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City of Trees

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Namjoon was on his third Rum and Coke before he looked at Jungkook long enough to ask why he had huge dark circles under his eyes.

“SCAD’s fall semester starts next week. Someone moved in right over me last night between 11:00 and 3:00 am.”

“And you woke up this morning? Why?”

“Early shift at the Bee Company,” Jungkook said, his head falling on the counter, “And it was fuckin dead in there except for the most annoying customers. 10:00 a.m. on a Thursday? Who the hell buys artisanal honey at 10:00 on a Thursday? Bottle-blond Southern women with way too much time and too many friends, that’s who. It was terrible.”

Namjoon snorted. “Can you add lime to this next one?”

Jungkook took his head off the bar. “You don’t like Cuba Libres. Every time I put lime in there you don’t’ finish it.”

“C’mon, kid. I’m just trying it out. I’ll like it this time if you just put less in.”

“No. And don’t call me kid.”

“Kid is the perfect fuckin title for you.”

“You call me Kid, I call you Deadbeat in front of every woman you try to flirt with. Deal?”

Namjoon swayed across the counter, one finger pointed right in his face. “I will talk to your manager, young man.”

“Do it. You know she’s looking for a nickname that’ll bother you. She’s your manager too, you know, and she doesn’t like you flirting on the job. Your beautiful hair is really fucked up.”

Namjoon dropped his glass on the counter and ran a hand through his slicked-back blond hair. “Better?”

Jungkook snickered and shook his head.

“Fuck.”

Jungkook left him smoothing his hands over his hair and made more drinks down the bar. Namjoon was a bouncer, and a loyal patron when he wasn’t working, so Jungkook had his drink preferences down to a science.

It was unusually lively for a Thursday night down in The Bar Bar, filled up with what he could only assume were students at SCAD, the Savannah College of Art and Design, with their brightly died hair and pseudo thrift shop, probably Urban Outfitters clothing. Jungkook bought his clothes at Old Navy and usually felt right at home in the bar’s “no frills atmosphere,” even if he was too young to drink, but ever since the students started getting back in town he’d felt a little out of place.

“Hey, kid,” someone with a crisp flannel shirt and a backwards snapback said, snapping for him. He looked the type to wear sunglasses at night. Jungkook tried not to roll his eyes. The guy was barely older than he was.

“Yeah?”

“Martini. Shaken, not stirred.”

Jungkook gave him a baleful stare.

“Dude,” said someone else sitting along the bar with a beer bottle in hand, some scaddy with fluffy blue hair and a completely expressionless face, “Are you twelve?”

“Get off my ass! Let the kid make me a James Bond martini.”

“They’re called Vesper Martinis and they’re kind of gross,” Jungkook said. “Are you sure you want that? I can make you a better martini if you want.”

The dumbass stuttered a little. “Just as long as it’s shaken, that’s fine.”

“I don’t fucking shake martinis.”

Fluffy blue hair snickered. “You got a problem?” The dude yelled. Blue hair looked up stoically, as if he wasn’t easily half his size and considerably shorter.

“Yes. Many.”

“Can I see your ID?” Jungkook asked before blue hair got smacked the fuck up.

“I’m fuckin twenty-five!”

“I don’t believe you. Can I see your ID?”

“Fuck you, dude.” Mr. Bond wheeled around to leave and slammed into someone coming from the other direction, knocking him completely to the ground in a flurry of skinny jeans and what looked like a varsity jacket made of random fabric scraps.

“Fuck. Taehyung.” Blue hair put his drink down quickly and got up to make sure the guy on the ground was okay. Mr. Bond stormed out of the bar without a second glance.

“You chasing off my customers?” Victoria asked, strolling up on her five-inch heels and staring curiously over the edge of the counter to where blue hair was practically dragging the dude off the floor.

“Pretty sure he was underage. Asked me for a martini. ‘Shaken, not stirred.’”

“Doesn’t mean he’s underage. I’ve done that.”

“I think he was underage.”

“Okay. Your call. Oh that’s Yoongi!”

Blue hair turned around. “I give you loyal patronage for three fuckin years, and you only just now recognize me? I’ve been here for an hour now.”

“You changed your hair! Who’s your friend? He got a fake ID too?”

“Bitch, I turned twenty-one two years ago. My ID ain’t fake anymore.”

Jungkook wasn’t paying attention. Yoongi’s friend was finally up off the ground and facing him, obviously more than a little drunk with the way he hung off Yoongi’s shoulder. His hair was light lavender, his face delicate but bright.

“You ok?” He asked.

“Huh?” The guy asked, fixing his hair and not really looking at him.

“Are you ok?”

Lavender hair flashed a brilliant, rectangular smile and a wild thumbs-up before dropping his head onto Yoongi’s shoulder and sagging sideways. Jungkook blinked rapidly, completely dazzled.

“Holy shit, Taehyung. Sit down.”

“I should probably do my job and offer him a drink, but maybe not…”

Victoria shook her head. “Ambulances are bad for business.”

“Yoongi, do you want a drink?”

“I’m still finishing my beer,” he said, hoisting Taehyung onto a bar stool.

“Treat him well,” Victoria said, motioning to Yoongi. “He’s one of our best regulars during the school year. Yoongi, this is Jungkook. He just graduated high school and started working here this summer. Be nice and break him in slowly. You can be kind of scary and I want to keep this kid.”

Jungkook grinned bashfully. Yoongi grumbled something about not going easy on anyone’s ass and Taehyung tried to balance several dirty glasses on top of each other. Jungkook took them from him and walked to the sink. Taehyung didn’t seem to notice.

Namjoon called him over. “Kookie, make me a Cuba Libre. With lime!”

“Fucking fine.”

“Is that Yoongi down there?” Namjoon asked when he handed him the Cuba Libre without lime.

“Yup, that’s Yoongi. You know him?”

“Fuck yeah, I know him. He’s the only good thing about SCAD being in session and having all these rich, pretentious kids around acting like they know anything. Art students. I love that guy though. He’s been coming here since I was still in high school. He must be a senior by now. I’m gonna go say hi in a minute. Is that kid his boyfriend?”

Jungkook sincerely hoped that wasn’t a swooping sense of disappointment in his gut.

“I don’t know.”

“Fuck, this Cuba Libre is good. See? I have good judgment.”

“That Cuba Libre is good because there’s no lime in it.”

Jungkook escaped Namjoon’s hissy fit by running down to take care of a few more orders waiting for him. By the time he had a few seconds to rest, Namjoon was chatting with Yoongi, a very drunk mop of lilac hair and fabric scraps hanging off his neck. Yoongi looked on with a vicious smirk.

“This guy is Drunk,” Namjoon told Jungkook when he walked over. “Drunk with a capital D. If I was on duty I might tell him to go home.”

“He looks like he really wants that D,” Yoongi murmured.

Taehyung tried to kick him and missed. “Fuck yeah, I want the D. That’s why I fucking came out here with you.” Not Yoongi’s boyfriend then. Jungkook found himself smiling. His voice was surprisingly deep for such a cute face. “I’m fuckin…” He caught sight of Jungkook. “Whoa. What’s your name?”

“Jungkook?”

“Fuck, you’re pretty.”

Jungkook stammered and flushed. He wasn’t half as pretty as Taehyung. Taehyung just stared blankly at him, eyes wide, perfect lips slightly open, slipping lower and lower as he put more and more of his weight on Namjoon.

“Look, kid,” Namjoon said, trying to pry Taehyung’s arms off his neck. “This is real flattering and all, but I’m kind of not into men.”

Taehyung dragged his eyes away from Jungkook. “Awww what? You don’t even want to try it?”

“He did,” Yoongi said.

“Yoongi, please don’t talk about that in public. People know me here.”

“There’s no reason to be ashamed of it. Jeez.”

“I wouldn’t be, except that it was you.”

“Ow.”

“You fucked Yoongi,” Taehyung slurred. “Ok. Not interested anymore.” He let go of Namjoon’s neck and fell off the bar stool.

“I’m not fucking helping you up after that shit,” Yoongi said. Namjoon stared down at him thoughtfully, his fruitless Cuba Libre travelling slowly to his lips. “I’d help you up, but I think you’d just fall off your stool again. You sure you’re old enough to be drinking? You don’t look any older than Jungkook here, and he’s eighteen.”

“Taehyung’s twenty.”

