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When Night Comes

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Jungkook discovers at half past ten that he might be at the wrong Halloween party.

Looking back, it’s a simple mistake. Because his phone recently took a dunk in the toilet, Yugyeom wrote down the address change for Mingyu’s party on a post-it pressed to the fridge instead of texting it to Jungkook, and it’s not Jungkook’s fault that Yugyeom’s threes look fives which look like nines. Nor is it his fault that, when presented with a two-hundred year old hanok bathed in strobe lights, Jungkook tried to call Seokmin to check that he was at the right place and got sent straight to voicemail.

So Jungkook hung up, took in a deep breath, patted down his robes, and promptly entered the front gates into the courtyard.

That was forty minutes ago. Since then, Jungkook has had three glasses of blue punch with little gummy sharks floating in it that’s definitely been spiked with soju or vodka or both. Probably both. Definitely both, seeing as Jungkook is currently sitting on a sofa in a large living area next to, what appears to be, a solid white husky wearing a red sweatshirt.

Yeah. Yup. Alcohol has most definitely been consumed.

Jungkook’s tipsy, but he’s not buzzed enough to miss that he doesn’t recognize any of the four dozen people here. And seeing as his friends aren’t ones to ditch and there’s no way they’d play a prank this mean on him, Jungkook reaches the conclusion that he just walked into a stranger’s very expensive home, uninvited, and started eating their food and petting their well-dressed dog.

“Oh. I’m so sorry,” Jungkook says, tugging his hand back from where it was resting between the dog’s ears, casually scratching, to tuck between his knees so they can’t stray. The dog in question slowly swivels its head to look at Jungkook, and Jungkook is startled to find a very human gaze staring back at him.

Big dogs are rare in the city, but they’re Jungkook’s favorite to get at the shelter. They just have so much love and joy in their bodies, and they always have the most compelling eyes.  Like Jungkook’s talking to another person and not an animal.

“You have very beautiful eyes,” Jungkook tells the dog. The dog in question blinks at him, its blue eyes piercing. “I’m sorry for touching you without permission. I think those gummies in the punch are like, fifty percent vodka by this point. You’re very soft. ”

The dog chuffs, ducking its head only to look right back up to Jungkook. Jungkook thinks it makes the dog look bashful and he grins, his gaze turning back to rove over the party. “I work at a shelter a few neighborhoods over. It’s kind of habit to pet everything I see at this point. But that’s not fair to you. But you are very cute. ” Another little cough from the dog. “Sorry, do you not like cute? Handsome? You’re very handsome. I bet people try to touch you all the time. My friends do that to me, pet my hair. I tell them off but the attention is kind of nice.”

At the mention of his friends, Jungkook remembers that he’s still very much so in a stranger’s home, chatting up their pet. He starts surveying the room again, looking for points of exit, but his attention keeps getting caught on the other party-goers. Looks like costumes were mandatory here, as well, but Jungkook thinks there’s a pitiful lack of diversity. No superheroes, anime characters, or pop-culture icons. There are more than a handful of people in historic clothing. Lots of animal ears and tails. Some people just look like they pulled everything that looked somewhat goth from their closet and put it together to wear out. 

Jungkook himself is wearing what he wore to school, one of his casual hanboks in dark blue, but Eunjung lent him an embroidered overcoat to wear from the last play the theater department put on. He forgot the fake sword back in the studio, but Jungkook thinks he pulls off the traditional drama look well enough.

Something cold nudges Jungkook’s neck, and he flinches away only to find the dog from before has scooted in closer to prod at Jungkook’s arm. 

“Do you want me to pet you again?” The dog noses at Jungkook’s bare hand. “Oh. Okay.” 

So Jungkook pets the polite dog. The alcohol from before is still very much so in his system, but Jungkook can’t find it in himself to be too worried at the moment. Over anything, really. Not when a dog is nearby. Very nearby. Dog in question is now trying to crawl into Jungkook’s lap without understanding its own colossal size. Jungkook’s diaphragm gets stepped on in the process, all the breath in his body whooshing out with a wheeze, and Jungkook tries to save himself from possible internal injury by scooping up as much of the dog as he can and maneuvering him so that he’s sprawled across Jungkook’s chest and thighs. Half the husky’s body is still laying on the next cushion, though, but neither of them seem to mind.

Jungkook pets the dog mindlessly for the next bout of time. He should probably call the others, let them know he hasn’t been abducted. He’s actually surprised no-one’s tried to contact him, then realizes when he checks his phone that it’s out of service which is strange, because it’s Seoul, and there’s always service everywhere. But Jungkook has a dog and half a cup of blue punch left and the home he’s in smells like scorched firewood and maple syrup. Plus, whoever’s DJing has excellent taste and no one has tried to approach him to make small talk. 

All in all, it’s a wonderful party, even if it’s not the one Jungkook was supposed to be at; so Jungkook settles in under the weight and warmth of his new friend and does what he does best when he’s drunk. He babbles. He tells the dog about his job at the shelter (“Someone brought in a possum last week thinking it was a cat. A cat. But have you ever seen a baby possum? They’re adorable.”) and the art classes he’s taking this semester (“I switched from painting to graphic design because it’s more practical, but Dr. Choi is acting like I’ve personally offended his ancestors or something.”) and touching on new music he’s been obsessing over (“Do you like pop? Cuz Billie Eilish just released a new album and every song is my jam.”).

Jungkook goes on about other things (historical slang terms for penis, why grapefruit is the worst of all fruits, how Tony Stark is a raging feminist) and  somehow he’s transgressed into a particularly heated one-way discussion about Marxist capitalism (“When companies cut wages in an effort to maximize profits, they’re really just settin’ themselves up for bankruptcy cuz people can’ afford to buy the product, y’know? And then the whole system goes down which, y’know, fuck the rich but I also really like bein’ able to buy video games.”) when a shadow falls over Jungkook from behind and a crystalline voice says, “Joonie, you’re drooling.”

The dog in Jungkook’s arms growls low, nothing that has any heat, though, and Jungkook tips his head back and sees the upside down form of the most beautiful man in existence. 

“Wow,” Jungkook whispers as the man looks over to him. He’s got silver contacts in and his hair is the color of cherry blossoms. When he smiles, Jungkook sees he’s wearing a set of fake fangs, but like, the good kind that look like real teeth. Not the plastic ones you can get for a few thousand won at E-Mart in the holiday section.

“Hello there, little one,” the man greets, voice bordering on a purr, and Jungkook feels his head go hazy at the sound.

