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Mizu

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*All flashbacks are in italics

“Shit.”

Jungkook dropped his phone, wincing as it landed with an audible crack on the concrete. He didn’t even want to pick it up to look at the damage done.

He reluctantly picked it up, but made a point of not looking at the screen and instead stuffed it into his gym bag to worry about at a later date. He sighed heavily, wondering how on earth he was going to pay for it.

Maybe he could guilt trip Hoseok into paying for its repair.

Continuing walking, Jungkook reached his arm out and began running it along the metal wire fence that lined the borders of the building. It was a habit he had never been able to break, he used to do it often when he and his old friends used to walk home.

The swimming pool was just a couple of blocks away but Jungkook was taking his time. He was in no rush and even though he had Hoseok and Namjoon waiting for him, he couldn’t find it in himself to speed up. Training wasn’t as vigorous anymore, actually it was pretty lax. Although, Jungkook knew he would never miss an opportunity to train hard, the option to not give a shit was there.

Yoongi, their coach, had a temporary job and was usually consumed doing that instead of actually coaching the team. Jungkook didn’t mind too much, although he’d like someone else’s professional help that wasn’t from his two best friends. He felt like they didn’t want to hurt his feelings or something.

He’d always been a swimmer, blames his dad more than anyone. Jungkook always just assumed it ran in the family.

It was mid afternoon and the weather was pretty chilly, not that Jungkook minded much. He was pretty immune to the cold most days, but today he wished he’d brought at least a thicker coat. His running jacket didn’t seem to be sufficing.

He turned the corner, pulling his jacket closed while doing so. The swimming club was just up ahead, looking a little run down and in need of a paint job, Jungkook couldn’t help but notice.

The way the light hit the building and the way the sun was set in the sky seemed to send an unexpected wave of nostalgia throughout him.

It seemed so familiar, and he felt so comfortable in that environment.

//

His feet are tapping an orthodox rhythm onto the floor of the car, his mother’s patience is slowly being chipped away but Jungkook doesn’t even give time to realise. He’s too busy thinking about other things right now. Like how he’s willing himself not to embarrass his ass in front of new people and how maybe if he threw up now he wouldn’t have to meet these new people at all.

It is fair to say Jungkook is a little nervous.

His mother keeps shooting him glances from the seat opposite, worry is apparent on her face although Jungkook doesn’t really register it.

“You’ll make lots of new friends.” His mother says, delivering the classic line of parent encouragement.

He doesn’t need encouragement, he needs an escape route.

“Hmm.” He says, forcing an air of aloofness onto his mother that doesn’t really work. She shakes her head in dismay and continues looking out the window, seemingly defeated.

It’s silent for a minute, Jungkook not even realising that time is passing by. His mother is fidgeting with her hands in her lap.

“Maybe we should go in.” She suggests brightly, nudging Jungkook on the arm. Jungkook groans, displaying his obvious enthusiasm. She ignores him and tugs him along regardless, sometimes he just needs that push.

She urges him out of the car.

The building is small, not really needing to be bigger than the changing rooms, toilets and a reception. The swimming pool is around the back, hidden from view.

Jungkook decides he wants nothing more than to be submerged in the pool rather than go through the proceedings of starting a new team and, god forbid, talking to strangers.

The doors are automatic and the reception is mostly empty, with the exception of a male receptionist. The walls are painted blue with familiar cartoon characters associated with water painted on them by hand. It appears nice and welcoming, it even does a number on Jungkook’s hollowing anxiety as he looks around the small space. Maybe this won’t be so bad.

“Hey there.”

Spoke too soon.

Jungkook’s mother smiles warmly at the man behind the desk. Jungkook hides cautiously behind his mother, but not so much that it makes it obvious. Afterall, he was 15 now and could clearly fend for himself. At least that’s what he was tried to believe.

“Can I help you guys?” The receptionist asks, Jungkook noticing now that this man was extremely pretty and wasn’t much older than himself.

“Jungkook’s here for the swim team.” His mother states boldly, stepping sideways slightly to allow Jungkook to be exposed. He feels naked or something without his mother’s shield.

“Ah, I see.” The man grins at Jungkook, leaning forwards with his chin resting in his palm. He clears his throat awkwardly. “Min Yoongi is your coach, he’s been here for many years and has plenty of experience. He’ll guide you to the best of your ability, any advice he gives you I suggest you take it.”

He sounds friendly and he is obviously trying to be polite to Jungkook, yet Jungkook can only focus on not messing up or making himself look too socially awkward. And, by thinking everything through a little too carefully, he coincidentally finds himself forgetting that replying to people is a crucial social convention.

That 7 second pause might have just cost him his chance of coming across as a decent and functioning human being.

His mother looks at him, so does the receptionist.

He nods, not really knowing what else to do. Jungkook assumes it was enough because the receptionist moves on.

“Changing rooms are just down there on the left. I think the session has already started but don’t be intimidated by that. Yoongi will probably just want to meet you for today anyway.”

 

At some point his mom left him to fend for himself, and he’s trying not to be bitter about it but he can’t help but feel somewhat abandoned by her.

It took him 20 minutes to find the changing rooms, then he realised he’s forgotten to bring his goggles and that his mother left his coat in the car. He also notices that he’s packed the tightest swimming bottoms than any other in his collection, which was unfortunate because it was such a cold day. Jungkook would never admit it out loud but he wants nothing more than to be back at home. He hasn’t even met his team yet.

He leaves his clothes and gym bag on a peg of his choice, only seeing two other bags in the room of 30+ clothing pegs besides his own. He makes his way to the pool, following the direction the painted waves were guiding him in on the walls.
The pool was finally revealed to him outside after numerous tries on different doors.

It’s certainly bigger than he expected. It’s 50 meters long, just like a real athletic swimming pool. In a small town like this, he had expected 25 meters or less. Maybe things weren’t all bad.

There is a swimmer in the pool, as indicated by those bags in the changing room. On the sidelines, with a large megaphone in his left hand, is what Jungkook assumes is the swimmer’s trainer or coach. The coach sits in a chair, one leg lazily draped over the armrest. He assumes that this is Min Yoongi. There’s another swimmer beside him, but the swimmer is more concerned with picking the peeling paint from the surrounding fencing.

Suddenly sparked with undeniable interest, Jungkook watches the swimmer. What shocks him is the sheer force and ferocity that the swimmer is hurtling himself forward with. It isn’t exactly graceful, but under the spring sun and the sheer bitterness the wind has left in its wake, Jungkook could probably call it a different and unique style.

“Honestly, it’s like someone told you it was the last day sales from Black Friday. Just calm yourself down!” The coach almost yells, struggling to be heard over the sound of the swimmer’s splashing as he throws his arms down and smacks the surface of the water.

