Chapter 1: new neighbor
yoongi groans and rolls over. there’s too much noise outside; the sound of shuffling, loud voices, and boxes being moved. there’s someone moving in next door, but it’s like, ass o-clock in the morning -
he checks his phone. it’s actually twelve, but that’s early enough. he groans and when the sounds of furniture screeching across the floor registers, he swears and nearly catapults himself out of bed.
there’s not much to do except storm to the hallway and give the movers a piece of his mind. what he doesn’t expect, however, is his other neighbor - park jimin - chatting amiably to some guy in work clothes, laughing all the while.
jimin catches sight of him right away and smiles wide. he’s too bright to look at; yoongi grumbles and turns away as jimin bounds up to him. “morning, hyung! did you just wake up? wow, it’s been like….three hours since morning started.”
“it isn’t morning until the sun sets,” yoongi snarks.
jimin continues on blithely, untouched by yoongi’s grouch. “we’re having a new neighbor today! he’s so young, he’s just come out of uni, and he’s such a nice person to talk to!! hyung, you should go over and say hi, maybe. they’ve got most of the living room, bedroom, and kitchen done, but there’s still much more to do - “ jimin points to the guy he was talking to before, skinny and grinning beneath his green-tinted bangs, “ - taehyung said that just a couple more hours and jungkook will have all his furniture settled in. that’s the name of the new kid, jungkook! he’s so cute hyung, he looks like a little bunny.”
jimin’s barely done with his tirade when yoongi feels the headache coming on. when yoongi sighs and presses a hand to his temple, jimin is still talking. “listen - “
“ - and taehyung says that he bakes; i tried one of his banana-melon breads and it was so good, hyung, i’m going to become jungkook’s new best friend for the benefits - “
“listen,” yoongi stresses, “shut up for a second, park jimin. i don’t care. just make the noise stop.”
jimin pauses. “hyung, you know that’s impossible. they have to get all of it done today or else it’ll go on for the next week, and i highly doubt you want that.”
“ugh, oh my god,” yoongi groans.
“it’s time for you to get up, anyway,” jimin says primly. “how long are you going to sleep the day away, huh? you nocturnal animal. come on, hyung, at least change your clothes before you go outside.” yoongi barely notes that he’s gone into the hallway in his old college t-shirt and sweatpants. his hair is probably a mess. “have you eaten a proper meal in a while?”
yoongi huffs. the last thing he ate was convenience store ramen, but jimin doesn’t need to know that. “look, kid, i’m nearly twenty-six, i don’t need your help, okay? i can take care of myself fine.”
jimin eyes him. “if you’re sure,” he says dubiously. “but at least come over? jungkook says that he’s inviting everyone over for a welcome dinner around sevenish at his apartment. he’ll be bringing food, so it’ll just be me, you, seokjin-hyung and namjoon-hyung.”
seokjin and namjoon live in the fourth apartment on this floor. yoongi groans. “no, i’m going to be working then.”
“that’s a shame,” says a new voice. yoongi turns around and forgets how to say words for a second. “i really wanted to meet everyone.”
“jungkook!” jimin beams, bounding over to put an arm over jungkook’s shoulders. “don’t worry about yoongi-hyung, he’s just a big grizzly bear. he’ll come. besides, taehyung says that you make a mean stew!”
jungkook looks young, with rounded cheeks and doe eyes. yoongi swallows but his throat is dry. he has an overbite when he smiles that makes yoongi’s knees weak. “thanks, hyung,” jungkook tells jimin. he turns to yoongi and then bows down, ninety-degrees, hands folded. “hello, nice to meet you; my name is jeon jungkook and i live next to you now. please take care of me.”
when yoongi doesn’t say anything for a beat, jimin gives him a raised eyebrow. his face, slowly settling into a knowing smirk, makes something burn in yoongi that snaps him out of his reverie. “min yoongi,” he admits, ignoring the way that his voice has gone a little kinder. “nice to - nice to meet you too. please take care of me.”
jungkook smiles. “so will you come today, yoongi-ssi?”
yoongi hides a flush at how his name sounds like from jungkook’s voice. “yeah, sure,” he says, practically mumbling. “i’ve gotta - i gotta go and - do something real quick. bye.”
he retreats into his apartment, hearing jimin burst out into laughter in the hallway. he also hears jungkook asking curiously, “hyung?” and jimin answering, “it’s gonna be great having you here, jungkook-ah.”
yoongi hides his face in his hands. he can feel the future disasters already.
Chapter 2: boyfriend tag
in which yoongi and jungkook are youtubers (x)
jungkook fixes the camera on on the tripod, frowning at the lens. he stretches his sleeve so that he can wipe at the camera, making sure there’s no spots, before he sighs.
he takes a moment to himself to breathe in deeply. he feels too weird, too open, pulling down at his sleeves and then his beanie to cover every part of him. idols do this all the time, he reminds himself. so what, he’s only eighteen, there are idols at that age! and he’s doing well - so well - in his recent classes at his school of performing arts that his teachers have all praised him on his technique and unique voice.
and, alright, he may have a slight fear of the stage, but that’s to be expected. he’s never really done anything like sing in front of a crowd to anyone but his own board of school teachers, friends, and classmates - people he’s been around for years.
jimin was the one to give him the great idea of singing something and putting it online. it’s a start, he said,because it’ll let other people hear your singing and then you won’t feel as nervous either. try it! jimin, with his lack of fear on stages and big, bright smile, had convinced jungkook to try it out. he even gave jungkook his tripod and his camera on loan for his first video.
but now, looking at the blank, dark camera, he feels flushed and unsure. his face feels too bare and he feels too young.
pushing aside all his insecurities, jungkook clears his throat. he crosses his arms and says to the camera, “hi. my name is jeon jungkook, and i’m eighteen. i go to seoul’s school of performing arts. today i’m covering zion t.’s yanghwa bridge.”
jungkook closes his eyes and keeps silent for a second. he’s doing this with no musical accompaniment, although he knows he could do so on the guitar or the piano - somehow, just his voice seems better. he imagines that he’s talking to jimin, or taehyung, and breathes in. with another exhale, he starts singing.
there’s something special about singing for jungkook - it’s freeing, liberating. he puts his entire soul into songs and hopes that everyone can hear him that way, when words themselves never seem to work out. he doesn’t stop singing, not to catch his breath or to let fear crawl it’s way up his spine. he smiles and sings, and sings and smiles. there’s nothing and no one to stop him.
when he finishes, his voice trails off at the very end. jungkook opens his eyes and comes face to face with the camera. although there’s no one on the other side, his face flickers downward out of habit and he smiles to himself, once, just privately.
he uploads the video, unwilling to replay it to see how he did - because that was a sure fire way to spiral down a whirlpool of self-criticism - and he sends it to jimin. i’ll take care of editing it, and putting it up on your account, jimin had told him, showing him jungkook’s fresh youtube account. trust me, jungkookie!
he makes himself a bowl of ramen while watching music bank, wondering if anyone will see it at all.
yoongi is working on his finals project when namjoon comes by to bother him. they’re in one of the school studios, playing around with the equipment; yoongi is this close to throwing something at the wall, and namjoon’s on his phone in the background, feet kicked up against the table.
this is always how they manage to work something great out; before that, however, there always seems to be a couple hours of frustration that goes into their work before the end product magically appears.
yoongi groans, running a hand through his redyed blond hair, when namjoon lets out a low whistle. he has one earbud in his ear, eyebrows raised to his pink roots.
“what?” yoongi snaps, not feeling up to playing games. namjoon should be working, dammit, not looking at stupid cat videos.
“this one kid on youtube, man,” namjoon says, sounding flat-out impressed, “he’s got some mad skill. like, whoa.”
yoongi scowls. “listen, we should be working on our own shit, not just fucking around with some kid - “
“man, yoongs, you gotta listen to this though,” namjoon swings his legs down. “seriously, his music sense is killer - wait, lemme put him up on the computer screen - “
so yoongi steps aside, grumpy, as namjoon works open youtube and types a channel name in the search bar:jeonjkook. most of the videos, from the thumbnails, have one guy sitting in what seems like the walls of his room. oh god, he thinks to himself despairingly.
“just listen,” namjoon says knowingly, and he clicks on a cover of an english video.
to his utter embarrassment, what yoongi notices first is that the kid is cute. extremely, awfully cute. he’s got doe eyes and an overbite when he smiles, pretty hands and thick dark hair. already he’s feeling worse because he can’t handle attractive people like that, okay.
but then - then the kid opens his mouth and sings.
and holy shit, can he sing.
he has a sweet voice that hits a number of ranges in the vocal scale; his face moves the expressions, looking up at the camera and then looking down at his hands and then he moves his entire body with a large note comes up. he looks like singing is the easiest thing in the world for him; when he looks at the camera, yoongi feels like he’s staring beyond him, beyond everyone and everyone in his own world. he looks like someone who loves music down to the bone.
yoongi’s in awe of it, of this kid who barely looks like he’s out of his teens (even with those shoulders) and he doesn’t say anything when namjoon clicks on another video smugly.
this one looks a little different; he’s in a different room, more wider and spacious, with good acoustics. he’s wearing a school uniform makes yoongi way too uncomfortable holy fuck o-kay, yoongi, not thinking about thatno. there’s a moment before some else joins him, a redhead who’s wearing regular street clothes, and he hands the kid a guitar.
namjoon lets this one play from the beginning instead of skipping the beginning. the kid takes the guitar and strums it easily. he smiles at the camera, his bangs falling across his face. “hello, everyone! this is my hyung, jimin. he brought me to his studio at x university so we’re going to do a quick video!”
the redhead holds up a peace sign. when he grins, it takes up his entire face. “isn’t jungkook so cute in his uniform, guys? i picked him up from school and told him not to change. and then i stole his actual clothes so he wouldn’t.”
yoongi jerks. “holy shit - “
“i know right, he was in our uni at some point,” namjoon says, shaking his head. “funny how the world works.”
in the video, jungkook rolls his eyes and starts strumming.
as they finish this video and move onto the next one, the videos and likes and comments get bigger. yoongi gets more enraptured, taken in by this boy and his smile that he barely notices namjoon raising a considering eyebrow at him. nor does he notice namjoon texting someone.
“where are you taking me, hyung?” jungkook whines, pulling away from jimin’s iron grip on his sweater’s shoulder. it’s his free day, he should be able to do what he wants - and what he wants to do is catch up on his anime at home. there’s a whole season left for him to watch.
instead, he had jimin come over his house and knock on his door until he was forced to open up. jungkook rubs at his eyes, peering at the bright sun and wishing he was still in bed. he took jungkook along, not letting the younger do anything but brush his teeth and put on the first clothing he could find before dragging him out the door. jungkook sent a pleading look to his mom, but she just laughed and waved at him from the kitchen.
“hyung,” jungkook says again, this time adding a little bit more petulance to his tone. he looks around and finds it vaguely familiar. “are we going to your uni, hyung?”
“you bet,” jimin says cheerfully. “me and taehyung are meeting up with some sunbaes about music, and i want you to come along.”
all at once, jungkook blinks to process that information. then he flails, bringing jimin to a complete stop. the redhead turns around, confused. “what, what’s wrong?”
“hyung, i’m in high school, what the hell would i need to be there for?” jungkook says incredulously. “you made me get out of bed at eight in the morning on saturday to do this? i’m not even in proper clothes!” he had grabbed the sweater he wore yesterday - large and a soft gray, oversized because his mom bought it for him and she doesn’t like him wearing the white t-shirts he loves so much all the time - and his jeans. jimin waves him off. “listen, college kids wear worse, alright? we all look like crap. c’mon!”
jungkook eyes his hyung. jimin actually looks nicer than normal, his hair done well, wearing a shirt that shows of his arms. jungkook wants to scoff, but jimin starts pulling him again and he barely has the time to do so.
they head up the music building to the fourth floor, where everyone is. jimin opens the door with a bang, startling everyone.
taehyung is the first to recover, jumping up. “jimin!”
jimin throws out his arms. “taehyung!” they hug each other with vigor. from behind them, jungkook spies two other guys there - a pale, blond guy looking pissed, and a pink-haired dude with dimples who just looks amused.
“hi namjoon-hyung!” jimin says after pulling away from taehyung. he bounds up to namjoon and stands a bit too close. “i brought along a friend, i hope you don’t mind!”
he motions to jungkook, but jungkook is too busy trying to keep taehyung off him. the elder has green bangs now, and he nuzzles his head against jungkook’s forehead in hello. taehyung puts his hands on jungkook’s shoulders and asks him seriously, “are you doing well in school?”
“yes, hyung,” jungkook answers, smiling despite himself.
“tae,” jimin scolds, pulling him away. “guys, this is jeon jungkook. he’s in his last year at sopa, our old high school, namjoon hyung! he’s from busan, like i am! jungkookie,” he turns to jungkook, eyes twinkling, “this is namjoon hyung, a third year, and yoongi-hyung, a fourth year. they’re both music majors. namjoon hyung saw your covers on youtube, kookie, and he’s a huge fan!”
abruptly, jungkook flushes a deep red.
it brings about great amusement to his hyungs, who both poke and prod at him. jimin crows, “i have beenwaiting for this moment! jeon jungkook is finally embarrassed out of his mind!”
“stop it, hyung,” jungkook hisses to taehyung, who is poking his cheek. he bows to the two people he’s been introduced to. “ah, thank you so much for liking them.”
“no problem, kid,” namjoon offers. “besides, it’s this guy next to me who’s practically half in love with you, anyway.”
the blond, yoongi, punches namjoon so hard he stumbles to the floor. the tips of his ears are red. vaguely, jungkook notes how good he looks while scowling.
from behind him, jimin shares a high five with taehyung, snickering. “i’m so glad namjoon-hyung texted me about this.”
taehyung snorts. “yeah, i’m sure that’s the only reason why you were glad namjoon-hyung texted you.”
taehyung ends up getting punched too.
1 year later
“hyung,” jungkook begins, looking dubiously as yoongi’s trying to set up the camera. he offered to do it himself, but they were using yoongi’s spare photography equipment, so. they’re in yoongi’s apartment, and since it’s a little small, jungkook has to press against yoongi’s side so he won’t hit the bed. not like that’s a bad, thing, though. he reads through the questions in his hand and waits for yoongi to finish up.
“alright, i’m done,” says the elder, getting up and dusting off his pants. he sits beside jungkook, leaning against the bed and stretching. jungkook starts the camera and then gives a bright smile. “hi, guys! so a lot of you asked for this - “
“god knows why,” yoongi grumbles, unaware that it’s going to be caught by the mic, and jungkook just bites his lip to cover the laugh. “ - the boyfriend tag!” he waves his hands and then huffs when yoongi doesn’t join him.
he had to convince yoongi with kisses and aegyo to do this. jungkook is going to follow through with it if it means the last thing he’s ever going to do. he nudges yoongi and the mint-haired man sighs but does the same movement with jungkook. the tips of his ears are red, telling jungkook that he’s not mad, just a little embarrassed.
“this is my boyfriend, min yoongi,” jungkook says, quickly giving yoongi a half hug by squeezing his right arm. yoongi huffs, running a hand through his hair. jungkook snickers, feeling playful. “isn’t he handsome? he’s so handsome.”
“get on with it,” yoongi snaps, but his neck is getting red now too. jungkook hums and brings out the paper again, still leaning all his body weight against yoongi, who doesn’t move, used to this act by now. “where did you two meet?”
yoongi considers this. “we met at a music studio,” he says shortly, not really willing to give up much information about their lives. jungkook nudges him again gently.
“but he knew about me beforehand, because apparently he was a huge fan of my videos,” he says, grinning when yoongi doesn’t say anything to retaliate.
“where was our first date?” jungkook asks.
“in the park, watching the street shows,” yoongi says, mouth tilting upward as he remembers the day. it was the day they first kissed, too. “you were cold, so we had to leave early.”
“i hate the cold,” jungkook groans.
“your nose gets all red when you’re cold, it was great - you looked like a little reindeer.”
“next question,” jungkook huffs. his mouth curls up in a smile. “what was your first impression of me? and when you first saw my videos, hyung, not when you first actually met me.”
yoongi side eyes him for a second, but then sighs and scratches the back of his neck. he mumbles out his answer. “cute.”
“both times,” he says again, resigned, “i thought you were cute.”
they answer a couple more questions - “do i have any weird obsessions?” “oh yeah, you’re obsessed with my cologne. i get action every time i wear it.”; “what do we argue about the most?” “who gets the tv remote when you’re over. you taking my clothes.” “me taking your clothes? you take my underwear!” “…”; “what is one talent i have?” “you make a mean breakfast.”; “what is something you do that i wish you didn’t?” “spend all my time in the studio - you get lonely, don’t you.” “hyung, shut up.”; “what was the first thing you noticed about me?” “your eyes.”
it takes them about an hour because yoongi sometimes gets a little too personal, or makes a stupid, dirty joke, or distracts jungkook from the topic at hand. when they finish and the camera is finally off, yoongi groans and rolls onto his bed. “fuck that, i’m never doing that again.”
“uhuh,” jungkook says, because they both know that if he asked, yoongi would so do it again.
“i’m serious,” the elder says, stretching out his shoulders, “i rap underground for a reason.”
jungkook just shakes his head, amused. “whatever you say, hyung.”
“yeah, it is whatever i say,” yoongi repeats grumpily, patting the space next to him on his mattress. jungkook crawls over; it’s a bit of a tight space for the both of them, so jungkook takes the initiative to lay himself down on top of yoongi. the mint-haired man groans.
“you’re so heavy,” he says, patting jungkook’s butt. “too much junk in the trunk, i think.”
“you’re so mean,” jungkook says, muffled in yoongi’s shirt. it comes out fond instead. yoongi’s hands move upward, lifting the hem of his shirt and resting his palm against the warm skin of the small of his back.
“yeah, yeah,” yoongi presses a kiss against jungkook’s forehead. “seriously, i’m not doing that again.”
(a year later, he’s doing it again.)
Chapter 3: the pizza boy
the first time it happens, yoongi can let it go.
the first time it happens, yoongi can let it go. after all, everyone makes mistakes, and this place’s pizza wasamazing, even better than pizza hut or mr. pizza or any other generic brand. he supposed that the people there had italian blood somewhere in them - how else would they make such good, thin-crusted, cheesy perfection? the slices were always large, the meat toppings fresh, the vegetable toppings fresh, and they always gave a liter of pepsi and an order of garlic knots. they’re only a ten minute drive away, too.
the only, only fault he can find with that place is that they seem to have a deaf person working the call orders.
so the first time yoongi orders from jump! pizza over the phone, he orders a medium pie with olives and mushrooms. he’s not in a meat mood, and olives could really do the trick. he’s never told any of his friends about this place, wanting to keep it for himself, just for a little while longer.
it takes exactly twenty minutes for them to deliver - better than most places - and yoongi opens the door a bored looking pizza delivery boy with green bangs and sleepy eyes. he hands over the pie - larger than normal, yoongi notes with confusion - and holds out the receipt. yoongi takes it with a nod and not a word goes in between them, except for the pizza delivery boy’s last have a good evening, ahjussi, as he leaves, which makes yoongi scowl briefly.
when he opens the pizza box, the scowl only gets deeper, because it’s a large pie, and it’s covered in spicy chicken and three types of cheese. he groans, because this is exactly not what he wanted.
but the garlic knots are great, he has a bottle of soda all to himself, and yoongi sighs while picking off the chicken on his pizza. it’s good chicken, he won’t lie - he’s just not in the mood for it. he doesn’t mind the first time much, because the toppings are really good for cold pizza leftovers the second day, and the three cheeses are kind of addicting.
the second time, though, he says his order twice - half pepperoni, half hawaiian - to make sure that they won’t get it wrong. he repeats large a couple times so they won’t give him the wrong size, either. the cheerful male voice at the other end asks him for his credit card number, and yoongi sighs.
he’s invited namjoon and hoseok over so they can work on their new mixtape together, and yoongi knows no other better food at the moment that a good, greasy pizza.
when it comes, however, it’s neither half pepperoni nor half hawaiian - instead, both pies are full veggies. what the actual fuck.
yoongi scowls. “this is not what i ordered.”
the sleepy boy from last time is the same deliver boy this time, and he only yawns and looks at his phone. “nope, it says here you ordered the veggie special.”
“no, i was half and half pepperoni-hawaiian,” yoongi insists. “listen, kid, do i look like a person who wants all vegetables on their pizza?”
the kid shrugs. “sorry. that’s the order.”
so yoongi takes the pies and tries not to fume.
at least hoseok and namjoon like the pies - surprisingly.
the third time it happens, he might go a little overboard.
he’s gone to the jump! pizza place a couple of time in person to grab a quick bite to eat in between his work, which has been hectic lately. when yoongi realizes that in the last three days he’s been living off the remnants of instant ramen and coffee, he groans and cinches the bridge of his nose with two fingers. his stomach feels like it’s going to cave into itself - he feels disgusting and tired and sluggish, but he knows from experience that it’s not a good idea to keep himself starving for so long.
yoongi checks his fridge and throws out the stale chinese food he finds there. this is absolutely awful. who the hell let him live like this? seriously, like who?
it’s nearly midnight, so he looks through the pamphlets that most take-out places leave on his door to see if there’s anything he can get at this time of night. his mind is killing him with the huge migraine he’s got. the only food places that seem to be open all night are greasy chicken and beer places, chinese takeout, and the pizza place. yoongi, not bothering to care about the two other times, dials the pizza place’s number - it’s like, 12 at night, how could they possibly fuck up his order now?
he promptly tells the guy behind the phone his order - a sicilian pie, medium - and he has a strong suspicion that it’s the sleepy, green-haired delivery boy from before.
yoongi clenches his teeth when the migraine grows. he tries to drink water to make his limbs feel like they’re notmelting into each other, and then he slumps back on his couch. god, he feels so tired. work has been dragging him down, with the expectation of songs and music that’s supposed to be good, supposed to be touching, but goddammit yoongi isn’t a machine - he can’t make meaningful music out of nowhere. his company doesn’t seem to get that.
his’s nodding away when the doorbell finally rings; yoongi groans and gets up, rubbing at an eye. nothing is making his headache go away.
which is no excuse for him losing it when the delivery boy tells him about his ‘large, plain cheese’ pizza, handing over the box and receipt. it doesn’t excuse it at all, but yoongi’s just so tired and sick of everyone and everything at the moment.
so he’s not proud of what he does. a scowl overtakes his face, dark and menacing, and he growls, “i fucking ordered a medium sicilian, not a goddamn plain.”
the delivery boy’s hat is covers most of his face, and yoongi can’t see most of it in the dark. he backs away, surprised, unlike the other delivery boy.
“what the fuck is wrong with you people? why can’t you get a simple goddamn order right? this is the third fucking time, goddammit, are you all mentally challenged? huh?”
yelling makes him feel marginally better, the frustration and anger ending up showing through his voice, like it always does - but then he feels around ten times worse when he notices that the delivery boy is actually staring at him with big brown eyes, looking like he’s on the verge of breaking out into tears, maybe.
“um,” he says, and yoongi notes distantly that he has a sweet voice; it’s not deep baritone he’s used to from the other pizza delivery boy (whom he secretly suspects is from daegu, like him - it would explain a lot). he’s…kind of cute, actually. really cute, actually. but right now he’s biting his lip nervously and holding the pizza box in his hands, unsure of what the hell to do. in fact, if yoongi had yelled any more, he was sure that the kid would start crying, holy shit.
“s-sorry,” he offers weakly, moving backward to get out of yoongi’s line of sight. yoongi feels like a dick. more than a dick, he feels like the worst asshole on the planet, the way this kid’s expression is making him feel. it’s like he kicked a stray kitten on the street.
“listen, no,” he blurts out, holding his hands out in front of him in a somewhat calming way. “look, i’m sorry, alright? i shouldn’t have shouted like that. it isn’t your fault, okay, i’m real sorry, none of you are mentally challenged - fuck, that was rude of me to say - “
“i just delivered for today,” the kid repeats, voice small. “um, this is my first time, too, so - i - i don’t know if - this was the last delivery before i got to go home, so i just picked up the pizza and - “
yoongi is the worst person on the planet. “no, i’m serious, it wasn’t your fault. they probably have a large plain written as my order, i’m pretty sure you didn’t take the wrong one, okay, i just - they fuck up my order a lot, i don’t know why.”
the kid frowns. he’s got smooth cheeks and a pretty forehead, too. “all of the other delivers had no problems, sir.”
yoongi’s eye twitches. “the world is just fucking with me, then,” he sighs loudly, pushing his thumb against his throbbing temple. “nothing else out of the ordinary. just - give the pizza to me, i’ll take it. it’s better than nothing. like i said, i’m sorry, okay?”
the kid looks at him, bewildered, before nodding and handing him the pizza. he practically runs away before yoongi can get the chance to say anything.
he closes the door and sighs, wishing he coultd fall off a cliff.
it’s around half an hour later that his doorbell rings again. he’s not expecting it to, so in the middle of his third slice - he’s nowhere near full, but the pizza is, to his chagrin, amazing as usual - he picks up his phone and notes the baseball bat right next to his door.
yoongi opens it a little, wondering if it’s namjoon wanting to crash at his place for the night (again) when he sees the smooth curve of a rosy cheek and he nearly slams the door open in surprise.
the pizza delivery boy is there again, without the red delivery jacket, leaving him in a comfortable sky-blue cardigan and white t-shirt that makes him look soft and worthy of hugging. he’s not wearing the hat, either, so yoongi sees his shock of dark, fluffy hair on his head.
he’s holding a plastic convenience store bag in his hands, and when yoongi finally manages to stop gaping at him, he bows once quickly and shoves the bag at him.
“sorry for the store getting your order wrong,” he says hurriedly. there’s a flush growing on his face. “um, it’s chocolate and strawberries. they’re for your - uh, headache,” he continues, awkward. he’s shuffling from left to right, staring at the ground. “blueberries are better, but i like strawberries, so…”
“uh,” yoongi’s actually speechless. he’s pretty sure he’s got sauce on his seoul u sweatshirt and he’s been wearing the same pants for the last three days. “t-thanks.”
the kid nods again, still not looking yoongi in the eye. he purses his lips in a little victory, like he’s accomplished what he had to, and yoongi’s hit with a strong desire to see what this kid looks like when he smiles.
“hey,” he says, before the delivery boy can go and run away again, “what’s your name?”
the kid meets his eyes for a second, surprised, but then he gives a little smile and says, “jeon jungkook.”
“min yoongi,” he offers. then, with a genuine smile, because he’s feeling better than he has in weeks, he says, “thank you.”
jungkook’s ears turn red and he nods again, before turning around and - not running off, really, but it’s close enough.
the next time yoongi picks up his phone, he thinks for a moment before asking for a specific delivery boy.
there’s music playing in the background when jungkook comes over one of his old rap songs from back in the underground. it’s blaring, and the only reason why he can hear the doorbell is because he’s actively listening for it.
yoongi looks nicer now - he’s freshened up, showered, sent in his work, and actually put on some good goddamn pants. he feels more like himself. when he opens the door, jungkook is standing there with a hesitant smile, offering over two pizza boxes.
“one olive and mushroom, one sicilian,” he says.
yoongi raises his eyebrows in surprise. “i only ordered the olive and mushroom.”
jungkook shakes his head. “the sicilian is free of charge.” he’s not wearing his hat, so yoongi’s drawn to the way the light casts shadows on the strands of hair. “i’m still sorry about what happened two weeks ago - those mistakes never usually happen, i assure you.”
“it’s okay,” yoongi rushes to assure him, scratching the back of his neck with one hand. “you just caught me at a bad time. besides, the pizzas are always great - whoever makes them has the hands of a god.”
jungkook smiles then, truly full out smiles, and yoongi feels his heart stutter.
“really?” he asks, eyes bright. “do you really think they’re good?”
“i would eat it for the rest of my life, if i could,” he jokes, and jungkook looks like he kind of wants to bounce in place.
“i make a lot of them,” he admits. “it’s a family store, my dad taught me everything i know, but he’s been working at the register more often lately, so i make them instead. i thought i may have been doing them wrong, but - “
“wait,” yoongi’s head is spinning. “you’re not - you’re not a delivery boy?”
“no,” jungkook laughs. “my hyungs, jimin and taehyung, are the usual delivery boys. jimin-hyung went home early that night, and i was heading home anyway, so i just dropped it off before going home,” he informs. yoongi was absolutely right; he’s a musician, of course he has an ear for these things. jungkook’s voice is lilting and and absolutely addicting; yoongi wants to hear him talk more, or even sing.
“uh,” the blonde says, speechless again because of this one kid.
“it was a little bit of a blow to me when you said that your orders were all wrong,” jungkook admits. “so here. fresh pizza - don’t worry, i won’t tell my boss.” he’s so cheeky and cute, yoongi wants to squeeze him to death.
blankly, he takes the boxes, staring down at them before looking up at jungkook. he stares back down at the boxes. “i don’t see you around the pizzeria,” he blurts.
jungkook shrugs.”i’m usually in the kitchen. enjoy, min-ssi!”
“yoongi,” he says, wincing at how he sounds. “just call me yoongi.”
that brings another smile to jungkook’s face. he bows again. “bye, yoongi-ssi!”
yoongi goes inside and takes a bite of the sicilian. he groans, because it’s melty and warm and fucking delicious. then he remembers jungkook’s smile, his bright eyes, and he wants to hit his head against the kitchen cabinets.
he’s so fucked over.
he doesn’t ask for jungkook as his delivery boy again, knowing that he actually isn’t the deliverer of the godly pizzas, but rather the maker of them. he orders more and more frequently until he knows the name of the employees and the employees know him, his credit card, and his phone number by heart.
“one day i’m going to steal all the money you have in your wallet,” says jimin over the phone. he’s the overly cheerful one. “two pizzas under your name, yoongi-ssi.” after that one incident with jungkook, they’ve never gotten an order wrong.
“i’ll, uh, come pick it up,” he says. he’s gaining weight - too much weight - from eating pizza much too often. he’s still not sick of it. whatever, that’s what the gym is for.
jungkook’s taken to give little messages inside the pizza box for yoongi to see. he’ll get quotes of songs - surprisingly, a good portion of them are yoongi’s - and sometimes he writes little cute messages, like, did you know that green tea is good for your skin? or, please keep yourself healthy! with a little smiley face.
yoongi is in pain.
he enters the warm pizzeria and is taken by the scent of comfort food. the place also makes a bunch of other stuff that yoongi’s tried on occasion - fries, sandwiches, the usual. he wonders if jungkook makes those too.
jimin beams at him. “hiya, yoongi-ssi.”
“hi,” yoongi says, before sighing. “i’m here to pick up my order.”
jimin snickers. “are you gonna pick up anything else? maybe a cute guy?” he high fives taehyung, who comments, “good one!”
yoongi rolls his eyes. “just give me my food.”
“such a grouch,” jimin says.
“he’s only cute with jungkookie,” taehyung mock whispers, and the terrible twos fall over each other in laughter again.
“jungkook-ah,” jimin calls out from behind the counter, “we’ve got your regular.”
jungkook walks out a moment later, his cheek stained with flour, an apron tied around his waist. he gives yoongi a smile. “hi, yoongi-ssi!”
yoongi licks at his mouth. “hi.”
“i’ll get your order out in a second.”
jimin and taehyung eventually move away, having other customers to serve, while yoongi waits on the side. he has his hand in his pocket, where the ticket to big bang’s concert lies. his company have the tickets to him for a good price, and a lot of jungkook’s music, he’s noticed, is big bang lyrics.
he tries not to be nervous. they don’t know each other much, sure, but yoongi likes the way the kid smiles and lights up the world around him. he thinks he could fall in love with jungkook.
the dark-haired kid walks out with two boxes, looking inordinately pleased with himself. “here you go,” he chirps.
it’s now or never.
“thanks,” yoongi says. words feel like sandpaper in his throat. he clears it before continuing. “so, i - uh. are you busy next saturday?”
jungkook blinks at him, but he bites his lip to hold down a smile. “no, i’m free.”
“that’s - that’s good,” yoongi curses himself inwardly. “because i was wondering if you’d - you’d like to go out with me. if you wanted. you don’t have to, but - yeah.” his face is burning. when did he think this was a good idea. can god please strike him down now.
but jungkook - jungkook looks thrilled. in fact, he actively beams at yoongi. “i’d love to,” he says excitedly, and yoongi wonders if he was the only one harboring a stupid crush. jungkook seems to notice his own zeal and presses the side of his hair down, a nervous tick. it gets flour in the strands. “um, i mean, i’ll go out with you.”
he ends up kissing yoongi in the car when yoongi reveals the big bang tickets to him. he pulls away, red faced and cute, and yoongi stifles a grin. they get pizza for dinner.
Chapter 4: drabble dump i
so!! i have a bunch of cute prompts i want to write drabbles for but not entirely large fics, so here they are!!
yoongi is honestly just relaxing, finding the day to be too stressful and too hectic. he’s glad for the moment of reprieve. seokjin is already in bed, sleeping, his back turned to yoongi’s side of the room. seokjin’s a really good sleeper, managing not to snore or do anything else annoying like talk in his sleep. he doesn’t care if yoongi keeps the light on for a while or stays up at night, as long as he’s quiet.
so yoongi has the side light open while reading one of his favorite books. it’s still too early for him to sleep - even though it’s midnight, and the members all fell asleep a couple of hours before for their early schedule, yoongi’s all wired up. he pushes his glasses up the bridge of his nose and turns the page.
the door is left open so that they can get light from the open hallway into the room, and so if anyone needed him - like their manager - seokjin can hear them. nothing works on yoongi, because he sleeps like a rock. so he barely notices when the door opens a bit wider, because it barely makes noise, or when a pair of footsteps come into the room.
he realizes that jungkook is there when the younger yawns widely. without even looking up, yoongi shuffles aside - closer to the lamp - and raises his arm. the bed dips momentarily as jungkook crawls over to yoongi’s side and buries his head underneath yoongi’s arm, resting his cheek against yoongi’s heart. jungkook’s legs curl up underneath yoongi’s thick duvet, searching for warmth. when yoongi glances down at his boyfriend’s face a second later, his cheeks are flushed and the light casts pretty shadows on his cheeks by his eyelashes.
yoongi goes back to his book, a slight smile playing on his face. jungkook sighs in content, and a moment later, yoongi can tell he’s asleep by the way he slumps. yoongi presses a kiss on his dark hair and goes back to reading.
“this is ridiculous,” jungkook huffs, looking down at the papers in his hand. “i told you that you had to send in the bills last week, and now we’re getting late notices.”
“listen, i completely sent them in,” yoongi argues. they’re standing across from each other in their kitchen. jungkook looks cute when he’s scowling, yoongi notes. “i told you, i went to the office and everything! they told me they took care of it!”
jungkook jabs a finger at his chest. “oh really? because i happen to remember one time - “
“that was one time,” yoongi grabs a hold of that finger. “and it was like, six months ago, alright? give it a break, i’m telling you that i gave it to the woman! she gave me a bunch of papers in return! they probably fucked something up at the department, who knows?”
“oh yeah, because it’s never just your fault, it always has to be someone else’s - “
“what is that supposed to mean?”
“i mean, i wouldn’t be mad if you just told me that you forgot, but now you’re blaming it on someone else - “
“i am not, this is seriously the office’s fault, do you want me to call our tax group? because i will absolutely goddamn call them - “
jungkook gives him a look, and yoongi notices that he’s close, closer than before, because somehow they’ve been gravitating toward each other even when fighting. yoongi’s not even completely mad - they could just call up the office and give the reference number, and that’d be the end of that, but yoongi likes bickering with jungkook. it’s an old song and dance between them.
except now he’s getting distracted by jungkook’s mouth as he talks and his hint of bunny teeth. abruptly. yoongi loses all his desire to fight.
“are you even listening to me, hyung? yoongi? yoongi - “
yoongi takes jungkook’s face in his hands and plants one on him, unable to curb the feeling of wanting to kiss him. jungkook’s mouth is warm and moving against his, and yoongi pulls away only to peck him one more time. jungkook blinks before scowling. “are you trying to distract me?”
“is it working?”
jungkook’s mouth quirks up in a smile, and yoongi figures that’s a yes.
when yoongi wakes up, it’s the lack of his boyfriend in bed. he relies on jungkook to be his body pillow, so he groans when he feels around for jungkook and finds him absent. yoongi covers his head with his blanket and soaks up the warmth that jungkook left behind.
then the scent of something sizzling hits him, and yoongi groans. he’s half awake, walking like a zombie out of bed to the kitchen, where jungkook is humming something under his breath.
yoongi isn’t quiet - he hasn’t showered, or brushed his hair or teeth, so he must make quite a picture - yet jungkook still gives him a wide smile. he’s in his pajamas, stirring soup on the stove. “morning, hyung.”
“kookie,” yoongi mumbles, before shuffling behind him and wrapping his arms around jungkook’s waist from behind. jungkook just keeps going, too used to yoongi using him as a pillow on all occasions for everything to really care anymore. yoongi grumbles a little at how jungkook is around a centimeter taller than he is, but leans down to nuzzle his face against the nape of jungkook’s neck, where he smells like his shampoo and body soap.
“you should probably get ready,” jungkook tells him, but yoongi only groans in response. “i’ll make you a pot of coffee?”
“come back to bed,” yoongi doesn’t whine.
jungkook sounds amused. he turns around and presses a kiss against yoongi’s cheek. “i already made breakfast, hyung,” he says. “c’mon, go wake up.”
“fine,” yoongi says in petulance, but minutes later, he’s still nuzzling jungkook from behind and pressing kisses against his neck. at least jungkook takes it all in stride.
Chapter 5: fame and fortune
yoongi doesn’t want to brag, but he’s kind of famous.
yoongi doesn’t want to brag, but he’s kind of famous.
he made it big as a rapper from the underground all the way up to the top. if you asked him, though, he wouldn’t say it was the “top” - he’d say that he still has a long way to go and all that shit. but the name ‘suga’ is now a well known one. people look out for it on billboards, and on music shows. not only has his music reached a huge audience - hoarding a demography from young kids to older, more jaded adults - he’s also a fan favorite. who would have thought, grumpy and sarcastic and sharp-tongued yoongi would be the icon of favorability? but everyone likes how honest he is, no matter how brutal. you can count on suga to give it to you straight, an mc had told the audience once, when introducing him; and it’s true.
he’s never wanted to get big by lying and doing what others told him. he prided himself on his ethic, his values, rapping for what he believed in and what he thought needed to be changed. his lyrics are his body, moving into the open interpretation of music. everyone knows his name, knows his catchy dark beats, and everyone knows his face on the streets. it’s kind of hard to miss him, what with the radical mint-colored hair and resting bitch face.
the only thing about being famous, however, is all the people that won’t ever leave you alone. he’s always got someone recognizing him in seoul, no matter where he goes. yoongi has no privacy sometimes, even with the conservative korean fans. he can hear their giggling and awed whispers from every direction he turns.
and yeah, sure, it’s alright - he likes the fans, why wouldn’t he? they’re people that get him, that listen to his music and feel something enough to like it. they support him and come to his concerts and are a large part of why he’s successful in the first place. sometimes, however, he just wishes that people could…go away. disappear. just leave him alone for five minutes so he can get a moment of peace.
it’s five am, yoongi sees on his phone. he’s trying to look for a decent coffee shop. even with his mask on and a beanie stuffed over his head, there are some people that seem to recognize him; a couple of girls double take when they see him, blinking curiously, and one guy seems to stare at his quickly retreating form in frozen admiration. yoongi isn’t in the mood to sign autographs to talk to fans right now. he’s grumpy and tired from working nearly all night and he wants a good goddamn cup of coffee but what place is open this early in the morning without being commercialized? yoongi’s got the money to pay for some quality, so why not?
he’s walking around lower seoul, stuffing his hands in his pockets and huffing through his mask, when he spots it. a small little coffee shop that looks surprisingly out of place in between a bookstore and a nail salon. he looks around once, twice, before heading into the store and breathing in. there’s no one there - obviously - but the sign says ‘open’, so…
yoongi quickly takes off his mask and his beanie. they were getting too suffocating.
he stuffs them in his bag and runs a hand through his hair, fixing his fringe. he used to not care about stupid shit like that, but ever since his manager drilled in the importance of image to him, yoongi’s been careful. there are some things he wants to protect, too.
“hello?” he calls out into the empty store. yoongi eyes the gourmet beans behind the counter that look entirely too good to be true. “hello, anyone here?”
“yes, yes, sorry!” a kid crashes through the door, quickly closing it and putting on a worker’s hat. he’s wearing a white shirt with a brown apron over it reading the shop’s name. he beams widely at yoongi, and his eyes are so wide and his smile so bright that yoongi freezes.
shit, he thinks, because his modes of disguise are on the floor. maybe if he stresses that he only wants his order, he can leave quicker…?
but then the kid chirps, “how may i help you, sir?”
“uh,” yoongi’s brain is restarting. one - because the kid has bunny teeth, and it’s extremely distracting, and two - because he hasn’t gone on and acted like a fan. not even a little bit. just that beaming, constant smile.
“yeah, sorry,” yoongi shakes his head. “i’ll have the dark roast, with cream and one sugar. thanks.”
“no problem,” the kid says cheerfully. “do you want the regular blend, roasted, or gourmet?”
yoongi scratches the back of his head. “uh, whatever you prefer.”
“oh, i don’t drink coffee,” the kid continues, bafflingly. “do you want the - “
“give me the roasted,” yoongi interrupts, rubbing at his eye. “what kind of coffee shop worker doesn’t drink coffee?”
“coffee has a lot of caffeine and sugar and other bad, bad things,” the kid punches in yoongi’s order. “and this is a job, sir, not my life’s work. i’m only doing this to help with college.” is it yoongi, or did the kid’s smile just get a little bit more sarcastic? no, no, he’s still beaming. he’s kind of cute, yoongi thinks distantly with horror. “please wait a moment, sir.”
that tone was definitely telling yoongi to go and fuck off. he’s a musician - he can hear it.
yoongi, a little taken aback and also feeling a little reprimanded - he didn’t have to be such a dick, yeah - just shuffles backward a little.
he digs into his bag for his wallet when he sees how much the coffee is on the cash register. the kid is making his coffee as he’s doing so, the smell of it wafting through the room. it smells wonderful and heavenly and everything yoongi needs, to be completely honest.
and then, as he searches more and more through his bag, he figures out that his wallet is just not there.
yoongi curses. he freezes just in time for the kid to set his cup of coffee down on the counter. “here you go, sir.”
“uh,” yoongi winces. “listen, i - “
“that’ll be 8,500 won.”
“look,” yoongi sighs. “i kind of - forgot my wallet, okay? could you just give me a break and - “
“no,” the kid’s smile is wide, not a hint of annoyance on his features, but his smile - even with the overbite - looks distinctly irate. “everyone has to pay for their meals and drinks, sir.”
“i know, it was a complete mistake,” yoongi’s getting a little irritated too, because it’s not like he wanted to forget his wallet, alright? he probably forgot to take it. “look, i’ll just call someone and they’ll pay you - “
“hm,” the kid raises an eyebrow. “is it going to be in the next three minutes? because i’m not holding this for you forever.”
yoongi calls his manager on his phone, feeling stupid. “yeah, give me a sec.”
as he’s walking away, though, he can hear the kid say under his breath, “god, what a jerk. who does he think he is?”
and yoongi can’t help but look back one more time in surprise, because - he really doesn’t know who yoongi is?
as he’s talking to his manager about the mix up, to which his manager just sighs and says, “i put extra cash and a debit card in the smallest inside pocket, yoongi, because this always happen to you - and for emergencies - “ he can’t help but think how refreshing it is, to have someone not know him. to have someone not look at him and decide that they already know who he is, no matter how much of himself he’s put in the media. there’s some parts of him that yoongi’s never spoke about, never touched, and those are the parts people like to assume they know about. yoongi takes out the allotted money and slides it over to the kid, who’s pasted on his patented smile again.
“thank you, sir,” the kid says, fixing his hat. his bangs shuffle across his eyes so that yoongi catches a glimpse of his dark lashes.
clearing his throat, he says, “i also want one of those pastries. the cheese danish. two of them.”
he swears he can see the kid’s eye twitch, but it’s only in his periphery. for some reason, that makes yoongi want to smile. his annoyance at every little thing yoongi does is endearing - and it shouldn’t be, but yoongi finds it cute anyway.
“coming up,” he chirps, heading over to take the pastries out with a pair of tongs.
“thanks,” yoongi says, paying for those too. god bless his manager. he should ask for him to have a raise.
yoongi takes his food and instead of leaving, as he usually planned, he goes straight to a table at the corner of the little coffee shop. it’s got a nice atmosphere, and as his eyes roam over the counter and the boy wiping down the tables behind it, he decides that it’s got a nice view, too.
he’s been getting coffee from the same place for over two months now.
he still doesn’t know the kid’s name, too chicken shit to actually ask, but the kid knows his - yoongi brings his credit cards on the daily to pay for the exorbitantly large amounts of overpriced coffee he’s buying. good coffee, but overpriced none the less.
the cheerful customer-service act goes on for around a month or so until yoongi comes in one morning, disgruntled from his concert the previous night, in his pajamas with makeup probably still marking his cheeks, and orders a large coffee, black. the kid - whom yoongi has taken to calling ‘the barista’ in his head - just gives him a blank look, no smile in place, because it’s six am.
“okay, i don’t know what you do or who you are,” the barista says, causing yoongi to jerk up at him, “but you are seriously the weirdest customer i’ve ever met.”
yoongi huffs. he can’t tell if it’s complimentary or offense. “i just want my coffee, alright?”
“alright, min-ssi,” the barista says hesitantly. then, he pauses. “do you want tea instead?”
“what? what the hell will tea do for me? i want to wake up, not go to sleep.”
“if you drink too much coffee, you’ll eventually become resistant to it,” the barista chides. yoongi pays attention, because it’s the first time in weeks - well, in the spare few days in the past few weeks that he’s come here - the the kid doesn’t talk to him with that bright smile. in fact, he’s rolling his eyes and looking, for all intents and purposes, exasperated. yoongi likes it. “get juice, or - or a milkshake, even. stop wasting your money on the supremely expensive coffee they serve.”
“don’t you mean the supremely expensive coffee you serve?”
“hey, listen, my boss isn’t here, alright? i don’t have to act like a blow up doll. i’m just saying - you can get good coffee if you look hard enough, you don’t need to buy it here. and like - what are you? how can you afford this anyway? are you a chaebol?”
“no, just give me my coffee,” yoongi groans, rubbing at his forehead. he’s trying to get the image of the barista posing like a blow up doll out of his mind.
for the moment, the barista just stares at him, but then gives him a little smirk-smile that leaves yoongi dazed. “fine.”
what yoongi gets is definitely not a coffee, but a milkshake made of marshmallows, chocolate, and graham crackers, ice cream and chocolate drizzle and it’s the best fucking thing he’s ever tasted in his life.
yoongi’s just staring at it, his card in his hand, because he’d taken a sip out of the nondescript cup before ripping it open. “oh my god.”
“good, right?” the barista takes his card and swipes it. he puts in the same amount as a large black coffee costs. “it’s just this one time, because i felt sorry for you. make sure you drink juice or something next, okay, because caffeine and sugar are both bad for you.” at the end, his face becomes earnest and gentle, like he’s really trying to help out, and yoongi feels his heart thud so hard it can probably be heard from china.