“Hello,” Jungkook replies, watching as the man walks around the couch to stand in front of him. “His name is Joonie?”

“He hasn’t introduced himself?” The man grins, taking a seat on the coffee table so he can face Jungkook. Wow, he’s even more gorgeous right side up. The man reaches out to stroke the husky’s leg. “Joon, where are your manners?”

The dog, Joon, huffs against Jungkook’s neck. Jungkook adjusts so that Joon’s not pressing so hard on his arm, which has started to go tingly from disuse. There’s a distinct wet spot on Jungkook’s collar he had noticed before. “Sorry, is he yours? I didn’ mean to be so touchy with him.”

The beautiful man looks amused by Jungkook. “It’s okay,” he says in that lilting tone again, grin soft and at odds with his sharp eyes. “Joonie does what he wants. He seems to have taken a liking to you, though. What ever did you say to him?”

“Oh, uh.” Jungkook drops his hand between Joon’s ears again to scratch. “I told ‘im he’s pretty and somehow started talkin’ ‘bout the fall of capitalism?”

The man laughs so hard they gather a few stares. He laughs so hard he looks surprised by it. Like he hadn’t actually expected Jungkook to say something worth listening to. “That is definitely the best way to woo our Joonie.”

People are looking at Jungkook curiously now, like they hadn’t noticed him before but now can’t turn away. They’re eyeing the pink-haired man, as well, glancing between the two of them, as if trying to piece together a particularly troubling puzzle.

Jungkook holds Jooon tighter to him, not liking the expression on some of them. Joon whines low against his neck. “You’re very lucky to have him,” Jungkook says, consoling the dog with a pat. “He’s really sweet.”

“I am and he is,” the man agrees, smoothing down the front of his suit. It’s made of a crushed blue velvet and looks expensive. The man himself looks expensive and at ease, which is the polar opposite of how Jungkook feels right now. The man is a Korean pear and Jungkook is but a lone apple slice left to dehydrate on the sidewalk. “So, little one, mind telling me your name?”

Jungkook’s cheeks warm at the nickname. “Oh. Jeon Jungkook. Hello.” He ducks his head a bit, trying to bow, and the man laughs quietly at him. 

“Hello, Jeon Jungkook,” he says. “My name is Kim Seokjin. Welcome to my home.”

“Oh, this is yours?” Jungkook says before thinking, looking around the large space. He did three walk-thrus of the building earlier, when he was searching for his friends, but he ended up here, in an entertainment room that opens directly into the courtyard where a makeshift dance floor has taken residence. “You have a beautiful home. Smells nice. Very clean.”

“That’s kind of you to say.” Seokjin’s smiling at him again. Well, he hasn’t stopped. Jungkook doesn’t want him to stop. Seokjin’s smile is so disarmingly charming and he has this really pleasantly-shaped mouth. Puffy. Like a cloud.

“You flatter me, Jungkook-ah.”

“You deserve to be flattered,” Jungkook says, not quite sure what he’s responding to. He feels fuzzy. Joon’s fur smells like pine trees. It’s so warm in here. “You’re very beautiful. You should have people tellin’ you everyday that you’re beautiful.”

Seokjin goes still and something in his face slips, like a mask melting away, and Jungkook likes the wide-eyed wonderment he finds left behind there. When Seokjin first walked up, he didn’t seem human. Too polished. A little hungry. But this look is tender and welcoming and makes something small inside Jungkook’s chest blush and bloom and brighten.

“Seokjin-ssi,” Jungkook says, prying his eyes back open. When did they close? His stomach twists. “Could you please get Joon off of me? I think ’m ‘bout to puke.”

The next few seconds are a whirl. Joon is gone and Jungkook is somehow on his feet, except he can’t feel his feet and he’s pretty sure he’s not actually walking. The room is moving, though, and Jungkook looks down and sees someone else’s feet moving. Feet attached to legs attached to a very broad chest. 

There’s a man carrying Jungkook, and he’s got sun-burnished skin and silver hair and when he notices Jungkook staring at him, he smiles and and a pair of darling dimples grace his cheeks. 

“Wow,” Jungkook whispers just before he’s set down on a tile floor, and Jungkook turns to the side, sees the bowl of a toilet, and promptly throws up an ungodly amount of cotton candy vodka and the remains of the little gummy sharks he should have taken to chewing more thoroughly. 

The man who brought him to the bathroom holds his hair back, rubs his spine, whispers soft nothings in this deep, rumbling voice that is doing nothing for Jungkook’s already shaky and discombobulated limbs. Eventually his stomach is emptied, though, and Jungkook rolls onto his side and looks up into the steady stare of the man from before. Jungkook notices immediately that he has unnatural blue eyes. The color of a winter sky.

“Joon,” Jungkook says without meaning to, and the man grins and there are those dimples again. Wonderful things those are. Everyone should have them.

“Hey, Jungkook-ah,” the man says, brushing loose hair from Jungkook’s cheeks. “Feel better?”

Jungkook gives a tiny nod, says in an even smaller voice, “Sorry for stainin’ toilet blue.”

“It’ll come off,” someone says from the doorway, and Jungkook’s head lulls to the side to see Seokjin coming close with a glass of water. “Drink up. Slow, so you don’t upset your stomach. How much did you drink, anyway?”

“Like three?” Jungkook says with a noncommittal wave, taking tiny sips of the luke-warm water. “Maybe four? Those lil cups. Lots of sharks. Wow, you’re even prettier up close.”

Seokjin’s face warms. He seems startled, but that’s not possible. Seokjin has to know he’s the most beautiful man, like, ever. Although Mr. Dimples is certainly a looker. 

“Thank you, Jungkook, that’s very sweet of you to say,” Seokjin tells him after clearing his throat. Twice. He turns to Mr. Dimples and says, “You sure he didn’t have more than that? It would have taken at least five glasses just to get him buzzed.”

“Well I don’ know what your alcohol tolerance is,” Jungkook crows, falling into Mr. Dimple’s side who wraps Jungkook up in his arms immediately, “but kudos to you for ur liquor threshold.” 

Another blanket of silence falls over them. The glass in Jungkook’s hand begins to slip and Mr. Dimples takes it away before it can drop. When Jungkook’s eyes flutter open again, Seokjin is still kneeling in front of him, his gorgeous face pinched with worry. “Jungkook,” he says. Jungkook hums, his eyes drifting shut again. “Jungkook-ah, can you tell me who you came here with?”