The sun’s shining bright onto the surface of the water, it’s taking a while for Jungkook’s eyes to adjust. He doesn’t know what to do with himself but stand there awkwardly, shifting his weight from foot to foot.

Even though it looks messy at first, Jungkook can’t help but feel like the swimmers approach to the stroke holds a unique and different quality. If harboured, the swimmer’s ferocity and determination could be used to create something award winning. It’s certainly captivating to look at.

But that’s just Jungkook’s opinion.

“What have I told you about keeping your stroke length consistent?” The coach bellows at him, much louder this time.

Jungkook finds himself almost at peace as he watches the swimmer doing lengths over the whole 50 metre pool one after another. Jungkook begins walking towards the coach, feeling the initiative to actually introduce himself.

The coach rolls his eyes at the swimmer, clearly the pair had been practicing for hours without much improvement. “Watch those arms, kid. Keep them tensed.”
Jungkook nears and the megaphone is set down on the ground, the coach’s head turning to look at him. Yoongi wears a lopsided grin and he looks far too relaxed in that chair, Jungkook decides.

“Ah, our new recruit.” He muses, scanning Jungkook as he stood nervously in front of him. ]

The boy peeling the paint looks up at him, one particularly large chunk of paint clutched in his hand. He smiles at Jungkook and stands, extending his hand for Jungkook to accept. The boy’s hair is in a bowl cut, yet it suits him. His hands are long and everything about him seems slim and thin. Jungkook is envious but doesn’t show it.

He accepts the handshake with a small smile, but with minor apprehension.

“I’m Kim Taehyung, it’s lovely to meet you.” The guy beams at him. He has a pretty face Jungkook decides, and he seems extremely friendly from what Jungkook can tell.

Taehyung seems almost the same age as him, Yoongi didn’t seem that much older than him either, which made him feel a little bit more at ease. He guesses that there’s only about 5 to 6 years between him and Yoongi.

That grin isn’t leaving Yoongi’s face, he looks pleased with what he sees.

“Jungkook, right?” Yoongi clarifies. Jungkook nods again, not leaving a long pause like before.

“Word on the grapevine is that you’ve got quite a bit of experience under your belt.” Yoongi mentions, sounding impressed. Jungkook would be quick to learn that it took a lot for Yoongi to be impressed.

Jungkook finds his voice for the first time today, and he prays it doesn’t come out sounding raspy and hoarse.

“I made it to nationals 6 times. I won silver last year-”

He sees something flash across Taehyung and Yoongi’s faces but he wasn’t sure what it was. Jungkook immediately assumes it’s doubt and begins to stammer in an attempt to recover.

“-but I did have a bit of a leg injury-”

“That’s so cool!” Taehyung exclaims suddenly, cutting Jungkook off. He is partly thankful for it however. “You won silver at nationals? I couldn’t even do that in my dreams. Damn, we’ve got a champion on our team, Yoongi-hyung!”

Without the constant calls of improvement, the swimmer in the water had wanted to see what the interruption had been. Jungkook only noticed because the splashing had stopped.

From the middle of the pool a boy in tinted goggles and a swim cap called over to Yoongi, obviously looking for some instruction.

“What gives, Yoongi? I thought we were going for 150 meters-”

The swimmer stopped short as his eyes landed on Jungkook’s slightly less nervous form from when he had walked in. It was hard to tell from the protection of the tinted goggles but Jungkook was pretty sure the swimmer was looking right at him.

Jungkook feels his cheeks flush, he suddenly feels hot and bothered despite only having his swimming bottoms on.

“This is Jeon Jungkook, he just arrived in town.” Yoongi answers even though no one asked.

The swimmer reaches up one arm from the water, reaches back over his head and tugs at his swim cap. He removes it along with his goggles, leaving him barefaced and exposed to Jungkook.

Dark brown hair comes tumbling out of the cap as it is removed, luscious locks tumble down in an almost bowl cut style, framing the boy’s face almost perfectly. Deep brown eyes stare back at Jungkook, the colours of deep and rich espresso with the slightest ever touch of milk. He has sharp cheekbones and a cut throat jawline that Jungkook thought only photoshop could produce.

He looks about Jungkook’s age, just like everyone else in this goddamn swim club. Jungkook considers he maybe even slightly older although his face doesn’t really show it. He’s so handsome, Jungkook can’t even begin to string words together to introduce himself. Instead his mouth hangs open, resembling a clueless fish.

And, as if Jungkook’s knees were not already knocking enough, the boy in the pool’s mouth quirks into a smile.

The swimmer makes his way closer to the edge of the pool, his arms rising out of the water to push against the poolside.

Jungkook doesn’t want to notice but it was already so apparent. The swimmer’s arms were toned, thick with muscle. He has to stop himself from wanting to reach out and touch those biceps like a curious toddler.

He can’t help but feel so insignificant in comparison.

“Is he joining the swim team, Yoongi?” The swimmer asks. Yoongi hums in response, picking at a stray nail on his left hand. He still looks impressed, so does Taehyung.

The swimmer presses his head in between his elbow and armpit, tilting it at an angle.

It almost sounds flirtatious as the swimmer clears his throat and grins at him. “Hey, I’m Park Jimin.”

//

Jungkook wasn’t sure why, but he felt suddenly sick and distant.

First times always seem longer ago than they actually were.

He neared the building’s automatic doors and found Hoseok sat outside the changing room waiting for Jungkook, his phone in his hand and tapping impatiently at the screen. He must have been playing a game.

He looked up as Jungkook approached, shooting him a sloppy grin. He didn’t even look shocked to find out Jungkook was late. The younger had rolled up almost 45 minutes later than he was supposed to, only having his sudden nostalgia to blame.

He made a half-assed attempt at an apology, feeling a little unsettled by the memory from before. Hoseok just chuckled at his attempts.

“Honestly, I’m not even surprised.” Hoseok confessed, playfully nudging his shoulder as they walked side by side into the building on the far side of the pool. “You always end up wandering off. It’s Namjoon that’s always worried you’ll never come back or get lost.”

Jungkook shrugged off his gym bag and pushed open the door to the changing rooms with his shoulder, turning back to Hoseok.

Hoseok took a seat on the nearby bench, not needing to change as he already was ready to go in his swim gear. He watched Jungkook’s rushed and jagged movements suspiciously as the younger barged into the changing rooms.

“Are you okay?”

Jungkook ignored him. “Where’s Joon?”

Hoseok tried not to look ruffled. “He’s already in the pool. He wanted to get a headstart.”

