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Don't Let Your Love Go To Waste

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“Dude, you know there are like, creepy fifty year old guys on that site, right?” Jimin says, as he flops onto his stomach next to Taehyung. He lays his head down on a pillow, the right side of his face turned up so he could look at Taehyung’s laptop.

The orange-haired boy waves his hand around dismissively. “It’s fine, it’s fine.”

“It’s not fine if you end up dead in a ditch somewhere.”

“Jimothy, my dearest bestest bro,” Taehyung begins dramatically, looking away from his laptop to stare at his roommate. “I know what I’m doing. I’m a professional omegler.”

“I wasn’t aware that that was a thing.”

“It is now,” Taehyung notes. “I know how to weed out the creeps like I know how to weed out actual weed from kenaf leaves.”

Jimin rolls his eyes. “You couldn’t tell vodka from vinegar last week.”

“Probably because I was high out of my mind,” Taehyung tries to reason.

“I’m pretty sure you were sane,” Jimin recalls. “You’re just an idiot.” He takes another glance at his laptop, frowning. “An idiot who spends his time on Omegle answering weird questions at 11:30pm instead of working on his neuroscience essay.”

Taehyung glares, but Jimin’s known him long enough to know that there’s no menace behind the action.

“You’re the one who’s best friends with said idiot and isn’t doing shit, so.”

Jimin grins. “Touché.” He flips over onto his back and then sits up on the bed, leaning against the wall. Taehyung’s twin-sized mattress is way too small for two men in their twenties, and Jimin rests his legs on top of Tae’s comfortably.

“Bro, did you shave your legs?” Taehyung asks, as he disconnects from yet another person asking for nudes.

“Yeah, why?”

“They’re soft as hell.”

“Thanks.”

“Like a baby’s butt.”

“Thanks.”

“Or maybe my butt.”

Jimin grimaces. “I don’t even wanna…” He stops and lets his head rest on Taehyung’s shoulder, eyes scanning the words on Taehyung’s mac. “Does that say ‘do a sexy roleplay please’?”

“Incredible! You can read!” Taehyung exclaims, fingers poised on his keyboard, ready to type.

“Shut up--dude, what are you doing?” Jimin blurts, eyes widening as Taehyung types in i’m cumming!!! into his textbox. “Holy shit, dude, what the fuck?”

“Calm down, Jiminie,” Taehyung chastises, bringing a hand up to pat at his best friend’s head like a puppy, or maybe an overgrown man-child. “This is all for good fun. Professional omegler, remember?”

Jimin mumbles something about someone tracking down their apartment through the wifi and Taehyung thinks he hears the word illuminati, but he ignores it when a soft beep sounds from his laptop.

“Aw, that’s lame,” he says, pouting. “They just sent three dots. Must be a virgo.” He types ahhh ooohh yeaah baby harder yesss and sends it into the chat.

“You’re so weird,” Jimin says, getting off the bed. “I’m going to sleep. Don’t give out your phone number or our address or nudes or whatever.”

“Professional omegler.”

“Whatever. Goodnight.”

“Don’t let the bedbugs bite!” Taehyung calls after him as Jimin shuts his bedroom door. Then he looks down at the chat, mouse hovering over the disconnect button. If this stranger isn’t going to play along, this won’t be fun at all.

But then:

Stranger: ahhhHHhhhhh

Taehyung grins, feeling victorious. He begins to type.

You: ah yeah do you like that baby

Stranger: sure

Taehyung snorts. That’s the spirit, he thinks.

You: aw man this is so good im so hard mmmmmm

Stranger: yeaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah

The orange-haired boy purses his lips. The conversation isn’t really going anywhere interesting and he’s starting to get bored, fast. He shrugs as he types whoops, i farted and sends it without expecting much.

He waits a bit. After a full twenty seconds, he thinks the stranger isn’t going to respond. Then:

Stranger: wtf u ruined the mood :/

You: sorry babe, i’ll try to make it up to u

Stranger: how?

You: any way u want ;)

Taehyung swears high and low that he’s not a fuckboy. Not in real life, at least.

Stranger: hmm...ok

Stranger: i’ll only accept ice cream as payment though

You: how does an ice cream sundae sound?

You: complete with a scoop of strawberry, chocolate and vanilla w/ whipped cream and cherries

You: and my dick can be the banana

Stranger: sounds delish

Stranger: but idk how i feel about biting off ur dick :/

Taehyung, forgetting that he’s currently leaning against the wall, tilts his head back as he laughs. His skull hits off the edge of his window pane and he half giggles and half groans in agony before replying.

You: oh shit, i didn’t think about that

Stranger: i mean if ur into that, i won’t judge

Stranger: it’s just not in my comfort zone

You: i gotchu babe, dw

You: how bout we lay down some limits

Stranger: k

Stranger: no cannibalism

Taehyung sends a long string of sad faces as he grins.

You: darn, there goes our honeymoon plans

Stranger: sorry :*

Stranger: honeymoon??

You: yes, we’re getting married now

Taehyung doesn’t know what’s so amusing about getting fake-married to strangers over the internet, but it has him giggling like a tween boy.

You: can i know the name of my bride-to-be?

It’s a good thing Jimin isn’t here, Taehyung thinks, because otherwise he’d be getting all sorts of stranger danger!! motherly shit. It’s not like Taehyung’s asking for the person’s full name, nor is he going to give his own full name either. It’s safe, he knows it is. He’s a professional omegler, after all.

Stranger: oh...that’s awkward.

You: what is it sweetcheeks

Stranger: i can’t be a bride if i’m a guy

Taehyung blinks. Oh. The stranger’s a guy.

Not like Taehyung minds, of course. Actually, it makes things a hundred times better, seeing as Taehyung’s always preferred nice asses and muscles over boobs and small waists ever since he could spell homosexual as fuck.

You: s’ok pumpkin spice latte, we can still get married

You: if ur ok with that

Stranger: im cool

You: nice

Stranger: u can call me jungkook

Taehyung wonders if that’s his real first name or not. A lot of the time, people are truthful about their first names--it’s not like you can track someone down with just that information alone. But Taehyung’s never been the type to put his actual given name. He prefers to just make one up.

But first, pickup lines.

You: and u can call me tonight ;)

Stranger: pft

Stranger: lame, try again

You: rude

What fake name should he use this time? He racks his brain.

Then he grins.

You: call me jimin

If Jimin ever finds out, the reason Taehyung ends up dead in a ditch will be because of him.

Stranger: oh nice, i love it when u talk dirty to me

The orange-haired boy laughs again. He likes this guy’s sense of humour already.

You: well jungkook

You: why are u on omegle at midnight on a thursday doing sexy rps w/ strangers?

Stranger: technically it's friday

Stranger: and i could ask u the same thing, jimin

You: i asked u first

Stranger: k whatever

Stranger: i’m avoiding my responsibilities like every other college student in the world

Stranger: oh fuck, i just gave u my age didn’t i

Taehyung smirks in amusement.

You: college-boy kook. has a ring to it

Stranger: if ur 50 im disconnecting

Taehyung’s fingers fly over the keyboard faster than they ever have before.

You: no!!! don’t leave pls

You: i like u

You: ur funny

You: also im in uni too so

Stranger: whatever

Stranger: not like we’re gonna meet irl anyway

You: true

You: in that case, im a 46 y/o woman named tigress looking for hot young singles

Stranger: ha

Taehyung frowns. That joke deserved at least three ha’s. Maybe even a capitalized LMAO, but he doesn’t want to get too cocky. Jungkook doesn’t say anything for an entire minute and Taehyung feels a bit disheartened.

You: am i not funny enough for u :(

It takes a while for him to respond.

Stranger: what

Stranger: no

Stranger: sorry i just remembered that i have to write an essay for philosophy

Stranger: i fucking hate essays

You: i agree

Stranger: i hate uni too

You: ur just a lil bundle of hate now arent ya

Stranger: stfu

Stranger: it’s not like uni was my idea anyway

Taehyung stares. They’ve strayed pretty far from their original conversation. Normally at this point, he’d disconnect and find someone else to talk to, but he doesn’t. Instead, he wonders why Jungkook hates university and how come it wasn’t his idea to go, and so he asks.

You: u didn’t wanna go to uni???

He takes a while to answer again. Taehyung thinks that maybe he’s hesitating--it’s not everyday that a stranger asks you to spill the beans about your angsty college life, and Taehyung wouldn’t be surprised if Jungkook disconnected right then and there.

He doesn’t.

Stranger: i mean, yeah i did

Stranger: for the ~college experience~ everyone talks about

Stranger: but my parents chose my major for me so it kinda sucks

Taehyung makes a sound of sympathy. His parents didn’t choose his major for him; he chose neuroscience himself. But two years in, he realized that he didn’t quite like his major and wanted to switch out, only to be told not to. He can relate to Jungkook, and he tells him.

You: yo dude i totally feel u

You: i started not really liking my major starting this year but im super into acting lol

You: but my parents wouldnt let me switch out and i can’t really argue bc they’re helping me pay

You: and i almost have my degree anyway

You: also...well, they’re myp arents so

You: my parents*

You: idk

You: u know what i mean?

Stranger: yeah

Stranger: this might sound lame but

Stranger: i wanted to be an english major bc i wanna be a writer or whatever

Stranger: my parents made me take business bc it’s “safer”

Stranger: smfh

You:  sucks :/

Stranger: yeah :/

You: well…

You: idk if ur a freshman or a sophomore or whatever but

You: hopefully if ur a freshman

You: u know what u want, so i encourage u to just fuck it and be an english major

You: it’s too late for me bc i’m a third year and i have good grades

You: and it’s not like i toTALLY hate neuroscience or whatever

You: and i dont want all my hard work and tears to be for nothing

You: but it’s not too late for u!

Stranger: oh

Stranger: hm

Stranger: maybe i should just fuck it

You: you definitely should

You: and i know u said u hate uni but idk

You: u’ll find something u find beautiful about it one day

You: (hopefully)

You: where there’s negativity, there’s gotta be positivity

Stranger: …this suddenly got all deep and inspiring

Stranger: wasn’t i talk about biting off ur dick like twenty mins ago

You:  yeah haha

You: life is funny that way i guess

Stranger: yeah, i guess

Taehyung finds himself talking to Jungkook for another hour and a half. It’s not his longest Omegle conversation to date (he had one where they roleplayed being minions and they just sent gibberish to each other for three hours straight), but it’s the longest Omegle conversation and the only Omegle conversation where he actually, properly, talked about himself.

They talk about what kind of music they like (Taehyung likes SNSD, but Jungkook insists that IU trumps all girls groups in existence), their families (Jungkook has an older brother in the army, Taehyung has two younger siblings), discussed what their dream jobs were (Taehyung a moviestar, Jungkook a writer), and got onto the topic of what the correct raspberry to banana ratio in a raspberry-banana smoothie is (Jungkook says it's half a cup of raspberries to one banana, but that's only because he likes bananas better and so Taehyung deemed his opinion utterly irrelevant because who the fuck likes bananas more than raspberries? Savages, that’s who).

It’s almost two in the morning when Taehyung finds himself bidding the stranger a goodnight, his eyelids beginning to droop. Time had flown by so quickly while talking to this guy that he didn’t even realize he had class in six hours.

He types.

You: it was nice talking to u

You: u weird, banana-loving man

You: honestly who the fuck likes bananas more than raspberries

Stranger: ...thanks i guess

Stranger: and yeah it was nice talking to u too

Stranger: byewaIT

Stranger: wait wait wait

You: what??

Stranger: u know how i complained to u about wanting to be a writer and hating my major and stuff

You: yeah

Stranger: i’ve never told anyone that so

Stranger: idk, just in case we meet irl

Stranger: and i know we prob won’t bc what are the chances right

Stranger: but im kinda paranoid so

You: don’t tell anyone??

Stranger: ...yeah. please

Taehyung can’t help but think this Jungkook guy is kind of cute.

You: dont u worry

You: my lips are sealed

Stranger: ok thanks

Stranger: bye

You: goodbye kookie <3

Stranger: kookie…

You: its a cute nickname, accept it kookie

Stranger: go to sleep

You: okay

You: goodnight kookie <3

Stranger: gn jimin

Taehyung shuts down his laptop and goes to sleep.

 

---

 

Jungkook yawns tiredly into his coffee. He’d just pulled his first allnighter of the year--and December just started, it's ridiculous, he thinks--and he can barely keep his eyes open.

“Dude.”

It doesn’t help that his professor’s voice is low and soothing. The lecture sounds more like a lullaby rather than some long spiel on what personhood consists of (Jungkook has no idea what’s going on; it’s probably the result of him having a jar of exactly zero fucks to give) and all he wants to do is curl back up in his bed.

“Dude.”

He considers sleeping for a bit. A power nap, just fifteen minutes.

“Dude?”

The girl right next to him seems to be doing fine. Maybe if he flirts with her, he can get her course notes.

“Jungkook!” The exclamation comes with a swift whack on the head with a notebook and the black-haired boy turns to his left with a scowl.

“What?” he hisses at Hoseok, rubbing the spot where he’d gotten hit.

“You were falling asleep,” his friend points out in a whisper.

Jungkook glares. “I was trying to?”

“Oh. Whoops.”