Jungkook hums a long, drawn out note. “No one.”

“Do you have someone we can call?”

“Yugyeom,” Jungkook murmurs, then frowns. “No, Yug busted his phone. Seokmin. He’s prob’ly worried. I shoulda left here forever ago. Seokjin-ssi, I’m so sorry I crashed your wonderful party.”

“You didn’t crash anything, Jungkook-ah. Namjoon-ah, help me get him up.”

“But I did,” Jungkook whines as he leaves the floor again. He instinctively wraps his arms around the dimpled man’s neck. “I was suppose’ta be at the other party but I accidentally came to this one but then I had too many gummy sharks and Joon was just so nice and I didn’ wanta go and now I’ve thrown up in your very clean bathroom. I’m sorry.”

They’re flying again, and Jungkook groans low and squeezes his eyes shut. Jungkook hears Seokjin say in a hushed voice nearby, “Was there another event tonight?”

“Not this side of the river,” the dimpled man murmurs back. His chest thrums with it and Jungkook nuzzles in closer. The arms around his waist tighten. “I can’t imagine he was so turned around he ended up two hours out of the way, though.”

“Then that means…” The world stops spinning. Something pats Jungkook’s cheek.  “Jungkook-ah? Can you tell me your background?”

Jungkook’s head falls to the side. Seokjin is eye-level with him, his grey gaze terribly intentional. How could anyone deny a face like that? “My background?” Jungkook asks. “All of it?”

Seokjin’s brow jumps. What tremendous eyebrows. “Is there more than one?”

“He might be mixed,” dimpled man says.

“Well I was born’n Busan,” Jungkook intones, interrupting them, trying to remember dates and places. It’s hard enough to recall what he ate for dinner yesterday. “When I was eighteen I moved here for school. That was three years ago? How old am I? Anyway—”

“Jungkook,” Seokjin interjects. “I mean your race.”

Jungkook nose scrunches. “Korean?”

“Yes. I mean no.” Dimpled man is chuckling and Seokjin just lets a sigh gust out of him before he says, “Jungkook, are you a goblin?”

Jungkook cracks his eyes open again. “Do I look like a goblin?”

“Yes. You do.”

“Oh.” Jungkook looks down at his legs. His toes. He’s wearing Birkenstocks with wool socks. Must be goblin fashion these days. “No. I’m not a goblin.”

“Ghost?”

“What? I’m not dead. Are you asking about my costume?”

“No, Jung—” Seokjin presses the tips of his fingers to his temple and rubs in little circles, like he’s trying to relieve a tense spot. “Oh my maker. Namjoon,” Seokjin says, looking up quick, and the dimpled man hums. “I think he’s human. You’re holding a human. How did a human get into this house?”

“Through the front gate,” Jungkook replies the same time dimpled man, Namjoon, his mind supplies, says, “I don’t know, but we can’t just let him go like this. Half his blood content is probably vodka right now. What if he gets alcohol poisoning?”

Seokjin snaps his fingers. “We’ll take him to Jimin.”

Namjoon whines low under his breath. “Hobi’s gonna kill us.”

“Good thing we can’t die, then.”

There’s a rush of cold air, a ruckus of cheers, and Jungkook pries his eyes open to see that Namjoon has carried him out to the courtyard and is currently toeing along the edge of the dancefloor while Seokjin keeps rocking up on his toes, searching for something over the mass of writhing bodies. 

“Ah, found him!” Seokjin says, tugging on Namjoon’s sweatshirt sleeve. “He’s dancing with Tae and Hoseok.”

Namjoon adjusts Jungkook in his hold and sets off to follow Seokjin, who has dashed into the fray, fearless in the face of a few dozen drunks in costume getting down to an excellent Travis Scott remix. 

Jungkook tries to tell Namjoon to put him down because Jungkook isn’t slight by any means, he works out at least once a day; but then Namjoon shifts again, hiking Jungkook up further, and Jungkook feels the flex of his biceps and okay. Okay, then. That’s a thing. Maybe Jungkook can just. Stay here. Just a bit longer.

There’s some surprisingly light prodding to make it through the throng of people seeing as most people just, fall away, when Seokjin and Namjoon come close; but the next time Jungkook opens his eyes it’s to Seokjin saying, “Jimin, we have a slight hiccup, I need you to work some magic,” and Jungkook flops over to see a boy pull away from the body he was grinding on and okay, okay, okay that is also a thing.

Wow , you’re gorgeous, too,” Jungkook’s mouth says before his brain has a chance to catch up, and the boy in question beams at him, smiling squinitily as he brushes the damp hair from his eyes. 

Seokjin clears his throat. Says in a measured tone, “Meet Jungkook. He’s a human. He’s had a bit too much to drink of the punch.”

Another face crowds in close. A boy with bright red hair. The one the squishy boy was dancing with. Or on. There was a lot of skin contact happening. There’s still a lot of skin contact happening.  “Your smile issa heart,” Jungkook says when the new boy turns to him. “Did’ya know that?”

“You invited a human?” The redhead says the same time the squishy boy steps in close to take Jungkook’s face in his hands. 

“I think he wandered in,” Namjoon answers as tiny thumbs begin to stroke Jungkook’s cheeks. Heat blooms under his skin, pin-prickling warmth that makes his insides twist.

“Past the glamour?”

“You are all very pretty,” Jungkook tells them when yet another gorgeous human being pops up in his line of sight. This one is staring at him intentionally, straight-backed, chin up. Like he’s expecting some kind of fight. Jungkook doesn’t want to fight anyone, but he would love a hug. “Can I go back to Joon now?” He asks, because that’s all he wants to do right now. “I like Joon. Hes’so soft. Can someone hug me? I could really use a hug.”

“Does he not realize that—”

“Jimin!” Seokjin screeches, clapping his hands with each beat. “Human! Here! Fix!”

The one still cupping his head, Jimin, rolls his eyes and presses his thumbs to the bridge of Jungkook’s nose and splays the rest of his fingers under Jungkook’s eyes. Jimin begins to murmur something soft and slow, and the heat from before spikes and flares, making Jungkook cry out. He tries to draw away but Jimin only moves closer, holds him tighter. Namjoon’s fingers dig into his thighs.

Jimin keeps his steady chant going and Jungkook clings to Namjoon’s chest, feeling like the air is getting pulled out of him before it can reach his lungs. Just when Jungkook feels like he’s going to pass out, the heat melts away and the gentle haze from earlier takes over. Jungkook groans and feels Namjoon guide his head to rest on his shoulder.