“okay,” is all he’s able to say weakly, before heading to his original spot.
so - two months. the kid doesn’t wear a nametag, never has, and he’s never heard anyone call out his name - not the elusive manager, not any other patron. the second can be attributed to the fact that whenever yoongi comes it’s always early in the morning, so. yoongi doesn’t come every day, only on a few days of the week when his work allows him to, but it’s enough to secretly brighten up his day.
the barista hums while he’s working, often putting in his headphones and simply going along with the music. he’s got a lovely tone, yoongi notices from the first time he does it, and then immediately wants to claw at his face because now all he can imagine is the barista singing to him.
it’s absolutely awful. yoongi doesn’t even know his name, he just can’t get over that fact, and there are multiple instances where he just watches the barista just wash cups and dry plates and clean up the counters with a forlorn, lovesick look on his face. he’s already got four love songs penned down. it’s awful, absolutely and completely awful.
but the one thing about the coffee shop is that it’s completely for him; it’s his own little bubble where it’s just him and the barista and their brief chats and yoongi’s wish to let his hand linger floating in the air. he lives in that bubble up until his fame catches up to him.
he knows about the crazy fans, the ones who like to follow their idols around and document what they do. he should have been more careful, more discreet, especially because he just dropped a song a couple of days ago. it may or may not have been based on the barista’s sweet, lilting voice. but he never expected something like this to blow up so big.
‘this’, being a clear shot of yoongi looking at a dark-haired barista with an adoring look on his face. he can’t even pass it off as people over interpreting - there’s a grin plastered on his face, and his eyes are soft as they’re on the kid, and - jesus christ.
the girl who posted it also wrote some spiel about her ‘oppa’ being taken away and then she fucking told the address of the building, too, and what time yoongi had been going every day because fuck, she was stalking him. the first thought that runs through yoongi’s head is, i’m going to fucking sue, what the hell, and then the second is one of horror - oh my god.
he rushes out in his home clothes, stuffing a hat on his head and grabbing his keys. the coffee shop, to his growing numbness, is completely blocked by reporters, fans, and paparazzi.
yoongi swears. he looks at his watch and realizes that it’s just around the time that the barista should be there. inside, probably. no one’s going in, so the doors must be locked.
looking around, yoongi spots the back door of the place and quietly creeps there, thanking god that the door is open. he enters through the back and tries to make it through the what is obviously the storage room and then the kitchen area to find the door to the front counter. before he can find it, though, he spots a familiar head of dark hair, crouching underneath a door and trying not to look out the door’s small window.
relief washes through yoongi. quietly, so as not to startle him, yoongi moves up beside the barista and says, “it’s a wonder you managed to keep them out for so long.”
despite his efforts, the barista shrieks - a high pitched shriek, to yoongi’s amusement - and flails for a second, almost punching yoongi. he slumps against the door, hat fallen from his head, eyes wide. he looks like a deer caught in a trap.
“oh my god,” the barista finally breathes. “you scared the shit out of me.”
“i’m sorry,” yoongi apologizes. his ears are turning red, he can feel it. he’s never been this close to the barista before, and it’s fucking him up. “i’m - i’m sorry about scaring you, and about - “ he grimaces, unsure how to put it.
“yeah, i know,” the barista snorts. when yoongi looks at him in surprise, he holds up his phone; kakaotalk is open, with someone’s text message: kookie, you’re famous! and the picture of yoongi staring at him with heart eyes.
mortified, yoongi shuffles back. “um.”
“i didn’t know you were famous,” the barista whispers, as if the cameramen outside can actually hear them. “i just thought you were a grumpy old guy that had some insurance money to his name, maybe, and partied too hard.”
“hey,” yoongi scowls, “i’ll have you know i worked hard for what i have.”
the barista laughs, and it sounds like music. “yeah, i see that. i’ve been reading up on ‘suga’ for the last fifteen minutes while hiding here. i think a couple of them took pictures of me, sorry,” the barista runs a hand through his hair. yoongi’s jealous; he wants to do that. “i had to kick them all out and then lock myself in here. my manager is going to be so pissed off at me. how did you get in?”
“back door,” yoongi admits. “you should probably close that, by the way. i locked it for you.”
“thanks,” the barista says. he looks down at his phone screen. the cold tile of the back room seeps into yoongi’s skin, keeping him awake to the absolutely ridiculous situation he’s in. why does this happen to him? after a moment, the barista bites his lip.
“you know,” he begins quietly, looking down studiously at his phone, “if you wanted to ask me out, i wouldn’t have said no.”
yoongi’s pretty sure his brain isn’t working. he’s incapable of thinking in full sentences. what’s going on?
“i mean,” the barista continues, his gaze averted in what yoongi realizes in a gesture of shyness, “you didn’t need to keep on coming back. i like talking to you.”
he’s referring to their brief encounters in the morning, where jungkook would tell him something and yoongi would reply in the hope that he’d sound charming and nice instead of awkward. they’ve talked for a couple minutes about anything and everything, but it was always so short that yoongi thought they wouldn’t even register to the seemingly chipper barista.
“so yeah,” the barista finishes.
“you would go out with me even though i don’t know your name and i stay here half the time like a creep and i don’t know how to act in public even though i’m a celebrity?”
the barista raises an eyebrow. “i - well.” his cheeks flush. it’s adorable. when yoongi’s too speechless to say anything, he looks a little disheartened, and - oh no, yoongi can’t have that.
“do you want to get coffee with me sometime?” he blurts.
the barista blinks, then laughs.
and it’s one hell of a meeting story, one they tell all their friends three years later at their wedding. jungkook never lets yoongi live down the fact that he made one of the most influential men in south korea fall for him without even knowing his name.
(honestly, yoongi still doesn’t mind.)
now, though, now - “yeah,” the barista says, smiling wide and bright, “my name is jungkook, and i’d love that.”
Chapter 6: green tea latte
jungkook takes the cup of tea from yoongi’s outstretched hand gratefully, groaning in exhaustion.
jungkook takes the cup of tea from yoongi’s outstretched hand gratefully, groaning in exhaustion. his hyung simply waits for him to take a sip before gulping down a large drag of his own coffee (two sugars, no milk, bitter enough for it to last on his tongue). yoongi taps his fingers on the steering wheel and raises an eyebrow at jungkook’s slumped shoulders.
“i take it that your midterm didn’t go well?” yoongi asks, starting the car. jungkook reaches over to put his seatbelt on.
“ugh, hyung, it was horrible,” jungkook whines. “i stared stupidly at my test paper for like, half the questions, and then i just filled in whatever i could. i feel like i failed.”
“your version of failing is everyone else’s passing with flying colors,” yoongi says wryly. “i wouldn’t worry about it too much, alright, kid?”
jungkook shuffles from side to side, frowning into his cup. “i’m not a kid, hyung,” he says in a petulant tone that only sounds awfully childish after it’s come out of his mouth. yoongi doesn’t look at him, but jungkook can tell that the other is trying not to smile. the blonde has his eyes focused on the road, but there’s the subtle tensing of his jaw that tells jungkook he’s trying hard not to laugh.
“what do you want for lunch?” is all he says in the end, and jungkook huffs.
“anything but noodles, i’m so sick of them nowadays,” jungkook asserts. “jimin-hyung is having some weird phase where all he’s doing is cooking different types of buckwheat noodles; he keeps failing on boiling them right and then he asks me to do half the cooking work, and then i can’t study.”
yoongi hums. “i told you to stay with me instead of jimin, jungkookie.”
“but hyung, i would be intruding too much,” jungkook argues. he’s known yoongi since forever - since he was a four year old in kindergarten and yoongi was the cool eight year old in elementary school. yoongi always played with him and never, ever treated him as lesser just because jungkook was younger; he always cared for jungkook, talked to him like an equal, and cared for him better than anyone else ever had.
that’s why jungkook will never tell yoongi that when he was sixteen, he wrote a confession letter that is still hidden in his shoebox of treasured things to this day. it’s still sealed in it’s white envelope, his sixteen year old self’s handwriting scrawled across the front. he was a teenager while yoongi was already twenty, off to college, doing new things and exploring new places. despite the fact that yoongi had kept in touch with jungkook often even throughout jungkook’s high school years, jungkook knows that he can’t ever tell about his stupid crush - only a crush, because he can’t deal with it being more.
“like you could ever intrude,” yoongi scoffs. “if you haven’t noticed, there’s never been any real concept of personal space in between us. you just tell me when, kid, and you can move in.”
it’s true - in their group of friends, jungkook is the only one that touches yoongi familiarly. it comes from years together and a childhood spent on their rooftop playing marbles. “thanks, hyung,” jungkook bites his lip, rushing down the less-than-brotherly affection swelling up in him. “but i want to stay with jimin-hyung for now. get the full college experience.”
yoongi shrugs, and to jungkook, it looks just as easy going as ever. “alright,” he replies, and jungkook opens up his phone to check his texts. he doesn’t see yoongi’s fingers tightening over the steering wheel, him murmuring underneath his breath, “experience with jimin-hyung, huh?”
jungkook groans, settling himself down on the couch in his dorm. the place is filled with the smell of something cooking, and he crinkles his nose to see jimin waving away smoke from his place in front of the stove.
“what are you doing,” he groans. his bones feel lifeless and limp. “hyung, please stop trying to cook.”
“if i can make sandwiches, i can do this, alright,” jimin shoots back. “what’s wrong with you? what’s got you in a tipsy?”
“nothing, i’m just tired,” jungkook murmurs. “i had another test today, and then yoongi-hyung took me out for dinner, and then we came back here. it’s so cold outside…”
“huh,” jimin says, opening up the vent and then throwing whatever was in the pan in the trash. “is that yoongi-hyung’s leather jacket?”
“hm?” jungkook absentmindedly pulls yoongi’s jacket, a perfect fit, around his shoulders. it smells like him, like pine and ink. “yeah, why?”
jimin gives him a familiar eyebrow wiggle that only speaks of bad, awful things. he leans back against the wall across from jungkook. “oh, nothing,” he says casually, wiping his hands on his sweatpants, “it’s just that i was out with yoongi-hyung and hoseok-hyung a couple of days back, when it was flurrying? and it was cold as fuck. i asked yoongi-hyung if i could wear his jacket because he was wearing layers, and he snapped at me.”
“so?” jungkook raises an eyebrow, still not getting the point. yoongi’s a little territorial of his things.
“so,” jimin drawls, looking completely done, “isn’t it odd that when i asked, he just went on about how much he had to save up to buy it and he wasn’t going to give it to some kid that was too stupid to bring a jacket himself but he gave it to you willingly even though it’s like, only four degrees outside?”
“it’s less than that,” jungkook says defensively.
“it’s not snowing, at least. i bet you didn’t even ask him to give you his jacket, right? he just gave it to you?”
“yeah,” the younger says slowly, shifting away from jimin. “listen, hyung, i don’t know what you’re getting at - “
“oh my god, you’re impossible,” jimin mutters.
“ - but yoongi-hyung just likes me more, probably. i’m going to go sleep now, alright? don’t call me in the morning, please.”
“oh yeah, yoongi-hyung likes you alright,” jimin says to empty space when jungkook’s already gone into his room. he shakes his head and then gets back to his failure at cooking something more complex than bachelor food.
jungkook has thought about giving yoongi the letter before. on yoongi’s twentieth birthday, at first. at dinner, after his freshman orientation. the first time someone put his song lyrics to music. when he hugs jungkook by putting his arm around him. when he sleeps over on jungkook’s couch. when he listens to jungkook talk without interrupting. when he still cares about what jungkook says even after all these years, it’s obvious that he doesn’t have to. when jungkook turns eighteen and yoongi buys him a piano. when jungkook sleeps too close to his side at night.
as soon as the urge comes, burgeoning jungkook to whisper those three pretty words, his throat chokes up; he presses his mouth shut and flushes, root to tip, and hides his face.something about saying those words out loud…they make it too real, too frightening.
a lifetime of friendship. what if it all goes down the drain?
and he can’t lose yoongi. yoongi is more than just a best friend or an attentive hyung - he’s the other half of jungkook. they lurk together in corners and play stupid hand games and yoongi gets silently competitive of jungkook’s cell phone game of the month. they both like ice-cream too much and yoongi always buys jungkook chocolate pastries even when he doesn’t know he wants it. jungkook makes yoongi’s favorite soup when he’s sick and for his birthday because for some reason, he doesn’t like seaweed soup that much. there is a drawer in yoongi’s closet at home for jungkook’s clothes. half of yoongi’s beanies are bought by jungkook. they cuddle and sleep halfway through movies, unable to keep up in the night, jungkook’s limbs on top of yoongi’s as they snooze off. yoongi’s heartbeat is a familiar melody that has been ingrained in him since childhood - the first words, the first rational thought jungkook was able to make before love and friendship and loneliness was yoongi.
he can’t jeopardize that just because sometimes he wants to lean over and kiss yoongi’s cheek, or tangle their legs together just to feel their pulses slow into a parallel beat. he’ll keep those dreams to himself, because reality is already everything he’s ever wanted.
the next morning, jungkook huddles yoongi’s leather jacket around himself. they wear clothes around the same size, and nothing of jungkook’s is purely his - at some point, yoongi has worn his clothes, and at some point, he has worn yoongi’s. he might steal this jacket from yoongi though, just because it’s so soft underneath this fingers. he’s sitting in the lounge room of the dorms when a cup of the local coffee shop appears underneath his nose.
jungkook rips his earbuds out of his ears to see yoongi giving him a warm smile. “so, it looks like you’re hard at work.”
“no, it’s just random work i always forget to finish,” jungkook admits. he takes the cup, letting it warm his hands. he misses the way yoongi’s eyes trail over jungkook’s sweatpants and old high school gym shirt, looking out of place coupled with yoongi’s jacket. “i think my music history teacher hates me just because i keep forgetting to do the little things, like annotating my papers on where i got my sources from.”
“awful,” yoongi agrees, settling himself down next to jungkook on the sofa. jungkook has his legs up, cross-legged on the sofa, while yoongi slumps down in obvious exhaustion. “god, i’m so tired.”
jungkook takes a careful sip of his drink, expected something herbal. what he gets is something different. “mm, is this green tea?”
“green tea latte,” yoongi murmurs, pulling his beanie down over his face. he groans. “oh, god.”
“i’ve been sitting in my practice room for ages, and now it’s taking a toll on me. my back is killing me.”
jungkook takes another long sip and then sets the drink and his laptop down on the table in front of him. “come here, hyung.” he motions for yoongi to turn around, taking off the jacket while he does so. yoongi peers at him with one eye, frowning. goosebumps raise on jungkook’s skin because of the cold air.
the lounge is pretty much empty except for them two. jungkook urges him on, telling him to move.
“why?” yoongi complains, but does so anyway, turning his back on jungkook.
carefully, jungkook reaches forward and presses his thumbs to yoongi’s skin, dragging his knuckles deep into the small of his back. yoongi’s muscles are tense underneath jungkook’s hands, rolled up tighter than a coil. he straightens at first, when jungkook touches him, but then a moment later he simply melts, letting out a groan of relief. jungkook works upward, taking out all the tension from yoongi’s muscles.
“damn,” yoongi says, and it sends a shiver down jungkook’s spine - yoongi’s voice has gone deeper, like he’s just woken up from sleep. “where did you learn how to do that?”
“jimin-hyung sometimes asks me to massage his shoulders, so i’ve been practicing,” jungkook admits. jimin, despite being cheerful and bright, has his stress-filled days as well.
immediately, for some reason, yoongi tenses up underneath jungkook again. startled, jungkook ceases the soothing circles he was making on yoongi’s shoulder blades.
“you do this to jimin?” yoongi asks, and even his voice sounds stiff now.
jungkook frowns. “yeah, when he asks. hyung…is something wrong?”
“no, nothing is wrong,” yoongi replies tersely, leaning back against jungkook’s hold. “just keep going.”
even though jungkook tries, yoongi stays tense and unmoving. after a moment, jungkook sighs in exasperation. “hyung, what are you mad about? what did i do? you were relaxed a moment ago but now you’re all strung up again!”
“nothing,” yoongi insists, and jungkook doesn’t need to see his face to know yoongi is lying about something. “i’m just - last year of college, you know. all that good shit. keep going.”
jungkook bites his lip, worrying over something that has been in his mind for a long time. “hyung…do you maybe not like jimin-hyung?”
yoongi scoffs. “he’s a brat, but he’s my dongsaeng. i like him fine.”
“then why do you get so angry whenever i mention him?”
jungkook feels like he’s said the wrong thing. yoongi is still, so utterly still in front of him, that when he finally moves jungkook jumps a little in surprise. yoongi turns so that he’s got a palm on jungkook’s thigh, another tugging at his bangs.
“i don’t get angry,” he prattles, continuing to tug at jungkook’s hair. “just drink your latte, kid, it wasn’t cheap.”
“hyung, why did you get it then,” jungkook whines, pulling away yoongi’s hand. “hyung - hyung!”
jungkook accidentally slips while he’s tugging yoongi’s hand off him, pushing their faces closer together than before. he’s seen the sharp angles of yoongi’s face before this, but only in sleep; the planes of yoongi’s nose, the closed crescent of his eyes. but now jungkook stares, wide-eyed, transfixed.
“you have freckles,” yoongi blurts out, looking taken aback. “you have…right here, across your - “ he reaches up and his fingers trail on the bridge of jungkook’s nose, like he’s never seen jungkook before. yoongi’s hands feel like they’re trailing fire on his skin. it’s the first time yoongi’s hands ever felt like they’re burning jungkook whole, and he can practically feel the flush rising to his face following where yoongi’s hands go, because his hyung’s eyes widen -
and then yoongi is kissing him, his mouth pressing a little too desperately against jungkook’s, insistent and warm. it takes jungkook a moment to register yoongi’s mouth on his own and yoongi’s hand on his cheek, another on his thigh, but when he does he grabs yoongi’s face in his own hands and kisses back with all he’s got.
it’s better than he’d ever imagine; private and warm and all theirs. jungkook tastes the remnants of coffee on his mouth and then yoongi bites at his lip and jungkook pulls away to breathe, his hands falling around yoongi’s neck.
“i’ve wanted to do that since - forever, maybe,” yoongi rasps out, looking a little flushed and out of sorts himself. a thrill shoots through jungkook because he’s the one to put that look there.
“forever?” jungkook repeats, incredulous. “since when?”
“since when? man, i don’t know? ever since i thought you were the cutest kid i ever saw when i was like, eight?” yoongi shrugs helplessly. “i’ve been in stupid levels of love with you since forever, jungkook. literally everyoneknew about it except you.”
“what,” jungkook says faintly.
“jimin’s particularly good at giving me shit about it,” yoongi says wryly, his eyes trailing back to jungkook’s mouth. “but then you started talking about him and - “
“you were jealous, weren’t you,” jungkook wants to laugh. this is too funny. yoongi-hyung, the guy he’s been crushing on for years, his best friend of all best friends, feeling the same way?
“a little,” yoongi pulls at jungkooks hips, nudging him closer. “let’s not talk about that, alright?”
“i’m going to tell everyone,” jungkook grins, watching yoongi lean in for another kiss. jungkook tilts his head and meets him halfway. it feels like he’s free falling off a cliff while knowing there’s going to be someone at the bottom to catch him.
Chapter 7: nice clothes
the thing about jungkook is that he rarely feels jealous or insecure about his relationship.
the thing about jungkook is that he rarely feels jealous or insecure about his relationship. he knows that yoongi loves him - he knows that yoongi loves him. they’ve been dating for nearly three years now, jungkook in his third year of college and yoongi doing his masters in musical composition; it makes for a difficult time of getting together, but they still share an apartment together, they still spends the mornings together. jungkook is rarely, if ever, jealous. or clingy. for the most part, he likes showing his affection in private, when it’s just him and yoongi and the silken comforts of their bed.
but it’s been a couple of weeks and he hasn’t seen lick or hair of yoongi - he hasn’t seen the man around because he’s been so busy with his last few projects and he’s been so swept up with the new musical producers and the people he’s been meeting. sure, yoongi will tell him about them when he has the time, but mostly he’s too tired to say anything when he actually gets home, preferring to pass out on their bed.
and jungkook understands, he really does - he just wishes he could see yoongi more often. he wants to actively cuddle with him, watch a couple of stupid movies, and just hang out with each other.
and then…then, as the days become longer without yoongi and half of dinner goes uneaten, jungkook starts feeling the insecurity. the same insecurity that he hasn’t felt since he started dating yoongi, the same insecurity he never thought he’d feel again.
that’s maybe why when yoongi comes home one day, looking a little worse for wear but in generally much better spirits, asking jungkook out to dinner, the younger beams and nods.
he heads to his room to change out of his awful pajama clothes into something nicer - the jeans that make his legs look good, a shirt that emphasizes his collarbones. jungkook runs his hands through his hair to make the strands look soft and appealing; he puts on cologne and then takes a jacket and makes his way out, where yoongi gives him a half smile and wraps an arm around him.
“where are we going, hyung?” jungkook asks while they’re pressed side to side in the bus.
“a place not too far from my studio,” yoongi responds, checking the address on his phone. “they make some of the best dumplings ever, and i found it a week or two back. ah, this is our stop.”
jungkook follows behind yoongi as he leads them to a restaurant not too far off from where yoongi does most of his work. he feels a little pleased, seeing the place that yoongi obviously likes so much. it’s quiet and a little calm and kind of homely, just the kind of thing that yoongi likes, and when jungkook enters behind his boyfriend he feels a rush of warmth.
that all drops out of him when he sees yoongi call out, “hey, we’re here!” to a group of people sitting at a large, round table. there’s at least six other people there, most of the faces he doesn’t recognize; the only ones he does recognize are namjoon-hyung and his boyfriend, seokjin-hyung. there are three girls sitting at the table and one other guy there as well. the guy already looks half gone, sleepy and tired. the girls are chattering to each other, one of them pointing out something emphatically on her phone. seokjin-hyung, who was fiddling with his chopsticks, sees jungkook and brightens.
so this isn’t a date, jungkook thinks to himself somberly. this is - some get together of yoongi’s coworkers or something. for some reason, jungkook feels stupid. stupid for putting on his nice jeans and his nice shirt and his nice cologne. his eyes slide to yoongi, who is already sitting down in his seat, clapping namjoon on the back.
jungkook takes a seat next to him quietly, kind of displeased, but still happy all the same to at least be out with yoongi after weeks of radio silence.
he takes his jacket off and puts it on the back of his chair, taking out his phone and setting it on the table. as yoongi continues talking to namjoon without a care, he has a feeling he’ll be needing it often.
seokjin sends him a text. you got dragged here too? :(
jungkook bites his lip before texting back. i thought yoongi was taking me out on a date.
i can see - you’re wearing your date shirt.
jungkook glares briefly at seokjin, who only smiles disarmingly at him. it’s true, though, so he just sighs.
yoongi notices this and worms an arm around jungkook’s shoulder, hand resting on jungkook’s neck like it belongs there. “hey - hey, you noisy kids,” he chides, gathering everyone’s attention at the table, “this is someone special i want you to meet - my boyfriend, jeon jungkook.”
“hi,” two of the girls chirp at him, one of them pushing at the sleeping guy’s shoulder. “nice to meet you, jungkook-ssi.”
“nice to meet you too,” he murmurs, still shy around girls. seokjin grins and reaches over to ruffle his hair. the third girl just nods at him, looking uncomfortable. it must be because the last guy is leaning on her a little, which is probably a little painful.
“did you all order yet?” yoongi asks, before calling a waiter down. he tells everyone’s order, perfectly memorized, and jungkook looks down at his glass of water, poured by seokjin a few seconds earlier. he wishes he had a glass of soju, maybe, even though jungkook knows that getting drunk right now isn’t what’s going to help him.
when the food comes by the conversation lulls a little. jungkook is suspiciously quiet; even there were new people at the table, at the very least he would have been talkative with seokjin and namjoon, people he’s known for a long time. but jungkook doesn’t want to talk. something falls in the pit of his stomach as he sees yoongi laughing and smiling along with his coworkers. he can’t keep up with half of he conversation, no matter how hard everyone else tries to include him in it. seokjin, too, falls by the wayside, because he’s studying acting, not music. both he and seokjin send commiserating glances at each other. the only difference between them is that seokjin is still affectionate with namjoon, pushing him on the shoulder when he cracks awful jokes and giving him secretive smiles. there’s barely any contact between jungkook and yoongi.
and then - halfway through dinner, something changes.
the girl who had looked uncomfortable before, now bolstered by food and the good atmosphere, sitting across from yoongi on the round table, talks to him loudly and often calls for his attention. at first jungkook listens to her too, unable to do anything else, especially when he realizes that she’s got some of the same music taste as he does, but then he realizes that she doesn’t want to listen to him talk - every time he says something about the musical bands, she cuts him off and asks for yoongi’s opinion. at first jungkook wonders if she didn’t hear him, because he definitely knows more about this stuff than yoongi does, but when it happens for the third time jungkook figures that she doesn’t want to hear what jungkook has to say, or indulge him in his attempt to try and make friends.
she only wants yoongi’s attention, it seems.
and really, jungkook would have been okay with that before - he doesn’t mind yoongi talking about music with others, exploring through his passion, because he always finds yoongi so attractive when he’s fueled by ambition. but normally, jungkook wouldn’t have not kissed his boyfriend in nearly three weeks, wear nice clothes and do his hair just to sit in a chair and do nothing but listen and feel kind of humiliated for two hours plus.
bolstered by a stomach full of food and a warm drink, he decides that if he’s not going to participate in the conversation, the least he can get is a bit of sleep like the guy earlier had been doing (he woke up when food came around). jungkook leans against yoongi’s shoulder and holds onto his elbow with one hand to anchor himself, closing his eyes for a second. yoongi doesn’t mind, just continuing on with his talks. he can be quite chatty when he wants to be.
it works for about ten minutes or so, and then he feels yoongi push at his shoulder a little insistently. jungkook blinks and moves, his hair pressed against his cheek. yoongi gets up and leans over to do something - his head bent low so he can see something on girl from earlier’s phone.
their faces are so close, and - jungkook can’t help it. the jealousy rears up in him, ugly and green. his face turns blotchy red and when yoongi returns down to his seat, jungkook settles himself back against yoongi’s arm, holding on a bit more tightly. he must look ridiculous when he does so, but he doesn’t care.
yoongi subtly nudges him off again, but this time it’s more rough. jungkook holds on tighter and he hears yoongi snap quietly, “the fuck, jungkook? get off!”
it’s low enough for no one else to hear but jungkook, but it cuts through him just the same. when he slowly untangles himself from yoongi’s side, no one is looking at him except for seokjin, who has probably seen the whole thing. the girl from before is looking through her phone, probably to show yoongi something else. the other two girls are talking to namjoon and the sleepy guy in turns, their names burying themselves in the back of his head.
he feels a burn behind his eyes, though he’s not sure why. this stuff never bothered him before. never before was he this clingy, or easily upset, or - or this insecure. it makes him frustrated and angry, and just a little bit - a little bit disappointed.
disappointed that yoongi hadn’t even noticed.
as yoongi gets up again to talk to the girl across from, jungkook grabs at his phone blindly and puts it in his jacket pocket. he gets up from the table and makes a show of rubbing at his eyes. everyone turns to look at him - yoongi too, in surprise.
“i’m going home,” jungkook says, and his voice is raspy from disuse. his throat feels like it’s stinging. “i’m feeling a little too tired.”
“it’s only nine-thirty,” namjoon says, raising a brow.
“early class tomorrow,” jungkook lies through his teeth, smiling thinly. everyone else seems to accept it except for yoongi, who narrows his eyes. he knows jungkook’s schedule in and out. jungkook is going to regret lying, but right now, he doesn’t care. “bye, everyone.”
without saying anything else, jungkook makes his way outside. it’s a little chillier now, and jungkook simultaneously feels and doesn’t feel the cold. he closes his jacket a little bit tighter and pulls the collar up. he retraces his steps slowly to the nearest bus station, thankful that he had the state of mind to bring his wallet along too.
he isn’t expecting yoongi to follow after him - he certainly isn’t expecting his boyfriend to stop him with a harsh tug on his jacket sleeve just footsteps away from the bus stop, a scowl marred on his face.
“what was that in there?” yoongi demands.
“why are you here,” jungkook says flatly. “shouldn’t you be back inside with your friends?”
yoongi is taken aback by jungkook’s dead voice. “you - what’s wrong with you?” his eyebrows furrow now in worry, irritation melting from his face in a second. jungkook rarely sounds that way, he knows, but he can’t help it right now. he feels embarrassed and tired and kind of snubbed, so he wants to go home and sleep. fuck yoongi and whatever he wants right now, anyway.
“nothing,” jungkook mumbles. “i told you, i’m just tired.”
“you can stay up for three days without feeling a thing,” yoongi points out, reaching out to take jungkook’s hand and interlace their fingers. jungkook rips his hand away, still feeling the burn of yoongi’s words from earlier.
“well i’m tired now,” he snaps. “i’m going home. go back to your friends, hyung.”
“jungkook,” yoongi says, speechless. his hand still feels empty from the way jungkook snatched it out of his.
despite what he says, yoongi doesn’t leave, just stands there with his probing eyes and his big hands, still a hairs breadth away. after a moment, he takes one step closer. “babe, listen - “
“don’t call me that,” jungkook scowls, turning away from him. bolstered by the hurt inside of him, jungkook turns away and says, “i’m really not happy right now, hyung, especially not with you. just leave me the fuck alone, alright? go talk to your brand new friends and leave me alone.”
jungkook doesn’t storm away, per say, but he walks far enough that he ends up in an unknown part of the area. there’s no way he’s going to go back or find another bus stop, so jungkook slumps against a dark alleywall and sighs to himself. he’s acting stupid, he knows. he just can’t get the image out of his mind - yoongi leaning over, his face so close to hers, so serious and alive. jungkook just wants to sleep this entire nightmare off. he feels like a joke in his nice shirt, his nice jeans, his nice cologne.
he ends up calling a cab to go home, because he doesn’t know where the heck he is. it takes ten minutes to get home by cab and he pays the driver without asking for change, heading up to the apartment he and yoongi share and jamming in the passcode. after he gets in, jungkook downs two painkillers for his headache, changes into something that doesn’t smell like shame, and crawls into his bed.
he’s woken up violently by someone pushing at his shoulder. at first it causes panic to rise up in his throat, but then his night vision fixes to the light turned on at the bedside table. yoongi is leaning against the bed, still in the clothes he was in before. when jungkook looks at the time, he sees that it’s nearing midnight.
“wh’t the hell - “
“do you know what the fuck you do to me,” yoongi hisses, jerking jungkook upright. he looks a little worse for wear, his hair mussed and his clothes in disarray. he looks like he’s been running. “do you know how much i’ve been looking for you in the past few hours?!”
jungkook sleepily tugs his hand out of yoongi’s grip. “i’ve been here the entire time, i don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“you,” yoongi gestures helplessly, before lunging forward and slamming his mouth against jungkook’s. it’s not a nice kiss, not in the very least; jungkook is still sleep soft and yoongi is cold and harsh from the outside night weather. there’s too much teeth and yoongi presses his thumbs against jungkook’s jaw too hard. after the initial moment of shock, jungkook pushes yoongi away.
“what are you doing,” he fights the urge to scowl. the kiss leaves him feeling warmer than he wants.
“you never used to push me away,” yoongi breathes heavily, staring at jungkook in the half dark.
“the last time we kissed was like three weeks ago,” jungkook says warily. he pulls the comforter more on his side.
“you fucking ran away from me,” yoongi seethes, fists clenching. “and i looked goddamn everywhere for you on those streets. i was out of my fucking mind with worry - kept thinking about you getting mugged, or assaulted, or god forbid something else - “ yoongi forces himself to take a deep breath. “the least you could fucking do, jungkook is send me a goddamn text.”
and he says it so matter-of-factly, like jungkook is the one in the wrong here, that jungkook bristles. “i’m a big boy, hyung, i can take care of myself. i called a cab and went home, like i said. i didn’t ask you to follow me or look for me - in fact, i told you to ignore me and go back to your friends.”
yoongi laughs incredulously. “like i could ever ignore you, jeon jungkook.”
this causes the rage from earlier to rise in jungkook. “oh, like you weren’t today? like you haven’t been for the last few weeks? i’ve been trying to be understand, hyung, i’ve kept out of your way and i haven’t asked for much - but i’m human too. i miss my boyfriend - i miss talking to him, sleeping with him, just being with him. excuse me for thinking that the one time he asks me out in over a month i think we’re going on a date or something, instead of some lame coworker get together where it’s obvious i’m not welcome and some girl is all over you. i know when i’m not wanted. i left. that’s all. i’m going back to sleep.”
jungkook turns to go burrow himself in his comforter, heart beating erratically in his chest at all he’s just said.
yoongi makes a noise behind him, like something of a wounded animal or an angry, pitiful grunt. there’s the sound of something rustling before yoongi is pressing himself to jungkook’s back, hands moving around jungkook’s middle.
“look, i’m sorry, babe,” yoongi murmurs against jungkook’s shoulder. “seokjin - seokjin yelled at me when i got back, telling them all that i couldn’t find you. said that i was being a careless boyfriend, that i didn’t think about how you felt at all. i’m sorry, jungkook, seriously. i’m sorry for snapping at you, too - you didn’t deserve that.”
jungkook fights to keep his breathing even. he wants to keep on being mad, but yoongi just breaks him down with his apologetic words and soothing voice. he fights away all that he’s been feeling today - stupid, small, insecure.
embarrassingly, jungkook’s voice cracks when he speaks. “just don’t - don’t…just tell me first, okay. start talking to me again, or something. i -i…”
he doesn’t know how to express all that he’s been feeling, all the things that yoongi’s been making him feel for the last few weeks. he doesn’t want to be clingy or the overbearing boyfriend, but it hurts.
yoongi kisses his neck, then his jaw, then his ear. quietly, he admits, “i miss you too.”
a beat later, he’s pressing butterfly kisses on jungkook’s collarbones. “i was trying to get my work finished early, at least a month or two early,” he murmurs in between them. jungkook’s breath hitches in his throat. “i wanted to get some unhindered quality time with you. a vacation for just us, right when your vacation was too. i guess i forget myself in it as well. i’m sorry, jungkookie.”
“okay,” jungkook says in the dark. his chest still hurts. “okay. but - hyung?”
yoongi pauses. “yeah?”
“just promise me you won’t push me away like that again,” he says.
it must dawn on yoongi of what jungkook is talking about, because he moves them until yoongi is on top of him and rubbing his cold nose in the curve of jungkook’s throat. “oh, babe, no - i’m sorry, fuck, i didn’t even realize, it’s because you were doing that thing that gets me bothered and i panicked because i didn’t want to get a fuckin’ boner in public but - jesus, that’s no excuse, i’m sorry.”
jungkook reaches up to push off yoongi’s heavy coat, cold and thick on jungkook’s bed-warmed skin. he pushes aside the coat and yoongi’s beanie. yoongi doesn’t bother changing out of his button up shirt and pants, just falling into bed next to jungkook, pressing kisses against the crown of his head. jungkook basks in the warmth that runs through him at the affection; at yoongi’s hand running up and down his elbow and arm, at yoongi’s arm thrown over his waist. jungkook purposefully shuffles down so he can tuck his face into yoongi’s shoulder and closes his eyes.
yoongi reaches over and hugs him close pulling up the sheets over their bodies, closing the light beside them. yoongi takes one more closed mouth kiss before his breathing fills the air, shallow but slowing down. jungkook feels a little guilt at how he had made yoongi worry over him, so he sticks his feat underneath yoongi’s so that the older will get some warmth, and then closes his eyes to the scent and comfort of yoongi around him.
Chapter 8: studio room love
jungkook is not looking forward to this.
jungkook sets aside his pencil case, huffing. it’s already ten minutes into class and the professor won’t start until everyone is here. she taps her pen against the edge of her wooden table, raising an eyebrow at all the antsy students in the rows; today is the day for their last project of the semester, worth a good chunk of their grade. jungkook is praying that it’ll be a project where they can choose partners, because he does not want to work with certain people.
one of those people is the senior min yoongi, who swaggers in through the door nearly fifteen minutes late, stuffing his hands in his pockets. he’s visible from the crowd due to his bright silver-gray hair and his tendency to not give a fuck about anyone or anything - except music. but sometimes even that seems to get him behind, because he’s always retaking 101 classes that seem so pointless if just done right the first time. he’s probably the oldest in the classroom right now.
“good to see you’re here, mr. min,” the professor says crisply, showing her displeasure. “take a seat.”
“sure thing,” yoongi shrugs, looking completely at ease. jungkook would envy him if it weren’t for his awful reputation and his even worse tendency to do nothing in class. he sits in the back and rarely talks in class, only to provide pithy commentary that only makes professor yang purse her lips. jungkook breathes out a sigh of relief when he goes to the back in his usual seat, but then professor yang clicks her heels against the floor and clears her throat.
“not in the back today, mr. min,” she informs him with a tight smile. “sit in the empty seat nearest to you - in the front. we’ll be assigning the group projects today.”
yoongi turns around, and jungkook freezes. quickly, he looks around - there are no open seats in the front, because this is a really popular class, and so the only seat left is the one next to jungkook - the one he had saved for yugyeom before the other had texted him to say that he was too sick to make it to class. in his row are four seats, and it’s blaringly obvious that only three and filled.
jungkook stiffens as yoongi scoffs but doesn’t fight, slumping in the seat next to jungkook’s. he holds himself rigidly, as if yoongi would sense it if he moved.
“good,” professor yang says. she clicks on the projector and the project details show up on the board. “you will all be acting as a team of producers this time around. i want you to all create a song; write the lyrics, write the beat, sing it, rap it, do whatever you like. i’ll be giving you an emotion, and i want you to portray that emotion as creatively as possible in your song.” she taps the board.
“it should be anywhere from three to five minutes long. you can all split it up however you want - someone can do the music, someone can do the recording, someone can come up with the lyrics - but everyone should be doing the same amount of work, got it? i won’t tolerate one person slacking off in the project. there will be consequences if i find evidence of this. everyone clear?”
“yes, professor yang,” the class says in unison.
“good,” she closes her laptop, cutting off the projection. “in your lives, you’ll have to work with producers and musicians you may not want to work with, at first. some people you will become familiar with, and other people you will never click with. the hard part is learning how to work with them - so, for this project, it will be a team of the four people sitting in the same row as you are.”
“i’ve sent the instructions and details to your emails.” she sits back. “you can all take an empty office or meeting room and converse; the rest of the hour is for you guys. converse.”
jungkook looks around at the three people beside him, feeling a little numb.
that’s mihyun, a mousy boy with straight cut black hair and a tendency to talk to himself instead of anyone else, and soojung, a sporty-type girl that always moves. jungkook sat next to them mostly because they were quiet and didn’t try to talk to him in class. they rarely asked him for anything and there was a common consensus among them three; don’t bother each other. but they had never worked together before.
and then there’s yoongi, who had only gotten up and followed the rest of them silently as they occupied the empty conference room. now he’s on his phone, pretty bored, and jungkook feels a headache coming on.
“we should split it up,” soojung offers. “one will produce the music, another with create the lyrics, and another person will rap, and another person will sing.”
“sounds good,” mihyun says quietly. “but doesn’t it mean that the people performing the song will be doing less?”
“it’s hard to put emotion into your voice, especially when rapping,” jungkook says. “well, how the two that are singing and rapping help the other two, if it seems a little unfair.”
“i’ll sing,” soojung offers. “can you produce the music, jungkook-ssi?”
jungkook rolls his fingers over the hem of his shirt, squashing down the urge to do everything himself.
“yeah,” he replies tersely.
“i’ll do the rapping,” yoongi says suddenly, his voice a deep cut through their conversation. he rolls his shoulders and sits up when everyone looks at him. he shrugs. “what? that kid over there looks like he can’t speak over a babbling stream. and that one looks like he’s too stiff to even touch a microphone. i’ll just do it myself,” he waves away.
jungkook flushes in anger at the description - he’s not stiff - but everyone else is nodding their assent, so he purses his lips. “okay, fine. mihyun, can you write the lyrics for the song, then?”
“yeah,” mihyun nods.
“this is due in three weeks, so we should get everything done and pulled together by next week, friday. it should give us enough time to record it and get it right, edit, and all that.” a little consciously, jungkook pulls out his phone. “can i get all your numbers?”
soojung and mihyun program their numbers into his phone, and when he hands it over to yoongi for the silver-haired male to put his in, he just smirks.
“worst way i’ve ever been picked up,” he jokes. jungkook doesn’t respond; not a single twitch. yoongi eventually takes it and puts in his number, giving it back to jungkook. when he does so, his fingers drag across jungkook’s wrist, and then his palm, a feather light touch that has jungkook pulling away with rapid speed.
“we should get started on the emotion part, then,” jungkook says succinctly, opening up his email to check what the professor had assigned them. loss. he sighs and settles down, ready to start up the conversation and hopefully steer it in the direction he wants.
he ignores the way yoongi doesn’t say anything for the rest of the hour, but always seems to have an eye on jungkook himself.
and, alright - jungkook knows he’s a little “stiff”. he likes to do things a certain way and he gets prissy if it isn’t. he likes doing things by himself, because he knows from experience that things have gotten way out of hand when he doesn’t do it himself. so what? excuse him for wanting to get things done right.
at first it’s alright - at first, they all talk in the group chat (or at least read all the chats, in yoongi’s case). jungkook gets most of the beat down, creating a slow, trepid song that speaks of rainy evenings and a slight nostalgic feeling. that’s what he thinks of when he thinks of loss; the first week, he sends it to everyone, but then tells mihyun - who is doing the lyrics - what he thinks of it especially. though he had gotten no answer, he supposed mihyun had at least started writing lyrics that would match the song. there were still things they needed to work out though - how to make sure the pacing was okay, if the song and lyrics were in harmony with each other, so jungkook reserves one of the studio rooms for two hours. he figures that it’ll be enough time for them to go over everything and hopefully work some kinks out. he tells everyone this and asks them to bring along what they’ve done so that they can get started on actually focusing on this thing as a group.
jungkook runs a hand across the top of his computer screen, happy that it’s as sleek and neat as ever. he opens it and settles himself down on a comfortable chair, putting his headphones on to block out all noise. he’s a little early, so he’s expecting everyone else to be here in a couple of minutes.
he’s so into fixing up small like beat mishaps in his program, though, that he doesn’t even realize someone else has come - thirty minutes later - until there’s a hand on his arm.
startled, he yelps and pushes away, coming face to face with min yoongi himself. the elder shrugs and sits down across from him.
“i’m a little late,” he states, and jungkook looks at the time, his eyes widening to see how fast the minutes have gone by. “but it looks like the others are worse than i am.”
“i - “ jungkook fumbles for his phone, where a text from soojung comes in. i already have something to do today at this time! how could you tell us so late, jungkook-ssi...
mihyun: sorry, i haven’t finished most of my part yet, i’ll have it in by next week! plus, i have class today...
suddenly, rage builds up in jungkook - he scowls. “what a liar! i checked his schedule - he has no class today!”
“well, we don’t really need soojung,” yoongi’s deep voice comments. jungkook’s head snaps up, remembering at the last second that he’s not alone. “we can do this without her, can’t we?”
a muscle in jungkook’s neck twitches. “i guess,” he acquiesces.
“great,” yoongi claps his hands together, leaning forward. today he’s got on a leather jacket that makes his shoulders look too good. jungkook has never let himself think this before, but min yoongi is a certain type of handsome that could get a boy like jungkook in trouble. “so what are we doing, jungkookie?”
he bristles at the informal language, but yoongi is older than him - he doesn’t know by how much, bt he does know that the silver-gray haired man is older. he lets it go. “i could play the track i have so far.” it’s a start.
yoongi nods and jungkook presses the play button.
it’s a slow, ballad-like song, that much is obvious. there are couple of empty parts where there could be more music, more voice, yet they just have to fill it in. jungkook thinks that he’s done a pretty good job - not the best, obviously, but good enough for one of his first tries.
“wow,” yoongi says at the end of it. his face gives away nothing, so jungkook can’t tell if it’s a good or bad ‘wow’. “that was certainly something. you’ve got one hell of a talent.”
that, at the very least, makes jungkook smile. he ducks his head and runs his fingers over the laptop keys, unaware of yoongi’s eyes glued on his upturned lips. “thanks. i spent a lot of time on it, but it’s still - missing something.”
yoongi shakes his head; jungkook catches the tail end of him clearing his throat. “well, yeah. the entire part all the way through is slow, real slow. it’s a song for voice only; how about you up the tempo a little bit to make it easier to follow for the rappers? add in something thick as the base, and then use that pretty sound you’ve got to layer it on top?”
jungkook stares at yoongi, wide-eyed, and it obviously makes the other shuffle a little self-consciously. “what?”
“nothing,” he says, trying not to gape. “can you - can you do that? i still don’t know much about producing music?”
that gets a smile on min yoongi’s face - jungkook blinks, because it’s the first time he’s ever seen min yoongi smile, and it makes him around fifteen times less threatening than usual. “all you had to do was ask.” he wheels himself forward, close enough for the material of his leather jacket to press against jungkook’s elbow, and reaches for the music board.
and it’s - weird to say the least, because jungkook starts noticing a pattern. in the next week, he asks to meet up twice - each time, mihyun and soojung flake on him because they’ve got other things to do or they haven’t done something or jungkook has told them too late. at first it used to piss him off, because mihyun was supposed to be creating the lyrics? and what are they going to do if they don’t have any words to their song? the only person who actively shows up after all of it is yoongi.
yoongi also brings along his synthesizer and his piano, plays the melody slowly on the instrument to show jungkook how it will sound on a singular instrument. it’s soft and low and touching, but also reminds jungkook of things that he can’t touch anymore. loss.
point is, yoongi is actually the most helpful one, whereas mihyun and soojung - who he thought would be more helpful - are actually the worst.
they’ve got nearly one week left until they have to submit the song, and he’s asked soojung to come in many times to sing it, but she retorts how can i possibly sing it if there are no words?
the least she can do is hear the melody and get used to the beat, jungkook thinks sullenly. the idea of the project falling apart grates on jungkook to the point where he’s complaining about it off-hand to his hyungs, who buy him coffee and pat him down in sympathy. it’s the actual worst.
yoongi sits across from jungkook now, leaning back. he looks untouchable in a long, dark coat and his sharp eyes; despite the fact that it’s more often than not only them together in the room, jungkook still feels a little wary of expressing all his feelings while yoongi is here. the guy’s met and passed his expectations, after all, jungkook just doesn’t know what to do with that.
“you know,” yoongi starts calmly, when he sees jungkook huffing in front of his laptop, “i’ve written some lyrics down. you could use those, if you want.”
jungkook’s head snaps up, eyes widening. it’s mihyun’s job to write the lyrics, but he doesn’t even care at the moment. “seriously? did you really?” he leans a bit closer in his excitement, eyes wide, missing the way yoongi’s ears turn pink at his wonder.
“yeah, well,” yoongi coughs. “it was a good song. i got inspiration.” he pulls out a piece of paper that’s got writing on both sides.
“you wrote the entire song?” jungkook marvels, “the bridge and the chorus and the - “
“the raps too, yeah,” yoongi finishes dryly. "since we already have the song done...how about i just put my rap in?”
“yes, of course!” jungkook nearly sighs in relief. “that’s - amazing, this is amazing, yoongi-ssi.”
“you didn’t even read it yet,” yoongi says, amused, but his ears are turning an even deeper shade of pink. he musses his hair and jungkook gets momentarily distracted by how it looks in the dim light of their studio.
“i know you did a good job,” he says, because at this point he knows - yoongi is a talented musician. he’s got the know-how around different instruments and is practically at home in a studio. jungkook doesn’t know why he’s so left back on so many classes, but he supposes that it’s because of sheer laziness, maybe.
yoongi gets behind the mic and then closes his eyes for a second. jungkook starts up the music a little bit before the rapping portion - there’s two of them - and presses the record button.
yoongi’s voice is deep, husky, and sharp; jungkook can only watch him as he spits out words and manages to make them smooth and soft, like a cradling kiss on the forehead, or like a hand being pulled away from someone else’s. his voice is laced with something underneath that makes him sound wistful.
at the end of it, jungkook is left holding his breath. yoongi raises an eyebrow and he cuts off the music. jungkook mouths, how was it?
yoongi speaks into the mic, “play it one more time - i made a pronunciation mistake.”
jungkook barely noticed it, but if yoongi wants to do it over, he can’t exactly say no.
it takes them the better part of the hour, but yoongi finishes off the first rap part to his liking. when he’s done, he gets out and steals jungkook’s water bottle, taking a long drink from it. it’s tiring, having to put all that emotion in your face each and every time, making sure that it doesn’t seem flat and reedy after the first heart-striking moment.
