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you’re so beautiful, that I’m scared (my kafka on the seaside)

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"In a way, you are poetry material;

You are full of cloudy subtleties I am willing to spend a lifetime figuring out.

Words burst in your essence and you carry their dust in the pores of your ethereal individuality."

FRANZ KAFKA, Letters to Milena.

 

 

 

 i. The lost seasons I try to restore.

 

Jungkook had never been in love. He knew that because he had seen his parents. Since he was a kid, he always noticed all those little touches and glances that he didn’t see in other people. His mother kissing his father’s face with tender lips before she went to work just to say goodbye without words, his father stroking his mother's hands when they watched a film so delicately Jungkook had to glance away because he was feeling a bit awkward and he thought he was peering into a private moment. He knew for sure he had never felt what his grandparents felt for each other too because he knew he couldn’t cry like his grandfather did when his grandmother passed away. Jungkook had always remembered the tears streaming down his grandfather’s face when he used to talk about her, getting lost in thoughts about other times, memories crossing his mind like flashing lights, tearing his heart apart. Jungkook cried too every time he missed her, but it was just another way of loving someone. He knew he had never felt that kind of love in his entire and early life.

Taehyung had his eyes closed. He was humming a song Jungkook didn’t know and he didn’t really care about because he was too concentrated in the sunbeams that were dancing across Taehyung’s face, like sparkles, caressing his tanned skin so softly, as if Taehyung was one of those flowers that always waited for the sun to come and touch them. Jungkook’s heart flinched in pain. Again. That used to happen every day and he was tired of it because it wasn’t a nice feeling and he didn’t know what to think about it. But it was nothing, right? He was only eleven.

“Taetae,” he said softly, waiting for him to open his eyes and see the blue sky above them, the clouds painting their view with strokes of turquoise tones mixed with their pearly colors.

Taehyung did it and then he turned his head to face him, not paying attention to the beautiful view. They were in silence again. There were no words, not even that song he was singing a few seconds ago and Jungkook didn’t notice it. But even when there were moments like that, when they didn’t really know what was happening, Taehyung was always smiling at him. Sometimes Jungkook didn’t know if the sun wasn’t in that cloudy sky, but right next to him, making his heart finch in pain without reason.

Taehyung waited, like he always did, anticipating Jungkook’s question. Jungkook was not sure why he was asking that, but he was too inquisitive, and too young, so he opened his mouth.

“Have you ever been in love?” The words floated between them and suddenly, Jungkook missed the song that Taehyung was humming two minutes ago. He felt a bit awkward.

Taehyung closed his eyes again, “I don’t think so,” he said, as if he didn’t care about those kind of things yet. And maybe it was true, because he was just eleven and he’d never met a girl. But Jungkook was too curious, he really was, so he went again.

“And how do you know that?”

There was a time when Taehyung didn’t know Jungkook’s name. When they were ten and met each other for the first time, Jungkook was just a kid without a name, a stranger who was sitting by his side on the stairs of the building’s front door. He remembered that moment with absolute clarity because it was the first time he saw him: Taehyung was crying hard with his hands covering his face because his mom wasn’t with him. Jungkook missed his parents too, but he knew he could see them sometimes, so it wasn’t that bad, right? He just stared at him for a few minutes and then he moved closer to pet his hair just like his mom would have, because that’s what you do when you want someone to be okay, even if you don’t know them.

Back there again, things were really different.

“I know it because I know a lot of things, you know?” He was smiling and maybe that play on words was funny but Jungkook ignored it.

“Yeah, like what, huh?” He asked instead, with his hands under his own warm face, waiting for a real answer.

Taehyung looked at him right in the eyes, hair falling on his forehead like curtains moved by the lightly summer breeze.

“Look, my mom told me that when you’re in love, your heart beats really fast. Really, really fast. She says it’s a beautiful feeling because your chest is warmer than ever but also, you can feel a bit confused. I’ve never experienced that, so I know for sure I’ve never been in love.”

And that was probably true, maybe Taehyung’s mother was right. Love had to be like that because Taehyung’s mom knew a lot of things they didn’t. But if she was right, then Jungkook was no longer sure about the fact that he’d never been in love because his heart was beating too fast and he didn’t know the reason.

He felt the upcoming spring rising inside his chest, all because of Taehyung.

 

---

 

The building of his old school was as impressive as the last time he'd been there: the big windows looked at him as if they were welcoming him, the tall trees that were around the building touched with their fresh and green leaves the crimson bricks after the cold deadly winter. His old room had not changed a bit. Jungkook was staring with sorrow at the walls that once were his home. It had been two years since he left the boarding school and there he was again, ready to start.

He left school two years ago because his mother was in Seoul at that time -her job had her always traveling around the world with his father by her side-. His house was full of people like it used to be at that time and Jungkook could live with them as when he was a kid, so they tried to re-start their life again together. It'd been only two years and he had lost contact with a lot of people, especially Taehyung. He kept in touch with Namjoon and Seokjin, but even if he tried with the others, it was just impossible to do it. They visited their families anytime they could, so they never had time to meet him. It was a hard time but luckily that never lasted so much. Instead, Jungkook was there again and with a lot of things to say, the problem was that he didn’t know how to do it.

He was sitting on the scratchy chair that a long time ago belonged to him. Once, that was his room and his bed. It was his life too and that felt so weird because it was like nothing had changed at all, even the window was still broken as years ago when Namjoon threw a ball against the glass. Now, he was waiting in silence, hands nervously playing with a piece of paper, until Yoongi finally opened the door and entered the room. For a moment it felt so right, that Jungkook even thought that maybe everything was okay. Yoongi was looking at him with a wide smile, his eyes were as bright as the sunlight that was coming through the open window, but Jungkook was still waiting. It wasn’t because he was shy, but because he was really scared of Yoongi’s first reaction. He knew their friendship was weaker than ever and he didn’t want to face it. He wanted to apologize but it wasn’t even his fault, he’d never chosen to left the school when his family came back home. Yet, should he say sorry for not keeping contact with them? Yoongi stared at him and his bright smile fell in front of his eyes.

“Jungkook?” Yoongi said so softly Jungkook almost couldn’t hear it. “Jungkookie?”

Yoongi was confused -he couldn’t understand what his friend had in mind- so he made the first move, even if he didn’t know how Jungkook was going to react. He felt a warm hand touching his face and then he heard his name again. He looked up at Yoongi with sadly eyes that reminded him at that day when he left the place.

“You know how much I’ve missed you?” Yoongi said with his thumb slightly stroking Jungkook’s cheek.

And there it was: the feeling of being forgiven. Jungkook ignored the sun, the open window, the sweaty piece of paper and even that he was still scared; because he had Yoongi’s arms around his grown body and he knew he didn’t really go back home two years ago when he went to his old house, because home was in that place with his boys. And then, he started crying like Taehyung did the first time he met him.

 

“So I know for a fact that you cried yesterday,” Hoseok was teasing him like he always did in the past. Jungkook smiled a little. They were sitting in the corridor, outstretched legs and heads so close that Jungkook could just close his eyes and sleep there, with Hoseok and Jimin on both of his sides. He felt Jimin’s breath on his cheek, waiting at his first reaction to that comment with a big smile, eyes closed in crescents moons.

“You’re such a dick, Jung Hoseok,” he replied and then, they were laughing, like they always used to. He had missed them so much his heart had to stop sometimes just to collect all the love he was feeling, warming his chest and making him smile even when he was feeling so fucking bad.

The thing is that Yoongi, Hoseok and Jimin were not mad at him. There had happened a lot of things since his departure, but even if they hadn't talk that much, their friendship was the same as always. Jungkook loved the way their laughs were mixed with the noise of the other boys in the corridor, walking straight at their classrooms. There was a time when he thought he was never going back there and it was so painful just to think about it. He could feel the sadness climbing up his back and making its way to his eyes, tears falling and sobs fleeing from his mouth. But that was not going to happen again because he wasn’t leaving any time soon. So he flexed his legs and moved his hand to pet Jimin’s orange hair while he brushed his head on Hoseok’s, feeling the cold floor in the palm of his right hand where he was supporting himself. Jungkook closed his eyes and left his mind blow away for a few minutes and for a moment, everything was the same as it was two years ago.

Everything? Nah.

Jungkook still missed Taehyung. He cried so much the day he left because Taehyung didn’t show up and Jungkook knew why. That day there was a storm coming and everybody at the school was ready. When big storms loomed at their school, there were some rules to follow: no one could go outside because if they did, they would catch a cold and the woods near the building could be dangerous, so the doors were closed and days like that were the worst. It was when they comprehended that they weren’t at their home, that they couldn’t do whatever they wanted and go around without telling someone where were they. When they noticed they were not free.

The clouds were so dark Jungkook was scared, it seemed the weather was a painting of his own heart. The same color, the same feeling. He could feel his heart ready to explode, the tears waiting behind his eyes to fall at the right moment and the pain of the reprimanded sobs in his throat. Jungkook took his suitcase and didn’t even blink when the door closed behind him. And just like his heart, the clouds finally left all the water fall. The boys had said goodbye to him a few minutes ago at the garden. They cried like babies, even Yoongi, but Taehyung… He was nowhere to be found. He hadn’t seen him that day and Jungkook thought that maybe Taehyung was really busy and hopefully he could show up at his departure, so he waited until he couldn’t anymore. His parents arrived at eight when Jungkook opened his eyes. He was freezing on the bed. The window was closed but the room was still cold. It seemed that the place that had been his home for years, it was dead now. And it was the time.

When his mother closed the car’s door for him, he regretted he didn’t search for Taehyung. Finally, the tears fell out of his eyes because he couldn’t see his best friend’s face for the last time and then he started to sob because he understood the reason why Taehyung didn’t say goodbye to him: he didn’t want to say it out loud.

He looked at the rear window, keeping the scene in his mind to remember it forever. At that time, he thought he would never come back so he took all his memories behind his eyelids and held them in his heart. His eyes were opened but he couldn’t see anything behind the layer of rain and his own tears slipping from his weeping eyes so he couldn’t recognize the boy that was in the middle of that torrent with his hands wrapped around the bars of the front door.

Ah, he regretted a lot of things.

 

It was Sunday when he finally saw Taehyung. Sundays were really especial days because no one had a thing to do so the school always prepared a lot of activities to entertain the teenagers. They could play football or baseball and when it was a sunny day, they used to go to the woods. It wasn’t like they couldn’t take a bus and went to the city but nobody wanted to do that on Sundays because it took a lot of time and the round trip was simply boring. The thing is that Taehyung had been missing the past two days and Hoseok was complaining about that a lot while they were having breakfast together at the dining room with Yoongi and Jimin. Hoseok glanced at his mobile phone and then he clicked his tongue too bothersome.

“It’s Tae, he wants kimchi,” he said looking at Jimin who was playing with the food.

“Why doesn’t he come here and eat the damn kimchi with us?” Jimin complained.

“You know why,” Yoongi said with bored eyes.

“He’s avoiding me, isn’t he?” Jungkook asked. Jimin glanced away while Hoseok nodded with a serious expression. He opened his mouth to say something but Yoongi interrupted him.

“You need to talk to him because he’s mad at you for something you couldn’t avoid. It wasn’t your fault, and you kept contact with Namjoon and Seokjin just because they were starting university back then and they weren’t living here anymore,” Yoongi told him. He was right but Jungkook still felt bad for Taehyung. He could understand why he was acting like he didn’t exist, that was the reason why he had respected Taehyung’s decision for two days, but he was tired of that situation, tired of that feeling and tired of missing his best friend.

“Where is he?” Jungkook looked at Hoseok and then he smiled.

“Still in bed.”

 

Jungkook was nervous. He really was. He’d been behind Hoseok and Taehyung’s wooden door for the past ten minutes, trying to gather strength to knock and ask him if he wanted to talk. But what if Taehyung was asleep? Or what if Taehyung didn’t want to talk and he didn’t say anything? Jungkook felt the palms of his hands starting to sweat, closing and opening them. He was terrified at the thought of Taehyung never wanting to talk to him anymore and his stomach twisted in pain. Two boys passed by his side looking at him like he was acting weird -he was-. He had to open that door, he needed to be brave because otherwise, he would lose his best friend -maybe he already had-. His legs made the first move even if he was not sure about how to start the conversation. Should he knock before entering the room? Or just open the door without any warning? If he did the first option, maybe Taehyung would make some stupid excuse. Fuck. He was over-thinking too much so he caught his breathe and then he opened the door with trembling hands.

