way the corner of his mouth quirks. “You say that like you think there’s something to be gained from being a partier.”

“Oh, not at all.” Jimin assures with a smile, thankful that Jungkook seems to be able to take a joke. Partying isn’t a requirement of being a university student, but most people treat it like it is. “It’s just that most people I know are still very much in their party phase, you know?” It’s rather rare to find someone who isn’t in that phase.

Jungkook might just be an anomaly…and Jimin likes that about him too.

“Well, I don’t think it’s necessarily a bad phase to be in. Just one I can’t afford to be in.” Jungkook says with a shrug, and when Jimin raises his eyebrows in a silent request for an explanation, Jungkook doesn’t hesitate to indulge him. “I’m taking an extra class this semester, and I need to keep my grades up if I want my father to keep funding my education.”

Jimin can’t help but notice the formal way in which Jungkook referred to his dad – in a way that none of his other friends refer to their own dads. He doesn’t comment on it though, he just picks up his half-finished cooler, and offers it to Jungkook. With a heavy course load and an assumably overbearing dad, Jimin figures the guy could really use a drink.

“Well if tonight’s gonna be the only night you go out all year,” Jimin pauses, giving time for his smile to widen. “Let’s make it good.”

Jungkook accepts both the cooler and the proposal with a grin. “Let’s.”

Taehyung returns shortly after with three plastic shot glasses, and he only spills a little bit when he fills them up with the vodka Jungkook had so graciously provided. Once all three glasses are full, Taehyung passes them out, and Jimin can feel his friend's excitement.  

“Alright,” Taehyung nudges Jungkook, his eagerness spilling over into his words. “Me and Jimin always make a toast before we go out. Since you’re the guest, you go first.”

Not seeming fazed in the slightest despite being put on the spot, Jungkook nods. And when he speaks, he speaks with confidence– almost formally. “Seeing as we’re starting out a new school year,” Jungkook raises his shot glass. “To new beginnings.”

Jimin grins and mirrors the action. “To new friends.”

Taehyung lets out an enthusiastic whoop, lifting the glass high above his head. “To getting fucked up.”

All three of them throw their heads back and down their shots. The first shot is always the worst– it always burns, and no matter how much mental preparation you do, it always always tastes like shit. This shot was no different, it tasted awful and it burned like hell on the way down, but this time, there was something a little different.

There was something that made Jimin actually smile after taking the shot. 

It’s Jungkook that makes him smile, and it’s Jungkook that makes him forget about the sharp tang of vodka sitting heavy on his tongue. Jimin smiles because when Jungkook finishes his shot, his whole face screws up; lips pursing and nose wrinkling, eyes squeezing shut as his entire body shudders.

It’s such a funny sight to see, and Jimin has to press the back of his hand to his mouth to stifle a laugh. Now, he feels that he can confidently say that Jeon Jungkook is in fact, not much of a partier.

And that’s not a bad thing at all. 

The three of them barely even make a dent in Jungkook’s alcohol supply, but even so, they’re reduced to nothing more than a collective giggling mess by the time they’re ready to head out. Jungkook doesn’t say a whole lot, he mostly contents himself with sitting back and laughing at Jimin and Taehyung’s antics, and Jimin finds out that he really likes the sound of Jungkook’s laugh.

Right now, Jimin is at a good stage. He’s dizzy in the best of ways, teetering on the edge of drunkenness, and he knows that this is a safe, no, a good stage for him to be at. It’s the stage where anything and everything is funny enough to make him tip his head back and laugh, and it’s an especially good stage to be at right now, because Jungkook’s eyes shine with amusement every time he watches Jimin laugh.

And Jungkook’s eyes look really nice when they’re shining like that.

He’s only just met Jungkook, but already, he feels at ease around him, already feels like he can just be himself, and maybe the alcohol has a little bit to do with it, but he’s certain that he’d be just as comfortable around him if he was sober.

Taehyung really knows how to pick good friends.