“i think we can get the second part done in the better part of the hour,” yoongi says, setting jungkook’s bottle down. “we just need to get the singing in.”
“soojung hasn’t even heard the song yet, i think,” jungkook sighs. “how will she match her voice to it if she didn’t even listen to it? it’ll take so long for her to actually sing and sing on key if she doesn’t know the main beat she has to follow...”
yoongi gives him an unreadable glance for a moment before quietly saying, “then you sing.”
jungkook startles. “w-what?”
“you know the entire melody, right? and if i give you the lyrics to memorize, you could sing them, couldn’t you? you already know all the beats, where the ad-libs are going to go, and what part of the song the crescendo hits. you can do it.”
“y-you’ve never heard me sing,” jungkook flushes, still a little taken aback. “i just - “
“what, are you bad at singing?” yoongi raises a challenging eyebrow.
“well, not - “
“then you’ll be fine. like you said, soojin or whatever her name is won’t be able to finish on time with the rest of us, not with the constraint we have. i’m going to give you the lyrics to memorize - book this for two more days, we can get it done.”
jungkook, spurred into silence at yoongi’s sudden takeover of the project, just nods.
“okay, good,” and then yoongi gives him that half smile that gets his heart beating quick. “let’s get started on the second rap part.”
jungkook takes a deep breath, unsure of how to go on about this. he’s worked the last two days to memorize all the lyrics, singing it to himself in front of the mirror. this is the first time his voice is going to go on an actual track, and he’s nervous as all hell. yoongi is sitting at the sound board, waiting for jungkook to give the okay to start. jungkook shakes off his nervousness and nods once, sure that he’s got all of this down. he’s practiced endlessly; he can do this.
as soon as the music swells he closes his eyes and lets it flood through him, a symphony of noise crackling in his ears. jungkook opens his mouth and sings, the part of music he simply loves the most, the part that tore him away from his family - the part that caused him so much pain and hard work to achieve. he lets all of it filter through, bleeding through the words in his voice. he hits the high notes just he how wanted to, voice trailing after them like he’s chasing after something that has already passed by.
when the song ends, jungkook opens his eyes and sets down the microphone, the smile on his face fading when he sees yoongi staring at him with a blank look. “what? was it bad? did i do something wrong?” he made sure not to do any pronunciation mistakes - made sure to keep his voice in range and in pitch...
yoongi shakes his head and, to jungkook’s surprise, enters the recording room in a swift moment. jungkook steps away from the mic, but it’s no use against yoongi’s long, purposeful strides.
“yoongi-ssi - “ there’s an insistent mouth of his, suddenly. yoongi is kissing him; yoongi is kissing him - jungkook’s mind short circuits. the flush that steals across his face is sudden and absolute.
when yoongi pulls away, he huffs out a little laugh at how jungkook looks; the younger can’t even imagine, if the way yoongi’s spit-slicked mouth is making jungkook’s neck burn. “you’re not pushing me away,” yoongi notes.
“no,” jungkook breathes, before tugging on yoongi’s coat and their mouths meet again. yoongi is the only one who came by, who suffered under jungkook’s need to do everything three or four times without a complaining word, who came in at the nick of time just when jungkook needed him. it may seem silly that it’s all over the a project, but yoongi gets it - the music, the life, the passion for it.
yoongi presses his hands against jungkook’s hips and the kiss turns a little more heated when jungkook tilts his head. yoongi licks at his bottom lip before pulling away.
“i could write a song about you looking like this,” yoongi says, amused, and jungkook - feeling brave - pushes him in jest. it’s the first time he hears yoongi laugh, but he hopes it won’t be the last.
when the project is due. jungkook comes to class with a new, finished song and a new boyfriend. to everyone’s surprise - especially professor yang’s - yoongi trails in right after jungkook, who comes to class straight on the dot.
mihyun and soojung are also sitting in class, but jungkook settles in his seat and completely ignores him. soojung prattles about how jungkook didn’t text her about when to come or that she didn’t get to listen to the song, and mihyun comes up with excuses about why he didn’t do his part.
yoongi hands jungkook a cd and says, quietly, “give this one to her.”
jungkook sends him a questioning glance. yoongi offers a private, toothy grin. they had to write inside the cd the names of all the people who worked on the project, and the paper accompanied the song is in jungkook’s hands. he takes the cd from yoongi and nods.
when it comes time to submit everything, professor yang notes the two names on the cd and raises an eyebrow, but doesn’t say anything.
he sits back down next to yoongi, who threads his fingers through jungkook’s and smiles.
Chapter 9: soft bed
same verse as "nice clothes"
yoongi’s fingers catch on the ends of jungkook’s hair. he’s got shadows dancing on the corners of his eyelashes. when he breathes, the world moves up and down his spine; his chest rises and falls with the habitual action. yoongi is transfixed by the sight of his curved back, his curled fingers. his hair feels like silk through yoongi’s fingers.
there is quiet in their bedroom, staring from the molded edging of their windows to the quiet spaces in between their armoire and their carpet. yoongi’s fingers catch on the ends of jungkook’s hair. he wonders. when it’s the bridge between dawn and morning, why jungkook deigns to share breaths with him.
jungkook is adjectives of words yoongi has yet to come up with. he’s the pink and gold across the sunset-drawn sky; he’s the sight of neon lights in the dark; he’s the ice-cream dripping down a thin-skinned wrist. jungkook is everything that fascinates yoongi, the sky in a body, the earth in a physique. yoongi’s fingers will touch the ocean-smooth skin of jungkook’s cheek, the flower-petal softness of his lower lip, the hollow-bone bird of his collarbones. yoongi doesn’t remember jungkook being beautiful; first, he was fascinating and bright and alluring, and then he became real.
and it’s these times that he wonders. wonders what jungkook, the man that laughs at his jokes even when they’re stupid, kisses his fingertips even when they’re callous, and willingly puts yoongi’s hands on his neck, near his pulse, even when he knows that yoongi will hurt others before he lets the hurt get to himself. yoongi hurts, but jungkook takes it all without question, lets the hurt seep into his bones until yoongi is suffering from seeing his suffering, until yoongi lets the guilt choke him whole. jungkook should never be sad. his face is made for smiles.
he thinks about breaking up with jungkook, sometimes. he doesn’t deserve jungkook. it’s simple, like that, when he thinks about it. he doesn’t deserve most of the things he has. jungkook’s heart is tiny, like a fluttering bird, and yoongi’s hands feel too clumsy when he holds it.
(last week, when jungkook walked away from him, his eyes shining in hurt, when he pulled his hand away from yoongi’s - yoongi thinks that is what it feels like to break.
he ran around the corners, the shadows, the ills of the city to find jungkook, to chase him down and promise him kisses, to apologize for not understanding, to tell him that he always fucks up and he’ssorry, god he’s sorry, he thought he was doing this for the right reasons but no reason is right when jungkook looks like yoongi has stuck a sword through him - )
and then, then jungkook will do something small, like whine at yoongi when the bills are on the table because he doesn’t like being an adult, or he’ll forget about the soup on the stove on day out of six months, or he’ll grumble and complain about his classes, shuffling up behind yoongi with his hands searching skin, and yoongi prays - prays that jungkook needs him as much as he needs jungkook.
yoongi begins to take himself out of bed when a pull on his shirt stops him. jungkook is looking up at him blearily, dark irises between dark lashes. “wh’re you goin’, hyung?”
“go back to sleep, baby,” yoongi says softly, gently trying to uncurl jungkook’s hand on his shirt. the younger doesn’t have it. it’s like he senses when yoongi is feeling less of himself. jungkook pulls himself closer, blankets falling around his hips, hair shuffling across the pillow.
“it’s too cold without you here,” he yawns, tugging yoongi’s shirt insistently, not exactly pushing him back down. that’s just how jungkook is; he’ll never force yoongi to come back, or to leave, but he’ll persist and persist from his side until yoongi caves. jungkook rubs his nose against yoongi’s arm. “hyung, get back inside properly, please.”
yoongi pauses, something painful blooming in his chest. he slides back inside the covers, and jungkook rests his head in between yoongi’s shoulder and his neck. he presses his mouth against the skin there and pulls up the covers around them both, tangling their limbs together. warmth spreads from his body wherever he touches yoongi.
“it’s better with you here,” jungkook says sleepily, his face decorated with fondness. the affection trails off on his mouth, and yoongi resist the urge to kiss it awake.
he thinks about breaking up, sometimes, and then remembers how much he’d break if that happened. he thinks jungkook would break worse. so yoongi doesn’t.
Chapter 10: those darn kids
brief mentions of homophobia.
jungkook yawns and shuffles after yoongi on the train, rubbing the sleepiness out of his eyes. he has yet to wake up fully, even after making breakfast and going through the motions of any other morning. it’s only when yoongi places a tea or other drink in his had does he really wake up. until then, he pretty much shuffles behind his boyfriend and lets himself be guided by yoongi’s warm hands. right now, yoongi shuffles him into a seat, choosing to stand by himself.
usually they’re not bothered on the train as they go to their uni, because everyone is pretty much a student on this line. sometimes, though, they get one or two outliers in the pile - when they reach one of the more populated stations for people to get off.
jungkook is still sighing, really only half awake, and yoongi is typing away at his phone. they’re left alone for the most part, until some suit walks in, looking immediately uncomfortable at the amount of students that seem to be around him. he walks toward the nearest person that looks old enough to at least drink - yoongi. with a stiff nod, he settles himself near the other side of the pole, near the door. yoongi doesn’t care as long as he can get a clear view of his boyfriend.
but the suit doesn’t seem to want to leave it at that. he looks like one of those privileged and over-fed types, and yoongi doesn’t want to talk to him and figure out if he is or isn’t. instead, he goes back to his phone, where he takes mindless photos of jungkook’s pretty cheeks and ugly ones of his nostrils for fun.
the train bumps over a couple of rocky tracks, and jungkook shakes himself wake, having banged his head on the window. he gives a little groan, and then rubs his eyes. though he wouldn’t have been awake before, he’s definitely awake now. with a sigh he runs a hand through his hair, wincing at the tenderness at the back of his scalp.
“you okay, babe?” yoongi asks, his voice loud enough to carry over the noise. no one bats a second lash at them except for the suit, who stares at both yoongi and jungkook in turns.
“m’fine,” jungkook sighs. he rubs his eyes again, only serving to make the skin underneath his eyes flushed. “i just need more sleep. don’t keep me awake like that next time, okay?”
yoongi smirks. “admit it, you loved it.” they had stayed up until nearly 2 am watching crappy mafia movies and making fun of the characters and each other. it had ended in kisses and sleeping on each other’s shoulders, but a morning of pure pain and torture - at least, until yoongi got two cups of coffee in him. the judgement for jungkook is still out.
yoongi and jungkook know what they’re talking about, but the suit doesn’t; to him, it must have sounded vulgar. when jungkook moves his bag aside a little so yoongi can sit beside him, the suit moves toward the other end of the train car, murmuring loud enough for them to purposefully hear, “how disgusting.”
the rage that rises in yoongi is quick and immediate; it fills him to the brim with a hot tempered anger that makes him rise to haste from his seat, bag falling from his lap. his body moves without him thinking; he makes a step to move toward the bigoted suit, but a slight tug on the hem of his sweatshirt stops him.
jungkook looks up at him with sleepy eyes, shaking his head. he’s heard it too, yoongi’s sure, and the thought of jungkook’s face screwed in pain or sadness makes the anger rise again -
“hyung, sit,” jungkook yawns, pulling insistently at his sweatshirt. “i want to sleep on your shoulder.”
and he looks so tired and a little whiny and yoongi can’t help himself. he tenses before sitting down again, letting jungkook purposefully hold his arm and link their fingers together. jungkook seems to lay all of his body weight on yoongi, as if that could somehow stop him from moving any more or doing something he’ll regret.
“i would have punched him, if i could,” yoongi says in a low voice.
jungkook snorts. “i know. he’s not worth it.”
yoongi wants to say something, but the words die on his lips when he realizes that it’s true. he won’t even remember the guy’s face tomorrow. what he will remember is the way jungkook nuzzled his shoulder and smiled at him. so yoongi leans back and thinks about jungkook and his hands and his smile.
he feels infinitely better when, as the suit is leaving for the next stop, he accidentally trips over some girl’s bag. she’s sitting across from them both, and looks entirely innocent while apologizing. she meets yoongi’s eyes halfway through the exchange of apologies with the suit, and then as he leaves, yoongi sees her give a kiss to another blonde girl walking with her.
he holds the laugh to himself and wonders what kind of tea jungkook might like today.
Chapter 11: iron man to go
coffee shop au, barista!yoongi
the first time the kid comes in, he’s shuffling behind an orange-haired regular. jimin gives yoongi a two fingered salute. it’s probably the first day of classes from jimin; yoongi’s schooling, his last fucking year, started around a week or two back. the kid behind him is tall and lanky-looking underneath his bulky army jacket (it doesn’t look like his own, actually) and rubbing his eyes, dazed.
his face is mostly hidden by his bangs and his jacket and his beanie, so yoongi focuses on jimin. “regular?”
“yes, thanks hyung!” jimin says, smiling wide. he looks way too bright and chipper for the first day of college. “can you use half percent for the milk this time, though?” yoongi grunts in assent, ringing up jimin’s order. “what do you want? hyung will pay for you!”
it takes a moment to realize that this kid is actually jimin’s junior, not in his class. he looks young, yeah, but not that young. briefly, yoongi wonders how young he is before he turns to the kid expectantly.
all he can see is a cute nose (wait, what the fuck, min yoongi - cute nose?) and cheekbones. he hears the kid murmur, “i don’t like coffee, hyung.”
yoongi can’t help himself; he snorts.
jimin shoots him a dirty look when the kid’s face flushes in embarrassment. “i - i just don’t like coffee…it tastes too bitter.”
“how about a frappuccino, then?” jimin offers. “it doesn’t taste like coffee, not if you get a specific flavor. there’ll be whipped cream and chocolate and everything.”
“okay,” the kid says in assent after a moment, and yoongi goes to pick up the smallest serving cup. he writes jimin’s name on both and hands them to the actual barista who is working now, seokjin, who offers a little smile at jimin and starts on the drinks. he doesn’t realize that he never learned the kid’s name until after they’re both leaving, seokjin catching the way yoongi’s eyes trail on the kid’s hands. “what was it this time? i couldn’t see his face that much. was it the voice?”
there’s always something that makes yoongi trip over a crush; always one, tiny little thing that’s always so stupid when he points it out. there’s no use arguing with seokjin or denying it, because he just getsworse about it, and so yoongi just sighs. “the nose.”
seokjin chortles. yoongi hits him with a cup.
the second time the kid comes in, he’s not wearing his beanie, the same army jacket is slung over his shoulders, and he’s got books pressed to his chest. he’s looking up at the handwritten menu behind yoongi and mouthing the words along as he talks, eyes so wide they look like buttons ready to take up half his face. yoongi’s hands fuck up writing a new order and he has to do it again because holy shit this kid is cute.
when he comes up next in line, yoongi hides his sweating palms behind his back. “hi, what can i get you?” thankfully, his voice is still as droll and low as ever, not a single hint of his stupid nervousness. why is he nervous? what the fuck?
“could i get that drink from yesterday?” the kid asks, sort of curling in on himself. he’s looking up at the menu board and looking uncomfortable. “the frap..frap thing.”
“u-uh,” he squints up at the menu, then looks down at the top of his books. “i don’t - i don’t usually go to coffee shops, so - “
“we can caramel, mocha, green tea, java, chocolate, and strawberry jump at the moment,” yoongi rattles off, silently hating himself for knowing all of their menu.
the kid blinks, then asks, “can i have the green tea?”
yoongi nods mutely and then picks up the smallest serving size again, ringing it in and then pausing when he realizes that he doesn’t know the kid’s name. “uh, name, please?”
“you don’t know my name?” he asks, looking amused.
“am i supposed to?” yoongi grumbles, though he kind of really wants to know.
the kid bites his lip, and then says with the straightest face, “iron man.”
yoongi pauses. it’s like the entire world pauses. he sends the kid a flat, disbelieving look. “are you - serious.”
the kid nods, a smile crossing his face. he has an overbite. it makes yoongi a little weak, so he clears his throat and then writes down iron man on the cup, feeling absolutely ridiculous.
when he gets the green tea frapp, though, he looks so elated to have iron man called out that yoongi can’t regret anything. if yoongi tried, he can see literal hearts popping up around the kid. yoongi has a feeling that this isn’t going to be the last.
it isn’t. the kid comes in nearly every other day to get a frappuccino or some other beverage so watered down with sugar and whipped cream and milk that it doesn’t taste like coffee anymore - but he’s always so happy. after iron man came harry potter (with the cutest little accent), then black widow, then wonder woman (that day was when he got a vanilla bean frapp, drinking it without a care in the world) and then another litany of superheroes. he also does, however, real life people from time to time - g-dragon, then zion.t, then some underground rappers, then famous pop singers.
yoongi doesn’t know how to tell the kid that his music style is on freakin’ point if he doesn’t even know his name.
he comes during off peak hours too, jimin trailing behind him sometimes, never calling the kid by name. it looks like it’s done purposefully. it’s driving yoongi crazy. jimin can definitely tell that yoongi has a crush - a crush that’s only growing bigger and bigger by the day whenever he sees the kid and his big army jacket (“it used to belong to my hyung,” the kid had said shyly when yoongi said that he had taken 2 years off to finish his mandatory service; his fingers were playing with the cuffs. “he went back to the army, hyung did. he gave this to me so i could remember him!”). he’s so happy, cheerful, without a care in the world about what other people think about him (evident by the way he never minds the odd looks given his way when seokjin calls out his name of the day).
yoongi figures he should probably ask the kid out on a date, or at least for coffee - well, maybe not coffee, maybe ice-cream? he’d probably go for ice-cream - but then he remembers he doesn’t know the kid’s name and he gets all frustrated all over again
one day, when the kid comes in by himself again, looking absolutely sunny in his cute little red beanie and jeans, yoongi figures - fuck it.
“name?” he asks, looking at the kid expectantly.
“hmm, batman,” the kid answers, fiddling with the straps of his bag. yoongi nods like he always does, inwardly cringing at what he’s about to do. he writes on the cup and pushes it toward seokjin, who immediately starts on the order for a java chip frapp.
he’s waiting at the end of the cashier line, taking someone else’s order, when he hears seokjin call out, “order for - “ stopping at the end unceremoniously. yoongi peeks up to see a fond smile on seokjin’s face, and the continues to look when the kid takes the cup and then looks at the name. he blinks first, then turns red.
seriously, tell me your name so i can ask you out properly.
he clears his throat and steps back, catching himself from stumbling when someone asks him to move. he looks up toward yoongi with those big brown eyes, embarrassed as all hell, and yoongi can’t help but grin at finally achieving one thing that the awful names couldn’t.
the kid runs out the door though, face flushed from root to tip, and yoongi is in a good mood all day.
next afternoon, near the end of his first shift - the kid comes in during off-peak, wearing his jacket and his beanie. when yoongi asks for a name for his strawberry cream frapp, he says quietly, “jeon jungkook.”
yoongi stills, looking up at him. the kid is looking down at the ground, shy, and yoongi quickly smiles. he writes something on the cup and hands it to seokjin. “here you go.” his fingers trail over jungkook’s fingers before he hurries away. he gets flustered so easily it’s endearing.
seokjin snorts, actually snorts when he sees what’s on the cup. yoongi again watches jungkook’s face when he gets it this time. go out for ice-cream with me in fifteen minutes?
jungkook looks up and nods, settling himself down on a seat nearby, waiting. yoongi grins.
Chapter 12: envy
trigger warning: violence, drinking, possessiveness
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
yoongi doesn’t like making new friends.
there’s a reason why he doesn’t like making new friends. of course some people are people he just clicks with - namjoon, for example, when jungkook introduced them over dinner, is one of the people he’s closest to after his own friends and his boyfriend - and jimin, one of the little shits that managed to smile and threaten his way into yoongi’s good graces. (yoongi originally didn’t like jimin and his bubbling optimism, but then jimin cornered yoongi in the bathroom and threatened to castrate him with a rusty spoon if he ever hurt jungkook in any way, shape, or form, all with a bright smile that was way too cheerful for the words coming out of his mouth. yoongi warmed up to him a little after that.) he’s got his childhood friends, hoseok and seokjin, one year younger and older than him respectively. hoseok is that awful friend that’s just way too happy to exist - he and jimin hit it off well - and seokjin is that worrying, puttering friend that always tries to feed yoongi too much.
he’s grown up with them, and perhaps until extreme duress, he’ll admit that he loves them quite a bit.
then there’s jungkook - sweet jungkook whom he didn’t think he would fall for. yoongi was into the underground rap scene, wore leather jackets and snapbacks, didn’t give a fuck about his master’s (mostly because he had hit a fucking roadblock getting it done) and was the grumpiest, sourest kid on the block. quoted by hoseok and seokjin himself.
and jungkook was giggly and quiet and shy, funny and witty and a little bit of a spitfire when prodded. yoongi didn’t like happy people but jungkook’s smile was like the curve of the sun - yoongi didn’t stand a chance. for some reason, jungkook liked yoongi’s awfully grouchy and temperamental self. he doesn’t know why, but he secretly thanks god that his cute boyfriend loves him back.
but back to making friends - yoongi doesn’t have a lot of them, and he’s not good at making them. mostly he sticks to himself and stays in his studio room until someone pulls him out. ever since he’s begun dating jungkook, though, he’s been more social than he’s ever been before. he goes out to parties with jungkook, being the surprisingly calm and grounded force for jungkook’s nervous little movements, at clubs, at coffee places, at dorm events, at parks, at concerts. jungkook likes going everywhere and even though he’s a shy little thing, he opens up after a while. the first few hours, though, he tends to stick close and have a steel grip on yoongi’s hand. yoongi isn’t complaining. what jungkook is quite good at doing, basically, is bringing yoongi along on all the things he goes to. almost all of them involve new people.
and it would be okay, it really would be, because yoongi would do anything to see the smile on jungkook’s face - except for the second thing he’s noticed about jungkook.
he’s a magnet.
yoongi knows that jungkook is pretty - knows that jungkook has these big, brown, expressive eyes and this cute nose and this pretty, soft mouth, these rosy cheeks and dark hair and a tendency to embarrassingly shuffle after he shows his bunny teeth. he knows all this, and he knows that other people know it too. it draws them all in like flies to a honey trap. possibly everyone knows what kind of effect jungkook has on people except for jungkook himself.
example: yoongi doesn’t like making new friends. yoongi is bad at making friends. yoongi is especially bad at making friends with people who lean over too much, pitch their voice too low, and let their hands wander too much with his boyfriend.
it takes much of his own self control to not punch the guy who has an arm over jungkook’s shoulders. he’s sitting across from jungkook in the restaurant, because it’s what they always do. it’s so jungkook can look up slowly through his bangs and meet yoongi’s eyes first before meeting anyone else’s. they play footsie sometimes, making yoongi feel like a ninth grader, and they hold hands across the tablecloth if it’s possible. jungkook likes leaning over to feed yoongi parts of his meal.
that’s the only reason why yoongi hasn’t punched the guy - the fuck was his name, anyway? - in the throat.
yoongi downs another shot at their table, ignoring namjoon’s laughter and jimin’s raucous crowing. jungkook is nursing a glass of soda, preferring not to drink after his first runs with alcohol, but the guy next to him is slightly smashed. yoongi can see it in the way his cheeks turn unflatteringly ruddy, and in the way his eyes are unfocused. before that, yoongi saw the way the guy had always turned to jungkook, asking him for his opinion, insisting to hold conversation with him. and while jungkook continued on talking obliviously about music and writing, the guy had put his arm around jungkook’s chair and looked fairly interested. it was only when yoongi took jungkook’s attention back with a run of his boot up jungkook’s inner leg did he frown and give yoongi an unpleased look.
now, bolstered by alcohol and jungkook’s complacent answers, the guy leans in a little and rests his head on jungkook’s shoulder. it would have been cute if it were anyone else, but jungkook only looks a little surprised and a little worried. yoongi practically feels green crawling up the base of his throat.
he can’t get the image out of his head; the guy’s head on jungkook’s shoulder, hands lingering on jungkook’s elbow. yoongi grits his jaw. “ah, sanghyun-sunbaenim,” jungkook says quietly, pushing at the guy’s shoulder, “you need to get up. i think you should go home.”
sanghyun, the asshole, lifts his eyes and gives what yoongi assumes the other thinks is a charmingly crooked smile. “would you go home with me?”
oh, he fucking did not.
distantly, he hears jimin say, “ah, fucking shit.” while the blood rushes to his ears.
jungkook laughs, thinking it’s a joke, and shakes his head. “i have to go home and work on my project! remember the one for professor yang’s class?”
“i’d like to work on a project with you,” sanghyun offers, voice just a touch slurred, when yoongi stands up abruptly - it shakes the table. namjoon raises an eyebrow at him and jimin only sighs; the rest of the people give him startled looks, but yoongi doesn’t care.
“i’m not feeling the mood for socializing anymore,” yoongi says coolly, ignoring the rage building beneath his skin; he knows, for sure, that his ears and his neck is red. jungkook looks up at him with a curious, worried little stare. “c’mon, babe. we should get back home.”
“ah, okay,” jungkook is flustered when he tries to get up, because sanghyun holds onto jungkook’s elbow and causes him to pause.
“you’re not going just ‘cause the sour dick over there is telling you to, are you?” he asks, cocking his head. “he’s been giving everyone bad vibes all night.”
jungkook just blinks, shocked. “that’s - “
yoongi stomps over to the other side, practically ripping off the guy’s hand. “listen here, you little shit for brains,” he hisses, grabbing at his collar and jerking the guy so that they’re facing nose to nose, “i’m gonna get bad vibes when touchy perverts like you keep on hitting on my boyfriend. how about you fuck off, yeah? before i stuff you down your own throat.”
sanghyun gapes at him, wide eyed and disbelieving at the amount of rage coming from yoongi’s side, but then regains his confidence by jerking himself out of yoongi’s grip and snarling back, “listen here, bastard, i’m not a pervert - “
“sure seemed like it when you were touching what wasn’t yours,” yoongi says snottily, and the guy rears back to punch him.
“oh my god,” he hears jungkook say vaguely when the punch flies off course and lands on yoongi’s lip. he feels blood bloom there; in a split second yoongi gets back on sanghyun, aiming a hit for his face; he gets once in before there’s a raucous amount of noise behind him. jimin is pulling him away from sanghyun and namjoon is talking to the owner of the bar and restaurant, apologizing a million times over. yoongi breathes in and out and there’s blood dripping down his chin but he doesn’t give a fuck - sanghyun on the floor gives him an immense pleasure that he knows is all too stupid to revel in, but he does it anyway.
jimin is pulling him back with, “you’re in deep shit now, hyung,” but yoongi rips his arm away from jimin and head towards jungkook, who was staring off to the side with wide, surprised eyes. he’s seen this side of yoongi before, sure, but he’s never - it’s never been because of him -
“c’mon,” yoongi says gruffly, the blood from his lip muffling his words. he wipes his mouth with the back of his hand and when he notices jungkook shivering a little, takes off his jacket and drapes it over the younger’s shoulders. he puts his arm around jungkook’s waist and gently leads them out of the place.
“we’re not going to be invited back there, probably,” yoongi says, spitting out a mouthful of blood on the sidewalk.
after a moment, jungkook seems to get his wits back. “you - hyung!”
“you just fought someone! you got into a bar fight! what the hell, hyung?”
yoongi shrugs. now that he looks back on it, he feels kind of embarrassed and stupid, letting his anger get the better of him; but he also likes the way jungkook looks in his jacket, how his ears are flushed and how the lines of him are softer with night.
“i was a little bit jealous,” he admits slowly, before being cut off -
“a little?! you made him bleed!”
“hey, he hit me first,” yoongi says petulantly, feeling the familiar flare again. “why care about him? huh?”
“you - “ jungkook opens and closes his mouth, speechless. then, silently, he pushes aside his bangs with a little huff. he looks a little upset, and for that, yoongi is truly a little remorseful. he reaches up and cups jungkook’s cheek, thumb brushing across his cheekbone.
“hey, i’m sorry, alright?”
“it’s not me you should be saying sorry to,” jungkook murmurs, but accepts yoongi’s hand with a brief kiss to his palm. the move is innocent and meant to comfort, but it only sends a little thrill of heat down yoongi’s spine.
the ride home is silent, both of them getting odd looks on the train - one, because of the dried blood on yoongi’s face and shirt, and two, because of jungkook biting his lip and texting on his phone endlessly. he tells yoongi that he’s asking namjoon to apologize for yoongi’s sake. there’s a bit of his pride that’s roaring to go at that, but yoongi just sets his jaw and nods.
when they’re home, the first thing jungkook does is go straight for the bathroom. he’s still wearing yoongi’s jacket, too focused on whatever he’s doing to care. yoongi goes to the kitchen to get some aspirin. son of a bitch must have been wearing a ring or something. he catches a glimpse of himself in the window reflection; his jaw looks like it might turn black and blue soon, his lip is swollen, and there’s dried blood all down his chin. no wonder everyone was giving him looks on the train.
then he remembers why he punched that insufferable asshole, and he’s smug all over again.
jungkook appears in the kitchen with a medical kit. while he’s opening it, yoongi reaches over to spread his hands underneath jungkook’s shirt, over the soft, warm skin of his stomach.
“yoongi-hyung,” he says softly in warning, and yoongi breathes in the scent of his hair and his skin.
“i got so mad,” he murmurs, words disappearing into jungkook’s shoulder. “so mad, when he touched you. and you - you didn’t even notice. fuck, i just got pissed. i’m - i am sorry, jungkook.”
“i can take care of myself, hyung,” jungkook says, sighing. “turn around so i can help you.”
“babe - “ yoongi catches onto jungkook’s wrist, but then notices the way a flush steals up jungkook’s neck. he raises an eyebrow. “…what? did you like that?”
“no,” jungkook denies, giving him a slight scowl. he pushes the cotton swab dabbed with rubbing alcohol lightly on yoongi’s face, cleaning up the mess. yoongi stays silent, watching jungkook work with rapture; he’s a little clumsy with it all but rather knowledge of everything. probably from how many times he’s had to patch namjoon up after a clumsy mishap. jungkook wipes away the blood with a dried towel, fingers roving down yoongi’s neck. he looks tired and a little sleepy and not at all wanting to get yoongi in the mood, but such light fingertips down the tendons of his neck makes yoongi a little - heated, anyway.
he pulls up jungkook’s fingers and kisses each one of them in turn. with a purposefully lower voice, he asks, “you liked it, didn’t you?”
jungkook’s breath hitches, wide eyed.
“you liked it when i punched him,” yoongi continues. “you’re not that much of a vixen to get me jealous on purpose - no, you had no idea that guy was hitting on you…but you still liked it when i took a hit for you, didn’t you?”
“hyung - “ yoongi’s so close that he’s nose to nose to jungkook, their breaths mingling. jungkook feels warm and smooth to the touch. he brushes his mouth against jungkook’s cheekbone, to the tips of his burning ears. yoongi’s hands find their way lightly around jungkook’s hips, fingers dipping into his hipbones from the waistband of his pants.
“can i kiss you?” yoongi asks, murmuring the question with a hot breath of air.
jungkook nods, a little weakly, and then yoongi tilts the younger’s head down to get a proper kiss from him. he tastes sweet, like rice wine and candy, whereas yoongi knows he probably tastes like blood and metal. he hopes jungkook likes the taste of it too.
his boyfriend is a pliant thing under him, meeting yoongi’s tongue with his own, running his hands across yoongi’s back. at one point, he grabs yoongi’s hair and lets yoongi press down on him, using his arms as leverage. jungkook smells like vanilla and bodywash and yoongi, the scent of his jacket over his shoulders, and it’s heady.
they pull away with a trail of saliva between them and jungkook’s panting breaths. yoongi himself is a little winded.
“your face,” jungkook reaches up and touches yoongi’s wound again. “don’t do that again, hyung.”
“mm,” yoongi doesn’t promise. instead he pulls jungkook in again, fully intending to make the night worth it.
note: yoongi’s behavior in this is not ok!!! if you are jealous it’s best to talk things out with your partner, not start fights~ and sanghyun’s behavior, while common of the drunk, is also not ok!! please keep your hands to yourself unless you have permission from someone to touch them - it’s only polite. thank you. :)
Chapter 13: the open curtain
idol!jungkook and rapper!yoongi in a relationship that gets revealed;
what wakes him up isn’t the incessant notifications on his phone, but rather his boyfriend groaning and tugging on his hair in a pathetic attempt to get him to consciousness. jungkook is smushed against yoongi’s side completely, their legs entangled; there are small bruises on jungkook’s neck where yoongi had kissed last night, and yoongi spots one right on his jaw. he remembers thinking, with a little meanness, that it’ll be a bitch to cover up.
jungkook doesn’t even say anything, just grumbles something in the fabric of yoongi’s shirt and then goes back to sleep. yoongi yawns and looks around, blinking blearily; jungkook had gotten home early last night, one of the rare short days he’s had in the promotion period. yoongi left the studio late at night. they met in the middle.
his arm feels a little numb from where jungkook has been using it as a pillow; he curls his arm around jungkook’s neck and thumbs the purple bruising on his jawline, feeling good in a way that he hasn’t for a while.
his phone rings again, the reason why jungkook woke him up in the first place - even though he himself is now asleep. yoongi sighs, cursing out whoever is texting him in the first place - if it’s namjoon, he’s going to kill him - and rubbing his eyelids. he feels warm and comfortable, jungkook’s weight familiar, jungkook’s legs curled around his own.
“fuck,” he mutters, stretching to get his phone.
surprisingly, there are a bunch of messages from his manager, seokjin, and namjoon. his manager texts him only one thing, while seokjin and namjoon have both texted him a lot. he reads his manager’s texts first.
we need to talk. bring jungkook.
a chill runs down his spine.
he hurries to check the other texts; seokjin’s first. there’s a picture there of jungkook and yoongi explicitly kissing; the vantage point is outside their bedroom window from last night. jungkook is in his street clothes, but his face is clearly depicted, and this is yoongi’s apartment. he feels numb all over.
“fuck,” he says out loud, squeezing his eyes shut. he doesn’t bother to read the rest of the texts, panic rising in him quickly. his heart feels like it’s going to burst out of his chest, but then jungkook snuffles sleepily into his side and he breathes again.
jungkook, surprisingly, takes this information in without much of an expression. he wakes up all sleep-muddled and soft, eyes lidded, when yoongi blurts out the news. for a long moment, he just stares sleepily up at his boyfriend before he takes the phone, mouth pressed together and brows furrowed. yoongi is a little bit of a wreck, ignoring everyone’s attempts to contact him. there’s supposed to be a tense air, but instead, jungkook just makes a noise of confusion.
“i didn’t close the curtains yesterday?” he asks, questioning, and yoongi snorts.
“fuck, jungkook, i’m so sorry - “ he breathes out. it’s alright for him if he fucks up on things; he’s not an idol, constantly expected to be perfect and happy and pretty. “shit, your manager must be cursing me out right now.”
“to be fair, hyung never liked you,” jungkook admits. he rubs an eye. “why are you sorry, hyung? it’s not like it’s your fault.”
“yeah, but…” yoongi has always felt this little, tiny bit of guilt. for taking jungkook’s affections and attention when it’s pretty obvious that he’s not supposed to date. of course, his company had said no dating girls, jungkook told him matter-of-factly while running his finger down yoongi’s arm, they didn’t say anything about guys. and yoongi knew that what they were doing was dangerous and could possibly end jungkook’s career, the one he spent so long building up, so long trying to take off, how could he have fallen so far -
“whatever you’re thinking, hyung, please stop,” the younger grumbles. to make a point, he shuffles up next to yoongi and places a closed mouthed kiss on his shoulder. “your face is doing that constipated thing. it’s whatever - i didn’t want to be a secret anyway.”
at this, yoongi balks. “but - your fucking career - “
“seriously, what kind of bullshit,” jungkook mutters, insinuating himself around yoongi’s side, “not dating? am i a dancing and singing machine? i love being an idol, hyung, even though it’s hard work, but i love you too. can we please go back to sleep now?”
yoongi is speechless. even though he’s pretty much known for his lyrical ability, jungkook has that kind of affect on him.
“you’re not worried about yourself at all, you punk,” he huffs out a laugh, pushing jungkook’s soft head of hair away from him. “do you even understand what could happen to you?”
yoongi half expects jungkook to retort something back similar to what he said before; that yes, he understands, but he doesn’t care. that, somehow, makes yoongi feel around ten times worse. jungkook is quiet for a long while.
“of course i understand,” his voice is soft. i understand a lot more than you do, he seems to say, because jungkook doesn’t like talking about his idol life all that much. “but hyung, when rumors of jimin-hyung and that girl from who knows where came up, he broke it off with her immediately. he was miserable for months; and he wasn’t even dating her for as long as i’ve been dating you. do you want to break up?”
yoongi wants to say yes, but because he’s selfish he says “no.”
“neither do i,” jungkook admits. “and i think - i think it’ll be okay, as long as we’re together, right?”
“right,” yoongi affirms, because there is an edge to jungkook’s voice that is young, vulnerable. yoongi thumbs over the bruise he left last night, a ghost of a kiss on jungkook’s skin. “right, you’re right.”
jungkook would usually say, i’m always right, but now he just smiles. it never fails to take yoongi’s breath away; he presses a kiss against jungkook’s forehead and replies back to his manager.
namjoon texts him; you’re dating a kid younger than you?? what the fuck yoongs since when
seokjin texts him; i knew there was something going on between you guys!! it was too close to be a regular hyung-dongsaeng relationship…
yoongi replies back to both; i’ve been dating him for five years.
five years of secrecy. yoongi kind of wants to hold jungkook’s hand in public. mabe this won’t be so bad after all.
jungkook’s manager is there too with yoongi’s manager when he makes it to the office. thankfully, there was no paparazzi outside their house, or any other time of people; it was six in the morning, after all. they get to the building at seven, and jungkook gets a couple of looks in yoongi’s clothes, but other than that they pass by with their caps and face masks.
“how long did you two think you could keep this going on, huh?” yoongi’s manager, kyungwoo, says. he runs a frustrated hand through his hair. “yoongi, you’re twenty eight. what were you thinking?”
“jungkook-ah,” jungkook’s manager, sejin, is more calm with him, but he looks a little disappointed as well. “did anyone else know?”
“i never told anyone, not even jimin or taehyung,” he admits to not telling the other two members of the trio singing group.
“neither did i,” yoongi shrugs. “and we were waiting until jungkook turned twenty four to tell everyone.”
“when your ban got lifted,” sejin says, pinching the bridge of his nose.
despite all this, kyungwoo looks between both of them, their easy body language, and their comfort in each other’s presence even in front of their managers. abruptly, he asks, “how long?”
“how long…what?” yoongi asks.
“i assumed you two were dating for a couple of months, but it looks like it’s been longer than that,” he responds critically. “so long?”
jungkook and yoongi share a look. then, hesitantly, yoongi says, “since he was nineteen and i was twenty three.”
“what the fuck, jungkook,” sejin blurts out, cursing, and by the way jungkook winces he supposes that his boyfriend’s manager doesn’t curse often.
“half a fuckin’ decade,” kyungwoo states, looking between them in surprise. “five years? five?”
“that’s longer than some celebrity marriages,” sejin says underneath his breath.
“we were pretty good at hiding it, hyung,” jungkook says apologetically. “we just…didn’t want anyone else to know.”
sejin sighs and pats jungkook on the shoulder, bringing him in for a hug. “jungkook-ah, i’m sorry. we’ll figure something out, okay?”
five years is a long time, yoongi thinks. when both their managers head how long, a look crossed their faces; this isn’t some random, passionate fling. no, jungkook and yoongi’s relationship is a steady, burning flame. yoongi still wants to touch, even after all these years.
“we’ll take care of it with the president,” sejin says, sharing a look with kyungwoo that speaks words only managers can understand. “for now, you two do realize that you’ll both be attending the awards ceremony tomorrow? do you think you won’t be ambushed or questioned?”
“we will,” yoongi shrugs. “but we’ll handle it.”
“there’s always been a chance at being found out,” jungkook shrugs.
sejin’s eye ticks.
jungkook gives him a sheepish smile as he realizes that he just admitted he was always prepared for a crisis.
“the awards ceremony tomorrow…everyone will be asking about our relationship, right?” yoongi says suddenly. “looking at us, taking pictures; the red carpet there is for questions as well, right?”
“right,” kyungwoo affirms. “why?”
yoongi shrugs, ignoring jungkook’s look of query. “just have to know how to get them off our backs faster. it’ll be easier if we knew what they’ll ask.”
as kyungwoo and sejin start talking to them both about the social repercussions and all they’d have to do, yoongi thinks back to the black box he’s been keeping in his side table for the past four months.
five years is a long time, like sejin said. longer than most celebrity marriages.
yoongi thinks back to the two rings he bought on a whim one night when he was strolling around gangnam; he thinks about jungkook’s sleepily sniffles in the morning, and how his hand would look with a silver and smoky black ring on his finger, matching yoongi’s perfectly.
he smiles to himself; while everyone else is dreading tomorrow, yoongi is looking forward to it. they can think in their short term, fleeting moments of fame; yoongi already has his forever.
Chapter 14: dangerous
yoongi gets close to the shy maknae;
their maknae is a cute one, yoongi can admit. he doesn’t find a lot of things cute - mostly all the fads that he sees nowadays are kind of vomit-inducing, and aegyo doesn’t really do anything for him (which hoseok and jimin have taken as a personal offense - they’ve been trying to do aegyo around him for a couple months now, and it only gets more and more annoying); the only thing yoongi really finds cute is kumamon, a couple of shows on tv from when he was a kid, and an assorted amount of things. he’s never found people cute, either - ordinary people, not dressed up models or idols, because that’s their job. ordinary people living ordinary lives have never been cute to him.
but their maknae - he’s pretty cute.
yoongi’s not really flustered by it (except that he kind of is).
he doesn’t know what it is about jeon jungkook that makes him cute. he’s fifteen while yoongi is nineteen but he has this big brown button eyes and round cheeks that make him look…innocent. he looks like he couldn’t hurt a fly and he’s pretty quiet, always looking down at his small hands as if they have all the answers when any of the hyungs talk to him. his bangs cover his eyes sometimes, too. he’s just so..shy. he reminds yoongi of a frightened kitten.
yoongi doesn’t really see the maknae out of the room he shares with the manager, either. the manager is the only one he’ll really talk to, but it seems like he’s sort of warming up to taehyung and jimin, if sort of awkwardly shifting in their direction when they talk to him counts as warming up.
yoongi just supposes that he never catches the maknae at a good time, which is undertandable. he’s mostly in the studio, trying to prove himself as a writer and a producer. it’s only when the other members are eating around the dinner table does he notice that the maknae isn’t here. he frowns and looks up, but no one else seems all that bothered.
“yoongi? what’s wrong?” seokjin asks, noticing someone not eating.
“the maknae?” namjoon shoves another bunch of noodles in his mouth. “he never eats with us.”
“what? so he just - eats later?” yoongi says incredulously. “why haven’t you done anything to get him to eat here?”
namjoon looks a little defensive, but also a little guilty. “it’s not easy, hyung; he’s so young, i don’t want to hurt him in any way, and i don’t want to force him to do something he doesn’t want to. what if he doesn’t like me?” namjoon winces.
“he showers later, too,” jimin informs them. “i’ve heard him use the bathroom when it’s like, one at night. i hope he doesn’t get a cold.”
yoongi frowns. he thinks of jungkook sitting all alone in his room, and feels a strange sense of guilt.
it’s around 10 pm when yoongi wakes up from his sleep; the rest had fallen to bed after 9 o clock hit, tired from their extensive day of training. he gets up with a dry throat and a need for water, but finds that the kitchen light is open when he gets there. there’s a head of full, dark hair messing around, wearing a black shirt he doesn’t recognize and sweatpants.
with a start, he realizes it’s jungkook, rummaging around in the cupboards.
yoongi watches for a second as jungkook gets out a packet of instant ramen, and immediately he gets alarmed. ramen is not something a fifteen year old should be eating for dinner.
“hey,” yoongi calls out, and jungkook startles so bad he drops the packet. “jungkook? are you hungry?”
jungkook just stares at him with a bambi-eyed look. it’s like he’s frozen up completely.
“don’t eat that, kid,” yoongi sighs, rubbing an eye. he’s tired, so his daegu dialect slips out a little. “i can’t cook at all, but seokjin always makes something. there’s food inside the fridge; why don’t you heat it up?”
when jungkook doesn’t answer, yoongi opens the fridge himself and looks at the pristine packets of kimchi and other foods. he gets himself a glass of water before setting out a bowl and some leftover rice; they always make enough for seven people.
while he’s warming up the food, he notes jungkook just fidgeting around in the middle of the kitchen, ramen packet in his hands, and yoongi nods his head toward the chair and table stuffed in a corner. it’s enough to seat two people. “go sit; you must be tired.”
jungkook scuttles off and yoongi sets the bowl of rice in front of him, along with a tray of other assorted foods he brought out from the fridge. when jungkook looks down at the food, yoongi prods, “you gotta eat all of it, alright? you’re so skinny, and you’re shorter than i am; gotta grow a bit, or else your mom will probably break down our door.” yoongi chuckles, thinking of his own parents bittersweetly.
he’s so caught up in his thoughts that he barely notes the the soft voice that says, “thank you, hyung.”
yoongi freezes, because jungkook has a sweet, thick busan accent that tells when he’s from in a snap. fleetingly, he wonders if this is why jungkook doesn’t like talking, but then yoongi thinks absently that he wouldn’t mind hearing him talk more. it’s cute.
jungkook looks at him, then at the food, and yoongi can understand that glance perfectly. it says, are you going to be here while i eat? and yoongi grins. “gotta make sure you’re eating. don’t want to lose those cheeks, right?” and in a fit of insanity or probably sleep-deprived madness, yoongi reaches forward to poke jungkook’s cheek. his skin is soft and acne free. jungkook looks at him full in the face, bangs slipping away to show hints of a smooth forehead with a little mole near his upper right temple, eyes wide. that’s one dangerous look, yoongi thinks.
he moves his mouth like he wants to say something, but turns it down and starts eating quietly instead. shame; yoongi thinks he’s got a bit of fire in him.
the next day, when they go for training, nothing is different. jungkook is still chronically shy and moves away from all interaction. however, when they get home and call out dibs for the shower, something interesting happens.
usually seokjin goes first and dibs never work, because oldest to youngest triumphs anyway. however, yoongi feels tired and boneless and he’s not really sweating anyway, considering hoseok, jungkook, and jimin were worked the hardest today. seokjin calls out first shower and then asks after yoongi; yoongi waves him away and says, “nah, let jungkook go instead.”
there’s a moment of silence and jungkook’s (cute) surprised expression before jimin bursts out, “but hyung!”