“Don’t say that with us right here!” Jungkook said.

“Why not? You’re eighteen.”

“I’m still kind of obligated to kick him out.”

“I’m not. I’m off duty,” Namjoon said.

“How do you even work here?” Yoongi asked Jungkook.

“It’s completely legal so long as I never drink where they find out about it. I can still mix drinks really well, so they don’t care. That guy—”

“Taehyung.”

“—down there with the purple hair, is very clearly intoxicated, and if he can’t prove that he’s twenty-one I have to kick him out now. Is he cuddling the leg of the pool table?”

“Relax. He has a fake. Plausible deniability.”

Jungkook walked away. He cut off contact with the group for the rest of the evening unless he was serving them drinks, because, for some reason, he really did not want to kick Taehyung out. He usually had no problem with it, but he watched, completely captivated, as Taehyung attempted to pole dance against a brick wall, fucked up someone’s pool game, and then spent a good five minutes imitating a parakeet, and could not bring himself to toss him out the door. Yoongi seemed remarkably unfazed by all this. Namjoon looked completely mystified.

“He’s not that drunk,” Yoongi told Jungkook as he handed over another beer. “He’s like this all the time.”

“Fuck. What?”

“He’s pretty horny and I’m trying to find him some fun. He likes you. You wanna take him home tonight?”

“The fuck? No!”

“Don’t like ‘em with dicks, huh.”

“Don’t like them drunk! I’m fine with dicks!”

Yoongi gave him a very interested once-over, like he might take him home himself, then shook his head. “Nah. Too young.”

Jungkook went to hide out in the back room for a bit. By the time he came out, two other SCAD-looking kids had arrived and were in the process of carrying Taehyung out the door. Namjoon gave him one last wave over Yoongi’s head and went with them. He was very sorry to see them go. The rest of the night was quite averagely tedious, completely free of lavender hair and dazzling smiles.

 

Taehyung didn’t come back to the bar that week, though Yoongi did. The anticipation followed by disappointment kept him in a constant bad mood. He didn’t dare ask Yoongi about him, beyond a casual, “How was his hangover?” the next day, to which the answer was, “fucker doesn’t get fucking hangovers yet. It’s shitty as fuck.”

The following Wednesday, though, on his day off, he opened his apartment door to take the trash out and Taehyung walked right past him in the middle of his apartment building.

“Morning,” he muttered, canvas messenger back bouncing against his hip.

“Hey, wait.”

Taehyung turned around curiously. His hair hung in his eyes. His shirt had a distracting image of a ghastly-looking stag on it and some pastel triangles.

Maybe it was the shirt or maybe it was his intimidatingly expectant stare, but Jungkook felt adrenaline shoot out of his brain. He tried to stay calm. “I’m, uh, I’m the bartender. From last Thursday.”

Taehyung stood there for a minute, mouth hanging open and searching the ceiling as if trying to remember, and Jungkook felt himself flushing. If he’d been looking up for Taehyung every time the bar door opened and Taehyung didn’t even remember him that would be seriously pathetic.

“Oh yeah! I did go drinking last Thursday. I’m sorry, were you there? I don’t remember who the bartender was.”

Jungkook felt like whacking his head on a wall. “Yeah, that was me.”

“Ah. So are we neighbors then?”

“Yeah.”

“Ok, cool. I’ll stop by later for a drink, Mr. Bartender.” He shot him an exaggerated peace sign and his bright smile and then disappeared down the stairs yelling “I’d stay longer but I have class!” behind him.

Jungkook just stood there outside his door and attempted to analyze the interaction.

Halfway through the next hour, Jungkook caught himself staring at the door as if Taehyung would knock on it at any second.

“Jesus Christ it’s only been thirty minutes; what’s happening to me?” he asked the TV, which replied with another commercial for Taco Bell. Not a positive response. It occurred to him that Taehyung wasn’t going to come over anyway and he’d just said he would to politely get out of talking to him. Maybe he wouldn’t remember.

He figured he shouldn’t care. His day off meant eight hours of Halo, and he didn’t plan on skipping out on that, Taehyung or not. He’d already taken enough time away at the gym. He fired it up and got completely lost in the game.

It had only been ninety minutes before there was a knock on the door. He swore, put down the controller, and only remembered Taehyung as he was turning the knob, and was entirely unprepared to see him on the other side of the door, him and his scary t-shirt.

“Oh shit!”

Taehyung smirked. “I’ve been called worse.”

“Ah. Sorry. Um. Right, come inside. Let me pause the game over here.”

“Halo, huh?”

“You play?”

Taehyung shook his head. “I did some Legend of Zelda when I was younger. And Pokémon, of course.”

“Obviously. I never got into the Zelda franchise though. Did you want a drink?”

“You did say you were a bartender, right?”

Jungkook skirted around him, skinny jeans and an old, worn-out t-shirt standing in the middle of his living room, and had to stop for a minute and stare.

Taehyung snickered. “Yeah?”

“Sorry. It just hit me that we’re neighbors and you’re in my apartment.”

“That I am. Is that weird?”

“I guess not. I just only met you once and you were shit-faced.”

Taehyung groaned and sank onto the floor. “Why do I always meet everyone that way? I don’t remember the last time I met someone and I wasn’t drunk. It sucks! I’m always the asshole that never remembers anyone.”

Jungkook snorted. “Yeah, that stung a bit. What do you want?”

Taehyung popped up behind the counter, messenger back gone. “Martini! Shaken, not stirred.”

“Oh god.”

“Kidding, kidding. What can you make me with vodka?”

“Uh, you want a Screwdriver?”

“Just vodka and OJ? Can I have something fancy?”

“Vodka Martini? Bloody Mary? Cosmo? Sex on the Beach?”

Taehyung grinned. “That shit hurts. Sand everywhere, and I mean Everywhere. Let’s go with that one.”

Jungkook giggled and pulled the peach schnapps off the top shelf.

“Hey, if you’re a bartender, can you hook me up with alcohol? I don’t like using my fake.”

“Dude, I’m eighteen.”

“Seriously? I thought you looked younger than me. And you’re a bartender?”

Jungkook nodded. “I’m allowed to handle drinks, just not drink them.”

“Who buys you all of this?”

“Namjoon, usually. You do remember him, right?”

“Namjoon, Namjoon, um… Must have been the hot guy with the blond hair, right?”

“Yeah. Jeez. You were hanging all over him and you don’t even remember his name? You left with him.”

“We hung out all night, too. I think I kissed him at the end. I don’t think he liked it.”

Jungkook snorted in disbelief.

“You gonna have anything?” Taehyung said, nodding at the drinks.

“I’ll do the screwdriver.”

“Ooh! I want a Mimosa after this!”

“I’m sorry. I don’t have any champagne.”

Taehyung pouted, then started playing with his facial expressions as Jungkook made the drinks, sucking his cheeks in a crossing his eyes. He bit his lip and puffed his cheeks out, eyes bugging, and Jungkook burst into giggles. Taehyung looked up innocently.

“What?”

“What are those faces?”

Taehyung shrugged, grimacing adorably, and picked up his drink. Jungkook couldn’t help but watch as Taehyung took a long, testing sip, and then burst into a smile so bright Jungkook could swear it came with a sound effect. “This is awesome!”

He turned to go sit down. His ass was precious in those skinny jeans. Jungkook took a swig of straight vodka before he grabbed his drink and went to sit beside Taehyung, who was curled around his Sex on the Beach like it was a hot cup of coffee. At least it hid the dead stag on his shirt.

“So what do you do to have such a nice apartment?” Taehyung asked, eyeing him flirtatiously up past the rim of his glass.

“I’m a bartender trying to earn enough to stop working at the Savannah Bee Company store and pay for this apartment on my own. Mom’s paying for half of it.”

Taehyung got an ‘I’m trying not to make fun of you’ face, a kind of muted smirk. “That’s pretty cute.” Jungkook refused to be embarrassed.

“What about you?”

“I’m on scholarship. My mother is also helping me pay for my lovely, unfurnished apartment upstairs. I should probably get a job if I want to pimp it out enough to take people home.”

“So you go to SCAD?”

“Yup. Savannah College of Art and Design, Savannah Campus, Junior. Illustration. Last year everything started with S until my major. I wrecked it.”

“Huh. Pretty easy when ‘Savannah’ is at the front of half of those. Illustration?”