The gym bag was thrown onto the nearest clothing peg, Jungkook’s shirt already off and his sweatpants slipping off with ease. Hoseok gave him the brief side eye.

“Someone’s ready to go.” He observed, Jungkook only half heard him. He was already kicking his sweatpants off and stuffing them messily into his duffle bag.

“Hmm…”

“Are you okay?”

“Magnificent.”

He didn’t sound very convincing.

He had suddenly been inundated with memories and flashbacks from the past. Jungkook felt a stab in his chest, suddenly feeling too many emotions to know exactly what each one was and why he felt it. It was all in a wave, and he wished it would hurry up and pass.

//

“Why are you always late?” Jungkook asks curiously, his gym bag finding its way to the usual spot in the changing rooms.

Jimin stumbles in blindly, his running jacket falls off of his shoulder slightly and exposes bare skin to a very bashful Jungkook.

“You aren’t even dressed properly.” Jungkook states attempting to avert his eyes and do whatever he can so he is not longer looking at Jimin and his heavenly collarbones. Jungkook’s been here almost a year but he still can’t handle the sight of his teammate’s exposed skin.

It is here when Jungkook decides that the changing-into-swim-gear part of being on a swim team with Park Jimin is possibly the worst bit. The exposure of skin and platonic environment seems positively poisonous to Jungkook in every which way, not to mention unfortunate erections happen all too often and he has to wait a couple of moments before his raging hard-on’s have calmed down just a tad so it is no longer as noticeable.

Although, Jungkook is almost sure Jimin notices every single goddamn time and fucking enjoys himself as he stands in the shower watching Jungkook try and reduce his tenting swimming trunks.

Jungkook isn’t sure at what point over the past few months Jimin’s appearance in his life went from platonic to fluttering romantic and desirable. He was suddenly thrust upon the idea one day and now he can’t stop himself. He almost hates himself for falling for Jimin, he wasn’t even sure if Jimin was into dudes in the first place.

Jungkook is broken from his trail of thought by Jimin as he stumbles over, his laces not properly tied.

Jungkook grabs his arms to help his friend up, suddenly feeling the sharp reflex of muscle under the harsh grab to steady Jimin back onto his feet. He was touching Jimin’s arms without any hesitation.

Up until now they hadn’t gone to the stage of touch and Jungkook is almost terrified by the idea that a simple touch on the arm would make a huge dramatic impact to their relationship. Jimin doesn’t even seem bothered or affected. He thanks Jungkook for his help politely and smiles warmly, but that was pretty much it.

Jimin’s training bag falls right onto the peg beside Jungkook’s despite the 30+ pegs in the room. It feels almost like a privilege even after so many months, Jungkook decides he likes this feeling.

“I always hate being early to things. I like to be just on time; I leave the house last minute so I know for sure I’m not going to be early.” Jimin attempts to explain, kicking off his ratty Nikes and stuffing them into his gym bag.

Jungkook listens, although he’s more distracted with trying not to look at Jimin at all. He is already a blushing mess and Jimin has only taken his socks off so far.

“Plus, that elderly lady that your mom’s friends with needed some help carrying her groceries as soon as I closed my front door. That took some time.”

Jungkook can’t help but smile wide with such sudden force his cheeks already hurt.

God he was so whipped over this kid.

“What?” Jimin grins back, noticing Jungkook’s smile.

Jungkook reaches out to tug at the back of his own shirt, pulling it over his head so the words he said came out muffled. “You’re so caring.”

He missed Jimin’s quick blush.

Jimin turned around so his back was to Jungkook, disguising his bashfulness.

“Well, she’s a friend of your mom’s. Plus, one of her cats just had kittens.”

Jungkook begins stuffing his t-shirt into his duffle bag, his chest feeling a little colder than he expects as it comes into contact with the air in the changing room. He turned to face Jimin, forgetting what state of dress he was in.

“You can’t resist cute things, can you?” The youngest asks with a smile.

Jimin doesn’t even hesitate as he turns back around to face his friend, a small smile tickling the corner of his mouth as well as a blush when Jimin catches sight of Jungkook’s bare chest.

His eyes divert upwards immediately so he isn’t caught in the act.

“Why do you think I can’t stay away from you?”

//

He needed to swallow this sudden reminiscence. It was doing bad things to his insides.

By the time Jungkook got out there, Hoseok and Namjoon were already working on their lengths.
Seeing he was far behind, Jungkook took it upon himself to warm up as quickly as possible. He snapped his goggles over his eyes and pushed them down for good measure. He placed his toes on the edge of the tiles, positioned himself into a dive and lunged forwards without any pause or hesitation.

The water hit him like a force, knocking his bangs completely out of the way. It was everywhere, up his nose coating his body, probably swimming around in his ears too. His dives were always more powerful than they had to be.

He saw Hoseok and Namjoon both stop in the middle of doing a length, their legs sinking to the bottom of the pool so they were stood upright.

Unintentionally, he now had their attention.

Rising to the surface, he broke free of the water’s skin, flicking his long hair out of his eyes gracefully and spraying the water out of his black locks.

Usually he would have greeted Namjoon like he always did. Today he couldn’t find the effort within him.

The water ran off his body in streams, his hair matted to his forehead as though it had been glued there. The water caused his skin to shine with an unordinary glow, he looked radiant in the afternoon summer sunlight that poured down over the surface of the water.

He was the human interpretation of desirable although he didn’t see himself that way.

He was too much of a modest person.

Jungkook was breathing heavily, his shoulders rising and falling at a dramatic rate. He’d put a lot of effort into that dive and his lungs were adjusting to the amount of strain that was being placed on them so suddenly.

He leaned back against the wall of the pool, his shoulders hitching as they came into contact with the cold feeling on bare skin.

Lazily, he ran a hand through his dark hair. He sighed deeply.

They both wanted to watch him swim.

Despite being on the same team as him and having seen him swim multiple times, Hoseok and Namjoon always claimed that watching Jungkook swim was a sight that never grew old to them. In a way, Jungkook was flattered. But sometimes it beared a burden when you just wanted a quiet training day.

He slowly removed the goggles from around his neck, discarding them carelessly over his shoulder. He dived under without a second thought, his breath long and deep before he submerged.

The outline of his body shimmered under the surface, distorted and rearranged. He was a blur.

The boy rose to the surface halfway across the pool, wanting to go for longer but also wanting to show off what he could do to his spectators that lined the hall.

His stroke was accurate and precise, cutting the skin of the water with the break of his palm like a warm knife through tofu. His legs were kicking as though the adrenaline of a real race were pumping through him.

He almost headbutted the wall.

Before his forehead could come into contact with the tiles, his hand splayed out in front of him to take and end the force that he had used.