The younger sighs. “Whatever. I probably would’ve drooled all over my notes anyway.”

The girl beside him makes a face and Jungkook inwardly scoffs when she lowkey pulls her papers closer to her.

“Why are you so tired anyway?” Hoseok questions. He’s folding a paper airplane out of one of their handouts--his mind has never quite left high school. Or elementary, for that matter.

“I forgot about the essay that was due today,” Jungkook reveals, relaxing back in his chair. “I was up all night writing. Plus, I was on Omegle,” he adds as an afterthought.

Hoseok snorts. “What the hell were you doing on Omegle? Hopefully not sending nudes.” When Jungkook sends him a pointed look, he scrunches his face up in disdain. “Okay, Jungkook, I know you have a hot body and all, but sending nudes to strangers is a definitive no-no.”

“I wasn’t sending nudes, dumbass,” Jungkook retorts with a roll of his eyes. “I was doing the question thing because I was bored. Ended up talking to some guy for, like, two hours.”

Hoseok looks impressed. “Really? You guys must be soulmates.”

“Ha ha, hilarious.”

“Okay, well, that’s not important right now anyway.” Hoseok leans closer so he can whisper into Jungkook’s ear. “There’s this party tonight. At Seokjin-hyung’s.”

Jungkook raises his eyebrows. “I hate parties,” he deadpans, taking a sip of his coffee.

Hoseok grins. There’s a mischievous glint in his eye, as if he knows something that Jungkook doesn’t, and the black-haired boy doesn’t know what to make of it. And then:

“I know, but...Taehyung’s gonna be there.”

Coffee dribbles out of Jungkook’s mouth in surprise and Hoseok has to hold back a loud cackle. Jungkook’s frantically trying to find something to mop it up with, settling for some old Subway napkin in his bag that he never used.

“So?” Hoseok presses on, practically bouncing in his seat. “You coming? You better be coming.”

Jungkook sighs. He’s never been much of a party-person--he hates places with lots of loud people and drunk strangers--but the promise of Taehyung being there forces him to rethink.

After all, Jungkook’s had a crush on the guy since the first day of school.

It was an embarrassing first encounter, to say the least: it was Jungkook’s first day at his new dorm on the university campus, and he’d gotten into the elevator at the same time as Taehyung.

“Heya neighbour, I’m Kim Taehyung!” Taehyung had greeted kindly, friendly box-shaped smile and all. “What floor? I’m going to the lobby.”

Jungkook had just happened to bite his tongue at the exact moment he was going to respond, resulting in him smushing the sentences “I’m going down too” and “ow, fuck, my tongue” and he’d loudly exclaimed, “I’m down to fuck my tongue”. In a moment of extreme panic, he’d blabbered out a ridiculous flurry of swears and apologies, got back out of the elevator before the doors could close after making up some excuse that he’d forgotten something, and then hightailed it the fuck back to his room.

Jungkook swore he’d never come out of his dorm after that.

But, of course, it being that he had to actually pass his classes, he did come out of his dorm. He would always take the stairs after that little incident (that Hoseok likes to call the “elevator tongue-fuck”, but Jungkook keeps insisting that that sounds plain weird), terrified that he’d end up alone in the elevator with the orange-haired senior.

However, despite purposely avoiding the boy that lives all the way down the hall from him for the sake of his own pride and sanity, Jungkook still ended up seeing Taehyung everywhere.

Truth be told, it’s not hard to miss a head of flaming orange hair. But, as months passed and Jungkook kept seeing him around campus, dancing on the couches in the lobby, in the library, occasionally at the diner he works at, et cetera, he found it even harder to miss his voice. Jungkook thinks he can pick out Taehyung’s laugh in a group of a hundred people and they haven’t even properly met yet (because like hell is he going to count the “elevator tongue-fuck” as their first meeting).

Jungkook’s aware that it’s a stupid, helpless crush. He doesn’t even know why he likes Taehyung. There's just something about seeing his smile from across a cafe, hearing his muffled laughter from the table in front of his in the library, that has butterflies flutter up in Jungkook’s stomach for no real reason. He can’t help it.

And here is Hoseok, his best friend, giving him a chance to meet him. In a respectable fashion.

If Friday night college parties could be counted as respectable, that is.

“Okay,” Jungkook agrees hesitantly. “And only because you said it’s Seokjin-hyung who’s hosting it,” he adds quickly. Seokjin works part-time as a waiter at the same restaurant that Jungkook and Hoseok do, and Jungkook thinks he can trust him well enough. “Just...don’t do anything weird.”

Hoseok beams at him, smile bright. “Oh man, this is great! Out first college party! I’m gonna get Seokjin-hyung to make you look so hot. You’re gonna get laid. This is gonna be great.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes at him and turns back to the professor at the front of the room.

 

---

 

“Jimin!” Taehyung screeches, as he bursts into his best friend’s room.

Jimin, who’d just came back from working out at the gym, was in the process of doing the splits as part of his cool down stretch. But with Taehyung scaring the crap out of him, he accidentally dropped all of his weight down at once, and the force of a million suns settles upon his crotch. He rolls around on the floor in agony, tears prickling at his eyes as he whimpers out, “We need to get locks on our doors. Seriously.”

“Sorry dude,” Taehyung says, staring down at his friend innocently. “Anyway--”

“Taehyung, I am in excruciating pain,” Jimin chokes out, hands clutching his groin. “Can you, like, get me ice or something?”

“Yeah, sure, anything for my best bro for life.” Taehyung runs out of his room at top speed. When he returns, Jimin merely stares at him.

“Tae, that’s our container of chocolate ice cream.”

“We ran out of ice. Do you want strawberry instead?”

Jimin sighs and holds his hand out. Taehyung gives him the ice cream, face serious as if he isn't, in fact, giving his best friend their dessert to put over his balls.

“We really need to get locks,” Jimin repeats. There’s less of a crack in his voice this time, which he thinks is a good sign. He doesn’t have to go through puberty again.

“What for?” Taehyung asks, looking offended. “It’s not like we haven’t seen each other naked.”

“Tae, please.”

“No homo, all the bromo,” he states proudly.

Jimin shakes his head. “Dude, why did you even come in here?”

Taehyung blinks at him. “Uh...the party?” he says, as if it’s the most obvious thing in the world. “Seokjin-hyung from the diner? His party? Remember?” He gestures down at his outfit and Jimin should’ve remembered just by looking at him alone--Taehyung usually wears sweatpants and oversized sweaters, but now he’s clad in tight jeans, a black t-shirt and a leather jacket. It gives him kind of a badass vibe, which is the exact opposite of the idiotic ball of homo-erotic sunshine that he is.

“Oh my God, how did I forget?” Jimin exclaims, getting to his feet. He wobbles to his dresser and pulls out a drawer. “Yoongi-hyung’s gonna be there, right? Oh my God, how am I supposed to dance all sexily and get him to notice me when I just crushed my balls?”

Taehyung strides over to him and helps him look through his collection of clothes. “S’okay man, we’ll just make you look extra hot so you don’t have to dance to look sexy. Where are your black skinny jeans?”

“My black skinny jeans? Why?”

“Because your ass is killer in those, bro.”

“Wow. Thanks bro.”

“No problem.”

They locate his pair of jeans in seconds and Taehyung tries to convince Jimin to put on some atrocious green sweater (“Christmas spirit, Jiminie! Do it for Santa!”), when Jimin finally manages to shut him up and settles for a red tee instead.

“Simplicity is best,” Taehyung says, nodding approvingly. Jimin decides not to mention how he was literally trying to get him to wear a sweater with reindeer heads and golden tassels and shoves him out the door.

 

---

 

Jungkook hates parties, but he likes attention.

So when Seokjin agreed to make him look, in Hoseok’s words, “hot like the sun, which is very hot”, Jungkook was all up for it. Especially since he’ll be able to look hot in front of Taehyung.

“Wow. I’m amazing,” Seokin breathes, stepping back to admire his masterpiece. “Look at you, Jungkookie! I’m so amazing. I did this to you. I’m wonderful.”

Jungkook’s learned to tune out Seokjin’s endless self-praise ages ago, and he merely nods.

“Thanks, hyung.”

Seokjin glances down at his watch. “People should be coming by pretty soon.”

Which means Taehyung will be coming soon, Jungkook thinks, and he goes to rub at the back of his head nervously when Seokjin all but shrieks.

“No! Do not touch your hair, Jeon Jungkook. It’s perfect. I made it perfect.”

Hoseok scoffs from where he’s laying on Seokjin’s bed, playing a game on his phone. “He’s just nervous, hyung. Leave the boy be.”

“Nervous?” Seokjin turns to Jungkook, a smirk on his face. “Why? Is someone special coming?” He wiggles his eyebrows suggestively and Jungkook scowls.

“No,” he says, and Seokjin squeals.

“That’s adorable, Jungkook,” Seokjin gushes. “Is it someone I personally invited or is it someone that’s just stopping by because everyone knows that my parties are the best?”

Jungkook rolls his eyes, but there’s no denying that everyone loves Seokjin’s parties. He has connections with one of the best underground DJs in Seoul and, of course, he’s rich. His parents bought him a fancy, three-story house with glass floor-to-ceiling windows and an in-ground pool in the back, and Jungkook still doesn’t know why Seokjin bothers to work part-time at the diner when he could just start accepting all the modelling offers he gets and live off that and his parents. But whenever he or Hoseok would ask, he’d brush off the question easily.

“It’s no one,” Jungkook finally responds, a huff in his voice. He can feel his cheeks starting to warm and he looks away from Seokjin’s curious eyes.

“It’s Kim Taehyung,” Hoseok pipes up and the black-haired boy shoots him a dark glare.

“I hate you,” he whispers.

“Oh my God, Taehyungie? That’s so cute!” Seokjin screeches, and Jungkook stares at him in surprise.

“Taehyungie--what? You know him?”

“Of course I do?” Seokjin snaps his fingers in front of Jungkook’s face. “You do know he’s a regular at the diner that we’ve”--he gestures at the three of them--”been working at for the past, what, month and a half? I always end up being his waiter and he’s kind of a chatterbox, so we became friends.”

Jungkook turns to Hoseok. “Wait, seriously? He’s a regular?”

His best friend shrugs. “You always work in the back so I guess you never see him.”

“And you never told me?”

“I mentioned it once!” Hoseok exclaims. “But it was when you were in your denial stage and all you said was ‘pfftt who the fuck is that I don’t care why are you telling me’. God, you were angsty.”

Jungkook flushes. He does remember that happening.

“Anyway, I’m gonna go downstairs,” Seokjin says. “Someone’s probably coming up to the door right now.” The sound of the doorbell punctuates his words and he grins. “I can even tell the future; give me one reason not to love me,” he states, making his way down the stairs.

“You’re pretentious as fuck,” Hoseok mutters at his retreating back and Jungkook stifles a giggle. “Why are we friends with him again?”

“Because he’s the only one who'll share his weed with you on weekends.”

“Oh...that’s true.”

 

---

 

Jungkook doesn’t have many friends. Honestly, he only ever talks to Hoseok and Seokjin, and so when stranger after stranger fills the elder’s home, he really doesn’t have much to do.

Seokjin is being a perfect host as always, making sure everyone has a drink in hand and an emergency number to call (“I have five guest rooms and four seats in my car if you need a ride home; there is going to be no drunk driving after my party!” he announces at regular intervals, which reminds Jungkook of another reason he’s friends with Seokjin--he’s extremely nice, despite being narcissistic sometimes).

Hoseok, on the other hand, has always been a social butterfly and had run off to talk to some Yoongi guy ten minutes ago, leaving Jungkook to sit by himself at the kitchen table like a loser.

An hour passes and the party is now in full-swing, with people drinking and shouting and dancing and Jungkook eating out of Seokjin’s fruit bowl for the past fifteen minutes, bored out of his mind. He's midway through a strawberry when he sees a familiar flash of orange hair in the sea of people and he almost chokes.

Taehyung’s here.

Jungkook finishes his strawberry and takes a couple more grapes to calm himself down before getting up. He takes a deep breath, goes over the plan in his head and--

Jungkook realizes that he doesn’t actually have a plan and he sits back down in a panic.

Okay, calm down, think this through, don’t be weird...just go up to him and then…

“Jungkook!” Hoseok shouts loudly. The freshman looks up and sees his friend pushing his way towards him, but his mouth runs dry when he sees Taehyung.

Because Kim Taehyung is staring straight at him and Jungkook thinks he's saying something by the way his lips move--oh god, his lips--but he can’t be sure. Something with two syllables...look here? Cookie? Maybe he’s imagining things.

“Kookie!” Hoseok calls out again. He rushes up to him, grabs the other boy by the shoulders. “You can’t stay here all night. Get up and dance or something. Mingle with the singles.” He leans in close to whisper, “Besides, Taehyung just came,” and Jungkook swallows nervously.

He takes a peek over Hoseok’s shoulder to take a subtle glance at the third-year and his heart flips.

Why is he staring at me? He looks around, but there’s no one else lame enough to sit in the kitchen during a party except for him, so he can't be looking at anyone else.

“Is there something on my face?” Jungkook asks Hoseok, palms starting to get sweaty with nerves. He always thought that he’d be the indifferent type when it came to romantic relationships, but here he is, sweating up a storm, butterflies in his stomach, heart threatening to break out of his chest, and Taehyung looking at him (or in his general direction--Jungkook can’t know for sure) isn’t helping.