Taehyung put his knees down and awkwardly pulled out the front of his shirt with one hand. “I drew this.” Ack. “Pretty typical stuff, but hey, this aesthetic sells, and if anyone asks me where I got it, I can sell it to them right off my back.”

Jungkook snorted and Taehyung flashed him a grin. “What’s your major?” he asked.

“I’m not in school. I just work.”

“Huh. I should get a job. Do you do any arty stuff on the side?”

“Sometimes I work out. I can kind of sing and dance,” Jungkook murmured, “and I draw a little.”

“Cool! I sing too. I have some friends who are dancers. You should meet them.”

Jungkook tended to stay away from scaddies. He stayed quiet and sipped his drink. Taehyung didn’t seem bothered, staring around the apartment with wide eyes, bobbing his head like he was listening to music. “So Halo,” he said, staring at the TV. “You play this a lot?”

“Yeah, all the time.”

“With friends or by yourself?”

Jungkook snorted. The last several months had been lonely to say the least. “I don’t really have any friends beside Namjoon. Everyone moved away for college. Or stopped talking to me completely.”

“You should totally come hang with the gang.” He made finger guns around the glass in his hand.

“I’m not twenty-one. I can’t drink.”

Taehyung stopped shooting his finger guns. “Neither am I! And I don’t mean bars. What are your favorite things to do here?”

“Halo.”

“Really? You live and work in downtown Savannah and you play Halo? Where do you go when you want to get out and do something?”

“I don’t know, the gym? The candy store on River Street?”

Taehyung gaped at him. “Like a fucking tourist. You’re kidding.”

“This town sucks! Why would I leave this apartment?”

“It only sucks because you think you know the place. I see that all the time. People come here from cool cities and they’re so glad to get away from home, but after the first break they come back homesick and heartbroken and very appreciative of where they come from. You’d do the same thing. This is a tourist town for a reason. There’s an art college here for a reason.”

Jungkook shook his head, needing to get back onto solid ground when it came to his own fucking city. “This is a tourist town because the art college revived it, not the other way around.”

Taehyung waved a hand in the air, “Doesn’t matter. Do you know what Foxy Loxy is?”

Jungkook snorted. “That’s some hipster coffee shop, right?”

Taehyung scoffed, stood up, and chugged the rest of his drink. “Some hipster coffee shop. That place is the shit! Fuckin bourbon bacon brownies. BBB.”

“Bro. Chill. What?”

“We’re going there. Right now. I am spending the rest of the day introducing you to your own city. You have no say in the matter. I’ll pay for everything. Get up! It’s already noon!” Taehyung turned off the TV, then attempted to turn off the game system and gave up. Jungkook did it for him, still confused. “Hold on, what are we doing? Let me change out of my pajamas.”

Taehyung giggled and followed him into his bedroom. “Nice little room you got here. Overlooks Broughton. Nicest street in the city, this.”

“What? It’s the shopping street. It’s too loud.” Jungkook said, yanking open his dresser. “I hope they don’t string the lights across the street from my window in the winter. See that hook there?” Taehyung walked to the window and looked down at a metal hook in the wall right under his window.

“But the lights are so pretty,” he whined.

“I bet they’re not when there’s one shining directly into your bedroom all night every night.”

“I’m gonna pull it out.”

“Wait, what? No! Vandalism! They’ll make me pay for it.”

“Too late.”

Jungkook jumped across his bed to find Taehyung already unscrewing the hook. He snickered evilly and dropped it on the pavement below. “There. It fell out. Not anyone’s fault but gravity.”

“Your fingerprints are on that!”

“As if they’d check. Lighten up! Let’s go!”

Jungkook wasn’t sure why he was agreeing to go run around the city in the middle of the afternoon in August when he could be happy at home playing Halo and drinking more vodka. He’d planned to stay in his pajamas all day. He still pulled his pajama shirt off and went for a shirt in the drawer.

“Hey, turn around,” Taehyung said.

“Why?” Jungkook asked, turning curiously. For the first time that day, Taehyung looked intensely serious. Jungkook suddenly wondered if there was a spider on him or something. “Taehyung…”

“I’ll tell you in a minute. Keep turning.”

Jungkook turned till he was fully facing Taehyung, very tense and a little freaked out.

“Huh,” Taehyung said, voice soft, one hand playing with his lips. “You’re a lot more built than I thought. Those are some muscles, those are.”

Oh. That was all. Jungkook leaned over and put his hands on his knees, huffing out a relieved sigh. “Dude, don’t scare me like that. I thought there was a spider or something. I have enough trouble with cockroaches in here; I don’t need black widows too.”

Taehyung laughed, oddly reserved. He was still staring at Jungkook’s torso. Jungkook gave him his most intense look of suspicion, and pulled his shirt on.

“Aw, damn,” Taehyung murmured.

Jungkook flushed. “Can you turn around? I need to change the rest of my clothes.”

Taehyung turned very slowly, keeping his eyes over his shoulders till the last moment, bottom lip between his teeth, and then faced front with a sigh. Jungkook didn’t think he’d ever changed his underwear so fast. He nearly fell over getting tangled in his basketball shorts. “Ok. You can turn around.”

Taehyung immediately dropped his torso down to stare at him from between his legs, lavender hair brushing the floor, forearms flopping flat on the carpet, and dead stag t-shirt slipping up towards his face over his own surprising set of abs. “Yay! I can see you now!” He looked totally different upside-down with his hair off his face. Weird and older. And really fucking flexible.

“Um.”

Taehyung stood straight again, back arching, and fixed his t-shirt. “We’re getting lunch first.”

Jungkook pulled on a snapback and vans. “Let’s go.”

They ate at the Asian noodle place called the Flying Monk Jungkook always passed on the way to work. He could tell why it was crowded all the time. The food was fucking delicious, but Jungkook spent about half the meal with his chopsticks hanging halfway out of his mouth as he stared at Taehyung. Taehyung put salt in his drink just for fun, added soy sauce to the soup for no reason, made a sculpture of a Danish windmill out of napkins, tried to take a bite out of the menu, and ate an eggroll without using his hands.

Taehyung dragged him up the entirety of Broughton Street, stopping in every half interesting store for all of ten seconds. They stopped in the Paris Market, a vintage-y decorative curio shop of a place, and Taehyung covered himself in sample perfumes and sat in the back corner of the basement for a couple minutes poking at an old typewriter. Jungkook went back upstairs to look at some photography books, and turned around to find Taehyung with a sparkly-gold, very expensive looking headband in his hair.

“How do I look?”

“Cute?” He answered honestly, and Taehyung giggled curled adorably in on himself. “The gold looks good with the purple.”

“I’ll buy it.”

“The headband? It’s so girly though.”

“And its twenty-seven dollars. Never mind.”

Jungkook would not let them go into the Savannah Bee Company store. Taehyung grabbed his arm and tried to drag him into the store.

“Hell no! I work there! Why would I want to do that? I thought you were supposed to be showing me things that I don’t already know.”

“Awww, but I wanted to make puns about bees and honey!”

Jungkook threw his legs into yanking away from Taehyung, and only ended up pulling him hard into himself. They both fell over on the sidewalk.

“SCAD students,” some man muttered while walking around them.

Jungkook sighed. Taehyung was still flopping around on top of him giggling. “Let’s go read funny books in Urban Outfitters.”

“I have not entered that store since it opened.”

“Time to break the streak! It’s that or I make you come with me into Victoria’s Secret. You do not want to see what I’m like in that store.”

“Fuck. Fine.”

Jungkook left the store with a book of recipes for marijuana food. Taehyung left with dark teal nail polish. “I think this will be my next hair color.”

“You’re not going to keep it purple?” Jungkook asked, reaching out to touch it.

Taehyung leaned his head into Jungkook’s hand, which almost made him yank his hand away. “I change it every month or so. No big deal. I’m fickle, impulsive, spontaneous. What are you going to do?”

“Uh, nothing?”

“Ok. That was a pretty unusual quote. Not something people reference very often. My fault.”

“What’s it from?”

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World.

“Never seen it.”

“And now I know what we’re watching tonight.”

The walk to Foxy Loxy was much longer than Jungkook anticipated, but there was a lot to see on the way. Taehyung led him through several squares, shaded parks every couple blocks all over the city, full of umbrella-like live oaks dripping with grey moss. These, at least, Jungkook new, having spend countless hours trying to skateboard along the brick walkways with his friends in middle school, or holding his mom’s hand as she led him through crowds of cheerful drunks filling the squares on St. Patrick’s Day.

