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If I Let Go Of Your Hand...

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We meet. We always meet, somehow we're always thrown together, no matter where I go, no matter how I try to distance myself from you. It never matters. You always find me. - Fallen, Lauren Kate.

 

 


 

 

Jinanseo, 8/4/1994

 

 

 

Fact: Coffee was only brought to the city of Jinanseo in 1713.

 

  

 

 

Now, Jungkook is no historian, he just knows a hell of a lot about Jinanseo.

 

 

 

  

Jungkook, a man with not much known talent to speak of, knows many, many things, such as the exact words to say to make Kim Taehyung smile, even though he doesn't like smiling when he's sad or it's raining, he knows, at least, that in Summer Taehyung's smile is much brighter than what the sun has to offer. 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, back to the coffee: he stands at the counter of Café Byeol with a cup in his hand, one of those cheap papery ones for take away orders, probably made in batches of a hundred in no more than a minute, and holds it under the coffee machine. The bitter liquid pours out effortlessly, swirling around in a shade of umber, seemingly more black than brown, an ugly shade compared to the brown of Taehyung's irises. When the cup is full, he hands it to the scowling lady at the counter, and she tosses him a five thousand won note in return with crumples across its every square millimetre, and leaves without a Thank You. Her coffee, dull and unsweetened, suits her very well.

 

 

 

 

"Rude bitch," Jungkook curses as she exits the building, and hopes to God she doesn't hear him. He glares at her as she disappears into the dark fog that covers Jinanseo on this awfully sombre day. The sky is a grotesque shade of purple—the same morose shade that has tainted Jinanseo since before even coffee was introduced there.

 

 

 

 

 

He can say for sure, and the way he has been acting should have already indicated it, Jungkook is in a terrible mood. And this time he cannot blame the weather and its strange effects on his mental state. It is the eighth of April 1994, and as much as he loves the 1990s, he is bored and lonely. It has been years since he last saw Taehyung, and he isn't patient enough for the world to bring them together again. 

 

 

 

 

 

The news drones a report through the little countertop radio about Kurt Cobain, about his suicide, and all the other details Jungkook has heard before, considering the 1990s is a period in time he is familiar with. So that being said, he has heard this very news report once or twice before, over seventy lifetimes ago. After all today is the day Kurt is found dead. Death is such an impacting thing, but in many ways it is underrated. It is strange to think that, even though Cobain died in 1994, Nirvana and their music is still popular even in twenty years time. He would know. He knows many, many things. Mostly about Taehyung, but also about time.

 

 

 

 

 

Actually that's the furthest into the future he's been before—twenty years from now: August twenty-eighth, 2014, to be exact.

 

 

 

 

 

Lord, all this makes it sound like Jungkook has some sort of time traveling machine, like the microwave in Steins;Gate...or a DeLorean or even that phone box from Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure. He doesn't, honestly. He is no time traveler—his existence is not worthy of such a magnificent feat, as said before he has no known talents to speak of. Kim Taehyung is very fond of time travel however. He loves it. Dr. Who has always been Taehyung's favourite series in the lifetimes after 1963 when it began to air.  Which means that if or when Taehyung and Jungkook meet this year, in the early 1990s, it will be his favourite again.

 

 

 

 

 

Because this, right here in the present, is 1994, in the obscure city of Jinanseo, a dull year in a modern lifetime, which Jungkook spends yet again in hope that Taehyung will find him and they will share some noteworthy moments together. He misses Taehyung, and his smile, and how much he loves watching Dr. Who, and right now he would beg on both knees that they find each other again. The so-called 'positive' side of the situation is that he knows, with a level of certainty you will be certain is untrue, that he and Taehyung will find each other again. It is one of the many things he knows, and he knows it like he knew it when they met in 1713 - in Jinanseo's very first coffee shop, as well as many lifetimes before and after that one, they will find each other. They always do.

 

 

 

 

 

An hour after the rude woman threw her crumpled money at him, a voice calls, "Jungkook?" from the kitchen of Café Byeol and the sound waves are not so closely followed by a tall, handsome, brown haired man who Jungkook just happens to be recent friends with: Jaehwan. He says, "I've go business to attend, do you mind closing up tonight?" He finishes the question with a sweet little smile.

 

 

 

 

 

"Fine by me." Jungkook replies. "You got another date with Seokjin?" 

 

 

 

 

 

At this Jaewhan blushes and averts his eyes in an impossible amount of directions, "Jungkook! Don't say that so openly!"

 

 

 

 

 

"I'll take that as a yes." He teases. "Plus no one is here to judge anyway. We've been empty all afternoon, deadly quiet. Hand me the keys to lock up and have a nice date, Jaehwan."

 

 

 

 

 

The older man rolls his eyes and hugs Jungkook goodbye. It is a tight hug—one childhood friends might share, or friends with strong emotional bonds, not two people who barely know each other. Handing Jungkook the keys, Jaehwan realises what he did and gasps in surprise. "God Jungkook, sorry, that must have just been instinct. Goodbye!" He hurries out of the café and Jungkook watches him scurry across the road, dodging the traffic. 

 

 

 

 

 

Jaehwan is shocked as he has only known Jungkook for three days in this universe, as it was three days ago that Seokjin finally introduced them to each other. Thus, he is surprised at how his instincts told him to hug Jungkook. What he doesn't know is that he and Jungkook have met on four occasions in past lifetimes, but he won't remember them like Jungkook does for they were alternative universes. To Jungkook, the hug was natural because they have been very best friends before.

 

 

 

 

 

Don't feel sorry for him, this is his 247th lifetime, he is used to being forgotten by his closest friends at this point. You could say he is numb to the pain. Old news. Built that wall over two-hundred years ago. Suck it up, Jungkook. And plus, there is a person much more significant to him who has forgotten him too many times to count, so a lost friendship is just a small step compared to that.

 

 


 

 

 

The doorbell chimes, the clock reads 4:56, and Jungkook drones Seokjin's entrance speech: "Welcome to Café Byeol, coffees and European desserts."

 

 

 

 

 

Usually, people ignore this and slam their orders in Jungkook's face in the form of speech, but today a familiar voice replies: "Oh! Hello!"

 

 

 

 

 

Jungkook almost laughs because he is such an idiot and yet I still fucking love the shit out of him.

 

 

 

 

 

"Hello!" He says to Taehyung, happily now, as the older boy shuts the door in his faded jeans and red, black and white striped T-shirt, smelling strongly of vanilla. As he steps closer he becomes all the more vivid, and even the false peonies in the vases on each table seem to bloom as he steps towards the counter.

 

 

 

 

 

There is no mistaking it: this is Taehyung. Skin not dark but beautifully sunkissed, like he's been abroad and caught a tan but really he is naturally like that. He glows. He has a defined jawline but it isn't sharp like Jungkook's—it is soft. Like his cheeks too, those gentle cheeks that blush and puff out a little as he smiles. His eyebrows are covered only slightly by his hair today even though they usually like to hide underneath his fringe. No, today his hair is messily arranged like he has been out in the wind, and a lot more of his forehead is on display. His eyes are always the same. Big, wide eyes that droop a little in the far corners. Those beautiful irises, golden brown almost in the light. And his lips—God, his lips, boxy and plush. Both his upper lip and lower thick and pouty, a wonderful shade of coral pink. Yes this is Taehyung because Jungkook knows him better than anything – anyone - else. Taehyung is his home.

 

 

 

 

 

He grins at Jungkook - God his grin is perfect - and parts those kissable pink lips to state his order, "Hmm, let me see, I'll have a-"

 

 

 

 

 

"Medium hot chocolate with only the white marshmallow and a pump of vanilla syrup?"

 

 

 

 

 

Taehyung pulls a completely bewildered expression. Unsurprising to Jungkook, of course, he doesn't know who Jungkook is. He did, but he forgets, this has already been discussed. "Yes puh...please, no pink ones, b-but-" he begins though Jungkook has already predicted what he is going to say. "How on earth did you guess that?"

 

 

 

 

 

By this point Jungkook is already filling up the white Café Byeol mug with the hot chocolate because he knows Taehyung will be staying to drink it. He hates ordering to take away because it makes him feel rude and he enjoys tipping the staff after having his drink. And plus he never liked those cheap papery cups. "You know what they say: A waiter must be blessed with the ability to read minds before applying for his job."

 

 

 

 

 

Taehyung blushes and taps two fingers in a hushed beat against the counter, "I don't think I've heard that one before, and I am a waiter."

 

 

 

 

 

Knowing Taehyung won't find his comments believable, he decides to use another excuse to see if it words, "You get used to customers. I can tell what people want when they walk right in, Tae-" He pauses and swallows the rest of Taehyung's name, "T-Take a seat by the radiator if you want, it is chilly out today." Nice save, idiot.

 

 

 

 

 

Taehyung chuckles as he hands him the drink, with a chocolate cookie on the side how he likes it. "Thanks. And yeah, it is pretty cold." He takes the drink and begins walking away but turns back a mere second later, "Hey. Two things. Firstly I haven't paid for this cookie-"

 

 

 

 

 

"-On the house for our nicest customers." Jungkook smiles, enjoying the feeling of spoiling the boy he loves.

 

 

 

 

 

Taehyung blushes again - a subtle pink that creeps across his cheeks, "Secondly, do I know you from somewhere?"

 

 

 

 

 

Ah! the inevitable question. This is the official 247th time Jungkook has been asked it and that's not even counting all the friends he's made over time, like Jaehwan and Seokjin, Jimin, Namjoon. Hundreds of people.

 

 

 

 

 

"Jinanseo is," he explains, "a small city. Might have just walked past you a few times."

 

 

 

 

 

Taehyung nods in response, "It's strange. You just feel so...familiar. Thanks for the cookie." 

 

 

 

 

Jungkook smiles but doesn't reply. He knows that in about twenty minutes he'll look in the tip tray to find an exact one-thousand-five-hundred won in shining change for the cookie sitting in a neat pile in the corner.