“What?” Hoseok gives his face a once-over. “No, you’re good. Why?”

Jungkook shakes his head. “Nothing.”

If Hoseok thought his behaviour was odd, he doesn’t mention it. Instead, he pulls Jungkook up to his feet and drags him into the living room. Jungkook’s eyes widen when he realizes that Hoseok is pulling him directly towards Taehyung and he digs his heels into the hardwood floor in protest.

“Jung Hoseok, what the hell are you doing?” he hisses.

“You’re welcome,” is the last thing Jungkook hears before Hoseok forcefully throws him right into Taehyung’s arms.

Jungkook quickly learns that Taehyung is not the smoothest of people. They collide, a mess of limbs and sweat, and Taehyung falls unceremoniously to the ground, Jungkook landing on top.

“Whoops!” Hoseok exclaims, giggling like a fucking schoolgirl. “My bad. Sorry Jungkook!”

Jungkook would turn around and punch his best friend repeatedly in the face if it weren’t for the fact that his own face was currently nestled in Taehyung’s neck and oh my god, he smells so good? He’s suddenly hyper-aware of everything around him, with everything being Kim Taehyung because their hands are around each other’s waists, legs tangled together, and Jungkook nearly jumps out of his skin when Taehyung giggles from underneath him and pats him on the head.

“Are you, uh, gonna get up?”

Oh my god, kill me. Jungkook jumps to his feet at lightning speed. He brushes down his jeans and clears his throat awkwardly and prays to whatever god there may be that his face isn’t as flaming red as it feels.

“Sorry,” he spits out quickly, looking down at the floor. “Sorry, that--that was an accident.” Like fucking hell it was. He puts ‘strangle Jung Hoseok’ on his mental to-do list.

Taehyung gets up and laughs. Jungkook’s heart does more of its stupid acrobatics in his chest, blush spreading up to his ears. Hearing Taehyung’s laugh right in front of him is totally different from hearing it muffled from across the library and he vaguely wonders if he’s going through cardiac arrest.

“It’s okay,” he says. “Kookie,” he adds as an afterthought and it sounds like a question. The younger looks up at him in surprise.

“You...what?”

Taehyung opens his mouth to say something, and then closes it and gives an awkward smile instead. “Sorry, no, it’s...I--I heard your friend say your name,” he manages to get out. “That’s a nickname, right? It’s cute.”

Jungkook flushes. “Uh…” What am I supposed to say to that?

“If you don’t mind me asking,” Taehyung begins suddenly. “Um...what’s your major?”

Jungkook stares at him, a bit taken aback. “My major? Business, why?”

Taehyung nods slowly. “Sounds fun!” He looks at him again and a flicker of recognition sparks in his eyes. Jungkook feels small under his gaze. “I’ve seen you before, haven’t I? You look kinda familiar.”

“I--uh--well--”

“We live on the same floor!” Hoseok chimes in helpfully, throwing an arm around Jungkook’s shoulders. The black-haired boy breathes a sigh of relief. Maybe I’ll take ‘strangling Jung Hoseok’ off the priorities section of my to-do list.

“Oh, do we?” Taehyung beams. “Maybe that’s why! I’m Kim Taehyung.” He holds out a hand to Jungkook and the younger takes it awkwardly.

“Jeon Jungkook,” he responds, cursing at the awkward hesitation in his voice.

“Well, I’ll leave you two be,” Hoseok says, sounding like the kind of aunt that sets her nephews up on blind dates. He whispers, “Be cool, man. I think he forgot about the elevator tongue-fuck” into Jungkook’s ear and then runs off to who-knows-where.

“I rarely see you for someone who lives on the same floor as me,” Taehyung mentions conversationally. He seems to be good at small-talk and Jungkook is grateful.

“Yeah, uh...fifth, right? I’m in 512.” Why did you just give him your room number, oh my god.

“Oh, then we are! I’m in 501.” Taehyung tilts his head as he takes in Jungkook’s face. “But...do you have classes at a weird time or something? I never see you on the elevator and almost everyone takes the elevator at the same time in the morning.”

“Uh…” What the hell is he supposed to say to that? Oh, it’s probably because I’ve been avoiding the elevator ever since the tongue-fuck incident and I didn’t want to run into you and make more of an embarrassing ass out of myself, sorry.

Thankfully, he’s saved from giving a response by a shorter guy running up to them and clamping a hand down onto Taehyung’s shoulder. Jungkook recognizes him only because he’s around Taehyung almost 24/7, and his voice is cheery when he speaks.

“Hey Tae--” he begins, but Hoseok suddenly reappears out of nowhere, pushing Taehyung’s friend into a blonde guy that’s innocently passing by. But instead of crashing into each other like Jungkook and Taehyung had, the guy Hoseok was trying to push Taehyung’s friend into effectively dodges him and the shorter boy goes sprawling.

“Oh shit,” Hoseok says, grimacing. “Shit, seriously. My bad. Sorry Jimin!”

Jungkook wonders if Hoseok is trying to play cupid or something tonight, until the other guy’s name settles into his mind.

Jimin.

Jimin.

No...that’s not possible, right? Jungkook gives himself a shake. The chances of meeting someone you’ve talked to on Omegle in real life is slim to none. There’s probably tons of people named Jimin that go to university--there’s no guarantee that this Jimin is sexy roleplay Omegle Jimin. No way at all.

Right?

Jimin gets up and brushes dust off of his jeans. He sends a withering glare to Hoseok and Taehyung--who is currently doubled-over in laughter (“oh my god, Jiminie, that was embarrassing. Wait, oh my god, are your balls okay?” Jungkook decides not to ask).

“What the hell was that?” Jimin exclaims, but he can’t keep glaring for long because in seconds he’s grinning, holding back a laugh over his own humiliating scene. “Seriously?”

Hoseok smiles sheepishly. “Yoongi-hyung wasn’t supposed to move out of the way.”

“Yeah, obviously,” Jimin retorts, face flushed. “I hate you.” He notices Jungkook staring at him and he offers a small smile. “Uh, hi. Sorry you had to see that.”

Jungkook cracks a polite grin. “No, it’s...it’s fine.”

“Right, introductions!” Hoseok stands so that Jimin is to his right and Jungkook is to his left. “Jimin, this is Jungkook, my roommate. And Jungkook, this is Jimin, from dance class.”

Dance class. Did omegle-Jimin ever mention a dance class? Jungkook doesn’t think he did. He feels oddly relieved. So he doesn’t know that I secretly want to be a writer. Cool. Good. I guess.

“Siblings?”

Jungkook blinks and turns to Taehyung in surprise. It’s the first thing the orange-haired boy said after he was finished laughing at Jimin, and Jungkook doesn’t remember there being any point in the conversation that would turn it towards this topic.

“What?”

“Do you have any siblings?” Taehyung elaborates.

“I have an older brother,” Jungkook replies slowly, feeling confused. “Why?”

“He’s weird; you get used to it,” Jimin interjects, slapping his friend on the back thrice. “Anyway, I’m gonna go find Yoongi-hyung and try and seduce him in a normal way.” He gives Hoseok a pointed look before scampering off deeper into the house. Hoseok follows him yelling, “That was normal! It would’ve been romantic if he caught you!” and Jungkook and Taehyung are left alone again.

Taehyung looks at him and gives him that stupid box-shaped smile of his that makes Jungkook’s heart skip a beat and the younger looks away, awkward.

“Um…” He shifts his weight from foot to foot.

"Do you like bananas?”

Jungkook blinks. “I--yes?” When Taehyung just nods, looking amused and satisfied, he says, “Are you interrogating me or something?”

He bites his tongue right after the words leave his mouth. You sound like a dick, Jungkook. Thankfully, Taehyung laughs, and the younger feels like he might just implode when the orange-haired boy hits him good-naturedly on the arm.

“No, sorry dude, I’m just--” He pauses, then grins. “Were...Okay, this is gonna sound kinda weird, but were you on Omegle last night? You were, weren’t you?”

Jungkook’s eyes flick up to meet his in surprise. “W-what?”

Taehyung’s smile widens. “I think...I think I might’ve been on the other end of that conversation.”

“But...you said your name was--”

“Jimin, yeah, I know.” Taehyung laughs. “That’s my best friend that you just met. I was just...it was a spur of the moment decision, I dunno what I was thinking. But yeah, you were...you were talking to me, I think.”

Jungkook is in disbelief. “You’re...you’re joking.”

Taehyung’s eyes swim with mirth, apparently entertained by the whole situation. “You like bananas more than raspberries,” he reveals. “Which is, by the way, messed up. Go get your tongue switched or something. Also, you like dogs more than cats, you like IU more than SNSD and you secretly want to be a wri--”

Jungkook clamps a hand over Taehyung’s mouth in a panic, and the other boy licks a stripe across his skin immediately.

“Oh my g--what the fuck?” Jungkook recoils, bringing his hand away and wiping his palm over his jeans. “Did you just lick me?” This was definitely not how he imagined his first ‘proper’ meeting with Taehyung to be like--granted, he didn’t know what he was expecting exactly, but it surely wasn’t this.

“What did you cover my mouth for?” Taehyung whines. He doesn’t appear one bit bothered by the fact that he just licked someone’s hand and he gives Jungkook a weird look. As if Jungkook’s being the weird one. The freshman scoffs.

“You were...I’m...Oh my god, wait, our longest conversation started as a sex roleplay,” Jungkook whispers under his breath. He looks scandalized and Taehyung doesn’t really blame him. It’s not every day that you meet someone online and your first words are “i’m cumming!!!

“Yeah…” Taehyung laughs again, but he doesn’t seem as awkward about it as Jungkook does. “But, ya know, I feel like this could be the start of a beautiful friendship.”

“Friend--what?” Jungkook splutters. Taehyung notices that his ears are tinged pink at the tips and he thinks it’s cute. “We’re...are we...friends?”

Taehyung shrugs and starts to make his way over to the kitchen. Jungkook follows and they both sit next to each other at the table. The black-haired boy resumes his eating of grapes out of Seokjin’s fruit bowl as the third-year begins to speak.

“I mean...well, I kinda confessed that I wanted to be an actor and that I didn’t really like my major to you.” Taehyung goes to reach for a strawberry and Jungkook pulls his hand out of the container quickly. “I haven’t told that to anyone, not even Jimin. It’s a stupid dream of mine, and I don’t want to worry anyone with my complaining over my major or whatever.”

“And I told you about wanting to be a writer, oh my god.” Jungkook folds his arms onto the table and rests his head on them. “That’s so embarrassing, holy crap.”

Taehyung blinks. “How’s that embarrassing?”

Jungkook grumbles. “I dunno. It’s just…” He sits up, gestures down at himself. “No one would expect someone like me to be a writer, you know? Do I look like a writer to you?”

“Honestly?” Taehyung lets his eyes rake across his figure and he pretends not to notice the way Jungkook seems to regret the question, blushing all over again. “You’re kinda hot.” He smirks, amused, when Jungkook curls into himself and puts his head back down onto the table.

“I can’t believe this is happening,” Jungkook mumbles. Finding out that the stranger he talked to on Omegle was his crush and now talking about secrets that he hasn’t even told Hoseok or Seokjin? He wouldn’t be surprised if he was dreaming.

But the sound of Taehyung’s laugh right next to his ear, the feel of their knees bumping underneath the table, convinces Jungkook that it’s real.

“Neither can I,” Taehyung says. “But life is funny that way, I guess.”

Jungkook tilts his head up to give Taehyung a look. “You said that on Omegle last night.”

“Did I?”

“Yeah.”

Taehyung smiles. “I’m pretty sure I also told you to screw your major and take English and become a writer.”

Jungkook sits up again and looks around cautiously, making sure no one can hear them. He says, in a small voice, “I want to.”

“Then go for it.”

Jungkook gathers up the courage to meet the other’s eyes and tries to blatantly ignore the way his heart kicks up into double-time. “I can say the same thing to you, you know. Why don’t you just screw neuroscience and become an actor?”

“I’m getting my bachelor’s in a year,” Taehyung explains, sounding exasperated. He looks more relaxed and casual now, and Jungkook wonders if they passed the boundary of acquaintances and crossed over into friends-I-can-complain-about-stuff-to. “I don’t wanna just...give up.” He rests his elbow on the table and puts his chin in his hand. “But I guess it wouldn’t really be called giving up if it’s me actually doing what I like…”

“Exactly.”

Taehyung sighs and leans back, the front legs of his chair lifting up until he’s teetering dangerously. Jungkook wants to reach out and grab him, tell him it’s not safe, but he’s sure that any more physical contact with Taehyung will make him burst into flames.

“Maybe I should,” Taehyung says, a wondering tone in his voice.

“Maybe you should,” Jungkook replies.

“Maybe you should become an English major and write a book,” the elder suggests. “Better yet; write a script and have me be your lead actor.”

Jungkook’s lips quirk up into a smile at that. “Maybe I should,” he says.

“Maybe you should,” Taehyung replies.

“But...I’d have to go against my parents,” Jungkook notes, popping another grape into his mouth. Despite his heart beating a hundred miles an hour, he feels slightly more relaxed around Taehyung. He’s easy to talk to, he realizes--some kind of trustworthy aura that Jungkook feels himself drawn to.

