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Summer to Your Heart

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They meet in spring, and Jeongguk is tentative like the first cherry blossoms blooming on the trees. He's gentle like the first rays of sun breaking through the still snow filled clouds, soft like the wind carrying them away. His voice, syllables jumbled and words uttered too quietly at times, is wispy and gentle like the breeze weaving through the wide fields of grass Taehyung stops to watch every morning.

Some days, Taehyung will wake up and forget it's spring already, and he'll stay in and shield himself from the world, from the remnants of winter clinging to his windows, but then Jeongguk will ring his doorbell and draw him out, warm him with shy smiles and fleeting touches.

Taehyung has always loved spring, for as long as he can remember, and it feels only natural to fall for Jeongguk quick and hard, to toss aside responsibilities and deadlines and step out into the sun with Jeongguk by his side, to watch the world recover and come back to life, to listen to birds sing and see the lethargy of winter lift from people's faces, leaving them bright and happy.

Jeongguk kisses Taehyung on an evening in late May. They're outside a cafe and there are dark circles lining Taehyung's eyes, but all fatigue falls away when Jeongguk laughs and pulls Taehyung in, covers his jittery fingers with his and whispers Taehyung's name. Jeongguk kisses him, and when Taehyung wakes up the next morning, summer has come.

In summer, Jeongguk's kisses are searing and unrelenting like the sun shining down onto them. Taehyung tilts his head to the side for better access and melts under his touch.

Jeongguk's eyes catch some of the sun's light and keep it in them for late nights when they're sitting on Taehyung's balcony, shirts discarded and cold drinks on the table, stars both above and flowing through Taehyung's mind as he watches Jeongguk throw his head back and laugh.

Summer is heat and passion and sticky skin, the best of what might be, and Taehyung has always loved summer the most.

Jeongguk tells Taehyung he loves him after waking up one day in September, white sheets pooling around his waist and skin golden in the morning light. Taehyung feels himself drowning, and he leans in to find out what the sun tastes like.

The next day, he spots the first yellowing leaves, and soon the world is a palette of warm hues, golds and reds blending, and even though the sun doesn't shine quite so bright anymore, Taehyung has the vibrant colours and Jeongguk's hands to warm him.

They spend autumn chasing the last light in backyards of small cafes or holed up in Jeongguk's small apartment that has long since become theirs. Jeongguk comes home late sometimes, too busy with college and practice and jobs, and he'll sit on the edge of the bed for a while, gentle fingers carding through Taehyung's hair while Taehyung pretends to be asleep. The leaves continue to fall, and so does Taehyung. It feels like an alternate version of spring, everything slowing down and him falling in love more and more with every moment that passes between them.

It starts raining. On weekends, they ignore essays and projects, stay in bed an entire day, only getting up to get coffee and snacks or to shower. Taehyung watches droplets of water trickle down the window, reminding him of the sweat on Jeongguk's neck just before he falls apart underneath him.

Taehyung never quite liked autumn, for it is too close to winter and feels strangely like nostalgia, but he might just start taking to it.

Winter falls in harsh and cold, storm rattling their windows and seeping into Taehyung's bones.

On a rainy afternoon in december, Jeongguk's eyes turn dark, icy and frigid like the icicles lining the door to their balcony, and his words are as cutting as the freezing wind Taehyung keeps trying to shield himself from whenever he goes outside. Now the cold has come in, and neither scarves and gloves nor apologies will help, for winter is unforgiving and rough.

When Taehyung opens the door and steps outside, the rain seeps through his skin and into his bloodstream, makes his entire body numb. By the time he has reached his flat, he's soaked and freezing.

Over the course of the next weeks, Taehyung watches the snow pile up on his windowsills. He tries to call Jeongguk every now and then, less frequently with time, but just like winter, Jeongguk is repellent, unsympathetic.

Taehyung has always hated winter the most, and he looks back at autumn and wonders why he didn't see the warning signs this time around.

It's April when they meet again, the cruelest month, mixing memories and desire. The weather is unstable, indecisive, rain chasing after warm days in a seemingly endless cycle, and for a moment Taehyung considers turning away and walking out before Jeongguk sees him. But then Jeongguk turns and his eyes meet Taehyung's, and Taehyung isn't sure whether it's the last remnants of ice and snow holding him down or whether he stops to bask in the thin rays of sunlight falling in and warming his body for the first time in months.

Jeongguk walks up to him, and maybe some of the raindrops have stuck to his lashes, because they're glistening under the neon lights of the laundromat.
"Taehyung," Jeongguk whispers, and his voice is brittle like the lily of the valley Taehyung spotted outside his flat last week. It stings, but at the same time Taehyung can feel the frost melting off his fingertips, leaving them tingling with the urge to reach out and see if Jeongguk is still just as warm as he used to be.

Spring stands for hope and new starts, and later, after shared instant noodles on a park bench and conversations slowly filling with laughter, Taehyung decides that maybe spring will become his favourite season after all.