Taehyung muttered, “It’s really hot,” and then dunked his head in a public fountain. His hair turned a lovely vibrant purple when it was wet. They visited the world’s cutest little house-turned-bookstore with Taehyung’s hair still dripping water onto his shirt, turning the white just a little translucent.

“You’re a mess,” Jungkook said as Taehyung pawed through the romance novels.

“I’m hot!”

“You should not have worn skinny jeans.”

“But they make my butt look good.”

“What butt?”

Two very nice-looking, very grumpy old ladies chased them out of the store when Taehyung started throwing books at him.

“SCAD art store!” Taehyung said, leading him into a glassy trinket shop full of artsy accessories, pillows, and paintings. “My stuff is gonna be good enough to sell stuff out of this place before I graduate,” he said, skipping around with his arms over his head. The three other customers in the wide, open store turned to stare. Jungkook hid behind a table of candles.

One of the smallest candles was seventy-five dollars. “Taehyung, please don’t drip on anything.”

“If I had more cash, I’d buy everything in my house from stores like this. There’s a place back down on Broughton that sells furniture made of actual airplane parts. I want some of those. One day, hopefully soon, when I marry a very rich man that’s never around, all the cool furniture will be mine.”

Jungkook looked at some prints at the back, and then got bored and wandered to the front where Taehyung was leaning across the counter, flirting shamelessly with the cashier, a tall, blond man with a lip piercing and tattoos covering his arms. Jungkook felt a little intimidated.

“Can we go?” he asked quietly.

“Ok!” he turned to the guy. “I wrote my number on that bag. Call me.”

“Do that a lot?” Jungkook asked.

“Yeah. I love sex.”

Jungkook snorted. “Not even gonna ask him to dinner first?”

“No way. I don’t want a boyfriend. I’m kind of a free spirit, ya know? I keep my emotions and my love life waaaay separate.”

“Can’t be healthy,” Jungkook said.

“It’s working out so far. I don’t get relationships. Everyone I know who gets in a relationship suddenly has no time for anything but that. It seems so constrictive. I can’t imagine being so emotionally and recreationally dependent on just one other person. Wouldn’t do it.”

“I think that sounds kind of nice,” Jungkook muttered, remembering all the exhausted evenings he’d spent lying in his apartment wishing he wasn’t alone.

“Well, we’ll just have to find you a girlfriend then. Or boyfriend. There’s a cool tea room across the street if you want to go.”

And there went that conversation. “What the hell is a tea room?”

“I don’t know. I’ve never been. I guess you drink tea there? Jimin—he’s a friend—told me it used to be a legit apothecary and they still have the walls lines with tons of old books and shit.”

“Damn. I knew this city was a hipster’s wet dream, but I never really got how bad it was until today.”

“Hipster, hipster. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.”

“Oh really. What does it mean then?”

Taehyung shut his mouth for a minute, head tilted to one side, his hands behind his back, thinking. “I don’t actually know. I think people mean different subsets of people when they say it because it encompasses such a wide range of people. In pure terms its just younger people who keep up with alternative trends and fashions to the mainstream, whatever that is. I think you mean pretentious idiots who subscribe to a really stereotyped version of hipster stuff and are actively scornful of anything outside of it. That’s actually kind of a mainstream thing to be, right now, so they’ve completely defeated the purpose of alternative, progressive living in the first place and bought into the capitalist system they claim to reject. That’s not what hipsters are, though. That’s just a subset.

“And really, hipsters are so different from each other that I don’t like defining anyone that way, because they’re all splitting off into their own things, and you could call someone a hipster and mean one thing, and they call themselves a hipster and mean something else entirely.”

“Are you a hipster?”

“I’m sure some people would say so, yes. I call myself an artist and a whack job. Are you a hipster?”

“Not at all.”

“Huh. Really? I don’t meet many of those.”

“Many not hipsters?”

“Yeah. I do go to SCAD, though. Nobody’s not a hipster in one form or another.” Taehyung looped an arm through Jungkook’s and skipped off down the sidewalk, dragging him along.

Forsyth park, a huge, long rectangle of greenery in the middle of the southern half of the city, was strangely crowded. Jungkook felt like a dog walker missing a leash as they walked in and Taehyung immediately ran over the top ledge of a bench, then across the walkway to the bench on the other side, bounced on top of a trash can, and then ran in a circle around Jungkook and jumped on his back. Jungkook flailed and grabbed his legs, but dropped him. Taehyung immediately took off into the azalea bushes. Jungkook waited for a moment on the huge central sidewalk, a thirty-foot-wide corridor of cement squares under towering oaks down towards the gleaming postcard fountain, hoping Taehyung would come out on his own. He didn’t. Jungkook felt like a fifty-year-old man looking after a toddler. He took a moment to gather his breath, and followed him through the azaleas.

Taehyung was halfway up a small tree when Jungkook found him.

“Dude. Seriously? You’ll break it.”

“I’ve climbed this before. It’s safe.”

“You’re gonna hurt yourself.”

“Are you seriously only eighteen? You fret like my mother.”

“Oh god, you have a mother. That poor women. Bless her soul.”

Taehyung giggled and hung himself upside-down from a branch, one hand grabbing at Jungkook’s shoulder and the other holding his own shirt down (up?). The stag looked even spookier at this angle, weird black lines blotting out its dead body except for one gleaming eye that looked even crazier upside-down. “We could Spiderman kiss right now.”

“You could also get down.”

“You’re no fun.” He smacked the brim of Jungkook’s hat, turning it sideways. Jungkook just turned it all the way around.

“It’s already three in the afternoon! When are we going to get to the damn coffee shop!”

Taehyung hoisted himself back up onto the branch and then practically fell out of the tree with how fast he got down. He jogged down the grassy, shady stretch, nearly knocking pedestrians off the paths, and Jungkook followed helplessly.

The other side of Forsyth beyond the oaks and famous fountain, was some sort of giant monument between two long grassy fields, playgrounds and a soaring circus-tent-like band shell with a café area on the near end, and tennis courts in the distance by the road. Scaddies swarmed the fields, Frisbees and soccer balls flying. A dance troupe practiced on the band shell stage. People lay out sunning in swimsuits on the grass. Several girls with dreads hula-hooped over old-fashioned picnic baskets and gingham blankets. Until a couple weeks ago, Jungkook could almost have guaranteed that he’d run into people from his high school out there, but the underclassmen had been back in school for weeks, and his graduating class was all off at college. He felt a little lonely.

Taehyung was walking on top of the playground monkey bars.

“All these parents are going to sue you when their children try to copy you and fall on their faces.

“These parents can suck m—You know, actually, I think I’m going to keep that thought to myself with all these kids around.”

“Good plan. Can we please go see the damn coffee shop?”

Taehyung gave him a Look. “Ok, Mr. Grouchy Gills. We can leave this awesome playground, but I did not drag you out here today to visit a simple coffee shop. I dragged you out here to have fun. Now let’s go join that ultimate Frisbee game.”

That sufficiently derailed Jungkook’s train of thought. “Join what?”

Taehyung was not a shy person. He was also very good at butting into someone else’s Frisbee game. He was not the best player, but Jungkook was good enough for both of them. No one can expect someone with purple hair that can’t focus long enough to eat a meal without incident to pay close enough attention to have any idea of what’s going on in a fast-paced game of Ultimate anyway. He could throw the damn thing, but he could not remember if he was on shirts or skins, even though he was still wearing his fucking stag shirt, and he never knew which side of the field he was supposed to go towards.

He made a great wild card and he was a natural at distracting the opponent, attempting a back flip and landing on his face, impersonating a gorilla, simply making faces, or howling and racing towards them with his eyes bugging and his arms stretched out.

An hour later they went looking for water, clothes soaked through with sweat and covered in grass stains. Jungkook bought water bottles in an “inferior,” coffee shop, by Taehyung’s title, as Taehyung spent a few minutes in the bathroom. He came out with his hair bright, wet purple again, and his clothes even more soaked than before, stag shirt clinging to his abs.

“What did you do?”

“I took off my clothes, washed them, and myself in the sink, wrung them out, and put them back on. They’ll dry the minute we walk outside. You should do the same. Can I have the water bottle? I have to get out before the manager sees me.”

