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keep me warm (on a cold, cold night)

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Jungkook first meets Kim Taehyung a few weeks into the spring semester of his sophomore year. It’s among a haze of late nights at the dance studio where he feels like he has to keep his body moving until he physically can’t anymore, until shaking limbs force him to stop to catch his breath and refill his water bottle.

That one particular night he manages to run into one of his sunbaes, Jung Hoseok, who also tends to stay late to freestyle and run through dances he choreographed for one of his senior level classes. After seeing each other so often they graduated from polite greetings to conversations about which dance move was better, the late night making it that much easier to confide in each other.

“Heading back to the dorms hyung?” he asks as the male steps out into the hallway, screwing the top back on to his water bottle.

Hoseok looks up at the sound of his voice, a tired smile gracing his features. Like Jungkook his fringe is plastered to his forehead, eyes bright despite his apparent exhaustion. “Mmm. You should too, Jungkook-ah. It’s late.”

Jungkook nods and it’s then that he notices a person shuffling just into sight, cringing away from the bright light. Catching his gaze shift Hoseok reaches out to throw his arm over the stranger’s shoulder, pulling the boy forward out of the studio so that he could lock up. “Jungkook this is my roommate, Kim Taehyung. Taehyung, this is Jeon Jungkook, my hoobae and late night confidant.”

“Hello.” Jungkook greets with a small smile, trying not to stare too hard because the guy is incredibly cute with his ruffled hair, eyes half-mast and squinty as if he could fall asleep standing up.

Taehyung waves sleepily at him, and Jungkook is pretty sure he’s half out of it. “Nice ‘t meet you.”  If Jungkook needed another thing to admire the guy’s surprisingly deep voice slurring over the words in a dialect that sounded very familiar to him was it. He can only make a noise in agreement, scared of whatever embarrassing ramblings his brain might make up in response.

After that night Jungkook can’t help but turn his head whenever a flash of brown passes his vision, strangely disappointed when it’s just a stranger (the sheer amount of people with brown hair at his university proves to be a problem, though, so he puts an end to that quickly).

He actually does cross paths with the guy a few times. Taehyung’s eyes always light up in recognition and he says hello, lips twitching upwards in a friendly smile. Unfortunately, Jungkook tends to forget about proper social skills under pressure so he only nods—without even smiling, oh god—before fleeing in the opposite direction, even if that means he ends up late for class. After around the fifth time Jungkook fears he’ll never speak to the guy at all, let alone have an actual conversation.

Luck is on his side, though, because he discovers that they have far more mutual friends than only Hoseok. It’s a confusing circle of coincidences where Hoseok knows Taehyung who knows Jimin who knows Yoongi who knows Jungkook who knows Namjoon who knows Seokjin and far more interconnections in between, so in the end they just make a group chat in order to make things easier, completing the loop.

At first, they hardly used their chat. Jungkook can remember the polite good mornings and if any of you aren’t busy feel free to come down to the green, we’ll be here until 5s, a stark contrast to how active it is now. Now it’s a constant ping that distracts Jungkook from his days reading, and the majority of the blame goes to Taehyung.

Taehyung is the kind of person to always send strange pictures and links to their group chat. Jungkook never minds them, and sometimes will post some of his own in competition to see which is funniest or the most outrageous, but Yoongi tends to get irritable if they come too often at night when he’s trying to focus or get a nap in before inspiration makes him forget about basic human necessities.

That’s how he ends up where he is now.

It’s one of those nights where Yoongi gets so upset he threatens to mute their group that Jungkook sees a Sudden Attack screenshot, Taehyung bragging about his number of kills and that he bet none of them could beat him. It’s not too late—just barely ten at night—but Jungkook can already tell that he won’t be able to sleep anytime soon. It’s what pushes him to start up a separate chat with Taehyung, chewing at his bottom lip before he just decides to stop running away for once.

‘you play sa?’ Jungkook finally sends, staring at the screen until the gray bubble pops up, showing that Taehyung was writing a reply.

‘yup! i played a lot more in high school though. do you?’

‘yeah, since middle school.’ Jungkook responds, and before he can stop himself types out his next words. ‘if you’re not about to go to sleep i could take you up on that bet?’

The reply is instantaneous.

‘sure! just send me your username and prepare to lose ;)’

Jungkook snorts in amusement, sending Taehyung his username. He’s quick to take his laptop over to his desk; he needs to focus so that he can beat Taehyung and hold it over his head forever. When he logs on there’s a request from cypherkiller324 waiting on him, and not long after that they start the competition.

Taehyung is much better than Jungkook initially thought. It’s a close call at one point, their kills even and the game nearly over, but Jungkook manages to pull through at the last moment for the win. Taehyung whines for a while through text for a rematch the next day and eventually Jungkook agrees, hiding his excitement (actual conversation achieved!) behind nonchalance.

 

 

 

The good thing about majoring in dance is sitting in a class room and listening to long, boring lectures is less common than most other majors. That doesn’t mean that they are nonexistent, though, and Jungkook loathes each and every one of them. He’s just grateful that he never has to take another math class again. Even then, though, he finds that he’s way too tired to listen to the monotone drawl of the teacher talking about something from a chapter he hadn’t cared to read.

The only good thing about the class is that it’s big enough for him to go unnoticed in the back, and Jungkook takes a moment to appreciate this because his head is on the table and he’s not even trying to act like he’s paying attention anymore.

“Did you stay up late again?” Jimin asks from beside him, fingers tapping away dutifully on his laptop. He always takes good notes, contrasting drastically with Jungkook’s distracted half-assed attempt to jot down something the professor said would be on the test. At Jungkook’s grunt of confirmation Jimin frowns, pausing to look over at him. The amount of concern in his voice would almost be comical if Jungkook didn’t know he was completely serious. “That’s not good. You need to get a good amount of sleep at night to fully function. At least eight hours, Jungkook.”

At least eight hours, Jungkook.” Jungkook mocks Jimin’s tone with one he knows sounds nothing like him, twisting his expression into the one he knows annoys his hyung the most when he raises a hand threateningly. It wasn’t as if Jimin’s words weren’t true, honestly speaking. Jungkook has been having trouble sleeping since freshman year, and at this point he’s so used to running on only a few hours of sleep it doesn’t faze him anymore. “I do what I can.”

Jimin shakes his head in disbelief. “You’re so active all the time, I don’t understand how it doesn’t tire you out. This is going to come back to bite you one day when you’re not young anymore. You need to take care of yourself now when you’re at your best health so that you have fewer problems later.”

Jimin always talks about health; that he should eat healthy and always exercise. It’s expected—he is a dance major with a minor in nutrition, after all. He’s managed to get Jungkook to join him in his early morning workouts fairly easily, but Jungkook draws the line at protein shakes that have way too much green and garlic to be ingestible.

“Take care of yourself first, hyung. If you worry about me too much you’ll get wrinkles early and all your hard work will go down the drain.”

Jungkook avoids violent punishment by the grace of his ‘favorite dongsaeng’ title.

 

 

 

Taehyung is waiting for them outside of the lecture hall. He waves once he spots them in the herd of students leaving after class, jogging over.

“Taehyung-ah, what are you doing here?” Jimin asks in surprise, though he easily grabs Taehyung when he gets close, dragging him down to his height and rubbing a noogie into his head. Jungkook follows behind leisurely, content to watch Taehyung squirm.

“Seokjin hyung is on campus so he wants us all to eat together.” he explains breathlessly once he gets away, latching onto Jungkook for protection.

Poor thing, he can practically hear Jimin thinking, he doesn’t know any better.

Once his amusement fades Jungkook frowns. “Oh, I was going to go to the dance studio to practice though.”

“I always see you there. Are you a workaholic or something?” Taehyung’s tone is casual but he’s looking at him curiously.

Jungkook shrugs, averting his eyes. “I just need the practice.”

“I swear he would never leave if hunger wasn’t a thing.” Jimin says, sighing and glaring at him pointedly when he opens his mouth to protest. “Midterms are a while off Jungkook. You’ll have time to practice later, unless you want to face Seokjin hyung’s wrath.”

They all shiver. Jungkook has seen Seokjin bring even Yoongi down to his knees—he doesn’t stand a chance.

“I’ll come. I can practice after.”

Taehyung kicks at a stray rock. “You still up for tonight though, right?”

Jungkook shuffles forward to keep it going. “Yeah. Same time?”

“Mhm.”

Jimin blatantly steps over the rock when it rolls into his foot. “You two still play together?”

Jungkook nods. “You can join if you want, hyung. We’re playing capture the flag tonight.”

“It’ll be too late for him, though.” Taehyung says quickly, glancing over at the elder. “Jiminie hyung needs his full nine hour beauty sleep. Nothing can come in between it or he gets cranky.” Jimin easily leans over to smack him on the back from where he’s trying to use Jungkook as a human shield. Taehyung whimpers. “Are you trying to hurt me?”

“Protein shakes, Tae.” Jimin just says, shrugging. “You need to build up muscle and maybe then you’ll stop trying to get me to carry your cello around everywhere.”

Taehyung and Jungkook share a knowing glance when Jimin isn’t looking.

 

 

 

“Took you guys long enough.”

Yoongi looks like the sun is two seconds from killing him or he’s two seconds from killing it himself, hat pulled low on his face as he rests in the shadiest part of their picnic blanket. Hoseok is beside him, waving cheerfully.

“I would have never imagined Yoongi would come along.” Jimin says, plopping down on an open spot on the blanket.

“Seokjin doesn’t take no for an answer.” Namjoon answers easily.

“He practically dragged him out of the studio.” Hoseok adds, chuckling.

Seokjin shrugs. “How can someone refuse even when I say there’s jjamppong?”

“Who eats spicy noodles on a hot day?” Yoongi grumbles back incredulously.

“My grandma says you should eat spicy food on a hot day because it’s good for you.” Taehyung protests as he drapes himself over Jungkook, reaching for a pair of chopsticks and a cup of noodles. He catches sight of Jungkook’s raised eyebrow when he avoids the spicier ramen and chooses jajangmyeon instead, grinning sheepishly. “I can’t eat spicy food well though so I would act like I ate the peppers she gave me and spit them out right after.”

“Actually,” Jimin throws in after their laughter subsides, falling into his ‘nutrition minor’ voice the longer he speaks, “Spicy food makes you sweat so it’s a great way to cool off on a hot day. It can even increase heart health.”

“Oh, that could be good for you Yoongi hyung.” Namjoon gives the older male a glance, fighting back a grin. “You know, since your heart—”

Yoongi shoves the kimchi on his chopsticks into Namjoon’s mouth, keeping him from saying anything else. Jungkook wonders what Yoongi doesn’t want the group to hear, but figures he won’t live to see his next birthday if he finds out.