“i can give my turn to whoever i damn want,” yoongi grumbles.
hoseok pulls jimin away, rolling his eyes, and seokjin heads to the bathroom. namjoon heads to his room, possibly to look something up on his phone, and taehyung joins jimin in being loud. however, the loudness quiets down just in time for hoseok, jimin, and taehyung to notice when jungkook sits down close to yoongi and pokes him on the shoulder, a shy little movement that reminds yoongi of what he did last night.
and then; jungkook smiles, just a small curve of the lips, and it’s directed right at yoongi. there’s a little hint of bunny teeth, and yoongi swears his heart stops beating. “thanks, hyung. you didn’t have to.” and then he gets up and leaves, heading to his room once more.
yoongi tries to gain control of his mental functions; jimin yells out, “he’s from busan?!?” in satoori while taehyung groans, “how come he calls yoongi ‘hyung’ first?? that’s so unfair!” hoseok is agreeing with him, making sad sounds at jungkook’s door.
yoongi tries to calm himself. jesus; forget the eyes, that smile is dangerous. (he kind of wants it again. nothing will ever top the smugness he feels at being the first one the maknae calls ‘hyung’.)
jungkook is pretty sure jimin didn’t mean to leave him alone at the bar, but he’s also sure that at 2 am in the morning jimin gets blackout drunk and he’s probably gone home with some guy or girl to get laid without telling jungkook. most likely he told someone else - probably seokjin hyung, jimin has a weird habit of texting seokjin hyung when he’s drunk - jungkook has no idea why. he finishes up his soda and drags his butt out of the club, wincing at the loud music. he came because jimin was feeling bad about his on again, off again relationship with his girlfriend, but he’s got an exam to study for and a song to make by next week. he’s no where near close to the mastering stage.
while jungkook has definitely stayed up late until 2 or 3 am doing work, he’s always been left in the confines of his own dorm. never has he been out in the pitch black darkness of the night, in a place close to the red light district. there are a bunch of guys out on the streets and a bunch of girls walking around in heels so high they look like they’re standing on stilts. usually there are some ahjussis out at night, drinking and joking around, but as jungkook starts to walk he realizes that there are none tonight.
he’s wearing a really thin black shirt and a cardigan over it, but his cardigan has mesh sleeves. his jeans are ripped too. jungkook curses because he feels cold and naked at the same time, and there are - there are definitely some looks coming his way.
he clears his throat and tries to think of something to do, anything to do, just to make it seem like he doesn’t feel as uneasy as he does. sure, he can hold himself well in a fight (he doesn’t work out for nothing), but the guys that come out at night have tattoos and piercings and muscles that ripple or a dark, wild look in their eyes, and nearly all of them are in packs. hanging around each other, circling, watching everyone passing by with lazy, seeking eyes.
jungkook licks his lips and pulls out his phone. he thinks that he could call someone - anyone - or pretend to talk, but then he’s always been bad at pretending these things. it would only make him look more suspicious, actually, talking to silent phone. he groans internally, because there’s no one awake at this time of night - and while he knows his friends would gladly wake up to talk to him as he walks home - a thirty minute walk, the buses are closed - he doesn’t want to wake anyone up.
jungkook eventually settles on yugyeom, because he’s not someone older and he’s more likely to deal with jungkook patiently after being woken up, but yugyeom doesn’t pick up. jungkook stalls for a second, putting the phone to his ear and hanging around a smoking area where there’s a college girl taking a drag while watching something on her phone, the one person jungkook thinks doesn’t look too shady. when he doesn’t pick up, jungkook bites his lip and presses any number randomly, using the seoul code and praying that it’ll be someone, anyone that will pick up.
someone up there must be looking out for him, because there’s only two rings before a tired, gruff voice says, “hello?’
“hi,” jungkook starts, hushing his voice, “so, um, i know this is really weird and we’ve never met before and you probably think i’m crazy but, but, it’s really dark and i have to walk home and i’m kinda dressed - not properly so i would really appreciate it if you could stay on the phone the way there? my friends aren’t up, again, i’m so, so sorry.” he says this all in one breath. huh, maybe his nerves are catching up, or maybe the bartender slipped a little alcohol in his drink.
there’s a silence. “...what?”
jungkook’s breath catches; the college girl left a couple of seconds ago, and from the corner of his eye, jungkook can see some guy walking toward him with a casual gait. his eyes are focused straight on jungkook.
“okay, okay, there’s this guy that’s coming here right now so please play along?”
“shit, kid, where are you?” the guy over the phone says, mostly incredulous, but also a little concerned at jungkook’s tone of voice. jungkook is too young to die; he still has a year and a half of college left, dammit.
clearing his throat, jungkook looks down at his feet and says a little louder, “yes, hyung, i’m coming home now, i just stopped to get something to drink,” he toes the pavement with his boots. “i’m really close, okay? i’ll be there in thirty minutes.”
“thirty minutes? where are you?” it’s a genuine question, but thankfully it sounds like a concerned somebody out of context.
jungkook’s about to rattle off the street name - realizing that he might be telling his location to another pretty shady guy, but at least the guy on the phone isn’t looking him up and down - when his follower stops next to him and lights a cigarette. he gives jungkook a smile, saying, “mind if i buy you a drink?”
jungkook tries not to sweat. this guy has a tattoo on his neck, and holy shit is he part of a gang!? “no, sorry, i have to get home,” jungkook waves his phone around as a weird sort of way to say haha, this is the guy i’m talking to, yeah. “uh, bye - “
“why not?” the guy insists, taking a long drag in. jungkook resists the urge to gag at the smell. “i’m sure your big brother wouldn’t mind waiting a little longer for you to have some fun, yeah? or are you not into guys?”
jungkook should have said no i’m not, but instead he blurts out, “this is my boyfriend. i really have to go.”
the guy’s face twitches. “boyfriend, huh? you lyin’ to me? coulda just said - “
thankfully, the guy on the phone seems to hear this, because he says loudly, on purpose, “babe, you there? how long is it going to take? do you want me to pick you up?”
“yes please,” jungkook replies in one breath. he inches away from tattoo man, who is staring at his phone. “bye, gotta go,” he says in a rush as he puts the phone so close to his ear that he feels the heat of it on his earlobes. he tries not to run down the street, but it’s a close thing.
thankfully the guy on the phone is still there. “damn, kid, where the fuck are you? did i just stop a possible assault?”
“probably,” jungkook mutters. “i’m - i’m in seoul, obviously, i’m near - “ he peers at the street name he sees and rattles it off. “god, i’m so tired, i still have a couple of blocks to go. does that mean you’ll stay on? thank you for back there, by the way.”
phone guy makes a noise of surprise. “damn, that’s real close to my studio. you go to s university?”
“i’m a third year,” jungkook reveals, blinking.
“hm well, if you take one more block and turn left, you can find my studio. think you’ll feel safer?”
jungkook almost gapes. “are you - are you for real?” he’s already at the next block, too.
phone guy chuckles. “yeah, i promise i’m not a predator.”
“only predators say that,” jungkook quips, but he’s halfway sure that this guy isn’t going to hurt him.
“hey, you’re the one that called me at 2 in the morning. “ phone guy’s voice changes from joking to serious, a smooth transition that rings in jungkook’s ear. “i’m serious, though - if you were that scared that you called a stranger, i don’t think it’s good for you to be walking by yourself for that long, kid. come by, i’ll get you coffee and you can sleep on my shitty sofa. go home in the morning.”
“thank you so much,” jungkook exhales. his legs are tired and he’s going to kill jimin, probably. “my friend just left me at the club and he does this a lot but not so often and not so late? is building 203 yours?”
“that’s the one,” phone guy says. “sounds like a shitty friend.”
“he’s a good friend,” jungkook defends. “he’s just been having a hard time, and i’m a big boy, i can take care of myself.” he ignores the huff on the other side. “what room?”
jungkook feels a weird sense of anxiousness; he doesn’t know if it’s the remnants of the night or something else. when he gets to the fourth floor, phone guy is telling him about how this is the craziest shit he’s ever done and damn, fuck his bleeding heart or whatever, jungkook is just trying to get warm. he knocks on 4b, and a guy opens it, phone pressed to his ear. he has dark silver-gray hair, covered by a baseball cap, outlining his attractive brows and forehead. he has intense eyes and a jaw that looks like it could cut something.
“wow, you didn’t say you were cute,” he hears two voices blurt, one from the person in front of him, and then from the phone. jungkook hangs up and smiles.
“i’m jeon jungkook, thanks again,” he says, rubbing the back of his neck.
phone guy considers him for a moment, and then opens his door wide. “min yoongi. come on in.”
Chapter 16: fingers
jungkook likes yoongi's fingers.
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
jungkook likes yoongi’s fingers.
they’re long and knuckled and calloused and they feel wonderful on his skin. yoongi would do things with his hands - run them up and down jungkook’s arms, put a palm to the small of his back, tap them against jungkook’s inner thighs - each and every little thing sends shivers of want up his spine. yoongi likes touching him, and jungkook completely and entirely does not mind.
he tilts jungkook’s head with those fingers, fingers pressed into his chin, the coldness of his ring making him over aware. yoongi likes to run his thumb across jungkook’s lip before he kisses him; yoongi likes to do a lot, really. when jungkook kisses him a little heatedly, mouths pressed together insistently until yoongi’s got fingers curling over the curve of his jaw, jungkook breathes into his mouth and yoongi lets him.
“want you on your knees,” yoongi murmurs into his mouth, their breaths mingling together to make something new, a half formed something of yoongiandjungkook. jungkook groans and pushes at his shoulders insistently, murmuring, “hyung, take these off.”
yoongi just hums and one of his hands find their way to the small of jungkook’s back once more, right above his ass. the other pulls his mouth open slightly until jungkook is leaning forward again of his own will, slotting their mouths together.
then yoongi is pressing him down and jungkook goes.
he wastes no time, too hurried and frazzled; his forehead is already beading with sweat, hair turning thin with the moisture, plastered across his temples. jungkook breathes hot over yoongi’s crotch and the elder swears.
he unbuttons his jeans and laughs outright when there’s no other layer. “really, hyung?”
“really,” yoongi says back mockingly, and his hand threads through jungkook’s thick strands almost as if it’s meant to be there. jungkook’s breath hitches when yoongi pulls a little, taking his head away from yoongi’s crotch.
“think about this a lot, hyung?” he teases, hands crawling up yoongi’s thighs to leverage, “me here, on my knees?”
yoongi barks out a laugh; it sounds strained. his eyes are dark, pupils blown. “you wanna play games right now, jeon jungkook?” he leans down and presses the pad of his thumb against jungkook’s chin. “you fuckin’ bet i think about you on your knees.”
jungkook’s heart is beating, beating, beating. he gasps and then he leans forward and takes in yoongi’s musky and unique scent, pulling him out of his jeans.
it’s a little awkward and a little hot at the same time, yoongi holding onto his hair and leading his head right to his cock, but jungkook is focused on nothing but yoongi in front of him. he takes a moment before taking yoongi whole, the head of his cock pressing against jungkook’s cheek; experimentally, he moves his tongue around and yoongi lets out a low, guttural grown that goes straight down to jungkook’s stomach.
yoongi tastes like something salty and something purely him; jungkook has never been able to quite properly explain what it is. at first it’s slow and wet and easy; jungkook sloppily mouths at yoongi’s dick, taking more and more in until he’s breathing slowly and he’s gone down to the base.
“fuck, jungkook,” yoongi breathes, and the hand in jungkook’s hair tightens.
jungkook looks up, and yoongi whispers another “fuck”; jungkook hums and yoongi accidentally bucks into jungkook’s throat, causing him to choke, his eyes to water.
“sorry, sorry babe, fuck,” yoongi curses, smoothing down his bangs. “that - took me by surprise.”
jungkook pulls off, mouth aching in an entirely pleasing way. “you can be rough,” he says, and his voice is hoarse.
yoongi licks his lip and carefully, pulls jungkook back to his cock by his hair. the action is so - jungkook doesn’t know how to explain it; guiding? domineering? it’s not any word he can think of at the moment, but it’s almost like being taken care of, being shown what to do and how to do it. jungkook eagerly takes yoongi’s cock back in his mouth, and this time he sucks enthusiastically, taking him down as far as he can go and using his tongue to trace any veins and the slit of yoongi’s dick. jungkook makes a mess of it, head bobbing up and down.
for a good while yoongi has control over himself and lets jungkook go as he wants, simply holding onto him and keeping his hips still, but soon jungkook feels him undulating and moving his cock in time with jungkook’s movements. “hyung,” jungkook breathes, licking the tip of yoongi’s cock before taking the entire head in. yoongi groans this time, bucking up, and he holds jungkook in place while he does so.
soon after that, it’s simply jungkook holding onto yoongi’s thighs as he’s fucking into jungkook’s mouth, chasing after the warm wetness, murmuring little encouraging things under his breath that jungkook can’t quite catch. his jaw feels numb but it also feels so good, the taste and weight of yoongi’s cock in his mouth, the way yoongi pulls at his hair to face fuck him better and the way yoongi moves his mouth for his own pleasure.
jungkook is hard in his own jeans, and he makes a small sound when yoongi’s hips stutter once more, erratic, and the elder tersely says, “fuck, i’m - “ before he comes down jungkook’s throat.
jungkook swallows and gets up, clambering on top of yoongi, pressing their mouths together so yoongi can taste himself on jungkook’s swollen mouth. he gyrates down, yoongi’s hands on the sharp bones of his hips, jungkook’s own hardness pressing against yoongi.
“bedroom,” yoongi says, voice as strained as gravel.
“yeah,” jungkook breathes, mouth curling when yoongi reaches up to push his bangs to the side. jungkook presses a kiss to the corner of yoongi’s mouth, and it starts the fire all over again.
originally posted here
Chapter 17: couples you pass by
the first time inhye meets bts, she’s in the training room and she’s both sweaty and disgusting.
she’s trying not to stare at one of the other trainees that’s there - a boy, two years her senior, with big shoulders but an awkward stance named jaeho. she doesn’t know how long he’s been in bighit ent, but she also knows that dating - even now - is a big no no.
still, it doesn’t hurt to look.
one of the other female trainers jabs her in the elbow - her eonni, areum - and at first she thinks her staring is a bit too obvious, but then it’s because the door has opened and one of the big-group managers has entered. everyone stands up after, because trailing after them are seven well-known boys.
as inhye is bowing to the sunbaes, the manager scratches his head and says, “sorry about this - i know that this is the practice room for trainees, but there’s a little problem in our training room, so we’ll be sharing with you for a while.”
a couple of the bts boys wave, and she feels areum eonni vibrate.
at first it’s pretty cool. bts are chill sunbaes that don’t make a big deal out of everything, like some sunbaes are apt to do. they don’t mind if sometimes they forget themselves and ask prodding questions, and are always up to teaching the trainees something new. in fact, they seem like they almost enjoy it.
j-hope sunbaenim - “call me hoseok-sunbae!” - is relentlessly cheerful, which inhye did not expect - she thought that the whole ‘sunny’ persona was for the camera, but it isn’t. he really is that happy. perhaps he’s not as hyper as he is on camera, but if someone needs a little cheering up, hoseok-sunbae is the person to go to.
jimin sunbaenim is witty and kind in turns, teasing the juniors with cheek pinches or eye smiles. seokjin-sunbaenim is often on his phone, but he’s always willing to talk to anyone that wants to ask him anything. taehyung sunbaenim is like an actual kid in real life, and spends the most time with the juniors out of everyone else. rapmon-sunbaenim is kind of awkwardly funny. inhye likes him the most, but that’s probably because she has a weird affinity for awkward people.
then there’s suga-sunbaenim, who is the most reserved - he mostly talks to the members of bts and his manager, but will talk to the others if need be. jungkook-sunbaenim, although their age or younger/older, is quiet most of the time, and sticks around the members all the time. inhye doesn’t think she’s seen him talk to any of the juniors.
they come in for practice sometimes when the trainees are practicing or having lessons. there’s a lot more laughter and a lot of stories shared, and a lot of trainees who were once put down by the tough idol business now seem to be a little bit more spirited.
then, she notices something peculiar.
inhye prides herself on being observant. in truth, she’s watched too many dramas and seen too many chick flicks, but they’re her weakness, okay. she likes love and the idea of people being in love. she knows the meaning behind a throwaway look or small touches, and the focus of everyone’s attention recently has been bts sunbaes.
her attention are on two in particular.
jungkook sunbae and suga sunbae have this sort of chemistry around them that’s hard to spot at first. she doesn’t see them talking to each other often, but when they do, it’s like something light up. suga sunbae finds excuses to touch him and jungkook sunbae finds excuses to smile. his mouth curls up slow and steady and his cheeks widen; suga sunbae’s fingers with linger and linger and linger, like he doesn’t want to let go.
inhye sits beside one of her eonnis - she doesn’t even remember proper names anymore - and lets her body’s exhaustion rest for a moment. her eonni is gazing lazily at jungkook sunbae and suga sunbae as well. they’re talking quietly to each other, focused on some piece of paper in suga’s hands. heads craned, foreheads touching, shoulders brushing. swaying, like they want nothing but to be closer.
“do you think there’s something between them?” inhye murmurs, and her eonni scoffs loudly. she doesn’t even bother to reply, and it makes inhye’s cheeks burn.
she doesn’t realize someone has heard her until she’s getting a drink from the vending machine and someone is looming behind her. it’s jaeho.
“ah,” she starts, because they’ve never spoken to each other, not even during practice.
jaeho shuffles for a moment, looking horribly out of place. he takes in a deep breath like he’s steeling himself before saying quietly, “i heard what you said, earlier.”
inhye’s mind rushes through all the things she said, but he clarifies, “about - sunbaes. about how there’s something between them.”
he looks so awfully pained to say it, like he’s not sure if he should be talking about them, that inhye finds herself speaking up first. “so you think there’s something in between them as well?”
“my sister,” he begins, scratching the side of his face, “had - had this girl in her class. that she looked at like that. i used to pick her up from school and my sister would be…staring at her.”
he doesn’t look inhye in the eye. instead, he looks to the tables nearby, as if he wants to do nothing more than to sit and melt into the chairs. inhye starts moving there slowly, and sure enough, jaeho moves along with her. “yeah?”
“yeah,” he asserts. his fingers start tapping on the table as inhye opens her drink. “she would stare at this girl like she was the most…beautiful thing she’d ever see. and like she was scared.”
jaeho, quietly, says: “sometimes i see suga sunbae with the same exact look on his face.”
inhye doesn’t ask who he’s looking at: she already knows. there’s something very soft, very careful about jaeho’s tone. she wants to ask how he could possibly know the same expression on two different people, but something in jaeho’s eyes make her stop. he won’t even look at her.
“i thought i was the only one,” jaeho murmurs. “but then - you saw it too.”
“yeah, well,” inhye flushes.
jaeho taps out another beat. she wonders how many nervous tics he has. “i want… to help them get together.”
“like…together, together? dating together?”
“yes, dating together.”
inhye lets out a disbelieving chuckle. “you do realize who they are, right?” bangtansonyeondan. the syllables roll over in her head; the underdog that no one thought would be able to reach the top. they did. they broke through all the molds and made a space for themselves in the music industry. in the end, however, inhye fears - the industry is still the industry, all the good and ugly parts of it. “if they start dating - if they start dating each other - “ she stops herself. they both know.
but jaeho doesn’t look defeated; he looks…a little disappointed. a little angry. his lips thin together. “who cares what other people think,” he starts, voice suddenly strong. “who cares. as long as there’s people who love you and people who are important to you that accept you, who cares what everyone else thinks? what business is it of theirs? if - if you can be happy with someone, why does it even matter - “ he breaks off, wincing, and scratches the side of his cheek again.
though inhye feels a little sting at the tone in his voice, she pushes through it, because the way he’s acting makes it seem like… “that..you didn’t meant to say it to me, right?”
jaeho is quiet for a long, long time.
inhye wonders if anyone misses them. she thinks about suga sunbae and jungkook sunbae, and thinks about all the people in the world who are like them: circling, distancing, coming back closer and pulling apart. unable to meet but wanting to, wanting it, wanting it bad enough sometimes to come together and not enough sometimes to pull apart.
“my sister killed herself, after the girl she confessed to told everyone in school,” jaeho finally says. he ups and leaves, not bothering to say anything else, shoulders hunched over.
inhye feels cold at the back of her neck when she realizes that all his words - all his words were words he was never able to tell her.
jaeho avoids her for a while. it’s okay, she understands; that wasn’t easy. she wasn’t all that nice. it’s okay. she sees him sometimes and wonders how heavy that kind of weight is.
one day, when she’s left behind at the company for one of the vocal teachers wanting to talk to her (read: criticize her) about her singing, something happens.
she opens the door to the practice room easily, not expecting people inside. the lights are dimmed, and sitting in the corner is suga sunbae and jungkook sunbae. suga sunbae is playing something on his phone, one earbud in his ear and the other in jungkook sunbae’s ear. they’re pressed close together, jungkook sunbae’s head on suga sunbae’s shoulder, their arms linked, their legs touching from calf to calf. when she opens the door, whatever serene atmosphere there was is broken, something she regrets when she sees jungkook sunbae pull away from suga sunbae suddenly.
she bows low. “sorry, sunbaes, i just came to get my bag.” it’s sitting near the practice mirrors innocuously.
neither sunbae says anything, but jungkook sunbae fiddles with his bangs, and suga sunbae’s face looks closed off. as inhye gets her bag and settles it on her shoulders, getting ready to leave, she thinks about them two and how they keep these intimate moments to themselves, away from everyone, away from the world. wanting just one or two seconds to be normal, to be them, to be in love.
something awful twists in her gut. she thinks about jaeho, and she doesn’t want to have weight on her shoulders like his.
just before she goes to the door, she spins on her heel and bows low to the two members in the corner.
“what is it?” suga sunbae asks, guarded.
“forgive me if i’m wrong for saying this, but,” inhye takes a deep breath, straightening herself, “i’m only a trainee, but even i can see how you two look at each other.”
with that, she turns and runs away, face burning. why did she say that? god. suga sunbae’s face was one of surprise, and she didn’t get to see the look on jungkook sunbae’s face. but, she thinks, she doesn’t regret it one bit. maybe not today, she thinks, but one day.
four years later, when inhye has quit being a trainee and quit the idea of becoming an idol, instead working as an assistant teacher, the news breaks with a picture of two idols from bts kissing each other, grainy and sort of half covered. she knows exactly who it is without having to look, and she’s glad that they look like any other couple you pass by on the street.
Chapter 18: night creature
the moon kind of means a lot to them both. it’s a reminder of everything that both of them have to watch out for, what both of them have in danger of losing. yoongi doesn’t remember when he met jungkook - it could have been in between the lost years that faded into scrapbooks and history texts. he doesn’t remember what jungkook had been wearing, or what language they were speaking, or what had happened after they met. all yoongi remembers is the big brown of jungkook’s eyes when they first made contact, the feeling of something gut punched out of him.
moon creatures are immortal and slinking down further and further into the darkness. jungkook was fair skinned with a flush on his face that was entirely too enticing, the breath of life on his pale pink lower lip. yoongi didn’t want him like he wanted humans - it was a different type of hunger. that hunger remains today, like a low burning candle, unable to be extinguished.
modern day seoul is all together much better for hiding. despite being in the technological age, it’s much easier to live in plain sight. people don’t see what they don’t want to see.
jungkook is sleeping now, still needing to. yoongi is up beside him, staring at their sun setting into dark hues, fingers absentmindedly carding through his love’s hair.
jungkook eventually wakes sniffling, eyes squeezing shut. yoongi calms his fingers but keeps them in the other’s hair. “the change pulling at you again?”
“mm,” jungkook mumbles, snuffling more into his pillow. he’s an overgrown pup, he really is, from the big puppy dog eyes to his fluffy hair. yoongi doesn’t know why he’s in love with him.
“so cold,” he whines a little, pushing at yoongi’s pale wrist. “let me sleep some more, hyung.”
“it’s time to get up, babe,” yoongi says. the full moon is round and pearly-white tonight. “get you something to eat.”
“ugh, please don’t tell me you’ll cook,” jungkok says, muffled.
“listen - “
“all you drink is blood, you’ve literally lost taste, hyung.” jungkook sleepily glares at him. “the last thing you made was so oversalted i drank a gallon of water.”
yoongi used to make food just fine 200 years ago. he doesn’t mention that, because then jungkook will raise an eyebrow and snottily say something like, “that was when they just invented stoves, right?” even though he’s only been immortal since the 1910′s. the punk.
instead, yoongi tugs on his hair lightly. “get up, you’ll get irritable soon if you don’t eat something, at least.”
“i know,” jungkook says miserably. “but i hurt all over.”
this happens once a month, and yoongi always suffers through it well. honestly, it kind of pains him to see jungkook like this, holding the ripple of the shift underneath his veins, trying to keep the part of him under lock and key. he hasn’t been able to freely shift and run around like the overexcited pup he is since cities started to take over - since cameras hidden in the worst of places have begun to pop up. jungkook is paranoid, rightly. yoongi is too. they’ve spent time in each other’s presence for so long, it would be like ripping off a limb if either one of them were to be taken away.
jungkook claims it doesn’t hurt, but yoongi knows him when he lies. just like jungkook knows when yoongi will go on a rampage if he doesn’t feed for a while.
yoongi leans down and kisses his boyfriend - lover, partner, best friend - on the mouth, pressing hard. it’s not a light kiss, but neither of them want something like that now - they want something distracting, something callous.
jungkook reaches up to pull at his neck and yoongi changes angles, dragging his mouth in a way that turns the kiss slow.
jungkook hums underneath it and yoongi pulls away. “go eat,” he says lightly, fingers fiddling with the other’s bangs.
“okay, old man,” jungkook says, but he seems more mollified now, more..settled. yoongi has never asked, but he thinks that he’s something that anchors jungkook to his human side. something that keeps him here. just like how jungkook is someone that makes yoongi want to breathe again, keeps him sane.
they’re two night creatures living, living, living, stealing life from each other while the rest of the world bleeds by in time and color.
Chapter 19: the reaper
tw for death
when yoongi kisses jungkook, something in him feels alive.
that is, not to say, that he isn’t alive. yoongi technically is alive in some sort of way, but it’s more like he’s suspended between life and death. that, in turn, leads to a long lifetime of looking one way forever. yoongi had a human life, once - he remembers it vaguely, remembers it in the old days where maybe korea was not called korea, but he doesn’t remember how he came to be. how, one day, he woke up sleeping at the foot of his own crudely made grave, flesh and bone and spirit.
he’s lived years doing his job, knowing exactly what purpose he serves. there was never a spark of feeling in him for the lives he took, whether they be ravaged by war or unwillingly taken or not ready. souls are souls, and whatever soul is next on the list, that’s the soul that must go. he’s seen countless of names throughout the years, their letters bleeding together until yoongi can’t make head or high of them anymore.
he’s never felt anything for any one of them.
humanity, itself, has been a bit of a bore. he’s never had the ability to connect with such fleeting lives. the days went by too fast.
and then he saw jeon jungkook, and suddenly, the minutes did not slow down enough.
life with jungkook made him pause. the other is 20 years old and in college, with small smiles and wide eyes and a voice like honey. yoongi kissed him and it felt like a rush of water inside him, like tsunami wave of heat inside his belly, unlike anything he’d ever felt in years.
with jungkook…it’s been a year, an entire human year. they moved in together halfway. yoongi leaves for “work” - he tells jungkook he works in security, the night shift, the only thing that can explain his disappearance in the night hours and his ability to upkeep a nice apartment - when jungkook is at home, at night, after the spare hours they can keep with each other. jungkook goes to school in the morning and then some days not at all.
he does things like sleep on yoongi and kiss yoongi’s cheek and wear yoongi’s cologne because it reminds him of the elder and sing songs softly to himself and watch anime on the couch and yoongi loves it. he’s in so over his head that he gets dizzy, sometimes. the days seem more real, the colors brighter, with him around.
the business of taking souls is easy. at their death, whether it be quick and painless or it be long and arduous, all yoongi has to do is place his fingers on their forehead and pull. death settles like a cloak, shrouding then lax lids and cold fingertips. yoongi always leaves the body. his list is infinite and has never, ever, done him wrong - the timing, the place, the moment.
until - until.
jungkook is eating cereal in the kitchen and looking through something on his phone. his hair is slightly damp, droplets of water on his neck from his just finished shower, fingers moving quickly across his phone.
“hyung,” jungkook greets without taking his eyes away from the screen. “how was work?”
yoongi thinks about the deaths of that night; an old woman from a heart attack, a teenage girl falling over the edge of a rooftop, a man who drank too much, a college student that took too many pills -
“tiring,” he admits truthfully, walking so that he’s right next to jungkook. he doesn’t bother peering at what the other is looking at - knowing him, it’s probably a web comic. yoongi settles his head on jungkook’s shoulder for a second and breathes everything in.
jungkook notices this and moves, setting his phone down. yoongi hears the sound of crunching before, “you should sleep.”
“you don’t have class today,” yoongi points out, eyes still closed.
“true, but i do have work to do, so you should sleep. at least for a couple hours.”
“hm,” yoongi hums, considering it. he doesn’t need sleep, per say, but it’s nice to sometimes close his eyes and just rest. experience a sort of blackness that he didn’t think he could quite grasp in this existence.
he’s a night reaper - all the years he has been guiding souls to the life after, it has always been after sunset. there are different reapers for the day and night - different reapers for each area of the world. yoongi hasn’t ever come across another one, but he knows, almost innately, that he’s not supposed to. too much death in one place.
yoongi wants to rest his head. jungkook pats him and lets him leave.
at night, yoongi rises half an hour before sunset and looks at his phone. ever since jungkook left for work a couple of hours ago, he hasn’t heard from his human boyfriend. yoongi takes out his phone and sends out a text.
hey, you coming home?
later, long shift. ): is what jungkook texts back almost immediately.
yoongi feels the starting of a headache. it only means one thing; a mass death. the last time it had happened, it was a shootout at a bank; jungkook had watched it on tv with a frown on his face. yoongi hates these nights. he doesn’t want jungkook to see the news in the morning.
he settles out for the night. his legs take him, almost by their own will, to the bust stop a couple of blocks away from their place. yoongi doesn’t feel the burn in his legs, not anymore, not after all these years.
he thinks about jungkook, about maybe going out to some new restaurant tomorrow, yoongi’s treat. jungkook likes little surprises like that. his face turns up in a smile and his shoulders bunch up and his body moves with his laughter.
when yoongi leans back against the bus stand and relaxes, waiting, his eyes tread across the opposite street. he freezes as he recognizes it.
yoongi looks up at the bus stand. 6 line.
he fumbles with his phone as he takes it out, hands shaking; suddenly his entire world is starting to crumble. the minutes are passing by so fast - why are they passing by so fast? and it’s so late at night where is jungkook?
before yoongi can call him, his attention is stolen by someone screaming.
his head whips up; there, in the distance, in almost slow motion, is the 6-line bus turning on it’s side. it crashes through cars and the telephone pole and brings down a couple of traffic lights. there are people running on the streets and some yelling at the pavement, their legs giving out beneath them. yoongi spots a streak of blood where the bus hit pedestrians, but then all he sees is the people inside, who are all twisted into each other. the glass is broken and the metal has crushed into itself.
yoongi’s throat is dry. a list of names go through his head, and he - he’s still holding his phone, but - he’s looking, first he’s looking, please no please -
he’s one of few, running against the current of people trying to get away from the mess. one of the shows that the bus hit is on fire. yoongi shakes his ankle away from a guy who gripped onto him; he has only one person he’s looking for. yoongi feels pale, yoongi feels sick.
he looks around the wreckage, ignoring the torrent of screams and yells for help to see where there’s an opening. he ends up climbing on top of the toppled over bus to get inside through a shattered window, cutting himself on the broken shards. he doesn’t fucking care - he lands on the other window side, right next to a woman’s head. she’s groaning, her pulse weak, and yoongi brushes a finger against her pulse so that it disappears completely. the job is sloppy as he fulfills names - looking around desperately even still, yet bound by whatever holds him to this plane of existence.
and then, at the very end, there is jungkook. he’s slumped against the side. the entire side of his face is slick with blood.
“jungkook,” yoongi breathes, his voice cracking. something in his chest is breaking, like his ribs caving into his heart; that’s the only explanation for this pain. once again, the name flashes in his mind - seo ilhyo, im deokhwan, jeon jungkook -
“baby,” yoongi breathes, leaning down to shakily take jungkook’s face in his. his hands start getting slick with jungkook’s blood. he tries to reassure himself, almost irrationally - head wounds usually bleed a lot, they’re shallow, they’re shallow - but jungkook’s name keeps flashing in his mind.
no, yoongi thinks faintly. “jungkook, baby, please wake up. jungkook, jungkook, jungkook - “
jungkook’s eyes flutter open weakly. he groans, but his voice is thick and sticky. “h-hyu..ng..?”
“you’re okay,” yoongi says, he’s lying lying lying but this can’t be true, it can’t be true it just can’t -
“i hurt,” jungkook whimpers, moving his hand so that it’s pressing against his shoulders. “h-here…”
“baby, it’s okay - keep your eyes open, jungkook, please - “
“hurts,” jungkook slurs, and then he presses toward his chest, and oh god please no please no god please no don’t do this.
“it’ll be okay,” yoongi says weakly. “you’ll be - “
time is going too fast.
jungkook breathes and flutters his. yoongi snatches his hands away. no, no, no he’s not taking jungkook’s soul. he doesn’t fucking care if everyone else in this goddamn bus dies, but not jungkook, not jungkook.
you have to. his hands are shaking.
yoongi shakes. he can’t. he won’t. he won’t.
the list disappears. yoongi, startled, staggers back and glass crushes underneath his boots. jungkook is still flitting in and out of consciousness. yoongi can hear the sounds of sirens and yelling. then, from behind him, “i need to take his soul.”
yoongi turns around, feeling hunted. there’s another person there and from the aura around him, yoongi can tell that it’s someone just like him. but that’s impossible, that’s -
the reaper with orange hair tilts his head. he nods toward jungkook. “i need to take his soul.”
“no,” yoongi starts, moving closer to jungkook. as long as there’s a little bit of pulse in him, yoongi won’t let him go. he reaches down to take jungkook’s cold hand. he remembers kissing that hand. he remembers wanting to hold it forever.
the reaper looks down at their link fingers and his face turns soft. “oh, i see.”
yoongi leans in toward jungkook and kisses his temple when jungkook groans softly in pain. “i’ll protect you, i promise,” he breathes against his temple, glaring at the other.
“your list disappeared, didn’t it,” the reaper says. “as soon as you defied.”
yoongi licks his dry mouth. “you can’t take him away from me.”
“it’s his time,” the reaper says.
“no. no. you’ll have to get through me first.”
the reaper’s eyes flicker. “i hope you meet him well in death, then.”
it’s not a threat - rather, the reaper says it with almost a wistful tone, as if he’s wishing goodbye to family. yoongi realizes what he’s going to do as soon as he comes close and - and yoongi doesn’t stop him.
he lost his list. that means he’s not a reaper anymore. if jungkook is gone - well, there’s nothing to live for in this world.
the reaper across from him brushes his fingers across jungkook’s pulse, and yoongi chokes as it flutters down, quiet. peaceful. his head lolls and he still - still looks beautiful from this side, the curve of his cheek yoongi has memorized and the fall of his bangs across his forehead.
the reaper puts his hand on yoongi’s neck. the last thing he sees is jungkook’s face as black overcomes his vision.
when he wakes up, jungkook is smiling at him, eyes crinkled and hair falling across his face. yoongi wants to hold his hand forever.
“hyung,” he says, voice soft, and maybe this is what yoongi was waiting for all those years.
Chapter 20: peach tea
bali is sweet but hot. jungkook looks at his glass of lemon-peach iced tea and smacks his lips. sweat prickles his temple and lower back, drenching his form whenever he walks. the sun is bright in the sky and with the last of his sunscreen fading away, the burn will remain prominent later if he doesn’t leave. yet…yet. jungkook licks his mouth and tastes sugar on his bottom lip. almost crystallized, condensed, at the top of the glass. a long, slim tube of a thing, with it’s pinkened summer drink, sun umbrella and a hint of lemon. ice, clinking in it’s glass confines. condensation sweating across the surface. untouched. this is his third glass. jungkook watches with slow eyes as the ice clinks against each other, a harmony in stilled in drink. he raises his camera and snaps a picture.
the colors come out nicely. as always, the sun in bali is a friend, not an enemy; a bringer of light, not shade. jungkook sets down his camera in his lap and takes the drink, placing his lips around the cold rim. peach tea is sweet and syrupy down his throat, with a certain tang that he has never quite gotten over. he’s never tasted better than in bali.
he sits at the edge of a pool, staring down at the blue, chlorine water. there are others around - it’s a public pool and bathhouse. jungkook has his camera in his lap, a heavy weight, but all he can think about is the tea. sweet tea. he’s been hungry for something but this curbs all pangs in his stomach, settling him down with sweetness.
he leans back against his sun chair, his feet popping out of the shade of the umbrella. he wiggles his toes, illuminated, before curling them closer to himself. he doesn’t feel up to a swim, just not yet.
absently, he wonders where the others are. if they’re taking a dive or if they’re at the bar or if they’re inside the hotel, in their air conditioned room.
jungkook takes another sip of his drink and curls up on the sun chair, content to just look at the water moving. it’s no where near as beautiful as it would be on a shoreline or a beach, but it’s bright colors remind jungkook of neon fruits and tropical islands. there are people splashing around and laughing, their faces and bodies covered in a layer of water. jungkook watches as someone splashed a bit too close and it spills over like a glass tipped on the ceramic poolside.
“not going to go in?” says a drawling, familiar voice. jungkook glances up just as yoongi sits on the sun chair next to him, shades tucked into the collar of his white shirt. he’s wearing khaki pants and sandals, peering out from blonde bangs and looking, for all intents and purposes, much more relaxed than jungkook has ever seen him.
“i’ll go in with tae and jimin hyung,” he replies, because he doesn’t know what he’ll do in the water alone. swim around like a flopping fish? at least with taehyung and jimin, he’ll be able to go through with whatever game they want to play.
“hm,” yoongi leans back against the chair, bringing his legs up. “have you seen the others?”
“figures. think seokjin-hyung is eating lunch still, and wherever he is, namjoon is.” yoongi nods towards jungkook’s camera. “taking pictures?”
“it’s beautiful,” he says in reply. the trees hanging low in canopies over every street, every corner. the constantly blue skies, white clouds that look like they can be touched from a distance. sun warmed pavement and sweet fruit. it’s like a paradise on earth. light filters through greenery and casts a healthy glow over everything.
“yeah,” yoongi agrees. “here, hand me that camera.”
jungkook does so with ease; no one takes better pictures than yoongi. jungkook loves photography and yoongi loves photography. it’s how they first talked; about cameras, filters, angles. pictures. moments snapped into time.
jungkook reaches for his drink again and he hears the familiar tell tale shutter. when he turns, wide eyed, yoongi is pointing the camera at him; the shutter goes off again.
“hyung,” jungkook reaches out, and - shutter.
yoongi leans back. “don’t,” is all he says, and there jungkook is left, reaching halfway across his chair toward yoongi, hands outstretched. unwillingly, he’s become yoongi’s suddenly impromptu model. jungkook wipes away his wet bangs from his forehead and looks away from the camera lens; it’s almost as if he can see right into yoongi when he looks in that reflective glass. his face reddens.
when yoongi pulls away, he looks at the pictures he’s taken with a self satisfied smile. “pretty,” is all he says, fingers over the display screen. jungkook doesn’t ask to see them, but his throat dries. the shade does nothing for the sun’s effervescent rays, warming his hair and his elbows and his cheeks. jungkook mulls quietly over his drink, both hands pressed against the glass for the cooling temperature, spinning the straw absently.
yoongi takes another picture. jungkook huffs out a breath, “hyung, stop that.”
“one second,” yoongi says, sounding serious. there’s a smile curling the corners of his mouth upward. he leaves the camera on the chair and shuffles over to jungkook. his hands reach out to run through jungkook’s hair, combing through the strands with long fingers. his nails scratch against jungkook’s scalp, and leaves his hair in disarray over his forehead, brown strands tickling his ears. then yoongi’s hands move down to his shirt, pulling it so that it doesn’t stick to jungkook’s skin and provides some relief with the breeze. to his swimming trunks that he pulls up, almost as high as taehyung’s shorts. jungkook feels cool.
yoongi presses a thumb to the corner of his mouth and wipes something away. he tastes it briefly as jungkook reaches up to fruitlessly wipe away anything else on his face.
“sugar,” he says, raising an eyebrow. “feel better?”
“uh.” better is one word for it. he feels ruffled. a breeze comes by and he feels it cooling on his skin - it is better.
yoongi takes more picture. shuts off the camera and keeps it beside him, leaning back against the sun chair and closing his eyes. at ease. they rarely get moments like this in the dorm, in south korea, where everything is quick moving and certainly not as sweet.
jungkook manages to finish half his drink when the rest of the members make it outside. taehyung and jimin motion for him to join them in the water, but jungkook looks at the baked ground and then at yoongi, and shakes his head. leans back. he counts the number of bracelets on yoongi’s wrist, the veins on his arm. jungkook traces all the lines that make up his hyung while pretending to rest on his side; yoongi, for all intents and purposes, is asleep. jungkook draws lines over his collarbones, his jawline, his ears. his nose. this is how jungkook sees him.
he wonders what he looks like through yoongi’s eyes.
contrary to most of his friends’ expectations, yoongi can be the sappy boyfriend sometimes.
he’s not the sappy boyfriend all the time - in fact, it comes by rarely and definitely not when jungkook is expecting it, like maybe valentines day or white day or their anniversary or their 100th day of dating or even their respective birthdays - no, yoongi is sappy when he feels like and only then. jungkook, for that reason, is always fucking blindsided when the elder does something sweet.
it’s not like yoongi isn’t a sweet person - he’s got that gruff, hard to crack exterior and an unfortunately resting face that looks cold and standoffish; he’s tired a lot of the time so he sounds a little bit short; he can be easily irritated by things he doesn’t find important or relevant.
but he’s also really kind, hardworking. loyal. jungkook sees him getting food for everyone and using his own money to pay for their shared bills and silently handing over coffee to namjoon when the other is about to have a breakdown. he’s thoughtful. a good guy on the inside, even though most people are too blinded by how he’s a little bit lackluster in his social commentary due to all nighters and lack of caffeine. (this, in turn, is a lie - yoongi actually talks a lot, like a grandpa or a dad, always talking talking talking about things like society, politics, the weather - jungkook is always blown away whenever yoongi gets a full night of sleep and a rich cup of coffee in the morning).
yoongi has always worked by his own set of standards, fuck whatever anyone else thought of him or what he did. if he wanted to ask jungkook out, he would ask jungkook out. if he wanted to dye his hair green, he’d dye his hair green. if he wanted to work on a new song at 2am, well, he’d get out of bed, untangling his body from his boyfriend’s, just to work on a song at 2am.
jungkook sometimes resents this, only because yoongi is warm and he hates the cold side of the bed.
when jungkook gets home exhausted from his last class, he ends up lying face down on the couch. his shoulders ache and his throat is killing him; he’s been singing all week, working on a song that is refusing to be mastered well, and frustration is starting to creep up on him. the thought of going back into the studio causes his eyes to burn; he doesn’t want to face his classmates and their looks of disappointment, how they keep telling him it’s missing something, jungkook-ssi…. maybe we should get someone else to sing?
especially after he was the one that asked if he could sing, so sure of his own ability. fuck.
jungkook groans and ignores the way the pillow feels a little wet. when he pulls away, there are dark stains on the couch throws, but he ignores it and pretends his face doesn’t feel like it’s been scrubbed raw. he kicks off his jeans, leaving him in his boxers and his sweater.
he switches on the television, in a bad mood, and doesn’t even realize yoongi is in the apartment until he hears a low voice tinged in amusement. “bad day?”
jungkook turns around, a little surprised, before he shrugs. “don’t really want to talk about it.”
“hm,” yoongi not-says, walking over in a pair of sweatpants and a band t-shirt, sinking into the couch next to jungkook. almost on instinct, jungkook leans in and lays his head on the space against yoongi’s shoulder, leaning in toward his jaw.
“you look stupid,” yoongi says, referring to how he’s only in his boxers and his sweater.
“you look stupid,” jungkook retorts.
“what’s up,” yoongi reaches up to card his fingers through jungkook’s hair, a movement made from years of familiar experience. similar nights like this spent in high school and the first years of college, working around their age difference and the growing gap between them as the years crossed boundaries and expectations. jungkook watched yoongi graduate college has he just started, been there when yoongi cursed over juggling his masters and a job, kissed yoongi through his first job and his second and his third. yoongi held him when he wanted to crack a glass table over finals his first year and when he didn’t know where he wanted to go for school after high school and when he felt insecure, small, insignificant in their relationship that seemed to differ between social statuses, likes, dislikes, personalities. yet - yet.
yet they’re still here. sharing an apartment, yoongi with a steady job, jungkook just about to graduate. they’re not kids scrambling around anymore, but jungkook thinks that they did pretty good for a couple of scrappy kids keeping a relationship from high school. creating something lasting and real out of puppy love and backyard crushes. jungkook likes how yoongi had been, all passion and hormones, someone new and bright and interesting - but he likes this yoongi too, who is calm and contained, yet still burning bright with something he has to say. perhaps it’s because jungkook’s attraction has always gone farther than just a quick fuck and make out session that they’ve been able to stay together this long - maybe it’s because jungkook wants to keep hearing what yoongi wants to say that they’ve made it this long. high school sweethearts. it doesn’t feel like it - it feels like they’re slotted themselves together after molding their shapes to fit each other’s jagged edges.
“nothing,” jungkook says.
“now that’s a lie,” yoongi taps his finger in short beats against jungkook’s head. he feels it like a soothing balm.
“fucking school project,” he murmurs. he only has one and a half semesters until he can graduate, yeah, what the fuck is he so stressed about? jungkook just needs to finish everything without a problem.
yoongi chuffs out a laugh. “so fucking weird to hear you curse, you’d get embarrassed every time you heard someone say ‘fuck’ out loud.”
“hyung,” jungkook half whines. “i’m an adult. stop treating me like a kid.”
“hm,” yoongi agrees, pressing his mouth against jungkook’s hair. their position is uncomfortable at first, jungkook’s frame hunching to fit under yoongi’s, but then it becomes something like second nature.
yoongi must feel the way he doesn’t want to talk about what’s happened, because his movements abruptly shift. he brings his fingers over to slide jungkook’s bangs over. almost like he’s commenting on some new scientific discovery, he says, “there’s a mole here.”
which is ridiculous - yoongi probably has a running count memorized of all the marks on jungkook’s body. there are moles riddled all down his back and his thighs and calves and arms that yoongi likes to connect with wandering, lazy fingers.
“yeah,” jungkook says warily. “there is.”
yoongi moves his hair so that it’s more visible, then presses a dry kiss against it; it’s nothing more than a simple press of the lips to his forehead, but it sends a tingle down his spine anyway. “that’s one star,” he comments starkly.
“what star,” jungkook says, baffled, moving back so that they’re staring eye to eye.
yoongi raises an eyebrow. reaches up to trace a thumb against jungkook’s cheek. “here’s another one,” he taps jungkook’s cheek, and leans over to kiss him quietly.
“number three,” yoongi says, pointer finger ghosting over the side of his nose. he presses his mouth there as well, the scent of yoongi’s shampoo hitting jungkook’s nose.
“number four,” is the mole under jungkook’s bottom lip. yoongi ghosts his mouth over jungkook’s, the familiar weight and shape of his mouth so close to touching jungkook’s own. he closes his eyes and waits for the inevitable kiss that will never fail to send sparks down his nerve endings, but it never comes. instead, yoongi moves down to kiss his bottom lip halfway, the other half being on the skin underneath the swell of his mouth.
when yoongi moves away, jungkook’s eyes shoot open, and he rubs at the spot underneath his mouth with vigor, ears turning red. “hyung.”
yoongi shrugs. “want to watch historical dramas or football?”
“historical dramas,” jungkook chooses, because if they watched football they’d end up arguing over the best players and jungkook just wants to fall asleep because of how warm he feels. he doesn’t even remember why he was so upset.
yoongi turns on the tv and jungkook remembers the count: four stars. when he leans in close enough, yoongi presses a kiss against his neck, this time a little bit more wet, his mouth open and searching as he nicks at jungkook’s skin. yoongi laughs then, after jungkook shoves at his shoulder and covers the spot on his neck with a scowl. “not cool, hyung!”