“I got the alcohol out of his system,” Jimin says from nearby, “Enough to knock out two grown men, so he’ll be feeling a wicked hangover any moment now. Put him to sleep in one of the rooms. He won’t remember anything in the morning.”

 

~~~

 

Jungkook remembers everything in the morning. Given, half the night is coated in a golden, glowing, drunken haze and the other half never made sense to begin with, but Jungkook thinks he’s handling things pretty well, regardless. Things being: A) He just spent the night in a stranger’s home and B) He hit on pretty much every person he met.

Fantastic. The most mortifying night of Jungkook’s young life and he couldn’t even get blackout wasted for it. Pitiful.

The silver lining is that the dog he befriended, Joon, is currently curled against his side, snoring loudly. This morning he’s wearing a green hoodie. It’s adorable, even though Joon is the size of a very large grown man, but all dogs are just big puppies after all.

Jungkook runs his fingers through the thick coat of Joon’s neck, again and again. Listens to him sniffle. Looks around at the room the others put him up in. It’s well-loved and lived in, with just enough room for the futon he and Joon are lying on and a simple desk in one corner that’s stacked high with books and loose paper. The art that doesn’t fit on the walls is arranged neatly along the floor. One of the doorways is cracked open, and through it Jungkook can hear the stirring of others in the household getting ready for the day, while another door looks to lead out into the courtyard.

The bedding smells like pine, and the air is just cold enough outside his cocoon that Jungkook closes his eyes to breathe for a little bit. He can’t bring himself to be embarrassed over what happened, but that might just be because at no point in the night did anyone ever make him feel like he should be. What kind people.

Eventually Joon’s breaths quiet into the occasional tiny snuff, and Jungkook grins and tries to extricate himself from the mobbing of sheets and quilts that were layered on him when he was out. Joon is still asleep when Jungkook pads his way to the door leading into a cozy living area. The air is cool but the floor warm, and Jungkook follows the distant clamour of voices through a living area, then the front room and the connecting dining room until he hits a kitchen.

The redhead from last night is the first to notice him. He’s digging out rice from the cooker into a long row of bowls on the counter when he stiffens. Sniffs. Looks over towards the doorway to see Jungkook hovering. Jungkook waves shyly and the man’s answering smile is beatific. 

“Jungkook-ah!” Seokjin greets from his place at the stove, his cheery voice successfully halting all movement in the kitchen. Jungkook glances over the other two faces staring at him and only recognizes Jimin, the one who held him gently and made his insides melt like human fondue. 

“Good morning, Seokjin-ssi. Everyone.” Jungkook bows low, hands cupped in front of his thighs. “Thank you for your hospitality. I’m sorry for any inconvenience I might have caused you in your home.”

“What a polite human,” the new face grouses. It’s a man. He’s got dark hair and even darker eyes, and when Jungkook looks too long at him, it feels like his knees might just give out.

Seokjin slaps the guy in the back of the head with a towel. Jungkook snaps back into the here and now, feeling off-kilter. He takes a deep gulp to steady himself. “We’re just happy that you’re okay, Jungkook-ah,” Seokjin says, returning to the stove where he was cooking up egg rolls. “Why don’t you go and wash up? There’s a restroom outside in the courtyard, the small building to your left.”

Jungkook bows again, and just as he’s turning to head in the direction of Seokjin’s pointed finger, there’s a bark from the other side of the building, followed by the scampering of claws against hardwood and then the thudding of feet.

Namjoon slides into the door on the other side of the kitchen, hard enough to rattle the frame. “Jungkook is—”

“Right here,” Seokjin interrupts, directing his gaze to Jungkook. 

Namjoon’s eyes flick to Jungkook. His grip on the wall slackens. “Oh,” he says, patting down his sweatshirt like he’s trying to dust himself off. It’s a nice shade of forest green. “Oh, yes. Sorry. I just woke up and he was gone and…” The man trails off in a series of unintelligible throat noises. 

Jungkook doesn’t know what else to do but bow again. “I’m going to go use the restroom.”

Seokjin nods. Namjoon  nods. Jimin grins brightly at him while the dark haired man is still eyeing him curiously. The redhead is glancing at everyone, eyes restless, this subtle smirk curling at the corner of his mouth as he takes everything in.

Jungkook shuts the door to the kitchen behind him and immediately hears hushed, heated whispering. They must have something important to discuss, so Jungkook takes his time in the restroom, tying back his hair with the band on his wrist, washing his hands and face. He finds some toothpaste to squirt on his finger so he can brush his teeth haphazardly. As he does so he takes in his reflection in the mirror over the sink. His complexion isn’t too ruddy and there’s barely any stubble on his chin. His eyes are clear. A quick sniff tells him his deodorant is still working hard from yesterday. Not too shabby for being one third hungover. 

By the time he returns, the kitchen has calmed, and everyone has moved into the connecting dining room where a low-lying table waits with surrounding floor cushions. Seokin’s at one head of the table and the dark-haired man, Yoongi he learns, is at the other. Jimin is patting the open spot beside him on one side, so Jungkook shuffles over and neatly takes his place. Across the table Namjoon rests, eyeing him with that darling, dimpled smile. Gone are the blue contacts. Beside him is Hoseok, the redhead who also has some devastating dimples, and next to Hoseok is the other boy from last night who looked angry by the very idea of Jungkook’s existence.

Right now he looks a lot less dangerous, with his long hair tossed into a bun and his eyes still puffy with sleep.

Breakfast is rice and eggs and hangover soup, with a spattering of side-dishes placed in the middle for people to pick at. No one looks particularly hungover, so Jungkook assumes the soup is for him, although Jungkook doesn’t feel nearly as incapciated as New Year’s last year when he challenged half the dance team to a jello shot contest, and definitely nowhere near the morning after his nineteenth birthday when his friends dragged him out to drink for the first time. Jungkook only knows what happened that night because of videos and well-recounted stories.

“So. Jungkook-ah,” Seokjin calls out. “Do you remember anything from last night?”