Jungkook stared at his red, sweaty face in the bathroom mirror for a few seconds, legitimately wondering if he’d been having some sort of weird, adventurous stress-dream this entire time, before his eye caught on some stands of purple hair in the sink drain. The floor was already soaking wet. He followed Taehyung’s lead and took a sink bath and rinsed his clothes off.

Halfway to the door he saw the manager coming out from behind the counter, jaw locked and face livid. He sped up, depending on the obstacle course of tables between himself and the manager for protection, and ran out the door. “Taehyung, go, go, go he’s coming, he’s coming, fuckfuckfuckfuck—”

Taehyung was already up and running. Jungkook heard the door slam open behind him and picked up speed. They slowed down a couple blocks later, leaning on the wall and panting in the oppressive heat, dripping on the sidewalk. Jungkook’s cheeks hurt from smiling. He turned to Taehyung, who looked up at him from under his purple fringe, grinning excitedly. He snickered and ruffled Jungkook’s hair. “There it is. Good boy.”

“Huh?”

“Nothing. Let’s go. Damn I’m glad my wet clothes are cooling me off.”

Jungkook squirmed uncomfortably. “They keep sticking to me.”

“They’ll be dry in fifteen minutes out here.”

Taehyung chattered too much for Jungkook’s level of exhaustion, talking about anything from the genetic differences of azalea colors to the outcome of that summer’s CrossFit games, which were both things that Jungkook had never thought to even consider, then moved on to Cowboy Beebop, apparently the world’s best anime. Jungkook had nothing to contribute. When Jungkook realized the conversation had moved through prophetic dreams and was now meandering down the trail towards the true nature of good and evil he had to stop walking and put his hands on his knees.

“You ok? Foxy is right there.”

“I just. I need a minute.”

Taehyung crouched down on the ground to look up into Jungkook’s face. He looked a little like a bird. “I’m sorry. I’ve been told that I overwhelm people sometimes. Should I shut up?”

“No, no. Don’t do that. I just never knew there were so many things to talk about and I can’t contribute to anything.”

Taehyung laughed quietly. “You should hear my lecture about giant squid. I can usually swing into a discussion about Yetis vs. Sasquatches, and then smoothly transition to human evolution. I’m pretty proud of that one.”

“I can’t help you with any of those either. Maybe sasquatches, a little.”

“You look tired. Let’s get you some coffee.”

He’d expected Foxy Loxy to be underwhelming after all the buildup, and in a way, it was. It was just a house turned into a coffee shop, the serving counter where the dining room should be, seating filling the rooms, and art papered the walls. They sat in the large back courtyard surrounded by high, ivy-covered walls, a stoplight and a carousel horse, herbs growing in the corner, a fire pit, and a small stage called “The Acoustic Alter.” For the first time that day, Taehyung stopped talking and held still, and they sipped their coffee in silence

“I love this place,” Taehyung said, crushed up into his chair around his iced coffee.

“It’s…kinda weird,” Jungkook said. “It’s absolutely not the kind of place I’d usually go, but I’d come here again. It’s really cool.”

“Too hipster, right?”

Jungkook snickered. “Yeah. I guess that’s not so bad though. This bourbon bacon brownie is awesome.”

“They have great tacos.” Taehyung’s hair was dry again, and very fluffy. Jungkook wondered if he would purr like a cat if he pet him, then shook that thought quickly from his head.

“I’m weird, right?” Taehyung said softly.

“What? No! Well…yeah, you’re really weird, but I hadn’t thought of it like that until this moment.”

Taehyung stared at him for a moment. “What did you think then?”

“Well, you’re kind of nuts, but it’s a good nuts. It’s really fun. Thanks for taking me out and dragging me around today. You’re right. I haven’t tried to have fun here in a while, and I think I’ve been missing out.”

Taehyung smiled widely. “Yay! Mission accomplished. I’d better get back, though. I have homework. I don’t think I’ll have time to watch Scott Pilgrim with you tonight.”

“I’m having a hard time imagining you actually working.”

“I’m very diligent if I like what I’m doing.”

Taehyung wouldn’t let them leave for another half hour, though, so Jungkook spent the time watching the alternative crowd filling up the tables around them and striking up occasional conversation about cocktails or high school. Taehyung didn’t seem to remember his school fondly. He’d change the subject to prank wars or the concept of hell whenever it came up.

On the way back, they touched on sex.

“Ok, this is my favorite topic of conversation.”

“Really? All that stuff about giant squid and the concept of good and evil and your favorite topic is sex?”

“Sex is awesome. Do you have a problem talking about sex?”

“No, it just seems kind of pedestrian after listening to you wax philosophical all day.”

“There were a lot of good words in that sentence. I applaud you. And who says I can’t wax philosophical about sex? There’s something truly sublime about having a dick up your ass.”

Jungkook burst out laughing.

“You should try it sometime,” Taehyung said, eyes twinkling.

“I have. It hurt like fuck. I hated it.”

“Your partner was doing it wrong.”

“Believe me, I could tell.”

“Ever had sex with women?”

“Nah. I’ve only ever been interested in a few people and they’ve all been men.”

“Interesting. Good to know. I like it how you never used the word ‘gay’ to describe your clearly homosexual orientation. I feel like there’s something significant about that.”

“Stop being a fucking psychologist. I just don’t think about it very much. Yeah, ok. I’m gay. I like watching men fuck each other on the internet. I’d love to have a boyfriend.” He paused. “Actually I’d love to have a girlfriend too. I wouldn’t have sex with her, I just like the concept of being with someone.”

“So weird,” Taehyung murmured, shaking his head.

Jungkook shrugged. “Everyone else is on board. You’re the weird one.”

The walk back was long and hot, and Jungkook still felt sticky from the ultimate game. Even Taehyung seemed a little subdued, bouncing along beside him, only stopping to poke through one trash can with a stick, eyes picking out shapes in the clouds that Jungkook couldn’t find.

At Jungkook’s door Taehyung said goodbye by pinning him to a wall and nuzzling roughly into him like a cat. Jungkook whined and tried to scramble out of the way, but Taehyung held on tight and giggled. “See you later, Kookie. I’m serious about you hanging out with my friends, by the way. We’ll come find you. Enjoy Halo!” He skipped away down the hall with a last grin back at him.

Taehyung walked right back in through the unlocked door ten minutes later to find Jungkook lying shirtless on the couch, staring at the ceiling. “Left my bag,” he said to Jungkook’s bewildered face. “Nice abs.” He leaned down over the back of the couch and gently bit his stomach. An uncomfortable electric feeling laced straight down into his cock. Jungkook yelped and flailed. Taehyung giggled and let go, then quickly kissed the crown of his head and ran out.

Jungkook went to be bed early, drunk, and dizzyingly confused.

 

August ended and Jungkook turned nineteen to very little fanfare. Namjoon gave him a few bottles of liquor. His mom gave him a huge load of groceries and cleaning products, and then let him fix her a drink. They stayed up late talking in his living room.

“You should get a girlfriend to move in with you, help out, and keep you company around here. This place is big enough for two,” she said, “I wish you were back home to help me. That place fit three people easily, and it feels a bit luxurious for just me.”

“Boyfriend.”

“What?”

“I should get a boyfriend.”

She blinked a couple times. “Spell this out for me, dear.”

“I’m gay.”

He let her digest that for a minute and calmly sipped his own drink.

“Really?” she asked.

“Yeah.”

“Since when?”

“I came out of the closet after graduation.”

“Never would have called that,” she said, shaking her head. “And you didn’t tell me. I’m hurt. Why not?”

“It didn’t come up till now. It wasn’t like I didn’t want you to know, or anything. It’s just something I don’t talk about very often.”

She raised her drink slowly to her lips and didn’t put it down for a while.

“You ok there? You look a little upset.”

“I worry about you, honey. Being gay is hard, I think. I guess I wouldn’t know. I just want your life to be easier than mine. And I wish you would have told me while I still had you in the house.”

Jungkook put down his drink and scooted over to hug her. “Sorry. Didn’t think it mattered that much. I’m sorry I worry you.”

“It’s my job to worry about you.”

They sat quietly in the dim living for a few minutes, just hugging, till mom whined “Are you gonna adopt? I was hoping for grandkids.”

Jungkook laughed. “I’m eighteen, mom. I mean nineteen. I don’t even have a boyfriend yet. I have no idea. Ask me that in, like, eight years.”