The room was the same as it was two years ago. The unmade bunk beds at his right, their desks full of papers and the stupid anime figures at the left and in the middle of the room, the wide window with the same view Jungkook had always loved: the near woods with that green and yellow light that emerged from the big trees and the calmly and thick river. He had missed that place so much; he didn’t even notice that until that moment. Jungkook looked again at the bunk beds, searching for Taehyung’s face and then he saw it. There was a body lying on the lower bunk. Taehyung’s legs were stretched out and his feet were interlaced with the soft white sheets. He was facing the wall, so Jungkook couldn’t see him properly. Taehyung had his arms around his pillow and Jungkook thought he still slept the same way he used to when they were fourteen. He wasn’t wearing his pajamas, just a pair of blue briefs but Jungkook didn’t notice that at first so when he looked at the Taehyung's naked back and legs, he glanced away immediately, too embarrassed. Taehyung didn’t know Jungkook was there so he was sleeping semi-naked and if he woke up he would assume Jungkook was staring at him like a stalker so he panicked and undo his steps to return to the corridor in absolutely silence. But he didn’t remember the table that was behind his back next to the wooden door. A stupid and ridiculous stuffed bear fell from that non-existent table and then two figures from an anime he knew too well met the floor accompanied with considerable noise that woke up Taehyung instantly. Jungkook knew he was fucked.

“What the fuck, Hobi?” Taehyung said opening his eyes with a hand at his forehead massaging it, turning around to face Jungkook.

Oh.

It was the first time Jungkook saw him in two years and all that time he thought he’d missed him, but he'd been so wrong. He missed that face and that voice with all his heart… It was like a bullet in his chest. He felt the need to cry again, like he did so many times when he left the school, but he had to contain himself because Taehyung was looking at him right in his eyes and he was so confused his arm fell on the mattress.

“Taehyung…” Jungkook was really surprised at his own voice, so softly, like the light fluttering of butterfly wings. What should he say? Two years without knowing anything about him, no news about how he was doing, he didn’t even have his number because they didn’t have mobile phones at that time so the only way to talk to his best friend was by letters, but no one wrote shit, they just lost contact so easily it was embarrassing. How did they let that happen? They were best friends, they had something so especial, and everybody envied their amazing friendship: they were the dream team. It was too painful and Jungkook had cried a lot just thinking about that for two years. But now, with Taehyung in front of him, with confused eyes and knowing he’d been avoiding him, the pain was worse. He thought his friendship with Yoongi was weaker than ever, but just because he didn’t want to think about Taehyung and the reason why he didn’t want to see Jungkook’s face anymore.

“Wha-” Taehyung started, but Jungkook interrupted whatever he was going to say, because he was too terrified to letting him say something he didn’t want to hear.

“Can I talk to you? I need to,” he stepped to him unwittingly. “Please,” his voice was starting to crack and he felt so stupid, so weak… He couldn’t even talk to him without starting to cry. “I’ve missed you so bad.”

“Me too,” Taehyung’s voice was calmly as if he knew Jungkook was going to cry at any moment and he didn’t want to that happen.

“So why didn’t you come to say hi?”

“I couldn’t, I didn’t even say goodbye because I was mad at you.”

“You were?”

“Yes, I was. But not anymore. Now… I’m sorry, I’m so embarrassed,” he laughed. He really was, his cheeks were red and he was hiding his body behind the sheets.

“Oh, I’m sorry,” Jungkook was so awkward, his face blushing. “I didn’t know you were sleeping… like this. I’m really sorry.”

“Jungkook, I was really stupid at that time, you know that? The day you left I cried until the next day because I didn’t say goodbye to you. And now everything feels so weird. We’ve grown up and you’ve changed so much,” Taehyung’s eyes were looking at him like Jungkook was really different, as if he couldn’t recognize the boy who was staring back at him.

“I thought you were still mad at me and that’s why you’ve been avoiding me these days,” Jungkook was pretty sure Taehyung was keeping some things in his head. He wanted to hear everything he had to say but-

“What? No, no… Jungkook, the only reason why I’ve been avoiding you is just that I was fucking scared because we’d lost contact and I was a dick to you the last days we were together so I thought you wouldn’t want to talk to me and I didn’t want you to ignore me.”

Jungkook caught his breathe in his lungs, he wasn’t expecting that. He didn’t react, just stared at Taehyung with nothing to say. Taehyung sighed.

“You know I was there when you left the school?” The words were so delicately picked. Taehyung was being cautious, trying to not to say anything that could worsen the situation. After two years, Taehyung still knew him so well. “I avoided you the entire day, that’s true, but do you really think I didn’t go to see you for the last time? I was at the front door, and it was raining so much I think you couldn’t see me but I was there.”

Jungkook's heart flinched in pain, again, like it always did when he was younger. It was something he’d never could to explain, but it didn’t matter at that time because he was just fourteen. Now, he was sixteen and things were so different, he started to understand the real reasons why his heart acted like that. He felt his stomach squirming like a snake.

“Why didn’t you show up? Why didn’t you yell or something like that?” he asked, trying to forget the possibly reasons why his heart was dancing in his chest. Taehyung glanced away like he was regretful.

“Because I couldn’t say goodbye to you,” he said with a husky voice.

“Ah, Tae, you were an idiot.”

 

---

 

Things were okay. The following days they all caught up on their lives. Jungkook had missed so much those nights talking to Yoongi before going to sleep, the time to have lunch with his friends, the boring classes and even the stupid draws in the blackboard that his friends left before the teacher entered the classroom and obligate a random student to erase those “stupid rag dolls”. He started to dance again with Jimin and Hoseok and the last one even taught him how to do freestyle. On Sundays, they went to the city to meet Seokjin and Namjoon and it was like the old times, when all the boys were at the boarding school and they made a lot of memories together, being rebellious and those kind of things. Everything was the same as it was two years ago.

Almost.

Jungkook wasn’t Taehyung’s best friend anymore, because that was Hoseok. And he understood the reason because two years were a lot of time, even if things were the same. But… Jungkook still missed him although he had Yoongi.

Everybody said Yoongi had a soft spot for Jungkook because he was the youngest -even if Taehyung was just a few months older than him- and it was the truth. Yoongi had missed Jungkook a lot, he was the one who always dared Yoongi to do dumb things, the one who tried to cheer him up every single day. It’s something that happens with roommates, so that was the reason why Jungkook truly understood why Hoseok and Taehyung were the best friends forever now. He wasn’t mad at all; he just was sad because he’d lost an amazing friendship.

So he was very close to Yoongi now, more than ever and he knew things the others didn’t. Yoongi always had a crush on Jimin. That wasn’t new news to the group, because they’d grown together and there weren’t any secrets. Everybody could see the way Yoongi looked at Jimin, so far different at the way he stared at Jungkook, like he was his little brother. Yoongi’s love for Jungkook was just platonic, and nothing similar at the things he felt for Jimin. Some nights, Yoongi and Jungkook talked about those weird feelings, like best friends do.

The moon wasn’t in the dark sky that night, so there was no light and Jungkook couldn’t see anything, just darkness and shadows dancing in the room. He was at the lower bunk bed with his eyes open, while listening at Yoongi’s new rap. He loved the way his friend could say a lot of emotions without breathing: he just spitted all his heart at the air, maybe sometimes he added some music and, wow, Jungkook was really proud of how much his friend had improved since he left. Yoongi always wrote his own lyrics: always deep shit Jungkook couldn’t understand because he didn’t really know the feeling of being in love with someone. That was when he was younger, but now, he could understand the message Yoongi was trying to express.

So Yoongi was rapping, saying some shit about how hard is that the love of your life doesn’t want you back, and Jungkook couldn’t shut up, it was something he always hated, but his curiosity was stronger than his own closed lips.

“Yoongi?” he interrupted him. “Is that song about Jimin?”

Fuck, he was so fucking direct and he regretted everything, but he couldn’t just remain silence because it was too obvious. Yoongi sighed and then, no one said a word. It was really awkward and Jungkook thought that maybe it was better if he just kept quiet. He turned to face the walls with the sheets between his fingers. Maybe it was time to sleep.

“Yes,” Yoongi’s voice was like a whisper but the heavy silence in the room was so strong that Jungkook could hear it.

“Why don’t you tell him those things?”

The thing was that Jimin never thought about Yoongi being in love with him. Jungkook knew that because he’d talked to him, and Jimin said Yoongi had a soft spot for him like he had for Jungkook. And yes, that was the truth, but between Yoongi and Jungkook there was no tension. Jimin didn’t realize that Yoongi’s love for him was different at his love for Jungkook. And Jungkook knew a lot about those things because he always compared things to his grandparent’s relationship. Sometimes he thought that maybe Jimin didn’t want to realize and he ignored Yoongi’s feelings intentionally.

“Because I think he doesn’t want to hear them.”

Jungkook closed his mouth and then, his eyes. It was sad because Yoongi’s voice was full of emotions, he could hear it. Yoongi had so much love to give to Jimin, and still, he didn’t want that. It was such a waste.

“Maybe he doesn’t know you have a crush on him and he’s just a fool.”

Yoongi’s laugh was darker than the room itself.

“Maybe,” he said. “Time to go to sleep, kiddo.”

 

---

 

Summer was a lonely season for them. Everybody went to visit their families, except the boys who didn’t have one or those whose families weren’t in the country. So when summer arrived, their days were more boring than ever. They were alone at the boarding school -not just them, there were another students and people who worked there for all over the place- but even if the school was full of people, the place felt empty. Jungkook used to go outside because he loved the way the clouds walked above him while he was lying at the humid grass as listening to music. He missed his family a lot back then when he was fourteen and he didn’t understand his own emotions, but things had changed a lot and now, everything was different.

The truth was that the place was full of boys, even if a big part of the students left the school for holiday. He had his friends there and he didn’t miss his family anymore, because he knew he had another family right there. Jungkook had a life there: his soul, his blood, his atoms belonged to that place. He could feel the Earth under his feet, the way the world was moving, the gravity keeping him tied at the ground. He felt all those wasted years were just a dream, like nothing ever happened, because he was feeling the same way he felt all those days when he was younger and he went to the woods and slept under the shadows of the tall trees without any worries until it was too late and he had to go back to the building.

When he was younger, he was never alone. Taehyung was always with him, since the first day, when he cried like the baby he was. His friend’s hands were always petting his hair, touching his arms, wrapping Jungkook’s hands tightly and helping him to go everywhere they could. He loved the way Taehyung’s long fingers interlaced with his own like pieces of a puzzle and the strength which they carried him to every place Taehyung went to.

Jungkook loved the way he loved Taehyung.

All Taehyung’s insecurities were washed away with Jungkook’s light touch, the shy smiles and tight embraces at night, when they slept together. They had something really especial. It wasn’t just Jungkook’s idea of his friendship with Taehyung, their friends' knew their relationship was something precious. Their friends left them behind when they were exploring the woods far away from the school, those days when they lived unforgettable adventures, when they chased the stars on those summer nights all together. They knew it was precious by the way they never talked about Taehyung’s obsession with Jungkook’s hair, hands petting his head like it was nothing, smelling the scent of Jungkook's shampoo he knew too well. Their friends never said anything, even if they knew their friendship was more than just that. Jungkook never thought about his own feelings when he was thirteen, not even when he was fourteen and he had to leave his friends behind. Neither when he was fifteen and he rejected a girl who had a crush on him because she wasn’t… him.

Ah, Jungkook was a fool. He’d never thought about his own feelings because he was too terrified to accept and embrace them. But now, back there again, trying to had his old life back, he understood. He understood that the way he loved Taehyung was the same as his grandfather loved his grandmother. For the first time in his young life, he knew for sure, that he was in love.

 

It was a weird afternoon. Jungkook was lying on his room’s floor, forearms behind his head, eyes locked at the ceiling like it was really entertaining. The warmly sunbeams across his body touched his skin slightly, like he was another small flower on the ground waiting for the sun to come. Jungkook didn’t notice the way the colors of the walls changed with the intensity of the sunlight entering the room by the open window, until Taehyung was next to him. His friend was searching for him because Jungkook wasn’t at the backyard with the others. They were playing baseball and probably, they missed the skilled boy in their group.