He was really breathing hard now, his lungs were unprepared before his swim and he was now paying the price. As his head rose out of the water, he noticed on either side of his hand were legs.

He looked up.

“Jungkook?”

It was Hoseok, his face a picture of worry and concern. Beside him was Namjoon, his legs dangling in the pool as they were much longer than Hoseok’s short ones.

“Hmm.” Jungkook wasn’t in the mood for talking.

“You looked like you were giving your full effort but your time…”

Jungkook looked up while pushing the hair out his eyes again. He shook the wet strands out, splaying water all over Namjoon and Hoseok’s clothes. “What about my time?” Jungkook asked abruptly, he sounded irritable.

“You didn’t even beat my record.” Namjoon replied, an edge of surprise in his tone.

“How did I do?” Jungkook sounded a little more intrigued now. Namjoon held out a towel in his direction, Jungkook nodded gratefully as he took it in his hands and ruffled it over his sopping hair.

“Well…”

Hoseok turned over the stopwatch, holding it out for Jungkook to clearly see the numbers on the screen of his phone. Jungkook tried to hide his initial shock with a cough, but Namjoon and Hoseok could see right through it. Jungkook buried his head in the plushness of the towel.

“What’s going on with you?” Namjoon asked kindly. “You’ve been acting weird.”

“It’s nothing.” He spoke a little too quickly. Hoseok and Namjoon exchanged a glance.

“Bullshit.”

“Honestly.” Jungkook replied, not sounding at all convincing. “It’s nothing.”

He handed the towel back to Namjoon, seemingly preoccupied with something else. He wasn’t even looking in the direction of the two now and was instead looking at the sky above him.

The sun was setting, oranges and peaches splashed in an array of colour across the sky, the clouds a gentle break in their endless mix of light.

The spectacle reflected off of the surface of the pool, it almost mirrored the image above exactly had it not been for the ripples Jungkook had created on it’s surface.

Even Hoseok and Namjoon were looking up now.

“Wow.”

Everyone had left the premises now excluding themselves. They were simply alone with the sky, the only sound coming from roosting birds in the cherry blossom trees that lined the outdoor pool, the almost inaudible sound of the water lapping at the tiles.

Jungkook doubted he had ever felt as soothed as he did then.

He leaned back against the tiles to steady himself.

They all sighed heavily in unison.

//

Jungkook is mid-stroke when he feels a sudden and surprisingly warm palm touch his shoulder. He lifts his head out of the water quickly, as if there has been an emergency. He relaxes as he sees Jimin stood in the pool beside him, a gentle look on his face.

Jimin’s hand turns into a slightly harder grip, pulling Jungkook closer to him. They stood hip to hip, shoulder to shoulder.

Jungkook looks over at his friend and notices how tall Jimin was getting when faced with a sudden and unintentional comparison. Jimin notices it too at the same time but playfully swats Jungkook for looking down on him, he’s smiling though so Jungkook knows he doesn’t mean it. Afterall, he was still quite short.

Jimin whispers softly, pointing upwards. “Jungkook, look.”

Jungkook does look, and he lets out a low whistle as he does.

The sunset above them is gorgeous, showering the sky with shy lilacs and thick oranges, bold reds and distant yellows all combining to make one huge painting. Jungkook thinks it’s beautiful, but he can’t stop himself from looking down again. He can’t stop looking at Jimin.

‘Isn’t it pretty?’ Jimin coos, his eyes turned upwards and not even aware Jungkook’s attention is focused elsewhere.

‘Sure is.’

He smiles mischievously.

Jimin turns, but does not catch Jungkook’s gaze in time. Instead, he sees Jungkook looking up at the sunset as though he hadn’t moved at all.

//

“Have you ever seen anything like that?” Hoseok mumbled, awe painted across his features as he glanced upwards. No one said anything in response, because of course, they had never seen such a gorgeous sight.

Well, maybe Jungkook had before. But that was a while ago.

It was silent for a moment.

Namjoon turned back to look at Jungkook.

“How come you were late again today?” He asked, sounding more like Jungkook’s mother than Namjoon.

“I don’t see the point in coming early, I hate being early. Plus, I had to check on one of my mom’s old friends.” Jungkook replies through a half yawn.

Namjoon looked concerned as he watched the younger, following the movements carefully as Jungkook’s mouth parted open and his breathing slowed down from his swim. There was evidence in the way Jungkook held his body up that he hadn’t been getting much sleep. The bags under his eyes were also a pretty big giveaway. He looked physically and emotionally drained.

“Are you sure you’re okay?” Namjoon asked the youngest. Only marginally surprised his hyung had been watching him, Jungkook nodded, not really feeling like talking at all in response. Hoseok nudged him lightly, a sign of affection in Hoseok’s own way.

“We’re here if you want to talk.” He whispered.

Jungkook wasn’t really the one to ‘talk’ his problems out, but he nodded to gratefully accept the offer even if he wouldn’t uphold it.

It seemed as though even the birds had gone quiet.

“A sign of good luck.” Namjoon muttered, not intending it to be directed at anyone in particular. Jungkook heard though, so did Hoseok. They looked at him momentarily before looking up again, not wanting to miss one second of the scenery.

“What?”

Namjoon breathed out, moving his hands behind him for something to support himself on.

“Y’know, a sign of good luck.”

No one caught his drift so he continued.

“A sign of good luck for regionals in two months.”

Jungkook didn’t even flinch. Hoseok smiled, his eyes still directed upwards. “I’d almost forgot about that. Won’t this be our last year competing?”

“Yeah…” Namjoon let his reply trail off, not finding anything to say that could overrule the beauty of such a sunset.

Jungkook pushed himself out of the water so he was now sitting alongside his fellow teammates, water running off of the lower half of his body in a stream. For the first time in a while, he felt so comfortable and relaxed with where he was and how he felt. He didn’t see any good reason to move, he felt no sense of rushing home for a good night’s sleep. He didn’t feel much at all come to think of it.

“Jungkookie is staying on for another year though, right?”

Jungkook didn’t even decline his head. “Hmm.”

It would be wrong to speak for others, yet Jungkook could tell Hoseok and Namjoon were equally as relaxed as he was. There wasn’t an air of awkwardness but instead an air of peace. No words needed to be said yet Jungkook knew he had to say something. It had been on the tip for his tongue for a while.

Hoseok and Namjoon, the only people who had helped him through any difficulties in college were leaving and graduating at the end of this year. It scared Jungkook to think that they wouldn’t always be around forever, and he would have to fend for himself next year when they weren’t there. He’d always used them as his support, it would feel alien and abnormal not to have anything but himself on a day to day basis.

He didn’t want to lose them, yet life called on.