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

Reading the clock he decides to close the café early and that the batch of cookies he just made aren't going to be eaten what with the lack of customers. When he gets to the counter to check the tip tray, he finds it completely empty and a fucking tumbleweed may as well roll across it because it looks that damn barren. This leaves him with one possible explanation. He scopes out the room and is correct.

 

 

 

 

 

He isn't talented; just very good at finding Taehyung.

 

 

 

 

 

There is a table, one of the nicer tables that stands against the wall by the heater and not the big glass windows, much more private and obviously warmer than the other tables. Taehyung has his head rested and burrowed upon his left arm, which is folded inwards for extra comfort. Jungkook hears all of a sudden a slight inhaling and exhaling from his mouth, he loves the sound of Taehyung breathing, and he has the MP joint in his index finger lightly tucked against his lips. His hair is looser, each strand falling effortlessly upon his forehead. Taehyung looks at peace in his sleep, but it is closing time and Jungkook would much rather he sleep in a bed than uncomfortably against a table in Café Byeol.

  

 

 

 

"Tae- I mean, hey, wakey wakey." Jungkook pats Taehyung's shoulder gently and it feels nice to touch him again.

 

 

 

 

He stirs a little, and his eyelids flutter open. He shivers at the coldness of the room as Jungkook has just turned the heaters off. "Oh, Jungkook, sorry...I fell asleep." he completely freezes, looking more awake now, "Sorry I must just be tired...I made up a name, I-"

 

 

 

 

Jungkook shuffles where he is stood and does his best to save Taehyung from his confusion. When the older boy blinks he reaches into his breast pocket and pulls out his work badge reading 'JUNGKOOK' in big blue characters and clips it onto his shirt. "You must have read my name tag! I...I was wearing it earlier!"

 

  

 

 

Taehyung exhales and takes a look at Jungkook's chest to see. "God, I must have. I don't have as much skill as you, Jungkook, when it comes to guessing things about people." He seems to blush when he says Jungkook's name - as much as Taehyung's tanned skin lets him - and then pull a face as if he has just spoken a different language he never knew he could speak. "Jungkook." he repeats again, reaching to run a finger across the petals of the faux-peonies on the table. "Such a nice name."

 

 

 

 

 

Your name is too, Jungkook wants to say but cannot. There is a cage around every word he speaks to his old lover. "What's your name?" He asks despite knowing it so well already.

 

 

 

 

 

With a grin Taehyung replies, "Kim. Kim Taehyu-" and then his stomach growls with hunger and he doesn't finish saying his name.

 

 

 

 

 

Jungkook already knows it of course and so he laughs and looks down at the older boy. "Say, would you like some tomato soup? 'was gonna cook some up before leaving." he lies.

 

 

 

 

"Jungkook, I'd hate to seem rude or like a burden but tomato soup is my favourite meal...I don't even know if I can resist the offer."

  

 

 

 

"Come on, an-" Jungkook bites his tongue at the 'an' and replaces the 'gel' with, "Yuh-You know that phrase: you never deny the soup of a man from Busan."

 

 

  

 

"No, I don't know it, but making up phrases seems a nervous habit of yours. OK, Jungkook, I'll have dinner with you." he smiles, softly this time.

 

 

 

 

Taehyung's feelings from the first lifetime and every time they've met since have reached him. Feelings of love, torment, passion, rapture and death. They surround him like the bars of a prison cell, and when he looks out of the bars and sees such wonderful sites and thinks he will be able to explore them. However he glances at the bar he's holding, rusted over and ice cold, and in the blurred reflection hangs a rope from the ceiling, creating such a harrowing loop.

 

 

 

 

The thing with meeting Taehyung is that Jungkook can never get out of it. He was born only to suffer and it is all Jungkook's fault. Every time they meet it’s already the end, and Jungkook has to repeat this over and over and over. And for the 247th time Jungkook will take the blame yet again.

 

 

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

Together they chop the fresh tomatoes and Jungkook cooks the soup for him just how he likes it: sweet, salty and boiling hot, with a kick of spice. When it’s over, they sit together on a table beside the only heater Jungkook kept on, sipping the soup from their spoons. Taehyung grates cheddar cheese on top, grinds a little pepper because Jungkook never adds enough and takes a sip of water after every spoonful. Jungkook cleans the plates—so that Seokjin won't gut him if he finds out he is leaving dirty dishes eaten from by non-paying customers, and picks up the keys and his coat from the hooks by the counter. He holds his coat over his arms and swings his keys round his finger in an eight-shaped loop pattern as he walks over to Taehyung by the door.

 

 

 

 

 

"Thank you, Jungkook, so much...for everything."

 

 

 

 

 

Jungkook laughs weakly at this. "For what, Taehyung? Dinner isn't much, it’s barely anything."

 

 

"It is!" Taehyung shouts. "It is a lot, and I don't know why but it was wonderful so I'm allowed to thank people when they make me happy like this. OK?"

 

 

He shivers a little, so Jungkook unfolds his coat from over his arm, patting Taehyung's shoulder so that he turns and faces away from him. The notion makes Taehyung jump and he almost melts at the touch, despite even the cold April weather. Jungkook places the coat over Taehyung's shoulders and the older pushes his arms through the sleeves before he has even processed the situation. "Jungkook." He mutters, letting the name roll from his tongue. He turns back to Jungkook and fishes around in his pocket for something. Finally, he brings his hand forward and holds out a flat palm full of money. Five-thousand won, for the soup and the cookie, Jungkook guesses.

 

 

Taehyung always gives and hates taking, so much so that Jungkook thinks he is stripped of anything precious to him. If Taehyung takes, he gives in response. Taehyung is a man with a kind heart, and he couldn't care less about money. So he holds this money out to Jungkook but Jungkook knows he could use it for something else, something better than him. He doesn't deserve it. He doesn't want it. Taehyung is enough for him. He places his hand atop Taehyung's and neither man is afraid of the touch. He rolls Taehyung's fingers into a fist with the money safe inside.

 

  

"Free," he says, "for our most treasures customers."

 

 

Jungkook feels tears brewing around his sensitive eyes, his tear ducts twitch, and his temples ache horridly. He blinks the water away. Taehyung simply smiles at him, not commenting on how he changed the quote completely, and Jungkook almost thinks Taehyung is going to hug him. He looks at the older boy closely, how his hair is a little longer and wavier than when they last met, how he is softer and less muscular than the previous few times, how there is a beautiful rose-tinted shade across his cheeks and how the glow of the streetlight illuminates his eyes as if they are stars.

 

 

"Thanks Jungkook." He says, "I hope to see you again...t-to return the coat, of course."

 

  

"You will see me again," Jungkook replies with watery eyes, not mentioning the coat because he wants Taehyung to keep it, "it is a promise." He watches his past lover cross the road carefully; looking left then right like a cautious child, and heading to the train station down another street. When he is out of sight, Jungkook cups his hand over his mouth and drops to the floor. No one is around him, thank God, as he sits there and chokes on his tears in the street corner.

 

 

Taehyung had said his name and he hadn’t even had to tell him.

 

  

“Wuh…what’s going on, angel?” Jungkook whimpers to himself. “How’d you know my name, huh?”

 

 

Fucking hell, that has never happened before and it worries Jungkook to the inner core of his body. It shakes his soul with a feeling he hasn't felt in a long time, one of complete shock and confusion, like he is a child thrown into a dark maze. Anything unknown in his goddamned hectic life is terrifying, because he has no one on the entire planet to talk to. Everything so far he has figured out alone, all by himself. He has been so scared on countless occasions.

 

 

But not in one single lifetime he has lived has Kim Taehyung known his name already. He didn’t read his nametag; he didn’t even have the damned thing on. It’s tucked and hidden in Jungkook’s chest pocket 24/7. And God, that's strange…unnerving. He picks himself up off the floor and heads home via train to his apartment to make himself a damn good hot chocolate and snuggle up in his duvet. It would be so wonderful if he had someone to talk to, but the sad reality is that he doesn’t. As he sips away at the hot chocolate with a sweet teaspoon of vanilla essence mixed in, his lips taste so much of Taehyung’s and it’s like they’re kissing again. His taste, his scent, his touch, his voice…

 

 

…Jungkook feels them. He feels them and it hurts

 

 

They are so in love that their hearts could stop beating in an instant. Thorns chain their souls, their emotions, their pain and their happiness together. The 247th petal will soon fall from its rose.

 

 


 

 

 

The next day begins with rainy skies, no Taehyung and a buzzing alarm that wants nothing else than to deeply annoy him. Seokjin sends about eighty messages to him within the five minutes of his awakened state. Sometimes the older man’s enthusiasm is too much, but at the end of the day it wakes Jungkook up - though forces him up works better. He brushes his teeth until they’re as minty as possible, shoves a slice of toast into his mouth then exits his apartment within the space of approximately eleven minutes. The rain stops pouring only when he gets to the train station, Jungkook’s luck, and he sits by the window soaking wet. Of all days to wear denim jeans, he chose today, not considering a rain fall drenching through the material and causing rashes and discomfort for further hours afterwards. He is not exactly capable of making rational decisions.

 

 

The train takes about two minutes to get to the shopping area of Jinanseo where Seokjin awaits with his dumb smile and tiring excitement. He slithers out through the doors and he practically jumps on Jungkook’s back from somewhere in the crowd. “Good God, Kim,” He spits at him, “Learn some decency.”

 

 

He laughs and pulls the younger out of the crowd to the start of the big row of bakeries, butchers and cafés, including the one and only Café Byeol, currently occupied by Jaehwan and Heechul. Seokjin waves at his partner through the window and Jaehwan pulls a face of despair in response – probably from having to deal with Heechul, what with his excessive use of puns and lack of understanding on the concept of personal space. They walk away after Seokjin has waved enough, and blown a few cheesy kisses through the glass. The entrance to Jinanseo’s big shopping centre is just down the street. In a ridiculously dangerous run, they dodge the cars that constantly zoom past Café Byeol at full speed and make it safely to the other side. Success sometimes comes from recklessness, in these lucky cases.

 

 

“Right: we’re going to head to the pharmacists for more of that skin treatment and then we’ll do something more fun, OK?” He says with a beaming grin.