Jungkook wasn’t feeling okay that day, but he couldn’t find the reason. The teacher told him to rest, so Jungkook went to his room and then, he slept all day long. Just until he had to eat something and then, he came back and watched an anime. Yoongi was nowhere that boring day, and Jungkook didn’t want to see the others. It was nothing in particular, he just wasn’t feeling well so he stayed there, with music playing timidly all over the room. He sang along the piano notes that sneaked inside his chest right to his heart. He was so calmly, too focused on some random point of the ceiling, he didn’t notice the presence of his friend. But when he was aware of the familiar scent, he looked at him like he was something so far from natural, like some God’s creature they left abandoned after the creation of the world. Taehyung layed there, unware of the things he provoked on Jungkook’s chest. His heart skipped a beat and suddenly, Jungkook felt his hands hotter than a few seconds ago. His blood was rushing angrily around all his body, like sea waves moving at the rhythm of a big storm. Jungkook's eyes fell on Taehyung’s hands, where he rested them on his leg. Taehyung’s stare was firm, like he was searching for something in Jungkook’s face.

“Hey,” Taehyung’s voice was so nice, Jungkook’s ears loved the way the velvet-like tone always touched them. “How are you? Feeling better?” Jungkook didn’t look at him, but the smile was there, as always.

Jungkook had been there for two months now. Their friendship had been slowly rebuilt, but still, they hadn’t what they had in the past. Taehyung’d been spending a lot of his time with Hoseok, just as Jungkook had been doing with Yoongi. Even if the whole group -except Namjoon and Seokjin- was doing things together almost every day, there were times when he noticed the gap in Taehyung and Jungkook’s friendship.

All of Taheyung’s insecurities now were healed by Hoseok. Jungkook’s heart flinched in pain, as if a hand grabbed aggressively and tried to tear it off from his chest.

“Yes, I think I’ve been just a little bit down today, just that,” he replied, playing down to his own feelings.

“Ah, really?” Taehyung cocked his head to look at Jungkook with intensity. His smile wasn’t there, drawing a crescent moon like it always used to be.

“I don’t really know, Tae,” he faked a laugh but then, he was aware of Taehyung’s fingers pointing at Jungkook’s leg and his own heart tried to scream in response.

Taehyung hummed low too concentrate in some point of Jungkook’s leg, like he didn’t really notice the bitter laugh of his friend.

“Have you ever been aware of this?” he said instead. “You have an elephant here.”

Jungkook sat himself up with the help of his own elbows and then, his eyes rested on the spot Taehyung was pointing at: his two moles.

“Where?”

And there it was, Taehyung’s bright smile searching for Jungkook’s. He couldn’t stop the need of smile back at him just to satisfy his friend, because all Jungkook wanted it was the moons that appeared in Taehyung’s face every time he was feeling happy.

“Here, you idiot,” Taehyung pinched his soft skin and his two moles turned into a tiny elephant’s face. Jungkook couldn’t believe the stupidity of the situation, he couldn’t help the laugh that climbed up in this throat and then he punched Taehyung’s chest. The two of them started to laugh so hard Jungkook had to lie there again.

“Why are you so stupid?” he screamed when Taehyung climbed on top of him to tickle him under his ribcage like he used to do when they were younger.

Jungkook let the butterflies inside his stomach fly away, like petals blowing in the warm air of the summer. The sunbeams danced across Taehyung's face like they did when they were just eleven and Jungkook didn’t know anything about the feeling of being in love.

“And you?” Taehyung’s hands stayed on both of Jungkook’s sides and Jungkook’s wrapped tightly around Taehyung’s wrists, stopping him.

The colors of the sunlight changed on Taehyung’s sun-kissed face. Maybe the sun wanted to catch the boy’s skin and give to him all the beautiful things it could create and suddenly, Jungkook found himself like a flower searching for the sun that was Taehyung. His heart wasn’t in his chest anymore; Taehyung had caught it in his own hands even if he didn’t know it. And that was the moment when Jungkook’s world finally had sense. All those times when he didn’t understand why he felt that way, when his heart tried to escape from his body, the reason why Jungkook was always feeling like he missed something, it all was because of Taehyung, the kid that every atom of Jungkook’s body wanted right by his side.

And he couldn’t hide his own feelings, he tried to stop his stupid mouth, but it was too late.

“Fuck, Tae, I miss you so much.”

 

 

 ii. The boy who was in love

 

 

There was a time when Taehyung and Jungkook used to go into the woods with their bicycles. Summer was a silent and calm season for them, the same way the air was on Jungkook’s skin. They used to go there because it was the most peaceful place. Jungkook liked the way the grass tickled him, his hands sweating and Taehyung by his side, catching ladybugs with his long fingers. The other boys would come too, and they’d lie there with them, hair on the ground, arms touching the others, waiting for the sun to hide behind the enormous mountain they used to say it was the end of the Earth. Taehyung’s voice was really quiet when he talked about those stories the other boys at school said about the mountain and the spirits that haunted that place. Hoseok would scream when Jungkook shook up a tree branch and they’d start laughing so loudly the own woods’ silence disappeared behind their noises that born in their sincere happiness. And things would be okay, even if Hoseok was a little bit embarrassed or even mad at his friends for laughing at him. Nights like that would become mere memories of good days, and just that, because when they’d grow up, things probably would change.

And as they thought, things were so different. Seokjin and Namjoon weren’t there anymore, Hoseok’s allergies didn’t let him go into the woods, Yoongi and Jimin were so into each other they didn’t go there anymore, and Taehyung… Well.

Jungkook missed him, he’d missed him since the first day, or even since he had left the school. So when the words escaped from his mouth, he didn’t really regret them, “Fuck, Taehyung, I miss you so much.”

The truth was there, floating between them like tiny specks of dust in the air. He thought that maybe Taehyung would say something rude or he would just leave without a word, even he could fake a smile and ask him why, as if he didn’t notice the weakness in their friendship. Jungkook thought about a million situations, million words and even a million worlds in which things weren’t like that: Taehyung loving him the same way Jungkook loved him, Taehyung never coming to the school boarding when he was ten; another universe in which none of them where there and they find each other in another country, with different names and stories. But he couldn’t imagine what happened next.

Taehyung’s arms were around his body: his hands touching each other behind Jungkook’s back, enfolding him so tightly Jungkook thought he would never breathe again, not when he had Taehyung’s head resting on his chest, feeling his own beat trying to touch the stars desperately. Taehyung’s hands were so warm through his shirt he didn’t notice his own body was alight, burning the spots he touched and melting Jungkook’s skin like candles. He closed his eyes, feeling Taehyung’s arms around him for the first time in years. He couldn’t move his own body because he was paralyzed, just his heartbeat was pounding his chest so loud that maybe Taehyung heard it. But Jungkook didn’t care at all, because his mind was so far away, so close to the same sun that was watching them through the window.

“I miss you, too.”

Jungkook’s heart stopped. If Taehyung noticed that, he didn’t say anything. He just cocked his head to look at him, Jungkook’s eyes searching for his, trying to say something, but the words that were floating between them, flew away like the butterflies in Jungkook’s stomach. And then Taehyung opened his mouth.

“Let’s start all over again, okay?”

Ah, that smile.

 

---

 

If things were okay at the beginning of April when Jungkook arrived at the school, he couldn’t ask for more in July. July was Jungkook’s favorite month because he loved the weather and all the things they did when they were younger when everybody was on holiday: they played even more, had all the free time they wanted and even if the days were too long, he never complained because he enjoyed every second of them.

That Saturday, they were going to visit Seokjin and Namjoon, so they took a bus early in the morning. It wasn’t the first time since Jungkook’s return, but it was a different day because they all had free time and there were no rules to follow. They could be out of the school as much as they wanted because they didn’t have to sleep in there if they had an adult’s permission slip. Jimin was so excited he couldn’t stop smiling at the back of the bus where their friends’ laughs annoyed the others passengers -and Yoongi, who was asleep-.

“I want an ice cream so bad,” Hoseok said with a leg on his seat and his cheek resting on Taehyung’s shoulder, dark hair caressing his tanned skin.

“Not much time is left, just wait a bit more,” Jimin told him.

It was true, the city was near, Jungkook could see it. He had his eyes placed in the scene behind the window: the nearest buildings were appearing like a movie film, everything was blurred because of the high-speed and the trees were just dark patches in the cloudy sky. Jungkook was avoiding Taehyung’s gaze, who was trying to meet Jungkook’s with a worried face. Things between them were alright since the day when they decided to re-start their friendship. They did a lot of things together like they used to do and Taehyung was as clingy as always, but at the same time, Jungkook’s feelings were heavier and heavier on his chest. So the last days, he had been trying to stop them pushing Taehyung away. Even if it hurt, because he couldn’t stand them anymore.

Taehyung’s hand reached for Jungkook’s wrist and Jungkook’s eyes finally met Taehyung’s. He wasn’t upset, so he tried to fake a shy smile. The truth was that Jungkook couldn’t explain Taehyung the real reason why he couldn’t look at him when he had Hoseok’s arms around his body. Jungkook knew something was up, there was a strange feeling floating in their group. He was starting to see things he didn’t see months ago, like Taehyung’s wide smile when he met Hoseok’s eyes, the unnecessary laughs when Hoseok said something really stupid and the shy smiles between them. He was sure he wasn’t just imagining things, and his heart hurt more than ever because Taehyung was so nice. Not like when a stranger opens a door and keeps it opened for you, or when someone you know does something that makes you feel good. Taehyung’s hands were nice to Jungkook’s body, always touching him so gently like he was something precious, as if he was touching a butterfly’s wings. His smile was so nice too, so full of life, and hope, and all the beautiful things that were hidden in the most curious and magnificent places on Earth. His eyes always were warm and he looked at him so deeply he thought he was special, because that was what Taehyung made him feel like. It wasn’t just in his head; they were really close again and their friendship was starting to re-build so beautifully he just couldn’t stay away from him or avoid him that much, because Jungkook was so weak and he needed his touches even if they hurt. At least, he had that.

Jungkook was so into him, he was scared. He knew he was stupidly in love and he couldn’t see Taehyung like he wasn’t the amazing boy he was. Everything was so complicated, he didn’t want to think about the possibility of Taehyung being in love with Hoseok. Maybe he was a little selfish, but he really wanted to kiss him and not to see how another person took his place. Anyway, he couldn’t do shit, because he knew for sure he wasn’t in love with him. Ugh. He could see the way Taehyung’s hands searched for Hoseok’s when they thought nobody could see them, so Jungkook’s heart cried a little. Maybe those were just assumptions, nothing had to be real, but their little hands squeezes were so intimate that Jungkook truly believed that maybe they were together in a romantic way, and nobody knew it yet. He glanced away, finding the salmon colored sky that was dyeing the day like a filter.

It felt weird. They were going to visit their oldest friends but not coming back at the school until Sunday. They all were going to be together that night, like the used to do years ago, but with some kind of weirdness floating between them like stars in the unknowable darkness of the space, awaiting for something to come. And he was scared.

 

They stopped in a corner shop to buy some ice creams. They were hungry, lost kids in a city they never walked on. Well, they did, but on very few occasions. At that time, they were rebellious and childish but two years had been a lot. The sun was touching their skin with passion, their bodies starting to sweat under its touch as they walked by the longest street they’d ever been. Jungkook sighed at the blazing horizon ahead of them. The day was hotter than others, so those ice creams were their closest thing to heaven. The boys licked them as if they were some kind of elixir, trying to make their body colder desperately. Yoongi, Jungkook and Hoseok were the head the group, while Jimin and Taehyung kept doing stupid things behind them, trying to lift each other’s shirts and making Jungkook laugh at their pathetic noises.

“I can’t do this anymore, I hate them,” Yoongi complained, looking at the loud kids.

Taehyung grinned at him, “Yoongi, you should be more excited! It’s the first time we all sleep together since we were fourteen!” His voice was too loud, on purpose. Jungkook smiled a little.

“Oh god, that’s true,” Hoseok agreed, “I didn’t think of that. Maybe Seokjin and Namjoon had thought on doing something especial tonight?”

“Why?” Jimin asked.

“I don’t know, we used to go to see the stars when we were younger…”

Ah, yeah. Jungkook was just twelve when he first saw the entire galaxy. Well, at least a lot of stars. He remembered being terrified because if felt like the sky could swallow them and nobody would ever know it. It was so full of tiny lights it was overwhelming, he had never seen the sky that big. He felt so small and vulnerable that his hands reached for someone’s, just to be sure he was right there, under the dark vault, trying to believe that the hand he was holding on was real. He felt a strong grip, as if he knew Jungkook was scared, and it worked.

Of course, it was Taehyung.

“If we’re going to see the stars tonight then I hope those clouds move away, because otherwise we’re fucked,” Taehyung’s eyes narrowed at the salmon colored sky.