Yoongi coughs and clears his throat, sitting back like nothing happened. “Yeah, well, I hate sweating. Now eat, before the noodles get swollen.”

 

 

 

Jungkook isn’t too surprised that the first night he played games with Taehyung turns into another, and then another, and then another until they’re still going at it a month later. Taehyung is incredibly easy to talk to, not minding the initial awkward bumbling that Jungkook tends to do at the beginning of every new friendship. He’s pretty good at games too; the amount of times where Taehyung won or they tied when they competed was much more than it would ever be if Jimin were to play with him. In order to save face Jungkook suggests that they work together instead, and he finds that he likes it much more.

“Enemy on my left! Kookie, where are you?”

Jungkook snaps out of his trance at the sound of Taehyung’s voice, quiet so that he doesn’t wake Hoseok but urgent enough to grab his attention.

“My bad, I got you.” Jungkook replies, eyes glued to his laptop screen. He takes out the enemy that was trying to kill Taehyung, and he can hear his sigh of relief through the phone.

“If we lose because you’re zoning out again I’ll never forgive you. The flag is right there, can you get to it?”

“Yeah. Watch my back?”

“Better than you watch mine.”

Jungkook lets Taehyung’s sharp breaths of anticipation lead him through enemy fire, managing to grab the flag before an enemy can kill him. Taehyung’s sudden victory cry has him hunched over in laughter, especially when he can hear Hoseok spitting curses at him through the line.

“We could try the next highest level tomorrow?” Taehyung suggests, quieter, after he placates Hoseok and gets him to fall back asleep.

Jungkook frowns. “I can’t, I promised Namjoon hyung that I would go to the studio with him and I don’t know when we’ll finish.”

Taehyung makes a noise of disappointment, though he doesn’t dwell on it. “How do you know Namjoon hyung by the way? He told me he knew you before you started college but he’s never lived in Busan.”

“Actually, he’s the reason that I’m even in college.” Jungkook says, falling back onto his bed.  He wonders if it’s the late night that makes be so honest, knowing that he’ll probably regret it in the morning. “When I told my family that I didn’t want a desk job and wouldn’t go to college they just about disowned me.”

Taehyung inhales sharply. “Really? What did you do?”

“I stayed in Seoul for a few weeks after that and planned to just start working to pay for a dance school. I met Namjoon after job hunting one day when he bumped into me and broke my phone.” Taehyung snorts at this, unsurprised. “We got to talking while we waited for it to get fixed and he told me that I could study dance in college and be much better off. My parents eventually accepted it after he helped me get a scholarship.”

“Are you on better terms with them now?”

He shrugs. “They ask how I’m doing every now and then but it isn’t the same.”

Taehyung’s sigh sounds heavy, and Jungkook can imagine the expression that comes with it. “That’s rough.”

After a brief silence Jungkook shifts and chews at his bottom lip, not liking the attention to stay on him for too long. “How’d you meet Jimin by the way? I thought Yoongi hyung knew him the longest but he said you’ve known him since you were kids.”

“His parents and mine are high school friends.” he explains, “After my parents divorced I moved to live with my grandma and we didn’t see each other as much but when we figured out we were going to the same college we met up again.”

They talk until Jungkook’s laptop screen turns black, and when he shakes it back to life he starts—it’s two in the morning. “Shit, you have an early class today don’t you? It’s already two.”

Taehyung hums sleepily, not sounding too bothered. “Yeah, but it’s just lecture. Don’t you have dance practice on Tuesdays? You have to move around, which is worse.”

Jungkook wilts at the thought. “If I mess up one more time my teacher will kill me.”

Taehyung’s voice turns solemn. “Get some sleep Kookie. Sounds like you’ll need it.”

Jungkook chuckles. “Yeah, talk to you later hyung.”

 

 

 

“Are you doing anything right now?” Taehyung doesn’t even wait for Jungkook to say hello when he picks up the phone, though that isn’t too uncommon.

“Musical theory.” Jungkook groans into the phone, face planting onto the open book on his desk. There’s an assignment due on Friday and he hasn’t even started yet. Even though he’s come to love music almost as much as dance, it doesn’t quite translate into writing essays. He’d much rather be experiencing it firsthand than writing about the painfully detailed history of it.

Taehyung hums in sympathy, but Jungkook gets a feeling that he wouldn’t have really cared for whatever his answer was. “Can I come over? Jimin told me your room number and said you’d be there.” Jungkook chokes on his own spit, looking around his room in panic. It’s cluttered because the room is rather small and Jungkook has a lot of things, okay, and he had been planning to tidy up but just hadn’t gotten to it yet. Taehyung seems to pick up on his distress and laughs into the phone, the sound sending tingles down Jungkook’s spine. “If you don’t want me to—”

Jungkook jumps up, shaking his head frantically even though he knows that Taehyung can’t see him. “No it’s fine.” he says, moving hastily to shove old kimchi and ramen containers into his trash bin.

“Good, because I’m already here. Open the door for me?”

Jungkook freezes midway through dumping crumpled balls of paper into the bin, turning his head to look at his door when he hears a cheerful knock.

“Hyung, I just—wait.”

“Alright then, I’ll give you five minutes max to shove everything under your bed or something so that you can make a good first impression.”

Jungkook can practically hear the smirk on Taehyung’s face and usually he would come up with an insult to wipe it right off like the little shit he is but he’s distracted by the fact that there is so much clutter in his room. Once he takes in the sheer amount of clothes littering his desk and floor he takes Taehyung’s advice and just shoves it all in a corner and stacks his extra blankets on it to hide it the best he can, promising himself to come back and clean it later.

Taehyung is leaning against the wall when Jungkook opens the door, playing on his phone. He’s wearing one of his self-cut shirts, wide-legged baggy pants and sandals, and yet still looks like he could be in a magazine. Jungkook doesn’t think it’s fair.

“Oh wow it’s so clean in here, I’m impressed!” he exclaims with faux amazement, pushing off the door and striding inside. Jungkook gives Taehyung a look of pure disdain, shutting the door behind him. He shuffles forward a bit but mostly stays in place, letting Taehyung wander around his dorm room. There’s a little awkwardness—well, at least on Jungkook’s part—because while he’s talked to Taehyung over the phone and around the group, he hasn’t been alone with him before, let alone in his own room. Taehyung seems to be unfazed though, looking around curiously as if he couldn’t just stand in place and see everything. He sighs once he’s satisfied, turning back to face Jungkook. “Must be so nice to have your own room.”

“Yeah it is.” Jungkook replies, smug. When he wanted alone time he could get it, no roommate to bother him. Though when he came back to his empty room after hanging out at Jimin and Yoongi’s he did get—a little—lonesome. “But having a roommate would be cool too.”

Taehyung makes a noise of disagreement. “Hoseok’s fun but not when he’s stressed. Oh and have I told you about his sleeping habit? The first time I saw it I thought he was awake so it freaked me out.”

“This coming from the person who has whole conversations in their sleep?” Jungkook asks in disbelief.

Taehyung’s eyes widen. “What? How’d you know that?”

Jungkook coughs suddenly, turning away so Taehyung won’t see him panic. Of course Taehyung wouldn’t know that he fell asleep while he was on the phone with him once and Jungkook hadn’t ended the call, nearly having a heart attack when he heard Taehyung start talking in his sleep. Once the initial shock had worn off he listened to Taehyung chatter in amusement, though he was far too incoherent to follow what he was saying.

“I think Jimin hyung mentioned it or something.” he says quickly. “But was there something you wanted to do?”

Taehyung brightens, successfully distracted. Jungkook sighs in relief.

“You said you wanted to see Haikyuu, right?” Jungkook nods, plopping down onto his bed and pushing until his back hits the wall. Taehyung sits at the foot, pulling his legs up and smiling in excitement. “All of the episodes are on online now. We should watch them together.”

“Season two too?” he asks, and Taehyung’s grin widens in confirmation. Jungkook pauses, sparing a guilty glance at his desk where his essay rests forgotten. He gets up to grab his laptop anyways, pulling Taehyung up to join him against the wall. “There are fifty episodes.” he says in surprise once he finds the website.

Taehyung nods. “We have four days to get through this before we have to start cramming for midterms. You up for it?”

Jungkook, always up for challenges and bad decisions, presses play on the first episode. “Of course I am.”

 

 

 

Midterm season is hell, no surprise. Jungkook spends most of it either in the dance studio, his dorm, or the library. By the time his head hits the pillow at night he’s out before he can even stress about what the next day will be like.

“I am going to die before the end of next week.”

Taehyung laughs as Jungkook tries for the fifth time to give himself a concussion against the table in hopes of not having to take any of his exams. The library is so quiet that the sound echoes louder than expected, and the girl sitting at the end of their table turns to shush them, looking annoyed. Taehyung apologizes with a bright grin, making a face at her once she turns away.

“You’ll be fine if you actually study.”

Jungkook glares, because Taehyung looks far too carefree. Compared to him—dressed in sweats and a shirt he doesn’t know when he washed last, hair ruffled from the sheer amount of times he’s run his hands through it in frustration and eyes darkened from far too many all nighters—he looks serene and stress free. Namjoon took a class with him once, said that he never seemed to study much and still got a good grade, so Jungkook has a sneaking suspicion that he’s the type that just gets things without much effort.

“I don’t want to hear that from you.” he grumbles, only somewhat envious.

“What? I have a cello piece that I have to memorize by the end of the week.” Taehyung protests, “You don’t know the pain of music majors.”

“Then how about you go and practice?”

Taehyung shrugs, copying Jungkook’s position and resting his head on the table. “Don’t wanna.”

Jungkook scoffs. “Then stop distracting me and be unproductive somewhere else.”

Taehyung snorts in laughter, eyeing Jungkook’s blatant ‘I am not studying’ position. “Have you done anything at all yet?”

“I think I’ll stop for today.” he says loudly instead of answering that question, wincing and lowering his voice when they get shushed by the girl yet again. At this rate they’ll be kicked out even if he wants to stay.  “It’s about time for Hoseok hyung’s workshop to start anyways.”

“He has a workshop tonight?” Taehyung asks, leaning in closer so that he can hear him.

Jungkook nods. “Yeah, it’s to help the underclassmen get ready for our evaluation next week. You can come watch if you want.”

Taehyung hums. “Sure. I’m not doing anything else today.”