“Ah, the parents,” Taehyung sighs.

“Yeah.” Jungkook hesitates, mulling over his words before speaking them. “Going against my parents would kind of, well, suck, you know? Because my mom’s...kinda sick. So I don’t wanna let her down when she’s going through a hard time. Plus, we don’t have enough money for me to switch majors after already paying for this year and a business degree seems more promising than an English one so…”

“Hmm.” The other boy ponders for a moment, before asking, “You don’t have to have a degree or anything to write something, do you?”

Jungkook pauses. “Well...no.”

“Then just write.” Taehyung smiles at him again, and Jungkook finds that the action comforts him now rather than make him sweat like a nervous schoolboy. “If you work hard enough, if it’s really meant to be, you can make it happen. Just write.”

“Maybe I should.”

“You definitely should.”

 

---

 

Jungkook and Taehyung exchange numbers after the party.

“You can come and complain to me whenever you want,” Taehyung informs him. “As long as I’m allowed to complain to you,” he adds in cheekily.

“Of course you’re allowed,” Jungkook says, grinning. He wants to tell him that he can talk to him without the need to complain, but he can’t get himself to spit out the words. Not yet, at least.

Taehyung beams. “Good.” Then, when Jungkook’s just about to say goodbye, he speaks up again. “It’s weird.”

“Huh?” The black-haired boy stares at him questioningly.

“Us. We’re weird,” Taehyung elaborates. “Or maybe it’s just me, but...I feel like I can trust you with anything. Even though we technically just met. I dunno. It’s weird, right?”

Jungkook feels warm despite the two of them standing outside Seokjin’s house in the middle of a December night. He shrugs and says, “Not really.” He chews on his lip awkwardly. “I--I feel like I can trust you too.”

Taehyung smiles again. “Good.”

 

---

 

“So…?” Hoseok asks, as he flings himself onto Jungkook’s bed. He pokes his friend in the ribs. “How was the party? I saw you talking to Taehyung in the kitchen for a while.” He raises his eyebrows up and down suggestively. “The atmosphere looked...nice.”

Jungkook groans, pulling his blanket over his head. “What time is it?”

“I dunno. Eight-ish?”

The black-haired boy grumbles some more. “It’s fucking Saturday, Hoseok. Why are you waking me up at eight in the morning on a Saturday?

“Because you wouldn’t give me the deets last night,” Hoseok whines, kicking at him weakly. “Are you guys dating now? Did you ask him out? Did you woo Kim Taehyung into your pants?”

Jungkook takes his pillow and puts it over his face. “Go away.”

“I take that as a no.” Hoseok huffs, sitting up. He tries to pull Jungkook’s pillow away, but the other boy is relentless, not giving up on his iron grip. “Did you at least get his number?”

“...yeah.”

Hoseok makes a weird screeching sound and, all of a sudden, he’s across Jungkook’s bedroom and is doing some kind of boisterous dance in the corner.

“You got his nuuuum-ber, you got his nuuuuum--”

“Please shut up,” Jungkook whines, pressing his pillow even harder into his face. He’s half trying to drown out Hoseok’s terrible singing, half trying to suffocate himself to death. He’s always hated talking about his crushes to people, and his best friend is no exception.

“So? Are you gonna call him? Text him? Do a booty-call? What’s your next move?” Hoseok asks eagerly, flying across the room to jump onto Jungkook’s bed again.

“My next move is gonna be kicking you in the goddamn face,” he snaps, sitting up and whipping the brown-haired boy in the head with his pillow. “It’s not...I didn’t confess or anything, Jesus. We’re...friends, I guess.”

“With benefits?”

“Oh my God, Hoseok.” Jungkook shakes his head, defeated. “Friends. Like you and me, but more awkward because he’s really, really hot.”

“Are you saying I’m not really really hot?”

“You’re like...lukewarm.”

“Ouch.” Hoseok wipes away a fake tear. “I’m offended.”

“Good.”

“Okay, real talk.” Hoseok gets up from his spot on Jungkook’s bed. “We actually have a shift at the diner starting in, like, an hour. Just thought I’d let you know.”

What?” Jungkook scrambles out of his bed. “I thought we were working the evening shift tonight!”

Hoseok shrugs. “Two people called in sick this morning, so now we’re on until four.”

Jungkook groans loudly in response.

“But hey, Seokjin-hyung told me that Taehyung goes to the diner for lunch on Saturdays, so…”

Jungkook’s heart flips excitedly. “Oh.”

Hoseok has a knowing grin on his face. “Oh, indeed.”

 

---

 

Jungkook strides over to the table by the window where Taehyung and Jimin are sitting, menus in hand.

“Hello, I’ll be your waiter for today,” he says, biting on his cheek to keep himself from smiling too widely. There’s something about Taehyung that makes him want to smile until his face aches and he can’t help the way his lips twitch up in his presence.

Taehyung looks up at him in apparently pleasant surprise. “Hey, Jungkook! I didn’t know you worked here.”

“Yeah, haha.” Jungkook gives them the menus and then rubs his neck awkwardly. “I usually work in the kitchen, so…” He makes a mental reminder to treat Hoseok for dinner. After all, it’s Hoseok who’s supposed to be waiting tables, not him--his best friend offered to switch roles today, and Jungkook’s grateful.

“Ahh, I see.” Taehyung grins as he picks up a menu. “Well, now I know where to go for my daily dose of Jeon Jungkook.”

The younger flushes. “What?”

“My addiction has started, it’s too late,” he breathes dramatically, falling back into his seat, a hand on his forehead. “I’m gonna go through withdrawal without you.”

Jimin giggles from his seat across Taehyung. “He’s been watching a lot of dramas, ya see. Don’t take it personally--I don’t think he’s actually addicted to you.”

Jungkook hopes he doesn’t look too disappointed. “Of course he’s not,” he says with a laugh and then takes their orders.

Fifteen minutes later, and Jungkook is secretly giving them free refills for their drinks and subtly overfilling their basket of fries.

"Do you do this for all your customers?" Taehyung inquires, eyes shining when Jungkook slides him an extra large slice of cheesecake, free of charge. "I'm flattered."

Jungkook shrugs wordlessly.

"You should be our waiter all the time," Taehyung continues, holding out a fry for the younger to take.

He doesn't know what comes over him then, doesn't know what odd, confident spirit possesses him, but Jungkook leans forwards and bites the fry right out of Taehyung's fingers instead of grabbing it with his hand. Taehyung looks a bit surprised, but his expression quickly melts into a small smile.

"Maybe I should," Jungkook says, chewing.

"You definitely should."

 

---

 

When Jungkook goes down the stairs as he usually does on any regular Monday morning, he sees a familiar head of orange hair a couple steps ahead of him.

“Taehyung?” He says it more to himself, in disbelief, because why would Kim Taehyung be taking the stairs? He always takes the elevator. Jungkook (note: he is not a stalker, he swears) should know.

The third-year turns around, smiling when he sees Jungkook standing at the top of the stairs.

“Hello!” he muses.

“Hi?” Jungkook goes down the few steps it takes to catch up to him, and they walk down together. “You...you don’t usually take the stairs, do you?”

Taehyung shrugs. “I figured a little simple exercise in the morning wouldn’t hurt. Thought I should stretch my legs before the day starts, ya know?”

“I...I guess.” Jungkook thinks that there are better ways to stretch your legs before the day starts that doesn’t include walking down five flights of stairs, but he doesn’t mention it.

“So...are you writing something?” Taehyung questions as they reach the third floor.

“Writing--” Jungkook begins, confused, but then he remembers that Taehyung knows. Knows that he secretly wants to be a writer, knows that he hasn’t told anyone except for him. “Oh. No, not really.”

“You should get to it,” Taehyung tells him, skipping two steps and almost tripping over his own feet. He always seems to be going at a faster pace than others, Jungkook realizes. As if he’s trying to win a race that only he knows about, and the freshman finds it oddly endearing.

“Maybe I should,” Jungkook replies, skipping the same two steps that Taehyung did, just for fun. He doesn’t trip like Taehyung, sticking his landing quite gracefully if he does say so himself, and the elder beams at him.

“You definitely should.” They’re on ground level now and are making their way outside of the building. “You have any ideas? Can I hear them?”

Jungkook stares. “What?”

“I wanna hear your ideas. I’m curious.” Taehyung’s a few feet ahead of him, and he turns around to walk backwards so he can face Jungkook. He pushes the door open with his back and they step outside into the crisp, winter air. “Gotta know what kind of part I should be practicing for when your script gets accepted.”

“My script--” Jungkook shakes his head, a small smile on his face. “You’ve got this all planned out, huh?”

“Of course!” Taehyung almost trips again, and Jungkook reaches forward on reflex to grab his arm. Taehyung grins, the air that they’re breathing visible between them. “Thanks babe.”

“N-no problem.” Babe? he screams in his mind. He quickly lets go of his arm and rushes ahead. Taehyung skips after him and Jungkook thinks that maybe Taehyung wasn’t on the stairs for some morning exercise because he seems perfectly energetic without it. “What’s your plan, then?”

“You’re gonna write this killer script,” Taehyung says, going ahead of Jungkook and turning around so he could walk backwards again. “And it’s gonna be all kinds of fucking awesome, I know it is. And I’m gonna be the super cool lead of that super cool script. We’ll be livin’ the dream, Kookie. Become hallyu stars or something. Go to America and go on the blue carpet.”

“Red carpet.”

“Red carpet,” he corrects, giggling. “Red carpet. Why the hell did I say blue carpet?”

Jungkook laughs. “I dunno. You’re kinda ridiculous, Taehyung.”

Taehyung looks at him, an unreadable expression on his face. “You don’t call me hyung.”

“Oh.” Jungkook blushes, only realizing it now. “Sorry. I’ll--”

Taehyung waves a dismissive hand. “No no, don’t bother. You don’t have to.”

“But--”

Taehyung grins that stupid, adorable grin of his and Jungkook’s protest falls dead on his tongue.

“Okay,” he concedes. “What about you, though? Are you really going to become an actor? Or are you just...just daydreaming?”

“Impossibility is a kiss away from reality.”

Jungkook’s heart thuds in his chest. “What?”

Taehyung laughs. “It’s a line from a show on Netflix. But anyway, what’s stopping me from making my daydreams become my reality? I just gotta finish up this degree so I’ll have something to fall back on if things don’t work out.”

“It’ll work out,” Jungkook finds himself saying. “If it’s you, it’ll probably work out.”

Taehyung beams. “You better start writing that super awesome script then, Kookie. We should become the best tag-team in South Korea.” He walks into a tree before Jungkook can warn him and snow from the branch above lands on his head. Jungkook chuckles and helps him brush it off.

“Maybe we should,” he says, fingers running through the elder’s hair to get the snow out.

“We definitely should!”

 

---

 

“You’re pretty close to Taehyung now, aren’t ya?” Hoseok mentions one day, as he packs his things into a suitcase. He’s getting ready to head back to his hometown for winter break, and Jungkook’s relaxing on the couch with his laptop in his lap, not needing to pack because he’s staying in his dorm all break long.

“I guess,” Jungkook says, typing away.

“Whatcha doing?”

“Writing,” Jungkook replies without thinking.

“Writing what?”

“Uh...nothing.” He closes his laptop and sits up. “Why’d you bring up Taehyung, anyway?”

“I was just wondering if you guys were dating yet,” he says, giving Jungkook an over-exaggerated wink. The black-haired boy rolls his eyes.

“We’re just friends.” He puts his laptop down onto the coffee table. “Baby-steps, Hobi.”

“You’re taking ant steps,” he informs him. “Go ask him out already. Confess!”

“We’ve only been friends for, like, two weeks,” Jungkook reasons. “It’s too early.”

“Too early my ass.” Hoseok holds up a pair of boxers. “Are these yours?”

Jungkook blinks. “No?”

“Weird.” Hoseok tosses them over his shoulder. “Anyway, you guys have been hanging out every day for the past two weeks, so...I say you should get to it. Hop on that d--”

“Stop.” Jungkook holds up a hand. “I’m not gonna...just...we’re friends and it’s nice. It’s fine.”

Hoseok shrugs. “Whatever you say. Just ask him out before you get too scared to ruin your friendship, alright?”

“Alright.”

Too late.

 

---

 

It’s the middle of winter break, and Jungkook wakes up to the sound of his phone dinging underneath his pillow.

“What the…” he mumbles, temporarily blinding himself as he turns on the screen. The clock reads that it’s four in the morning and he’s about to ignore it and go back to sleep, but then he sees the sender. “Taehyung?” He opens up his messaging app.

     count to ten

     and then open ur door

     ur in 512 right

Jungkook’s half-asleep mind whirls.

wtf?     

dude it’s 4am?     

     count to tennnnnnnnnn!!!!!!!!!

     and get ready to open ur door

Jungkook sighs and kicks off his blankets. The things I do when I like someone, he thinks to himself. He slowly starts to count as he walks over to the door.

“Eight...nine...ten.” He opens it and Taehyung is there, nose red, panting as if he'd run a marathon, a beanie placed snugly over his orange hair.