The cab ride to the party doesn’t feel like much like a cab ride at all. It feels more like a concert. Taehyung is the star of the show, somehow coaxing their unsuspecting driver into giving him free reign of the aux cord. After that, Jimin doesn’t remember much of the ride except for Jungkook’s overzealous clapping and open-mouthed laughing (which hilariously sounds like cackling when he’s drunk) as Taehyung sings his heart out, using his phone as a make-shift microphone.

Even though parties are just another part of his never-changing cycle as a university student, Jimin always finds parties to be exciting. Even though most parties are the same, even though all of them are nothing more than a group of people caught up in a whirlwind of loud music, binge drinking, messy make outs and party games, Jimin always has fun– probably because it’s hard not to have a good time when you’re fucked up.

And it’s even harder not to have a good time when you’re fucked up with Kim Taehyung. Now, add Jungkook and his silly smiles into the mix, and Jimin is pretty much guaranteed to have a good night.

The house is already packed when they get there. As soon as he steps inside, Jimin feels the air wrap around him, all hot and stuffy, and the distinct smell of hard liquor mingling with cheap cologne assaults his senses. Downstairs, the lights have all been turned off, but a flashing disco-ball paints the walls in random splashes of colour, obnoxiously loud music reverberating throughout the walls. The main floor is tamer; the lights are on and the scene mostly consists of people playing drinking games and chatting, but even so, there are a few people clinging onto the walls for balance, and someone’s already passed out on one of the couches – a tell-tale sign that nowhere in the house is necessarily tame.

Jimin can’t wait to dive right in and lose himself in the chaos. He turns to Taehyung, bubbling with excitement as he tugs on his hand. “Tae.” The heavy thud of the bass is practically luring Jimin downstairs. “Tae,” he gives him another tug, “Let’s go dance.”

Jimin doesn’t only want to dance because he loves dancing. He also wants to dance because he needs to know what sort of dancer Jungkook is, needs to know what he looks like bathing underneath the glow of those flashy lights, needs to see him really let go and have fun.

But Taehyung doesn’t seem to share that same need as him at the moment.

“No – we need to get more drunk first.” Taehyung states, like he’d already planned out their itinerary, and intends on sticking to it. “Drinking games and then dancing.”

Feeling wronged, Jimin immediately turns to Jungkook, shamelessly pouting. He’s drunk enough to think that it’ll get him somewhere, that the guy will side with him if he pouts hard enough. All Jimin ends up getting from Jungkook is a rather amused smile, which isn’t exactly what Jimin wanted, but he’s not complaining about it either

“I’m staying out of this.” Jungkook says, raising his hands to show his neutrality.

Jimin huffs, and Taehyung grins.

“Rock paper scissors?” Taehyung suggests, holding a fist out.

Even though Jimin wants to just grab both Jungkook and Taehyung by the wrist and yank them downstairs to the dancefloor, he begrudgingly accepts Taehyung’s proposal. “Fine.”

Jimin ends up losing twice in a row, which means that Taehyung ends up getting his way. The three of them soon find themselves sitting on the floor around the coffee table. Taehyung throws himself into a game of sociables while they wait for a turn at beer pong, while Jimin and Jungkook opt for passively watching the game and talking amongst one another.

Jimin is having a lot more fun talking to Jungkook than he would have playing a card game. They don’t talk about anything in particular, and honestly, they do a lot more giggling than talking. Jungkook is easy to laugh with, and considering just how much Jimin loves to laugh, that’s a really good thing.

“You know,” Jimin hums into his solo cup, eyeing Jungkook over the rim. “For someone who doesn’t party very much, you handle your liquor pretty well.” He’s meant to be the one teasing Jungkook by saying that, but when he looks into Jungkook’s eyes, Jimin gets the sense that he’s the one being teased. 

“For someone who’s as short as you are, you handle your liquor pretty well too.”

If anyone else said that to him, Jimin would probably be mildly offended. If anyone else said that to him, he’d probably get at least a bit defensive.

Instead, Jimin just snickers into his cup. “You were way nicer when you were sober.”

“And you’re way nicer when you’re drunk.”

Jimin laughs again, and yeah. He really really likes laughing with Jungkook.