All eyes focus on him instantly. Jungkook swallows a thick bite of bean sprout. “Uhm.” They lean in towards him. “I threw up in your toilet?”

Seokjin looks like he’s fighting off a smile. “Yes, that did happen. Anything else?”

“Uhm. I became good friends with your dog?”

Yoongi snorts. Hoseok chokes on his bite of rice and spits grains across the table.

“You certainly did,” Seokjin says, ignoring both of them and the rest of the chitters along the table.

“Uhm.” Jungkook places his spoon down. His neck is prickling from the attention. “I remember a bunch of other stuff, actually, but none of it makes sense to me, and I think you might have been joking with me?”

Seokjin folds his hands under his chin and stares at him. His eyes this morning are dark. His hair a soft chestnut. He feels even more intimidating than last night when he had fangs. “How so?”

“Y-you kept asking me if I was a, uhm, a goblin?” Jungkook stutters, twisting the hem of his shirt between his fingers. “I think?”

“Jin, I think he’s safe,” Yoongi interjects.

“I just want to make sure we’re not about to let a threat out,” Seokjin responds lowly. Jungkook’s heart trips.

“Oh, am I the threat?” He says, looking around at them, unable to meet all their eyes. He turns back to Seokjin. “I don’t know what I’m threatening, but I promise not to talk about the party, if that’s it. I shouldn’t have been here anyway. I’m very sorry for invading your home.”

Seokjin opens his mouth, but the words must fall away because he doesn’t say anything. It’s Hoseok who pipes up with, “How’d you get in, by the way?”

“Through the front gate?” Jungkook answers.

Hoseok’s lips pinch together but his eyes are dancing. “Yeah, I think he’s safe,” he says to Seokjin, who is still staring at Jungkook. “He’s probably still half-drunk right now.”

Jungkook nods. “I concur.”

Another moment of drawn-out silence, save for the sound of silverware hitting plates and bowls. Seokjin’s stare grows heavier the longer Jungkook holds it, but Seokjin must find what he’s looking for because his body slumps backwards. He supports himself on his palms. “Alright, Jungkook-ah,” he sighs. “Finish your meal and I’ll take you home after.”

“Can I say bye to Joon before I go?” Jungkook asks, flinching when Jimin’s the one to sputter this time. Hoseok’s cracking up, too, and the sleepy boy is smiling big and goofy at Namjoon, who is currently burrowing into his rice bowl to eat.

“Of course,” Seokjin says, his eyes curling prettily with his grin. “I think he’d love that.”

Quiet chatter falls over the table, with the occasional question directed at Jungkook, asking him about his family or school or hobbies. Jungkook makes sure to answer politely, and in the breaks he pours water for everyone or refills rice bowls before they can do it themselves, seeing as he’s probably the youngest by at least a few years. They seem startled by the action at first, and then thankful. 

Throughout the meal Jungkook continually feels eyes land on him, but no one tries to hide that they’re staring. Yoongi’s pretty blatant about it but will at least look away when Jungkook meets his eye. Taehyung, though, the sleepy one who turns out to be one of the loudest, doesn’t seem to follow normal social cues. Jungkook catches him staring most, but Taehyung never looks away first. If anything he does what he can to make Jungkook as uncomfortable as possible. An extensive amount of winking ensues throughout the hour.

Jungkook helps to wash the dishes with Hoseok after while Taehyung dries. The others stay near, though, keeping conversation up so there’s never a lull of silence, and soon it’s time to leave. 

“Joonie should be here any mo—”

Joon comes barreling through the living room, and Jungkook opens his arms wide just as the dog skids to a stop and plows right into Jungkook’s chest.

“Namjoon!” Seokjin yells, hands thrown out, like he’s ready to pull the dog off if need be. “Be more careful, he’s fragile!”

Jungkook looks around, wondering what Namjoon’s done to warrant a warning, but he doesn’t spot the man in any of the adjacent rooms. Instead Joon barks, tongue lolling out, tail wagging so quick it shakes his whole body. Jungkook laughs and gathers as much of the dog in his arms as he can and plants a hard kiss on the top of his head.

“Thanks for keeping me company last night,” Jungkook says quietly, scratching Namjoon’s ears with both hands. “And for watching over me while I slept. That was very kind of you.”

A chuff, and Jungkook doesn’t have time to prep before a tongue works it’s way from his chin to his temple. 

“Joon, you can’t just lick people without their consent—” Seokjin scolds, but Namjoon just does it once more and then wiggles out of Jungkook’s arms to sit at Yoongi’s feet, butt still shaking. Yoongi presses a hand to the top of Joon’s head, who calms under the touch.

“It was nice to meet you all,” Jungkook bows again, dipping low. “Thank you for welcoming me into your home and taking care of me.”

He receives a mixture of welcomes and apologies and goodbyes in response, and then he’s following Seokjin through a sidegate of the courtyard into a garage with a couple SUVs, one black and one red. They both look new, and Seokjin gestures for him to get into the black one and Jungkook slips into the soft leather seat and notes that the car smells new, too. Jungkook can’t recall the last time he rode in a car. 

“Alright, little one. Where to?”

Jungkook flushes and buckles his seatbelt, rattles off his university and which gate he’ll need to be dropped at to get to his dorm. They make idle talk along the way. Jungkook asks what he thinks are safe questions that he mostly receives half-answers to. Seokjin works in business. The hanok has been in his family for generations. His roommates he’s met through a handful of endeavors over the years. Seokjin keeps his responses tidy and neat, no room for any pressing or further detail.

Jungkook knows it was an accident, him happening across Seokjin’s home, his party; but Seokjin was kind to him, they all were, and Jungkook can’t help but hesitate as he steps out of Seokjin’s car at the side entrance to his university. Would it be too much to ask for a phone number? It was only one night, but it felt like a good night. Like a wonderful night. A wonderful night with wonderful people that he kind of wants to see again, and not just for their dog.

Seokjin’s smile is pinched at the corners, like he knows what Jungkook is thinking and is trying to think of the best way to let him down. 

Jungkook doesn’t think he can handle that kind of rejection right now, so he just blurts out a shaky, overzealous “Thank you!” and then slams the door. He jogs away before Seokjin has a chance to stop him, call out. Not that he would. Seokjin is an adult, like an adult adult, with a house and a job and a purebred dog. Plus, he’s got five roommates. What does a man with that much need from someone like Jungkook, anyway?

 