 

 

“Sure thing,” Jungkook smiles, and Seokjin just grins effortlessly in response.

 


When Seokjin talks, it’s a one-way conversation. He updates Jungkook on just about everything in his life despite them only seeing one another two days ago. With a guy like him, a lot can go on. Whether it be unintentionally ordering an escort, accidentally ending up at a seminar in Thailand, or dancing alone to Billy Joel, Seokjin can squeeze copious activities into two days. Sadly he never shuts up whether you're interested or not, and even if you want to reply to whatever babble he’s spitting out, he doesn’t give you a single chance because he changes the topic in an instant. By the time they left the pharmacists and idly visited a few shops the sun is actually showing through the big glass ceiling of Jinanseo Shopping Centre, and the watch on Jungkook’s wrist reads 12.00 on its vintage clock face. They go for lunch, choosing this Japanese restaurant to eat at. The name is ‘Op-pie’, which makes Seokjin quite literally wheeze from laughter. God, it’s not even an intelligent name. Jungkook wonders if the place would be shut down if any of the other shops or the people in charge of the shopping centre understood the meaning of the name. It’s got a sort of sushi conveyer belt in the centre of the room, and the table is one long black rectangular counter, forming a big rectangle around the sushi belt. It’s nearly empty so they don’t have to wait, sitting near the far end of the table in what feels like seconds.

 

 

The waitress brings them tea and they inform her that they’ll be having some sushi before ordering a main meal. She nods, smiles and walks away. He listens to Seokjin talk again about god-knows-what while taking sips of his drink. It’s green tea, bitter and a little bland in his wise opinion, he can’t see any sugar in sight to sweeten it either. More people arrive, some sitting beside him, and the room is filled with a familiar smell of vanilla. His head hurts and he pays attention to barely anything. He feels no better than he did last night after returning home. More food is added to the belt, and he’s already eaten approximately eight plates of sushi by the time it turns half-past. It is nervous eating over nerves he doesn’t know the reason for.

 

 

“Are you ready to order?” The waitress says from behind him.

 

 

Nodding, he replies, “Yeah, I’ll have the yasai tempura and udon noodles. And he will have-” He points to Seokjin who is currently occupied on the phone, probably talking to Jaehwan, “-the chicken curry.” If Seokjin doesn’t like chicken curry, then Jungkook decides he’ll just have to deal with it.

 

 

“OK, it will be ready in ten minutes.” She smiles again, making her way back to the kitchen while writing down the order on her notepad.

 

 

He decides that the green tea tastes seriously gross, and thus he leans forward to get another one of the sushi dishes from the conveyer belt to flavour his mouth with something else. It’s cucumber sushi, and it looks pretty good, but he is not the only one that reaches for it. So gently, his hand brushes against someone else’s, the touch a feeling so familiar and he instantly knows who’s sat beside him. How did he not notice? The thought makes his stomach churn. He looks at the hand while he can, tanned a beautiful colour and sprinkled with undertones of gold from the sun. Jungkook’s eyes water a bit but he blinks it away. They wander up his arm, still golden until his elbow-length shirt begins. It’s a heavy onyx colour, which compliments him so well, V-neck design showing his collarbones, and tight fitting too.

 

 

Jungkook’s eyes travel to his, and they lock together. It feels like he’s collided with the universe when he looks into Taehyung’s eyes…that deep, brown world within his irises. He’s beautiful. Jungkook is dragged out of his thoughts like an angel being ousted from heaven.

 

 

“Jeon Jungkook,” Taehyung says just to play with the syllables of his name upon his tongue, “Who’d have thought I’d see you here.”

 

 

He laughs, genuinely. It’s just hilarious to him every time that he hears Taehyung say that line. It’s no coincidence at all, there’s no way of avoiding him. Somehow or another, they bump into each other again and again and again. If they were a film, it’d be like watching an infinite washing machine cycle. Of course to Jungkook - and to Taehyung - that isn’t the case.

 

 

“I know, what a coincidence,” Jungkook tells him with a completely unnecessary grin, “Must be fate or something.” Taehyung hums a laugh, but doesn’t say anything. His eyes look a bit sad, but in a lost kind of way. Wistful and lonely. “So,” Jungkook begins and the older snaps back to life. “The cucumber sushi…belted away.”

 

 

He responds with a very sarcastic laugh, “There’s some coming up now, you want it?” He asks.

 

 

“You can have it,” Jungkook says as he takes the sushi from the conveyer belt, handing the little dish to him, “You’re vegetarian, right?”

 

 

“What the fuck, Jungkook. Again with this whole guessing thing...” He chuckles, pushing forward the cucumber dish to Jungkook. “I’m vegetarian, sure, but you can have these. And seriously, how do you manage to guess so much about me? It makes me a little conscious, am I that easy to read? I hoped I had at least something special to me.”

 

 

Angel, you're more special than anyone else in this universe, Jungkook wants to tell him through the overwhelming guilt that he made him doubt his own perfection, though he is completely incapable of being able to speak. A loud laugh sounds beside Taehyung - interrupting Jungkook before he’s even parted his lips - and a long-faced girl with a cascade of dark hair leans forward to make eye contact with him. "If you had something special to you, you'd have a hell of a lot more friends than you do, Tae. The good genes went to your brother and sister." The girl laughs at her own joke, but Jungkook doesn't think of it as a joke at all. In fact, it was very insulting, and she clearly didn't realise that. Or maybe she did, and is just a cold-hearted bitch. What fucking rights does she have to talk to him like that, anyway?

 

 

 

"Chaewon, oh how you boost my confidence," Taehyung says to her with a roll of his eyes as if he is brushing off her rudeness. But Jungkook sees past it - he is upset by her words. Though he would never show that, he wants to seem composed in front of Jungkook. "I got Ma's smile at least. I've been told I have a rather pleasant one, much friendlier than yours, thankfully"

 

 

Again, she laughs, but this time in melodramatic offence, as if Taehyung said something ruder than what she had done. Jungkook looks over to Chaewon, she's got these awful dark eyes and pursed lips. Her skin is a paler shade than Taehyung’s and she doesn’t glow - she looks ill. The flesh on her cheeks looks rotting, almost. Everything about her is sharp; long black straight hair covering most of her face, pointed nose, blade-like jawline. Even her words sound piercing. The waitress arrives with her monotone smile again, repeating the order they made earlier and watching for their nods. She hands them the meals and leaves, stopping beside a couple to take their orders afterwards.

 

 

“So, Chaewon, Taehyung,” Jungkook starts harshly, picking up one of the fried sweet potato’s between his chopsticks, “Are you two together, or?” Jungkook would rather confirm it now than later, for seeing Taehyung in an abusive relationship again is something he would rather go the next millennia without.

 

 

Chaewon snorts much louder than she needed to, startling other people around the conveyer belt. “God, oh fuck no.” She prods Taehyung in the face like he is food on her plate she hates the taste of, earning a little distressed whine from him. “He’s my stepbrother, and he’s not half as good as my fiancé.” In an instant, Jungkook hates this girl. If Taehyung is half as good as her fiancé then her fiancé must be a fucking celestial god. It takes a hell of a lot to be anywhere near as good as Taehyung. In fact, Jungkook would refuse to believe even a God could compete with him. Though, he has never met a God before.

 

 

“And you,” She speaks again though Jungkook would rather tear his eyes out than hear her voice, and he tries not to hit her when she points her finger right at his face, “is he your boyfriend? You both look like faggots. All three of you, actually.”

 

 

Chaewon points to Taehyung, then Jungkook, then finally Seokjin, who sits carelessly enjoying his rice. But after hearing and processing Chaewon’s words, he freezes with wide eyes, not knowing what to do next. Usually Seokjin has the most rational decisions, instant, near-perfect ability to word an argument, and can defend himself sporadically, but somehow Chaewon has caused him to freeze up. He hates words like that, disgusting insults and the like, for they deter his train of thought and leave him paralysed. Especially considering that in this lifetime he is a closeted homosexual whose relationship with Jaehwan is disclosed exclusively to Jungkook, and Seokjin’s disbelieving, disowning, orthodox Christian parents.

 

 

“He-” Jungkook begins angrily and hears Seokjin gulp from behind him, “-is not my boyfriend. He’s just a University student I found on the street who so happens to be my best friend. Now as well as that, I’m sure your fiancé is the epitome of perfection or whatever clearly untrue shit you think of him, but it's a hell of an inconsiderate move to tell Taehyung that one: he’s half the worth that your fiancé is, and two: that he hasn't anything special to him. Maybe find some intelligence and you'll realise how amazing he is. If your fiancé is any better than Taehyung then find yourself a new partner because he’s far too good for you. And finally, I am a fucking faggot, and I'm quite thankful for that seeing as I'm not attracted to cunts like you. But that gives you no right to say such words, you disrespectful bitch, though I'll feel some sympathy however because people with your mental capacity struggle to remember something as simple as common decency.”

 

 

Jungkook looks back at Seokjin, but his mouth is gaped open like a cave. Taehyung has his lip bitten tight under his upper teeth, so much so that it looks as if he might bite through the skin. It’s something he does when pained or nervous. Chaewon looks like she’s just drowned in bleach. Jungkook’s mind traces back over the words he had just spoken, and it dawns on him that he might have overreacted. Even if it didn't seem like it to him, Chaewon was only joking around. Maybe she didn't deserve it...though he had tried to be polite in insulting her. Belittling her is a better way to describe what he had done. There isn't any going back.

 

 

He can chase time easily, but reversing it is beyond his ability.

 

 

“I didn’t like fucking Japanese food anyway,” is all she says. He watches her lift herself ungracefully from the seat; glare down at the ring around her finger to prove a point about something, though he has no idea what the point is. She tuts and begins to walk away, but turns back to Taehyung and says, “I’m dumping this shit on you. You pay.” No, Jungkook no longer feels even a droplet of guilt for what he said to her.