They both fix their attention onto the card game now, watching with smiles lingering on their faces. The truth is, Jimin doesn’t have a hard time making friends, but he doesn’t usually click with people like this right off the bat. The fact that he can get along so well with Jungkook so soon after first meeting him lights a spark within Jimin –  a spark of hope – one that gives him the sense that this year might not be so bad after all.

Jimin keeps drinking, and keeps sharing short, teasing little back and forths with Jungkook, and even though he hasn’t had the chance to dance yet, he’s still having a good time.

His smile has now taken up permanent residence on his face, and he’s just about to ask Jungkook if he wants to go make another drink with him when he hears an unfamiliar, rough voice call out from behind him: “hey, trust-fund kid.”

No one else at the table reacts. Everyone else keeps playing their game, and under any other circumstances, Jimin wouldn’t react either. The only reason he pays attention to that voice is because of the way it makes Jungkook tense up beside him.

Jimin casts a curious glance Jungkook’s way. Trust-fund?

The thing is, Jimin is drunk. He’s drunk, and now he’s incredibly intriguied. His head is more than a little foggy, and it’s hard to piece together intelligent thoughts in the midst of this alcohol induced haze.

So, he’s not really surprised at himself when he fixes his eyes on Jungkook and blurts out: “you’re rich?” But he is a little embarrassed by his own bluntness.

Jungkook visibly deflates, mouth opening like he wants to say something to explain himself, but he doesn’t get the chance to.

“First party I’ve ever seen you at.” The unfamiliar voice says, and when Jimin finally turns around, he finds that the owner of the voice looks just as rough as he sounds. He sidles over, a mocking smile on his face as he stands before them. Jimin doesn’t know who this guy thinks he is, but he knows he wants to smack that smile right off his stupid face.

“Last party you’ll see me at, too.” Jungkook replies simply, and Jimin is quite honestly amazed at how calm he manages to sound while talking to such an asshole. And he's equally amazed at how Jungkook can still seem intimidating when he’s the one sitting down, while the stranger is practically looming above him.

Jimin thought that he’d been getting to know Jungkook tonight…but there’s obviously still a lot to learn about him.

“Why’s that? Your daddy cutting you off?” The stranger sneers. “Might as well make tonight count, then.” He holds out a bottle of dark rum to Jungkook. “Sorry, don’t have any fancy champagne or finely aged whiskey here.” He’s taunting in every sense of the word.  

Jimin watches Jungkook out of the corner of his eye, noticing the way his jaw is set in silent determination. Like his pride is on the line.

Jungkook’s gaze doesn’t waver as he reaches out for the bottle. And unlike all the other times Jimin had watched Jungkook take a shot that night, this time, he doesn’t even flinch when it goes down.

It's enough to shut that jerk up. The stranger doesn’t even say anything else. He just rolls his eyes when Jungkook gives him his bottle back, like he’s upset Jungkook didn’t choke or something. And without another word, he turns his back to them and walks off.

Jimin blinks after him, briefly wondering if he’d imagined that whole thing, because what the actual hell was that? When he glances over at Jungkook though, he knows that while the encounter had been strange, it had also been very real.

There’s no trace of a smile on Jungkook’s face anymore.

“Are you okay?” Jimin murmurs, his frown more prominent than usual because his face is kind of numb right now and he’s not sure how hard he’s actually frowning. “Who was that? Do I need to beat him up?”

Jungkook laughs at that, and Jimin mentally high-fives himself for coaxing it out of him. “I’m okay, Jimin.” He softens as he takes in Jimin’s concern. “And he's no one, really.” Jimin must not look convinced (because he isn’t), and when Jungkook notices, he sighs before offering a bit more. “I had a couple classes with him in first year. He found out that my family has some money, and he’s pretty much hated me ever since.”

Jimin nods slowly. “I see…” Even though he has a feeling that there’s a lot more to the story, he doesn’t press Jungkook any further. No matter how comfortable he already feels around Jungkook, the fact remains that they had only met earlier that night, and there are some things that aren’t appropriate to discuss with people you’ve just met.

Besides, Jimin is drunk, and not exactly in the right headspace to have a serious conversation. “People are dicks.” Is all that Jimin offers up instead, which earns another smile from Jungkook, and Jimin is happy with just that.