Jungkook hates that his gaze stray down to watch Taehyung’s lips as they form over his words, eyeing the way he absentmindedly licks at them. Taehyung looks good like this, head resting on his arm, watching him and Jungkook is promptly sitting up and shutting his book before his mind can stray into dangerous territory.

“Okay, let’s get out of here then.”

Taehyung shoves his books and papers haphazardly into his backpack after Jungkook suddenly stands up and makes for the exit, trying to compose himself before the male catches up.

“I’ve never seen you dance before.” Taehyung says once he falls into step with him, “You any good?”

“Prepare to be blown away.” Jungkook says immediately, jutting out his jaw and smirking. “I’m the best.”

Taehyung stops suddenly and Jungkook does the same, raising an eyebrow in question. “The fuckboy look fits you too well. I’m getting goosebumps.”

Jungkook laughs, pushing Taehyung’s shoulder to get him walking again. “Jimin said when he first saw me he thought I was an asshole.” he says, scrunching up his nose in distaste. His mother used to tell him that he should smile more because it made others uncomfortable, but it was easier said than done.  “Did you think the same thing?”

“Nope, I thought you were the cute dongsaeng type. First impressions can definitely be wrong though. I know now that your face is all deceit; you’re a merciless muscle pig.”

Taehyung jumps onto his back the moment they’re out of the library, and Jungkook complains because he has long limbs and clings more than anyone else he’s ever known, yet in the end he just hooks his arms under Taehyung’s thighs and hitches him higher so it’s more comfortable for the both of them. He’s warm in all the spots Taehyung’s body touches him, making it all the more difficult for him to function. Taehyung thinks Jungkook is cute. Thankfully, for the sake of his sanity, Taehyung spares him from any more sudden, inadvertent compliments for the rest of their walk.

“Oh, you brought Taehyung.” Hoseok says once they get to the dance studio, joining them by the mirrors.

“I’m the audience again today.” Taehyung announces needlessly, sliding off Jungkook’s back and latching onto Hoseok. Jungkook is okay with it, really. They’re roommates and close friends can be touchy like that. He needs to stretch anyways. “What are you dancing to this time?”

Hoseok laughs, patting Taehyung’s head. “You can’t watch me today, I’m only observing. I’ve got to give these kids things to work on so Professor Kim doesn’t rip them apart too much during midterm evals.”

Taehyung hums to show he heard, shifting his gaze to Jungkook just as he reaches for his toes. “Then… I guess I’ll watch Kookie this time.”

 Jungkook blames his struggle to breathe on the burn of the stretch.

He can still feel Taehyung’s eyes on him when he dances later, burning into his skin. It’s a strange feeling, like he’s performing in front of a thousand people even though it’s only practice with less than thirty, falling into a headspace he doesn’t get into often. His moves are sharper, flashier than normal and he feels like he’s on fire, but if Taehyung’s watching he wants to do his best, if not show off a little. He knows that he can dance, and even if he’s not as confident in his looks as Jimin is he knows that people find him attractive. It doesn’t matter how many people watch him though, so long as one of them is Taehyung.

 

 

 

It’s quiet in the diner, which isn’t surprising considering it’s two in the morning, and save for an elderly male seated a ways away from them they are the only customers there. Taehyung is seated across from him, nose in the menu. The whole reason Jungkook convinced him to come out to eat with him at such an obscene hour is because midterms are over and he promised he would pay to celebrate, but the hungry glint in Taehyung’s eyes is making him fear for his wallet.

“You better not order the whole menu.” he warns before calling the waitress over.

“You always get super cheap when it’s your turn to pay.” Taehyung says in amusement, mouth open as he searches for his straw without looking.

“Me?” Jungkook asks incredulously.

“Yeah, you.”

Jungkook looks down at Taehyung’s finger pressed right in the center of his chest, scoffing. “Then who was the one who made me only get one serving of bulgogi because they were being cheap?”

Taehyung nearly chokes on his sip of cola, eyes widening comically. “I told you that you could order another serving if you wanted!”

“Yeah,” Jungkook agrees, “But you glared and made faces at me like you would hold a grudge if I did.”

Taehyung smoothly ignores this, turning to face the waitress so he can order. Jungkook snickers quietly; he won this time.

“You’re telling me—Jesus, Tae, that’s gross.” he says later, now somewhat understanding Jimin’s disgust with the way he ate. Taehyung is ten times worse, in his defense. He’s scarfing down the food like it’s the last meal he will ever have and there’s only a limited amount of time to finish it.

“My grandma likes me plump so I need to eat a lot.” Taehyung says, like that explains the way he shoves fries into his mouth and licks at his fingers and lips.

“Anyways, back to what I was saying.” Jungkook continues, trying not to get distracted by it, “You’re telling me that one of your favorite book series is about cats living in the wild? Talking cats living in the wild? What is it, some kind of The Incredible Journey kind of thing?”

“It’s more than just cats living in the wild.” Taehyung protests, sniffing like he’s been insulted to the highest degree. “It’s a literature masterpiece! It focuses on four different clans of cats where they have wars and their own religion and forbidden love and prophecies and just—don’t write it off until you read it, okay?”

Jungkook is still not quite convinced but, well, it sounds interesting and if anything he’d like to learn more about what middle school Taehyung was like. “Okay. I’ll read it, then.”

Taehyung freezes halfway through shoving another handful of fries into the black hole called his mouth. “You’re really goin’ t’ read it?” he asks, chewing slowly. His eyes are wide, suddenly vulnerable. Jungkook puts down his hamburger, surprised by the reaction.

“Yeah, I mean, is that a problem?”

“No it’s just—when I was in middle school a group of kids found out what I was reading and started calling me weird. A lot of people I thought were my friends just went along with it, so. It’s stupid.”

Jungkook frowns, anger rising at Taehyung’s expression. He’s always known Taehyung to be a confident person, comfortable in his skin and life in ways Jungkook wished he could be. Even if he knew that Taehyung had to have his own insecurities, seeing it firsthand makes him want to destroy whoever put them there. “It’s not stupid, and you’re not weird at all. Those kids were the stupid ones for thinking that way. People who don’t care to understand you aren’t worth your time. I—I won’t ever be like that. I promise.”

Taehyung nods, and he’s staring at him like Jimin did one time, after he found him sitting alone in a dark dance studio. He wonders if it’s because he’s terrible at consoling people and showing them he cares so when he tries it comes off as sudden and awkward.

Either way, Jungkook’s just relieved that Taehyung’s smile is coming back, small but affectionate. “Fine then, what’s your favorite childhood book that you would want to see as a movie then? I’ll read it too.”

Jungkook takes a moment to take a bite of his burger. “It’s like one of those stories where aliens are trying to infiltrate the planet.” he explains, chewing.

Taehyung doesn’t miss a beat. “Like War of the Worlds?”

Jungkook nods excitedly. “But in this story the Yeerks, the aliens, take over bodies make them into hosts without anyone else knowing. The main characters are the only ones that know about them and have to keep their identity secret in order to fight back.”

Jungkook continues on to explain more about the book, and once he realizes how much and how fervently he’s been talking he pauses, bashful. But Taehyung just smiles, encouraging him to go on with a wave of his hand and Jungkook wonders if it’s normal to want to stop time at a moment like this.

 

 

 

Namjoon calls Jungkook to the studio later that week, telling him about a new track he wants him to take part in. “You just have to sing through the chorus and bridge and we can handle the rest.” he explains as he leads Jungkook inside.

Yoongi is already there, headphones around his neck and swimming in what looks like one of the hoodies he’s seen Hoseok’s wear as he fiddles with the equipment. He only glances up when he hears the two of them enter, waving his sweater paws at them distractedly. “You can go into the booth, Jungkook. The lyrics are there so you can listen and get a feel for how we want you to sing it.” he says, going right back to clicking on his computer.

“Nice to see you too, hyung.” Jungkook teases.

He’s used to Yoongi’s tendency to get impatient when inspired, though, so he enters the small recording booth without complaint. Once Jungkook has his own headphones on the song starts to play. It’s a bit different than the others he’s heard, he thinks, the smooth R&B starting slow and smooth before picking up along with Namjoon’s. He can tell immediately that it’s Yoongi’s song, though.

He’s gotten good at determining whether it’s an individually composed track or one where both Namjoon and Yoongi’s tastes have merged in a collective effort. He can tell when Namjoon composes the songs and Yoongi writes the lyrics, or vice versa. Usually Namjoon sings the demo but its Yoongi this time, his voice gruff and deep and also a bit off key but it does the job. Still, Jungkook can’t help but laugh as he strains to hit the higher notes.

“You better not be laughing at my singing.” Yoongi calls, and Jungkook tries his best to smooth out his expression, amused. “Just do better. I’m going to play it over so listen closely.”

This time he makes sure to focus, following along with the notes Yoongi sings and the sound of the piano playing alongside his voice so Jungkook can hear the way the elder composed it to be. Reading over the lyrics makes it finally register that they are probably why Jungkook finds the song so different from the others.

Usually Yoongi’s words are witty and sharp, ranging from his frustration with the system to searching for a dream to discrediting every insult directed at him ever, but he’s never heard anything like this. This song is just as full of emotion except it sounds almost longing, like dancing around a topic but never specifically addressing it in fear of it shattering to pieces. Jungkook oddly relates to the feeling well, looking to his hyungs for feedback after the first recording.

“Hyung, I think you should go with the first thing you had after all.” Namjoon says after they listen to it, looking deep in thought.

Yoongi looks up from the computer. “Hmm? Is it too low?”

Namjoon scoots his seat closer, pointing to the computer and starting to explain and it’s moments like these—when he gets to watch the two of them in action—that he remembers how much he respects them. Jungkook likes to mess around and tease them a lot, but at the end of the day he would always be grateful for the help they’ve given him.

He can still remember when Namjoon introduced Yoongi to him when he was having trouble in his composition class freshman year. Namjoon tried to help him but they both discovered then and there that he was terrible at teaching. Yoongi needed someone to sing for his songs so he proposed that he would help Jungkook pass his class so long as Jungkook helped him. The sense of satisfaction Yoongi helped him achieve after working through his mess of a track and making it presentable had awed him so much that he decided then and there to minor in composition.

“This one is good hyung, it’s my favorite so far.” he says to Yoongi once the recording is over. “Is it for a class?”

Namjoon grins. “A company asked us to send our best songs and they would think about employing us after graduation so he’s been going crazy trying different things.”

Jungkook gapes. “That’s great!”

“Yeah, yeah.” Yoongi says, but Jungkook can see the way he straightens out of his usual hunched position, fixing his beanie self-consciously to try and hide the way his lips twitch upwards. “It’s a real job offer, so it’s not like I can play around."