 

 

“Touchy.” He whispers, quiet enough for both Seokjin and Taehyung to hear, but Chaewon doesn’t – thankfully. She walks past the people who sit staring at her as if she doesn’t care about what people think. Maybe she cares but wants to seem like she doesn't for the sake of looking strong…Jungkook will never know or care.

 

 

Taehyung exhales but smiles in an awfully forced manner before turning to Jungkook, “Sorry, my sister is a rollercoaster with no end.” His hand rubs the back of his head, “I’m sorry Chaewon called you, uh, you know..."

 

 

Seokjin shrugs. “Sure, it upsets me, but I knew from the beginning that if I dressed and acted feminine, I was basically stepping out onto a battlefield. People like to point out singularities. Differences. Anomalies. And even if I dressed or acted as masculine as possible I would still be called such names at some point in my life, because that's what some people are like - unfortunately. I don’t even want to remember middle school. Yuh…yeah I’m gay…but I’m also out to like three people. It’s a sensitive topic to me…”

 

 

Jungkook adds with a hiss, “What a bitch she is to assume things as well, it was so inconsiderate. And fucking hell Tae, she said some rude things to you.”

 

 

Taehyung laughs in response, turning to take the miso soup that the waitress just brought for him and stood holding. “She’s always been like it to me, no worries. She’s nice sometimes, I assure you, but has a…bitchy nature, you know? Her bark is worse than her bite. And sometimes she can be really cool to hang out with. I guess she didn't know how horrid she was being using such words...though there isn’t a real excuse.”

 

 

“Whatever, I still hope she fucks herself with a chainsa-” Seokjin swats him in the face before he can finish the sentence. He hopes to God that Taehyung is forgiving enough in this universe to pardon him and his foul mouth. Everything feels resolved when he throws his head back into a laugh that makes Jungkook want to fall to his knees and cry for him. His laugh is breath taking, goddamn beautiful. It sounds like music to the younger. His hands clutch at his stomach as usual, the sound of his sweet voice still being heard through his spurts of laughter.

 

 

“Sorry." He sighs with creases at the sides of his eyes and white teeth flashing, “You just amuse me.”

 

 

“Really? Never would have guessed...” Jungkook responds sarcastically, feeling Seokjin’s eyes roll at the back of his head.

 

 

“Hey, Jungkook, I laugh easily. Don't rub it in because I can't control it. You know that.” Taehyung says with a grin, though that grin suddenly turns to a look of confusion, “Well…I have no idea why or how you would know that. God, I'm saying all these things that make no sense." He takes his bottom lip between his teeth and a crease appears between his eyebrows as he tries to fathom his inner thoughts. Jungkook finds himself biting his lip too, but he knows Taehyung likes it by the small blush that fills the apples of his tanned cheeks, subtle but obvious – to Jungkook anyway, and probably to Seokjin too.

 

 

“I mean I am Jungkook after all. Handsome, and of course apparently possessing the ability to read minds. I must be magic after all, Tae.” It's a habit - looking stronger than he is, that is. He does it for Taehyung. He has to act the kind of person that makes his lover feel protected.

 

 

Seokjin snorts. “If you're magic, then I'm unattractive. Sorry, my dear mortal Jungkook, but you're very much impotent.” 

 

 

Of course he literally meant Jungkook was devoid of magic abilities, but there was a much deeper meaning to his words. One that has the younger groaning in embarrassment for the entire table must have heard and worst of all Taehyung. Jungkook looks at him with a desperate frown as if to beg him not to believe Seokjin. But there is another grin painted on his face and Jungkook knows he’s not getting out of this one. "Oh, Jungkook, don't be ashamed. I'm impotent too. I can’t even use the phrase 'this is where the magic happens', because it doesn't happen, I-"

 

 

 

Jungkook slams his face against his forearm on the table and lets out a loud groan to interrupt him and, well, make him shut up. Then both Seokjin and Taehyung glare at each other with a fucking sadistic glint in their eyes, as if they’ve been conspiring about Jungkook this entire time, hidden in the backroom or one of the big cupboards of Café Byeol with the spare uniforms, just sat there giggling and plotting evil things to torment him with. When the smiling is over with, they laugh, really laugh. Taehyung is clutching his stomach even tighter this time and choking on each snort. Water builds from his tear ducts and he can’t even bring his fingers up to wipe the water away. Jungkook loves seeing him happy, as much as he despises him for laughing.

 

 

“Wow, Jungkook,” Taehyung says breathlessly, “I can’t believe you. You’re really something.”

 

 

He pouts and mutters something about not knowing what he’s even done but in his head he hears the distant words oh, angel, but you're much more than I am.

 

 

Seokjin makes it clear by patting him on his upper back in more of a punch and notifying him that his facial expression was utterly splendid and that if he'd taken a photo he would use it as blackmail at every opportunity he could. Soon all the laughter has been done, evaporated, and therefore they go back to eating their meals in comfortable silence. The restaurant is pretty cheap, so they risk leaving some behind without feeling too money conscious. Jungkook likes to get what he pays for. He has to say, the food is brilliant for its price. When they’ve finally eaten, the three of them leave together, but before they exit, Seokjin tips the waitress and tells her, “This has to go to whatever genius named this place Op-pie.” The Waitress tries not to smile, nevertheless she fails miserably.

 

 

“Well then,” Seokjin grins and looks at Jungkook directly in the eye which only tells him he has some shady plan, “turns out some very important event came up. With Jaehwan. A date, a big date. Did I mention it is very important? So you're going to have to take my cinema ticket and go with another friend.”

 

 

“Yeah? When did you organise this?” Jungkook raises his eyebrow, thin and sharp. Seokjin knows he senses his bullshit but he knows equally well that Taehyung doesn't. The boy is always in his own world.

 

 

“Hmm, around when I said ‘Well then’. You know me and my wild ideas!” He does jazz hands as he says ‘wild’. Jungkook can't help but avert his eyes because anything is better than being seen as his friend when he is so damned ridiculous.

 

 

With an elongated sigh, he turns and asks Taehyung, “You wanna go see something in the cinema?”

 

 

“I mean,” he replies, “I would love to see a film with you, Jungkook, but I just bought a fully subtitled copy of Back to the Future and I’d really love to watch that instead...I’m desperate.”

 

 

He wants to facepalm, but he resists. Taehyung is just too sweet.

 

 

“You could watch it with me?” He mutters.

 

 

“I’d actually really like that, Taehyung,” His name feels good on Jungkook’s tongue, “You can come over to my apartment if you like.”

 

 

Seokjin hums a little tune to get his attention. He pulls his hand through his scruffy hair to make it neater, but to no avail; it still looks like he’s been dragged backwards through a hedge. He contemplates what to say for a minute, leaving them hanging on the edge of a cliff while he thinks. His eyes finally light up and he says he’ll be setting off to Café Byeol, going over to Taehyung and shaking his sunkissed hand enthusiastically. Of course Taehyung returns the enthusiasm in equal measures. He says something like come to the café sometime, OK? but it’s like white noise; Jungkook is not really listening. He nearly goes away however remembers something as he’s walked two steps. It’s so obviously acted that it hurts to watch. He turns to Jungkook and looks him dead in the eyes, his lips finding themselves an inch from his ear before stage-whispering, “Get laid tonight, my little chick.”

 

 

Then he runs, fast away into the crowd, probably doing a few twirls along the way. Jungkook shouts loudly an incomprehensible sentence in return. Something between as if I would ever, fuck off Seokjin and yes I will and I'll do it in your bed if you don't shut the fuck up. Seokjin's words only process as everyone in the entirety of the shopping centre is staring at Jungkook like he should be sent to bedlam, a few women pulling their kids away from him, a few men tutting about youths and their foul mouths, and a few teenage girls calling him a lunatic. A bunch of guys by the sweet shop start laughing too. He knows that Seokjin, behind that huge crowd of confused people, is actually pissing out Niagara Falls at a shop entrance. He turns to Taehyung, blushing, and finds that his eyes are wide, his lips inverted as he puffs out his cheeks trying to hold in laughter. Grabbing his wrist, Jungkook pulls him out of the shopping centre through a back exit, and to an area outside where no one is around them. He pulls out his index fingers and presses both into each of his cheeks, forcing his mouth to open, and a mix of air and laughter is sent flying out from his lips like an aeroplane about to crash into a mountain.

 

 

He wants to say something sassy, but he ends up laughing too, though his laughs are a little softer than Taehyung’s. His mind, as well as being mostly focused on Taehyung and all his elements, is still somewhat melancholy. It’s unavoidable, inevitable, unstoppable. It starts raining again, droplets falling from the sky and landing on their skin with ice-cold kisses. Taehyung’s laughter dies, but a smile is born, and he keeps it all the way to the station. They luckily settle on seats for what it's worth, standing up when they know it’s about to stop by Jungkook’s apartment. He stays by the younger’s hip all the way to the front door, a constant rose colour in his cheeks the entire time. 

 

 

They sit with those ridiculous vanilla hot chocolates, snuggled under a duvet for hours, chatting about each other. Jungkook has so little to say about himself. When he came into this lifetime, he was fifteen…literally two years ago. He doesn’t tell him this, of course. Just that his parents live down in Busan, which is a lie. He has never had parents. Only once, and he barely remembers them…it was in the first lifetime. He only has two friends to talk about, though he merely knows the shallow depths about them. There is so much to learn about the people he meets, but so little reason to learn those things. After all, he’ll lose them anyway.

 

 

God, if there was a lifetime in which he could just be with Taehyung, living a normal life til he dies. That would be heaven. In that life, he’d make friends…many friends. He would try his best to know them to the marrow of their bones, to the wrinkles on their hands. That would be a dream. A dream in this nightmare of his that calls itself his life.

 

 

Taehyung, on the other hand, is someone he understands. He knows everything he has to offer, even things Taehyung doesn’t know himself. He knows that he’s probably wearing odd socks, he knows that he sometimes sleepwalks and brushes his teeth at two in the morning, he knows his favourite flower is a peony and that he is personally offended by the fake ones in Café Byeol, he knows he has a major crush on Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future, he knows he has a weird obsession with anime, he knows that sneezes make him laugh, he knows he prefers dogs to cats and children to any kind of animal, cries in the shower, sings in his sleep, snores loudly if he lies on his stomach, eats most of the cake batter before it’s put into the cake tin, has two moles on his arm that he squeezes the skin between to make a little elephant…

 

 

God, these little things are endless. He knows them more than Jungkook knows Korean language. In the time they spend sitting under the duvet, he tells Jungkook everything.