Maybe it was pollution, because that sky wasn’t normal, Jungkook thought, but it looked so lovely reflected on Taehyung: the soft colors were touching the his face and he knew there was no one that looked so beautifully in those pastel shades. His tanned skin seemed so delicate it fascinated him, he was stunning. Taehyung was so near him, Jungkook could lift his arm and touch his skin, just to check if it was really that soft, but Taehyung noticed his strong stare and Jungkook freaked out. He glanced away, again.

 

“Jungkookie is growing up so fast, I’m scared,” said Namjoon. They were having lunch in their apartment, everyone was sitting around the table, crossed legs and elbows touching each other’s. Jungkook looked at him with a weird face, placing his chopsticks onto the half-eaten bowl of ramyun.

“Why do you say that?”

“Because day by day your face is uglier and uglier,” teased Yoongi as the others snorted.

“Shut up, you’re a dick.”

“It’s because you’re really growing up faster than us. The last time we saw you, you weren’t like this,” said Seokjin.

“Like what?” he inquired.

“Mature, I think,” the old boy looked so convinced, Jungkook almost believed him.

“And handsome,” Hoseok added while grinning. Jungkook knew that was a joke, but he couldn’t stop the shyness that climbed up at his cheeks turning them on red.

“Oh, shut up,” he cursed. Taehyung looked at him with that big smile he always had for him, and then Jungkook’s eyes ran away from Taehyung’s. They laughed at the joke and then the topic changed to things about Namjoon’s teacher, something about their grades, Seokjin’s tutoring and gossips about their classmates.

Their stomachs were full and aching when they decided what they were going to do that day: see the stars, as expected. Seokjin took the dirty dishes from the table and Namjoon, Yoongi and Jimin helped him while the others cleaned them. It was teamwork, like they did when they all were at the boarding school. That was their day routine: at the end of their schedule, they had to clean up their classrooms with the other students. Usually, they would put some music on the television -SNSD were Taehyung’s favorite girl group- so they would dance at their tunes, or just sing while sweeping at Bigbang’s last album tracks. Jungkook thought those were the best days of his life.

 

“So we’ve decided to go and buy some things for tonight,” announced Namjoon with a sleepy Jungkook under his arms.

“We’re just going to see the stars, what do we need?” Jungkook asked, moving his chin on the older’s chest.

“We need food, dumbass,” Jimin punched him slightly with his fist in the arm. They were comfortable relaxed on the couch because the others had lost at rock-paper-scissors, so they were sitting on the floor. At least, it was colder. Jungkook thanked the fan was turned on because he would be sweating again with Namjoon’s arms around his body. He had missed him so much.

When Jungkook left the school, the only people he could visit was Namjoon and Seokjin. They kept meeting some weekends when they hadn’t to study, but even if they saw each other at least once a month, it wasn’t like the old times because the others weren’t there. Namjoon and Seokjin visited the others on weekdays, so that was the reason why Jungkook never met them. Anyway, he always missed Namjoon and Seokjin because once a month it wasn’t that much and Jungkook felt so lonely those years. Because of his shyness, he didn’t have friends at his new school, so they were all he had.

“Don’t call me that, asshole.”

Seokjin didn’t even pay attention to their fight, he just gazed at them with his hands under his chin, “We’ll buy some food and drinks, if you want to suggest something, then do it.”

Hoseok lifted his head from Taehyung’s lap, “Alcohol?”

“Unexpected,” Yoongi commented, arms crossed on his chest.

“What are you implying?”

“Nothing,” he stretched his legs and arms like a cat on the chair he’d borrowed. “It’s just I knew you were going to say that.”

“We can’t drink at school so it’s our opportunity!” intervened an excited Jimin with colored cheeks and crinkly eyes.

“Okay, okay. But you’ll drink with moderation,” Namjoon was always too permissive, Jungkook loved him a lot. He brushed his head on his chest, trying to express without words what he felt for his friend.

 

So Namjoon, Jimin and Hoseok went to the nearest grocery’s store while Yoongi slept on the couch and Taehyung, Seokjin and Jungkook prepared the things they needed for their trip. This time, the green-haired boy won at rock-paper-scissors so he could take a nap while the others did the work. Jungkook thought Yoongi looked so small on that large couch, naked feet searching for the cold spots. It was true, Jungkook had grown up really fast, he was taller than Yoongi and Jimin, even if they were a year older than him. His body was more grown too, Yoongi’s legs were thinner than his and Jungkook’s biceps were more toned because he danced, while Yoongi composed music.

The fan was moving Taeyung’s brown hair slightly, like the soft and warmly wind did with the trees leafs outside. They opened a closet where Seokjin kept the blankets, dust falling at the same time they opened the doors.

“Do we really need those?” Taehyung asked.

“Yes, the weather can change at any moment and the back of the truck is not really comfortable.”

“Do you think it’s going to rain?” said Jungkook.

“Nah, I don’t think so,” A pause. Seokjin’s face illuminated like he had an idea. “Hey, did you eat ice cream like the others?”

Taehyung mischievous smile appeared on his face, he was just a kid, like Jungkook. They exchanged looks and then denied it. So they ate ice cream twice in just a day.

“Don’t tell Yoongi,” said Seokjin while the lied on the couch, tired.

“Sure,” Jungkook nodded while putting the chocolate ice cream in his mouth. Taehyung’s feet touched his, feeling his warm skin on his.

“You’re always so cold,” Taehyung told him while biting the ice cream.

Jungkook panicked a little, he wasn’t sure if that meant he was distant or it was just a comment about Jungkook’s temperature. He just smiled at him and then he changed the topic, like he didn’t hear his words. “Did you just eat the whole ice cream?”

 

“I want the window!” Hoseok was the first. Jimin made a face to him but he didn’t complain, he just accepted he had to go on the back of the truck with Taehyung and Jungkook, even if it wasn’t the most comfortable place. Taehyung was sitting at the left and Jimin let them stay together, so he just rested his head on Jungkook’s shoulder, trying to take a nap. Seokjin drived because it was the only one who had a license, while Namjoon was by his side, on the passenger seat. Yoongi and Hoseok were at the back and between them, the fresh food that needed the air conditioner to survive at the trip. Jungkook really couldn’t sleep because the noise of the truck was too annoying and the wind bothered them all the trip, so he just relaxed and took Jimin between his arms, while Taehyung’s head rested on his lap. Jimin swore he wouldn’t go at the backseat again.

“This is a mess,” he whined, trying to brush his hair down to his forehead.

Jungkook was enjoying the fresh air on his face, “I really like it.”

“You like everything if Taehyung’s here.”

“That’s not true, I can’t stand this kid,” Jungkook denied. Taehyung laughed and then punched Jungkook’s chest while Jimin tried to tickle him.

By the time they arrived at the place Namjoon and Seokjin had in mind, the sun was starting to set behind the trees, clouds going away with it too. They climbed a hill to see the thick line on the horizon, where the sun hiding behind. At the top of it, the boys stared at the sky, lights drawing their silhouettes like a solar eclipse. They had prepared a lot of food so they started to eat early because the sky wasn’t dark yet. The old boys prepared their drinks because the excited children were too annoying, waiting with no patience at the moment to start drinking. Hoseok really liked the taste of the alcohol on his tongue, the burning liquid running down his throat and the feeling of being lighter and warmer. Jimin tried a bit and Yoongi took a shot without even caring about the harshness in his throat. Namjoon hit him on the head, implying he had to be more responsible, and they laughed. Jimin’s face was all red when the starry night appeared at the enormous sky like Van Gogh’s painting.

When they were full and a little bit drunk, they decided it was time to go and see the stars. Jimin, Seokjin and Namjoon went to look for a better place to see the views meanwhile Yoongi, Hoseok, Taehyung and Jungkook stayed there, waiting for them, drinking and eating the last bits. They weren’t that drunk, and Jungkook was thankful because he didn’t want to cope with a clingy Taehyung that night because he didn’t have the energy too keep pushing Taehyung away. It hurt him; every time Taehyung tried to touch his hair as always, or his earrings, because he loved to do that, Jungkook felt terrible, like he was a horrible person. And maybe it was true, but he couldn’t let him to do that anymore, not when every time he did it, Jungkook’s heart flinched in pain as if Taehyung’s fingers were bullets piercing his body with no mercy. He just was protecting himself because he was selfish and he wasn’t sure how to stop his feelings, not anymore. It had been four months. Sometimes, he couldn’t believe he’d never tried to kiss him, when he was always fantasizing about how Taehyung’s lips would felt against his.

“I think this light makes your face seem smaller,” Jungkook joked while pointing at Yoongi’s face, making him to close his eyes and cover his face.

They were sitting together on the ground, staring with stupid faces at the darkness of the night. The moon was overwhelming. After the cloudy day, the sky was clearer than ever so they could see all the stars above them under the strong whiteness of the moonlight. Still, the view wasn’t the best one that was the reason why Seokjin, Jimin and Namjoon had went to look for better place.

“Fuck you, Jungkook, I think you should point at the front and not at my face.”

“They’re taking too much time, isn’t it weird?” said Hoseok who was on Taehyung’s arms, petting his hair.

“Why?” asked Yoongi.

“I don’t know, I’m worried.”

“Hoseok, are you scared?” Yoongi knew it wasn’t necessary to ask because Hoseok was the scariest boy he’d ever know.

Hoseok clicked his tongue against his teeth, “No.”

Yoongi jumped at that, “You are!”

“Fuck you!” Hoseok flipped a middle finger to him. “I’m just saying they should be here by now, it’s been a fucking hour.”

Taehyung agreed.

“Oh god, are you guys serious?” Yoongi’s face was paler under the moonlight, he looked more bored than ever.

“What if…?” Jungkook started but Hoseok hissed him.

“Don’t say anything, just shut up, I don’t want to hear you.”

“Well, okay guys, let’s search for them,” Taehyung proposed, getting on his feet.

“If we move and they come back, we’re fucked up,” Jungkook was right but Yoongi had the last word. He just placed his hand on the younger’s back.

“They don’t seem to come back anytime soon,” said Hoseok, cleaning the back of his jeans and Taehyung’s.

“Okay, so what do we do?”

 

It was a bad idea. That was the truth because they were lost and Namjoon, Jimin and Seokjin’s phones had died at some point that night because they tried to call them and no one had picked up their calls. The flashlight they were using wasn’t the best thing they had, Yoongi preferred his own mobile to light up the path. He was leading their group even if he was complaining, and Jungkook was at the back because he was the less fearful in their little group, so he followed Taehyung’s steps in the darkness of the forest.

“Where are we?” asked Jungkook, who couldn’t see anything.

“I don’t really know,” Yoongi told him.

Hoseok sighed. He was nervous and Jungkook felt sorry for him because he could be stressed with simple things and that was so complicated to deal with. “This is a bad idea.” He said for fifth time in just a few minutes.

“Okay, go back to where the car is and wait for us.”

“I’m not going to do that, not alone.”

“Then stop it,” Yoongi’s voice was rough but that was because he was scared too, even if he tried to act like he wasn’t. Jungkook knew him too well, his best friend always tried to be stronger than the others because he thought that was his role in their group. He was the most mature of them, and maybe that was the reason why he felt he had to be the anchor to keep them tied to the real world.

A warm hand reached for his wrist and then Taehyung, because it couldn’t be anyone else, pulled him out of the way with him. Jungkook’s surprised face couldn’t be seen because the only light they had was with Yoongi. He saw them disappearing into the bushes as if they were swallowing them with their darkness and Taehyung’s grip tightened around his wrist while they walked away from them.

“What the fuck are you doing, Taehyung?” he protested, getting rid of his grip violently. His back bumped into a strong tree trunk, he flicked his tongue. Taehyung stopped immediately and turned away to look at him even if he couldn’t.

“Why are you pushing me away?” Taehyung was furious, and he never was like that, his voice was rougher than Yoongi’s and Jungkook knew it was his fault. “I thought we were okay but lately you’ve been acting so weird, Jungkook, I can’t understand you.”

So Taehyung had noticed everything. Great. Jungkook was a shit.

“That’s not true, Tae, you know it.”

Fuck Jungkook and all his lies. He knew he shouldn’t say that because it was obvious he was distant, but he couldn’t just admit it because then, he had to create some stupid excuse to explain his shitty behavior.

“You act like nothing happens when we’re with the others, but when you are with me, or at least when I try to, you just push me away. Don’t you dare to deny me that, Jungkook.”