“Have you ever had a boyfriend.”

He shook his head.

“My little Jungy’s still a virgin?” she asked, giggling.

He flinched a little. “That’s such an uncomfortable question coming from you, Mom,” he said, hiding behind his drink. “And no, I’m not.”

“Jungy! Be safe!” She started smacking him with a throw pillow and he had to put his drink down fast and run away.

“Work tomorrow,” she said an hour later, hovering by the door. She was still wearing her Macy’s manager uniform with her purse. “I’ve got a new girl working in the children’s department who doesn’t know how to do anything yet, so I’ll be policing that all day tomorrow. Are you happy, Kookie?”

He shrugged. “I’m not unhappy, really. I’m managing. The bar is awesome.”

She gave him a sympathetic grimace.

“Honestly, Mom, I think you have it worse than I do right now, and you’re still helping pay for my rent, so relax a bit. Someday soon I’ll be helping you with rent instead.” She gave him a hug, and he hugged back and rested his chin on the top of her head like she used to do. She’d gotten so much smaller than him. He felt like Frankenstein’s monster.

“I need a boyfriend to help out too,” she muttered, “A real one. Not your deadbeat father.”

“I have this friend named Namjoon I could hook you up with. He’s a bouncer at the bar I work at, so if you don’t mind tattoos…”

“And how old is he?”

“He turns twenty-two in a couple weeks.”

She snorted and whacked him. “Children. All of you. I’m going to go sleep now. I’ll see you soon, dear.”

 

The next time Jungkook saw Taehyung past frustratingly brief conversation in the hallways was when he walked in the door of The Bar Bar with several other friends in tow a couple weeks later. Yoongi was one of them, but he didn’t think he’d seen any of the others there before.

“Sex on the Beach, please,” Taehyung said, and Jungkook had missed that smile.

“I’m working tonight, babe. How about this weekend?”

One of Taehyung’s friend’s right behind him burst into loud, boisterous laughter.

“Jimin,” Taehyung said with a lazy wave of his hand. “Animation major.”

Taehyung had his hair styled half up off his forehead, purple grey in the half-light, and he looked too good for Jungkook’s health, intimidatingly beautiful and older, but his friend Jimin looked even better in a tank top and skinny jeans. He looked real good bending over the pool table with that perfect ass, tousled brown hair hanging in his face. When he picked Taehyung up and carried him off while he was trying to make a shot, his arms bulged like a bronze statue. Jungkook felt his eye drawn to him whenever he moved. He poured drinks and tried not to stare, especially when Taehyung wrapped his arms around him from behind and leaned close, pink lips brushing against his ear, and Jimin listened with hooded eyes and a half smirk.

“Cute, ain’t he?” Yoongi said, motioning to Jimin.

“How does anyone have an ass that nice?”
Yoongi smirked slowly, looking between Jimin and Jungkook.

“What’s your major?” Jungkook asked, hoping to distract him.

“Getting a Masters in photography. Would you like to meet him? I can bring him over here.”

“Do you always try to pawn off your drunk friends on the bartender? I met him. Taehyung introduced me.”

“Yeah but did you talk to him? Get to know him a little? Maybe get his number?”

“I’m not really…um,” Jungkook said quietly, watching the way Taehyung and Jimin started grinding on the dance floor. Yoongi looked a little disappointed. Jimin moved like smoke, every shift silky and fluid. Taehyung looked a little like a rubber ball beside him, drunkenly trying to nae nae and failing horribly. “Is he a dancer?”

Yoongi’s smirk came back. “Yup. You know what? I’m going to get him to come get a drink from you.”

“Who else would he go to?” Jungkook said, not really paying attention.

Not ten minutes later he turned around to see Jimin waving to get his attention.

“Yeah?”

“Make me something with whiskey?”

Jungkook laughed. “You’re getting the most expensive thing I can make with whiskey.”

“No, don’t do that,” Jimin said, looking flustered.

“Don’t tell him our tactics!” Victoria yelled on her way past with a large bowl of chips.

Jungkook made him a mint julep. Jimin took a sip, plush lips soft against the glass, and then leaned close over the counter. “Taehyung says you’re his neighbor.”

“Yup. I think I live on the floor below him.”

“Cool, cool. I’m there all the time.”

“Yeah, me too,” Jungkook said, and then felt very awkward when Jimin snorted.

“Are you in school or are you from Savannah?” Jimin asked.

“I’m from here. Just graduated high school.”

“Whoa, shit dude.”

Jungkook moved quickly past that. “You’re an animation major?”

“Yeah! I wanna work for Pixar. Stretch goals. I’ll settle for anything, really, I just love doing it. I’m pretty good, though. I think I’ll make it.” His eyes looked adorably sleepy.

“Awesome! I’ll just be here for the foreseeable future.”

“Not a bad place. How often do you work here?”

“Most nights.”

“Well,” Jimin took another sip of his drink, “I guess I’ll be coming here a lot more often then.”

Jungkook couldn’t help but smile.

Jimin kept coming back over the next hour, sometimes to use drinks as an excuse to chat, sometimes to just sit down on a stool and flirt. He kept having to get up to go grab Taehyung, who was always there over Jimin’s shoulder, jumping up onto his other friends, rolling around on the pool table, trying to climb one of the central brick pillars, and generally almost getting thrown out every ten minutes. The bouncer was Namjoon, though, so he got away with the stunt he pulled with the pool cues, and even stripping on the dance floor.

Jimin laughed, jumped off his bar stool, and ran over to pull Taehyung’s shirt back down over his head. Taehyung immediately snuggled in close to him, hips rocking against Jimin’s, and slid his hands up under his shirt. Jungkook was startled by the sudden wave of jealousy that hit him. Jimin caught Taehyung’s arms and he froze. Jimin said something. Taehyung’s eyes slid right over to Jungkook behind the bar and he got a conspiratorial look on his face and pulled his hands out from under Jimin’s shirt, nodding. Jungkook went back to mixing drinks, frustrated and confused.

When Jimin next came up to the bar, Jungkook came clean a little. “Bro, I really appreciate this, but I don’t get off work till 4 a.m., and then I have to go straight home and sleep, so you won’t be getting anything out me tonight.”

Jimin sighed, “Damn. I’ll be around though, ok?”

Jimin stepped off, and then went straight back to dancing with Taehyung, pulling his hips right back against his crotch. Taehyung’s head flopped right back onto Jimin’s shoulder, smiling lips back at his ear. His hand ran up into Jimin’s hair and Jungkook’s stomach felt a little tight.

“You let him get away?” Yoongi squawked from across the bar.

“I can’t do anything tonight. I have to get up early tomorrow.”

“So you make an excuse and leave work! I’d do fuckin anything to get in those jeans. You have wasted your opportunity.”

Jungkook snorted. “You go flirt with him then.”

Yoongi shook his head. “Nah. Jimin’s too promiscuous. I woudn’t be able to cope with that. Taehyung gets to him sometimes. They’re going to be all up on each other for the rest of the night. I don’t mind watching that either, though.”

“Are they, like, a thing?”

“Just friends with benefits, I think. Don’t worry. Dat ass is still a perfectly viable option for you.”

Even without alcohol, Jungkook felt a little buzzed just looking out on the floor. Jimin’s skin had begun to shine from sweat in the colorful lights. Taehyung’s eyes closed where his head lolled on Jimin’s shoulder, hips swinging along to Jimin’s obscenely graceful grinding. Taehyung didn’t see Jimin look right over his head at Jungkook, eyes hooded, one hand very clearly dipping under the edge of Taehyung’s pants. Jungkook had never really wanted to know what it was like to serve drinks while trying to not get hard.

They left around 1:30 am. Jimin set his glass down on the counter before they went, then took Taehyung’s empty bottle out from where his lips were wrapped gorgeously around it and put that down too. He gave Jungkook one last long once-over and a beautiful smirk, even with his arm still wrapped tightly around Taehyung’s waist, pressing him in against himself.

The last thing Jungkook saw as they waited for Yoongi by the door, was Jimin pressing his lips almost casually to Taehyung’s, and the way Taehyung slunk even closer into his space, slow and smoldering. Yoongi arrived, and they both glanced heavily at Jungkook before following him out the door, and if that didn’t shock him right down to his dick.