The next hour or so of Jimin’s life passes by in a blur. They play a few more drinking games together, and Jimin drinks so far passed the edge of drunkenness that he falls right off of it. He isn’t quite sure what happened after beer pong, isn’t quite sure what events led up to the point he’s at now, all he knows is that Taehyung is currently MIA, and he’s sitting on the living room floor with his legs stretched out in front of him, and next to him is an amused (and perhaps mildly concerned) Jungkook.

Wriggling his toes, Jimin lets out a heavy sigh. His socks are soaking and they smell suspiciously like beer. He doesn’t know when he took off his shoes, or even how he took them off. All he knows is that his socks are wet and he doesn’t want them to be.

Frowning, Jimin leans forward, stretching out for his feet, but when Jungkook reaches out to delicately take hold of his wrist, he ceases all movement.

“Jimin, hey.” Jungkook’s words come out accompanied by a slight chuckle. “What are you doing?”

“They’re wet.” Jimin mumbles. “My socks are wet.” He hesitates, blinking at Jungkook, not sure why he’s trying to stop him from taking off his socks, and not sure why he sounds so…normal.

Jimin squints in confusion, head lolling to the side. “Why aren’t you slurry? Why are your eyes still all the way open? Why doesn’t alcohol affect you? Are you like, god or something?”

Smiling, Jungkook slowly releases Jimin's wrist. “I stopped drinking after Taehyung tore off the shower curtain and started wearing it as a toga.”

“Oh.” Considering the fact that Jimin hadn’t kept track of his own drinking, it’s not that much of a surprise that he failed to keep tabs on Jungkook’s drinking.

“Yeah.”

A distant, more sober part of Jimin feels bad that Jungkook isn’t as drunk as he is, and that he’s now taking on a role of responsibility…but it’s a very very distant part of him.

“My socks are wet.” Jimin says again. “Gonna…gonna put ‘em in the microwave.”

“Oh my god, Jimin–” A noise that sounds suspiciously like a snort comes from beside Jimin, and he immediately turns his head to look at Jungkook, who’s wearing a wide smile.  

“Did you just snort at me?” Jimin asks, genuinely curious, vaguely wondering if there was some wild animal running rampant in the party.

“You can’t put your socks in the microwave.” Jungkook says instead of answering the question.

“Why not?” Jimin sulks.

“Because you just can’t.”

“But they’re wet.”

“You can wear my socks.” Jungkook offers. “Let’s trade.” He doesn’t even think twice about it.

And that really touches Jimin’s drunk heart. Jungkook is just so nice. “But then…but then you’ll have wet socks.” He murmurs.

“That’s okay, I don’t mind.”

Jimin shakes his head adamantly, inadvertently growing dizzier in the process. “It’s not okay.” When he stops shaking his head, he has to narrow his eyes to get a proper look at Jungkook, because now he’s swimming in and out of focus. “I don’t want you to have wet socks – I’ll cry if you have wet socks.”

Jungkook laughs, and even if he’s only laughing at Jimin’s expense, Jimin is glad that he can make Jungkook laugh.

“Okay, I won’t switch socks with you. But only on one condition.” Sitting up a little straighter, Jungkook fixes his eyes directly on Jimin, in a way that makes Jimin inclined to just sit back and listen to anything and everything that he has to say. “We go find Taehyung, and then I take you guys back home.”

Jimin nods without question, and he’s not sure if he’s agreeing because he’s drunk and really wants to go home and get to bed, or if it’s because of how persuasive Jungkook is.

Whatever it is, Jimin doesn’t protest when Jungkook helps him to his feet, and he lets him lead him around the house by the hand as they search for Taehyung. It's almost like he’s afraid Jimin will go wandering off if he lets go. But Jimin wouldn’t wander off even if Jungkook did let go.

Thankfully, the hunt for Taehyung doesn’t last very long. They find him sitting on the carpet upstairs, slumped against the wall, using the shower curtain as a blanket.

Yeah. It’s time to go home.