He wanted to say yes and then tell him the truth, but he couldn’t, instead he just denied everything, “But I don’t. I’m okay with you, I’ve always been.”

He was getting used to at the darkness. They were on a spot where the tree tops couldn’t hide the moon, so when he looked at Taehyung’s face, he could see him with so much clarity he glanced away again. Taehyung’s hands clutched the tree trunk by both sides of Jungkook’s head, locking him between them.

“Then why do you always glance away, huh?” He grabbed his chin with a hand, obligating Jungkook to look at him right in the eyes. “Why can’t I even touch you like the others? You’ve been distant this week, but you’re colder than ever today and it’s so fucking frustrating, Jungkook! I don’t know what to do anymore, I thought everything was okay between us,” the anger of his eyes disappeared behind a hopeless look that squirmed his stomach in pain.

“And it is.”

Taehyung shook his head, his hair stroking Jungkook’s fringe. He sighed and Jungkook asked himself why Taehyung didn’t just get rid of him, because it was a helpless situation, he was not going to have a real answer, even if Taehyung tried that hard. The only solution was confessing his feelings and he was not going to do that. He waited to Taehyung’s answer. “Really? Can you look at me like you do with the others?” he said after a long pause that took Jungkook’s breath away for a few seconds.

“Yeah, Tae.”

“Then, can I touch you like the others?” Shit. Jungkook nodded, his eyes lost in Taehyung’s and his face softened at that, like he was relieved. He wanted to tell him that he didn’t want him to touch him like the others because he wanted to feel special, unique, under Taehyung’s touch, but he didn’t. First, Jungkook felt Taehyung’s hand caressing his chin, but that was just a mere second, because suddenly, his fingers drew little paths on Jungkook’s left cheek so softly he closed his eyes for a second. He wished Taehyung couldn’t see his red face because he was going to throw up at any moment, just because Taehyung’s fingers were so gentle on his skin and his eyes so intense, like he was trying to break a wall with them against Jungkook’s. It was like Taehyung was searching for something, but Jungkook guessed it. He gulped, catching his breath on his lungs. Jungkook dreamt of Taehyung looking at him like that forever.

He thought about the reason why they were there: because they wanted to see the stars all together. He should be with his other friends, contemplating the full view. No, he should be looking for his lost friends. But he couldn’t resist Taehyung’s touch, his fingers drawing circles on his cheekbones, as if he was touching something precious. Fuck, Taehyung was so fucking overwhelming. It took all of him to not lift his head and place his lips on Taehyung’s. He wanted to scream, he didn’t even know how the fuck he was breathing because he could swear he wasn’t. Jungkook was seeing the stars on Taehyung’s pupils and he was fascinated by them. He didn’t care about anything anymore, he just wanted to swim in them all night long, getting lost in Taehyung’s eyes, drowning deep.

“Can you hug me, then?” Taehyung asked, taking his hand away from his face. Jungkook wanted to keep it but he thought about what Taehyung said and then he licked his lips. “Like you do with Namjoon or Jimin,” Taehyung continued. It was just a whisper, but it was full of emotions. He felt the intensity those words carried with them. Jungkook just nodded.

Jungkook’s fearful arms wrapped around Taehyung’s body. He was being too slow because he couldn’t move at all, he was paralyzed by all the emotions he was feeling under his burning skin. He was so fucking terrified, he didn’t know what was happening and what was in Taehyung’s mind. Was he really that intense or was everything in Jungkook’s head? For a moment, he was full of hope. Oh god, he wanted to tell him a lot of things but just one sentence echoed inside his head. “Why can’t you love me like this?”. And as if Taehyung had heard his words, he moved, Jungkook waiting for him. He pulled Jungkook forward with his arms, Jungkook’s dark head knotting Taehyung's chest. And that was it. Jungkook felt complete, like a lost piece of a puzzle that didn’t know where it belonged with, finally founding it. He smelled Taehyung’s scent, his hands tightened on his shirt at his back. Taehyung smiled at that and then Jungkook couldn’t just shut up, as always.

“I’m feeling weird,” he whispered, his nose still buried against Taehyung’s neck, touching with the tip of his nose Taehyung’s Adam’s apple. His breath was as fast as Jungkook’s.

“Yes, me too,” Taehyung breathed down Jungkook’s free cheek. He was going to pass away. His eyes watched how Taehyung held him as if he was all the galaxies that were lost in the cosmos, like Jungkook’s body was all the atoms he needed, all the long nights and the darkness he wanted to get lost in. His arms were a golden warmly embrace, and he made him feel like he belonged with him. God, Taehyung just smelled like home.

But a voice found its way to them. Namjoon, Seokjin and Jimin were near them, their steps getting closer and closer and-

“Taehyung, Jungkookie? Are you there?”

Fucking fuck.

 

---

 

There was a moth flying around Jungkook. He was touching the sky with his hands as he remembered Taehyung’s eyes. They resembled an endless ocean, a lost sailor who tried to swim to the nearest shore, but he didn’t know he was getting further than ever. That sailor was Jungkook himself, and he was wasting his time on thinking about things that he just couldn’t understand. Jungkook’s hands moved to touch the ground instead, the fresh and silent grass welcoming him, caressing his fingers. He was alone, or at least that was what he thought.

That afternoon, he needed time to himself so he went to the river to think, as always. He needed to think about a lot of things: about the last weekend, about Taehyung’s hands, about his words and his eyes. Taehyung’s eyes contained an infinite sea of doubts, unknowable questions and answers that crossed the ocean in silence, as fishes we can’t see under the water. Jungkook closed his eyes. The past weekend, they didn’t see the stars because they were all night long looking for Hoseok and Yoongi that got lost. When they found them, Yoongi was so angry, they didn’t even care about the stars. No one said a word when they returned to Seokjin and Namjoon’s apartment, but not because Yoongi was mad at them, but because something had happened that night and Jungkook didn’t know what. He slept on the way back to their apartment under Jimin’s arms, and without Taehyung. The boy was at the back seats with Hoseok and Yoongi, and he didn’t say a word to him. The atmosphere was heavy between all of them but it wasn’t something related to a fight. Jungkook could feel it was something more complicated, as if some of them knew things that could break someone’s heart, and it wasn’t Jungkook’s.

They didn’t see the way Jungkook was holding tightly in Taehyung’s arms because it was dark, and even if they did, they never talked about it. Yet, Taehyung didn’t say a word about it, and Jungkook couldn’t understand the reason. He couldn’t imagine what happened in Taehyung’s head because he did not do anything stupid, so there was no answer. But Taehyung was so difficult to read, his face so empty, with no expressions. So in the end, the trip was a mess. Anyway, Jungkook couldn’t forget about Taehyung’s words and touches, because that was too much. He still remembered Taehyung’s surreal face under the moonlight, so ethereal he thought it could break like glass, eyelashes hiding behind them the stardust of Taehyung’s pupils. His longs fingers touching his creamy skin with so much care, as if Taehyung was seeing in him the poetry that got lost in someone’s head, all the beautiful words no one never said and maybe, and at the edge of Jungkook’s eyes, an inexplicable and uncommon treasure.

Since the past weekend, things were a lot more weird, even if they spent time with each other at least to watch Haikyuu!! like they used to do. Everything was okay as if things had never been bad or they’d never held each other with all of that intensity that Jungkook still could feel in his body. Taehyung’s always touched Jungkook’s skin like the boy was a precious flower, massaging his hair and playing with his earrings, and Jungkook always let him do it, because he couldn’t resist Taehyung’s touches. And that was what Jungkook hurt the most. He always wanted Taehyung’s hands, but not just playing carefully on his skin, fingers running softly up and down onto his arms. He wanted them placed on his neck and his own body pressed against his. But that was just what he wanted, and the reality was there, in front of his eyes. They were awkward, even all those nice smiles they had for each other, because they could not forget about that night, and all the things Jungkook told him without words. And that was the problem, Jungkook’s eyes tried to tell Taehyung he was deeply in love with him. With his touches, he tried to explain him that his own hands did not want to hold anyone that wasn’t Taehyung, but maybe he didn’t get it, or he didn’t want that. He felt his body heavy as the world still continued its routine: roll and roll and roll and-

“Jimin!” A voice that Jungkook knew too well met his ears and he petrified.

“No,” Jimin yelled at Yoongi. Jungkook couldn’t see anything where he was so he couldn’t understand what the fuck was happening. His ears tried to recognize the exact point from their voices where coming.

“I know, I know, I shouldn’t have done that,” Yoongi’s voice was so deep. Jungkook was nervous, scared, because what if his friends found him? He knew it wasn’t the right moment to greet them.

“Fuck, Yoongi, I thought everything was okay between us. I thought you would never do that,” Jimin was mad at him, even confused, at least that was Jungkook could recognize. Jungkook flexed his legs and then got up carefully, trying to not to interrupt the moment, his hands supporting himself on the nearest tree he found.

“And what the fuck do you want me to do, then? Just ignore whatever I feel and then grow up without telling you?” This time, Yoongi’s voice was a mix between anger and sorrow. “Great, if I’m lucky, maybe I could meet someone like you at university! I’m so tired of this…”

“No,” Jimin interrupted him, “I don’t want you to do that! And I’m tired, too.”

“Then say it, say you don’t want me to wait for you anymore, say that you don’t love me in the same way I love you,” Jungkook eyes were wide open, surprised at Yoongi’s words. How did that happen? What the fuck was he even hearing? Oh god, why would Yoongi say those things to Jimin? He hadn’t done it in years, so why now?

Everything was a mess. He shouldn’t be listening, but he couldn’t interrupt them to run away because they definitely would know he was there. If he moved, they would see him and everything would be even more awkward. He just shouldn’t be there, he should be in the building with Taehyung and Hoseok, playing some random videogame and enjoying his free time, not losing it thinking about Taehyung’s stupid feelings that broke his heart day by day.

He wasn’t looking at Yoongi and Jimin, because he should not, but he didn’t understand why nobody was talking the next two minutes, and he panicked. He tried to see something between the thick trees. They were near a big tree on their feet, without even touching each other, just standing there, eyes on eyes.

“I don’t want to say it,” Jimin finally said. Yoongi shacked his head like he was really tired.

“Why not? Jimin just give me a damn answer, it’s all I want. And then I can move forward, and forget you, and maybe be with other guys.” Yoongi sighed. “Why are you so scared, Jimin?”

“You know my parents. You know them. You know what they would say if- “

“Your parents are never with you, they don’t take care of you since the day they put you here, and you know it,” it hurt, Jungkook knew it. Yoongi was saying the truth and his words were being painful. No one had said it out loud for years and Yoongi had enough. He was the only one who could do it, anyway. Jimin would let him because Yoongi had done everything to protect him. “You shouldn’t be scared of them, just tell them to fuck off. They don’t deserve you.”

“I wish,” Jimin’s voice was so bitter, Jungkook had never heard him like that. That tone sent shivers down Jungkook’s spine. Yoongi shacked his head again, his hands cupping Jimins face, Jungkook thought, because he couldn’t see anything from that angle.

“I love you, Jimin,” his voice was throatily, so sure of his own feelings, Jungkook wished Taehyung was like him for once. Yoongi probably had been sure since the first day when he felt that Jimin was someone special, more than anyone else in their group. He envied Yoongi’s assurance.

“This is so complicated, Yoongi, I can’t do this,” Jimin whispered.

Yoongi chuckled and then he took Jimin’s hand on his, “Love yourself. You need to love whatever you are, Jimin.”

Jimin squatted, letting Yoongi’s fingers go to cover his own face with his hands. Jungkook was not sure if he was crying, he couldn’t guess it from that angle because Yoongi was covering Jimin with his body. The only thing Jungkook could see was that Yoongi’s arm was searching for Jimin’s elbow. He tried to push Jimin’s hands away from his face. And finally, that was Jungkook’s moment: they were so focus on each other, they wouldn’t notice his presence so it was the right moment to escape.

“I want to be free,” the orange haired boy cried, “I want to be normal.”

Jungkook eyes opened wide as he got on his feet, ready to run away.

“You are normal,” Yoongi’s voice was just a whisper, but Jungkook couldn’t hear it clearly because he ran away in the exact moment Yoongi’s lips met Jimin’s. The trees were just a blurry image, Jungkook ran and ran until he took his bicycle, lying on the trail, and managed to ride it with trembling hands and his heart beating so fast it scared him.