 

 

 

The problem with Jungkook is that there are too many times when his brain is too loud. All it needs is a trigger to send it running so fast that Jungkook finds himself far too gone to even think about sleep, desperate for some sort of distraction.

It’s no surprise, really, that it happens again during practice when midterm evaluations come back. His teacher had said it very kindly, that he just needed to give a little bit more individuality when performing, but it was enough to bring back all of Jungkook’s old insecurities. No passion. Just average. Not enough. They were his least favorite phrases to hear.

Dancing is what he’s most passionate about, the reason he’s still on shaky terms with his family. In the past he almost gave everything up for dancing, and yet it still wasn’t enough? Jungkook lays numb in bed that night, staring at the ceiling. He can’t stop remembering about how lost he had felt in Seoul alone with only his dream keeping him going just over a year ago. As long as he could dance he would find happiness, he had reasoned, but that initial determination is nowhere to be found right now.

He knows that he can call Namjoon, that the older male will understand and be sympathetic but not ask him to talk about it like Jimin would, but Jungkook doesn’t want to bother him when he’s working with such an important project with Yoongi.

The only person he can think of is Taehyung. Maybe there’s another reason the male’s name comes to his mind but he’s dialing anyways, shoving it down. It’s late, so late, and he doesn’t expect him to answer so when he hears the click signaling Taehyung picked up, he panics. There’s a moment of silence, the sound of breathing the only proof that Taehyung is on the other end of the line.

“Kookie?” Taehyung’s voice is thick with sleep, and Jungkook is immediately filled with regret. A glance at the clock shows that it’s half past three. “Jungkook, are you there?”

He takes a deep breath and lets it out. “Yeah… Sorry for waking you up hyung.”

“S’okay.” There’s the sound of shuffling in the background, like Taehyung moving into a more comfortable position. “Did you need something?”

Jungkook stares at his phone, watching the time climb the longer he sits in silence. Honestly Jungkook can’t think of anything to say to keep Taehyung on the line with him because he didn’t really think this far ahead. Hearing Taehyung’s breathing is calming and he wants Taehyung to stay with him, talk to him, but there’s no way he could say that out loud.

Jungkook wonders if Taehyung has sensed something from the way he sighs because he seems to know something isn’t right. “Can’t sleep?”

The knowing tone makes emotion build in the pit of Jungkook’s stomach until it’s spilling over, and he chokes out a noise of confirmation. His voice only just breaks, small frays on the edges that only just betray the whirlwind going on in his mind, but he knows Taehyung notices. He always does, much more perceptive than anyone he’s known. “But you don’t have to stay awake with me hyung—”

“It’s fine.” is Taehyung’s sudden reply. “Stay on the line, okay? Tell me about your day.”

Jungkook mutters back a word of acknowledgement, letting out a small breath of relief. It takes him a moment to start to talk, mostly because he doesn’t want his voice to break again. As he goes on about working in the studio he wonders why Taehyung’s making so much noise but before he can ask the sound of a knock on the door makes him jolt.

“Who would be here at this hour?” he wonders under his breath. Taehyung makes a noise in question and Jungkook drags himself out of bed. “Hold on hyung, there’s someone at my door.”

But when Jungkook pushes the door open its Taehyung waiting for him on the other side, holding enough things in his arms to nearly cover his face and cradling his phone in between his head and neck. “Help,” he squeaks from somewhere behind the pile and Jungkook is quick to let him in, taking some of the burden before it crashes to the floor.

“What’s all of this?” Jungkook asks incredulously, flicking a light on.

“Did you know that there are teas to make you go to sleep easier?” Taehyung says instead of answering, dumping all of his things on Jungkook’s desk. There’s a wide variety of teas, two mugs, candles and speakers. “My grandma would always tell me to drink tea and listen to classical music when I was younger. It’s supposed to make you smarter and grow taller.”

“And look at you now, huh? Perfect little beanstalk.” Jungkook teases, wincing when Taehyung hits his arm roughly. He amends his statement quickly—Taehyung isn’t to be messed with when it comes to his grandma’s advice, he supposes. “I’ve heard people say that before. Seems like it could work.”

Taehyung nods approvingly. “Use the candles later when you’re reading or something. You’ll get sleepy much faster. Oh—but never forget to blow them out, okay? Trust me.”

After holding Taehyung’s gaze for a few moments Jungkook decides to be wise for once and not ask whether he has burned down a house or not.

Taehyung shuffles around Jungkook’s small room like he lives there—and, granted, sometimes it feels like it—using his hot water dispenser to make two cups of tea. Classical music flows from the speakers he sets up, filling the room in a way that’s not too loud that it bothers his neighbors. Jungkook wordlessly follows whatever orders Taehyung mumbles as he works, still reeling from the fact that Taehyung got up in the middle of the night and came to his room without Jungkook asking him to.

“Sit,” Taehyung says.

Jungkook joins him at his small table, crossing his legs and pressing his fingers against his mug of tea. It sends off a nice aroma, warmth blooming out and chasing away the cold inside Jungkook’s body with each sip he takes. Taehyung is across from him, chattering on about his grandma’s strawberry farm and how they harvest the sweetest strawberries in Daegu and Jungkook should visit sometime in the summer and he can meet her and learn how to garden and then maybe go sightseeing and Jungkook just. Can’t.

“I could even show you where I—Jungkook?” Taehyung cuts off mid sentence, probably because Jungkook’s head drops suddenly, his shoulders shaking too much to pass as a shiver. Softer, he asks, “Jungkook, are you crying?”

Jungkook doesn’t know why that’s what makes him break down. He feels like he’s been chased into the corner, vulnerable and too visible to Taehyung’s worried, searching gaze. There’s an underlying feeling that begs him to flee, but he stays rooted in his spot even when Taehyung slides over, wordlessly pulling him into a hug. Jungkook keeps his head down to hide his face and yet he still feels as though Taehyung can see the way he falls apart, can see all his frustration pent up over the years.

Taehyung doesn’t speak until Jungkook’s breathing evens out, and then he’s is standing up, pulling Jungkook along with him. “Alright, up you go.”

“Tae—”Jungkook wipes frantically at his wet cheeks because he’s already embarrassed himself enough for one night. He just needs to regain some sort of normalcy and maybe act as if the whole thing never happened and he’ll be fine. “Tae what are you doing?”

Taehyung just hums, pulling a reluctant Jungkook up from his cushion on the floor and over to his bed. Jungkook flops down onto his back and is starting to say goodbye to Taehyung when he walks away but then the lights flicker out and he’s back, sliding under the covers with him, snorting at Jungkook’s strangled gurgles.

“Where else did you think I was going to sleep? On the floor?” he jokes easily, and Jungkook thinks everything isn’t quite as simple as Taehyung makes it seem but he doesn’t want to say something that pushes him to leave so he stays quiet, even when Taehyung pulls the covers up to their chins and tangles his fingers in Jungkook’s hair, running through it soothingly. “Don’t talk anymore okay? Sleep.”

Jungkook bites back his protests, heart beating loudly in his ears that he almost misses when Taehyung starts to hum along to the music still playing in the background.

He listens for a while, and then, “Are you—Are you trying to sing me to sleep?”

“My mom would do it to me all the time when I had nightmares.” Taehyung’s reply sounds embarrassed, and in the darkness of the room Jungkook can only imagine the pink dusting his cheeks.

“Okay.” he says, shook. “You can keep going, if you want.”

Taehyung’s voice is low when it picks up again, just audible over the music and Jungkook is scared of falling, but he can’t help but do it anyways.

He’s been falling in love all this time, he realizes in horror, in the early hours of the morning to the sound of Taehyung’s voice thick with sleep and rough around the edges and yet so animated as they play whatever game they managed to get their hands on. He’s been falling in love with the way Taehyung looks at him, the way that he listens patiently as Jungkook stumbles over his words, struggling to express himself when he’s overexcited or his mind is thinking too fast for him to keep up, the way he seems to understand him even if everything comes out jumbled and out of order. He’s been falling in love with the way Taehyung’s voice trails off as he finally lets sleep take a hold of him, slurring until there’s only heavy breaths that reach him through the phone and even now, right beside him.  

Jungkook is falling in love, and he’s terrified.

 

 

 

Jungkook realizes that hiding from his feelings is much easier at night because in the brightness of day, sunlight flooding into the room and chasing out any remaining dark shadows and doubt, Jungkook feels exposed and open. Taehyung is still there, face smushed against his pillow with an arm thrown over Jungkook’s waist and the other clutching the cover he stole at some point in the night, and Jungkook is still in love. If he could wake up to this every day he might not ever want to get out of bed again.

The moment he notices Taehyung start to stir he closes his eyes, a quick decision made out of panic. Taehyung shifts, probably to check the time seeing that he starts to grumble complaints about early morning classes right after. Jungkook stays as still as possible, desperate to know what Taehyung is doing with his voice trails off.

And then.

Jungkook nearly blows his cover because Taehyung’s palm is suddenly resting cool and gentle against his cheek, trailing down until it brushes over his jaw. It’s a fleeting touch, retreating almost as quick as it approaches, but Jungkook aches to pull Taehyung back, to have those hands back on him again. The bed lifts as he gets off Jungkook’s bed, padding away softly like he’s afraid Jungkook will wake up. Don’t go. he wants to call after him, Skip class and stay here with me. All he can do is groan in despair when the door clicks shut, rolling into the spot Taehyung laid in until seconds ago and trying to steal the last of the warmth.

Jungkook is in trouble, he concludes, hugging his pillow close and imagining the scent lingering there and the ghost of Taehyung’s touch against his skin as the real thing. Feelings have never been his thing, and the only other time he’s dealt with the kind plaguing him right now he ended up somehow insulting the guy he liked and ruining all chances of asking him out.

So, naturally, he decides to get advice from his hyungs to keep the same thing from happening twice.

Hoseok is the first he asks, when they’re both practicing late again. This time they’re together though, panting and sweaty with their backs against the mirror. Hoseok had invited him over to freestyle, and Jungkook figures he might as well take advantage of the situation.

“What would you do if you were lov—liked someone but didn’t want to make things awkward?”

Hoseok gives Jungkook a questioning side glance, taking a large swig of his water.

“I—My friend asked me for advice but I don’t have any experience with it.” he adds quickly, waiting making him anxious. “We—They’ve been friends for a while now and he suddenly realized he liked hi—her, his friend, a girl, and didn’t know what to do because there haven’t been any signs of hi—her liking him back.”