 

 

By the time they actually get the film playing, he knows his life story already. It’s a bit warmer now under the duvet, but he doesn’t think it was the hot chocolate that warmed him up. His hand brushes against Taehyung’s and he so badly wants to hold it again. He acts so laughably throughout the entire film, saying quotes perfectly in time with them. Snorting at little things like when Doc says, There's that word again. ‘Heavy.’ Why are things so heavy in the future? Is there a problem with the Earth's gravitational pull? It ends up that an hour of the film has passed and all the while Jungkook has had his eyes fixed on Taehyung rather than the television screen.

 

 

Roads?” Taehyung quotes happily as the film is about to come to an end, “Where we’re going, we don’t need roads.

 

 

Jungkook admittedly laughs. He plays it of as laughing at him. But it’s actually because he’s dangerously cute and Jungkook doesn’t want to be caught blushing over him just yet. However he can barely hold back a slight rose-tinted shade appearing at the apples of his cheeks what with his eyes constantly tracing over his past lover’s beautiful features. At moments like this all of their previous lifetimes play through his mind. Confessions, first kisses, fast burning passion and even sex. He remembers it all so vividly, but Taehyung won't remember anything at all.

 

 

“Hey, I should go home now…” Taehyung says at around eleven. It breaks Jungkook’s heart a little bit.

 

 

“You can stay over if you want, as it’s late and really dark out.” Jungkook offers, trying not to seem desperate. “But I understand if you need to go home.” It was worth a try.

 

 

He considers something, like standing up perhaps, though his shoulders relax and he flops back into the couch. He looks at Jungkook for a while, eyes burning gently into him. He looks deep in thought. His thumbs twirl together and his lips part with only a millimetre gap between them. “I should talk to you.” Is what he says.

 

 

“What about?” Jungkook asks nervously.

 

 

“Well,” He pauses in thought, “it’s going to sound really weird.”

 

 

“Seriously, Taehyung, I’ve seen some very weird things before. Things you can't imagine.” He laughs at this, and looks a little more comfortable afterwards.

 

 

“Well, usually I’d be weirded out at a sleepover invitation after knowing someone for just two days,” His voice is like a whisper, soft and sweet, “But…I’m not. I’m confused and it’s probably déjà vu, but it feels like I’ve met you before. No – that’s not it. It feels like we’re really close. I don’t get it. Close as in best friends. Life long friends. Something maybe even stronger than that...”

 

 

Jungkook freezes with his eyebrows furrowed. Taehyung, I know why, but I can’t explain it. Last night he spent hours holding back tears…he is as confused as Taehyung is. But he is scared too. He can’t handle more things to try and understand with no one to talk to. You can’t give a man a hundred quadratic equations and expect him to understand them when it’s the first time he’s ever even seen numbers or letters. Jungkook is still trying to figure it out. He can’t assure Taehyung of anything, explain anything, tell him anything. All he can do is place his hand on top of the other boy and rub his thumb back and forth across his soft skin in circles. He does this, and neither of them flinches. There is no awkwardness in the situation at all, despite the loud silence and the fact they are sat staring hard at each other.

 

 

“Do you believe…in parallel…or alternate universes?” Jungkook asks him at some point. He has given up on checking the time. Years and years ago.

 

 

“…I don’t know.” He mutters, “Do you?”

 

 

Jungkook hesitates to speak, but the words eventually come. It is a lie, because the truth is different, but for now he tells him, “I do, I really do.” 

 

 

“If they were real, and I’m not saying they aren’t, nor that they are, but if they were, hypothetically, would that explain what I’m feeling?” Taehyung pushes, digging a little deeper at the sand to find that treasure box, even if he is using a map with no red crosses.

 

 

It's colder in the room now so Jungkook makes a mental note to turn on the heating after the conversation is over. “It would explain why you’re feeling this. It wouldn’t explain what you’re feeling. I think you have to figure that out on your own.”

 

 

“You’re a good guesser, Jungkook. You seem to know a lot about me. Say, do you know what…I’m feeling?”

 

 

I do I do I do I do I do. You love me, Kim Taehyung. This is the 247th time you’ve fallen in love with me. Again and again and again we fall in love and it is stronger than you'll ever think to consider. You love me so fucking much, and I love you back, angel, “No,” Jungkook answers instead. “I don’t.”

 

 

Sometimes you have to lie for the sanity of the people you love.

 

 

Taehyung hums a sad little tune for a while; Jungkook decides he has to break the silence. “Something’s changing,” he tells him. Taehyung will understand him, but not what he means as such. He doesn’t know that Jungkook has met him 246 times before this. He doesn’t know the pain they’ve been through. He just has the scars. And god, he doesn’t know how much he has suffered. Only Jungkook knows what hell Taehyung has been through. He repeats, “Something is changing…for the both of us.”

 

 

Taehyung nods five times, exhaling and standing up with watery eyes. “I’m going home. Thank you…for everything, Jeon Jungkook.” Jungkook can't bear it when Taehyung says his name like that…like it could be the last time Jungkook hears him say it in this lifetime. He reaches the door. His hands are shaking and he looks distressed. Jungkook watches him shiver for too long. He has to help him. He stands up and walks towards Taehyung.

 

 

Fuck it, he thinks, may as well do it before it’s all over.

 

 

Taehyung looks at him wide eyed, but he swears he sees him smile beneath his surprise. He probably knows what is coming – it’s already natural to him, and so presses his back hard against the door ready for Jungkook. When the younger reaches him, they collide once again. A firework explodes inside them, their own big bang. They ignore any black holes, any anomalies, any dangers. It's Jungkook, and it’s Taehyung. Lips pressed together and breathing forgotten. The waves between them are at their highest frequency. Heartbeats going frantic. Jungkook has missed this so much. He didn’t even get to touch Taehyung last lifetime.

 

 

Jungkook’s hands are on him, his right on Taehyung’s cheek, his left on Taehyung’s waist. They kiss for a long time, until they physically can’t carry on any longer. It feels like the planets have aligned. It’s a soul-lighting feeling. They don’t speak much afterwards. It’s just muffled sounds and hums. Breathing intertwined. Jungkook lets him borrow his hat, scarf and gloves as he gets cold very easily, just as he warms easily too. He wonder why Taehyung isn't warm right now, usually he warms him up just fine. Jungkook has to zip up his coat because his gloves are on and he is unable, they laugh the whole while.

 

 

He opens the door for Taehyung, and presses his lips at Taehyung’s cheek before he goes. Instinctively, he sits at the entrance to his apartment, on the cold concrete steps, and watches his love disappear into the half-lit streets until the dark orange glow engulfs him and he is gone.

 

 

 

 

The next day is Sunday.

 

 

Not much happens on Sunday. The café isn’t open, but Jungkook lounges around there with Jaehwan and Seokjin the whole time. He decides that he’ll look much more normal if he goes over some school revision with them even if he doesn’t actually need it. There’s lots to complete, mostly Philosophy notes though so it’s not so hard. Seokjin does Maths, which must be fucking horrid. How do you do Maths? Jungkook thinks to himself, It’s literally like a whole different language that can't just be learned, but rather needs a minute to think over before a word is spoken. Seokjin makes omelettes for lunch, along with asking constant questions about Taehyung and whether Jungkook got laid or not. He refuses to talk about him at all, to Seokjin’s utter despair.

 

 

He and Jaehwan act like a married couple the entire time too, which has the capability to cause high levels of glucose in the blood. It gives him an uncomfortable sugar rush. They fucking feed each other, and the only way it would get any worse is if they stripped and fucked right there in front of him. He never signed up for this. But honestly though, they're such amazing friends that he knows he’d forgive them and love them no matter what they did in front of him. They are a rare example of people he manages to get to know on multiple occasions during his journey over lifetimes. 

 

 

It’s way too warm for April. It's not common to actually feel heat in Jinanseo, never mind April in Jinanseo. The thing is, it’s only five or six degrees Celsius today, and Seokjin and Jaehwan both complain of the coldness that apparently surrounds them. Jungkook wonders if he just feels warm because of Taehyung. He doubts it, but then he partially feels like that might be the case.

 

 

However, it is in fact raining outside which surprises absolutely no one. Rain is an everyday thing. But today it’s that heavy stuff that sounds like bricks when it rains on the glass ceiling of the Jinanseo Shopping Centre. At least Café Byeol has a slate roof. What Jungkook doesn’t expect, even more than the heat, is for Kim Taehyung to start tapping on the glass door of the café and pull a face of helplessness as the rain drenches him from head to toe. He’s aware of Seokjin’s smirk, but it doesn’t stop him from running to the door like Usain Bolt and opening it in half a second. When he pulls Taehyung in, he sighs with relief. Seokjin is already beside them, still grinning.

 

 

“What brings you here, Taehyung?” Seokjin raises both his thick eyebrows; with that annoying face Jungkook wants to punch but absolutely cannot out of pure guilt.

 

 

“I dunno,” He cheeses, “I guess I just was curious as to the recipe for Café Byeol’s cookies. Felt like trudging through the rain to ask you about it.” He lies with poorly used sarcasm. Taehyung was never talented in the sass department.

 

 

Seokjin laughs, Jaehwan even chuckling from the couch by the table they were sat at. Jungkook, however, finds it funny because Taehyung can’t cook for shit. “Well that’s absolutely top secret!” Seokjin exclaims.

 

 

They all move away from the door, halting before the couch. Taehyung is dripping wet. His hair has gone curly from the water, and even his eyelashes have droplets lingering on them. His lips look wet too, slightly, chin and neck too. His clothing is ten shades darker and plastered to his skin. He’s carrying an ocean in jeans and a jumper.