~~~

 

The weeks pass. Jungkook doesn’t forget about the Halloween party or the people he met there, but the sting of not being wanted has dulled into a quiet, manageable ache that only surfaces when Jungkook passes an old house or sees a particularly fluffy dog at work. 

“Hi, Dr. Lee! Hi noona!” Jungkook greets as he sprints through the front lobby to toss his backpack in the office and grab a shelter vest off the rack by the cupboards.

“What’s the rush?” Dr. Lee grins, spinning around to watch Jungkook gather a travel bag and make his way to the storage room.

“I found a fox!” Jungkook yells as he sorts through their stack of travel crates. He finds a medium one in the back, normally used for their average-sized dogs and, on one occassion, a very obese cat. “Looks like it got hit by a car or something. It’s hiding out in this alcove a couple streets over.”

“A fox?” Yujin says, looking to Dr. Lee then leaning down under the front desk to scrummage for something. She resurfaces with a set of canvas gloves, and Jungkook tugs them on with haste.

“Poor thing must have wandered in from off the mountain,” Dr. Lee frowns as Jungkook finishes packing up. “You okay to handle it on your own, son? I don’t have an extra set of hands to send with you.”

“Nah, I got it.” Jungkook grabs the crate at his feet. “It wasn’t moving when I found it, but I think it might just be in shock.”

“Don’t let it eat your heart!” Yujin tells him on his way out the door, laughter echoing in her voice, and Jungkook rolls his eyes and takes off at a jog down the street in the direction he was coming from school.

Jungkook takes a lot of side roads to get to the clinic, seeing as how the building is hidden in the heart of the neighborhood, but it’s true that the base of Gwanaksan Mountain is only a half-hour walk south of them. That’s why they get so many non-pet related critters coming in. It’s the first time Jungkook’s seen a fox this far into the city, though, and as he runs the maze of back streets towards the more populated area of town, he hopes that something else hasn’t found his new friend in the time he’s been gone.

Jungkook slows to a shuffle beside a familiar alley. Unfortunately the stack of boxes the fox had buried under is empty. Jungkook tugs out a flashlight from his bag and begins following the blood trail left behind by the animal. There’s no way it could have gotten far this injured, and Jungkook turns a narrow corner and looks ahead to see what looks to be a dog hobbling between the recesses of buildings, trying to avoid the street lights.

“Has to get tired some time,” Jungkook mutters, so he adjusts his pack and his grip on the crate and steadily follows from several yards behind. The animal is limping and doesn’t make much distance, and Jungkook was right about it’s stamina. Only a  handful of minutes pass before the fox veers into an alley to rest, and Jungkook pockets the light and pads over to the mouth of the alley to peer in.

The fox is burrowed under another set of empty boxes, and Jungkook crouches down to release his crate and pull out a bag of fruit he took from the office fridge (sorry Beomsoo) and the adjustable leash. 

The fox doesn’t notice him coming up behind, or maybe it just doesn’t care; but when Jungkook is close enough he clicks his tongue to get it’s attention and watches it startle hard enough to knock over the cardboard stack. As it wiggles it’s way out from under the mess, Jungkook manages to lasso the leash around its neck, hating that he couldn’t take more time to gain some of the animal’s trust, but it would be worse to lose the little guy at this point and have him bleed out somewhere.

“There, there, you’re okay,” Jungkook croons when the animal tries to thrash, and Jungkook keeps a hold of the leash but manages to tug the fox out of the debris. Okay, little was an understatement. This guy is the size of a coyote what are animals eating these days? “You’re okay, you’re okay,” he shushes, offering a handful of berries, making sure to stay low and keep his hold firm.

The fox stills. It’s head whips up to look at Jungkook right in the face.

“Hey, there,” Jungkook grins, shaking a palmful of blueberries and strawberries again. The fox cocks its head to the side as if searching Jungkook’s face, and Jungkook notes it has big, blocky black brows that make its eyes seem terribly human. It wears the same black markings on its feet, like a pair of short socks.

“You’re very beautiful,” Jungkook hums. The fox sniffs. Tilts its head to the other side. It’s not even trying to fight. Maybe it is in shock. “What happened? Get hit by a car? You’re very far from home.”

The fox yips at him, almost like it understands, and Jungkook wonders if maybe this is some kind of exotic pet someone snuck in. He tosses the berries into the crate he brought, hoping its big enough to hold the animal at this point, and carefully begins to maneuver his new friend towards the carrier.

“I’m gonna take you back to where I work,” Jungkook tells it softly, still amazed by the lack of response. What a docile creature. “I have a friend there that’s gonna get you patched up so you can go home.”

The fox barks at him again but doesn’t fight, and Jungkook manages to get it inside the, albeit snug, carrier without any trouble. 

He stands and places his hands on his hips. Looks around, confused. Okay. Well. That happened.

Jungkook has to use both hands to carry the crate back and is a puffing mess when he walks through the doors of the clinic a half-hour later. Yujin looks up from the paperwork she’s pulling for a patient standing at the desk with a cat carrier, and Jungkook salutes as he hobbles through the back doors and immediately makes for the treatment room.

“Dr. Lee!” Jungkook sets the crate on an open table and hears scuffling from behind. “I found him. He’s lost a lot of blood and his back left leg might be broken.”

“Are you sure this is a fox?” Dr. Lee asks when he’s put on gloves and opened the crate door. “It’s the size of a dog.”

“He’s big and beautiful, that’s for sure. Aren’t you, sweetheart?” Jungkook grins as the fox takes a tentative step forward and goes straight for Jungkook’s chest.

Jungkook raises his arms, ready to push the animal down, but the fox just cradles in close to him, ears pressed flat, sharp eyes set on Dr. Lee’s figure.

Dr. Lee looks from the fox folded up in Jungkook’s arms to Jungkook. “Are you the animal whisperer now?”

“Looks like it,” Jungkook laughs, scratching the fox between its ears. It rumbles low in its throat, a subtle purr.

“Well. Keep doing what you’re doing, I guess. Let’s get an x-ray and see what we’re working with.”