Just like how Jimin doesn’t remember a good portion of the night, he doesn’t remember whether or not he’d asked for a piggyback ride from Jungkook. But the next thing he knows, he’s on Jungkook’s back with his arms secured around his neck, being carried outside to a cab.

Taehyung is walking along beside them, dragging his feet, eyes barely open, wearing one shoe on his foot and holding the other in his hand. It’s an indicator of a good night – they planned on getting hammered and they did, but even so, Jimin doesn’t feel like the night was a total success.

He can’t help but feel guilty. 

“Sorry, Jungkook…’m not making a very good first impression, am I?” Jimin slurs, pressing his face into Jungkook's jacket. “But you, you’re making a good one. You’re really nice, and you – you smell nice. You smell clean.”

Jungkook hums. “I try to shower regularly.”

“He’s nice and he showers regularly?” Lifting his head, Jimin makes an impressed noise in the back of his throat, and addresses the non-existent studio audience. “What can’t this guy do?”

When Jungkook chuckles, Jimin is close enough that he can feel it vibrating right through him, and he grins at the faint tickling sensation.

“I’ll tell you what he can’t do.” Taehyung’s voice almost startles Jimin. “He can’t find two other people to make his first ‘n last party of the year this memorable.”

“S’not memorable, Tae.” Jimin counters weakly, too drunk and too tired to bother filling his words with conviction. “He probably had a shitty night. Had to take care of us for half of it.”

Taehyung scoffs. “Not memorable to you, maybe– you’re so wasted you’re not gonna remember shit.” Somehow, he manages to stumble over his words less than he stumbles over his feet.

“Gonna remember this so I can prove you wrong.” Jimin refutes just for the sake of it.

“Will not. You – you’re drunk as a skunk, Jiminie. Only thing you’re gonna remember is nothing.”

“Not true.”

“True.”

The two of them argue like that for the duration of the cab ride. Jungkook sits back, listening to it all, smiling through it like he’d just found the most entertaining thing in the whole entire world.

 

Jimin wakes up the following morning in his own bed. He’s still wearing all of his clothes from last night, save for his socks. He wakes up with no recollection of getting back to the dorms, or of getting into bed, or of falling asleep. What he does wake up with is an overwhelming sense of embarrassment. He may not remember everything that happened last night, but he remembers enough.

Heat rises to his cheeks, his shame making itself known as bits and pieces of the night flash through his head like a faulty slide-show. How did he let himself get that drunk? No, how did he let himself get that drunk in front of Jungkook?

Jungkook.

Shit.

With worry flashing straight through him, Jimin sits up immediately, stiff as a board. Where did Jungkook sleep? Was he still here or did he cab back home after putting him and Taehyung to bed? Is he awake, and if he is, what is he thinking about right now? Jimin doesn’t know, but what he does know is that he’s not going to be winning any Host of the Year awards any time soon.

Throwing the covers off his body, Jimin swings his legs over the side of his bed and gets to his feet, and if there’s one silver lining to this whole thing, it’s that he doesn’t have too terrible of a hangover. He’s mostly just suffering from a sense of guilt, but hopefully he’ll be able to remedy that after apologizing to Jungkook for being a drunk mess.

He hopes he didn’t ruin his shot at being his friend.

When Jimin steps out of his bedroom, he finds Jungkook sitting on the couch, head down as he scrolls through his phone. Jimin holds his breath, and he doesn’t take more than a few cautious steps towards him before Jungkook is lifting his head and then looking right at him. Jimin freezes.

And Jungkook smiles at him. “You’re awake,” Jungkook notes cheerily. “How do you feel? You okay? Do you need me to get anything for you?”

Jungkook’s concern floods Jimin with warmth. “I’m…” Jungkook is nice – he’s so nice – and Jimin wants nothing more than to be his friend. “Yeah. Yeah I’m fine, I’m just…” Embarrassed. “A little tired.”

“I’m glad.” Jungkook says, and he sounds genuinely relieved.

So nice.

“Um,” Jimin shoves his fingers through his hair, pleased to find that it’s still relatively soft and not stiff with sweat or any other bodily fluid. “Are you hungry? Me and Tae usually go for food after a night out.” Truthfully, Jimin isn’t all that hungry himself, but after last night, he figures that the least he can do is buy Jungkook breakfast.