“that’s five,” is all yoongi says, grinning.
Chapter 22: a portrait of you
HAPPY BIRTHDAY JUNGKOOK /throws confetti
“that looks good on you,” yoongi says, appraising him well. jungkook reaches up to his shoulder to properly put the hanbok on his shoulder, make sure that it’s well fitted. it’s the most expensive thing he owns as of current, a china blue hanbok with white designs of spring and dragons trailing up the side. a gift from yoongi. jungkook’s body is skinny, hands and arms thin and his stomach concave, so the cloth swathes him. still, he marvels at how warm it is, how soft the fabric feels on his skin.
“i don’t think i could wear this anywhere,” jungkook remarks, casually pulling down the fabric. “how could you have given this to me, yoongi-hyung? how could you even afford it?”
yoongi waves it away. “it was a gift from one of the imperial concubines for drawing her portrait. she told me to give it to my loved one, and so i have. what use do i have to wear it if it’ll only get ruined with the paint on my sleeves?”
jungkook laughs, because it’s true - yoongi has the inordinate ability to get paint on himself anywhere and everywhere. often times, jungkook has to spit on his thumb and wipe away any stubborn colors and powders from the smooth planes of his face, or else they’ll be stuck here until the end of time. jungkook reaches forward now, the sleeve of his hanbok falling down toward his elbow past what propriety allowed at the time; his fingertips brush across the curve of yoongi’s cheekbone.
“something on my face, love?” yoongi asks, humored.
“no, simply wondering.”
yoongi is not as wealthy as the military officials or even the pageboys that work for the king’s army, but he does well for himself. as a painter - as an artist - not only does he make tiny trinkets with his hands, he also does carpentry to pay for things such as their water and food and clothing, as well as a warm bed and a proper roof over their heads. it’s only recently has he made such a name for himself in the imperial court, tales of his wondrous painted landscapes on tiny pots making their way as some of the goods to the marketplace. after that, he had been called in to create a portrait of the fourth concubine; a woman who was kind as she was open, still for yoongi’s hands. he did not use his proper name, the name that jungkook called him in the halls of their home or between the sheets of their bed. instead, he used a different penname that would protect his identity and give him some leverage as someone new and unheard of in the court. jungkook himself didn’t do much, simply worked in cleaning and cooking whatever he could in the nearest inn before returning to their home.
he certainly never had the opportunity to wear something like this before. all his life, he had been poor - all his life, he had lived with whatever scraps he could go by. because of it, he and yoongi - whose hometowns were close together - grew up thin and wiry, with nearly nothing to their bones. the only thing they had about them that they could brag about was their matching soulmate marks, right on the pulse of their wrist. a pair of fluttering birds.
“what are those wondrous eyes looking at,” yoongi muses. he takes jungkook’s hand in his and puts them down so that they’re folded in jungkook’s lap. “you know, you could afford to go back to your hometown and visit your parents. we don’t have to stay in the capital city much longer; i can afford it now, jungkook. we can afford it.”
“i’m happy here,” jungkook acknowledges. “the trip back is harsh and long...it’s okay, yoongi-hyung. i’m happy here. all my friends are here. you’re here. what more could i need?”
yoongi’s mouth turns up in a smile, the way it does whenever jungkook says something like this. he always suspects that yoongi has always felt insecure in their relationship, even though jungkook would never leave his side. jungkook brushes aside some of his dark black hair that’s begun to grow unruly. “we should both go to a barber,” he jokes.
“i want to paint you.”
the request is sudden. jungkook’s eyes widen, and he rears back. “yoongi, what - “
“there’s another gift that was given to me by the imperial concubine; a new type of canvas. i used it for her highness’ portrait, but i still have one left.” yoongi shrugs. “i want to use it for you. can i paint you?”
jungkook laughs. he gestures to himself, at the finery on his body and at the gray dustiness of their home that they have both come to love. “i’m hardly anything worth painting.”
“but you’re the only thing i want to keep with me forever.”
jungkook smiles. “are you sure?”
yoongi leans in next to him, their foreheads touching. a sign of affection left over from their days of adolescence, when they first met. “even in the next life, and the life after, i’ll always find you and keep you with me forever.”
jungkook wakes up from his dream with a start. he’s being shaken by his best friend, jimin, who is pointing at something in the distance of the bus and bouncing up and down. they’ve gone with their friends taehyung and namjoon to a new art museum - namjoon had originally gotten the tickets because of his internship, wanted to bring jimin originally, but had no idea how to ask him without making the entire thing seem awkward. so then taehyung had intervened and said that he and jungkook would stick along to make it a group thing before quietly leaving midway, didn’t that sound okay, hyung? and namjoon had agreed, his anxiety tempered by safety in numbers.
what he didn’t tell the rest of them was that the museum was in another part of seoul that required an hour long bus ride. jungkook had just finished a shift at the diner last night and he was exhausted - it’s supposed to be his day to sleep! instead, he’s doing a favor to namjoon (and indirectly, jimin). it could be worse, he thinks, because at least everything is paid for him, but as soon as they took their sets on the bus, jungkook knocked out.
and, like always, his dreams pervaded his restless sleep and gave him snippets of his past life. of yoongi.
all he knew of yoongi was what came to him from his dreams. he knew that yoongi worked hard and often, had steady hands that could create anything from nothing, he knew that yoongi inherited his work from his father and continued on the job from his old projects, building beds and furniture out of wood. jungkook knows that they met when they were young and grew older to have their wrists pressed against each others’, their heartbeat a steady thump of soul and then mate; he and yoongi found each other in the big expanse of korea and they lived a simple life. jungkook also had vivid yet faded images of yoongi’s face in his memory...not quite the whole picture, but snippets of him. almost paled recollections, like a long forgotten photograph shelved in the depths of his subconscious. jungkook can’t come up with yoongi’s photo now, can’t imagine what he looks like - and jungkook has tried to draw him, picked up painting just because he knew the person he loved in his past life was one - but to no avail. he had no idea how to formulate who yoongi was in mere two dimensional standards. his paintings always seemed to fall short.
it’s a good thing that he’s interested in art and therefore able to pay attention as namjoon gives the front desk their tickets as they walk in. jimin is telling taehyung to explicitly not touch anything and namjoon comes back to stand straight at jimin’s side, scratching the back of his head. though jimin likes singing and dancing more, he’s still awed by everything around him.
jungkook tries to think about the memory that he just had even though it’s slipping from his grasp. he knows that every soulmate pair experiences these dreams up until they meet each other, and even afterward. a collection of eons spent together, souls that have been born and reborn again and again into existence.
jungkook wonders if yoongi knows his name the way jungkook knows his.
“these are portraits of the various concubines and consorts of the joseon dynasty,” namjoon explains to them. “look here, it’s queen inhyeon.”
“she’s beautiful,” jimin marvels.
“ooh, they write down who the artist is for these portraits too?” taehyung marvels, squinting down at the name on the golden plaque. “hmmm, yoon gi-rong.”
“oh yeah, he was commissioned to paint portraits of consort suk-bin, consort hui and then finally queen inhyeon and queen inwon.” namjoon motions to the portraits that line the other end of the wall. at that moment, a woman in a crisp maroon suit and a white tie around her neck comes up to their group and bows; jungkook stands a bit ways aside, leaning against taehyung who flicks him on the shoulder. jungkook sucks in a breath, feeling oddly wired, scratching at his covered wrist where ink is pressed deep into his skin.
“would you all like some information about these paintings and of who they are?” she asks, motioning to the lovely explosions of color that fully represent the grace and beauty of each woman.
“i mostly know about them because of dramas,” jimin admits, laughing. “then i end up looking them up. i actually did a paper on the factions warring during king sukjong’s time in joseon.”
jungkook swears he sees namjoon’s eyes turn into hearts. taehyung fake gags behind them.
the woman smiles. “well, what about the artist?”
“was he famous too?” namjoon asks. “like a royal painter or something? these are beautiful.”
the museum employee just laughs, shaking her head. “no, and that’s what is so remarkable about him. apparently he was a common potter and carpenter, but he had extraordinary talent that was noticed by royal noble consort suk-bin, who then asked him to come into the palace to draw a portrait of her young son - the future king yeongjo. he did, and she was so impressed with his talent that she commissioned one for herself. he did not do portraits otherwise except for the royal family...at least, that’s what we thought, but recently another portrait by yoon gi-rong has been found; it’s actually part of this exhibit as well.”
“is it another consort? or the king himself?” taehyung marvels.
she shakes her head. “no, it’s of his soulmate and husband. it was quite a find, because it’s considered to be the only work he’s ever done that’s not of a royal, and yet it’s definitely the most striking. would you like me to show it to you?”
“please lead the way,” jimin nods violently. jungkook follows beside taehyung as they make their way to the painting.
and as soon jungkook catches sight of it, he stops.
the painting itself is beautiful; jungkook recognizes the soft brushstrokes, the way the movements of the canvas seem to come to life. the colors in the back are dusty browns and grays, with little saturation; but that only makes the central figure of the piece all the more vibrant, the sunlight hitting on pale eyelids creating a larger glow contrasted against the dull background.
what he finds himself speechless at is that it’s him in the photo, and yet at the same time it’s not.
certainly it’s his face and his body; jungkook knows the lines of his own features. yet it looks timeless put on painted paper, the darkness of his eyes somehow larger and the curve of his mouth somehow fuller; there is pink rosebuds on his face, spots of color that have survived through the ages of fade. his hair is jet black, like ink, and he wears no ornaments, not even a single hairpin or an earring. the only thing on him is a large hanbok that is painted china-cornflower blue, so bright and lovely against the tone of his skin, white lace-like designs curling up like a dragon up his side. a testimony to fire and willpower. his shoulders are skinnier, his features are just the same; the sunlight comes through an errant window and highlights the blues and mellow colors of his body. jungkook himself is looking straight at the painting instead of away or to the side, like much of the other portraits had done, almost as if he didn’t want to look away.
when he comes back to himself, he notices that the woman is still talking, explaining, and he can’t hear a single word she’s saying. jimin, namjoon, and taehyung are all quiet and just as stunned as he is. it’s only when jimin stutters out, “that’s - jungkook...” does the woman stop talking, confused.
almost all at once, his friends all turn around to look at him, and the woman follows their gaze to jungkook - who had been resting at the back of the group the entire time. her mouth drops open.
at that point, there’s a shuttering click of a camera.
jungkook whirls around to see someone standing to the side. he’s average height with nice shoulders and ripped jeans, a bomber jacket, and a nixon camera in his hands. his hair is a dyed brunette in a stylish undercut, sharp features, intense black eyes.
it comes back to jungkook in one huge whoosh.
yoongi looks down at his camera, smiling, the familiar tug of his mouth pulling at jungkook’s heartstrings. he can feel the heavy thump all the way in his ears; it’s becoming almost hard to breathe. when yoongi speaks, his voice is the familiar husky-warmth that jungkook has always affiliated with home.
“about time you showed up.”
jungkook swallows. he barely notices that the entire room has gone quiet, wide-eyed, almost caught in the webbed weave of magic the way jungkook is. quietly, slowly, he holds his shaking hands still and remembers the way yoongi’s fit so easily through his. “...yoongi-hyung?”
yoongi looks up at him then, and yes, yes, that’s him, him, him, him. nothing in jungkook’s life had ever seemed complete up until then, nothing jungkook has ever done seemed right up until yoongi called him by his name and called him by -
“i told you i would always keep you with me forever.”
even in this life and the next.
jungkook barrels forward and wraps his arms around yoongi, who already has his arms wide open, who already expects the movement; a habit jungkook has always done ever since yoongi first started coming home from the palace weeks after each other, jungkook waiting every hour of the day and wondering if yoongi was even alive, even surviving in the harsh walls of that world. familiar.
jungkook laughs wetly, remembering the feeling of the new hanbok in his arms, slipping it onto his shoulders, pausing and waiting for yoongi, looking straight at him even though yoongi asked him to look to the side. remembering it all like it’s a part of his past even though he’s never experienced these memories, not in this body, not in this time. they’re both on the floor now, sitting in each other’s arms, jungkook pressing his head to the column of yoongi’s throat, breathing his pine scent mixed with the sandalwood from carpentry. yoongi runs a hand through his hair and presses a dry kiss to his forehead. from the corner of his eye, jungkook sees on his wrist, right on his pulse - a pair of fluttering birds.
behind them, amidst the murmurs of onlookers and picture-takers and non believers, taehyung whispers, “this should be made into a drama.”
Chapter 23: sleeping away
??? i forgot to add this one omfg
for @calamitae or whatever ur handle is now thri omfg stop changing it i'm old and can't remember things easily thanks
“ha,” jungkook says victoriously as yoongi swears, looking at his closed fist in regret, “hyung has to go and make hot chocolate this time around.” he settles back on their sofa, so pleased with himself, his features curled up in a smile. yoongi groans. his limbs feel soft and heavy at the same time, the product of many hours of together on the couch with his younger boyfriend.
“i don’t make it as good,” yoongi grumbles.
“should stop putting out rock all the time then,” jungkook huffs. he pulls their shared blanket around his shoulders a bit tighter. it was the blanket that jungkook’s mom sent over for him straight from busan after he complained to her about the cold seoul weather; yoongi has to admit, when it gets below zero degrees, the blanket is large enough and warm enough to cover around both of them and still have some cloth left over. yoongi wonders if mama jeon knows more than she lets on about their relationship, sometimes.
“i do not put out rock all the time.”
“you put out either rock or scissors,” jungkook says matter-of-factly. “namjoon hyung taught me that; and then i just have to remember what you put out last time, because you’ll do one or the other.”
yoongi grumbles because it’s true.
jungkook nudges him with a socked foot, leaning back against the arm of the sofa. he’s starting to stretch out his limbs and the blanket’s all but slipped off yoongi. they’re trying to watch a couple of movies - ones jungkook all picked out - and so far, it’s been iron man 1 and 2. they’re on their third movie and second bowl of popcorn and apparently, third round of hot chocolate.
“go,” he jerks his chin toward the empty mugs pointedly. when yoongi doesn’t move, he says in a slightly dramatic tone, “hyung.”
“i’m going,” yoongi says. he just. needs a moment to get motivation back. jungkook looks inviting, resting with his body laid out flat, blanket pooled around his shoulders up to his nose. his hair keeps getting into his eyes, so he shakes his head every once in awhile to move his bangs without releasing his hands. yoongi hates himself for noticing.
eventually when jungkook starts to nudge him more and more pointedly, yoongi gets up and feels his bones creak in his body. he sighs and rubs the back of his neck, shuffling toward the kitchen.
they’re on their last bit of hot chocolate packet. jungkook makes it by skimming milk in a sauce pan and adding the chocolate powder slowly and then he adds something fucking magical at the end - it’s cinnamon, yoongi thinks - and jungkook tells him that it was jimin who taught him how to make it, which, what the fuck, that little shit has been hiding secrets of magic from them.
yoongi just warms up the milk on the stove, watching to make sure it doesn’t bubble over, and puts the packet in and stirs. since he made it first, he assumes jungkook likes it just fine, so. because it’s their last round, he goes all out with the marshmallows, adding two extra to jungkook’s. kid has a sweet tooth.
when he gets back, jungkook has become a human burrito, the only part of him visible being his head and his socked feet. iron man socks.
“why did you do this,” yoongi starts, not even surprised.
the muffled reply is “because i can”; after a moment, the younger shifts and wiggles and the blanket gets loose. he moves it so that it’s on yoongi’s lap. “hyung, i’m sleepy,” he says, eyeing the hot chocolate mugs.
“thought you wanted to watch spirited away.”
“haku,” jungkook says wistfully. “yeah, you’re right, screw sleep. put it on, please.”
“am i your servant,” yoongi grumbles, but he puts it on anyway. jungkook takes the opportunity to shuffle them so that yoongi is leaning against one side of the sofa, his back against a pillow. jungkook urges him to move his legs up and when he doesn’t comply fast enough, reaches down and does it himself. then he goes and puts himself on top of yoongi’s semi-resting form, his head on yoongi’s ribs, his legs hanging over the other side of the couch. they’re still under the blanket.
“stop, i’m tired,” jungkook cites, patting yoongi’s chest. “this way i’m close to your heart. sappy, right?”
“i can be sappier if you want.”
“no thank you please don’t.”
yoongi smirks. this is his favorite. “you’re heavy, but i’d carry the weight of your love anytime - “
“you’re disgusting. that wasn’t even good.”
“i need to come up with better ones,” yoongi admits. he thinks about the ones he uses on the fans; those are pretty good, but they’re often the product of last minute, on the spot thinking. fans go crazy for them at fansigns, so why not?
“also you indirectly called me big.”
yoongi reaches down and pats his ass.
jungkook punches him in the stomach lightly, but it still knocks the wind out of him for a moment.
“why am i dating you,” jungkook mutters, “an old man, a lazy old man - “
“hey - “
“all i wanted was to cuddle and watch a movie, is that too much to ask - “
“what is this tone - “
“no, instead i’m groped - “
yoongi remarks, “strange how you’re still dating this lazy old man who gropes you, then.”
jungkook gives him a face. it’s a cross between who are you and shut up hyung. he loosens his arms to fix the blanket so that his curled up knees and legs are covered and tucked in - yoongi can feet the weight of him on his legs, this freakin’ kid - before he wraps his arms around yoongi’s middle and continues to rest his head on yoongi’s ribs, near his heart.
“seriously, you’re gonna kill me.”
“cuddling doesn’t kill,” jungkook says seriously. “hyung is just complaining.”
yoongi is. spirited away has already started playing, and they’re around five minutes in. yoongi nor jungkook has noticed. after a moment, they fall into a comfortable silence. yoongi gets used to the feeling of jungkook on him and moves around to get comfortable - and to make sure that his legs won’t fall asleep. his hands find their way to jungkook’s head, where he starts carding his fingers through the soft, unstyled hair. it’s a nice brunette this time around, making his cheeks rounder and livelier with the winter coming. it becomes a repetitive action, and yoongi doesn’t even notice when jungkook’s breathing slows into a slow drawl, his mouth slightly open and drooling. the sight is cute, though yoongi will never admit it.
he tries to watch the movie too, but he feels warm and content all over; the sounds of the television are low in the background, the sights and sounds just a secondhand thought, and the smell of chocolate is strong and inviting. yoongi falls asleep around half an hour after jungkook, his hands still in the other’s hair, right when the first snow falls.
Chapter 24: cat burglar
yoongi originally didn’t want a pet.
despite what his friends think of him - he’s talking about hoseok here, he’s only really talking about hoseok - yoongi is kind of a dog person. he loves to fuck up other people’s expectations. he’s been likened to a cat many times (by hoseok) who tells him about his tendency to sleep everywhere, be grouchy at times and distantly affectionate at others, and his ability to look through everyone with the same unimpressed gaze is distinctly like that of a cat. taehyung had agreed with him, bright-eyed, and then.
then. they bought him a cat.
they literally came into his house and gave him a cat. yoongi is dog person.
the cat is. white? with black spots. he’s named it suga because suga used to be his rapper name and he couldn’t think of anything else at the time. yoongi doesn’t want a cat but he’s not fucking cruel, and whatever he has money to spare so he buys? the cat? food? and a bed and litter and whatever. he learns how to deal with cat litter and hair on the sofa and his fucking cat going around everywhere and knocking everything off it’s proper place. for a while, there’s a period of stagnancy where he and the cat, suga, learned about each other. suga learned that yoongi didn’t like it when he slept on yoongi’s legs. yoongi learned that suga liked to steal his clothes to make small clothing beds out of them.
namely, his underwear.
yoongi didn’t really care because hey, it was just underwear, and the cat used old boxers too so why worry?
then suga started to get out the house. yoongi supposes he did so by the balcony; he found, suddenly, pairs of underwear that didn’t really seem familiar but he didn’t question it; he forgot half the clothes he bought in his lifetime, anyway.
as yoongi is getting home one day, walking up the stairs to his apartment and thinking about lying down and wallowing in his own pile of work to do, he hears a strange sound coming from his apartment. for a moment, he thinks about not opening the door and just leaving the thumping sounds to themselves, including leaving the cat to fend for it’s own feline savior, but he sighs and remembers the look on his stupid friend’s faces. also suga might be forever indignant at him if he survives, so.
what he doesn’t expect is this: a cute as fuck kid in a bathrobe running around his living room, all he sees is flashes of dark hair and long - holy shit - long legs, following a shot of fur.
“holy shit,” yoongi says out loud, kind of taken aback. very taken aback. surprised.
the unfamiliar person stops in the middle of his running, jamming his hip right into yoongi’s sofa arm; suga runs in between his legs, something caught in his mouth. a pair of black underwear.
almost immediately, the pieces connect in his head.
“you,” the guy starts, flushed with embarrassment and definitely wet-haired like he came out of the shower, yoongi’s eyes following the rolls of water down his cheek and neck and - “you! your cat! your stupid cat keeps stealing my underwear!” he says, frowning, before scowling down at suga.
“um,” is yoongi’s eloquent answer. yes, he writes lyrics for a living.
“and i tried being nice to your cat, you know, maybe you were abusing it or something and that’s why it came to my apartment next balcony over - after jumping - “
“hey, i take care of my damn cat,” yoongi says, outraged -
“but he looks fat and well taken care of and why does he keep taking my underwear? do you know that’s the only clean pair i have left? i’m not going to wear dirty clothes,” the guy says, sounding so affronted that it might as well have been a crime similar to murdering one’s mother. “so could you please give me my underwear back and i can go home and wear some clothes because it’s cold. thanks.”
the stranger inhales deeply, as if he’s been holding this inside of him for a long time. he looks winded from talking and livid. it makes his eyes pop. yoongi likes it.
“shouldn’t hang your laundry outside, then,” yoongi says, and winces as soon as he does. is he dumb. is he incapable of saying things around people he thinks is attractive, like seriously, why. of course he hangs his laundry outside, because that’s the only place that they can drip water and dry in the sun. yoongi does it. everyone with a balcony apartment does it.
the stranger seems to realize this, because he simply inhales deeply.
“sorry,” yoongi offers, shrugging and setting his bag down. “uh, you’re kind of shivering.”
indeed, the kid is. he looks young now, with his hair flopping over his wide eyes and his face still bloated from the hot water.
“i just want to wear clean clothes,” he replies kind of miserably. suga runs by his feet again, toward his underwear nest, and the kid grabs after him halfheartedly.
yoongi was already feeling sorta bad, but the sight is enough that he now feels outwardly bad too. he scratches the back of his head and sighs, asking the kid to wait a minute. after rustling around in his closet, he pulls out a pair of underwear and sweats and a t-shirt. comes back to throw it at the kid and points to the bathroom. for a second the kid just stares at him in pure confusion, before yoongi shrugs and says, “you can keep the underwear. just took them out of the package, promise.”
for some reason, that works.
by the time that the kid comes back out, it’s nearing eight pm and yoongi is about to call for takeout, in all honesty. when his neighbor finally returns, suga is sleeping in the corner on his bed pile of underwear. the kid stops briefly before sighing and sitting across from yoongi.
“don’t ask how i got here,” he mutters, voice lower now that he isn’t yelling out all his frustrations.
yoongi raises his hands in surrender. the stranger turns and his hair is still kind of damp, and the way he looks sitting across from yoongi, so comfortable and clean makes something warm and weird flush through him -
“anyway, my name is jungkook,” he says, looking down and fiddling with his fingers. “sorry, i didn’t introduce myself...i’m sorry for breaking into your house too. and, imposing, and - “
“for him, we’re even,” yoongi nods his head at suga, clearing his throat. “i’m yoongi.”
jungkook smiles at him. yoongi can get used to that.
Chapter 25: make a move
it starts with innocent cuddling.
their bodies mesh together as well as they always have, yoongi and jungkook yoongi and jungkook yoongiandjungkook. he presses his feet against jungkook’s calves, slides them up the back of his legs to his knee, skin warm. jungkook’s breath hitches from where it’s hidden in the collar of yoongi’s hoodie. they share limbs and body heat like they share kisses, slow and hidden from the eye of others, jungkook’s fingers pressing into the fabric of yoongi’s hoodie like he wants something.
their lower halves are covered by the blanket. out of sight, out of mind.
yoongi’s hand goes from it’s position around jungkook’s shoulders down to his waist, down to the hem of his own sweatshirt, where he creeps a finger up jungkook’s hem. presses against soft skin, the dips of his hip to his stomach. jungkook squirms a little, twists yoongi’s hoodie in his fingers a bit more.
“hyung, quit it,” he mutters. their tv show is forgotten and long lost, background noise to what they consider really important. usually they’re not quite touchy-feely in front of others. in front of the camera, they’re even less tactile with each other. it somehow doesn’t feel right, putting their relationship on a pedestal for others to see. this is theirs, all theirs, hidden in the crevices of their hearts, tucked away between the spaces of their fingers where they bring it out in late night dates and midnight escapades. yoongi kisses jungkook and jungkook takes him in greedily, letting himself sink. it’s not about being in control, jungkook thinks, it’s about letting himself go and yoongi knows how to keep them both anchored. sometimes they both forget what it means to stay breathing.
usually they can get away by drinking in the sound of each other’s laughs, the sight of each other’s face pressed into a smile, blinding, bright against the sun. sometimes, they need to touch each other. sometimes yoongi can’t keep his hands off. sometimes jungkook’s attention wanders. is it natural? the way he wants yoongi on him without any sign of stopping, this sort of endless want that spirals and spirals in him, unable to find some sort of release?
jungkook moves his arm so that it’s laying heavy across yoongi’s waist, curling his leg so that it rests on yoongi’s knees, rendering him immobile. it’s a game, you see, between them; who will move first? who can’t go longer without touching the other? who can keep it together? who can keep it together?
“hn,” yoongi replies to his wordless question, his free hand reaching up to fix jungkook’s head on his neck into a more comfortable shape. the pads of his fingertips press light butterfly kisses against jungkook’s bottom lip; he shivers as yoongi sets his palm down on his thigh, fingers poised to tap tap tap against his jeans.
jungkook’s mouth falls open in a wordless part. yoongi says, “what’s wrong?” but he knows, he knows.
jungkook thinks that’s a little mean. yoongi is rarely this kind of mean, rarely this kind of push and pull, always wanting more than jungkook is willing to give. right now it feels a little bit like the opposite, like they’re starting their game again but the positions are switched, and jungkook doesn’t like it at all. he closes his mouth and bites on his lip, his mouth dry. yoongi’s body is warm, yoongi is warm. for jungkook, yoongi has always been warm.
“hyung,” jungkook asks, half saying things he doesn’t know the meaning of. jungkook moves his mouth so that it’s pressing a small kiss against yoongi’s throat, near the hollow of his throat, almost like he’s whispering something there instead of starting something.
yoongi, tilts his head and kisses him.
jungkook shifts a bit more so that his weight isn’t resting completely on yoongi anymore, as it was before; as he usually likes to do it, because it pisses off his boyfriend; and now he’s more curled up with his knees under him, pressing both his hands against yoongi, tilting his head as they kiss deeper. electricity and sparks and warmth and fire, that’s all what yoongi is, that’s what this all is. that’s what jungkook wants. yoongi’s hand slips up the back of his shirt and god, he’s so warm, his hands spread fire all across jungkook’s skin. every pore is filled with sparks and every second yoongi is stealing his breath jungkook wants to give it to him more, more, more. it’s somehow never enough.
jungkook breaks the kiss and briefly leans back, noting with satisfaction how yoongi sways forward with the movement, aching to once again be with jungkook; the younger shifts so that he’s pressed against yoongi’s side, putting both his hands on either side of yoongi’s face, laughing a little breathlessly.
“what?” yoongi asks, obviously not amused. his pupils are blown wide.
“we always,” jungkook presses their noses together, “end up here.”
in each other’s arms, winding their way from the stage to the cars to the rooms to the hotels to the planes to the bathrooms to the backstage closets, trying a little bit more to touch each other without touching each other and jungkook is both thrilled and sick of it -
yoongi kissing jungkook like he’s trying to take all of jungkook, like he’s trying to steal jungkook’s heart through his throat, like he doesn’t already have jungkook’s devotion affection love. yoongi pressing his body against jungkook’s and them finding perfection in the cracked halves of their limbs, legs and arms, hips and thighs, mouths and throats, noises and hearts beating under the shadows -
“well,” yoongi starts, other hand joining to hitch up jungkook’s sweatshirt, “i like it when we end up here.”
intimate, close, jungkook’s breath so close to his that yoongi can kiss it right off his mouth; intimate, close, jungkook laughing and yoongi being able to feel the beat of his heart, every stutter of his breath as his lungs inflate and deflate; intimate, as yoongi stares from across the world and yet, yet, it feels like jungkook is right here next to him -
jungkook pushes yoongi’s hands away, raising his eyebrows. “i’m cold.”
yoongi tugs him closer. he doesn’t say i can warm you up, but it’s implied.
Chapter 26: constricted
i wrote this for you because we're both wondering where to go from here and sometimes it's hard to find how to say things --
there’s nothing like his love.
jungkook, soft handed calluses, narrow shouldered bright white blue intimacy, red appled, star-eyed. yoongi, crackling knuckles, overdone pride, dry mouth pressing against skin. they’re like love this way, underrated and drowning, drowning, drow -
“mm,” jungkook says, as yoongi presses a thumb against the nape of his neck. “don’t stop, feels good.”
“does it,” yoongi asks, because he doesn’t know.
jungkook leans back, head tilting, mouth parting open for a breath. it leaves from his mouth in soft whispers of curled cold air, moves and dissipates like sunlight. their rooms are dotted with heat but mostly cold, lack of air, lack of ventilation. jungkook breathes against yoongi’s mouth and it’s air enough.
“does it ache over here?” yoongi asks, hand around jungkook’s slumped shoulders moving down to the ball socket of his arm, pressing down on nerves and ligaments, the movements and motions of his body, down to where it hurts. jungkook makes an exhaled, exalted little sound. skin shifting. shuddering. when he talks his lips brush against the skin of yoongi’s collarbone, tiny whispers, butterfly kisses. hyung, he remembers jungkook saying, every inch of them pressed against one another. hyung, hyung, hyung - like air. like inhale.
“you’re hurt too,” jungkook mutters, but it’s unnecessary. their pain is shared. what happens to yoongi happens to jungkook, whether it be a passing by feeling of tiredness or bones crushing. ink shifting across skin. made for each other, made for each other, made for each other. built before the heavens could have say, made in god’s own hands imperfect and undone -
“i can handle it, baby.”
jungkook’s dry chuckle. “i know you can, but it doesn’t mean i like that have to.”
- another half of you, of me. us, together. yoongi thinks medicine and feeling better and ailment and disease and promises come from him, all from jungkook, his sickness and his cure, his little lovesick origin. yoongi presses kisses against his jawline because he can and remembers addiction is another way to say this is not good for you. jungkook moves his head lazily, languidly, and they live in their lost apartment where the air is trapped inside their lungs and they struggle to find ways out of small spaces, but yoongi knows that nowhere is enough a home for him if jungkook is not there.
get home from work, go shower, go eat. enough space for the two of them to stand next to each other in the hallway. that’s fine. they don’t need space. intimacy, bright white blue intimacy, like the color of the sky, like jungkook’s sweet kisses on his side of his mouth. they’re poor people and poor people love like they’re heating each other’s bones away from the cold, chasing away darkness and poverty like love is all knowing, heaven’s gift, souls patching themselves back together like latticework. yoongi knows nothing else but the feeling of jungkook’s body fitting in next to him, under him, over him, curved to his angles.
there’s nothing more than his love.
Chapter 27: sparkle
for pigeon on twitter!
prompt: shoujo sparkles
jungkook didn’t usually play these kind of games - he just wants to get that clear. he usually plays stuff like mmorpgs online, or - or fps, or even 8-bit games when he feels like it. otome games? he’s never really - that’s never really been - well -
“just try it,” jimin snorts, showing him his 3ds. he’s got ice-cream on the side of his mouth.
jungkook was too busy playing pokemon - x, because he’s finished with y - to really pay attention to what jimin was trying to show him. “no thanks,” he murmured, focused on his battle, “i’m finishing fire emblem after this.”
“jungkookie, just take a break!” jimin shoves his 3ds in front of jungkook’s, and it takes a moment for the younger to realize that jimin practically cut off his train of thought - what was he trying to do again? - what type was the other pokemon? shit -
“it’s surprisingly addicting,” jimin offers, “jin-hyung showed it to me. and you know he doesn’t play games, except for those h-games that he finds namjoon sneakily trying to play. i don’t know why he does so; all of the characters that he ends up liking look like his boyfriend.”
namjoon-hyung is like that. jungkook shrugs and snaps his 3ds shut, rubbing his eyes. “what are you trying to show me? i have to do math homework.”
“good thing you hate math,” jimin says. “try it.”
an otome game. there was a lot of cheesy romantic scenes, typical things that would come out of a manhwa or a drama or something. jungkook found himself snorting at everything that the characters said, laughing and snickering at some truly cheesy moments, and yet - and yet - when he read one of the male characters text box -
the only one i’d ever like is you.
his ears heat up.
“mhm,” jimin says, finishing off his ice cream and noticing jungkook’s pinkened expression. “that’s why i wanted to show you.”
and that - that is what starts jungkook on otome games.
he doesn’t know why he continues to play them. for the most part, he ends up just laughing at what’s happened, but somehow that laughter turns from slightly incredulous to something - fond. giggly. jungkook finds himself slowly invested in the games, in the storylines, in the different boys that he meets and gets to know slowly. it’s nice because - well, because, in real life…in real life, nothing like this happens, at least not to him.
sometimes when he feels down, he can pretend he’s in a different world. he can pretend that there’s someone fighting over him or trying to win his affections and he can pretend that there’s - just - someone. friends are a big part of his life, and he doesn’t know where he’d be without them - family fluctuates a little, he’s a little off odds because of his sexuality, but - jungkook is just - lonely. he’s just a little lonely. it’s stupid and dumb but he wants a moment like that; he wants someone to say -
the only one i’d ever like is you. or, you’re important to me. something that makes him desirable to someone else.
he’s sitting out on the roof playing his game - he just finished some more fire emblem, so why not? - absentmindedly chewing on a triangular kimbap, legs folded. next period he has study hall, so why bother going? his teacher is going to sleep or be on his phone the entire time, anyway.
he’s so into his game that he doesn’t realize someone else has come onto the roof. he doesn’t hear the door opening, too preoccupied with one of the guys - a silent type - to really pay attention. he has a really awful background too, and sometimes when they call him ‘she’ he’s reminded of how things aren’t always what he wants it to be - sometimes he wishes there was an otome game for boys, too - but he’s usually sucked in.
right now the other character is confessing to him - or, well, his ‘character’. there are a bit of shoujo sparkles around him and his serious face, and his text bubble says - you look cute when you’re embarrassed. and that’s. so dumb. so stupid. who even talks like that in real life? who says that kind of shit in real life?
expect jungkook’s flushing a little and sort of half-smiling, ready to press the next button for his answer -
- until that someone says right in his ear, “what’s that?”
jungkook just about feels his heart beat out of his chest. he snaps his 3ds closed so fast that it just about nicks his pinky - he stuffs it in his bag in a muscle memory movement - close calls of being caught in class - and scrambles back a little, face pink. holy shit, did he see that, did he -
it’s an upperclassmen, by his tie color. he’s got dark hair in a thick undercut and lazy eyes. with his hands in his pockets, he gives jungkook a considering look before asking again, “something you don’t want others to see?”
jungkook’s mouth feels like it’s suddenly been filled with cotton. he’s worked so hard - so hard - to keep this underwraps, only playing around jimin and seokjin, how in the world -
“um…sorry, sunbaenim. i’ll leave,” jungkook scrambles to get his stuff, wiping off the side of his mouth. he stops when the elder waves his hand. “don’t do that, it’s fine. i never said you had to leave, right? if you’re watching porn, might want to do it somewhere else than up here, though.”
at the word ‘porn’, jungkook’s face flames red. “i - i wasn’t - “ jungkook’s actually a little bit - uncomfortable, with…that. he just always has been. he prefers romance more, actually, love to lust.
“hm,” the sunbae says, hands in his pockets, still standing. jungkook feels dumb, still sitting on the floor, but he feels like the other would just make him sit if he tried to stand again. “i’m not gonna ask,” the sunbae finally says, voice low and amused, and jungkook nods stiffly. he feels a little anxious and taps his fingers against his knees, especially because his game has been taken from him suddenly, before he was able to really get out of it. jungkook can’t stop thinking about what’s going to happen next, now.
somewhere, the school bell rings. it jolts jungkook out of his daze; the sunbae is sitting now, opening up a lunchbox - it looks like a convenience store one - and starts eating from it. jungkook shoots up to his feet, blowing slightly, “sorry sunbaenim, but i have to get to class.” - which he was planning to skip, but whatever, maybe he can bug yugyeom to help him in math.
“sure,” the sunbae says, waving a hand, “go on.”
jungkook mumbles something and turns to leave, when the other says - “jeon jungkook?”
jungkook turns around, startled, realizing a split second later that oh, his nametag is still on, right -
the sunbae smirks. “you look cute when you’re embarrassed.”
there’s no sparkles, but jungkook’s face is red enough to qualify for a shoujo manga or manhwa, he thinks. he thinks: awfulawfulawful holy shit i’m mortified i’m going to murder jimin-hyung, and runs away.
he hopes he never sees that sunbae again. he’s going to burn the game, too.
there are a lot of things that cause stress in yoongi’s life, but his little pup holly isn’t one of them.
at first yoongi was a little opposed to getting a pet - after all, he was working long hours in the studio with period breaks going back home to change and shower, what did he know about pets? sure, he liked dogs and cats - dogs more so - and often stopped to pet them on the street, but it wasn’t like he wanted one himself? rather, he never thought about getting a dog by himself. in his mind, he always thought - well, it’s too much work, he couldn’t be that responsible of another living being, he was always out -
but then namjoon and hoseok pooled their money and bought him a puppy. a collar. a food bowl. other things to start him out. and suddenly yoongi found himself a reason to come home earlier and earlier. namjoon had once told him that was why he thought of getting yoongi a dog anyway - he would go fucking home. and hoseok just wanted to to go to the pet store, so.
and as holly grew - and yoongi grew more and more knowledgeable in pet care - he had a certain...affinity for telling yoongi’s moods.
take, for example;
if yoongi’s feeling stressed about some deadline that his piece of shit manager decided to jump on him at the last moment, he’ll sit at the couch with his legs crossed, hunched over the computer. he’s got his snapback on and he hasn’t showered today, but he figures that any moment or minute lost is a minute that he needs to make up for, so there’s no way he can take a moment to shower when he knows that all he’ll do is sleep after and then all this staying up will be for shit.
that is, until holly jumps into his lap from the dining table - which, he really wants to know how he learned to do that - and attempts to climb yoongi. he has his little paws on yoongi’s chest, following the movement as yoongi leans back so holly won’t scratch his computer, making little wuff sounds and panting. he looks up at yoongi with big brown eyes, beseeching, and yoongi can’t help but smile.
“hey, pup,” he says in a low voice, reaching over and setting his computer on the table with some hidden stretching abilities - that only come out when he needs them, like at this time - to keep it out of harm’s reach. well, he can spend five minutes with his adorable dog, can’t he? holly barks a little, a bundle of energy, and runs in a circle in yoongi’s lap. yoongi stops him by running fingers through his hair and scratching him in that spot that he likes, and holly keens and curls into a tiny ball.
“i wish i could do the same,” yoongi mutters, sort of envious of holly’s easy life - someone feeds him, cleans him, plays with him, and scratches his head. it’s a good life. yoongi most definitely doesn’t want it, nope, not at all, haha.
then, holly beams, jumping up to lick yoongi all over his face and neck. he ends up having to take that shower anyway.
yoongi storms home from work, positively seething, his hands clenching into fists at his sides as he throws off his bag and his shoes and his jacket. all of them fall into separate places such as the floor or the sofa - either one is an unmistakeable target in his rage. yoongi goes to the kitchen and opens up a can of beer the first thing he does, and it’s only when he takes a cold hard swig does he hear the yipping at his feet. holly had heard him come in, now used to the sound of the doorbell, and now he’s running around yoongi’s feet in excitement.
there’s a moment where holly even rubs up against him like a cat, but yoongi snorts. “don’t go to the bathroom here, pup. you know where to go.”
but holly doesn’t seem to want to do that, as he yips again and runs a circle around yoongi’s feet. yoongi watches him for a second, fluffy curls bouncing around, and deflates. like a bubble, all the anger just moves out of him. he sighs and holds a hand to his splitting headache, and then goes over to open the balcony door. holly yips again, obviously getting what he wants, and goes out to the balcony where the warm spring air is there to meet them both. holly rolls around on the floor and looks up at yoongi eventually with wide eyes and a lolling tongue. yoongi can’t help but crack a smile.
for a while, it goes on like this. when they’re at home, holly with generally pester him until he’s got a smile on his face. his dog always has this sort of otherworldly sense for knowing when yoongi feels like shit and getting him to feel better throughout it. yoongi wonders if it’s because he often talks about nonsense to his pup, just about things like - work, and school, and pressure, and - but somehow, holly is able to sense when yoongi is feeling under the weather and does whatever he can in his little puppy abilities to make yoongi feel better. yoongi ends up buying him a new collar, complete with his name - min holly - and a little doggy bone dangling from it, just because holly once ran circles around the front of a store. probably heard other dogs inside yipping too.
when they’re outside, however, it’s a bit of a different story. holly has a tendency to run off and escape his collar hook - it’s not something too worrisome, though, as holly always has his contact info on the back and he always comes back to yoongi anyways.
lately, yoongi has been going out for walks when he’s feeling crappy. holly likes the fresh air and he supposes the exercise distracts him from thinking about other things in his life, so he’s not complaining.
the first time holly runs off, yoongi nearly has a little heart attack. he searches around everywhere, calling out holly’s name to no use - there’s a settling feeling of hopelessness in him when holly’s little yip sounds from behind him, muffled, and he turns around to see holly dragging a little cd at him.
it’s in perfect shape, and out of curiosity, yoongi goes home and plays it. it holds a mixtape of old trot songs, and - he has to admit - it did make him chuckle.
after that, a pattern forms.
holly starts dragging things to him whenever he’s a cloud of sadness. whether it be in their home - in which holly will most probably drag yoongi something like an old sweater from his closet or his headphones or a guitar pick or something - or outside - where holly will drag whatever random things he finds that end up being interesting - holly always has something to get for yoongi to cheer up his day. it’s like his dog has made it his personal mission to make yoongi happy, and thinks that the only way to do it is to get yoongi something that makes him happy.
honestly, 90% of the time yoongi is happy because holly is so excited, and seeing his pup so happy makes him happy. dogs are really man’s best friend, because yoongi thinks that just being around holly makes him less stressed. he’s glad and thankful to holly for it, truthfully.
until one day - one day -
yoongi comes back from work rubbing his headache out of his pores, groaning and hitting his head on the cool outer metal of the fridge for a moment. like clockwork, holly come in bouncing a moment or two later, running around yoongi’s feet. yoongi doesn’t even spare a moment before he’s looking and holly and deciding -
“come on, let’s go for a walk,” yoongi takes holly’s white leash and settles it on him properly, and holly leans over to lick yoongi’s face. a tiny little kiss.
they walk through the quick sunset to the park, where the light is a little bit better. it’s nearing summer so yoongi has nothing but a light jacket on right now, settling down on the park bench and opening up a bottle of water he bought from a vending machine. holly barks and woofs at his feet, sniffing the leg of the bench and before making little noises. as he continues his search, yoongi leans back and closes his eyes. he doesn’t notice when holly wiggles a little and his collar comes free of the leash; he also doesn’t notice when holly starts trotting away, continuing on his little search. by the time yoongi opens his eyes, he’s alone on the park bench.
he gives an experimental tug at the leash and finds it empty. of course. this brings up a little smile to his face - of course holly would escape his bonds. he always does so. yoongi’s not too worried, even though the little niggle of anxiety is always there. holly is really his source of calm - he doesn’t want to lose his beloved pet. his contact info is on the back of holly’s collar, so he should be fine -
until yoongi realizes that he bought a new collar.
in a single, jerky movement, he almost falls off the bench. luckily he catches himself last moment and swears, knocking himself in the head - “dammit, yoongi, are you this fucking dumb - “ and standing up to look around to see if holly is there.
he knows that holly usually comes back, but it would be just his luck that the first time he goes missing is when he doesn’t have his proper collar on him.
yoongi is just about to stand up - gathering all his stuff - to look for holly when he hears the familiar yip. his heart, which was going into overdrive, calms down monumentally when he sees holly’s little tail standing straight and bouncing with every step. as holly comes closer, yoongi leans down so that he rub his fingers through holly’s fur.
“where the hell were you,” he mutters, but then stops short at the sight of something in holly’s mouth. it’s different than normal - more solid and shiny, and upon second notice, he notices that it’s a -
yoongi’s head snaps up when he hears another voice. his vision blurs for a second as it focuses like a lens against the bright then dimming sun, and a shadow stops in front of him. it’s a boy, young, leaning down to catch his breath by putting his hands on his knees.
“that’s...my...phone...” he wheezes, pointing at the black rectangle that yoongi had just taken out of holly’s mouth. he winces and looks at the dog slobber all over it.
“sorry,” yoongi offers, and he tries to wipe the front of it with the bottom of his shirt - having been used to the slobber by now, but still grimacing - when the kid looks up and - wow.
yoongi doesn’t even stop all movement until the kid across from him flushes and says, “what? your dog was the one that stole my phone!”
“nothing,” yoongi coughs out in surprise. “sorry - sorry about that. here, i tried cleaning it - “ he holds it out for the other to take, and while the kid is trying to reach out for it, holly darts forward and tangles himself around the kid’s legs. he doesn’t seem to notice it all, and ends up yelping and falling forward on his feet - tripping so that he doesn’t step on the dog - and yoongi barely has a moment for his eyes to widen before -
they both fall together, the other on top of yoongi. luckily he sort of falls to his side so his head isn’t injured, but the kid on top of him gives a little, “ow...” that makes yoongi worried for him. he swears and sits up just to help the kid get back to his knees; he’s rubbing at his elbows, sort of wincing when he passes over his wrist. there’s a bruise forming there, as well as a cut from the gravel.
“dammit, i’m so fucking sorry,” yoongi mutters, looking over at holly - who, up until this moment, has been a complete angel. he has no idea what’s going on. “listen, i - holly isn’t usually like this, i promise, i was just having a shitty day and he usually goes and brings something back to make me happy. he probably saw your phone light up and thought it might have been fun to bring back.” yoongi gives holly a level look, but his dog doesn’t even notice, letting it roll straight off him.
“it’s okay,” the kid says, his voice quieter and more shy this time around, and when yoongi turns to look at him, he’s busy picking gravel out of his wound.
“hey, listen, my place is just over there,” yoongi points to a nearby officetel. “lemme give you a bandaid at least, don’t get that infected. i can even go get it myself if you don’t feel safe coming along.”
“no, it’s okay,” the kid blinks, pocketing his phone. when he gives yoongi a sort of open smile, like he doesn’t mind being friends, yoongi notices the corners of his eyes smile too. it’s kind of breathtaking. “i, um, i could use something to clean this with.”
“right,” yoongi snaps out of his reverie - why was the other’s mouth so pink? - and motions to holly, who yips at them both, running around their legs. a new one for yoongi - holly usually doesn’t like anyone but him. the entire way there he’s a sweetheart, following obediently and causing no problems.
when yoongi gets to his kitchen cabinet, holly suddenly slams into his calf, causing him to accidentally close the cabinet door on his finger.
the kid - whose name is jungkook - ends up bandaging his finger after yoongi cleans his cut. so busy with the entire exchange, yoongi doesn’t even remember what he had been upset about, especially not after jungkook notices his collection of rare cds and names the album track of one of his favorite bands, and they get to talking for the evening, and then through dinner, and then - tomorrow afternoon for coffee, and then lunch, and then -
min holly settles into his small bed, tail wagging happily. he’s definitely getting treats after this.