Happy New Year’s!” Taehyung yells, and he throws a handful of streamers into Jungkook’s face. “Woohoo! Yay! Happy New Year’s!” He runs into Jungkook’s room and starts throwing pieces of confetti at him from his pockets. “Happy New Year’s!”

Jungkook can’t help the incredulous laugh that bubbles passed his lips. “You’re ridiculous, Kim Taehyung. Aren’t you supposed to be in Daegu?”

“I was!” Taehyung’s still throwing confetti at him, face bright and beaming, and Jungkook shakes his head at him. “I came back just now. Thought I’d celebrate New Year’s with you.”

“At four in the morning?”

“What better time is there?”

“Oh, I dunno...four in the afternoon?

“I sprinted here all the way from the bus stop for you, Jeon Jungkook. This is the treatment I get when all I wanted was to see you?” Taehyung asks jokingly, walking over to the fridge and opening it as if he lives there.

Jungkook’s heart skips a beat. Did he hear that correctly? “You what?”

“Your milk is expired,” Taehyung says instead of answering. “Do you have any ice cream? I’m in the mood for some ice cream.” He opens up the freezer.

“I...what? Ice cream in the middle of winter?”

“I’m also in the mood for pancakes. Should I make some pancakes?"

"Um...maybe you should."

Taehyung nods to himself. "I definitely should."

Jungkook stares at him fondly. Taehyung’s going through his fridge and his cupboards in search of pancake ingredients and Jungkook’s glad he’s not looking at him because he’s not sure how much of the smile on his face reads “you’re so weird” as opposed to “I’m so stupidly in love with you”.

 

---

 

“Valentine’s Day,” Hoseok proclaims, going up to Jungkook and closing his laptop. Jungkook glares at him venomously.

“You’re gonna ruin my train of thought,” he says.

Hoseok rolls his eyes. “You’re always typing stuff on your laptop. What are you even doing?”

“Work.”

“Dude, you’re at work,” Hoseok points out, gesturing to the mostly empty diner around them.

“Schoolwork.”

Hoseok sighs. He shouldn’t have expected a different answer; Jungkook never gives him a straight reply. “Anyway, it’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow.”

“So?”

“So you should confe--”

“It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow!” a voice echoes enthusiastically, and Jungkook and Hoseok jump in shock. Taehyung comes bounding into the diner, arm linked with Jimin’s, smiling from ear-to-ear like he usually is. “Got any plans, Jungkookie? How ‘bout you, Hoseok?”

“No plans,” Jungkook responds, tone deadpan, and Hoseok glares at him.

“Me neither,” Hoseok says in turn.

“Single forever!” Taehyung exclaims, sounding way too happy about that notion. “Bachelors till the day we die!”

“I’d rather not die alone, thanks,” Hoseok says, laughing. He gets up, grabbing his mini notebook and a pencil. “You guys wanna get a table? I’ll be your waiter.”

“God yes, I’m starving,” Jimin breathes, following after Hoseok to a table next to the window.

Jungkook looks up when Taehyung slides into the seat across from him.

“What?” he asks.

“What?” Taehyung counters.

“Aren’t you gonna sit with Jimin?”

“Well if you want me to leave so badly--”

“No!” Jungkook responds a bit too quickly. Taehyung merely smiles.

“Alright. Then I’ll stay and chat for a bit.” He spreads his arms across the table, stretching. His tongue darts out to lick at his lips absentmindedly and a thought lights up in Jungkook’s mind.

“Hey, can I ask you something?”

“You just did.”

Jungkook stares at him pointedly and Taehyung laughs.

“Yeah, what?”

“Do you…” Jungkook pauses, thinks of how to word it. “Do you remember on the first day of school...There was this guy in the elevator.”

Taehyung blinks. “Huh?”

“He might’ve said something really weird…and then he might’ve run out of the elevator really fast and never gone on it again after that because he was paranoid…”

“Wait…” Taehyung’s mouth twitches up into a grin. “Wait, are you saying that you’re the I’m-down-to-fuck-my-tongue guy?”

Jungkook laughs a little. “Yeah, that’s what I’m saying.”

“Dude.” Taehyung tips his head back and cackles. “Dude! That’s awesome, oh my god. You’re the I’m-down-to-fuck-my-tongue guy and sexy roleplay Omegle guy. Amazing.”

“Truly.”

“I’m gonna go tell Jimin.” Taehyung gets up and hurries over to his friend, just as Hoseok makes his way back to Jungkook.

“It’s Valentine’s Day tomorrow,” Hoseok starts again, just as Jimin yells, "You used my name for a sex roleplay with a stranger on Omegle?"

"What the..." Hoseok shakes his attention away from the third-years and drops his voice to a harsh whisper. "Jungkook, it's Valentine's Day tomorrow. So go confess."

Jungkook groans.

“I'm being serious.”

“I will!” he says. “Just...not yet. Later.” When Hoseok gives him a pointed look, Jungkook scowls. “I know what I’m doing. It’s fine.”

He has no idea what he’s doing.

 

---

 

It’s April, and Jungkook and Taehyung spend so much time together that Jimin starts to get jealous.

“I feel like my best bro is leaving me,” Jimin complains one night, as he and Taehyung sit on the couch, watching a movie. “I feel replaced.” He frowns when Taehyung doesn’t respond. “Tell me you love me~” he whines, shaking his friend’s arm.

“What?” The orange-haired boy looks up from his phone. There’s a wide smile across his face and Jimin raises his eyebrows.

“What are you smiling at?”

“Jungkookie sent me a dubsmash video,” he says, holding up his phone to show Jimin. “Isn’t he cute?”

Jimin stares at the video of the freshman moving his mouth to the sound of a chicken clucking and he sighs.

“You two are so weird.” Jimin shakes his head. “I still can’t believe he was sexy roleplay Omegle guy.”

“Must be fate,” Taehyung muses.

“Must be fate,” Jimin agrees.

 

---

 

Taehyung looks up from his manga when Jungkook’s phone rings.

“Your phone!” he calls from where he’s sitting, back against the side of Jungkook’s bed. “It’s Seokjin-hyung. Want me to answer it for you?”

“Put it on speaker,” Jungkook says, flipping a page in his economics textbook.

Jungkook~” Seokjin says, voice thin on the speaker of the phone. “Wanna come to Japan with me and Hoseok next week?” He can hear Hoseok in the background chanting, “Japan! Japan! Japan!

Jungkook pauses his reading. “Next week?”

Yeah, your exams will be over by then, right? Let’s start summer vacation in Okinawa!

“Oh.” He looks over to Taehyung, who had resumed to his reading, not paying attention. “Sounds fun, hyung, but…”

But?

“I promised Tae I’d hang out with him.”

There’s silence on the other end. Then, “Wow. Okay, you’re lame. Bye.” There’s a beep as Seokjin hangs up.

“You could’ve gone, you know,” Taehyung comments, turning a page. “I don’t mind.”

“I’d rather stay here with you,” Jungkook answers without thinking. His face flushes and he looks away from the boy sitting on the floor. “I don’t like planes anyway.” That’s a lie.

Taehyung smiles up at him and Jungkook’s heart still flips like it did on the first day of school.

I really have to confess, he thinks. But seeing Taehyung casually reading Naruto in his room makes him way too afraid to ruin what they already have.

“Maybe I should just come with you on your next vacation,” Taehyung suggests nonchalantly.

The thought makes Jungkook giddy. “Maybe you should.”

“I definitely should.”

 

---

 

“Are you and Jungkook dating?” Jimin asks one day, as he and Taehyung sit in the library. They’ve officially started their fourth and final year of university, yet they’re still as poor and clueless as they were when they started.

“What?” Taehyung looks up from his neuroscience textbook, eyebrows furrowed.

“Are you and Jungkook dating?” he repeats.

“No?” Taehyung frowns. “Why do you ask?”

Jimin shrugs. “I dunno. He never calls you hyung, so I thought you guys were dating or something.”

“Oh. Well, we’re just friends.”

It looks like Jimin wants to say more, but he doesn’t. Instead, he just goes, “okay”, and turns back to his book.

Taehyung tries to go back to studying too, but he suddenly can’t focus on any of the words on the page.

 

---

 

“Are you sure you don’t wanna come?” Hoseok asks, striding into Jungkook’s room. “It’s Seokjin-hyung’s party and it’s Halloween night, c’mon~”

Jungkook waves him away. “I’m busy,” he says, as he types away on his laptop.

Hoseok frowns. “You’re always busy nowadays. It’s either you’re hanging out with Taehyung or you’re doing something on your laptop.”

“Mm.”

“You gonna tell me what you’re doing on your laptop?”

“Nah.”

Hoseok huffs. “Alright, suit yourself.” He starts to walk out of Jungkook’s room, but he peeks his head back in and says, “You’re gonna miss out though. I heard that Jimin’s dressing up as a maid.”

Jungkook grimaces. “Why would I want to see that?”

“Namjoon’s dressing up as someone from Sailor Moon.”

Jungkook raises his eyebrows. “The DJ? What the hell?”

Hoseok shrugs. “I dunno. I think Seokjin-hyung made him do it. Their relationship is kinda sketchy, to be honest.”

“Him and Seokjin-hyung? Relationship? Really?” Jungkook frowns. “Isn’t that Namjoon guy all deep and philosophical, like ‘work hard for your dream, it’s not called success if you ride on someone else’s coattails’ or whatever?”

“Yea--oohhhh.” Hoseok gives Jungkook a knowing look. “Is that why Seokjin-hyung is working at the diner? To make his own money instead of counting on his parents or his looks?”

“Oooohhhh.”

“That’s cute.” Hoseok grins and then his expression contorts into a pleading one. “But are you coming to the party?”

Jungkook looks down at the document he has open on his laptop. He had writer’s block for the majority of last month, and he really doesn’t want to mess up the creative vibe he has going on. He only has a few lines left, but he has to make them perfect.

“I’m really not a party-per--” he begins, but he gets cut off by a loud pounding on the door and Hoseok jumps, surprised. He goes over to answer the door, Jungkook getting off the bed and following at his heels.

Hoseok swings the door open, revealing the smiling figure of Kim Taehyung.

“Hello!”

“Hey,” Jungkook says, pushing passed Hoseok at the sight of the orange-haired senior. “What are you--oh my god, Kim Taehyung, oh my god what the fuck, oh my god.”

Hoseok is cackling, doubled-over in laughter. “Dude! I love your costume. Absolutely incredible. Jungkook, don’t you think it’s incredible?”

The black-haired boy is torn between covering his eyes and staring because Taehyung is dressed up as fucking Adam--as in Adam from the bible--and he is looking anything but holy. Taehyung is completely and utterly naked, save for the fake leaves covering up his genitals and the coat that hangs loosely around his shoulders. The coat is so big on him that Taehyung is practically swimming in it, and Jungkook would think that he’s absolutely adorable if not for the fact that he’s not wearing any goddamn clothes.

What the fuck, what the fuck, what the fuck, Jungkook repeats in his mind like a mantra, not sure where to put his eyes. What the fuck!?

“I--I think you’re gonna get cold,” he finally manages to choke out, and Taehyung laughs.

“That’s why I have a coat.”

“Adam doesn’t wear a coat.”

“Technically, Adam doesn’t wear leaves over his crotch either. Should I take that off too?”

“No! Oh my god, what the fuck.” Jungkook’s face is flaming. “Close up your jacket, Jesus Christ. Please.”

“Only because you said please.” Taehyung buttons it up, long fingers moving deftly, and Jungkook feels like he can breathe easier.

“So I’m guessing you’re going to the party?” Hoseok says, after he’s finished laughing. Jungkook thinks that he’s laughing more at his reaction rather than Taehyung’s costume, and he feels embarrassed beyond belief. Taehyung really has no shame at all.

“Yeah, I was,” Taehyung replies. “Was. You're not a party-person right? I was just gonna hang out here.”

“With clothes?” Jungkook squeaks out.

Taehyung giggles. “Yes, with clothes,” he says, turning so Jungkook could see the bag on his back. “I just wanted to see your reaction.” He grins. “I’m satisfied.”

“You’re ridiculous.” Why do I even like you?

Hoseok shakes his head incredulously. “Well, whatever. You two have fun. See ya guys after the party!”

And then he’s off, leaving Jungkook and a half-naked Taehyung at his doorstep.

 

---

 

“So whatcha doin’?” Taehyung asks, as he pulls on a t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants. He sits next to Jungkook who’s on his bed, laptop in lap.

“Writing.”

Taehyung’s face lights up. “Whoa, really? Can I read it?”

Jungkook flushes. “I dunno…”

Taehyung blinks up at him, gives Jungkook his best puppy-dog look, and the younger caves immediately.

“I’m...it’s not good,” he says quickly. “I’m an amateur, I don’t really...know what I’m doing…and I still have a couple of lines to do and...” He looks away awkwardly. “This is kinda embarrassing.”

“More embarrassing than me showing up at your door, naked with plastic leaves over my dick?”

Jungkook grumbles incoherently and Taehyung grins. He takes the laptop from Jungkook’s lap.

“It’s long,” he notes. “How long have you been working on this?”

“Since...since the first day you took the stairs. You--you said I should, so...”

Taehyung stares at him, apparently surprised.

“What?” Jungkook asks.

Taehyung smiles and ruffles his hair affectionately. “Nothin’. It’s just that no one really listens to me--you know how everyone says that I think of weird things. I was just kinda shocked.”