“They’ve got to confess.” he says easily after he catches his breath, but Jungkook doesn’t like the way Hoseok is looking at him. “I’m sure the guy has been completely blind and the other guy love interest—”  “The girl, it’s a girl.” Jungkook throws in frantically, “—girl, sorry, has been showing signs of liking him from the very beginning.”

“How would you do that? Confess, I mean. The guy’s never done it before and he doesn’t want to accidentally push the… girl away.”

Hoseok crosses his arms, lips twitching upwards and eyes glittering with mischief. “Taehyung isn’t that difficult to please, Jungkook. I’m sure he’ll be happy no matter how you confess to him.”

Jungkook splutters in surprise at the sound of Taehyung’s name and confess nearly being in the same sentence, shooting up to flee despite his legs protesting furiously. Hoseok’s bright laughter rings in the back of his head all the way back to his dorm.

 

 

 

It takes him a week to recover from the mortification and realize that nothing will change unless he asks someone else. Hopefully someone who will make things less embarrassing.

“Confess?”

Namjoon’s eyebrows lift, but he’s calm enough to follow him into the living room even though Jungkook nearly mauls him the moment he opens the door to his apartment.

“Yeah, how did you confess to Seokjin hyung?”

Namjoon’s face twitches before schooling into a grin. “Oh that? It’s so long ago I hardly remember. Confessing isn’t hard though, you just have to do it.”

 “Who’s confessing?” It’s Seokjin’s voice that cuts in suddenly, coming from the kitchen.

“Jungkook.” Namjoon calls back.

“What, to Taehyung?” Jungkook considers his chances of having a happy life if he left to live under a rock right now as Seokjin appears. He tsks at the sight of them, shaking his head. “And you ask Namjoon for advice instead of me? Oh god, he’ll tell you to do something over the top and unnecessary. You know how he confessed to me? He took me to the most expensive district in town, even wrote a poem.”

Jungkook’s eyes widen. “He did all that?” he asks, stunned. He tries to imagine doing the same for Taehyung but can only imagine it ending in disaster. “Did you like it?’

“I would have dated him regardless; he didn’t need to go to such great lengths.” Seokjin, says, but the way his lips twitch upwards tells that Jungkook is missing the best part. “That night he took me to a seafood restaurant. Only back then he didn’t know he couldn’t eat it so he got sick, ended up forgetting about the poem and just said ‘Shit, I like you. Please look away because I don’t want you to see this and decide to never date me’. And the best part is he spent so much money that day he had to borrow money from me to be able to eat for the rest of the month.”

Jungkook tries to fight back his laughter, he really does, but the fact that he predicted the catastrophe that was bound to happen makes even funnier.

Namjoon groans, burying his head in his hands. “You promised you would never bring it up again!”

“Oh right, I did. Sorry.” Seokjin placates him with a pat, still chuckling as he wipes a stray tear from his eye. “Anyways. The point is, Jungkook-ah, the more you think about it the more you’ll over think it and mess up. You’ve just got to get it out there. I’ll invite him over for dinner so just walk back to the dorms with him after.”

“Thanks hyung.” Jungkook says, and surprisingly he really does feel better. Maybe it’s a little cruel, but it’s nice to know he’s not the only one with confession horror stories.

Seokjin’s smile is warm and encouraging. “Don’t worry; you’ll at least be better than Namjoon, God willing. Now, help me with the food will you? I never get any help from this destructive mess.”

 

 

 

To be honest, Jungkook initially tried to avoid Taehyung with excuses of having to do his work (alone, when he offers to come over and help him study). It lasted about a day before he caved and things went back to normal. He just couldn’t stay away and by the glint in Seokjin’s eyes as he waves the two of them off, his hyungs wouldn’t let it happen either.

It’s dark out, cold nipping at Jungkook’s nose. Warm summer nights have made way for chillier winter ones, but he’s always liked the cold more. The moon is bright, shining high in the cloudless sky. Jungkook is humming one of those songs that he’s heard enough to know the tune of but not enough to know the name, and Taehyung is walking next to him. When he looks over he’s just in time to see his hyung shiver, shoving his hands into his pockets.

“Cold?” Jungkook asks, but he’s taking off his scarf and wrapping it around Taehyung before he can answer, running his thumbs over Taehyung’s red ears because he’s always been a walking heater. “Are you Jacob Black? Am I Bella? Are you in love with me and my unborn child?” Jimin had teased. “You watched Twilight hyung? Enough to remember the plot?” Jungkook had retorted, ignoring Jimin’s mortified insistence that his little cousin forced him to watch it with her.

“You were quiet during dinner. Anything up?” Taehyung asks, scattering the image of Jimin gaping, powerless, as Jungkook laughed until he cried.

“Nothing.” he says quickly, except then he remembers Seokjin’s words. Just do it now, don’t chicken out. “Actually, there is something.”

Taehyung blinks in surprise. “Really? What is it?”

I like you. Jungkook thinks helplessly, hesitation grabbing a hold of him the moment he gazes into Taehyung’s eyes. He’s stopped walking in front of Jungkook’s dorm building, waiting patiently for him to speak. Jungkook likes the way his scarf rests around Taehyung’s neck, bunched up around his ears. His nose is pink and his hair is windblown and Jungkook has never seen anyone more beautiful. I want to kiss you and hold your hand and keep you warm and so much more, but I’m scared. Scared that you don’t want me like I want you.

“I… got a new game.” he says instead.

Taehyung hesitates before chuckling, shaking his head as if trying to send away some impossible idea.  “God Kookie, you scared me. I thought you were going to ask me to give you my left kidney or something. ”

Jungkook forces himself to laugh. “Why would I do that?”                                             

“Because you know I would?” Taehyung shrugs, shameless. Jungkook gapes, unsure if Taehyung is telling the truth or lying through his teeth, which he tends to do to mess with him sometimes. Taehyung only winks, laughing and curling his fingers behind Jungkook’s neck briefly. It’s the cold transferring from his fingertips that makes him shiver, probably. “Well let’s play it tomorrow, yeah? I better get back.”

“Yeah.” Jungkook replies, disappointed in himself. “See you tomorrow.”

Next time, he promises as he watches Taehyung’s back as he walks away. Next time I’ll tell him for sure.

 

 

 

Jungkook can hardly even keep his head up, lifting it fully only when he needs to focus on his phone to send Taehyung a text message. The third time Jungkook nearly face plants his rice Jimin sets his chopsticks down calmly, eyes searching.

“Don’t tell me you were up all night talking to Taehyung again.”

Jungkook chokes and ducks his head to hide his flush, stuffing a lettuce wrap in his mouth to buy him time. Jimin scrunches his face up in disgust at the sight of the food he’s chewing when he composes himself enough to respond. “It was just one night, hyung—you know I’ve been sleeping much better lately. Tae was up and I got a new game so we just played it together.”

Unfortunately Jimin doesn’t buy it, shaking his head suspicion. “Jungkook, Taehyung probably sleeps the most out of our group after me. He would strangle me if I woke him up and wouldn’t stay awake even if I begged. But he’s been staying up late with you for how many months? Why do you think that is?”

Jungkook frowns, shoving rice into his mouth in hopes of quelling his own questions. “Because we lose track of time?”

Jimin stares at him for a long time before mumbling under his breath something that sounds suspiciously like hopeless. “You’re stealing my best friend away from me. You two are always together and even when you aren’t you’re all Taehyung talks about. Either get married or give him back.”

Jungkook splutters. “Married?” The thought makes him lightheaded. Taehyung in a suit, Taehyung waiting for him at the end of the aisle, smiling, Taehyung wearing a ring showing that he’s taken by Jungkook, Taehyung on their wedding night…

Jimin rolls his eyes long-sufferingly as Jungkook’s chopsticks clatter onto the table. “Yeah. If I didn’t know any better I would think you two were at least dating by now.” Jimin gives him the same side look Hoseok did that traumatic day. Jungkook groans. Have they been talking about him behind his back? “And I would be especially hurt about that since you didn’t come to me for advice.”

He knows that Jimin is best friends with Taehyung so even if he was the first to come to his mind to ask for advice he couldn’t bring himself to mention it. Thinking about it now, though, who else would know more about Taehyung than Jimin? “Well,” he says slowly, wondering if there’s a way to avoid the humiliation he felt when Hoseok saw right through his ‘friend problem’. “if someone, like, even a stranger, were to ever come to you for advice about confessing to Taehyung what would you say?”

Jimin hides his laughter behind his hand, and if he can see right through Jungkook like everyone else seems to he doesn’t say it out loud, thankfully. “I would say that knowing my best friend, he needs blunt honesty, especially if the cute rascal confessing has a face that never gives away what he’s thinking. He can be pretty dense, like another best friend I know.”

 

 

 

‘hey hyung can we meet up? i have something important to tell you.’

It takes ten minutes of staring at the text he sent for Jungkook to crumble under the pressure of waiting, deciding to just meet Taehyung at his dorm after class. He’ll just ask Taehyung to talk to him then and say it before he talks himself out again. He runs Jimin’s words over and over in his head in hopes of calming his raging nerves.

He waits on the bench in front of Taehyung’s dorm building, playing games on his phone and losing each one because he keeps lifting his head when he sees movement in the corner of his eyes. Finally after what feels like forever a familiar head of brown hair comes into view. He jumps up immediately, starting towards him.

“Taehyung—”

But Jungkook catches himself, because Taehyung is not alone.

There’s a stranger that turns the corner behind him and taps Taehyung’s shoulder, laughing when Taehyung looks up from his phone and jolts in surprise, punching his shoulder only to pull him into a hug. Jungkook watches the guy lower his head, press his lips to the top of Taehyung's head like it's the most natural thing to do. Taehyung hits him again, grinning, grabs the guy’s hand and tugs him up the steps and into his dorm building together, chatting animatedly. The sight of their heads leaning close, absorbed in each other, burns in the back of Jungkook’s eyes.

He wants to calm himself down, steer back to rational thinking, but something ugly rears its head in Jungkook’s stomach at the thought of the two of them in Taehyung’s room, sitting down on Taehyung’s bed like Jungkook has done a countless amount of times before, of Taehyung happy in the arms of a guy that isn’t him.

It hurts.

 

 

 

Jungkook lets himself wallow in self-pity, heading straight home each day right after class and eating so much ramen at night his face puffs up the next morning. He really is ignoring Taehyung this time, and he’s sure that after the fifth time he made up an excuse and said that he couldn’t hang out he has caught on to it.

He wonders if this is what his nights will be like from now on, if he somehow manages to completely cut ties with Taehyung. He hates the emptiness of it, the constant tick tock of the clock threatening to drive him insane. If he closes his eyes maybe he can drown it out with the sound of Taehyung’s voice, and how it always amused Jungkook because how hard he tried to stay quiet, breathy whispers like a secret only they shared.