Chapter 29: wishes
from tumblr!! i'm @j-ungah ynwa based
when yoongi wakes up, the world is different.
he can’t tell right away what’s different, but he thinks that it’s something to do with the way the air moves. it’s like spectres, haunts, ghosts walking across the earth. the last he remembers is going to sleep, black out drunk, against the side of his apartment wall. there are beer bottles on the floor and intoxication is the only way he can see him - when there’s alcohol in his blood, yoongi dreams in real life. namjoon calls it hallucination. yoongi calls it second chances.
jungkook in his second-chance-dreams is bright and lively, with brown eyes that gleam even when he’s upset, with hair mussed from movement. he looks as he always does, bright cheeked and alive, reaching out a hand to interlock slender fingers with yoongi’s. in yoongi’s second-chance-dreams, he really does have a second chance. his hands on jungkook’s elbows, push, push, pull, his hands on jungkook’s waist, his neck - yoongi thinks about rage, and when he’s drunk he’s angry. when he’s drunk, he’s sad. jungkook flutters in and out of consciousness like butterflies, flickering dreams, in and out, push and pull and -
when yoongi wakes up, that’s not his world. he can tell. there is something in the air that is different, odd, not as tense.
he remembers the sight of jungkook’s blood on the floor, his body turned away, his cheek pressed against cold asphalt. wide eyes looking up, still, at the sky - brown, sightless. whatever he wanted to see has long been gone. yoongi remembers the fit of his fingers against yoongi’s - perfect, knuckle to knuckle, the spaces between their thumbs. jungkook’s mouth is a wish. he wants it again, but wishes only come true once.
yoongi buried his wishes. he buried his heart. watched it rain. wished for something more than the pain, wished he could quit the drinking, wished he could have kept jungkook close tighter - harder - even when jungkook wanted to run away. he should have closed the door, should have kissed his bruises, should have should have wishes -
jungkook peers at him from above, blinking, “hyung, are you gonna sleep all day?”
yoongi’s breath whooshes out of him.
“kook,” he rasps.
jungkook - smiles. “hyung, we’re going to the beach today for the bonfire, remember? you gotta get ready. i think you’re bringing the beer.”
yoongi’s mouth is dry. jungkook is jungkook is jungkook - the mole under his lip, on his nose, on his forehead, near his eye; flutter of lashes against his cheeks; aegyo sal, bangs swept to the side, dipping a little past his eyebrows.
and he thinks - second chances dreams? - this seems to real to be a hallucination, seems too real to be a figment of imagination, almost like if he can reach out and touch him - just touch him -
“hyung,” jungkook starts, exasperated, leaning over yoongi’s still lack face. the strings of his hoodie hang limply. even still, he leans into yoongi’s hand on his cheek. “come on, let’s wake up.”
“yeah,” yoongi rasps. “sorry, just had a bad dream.”
“hm,” jungkook says in reply, kissing his cheek quickly.
second chances, yoongi thinks.
“lets forget about the beer,” he says, heaving himself up. “i’ll buy something else. you like banana kicks, right?”
“right,” jungkook says, bewildered, watching him go to the bathroom.
if this is a dream, yoongi thinks, he doesn’t want to wake up.
Chapter 30: lapis lazuli
from tumblr!! potter!jungkook, meet ugly, upon request :*
when yoongi gets to the pottery workshop, he doesn’t really expect to find anyone. for one thing, namjoon had told him that there would be no one there so late at night; secondly, because namjoon said that the workshop that he used in particular is almost always closed. it wouldn’t have been if seokjin hadn’t left it open with the express purpose of namjoon getting his work back. something about it being a pain to look at in his workshop.
namjoon needed to take some sort of arts class to fulfill requirements for his graduation, and he had taken a pottery class because of yoongi’s senior and quite hard-to-get-close to friend, seokjin. apparently namjoon held his awkward crush for seokjin and thought that taking a class that seokjin helped assistant would help them get closer.
the most disgusting part is that it did. yoongi shakes his head; namjoon had asked him earlier that morning to get his…pot? for him? because he was afraid of going in the drying racks by himself. seokjin warned him extensively on not breaking anything, and namjoon - well, namjoon’s got long legs and arms that he sometimes can’t control.
that’s why yoongi doesn’t expect the airy voice going, “who’s here?” sharply from behind him.
yoongi ends up stumbling a little, moving back from the rack that namjoon had explained was his cooling rack, and so yoongi needed to check there, and - and he hits something behind them. the light flickers open and yoongi swerves around to see someone standing at the door along with the sight of something tipping over and -
“no!” the guy at the door shrieks - actually shrieks, yoongi thinks he hears his voice go up an octave - and lunges for whatever is dropping. yoongi only sees a flash of royal blue before it shatters on the ground into a million pieces.
the guy gets to his knees, dressed in an apron and paint stained jeans, his eyes wide and disbelieving - he’s got huge eyes that only get larger with that sight in front of him. his hands are out in front of him like he’s not quite sure what he’s supposed to do.
“um…s-sorry?” yoongi starts, feeling something unpleasant crawl down his back. the silence suddenly is something tragic and oppressive; he doesn’t know how else to explain it.
“my project,” the boy whispers, touching the shards of the broken pottery on the floor almost tenderly, turning over the spots of color with gentle hands, “i - i worked on that for a month.”
yoongi swallows. he shuffles a little, definitely feeling guilty, unsure of how to answer.
“it’s - it’s - “ he yelps, then, and one of the shards drops from his hands; yoongi sees a spot of blood on the floor and gets alarmed.
“whoa, kid, you got cut - “
the boy moves back and looks up at him, glaring. “you! what are you doing here? the workshop is only open until seven; after, if you’re not one of the managers, you’re not supposed to be here!” he snaps, but his eyes look a little shiny, and his bottom lip is trembling, almost like he’s about to cry in frustration.
“i - “ yoongi coughs. “i came to? pick up? one of my friend’s works? listen, i’m really sorry - “
the guy grimaces and clenches down on his finger with a pocket handkerchief that was in one of the pockets in his apron - he’s wearing a red one - when he looks at yoongi, he seems like he only wants yoongi to leave. “take it and go. be careful when you leave,” he adds listlessly afterward, and his face is so closed off and upset that yoongi nods and says nothing else, just backs up a little bit and makes sure that he says a good arms length away from all the racks of projects.
even though he’s close to the door, he turns back at the last second - holding namjoon’s ugly pot in his hands, god, the thing is lopsided - to see the boy from before, leaving over the broken shards on the ground and slowly picking them up one by one. yoongi notices they glitter and gleam with a holographic effect when the light glints on them ever so slightly, and then wonders how long something like that could possibly take. they’re a rich lapis lazuli blue, with streaks of other grayslate colors that give it an almost middle eastern look. the boy has his apron raised out to create a little well that he’s gathering them all in.
yoongi spots another cut, but the boy simply takes out a bandaid from another pocket - a common occurrence? - and wraps it around his finger in one quick movement. he continues to carefully pick up all the shards, and yoongi - hears him sniff, sees him rub an eye with a closed fist.
he ends up sighing, looking down at the bullshit that namjoon did in class, and sets it down on the countertop before heading toward the kid. he’s wearing inside shoes while yoongi has on boots, so his feet don’t hurt at well when he comes close. the kid looks up at him and yoongi feels - alright, he feels fucking guilty when he sees extremely faint tear tracks.
“i said you could go,” the boy says, but it doesn’t sound rude, just sort of desperate, like he wants no one to see him this way.
yoongi is good at words, but sometimes he’s bad at making sure they come out of his head. instead of apologizing again, he reaches forward and starts helping the ardent task of picking up the pieces.
on the second piece, he cuts his hand and winces. the boy across from him snorts and pushes his hand away. “don’t,” he mumbles. “they’re sharper than normal. i’ll finish picking it up, ok?”
“it was my fault,” yoongi says, “it’d be shitty if i didn’t do anything to at least help.”
the kid purses his mouth, looks down at the shards gathered in the well of his apron. he has long lashes, yoongi notices.
“there’s nothing you can do,” the other says, resigned. “please, just…”
yoongi knows when someone wants to be left alone, so he nods tersely and…gets up. waits a little, but the boy doesn’t move. feeling his footsteps move heavier, he leaves.
he doesn’t forget about that boy in the next few days; he can’t. it reminds him of how he used to stare at the computer screens in his studios, haggard and tired, waiting for something to finish.
in the end, he doesn’t know what else to do but come back to the pottery workshop during the day. he feels dumb - his classes are already done, and he doesn’t even know the kid’s name, doesn’t even know if he’s here at this time, but -
someone looks at him weirdly, and yoongi scratches the back of his head. “um, sorry, i was looking for someone?”
the kid, a brunette with strange green streaks in his bangs, gives him a smile. “sure, sunbae! who ya’ looking for?” yoongi stalls at the familiar drawl of a daegu accent in the kid’s voice. in that time, someone calls out from behind them: “tae-hyung!”
the voice is familiar, with it’s almost unforgettable airy quality. yoongi shifts his eyes and sees the boy from before with hands stained in red paint. he blinks, somehow looking like he recognizes yoongi as well.
“oh,” yoongi says, his mouth dry, and the guy - tae-hyung? - blinks. “i, uh.”
“do you still need help looking for someone? sorry, jungkook, i was just helping this sunbae out!”
“no, i’m,” yoongi stalls, shrugging, looking uncomfortable.
“hyung, i think he’s looking for me,” is all the boy - jungkook - says, and when his friend raises his eyebrows, he shoos the other away. then it’s just them left, standing at the door, yoongi scratching the back of his head.
“listen, i,” he starts, clearing his throat, “i really am sorry about that shit that i did. it was by accident but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a crappy thing that happened because of me, so.”
jungkook wrings his hands together, and yoongi can’t help but notice that he has such nice fingers; slender. “i’m..it’s fine. i - well, it’s not really, because it was my final project but…i can make another one.”
yoongi wants to say a lot of things: that putting your everything into something and then having it break in front of you is never something that’s easy, that wanting to look at something and see it blossom only to see it die is painful. putting your all into everything only to see it … break? no, it’s not okay. no, even making another one doesn’t erase all the pain of having your hard work wiped away.
“let me help,” yoongi says, closing his hands in a fist inside his pockets. “i know jack shit about pottery, but…i dunno, i could get you stuff, hold things while you’re working, that kind of stuff. i’m always free during this time on mondays and tuesdays.”
for a while, jungkook just looks at him dumbfounded. yoongi didn’t notice before, but he’s kinda cute, with his fluffy hair and pink mouth.
“um,” jungkook starts, stepping back a little, “no one’s ever…”
yoongi shrugs. he’s embarrassed too, and no doubt his ears are red.
“…thanks,” jungkook finishes softly, and when yoongi steals a glance at him, he’s got a soft smile that makes him feel - strange. “i’d…that would be nice.”
yoongi nods. “no…problem.”
he might - well, he might have a problem if jungkook keeps smiling at him like that.
Chapter 31: what's in a name?
also upon request on tumblr, space!au, royal prince jungkook and bodyguard yoongi au, possibly if enough people like it i'll expand?
there are very few people that have this opportunity. yoongi tries to remind himself of this as namjoon gives him a short nod from around 20 meters away from him. yoongi clears his throat and stands to attention, his uniform clinking with every movement. the grand hall is all prepared for the festivities that will happen that night; yoongi had been chosen as one of the prince’s personal bodyguards. the crown prince had his own personal guards, but yoongi had yet to see the second prince. in fact, most of the people didn’t hear about the second prince; it was almost as if he was a ghost.
now, the servants and workers run around to prepare the ball for tonight, a celebration of the crown prince’s coronation announcement. and while yoongi usually does the more minor protection details - shit about the gates, the guards, that kind of stuff - he doesn’t mind taking a break and simply watching over things with a careful eye for once.
that’s the reason why he can spot the servant boy lurking around one of the doorways, peeking out to see the great hall.
yoongi raises an eyebrow at such suspicious behavior. with a flippant hand wave at namjoon, he turns to walk toward the target with purposeful footsteps, speaking into his comm at the same time. the servant is dressed like a boy from the kitchens - clad in head to toe in commoner clothes, a little bit torn and big on him but otherwise clean.
“what do you think you’re doing?” yoongi asks calmly, making the boy startle into stepping away. he’s taller than yoongi, with skinny wrists and rounded cheeks. like the in-between ages of twenty-something and his teens. the boy takes a step back and there’s no name link on his hand.
“who are you,” yoongi asks flatly. “you’re in a restricted area, and if you don’t tell me your name and comm number, you’ll be in trouble, kid.”
the other swallows. yoongi watches him look around shiftily with strangely big eyes, large irises blinking rapidly. “i’m - i’m just…taking a break. i swear i didn’t mean to come here, i just wandered…”
in regular situations, yoongi would cuff him and then take his name link to match him to the working database to see if there’s a match, but honestly, they’re going to have an intergalactic coronation soon with a prince who is known for being more picky than most. yoongi is saddled with orders coming from his earpiece and from his comm; he purses his mouth. “what’s your name?”
the boy opens and closes his mouth, and then clears his throat, chin against his collarbone. “kookie.”
an odd name, but yoongi doesn’t think too much on it; a lot of people nowadays throw away their real names and take up faux ones to escape the monarchy and their endless persecutions. they haven’t had that grand of a time under their current king; hopefully, as stickly and obnoxious as the crown prince may be, yoongi knows that he’ll be the one to change all of that. as for the queen and the second prince; well, not many have seen them in person, not even in the intersteller palace.
“i won’t report you,” yoongi starts slowly, “but you gotta scram, kid. don’t come back here. go back to the kitchens and do your job.” when the boy nods rapidly, shoulders slumping in relief, yoongi adds: “also, get yourself a fake name, at least, to put on your name link. if it was anyone else…”
“i got it,” kookie says, stumbling over his words like he doesn’t talk to people all that often. he bows a lot, and yoongi notes - with surprise - that it’s fluid and neat, like the way the royals and nobles are taught. “thank you, sir.”
the disappears in a flash, and yoongi is left staring after his back as he disappears, wondering what he could have found so interesting in the great hall that he couldn’t see anyways. the kitchen staff come by often to double check the guest lists, as they’re always changing and the sys-board is in the great hall anyways. all he needed to do, yoongi thinks, was show his name-link.
“yoongi, we got a situation,” namjoon’s voice says with a grimace in his ear, and yoongi snaps himself out of it. “yeah, i’ll be right there.”
he turns his back on the boy with big eyes and wonders why his hands didn’t look like they’ve seen a day of work before.
Chapter 32: ice age
this is an extended prompt for a drabble from my fic, "to prosper", which is a retelling of persehades tale with jungkook/yoongi. you could read without, but it wouldn't make much sense if you didn't read "to prosper" OR if you don't know much about the original myth.
jungkook is especially fond of roses. he likes all the flowers of the human mortal world - hyacinths, tulips, daisies, peonies - but he likes roses quite a bit. they’re thorny and red and white and pink, and sometimes he has to cover his hands with cloth before he touches them, but there’s always one bush in the gardens for them.
yoongi remembers the scent of them when jungkook is around. full like bleeding blossoms, they bloom wondrously in their corner. he always gives them due attention, just like he does for his other flowers, like he does for what he considers his own children. they grow from him and they come back to hm, too.
except - except.
yoongi remembers eternal winter. jungkook had explained it to him once, his fingers tracing patterns on the naked skin of yoongi’s collarbone in their bed; had explained the visions he had of it, of the mortal world. encapsuled in sheets of show, of ice, the ground a frozen tundra, greenery and growth barely peeping out in between the cracks of the cold and husked earth. nothing lives, jungkook had told him absentmindedly, nothing lived.
there were ice sheets and icebergs, frozen ponds - lakes - seas - oceans. jungkook slept underneath, underneath, all the way beneath the coldness of the earth in the warmth of yoongi’s bed, and he kissed yoongi’s palm and didn’t think anything of it. while he rested in the sleepless, dreamless draughts of the dead and the murdered, the world above froze. the god of life, of spring, of new beginning -
i’ll bring the end, first.
without jungkook, the garden is dead.
there is nothing that survives. wherever yoongi walks, yellow prevails and green recedes. the hyacinths wither. the hydrangeas shrivel and curl. the roses fall apart, petal by petal, the color of dried blood. without jungkook, there’s no life.
yoongi plucks one and rolls the stem of the flower in his hand. it pricks his finger numerous times; a few drops of golden blood fall to the floor, dissipate almost immediately. roses are not the color of the divine. no, they’re for mortals. possibly, that is why jungkook is so taken with them.
it doesn’t matter, yoongi thinks. it doesn’t matter.
the garden is always dead without jungkook around. in the summer and the spring, this is the only place where flowers die.
jungkook comes to him in the beginning of autumn, and there is something different about him. something that he won’t tell yoongi, hidden away in his pale eyes, curving smile. he’s always been mischievous in ways that both irritate and amuse yoongi in equal parts, and this only serves to make him suspicious. yoongi greets jungkook at the edge of the styx, where the souls follow after jungkook with their hollowed eyes, almost as if they can sense what he brings. jungkook beams brightly at him and throws his arms around yoongi - the scent of floral tones, the water, lemongrass - yoongi shuts his eyes and holds him close.
when he pulls back, he looks bright, so bright, against yoongi’s dark kingdom. his cheeks are flushed. “my king.”
“you’ve returned,” yoongi says, a thumb rubbing the bottom of jungkook’s chin. “how are you?”
“i’m fine,” jungkook responds, and kisses his palm affectionately. “i missed you.”
so did i, yoongi opens his mouth to say, but like all the important things - it dies in his throat.
“but i won’t miss you for a while,” jungkook says, holding yoongi’s hand close, intertwining their fingers. he smiles, his teeth white, reaching up to throw the previous crown of flowers that was on his head into the river. it sinks in with a screech, like something dying, like a soul inside the stems that slowly begin to drown. jungkook holds close to him and his voice sounds knowing, absolute.
immediately, yoongi - “what did you do?”
jungkook laughs. “i left.”
and without jungkook, there is no life.
he stays for more than his two seasons. he stays for years. something happened on olympus, yoongi will soon know. he will soon know that jungkook sleeps in his bed more often than not and his color washes out and he needs the sun sometimes but refuses it because he craves yoongi’s touch more, will learn what it means for the god of spring to leave winter in it’s wake for centuries, will know what it means for ice to spread across the earth just because of their affections. yoongi will know that the entire realms will turn frigidly cold, but down where jungkook smiles at yoongi, it will always, always be warm, and the roses will bloom again.
Chapter 33: in the line of duty
THIS IS PROBABLY MY FAVORITE AU OF ALL TIME and it's for my lovely janice!!! one day i will wrote a 30k fic on it i promise it's coming ok guys but for now have this snippet!!
fullmetal alchemist!au (POSSIBLE SPOILERS FOR FMA? IDK)
also note that i posted a bunch of chapters before this so for those of you with email notifs!! be sure to check where you last left off because i added around 5 chapters or so due to the backup of prompts already filled on my tumblr!!
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
sometimes yoongi dreams about it.
jungkook tugging on the edge of his sleeve, asking him to follow. looking down at the shallow grave where his now dead father lies, blinking unseeingly at the words that are carved into the granite. limestone, he remembers, withers; turns soft, stone that is not strong enough to grow into trees, not strong enough to withstand the earth. jungkook, blinking back dry eyes, yoongi stupidly entranced by the purse of his mouth, hating himself with each elongated second.
in his dreams, jungkook tells him to leave. jungkook tells him to disappear, tells him to forget about him and forget about alchemy and forget, just forget, take out all the memories in yoongi’s mind about the past few years and simply vanish. jungkook, in reality, did this:
“will you go?” asked, simply, without a trace of judgement in his voice. “do you know what it means?”
and yoongi - yoongi didn’t know it at the time, how much he would come to regret the things that would pass. instead, he said, “i’m going. i want to protect people.” what he didn’t say: how can i protect you?
the jungkook in his dreams always cried, tears running down his face, holding himself away from yoongi. the jungkook in his dreams blamed; told yoongi it was his fault; yelled about his father’s last days in madness over a science than loving his own child; blamed yoongi for continuing on the knowledge, for continuing on the madness, for believing in the volatile.
jungkook, in reality: simply smiled. looked away, didn’t cry. he gave yoongi the smallest, softest goodbye, and waited there at the foot of his father’s grave for hours, tracing the alchemical circle on his gravestone with dull eyes. it was not perfect; it would not make any transmutation; and yoongi left at sunset, something lodged in his throat.
the next time yoongi saw jungkook, he was coated in blue and his hands were red. fire burned blood like it vaporized water, if it got too hot enough. he had turned around to see someone - dark skin - with a knife aimed at his head before - the sound of a shot, the sound of a breath escaping a body, so much like the oxygen that’s needed to let something burn - and his assailant fell to the ground, one single spot at the side of his temple bleeding.
it was only later did he learn that it was jungkook’s doing; huddled in his afghan and his too-long bangs, his full cheeks, holding a sniper’s rifle and looking at every man woman child body as a target, yoongi thought desperately, desperately - how can i protect you -
for a moment in the in-between, there was silence. the sound of the battlefield. the staunch scent of blood and rotting meat, bodies, on the floor - yoongi knew what the smell of it was, had it buried into his nostrils, could not sleep at night only to be plagued by dreams of fire and lightning and burning - dreams of how his own personal hell was created by him, enforced by him, by simply snaps of the finger, by an inability to be nothing more than a human puppet pulled at by higher strings -
and then jungkook pulled down the hood of his afghan, and yoongi remembered how jungkook used to give him a bowl of stew during late nights of studying for whatever inane subject his master sent him, and suddenly yoongi didn’t know how to breathe and felt relief at the same time.
“lieutenant colonel,” jungkook had greeted him, in that desert with his brown eyes shadowed by black circles, his hands steady, a smudge of dirt next to the mole on his cheek.
“jungkook,” yoongi had replied, and felt his lungs expand.
the first friend he made - hoseok - someone who was just honestly another soldier in arms until he pushed yoongi out of the way of a shot - puts a hand on his shoulder and introduces him to the best sniper on their team. yoongi looks at jungkook and thinks about rosy-tinted days and experimenting with candle wicks. thinking that this power will be too hard to harness, too hard to protect, fire is volatile and wild and -
beautiful, yoongi used to think, warmed by the bonfire, sleeping next to an oil lamp -
destructive, he thinks now, looking at the open fields where everything has been razed to the ground.
sometimes he dreams about jungkook on the battlefield. dreams about accidentally burning him alive with all the innocent lives that yell at him to stop. watching jungkook’s wide eyes as he stares at yoongi past the graves, past the books, past the failed tries to spark. reaching out; in his dreams, jungkook goes, “please save me - “ and when yoongi reaches out a hand, jungkook slips right through his fingers.
in reality: jungkook has never asked for his help.
yoongi thinks that his dreams are what he wants jungkook to do. be angry at him. hate him. throw him away.
jungkook does none of these things. instead, he comes up to yoongi when the dust is still settling and tugs on the cuff of his sleeve. the skin of his wrist is covered by gloves and thick cloth but yoongi feels jungkook’s warm fingers anyway.
“you joined the military,” yoongi says, the first thing he says to jungkook in those absent years.
“i did,” jungkook pauses, “sir.”
jungkook’s mouth purses. it’s not the same. yoongi thinks desperately: how can i protect you -
“i was wondering, sir. if you would do me a favor.”
yoongi swallows. his ghosts come up to haunt him at numerous times. sometimes he dreams about his master, jungkook’s father, half crazed and half genius, laughing over his notes, hiding them like they’re the most precious thing in the world. jungkook watching from beyond the doorway, reminding yoongi quietly that dinner is ready. “what favor?”
jungkook exhales, and it’s shaky. “burn me.”
the lines printed onto his back are intricate. they swirl and crisscross in a vivid diagram of red and black, arrows and lines, arrays and symbols. one of the most complex and carefully curved circles out there - one of the most - one of - yoongi thinks he’s going to be sick.
jungkook crosses his arms across his chest and hunches forward, naked, and yoongi stares at the nape of his neck. his hands are frozen.
he didn’t think - he didn’t know. he didn’t think a father could do that to a son. didn’t think it was possible to press these lines into someone’s body, someone’s skin, without it hurting.
yoongi thinks about rosy days and jungkook laughing and reading by the candlelight. they have passed. gone up in smoke.
“please,” jungkook says, and his voice cracks, and he’s not looking at yoongi. he’s staring at the floor. “burn it off.”
yoongi - the exalted and slowly rising hero of the war, flame alchemist, looks at jungkook’s back and feels his resolve crumble. feels his mouth dry. thinks about: jungkook sniping from the sidelines, covered by sand and hot air, thinks about hearing screaming -
“i’m sorry,” he says, and jungkook - smiles. sadly, just like he did that day. yoongi sees a glimpse of it just before he snaps.
sometimes yoongi dreams.
he dreams about golden days and the hot feeling of love, the redness of cheeks. he dreams about jungkook and his smile, how he used to look after both the fire alchemists in his house without complaint, how he used to play darts in his free time and never missed. he dreams about sneaking out with jungkook to buy shakes from the nearest diner and giving up on his reading only to find a glass of milk and honey next to him when he comes to. dreams about jungkook and yoongi in that tiny house in a far off village where the books piled high with information - knowledge - and he dreams about promises, especially the ones he made to himself, dreams about how can i protect you?
how do i protect you from me?
jungkook had always smiled. jungkook never asked yoongi to save him. yoongi fell and fell and fell and jungkook didn’t try to save both of them - didn’t try to stop yoongi from joining the military, from having his dreams of being someone who helped the world crushed as he was forced into being a human weapon - no, he followed. yoongi burned people alive with his hand chained and jungkook took up arms and followed right behind without a second glance. yoongi found himself burning in his own self loathing and jungkook asked him to burn his back to turn any evidence of what his father did into ashes. no more. no more.
and when jungkook is on the medical bed located in a tent in the middle of their makeshift camp - yoongi hears gunfire and grenades outside. the sound of men yelling, moving, dying. blood seeps the ground. even in here, there is a strange tinge of red. jungkook is unconscious and pale, but his breathing is even, and yoongi rests his head in his hands.
“please,” he rasps, “i can’t lose you.”
and jungkook - his eyes cracking open a little, looks over at yoongi and coughs. “thank you, sir,” like yoongi has done him a service. like yoongi is all that matters.
and yoongi - yoongi knows that if he’s making hell, at least jungkook is here to stop him from burning completely.
royoongi and rizakook kills me
yoongi doesn’t know what to expect when he’s riding the train to the jeon family house. he and jungkook had dated throughout all of high school, having gone to the same specialized arts school in seoul - yoongi was a senior while jungkook just started his first year - and he knows that their relationship isn’t quite what others had expected. many people have told him that they went too fast, they fell too quick, they’re just kids - what do they know about love?
all yoongi knows is that jungkook is comfortable. when he’s around the younger, all he can think about is the bright open sky and laughter. he doesn’t ever feel like he has to force himself to be someone he’s not around jungkook. jungkook makes him nervous but not in the way that meeting ceos about his music makes him nervous. jungkook gets him riled up but not in the way that his classmates in his gender studies classes get him riled up. jungkook elicits feelings from him that yoongi can’t even name, half the time.
he thinks that this is what love is, probably; something that changes forever in the heart, something that makes jungkook smiling at him for the hundredth time feel like the very first.
jungkook rouses from where he’s sleeping against the train window, rubbing his cheek against the marks that have pressed themselves there. “mm, we almost there?”
“a couple of minutes now, and we’ll pull into the station,” yoongi says, wiping his hands on his thighs. he hasn’t had such sweaty palms in a long time; not since he first asked out jungkook behind the benches at school. he’s not outwardly nervous, but it’s an anxiety at the back of his head; he’s going to meet his boyfriend’s parents.
jungkook has told him that his family knows about yoongi - he had told them about a week after they started dating. when yoongi expressed his surprise, jungkook told him that his parents were pretty open about this kind of stuff; then he told yoongi about how his mom had been dating another girl when she met his dad, and it took an entire two years of pining and watching her go through numerous break ups with numerous people for his father before he finally mustered up the courage to ask her out. suffice to say, yoongi had choked at all the…colorful stories of jungkook’s mother. she certainly was someone different, especially in a time like that.
now she works as a substitute teacher at the local elementary school. her husband, jungkook’s dad, works in the army full time as a trainer and office worker. his hyung also works in the military, possibly in one of the more trained forces.
yoongi wasn’t really…looking forward to meeting them, if he’s very honest. he’s met junghyun twice before because he was assigned to a camp up in seoul, but he was a year younger than yoongi and always said “hyungnim” a little bit resentfully. he’s taller than his brother, even, and yoongi has known for sure that he’s filled out since enlisting at 18.
caught out of his thoughts by jungkook who grapples at him for their bag of food, yoongi shakes his head and tries to stifle the nervousness bubbling up in him again. he wants to make a good impression, especially since he hasn’t really told his own parents. he wants to be someone good for jungkook in the jeon family’s eyes. jungkook told him that his mother would like him fine, but was reticent on the topic of his father and brother. (”well, hyung likes you!” a dry stare from yoongi. “he! does…”)
they gather their bags five minutes before heading into the station. jungkook is still sleepy, scratching at the bottom of his chin. he’s just entered university this year, and they managed to go to the same uni and try to get around the same schedule. he’s had a much easier time as a freshman than yoongi has, mostly because of yoongi’s presence. the elder is glad; he’d do anything for jungkook’s comfort.
jungkook lets him take a bit of his bread before kissing him on the cheek and rolling out of the train when it stops. “hyung is supposed to pick us up,” he mumbles, checking his phone for the time. “we live a little bit close to the station, so told him about ten minutes ago…”
“how are you going to sleep at night?” yoongi asks, putting a hand around his waist. he’s not super fond of pda, but right now it helps with the feeling rising at the back of his throat. “you slept the entire way here.”
sufficiently distracted, jungkook spins toward him. “hyung, those seats are comfortable! and i just…always fall asleep when it comes to moving things.” he pauses. “god, i’m not gonna get any sleep. stay up with me?”
yoongi gives him a flat look and jungkook chortles. they’re cut short by the sound of someone calling jungkook’s name, and both of them turn around to see jeon junghyun.
yoongi was right about him filling out; he’s certainly gotten broader and more muscular, looking sharp with his short hair. he’s wearing issued boots but civilian clothes otherwise, waving at jungkook with a soft smile on his face. they have the same eyes but different noses, different mouths, and different facial shapes. jungkook heads toward his hyung first, melting easily into a wide armed hyung that has his face muffled into junghyun’s shoulder. the other even scrubs his head of hair until jungkook is yelping and kicking him away.
“you’re just jealous,” he mutters, fixing his bangs painstakingly.
junghyun laughs, loud and bright, and then catches sight of yoongi. his smile fades into something more manageable, but he still looks happy when he says, “hey, hyungnim. long time no see.”
surprised, all yoongi can do is nod. the last time he saw junghyun, the other seemed sullen at even talking to yoongi. guess things changed after all.
they get driven back to the jeon house easily; jungkook wasn’t kidding when he said that they lived pretty close. he puts his bags in junghyun’s arms and walks quickly toward the open door of his childhood home. the air tastes like salt and sea air. yoongi can get used to it. everything is quiet, dimmed down, almost like a nostalgic memory.
he walks into this scene: jungkook hugging his mother, who’s half a head shorter than him but quite strong, if the way she’s crushing him is any indication. behind him is jungkook’s father. they all turn to yoongi when he walks in, and he feels the tips of his ears turn red.
“mama, papa,” jungkook starts, reverting back into a thicker busan accent, he motions toward yoongi and then bounds back to hold his hand, “this is yoongi, my boyfriend.”
there are two reactions: jungkook’s mother squeals, moving forward to babble something about how excited she is to meet him finally, jungkook talks about him so much, is he really a musician? wow they have so much in common, while jungkook’s father gives him a cursory glance with a blank face before his mouth twitches upward with a smile. he nods in yoongi’s direction; a man of few words, then.
he gets a hug from the tiny but strong mama jeon, who pats his cheek fondly and exclaims, “you look like you haven’t eaten in forever! is my boy eating everything?” to which jungkook huffs, “mama - “ and mama jeon squishes his cheeks.
it’s pretty good and open until dinner. yoongi helps jungkook settle the luggages into the back, where yoongi has his own separate room - pointedly a couple of rooms away from jungkook’s - and then proceeds to stick around jungkook, watching the younger bounce around in his household. he looks bright here, happy to be under the care of his father and brother and mother, all of whom dote on him in their own way. it can be hard, sometimes, not to dote on jungkook. sometimes it can just happen subconsciously.
papa jeon still hasn’t talked to him much, though. he’s quiet, a lot more reserved than the rest of his family - especially his wife, who is a chatterbox - and yoongi sees where jungkook gets his shy quietness from. papa jeon doesn’t seem threatening, but when he looks at yoongi, there’s something inscrutable in his eyes. jungkook has told him that his father still works for the military, but he’s not sure as what. junghyun, at least, really does seem to have gotten over whatever sullen period of life he had been in. he laughs at yoongi’s half attempts at jokes and tries to include him in conversations, which only makes jungkook even happier, which makes his mother happy.
after a large dinner - and wow, is jungkook’s mother a good cook - yoongi settles down on the sofa with the rest of the family, all of whom turn on the television and leave on some historical drama. jungkook and junghyun sit on the floor next to each other, fighting over the remote and poking each other’s buttons like brothers are to do, and yoongi can’t help but stare at the flushed curve of jungkook’s cheek fondly. he likes being in the jeon household if it makes jungkook happy. in twenty minutes or so, however, as yoongi gets sucked into the storyline despite himself, he turns back and sees that jungkook and junghyun have already fallen asleep. jungkook slumps next to his brother, and junghyun has his head back, snoring.
yoongi blinks in surprise, but only until papa jeon comes in a moment after and sees his sons just to shake his head. “these two,” he says in a surprisingly light voice; he sounds a bit more like jungkook, nothing like the strict and deep voice military man yoongi expected. soon after, yoongi feels ashamed for thinking that, and smacks himself mentally.
“jungkook always falls asleep in the middle of historical dramas,” yoongi finds himself saying, just to fill in the space. he usually doesn’t feel the need to talk when it’s quiet, but he doesn’t want jungkook’s father to think he’s ignoring him or not taking interest in the conversation. “then he gets grumpy at me and says i should wake him up, but - “ well, it’s hard to wake up such a sleeping peaceful face.
papa jeon, to his surprise, chuckles. he reaches over to ruffle jungkook’s hair. “his mother is the exact same way, but for everything. she knows the first half of every movie she’s watched, but can’t recall the ending.”
after that, they fall into another silence. yoongi tries to think of it as inevitable; after all, they’re both kind of quiet people. they sit in silence for a while; there’s the sound of mama jeon in the kitchen, talking brightly to someone over the phone, and the sound effects from the television that bring a sense of lulled security. yoongi leans back and breathes out easy.
it’s probably the reason why papa jeon takes that moment to ask, “what do you plan to do with my son?”
yoongi breathes in wrong; the air gets trapped in his throat momentarily before he remembers how to exhale, and it ends up leaving him in coughs. he tries to keep it on the down-low, thumping his chest and blinking; papa jeon waits, a calm look in his eyes.
“i,” yoongi starts, cursing himself in his head. where’s his so called easy tongue?
papa jeon looks down at his sleeping boys and ruffles jungkook’s hair, his thumb rubbing over jungkook’s forehead in an easy and obviously familiar manner. “i’ve always been worried about jungkook, ever since he was born. he was a quiet kid, got the sniffles often, and would barely talk to anyone. made it easy for other people to pick on him.” an affectionate look crosses his face. “can’t blame me if i’m a little protective. a lot of my friends told me that i should leave the kid, that it would teach him to toughen up, but he’d run to the door when i came home and i couldn’t understand how to.” papa jeon mulls over this memory for a minute. “i don’t want him to be unhappy, yoongi-ssi.”
“i don’t,” yoongi’s throat feels dry. “i wouldn’t…i like making him smile.”
papa jeon takes this as his sole answer at first, staring him down, before he blinks again. “how far do you want to take this relationship? jungkook has never brought anyone home before.”
yoongi’s mind is going to say something else, he swears, but what ends up coming out isn’t maybe an apartment together, a dog? we’re dating, i swear but a blurted - “i’d like to marry him.”
yoongi pauses, his mind going blank. was that his voice that said that? like - really? holy shit. he did.
papa jeon doesn’t look surprised at this; in fact, he might look even more approving, nodding his head once. he pats junghyun’s head one last time before getting up, stretching his worn knees. when he leaves for the kitchen, he pats yoongi on the shoulder. “you’re a good man, son,” is all he says, pausing before reaching up to ruffle his hair just like he did with his own children. then he leaves.
yoongi sits there, stricken, looking down at jungkook’s sleeping form and silently cursing him for leaving yoongi to deal with that alone. well, he starts, rubbing his eyes, the good part is - he didn’t hear anything. he nudges jungkook’s foot with his own, smiles when jungkook lets out a mumble. the younger liked surprises anyway.
Chapter 35: ever as before
or: continuation of space prince kook and bodyguard yg au
yoongi has just been promoted when he next sees him.
the boy with no name comm, no linked words across his wrist, no spaced numbers telling yoongi his name. nothing about him that betrays any hint to yoongi who he really is. he did not see the boy - whom he assumed was a servant - at the crown prince’s coronation, and much so everyone was required to go to the boy-prince’s rise to power. despite knowing that crown prince’s temperament and sometimes even cruel behavior, when he sat on his throne, his face was blank. there was nothing in his eyes, not when the crown passed from it’s lone pillow onto his head. there was a breath, clapping, a bit of festivity - the king, now, junghyun, with his blank face and his dark eyes, said nothing. his features are vaguely familiar.
yoongi sees the boy three weeks after, when he’s been given his badge and his new comm for captain of the royal guard. kookie, if yoongi recalls correctly, wearing those rags again. he’s kneeling against the side of a fountain, dipping his hands on the water. yoongi tenses, wondering what the hell the kid’s doing, before he hears a little whimper beside him.
there’s a small child next to kookie, holding onto his bleeding knee. he’s sniffling, tears running down his eyes, and yoongi watches from the shadows as kookie gets out a handkerchief and fumbles with wringing it out, pressing it hard against the bleeding area.
“you shouldn’t be running,” kookie says, but he sounds more anxious than he does chastising. “what if someone caught you?”
“i’m fine, hyung,” the kid whines. “we don’t get to see you at all! minah misses you too! when are you gonna play with us? no one else is strong enough to throw us in the air!”
kookie smiles, letting it flicker across his face. “i mean…i don’t know. maybe next week?”
“next week?” the kid gasps, jerking away from the now-bloody handkerchief, “that’s like forever!”
“i know,” kookie sighs, wiping down his leg, “but there’s nothing else i can do. mother is really strict, you know.”
the kid sniffles. “my mama is strict too. she makes me go to sleep every night after supper milk. i’m not even tired then!”
kookie suppresses a smile, and yoongi has to hold down his own snort. ah, kids.
“go,” kookie says, motioning him away, “i’m going to go run back. father should be looking for me, and i don’t want him to catch me, huh?”
“or else he’ll make you scrub all the rooms!” the kid declares, breaking down into giggles, “like last time, right?”
“right,” kookie echoes, and yoongi files away that information quickly; so he’s a servant in the upper quarters? it would make sense, then, why yoongi would never see him around. not that - he was looking or anything, but -
the kid runs off, yelling something in the distance, and kookie remains on the floor, waiting. he presses his hand against the side of the fountain before dipping his hand again in the water, brows furrowed. there’s a calm, almost odd silence that overtakes him, and yoongi thinks that his posture is uncommonly still for someone who says to work often. he simply looks at the rivulets of water running past the thin sliver of space between his fingers. yoongi feels his muscles relax from their previous tense position, and he’s about to come out of the shadows and maybe make a sharp retort for the kid, but -
“your highness!” a shrill voice comes from somewhere. well, it’s shrill for the end few words simply growing in decibel. yoongi looks around on instinct, watching for the king or previous monarch, but neither of them are here, so who? -
kookie slowly turns his head and watches as the well-dressed valet come up to him; he’s broad-shouldered and handsome, and looks like he holds a high position in the court. “there you are,” he says, disapproving, “you’re wearing those rags again. did you at least wash them this time?”
“i always do, hyung,” kookie replies, looking far off. he turns back to the fountain. “how did you find me? i thought i locked the bedroom.”
“you did,” the valet says shortly, “with me in it.”
kookie smiles. “yeah, that was the point.”
“your highness,” the valet stresses, as if he can pour all of his frustrations into one word, “your brother, the king, would like to speak with you.”
yoongi stares. he feels caught, like a fly in a web, watching enraptured at the conversation; a chill settles in his bones as the implications set in.
“funny how he wants to talk now, but doesn’t bother letting me or mom out of the house for years,” kookie says indifferently, but there’s something - cold - in his voice. “what does he want?”
the valet stays quiet.
kookie inhales. “hyung.”
“i don’t know, i’m sorry, jungkook.”
kookie - jungkook, finally looks over. yoongi can make out his features from his side profile, the features that look too clean to be anything else but noble, whose hands are soft without any calluses.
“it’s fine,” jungkook says, even though he doesn’t sound like it’s fine. he stands up, brushing off his linen pants. “let’s go, hyung.”
yoongi, like he is always apt to do, watches from the shadows, feeling limp. feeling like he’s stumbled on something that he probably wasn’t supposed to. and still, still, he thinks - about jungkook and his hands in the water, waiting. waiting. watching the sky and wondering.
Chapter 36: two syllables
jungkook - two syllables, soft rolling on the tongue. yoongi tries to play the syllables of his name on the piano, ring them in keys, hope they can sound like bells for jungkook to hear. where yoongi sees only the curves of jungkook’s name instead of paper lines and treble clefs, jungkook probably sleeps on the couch and dreams about melodies he can only play by hand. yoongi wonders if the true musicians are the ones who can elicit music - draw it out of nothing - rather than learn and memorize and learn and memorize and bars, practice, practice, one two three four and -
yoongi stops playing. the music rings through the air in its customary after-echo, and it sounds like church bells. organ music. loud, drawn, haunting, like a person pulled from eternal sleep. he turns his head and there jungkook is, fast asleep, on his stomach, his hand perched up next to his cheek. yoongi sits achingly still just to count the number of notes on jungkook’s face in the shape of moles, the movement of light particles across lashes. deep breaths, up and down. blankets are strewn and covered across the bottom half of his body, tangled in between his legs.
for a moment, in the silence, yoongi watches the slight twitch of his ears, one laying flat against his forehead and almost tickling his nose. the other rests underneath his human ear, simply still. yoongi wonders if it hurts, sleeping on them. jungkook seems to find it comforting, having them tucked against his head.
he seems to stir a little. yoongi absentmindedly presses another note and jungkook’s black rabbit ears still again. he pauses; silence, more moving. yoongi plays a soft little tune. there he is, still again, almost as if he’s listening, waiting.
yoongi wonders what he dreams about. maybe he’ll have the courage, one day, to ask jungkook about his dreams - kiss him, maybe - ask him for forever.
for now, he gives jungkook everything he has. two syllables of a name, trying to piece them together into words, into sound, notes pressed by keys, each it’s own staccato beat melding into a melody - jungkook - i - think - i’m - in - love -
jungkook’s ears still, as if he can listen. yoongi hopes for the courage, one day, to not hide behind music.
Chapter 37: we're new
lots of updating at once; check previous chapters to see if you missed anything!
when they told the rest of bangtan about their relationship, certain things happened;
jimin popped balloons. taehyung said to give him around twenty minutes and went out with his wallet, a jacket, and came back without his jacket (no one asked) a couple bags of confetti, and a whistle. he then proceeded to throw the confetti around them. namjoon gave them both pats on the shoulders until jungkook sniffed and hugged him (to which he then looked like he was half going to die and half fond) and seokjin just asked him why they didn’t tell them sooner, it was too obvious. hoseok frowned and went, “but jungkook is too good for - “ and got smacked by yoongi. in general, it was a nice, good thing.
their relationship was fairly new, like a budding flower. it’s characterized by small touches, fiddling with each other’s hands, breathing in each other’s space. sometimes they feel a little scared to reach out and touch - unbelievable, unbelievable, i can do this - but most of the time, they stay away in fear.
the walls are thin, jungkook would whisper.
yoongi would kiss him quietly and they’d muffle the sounds of their hearts beating underneath blankets and stolen moments. hours in between the night and morning where everyone is asleep or in their own worlds - no managers - no anyone - just them.
they knew that they had to continue on as always in front of others. there are always sacrifices, but they love the other members of family. it isn’t hard, being affectionate and kind with them. love comes differently, in all forms.
yoongi thinks so, at least, until jungkook stops reaching out for his hand one day.
he wonders why, why, tries to catch his eye from beyond the signing tables, see him smile. yoongi thinks about all the papers he’s scribbled on trying to get put down onto paper what jungkook does to him, what jungkook makes him feel, but god it’s so hard and he just - sometimes the fame, it gets too much, and when jungkook sighs softly into his shoulder it takes a burden off - why isn’t he -
hyung, let’s go take a picture! hoseok puts his hand on yoongi’s shoulder, but yoongi is still looking at jungkook. he catches yoongi’s eye then, his gaze slipping briefly to -
jungkook looks away and smiles. taehyung puts an arm around him suddenly and yoongi feels something ugly unfurl in his chest.
when the signing is over, yoongi holds jungkook’s hand - even when the other tries to pull away a little - and they sit in the empty car that yoongi promised he could drive. the managers have no idea, just blink and shrug, okay, we’re down seunghyun anyway, thanks yoongi - and the other members give them blank faces that betray nothing. yoongi doesn’t want to know what they’re thinking.
they drive for a while, and yoongi likes the open stretch of road in front of them. it smells like jasmine and pine in the car. jungkook fiddles with the knobs.
you know i’d hold your hand if i could, right?
jungkook inhales. exhales. i know, he replies softly. i’m sorry, i’m just - being dumb.
no, yoongi says, still looking forward, hands gripping the steering wheel, remembering the feeling in his heart that made him feel dark. no, you’re not. don’t say that.
we’re so new at this, jungkook clears his throat, rests his head against the car window.
we’re older at being friends.
before being in love, that’s how they loved each other. one tripped into the other, and now they’ve both fallen.
yoongi stops the car at the side of the road, thinks that bangtan can survive without the both of them for a second, and meets jungkook's mouth halfway across the seats.