 

~~~

 

Yujin goes home around nine and Dr. Lee an hour later, but he lets Jungkook know to call if he needs anything, just like he always does when Jungkook takes the graveyard shift at the clinic. Third-watch definitely isn’t the most glamourous of hours to have, but Jungkook only has to do it once a week and it’s when he gets most of his studying done for class, so there are perks. 

One of which is right now, sitting on a pillow in the kennel room snacking on corn chips, his art history lecture playing on an iPad while a sixty-seven pound fox sleeps bundled in a blanket in his lap.

The fox had some blunt trauma to its back-end, probably a car accident, but fortunately it only needed some stitches to its right side while the left leg will get a cast put on in the morning. For now it has a splint and some pain meds and Jungkook to cuddle (it put up a nasty fight when they tried to get it into the kennel cage earlier), while Jungkook has six hours of modern art to review as he concocts a plan to keep Yujin from telling everyone on Monday about how he’s the new Snow White of Seoul. Not that she’s far-off. Jungkook’s always been great with animals, but this is kind of absurd. Next time he starts singing during rounds, a pigeon’s going to try to fly in. Every rat in the city is going to attempt to befriend him now.

“Are you sure we’re in the right place?”

Jungkook tenses, his lecture on fauvism fading as he tugs his lone earbud out.

“This is where his scent led,” a gruff voice answers, the sound carrying from the back corridor.

Holy shit. Holy shit someone just broke into the clinic.

“Must’ve gotten picked up by somebody,” another voice says and OH HOLY SHIT MULTIPLE PEOPLE JUST BROKE INTO THE CLINIC.

Jungkook tenses and maps out a floorplan in his head. Where he’s at now is more of a pass-thru area between the treatment room and the consult rooms, open on both ends to make travel easier on their busy days. Lulu the tabby and Cabbage the corgi are the only animals here with him besides the fox since they both just had surgery earlier that day, but they’re asleep in their cages. The other animals are all in the adjacent building where they keep the dog and cat rooms for people to look at for adoptions.

“Here, he’s this way.”

“I hope he’s okay.”

“This happens every month, I’m sure he’s fine.”

Oh no, oh no. If someone broke in, what for? They’ve got some heavy prescription drugs, but can people even have those? Well, people try to get high off anything, really. Did drug smuggling burglars just bust their way in? But they would have had to pass through the treatment room where all the meds are located. Why are they coming up this far? Money? There’s a convenience store like three doors down.

“I smell him, he’s close,” the rumbling voice from before says, and Jungkook starts to rise to his feet, having to squat so that he doesn’t throw out his back under the weight of the fox. His brain says to make haste and leave the animal behind, but his heart cringes at the thought of abandoning the fox. The guy has already had a harrowing evening as is, Jungkook can’t just drop him. 

“Wait.” Jungkook holds his breath as he tiptoes towards the hall that will take him to the lobby. Maybe if he sets off the alarm that’ll scare them away. Maybe they’ll just be angry and try to bludgeon him with a baseball bat with nails on it. “I smell someone else.”

“We’re in an animal clinic of course you smell someone else,” a voice snaps, growing closer, and Jungkook tenses on his way out the door because he knows that voice. Why does Jungkook know that voice? “There’s like thirty dogs here what’d you… expect?”

Jungkook swivels around and at the end of the kennel bay, standing in the open doorway, is Kim Seokjin.

“Are you here to steal drugs?” Jungkook calls out and then wishes he had his hands so he could smack himself.

Seokjin looks bewildered, and then bemused, and then he turns to his right where Jungkook now notices Jimin and Namjoon from the party are standing in equal parts confusion of the scene before them.

“Uhm,” Jungkook says and tightens his grip on the fox, still dead weight in his arms. “Did you just break in here?”

Seokjin looks like he’s trying to think of a story on the spot, but Jimin just pipes up with a peppy, “Yup!”

Seokjin buries his face in his palms. “Jimin, please.”

“But it’s Jungkookie,” Jimin sings, making his way down the hall. “And you can just wipe his mind later, anyway.” Jimin’s boots are pointy enough to stab someone. Jungkook is about to be stabbed by designer Chelsea boots. “Jungkook-ah, could you help us out?”

“Uh, maybe?” Jungkook says, gaze flitting between the three men before him and Jimin’s fast approaching death shoes. 

“We’re looking for our fox,” Jimin tells him, coming closer, and something about his grin is unsettling. Jungkook takes a step back on instinct to shift behind the door frame. “Have you seen him?”

“Can you describe him?” Jungkook asks, like Jimin is asking for a lost phone at the mall and not a forest predator.

Jimin plays along. “Yay big,” he says, holding out his hands past the point of an average sized fox. “Very sweet looking. He has black feet and eyebrows.”

Oh. 

“Oh,” Jungkook says, shifting forward. “Yes. He was hit by a car.”

Jimin stumbles to a stop, his face crumbling. He has to grab onto one of the cages to stay standing and Namjoon comes up behind to hold him steady, Seokjin on his heels. 

“Is he okay?” Namjoon asks, and Jungkook isn’t used to this expression from him. There isn’t a trace of warmth in his face. “Where is he?”

“He’s here?” Jungkook says, shifting the bundle in his arms. Three gazes lock onto his chest. “He’s okay. We gave him stitches and one of his legs is broken. Right now he has a splint on, but Dr. Lee thinks he might need a cast.”

Jimin makes a sob noise from deep in his chest. “Give him to me,” he says, making grabby hands, and Jungkook holds the fox tighter. 

“Uhm, no offense, but you kind of just broke in here and I’m not sure what protocol is right now. I think I need to call the cops?”

“Don’t call the cops,” Seokjin says in that lilting voice he took with Jungkook the night of the party. Jungkook looks over and Seokjin is walking towards him, his eyes glinting grey under the ceiling lights, and Jungkook feels the floor shift underfoot as his head swims. “Do you hear me, Jeon Jungkook? You will not call the cops.”

Seokjin’s tone is sickly sweet and kind of unnerving. Jungkook shakes his head, feeling borderline drunk. “I won’t? Sorry, but just because we kind of know each other doesn’t make burglary okay.”

Seokjin stutters to a halt. “Huh?”

“I’m gonna let this go, though, since you’re this little guy’s owners” Jungkook says, ignoring the three of them to head towards the treatment room. He hears them follow after a moment and makes for the nearest table to set his friend down on. When he unwraps the blanket, there’s a subtle intake of breath, and Jungkook is nudged out of the way by Jimin who leans over the fox to pet its ears and neck.

“Oh, Tae,” Jimin whispers, his voice so kind and sad and full of love. Jungkook almost can’t stand it.

“He’s totally fine,” Jungkook reassures them as they crowd the table. “The fracture wasn’t complex. He’ll be good to take home in the morning.”

“We’re going to take him now,” Jimin says without looking over.

Jungkook blinks, his fingers stilling where they were messing with the hem of his hoodie. “No. He needs a cast. You can come back in the morning.”

“I said,” Jimin responds lowly, swiveling to stare Jungkook down. Or up. He’s a couple inches shorter. How does someone with such a small body have so much sheer fury inside of them? “We are taking him home.”

“And I said.” Jungkook takes a step in close so that Jimin’s forced away from the table. Jimin looks surprised by the action, like he hadn’t expected Jungkook to challenge him. “That he needs a cast or his leg won’t set right, so he’s staying here with me.”

“Jungkook-ah.” Jungkook glances over and Seokjin is waiting for him. His eyes are grey again, his voice a purr. “We’re going to take Tae home with us, now.”

“But you’re not,” Jungkook says, blinking fast as the film tries to coat his brain again. Seokjin’s grin falters. 

“Hyung,” Namjoon says, speaking up from where he’s holding one of the fox’s front paws between both his hands. He’s grinning crazily. “I think you’re broken.”

“I can’t control him,” Seokjin hisses, looking genuinely upset, but if anyone has the right to be angry at the moment, Jungkook thinks that title falls strictly to him and him alone.

“No?” Jungkook says, his shoulders bunching up in an irritable shrug. It’s going on three in the morning, he still has half a lecture to review, and three of the men who he kind of had a crush on for a few hours before they left him just broke into his workplace to steal his fox. “Why would you? You’re pretty, hyung, but I’m not shallow.”

Jimin snorts and Namjoon falls into hysterics. Seokjin visibly and instantly deflates at their laughter, and whatever tension that was building in the room dissolves as Seokjin rubs at his eyes and sighs with his whole body. “Okay, okay,” he groans, dragging his fingers down his cheeks. “Jungkook-ah, thank you for taking care of Tae. We will be back in the morning to collect him.”

“But hyung—” Jimin bristles.

“It’s Jungkook, Jimin. Jungkook will take care of him. Say goodbye.”

Jimin grumbles his way back over to the table. He murmurs something soft and lilting against the fox’s head, pressing his mouth there for a gentle kiss. Namjoon comes up behind to kiss him, as well, and then Seokjin does the same.

Jungkook walks them all out, through the front door this time, and makes sure to give Seokjin the clinic card in case they need to contact someone.

“Will you be here when we come by?” Seokjin asks him, and Jungkook hates the small part of his heart that still thinks Seokjin is beautiful and desperately wants to take him out on a date. 

“I’ll try to be,” Jungkook nods. “We’ll get a cast on him first thing and I’ll be here to keep him company the whole time.”

Seokjin’s lips curl into a grin. “Oh, I don’t think that cast will be necessary.” Then he walks away from Jungkook with a wink, something sly and secret that Jungkook doesn’t quite understand until Dr. Lee comes in the next morning and takes one look at Tae brazenly stalking around on all fours in one of the consultation rooms and says, blanked-faced,  “Are you some kind of magical healer on top of being an animal whisperer, now?”

Jungkook can only shrug. He’s just as at a loss as the rest of them. 

 