Near 5 am, Jungkook fell asleep annoyingly half-hard, Taehyung’s and Jimin’s lips still sliding together in his mind.

 

Namjoon, of all people, walked right into Jungkook’s miserable shift at the Bee Company the next day in the early afternoon.

“Namjoon, what are you doing here?”

“Yoongi’s crowd wanted to see you.”

“What?”

Taehyung popped out from behind him. “Hey, honey. Fancy BEEting you here.”

“No.”

Jimin appeared at Namjoon’s elbow. “This place is pretty…sweet.”

“Oh god.”

“I see the employees match the merchandise.” He bit his lip and wiggled his eyebrows.

“Can’t BEEt the Bee Company for hot employees. It’s all the buzz. They’re BEEautiful.”

“Taehyung, no.”

“Whatcha gonna do, sting me?”

Jimin said, “I wouldn’t mind getting your stinger in me, if you know what I mean.”

Taehyung cackled. Jungkook felt his face turn tomato red. Namjoon put his head right down on a counter covered in honeycomb-based hand creams.

“We brought friends,” Jimin said. “You know Yoongi.” Yoongi waved, but didn’t look up from the label on a boxed honeycomb. “That there is Hoseok, also animation. Amber is…what are you?”

“Interactive design and game development. Video games and stuff, basically.”

“Cool. Seokjin there is writing. That’s Krystal. She’s illustration, like Taehyung. Taehyung, don’t put that on your face. Really don’t. And Luna does video games with Amber. Everyone is a grad student except for Taehyung and I.”

“Well aren’t you special.”

“We’re the bee’s knees.”

“Don’t make me throw jars of lip balm at you. Don’t make me lose my job.”

He turned to Amber and Luna. “Video game design? Are you serious?”

“Yup.”

“Damn. And you’re girls. That’s awesome.”

“Our major is pretty devoid of girls. It’s kind of depressing.”

Jungkook reflexively wondered if they were gay and then internally smacked himself. Amber was pretty androgynous. Shouldn’t matter.

The crew spread out over the store, leaving Jungkook to Jimin. He wore bright red skinny jeans that hugged his thighs almost magnetically. Jungkook had trouble not looking down. “When do you get off work?” he asked.

“About twenty minutes.”

Jimin smiled. Taehyung appeared out of nowhere and yelled, “Dude! Look at these honey straws!” right in Jimin’s ear. “Look! Its sealed straws full of honey and you pop the end and mix it into your tea!”

“Or you just eat them,” Jungkook said. Taehyung immediately popped one open and stuck it in his mouth, sucking gently, lips puckered around it. He moaned quietly, eyebrows drawing together.

“Hun,” Jimin said. “Not in public.”

“That was not a sample. You’re buying that entire pack,” Jungkook said.

“I’m ok with that. We need to go to the Coffee Fox right now so I can try one of these with tea.”

“Just how many fox themed coffee shops are there?”

“I think Foxy Loxy and the Coffee Fox are run by the same people. They’re going for the same boho aesthetic. (“boho aesthetic,” Jungkook snorted.) You’ve been to both, right?” Jimin asked.

“I went to Foxy Loxy with Taehyung a couple weeks ago.”

“Dude. The Coffee Fox is right next door.”

“When I want coffee I go to Starbucks where I know how to order.”

Jimin fainted dramatically into Taehyung’s arms.

“Kookie! You’ve killed him! Did you sting him? God dammit, what if he’s allergic to bees?”

“Go drink your hipster coffee. I’ll meet you there in twenty minutes.”

The summer was still so hot that all the stores on Broughton had their doors closed instead of open and welcoming, trapping the air conditioning inside and turning every building into a refrigerator, which meant Jungkook came to work in long pants every day and kept a sweater in the back, just in case. And when he stepped out onto the blazing afternoon cement shortly after 2:00, finally free to yank his beanie down over his hair, it felt more like sinking into a hot bath than stepping into a frying pan. He stood there on the doorstep to the Bee Company and stared at the fluffy clouds drifting quickly over the old time-period patchwork buildings, a faded Disney World Main Street kind of place.

The clouds passed, sunlight poured burning down onto the street, and Jungkook felt his body heat up like he was standing over a stove. He hurried, already sweating, into the Coffee Fox.

“What can I get for you,” asked a woman with buzzed blonde and blue hair and huge black glasses.

“Uuuuh, if I give you my Starbucks order, can you give me something really similar to that.”

“mmmNo.”

“Give him a Mexican Mocha,” Taehyung said from right beside him, then shoved an opened honey straw in between Jungkook’s lips and hung off his shoulder.

“Got it. Anything else for you, Taehyung?”

“Can I have another cup of hot water and chamomile tea, please?”

“Sure thing.”

Jungkook tried to hand over his card, but Taehyung slapped his hand away and paid for both of them. “Her name is Ellis. She’s a junior sculpture major. We lived down the hall from each other last year.”

When they returned to the group crammed into a back table along the wall with their drinks in hand, there was only one small seat left next to Jimin on the bench. Taehyung pushed him in tightly against Jimin’s side and then sat sideways on his lap, easy as anything, legs stretched out and tangled with Jimin’s. Across the table, Luna openly snorted at them. Yoongi gave Taehyung a weird look.

As a bartender, Jungkook’s automatic response to awkward situations was usually to pick up the nearest glass and start drinking, just to give him something cool to do. Unfortunately, his mocha was still entirely too hot, so he settled for grabbing Jimin’s iced latte.

Jimin just grinned.

“Sorry,” Jungkook said, and pointed at Taehyung. “It’s hot under here.”

“I get it. Lots of hot gas.”

“Lots of hot ass,” Taehyung muttered, thoughtfully stirring his tea with a honey stick.

Jimin snorted. Jungkook felt him hook one ankle around his under the table.

Well. Two hot guys smothering him. Jungkook supposed he’d had worse days.

“Are there peppers in this?” he asked when he finally tasted the mocha.

“Habanero,” Taehyung said. “That’s, like, my favorite thing here.”

“You’re, like, my favorite thing here,” Jimin said. Taehyung patted his cheek with a grin, then went back to slowly sipping his tea.

“You are super calm in coffee shops,” Jungkook said.

“They’re my happy place.”

Jungkook wordlessly wrapped an arm around Taehyung’s back and squeezed a little. His other hand rested gently around Jimin’s arm where he’d slung it across Taehyung’s thighs. Luna took interest in him from across the table. “You just graduated high school, right?”

“Yeah.”

“Aw. Little guy.”

“Well I wouldn’t say that,” Taehyung said, rocking his hips hard on Jungkook’s lap, sliding over his dick, which would have felt nice if Taehyung had weighed under twenty pounds.

“Ow! Fuck!” Jungkook knocked him off his lap and Luna cracked up.

“So I’m curious. And I’m assuming you’re gay. All evidence suggests it,” she motioned to Jimin, who had just rested his head on Jungkook’s shoulder. Jimin’s fingers caressed his stomach and Jungkook breathed deeply, fighting the urge to close his eyes and enjoy it. Taehyung slid back onto his lap. “We were talking about high school this morning, and Taehyung here was making the argument that being gay in high school sucks everywhere, but Savannah is a pretty accepting community, so I was wondering it was any different.”

“I wouldn’t know. I didn’t tell anyone.”

“Oh.”

“It just made things easier if people thought I liked girls. I’m gonna side with Taehyung on this.”

“Oh yeah, I agree, I was just wondering if it was better here.”

“You’re forgetting we’re still in the south, and Savannah may be accepting, but that’s mostly SCAD, which doesn’t matter much in high school. It’s probably a lot better here than some places, but its still worse than others.”

“So enough about being slowly tortured to death in a land of idiocy,” Taehyung said, “What are we going to do for the rest of the day?”

“Wow. You really hated high school,” Jungkook said.

“Oh you’re a smart one.”

“It’s too late for the beach,” Hoseok said, “not that half of us would go there anyway,” he nudged the grumpy Yoongi, “And too early for the bar.”

“Aren’t you the expert on having fun here?” Jungkook asked Taehyung. “What do you suggest?”

“Let’s all go get drunk in the bartender’s apartment!”

“Wait, what?”

“Pre-game the bar! Let’s go!”

“Haven’t finished my coffee,” Jungkook said.

“You’re in Savannah, right? It’s not St. Patrick’s Day, but make that coffee Irish.”

“You’re ok with this, right?” Namjoon asked on their way out the door.