“I listen to you,” Jungkook mumbles quietly, leaning into Taehyung’s hand without meaning to.

“I know you do.” Taehyung pulls his hand away and Jungkook snaps back to his senses. “I’m gonna read the whole thing, okay?”

“All of it?”

“All of it.” He scrolls to the top of the document. “I read slow, so get comfy.”

Jungkook nods and lays down. “I hope you like it.”

“I’m one million percent sure that I will, Kookie.” He pauses. “No, two million percent sure. An infinity percent sure. An infinity and one percent sure.”

Jungkook laughs, chest feeling warm. He can feel Taehyung smiling at him and he looks up.

“Maybe you should take a nap or something,” Taehyung suggests.

“Maybe I should.” Jungkook looks away from him, eyes going down to stare at Taehyung’s hand. He wants to hold it, but he restrains himself. “Will you still be here when I wake up?”

He doesn’t know why it matters, whether Taehyung leaves or if he stays, and he says it so quietly that he isn’t sure Taehyung even hears him in the first place. When he doesn’t get a reply, he figures that he didn’t.

And it’s only when Jungkook’s breathing becomes consistent and deep, his eyes closed, body curled up innocently against Taehyung’s side, does the orange-haired boy respond.

“I’ll always be here.”

 

---

 

Jungkook wakes up to something heavy on his stomach and the sound of sniffling.

He blinks, rubbing sleep out of his eyes with a closed fist, and his vision clears enough for him to realize that Taehyung is fucking straddling him.

And he’s...crying?

“Tae, what are you doing?” he croaks out, voice hoarse. He shifts a little, but Taehyung’s weight pins him to the bed and his mind is starting to short circuit.  “Why are you...on me? And why the hell are you crying?”

“I hate you,” he whispers.

Jungkook’s throat closes up. “What?”

Taehyung points angrily at the laptop that he had placed on Jungkook’s nightstand. “What the fuck was that?”

“Huh?” Jungkook goes to sit up, and Taehyung slides off of him to sit cross-legged at the end of the bed, wiping at the tears on his cheek.

“It started off all funny and nice and then it tore out my fucking heartstrings, Jeon Jungkook what the fuck.

“I’m...sorry?”

“It was so good,” Taehyung says, still wiping at his eyes. “Look at me, sobbing like a baby. Oh my god, that was so beautiful. You called yourself an amateur? This is amazing. I don’t even--I have no words. I’m dead. I’ve died and gone to heaven.”

“You’ll probably go to hell for that unholy costume of yours.”

“Fine. I’ve died and gone to hell,” he says, laugh sounding congested and stuffy. "God, I hate you. I can't believe you wrote that."

"So...you think it's good?"

"Good?" Taehyung gives him an incredulous look. "It's all kinds of fucking awesome, Jungkook! You have to send this into...into wherever people send scripts. This is phenomenal, I swear."

Jungkook sits up and leans against the wall. His smile spreads impossibly wider when Taehyung continues to chatter on about the script, about the complexity of the characters, their development, the uniqueness of the plot and the "fucking incredible plot-twist, holy shit!"

"Can I tell you my theory about the church bells?" Taehyung asks, practically shaking with energy. "I'm gonna tell you even if you say no. Okay, so you know how the main guy Taekwon first hears the bells when he wakes up from his coma? But they technically weren't real bells because they were from the TV, right? Okay, so I think it symbolizes his--are you okay?"

Jungkook looks at him. "Huh?"

"You...look like you're gonna cry."

"What?" Jungkook brings up a hand to rub at his eyes, realizing that there are, in fact, tears. "Whoa. What the hell?"

"Are you okay?" Taehyung repeats, shuffling forwards on the bed. He extends a hand to touch Jungkook's face and his fingers are calloused but gentle, wiping away a tear that managed to escape. "What's up?"

Jungkook swats his hand away impulsively and he regrets it right after. He misses the warmth of Taehyung's hand and he wonders why he just can't accept it when people start being affectionate to him.

"Nothing, sorry. I'm sorry." Jungkook presses the heels of his palms into his eyes and takes a breath. "Sorry," he reiterates. "I dunno why...I don't know..."

Taehyung smiles at him, but it's different this time. Jungkook thinks it's...softer. Not excited and over-exuberant like it usually is, but more genuine. Intimate. Something that only Jungkook has seen.

"Happy tears," Taehyung says. Despite Jungkook pushing him away earlier, he brings his hand back up to brush at his cheek again. "Maybe you're just really happy."

"I guess."

"You're really happy that I like your script."

"Yeah."

Taehyung stares right into his eyes then. He does that often--keeping eye-contact with that intense gaze of his. Jungkook always thinks that Taehyung can see right through him, and what the senior says next makes him think that he really can.

"Do you like someone?"

"...what?"

Taehyung shrugs innocently. "The one-sided love in the script is really...realistic. I could really feel it, ya know? So I was just wondering if you like someone."

Jungkook's mouth is dry and he can hear his heart pounding in his ears. "I...do."

There it is again--that genuine, intimate smile that Jungkook thinks only he has seen.

"Are you gonna confess to them?"

He pauses. "I don't know," he admits.

"Maybe you should."

Jungkook laughs weakly. "Maybe I should." He swallows awkwardly. "Do...you like someone?"

Taehyung looks away from him then. "Yeah."

Jungkook feels a stone drop into his stomach. "Oh."

"I mean, I might. I think so. I don't really know."

Jungkook frowns. "How...how do you not know if you like someone?"

He shrugs again. "I dunno. I've never really..."

"You haven't liked someone before?" Jungkook's surprised.

Taehyung smiles and doesn't answer him. Instead, he repeats, "Maybe you should confess."

Jungkook scoffs. "I don't know," he says again. "Maybe you should confess."

"Maybe I should."

Jungkook doesn't really like that idea. "Maybe I should," he counters stupidly.

"You definitely should."

"You definitely should."

"So you should."

"Maybe I should."

"So are you gonna confess?"

"...no," Jungkook mumbles.

"Huh." Taehyung leans back on his hands. "Then I won't either."

Jungkook doesn't know how to respond to that. Luckily he doesn't have to, because Taehyung suddenly does an absolutely terrible sommersault off of Jungkook's bed, landing in a giggling heap on the floor.

"Let's make some pancakes!" he exclaims, jumping to his feet. His usual smile is back--excited and exuberant, the kind he shows to everyone.

It feels like Jungkook was just slapped in the face with how fast Taehyung switched topics. "What?"

"Pancakes!" He does a weird little dance and then runs out of Jungkook's bedroom, singing some SNSD song as he goes.

Jungkook shakes his head and gets up. He checks the alarm clock on the nightstand and his eyes widen.

"You wanna make pancakes at two in the morning?"

"What better time is there?" Taehyung retorts, the clanging of pans punctuating his words.

Jungkook laughs as he joins him in the kitchen. "There's no better time," he says, grabbing the bag of flour from the cupboard.

As long as it's with you, any time is perfect.

 

---

 

“What the hell!” Hoseok exclaims as he gets hit by a red shell, courtesy of Jungkook. “I was in first place, you dick.” He scowls. “Since when did you get so good at Mario Kart?”

“Taehyung plays it all the time,” Jungkook says, grinning as he wins the race.

“Figures,” Hoseok mumbles, getting up and going towards the kitchen of their dorm. “Wanna drink? Up for some hot chocolate?”

“There’s no more hot chocolate,” the younger replies casually, as he exits out of the game and turns off the Wii.

“What? Why not?” Hoseok frowns. “Didn’t we buy some last week?”

“Taehyung had the bright idea of making waffles with all the hot chocolate powder,” Jungkook explains, waving a dismissive hand.

“Wait...it’s you two who set off the fire-alarm at three AM two days ago, wasn’t it?” the brown-haired boy states. When Jungkook just shrugs, he groans. “You dicks. You told me it was that girl down the hall. I’ve been knocking on her door and then running away before she could answer just to piss her off, oh my god.”

“You were studying for your midterms and we didn’t want you to kick us out,” he defends.

“Kookie,” Hoseok begins, expression suddenly melancholy. “When did ‘me’ become ‘us’ to you?”

“Huh?”

“Whenever you talk about yourself, Taehyung always makes his way into the conversation,” he elaborates.

“Oh.” He blushes. “I didn’t...I don’t mean to do that.”

“I know you don’t.” Hoseok goes over to him, forgetting about the drinks. “Did you confess to him yet?”

Jungkook holds back a sigh. “No,” he murmurs.

“You’ve got to do it soon, Jungkook,” Hoseok says, and he sounds like a concerned mother. “Did you even tell him that you’re leaving?”

Jungkook shifts around awkwardly. “No,” he says again.

Hoseok sighs. “You guys are together almost every single day, he sleeps over here all the time--wait, does he sleep in your bed with you?”

The younger coughs. “He...I offered to go on the couch, but he says it gets really cold and he likes to cuddle.”

“For God’s sake.” Hoseok shakes his head. “You guys are practically dating.” He gives Jungkook a look. “You have to tell him, man. Confess. And tell him about...leaving.”

“I will,” Jungkook assures him. “Soon.”

 

---

 

It’s exactly one year after (properly) meeting each other, and they spend it at Seokjin’s house at yet another one of his parties. They’re in the kitchen, much like last year, eating all of Seokjin’s fruit and telling stories.

Taehyung hands Jungkook a bottle of beer. “Cheers!” he exclaims, clinking his bottle against Jungkook’s. “It’s our one year anniversary!”

The younger glares at him playfully, but his stomach twists. “You make it sound like we’re married, Tae.”

Taehyung laughs. “Oh yeah, did I ever tell you about how Jimin thought we were dating?”

His heart skips a beat. He clears his throat awkwardly. “No, you didn’t. What...what did you tell him?”

Taehyung gives him a weird look. “Hm? What do you mean? Of course I told him that we weren’t.”

“Past tense,” Jungkook points out.

Aren’t. Present tense,” Taehyung corrects himself. “Of course I told him that we aren’t.”

“Of course.” Jungkook laughs weakly.

“No homo, all the bromo,” Taehyung proclaims and Jungkook snorts, giving him a fond smile.

“It’s weird,” Jungkook says.

“Huh?” The orange-haired boy stares at him questioningly.

“Us. We’re weird,” Jungkook elaborates. There’s a bit of deja vu about this moment, and he vaguely remembers having this conversation, but in reverse. He wonders how much Taehyung has rubbed off on him in the year they’ve been together. “Or maybe it’s just me.”

“I think it’s just us,” Taehyung says, and Hoseok’s words ring in Jungkook’s ears.

When did ‘me’ become ‘us’ to you?  Jungkook wants to ask.

He doesn’t.

“But what’s weird?” Taehyung presses on.

“We’re in the kitchen eating grapes and everyone else is dancing,” Jungkook points out. He adds a silent or making out at the end of it. Guess which one I wanna do.

Taehyung hums, thinking. Then he asks, “Wanna dance?”

Jungkook’s heart thuds at the offer and he immediately blurts, “No.” He curses inwardly.

“Yeah, I knew you’d say that,” Taehyung says. “You don’t like dancing with a bunch of strangers.” He pauses. “Maybe we should get out of here and have a dance party just for us.”

The suggestion has Jungkook reeling. Just for us? he thinks. As in, just us two? Alone?

It’s not like he’s nervous about being alone with Taehyung. Hell, they’ve become so close that not being with Taehyung makes him feel like something’s missing and being alone with him is as natural as breathing.

But tonight’s the night that Jungkook decided to tell him.

“Maybe we should,” Jungkook responds.

Taehyung meets his eyes and smiles. “We definitely should.”

 

---

 

They trudge through the snow with heavy boots and long scarves wrapped tightly around their necks. Taehyung thinks Jungkook looks absolutely adorable in his big puffy jacket and beanie, and he stares at him in adoration as his nose starts to turn red.

“You’re like Rudolph,” Taehyung comments and Jungkook glares at him.

“Where are we going, anyway?” Jungkook asks.

They’re off of campus now. The streets are dark and it’s cold, but the way Taehyung keeps looking at him makes Jungkook feel warm.

“Wherever our feet take us,” Taehyung replies dramatically.

Jungkook just smiles.

They walk for what feels like ages, talking about nothing and everything. Taehyung slips on ice twice in the span of three minutes, successfully dragging Jungkook down the second time. They end up having an impromptu snowball fight too, snow ending up down Jungkook’s jacket and in Taehyung’s hair. Their laughs are loud and irrepressible, their breaths heavy and panting, visible against the winter air.

“This is cheating!” Taehyung shrieks out as Jungkook lifts him up and throws him into a pile of snow. They’ve stopped at an old playground where two swings are rocking gently in the wind, pieces of red underneath the white of the snow barely noticeable on the plastic slide.

“How’s that cheating?” Jungkook puffs out, grinning. “Not my fault I’m stronger than you.”

Taehyung pouts and holds out an arm. Jungkook rolls his eyes and grabs his hand to help him up, but Taehyung pulls him down with him instead. He hits the snow with a soft thud and he scowls.

“Asshole,” he murmurs.

“Love you too, Kookie,” Taehyung laughs.