Jungkook’s smile widens. “I’d like that a lot.”

“Sweet – let me just wake up Tae and then I’ll change, and then we can go.” Jimin steps up to Taehyung’s bedroom door, finding that there’s more of a bounce in his step now than there’d been when he first woke up that morning. “Tae?” He knocks a couple times, then waits. “Me and Jungkook are going for breakfast, wanna come?”

Something that sounds half like a grunt and half like a groan comes from the other side of the door. “No.” Taehyung’s voice is muffled, and Jimin imagines his head is buried in a pillow. “Just leave me here to die.”

Jimin nibbles at his lower lip, slowly turning to face Jungkook once more. “I uh…I guess he’s not hungry.”

Jungkook’s nose scrunches up when he laughs.

 

There’s a cozy diner not too far off campus that they decide to go to. Jimin ends up ordering a bowl of fruit, unable to stomach much more than that at the moment, while Jungkook gets an omelette and toast for himself. He offers Jimin a bite on more than one occasion, even though Jimin politely declines every time he offers.

But Jimin likes that he still offers.

It may be a simple gesture, but it makes Jimin that much more certain that Jungkook is a good guy. And suddenly, this year of university is a year to look forward to.

Much like last night, they make easy conversation as they eat, and Jimin doesn't have trouble smiling. However, near the end of their meal, his smile falters when he realizes that he’d never formally apologized for last night. And even though Jungkook doesn’t seem to hold anything against him, Jimin still feels the need to apologize.

“Jungkook…” Jimin absentmindedly starts to play with the corner of a napkin. “I’m sorry about last night.” He lowers his gaze, a fresh wave of shame washing over him. “And I really wanted to thank you for looking after me and Tae. I really appreciate it. A lot.”

“It’s fine, Jimin.” Jungkook’s reply is immediate. “I honestly had a lot of fun with you guys. I couldn’t have asked for a better night.”

Jimin glances up doubtfully. “Really?” Though, the more he thinks about it, he realizes that Jungkook didn’t seem at all miserable at the party. Even though memories from last night are fragmented in Jimin’s mind, he does recall seeing Jungkook smiling a lot, and hearing him laugh a lot, too. And that makes Jimin feel a little better about the whole thing.

“Really.”

“Promise?”

“Promise.” There’s nothing in Jungkook’s eyes that would suggest otherwise.

Jimin presses his palms against the warmth of his coffee cup, a soft smile tugging at his lips. Jungkook really is a good guy.

When their server brings them their bill, Jungkook already has his wallet out, but Jimin is having none of that.

He shakes his head before Jungkook can even say anything. “Let me pay – I owe you.”

With a wave of his hand, Jungkook dismisses Jimin’s offer. “It’s fine. You guys let me sleep on your couch. I’m the one who owes you.”

“Jungkook.” Jimin huffs, “please just let me–”

“You can pay the next time we get a coffee or something.”

Next time? At that, Jimin relaxes in his seat, and he wouldn’t be able to keep the smile off his face even if he tried to. “Okay.”

But it’s not just okay. It’s more than okay.

---

Even though Jimin doesn’t see Jungkook for the next few days, they end up texting quite a bit. Taehyung notices and doesn’t miss an opportunity to tease Jimin about it, and he ends up declaring himself the ultimate matchmaker; taking all the credit for Jimin’s budding friendship with Jungkook. 

Jimin can’t exactly refute him. After all, Taehyung was the one who introduced them. So, whenever Taehyung goes off on one of his teasing little lectures on the importance of friendship and on how good of a friend he himself is for bringing Jungkook into his life, all Jimin can really do is roll his eyes and call Taehyung a dork in the fondest way possible.

He really is thankful to Taehyung though. He hasn’t met a lot of people like Jungkook, and he gets the feeling that he won’t meet anyone like him ever again. And that’s really special.