 

 

“Hey, Seokjin?" Jungkook whispers unsurprisingly in Seokjin’s ear. “Do you have any spare uniforms in the other room?”

 

 

His face goes from plain, to one raised eyebrow, to a half-smirk, to a full smirk with two raised eyebrows, to a full evil grin. “Indeed I do. Let me show you both the way!” Seokjin grabs them mercilessly by the wrists and drags them at full speed to the meeting aka ‘the storage and chill’ room (the true meaning of which being something Jungkook never questions), pushing them both in and pointing to the cupboards, slamming the door shut behind him as he walks away. Jungkook hisses loudly, hoping Seokjin hears, but instead he receives a giggle from Taehyung.

 

 

“The spares should be in here,” Jungkook says, rooting through the cupboard until he finds some uniforms. One is in Taehyung’s size. Of course he knows his size, God, it makes him seem borderline creepy. “Here.”

 

 

“Thanks, Jungkook,” He takes the clothes from Jungkook and places them on the coffee table.

 

 

Jungkook take a seat beside him as he removes his wet clothing. He barely resists looking, and when he does he practically preaches. Taehyung is undressing in front of him for the first time in a long time and what the hell have I done to deserve this? He pulls his jumper over his head by the hem. Sure, it was a really nice fitting jumper, but it doesn't do justice to what lies beneath. He’s got these beautiful and familiar narrow hips. Beautiful structured hip bones...and yet still he has a softness about him that matches his personality. He has curves, at his waist, stomach and ass. Nothing drastic, but it all seems to work out into the proportions Jungkook can only think to dream of. His skin is a little more tanned than in the last few lifetimes, and he has a little more meat on his body – nothing for Jungkook to complain about obviously, god. He can remember lifetimes where he trailed his lips across that soft stomach, across Taehyung’s hipbones, lower and lower... The boy glows, literally. He undoes the black button on his trousers, pulling them down so slowly. Soon his trousers are off, and all that’s left are white boxers, tight and wet…anything but opaque. Jungkook likes it, a lot.

 

 

My God, his thighs. Jungkook feels wrong for staring but it is ridiculous. Taehyung has had him pinned against the wall and moaning before so what harm can a little bit of peeping do, right? Taehyung is his lover. He always has been. As sinful as watching is, it’s OK. They love each other. So, Jungkook spends just that little bit longer admiring those wonderful thighs of his without feeling guilty for the act.

 


The silence is only broken when Taehyung says, “Jungkook, close your mouth. You’re actually drooling oh my god,” He laughs musically, “Do you have any decency?”

 

 

“D-Decency? Never, not even in my past lives, have I had decency, angel.”

 

 

He snorts and falls back into the soft sofa next to Jungkook. There is a deep pink flush to his cheeks from being called such a name, for that knowledge down inside him twists and twirls, sets alight and fires into the air, as Jungkook has called him angel thousands and thousands of times before and somehow he remembers. Under the haze. But this is the first time in this lifetime. Jungkook finds his eyes gazing into his own, all happy and sweet.

 

 

 

 

 

“Kiss me.”

 

 

 

 

 

He thinks it’s a joke at first. It’s probably half a joke. Well, joke or not…Jungkook still kisses him. It’s wonderful.

 

 

He may be used to pain. He may be used to sadness. He may be used to loss. But he’ll never get used to kissing Taehyung, each time is so different and so amazing that no words could explain how it feels. You get close to someone after 246 lifetimes. A sort of close you won’t really find a dictionary definition for.

 

 

 

 

“Jungkook, for the love of God, I am not going commando.” Taehyung groans and leans to pick up the dry work jeans, "Can you just imagine what Seokjin would think if he found out?"

 

 

Well of course Seokjin would never judge him, but he'd never let it go either. He'd jump to all sorts of conclusions that they had sex and ones much worse than that, though Jungkook wouldn't care. Taehyung clearly cares as he's ready to pull those trousers up his leg and ignore the fact that his boxers are soaked through. Jungkook rolls his eyes in a way that can only be described as loud. “Oh yeah? So you’re going to wear squelchy boxers until you get home? Have fun coating that ugly rash with layers of Sudocrem.”

 

 

Jungkook can't help but point down at them, literally if you took them into your hands and squeezed an entire river would empty out from its perch in the fibres of the material. Taehyung pulls a face as if he’s in pain, though it's really just the feeling of easing into stupid decisions. “Ugh, OK. Fine, I’ll go commando, but if you tell a single soul I swear to Go-”

 

 

“Secret’s safe with me, and boy am I happy to keep it.” He blushes, bingo.

 

 

Jungkook watches him pull off his boxers and consequently drools once again over his curves and mostly his thighs. Goddamn, he’s so soft and toned at the same time. What he’s got is not humanly possible. It just looks so fucking hot. He's ethereal, anything but mundane. Maybe it's just Jungkook’s extreme feelings for him, but he strongly believes that Taehyung is the only human example of perfection. When Taehyung’s finally dressed, he grins at the younger. “Look OK?”

 


Nodding, he says, “Yes, holy shit Taehyung. Perfect.”

 

 

He smiles and walks over to him. In an ideal world he’d straddle Jungkook right then and there, but life is full of disappointments. He offers a small kiss on Jungkook’s jaw, though. It's just enough, still getting Jungkook flustered all the same. He finds that any affection he receives from him makes his heart flip in every way possible. They return to the main room where Seokjin and Jaehwan sit opposite each other. When they turn to see Taehyung they proceed to turn crimson in literal synchronisation. Taehyung mutters something really quiet, probably embarrassed, bringing his hand to the back of his head. The silence is uncomfortable so Jungkook finds himself walking behind the counter to make some coffee, it’s some kind of Taiwanese mix which tastes damn good if he says so himself. He manages to make a whole cup before the silence ends.

 

 

“Taehyung,” Seokjin says loudly, “Good god, please start working here.”

 

 

Jungkook snorts unattractively, feeling coffee come out of his fucking nose. Not that he wasn’t thinking the exact same…but hearing that from Seokjin is just hilarious. He's been in a relationship with Jaehwan for nearly three years and he is still willing to say something like that. “I, uh, actually work over at Karaneuseong…” Taehyung replies, he’s blushing at the back of his neck and hoping to God no one notices he’s commando.

 

 

“That place?” Jaehwan laughs, “The two managers there are horrible, I went to High School with them both, it’d be way nicer if you worked here Taehyung.”

 

 

 

“The managers are my sister and her fiancé.” He states monotonously.

 

 

Jaehwan pulls a face that can only be labelled as the ‘oh shit, I left the tap running at home but now I'm on a plane to a different country,’ face, like he’s just seriously messed up. Jungkook knows Taehyung actually doesn’t care. Believe it or not he has some mischief within him, and it shows in moments like this. Seokjin seems to find it fucking hilarious, throwing his head back and laughing nasally. When he laughs his arms wave around in front of him and he stumbles backwards, mouth wide and head shaking back and forth. Taehyung chuckles under his breath, Jungkook is the only that hears it though. It is such a deep and breathy hum of a laugh.

 

 

“S-Sorry!” Jaehwan says, defeated, and Taehyung gestures his hand around as if to say no problem, “God, I never would have guessed. Chaewon looks more like Jungkook than you.” Honestly Jungkook takes that as an offence, but here and now is not the right time to state his anger.

 

 

“She’s my stepsister. We’re only related because my Father married her Mother. She’s more like a sister though, ‘cos they married when we were really young.” He explains with a gentle smile. It saddens Jungkook to think he spent his childhood beside such a horrid girl. Well, he said she’s actually nice so Jungkook attempts to trust him…for now, “Were you serious, though?”

 

 

“About what?” Seokjin asks him with a raised brow.

 

 

Taehyung’s thumbs twirl together again. “About, uh, working…here?”

 

 

Once again, Jungkook snorts on his coffee. “Taehyung, please. I need someone here to talk to when Seokjin is being an absolute-”

 

 

“We’d love it if you worked here!” Jaehwan interrupts to save his boyfriend and Jungkook getting into another one of their childish arguments.

 

 

“We were looking for more staff, and I’m sure Jungkook would like it a lot if you worked here,” Seokjin adds with a wink, just some light revenge. In a stage-whisper he finishes with, “Especially if he gets to see you in that uniform more often.”

 

 

Taehyung smiles and looks around the room. He looks at the glass shelves with all the cakes and pastries and little pots of honey pudding - a favourite of Seokjin’s. He scopes the coffee machines and the assortment of foreign teas and coffees all on display. He glares at the menu with its cake list and drink list and the little poster saying that ‘Coffee and Cake parties and Get Togethers can be organised for people who’d like to hire out the café’. It’s a friendly place. From the staff - occasionally - to the interior design, with snowflake patterns on the ceiling and baby blue walls, the white tables and fake white peonies that each one beholds. The floor is wooden and light, all the menus hand-made and hand-written. Taehyung can see easily that it’s a comforting café, a place that he deserves to work in. A safe environment. Jungkook thinks that he is persuaded.

 

 

“OK!” He says, sounding a little excited and a little bewildered. “I’ll work here.”

 

 

With a grin, Seokjin leaps out of his chair and runs over to Taehyung, wrapping two long arms around him and swinging him through the air as much as he can before Taehyung’s weight gets too much. He laughs afterwards though, not a sign of tiredness within him. It’s probably coffee, keeping him overly excited for eternity. “Well Jaehwan and I had better get off then!” He states and earns a puzzled expression from Jaehwan, “Cause we have that important event today, remember?”

 

 

Jaehwan pauses and then his eyebrows shoot up and he nods too many times. “Y-Yeah! God forbid we miss the b-bus!”

 

 

They both move to each other’s sides and start zipping up their coats, getting their umbrellas from the handy pot by the door. Jungkook appreciates their efforts of leaving Taehyung and him alone together but Taehyung is probably smart enough to pick up on their lies and mischievous aims. “Jungkook, you teach Taehyung the basics and we’ll sort out shifts and money tomorrow, OK?” Seokjin grins. Suddenly, the door closes behind them and their figures become a blur in the rainy distance as they cross the road, inconspicuously hand in hand, through the busy Jinanseo traffic.