Chapter 38: barely even friends
beauty and the beast au!! i think
the air is quiet and cold and sharp. jungkook’s mouth feels chapped and dry, but even with the feeling of the cold air between his knuckles, he finds that he’s not cold-cold. snow falls like frost crystals down to the ground, softly at first, hard the night before. he could hear it in his dreams, jungkook thinks, the sound of snow hitting the banks, moving from the sloping roofs to the ground. at the large palace made for lonely princes, where there resides one prince whose heart is a falsely cold thing, jungkook pulls up the hood of his cloak and watches out the window of his room to the outside. it snows, lovely and pretty, white and fresh. he places his fingers against the glass panes and watches as frost moves around the sides of his fingers, shaping his long fingers and knuckles. jungkook breathes for a moment to let it fog; wipes it away in the shape of a five pointed snowflake.
it feels still and quiet in his room, settled at the topmost floor of the east wing in a large tower. sometimes he’ll look down from his window and his mind will spin at how far up he is, but he’s learned; don’t look down, look up. there’s much more to find there, he tells himself.
it’s cold where he stands, boots already laced up. he’s wearing pants and a comfortable cotton shirt, out of place in this palace that looks like it could be from the joseon dynasty. wide, sweeping arches made with cherry red wood and painted cobalt blue, pink-purple-white flowers drawn up the sides of lacquered rice paper dividers, sliding bamboo doors. these are some things jungkook touches with his fingers and finds himself marveling over; craftsmanship down to the very last detail, every fine curve of every petal. he’s a painter, it’s in his hands. the way a brush works, the way he looks at color and imagines it in his palette, hearing words of disappointment ringing in his ears. the people who mattered never cared.
jungkook pulls away from the window and heads outside his room. the halls are empty - empty, he repeats to himself a little giddily. in winter it’s always cold, yes, he knows - but in the palace it’s almost colder, almost a whimsical cold that will bring up the icicles in his lungs the way they have always belonged there. he’ll try to prick his fingers over each frosty tip but will find that they serve no other purpose but to make him cold. he’s good at feeling cold, and then at pretending he isn’t cold at all.
he doesn’t expect to hear anyone else out and about. good thing, because he doesn’t find anyone else out and about. it’s just him and his boots and his big cloak, covering his shoulders and his hands. his sweater is large enough to act as his de-facto gloves but he still tries to squeeze out warmth from them; he sneaks past the kitchens and the hallways and the large, empty wooden rooms filled with empty wooden nesting dolls to reach the outside.
the courtyards are wide and spacious, fitted around stone gardens and clear blue lakes. there’s a row of trees that are supposed to bloom in the spring with a litany of lovely blossoms; there are bushes of berries and trees of fruit that give off the sweetest scents. now they’re bare and brittle, with their brown hardened branches reaching out toward the sky. the snow is gentle. it is kind. jungkook feels it on his nose and his eyelashes and his cheeks as he turns his face up and closes his eyes. it’s cool against his skin, sweet against his tongue. with childish glee he jumps into a pile of it, feeling it sink into his boots and his pants. he doesn’t even care, loves the feeling, the freedom, the openness in his body that stitches its way up as he steps farther and farther out -
the lake is frozen. jungkook can see his reflection against it’s surface; red cheeked and bright eyed like a winter spirit, and he places his hand against the surface of it just to feel it against his palms. he gives a short little laugh; it rings through the air. silent, so quiet, so still. not even the birds chirp in winter, so preoccupied with their own. jungkook kneels beside the lake and pulls his sweat up so that it covers his fingers; fists his hands into a ball and brushes off the snow at the tip of his boots.
there, clean, he thinks. his knees are wet. it’s lovely, fantastic, like feeling alive.
are you having fun? someone’s voice asks. jungkook is so startled he ends up falling over and slipping on the ice; there’s a yell, a burst of laughter, his knees knocking together.
you! jungkook splutters as he sits up. why are you outside?
it’s my castle, says the cursed prince. he grumbles and looks down at jungkook, wearing his big fur cloak and his hair in a general disarray. like he’s just run outside. i can go where i want. i usually go where i want.
i’ve never seen you outside before today, jungkook frowns.
this bothers the cursed prince. he moves, agitated, brows furrowed. jungkook knows the pressed line of his mouth means that something is troubling him; most probably it’s jungkook that’s troubling him. it usually is. like i said, i do what i want. i enjoy the snow more than i enjoy the heat. his voice is low, almost like a growl, almost like an animal or a beast. rough, like he forgot what he sounded like. like he forgot what words were. the cursed prince grimaces, and jungkook pats the ice beside him.
do you want to sit? he asks, feeling like he’s working out of his skin. he’s never quite asked before, too displeased with the cursed prince, too busy looking down from his window to the dark pavement below. now, jungkook wonders, he thinks about looking up. the cursed prince, from this angle, looks far and regal as he always has - like glass, like a painting that no one can touch. but he also looks - strangely lonely. like glass. like a painting that no one can touch.
i’d break the ice, the cursed prince says flatly.
jungkook laughs. that’s the point!
the cursed prince takes a step forward, and then another, and then another. jungkook stands up, moving his arms out wide so that he can keep his balance. his hood has long since fallen down, revealing his ears to the biting cold air. they’re sure to be red. jungkook steps back a little, testing his weight, smiling tentatively when it supports him. the cursed prince moves forward too, his steps sure, like he’s done it before. jungkook thinks that he may have, a long time ago. maybe in a dream.
winter is pretty, jungkook says. he looks up at the snow covered branches and marvels at them. it’s cold, but it’s beautiful.
i suppose, the cursed prince grumbles. what are you doing outside? you’ll just get frostbite.
no i won’t! jungkook is so sure. he doesn’t think he’d care either; he wiggles his toes in his boots. i won’t! before you know it, all the snow will melt, and then where will i get snow to play with?
the cursed prince’s mouth straightens into a line again. seriously? that’s why you’ll come out here in freezing weather, in a palace that’s pretty much held you prisoner? just because you want to play with snow?
jungkook is quiet for a moment. he stares out at the palace, where the walls go on forever and he could spend an entire lifetime trying to figure out the corridors. there are balconies that overlook the green grasses in the summer and in the fall, the leaves fall in patterns on the pavements carved from the stone. sometimes jungkook collects the flowers and presses them to remember what color they are; sometimes he brings his paints outside and forgets how to paint while looking at the dragonflies on the lilies. sometimes the frogs nip at his fingers. it’s not home - it’s not his dad, or his brother, it’s not his village near the sea - but it’s different. he doesn’t feel like a prisoner, not like he did before. he wonders if that’s him talking or if it’s the fact that he’s forgotten about - well - the cursed prince, forgotten about his father, forgotten about being miserable. was he? was he really upset, once upon a time? did he feel fulfilled in his small village near the sea?
he doesn’t really know. jungkook thinks that he doesn’t want to try and find out. his feelings have always been too complicated for him to understand, and he rather would act of them and live with them than try to understand why they exist.
yeah, he says. have you ever made a snowman, your highness?
jungkook doesn’t know his name. all he knows is that the cursed prince’s eyes are shaped like an animal’s, that they are intense and quiet. he knows that the cursed prince spends the night in his room and locks himself behind three sets of doors. he knows that time doesn’t come to pass here, that the forest is enchanted, that sometimes thunderstorms wreck the skies during the evening, at sunset, when everything is dusky pink and orange. he knows that sometimes the palace groans and shudders like she is a body of her own, sometimes her flowers die prematurely and sometimes the animals that are usually around refuse to touch certain trees. sometimes the roofs collapse, the walls crumble, sometimes jungkook is left trying to salvage pieces. he doesn’t know the cursed prince’s name. he wonders if the prince forgot it a long time ago, the way he forgets how to speak, sometimes.
after a long moment, the cursed prince blinks and looks at the snowbanks. no, he says, trying to go for flat but sounding curious instead. a man made of snow?
yeah, jungkook moves over to start patting down snow. his fingers turn numb, slowly but surely, but he doesn’t mind. i used to do it as a kid. you would get snow and pack it all together real nice, and then build it up. when it takes on the shape of a man, you give it eyes and a mouth and a nose. hands. then you give him a name.
seems pointless, the cursed prince replies quietly. it’ll never be an actual man.
jungkook shrugs. but when you make one with someone else, it feels really nice. it feels warm. he starts patting down a nice, firm pack of snow, watching his fingers dig deep into the blocks of white before a hand touches his wrist. jungkook looks at the cursed prince, who pulls his hand away gently, like he’s handling glass, peeling off his own gloves. they’re made of black leather and some sort of warm cloth inside. jungkook’s bones stop shaking as soon as the cursed prince starts to slip jungkook’s fingers inside them. unable to do anything but watch, he stays still.
you’re going to get frostbite, the cursed prince says.
i, jungkook pulls his hands away, his cheeks feeling warm as well. thanks.
the cursed prince watches quietly as jungkook makes a small snowman; builds up the body with his gloved hands, pats down the sides, finds little twigs to make his arms and his nose. he gathers stones that are half frozen along the lake’s edge to form two eyes and a smiling mouth; puts a nice, pointed branch for the nose.
good, finished, he declares, stepping back from his work and righting himself when he almost slips. the cursed prince, the entire time, hasn’t moved to help him, simply watched as jungkook created. somehow, jungkook didn’t mind.
what’s his name? the cursed prince asks. there’s a meter of distance between them, and like always, his black gaze is on jungkook rather than the snowman. jungkook scuffles the ice at his foot with the toe of his boot and hums, hmm. well, he is a man made of snow. wonder what’s a good name –
yoongi, the cursed prince says suddenly, his voice strong and clear. it rings through the air as jungkook looks at him, surprised.
yoongi, jungkook repeats, trying out the name in his mouth. why d’you wanna name the snowman that?
the cursed prince stares at him for a moment longer before his gaze turns to jungkook’s creation. after a brief pause, he shrugs. just a simple shrug. jungkook doesn’t think he’s ever seen the cursed prince do that before; he’s always so rigid, it seems. unmalleable.
guess i just related to him, says the cursed prince, the corner of his pale mouth tugging, and jungkook nearly trips on the ice. as he’s yelling - wait, what? your name is - he in fact, does trip on the ice, finding the center of his mass fluctuate as he moves this way and that in an instinctive motion to gain his balance back. he reaches forward to hold onto something and gets a handful of cloth - there’s a sharp inahle of breath - then there’s a heavy body crashing into his own before rolling over to the side, groaning -
jungkook looks up at the sky, where white flakes falls into his eyelashes; he blinks them away, laughing. beside him, yoongi just sighs, but it sounds soft and - malleable. the snow continues.
Chapter 39: finding strays
jungkook wouldn’t say that he has a bleeding heart, necessarily, but that’s what jimin and taehyung say about him every time he ends up in a situation like this. it’s not really his fault - tiny animals and household pets love him, and in turn, he loves tiny animals and household pets. they’re just so fun and interesting to hold and play with; he’s always thought this, even as a child. as a twenty one year old, that doesn’t change. instead of sneaking in kittens settled inside cardboard boxes from his sleeping parents, it’s setting out plastic bowls of milk for the cat that prowls outside his apartment building.
he has an affinity for cats, even though he’s always been more of a dog person himself. for some reason there are always more felines out on the streets, and they’re always willing to rub up against jungkook’s hand for some affection. he’s not really complaining.
but he’s always swayed by a pair of tiny animal eyes and a small body left by itself with no one to take care of it. that might be where taehyung and jimin come off calling him a bleeding heart, but he thinks it’s just being a good human being.
so here he is, with the situation at hand - he’s just finished setting down a plastic bowl of milk for the cat outside his apartment building. it’s 1am and it’s raining pretty heavily; he has his favorite ironman umbrella out over his head but his shoes are still wet. he pets the street cat on her head, watching her purr contently. he stays as long as it takes for her to finish her bowl of milk, and then she prances away to her hiding spot. jungkook fondly watches her go; he reaches down to pick up the bowl when he notices the drain that’s at the foot of his apartment complex. the water rushes down into the drain but - but there’s red streaked in between. alarmed, jungkook shoots back up, walking toward the drain.
that definitely looks like blood; it turn the water pink. when he breathes, it condenses in front of him; cold, still, wet. jungkook follows the drain - and the blood - to wherever it takes him. it takes about a minute walk, but he comes across an alley that he’s walked past millions of times. the source of the blood is coming from there.
he steels himself, the back of his neck prickling. thankfully he has his phone; he can call for emergencies. jungkook opens up the flashlight on his phone and walks in, saying out loud, “hello?”
no answer. he flashes his light around, hoping that something will catch his eye. “hello? is anyone here? does anyone need help?”
his voice catches as his light gets caught on large, huddled figure. it’s definitely not a human being - he counts four paws and a snout snuffling into itself. it’s too large to be a dog, too furry, but jungkook doesn’t know what else it can be; the animal has coarse, dark fur and vivid eyes, staring straight at jungkook without an ounce of remorse. it looks guarded.
he gasps at the sight of a huge slash of red on the creature’s side; someone definitely tried to hurt it. jungkook isn’t sure if it’s still bleeding or not, but the large dog doesn’t seem like he wants jungkook to come any closer.
“hey,” he starts, yelling at himself in his head. “hey, i’m not here to hurt you. i just want to help you; that looks really bad. can i touch you?” he knows logically that the animal doesn’t understand what he’s saying, but he knows that a change in the tones of one’s voice can be helpful enough. he sets his phone in his pocket, making sure that it peeks out from the top of his pocket to help give some light; umbrella in one hand, he reaches out the other.
jungkook hovers over the creature, unsure about touching, and when he goes any closer the dog snarls at him. jungkook jumps a little, not expecting that, but gives a reassuring smile. “i promise i won’t hurt you.”
they meet eyes for a little while longer. the dog reaches forward and whiffs his snout against jungkook’s hand; he’s warm, even in this cold and dreadful weather, nuzzling against jungkook for a moment before slumping down to the floor. jungkook swallows, heart thumping in his ears. he reaches forward and inspects the bloodied area on the wolf’s side, but in the torrential downpour and minimal light, he can’t make out the wound properly. taking a deep breath, jungkook rubs a comforting hand over the dog’s - is he really a dog? he’s much too large to be a dog - head.
jungkook entertains the idea of leaving his umbrella here and getting something that will help bring the animal back to his apartment, but he has a nagging feeling that if he left the dog here then he’d never see him again. jungkook bites his lip in thought before sighing, squeezing his eyes shut in what’s going to be a painful ten minutes.
he sets his phone shut and puts it in the inside pocket of his jacket so it won’t get wet; he closes his umbrella and hooks it to another pocket of his, where it hangs precariously. jungkook pulls up his hood before reaching down to try and take the animal into his arms. he’s fairly strong, but even then, this dog is huge - and heavy. he’s warm and his fur tickles jungkook’s nose, making it hard to see as he walks down the street. somehow he manages, wetly walking into his apartment building with a wince.
he’s thankful that there’s no watchman right now, and that it’s late enough that no one is up. with a bit of maneuvering, he presses the elevator button with his hip.
inside is an old man who seems to stop thinking when jungkook manages to squeeze himself and his new, enormously large dog inside. still shocked, jungkook has to nod toward the floor for him to leave before he can punch in his floor.
jungkook has to set down the dog to open his apartment door, but picking him up again is fine. he eventually sets the dog on top of a couple of towels he set out to dry, near the heater. jungkook winces and rubs at his arms, feeling them ache and burn, before he goes to the kitchen to get himself a glass of water. there’s a minute he takes to compose himself.
“i have a huge dog in my house,” he mumbles to himself, and then shakes himself out of it. he’s just going to clean the wound up a little and do some basic first aid, and then he’ll take the dog to a vet.
after changing clothes, he goes to look for his extra first kit from his time working at a vet’s office; it’s stuffed in a closet, dusty, but still useable. jungkook washes his hands and wipes himself down with antiseptic before settling beside the huge dog.
he hesitates - in the proper lighting, the animal looks more like a wolf than a dog.
jungkook leans forward to check the bloodied area he saw before; he cleans the fur fastidiously, making sure that all the blood that’s been caked in the fur has been washed out. when he goes to check for a wound, however...he finds that there is none.
jungkook leans in close to make sure, and when he still can’t find any wound or cut, he pulls back with a confused sound. by chance, he looks towards the animal’s face, as if it can give him any answer, and nearly jumps out of his skin when he sees a pair of bright blue eyes looking back at him. his throat closes up as he realizes that he’s this close to a probably rabid animal’s claws, but the dog doesn’t seem like he’s angry or hostile at jungkook. in fact, he looks a little wary but genuinely calm, content with watching jungkook’s every move.
instead of commenting about the lack of wound and the mysterious appearance of blood - what good would it do, anyway? - jungkook says, “you’re awake!” and reaches out a hand. the dog moves back a little, looking displeased, and jungkook remembers that he’s wearing gloves with strong antiseptic on them. he takes them off sheepishly, again moving his hand toward the dog’s snout. he’s met with another nuzzle.
“i found you in the rain,” he starts, voice quiet. “i wonder how you got there. i hope no one tried to hurt you...it seems like someone did, though.” jungkook rubs his fingers behind the dog’s ears, and he - it’s a he, jungkook checked - lets out a low whine. “want something to eat?”
he sets out a bowl of water, a bowl of rice, and manages to scrounge up a banana. the dog’s ears perk up at the sight of food. slowly, he manages to get up and trot over to the bowls settling down first to drink the water before slowly starting on the rice. jungkook marvels at how large he is - larger than any other dog he’s ever seen, even while working at the vet. jungkook peels the banana and cuts it into slices, leaving it on the empty rice dish.
“i wonder what breed you are,” he marvels to himself, reaching forward to reverently pat down his coat. “i might still have my grooming brush. let me go find it... it might help you feel better.”
he kicks aside his shoes as he goes to his room, looking into the top drawer of his dresser. after a few moments, the dog trots in after him, a bit of banana stuck near it’s mouth. he looks so expectant at jungkook that he just has to laugh, wiping down his face with a tissue. he finds the brush and hops onto his bed, patting the space next to him. surprisingly, the dog hops on as well, curling into a resting position; jungkook knows now that this dog must belong to someone.
he starts brushing all of the dog’s wonderful, midnight-dark fur, starting from his head down to his back. it’s peaceful and takes jungkook’s mind off of things. it’s only until later that he remembers that he left his bowl outside with the cat. he lets out an aborted giggle at himself, rubbing his temples, before shaking his head.
“i’m tired,” jungkook announces at large. “i’m going to sleep. let me get out some blankets for you - “ he’s cut off by the dog tugging on his shirt, held between his teeth. “what?”
the dog makes a great big show of getting up and padding over to one half of jungkook’s bed, settling down, and putting his snout back into his arms. jungkook hides a smile and says, “alright, well. one night can’t hurt.” he hasn’t slept with a dog in a while, but jungkook will never say no to a nice source of warmth. he would be more cautious usually, but this dog seems like he’s extremely well behaved, so jungkook believes that nothing will happen to him.
he runs his fingers through the dog’s warm, clean fur, before bringing a pillow close to himself and sleeping, a line of warmth at his back. he’ll go to the vet tomorrow.
jungkook comes to with the sensation of something around his stomach, as well as something pressing against his back. he blinks crusty eyes open, groaning into his pillow and wiping at them haphazardly; a reminder that he has to wash his face. he lets himself sink into the morning warmth a bit longer, glints of sunlight peeking through his windows, and the hand around his waist curls into his shirt.
panicked, his eyes open wide. hand?
he practically throws his pillow across the room to turn around; he comes face to face with a pair of closed eyes, a strong jaw and nose, a pair of pale lips. the man has dark hair and - and no clothes -
he’s trying to say who the hell are you get out of my bed but what comes out is a squashed amalgam of words that ends up turning into incoherent sounds. jungkook jerks backward so quickly that he falls off the bed, scratching his arm on the side table, blanket tangled around his bare legs.
the man in his bed shoots up at the slightest sound, eyes glowing unnaturally blue.
jungkook stares at him in shock, the beginnings of a splutter working up in his throat, and the man raises an eyebrow at him lazily, his eyes fading back to black before he also stiffens, looking down at his hands. he has square shoulders and is lithely defined; jungkook wants to say something but his heart is still jackrabbiting.
“uh,” the man in his bed starts in a deep voice like gravel, “i can explain.”
jungkook throws him a pair of clothes that belonged to jin that last time he stayed over at jungkook’s apartment (during finals week, because his place is closest to school) and sits all the way across the room, holding onto a bat that he got for free for winning a competition at a batting range. it probably won’t do anything, but he feels strangely out of his element, knowing that this guy was touching him intimately a couple of moments earlier.
“how’d you get into my house?” he asks suspiciously. “why were you in my bed? why were you spooning me?”
“uh - “
“are you a molester? a sleep walker? i know all of my neighbors, i don’t remember you - “
“my name’s min yoongi,” he starts slowly, standing awkwardly as he sees jungkook holding onto the bat loosely, “i promise i won’t hurt you, okay, just - i’m sorry about that. really.” he holds out his palm like - like the way jungkook had to the dog yesterday, as if trying to placate a scared animal. his voice isn’t soft but it is soothing, and once jungkook makes that link in his mind, he can’t help but put the bat away.
“you’re,” jungkook starts, blinking terribly, “you’re?” it’s not possible. his voice pitches a little higher. “you’re the dog?”
“i’m a wolf,” yoongi says a little grumpily, and jungkook feels a little lightheaded when - right in front of him, yoongi shifts back into the dog that jungkook had saved, fed, and washed last night.
he has to get the second pair of clothes jin hyung left at his place for yoongi to wear.
“thanks for finding me,” yoongi says once he’s clothed again, all blasé but also with a hint of contrition. “honestly i had healed by then, but...it was nice not to sleep in the rain.”
“yeah, well,” jungkook hears himself saying faintly, “i guess no one likes sleeping in the rain.”
yoongi’s mouth tilts upward in a half smile, half smirk. “definitely liked my new sleeping arrangements better.”
jungkook thinks it’s completely justified for him to throw a pillow at yoongi’s face.
in the end, he tells yoongi to stay over for pancakes. they talk about yoongi’s lycanthropy - gosh, that’s a real fucking thing - and jungkook keeps his lightheadedness at bay long enough for yoongi to prove himself to be an actual human being and not some figment of jungkook’s overactive imagination. it becomes more so apparent when jungkook finds yoongi’s number in his phone long after the man himself leaves, and then again the next night when yoongi comes by in a leather jacket and black boots to return the clothes he borrowed. jungkook lets yoongi stay for a cup of coffee.
yoongi ends up staying much longer than that.
Chapter 40: tiny
have one my wips i never finished but may finish sometime in the future??? this is the first 6-7 pages
uh... so if it's familiar in the future that's why :)))) i'm sitting on so many wips IM SORRY MOM
(See the end of the chapter for more notes.)
yoongi’s morning starts out - all things considered - fairly normal. he doesn’t think he’s too much of a complicated guy; all he his wants are kind of meshed into one another until he’s looking down at the papers and pressures of his own goals, sinking into his skin. yoongi thinks that friends are underrated. he’d like some, yeah, but that doesn’t mean that he’ll go out looking. he’s not shy, but he’s not - outgoing. he prefers some things more than others, and staying in his apartment on a saturday night is more appealing than visiting a club and only getting more drunk. he’s not fond of alcohol because of the way he likes things too much after a stiff drink.
instead, his choice of poison has to do with caffeine - at first it was coffee, but then it changed. no longer could just the bitter taste of it settle his nerves; into his repertoire he added fizzy drinks, sodas, espressos, those cold cans of coffee shots, juices, and sugary drinks. sometimes tea is an okay substitute. he keeps tea leaves in his kitchen cabinet but never uses them.
it’s one day - it’s 7am, he’s up too early, his head is blaring with an aching pain - that he realizes that he’s out of instant coffee. the container is completely empty. he has no other types of instant coffee either, and he’s pretty sure he hasn’t gone out of his apartment in a couple of days - other than for the most obvious of things - because he has a due date in three days that’s hanging over his head. yoongi bites his lower lip and groans, forehead thumping against the fridge (he keeps his instant coffee on top of the fridge) and feeling the pain double behind his eyes. he just wants - relief. this might be a problem.
it’s then that he remembers he still has a cabinet full of tea leaves. bullshit stuff, he thinks. tea is sweeter, with a different flavor palette that yoongi isn’t fond of. it reminds him of his mother and grandmother and of all other old people, with their stiff peppermint perfumes and - this, this was it - their smell of warm, hot tea. never too good. herbal, medicinal, like a burning in the nose. that’s the type that seokjin buys, too; it makes sense, because he was raised by his grandmother and so has a lot of her odds and quirks, but goodness. how is yoongi supposed to survive on herbal tea? if it was at least those - those damn british blends that he always wants to turn his nose up at - it would be okay but? herbal?
there’s no other choice. he has to be cognizant enough to write a song, but he feels like he can’t even turn on the shower if he tried. the knobs and their directions would probably confuse him.
yoongi fumbles around for the correct cabinet. he comes across shelves of paper plates and nice dishes that must have been housewarming gifts long ago. there are also a couple of them with ramen packets, instant curry, and other types of ready-to-make foods (he’s not too great at cooking anything other than that). finally, at the very end, there’s a shelf of porcelain cups that he barely uses, seeing as how those are for company - and, well, yoongi rarely has company he’d think of giving porcelain cups to - and another with a box of herbal tea packets. yoongi picks out the box and sighs, pinching the bridge of his nose, and then - frowns.
it’s light. lighter than he expected. he knows that seokjin gave this box to him two months ago, and since then, seokjin has been the only one to take from it. yoongi’s always managed to restore his coffee supplies before things got too desperate. as he’s holding the box, however, he knows - he knows - that this was heavier when he last got it. seokjin came over once before he had to go back to thailand for whatever research on food he was doing. yoongi opens it up and - there are at least a whole row of them missing, seven of them gone. now that’s weird; yoongi doesn’t know anyone that would want to steal herbal tea, of all things.
“what the fuck,” is the first thing is voice croaks in the morning, and he frowns at how shitty he sounds. damn, he really needs something for his throat; maybe he’ll order out warm soup.
but seriously; who has been taking this shit? everything else in his goddamn house is fine. his fridge is still empty, his ramen noodles are all accounted for, when did this just suddenly disappear?
not that he’s complaining, it wasn’t like he’s choosing this form of caffeine because he wants to. this is pure last resort, but things like this - they bug him.
yoongi slowly puts the box back, wondering idly if he’s going some sort of crazy, and then decides that it’s about due time. he’s about to close the cabinet and just give up - maybe drag himself to get overpriced coffee at the nearest cafe - when something catches his eye.
at first he thinks it’s a blur. there’s a slight ringing in his ears that he’s always had, ever since he was a teenager and blared music so loud it created an endless sonata of ringing in his eardrums, but this is different. it’s almost like a little tinkle, maybe sort of like a finger running across chimes. a blur. and - in between dusty bone-white cups with delicate gold rims, all of them are standing upright, their handles turned to the left.
except - except.
the very last cup on the right. it’s upside down, and nowhere near as dusty. it’s left a little far off from the others as well. there’s nothing unusual about a cup in a line of cups - hell, yoongi could have done that himself and just not realized - but he doesn’t...he just -
reaching out, he grabs the cup by the bottom and lifts it up.
there’s nothing underneath.
yoongi feels his face twitch. he’s going fucking insane, he swears. letting out a sigh that turns into a groan, he leans back and leaves the cup clattering back into it’s original position, swearing all the while. he’s going fucking insane over a cup. a cup. he’s going to get himself admitted at this rate. maybe he really does need to sleep. maybe he really does need to go and take a break. namjoon will be overjoyed he’s not working himself to death.
he thinks it’s a good idea, starting to close the cabinet door when the slightest movement of the same godfucking cup catches his attention. at whiplash speed, he reaches forward and tugs it aside, and -
there’s a yelp, a small figure no bigger than possible five inches tall falls to the ground in front of them. yoongi blinks, incredulous, as his eyes go over tiny limbs, fingers and bare feet, dark hair. he has to lean in close to understand what the fuck he’s looking at, and when he does, all he can utter is, “what the hell.”
“oh no,” yoongi hears the tiny - what is that? he? what? - say. he - he? stands up and dusts off his pants. he’s wearing miniature pants and a black shirt. the most appalling part of the entire little figure are the two, thin and lace like wings sprouting out of his - his back. for a moment the tiny thing flutters with his - his? yoongi really needs to be sure - wings down, stepping behind the teacup. he’s just about the same size. “you weren’t supposed to see me.”
two pale spots of pink appear high on his ears. the creature clears their throat. “could you close the door,” they start, sounding a bit out of place and almost embarrassed, “it’s kinda chilly, and i dont have any leaves.”
“what are you,” yoongi blurts, suddenly wide awake. he’s blinking and looking at a tiny human being in his cupboard.
for some reason he feels like he’s been transported to an alternate reality. this isn’t him right now; it’s one of namjoon’s psychoanalytical sessions, where he tries to get yoongi to be his test subject and yoongi says yes because one: he has no time for namjoon’s antics and two: he’s an idiot. the second one more than the first. that’s what’s going on - he’s dreaming, or, or going crazy, maybe this is the effects of drinking coffee for too long? if namjoon ever goes back to the science field of acadamia maybe he can write a fucking thesis on this -
“i’m jungkook,” says the tiny human being named jungkook with his wings - dear lord his wings - fluttering. “i was kinda sent to make you happy, but.” he shrugs here, and yoongi swears he can hear something tinkling again. he peers at his cabinet once more. “you’re boring.”
“boring,” yoongi repeats flatly. he can’t believe his ears. “a tiny pixie thing is eating my herbal tea and hiding in a teacup and telling me i’m boring.” he really needs to sleep.
“what’s a pixie?” jungkook asks, confused, and yoongi is amazed he can even hear him. despite being a couple of inches tall, he’s got a big voice. yoongi can hear him just fine, even if he’s not concentrating well. “anyways, i was just going to stay here for a while until i got a master plan, but all you do is stay inside and work on your music,” jungkook yawns here, walking to sit cross-legged in front of the overturned teacup. “and then i started to forget what i was doing and slept here for a long time. i think i woke up a couple weeks ago,” with a shy shrug, he goes, “sorry.”
“it’s okay,” yoongi says faintly, still confused as all hell. “so you’re. you’re real.”
jungkook blinks at him like he’s stupid.
yoongi allows his head to smack against the cabinet door. just this one time.
it takes a bit of time, but yoongi eventually convinces himself that this isn’t some hallucination - no, he didn’t smoke anything but his cigarettes last night, no, this is not some sick hangover delusion, there really is a tiny human being with wings that doesn’t know what a ‘pixie’ is but that’s the only word that pops up in yoongi’s brain when referring to him. he kind of reminds yoongi of that disney character in that one movie about lost kids. he’s sure that the name is somewhere in there, but he can’t seem to recall it right now.
jungkook tells him that he’s been wasting his herbal tea with a little bit of a stern voice. apparently he eats a lot of leaves and plants, and having a huge collection of them in yoongi’s cabinet was enough to keep him fed all these weeks. yoongi thinks that if he had to, he would finish those tea leaves in about an hour. jungkook is just about the size of his hand, dark hair quite soft, his little feet padding across yoongi’s palm tickling his skin when yoongi offers out a hand for him numbly.
he doesn’t touch his wings; they’re folded down, pointing toward the back of his knees, and he looks comfortable without spreading them out. yoongi sets jungkook down on the counter and he hops off his hand - his hand - before wincing at how cold the marble countertop is.
“you have roaches in here,” jungkook starts, edging away from something near the wall that yoongi can’t really see, “don’t you ever clean? they’re super scary.”
“you’re afraid of bugs?”
“not all bugs,” jungkook says in a defensive voice that really means yes i’m afraid of all bugs. “just. roaches are mean. a couple of them came into my cabinet and i had to push them out with stems. it was really annoying, because they kept clinging - “
and it hits yoongi; the roaches must be the size of dogs for jungkook. the image of it wants to make him laugh hysterically. he sits down on a spare chair in the kitchen from where he used it to get on top of the fridge recently to grab trash bags, and lets jungkook finish his story about the cockroaches. honestly. what is his life. what’s happening. in the last few minutes, jungkook has both talked a lot and none at all. whenever he’s not explaining anything, he falls into a silence accompanied by shifting feet and hands. almost like he’s nervous, or shy.
finally clearing his throat, jungkook runs a little so he can stand in front of yoongi. he kneels, like he’s looking down at a child, and goes, “do you feel okay?”
“do i what,” yoongi asks, startled out of his own thoughts.
“i mean,” jungkook says, and the two iridescent wings at his back give a little flutter, “you look like you’re about to faint, or something.”
“i’m fine,” yoongi mumbles, but even then, it sounds like he’s just saying the words to say them.
jungkook remains silent then, almost like he’s waiting for yoongi to truly be fine. he blinks and settles, cross legged, at the edge of the table as yoongi puts his head in his hands and takes in a deep breath. he blinks numerous times, squeezing his eyes open and shut, but when he looks up the tiny pixie creature is still there. yoongi pulls away and blinks at jungkook, suddenly feeling exhausted.
jungkook’s wings flitter. “how long has it been since you last slept, yoongi-ssi?”
yoongi swallows dryly. “i.”
jungkook trips a little as he takes into air, shaking his left wing as if he’s got something stuck in it. when he reaches up to somewhere near yoongi’s nose, he puts his tiny hands on yoongi’s forehead. something itches yoongi’s nose and he ignores the urge to sneeze. jungkook mumbles something too low for either of them to hear, and by the time yoongi is trying to figure out what happened, something in him almost - shifts.
jungkook pulls away, his hands fluttering over yoongi’s cheeks for a brief moment before he hovers in midair. there’s a curious, almost cautious look on his face; when yoongi focuses on him again, he finds that he can see jungkook much more clearly than he ever did before.
his eyes are wide and dark, big and brown. his honey brown hair falls in soft tufts across his forehead and his face is dotted with small moles - yoongi counts one underneath his lip, another near his eye - and he has a spatter of freckles across his nose. there’s an imperfect scar on his cheek that serves to highlight the soft curve of hair that falls that way. one moment is all it takes for the image to be burned into his mind; mouth pressed thin with worry, hand outstretched, almost like yoongi is there - life sized, standing right in front of him - before it disappears. he blinks and jungkook’s facial features are too small for him to see clearly once more; he only sees the far away likeness of a small person rather than the flaws of someone who is close enough for him to count moles.
yoongi’s shoulders slump. he feels - relaxed, almost, none of the disheartening tension in his shoulders. for the first time in a long while he feels like he can go to sleep peacefully without anything bothering him, without restlessness to take place in his bones. it’s not a lethargic peace he feels, but rather one of contentment. for a moment, there’s nothing wrong with the world.
“sorry,” jungkook says, his wings dipping a little with his supposed shame, “i haven’t been a good guardian fairy, have i.”
“huh,” yoongi mumbles, before snorting. “really?”
“yes, really,” jungkook says, not an ounce of sarcasm in his voice. he looks all genuine, sincere eyes and body motions. his hands fiddle behind his back. “i really shouldn’t have been away for so long. i’m sorry, yoongi-ssi.”
yoongi blinks. “honestly,” he starts, a little wry, “it’s okay.” he wants to say i barely even noticed but he thinks that that wouldn’t be a proper response as the moment.
“well,” jungkook starts, fidgeting a little, “it was my job, anyway, and i didn’t do it...”
yoongi doesn’t want to hear it. he sighs and squeezes his eyes shut, wondering what he deserved, exactly, to be here and experience this, but he doesn’t think he wants to know the answer. why does he need to assure a tiny human being that he’s fine, okay, with his existence? well he might have not been at first, but he’s gotten over himself. really.
jungkook flutters in front of him, and yoongi sets his hand out again. jungkook lands on it with a small moment. “hey, listen, i’m really fine. i didn’t really care - can’t really care about someone leaving if you never knew they were there in first place, right?”
jungkook nods a little, looking hesitant. his eyes move back toward the cabinet, almost like he wants to go back into his teacup. in the small moment of quietness and hesitation that follows, yoongi reaches out and takes the overturned teacup, setting it down next to jungkook. jungkook smiles.
i'm @yeolleum on twt and @j-ungah on tumblr! more active on the second :*
Chapter 41: my head, my heart
for the anon that told me what if jungkook got hanahaki roses? lol this might be longer idek
jungkook, like other orphans, has nothing.
his hands are always either warm or sore; jungkook, like other orphans, go to sleep at night and wake up in the morning hearing the ring of bells in his head, hoping that it’s the sound of their fathermother waking them up in the morning. it’s always a lie. jungkook, like other orphans, grow into adults with a listless look in his eyes, staring up at the sky and keeping his mouth shut. like other orphans, he dreams.
sometimes he dreams about the stage - grandiose, open, and wide - sometimes he dreams about the studio, his mouth pressed against the microphone in a silent kiss - sometimes he dreams about laughing freely into the sea. she captures his smiles for himself and drops it in the depths of her oceans. jungkook wishes for the sea like a dream, like a lost forgotten memory. he wishes, wishes, wishes, counts stars the way orphans do, and thinks that a life living in the shadows is better than wishing for something that was never - and never will be - his.
it starts with jungkook, who has nothing. he goes to work at a laundromat in the evenings and on paycheck days, he brings home the envelope to his empty apartment building and eats whatever he can find. sometimes he takes the snacks that the other employees leave for him, but most of the time, he tells himself that he doesn’t need to.
his stomach has caved in a little, and he feels skinnier than he has in years. it’s okay, he tells himself. it’s okay. at night the laundromat is empty save for the few night owls and day laborers that have no other time to wash their clothes. jungkook can sweep and hum under his breath and no one will notice. he can pretend to dance with the broom and no one will be the wiser. he can stare out the window and count each twinkling diamond star in the sky and go one till the hundreds, until fog clouds over seoul make them disappear. jungkook can do all of these things at night, when the liminality of the city makes it easy to hold his breath.
jungkook dips his hands in the cold water of the sink, washing his hands and his face. he rubs at his cheeks and his nose, pushing away any water from his bangs and the curve of his chin. jungkook puts on the ugly apron that they all need to wear for the night shift and ties it around his waist, tugging it tight. it always manages to be loose no matter what he does.
his phone is plugged in and connected to the store’s wifi. it’s quiet, the sound of rushing cars and low, distant murmurs enough to lull him into a sense of security. his eyes flicker across the television screens for a while before going back to the one in front of him. the nighttime, the quietness - it always makes him silent and soft, waiting for something; someone; anything.
with nothing else to do, he does whatever he can on his phone by looking through his email, then his texts, then his bank account. when everything is done, he presses his fingers against the thin glass of his phone to keep in time with his rhythm games, tallying the points in his head - following, with his eyes, the black spots that move up and down. up and down. jungkook blinks his tired eyes and pulls back when he finishes with his song, absentmindedly pulling out a headphone when -
startles, looks up and jerks backward. there’s someone staring at him wide eyed and curious, his hair an ashen blonde from underneath his cap. jungkook jerks the other headphone from his left ear hard enough that it hurts. the stranger keeps staring for a moment, leaving jungkook with enough time to pull himself together. he leans forward on the stool he’s sitting on to balance himself.
“can i,” his words come out haltingly. “can i help you?”
“yeah,” the stranger says. “i need change for the soap machine.” he holds out a 10000 won bill. jungkook winces - numbers crossing his head - and wonders how much change that is. wonders if it’s too unprofessional of him to check on his phone.
the stranger puts a cigarette between his lips but it’s unlit; jungkook is thankful. the stench of cigarette smoke is awful. reminds him of the orphanage, where the matron used to smoke at the window every lunch hour. he counts out change from the little packets of coins that are provided for this very purpose and drops them all in the stranger’s outstretched hand. he pulls back soon after.
there’s only a couple of people in the laundromat - it’s nearing one am, after all. there’s a young girl who looks like she’s about to pass out from exhaustion with her head leaning against the washing machines, a middle aged man scrolling through his phone and rubbing a hand over his stubble, and a slightly older woman who looks harassed enough that it seems like something’s constantly on her mind. no one likes coming in at one am to do the laundry unless they have to. unless they have no other choice.
jungkook plugs his headphone in again and this time sets his head down on the counter, closing his eyes briefly. he’s long since learned to not sleep during the night, becoming used to the switched daylight. he doesn’t play any song, just revels in the quiet calm that wearing his headphones bring - the sound of the washers and driers are muted.
something thumps on his table. with a flutter of his lashes - he looks up at the blonde stranger. “i don’t need the rest,” he says, looking toward the register. jungkook presses his lips together and takes the rest of the change, carefully and slowly converting the rest into bills.
it’s tired and repetitive work. sometimes, he thinks that’s what he needs the most.
“that was a nice song,” the stranger starts, his voice low and a little awkward. jungkook looks up at him through his lashes, still keeping count in his head, still wanted to mouth the numbers so he doesn’t forget. “the one you couldn’t hear me over earlier. i liked it. what’s its name?”
jungkook finishes up and hands over the money to the stranger. his throat feels strangely clogged, but he replies anyway. “moonstar by eunha.” he’s downloaded all the songs off her album. he only wishes he could buy it, too.
“huh,” the stranger says. “never heard of her before.”
jungkook mutes nodly; sounds like something you’d say when you don’t know anything else to say. the stranger continues, “is she fairly new?”
“i guess,” jungkook shrugs. “i don’t follow celebrities.”
something odd crosses the stranger’s face. “only music, then?”
“yeah.” he looks down at his phone again, at the curved edges and the slight marks in the case from where he’s dropped it numerous times. it’s amazing that his phone’s screen hasn’t cracked yet. it’s obviously the end of the conversation - or so jungkook likes to think - when the stranger walks away toward a washing machine. a sigh of relief builds in his lungs. jungkook pushes at the screen of his phone and starts playing her song again. he’ll keep playing it until he’s sick and tired of the way it sounds, until he remembers every nuance of the voice in his ears. then he’ll move on.
that’s the end of it, jungkook thinks. that’s the end of it.
he rests his head on the tabletop again and listens to her sing; when you look at me with the sodden stars above us, it reminds me of a time that used to be...
when the song is done playing for the third or fourth time, jungkook hears the tapping of a finger and quietly pulls out his headphones again, face flushing at how distracted he is. he’s about to start again - how can i help you - when the same stranger from before glances up at him from where he’s on his own phone, lazily twirling a headphone cord around his finger.
“it’s a sad song,” starts the stranger. “didn’t think you’d be a sad song type.”
jungkook blinks, bewildered.
there’s a screen glowing in his face then; the official cover art of the song, already bought and loaded onto itunes on the stranger’s phone, playing slowly. he can hear the vague notes of it coming from his headphones; they’re pretty loud. moonstar - eunha.
“kinda fits you,” he continues. takes back his phone. “i mean.”
“songs fit people?” jungkook blurts out, immediately wishing he could take it back.
for the first time, the stranger smiles. it pulls back his lips to reveal that he smiles with his gums, full and wide, like a secret. he chuckles a little, looking a bit embarrassed, and then sets down his phone. “sounds stupid, huh? i think you’re the first person to ask me that, though.”
“i’m yoongi,” says the-stranger-turned-yoongi. something niggles at the back of his mind. something that yells this is a bad idea.
jungkook points to his nametag.
he thinks about the way yoongi’s voice sounds. jungkook wonders if he can tentatively label this as friendship, or if it’s something less. he’s only seen him once but - but it feels like an acquaintance, like a small beginning. like one of those people you meet once on the street, or at a store, or in passing, and remember them. you might have shared numbers, or snapchats, or instagrams - something that connects you for that one day you met, those three or four hours where you were friends. that’s what yoongi feels like. jungkook doesn’t have his number or his snapchat or his instagram, but he has a song.
the next night, yoongi comes in with a big bag of laundry. he hauls it right in front of jungkook’s counter at midnight exactly, sets it down at his feet, and jungkook opens his mouth to see if he wants change -
“have you ever heard of loki?” asks yoongi. “i think you’d like him.”
he holds out a headphone for jungkook to take. jungkook pulls at the strings of his work apron and says, “don’t you have laundry?”
“my roommate’s,” yoongi answers in a heartbeat. “if i don’t finish them today i’ll finish them tomorrow. here.” jungkook holds the headphone to his ear and leans forward so the cord doesn’t pull. it looks like an expensive headphone. he doesn’t say anything.
yoongi is right - it is his type of music, beginning to finish. there’s something distinctly calming about loki’s voice, a soothing jazz and r&b rolled into one tenor. jungkook finds himself humming along to the end of it.
“you catch on quick to melodies, huh?” yoongi takes back the headphone and loops it around his neck in an easy motion. “started singing by the end of it.”
“it was humming.”
“sounded good,” the other keeps going, smiling again. it makes him look younger, jungkook realizes. it makes him look less serious.
and then - and then something forms in his throat. it feels heavy and thick. almost like when he was young and got the flu, couldn’t talk for a week, couldn’t eat anything other than fluids and soup. almost like a sickness, almost just like that.
“do you need change?” jungkook asks, voice higher pitched to get rid of the scratchiness, and yoongi laughs.
he doesn’t stay for long, only a couple of hours. he takes jungkook’s phone and opens up a page in notes, types for a few moments while jungkook battles against the anxiety of having someone else take his phone. when he gives it back, there’s an entire list of songs to listen to. some of them jungkook recognizes - the artist or either the name - but others are some that he doesn’t recognize at all.
“i think you might like them,” yoongi starts, then hesitates. “i mean. maybe.”
something about his reluctance makes a warmth bloom in jungkook’s chest. “i’ll - i’ll check them out.”
he gives a one fingered salute and kicks his bag toward one of the washing machines. he still forgot his change, jungkook thinks.
when he gets home in the morning - yoongi left after a while, giving jungkook a quick wave of the hand as a goodbye before taking all the clothes in his bag and hoisting it over his shoulder - jungkook looks through all the music sites he knows for the songs. plays them one by one.
and when he’s starting on the last song, something called so far away by agust d, something catches in his throat - he doubles over, holding his chest, holding his chest, trying to grapple for breath in what seems like a desperate attempt to find himself and then -
he coughs out a single red petal.
it falls at the edge of his wrist and - and there, at the end of his wrist bone, is a smear of blood. a metallic taste fills his mouth and he opens his mouth wide - hyperventilating a little, he’s not going to lie, and pulls out a little stem of thorns. more petals, stuck between his molars and his uvula, or caught at the back of his throat. smells sweet, smells like blood.
jungkook coughs out red and thinks to himself: oh no.
when yoongi wakes up in the morning, it’s to the feeling of his son jumping on his knees. he’s sort of used to the feeling of having eunbyul kick him in the shins, but at that point he’s usually much more mentally prepared - when eunbyul kicks him now, all he feels is a swear-worthy sting of pain. yoongi curls into himself and groans into his pillow.
“dad we gotta go to school!” eunbyul, four years old and hyperactive as always, yells. he keeps on jumping on yoongi’s knees, so yoongi swipes him with an arm and pins him to the bed. the sound of his son giggling makes yoongi crack an eye open.
his mouth is covered by yoongi’s arm, but he holds onto the underside of it with his own tiny fingers. eunbyul kicks his legs up into the air and wiggles them, taken by how they make shadows against the paint.
“morning, kiddo,” yoongi starts, reaching up to ruffle his hair. “what do you want for breakfast?”
“ceweal,” eunbyul answers, muffled.
cereal. yoongi can do cereal. he’s not good with the other things, but he can do cereal.
the mornings are the same, after eunbyul manages to kick yoongi awake - that kid is always up before yoongi is, for some reason - they head to the bathroom together. yoongi sets eunbyul on the counter and sticks his own toothbrush in his mouth haphazardly before starting on eunbyul’s, making sure that he gets in all the crevices. after a while eunbyul whines to do it by himself, and the next ten minutes are spent cleaning up gloopy toothpaste from the counter. they take a shower together in the morning - possibly one of the easier things to handle, since eunbyul is a water baby - and as eunbyul goes to put on his school clothes, yoongi makes his cereal.
he starts up the coffee machine too, but that’s just for him. like hell he’s going to let eunbyul drink coffee, even if the small kid wants to try it badly enough to be like yoongi. he’s still not ready, only in his dress pants and with his pressed shirt not buttoned properly, but when eunbyul skips into the room yoongi feels like he can take on the entire world.
“you ready to go to school, kiddo?”
“yeah!” eunbyul punches his little fist in the air. “we’re gonna have new teacher!”
“a new teacher,” yoongi corrects absentmindedly. “what happened to your other one?”
“dunno,” eunbyul reaches his arms up so yoongi will pick him up and place him down on the chair, which he does automatically. this is how yoongi knows he’s been conditioned by his own son.
with a pudgy hand, the small boy starts eating enthusiastically - anything with chocolate, eunbyul loves - and yoongi gets his cup of coffee. while he’s dumping sugar into the top of it - only one packet, because if it’s not bitter enough then it’s not coffee - yoongi casually states, “i’m going to go get ready for work, kiddo.”