 

It’s Wednesday afternoon when Jimin sees Jungkook again. They agreed to meet up for coffee after class, and Jimin can’t wait. He can’t wait to hang out with Jungkook, and to get to know him better, and to prove that he’s not a total mess all the time (only when he’s really drunk), and to buy him a coffee and pay him back for the weekend.

Jimin waits for Jungkook outside the library where they planned to meet, leaning against one of the big stone pillars in front. He feels like a little kid on the first day of kindergarten; looking forward to meeting new people and to making new friends, stomach aflutter with earnest anticipation.

Considering the way that Jimin's head is up and on a swivel, on the lookout for a familiar face, it’s not long before Jimin spots him. Funnily enough, Jungkook isn’t walking towards him. In fact, he walks right by, and even though Jimin only catches a brief glimpse of him as he passes by, he’s certain that it’s him.

Pushing himself off the pillar, Jimin chases after him, a smile breaking out over his face. “Jungkook!”

When Jungkook doesn’t turn around at the sound of his own name, Jimin rushes to catch up. He figures that he must be thinking about something else at the moment, maybe he's preoccupied with something and there’s a lot on his mind, because when JImin says Jungkook’s name again he still doesn’t turn around.

Determined to get his attention, Jimin reaches out and taps him on the back. When he finally stops, Jimin’s smile widens. But when Jungkook turns around, Jimin finds himself more dazed than delighted.  

“Jungkook...” Jimin says, smile faltering, though he does his best to prevent it from disappearing altogether. “Hey.”

It’s not that anything is wrong. It’s just that Jungkook looks…different.

Jimin takes a moment to take him in, doing a quick once over to see that he’s wearing grey joggers and a loose fitting black t-shirt, and it doesn’t look bad by any means, but it’s just so different from what Jimin had assumed his style was. Maybe he just came back from the gym or something. 

“Hey.” Jungkook doesn’t smile, but he does smirk, and that smirk coupled with how he’s dressed is such a stark contrast to what Jimin had seen of him on the weekend.  

And those aren't the only things that are different.

Tilting his head to the side, Jimin studies Jungkook, hoping his curiosity won’t be mistaken as rudeness. “Did you do something different with your hair?”

It’s not that the colour of it had changed, but it’s not all neat and parted as it had been before – he must’ve put product in it to make it look wavy. Somehow, his hair even seems longer now – long enough for it to fall over his eyes a little.

And with a start, Jimin realizes that Jungkook is dragging those eyes over him. He definitely doesn’t hide the way he’s looking Jimin up and down, almost like he’s making a show of it. Jimin feels his face flush despite himself.

“Yeah, I did.” Jungkook’s lips quirk as he runs his hand through his messy dark waves, eyes finally coming to settle on Jimin’s face. “Do you like it?”

Shifting his weight from foot to foot, Jimin finds himself feeling a little more self-conscious than he’d care to feel underneath that gaze of his. “Yeah.” He nods. “It looks really good.” Because it does look really good.

“You like it better than my old hairstyle?” Jungkook asks, a hint of smugness now edging his smirk.

“Um…” Jimin hesitates, not totally sure what Jungkook is after. It’s not that Jimin likes one hairstyle better than the other – both of them look good. Both hairstyles suit him in their own way– hell, each one seemed to give Jungkook a whole new persona.

Quite honestly, Jimin doesn’t know how he feels about this side of Jungkook. He doesn’t necessarily dislike him, he’s just so… different.

Jungkook cocks a brow, and Jimin suddenly realizes that he’d stayed silent for far longer than he’d meant to. “I like both.” He says quickly.

But Jungkook doesn’t seem to be satisfied with that. “But this one’s better, right?” There’s a playful lilt to his voice, and Jimin can’t help but feel like he’s being toyed with.

Does he want Jimin to tell him that he looks good? Is he flirting, because it certainly feels that way. There’s a certain heaviness in the air now, but it’s not so heavy that it weighs Jimin down. It’s a tension that’s more stimulating than stifling,

Jimin isn’t sure how he feels about it. He just knows his heart is aflutter and his cheeks are blooming with colour, and his mind is going a mile a minute trying to figure out what the hell is going on.

“That speechless, huh?” Jungkook grins. “I guess I’ll take that as a yes, then.”