 

 

“Why do they have to lie?” Taehyung mutters with a small chuckle. “I mean, they’re so obvious…but I don’t see the point in it.”

 

 

Taehyung can be so dumb. Jungkook lets out a small breathy laugh, and begins stirring him a hot chocolate, making a note to pay for these later. He adds his marshmallows and vanilla syrup too. They move to sit on the sofa together, opposite each other, with the non-glass wall beside them for a little more privacy and warmth. Not that they need any though. Taehyung is glaring at Jungkook and he realises he wants an explanation. “Taehyung,” Jungkook says flawlessly. “They think we’re together.” He goes wide-eyed, his cheeks turning pink. It’s laughable. They’ve been together on countless occasions, and literally made-out against the front door of Jungkook’s apartment yesterday, yet he still blushes. What an idiot. My beautiful, beautiful idiot. “I’ll tell them to stop if you don’t like it.” Jungkook speaks in a tone specifically used to make him feel a bit guilty. Taehyung is highly enjoyable and incredibly addictive to mess with.

 

 

“Nuh…No!” He hisses in a harmless way. “Y-You don’t have to…I didn’t mean I dislike it!”

 

 

“So,” Jungkook smirks, “you like it?”

 

 

“Well, I don’t dislike it…I’m a…chill guy, Jungkook. I’m open to new ideas, and stuff.”

 

 

“So, what you mean is,” he pauses to grin, “under these circumstances of Seokjin thinking we’re a couple, you’ve had your mind changed on…a few things, and you don’t mind the idea of us being a couple? That makes you a bit tractable doesn’t it?”

 

 

He draws out a long sigh. “Tractable…yes. I guess I am. But this isn't like that. I haven’t been influenced, I’ve been awakened – I’ve realised something that was already there but hidden away. Like, you know, in springtime when the sun comes out and all the cherry blossom buds flower? The trees were there before that, they just needed a little light to help them bloom.” He brings his fingers to his hair and rolls a strand between his index and thumb, just to distract himself from looking at Jungkook. But even through his hair he can see Jungkook looking at him intensely, shamelessly, so much so that he gives in and locks his eyes again with his.

 

 

“What is it that has awakened, then? What did Seokjin make you realise?” Jungkook asks, but he already knows. He knows because Taehyung is the cherry blossom, and Jungkook is the sun. And each lifetime he blooms for him - for a short while - before summer eventually arrives and burns his petals away. The sun becomes too dangerous for such a delicate flower.

 

 

"No. No, Jungkook, you made me realise it. You're the sun, not him.” He explains, "Seokjin just confirmed that everything in my head is true. He made me sure of it."

 

 

“Sure of what?”

 

 

“Sure that I have feelings,” He pauses and hesitates, biting his lip a little. He does it gently which means he is nervous rather than pained. His eyes flutter away from Jungkook’s, giving the younger a desperate yearning need to see them again, “feelings for you.” Not many ideas process in Jungkook’s head of what he can reply to this. It always makes him dumbfounded when Taehyung confesses, even though he’s done it many times before. Instead of using words, Jungkook decides to stand up and walk round to his side of the table. Though, he chooses to stand behind the sofa Taehyung is sat on, and leans over. He wraps his arms around him from behind, tight but gentle, he will know from this that Jungkook feels the same about him. “It’s ridiculous isn't it,” He mutters as Jungkook buries his face into his neck, “that I can say I have feelings for you when we’ve so recently met.”

 

 

“I don’t think so.” Taehyung whispers in response. They haven't just recently met, and even if they had just met Jungkook would have fallen for him instantly anyway. Just like he did in their first lifetime when he stumbled upon that golden-skinned boy singing under the willow tree. He fell for him then, and he’s still falling for him now. There isn't a willow tree or springtime sunshine to shelter him, and so Jungkook does the job. Deep down he understands that Jungkook is holding him like this because it is one of their greatest memories and their hearts soar when they remember it. 

 

 

“I think that I believe in alternate universes after all,” His voice is sweet now. Jungkook unwraps his arms from around him and slides beside him instead, lying down with his head on Taehyung’s lap, legs dangling over the arm of the sofa. From here he can look up and see his old lover’s face above his own, so close and beautiful. There's a quote from Romeo and Juliet that goes 'Arise, fair sun, and kill the envious moon,' because the moon is the epitome of beauty, but then Juliet comes along and outshines it. But Taehyung outshines both the sun and the moon. He is a supernova. Jungkook’s own universe.

 

 

But supernovas make black holes, and that's their tragedy. Jungkook still awaits the day when Taehyung won't blow up into nothingness, and instead will form a new nebula, birthing star after star after star for millions of years afterwards. Somehow it feels like that day might never come.

 

 

“I think we met in an alternative universe, Jungkook.” He begins again, “I think we were in love. But you’ll have to help me figure this out for sure.”

 

 

“How can I help?”

 

 

“Tell me,” He hesitates, “Tell me how you feel about me.”

 

 

It’s hard to put Jungkook’s feelings into words.

 

 

It’s like this: someone asks you to describe the world in one word. Some would say cruel, others would say beautiful. You just cannot describe it in one word. There’s so much more to the world than that, so much. There’s the science, the history, the geography, the maths, the religion, and the language. Pasts, futures, presents. Structure, order, regularity. Myths and legends. Time and space. There is day and there is night, there is tide and there is movement. There are senses: touch, feel, smell, sight, taste and sound. There are the minds of every human being. There is intelligence and there is emotion. From an atom that the human eye can’t even see, to Mt. Everest that the human can barely climb...

 

 

...a singular word cannot do justice in portraying all that.

 

 

If you are asked the meaning of life, you will either say ‘to die’, or you’ll think about it a bit longer. The truth is that some things have no meaning or explanation. Jungkook has tried to put this into consideration the past 246 lifetimes he has lived. Each time he is reborn, he thinks that maybe this has no meaning. What if it’s a dream? What if every single person is the same as him, but is too afraid to say? What if it’s just a flaw in the system that he happens to be a part of? Is he the rusted joint in machinery, the fault that causes everything to tear apart and crumble?

 

 

It could have no reasoning, no explanation. There are theories, just like with God, but unless physical proof exists then it’s always going to be questionable. His feelings for Taehyung aren’t an object, they are something made from nothing. Emotions, chemicals, an idea in his mind that has built up over time. It’s too hard to explain everything he feels to Taehyung, and he fears what might happen if he told him he’s met him countless times before. He knows what would happen. There’s no equation or formula to how he feels, there’s no logic or reasoning, no order or regularity. It just happens, and he finds that the only way he can answer him is to say the basic phrase that people will tell each other all the time:

 

 

“I’m in love with you, angel.”

 

 

 

 

 

Maybe a week or so later, Taehyung invites Jungkook to his apartment for the first time, a fresh and recently bought bouquet of their favourite white peonies in his hand - he insisted Jungkook needed some real ones after decorating Café Byeol with fakes - and a nervous smile on his face. It’s a bit bigger than Jungkook’s but the layout seems generally similar. He has two bathrooms though, one for cleaning and one for toiletry needs. The place is literally all purple coloured and filled with little decorations. It feels more like a home though, perhaps that’s because Jungkook is there with him, their fingers laced together. There’s that familiar scent of vanilla filling the room too, but all of Taehyung’s houses he’s ever lived in have smelled like vanilla.

 

 

“What is it you want to watch?” The younger man says while they’re sat on Taehyung’s white couch, cuddling and pressing kisses over each other's skin.

 

 

He hums against Jungkook’s lips sending small shivers down his spine, electric shocks throughout his central nervous system. “Dirty Dancing?” Taehyung smiles.

 

 

Jungkook lets out an elongated groan surely longer than a minute. “God, I forgot your secret love for cheesy romance films. I’ll let you off considering Dirty Dancing is OK-”

 

 

“Jungkook,” Taehyung interrupts, “you didn’t know about my secret love for cheesy romance films. I’ll ask again, are you magic? Or is it really that we met in another universe?”

 

 

Jungkook laughs at this. It isn't very funny though.

 

 

Walking over to his tapes, all stacked up on his shelf by the television, Jungkook makes sure he isn’t watching as he skims over Dirty Dancing and pull out Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure instead. He knows Taehyung will forgive him. It begins playing after he’s shoved the tape in the VHS machine (that looks so poor in comparison to a blu-ray player but he can’t complain or his boyfriend will think he’s crazy). Halfway through the film, Taehyung seems a bit fidgety. Jungkook wonders if he’s bored or tired.

 

 

“Hey, you OK?” Jungkook asks him with the slightest signs of worry lacing his words.

 

 

He looks at Jungkook and his face is a flushed red. “Yeah, it’s just…”

 

 

“Just?”

 

 

“I was thinking if you, uh, wanted to…” He stops to chew at his lip, twirling his thumbs together.

 

 

Jungkook raises an eyebrow and looks at him, shuffling his legs about, blushing all over, twirling his thumbs and acting all nervous. Then it hits him. Like a fucking bullet to the gut. Laughter simply erupts from within Jungkook’s stomach. “Oh god, we're doing Netflix and Chill, Jesus. It's been a while.”

 

 

Jungkook finds himself wincing as he is swatted by a blushing Taehyung, laughing nervously in the process. “Jungkook! Speak Korean for once in your life, sometimes I consider notifying the local asylums about you, sweetheart."

 

 

“No...” Jungkook cries dramatically. “I don’t wanna go back to an insane asylum!" He says it purely as a joke but it’d be a lie if he said he hasn’t been put in one of those before. But it’s only because they didn’t quite like homosexuals in 1940. He’s not actually crazy - unless it is for Taehyung.

 

 

He clambers on top of Jungkook, still laughing. “You’re insane sometimes,” He smiles, speaking as if they've been a couple for years and not days, “but I’m still in love with you.”

 

 

"Yes, baby, I love you too, but safety first." He frowns at Jungkook in response, lips then forming a pout. “Do you have any of the…required products.”