He hates that Taehyung always let Jungkook talk him into meeting him at the only food place on campus open long enough for his late-night cravings. He hates the way Taehyung would look at him, that mischievous glint in his eye when they were doing something that they definitely shouldn’t be. He hates how Taehyung would call him before he went to sleep and tell him to make sure that he didn’t forget about his essay, or that he should drink lots of water and eat a something other than sugary cereal in the morning since he works out so much.

His phone vibrates, and Taehyung has perfect timing as usual. Even if Jungkook’s sure he’s knows Jungkook is intentionally avoiding by now he still sends messages like nothing’s happened. He doesn’t understand why.

‘hey are you okay? i haven’t seen you around lately. anyways, make sure you get some sleep! i bookmarked the classical music playlist on your laptop so you better be listening to it~’

Jungkook lets out his breath in a shaky sigh after he reads. Before he can stop himself he’s scrolling up through all their past messages, feeling the storm roaring in his head intensify the farther up he goes.

‘wanna get breakfast? i’ll buy ~’

‘have you started on your essay? if you procrastinate and cancel our plans i’ll never forgive you.’

‘look at this ㅋㅋㅋ  i saw it and thought of you.’

‘jiminie told me you stayed in the dance studio late again. do you think my threat is a joke? >:(’

‘are you free?’

‘take a break and get coffee with meee’

‘would I ever say no to a netflix binge? be there in 15~’

He hates Taehyung for making him so confused, for wiggling his way into his heart with his overwhelming need to express affection through physical contact and late night phone calls. Is he the only one feeling this way? Is he the only one that feels sick at the thought of Taehyung being with someone else, smiling for someone else? Is he the only one that wants to be more than friends?

He hates what Taehyung has done to him because the thought of having to remain the way they are now, of only staring at the screen of his phone and wishing for more than he’s allowed to have, is too painful to bear.

 

 

 

Jimin confronts him sometime during the third week he’s spent away from Taehyung, during their morning workout. Jungkook could sense something was off, which is why he tries to ignore Jimin’s concerned looks with increasing sets of pull ups. After his latest set his body makes him take a break whether he wants to or not, sweat sticking his shirt to his skin uncomfortably.

“I’m going to head home now.” Jimin says after he refills Jungkook’s water bottle for him, setting it by the machine. “What about you?”

“Not yet.” Jungkook gasps, resting his hands on his knees to catch his breath. “I’m going to stay a bit longer.”

When he finally straightens up he jolts, because Jimin is close to him now, frowning. He looks conflicted, and Jungkook knows immediately what this is going to be about. If he could avoid it he would, but Jimin leaves no space for an exit.

“Did something happen between you and Taehyung?” he asks, choosing his words carefully in fear of Jungkook’s reaction. Jimin has known him long enough to know how he reacts to conflict and probably doesn’t want to scare him off. Nevertheless, Jungkook still can’t help but eye the door wistfully. “He told me that you haven’t been talking to him lately. You haven’t been around anyone lately, actually.”

Jungkook only shrugs, throwing his towel over his shoulders. “It has nothing to do with him.” he says, and it’s partially true. Jungkook’s feelings are his problem; he should be the one to deal with them.

“Then what’s bothering you? You always close up and shut everyone else out when you’re upset about something. You’re not helping anyone if you don’t talk about it, Jungkook.”

Jungkook frowns, because of course he knows that, but saying it out loud makes it true and he’s not sure he can handle it. The last thing he needs is to break down in front of another person—two times in the same semester is unacceptable. “I just need to be alone right now, hyung.”

Jimin sighs. He rests his hand on his shoulder briefly in a small form of comfort, dropping it soon after because they’re both sweaty and exhausted and it’s the last thing either of them need. “The dance majors are having a get together this weekend and I think you should come. It could help you get your mind off whatever’s bothering you.”

Normally Jungkook would say no because he doesn’t particularly like going out, but the thought of spending his weekend alone with his thoughts is daunting and the last thing he wants.

“Sure, why not.”

 

 

 

Jimin jumps at the chance to take Jungkook to a real social event with him, not letting him even think about changing his mind, and that’s how he ends up in a bowling alley, watching some guy who got a gutter ball chug sickening amounts of alcohol, the group surrounding him cheering him on. Nothing too unusual, Jimin tells him.

Jungkook hates having to fake a smile and cheer whenever his team does well, taking whatever drink is put into his hands and gulping it down in hopes of forgetting. All of the things he’s heard about getting drunk are lies, though. The more he drinks the more he’s plagued by the sight of Taehyung with his back to him, smiling at someone that isn’t him. Everything just feels so wrong, like he’s trying to be someone he’s not, like he’s trying to act okay when he’s not.

“I’m going to the bathroom. Play for me.” Jungkook mumbles in Jimin’s ear, staggering off.

To be honest Jungkook has no clue where he’s going, he just knows that he needs to get away because if he stays there any longer he’s going to explode and that’s not something he wants to put on anyone else. The room is spinning and Jungkook thinks he might be sick, legs buckling from under him. Surprisingly, though, instead of getting carpet burn on his face he remains upright.

“Hey man, you don’t look so great.” Jungkook looks up at the guy whose arms are around his waist, keeping him crumpling to the floor. It’s a familiar face—Minseok from one of his classes last year, he notes hazily. “Do you want to go outside for some air? I can help you.”

“Yeah, sure, thanks.” he mumbles, willing his legs to work properly again.

“Rough night?” Minseok asks as they head to the exit, raising an eyebrow.

Jungkook just groans, nodding. Minseok laughs, walking them over to a bench where they can sit.

“Jungkook?” Jungkook jolts at the familiar voice calling his name. They’ve only just sat down but Taehyung is there, face scrunching up in an expression that Jungkook has never seen before and honestly, he doesn’t want directed at him. He never wants to be the one to make Taehyung look so upset.

“Taehyung? What are you doing here?” he asks, shooting up and digging his nails into the skin of his palms to ground him as the world swirls around him again.

“Jimin told me you’d be here so I came.”

Minseok looks in between them, and he must have noticed the unease on Jungkook’s face, the way he looks like he would rather be anywhere else but there because he’s next to him again, pulling Jungkook closer. “Let’s get out of here, yeah? I’ll take you home.”

Taehyung turns his gaze to finally acknowledge Minseok, eyes wide and dark with anger. “He’s not going anywhere with you.” he snaps, and Jungkook reels from the genuine threat in Taehyung’s words.

 The Taehyung he knows could never hurt a fly—hell, he even gets upset if Jungkook so much as suggests it—so seeing him approach them, grabbing Minseok’s shirt and separating them is dizzying. Maybe if he wasn’t so surprised he could have seen Minseok’s moving to shove Taehyung back, hard, and stop him. As it is he can only watch in shock as Taehyung stumbles back before falling to the ground.

Jungkook is sure that his anger is not just because Taehyung is hissing in pain. It’s a culmination of things, like frustration aimed at himself for wanting all the things that he can’t have, for tormenting himself with constant thoughts about the way that nameless guy pulled Taehyung in for a hug, stealing Taehyung’s smile and Jungkook’s happiness simultaneously. He’s never felt such strong and dark emotions before. Usually he channels can problems inwards work them out there but the sheer intensity of what he’s feeling right now has him unexpectedly exploding outwards.

He’s drunk and confused and overwhelmed and swinging at Minseok before he can stop himself.

Luckily he changes midway and hits the tree behind them instead of his face because the last thing he needs is to lose his scholarship from getting in a fight. Even without hitting Minseok’s face he’s sure that his message gets across. Or at least he hopes it does, because even though the bark was soft, probably rotting, his wrist is throbbing and his knuckles feel raw and painful.

“Don’t touch him again.” he warns when he pulls back, though he’s not quite sure if he’s talking only to Minseok.

“I’m sorry. You looked uncomfortable so I just wanted to help.” Minseok stutters, and the red haze of anger evaporates immediately after the words leave his lips because Jungkook knows he didn’t do anything too wrong, was only trying to help, but Jungkook let his emotions get the best of him.

Before he can properly apologize Minseok is ducking under his arm and disappearing back into the bowling alley, leaving the two of them alone. He contemplates going after him but the moment he moves pain shoots through his hand and he’s crumpling against the wall and whimpering in pain as soon as he’s sure that he’s gone. Taehyung scrambles to his feet at the sound, stunned.

“Jungkook are you okay?”

Jungkook cradles his throbbing hand, shaking his head. “Shit. Tae, I think I messed up.”

 

 

 

The nurse gives Jungkook an unimpressed look when she takes in the sight of his hand, and the scent of alcohol, but after inspection she concludes that he, fortunately, didn’t break anything. She sends the two of them on their way after she wraps him up, warning them to be more careful.   

The walk back to Jungkook’s dorm is silent but Taehyung doesn’t let him out of his sight. He follows Jungkook inside after he holds the door to his dorm open for him as a silent invitation, sitting next on his bed and carefully placing the ice pack on his wrist, worry tugging at his neutral expression when Jungkook flinches from the cold.

“Sorry. Does it hurt a lot?” Taehyung asks, finger ghosting over his knuckles.

Yes, but it’s not just my hand. he wants to say, nodding silently.

“Is there anything I can do? Do you need anything?”

Having Taehyung in front of him like this, looking at him like he’s some sort of glass doll, starts his cycle of questions all over again. He just wants to fix his stupid heart, so that Taehyung being so kind to him doesn’t hurt so much.

Taehyung is waiting for him to answer, but Jungkook just can’t. “Stop. Stop doing that.”

“Doing what?” Taehyung blinks in surprise, eyebrows furrowing in confusion.

“You can’t keep making me confused like this.” he says. Jungkook has never really been good at expressing himself. He’s sure it’s obvious in the way that his tone lacks the heat that the words should have, voice cracking with a helplessness he wants to snatch up as soon as he realizes it’s there. He just feels stupid getting all worked up like this, losing control of himself and doing things he would have never done before. It’s not his fault, it’s not his fault, it’s not his fault he keeps chanting in his mind but Jungkook thinks he might be going crazy. “Texting me all the time, being so friendly and touchy, doing… this. It’s not fair.”

Frustration and hurt tugs Taehyung’s lips downwards, the frown strange and out of place on his face. “Me making you confused? You’ve been ignoring me for weeks, Jungkook. You won’t even tell me what I did wrong. How is that supposed to make me feel? How is that fair to me?”