The words make Jungkook gulp and butterflies start up in his stomach again. He wonders if he should get up, because he’s scared that Taehyung will hear his heartbeat if he lays so close, but he doesn’t move. Taehyung doesn’t move either, and so they lay there in the snow, gazing up at the sky.

“I’m gonna miss you, Tae,” Jungkook whispers, half hoping that he doesn’t get heard, but of course he does, because Taehyung hears every single word Jungkook says. He hears every single word he doesn’t say too, except for the most important ones, it seems.

Taehyung sits up and looks down at him. “What?”

“I’m gonna miss you,” he repeats quietly.

The orange-haired boy looks concerned. “Why? Where are you going?”

Jungkook forces a smile. “America.”

What!?” Taehyung shouts, eyes wide. “You’re...what? Are you serious? If you’re fucking with me, I’m shoving an entire snowball into your mouth, I’m not even joking.”

He shakes his head and Taehyung looks like he just got slapped in the face. His shoulders slump and he lays back down beside Jungkook.

“Why?” he asks, voice strained.

“You know how I told you that my mom was sick?” When he nods, his head making a crunching sound against the thick snow, Jungkook continues. “It’s...I never went into details about her with anyone, so you’re one of the first to know, but she’s...really sick. And apparently there’s this specialist in America that can help her. The survival rate isn’t that high...it’s only forty percent, but...you know. It’s better than nothing.”

“Oh, Jungkook. I’m so sorry.” Taehyung grabs the other’s hand. Their gloved fingers intertwine naturally and Jungkook’s mind is swirling with thoughts; his mom, moving to another continent, and Taehyung, Taehyung, Taehyung. “I’m so sorry.”

Jungkook wants to cry. “Yeah.”

Taehyung’s grip on his hand tightens. “I’m...I’m gonna miss you too,” he whispers. “How long are you gonna be gone?”

“I don’t know. A while, probably.” Jungkook turns his head to the side to face Taehyung and his breath catches in his throat when they end up centimetres apart. He can count the number of eyelashes Taehyung has when they’re this close, can see the snowflakes that stick to his eyebrows. He doesn’t turn away and neither does Taehyung.

“Are you gonna come back?” Taehyung asks, breath warm against Jungkook’s cheek. His voice comes out low and scratchy and the younger wonders if he’s trying not to cry too.

“I don’t know,” he admits. “I want to. I hope so.”

“I hope so too.”

There’s no better time than now to confess, Jungkook thinks. He takes a deep breath.

“Taehyung, I--”

“Don’t.”

A stone lodges in Jungkook's throat. “What?”

Taehyung closes his eyes and presses their foreheads together. “Don’t," he repeats.

“Don’t what? You don’t even know what I’m going to say,” Jungkook retorts hotly.

“Yes I do.” Taehyung sighs and all Jungkook wants to do is close the rest of the space between them and kiss him, but Taehyung’s words are scaring him. “I know.”

“No you don’t. You don’t know anything,” Jungkook says. “This entire time, I’ve--”

“Jungkook!” Taehyung shouts, and it shuts him up effectively. “I know. I know. Just don’t say it. Please.”

He feels frustrated and confused and now he really wants to cry and Jungkook can’t bare to look at him anymore. He sits up and stares up at the dark sky that’s a thousand times more peaceful than the painful riot going on in his heart. He forces his tears back and his throat feels tight, burning each time he takes a breath.

“Why not?” he demands, tone harsh. “Why can’t I say it?”

“Because you’re gonna say it like it’s the last time you ever will,” Taehyung mumbles. “I don’t want it to be the last time. We’re gonna see each other again, after you come back from America, and then you can say it.”

Jungkook sighs, exasperated. “Taehyung, I don’t even know if I’m coming ba--”

“No,” he cuts in. “You are. Or I’m--I’m going there, or we’ll meet somewhere in the middle or something, I don’t fucking know, but we’re going to see each other again so don’t you fucking tell me anything and just wait until...wait until I’m an actor. I’ll be an actor and I’ll travel the world and if you’re still stuck in America, I’m going to come get you.” His words turn into a choked slur at the end and Jungkook thinks he’s crying. He’s too scared to look.

“Taehyung…”

“I’m being serious,” he remarks, sitting up beside Jungkook. “Look at me, Kookie. I’m wearing my serious face.” He says it so lightheartedly that Jungkook actually dares to take a glance, and the moment he turns his head to face him, Taehyung presses a kiss onto his forehead.

“You’re ridiculous,” Jungkook mutters, but he knows for a fact that he probably looks like a tomato.

“I know,” Taehyung says, wrapping an arm around Jungkook’s shoulders. “I know.” There’s a double-meaning behind his words and Jungkook sighs, melting into the elder’s embrace.

“Are you gonna wait for me?” he asks quietly.

“Of course I will,” Taehyung assures him, and Jungkook rests his head on his shoulder. "I promise."

A few moments of silence pass. Then: “Tae?”

“Yeah?”

“I think...maybe you should kiss me.”

“Maybe I should.”

“You definitely should.”

 

---

 

“Aww, if it isn’t our little movie star,” Jimin says, clapping dramatically as Taehyung enters his apartment. “I thought you’d have already forgotten about us measly, unworthy peasants.”

“You’re my favourite measly, unworthy peasant, Jiminie,” Taehyung jokes, going up to his best friend and enveloping him in a hug. He pulls back quickly, staring in astonishment. “Holy shit, what’s with all this muscle? Where is squishy Park Jimin? Did you eat him and turn his bones into a six pack?”

Jimin giggles. “I’m a dance teacher, remember? I gotta keep fit.” He flexes his biceps for emphasis.

“He’s almost as bad as Seokjin-hyung,” Hoseok notes, trailing in from behind Taehyung.

“Okay, that’s offensive,” Jimin says, pouting. “Seokjin-hyung is a narcissist.”

“Excuse me, but have you seen your own Instagram?” Seokjin comes in right after Hoseok, designer sunglasses perched neatly on his nose. He closes the door behind him. “All you have are shirtless pics of your abs and you smirking like a complete asshole.”

Taehyung scoffs. “Hyung, you’re literally an underwear model. You do that for a living."

Seokjin dismisses this fact breezily and sits back on Jimin’s couch.

“Man, I missed you guys a lot,” Hoseok notes, sitting beside Seokjin as Taehyung helps Jimin bring out the snacks. “I haven’t seen any of you in ages.”

“You see me every day,” Taehyung points out as he places a bowl of chips on the table.

“I’m your manager so it doesn’t count,” Hoseok says. “I missed Jimin.”

Seokjin raises his eyebrows.

“And sometimes Seokjin-hyung.”

“I gave you free underwear, Jung Hoseok. Those were Armani.

“Yes yes, thank you, I love you,” Hoseok states flatly, reaching over to pick up a Dorito. When Seokjin slaps his leg, he laughs. “I’m kidding, don’t worry hyung. How could I not miss the guy I got high with every Saturday night during college?”

Seokjin sighs as he remembers. “We had so much weed.”

Jimin rolls his eyes as he brings over a pack of coca-cola. “Are you guys done reminiscing about being high or?” When Hoseok throws a pillow at him, he catches it and laughs. “What movie do you guys wanna watch?”

“I vote for Hold Me Tight,” Seokjin says, raising a hand.

Taehyung groans. “Hyung, please. You know I hate watching movies where I’m the main character. It’s boring.”

“Aw, c’mon,” he whines. “It’s the movie that turned you into a star overnight. It's good.”

“Doesn't Tae have a bed scene in that?” Jimin recalls. When Taehyung says yes, he grimaces. “Yeah, let’s not watch Taehyungie getting all hot and heavy on my TV. Let’s watch something else.”

“Avengers!” Hoseok shouts excitedly.

“Avengers!” Jungkook yelled, tugging Taehyung down onto the couch beside him. “Come on, watch it with me!"

“We watched this movie, like, fifty times,” Taehyung complained. To be honest, he didn’t really mind. How could he, when Jungkook was pouting so cutely in front of him?

“Fifty times is not enough,” Jungkook deadpanned, as Taehyung flopped onto the couch. He rested his head onto the younger boy’s lap, pretended he didn’t notice the way the younger's muscles locked up. “You know there’s plenty of room on the couch, right?”

“Your thigh is comfy.”

“You’re ridiculous.”

“I know.” Taehyung groaned when Jungkook clicked on Avengers. “C’mon, let’s watch something else. Spider-Man. The Incredible Hulk. Up.”

“I am not watching Up with you again, oh my God.” Taehyung could feel the warmth of Jungkook’s hand hovering just over his side, as if he were contemplating on whether or not it would be okay for him to put it there. “You cried so hard the first ten minutes.”

“It was an emotional movie, and I am an emotional man,” Taehyung defended. “Why are you so obsessed with Avengers anyway?”

“It’s good,” Jungkook answered easily. “Besides, Iron Man is great in this one.”

“You’re so obsessed with Iron Man.” It sounded like a complaint, and Jungkook raised his eyebrows at him, smirking slightly.

“You jealous?” he quipped jokingly.

“Of a superhero billionaire who saves the world? Of course not,” Taehyung responded sarcastically. “If you had to choose: me or Iron Man?”

Jungkook laughed, slapping Taehyung on the shoulder. “What kind of dumb question is that?”

“Just answer it!”

It took him a full fifteen seconds to respond. “Obviously you,” he said finally. “You’re real. Why would I choose a character out of a comic book over a real human being?”

Taehyung flipped so he’d be laying on his back and hits Jungkook lightly on the underside of his chin. “Because Iron Man is super cool and I’m ridiculous and weird.”

“I like ridiculous and weird.” Jungkook cleared his throat awkwardly, Taehyung grinning when he saw the pink at the tips of his ears. “I mean--”

“Good,” Taehyung interjected, cutting off Jungkook’s flustered excuse for...whatever he was trying to cover up. “You should like me better than Iron Man anyway.”

“Should I?”

“You definitely should.”

“Tae?” Jimin asks, snapping his fingers in front of his face. “You good with Avengers or what?”

“Huh?” The actor gives himself a shake. “Yeah, sorry. I just...zoned out.”

Jimin shrugs and puts the movie on.

They’re at the part where Black Widow is talking to Loki in the prison cell thing when Hoseok’s phone goes off, causing everyone to jump.

“Who is it?” Taehyung asks. He can’t see the number from where he’s sitting beside Jimin, Hoseok on the other side, and he looks at his manager curiously.

“I dunno,” he says. “Unknown number. Maybe someone’s offering you a role; I better take this.” He gets up and is making his way to the kitchen for some privacy, but he abruptly freezes right in front of the TV.

“Outta the way,” Seokjin whines, but the look on Hoseok’s face has him pausing. “What is it?”

Hoseok holds a finger up to his mouth and Jimin goes to pause the movie.

“Oh, yeah, okay,” Hoseok says into the receiver, nodding even though the person on the other end of the line can’t see him. “I’ll tell him. Send over the script when it's done so he can look it over. Okay, thank you. Yes. Thank you very much. Okay, bye.”

“Who was it?” Taehyung questions. His voice is nonchalant as he takes a sip of his Coke, but everyone else in the room knows what he’s really thinking.

“It’s...it was just some Japanese director,” he replies. “Sorry. For a second I thought he sounded like...sorry.”

“What’re you saying sorry for?” Taehyung muses, but the dejection in his voice is evident. “I just got offered a role! By a Japanese director!” He grins. “It better not be some weird rated R thing or something.”

Hoseok laughs as he sits back down. “I’m sure it’s not anything too weird, Taehyung.”

“That’s what you said about Jump, but I ended up doing some really weird shit, man. Weird for me, and that’s saying something. I didn’t even know my leg could bend that--”

“Okay! Let’s turn the movie back on,” Jimin says quickly, and Seokjin laughs as he unpauses it.

Hoseok still looks a little guilty and he turns to Taehyung to give him a sheepish grin. “Sorry,” he repeats quietly. “I really...I just really thought it was him for a second.”

Taehyung smiles. “It’s okay. I’m okay.”

He’s not okay.

 

---

 

It’s been almost five years since Taehyung’s last seen Jungkook. Four years since they had their last Skype call--it was difficult picking a time when Taehyung wasn’t looking for work or Jungkook didn’t have to study (plus the time difference). It’s been two years since they’ve had any sort of contact at all, because Jungkook stopped replying to any of his texts, phone calls, messages and letters without an explanation. It’s been one year since Taehyung gave up on sending him anything, feeling rejected and forgotten.

And it’s in December, when the snow is falling and the air is cold, that Taehyung misses Jungkook the most.

On days like this, he goes on Omegle.

It’s stupid, he knows--he’s turning twenty-seven in about a few weeks and he’s going on fucking Omegle, but he doesn’t care.

“Tae~” Jimin sings as he lets himself into Taehyung’s suite. “I brought you some of my mom’s barbecue because I know how much you like it.” He sees Taehyung at the dining table, hunched over his laptop and he sighs. “Tae, what are you doing?”

“Omegling.”

“I wasn’t aware that that was a word.”

“It is now,” Taehyung replies without missing a beat. “I’m going on spy mode this time. What question should I ask?”

“Ooh, fun.” Jimin puts the container of barbecue onto the kitchen table and runs over to him. He pulls over a chair, staring down at the screen. “Ask if they were alive when minions were a big thing.”