 

The bathroom was a safe place, Jungkook thought. When he threw the bicycle at the ground in the back yard, he didn’t notice the two pair of eyes that were on his back. Taehyung and Hoseok were there, playing baseball with other guys when Jungkook arrived so anxious that all the guys looked at him. He didn’t notice it, though. The bicycle met the ground with a broken noise and he didn’t care about it, he just entered the building, so lost in his own thoughts. His hands climbed at his face, covering it. He inhaled deep and then let the air escape from his lungs, trying to stay calm. He shouldn’t had been there, he thought. He should had stayed in his room that afternoon or at least, he should have been playing at baseball with the others. Jimin and Yoongi didn’t deserve that. He went to the bathroom that was always empty because it was in a corridor that nobody walked in.

He looked at his own reflection and then splashed water on his face. Maybe he was being a bit overdramatic, but he’d heard some things he shouldn’t. Jimin’s voice echoed inside his head.

“I want to be normal.”

Normal didn’t exist at all, that’s all Jungkook knew. When he realized he was in love with another boy, he never thought he wasn’t normal. Love was love: it was a beautiful and hard feeling, complicated, hard, and distressing. He was sure about the fact that if he was in love with the best human being he’d ever met, that could not be wrong, because loving someone so kind, felt so right and so good he could never think that wasn’t a good thing. Loving Taehyung was beautiful, even if Taehyung had his eyes in another boy, because he deserved all the love in the world.

Yet, he was anxious. He couldn’t stop thinking about the things Yoongi said. They’d never talked about Jimin’s family, but everybody knew his family sucked because they’d seen things. Jimin was always at school, no matter what, on Christmas, Summer holidays… Some weekends, when they could go to visit their families, he didn’t. At the beginning, when Jungkook was just ten, he thought Jimin’s family was dead so he never asked. But one day, he went home. It was just one visit, but the poor Jimin came back really depressed. To Jungkook, those weeks were the worst. He missed his friend'ss smile. So they decided to not to say a word, not even once, because the things they thought were too bad to say it out loud. Probably Jimin didn’t want to hear them neither. But the worst part wasn’t that Jimin’s family was so distant and cold, it was that they’d raised him thinking that being in love with another boy wasn’t right, making him feel not normal. Jungkook couldn’t imagine what Jimin had inside his head, but it had to be bad, too bad, to reject his own feelings for so so long. Jungkook didn’t know if Yoongi had known that Jimin had those thoughts about himself and that he had always being turning down his own feelings until that day. Maybe it was something they only knew and now Jungkook was their witness and he knew their secret. He didn’t want to. Damn, he’d seen them kissing and that was too intimate. Fuck, that was probably their first kiss.

“Jungkook?” Taehyung’s voice was quiet. “Are you alright?”

He saw his face reflected in the mirror where Jungkook had looked at himself just a few seconds before. The orange-colored light that entered by the window set on the left side of Taehyung’s face so tenderly. Jungkook took his breath, trying to think something to say. He didn’t know if he should tell him the truth or make some excuse, but when he saw the concerned eyes that where looking at him, he just couldn’t lie. Not to him.

“No, I’m not. But please, don’t ask,” his wet hands rested on the sink.

“Okay,” he didn’t even dare to come closer. Taehyung was so beautiful with that baseball cap, Jungkook had to glance away from the mirror.

“I just want to know something,” Jungkook continued, “if you saw something you shouldn’t, would you tell that person or would you just act like nothing had happened?”

Taehyung thought about it, resting his head on the door’s frame with his fringe hiding his eyes, “I would tell them.”

“Even if you had heard things you shouldn’t and it was an intimate moment?”

“Jungkook, did you find a couple making-”

“No, no! It’s not that,” Jungkook denied, turning over to look at him. He saw Taehyung’s concerned eyes but at the same time, he could feel the awkwardness in the room, the silence filling every space between them. Jungkook smiled at him as if he didn’t notice it. “Thank you. I have to go, okay? Don’t worry, it’s not as deep as you think.”

Taehyung’s face softened and then, the smile was there again. But even if things were okay, Taehyung was still concerned. When Jungkook passed by his side, Taehyung’s hand caught his. Jungkook caught his breathe.

“You know you can trust me, don’t you?”

Jungkook had never held Taehyung’s hand since they were fourteen. Yes, they held each other’s wrists, they touched each other’s hands, they took each other’s face in their hands at some point since Jungkook’s return, but holding hands, that was too different.

“I know.”

Maybe Jungkook’s heart escaped at the same time he let his hand slide from Taehyung’s grip.

 

Jungkook played Piano Tiles for two hours before he fell asleep. Yoongi wasn’t there yet when he woke up at night with puffy eyes and lips, and messy hair. His hands found the cold spots on the mattress under his pillow, cheek pressed on the softness of his palm as his eyes got used to the slightly light of his lamp. He didn’t try to call the old boy because he didn’t want to explain things by a stupid message or a call, so he decided to wait for him, even if he had to do it all night. Oh god, he wished he hadn’t had to do that. He wished he was relaxed, too. He had a lot of things to say and he didn’t know how to start, even if he tried to organized all in his head. Yoongi told Jimin things nobody had ever dared to say aloud, not even when he had the chance.

He remembered those times when his friends didn’t comment anything about the behavior of Jimin’s family, when he went to visit them and when he returned, he didn’t leave his bed for days. Every time that happened, Yoongi was always there. His nice words were always just for Jimin, his tender touches, his brightly eyes, his fingers always caressing the boy’s palms and wrists. Jungkook didn’t want to stare at them too much because it was awkward, how hard Yoongi tried to explain to him without words how much he cared about him, how much he was loved, how much he mattered. Yoongi was ridiculously in love with Jimin and Jungkook suffered for him because there’s no such a thing as unrequited love.

Yoongi was so silent, Jungkook didn’t notice his presence until he felt the other boy’s leg climbing the bed’s ladder. Jungkook shifted on the bed to grab Yoongi’s ankle and he almost fell.

“Fuck, Kookie, you scared me!” he yelled.

Jungkook couldn’t stop the laugh that climbed up his throat as he let him go, “I’ve been waiting for you, dumbass. What have you been doing?”

Yoongi looked at the lamp, the slightly light illuminated just one side of his face as he descended the stairs.

“I went to the dining room to have dinner like a normal person,” his friend said as if it was too obvious, sitting at the foot of the bed. “Anyway, why have you been waiting, huh? I’m really tired, so I hope it’s not something really-”

“I have to talk to you about something” Jungkook interrupted him. “I don’t know where to start and I want you to know I did not want to see anything so…”

Yoongi frowned at that, “What are you talking about, Jungkook?”

Jungkook held his breath for a second. Okay.

“I saw what happened with Jimin later, when you two were fighting near the river.”

“Fuck.”

“Let me explain, okay? I was there because I always go to the river when I have to think about things. I didn’t know you were there too until I heard you both fighting or something, I don’t really know. But I left when you kissed Jimin so that’s that, I swear, and I wanted to apolo-”

Yoongi’s eyes narrowed, “Did you hear what Jimin said? About being normal?”

“Yes.”

“Oh,” Yoongi said, realizing that Jungkook knew everything. He glanced away a bit embarrassed, staring at his own naked feet pressed on the cold wooden floor.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook’s apology was sincere.

“You don’t have to apologize, you idiot. It wasn’t your fault,” Yoongi’s eyes met the younger’s, so sure about his words.

“Still, I want to…”

Yoongi shacked his head and then he crossed his legs on Jungkook’s bed, “We thought the thing that ran away from us was an animal.”

So they did notice him, he knew it was going to happen, so it hadn’t been a bad idea to stay quiet at all. Yet, he witnessed a kiss he shouldn’t had to. He didn’t know if they really kissed or no, though. He only could remember the words they yelled at each other and the moves he could guess, so he wasn’t sure if Yoongi kissed him, but judging from his face and the heat that hit his cheeks, maybe he did.

“Well, it was me.”

“Listen, Kookie, you’re not the only one who knows what Jimin thinks,” Yoongi explained him as Jungkook frowned. “Seokjin and Namjoon talked to him the last time we visited them, when they went to look for a better place to see the stars. That’s how I knew it.”

Finally, everything had sense. The reason why Yoongi didn’t care if they took too much time, the weird atmosphere after they found the boys and why no one talked on the way to the apartment.

“Kookie, you know why I didn’t tell you, right?” But Jungkook didn’t, so he denied it. “Shit… I should have known… Okay. Let me explain everything. You know I’ve been in love with Jimin for a few years, well, not a few, maybe more,” Yoongi laughed at that avoiding Jungkook’s deep stare. “Everybody knows that, anyway. Namjoon told me he noticed things between Jimin and me the last time we went to the city, so he talked to Seokjin and he said he was suspecting something. I didn’t really know what was on Seokjin’s mind, but he was right. He thought maybe Jimin liked me but he was rejecting his own feelings so he just asked him the past weekend, the night we got lost, just to be sure and help him if he could. Namjoon talked to him about feelings and love and… homosexuality, and Jimin told them he was sure he wasn’t gay because otherwise, his family would reject him. That’s how they understood Jimin’s behavior and his thoughts about this thing… And I’m so tired, Kookie. It’s been years, you know? I’ve been waiting for him to look at me the same way I do, but he always glances away. And that hurts so much,” Yoongi was always so sincere to him, Jungkook was so thankful, because Yoongi trusted so much on him.

Yoongi paused lifting his hands to place his palms on his forehead as if his head hurt, Jungkook guessed. He touched Yoongi’s knee with a delicate hand, as if he would be going to break at any moment. Yoongi cried when Jungkook left the school, only that day. He never cried because he thought that meant weakness and nobody could change his mind because Yoongi was stubborn, that was the truth, so he always tried to reprimand the need to burst in tears. Jungkook gulped as he touched the Yoongi's knee because he could feel the tension he carried away with him and for once, he thought that maybe he could break and he was not ready. Yoongi lifted his head to look at Jungkook and he saw at the edge of his eyes, the tears awaiting, but never falling. His eyes were red and Jungkook’s heart clenched in his chest. It was so weird seeing his best friend like that.

“I see him, I know he had cried because of this, because he wants his family back but they would never want him if he was gay. Not like they care about him right now without knowing that, but you know,” his voice was so bitter, he used the same tone as Jimin did in the river. Jungkook agreed. “And I can’t do this anymore, I’ve been waiting so long I can’t anymore. You know he knows I’m bisexual? He saw me once with Namjoon’s classmate but he didn’t say anything, he just accepted it,” Jungkook was surprised because he didn’t know about that and he thought that it had to happened when he wasn’t there, so he just nodded again, waiting for Yoongi’s next words. “This afternoon I told him everything. Do you remember that song? Now he has listened to it too. And I think that was too much because he just ran away and then… you know. Damn, Kookie, he’s scared, so scared, because he really thinks he’s not normal…”

“But how? This is a boarding school, everybody has kissed a boy. Well, not me; but anyway, it’s a normal thing. We’re alone, no one cares about anything out here. There are no girls, not even near us. We know who has a crush on who and there’s no homophobic bullies because here it is a natural thing.”

“I know.”

“Then?”

“Jimin thinks being gay is right here but still, he thinks it isn’t normal. He thinks this is so usual in this school because we don’t have the chance to meet girls, so he doesn’t care if boys here kiss each other, even if we fuck. A boy can fall in love with another boy and he won’t care about it because here is normal. Not in the real world, do you understand?”

So that was what Jimin had in his head. Oh god, how wrong was he, “Okay you’re saying that Jimin thinks that to the rest to the world this isn’t normal, right? To his family, to our country?”

“Exactly,” Yoongi nodded. “You know homosexuality here doesn’t exist, he thinks that maybe they’re right, that maybe the television is right and it’s a thing only foreign countries have.”

Jungkook looked at some random point next to Yoongi, avoiding his eyes, “That’s sad,” his voice was just a whisper.

“Yeah.”

“He has to change that, Yoongi, we can’t let him-”

“Kookie, I’m trying, okay?”

Jungkook nodded but he remembered something, “What about the kiss, Yoongi?”

Yoongi’s cheeks burned, he could see it, “I’ve been with him since the fight and I think he liked more than it might seems,” his tiny smile appeared on his face and Jungkook sighted of relief. At least, everything wasn’t too bad.

“Listen, Jungkookie, don’t you ever think the same as him, okay?”

“I won’t,” he was being honest, he would never think such a thing. Ever.

“Jungkook, look at me,” Yoongi stared at him with so much intensity he got a bit nervous. Yoongi’s hands were over his shoulders, his fingers strongly wrapped around his bones. “We are normal.”