“You know that I like you, don’t you?” Jungkook is past the point of no return at this point, words tumbling over his lips before he can stop them. He’s just so lost and desperate because he wants Taehyung to want him like Jungkook wants him but he knows what he saw. “Everyone else does.”

Jungkook hates how Taehyung stutters, shocked. “B-But... then why—”

“I saw you.”

“What? Saw me?”

“With that guy. Your boyfriend.” Jungkook’s voice grows smaller the more he talks. He feels like he’s back in elementary school, tattling on someone for pushing him at recess or something. “You hugged him and… stuff. Outside your dorm. I saw you go in with him. If you’re just staying friends with me out of pity, you don’t need to. I’ll be fine.”

Jungkook’s head snaps up in surprise when Taehyung laughs.

“You’re laughing?” he asks incredulously, and his voice has gone as cold and detached as his body feels.

Taehyung flails at the sound of it. “Oh no, no—I didn’t mean it like that it’s just that Jimin told me something like this might have happened but I didn’t—Jungkook, I think you misunderstood. The guy you saw is my childhood friend, Minjae, and—not my boyfriend. Or anything like that. He’s like a brother to me.”

It takes a moment for Taehyung’s words to register but when they do it’s like he’s been doused with cold water. “Oh God,” he murmurs, and his plan to live under a rock seems more and more plausible the longer he sits there, wanting to hide his flaming cheeks but having nowhere to go. A nice void he could fling himself into might also be nice right now because oh god, Jungkook thought he felt stupid before but that doesn’t even compare to now. “Oh God, I am an idiot. I’m sorry.”

Taehyung looks like he wants to smile but doesn’t in fear of startling Jungkook again, letting out the tension in his shoulders out with a sigh of relief. “If I had just listened to Jimin we could have avoided all of this and started dating by now.”

Jungkook freezes, and it’s his turn to splutter. “W-What?”

“What?” Taehyung echoes. Then he blinks, like finally realizes he left out the most important part of the conversation. “I like you, Jungkook.” He says it like it should have been obvious, like Jungkook didn’t just spend three weeks having the worst case of teenage angst in his life over this even though he isn’t even a teenager anymore. “I like you.” he repeats, after Jungkook makes a noise of disbelief. “Jimin told me you probably misunderstood something about it I didn’t believe him.”

He can hardly hold Taehyung’s gaze, the intensity of it making him dizzy. “It’s okay. It was my fault too.”

Jungkook is in love, he thinks in only mild terror this time, with the gentle way Taehyung leans in to cup his cheek, looking at him so fondly. “Can I kiss you?” he asks, and Jungkook’s brain is short circuiting, probably, or maybe he really did lose brain cells from being so dumb as to jump to conclusions like he did. He holds the gaze anyways, nodding. Taehyung laughs at the sight of him and Jungkook is sure that his expression must be embarrassing but it’s okay. Taehyung is kissing him anyway.

Oh God.

Taehyung is kissing him.

He slots their lips together easily, the kiss chaste and soft. It ends far too quickly, Jungkook staring at Taehyung’s lips when he pulls away, and before he knows it he’s leaning in again, wanting more. Taehyung doesn’t seem to mind, scooting closer to deepen the kiss. Jungkook curls his hand at nape of his neck, reminded only as his other hand gives out underneath him that his wrist is still injured.

Taehyung stops immediately at his gasp of pain, bracing himself on either side of him and searching his face for any signs of discomfort. “Are you okay? Sorry, I forgot you hurt yourself.”

Jungkook should not be feeling so giddy, struggling to trying and organize his scattered thoughts while simultaneously watching Taehyung fuss over him. He decides to just close his eyes, focusing on the throb of his wrist to ground him.

“Am I still drunk?”

Taehyung relaxes at Jungkook’s words, rolling to rest beside him. “Probably a little, but that doesn’t mean that this isn’t real. I really am that good.”

Jungkook opens his eyes slowly, glaring weakly at the smirk on his face. “Is now the time to joke?” he asks.

Taehyung nods, smug. “It’s always the time.”

Jungkook makes an offensive gesture before burying his head in his pillow to muffle his noise of despair. “I’m never drinking again. My hand hurts like hell.”

Taehyung, for all his concern before, is terrible at holding in his laughter now. “That happens when you punch a fucking tree. You’re lucky you didn’t break anything.”

“Feels like I did.” Jungkook whines. Taehyung presses a kiss to his forehead soothingly. There’s a short pause, and then, “You were jealous of me being with Minseok.”

Taehyung hums, nodding. “He has a reputation for... you know. Messing around. Not that it's bad or anything, just. Not with you” Jungkook shudders at the thought, shaking his head frantically. Being with anyone else other than Taehyung, no matter how emotionally distressed he was, is impossible. Taehyung grins, his scrunched up face smoothing out immediately. “You were jealous of Minjae too though, weren’t you?”

“I thought about getting rid of him.” Jungkook replies honestly. “Would anyone but you know if he went missing?”

Jeon Jungkook!

“What? I’m just kidding. Mostly.”

Taehyung just shakes his head, settling back down on his chest. He looks thoughtful, a little troubled. “Next time talk to me, yeah? You can’t just shut me out when I do something that hurts you. I won’t know what to fix unless you tell me.”

Jungkook fiddles with his fingers, knowing that his way of handling things was wrong. Reaching conclusions in his head that seemed to make so much sense until he said it out loud, believing them to be true without double checking the facts—it's an unhealthy trait that has followed him for years. He's never felt the need to get rid it as strongly as he did right now. “I just—seeing you being touchy with someone else made me scared that I was deluding myself. That I was reading things wrong and you were treating me like everyone else. I guess I'm just not that good with this liking people thing.”

“It’s not like that.” Taehyung says firmly, making sure Jungkook is looking at him when he speaks. “What you were thinking is right. I want you, not anyone else.”

Jungkook nods, not trusting his voice to speak, wordlessly brushing Taehyung’s bangs out of his eyes. While Taehyung has been incredibly perceptive to Jungkook’s feelings without him saying it, it won’t always be that way and the only good thing that came from this whole situation is he learned that sooner rather than later. Jungkook closes his eyes, the image of himself swinging drunkenly popping to the front of his mind. It’s the most mortifying moment of his life and he’s still reeling from the fact that it was totally unlike him and uncalled for and he really needs to apologize tomorrow, but.

“Did I at least look cool?"

 

 

 

Jungkook and Taehyung get about two feet out of his dorm building the next day before they catch sight of the five figures waiting for them.

“We need to talk.” Jimin says, arms crossed.

Jungkook sighs and turns right back around, leading the way back to his room.

It feels somewhat like some cheesy drama, Taehyung and Jungkook kneeling on the floor while their hyungs loom over them, tense silence thick in the room.

Seokjin breaks first, and with him it’s like a damn opening. “Did you really get in a fight last night?” he asks.

“Did Jungkook really punch a concrete wall and throw a bowling ball?” Namjoon joins in.

Hoseok speaks next. “What? I heard that the guy tackled Taehyung to the ground so Jungkook threw him against the wall and choked him.”  

“Whoa it got exaggerated that much?” Taehyung looks too happy considering the fact that people are making Jungkook out to be some kind of monster. "He only punched a tree though."

“Are you supporting this?” Jungkook asks, incredulous.

“I can’t believe my best friends are main characters in a shitty anime.” Jimin eyes Jungkook’s bandaged hand in disbelief. “What kind of role would I have in this mess?”

“The friend that begs the director for more screen time but hardly gets any?” Yoongi offers. Jimin tenses.

“Taehyung and I are dating.” Jungkook announces quickly, if only to save them all from his small but ruthless hyung’s rage.

“Finally.” Jimin says, fortunately distracted. “If last night didn’t end up in you guys dating I would have given up. I’ve seen enough moping and pining from the both of you to last me a lifetime.”

“Jungkook talked to you guys about it?” Taehyung asks excitedly, his interest anything but innocent.

Jungkook’s eyes widen. “No—”

“Are you kidding me?” Hoseok seems to feed off Jungkook’s look of pure horror. “You should have seen him. He came to me and asked how a friend of his should confess to a girl he liked. I swear he messed up every pronoun possible.”

“He came to us too.” Seokjin adds, shaking his head in pity. “Poor thing didn’t even take my advice and confess that night you ate with us. It could have saved him from an injured hand.”

Taehyung practically squeals, squeezing Jungkook’s red cheeks. “I knew it! I thought I was imagining things but you really were going to confess!”

“You should have said something then.” Jungkook grumbles, but he’s comforted by the way Taehyung takes his hand behind their backs right after he speaks, squeezing it.

“Don’t feel too bad, at least you asked for help.” Namjoon says. “Yoongi has only been composing nothing heartsick love songs lately and won’t let me help him at all.”

Hoseok looks the most surprised of them all. “Yoongi is heartsick?”

Jungkook watches in fascination as Yoongi’s ears grow red underneath the six pairs of eyes watching him. It’s five times better than when Jimin found his Kumamon plush stash. “Kim Namjoon, you’re dead.” he snarls through gritted teeth.

“I’m sorry hyung. I’ve been known to break hearts, who would’ve known one of them would be you?” Jimin says gravely but his eyes are bright with mirth as the room shakes with their combined laughter. He must not have forgiven him for that comment. “I hate to break it to you but my heart lies with another, I can’t be with you.”

“It’s not you, brat.” Yoongi snaps, but embarrassment has taken the heat from his words because he’s just admitted the fact that the Min Yoongi, genius, is heartsick.

Jungkook takes pride in the fact that he catches the subtle glance in Hoseok’s direction, and that Hoseok is intentionally looking anywhere but Yoongi. He’s already planning payback for Hoseok’s previous smugness. He whispers as much to Taehyung, though in hindsight he should have known to wait because Taehyung is a terrible whisperer.

“Yoongi has a crush on Hoseok? But he’s been whining about his one-sided crush since my freshman year.”

The room falls silent, and Jungkook watches his revenge do a flip in perfect form before it nosedives out the window. Maybe it’s worth it though, from the way Hoseok and Yoongi are looking at each other. Then again it’s too greasy, so maybe not.

“I think we might actually be in a shitty anime.” Seokjin murmurs, looking like he’s aged years. “Why can’t any of us be normal?”

 

 

 

Dating Taehyung doesn’t change much about their dynamic, not really. Taehyung still shows up on his doorstep uninvited, lets Jungkook drag him around at late hours of the night, calls him to talk because Jungkook is a shit texter. It’s just that now Jungkook can wrap his arms around Taehyung broad shoulders and drag him into his room, hold hands with him over the table while they eat, tell him that he misses him over the phone even though the probability of them going two days without seeing or talking to each other is near impossible.