 

 

Taehyung reaches back and sticks his hand into his back pocket, pulling out a condom afterwards and leaving Jungkook wondering just how long that had been there. “Jungkook, they say ‘if you can’t say the word condom then you aren’t mature enough for sex’.”

 

 

“Fuck that, babe, I’ll never be mature even at aged fifty. And forgive me, I’m two years younger than you.” If I ever reach fifty. “But seriously, angel, do you have any lu-”

 

 

“I have astroglide.” Taehyung interrupts, not even a speck of shame or hesitance in his voice. It takes Jungkook a minute to realise he was attempting to sound sexy. He snorts and throws his head back in laughter, earning another swat from Taehyung. During his laughter, he feels Taehyung’s sweet lips at the base of his neck, kissing gently. His laughter dies, and a smile replaces it. His head tilts back further and he lets Taehyung kiss him some more. Eventually Jungkook takes over and pushes him into the sofa, savouring every sensation. Relishing in his taste. Listening to each and every one of his sighs, music more breathtaking than any instrument could play.

 

 

He is glad that they’re doing this; it’s been forever. There are many lifetimes that he doesn’t even get the chance to kiss him, never mind have sex with him. It feels so good to be this close to him, to feel Taehyung’s lips on his body until he is sent to Heaven. Or maybe even to Hell.

 

 

By the end of the night they’re both out of breath and exhausted, but neither of them falls asleep. His head lies on Jungkook’s chest; his breaths against Jungkook’s bare skin feel warm and airy. He’s smiling, but it looks solemn, he’s probably still confused about everything. Wondering why on earth Jungkook feels so familiar to him. Jungkook is smiling too, so glad to have him in his arms. Proud to have him in his arms. But even still he is scared about losing him. He is scared of when he’ll have to change universes again, and everything up til now in this one will be forgotten. He’ll lose Seokjin too, and Jaehwan. It’s such a waste.

 

 

Bittersweet. The word never stops appearing.

 

 

Taehyung is just so precious, and Jungkook loves him to pieces, seeing him – such a fragile and beautiful human being – shatter in front of Jungkook’s eyes is so horrifying. Jungkook avoids all thoughts from then on. They drift into sleep together, but as Jungkook switches off fully, he swears he hears Taehyung whisper something sad and harrowing as his eyes finally shut tight, and allows him to fall into his dreams. Words about curses and how much it hurts to be burned alive for being in love. He's not having a nightmare…

 

 

…he's unconsciously remembering moments from his past.

 

 

 

 

 

"Welcome to Café Byeol, coffees and foreign desserts!" Taehyung says more enthusiastically than Jungkook ever has or will. He’s been saying that quite often, after all he does work in Café Byeol now. It’s been just over month since Taehyung walked into Café Byeol to order a hot chocolate. Almost a month of loving kisses and constant torture from Seokjin about their sex life. Jungkook never tells Seokjin how amazing it is. Almost a month of drooling over Taehyung in uniform, or laughing as he spends his savings on buying Café Byeol some real peonies and not those cheap fake ones. Almost a whole month.

 

 

Jungkok can say for sure that this is one of his favourite lifetimes with Taehyung, not even for any reason in specific. He’s been through so much with him before, sad and happy, wild and silent. This one, though, is nice. It’s peaceful and it’s sweet. But it's like they are at the point where the scales are scarily unbalanced, and soon will fall the tragedy that pulls them into equilibrium. They are almost there, right at the period before the house of cards comes tumbling down. This is too perfect, too idealistic, and Taehyung and Jungkook have never had it smooth.

 

 

But that time could be now, or in ten years. Either way, it will come so fast they'll barely notice it happening.

 

 

It’s a Saturday, around four p.m., and Seokjin has officially called it a day. He says they deserve some more time off after working hard the past few weeks. Jungkook has been revising for a ton of exams that are coming up at University. For some reason, Seokjin is in an extra good mood today. He’s probably got some event with Jaehwan tonight. Jungkook can’t help feeling something in the pit of his gut. He orders it to go away; washes it away with coffee and painkillers. He wants to ignore it at all costs. Taehyung wears the beige coat Jungkook gave him the day they met proudly as they bid Seokjin and Jaehwan goodnight, telling them to relax tomorrow for once. They could do with it after all the studying they’ve been doing recently. 

 

 

All Jungkook does is smile at Seokjin, but he pulls him into a rare hug anyway. “Get some rest, Jungkook,” He says to the younger with a softer smile than usual, “you and Taehyung have been working so much – you’ve got tired eyes. Take it easy, kiddo.”

 

 

“I will, thanks Seokjin.” Jungkook mutters, and Taehyung says something along the same lines. There is a wetness to Jungkook’s eyes and he swears it is the evening heat, anything. Any excuse. 

 

 

“No problem, it’s what friends are for, right?” No. Friends are forever. Not for now. But he knows he is going to lose him and his heart slowly tears each time he looks into Seokjin’s eyes. Seokjin, his best friend in this lifetime. Seokjin, his best friend in others even before this. What if this is the last lifetime Jungkook will see him? He laughs, and says goodbye once again. Before they exit the room he finds Taehyung’s hand and intertwine his fingers with his own. He is warm, like a light in a dark world. He will always be the most beautiful thing to Jungkook.

 

 

The sky is lighter now, in mid May. Soon summer will come and Jungkook can just picture how fun it will be if he gets to spend it with Taehyung. How much he will smile. Oh, but summer always rids of those beautiful cherry blossoms. The heat is murderous; Jungkook wishes it would stay spring forever.

 

 

“I’ll see you on Monday, right Jungkook?” Taehyung says as his hand leaves Jungkook’s. He has to go and visit his parents tonight, hence him leaving.

 

 

“Yeah, unless we have time tomorrow,” He nods in response to Jungkook and smiles, making a telephone notion in the most cliché way as if to say I’ll call you if I can, so Jungkook decides to say something equally ridiculous in response. “Parting is such sweet sorrow!”

 


“Oh my god, sweetheart, that's too much.” He says, embarrassed by the younger’s attempt at Shakespeare, and leans forward to give him a gentle kiss. No one sees, not that Jungkook would care.

 

 

“I love you.” Jungkook tells him for the thousandth time.

 

 

“I love you too.” Taehyung replies for the final.

 

 

He steps away from Jungkook with almost silent footsteps, smiling as he walks onto the road to cross it. No one is paying any attention to anything.

 

 

And fucking hell, why wasn’t Jungkook paying attention?

 

 

In one ear, he hears Seokjin cry out “Taehyung!” in the most harrowing tone he’s ever heard, loud and piercing like the sharp clang of metal when swords are forced together. In the other ear he hears the screech of car wheels against the road as the vehicle comes from literally nowhere, it’s a noise that Jungkook knows will haunt him forever. The car just spawned into the road, purely to hit Taehyung and for no other reason whatsoever. It exists only to set ablaze to their happiness.

 

 

It’s so sudden and so violent. The car makes a loud crash as it collides with Taehyung’s body. Jungkook’s eyes are wide and he stands: frozen. He sees it all. The car veers left and Taehyung is thrown in the other direction. The sound of his body hitting the concrete is louder than anything he has ever heard before. Louder than the bombs that killed him in 1943, louder than the canons that hit him in 1862. He's died 246 times, but none as loudly as this. 

 

 

His head smacks at the ground almost harder than the car hit him. That horrid feeling in Jungkook’s gut roars and all he can hear are his thoughts saying I should have known I should have known...

 

 

I should have known.

 

 

Jungkook finds himself running out into the road towards his lover. There are no cuts or damaged skin. Just his left arm, which looks broken in so many places – folded back in a disgustingly abnormal position. Then two trails of blood trickle out from his nose, slowly. Jungkook tries to not think about how much he’s hurting, how scared he is, how fast the pain is shooting through his frail body. His eyes are still open, and he is looking directly at Jungkook in his very final moments. Locked eyes.

 

 

Torn but unbreakable.

 

 

“Taehyung, I-” Jungkook whimpers, his whole body shaking violently. He knows he has to be strong…for Taehyung, “-I’ll see you again, OK? I always see you again, angel. Always.” He assures him with the most sincere and honest voice he can muster, and Taehyung smiles. Such a beautiful smile.

 

 

Then he’s gone. The beating of his heart is no longer present. All his dreams, hopes, feelings and aspirations have turned black. All that is left is his body and the beautiful crescent shapes of his half-lidded eyes.

 

 

Seokjin and Jaehwan are running, people are crowding, big block phones are being dialled on. Jungkook hears the car engine shut off and the driver comes running out with a look of complete terror plastered at her face. She hadn't driven towards Taehyung, fate had driven her. She had had both hands on the wheel but not even the most intense concentration could prevent this.

 

 

Jungkook has to ignore everything other than Taehyung.

 

 

It’s time, he thinks, and he grabs Taehyung’s hand gently, leaning down to kiss him one last time. Nothing happens to Jungkook until his eyes close, and when they do he is taken away from this universe. When their lips meet – Taehyung’s motionless, dead lips, still blushing with the warmth of his life just lost – and he has moved his fingers to Taehyung’s eyelids just to ease them shut, he feels the ground beneath him shift and everything around him is erased. Jungkook forgets nothing, but everything forgets him.

 

 

He is erased, and he is being reborn somewhere else. Somewhere new where he will meet Taehyung, make new temporary friends, and watch him die once again. Have his heart bruised and battered and torn to shreds yet again. Inevitably. He deserves it. Not Taehyung.

 

 

He can open his eyes now because the world has already started evaporating.

 

 

“I’ll see you again.” He says for the last time, looking down at those pretty eyelashes and flushed cheeks with teary eyes. He squeezes Taehyung’s hands, but then his fingers disappear with everything else he has become used to.

 

 

His name is Jeon Jungkook. He was first born in 1670. He fell in love with Kim Taehyung twenty years afterwards. And then he fell in love with him hundreds of times after that. He chases him far and wide over lifetimes because he loves him until it hurts, even though Taehyung dies each time they meet, and it's all Jungkook’s fault…

 

 

…you can feel sympathy, but he doesn't need it. This is his reality.