Jungkook frowned, surprised. He wasn’t expecting that, not after all that had happened. How did he know? How had he noticed? It was not possible, not if he had never told him anything about his feelings and preferences. So how?

“How do you know, Yoongi?”

Yoongi stared at him as he shrugged of his shoulders, “I’ve been in love for too long, I recognize love when I see it.”

And that’s all he said. Jungkook was shocked. Yoongi messed his hair up and Jungkook’s eyes didn’t follow him as he climbed the ladder, he just couldn’t because he was embarrassed. He had known for a lot of time and he’d never told him. And the worst was that he had always thought he was good at hiding his feelings, but if he was as obvious as Yoongi was with Jimin, maybe everybody knew it and that meant that Taehyung was aware of Jungkook’s feelings and- Oh god, his head hurt so much. He tried to sleep and not to think about those stupid assumptions. Maybe Yoongi knew, but Taehyung? He didn’t think so, at least he tried to tell himself that. He fell asleep thinking on Yoongi’s words instead. “We are normal”.

He had never realized until now, that he needed to hear those words, and even more, that he needed Yoongi in his life.

 

 

iii. My love that is forever

 

 

Jungkook looked so stupid standing in silence in front of Namjoon and Seokjin’s door, trying to find his own voice. He was scared, scared of Namjoon’s reaction when he would realize he went there alone and that he didn’t tell anyone about his little trip. Seokjin would call the school to inform that he was there and nobody had to worry about it. He wished he could stay the night there, at least. The sun was setting behind his back as his fingers reached timidly for the doorbell. The orange light caressed his skin softly and he glanced away, turning his back at the sight of the violet and orange sky with the strong red of the fluffy clouds that were watching him in silence, awaiting. He should just press the button and then wait for Namjoon’s eyes and his shaking head. Or just run away and get lost and then come back the next morning at the school as if nothing had happened.

He was so fucking confused.

That morning he woke up with Yoongi’s raw voice telling him they had a match and they needed him, so he just nodded and then tried to clear his head. He remembered everything that happened the past day but he was so tired he fell asleep without thinking about it. Yoongi’s words never left his head, anyways.

It was okay, even if Jungkook wasn’t as good as Taehyung at baseball. It was the only sport he wasn’t good at and it frustrated him but if Yoongi needed his help, he would try. He left the room a few minutes after Yoongi and walked down stairs with his mind far away from that place. He saw Taehyung and Hoseok waiting, Taehyung’s back against the door frame. The light burned his eyes, the sun all over the backyard and the baseball area. Hoseok was telling him something so serious they didn’t notice Jungkook’s presence until he greeted them with a big smile. They jumped at the sound of his voice and looked at him with nervous eyes.

Alright.

He acted like he didn’t notice the tension between them.

 

They won, as expected, because even if he wasn’t good at that game, he could run faster than anyone. So when his friends hugged each other with the happiness of being winners and all of those feelings you get when you win when you think you’re not going to, maybe you do something you’ll regret after. Taehyung’s smile was so big in his face Jungkook wanted to punch him or just kiss it, but he knew he couldn’t, so he looked at some random spot next to him as Taehyung walked towards him to hug him, like he did with the others. But when his friend’s arm wrapped his shoulders and he noticed his tiny nose caressing the spot behind his ear, he stopped breathing.

“You were amazing as always, Kookie,” he said against his skin. Jungkook could feel Taehyung’s breathe tickling his earlobe and shattered him. Oh no.

“Yah. Thanks, Tae,” he said. His voice sounded so shy and he was so fucking obvious and Taehyung would probably know everything and he just needed to act in front of him more often. Yes, that was a good idea. Act. He was good at it, he was good at everything, so he could try to act as if Taehyung’s touches never made him so nervous.

Then, everybody was on them, hugging them and telling them they were great and Yoongi’s wide smile was brighter than his stupid mint hair and his pale face under the sunlight. He felt arms and hands and squeezes and sweat against his skin but he loved it because he was feeling happy, until he noticed Taehyung’s arm falling from his shoulders to reach for Hoseok’s wrist and then his hand. He felt the empty spot of his arm.

Oh, he was a little bit heartbroken.

 

Jungkook was so good at running, he ran away literally from the boarding school that afternoon just to talk with Namjoon because he really needed it. He took the last bus and he didn’t tell anyone because Yoongi was nowhere to be found and he couldn’t wait for him. Yes, he could have left some message or something like that but he didn’t think about that.

And now, he was there, staring like an idiot at the doorbell without knowing what the fuck he was going to tell his friends. Was he going to confess his love for Taehyung or just talk about his doubts and Jimin’s incident? The only thing he knew it was that his head was going to explode at any moment and he wanted it to happen. A sudden warm breeze moved his hair as the door opened and Jungkook jumped, his eyes so wide his pupils were going to fall. Namjoon stared at the young boy with an arched eyebrow.

“Jungkookie, what the fuck?”

 

---

 

“I can’t believe you did this just to talk” Namjoon said, never hiding his anger. “You know Yoongi asked? They were worried, you idiot.”

“I said I’m sorry, Namjoon” Jungkook was sitting in the sofa of the small room while Namjoon was trying to prepare him something -it was just some rice because he didn’t know how to cook anything else, that was Seokjin’s role-.

“I know you are, kid, but you have to know you can’t do things like this without telling someone. They could think you drowned in the river or something like that,” well, he was right, he was just an immature kid who ran away from his home without saying anything and worrying everybody. Namjoon had called the school immediately and made an excuse, something about Jungkook feeling homesick. “Anyway, why are you here? If you wanted to talk you could have just called me.”

He missed Seokjin because he would be nicer than Namjoon, he took everything so seriously. He missed Seokjin’s smile, trying to tell him that he made just a mistake and everything was okay. But he was with a girl or something like that so they didn’t call him.

“Joonie, I don’t know where to start,” he explained. “I need to talk about everything. About Jimin, about me, about love, I think,” he didn’t look at Namjoon because he was too embarrassed.

Namjoon sighed while serving some rice in two bowls, “You want to talk about love, finally.”

“Why do you say finally?” said Jungkook with an arching eyebrow.

“Because you are sixteen and you have never said anything about love and deep feelings.”

It was true.

He had never talked about love and his own preferences. His friends liked to talk about girls, about their mysterious lives and the lovely idols. But he never said anything, because he was always thinking about G-Dragon and the other boys would not understand the reason. Still, they talked about boys too, as if everything was totally right. Maybe sometimes he felt a little bit awkward listening to the way Yoongi talked about some guys, just like he did inside his head. He was too shy to say something, but Taehyung listened to Yoongi’s words as he nodded. Anyway, those were just a few conversations, because the reality was that anybody wanted to talk about things like that because yes, they were confused, and they never had the chance to meet a girl, so they didn’t even know their preferences. Yet, Jungkook was pretty sure he liked G-Dragon. At that time, he never tried to understand his own feelings and that maybe he loved Taehyung.

“But why did you talk about Jimin?” Namjoon asked.

“I know what happened.”

“You know… everything?” he stopped eating.

“Yep,” nodded Jungkook. “I know he thinks he’s not normal and that bullshit and that Seokjin and you talked to him about it. I know about Yoongi’s crush since we were thirteen so that was not a surprise, but they kissed and-”

“Yah, I know, Kookie,” he agreed.

“And you think it’s okay, right?”

Namjoon smiled at him, “Of course I do.”

“Then… can I tell you about my own feelings, just for once?”

“What’s the matter, kid?”

“I’m lost, Namjoon, and I don’t know what to do anymore. I’m just tired of everything, and confused, and…”

“Hey, come here,” said Namjoon, moving his arms to touch Jungkook’s.

“My life is a mess,” he whined under Namjoon’s embrace. “I’m in love and I don’t know how to escape from him.”

“Him, huh? Who, Jungkookie?”

“You know it because I think everybody already knows and I’m so embarrassed, so please stop acting.”

“Taehyung, right?” Oh god, even Namjoon knew.

Jungkook sighed, “Am I that obvious, hyung?”

“Maybe a little, you were more obvious when you two were younger. I thought you ignored your feelings and then they disappeared when you didn’t see Taehyung for two years.”

“Nah, you’re wrong. I can’t do that even if I try.”

It was the truth, he had been trying for months now and his love for Taehyung was just stronger than ever.

“And what’s the problem?”

“The problem is that is unrequited love and it hurts so bad. I want it to stop,” he complained. His eyes searched for Namjoon’s as he moved away from his arms. “Have you ever been in love, Namjoon?”

Namjoon thought about it, placing his hand under his chain, “There was a time when I thought I was but it wasn’t love, so I don’t think so.”

Jungkook was surprised at that because he had never known about Namjoon’s love stories, “Oh, who was that?”

“Seokjin,” Jungkook opened his eyes, never expecting that answer. “But the two of us knew it wasn’t love, we were just two horny teenagers and we were experimenting, like a lot of boys at the boarding school” he explained.

“So you’re not together anymore?”

Namjoon laughed, “Nah, we’re just best friends, that’s all.”

“Best friends,” repeated Jungkook, feeling those words heavy on this tongue.

“It isn’t that what you are with Taehyung?”

“Not anymore, since the day I left, at least. He’s Hoseok’s now and they are really happy, and I don’t care because I have Yoongi but… You know, feelings.”

“Feelings are so complicated, Jungkook.”

“I know… I’m tired of them, I want to be a rock or a stupid plant.”

“You don’t,” his voice was relaxed but at the same time, Jungkook could feel the seriousness on his words. “Look, Jungkook, your feelings are what you are, okay? You need them to survive this life. It’s too important not to feel numb, you know? You need to feel to learn and grow up. They move you so please, don’t reject them even if you think they are the worst thing that ever happened to you. Even if the other person rejects you, you can learn about it.”

Jungkook glanced away, feeling Namjoon’s eyes too heavy on his, “I feel so stupid.”

“You’re not stupid, you idiot,” Jungkook smiled. “Tell me about your feelings.”

“Ugh, you know I have a crush on him since maybe the first fucking day. But he never looked at me the same way I did, even if he did things that confused me,” he should be eating his part but he was just playing with the food, avoiding Namjoon’s stare because he was feeling too embarrassed. “And then I left and- Fuck. He is not with me anymore, he’s so into Hoseok, I know it because I see things. And if everybody knows about my feelings for him, then he knows too, right? But he’d never said nothing, so I assume he’s just ignoring my feelings because he doesn’t want to reject me, it would be too awkward.”

Namjoon frowned, “I thought you two were okay.”

“And we are, hyung,” Jungkook nodded. “But even if things are as they used to be, there’s some tension between us and there’s a third person, too,” he added.

“Why are you so sure?”

“I told you, I’ve seen things.”

Namjoon shacked his head as if Jungkook was making just assumptions -he really was-, “Why are you so sure about it? Have you seen them kissing or something like that?”

Jungkook denied as Namjoon folded his arms on his chest, “Then?”

“Details, Namjoon.”

“Taehyung is clingy, Jungkook,” he addressed.

He knew that so well. Taehyung was always touching them, petting their hair, slapping their asses or tickling their chins with his fingers.

“It’s different with Hoseok,” he argued.

“And with you? Have you ever seen you with him? Have you ever noticed the way he acts when he’s around you?”

“Maybe?” he lied.

The truth was he had never thought about it because he didn’t want to analyze their relationship because he didn’t want to have his heart broken. What if he discovered Taehyung treated the others the same way he did with him? What if he wasn’t especial anymore?

Namjoon closed his eyes, tired, “Jungkook, what I’m trying to say is that you’re not analyzing things from a different point of view. And you need to. Because if you don’t see the way you two look at each other, then I don’t-”

“We don’t look at each other in some special way, God,” he denied, because he was sure Taehyung did the same with Hoseok.

“Yeah, sure,” Namjoon said with a grin on his face. “Just tell him.”

“No, because if I do that, then our friendship will be over.”

“Why?”

“Because he has a crush on Hoseok, do you listen to me?”

“Do you really think he’s in love with Hobi?” he asked while taking the half-eaten bowls on the sink.

“I’m pretty sure they have something.”

Namjoon stopped and looked at him with a judging face, “You’re blind.”

“I’m not,” he sighed at that.

“Look, Jungkook, you don’t know what to do because you can’t reject your feelings and you can’t avoid Taehyung, and you can’t forget him, and you can’t ignore things forever. You really like him, so tell him and then wait for his answer.”

“What a shitty advice that is, Namjoon,” he complained.