At that moment, Jungkook had an overwhelming sense of affection for his friends; they were almost in the category of older brothers to him now after so many years of being by his side. He realised how much they’d done for him and how many thank you’s he was lacking.

The sunset may have stolen the show of the evening, but it didn’t deter Jungkook from speaking his mind. They should probably savour such a moment, it didn’t happen often.

“Thank you.”

They both looked at the youngest, bewildered.

“What for?”

“For everything.” He replied, like it answered all questions. Jungkook didn’t even feel the need to look at them while he spoke. The implication was there.

They were leaving his team in a matter of months, he would probably never see them again. His own teammates, his own best friends, they were well on their way to a job and a family life. He wasn’t far behind, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to share that experience with them. He wasn’t ready for a life outside of school yet, they all knew that.

They were growing up just like Jungkook, just a lot sooner.

And, although he didn’t say it often, he really did love them both. And, by God, he was going to miss them dearly in his final year.

It was silent again for a brief moment, Jungkook not looking anywhere but at the sky above him.

Jungkook didn’t expect it, but two arms wrapped around him from both directions, embracing him in a warm shoulder hug.

“Don’t say it like you’re saying goodbye.” Namjoon smiled, he was tinged with sympathy and sadness although he was trying his hardest not to show it.

Hoseok looked and sounded as though he were in a similar state. “We’ll be there to cheer you on in your final year. Hell, you’re not getting rid of us so easy.”

“And hey.” Namjoon began. “We’re going to have to stick around to make sure you stay out of trouble.”

If anybody didn’t know them well enough, they’d say Hoseok and Namjoon were more parents to Jungkook than anything else. This was almost true, but more of an older brother sort of approach. They looked out for him, and he didn’t know how he’d possibly have survived this long if they hadn’t.

 

Jungkook, Hoseok and Namjoon waited by the poolside until the sun finally set, watching it every second of its descent until it disappeared beyond the horizon. When it did finally disappear, replacing the comforting oranges and peaches with cold blue and deep purples, Hoseok had hurried the other two along, already running to gather their training bags from the locker room.

“It’s going to start getting cold soon, the last thing we want is the flu before swim trials.”

Normally, Jungkook would have rolled his eyes in defiance like any other bratty teen would towards the motherly figure in their life. Jungkook felt different today. He felt a sense of enjoying the motherly instinct while he still could.

Drying himself off with the towel and quickly changing into a shirt and sweatpants at the pool edge - (he’d been team members with the other two long enough for them to know Jungkook wasn’t at all bashful about what lay under his swimsuit) - he was seemingly taking his time getting ready.

He didn’t say anything, but he was almost dreading going home that night. The idea of being left to these flashback and thoughts were not as thrilling as it may have sounded. He suspected Namjoon or Hoseok would pick up on it but they both remained mute. Maybe they thought better not to dissect him about it.

They left quickly due to Hoseok’s motherly instincts, Jungkook still not having done up his shoelaces or tugged his sweatpants on properly.

Namjoon offered to carry his bag on the way home, something Jungkook always took up the offer of him doing. But this time he felt different. He refused and said he could carry it himself, earning a shocked expression from Namjoon and Hoseok alike. They didn’t comment though, only a swift shake of the head.

They exchanged a look and moved swiftly on to a different topic.

“So, I was talking to Yoongi yesterday.” Namjoon mentioned briefly as they walked side by side on the pavement, Jungkook in the middle of course. Hoseok turned to Namjoon, accidentally knocking Jungkook’s bag off of his shoulder.

“What did he say? I haven’t seen him in a while.”

“He mentioned about us going to train somewhere else as the weather gets cooler. He suggested a college in the next town over, not too far away from where your grandmother lives, Hose’.”

Jungkook’s ears perked up. A new swimming pool was a good grab for his attention. Hoseok looked equally as interested.

“What’s it called?”

“Dongguk University. It’s supposed to have an indoor pool, I Googled it the other night.”

“Beats swimming outside in October, huh?”

“I guess.”

That name… Dongguk … Jungkook had heard it somewhere before, he was almost certain of it. Somewhere significant too, but he couldn’t think for the life of him where he’d heard that name before.

“We could go check it out tomorrow?”

“Sure.”

Dongguk…

Namjoon and Hoseok nudged him lightly on either side, attempting to catch his attention.

“Sure, sounds ok.” He mumbled in response, his eyebrows knitted together to show he was concentrating.

They walked in comfortable silence for a while, enjoying how peaceful the night seemed. There were no cars passing, there was no interruptions to Jungkook’s thoughts. It was soothing listening to the sound of their footsteps on the concrete, even Namjoon’s heavy breathing appeared familiar and comforting, which came as a shock as it was most of the time a bit of a pain to Hoseok and Jungkook both.

The youngest considered taking a jog before he went to sleep despite knowing there was school tomorrow. Hoseok would kill him if he found out, yet he felt like a midnight jog would clear his mind. He had a lot of thoughts swimming about in there and he needed to release them all.

Dongguk… where had he heard that before?

Namjoon broke him from his trail of thought. He sighed heavily all of a sudden, one hand going to his eyes to shield them from whatever he had been looking at.

“Miss Yamikaya’s left her curtains open again.”

Hoseok looked up too suddenly, almost knocking Jungkook’s bag off again for the second time.

“Oh my god.”

Looking up in the direction Hoseok was pointing, Jungkook saw an elderly woman wrapped in only a bath towel standing in full view of the street, perched on the window ledge of her bedroom with a bottle of lotion in her hand. Indeed, the curtains were completely parted.

“I should really call by and ask her to keep herself to herself.” Namjoon mumbled, the hand covering his eyes now parting in the middle so he could peek at her for a moment before shielding his view again, equally as disgusted as before.

“I thought old lady titties were your thing, Joon.” Hoseok snickered, earning a slap across the back of the head from Namjoon.

“That was one time, and plus she didn’t even look like she was 57.”

“She had grey hair.”

“It was silver-”

Jungkook carried on watching, and to his complete horror, he saw Miss Yamikaya stand up and begin to peel off her towel from her shrivelled wrinkled body. Hoseok must have caught her movements at the same time as Jungkook because he quickly moved his hand in front of Jungkook’s eyes. “No!”

The three of them picked up pace so they could turn the corner and continue without such a sight in view.

“God, you need to hurry up and ask her out Joon, otherwise someone else will take her and her book club friends.”

“I don’t have a thing for old women!”

Jungkook couldn’t help but laugh along with Hoseok. “What about that old lady… ? Oh yeah, Mrs Samezuka, that lives next door to you? I heard she’s available-” Jungkook suggested helpfully.