“‘kay,” eunbyul says, muffled through his food.
it’s a bit mundane, a bit monotonous, but yoongi wouldn’t trade his mornings for the world.
on the way to school, eunbyul jumps in his booster seat in the back of the car and leaves yoongi on edge, gripping the sides of his steering wheel in an attempt not to go back and tell his son to calm down before he hurts himself. eunbyul looks like he’s fine but what if the seat belt presses too hard against his stomach and he gets a stomach ache before school starts?
yoongi doesn’t know much about raising a child, but if there’s one thing he’s sure about, it’s that his kid is gonna get the best education that a four year old could possibly have. the school he chose is in a nice, quiet part of the upscale neighborhood yoongi lives in, with high recommendations from almost everyone yoongi knows. it gives importance to learning both korean and english, lets the kids spread their creativity, and has a small classroom size so that the teachers can focus on each child better than they could at a regular public kindergarten. it costs a pretty penny, but it’s not like yoongi has anything else to spend his money on. most of his expenses go to eunbyul.
parking in front of the kindergarten building - a low, one story building painted a sky blue with a playground out front - yoongi goes to the back to pull eunbyul out of his booster seat. his son squirms in his arms and pulls on yoongi’s suit jacket; he knows what’s coming next. yoongi grimaces and shuts the door quickly, walking to the entrance where other parents are gathering.
“daddy, i dun’ wanna go,” a small whine comes from the bundle in his arms, a nose pressed against his collar, and yoongi sighs.
this happens every morning - eunbyul will wake him up saying he needs to go to school and yoongi needs to get out of bed and they need to get there first - but then when it comes time to leaving him at the door, he seems to realize that he’s going to have a day without his dad around. cue the octopus hugging. yoongi doesn’t know if eunbyul is just preternaturally strong to be able to cling to him like he does, or if yoongi is just weak and doesn’t want to let go of his baby sniffling.
“kiddo,” yoongi starts, bracing himself for the tears, already garnering a sympathetic look from miss inha, one of the teachers here, “we have to go to school. you wanted to this morning, remember?”
“no,” eunbyul sounds watery, like he’s doing that lip wobble thing that gets yoongi every time. “no, daddy, i dun’ wanna, w-wanna stay wif daddy, please dun’ make me go - “ he hiccups at the end and yoongi feels the shoulder of his suit jacket get wet. he sighs.
just when yoongi thinks that he’s about to crack, take eunbyul to work with him again, a pleasant voice says, “you’re eunbyul, right?”
in front of them is the new teacher that eunbyul had mentioned; he’s wearing the standard apron, light blue and tied around his waist. there’s a pair of crafting scissors tucked into one pocket and pretty colored washing tape in the other. following it is a comfortable black shirt tucked into a pair of dark pants and inside shoes. he smiles at yoongi consideringly, bowing his head, and they both understand in that moment that there is no time for introductions; bigger things have to be taken care of.
eunbyul stops his sniffling for a moment, removing his face from yoongi’s neck. inwardly, he’s glad that byul isn’t the type of kid to spit snot everywhere when he cries. he doesn’t know if he’d be able to keep a second shirt with him in his car all the time, neatly pressed and ready to wear. with a rub at his red nose, eunbyul blinks at the new teacher.
while his kid may be a bubbly rascal, he’s only so in the confines of their home. outside of the walls of their apartment, eunbyul turns quiet and withdrawn, preferring to hide behind yoongi’s leg than talk to other kids. he doesn’t take to strangers easily, and adults are worse. the best he’s ever done before when meeting someone for the first time is give them a smile before shielding his eyes away, or tugging at yoongi incessantly. that’s why it comes as a surprise when eunbyul sniffles in the direction of his new teacher, watches for a moment, and his cheeks flush.
“i’m eunbyul,” he mumbles, hands over his mouth, and yoongi’s coughs in surprise. eunbyul flicks a look toward his father before toward his new teacher, looking shy, but not the type of shy that he usually is. yoongi feels a distant, horrid sense of realization and amusement rising up in him.
his son has a crush on his teacher.
“i’m min yoongi, his father,” yoongi adds soon after. eunbyul tugs at his collar to be let down, probably just realizing that being in his father’s arms would give him bad street cred, and yoongi sets his tiny feet on the concrete floor with a sigh of relief. his arms ache.
“nice to meet you two,” says the teacher, kneeling down to reach eunbyul’s height. “my name is jungkook. that’s what you can call me okay?”
surprised at the fact that he doesn’t tell eunbyul to use “ssaem”, yoongi can only cough. eunbyul nods and brightly goes, “okay,” with his chin tucked in toward his chest.
jungkook holds up a hand to his cheek and says, sort of like a secret, “you know that ji-ssaem has cookies inside for good boys and girls?”
“r-really?” eunbyul’s eyes widen to dinner plates. “does she have oatmeal raisin?”
his child, yoongi thinks, has the strangest tastes - he doesn’t like oreos or chocolate chip cookies, but oatmeal raisin and macadamia nut. jungkook’s smile widens, making the corner of his eyes crinkle. “she does! i think you’ can get three cookies if you ask her nicely. want to try?”
eunbyul tries to make it seem like he’s thinking, but yoongi knows his son’s been won over. he turns and pats his father’s hand, looking up at yoongi solemnly before patting himself with yoongi’s hand, then wordlessly running into the classroom.
“wait, your...backpack...” yoongi’s voice trails off, and jungkook stands back up. “thanks for that.”
“first day jitters,” jungkook shrugs, looking bashful at how well he handled the situation. “it’s the first thing they teach you how to handle. thank you for being patient enough through it all, mr. min.”
“just yoongi,” he offers in return, because that’s for the office and he doesn’t want to hear it here.
“i’ll take that,” jungkook offers with a dimpled smile, and yoongi gives him eunbyul’s bag in a slight daze. the sun starts to beat on his back and the nape of his neck. “don’t worry, we’ll take of eunbyul well.”
“thanks,” yoongi responds, and jungkook waves at him from the entrance of the door, walking inside and gently prodding along a little girl who had made her way outside, leaving yoongi with a strange feeling in his throat.
maybe eunbyul isn’t the only one with a crush, he thinks to himself as he heads back to his car.
its my son kwon/min eunbyul
Chapter 43: sugar
jungkook finishes grading the last paper and groans, his eyes swimming in front of him. lines of korean swims in front of his eyes until they become nothing more than unintelligible mush. the only reprieve from this kind of hell is the hand that slams down a cup right in his line of sight.
“is that coffee,” jungkook breathes, before looking up at the person attached to the hand - jimin. “well, is it?”
“hot chocolate,” jimin says offhandedly, smirking like he knows something when jungkook groans. “rough day? or night, seeing as how you haven’t gone home yet?”
“i don’t even teach night classes, i should be in bed right now,” he responds miserably, his cheek pressed against the tabletop. it’s nice and warm, since jungkook nabbed the spot right over the vent shaft blasting heat. it’s around 10pm, and at this rate he’ll be home by midnight.
“probably good that you don’t have coffee, then,” jimin says. he pats jungkook and then goes, “wow, you’re tense.”
“the assistant for one of the classes dropped,” he mumbles. “seokjin-hyung told me to grade the papers and my eyes are bleeding.”
seokjin is the department head of vocal studies. despite his sweet smile and cheekbones to rival a greek god, he’s nothing but a hellion. jungkook doesn’t know how many extra papers he’s had to grade ever since he became and adjunct, as well as the amount of seminars he’s been roped into holding. at least he doesn’t mind the seminars that much - those are fun to do, listening to classical music majors sing with their sopranos and mezzo-altos.
“whose class is it?”
with a snarl, jungkook goes, “professor min.”
ever since the first day jungkook had came in late with his pea coat tangling around his legs and his scarf perched up to his nose, biting autumn air nipping at his face and blinding his eyes, bumping straight into one of the other professors jarringly hard enough for his head to spin, professor min has hated him. he glares at jungkook each time they’re in the same room, his eyes always boring into the side of jungkook’s head, and he always grunts at him without speaking in full sentences. he never speaks to jungkook outright, hangs out with the philosophy of science professor (namjoon) whenever jungkook goes to the philosophy department to see taehyung, and he always seems sort of nasty when all four of them are in the same room, giving the stink eye to jungkook and taehyung as well. (taehyung never seems bothered by this - in fact, he’s always snickering, something that jungkook is completely lost on. how does he not want to cower at the sight of those dark eyes willing him to die on willpower alone??)
something about jimin’s expression changes. he’s a dance professor, just coming back from whatever late night class he’s taught. they share an apartment, so he’s probably going to hang around and do some work on his laptop until jungkook has to leave.
“is that so,” he starts, still looking strange. “does yoongi know that you’re grading his exams?”
“no,” jungkook scowls. “if he did, he would probably re-do all of my grading and ruin some poor kid’s paper. whatever, i’ll just send it out and leave it in his mailbox.”
“seokjin hyung gave you those?”
“i just said this, hyung,” jungkook sighs, reaching forward to take the mystery cup. jimin always, always gets him a cup of something before he comes in the night, something warm and nice during the autumn and winter season. sometimes it’s his order, but most of the time, it’s some wonderful sugary concoction. jungkook would prefer the caffeine, but having something sweet isn’t that bad either. jimin must ask for extra sweetness, because there’s always a scrawled black suga on the cup when jungkook gets it. it’s always from the organic and cruelty-free expensive coffee shop on campus too, the one that jungkook grimaces at when he’s walking by because he wants to go in so bad but he’s broke. honestly.
“huh,” jimin mumbles, whipping out his phone and tapping on the screen insistently. “i never thought seokjin-hyung would be in this too...well...”
jungkook ignores jimin’s mumbling, savoring the taste of the hot chocolate he’s been given - it’s warm and sweet, thick chocolate coating his tongue and going down his throat, with a helping of whipped cream on the inside of the cup and a sprinkling of cut up strawberries and caramel. it’s so good jungkook almost whimpers when he takes another sip.
“hyung, this might be my favorite so far,” jungkook says, finishing half of it in one go. the sugar is already starting to buzz in his veins.
jimin grins at him, something gleaming in his eye. “you know, jungkookie, it’s a new special they have. it’s absolutely free; you should go down to coffee palace and get one tomorrow evening.”
“free?” jungkook gapes. “really?”
“mhm. all you gotta do is smile.”
“at the right person, yeah,” jimin nods.
confused, jungkook asks, “smile...at who?”
jimin chortles. “you’ll know.”
he gets home at midnight, just like he expected. the rest of the day and the next morning is a complete blur - dropping off the finished papers in professor min’s mailbox, signing in, making himself a cup of black coffee in the morning to shock his senses awake, and holding office hours. two people come by, one of which jungkook is sure wants a recommendation letter, and he manages to sneak in a nap and eat his prepackaged lunch from home in a short three hour window. after that is his seminar class on classical music, and then another class about vocal techniques for first years.
by the time it hits 5:30, he’s ready for his second fix of energy. he’s looking up places to go eat - bibimbap sounds really good right now - when jimin texts him, did you go to the coffee shop yet?
truthfully, jungkook had completely forgotten, but now he remembers the odd circumstances that jimin had mentioned yesterday. no, he says, and almost immediately, well then get your ass there quick!
jungkook assumes there’s another ‘free drink’ event going on and decides, well, it’s only a bit more of a walk to the bibimbap place, why not?
it smells like chocolate and cinnamon when he heads inside. taking off his scarf, jungkook rubs his hands together to force warmth in them; the line is decently sized, so he leans over and looks at the menu to see what the specials are when -
he freezes at the sight of a familiar head of black hair. it’s a figure that jungkook has experience avoiding, only because he doesn’t want to be stared at - sorry, glared down - when he’s trying to grade his papers or talk to taehyung. he doesn’t know what the heck the composition professor min yoongi is doing here, but jungkook suppresses down the instant urge to hide. he’s standing by the pick up line anyways, focused on his phone. jungkook is fine.
unfortunately, min yoongi’s order isn’t called by the time jungkook goes over to the cashier, so frazzled that he doesn’t even realize there’s no free drink event. he orders a small coffee, the most simplest thing he can think of - and the one that takes the least time - but of course, it backfires on him as he slinks to the corner and hopes no one can see him. how? well, the barista whips up his drink in approximately a minute, the same time she calls out someone else’s order -
“strawberry delight holiday hot chocolate special and a large black for suga and a small black coffee for jungkook?”
yoongi’s head snaps up, his hand already halfway toward the two cups placed on the pick up counter. he turns to look jungkook straight in the eye, and for once, he doesn’t look like his jaw is so tense it’s going to snap - in fact, he looks open mouthed and slack in surprise.
jungkook takes his coffee and blinks, and then - then. wait.
a hot chocolate for suga?
yoongi seems to curse underneath his breath, takes the large black coffee and leaves jungkook reeling from his silent revelation, rushing through the crowd to make it outside. he leaves the hot chocolate on the counter.
yoongi is buying him drinks? all this time that jimin has been bringing him coffee - at around the same time, all with the characteristic suga scrawled on the side, that’s not - that’s -
jungkook gingerly takes a hold of the hot chocolate cup, feeling a little numb and swept off his feet. the warmth of the cup brings some heat back to his fingers, enough to text jimin, is yoongi buying all the drinks you get me?
jimin texts back almost immediately: he’s been buying you drinks for an entire year, kook. like i would spend that much money on you, srsly.
jungkook is floored.
he shows up at the philosophy department a couple of days later, after the weekend. he texts taehyung that he’s coming to see him, but in reality, he’s going to drop by namjoon’s office to ask where min yoongi is before heading over to his friend’s room.
luckily for him, when he opens the door to namjoon’s room, he hears, “it’s not visiting hours for professor kim, you have to come back later - “
“i’m not a student.”
yoongi’s head whips around from where he’s on his phone, surprised, before he swears. “shit, namjoon said - “
with a baleful look, and strangely enough, his ears going red, he mutters, “namjoon asked taehyung if you were coming around, and he said you weren’t. so.”
“oh,” jungkook says faintly, feeling a strange sense of hurt twisting deep inside of him. maybe this is a mistake. he doesn’t know what the heck he expected, honestly. his hand around the doorknob tightens. “um. i just wanted to know...why, i guess. i thought you hated me.”
“i don’t hate you,” yoongi grits out, and jungkook only feels worse about this entire thing. he presses his lips together and lets go of the door, stepping back, “sorry. i think i - i don’t know what i thought. you don’t have to keep on buying or - or - whatever, i,” he shakes his head and heads for the door, scrubbing at the side of his face. he feels strangely bereft.
“no, wait,” yoongi starts from behind him, sounding almost panicked. “no, i really don’t hate you. i just - i’m shit at this, okay?”
jungkook waits. it feels weird here. he wants to go back to where when he thought professor min hated him and he could go through a night with free drinks.
“i like you,” yoongi starts, words starting out strong before they fade off. his ears are red and he scratches the back of his neck, embarrassed. “i like you, a lot. i, um. since you bumped into. me.”
“but you always glare at me,” jungkook blurts out, “and you - you always ignore me whenever we - “
“namjoon gives me shit for staring at you a lot,” yoongi groans, hiding his face. “and i don’t. i don’t know what to say to you, i’m sorry.”
jungkook can’t do anything else but stand there, his mouth opening and closing. “you - “ his brain literally can’t form sentences, forget words.
“and if you don’t mind i’d like if you went to go get coffee with me sometime like a date,” he continues on, all in one deep breath. yoongi kicks the side of the only chair there, glaring down at the seat, but now jungkook sees it for what it is: embarrassment. yoongi looks like he expects jungkook to say no.
“okay,” he says instead, something warm unfurling inside of him.
“okay, i’ll get coffee with you,” he repeats, smiling a little nervously, “as long as you pay?”
“i think i can afford one more,” yoongi says, and then grins at him; it’s really nice, and jungkook feels his cheeks flush.
feeling a little cheeky and completely taken aback but at the same time maybe a bit happy, a bit relieved, jungkook steps forward and presses a kiss against yoongi’s cheek, stepping back as quick as he had bounded forward. yoongi looks like jungkook just smacked him between the eyes. “thanks for all the drinks,” he says, smiling, and does a little wave as yoongi’s hand slowly migrates up to his cheek. he closes the door just as he hears yoongi go, “holy shit,” rubbing at his own cheeks the entire time to stop looking like a christmas ornament before he heads off to see taehyung.
it started with a boy’s dream.
yoongi dreamed about plucked guitar strings and hundred won chocolate from the newspaper stands.
yoongi used to dream - he would dream about the dug on his left pinky, feeling it pull deeply at his core. he would dream about the way it felt, the way he would move without his own command, without his own doing. even in a dream it felt like he was sleepwalking. he knew, yes, almost distantly that this was his own subconscious - that this was his own memory - that this was all a figment of his own imagination running wild, but it felt like more. he followed the tug on his finger, walking past the endless nothingness, until he came upon a dark spot in the middle of his white nowhere.
in between them, running from yoongi’s pinky to the other’s, was a vivid red string.
the rest of his dream world faded out of consciousness. sepia tones washed out by grayness was the only thing that made sense to his eyes. it sounded of nothing but an echoing heartbeat. yoongi looked at the profile of a boy, dark haired, with a button nose and a pale mouth, at the length of his hands and his fingers, and somehow could not remember his face. yoongi, when awoken, could only remember the distance of him.
eventually, the dreams began to disappear. they began to dissipate. he would try to catch them in his fingers as he was brought back to conscious, staring up at the white ceiling of his room - hotel, house, friend’s apartment - his heart thudding painfully and noisily in his ribs, would press the heel of his palm against his sternum to forcefully somehow make it stop, and then he would blink and the last of the memory - dream - would fade away. all he’d remember is the sound of a echo of a heartbeat, and then, then a startlingly vivd red.
what most of yoongi’s life is: a mishmash of days, working in the studio, pushing buttons until his fingers have sores. callouses on his palms from writing on yellow-paper notepads, surrounded by dim light and soft sound, his headphones pressing against his temples so tight it felt like he’d burst. there was nothing to get rid of the endless words inside of him. he would look and look but there was no way to grab this sentiment inside his chest and bleed it on paper. even the thought of it - from namjoon’s raised eyebrows - was too violent. too unforgiving. yoongi spent months staring at the blank notepads and the empty walls and wondering where all the color had gone.
that wasn’t to say that he wasn’t a wonderful writer, a masterful musician. from his fingers poured the emotions of a haunting sonata, a crushing bass beat, a spit fire word meant to decimate and destroy and rebuild. what he brought was a way to tune into the world and pull out a semblance of tune, a measure of timbre, a pinky’s worth of him. and yet yoongi always found it a bit too short. something missing.
his higher ups didn’t think so. they lauded his musical genius, gave him a studio far better than the cramped one that squeezed the inspiration out of him, gave him space and told him that the best deserved none less. yoongi found it funny: the best deserved space, deserved emptiness. is that what you deserve?
even still, the boy had a dream.
it was odd, he thought his dream was this. music, music, music. translating the words of the soul into the sound of the heart. he loved music, wrote an ode to it, wrote his will to it. he found in it his own essence, found his own breath, found his love. in music he dedicated years of his time, portions of his mind, and entire valleys of his dedication. there was no end to his sacrifice to this everlasting deity, this touchable intuition - not bound by word, not bound by language. in it, he found that it was enough. music was enough to satisfy him, to calm the rumbling of his mind, to wake him up when it needed him to be the translator and transcriptor, to put him to sleep when it was done with its divine purpose.
yet the dreams continued. a sense of something unfinished even when fulfilled. a sense of - i want more i want more i want more. i want the comfort of your smile, even though i don’t know you. i want the stars in the curve of your hand against mine. i want it i want it i want it, but i don’t know the shape of you - yoongi’s head spun. his dreams, which were once vivid and recurrent in his boyhood and then sparse in his early adulthood, now came back with vivacity unprecedented. he blinked with the brazenness of it all.
and then, one night, when he let the tug take him to the boy with black hair, his pinky wholly encased in red string, the boy turned to him with his wide, wide eyes. yoongi felt like he had seen those eyes before, and yet, until this moment he had never seen them at all. yes, and then the boy - raised his hand, reached out, and yoongi felt his palm, warm and soft, smooth. yes, and then - then he heard, quite clearly, without any sound of heartbeat or harried breath -
“it’s you,” so quiet, almost like a whisper, and then he disappeared. yoongi woke up.
he woke up with a red string tied around his finger.
the day was odd. he didn’t think it would be this odd, not like this. didn’t think that he would be finding his way around a stocked, desperate stage, sweating from his forehead, smelling like makeup and salt. outside the thrum of the crowd was a living pulse shifting underneath concrete and linoleum, across sidewalks and on stage. their hands, reaching up. yoongi, looking at the stage and at the songs he’s written for others and wondering, wondering, wondering.
and the string, it pulled.
he didn’t bother to resist. followed it, like a boy in a dream, sleepwalking off a cliff.
that’s what it felt like, too, walking off a cliff. the same tepid excitation, the dreaded anxiety, the building wait for an eclipsed end. yoongi felt it in his pulse, the same way the thudthudthud stomp of the crowd called him, the same way the lights blinded him and the stage was dark to their faces. outside, he heard the counting, the yelling, the bated breath. 10, 9, 8…
and yoongi forgot about time, thought about the endlessness, thought about it’s you.
and the string tugged, harder than ever before, harder and harder until it burned around his finger and yoongi was running, running, all the way past namjoon who yelled after him and hoseok who - 7, 6, 5… - shrieked as he was bowled out of the way and past taehyung, who was confused and jumping around with his new years light sticks.
yoongi ran right into the waiting trailer, where a black haired boy sat huddled on the ground, back hunched over as sobs spilled from his mouth. another boy was with him as well, blonde haired and patting his back, controlling his sudden despair. at the sound of the door - 4, 3, 2… - they both looked up, startled, the black haired boy’s eyes meeting yoongi’s. wet, familiar, despairing.
his red thread burned, and the other pulled his hand away from his face. between then, not even a meter of distance, the red thread burned.
yoongi, blinking, thinking about music and the hollowness in his chest and chasing after the impossible, breathed, “it’s you.”
this was posted with nyc's new years, where bts is for 2018!!!! i wish them the best and the best, even when i had been in 2018 already. i wish you all the best too. i hope that you find a new friend, a new confidant, or a new love. this new year is a new possibility and you, you are endless. i hope you all find someone who pulls at you from your very heart, no matter who they may be.
i'm yeolleum on twitter and xiajin on tumblr.
Chapter 45: bet on it
from a larger fic that's in the works!!!
jungkook barely puts down the current case file he has when jimin hurries up to him, taking the blue folder for himself and setting it down in some nondescript corner containing a pile of other folders. jungkook slumps against the edge of the countertop, his eyelids literally aching from the amount of weight he’s put on them.
“do you need an espresso shot?” jimin asks, not bothering to look away from his computer screen, tap tap tap-ing away at the keys. “taehyung punched the coffee machine and it’s working again.”
“either that or a cup of sugar,” jungkook admits. “i literally feel like i might have an aneurysm and die.”
“don’t forget to bleed internally,” jimin smiles at him, “just to be a complete go-getter.”
jungkook snorts. his legs almost seem like they might buckle. “i didn’t think getting a promotion would make my life harder,” he starts, voice hanging on a whine. “i thought i would be sitting behind the desk and doing filing. i was looking forward to it.”
“that’s such a lie,” jimin cuts in cheerfully.
“let me have it,” jungkook mutters. “i’d do anything to just sit down for a moment. i swear, it’s all because of dr. min. he won’t give me a fucking break?”
jimin’s eyes lazily move up to meet his, and he raises an eyebrow. “oh?”
“ever since i got the head nurse promotion,” jungkook leans in, whispering, “he’s been driving me crazy. he won’t let any of the other nurses do anything to his patients, like putting in a goddamn iv or taking vitals. every nurse learns how to put in an iv in their first year. he won’t let me live.”
jimin coughs to hide the laugh that’s bubbling out of his throat. jungkook, looking half crazed with those dark circles and hair slightly sticking up in the back, is probably in no state of mind to hear what jimin thinks dr. min - uh - really feels about jungkook. namely, how much he tries to keep him around physically.
“what’s going on,” taehyung pops in with a cup of espresso, looking for all intents and purposes like he’s just walked out of a magazine. jimin and jungkook have both agreed that they hate him, just a little bit. he’s like seokjin, who has long since left the er and has gone to cushier, better paid positions up in what they call the vip lounge.
“jungkook was telling me about how dr. min,” jimin waggles his eyebrows, “puts him to work.”
jungkook takes taehyung’s cup of espresso and downs it in one go, balefully going, “that’s what you get for saying it in that voice. don’t act like he’s doing anything else but torturing me.”
“i’m sure dr. min would love to torture you. in bed.”
jungkook throws the empty espresso cup at taehyung’s head, who deftly dodges. damn him, he must have taken a power nap before coming to the front.
“i just want to sleep,” jungkook starts. “i want to eat a burger and maybe have a green tea chocolate ice cream from the stupid convenience store and then i want to sleep. is that so much to ask. why are so many people sick.”
“hey, if people weren’t sick, we’d be out of jobs,” jimin points at him. “was that old man pyo?”
“yeah,” jungkook sighs, rubbing at his eyes. jimin feels bad for a split second; despite all of their teasing, dr. min really is working jungkook down to the bone. jungkook believes that he’s doing it out of spite; ever since dr. min had gotten the verbal beating of his life by an irate, sleep deprived jungkook (back when seokjin was still head nurse) jungkook believes that dr. min is out to get him. jimin and taehyung think that min yoongi, md, has a raging heart boner for their friend and can’t emote properly because of it. instead of saying hi, jungkook, want to get a shitty coffee with me in the cafeteria so i can stare at you and talk to you more? he asks for jungkook specifically for every single patient he gets and stares at him while he’s hooking up a catheter to a 92 year old man. it’s kind of romantic and pitiful at the same time.
the beep of a pager goes off, and jungkook looks down at his pocket with a groan. he pulls it out and reads off, sarcastic, “oh, wonderful. dr. min wants me to go to room 412 again.”
“want me to take it?” taehyung offers, and jungkook nods tiredly. he turns off his pager and tells jimin that he’s clocking out for a break - which he was due about an hour and a half ago anyways - and starts to walk, zombie-like, to the back room.
taehyung whistles watching him go. “seriously, yoongi-hyung has got to get his act together. his method of wooing is terrible.”
“he’s not allowed to bring flowers, some people are allergic,” jimin says cheerfully, forcing the sunshine out of him on sheer willpower. if he doesn’t put up a happy front, someone is going to die. most likely himself.
“it’s just like watching a dog trying to follow after a cat to desperately get their attention,” taehyung continues, “which is weird, because i always thought of yoongi-hyung as more of a cat and jungkookie like a cute labrador.”
“taehyung, he needs you in room 412. go already.”
“is someone dying?”
“there’s no code?”
taehyung waves it away. “let him sweat a little.”
jimin snorts. “he already sweats enough trying to find his big boy pants when jungkook is around. cut him some slack.” he pauses thoughtfully. “seriously, is namjoon really allowing this to happen?”
at hearing the name of their resident supervisor, taehyung laughs. “please, if he lets this continue, yoongi-hyung is going to trip over himself sooner or later and make this whole thing get drawn out even further. then he’ll win the bet pool.”
frowning, jimin goes, “i thought we were in the lead, though? last week jungkook almost looked like he was going to hug yoongi and cry on his shoulder because of the printer incident, do you not remember the printer incident? what?”
“yeah, but then this shit happened,” taehyung points to jungkook, who can be seen sleeping on his stomach on the sofa. he hasn’t even taken his shoes off. “now namjoon-hyung is winning again. i feel like i bet half my salary on that pool, i’m winning it unless it kills me.” he starts walking backward, taking room 412’s file.
“don’t kill anybody,” jimin yells after him. he turns to the female nurse beside him and goes, “is namjoon seriously winning the betting pool?”
the dark haired nurse named eunha nods sympathetically. she’s looking at an excel spreadsheet on her screen. “yeah, he’s currently in the lead. damn, i really thought i was going to win this one.”
“don’t lose hope,” jimin says, picking up the phone as it rings his ear off in the shrill tone he’s come to hate intensely. smile, jimin. cheerful. “we might get them together before that.”
she holds up a weak fighting sign and jimin casually adds another case to yoongi’s patient list, answering the call pleasantly about a man who has an unidentified object stuck up his - ahem, eta 15 minutes. jungkook doesn’t have to know.
“feel like going out tonight?” jimin clicks his tongue to grab jungkook’s attention. he’s finishing up the last of his readings, his highlighting taking on a nasty curve near the end of the line. jungkook feels more than exhausted; his entire body feels drawn out and wan. he smiles at jimin and shakes his head, blinking down at the papers in his hands.
“i think i’m going to go sleep,” jungkook admits, rubbing at his eyes. with a yawn, he downs the rest of his coffee and throws it in a pretty neat throw in the blue and white trash can in the corner of their room. the time they’ve booked is almost up, anyways.
“only 8pm and already falling asleep,” the other shakes his head, but he laughs. “not a bad idea, honestly. i think we all need a break. stuff is getting pretty nasty around this time of year.”
“finals is coming up so fast,” jungkook groans.
“everyone gets a little crazy,” jimin says darkly. “people walking like zombies, forgetting about personal hygiene, and killing any person that gets in their way.”
“are you talking about yourself?”
jimin flicks his forehead. “hey, at least i remember to put on deodorant after my shower,” he scoffs, referring to an incident they had with taehyung where he ran out of deodorant and opted to douse himself in cologne for the last two days of school because there is no time to waste holy shit i have a biochem exam in like TWO HOURS -
“i told you we should have bought him a shower caddie for his birthday,” jungkook snickers, packing up his stuff. with the last rush of his coffee, he finds just enough energy to put all of these things back into his bag and tug the zipper up. hoisting it over his back and checking his phone for the first time in over two hours, he frowns when he realizes that he’s gotten no new messages - which is weird in itself - before his brain catches up to the little airplane sign in the corner.
“but seriously,” jimin starts as they close to the door to the room and start heading toward the main entrance of the library, “people are literally killing each other. did you know they found another body on campus? it was that shitty dude that went around bugging a lot of people and blackmailing them to do his work - you know the one? junhyung? i think you had a class with him.”
“damn; i mean, he was a bad guy, but i wouldn’t want him to be dead,” jungkook breathes. with growing worry, he turns to jimin; “are you being safe when you go home? i mean, hyung, what if someone gets you too...”
“i can fight them off, look at these,” patting his arms proudly.
“but what if they get you unconscious?”
“hey, no logic,” jimin retorts, before softening. “i’ll be fine, i literally live a block away in the dorms. it’s you i’m worried about; you have to walk all the way to your apartment. are you sure yoongi-hyung can’t pick you up?”
“he’s not answering,” jungkook shrugs. “besides, i think i’ll be okay. really.”
“yeah, you can just punch any mugger in the face, huh?”
“if anything, yoongi-hyung is more likely to get murdered than me,” jungkook says mockingly, and jimin snorts and goes don’t even joke about that. jungkook shudders at the thought of it and frowns down again at the sluggish white light of his phone screen. “i hope they find this guy soon.”
“hey, they will.” jimin pats him on the shoulder comfortably and waves as he heads the opposite direction. “stay safe, jungkook!”
waving back, jungkook watches jimin go for a moment, keeping a critical eye on his best friend until he can see him disappear in the distance. then he puts on his headphones and peers at his phone, going through his notes that he has synced to a documents app.
the walk to his apartment is less than ten minutes away, even if it is chilly enough for jungkook to be feeling it in his bones; that makes it way longer, honestly. he clenches his teeth down hard and revels in the warmth of his building before heading to the elevator - quickly - and shrugging off any snow. all he wants to do is sit an home with yoongi and maybe watch a movie on the couch, drink something and forget about all the homework he has to do.
as jungkook’s opening the door, a strange sense washes over his back. he pauses uneasily at the door, wondering why yoongi hasn’t texted or even called him in the last few hours. his hands shake a little, fingers numb and cold - jungkook’s not entirely sure if it’s from the winter night or from something else. unbidden, his earlier macabre thought pops up in his head: yoongi-hyung is more likely to get murdered than i am.
their shared apartment is dark. jungkook swallows thickly and flips the switch, blinking at the swatch of yellow light that fills their living room. there’s no one here; everything is as how he left it in the morning. with a lump in his throat, jungkook kicks off his boots and slings his backpack over the edge of a chair.
he takes out his phone and texts yoongi first, a couple of things like where are you hyung and you haven’t answered me in a while, hyung and are you at the studio? want to get dinner? if all else fails, then asking yoongi about food will always manage to snap him out of it. he has a preternatural gift for knowing when someone is talking about a meal.
jungkook sets his phone down on the coffee table and grabs a water bottle from the kitchen. the back of his neck still prickles, and when he blearily turns around to see the dark hallway leading up to their bedroom, a chill runs up his spine. he wipes his fingers on the hem of his white shirt and tugs at the edge of his bangs, wondering why he’s feeling uneasy. maybe it’s because yoongi isn’t home, and the words from earlier keep swirling around in his head.
heading to his bedroom, the floorboards creak underneath his feet. jungkook opens up the bedroom door he and yoongi share together, wanting to change out of his jeans and into some comfy sweatpants. he heads straight to one of the dressers they have opening it up and pulling out a comfy sweater to pull over his head as well; as he’s rummaging through everything for his best pair of sweats, he feels a pair of hands slink around him from behind.
jumping slightly, jungkook tenses - “relax, it’s just me.”
yoongi’s lying heavily over his back, head resting against jungkook’s shoulderblades. it’s an awkward position, because jungkook is kneeling and looking for a pair of sweats pushed all the way to the back of his drawer, but he feels a moment of warmth wash over him.
“where were you?”
“mm, bathroom,” yoongi murmurs, in a very good mood. his hands briefly squeeze jungkook’s waist before he pulls away, standing up with a little promise to change his clothes; jungkook turns around to get a good look at him, at his black shirt and gray jeans, the dusky blond of his recently dyed hair, the red smeared all over his hands and the lower half of his face.
jungkook sighs; “hyung.” sure enough, when he looks down, a pair of darkened hand prints rest where yoongi had just hugged him.
yoongi smiles, kneeling down again from where he had been standing, reaching forward to pressed a thumb at the corner of jungkook’s mouth. the taste of metal edges at his mouth.
“i broke my promise to do only one,” yoongi says softly, looking contrite. “sorry.”
“do you at least throw him in the river or something?” jungkook pats at yoongi’s hand gently, telling him to move away. he pulls out a couple of wet wipes from the last drawer, where he keeps a lot of the random stuff to clean yoongi up. to clean his messes up. gently, jungkook wipes the blood away from yoongi’s hands, and then his face. it’s already turning to rust, a dark brown color.
“that was a rookie mistake,” yoongi says. “it’s been a while.”
“i know,” jungkook says quietly.
“can i kiss you?”
jungkook purses his lips but leans forward to press his lips against yoongi’s. his mouth tastes like blood, too.
“you won’t want to do anymore right now, right? now that you finished with those two?” jungkook breathes when he pulls away, so close to yoongi that his eyelashes flutter against yoongi’s skin.
“anything for you,” yoongi agrees, smiling again. jungkook imagines it had been the last thing junhyung, who had bothered jungkook for weeks, had seen, like a serene angel of death; but it’s certainly not the last for jungkook.
he smiles back in return, soft and sincere, and goes, “want to watch a movie, hyung?”
jungkook pulls on his yellow vest, rubbing at his tired eyes. while seoul is still awake outside, jungkook wants to do nothing more than sleep. because of his late morning classes, he’s always the one stuck with the late night shifts. he usually doesn’t mind it too much - there’s not a lot of people around, his boss always lets him take what snacks he wants as long as they’re under 20,000 won for one night, and he can have free wifi from the coffee shop connected to the convenience store. but he’d really prefer it, jungkook thinks, to be able to go home and sleep sometimes too. he only really goes off shift sometime around 4 am, when taehyung comes in to take over.
jimin, the person who was on shift before him, waves as jungkook heads behind the counter. he pulls out his books and waves back vaguely, watching jimin pile onto his bike with tired limbs, his backpack swinging after him.
at ten pm, there’s a steady trickle of people that come in once in a while. either to pick up food or something else from the shelves, drolly wait for jungkook to ask for their ids if they’re getting beer or cigarettes, and the odd high school student getting home from cram school wanting to pick up dinner before heading home to study more. sometimes the random person will drop by to get something, but usually, none of the students sit here to eat.
the oddest thing about their convenience store is that it’s connected to a coffee shop right next door. it had been one big restaurant a long time ago, jungkook remembers his boss saying, but somewhere along the way he didn’t have the money or the energy to run such a big business anymore. he was also too stuck in his own previous debts to be able to make two separate places, so what he had done was split the building into two - one side, a dimly lit twenty-four hour convenience store, and the other, an indie all night coffee shop. they were separated by a glass wall - the only problem was that the wall was see through one way and non see through the other. it’s a little odd, but jungkook hadn’t asked why it was that way when he was getting interviewed for the job.
people in the convenience store can get an eyeful of the stressed out college students and indie-loving customers from their side, but most of them don’t stick around long enough to really look. after a while, it’s oddness had lost its hold on jungkook - there’s only so many people at the end of the day, after all, and at 2 am there’s really a handful of faces that he can recognize that show up everyday. seokjin, the manager of the coffee shop, is usually there all night and looking as fresh as a daisy (jungkook, jimin, and taehyung have a bet that he’s secretly not human), there is always that one girl with her laptop (she has a pororo sticker!) that’s studying some kind of science in the table in the corner, sometimes a boy from the nearest high school hangs out there with bandages on his elbows and his head stuck in a literature book, and sometimes there’s an old man who sleeps in the back table. (jungkook is pretty sure he just likes the heater, because they’re all sure he’s not homeless, just a bit poor - well, who isn’t?) jungkook has seen all their faces over and over long enough that they’ve become part of the scenery now. he used to feel awkward turning his back toward that wall and studying at his counter, but he’s long since gone past that.
it’s a bit warm, so jungkook turns on the little fan near his chair to make sure there’s some air circulating around. he checks the shelves for anything he needs to restock, shuffles some of the milk so that it doesn’t look as asymmetric in their neat line, and takes a banana milk for himself. he puts a 100 won coin in the register, too.
there are a couple of snacks that he brought from his house that are stashed away in his bag, like the family sized bag of sea salt potato chips and a whole other box of chocolate he likes to nibble on whenever he’s focused and in the mood to study. jungkook plays on his phone for a little while, looking away from the screen once or twice to ring up a customer. he gets an older guy with a five o’clock shadow coming in to grab a packet of ramen, asking where the hot water for it is (jungkook points it out to him) and a pair of boys that appear around 11pm to buy some ice cream and head out, laughing all the while.
jungkook rubs at his wrists as he pulls away from the register; it always needs a bit of elbow grease to close properly. around 11:30 he stops texting his friends and watching random videos on youtube to pull out his books. he sets one of his favorite studying timers (the ones with cute trees that will die if he leaves the app - jungkook is too invested) and sets his phone aside to charge. he opens up his books and starts flipping through him, absentmindedly spinning a pencil in the other hand.
not a lot of people show up around this time, which is why jungkook is free to do his work as he wants. there’s only to be far less people that show up from here on out, what with this particular convenience store being nearer a residential college housing area than a really populous place like one of the main streets near a shopping district or something. it’s usually busy around finals time, but right now the weather is warm outside and school is in a lull, so everyone’s probably catching up on some semblance of sleep.
jungkook yawns thinking about sleep. with another sip of his milk (cold enough to chill his fingertips) he opens up his traditional korean music textbook and starts to read.
the words swim in front of his eyes for a moment, but jungkook continues to blink through it and read all the way until the end. different types of musical notes dance in front of his eyes, and he wonders how in the world he’s going to do this in the future. with resignation, he pulls open his notebook and starts copying down notes.
it’s around 2 am that he finally pulls away from his work, his back cracking. no one has been in to buy anything for the past hour. underneath the dim fluorescent lights, jungkook blinks sleepily and wonders if at some point his eyelids will just give up and close themselves for him. it’s almost a nice thought. he rubs at them once more and shuts his book, taking a short break out of all this mess.
jungkook thinks about the kind of song he wants to write. sometimes he really doesn’t know. it’s like the music is in his brain but it feels physically impossible to get it out onto paper. lying back in his chair, jungkook runs a hand through his hair and spins around his chair, taking lazy note of everything that’s going on around him.
what catches his eye on the third spin around, however, is guy standing a couple of meters away from him, his hand outstretched and raised toward the wall. he’s gesturing at it animatedly, broad hands pressed against the flat surface; a beanie covers most of his dark hair and there’s a silver chain around his neck, standing out against his steel gray shirt. the person he’s sitting with, a taller guy with a button nose and questioning eyebrows, sits back and crosses his arms. they’re at a small booth near the wall, papers strewn across the lacquered surface.
the dark haired one scowls and reaches down for something in his bag. when he pulls up with a dry erase marker, uncapping it quickly, jungkook blinks. when he starts drawing the opening lines of sheet music, jungkook straightens. he checks this way and that, feeling a little silly, but despite himself he goes closer to the guy and his quick scribbles.
it’s not a piece that he can recognize right off the bat, but there’s a large “piano” written backward that jungkook can make out on the top corner. his brow is focused and intense, writing something out in the spaces and lines that he can find. how is he doing this all of from memory? jungkook leans in a bit closer, glad for the two-way mirror, and blinks. he reads the music notes backward, reverting them properly in his head, and can almost hear the swell of music in his ears as the notes start to take form in his mind; first easy, like a steady beat, and then growing - more and more - building up in halves and quarters - before a sharp crash and then -
he’s stopped writing. jabbing at the one way mirror and gesturing to his friend, who sighs and looks more thoughtful now. he says something (jungkook can’t make it out) and the dark haired guy writes another note. jungkook is tempted to draw something - a higher chord would be nice here - but he can’t do anything. his fingers reach out to brush against the marker, and when he looks up, the guy is looking straight at him.
jungkook steps away, a strike of fear running through him, before he realizes that - there’s no way. he’s been in the coffee shop many, many times; there’s just no way that he can see jungkook. it was just a mistake, just a fluke. probably was staring at something and met - met his eyes unknowingly? isn’t it jungkook’s fault for really looking up?
he moves away from the glass and heads back to his spot behind the table, flustered and a little bit worried. he doesn’t turn back around, so he doesn’t see the confused gaze following in his general direction from the other side of the glass wall. jungkook sets his headphones in his ears and breathes in deeply, leaning forward to rest his head against the countertop. he has two more hours to go.
his mind runs over musical chords and notes, but the image of dark eyes are still stuck on the forefront of his mind.
Chapter 48: pale heart
hi friends i want to get back into the swing of writing so have something small
flower boy, pale heart, won’t you love me the same?
jungkook takes note of it when he’s walking back to his apartment in the middle of the night, his feet tripping over each other and his fingers fumbling with the number keys of his front lock. the ends of his fingers bloom, painful and sudden, like pricking your finger on needles. they’re dotted buttercup blossoms, yellow and fresh, and when he brings them up to his nose they still smell of sweetness.
he stares at them in horror, breathes in, and mentally prepares himself. with one swift yank, he tears out the petals and lets them fall to the floor, crushed and set into pavement and mud. jungkook rushes into his house, bloody handprints left on the edge of his door, and forces himself to forget.
his name is jeon jungkook.
he likes when he can drink without worrying about his liver, when jimin buys him food, when he can go to class without feeling nausea rising at the back of his throat. his name is jeon jungkook. he has written the curving loops of his lettered name for so long they’ve become muscle memory, infinite pastimes, a tag as familiar to him as his own breathing. his name is jeon jungkook. i like something, he says, but i don’t like anything enough to revolve around it.
maybe that was part of the problem.
maybe that’s when he said, my name is min yoongi, jungkook felt that in his bones. yes, that - that meant something.
it’s true to knowledge that jungkook rarely falls first. his heart is carefully curated and while he likes romance, it has always been the romance suited for movie screens and dreams. in reality? well. jungkook knows, more than anyone else, that romance meant for the streets is much like trying to live prosperously; it’s a waste. he despises it. something acrid at the back of your tongue.
jimin says he’s too young to be so faded, so upset. jungkook doesn’t know how to be any other way.
yoongi presses his fingers into jungkook’s wrist, says, i didn’t like anything. things caught my interest for a while, but never long enough to mean anything.
that’s part of the problem, jungkook whispers.
yeah, it is. that’s part of the problem.
hyung, what’s this song supposed to mean? it sounds painful.
i don’t know. i thought if i could be angry at the world, maybe i’d be less upset, but it hasn’t worked so far.
should i go?
no, jungkook. you - you....i like being with you. what he doesn’t say, what jungkook hears: you will always mean something. to me.
yoongi took one whole week off, out of the blue, after that conversation. he had been pale, shaky, with sunken in eyes that followed jungkook’s every move. his hands were always stuffed in his pockets, mouth chapped, and jungkook would spy pops of color from his fingertips. he never thought much of it.
some might say he had been in love. jungkook thinks that it had started with yoongi’s name, ended with tragedy, all the words unsaid between them.
now it’s his turn.
flower boy, pale heart. you meant something to me, will you pretend you don’t love me back the same?
Chapter 49: empty vessels
when i wrote this i was thinking of an a:tla au where yoongi is part of the fire nation and is now the new fire lord through a coup d'etat and jungkook is the former crown prince meant to be the next fire lord only to be demoted to a prince consort ): i wanted to write a whole fic on this rlly jldkjh
even his singing sounds hollow.
jungkook waits on the precipice of his lake. the evening sun glitters across the edge of it, reflecting back orange and gold, a mockery of fine luxury. if he places his fingers in the water, they disappear into thin waves, circling out and far away.
he spends his last few daylight hours out here, wind biting his cheeks ruddy, fingers paling with cold. jungkook has no expectations. his knees ache with ghosts of a forgotten drum, pounding with every step. he brushes back his hair and throws his wool shawl over his shoulders, buckles down, and easily breaks.
yoongi finds him like this, still and pale, like a ghost of death.
“your highness,” he starts, voice low.
jungkook stares at the edge of the water.
“you’ll catch your death out here.”
yoongi is slim for a warrior. he has broad shoulders and wide hands, but he’s not like the other warrior kings, with bodies built sturdy like trees, feet like roots in the ground. he can cut with an easy breeze. jungkook never hears him coming. jungkook’s voice fades into obscurity with the setting sun, as it always does. yoongi cares for music, no matter how much he pretends that polishing his sword is the only pleasure he holds in life.
his heart, too, is a war drum. jungkook aches to know that he has heard it well.
“leave me alone,” he whispers, unable to speak louder, voice cracking humiliatingly. “leave me alone.”
“your highness - “
“shut up,” he starts, louder this time. “shut up shut up shut up. don’t call me that.”
how he missed the sound of his name. no one calls him jungkook anymore. it’s always crown prince jungkook, your lord, your highness, your grace. how sweet these people are, willing to accept a sham of a marriage, willing to keep a facade of respect around jungkook while his husband rules on his blood and iron throne. jungkook’s throne. the one he was supposed to inherit.
and now? now he is here. staring at the edge of his lake, situated at the heart of distant palace, dressed in finery fit for a king. that’s what he is: an image without substance. a king without a crown. a prince by marriage, to the very man who tore down every scrap of his life, rebuilt it in his image, and married jungkook to rub the salt into his wounds.
yoongi comes forward, footsteps for once heavy and loud, before kneeling down at jungkook’s side. it is a political marriage. jungkook remembers the boy who held his hand as they ran through the city streets, uncaring of status, wealth, power, or politics.
in the reflection of the rippling water, yoongi is no more boy, a man. his expression is as it always has been - somber, guilty, grave. there is something defeated in his eyes when jungkook flinches away from him. if jungkook cannot hurt him for tearing down his family, he can hurt him like this.
“come back before dark,” yoongi says, trying to sound comforting. it doesn’t work. “please.”
jungkook doesn’t answer. he dips his hands in the water again. ripples move through the reflection once more, destroying the mirror, the illusion of gold. gently, he starts to sing his evening song again, uncaring of the roughness his voice lends to the lyrics. yoongi doesn’t leave his side, but he doesn’t try to talk to him again either. jungkook wonders what he had ever found to love in that empty metal husk of a man.