~~~

 

When the others return later that morning, Tae has been freshly fed the remaining fruit from the fridge and is resting at Jungkook’s feet in the waiting room as they both doze. Jungkook put one of the no-collar required leashes around his neck to keep him close because he wouldn’t go back in a carrier. Not that he’s tried to leave Jungkook’s side much in the past twelve hours. Jungkook thinks they’ve become great friends. 

“TaeTae!” Jimin shrills the moment he’s stepped through the door, and Tae pulls so hard on the leash Jungkook thinks he might choke himself. Jimin hurries over to pull the fox into a teary hug and Jungkook shuffles away to give them a moment.

“How much do we owe you?” Seokjin asks when Jungkook comes around the counter to help with the paperwork. Yujin’s briefing with Dr. Lee and a couple other vet assistants in the office for their list of duties today. Jungkook’s shift ended two hours ago, but he wanted to see this thing through.

And maybe he wanted to see Seokjin and the others again, which is a terrible habit to develop.

“Dr. Lee says it’s on the house,” Jungkook answers as he tucks his hair behind his ears. Seokjin’s in a floor-length peacoat in blush pink and it’s dashing on him. Plus, the smile Seokjin is giving him could wreck a man. “We thought he was a stray and weren’t going to charge anyway. Plus, he seems excellent this morning. You were right about that cast.”  Jimin’s cooing and rolling on the floor with Tae on top of him, not a sign of injury on his body. Dr. Lee even had to take the stitches out because the wound had healed overnight. 

Seokjin smile tips into a frown. “But he had medicine. And an x-ray.”

“It’s fine,” Jungkook waves off,  handing over a few slips of paper that say what drugs Tae was administered. “Just don’t break in again, how ‘bout that?”

Seokjin’s ears go red almost instantly. “One-time thing. Promise.”

“I think I distinctly remember hearing Namjoon say that he does this once a month.”

Jungkook sees the surprise cross Seokjin’s face, like he hadn’t expected Jungkook’s banter. But talking to Seokjin is warm and easy, makes something in Jungook’s stomach flutter. “He likes to sneak out,” Seokjin tells him, and his eyes do that melting thing that makes Jungkook feel very young and very safe. “This is the first time he’s gotten hurt, though. We’ll have be stricter moving forward.”

“Well,” Jungkook’s voice squeaks and he clears it, flushing when Seokjin smirks at him. “I’m glad he’s okay. Bring him back if you see him limping or if a wound opens up again, okay?”

“Will do.”

And then this miraculous, ridiculous thing happens. Kim Seokjin studies his face gently, then takes Jungkook’s hand, lifts it to his mouth, and presses the chastest of kisses against Jungkook’s knuckles. Before Jungkook has a chance to recover, Jimin is bounding up to lean over the counter, and he pecks the top of Jungkook’s head.

“We owe you one,” Jimin drawls, his smile genuine as he pulls back to go and gather Tae. 

They leave without another word after that, and Jungkook remains at the front desk for a long time, just kind of swaying there, enchanted, hands folded and held to his chest where his heart is making it very known that it exists inside of him.

“Jungkook-ah,” Dr. Lee calls out sometime later, after the meeting has finished. Jungkook hums, still staring at the doorway. “Did the fox’s owners come by?” Jungkook nods. “Strange, I didn’t hear anyone come in. Anyway, I thought I told you not to charge them?”

Jungkook pushes away the thoughts of two gorgeous men kissing him and turns to Dr. Lee who is holding a tablet with an expression of bewilderment. “I didn’t,” Jungkook frowns.

“Then why was five million won just deposited in our donation link with a note that reads ‘Thanks for taking care of our TaeTae, Jungkookie.’ and signed with several hearts and a martini glass emoji?”

“Fi-five million ?” Jungkook chokes, looking back out the door, like he expects to see Jimin cheekily hiding out in a bush or something. “How much do they think a pet x-ray costs?”

Dr. Lee gives him a sturdy pat on the back. “I don’t know,” he grins, waving the tablet over his head as he goes, “but looks like you just made yourself some friends in some very high places.”