Hoseok spluttered into more laughter, unable to control his body as he spasmed. He had to lean against Jungkook for support.

“See!” Namjoon cried, gesturing to Hoseok with an outstretched hand and then back to Jungkook. “You’re a bad influence!”

“At least I’m not into old ladies.” Hoseok retorted, earning a cackle of laughter from Jungkook’s throat.

“For God’s sake, you accidentally feel up one middle aged lady’s boob and immediately you get the nickname ‘granny fanny’ and everyone thinks you have an age fetish.”

Hoseok added quickly, “Did you have to reach down to the floor to touch her boob or-?”

“Oh my god!” Namjoon near shouted out of exasperation, although he was smiling widely too now.

//

“Jungkook-ah.” Jimin grins, his smile eventually collapsing into giggles. Jungkook turns around to look at his best friend, only to find that Jimin is stood a few metres behind him, unmoving in the middle of the sidewalk.

He retraces his steps, falling back into the space next to Jimin.

“What?” Jungkook didn’t know why Jimin is giggling but it’s making him smile anyways.

Unable to utter any words, Jimin just points a finger up to the house across the street, one hand going to cup over his mouth because he doesn’t like his smile when he laughs so hard. Jungkook carries his eyeline and eventually sees what Jimin is laughing at.

A woman, probably reaching her elderly stages in life, is stood in full view of the street with the curtains wide open. She is absolutely stark naked.

Jungkook lets out a yelp in surprise, immediately clasping a hand over his mouth to stop him from being caught. Jimin only laughs harder, throwing his head back and giggling to the point of snorting.

“Jiminnnn,” Jungkook whines, slapping him on the arm for his obscene and childish behaviour. Jungkook is blushing like a beetroot and makes no effort to conceal it because he knows how pointless it would be. Even his ears are a distinct shade of salmon.

Jungkook grabs Jimin’s sleeve and attempts to pull him away. Eventually, Jimin accepts and carries on walking. However, he is using Jungkook for support due to his body aching from his laughing fit.

“You looked so bashful, Jungkook.” Jimin coos, his eyes disappearing as he grins with such intensity. Jungkook looks away, trying to erase the image of the lady from his mind.

“It’s like you’ve never see a naked lady before.” Jimin teases.

Jungkook goes even more red because, well… he hasn’t.

Jimin picks up on this almost immediately.

“Oh!” Jimin smiles slyly, his grin all too mischievous and suggestive. “Our Jungkook is a virgi-”

Jungkook begins to sweat nervously, the blood rushing to his face rapidly. “Shh!”

Jimin laughs again but when he catches sight of Jungkook’s embarrassed and bashful face, he stops immediately. He didn’t intend it to be mocking, he’s too kind for that.

“Hey, it’s okay.” Jimin whispers, one arm looping through Jungkook’s and pulling him closer. The proximity makes Jungkook feel significantly better.

“If it makes you feel better, I haven’t done anything like that either.”

Jungkook looks up, quite frankly shocked. Jimin always seemed like so much of a catch that the youngest imagined he could get anyone he wished. Even Jungkook if that was what Jimin wanted.

“Really?” Jungkook asks, having to clarify.

“Yeah…” Jimin’s the one blushing now, bright beetroot red at that. Jungkook feels better again. “But, why haven’t you?” Jimin asks.

“It’s difficult to find someone, y’know?”

“But there must be lots of girls who are attracted to you? I mean you’re obviously handsome.”

Jungkook is so caught off guard by Jimin calling him handsome that he doesn’t have time to think his answer through before the words come spilling out of his mouth. It’s clumsy and he already wishes he’d never set foot out of the house today.

“I’m not really into girls per se.”

Jimin turned to Jungkook, his eyes wide and one eyebrow quirked. He hadn’t been expecting that.

“Oh?”

Jungkook wants the ground to just swallow him whole. He turns to look at Jimin, trying with every fibre of his being to suppress the urge to run away as fast as possible. To his own surprise, he finds Jimin smiling back at him, his eyes disappearing like they usually did when he was happy. Actually, he looks a little too happy.

“That’s good because me neither.”

//

Jungkook tried to shake his head to sort the mess inside, but these flashbacks were just not going away. Hoseok gave him a funny look but didn’t comment.

As they walked around the houses and weaved their way through each block, they grew nearer and nearer to Namjoon and Hoseok’s turning. Jungkook’s house was a little further on ahead by the beach so he’d have to walk alone for a few minutes. Usually, Hoseok would walk with him, but as it was a light night they decided it wasn’t necessary.

They rounded the next corner and turned onto Namjoon’s street. As they walked, they passed the infamous Miss Samezuka home. All the lights were on and the back porch was illuminated, showing that the back door had been left open.

Hoseok started laughing and so did Jungkook, they had both thought of the same thing.

“Hey, Joon, look.”

Namjoon turned naively.

“Miss Samezuka left her back door open for you.”

They both got a sharp shove forwards, Namjoon also laughing but attempting to keep a straight face. Namjoon began veering off in the direction of the Kim residence. He squeezed Hoseok’s shoulder affectionately and ruffled Jungkook’s hair as he turned in the direction of his front door, flashing them a smile as he left.

“I’ll see you guys tomorrow?”

“Sure thing.”

“Night, Joon.”

 

Dongguk… This was starting to irritate him now.

It was quiet again, the only sound being the hum of the street lights above them. Hoseok stole a glance at Jungkook, whose eyebrows were knitted together again, clearly he was thinking deeply about something. Not wanting to ruin Jungkook’s thoughts, Hoseok waited impatiently until they were a little while away from Namjoon’s house before he spoke again.

After a while the suspense got too much.

“You can talk to us about anything, y’know.” He told the younger softly, one arm moving to wrap around Jungkook’s shoulders. Jungkook did not pull away but instead remained rigid. He didn’t feel like rejecting the affection today.

“I know.” Jungkook replied, somewhere between a sigh and a yawn. “It’s nothing, honestly.”

Hoseok thought for a moment.

“If it’s about us leaving this year, don’t worry about it. You have plenty of friends, and plus, it’s not like we’ll never see each other again.” Hoseok caught the look of doubt on Jungkook’s face and smiled sadly. His face echoed the sympathy he felt for the younger. “I’m always going to be here for you.”

When Jungkook didn’t reply, Hoseok assumed that he had used up all of Jungkook’s words for this evening and was now closed for conversation.

Hoseok’s house was coming up on the left hand side of the sidewalk. The comforting arm detached itself from around the younger’s shoulders and Hoseok started walking towards his front gate. Jungkook decided it was now or never.

“It’s not just that.”

Hoseok turned, stopping dead in his tracks.