“Do it, Jungkook.”

“He will be mad or awkward and then everything will be a mess and I’d probably cry and I don’t want that. I think I’m not ready.”

“You won’t cry.”

Jungkook rolled his eyes, “Ah, Namjoon, why the fuck are you so sure?”

“Because I see things, too, stupid,” he moved his hand to reach for the sticks. “Jungkook, you have just one life, you’re sixteen just once and you’ve been in love for years, so just try it. Take a risk. Stop wondering and be brave.”

“You say it as if it was that easy.”

“It’s not, I know, but you don’t have another choice, anyways. You want to be all your life wondering what if? Look at Yoongi, you two are in the same position. You two are in love and you two need to take a step, he did and it wasn’t that bad, try it.”

Yoongi’s situation was no good, at all, though. Maybe he could kiss Jimin, but still Yoongi had a lot of problems that needed to be solved.

“I don’t want him to reject me. I’m afraid, Namjoon.”

“You’re sixteen. Take some risks, kid.”

Anyways, he’d had to wait to next day.

 

---

 

He found Taehyung laying on the same place they used to when they were younger. There were flowers around Taehyung caressing the naked spots of his arms and legs with their petals as if they were trying to advise him that he wasn’t alone. His tanned skin was beautiful in Jungkook’s eyes, the sight of Taehyung sleeping and hiding his honey eyes behind his eyelids as he was spread on the ground, with the earth under his body, embracing him like the child of the sun. Jungkook could stare at him for hours without even caring about his own tired legs for standing there on his feet like an idiot, or his hurt eyes for looking at something so full of light and life. Taehyung looked like an autumn leaf that had fallen from a tree, brown and so delicate that he probably would dissolve if Jungkook touched him with his fingers. His face was so different from two years ago, with his chubby cheeks and the small smile always so full of life. Now, his jawline was strong and his cheekbones were more pronounced. The line of his nose was beautiful, as his lips and the stupid smile that always draw a curve on his face with the corners of his lips down. He wanted to touch them, learn how to kiss just from them, experiment with them, suck them and bite them too, look at the flush on Taehyung’s cheeks and then being sure it was because of him. He wanted to kiss his lips until they were red and puffy, interlace his fingers in his soft and straight hair and get lost in there and melt with him as burning candles. But he couldn’t. He just could stare at Taehyung and never touch him like that, and that was consuming him because Taehyung was so far away from his fingers, his heart, his soul and atoms. He envied the sun, always kissing Taehyung everywhere whenever it wanted. The sun never had to make excuses and explain why it left his sunbeams placed on his skin for hours, and Jungkook wanted that so bad. Jungkook just could stare and then, glance away when Taehyung noticed him, because he could know and he could ask and he was not ready.

But now.

Even if he envied the sun so much and he was jealous of the flowers always caressing Taehyung and making him smile, just as he wanted to do with him, he was not going to glance away anymore because he was tired and his soul was too heavy to still carrying those feelings without him knowing them. So Jungkook laid by Taehyung’s side with his head on his chest and without any warning. Taehyung did a surprised noise as he lifted his head to see who was there with him, lying in silence and trying to not disturb him.

“Where have you been, Jungkook?” he said with a soft voice.

“I was at Namjoon and Seokjin’s apartment.” Jungkook had his eyes closed, he didn’t look at the sky because he didn’t want to forget the sight of Taehyung lying there, surrounded by all the gifts of the Earth, as he was too.

“Why?”

“Because I wanted to,” A silence floated between words like a ghost for a few minutes, and Jungkook thought that was the end of the conversation, but then, Taehyung’s voice sounded full of honesty.

“I was worried.”

“I’m sorry,” it was true, he didn’t want to worry him, neither Yoongi, Hoseok or Jimin. But sometimes he was stupid.

Taehyung started to hum a song with his beautiful voice. Jungkook knew Taehyung could sing and he was wasting a precious gift just singing when he was alone. At least, Jungkook could hear the notes that escaped from his vocal chords timidly and he thanked him for always trust on Jungkook, even with that. Because he was sure he didn’t do it with anybody else. Jungkook’s heart hurt the same way his soul did when he forced himself to look away from Taehyung’s wondering eyes, ignoring his confused expression. But not anymore. He remembered that time when they were lying next to each other and he was looking at Taehyung like the magnificent human he was, always too curious and too inquisitive to just shut up. He asked him something that changed his life forever. He thought about doing it now, ask him if he knew something about love after years, but he was scared because the question died on his tongue, trying to say it aloud twice but always closing his lips again, too afraid of Taehyung’s answer. No. He had to do this. He just couldn’t avoid it anymore, not when he felt his heart in pain, trying to collect all the lost pieces of those two years.

“Tae, have you ever been in love?” he asked, too terrified to look at him.

Taehyung's chest barely lifted and then, he felt his heart bounce violently under his skin. He made him nervous and he could feel it. Jungkook gulped as he waited for Taehyung’s answer, because he knew he wasn’t going to say the same he did years ago.

“Yes,” Jungkook’s mouth dried quickly and for the first time in minutes, he opened his eyes to look at the sight of the blue sky over them, the sun being a witness of their intimacy. “And you?”

Jungkook didn’t think Taehyung would ask him in return so he opened his eyes even more, his fists grabbing the grass.

“Yes,” he whispered, too afraid of his own voice, or maybe of his own words. He thought that maybe he was going to sound stupid, but he couldn’t shut up. It was always something he thought he had to change. He lifted his head to look at Taehyung, who was staring back at him without Jungkook knowing.  They looked at each other for the first time that day and it felt so different, he had never seen Taehyung like this. His eyes were full of the moon dust and Jungkook wanted to reach for them. “I’ve been in love for six years now.”

He knew Taehyung understood what those words meant. He knew Taehyung knew that was a love confession. He prayed to some god if it even existed, that Taehyung didn’t want to run away. He wished he stayed with him now and forever, even if those words made everything more complicated because he couldn’t imagine his life without him. It hurt so much just the thought. He had had enough for two years.

“Me too.”

There was something with the heart beats that made Jungkook always so concerned about them. He knew that someone was telling lies if he touched their chest because the heart always confessed everything. The same thing happens when someone is in love. Jungkook could know it if he just placed his palm on Taehyung’s chest, and feel in his own skin the voice of his heart screaming unspoken words, things that he never said aloud because they terrified him.

What terrified Taehyung?

Jungkook’s hand touched the place where Taehyung's heart was, under his plain black t-shirt. His heart was so loud, he thought that maybe he wasn’t hearing his own, but Taehyung’s. And that thought made him feel brave for once. They stared at each other in silence, the birds singing melodies at the air, as his forearm rested on the ground next to Taehyung’s head. He had his eyes locked on his, maybe trying to anticipate what Jungkook had in mind. He was so focused on him with his parted lips and his cheeks blushing, Jungkook thought Taehyung was a reflection of himself. He bet he looked the same.

“Can I-?” Taehyung didn’t even let him finish the sentence.

“Don’t ask,” he whispered with his lips too close.

There was just a tiny space between their mouths that Jungkook felt it was like a galaxy. That tiny space was all the words they never told each other, old the mistakes and all the things they regretted. A space full of doubts, unspoken words, tears and excuses. But that was the last time that tiny space felt like an immense ocean between them, because Taehyung lifted his head a bit just to catch Jungkook’s lips with his.

Jungkook closed his eyes as he let Taehyung push his head towards him by placing his fingers around his nape. Jungkook felt Taehyung’s lips softly and shyly on his, maybe because that was their first kiss. And that was too much for him, his heart finally exploded in his chest like fireworks on the darkness of the night sky, filling it with colors and lights. He couldn’t resist the need to rest his hand on his left cheek, while the other was still on his chest. His fingers deepened on his skin, placing his longest fingers right behind his ear as his thumb drew circles near their mouths. At the same time, Taehyung’s free hand reached for Jungkook’s body so he pulled Jungkook's t-shirt until Jungkook realized what Taehyung was trying to do. He wanted Jungkook on him. So he just sat on his lap as he deepened the kiss, feeling his lungs searching for fresh air. They were just innocently kissing, not tongues and needy sounds, just lips on lips that had been missing each other an eternity. Jungkook separated them for a few seconds, making Taehyung gasp in response. They looked at each other with the same intensity they did when they were at the forest that night and Jungkook couldn’t hide the stupid smile that appeared on his face at the same time Taehyung’s did. Taehyung lifted his head one more time and kissed him again, but this time, the smile got lost in some storm between their mouths when Jungkook opened his and Taehyung connected their tongues.

Jungkook lost it.

He had been waiting for that for six years, the warm of Taehyung’s lips, the fierceness of Taehyung’s touches, his eyes closed and the sound of their mouths together. He drew a path from Taehyung’s mouth to his neck, kissing all the way until he went to kiss fervently the spot right under his ear, where his jaw ended. Taehyung groaned as he let Jungkook kiss him wherever he wanted to. His cheeks, his forehead, the tip of his nose and again, his parted lips.

“Fuck, Jungkook,” Taehyung sighed, “I’ve been waiting for this for years.”

Jungkook smiled at him with their mouths so close he could feel the soft skin of his abused lips on his.

“Me too.”

“I’ve been in love with you for so long, you know it, right? I’ve spent all the summers waiting for you, Jungkook,” he confessed interlacing their fingers. “Ah, this feels…”

Jungkook interrupted him, stroking his face on his cheek with so much love, “Like a dream?”

They looked at each other for a moment.

“I think it’s so surreal,” Taehyung finally said. His eyes were so deep, oh my god, he was looking at his soul without knowing it.

“Yeah, I feel the same,” he said as he felt Taehyung’s lips making its way to his neck’s mole, sucking the skin and then kissing his Adam’s apple. “Oh, god,” he moaned.

Taehyung stopped just to look at him again with a tiny smile Jungkook loved with all his heart. He thought he was too cheesy but he couldn’t stop the words coming from his mouth, as always. He needed to tell him that because he was going to explode, so he opened his mouth but this time not to kiss him.

“Fuck, Tae, you’re so beautiful that I’m scared.”

Taehyung’s smile became wider, “Don’t be. I love you.”

They kissed one more time, but it lasted so much the sun got tired of their love, so the moon appeared on the sparkling sky to take care of the two boys.

 

---

 

He could get used to the sound of their kisses at midnight, when Yoongi wasn’t sleeping there and they had all the time for themselves. He could get used to the noise that escaped from Taehyung’s mouth when Jungkook bitted his earlobe. He could get used to the way his eyes were always so deep, as if he was looking for something behind them. He could get used to the smile that appeared on Taehyung’s face when his fingers caressed his bottom lip, a smile that Jungkook had never known until now. He could get used to the little pecks Taehyung left on his lips before saying goodnight, and their secret touches under the table, or their hands always connected when they were alone. He was so into him he couldn’t believe it.

He watched Taehyung fell asleep with the moonlight witnessing their secrets encounters. Jungkook was in love and for the first time, he felt loved too. He laid beside Taehyung, the narrow bed obligated them to sleep in each other’s arms, so he tightened the embrace around Taehyung’s waist as he closed his eyes feeling the gentle and steady sound of Taehyung’s breath. He thought about all those years wondering how it would feel holding Taehyung while sleeping, or how he sounded when he was being kissed all over his body. He felt full of joy, trying to convince himself it wasn’t a beautiful dream.

He thought about all those times when he truly believed Taehyung loved Hoseok but he explained to him that Hoseok was just being supportive with him and trying to advise his friend because Taehyung was so lost without Jungkook. The hand’s squeezes were always their way to give each other the strength they needed. He also thought about Jimin and Yoongi’s relationship that was starting at the same time at theirs, about how his best friend had a life to try to make Jimin to change his mind, knowing that could take a lot of time but risking everything because Jimin deserved his love.

Taehyung moved slightly, his hair brushing Jungkook’s chin. He kissed it because he could and held him as he was all the constellations he missed in the sky when it was cloudily and as if Taehyung was the stardust, the golden and bright sun that he needed in his life like the world needs it to survive to the upcoming future. He couldn’t just stop loving Taehyung once he started, years ago, but he could love him more and more. He tried to not to think about all those wasted years they could have been together and not suffering and crying because of each other, because the past was that and his present was in front of his eyes, like the stars at the night sky above him, waiting for the future to come and disappear without no one knowing. He had him for now, and that was all that mattered. Maybe things would change, maybe not, but even if the future was so uncertain, he knew for sure something.

“My love that is forever, it’s all free for you.”