He'd been silent for too long again, hadn't he?

Jimin’s mouth opens on instinct, ready to rise to his own defense and to come up with something to explain why he’s substantially less eloquent than he’d like to be at the moment. But Jimin doesn’t get a chance to say a single thing.

Because soon, Jimin is rendered speechless for a whole new reason.

Something over Jungkook’s shoulder catches his attention. There’s someone looking at him, and heading straight towards them. The someone heading their way looks even more familiar than the person that Jimin had been talking with.

Jimin doesn’t say anything – he can’t say anything – but his mouth doesn’t snap shut, it just hangs open stupidly as he stares in stunned silence at the person approaching them.

All at once, Jimin’s mind short circuits and he’s flooded with an overload of information, and hit with the realization that the person he’d been talking to isn’t Jungkook.

It’s not Jungkook standing in front of him, because he can now clearly see that Jungkook is the one walking towards them, with his shorter hair parted neatly down the middle, wearing light-wash jeans and a black trench coat that’s unbuttoned to show off a checkered button up, and that’s the Jungkook that Jimin met on the weekend.

Jungkook – the real Jungkook – stops when he’s standing in front of Jimin, and next to his imposter. Jimin blinks in silence. He doesn’t know what to say, and he certainly doesn’t know what to do.

His eyes shift between the other two; back and forth, back and forth, again and again, until he’s nearly dizzy. “Twins?” He ends up blurting out, fully aware of how dim he sounds.

But he feels rather dim too, so it’s fitting.

He feels stupid. He feels like an idiot for not realizing that the person he’d been talking to hadn’t been Jungkook at all. Even after everything he’d noticed, and even after all those signs that suggested this was someone totally different than Jungkook, he still didn’t clue in to the fact that he’d been talking to Jungkook’s twin. Then again, it’s not like Jungkook ever told him he had a twin.

“Wow,” Jungkook’s brother snickers. “Cute and smart?” He gives Jungkook a good-natured slap on the back, which causes him to stumble forward a step. “You sure know how to pick ‘em, Kookie.”

Jungkook casts him a scolding look, but it’s nothing compared to the glare that Jimin levels him with.

This guy has some serious nerve.

Jungkook turns away from his brother, focus shifting to Jimin instead. He offers a smile, though it seems a little forced. “Jimin, I see you’ve met JK.”

“Jimin, eh?” The twin that Jimin can now properly identify as JK grins, unfazed by the unwelcoming glower coming from Jimin’s direction. “We’re actually already pretty well acquainted.” He lifts his chin, nodding Jimin’s way. “Jimin here was just telling me that he likes my hair better.”

Jimin’s eyes widen, indignation flaring up within him. “I was not!”

JK whistles. “Feisty, too.”

And Jimin is floored. How can someone be so…annoying? Jimin is speechless again, speechless because Jungkook has a twin brother who he’s known for no longer than five minutes, and who is quite possibly the most aggravating person Jimin has met in his whole entire life.

“JK.” Jungkook warns.

“Jungkook.” JK mimics almost perfectly, the only difference being that he’s grinning and Jungkook isn’t. When Jungkook doesn’t crack a smile or show even a hint of amusement, JK rolls his eyes at him. “Well this has been fun.” He turns his head, his eyes finding Jimin once more, that playful gleam ever-present. “Nice meeting you, Jimin.” Dipping his head, JK bows deeply yet insincerely. “We should do this again sometime.” After straightening up, he nods to Jungkook and gives a half-hearted wave. “Later.”

JK turns around, and Jimin is relieved that he’s leaving, already feels his shoulders relaxing and the tension dissolving. But just before Jimin can relax completely, JK looks over his shoulder and flashes him a winning smile.

Jimin sort of hates that it’s a winning smile. No matter how irritating the guy may be, Jimin can’t deny that he has a nice smile.

He has such a nice smile, just like how Jungkook has such a nice smile, and Jimin doesn’t know either of them that well, but he knows them well enough to know that they aren’t alike in the slightest, and to know that damn they both have really nice smiles.   

Yeah. Jimin has a feeling that he’s in for some serious trouble.