Jungkook stopped too.

“I keep thinking about things that happened in high school. Stuff that I’ve never really shared with anyone.”

He looked at Hoseok to see if he was genuinely interested, and when he was sure the inquisitive look on his face was indicating he was listening, Jungkook continued.

“And, it’s not that I miss high school, it’s just… I keep thinking that I wish I had guidance back then. Maybe I wouldn’t have made so many mistakes if you and Namjoon had been there.”

“What kind of mistakes?” Hoseok asked gently.

Thoughts of Park Jimin plague his mind, he can't escape the fact that such a beautiful feature of his life was no longer there. He longed for it back, and wanted nothing more than a second chance. He though he deserved that at least.

He felt sick again.

Jungkook must have looked uncomfortable or squirmed at the question because Hoseok immediately smoothed the subject over, catering for Jungkook’s comfort once again because he was a good friend like that.

“You don’t have to talk about it, it doesn’t matter. Tell me when you’re ready, Jungkook.”

Jungkook was quiet for a minute, playing with his hands in his hoodie pockets.

“Thank you.” He murmured softly, barely audible even in the emptiness of the street.

Hoseok nodded and gave him one last hug, which to Hoseok’s surprise, Jungkook graciously accepted.

“No problem.”

Hoseok got to the door and pushed it halfway open before he turned back to look at Jungkook, not at all surprised to see the younger hadn’t moved from the same spot.

“I’ll pick you up tomorrow morning?”

Jungkook nodded, managing a small smile as a gesture of ‘good night’.

Hoseok smiled too and closed the door behind him, allowing Jungkook to walk home in peace.

 

Jungkook didn’t breathe outwards completely until he had fully turned the next corner. He had heard Hoseok’s door shut behind his friend, yet he still didn’t feel fully convinced he wasn’t being observed.

Somehow, Jungkook felt better for mentioning the subject of what had been on his mind. He certainly hadn’t expected to feel this way, not even in the slightest. The burdening feeling he had been expecting was replaced with an emptiness.

He wasn’t entirely sure whether he enjoyed or welcomed such a feeling, but it would have to do.

It really was dark now.

All the surrounding houses on either side of him had their curtains drawn and the lights turned off. Everyone was turning in for the night, and honestly, Jungkook knew he should do the same. But he also needed to clear his mind, just as Hoseok had suggested.

The midnight run he had been considering earlier was sounding more and more appealing.

As he took a left down a different road, Jungkook began to really consider why the thoughts of high school and everything in between had been bothering him recently. He had gone a successful 4 years without such an incident, these flashbacks were ruining his record.

His bag was hitting his side uncomfortably, his feet still kind of damp from his swim earlier. He’d have to go home and change before his run.

Dongguk…

No, the name had completely slipped his memory.

Jungkook began the decline down the the beach and down to the part of town that sat along the shoreline. Their town had always been a leader in the fishing communities within Korea, it came with its perks in summer when Jungkook could finally swim in the ocean. That was almost the highlight of his year.

Jungkook’s parents house was situated on the front, facing the sea from almost all windows of the cushy home. Just like himself, they’d always been swimming kinds of people and rather fond of the ocean. Jungkook had moved down to this part of Korea before starting high school, giving him the chances of a swim team that he had not had in Busan.

//


They’re almost home.

Jungkook would rather have stayed at the pool, but Jimin’s mother wants Jimin home as soon as possible. She has made dinner slightly earlier and needs all of the Park family home so the meal would not spoil. Jungkook’s mother has been so busy recently, he is almost certain he’ll have to go home and make his own food arrangements.

“Your stroke has always been quicker than mine.” Jimin mumbles, sounding half jealous and half impressed.

It appears Jimin is having a one way conversation.

Jungkook doesn’t hold his head up high, but instead he slumps his shoulders forwards. He doesn’t feel like celebrating.

Of course, Jimin notices almost immediately

“What’s wrong?” He asks, one hand reaching out to brush against the bare skin of Jungkook’s short sleeve t-shirt. Jungkook could swear he got gooseflesh just from that measly touch.

“Nothing.”

Jimin scoffs, a small giggle erupting from his throat. His hand doesn’t move from Jungkook’s tricep, Jungkook considers the possibility of a nose bleed. “Even now you’re terrible at lying. Even to me, the most naive person in the worl-”

“You’re not naive.” Jungkook states a little too firmly. He doesn’t like when Jimin criticizes himself, he never has.

It goes quiet, Jimin isn’t giggling anymore.

Jimin tries to see the younger’s face but Jungkook’s black running jacket hood is secured firmly over his face. It’s not raining.

There’s a pause. Jungkook carries on walking, Jimin doesn’t.

“Jungkook?”

The tone is so soft and so delicate, almost like a whisper but so audible in the emptiness of the streets. It’s the tone that Jimin saves only for Jungkook, and it makes everything want to spill out of the younger in just a matter of seconds.

Jungkook turns around, his hands shoved deep into his pockets. He doesn’t want Jimin to know that he’s shaking. Tears are brimming in his eyes and at that very moment he can only will himself not to cry. Jungkook’s never cried in front of anyone. Not even Park Jimin.

Jimin repeats himself. “What’s wrong?”

Truth be told, Jungkook wishes he’d never shown any emotional connection to Jimin at all. Maybe then this wouldn’t be as hard as he had made it for himself. For the both of them.

The words had been on the tip of his tongue all day. He’d wanted to say something, but Jimin had been in such a good mood, he had decided that Jimin’s happiness came first.

Now he couldn’t help it.

“Busan.” Jungkook chokes out, he’s biting his lip so hard he thinks he’ll draw blood any second. He doesn’t cry though, Jungkook doesn’t cry in front of anyone.

Jimin gives him a confused look, wanting him to elaborate.

“My Mom and Dad want to move back to Busan.”

//

His mother and father realised all too quickly that the life in a small fishing community in town house Korea did not fit their job descriptions, and had considered moving Jungkook and his older brother back out to Busan where the work was easier to find. This was midway through high school, and Jungkook was expected to sit important upcoming entry exams within the same year.

Sometimes he wondered if his parents only let him stay in this town because he had those exams when they were making movement arrangements. But sometimes he wondered if they knew how much he felt at home here. If swimming was a passion of Jungkook’s, probably the only thing he had ever been passionate about, it made sense for them to keep him here where he loved it most.

At least that’s what he had hoped.

Now Mom visited every three weeks, Dad didn’t visit quite as often but Jungkook knew work held him up more than it did for his mother. He never decided to push the subject, his mother always looked so run down whenever he saw her.

Jungkook was nearing the beach now, he could just about see it even in the darkness of the streets. Being in a town of mainly elderly folk meant that no one was up and walking about on the sidewalks past 9 o’clock.