“Okay.” Taehyung types it in, a childish grin pulling at his lips as he presses enter. Two strangers connect to each other immediately.

Stranger 1: whats a minion

Stranger 2: an aboMINATION

Stranger 2 has disconnected

“Well.” Jimin leans back in his chair. “That was anticlimactic.”

“I think the question was just lame,” Taehyung says. “You need something to get people thinking. Like, what’s the weirdest thing you’ve put your dick in?

“Tae, I don’t think that’s--” His friend clicks enter before he can finish his sentence.

Stranger 2: i don’t have a dick.

Stranger 1: UR MOM

Stranger 2 has disconnected

“Strangers on the internet are rude,” Jimin comments.

Taehyung waves a dismissive hand. “It’s all for good fun, Jiminie.” He asks the same question and waits.

Stranger 1: wtf i just got this question

Stranger 2: i dont have a dick

Stranger 1: neither do i! high 5

Stranger 2: cant we just change it to ‘whats the weirdest thing you’ve put in your vagina’

Stranger 1: oh true

Stranger 1: for me it’d prob be…

“Abort mission, abort mission!” Taehyung’s wails, escaping out of the question frantically.

Jimin is covering his eyes and whimpering. “Just ask a normal question!”

Taehyung giggles. “Should I ask them to do a sexy roleplay?”

At that, Jimin sobers up. He gives his best friend a look and Taehyung knows what it means immediately. He scoffs, shaking his head.

“C’mon Jiminie, not everything’s about Jung--” He pauses abruptly, throat constricting at the name. He coughs and tries again. “Not everything’s about Jungkook.”

Jimin doesn’t say anything to that, and Taehyung takes it as permission to go on. He types in do a sexy roleplay please into the question box and sends it in.

Stranger 2 is typing...

Stranger 1 has disconnected

“Wow, lame,” Taehyung says, pouting. He asks it again.

Stranger 1: yeaaaahhh baby

Stranger 2 has disconnected

“People are no fun!” he cries out, sending the question a third time.

Stranger 1:

Stranger 1: i havent gotten this question in like 6 years lol

Stranger 2 has disconnected

Taehyung and Jimin turn to each other with wide eyes.

“That’s gotta be a coincidence, right?” Taehyung says, laughing lightly. “It’s four in the afternoon here so it’d be, like, four in the morning in America, right? He wouldn’t be on at four AM. Well, I mean, I guess he could be, but what are the chances of that being Jungkook, am I right?” He laughs again, but Jimin thinks he might be going a bit hysterical. “And six is just a random number hahaha, they were probably just exaggerating anyway. Honestly, what are the chances, right? I mean, I know I said that before I actually met Jungkook after talking to him on Omegle, but like, I guess anything is possible. But still, the probability of that actually being Jungkook is really low, but life’s funny that way, I guess. Still, though, do you think maybe--”

“Taehyung,” Jimin cuts in, putting a hand on his shoulder. “Stop.”

He takes a deep breath, calms his thoughts. “Sorry. Sorry Jiminie, I just thought…”

“Yeah, I know.”

“I just hoped…” He frowns, and then mumbles, “It’s our sixth year anniversary of becoming friends. I thought a miracle might happen or something.”

Jimin pats his head affectionately, like a mother would do to a child. “I’m sorry, Tae.”

“Yeah. Thanks Jimin.”

“No homo, all the bromo,” Jimin states proudly.

Taehyung grins.

 

---

 

“Hoseok? I’m actually right in front of his apartment right now; I can ask him for you,” Taehyung says into his phone.

“Awesome!” Seokjin exclaims. “If he says no, tell him that I’ll be forcing him to come anyway. Talk to you later, Taehyung.”

“Yup,” he responds, before bringing a hand up to knock on Hoseok’s door.

It takes a few seconds for Hoseok to answer, and he too has a phone against his ear. He looks a bit startled to see Taehyung there and he says a quick, “Hey, I’ll talk to you later, I’ve got company,” into his phone and then hangs up.

“Who was that?” Taehyung asks, walking into Hoseok’s place like he lives there.

“Just...Yoongi,” he replies. “He found a video that a fan put up of you singing at some fanmeet and now he wants to know if you wanna be part of the soundtrack to that Japanese movie I told you about.”

“Wait, Min Yoongi from college?” Taehyung whistles. “Wow, I haven’t heard from him since Jimin got into his pants senior year. Isn’t he a big shot producer now? And he wants to put me in the soundtrack?” Hoseok nods and Taehyung looks impressed. “That’s amazeballs.” He takes a seat at the kitchen table. “But I don’t even know if I wanna do that Japanese movie though. But being in a soundtrack does sound pretty cool…”

“Want my opinion?” Hoseok asks.

“Always.” Taehyung holds up a hand. “I take that back. Last time when you told me your opinion on those pants I bought a week ago--”

“Tae, they were neon orange--”

“Still, your opinion wasn’t necessary then,” Taehyung remarks. “But it is now. Tell me.”

“I think you should do it.”

“Maybe I should,” Taehyung notes. In the back of his mind, he can hear Jungkook’s voice going, “maybe you should” and he finishes the familiar conversation out loud. “I definitely should.”

Hoseok seems a little surprised that he gave in so easily, but he smiles nonetheless. “Great! They don’t exactly know when filming is gonna start though. They’re thinking of scrapping the script they have now and writing a new one, but keeping the basic plot the same. I don’t really know what’s going on, to be honest...but the director’s good, so it seems promising.”

“Oh, that’s fine,” Taehyung replies breezily. “Seokjin-hyung wanted me to tell you to come to Okinawa with us next week anyway. Delayed filming is just what we need!”

 

---

 

When Taehyung doesn’t meet Jimin at his apartment on the morning of their flight like he said he would, Jimin texts him.

And calls him.

Leaves him an entire slew of impatient messages that progressively get more and more worried until Jimin opts to go to Taehyung’s place instead.

He reaches the top floor of the apartment building and knocks on the penthouse suite urgently.

“Taehyung? Taehyung!” he scowls and tries to remember the keycode to unlock the door. He rolls his eyes when he remembers that it’s just 0000 and lets himself in. Simplicity is best, he remembers Taehyung saying.

“Taehyung, where are you?” he calls out, leaving his shoes at the doorway. “Tae?”

“Jimin?” his voice is coming from his bedroom and Jimin rushes over.

“Tae, what are you doing?” Jimin asks, catching sight of his best friend. Taehyung’s sitting on the floor, his phone in hand, eyes red. “Are you crying? What happened?”

Taehyung sniffles, wiping his nose on his sleeve. “Nothin’.”

Jimin sighs and sits next to him. “I know it’s not nothing.” He takes his cellphone out of his hands and looks at it. “Taehyung, I told you to stop looking at pictures of him.”

“They’re not pictures,” Taehyung snaps, snatching back his phone. “They’re his stupid dubsmash videos and I just miss his stupid face. But I’m so...I’m so fucking mad at him at the same time. It’s frustrating. He’s frustrating. Life is frustrating.” He wipes aggressively at his tears.

Jimin’s face softens. He moves closer to him and starts to rub soothing circles on Taehyung’s back with his palm. “Hey, it’s okay, it’s okay…”

“I said I’d become an actor and come find him in America after,” Taehyung continues, still crying, but his voice is stronger now as he lets out his anger. “And I really was going to, once I got enough money. But then he just stopped returning my messages, my letters, my texts...and now I don’t even know where he is and I don’t know what the fuck I did and now I’m just…I’m so stupid, Jimin.”

“You’re not stupid, Tae.”

“But I am!” he wails. “I’m so fucking stupid. I should’ve...I don’t know. I promised that I’d wait for him, but...I just realized that he never promised to wait for me. What if I’m waiting for nothing? What if he’s really never coming back and I’ve just wasted years of my life pining over someone I was in love with in college?

“And it hurts every time I remember that night, you know? That night when I told him not to tell me that he loved me because I was so scared of never seeing him again and I didn’t want that to be the last time he ever said it to me, but fuck I’m so stupid. Now I’m never going to hear him say it with his own voice.” He sniffles again and looks down at his phone. “Look.”

Taehyung taps a finger on one of the videos and Jimin stares intently. It’s not a weird, animal voice-over like the ones he usually sees. This time, Jungkook is mouthing over some English song that Jimin vaguely recognizes.

I’m in love with you, and all these little things.

“He sent that to me right before he left,” Taehyung says. There’s no stopping his tears now and he doesn’t even bother to wipe them away. “Because I was stupid and told him not to tell me. So he did a fucking dubsmash video of it instead.” He chokes up again and cries into his sleeve. “Oh my god, Jimin, I’m such a mess.”

“Hey, bro, c’mon,” he coos gently. “You’re a hot mess, that’s gotta count for something,” he says and Taehyung giggles through his sobs. “I’m kidding, actually. You look terrible when you cry.” He pats at Taehyung’s head. “So stop crying, Tae. We’re going to Okinawa today, remember?”

“I know,” he replies, his stuffy nose making his voice thick. “I just...while we were in university, I remember us planning out a vacation. We were gonna go to Okinawa too. That’s why I started looking over all of our stuff and...” He trails off.

Jimin sighs and pulls Taehyung in for a hug. “When I see Jeon Jungkook again, I’m gonna beat his ass for making you cry so much.”

Taehyung ignores the small twinge of hope he gets when Jimin says when and not if. He laughs weakly. “I’ll help.”

 

---

 

“Ahhh, this is so nice~” Hoseok leans back in his beach chair, angling his head up in order to soak up the sun.

“Mmhmm,” Seokjin sounds in agreement. He’s in the chair right next to Hoseok, an umbrella shielding him from the heat. He sips on a pina colada and exhales dreamily. “I wish I lived here.” He sits up a bit and then tilts his sunglasses downwards. “Where did Taehyung and Jimin go?”

“They’re being five year olds in the water,” Hoseok replies, and Seokjin looks out towards the ocean where, indeed, Taehyung and Jimin were splashing water at each other and giggling like toddlers.

“It’s good that he’s smiling again,” Seokjin says. “He scared the crap out of me when he showed up at the airport, all swollen eyes and stuffy nose. Even my amazing makeup powers wouldn’t be able to fix him up.” He turns to Hoseok then, gaze searching. “Have you heard from...?” He lets his sentence trail off.

Hoseok nods slightly and Seokjin’s eyes widen.

“Not directly,” Hoseok explains quickly. “The director for the Japanese movie told me about him.”

“Wait, what?” He sits up straighter in his chair, astonished. “Do you mean...the new writer of the script is…”

“Yeah.” Hoseok grins. “It’s him. He’s coming to Japan.”

“Oh my god,” Seokjin whispers. “Oh my god, Hoseok. Is he coming right now? To Okinawa?”

“Whatcha guys doing?” Taehyung calls out as he bounds over to them, water dripping off his body. He’s going towards his bag to get his towel when his phone starts to ring. He picks it up and stares at the unknown number in confusion.

“I think he’s already here,” Hoseok utters under his breath to Seokjin, just as Taehyung answers the phone.

 

---

 

“Hello?” he says.

“Is...is this Kim Taehyung?”

Taehyung’s heart stops. Is he hearing things? He must be hearing things. He hasn’t heard from Jungkook in years, after all; he must be going crazy. This is all just his imagination. Maybe this happened in a dubsmash video and he’s just being delusional.

But when the man on the other line says, “Hello? Tae?” Taehyung can’t deny himself anymore. Even if this is a hallucination, he’s going to get the best out of it.

“Y-yes?”

“It’s...me.”

Of course it’s him. Taehyung could never forget Jungkook’s voice and his throat constricts and it gets hard to breathe. He whispers, “I know.”

“I’m here.”

“What?”

“In Okinawa,” Jungkook goes on. “I became a writer, Tae. I really did it. I’m the new writer for that movie you’re going to be in and the director lives here and said he wanted to meet up, said that he heard from Hoseok that you guys are gonna be here too, so...I came.”

Taehyung can’t seem to process what’s going on. He repeats a weak, “What?”

Jungkook giggles on the other end of line. “I’m here, Tae. I'm here. Actually, I think I can see you. Are you wearing neon pink swimming trunks?” Taehyung whirls around on the spot, searching along the beach for him. Jungkook laughs again. “You’re ridiculous.”

No one’s called Taehyung ridiculous in years.

“Where are you?” Taehyung asks, and he doesn’t even try to hide the desperation in his voice. “I want to see you. Where are you?”

“To your left,” Jungkook replies. “On the dock. Do you see me?”

Taehyung turns towards the wooden dock and squints, breath held as he searches.

And then he sees him, sitting on the edge of the dock, waving a hand into the air. His hair is different--brown and neatly styled, not black and messy like it was during college. But even from far away, Taehyung recognizes his face. The face of the man he fell in love with, all those years ago. The face of the man he's still in love with, even after all of those years apart. It's the face of the man he'll be in love with for many more years to come and he can barely believe his eyes.

“Oh my god,” Taehyung whispers into his phone. “It’s really you. It's really really you.”

“It’s really really me.” Jungkook stops waving and Taehyung watches as the younger gets to his feet. “And I think...maybe I should go over there and tell you how much I still love you.”

Taehyung has a watery smile on his face. “Maybe you should.”

“Maybe I should.”

“You definitely should.”

A laugh. “I definitely should.”