“I should have known things would get worse instead of better if you two got together.” Jimin says when they meet up for lunch, watching in distaste as Taehyung’s wraps himself around Jungkook from behind, pressing kisses against his jaw in exchange for bites of Jungkook’s lunch. “Do you have to do that here? I’m going to lose my appetite.”

Taehyung just laughs, snaking his arms around Jungkook’s waist. Jungkook is too happy to care either, popping another roll of kimbap into his mouth and then Taehyung’s when he presses his fingers into the skin of his stomach persistently.

Jimin scoffs. “I can’t believe I’m being blatantly ignored right now, after how much I consoled the both of you. Especially you, Taehyung. Look at how you repay me. You should be ashamed of yourself.”

Jungkook perks up at that. “Oh yeah, didn’t you say that Taehyung talked about me a lot before we got together?” He feels Taehyung still against him, laughter dying out. “What did he say?

Jimin expression changes immediately, grinning wickedly. Jungkook has the sense to feel terrified by it, and very grateful his hyung is on his side. “You know he texted me one day and said, and I quote, ‘you know jeon jungkook right? dude’s cute but also a stud and i want to talk to him so bad but i’m scared he doesn’t like me pls help’ and wouldn’t stop pestering me on how he could get closer to you. I’m the one that told him to post that he was playing Sudden Attack and that if he challenged the group you would come running.”

Jungkook holds tight onto his boyfriend’s hands as he tries to squirm away to stop Jimin from saying any more. Finally it’s his turn to be smug while Taehyung writhes in embarrassment, and he’s going to enjoy all of it. “Is there more?” he asks, his grin nearly as wicked as Jimin’s.

“Oh there’s tons. The puppy dog stares when you weren’t looking, oh my god, I thought they would never end.” Jimin continues, not missing a beat. “And there was this one time not too long ago he got drunk with me and started complaining about how you didn’t like him more than a friend, how much he wanted to throw you up against a wall and just fucking—”

“I will drink your protein shakes for a week if you stop right there!” Taehyung begs desperately, screeching loudly to drown out Jimin’s voice.

At that Jimin pauses. “Two weeks?”

Taehyung looks like he might cry. “Two, okay.”

Jungkook had wanted Jimin to go on, but he figures he has enough ammo to last him awhile. Now that it’s over he loosens his grip on Taehyung so that he can turn in his arms, cooing. “What was that last part he was talking about, hmm?”

“Nothing, it’s nothing.” Jungkook watches in amusement as Taehyung babbles for a while before turning to glare at their hyung. “Park Jimin, you will rue the day.”

Jimin just grins, finishing off his sandwich and standing up. “My work here is done; I’ve got to get to class now.” Lower, he grumbles, “How’s that for screen time, fucking Min Yoongi.”

 

 

 

“It was the sister all along Taehyung, what the hell?” Jungkook exclaims. “What kind of twisted turn is this?”

Taehyung just hums distractedly, not even looking up from his sheet music. After waiting for more of a response and not getting one Jungkook frowns, glaring at Taehyung from where he’s sprawled out across the bed.

“Are you even listening to me?” he asks, prodding the male in the side. Taehyung jerks, the classical piece he’s playing that Jungkook knows he’ll never be able to pronounce the name of stuttering to a stop after he nearly pokes out his eye with his bow.

“What part are you at?” Taehyung asks after Jungkook repeats himself, lowering his cello gently back into its case before any more injuries occur.

“Here.” Jungkook passes him the book, still reeling from the plot twist. “I don’t agree with this. This is terrible.”

Taehyung skims over the page Jungkook points out, evil smirk tugging his lips upwards. “I knew it all along.”

“Don’t lie.” Jungkook latches on to Taehyung when he joins him on the bed, dragging him down to lay with him. “I bet you cried when she died.”

“Like I didn’t hear you sniffling just five minutes ago.”

“Did not.”

“Did too.”

“Did not,” Jungkook says in the most childish tone he can manage, covering Taehyung’s mouth so that he can’t respond. “Reading this was a mistake, I give up.”

Jungkook can feel Taehyung’s eyes on him, watching with barely concealed amusement as he sets the book back down on the bed, eyes locked onto the page again. He makes a noise of disgust when the older licks his hand to get him to move it, wiping it on the Taehyung’s t-shirt right after.

“You know you only had to read maybe the first two books, not almost all of them.” he says.

Jungkook shrugs. “It’s a good series, and it’s been a while since I’ve read something for fun and not for school.” Funny, because all of a sudden he can’t seem to get past one sentence, not when Taehyung is pressing a kiss to his hair and snuggling up against him.

 “I’m glad you like it.” Taehyung murmurs after they lay in silence for a while, running his fingers through Jungkook’s hair and making it even fluffier, if that’s even possible. “But I really need to practice. If I get bad marks on this I will never forgive you.”

“No one’s keeping you here.” Jungkook teases, waving his two free hands in the air.

“Stop, no, I need to practice!” Taehyung wails, drowning out his voice as he thrashes on the bed.

“You’re an idiot,” Jungkook laughs, smiling too hard as he pulls Taehyung in to kiss him because if he’s going to be accused of distracting him, innocent or not, he might as well be guilty.

“Mmm. Your idiot.” Taehyung mumbles against his lips, grinning.

 

 

 

Jungkook has always hated that couple, the one that always walked to class together and made everyone else uncomfortable by kissing in front of the door. His fingers would curl in cringe when he would see couples feeding each other in public, hugging and whispering in each other’s ears like they were the only ones there. He couldn’t see how anyone could want to be like that, let alone in public.

It’s comes as no surprise that Taehyung feels the exact opposite.

Taehyung has always been touchy with the people he’s close with. It was the first thing Jungkook had to learn to accept, because the last thing he wanted was more misunderstandings. He would freeze when he walked in on Taehyung resting his head against Hoseok’s shoulder or when he jumped on Jimin’s back and clung so that the dancer couldn’t throw him off. It’s okay, he would remind himself right after, because Taehyung doesn’t touch others like he does Jungkook.

He’s never seen Taehyung press his full body against one of their hyungs when they’re in a big crowd like he does with Jungkook, nuzzling the back of his neck and holding him tight so that they don’t get separated. There’s no way he would hook his fingers into anyone’s pockets but Jungkook’s, nor would he ever snake his arm around anyone else’s waist, pulling them against him securely. He learns that Taehyung likes to show off the fact that they’re together that way, or as Yoongi likes to call it, ‘being fucking possessive’. With that in mind, Jungkook takes everything else in stride.

He tries to be more open for affection in public because it makes Taehyung happy and secure, and somewhere along the line he realizes they’ve become the very couple he used to hate, that he enjoys doing all those same cringey things he would have rather set himself on fire than do before, and strangely he’s not ashamed about it.

“You two are so cute,” Seokjin coos to them one day, when Jungkook reaches out to pull Taehyung in for a kiss the moment he returns with popcorn. “I would have never thought you could do it, Jungkook-ah.”

“I’ve been teaching him lately.” Taehyung says proudly, patting Jungkook’s cheek. “He’s a natural.”

“What am I, a dog?” Jungkook grumbles half-heartedly, unable to stay upset for long when Taehyung presses their foreheads together like he always does.

Namjoon makes a face. “I’m glad we’re not like that.” he says, feeding a bite of his hotdog. Jungkook notes that Namjoon is wearing the same sweater as their eldest hyung, both of their initials and the date they started dating on it.

“I know, right?” Seokjin replies right as the previews end, sarcasm thick in his voice.

 

 

 

Jungkook enjoys the way Taehyung coaxes him into being more affectionate, teaching him in more ways than one how to make someone you love feel good. The expression he makes when Jungkook slides his hand into his or presses a kiss to his shoulder just because is one of his favorites, the only one above it being the one he makes when he falls apart under Jungkook’s mouth and hands. He likes how touchy Taehyung gets after they come down from their highs, latching onto him and talking soft and breathless into his ear just to make him shudder, oversensitive.

Yoongi and Hoseok, though, do not appreciate it as much.

“Jesus, Taehyung, again?” Hoseok blanches the second he walks in on them naked and cuddling on Taehyung’s bed.

“You know Jungkook has his own room, right? Where you don’t have to get interrupted?” Yoongi deadpans, pointedly averting his gaze to where Hoseok is shoving clothes haphazardly into his bag. They’ll probably stay at the studio for the night, Jungkook supposes.

“No time. Didn’t want to walk all the way there.” Taehyung responds, shameless. Jungkook has the sense of mind to feel guilty but Taehyung is only away from him for a second to grab at the sheets before he realizes that it’s the last thing he wants at the moment.

“What are you doing?” Jungkook mumbles, helping him pull it back over their bodies and tugging him back into their previous position. “No one can see you but me.”

“Whoa, I think my heart just melted.” Taehyung plays along, kissing him sweetly. It quickly escalates into something more passionate, all exaggerated moans and gasps.

Hoseok makes retching noises. Jungkook enjoys it; finally he can put his need for revenge to rest. “Stay away from my bed or else.” he warns, dragging Yoongi back out of the room with him and shutting the door with a definitive click. Taehyung presses his laughter against the skin of Jungkook’s neck when the sound of their feet fades, lips brushing over the dark marks he’d made there earlier.

“Yoongi is probably going tear me apart for that later.” Jungkook says, only somewhat repentant.

Taehyung hums, kissing along his shoulder. “Just tell him I said ‘studio chair’ and he’ll stop.”

Jungkook blinks slowly. “Do I want to know?”

“Not unless you want Yoongi’s ‘respectable, hard-working hyung’ image to be tarnished.”

Jungkook decisively shoves his curiosity out the window.

“C’mere.” he murmurs instead, lifting Taehyung’s chin so that he can kiss him again.

Taehyung makes a noise of interest, pushing Jungkook onto his back and settling between his legs. This is more like how he likes to kiss him; pressing his weight against Jungkook and resting their tangled hands against the sheets. Victory against the muscle pig, he teases like always, taking his time to kiss Jungkook’s cheeks, his neck, his chest. Jimin is going to freak when he sees all of the marks on him again.

“Round two?” Taehyung whispers in his ear after Jungkook’s breaths are more like pants, nipping at the red lobe playfully until he relents.

“God, you’re insatiable.” he groans, laughing when Taehyung makes a show of shoving the sheets back off the bed.

“You love me for it; look at you already moaning my name.”

Oh god, he’s right, Jungkook thinks in resignation, slapping Taehyung’s arm for his lame joke. He’s in love with an idiot and more than happy to stay that way.