//


It’s too late at night for a run, but Jungkook thinks otherwise.

This was the ideal way for Jungkook to clear his head, refresh his body better than any shower could. The thickness that night provided meant that he could be free to talk out loud if he needed, scream if he needed, cry if he needed.

He didn’t cry. Doesn’t cry.

At some point, Jungkook must have accidentally let slip to an unforgiving Jimin that he often came on these midnight runs. Intrigued by the idea, his best friend had decided that he needed to try it.

As a result of that, Jimin was now running along beside him on this particular night, his breathing unfamiliar to Jungkook at such an hour as he was usually alone when he did this.

Jimin had been waiting at his window when Jungkook had ran by his parents house, not expecting the boy to be lingering on the window sill of his bedroom with his loose fitting tracksuit bottoms on and a tight running top.

If Jimin’s mother found out, Jungkook would be in the shit for sure. He knew this as well as Jimin, which explains why Jimin was waiting on his window sill and not at the front door.

At first he had been reluctant to let anyone tag along, let alone Jimin. Yet, somehow he can’t resist. Jungkook didn’t see any need to be alone tonight, so he invited Jimin along. Jimin almost looked eager to leave.

They ran together mostly in silence, but then again, that’s the whole point of this. It’s purpose is to clear your head, not fill it with more irrelevant distractions. But, Jimin has always been too talkative for his own good. Jungkook didn’t mind one bit, the company is actually surprisingly more comforting than just plain silence.

“How did you start doing this?” Jimin asks, his breathing is heavy. They had been running for sometime now, Jungkook didn’t really consider that Jimin might not be a long distance runner like himself. He slows down to compensate although it probably doesn’t make much of a difference.

“My brother and I used to do it a lot.” Jungkook replies, not sounding the least bit overworked. He keeps a good pace, but it’s all down to practice. Jimin will get a rhythm eventually.

They step onto the sand of the seafront and immediately Jimin stops to catch his breath, his hands on his knees and his back bent. He’s doubled over. “I didn’t even know you had a brother.” He mentions, bewildered.

Jungkook turns to him, stopping as well. He reaches out his hands and places them firmly on Jimin’s shoulders. Jimin follows his reflexes and stands up straight again, allowing Jungkook to do what he intends. The youngest takes both of Jimin’s hands and places them behind his head, just brushing warm palms with cool fingertips. The touch is more of a brush and Jungkook wants to hold on for longer, entwine their fingers if he has to, but he knows now that he can’t do that. He can feel the tense muscles underneath Jimin’s t-shirt and Jungkook has to pull his hands away before it all gets too much.

Jimin was too much.

He takes note of Jimin’s confused look at his actions and begins to elaborate.

“It opens the rib cage and allows your lungs more room to breathe.”

Jimin’s lips quirk up in the corner, showing he’s impressed. “So you’re not just a pretty face, Jungkook-ah.”

Jungkook tries to hide his blush but it’s as clear as day, Jimin could have seen it from miles away. Jungkook kicks at the sand under his feet and quickly tries to change the subject.

“Jeon Junghyun.”

“That’s your brother?”

“Yeah.”

“Don’t tell your brother but I think Jungkook is prettier than Junghyun.”

Jimin winks playfully at Jungkook and Jungkook can’t help but laugh. He feels all bundled up and emotionally constipated to say anything remotely charming and witty back but loves that one of them could provide some kind of conversation.

Jungkook falls back against the sand, taking a seat there and making himself comfortable. He doesn’t really feel like running just yet. Jimin follows his lead and sits beside him, so close to Jungkook that he can see the pulse in Jimin’s neck, he can also see Jimin’s eyes focused solely on him.

“Well you have a brother too right?” Jungkook utters, suddenly at a whisper because of how close they are sat together. It almost feels a little too intimate to still be a platonic relationship.

Jimin nods, his eyes now glancing down to Jungkook’s slightly parted lips, shamelessly drawing attention to them.

“Well I think Park Jihyun doesn’t come anywhere close to his older brother.”

Jungkook is looking at Jimin’s lips now, wanting so desperately to make a move and close the gap, so does Jimin. The tension hangs uneasily in the air, and even though Jungkook knows he’d never have the balls to admit it or make a move, he’s fully aware that he has well and truly fallen for Park Jimin.

//

As he reached the boulevard that ran the length of the beach, he almost couldn’t believe his eyes as he watched a figure, most likely a guy around Jungkook’s height and of a similar build, jogging along where the water met the sand.

Jungkook had to check his phone twice to make sure he wasn’t imaging it. He had forgotten about the screen incident from before and almost choked on his own saliva when he saw the big crack through the middle of the screen. He decided to ignore it, at least he could still read the time.

It was almost 11:30pm and there was someone on the beach.

He’d lived in that town for a large portion of his life, whoever this person was was clearly not from around here or had not been here very long.

Feeling the brittle rush of the wind as it came in from the shoreline, Jungkook wished he had brought a coat. Or a jacket. His hoodie didn’t seem to surfice the needs when the Autumn weather was starting to bring on the common flu left, right and centre. He should probably listen to Hoseok more, then maybe he wouldn’t get ill quite so much.

The guy on the shore didn’t even seem to have a jacket, in fact, Jungkook could almost see the outline and curves of the muscles on his shoulders from the spotlight of the streetlamps. He wasn’t wearing a shirt at all. It looked like it was carelessly hanging from his back pocket.

As Jungkook relaxed against somebody’s garden wall, he began wondering who on earth would go for a run at this time of night. Not to sound hypocritical or anything, but whenever he himself had gone for a run at such an hour, there had never been anyone to join him.

He stood there for a minute just watching the guy. The mysterious man had now stopped and was stretching his arms across his body, turning around and bending over slightly so his bowl cut hair fell into his eyes.

That’s when Jungkook finally got a good look at his face. And made unfortunate direct eye contact.

Jungkook stood so abruptly he almost fell backwards over the low rise wall. He turned quickly and pretended like he hadn’t been ogling the man, he sped away in a quick paced stride hoping to reach home as soon as he possibly could.

He knew that guy. Like, actually knew him.

”Surely it wasn’t the same person…” He thought, his eyes not moving from his intense gaze at the floor, not even giving the guy on the beach the side eye.

He could feel the person’s eyes burning into his back as he practically ran in the direction of his house, his cheeks flaming with embarrassment.

Even as Jungkook reached his front door and fished around panickedly for his keys in his gym bag, he couldn’t erase that face from his memory. Someone who had once meant so dear to him was now almost a stranger, one among many strangers who he had once known well.

Kim Taehyung.