“Yeah, sure. I don’t mind. It’s clean and I’m not hiding—ow, the fuck?”

Someone had just shoved Jimin into Jungkook. Jimin casually wrapped an arm around his waist. “Hey, girl. Come here often?”

“Nope. Never.”

“Will you take me home with you?”

A hypothetical question, surely, since they walked in the door only ten minutes later. His apartment was unused to so many people, and he slunk into the kitchen, listening to the loud voices crowding the small living room. The college kids seemed perfectly comfortable fitting too many people in a dorm-sized space.

“Drinks?” he asked, and got nine orders at once. He made something for everyone and then started up a Smash Bros tournament to keep them busy.

Taehyung was abysmal. He couldn’t even key smash effectively. He died first in every single round and didn’t even care. He’d spend the rest of the games trying to mess everyone else up.

Jimin was good. He and Jungkook could go toe-to-toe with their favorite characters. The game design girls smashed both of them into the dirt, while having a calm discussion on algorithms in the game mechanics.

After they’d both been defeated, they watched Luna and Amber kick each other’s asses as Taehyung threw Cheetos into their hair. Jimin ran a hand very purposefully up the inside of Jungkook’s thigh, pausing near the top and just tapping his finger there. Jungkook realized he had to decide what he wanted with Jimin soon. He’d never been the type for casual sex, too much of a romantic to handle that. He decided he wanted another drink.

When he came back, Taehyung had taken a seat on Jimin’s lap and was whispering into his ear. He moved his feet so Jungkook could sit down, and then threw them back onto his lap, but never moved away from the side of Jimin’s head. At some point they moved on to Mario Kart and someone ordered pizza for dinner.

How did Taehyung look so good putting anything in his mouth? It was a fucking slice of pizza, for god’s sakes. It made his lips look good in the way lacy thigh-highs made nice legs look good.

The conversation turned to literary theory, Namjoon debating with Seokjin, the graduate writing student. Jungkook had a hard time listening with Jimin tracing the inner seam of his jeans with his fingernail. He had just enough presence of mind to be impressed that Seokjin could keep up, even with his education. Namjoon had tattoos of Da Vinci’s sketches up one arm and an increasing collection of famous literary quotes up the other. Krystal the illustration major kept up as well. Jungkook could count on no hands how many times he’d had a serious conversation about an ancient Greek scholar outside of a classroom. By the looks on everyone else’s faces, they were about as lost as he was.

Taehyung didn’t look lost. He was carefully tying Amber’s shoes together. She shifted her feet to give him a better angle. Yoongi made everyone who was not part of the conversation another round of drinks and then they all gave a silent toast over a debate about the value of Aristotle. The alcohol made Jungkook’s head heavy. He dropped it on Jimin’s shoulder.

“You’ve had sex before, right?” Jimin asked, quietly.

Jungkook snorted. “Yeah.”

“Casual sex?”

“Yeah, I’ve done that.”

“Cool.”

Jimin let the topic drop, and Jungkook looked suspiciously up at his impassive face. The side of his hand lay right against Jungkook’s crotch, absolutely still, but his thumb still traced small circles against the inside of Jungkook’s thigh. He shivered a little.

Taehyung threw his butt right down onto Jungkook’s lap and jammed Jimin’s hand hard into his balls. He made a loud gasping-choking noise and flailed. Jimin yanked his hand away and Taehyung giggled and bounced up and down while they both recovered.

“What the fuck just happened over there?” Yoongi asked.

“Guys, stop tormenting the kid.”

“Taehyung and Jimin are bigger kids than Jungkook is,” Namjoon muttered, coming admirably to Jungkook’s defense.

“My dick,” Jungkook squeaked.

“I’m cutting in,” Taehyung said, looping an arm around Jungkook’s neck. “That ok with you, doll-face?”

“Fuck. My dick. Ow. Hurts.”

“It’s like watching puppies trying to fight and tripping over their paws,” Luna said.

“I smell a threesome,” Seokjin agreed.

“Would you let me kiss it better?”

“Off. Off.”

Taehyung shifted unsympathetically further down his thighs. Jungkook picked him up, turned around, and dropped him on Jimin, and then stalked off to the kitchen. Jimin turned around of the couch and shouted, “Are you ok? Will you live?” after him.

“No! I need more alcohol.”

Taehyung fell off Jimin and onto the floor, giggling.

Namjoon, considerably more taken with the whole group than he had been before Seokjin had matched him in a literary debate, decided it was time to head to the bar.

“You should get a degree in literature,” Seokjin told him, “or philosophy. Become a professor or some shit.”

Namjoon smiled thoughtfully and shook his head. “I’ve never thought of myself as college material. I’m one of those smart, no-money, no-motivation, too-cynical-about-the-system-to-willingly-enter-it kind of guys.”

Jungkook supposed that was the nicest way Namjoon could say that he loudly mocked college students for buying into a failing system and dumping money into degrees with decreasing chances of returns. SCAD students, in his opinion, had the most self-assured attitudes and the bleakest futures. Namjoon had decided to take his chances in “the real world,” halfway through high school, and had never given college a second thought. Jungkook privately thought it was a shame. He’d have killed for the money to go to college or the brains to get a scholarship, like Namjoon.

Meanwhile, Hoseok and Luna struggled to get Amber’s shoes laced correctly again, and Taehyung certainly wasn’t helping. Jungkook, still miffed on behalf of his recovering dick, stuck close to Jimin’s side, going so far as to pull Jimin between himself and Taehyung.

Taehyung took no offense, though Jungkook wished he would. He danced like an elf around Amber, squawked like a pterodactyl at tourists, and then he climbed onto Hoseok’s back and rode him down the street, both of them shrieking. He tried to steer and Hoseok grabbed a light post to keep from falling. When Taehyung latched onto Namjoon’s side outside the door of the bar, Jungkook felt an uncomfortable twinge of jealousy. He slid a light hand over Jimin’s lower back to distract himself, right where it curved smoothly into his ass. Jimin smiled and shifted close to Jungkook’s side, an arm over his neck.

Jungkook caught Taehyung staring like an alligator above the water over Namjoon’s shoulder.

Jungkook didn’t even think anything of it when he walked into the bar without getting ID’d on the way in. Presumably they’d missed him in the ten-person rush of scaddies, most of them fairly frequent visitors. Lucky. He’d never been to this place, though. Jimin bought him a drink and pulled him onto the floor, all that smoky grace turning under his hands, making his head reel.

It was one cocktail further than he probably should have gone. Soon the bar was a deep haze of bright colors and shadowy faces. He put his drink down on a random table and left it there, hoping he wouldn’t get any more drunk before he got better. His motor function was still mostly fine, as was his balance, and he was sober enough to know he should stop drinking, so he let Jimin pull him to the center of the dance floor and line up against his back.

He closed his eyes and focused on Jimin rocking against his ass. Who had the last person he’d hooked up with been? Zitao from high school, maybe, who was super bad at topping. Years ago. The half-hard dick at his back felt so good he almost felt himself moan.

Another hot, heavy weight pressed up close against his front. Jungkook couldn’t be bothered to stop dancing because now there were hips grinding against his dick too. And these pants definitely hurt. Way too tight. Why the hell did he wear skinny jeans? Oh shit, was he still wearing his work uniform? Was he really out at a bar wearing a Savannah Bee Company t-shirt? He could not afford to get fired. He’d only just started paying another quarter of the rent.

He opened his eyes. The person attached to his front was Taehyung, arguing with Jimin over his shoulder. Or maybe making out? He turned a little awkwardly to look. Maybe both? Taehyung grabbed Jimin’s hair and forced him into a tight lip-lock. Jimin’s hands tightened on Jungkook’s sides, the dick against his ass became much more pronounced. Jungkook moaned out loud and both boys turned to look at him, lips slick and wet, cheeks red.

“Not a gay bar!” Someone right beside them yelled, and then slammed into them. The dance floor burst apart. Jimin was still on his feet, Taehyung somewhere on the floor, and Jungkook was trying to stand up, when someone grabbed his arm painfully hard and forced him upright. “No fuckin way this fag’s twenty-one. Someone get the bouncer over—”

Jungkook punched him hard in the face, then overbalanced and fell over. He stood up, using a bar stool for help. That guy shrieking on the floor with blood spouting out his nose probably had friends. He needed to leave.

The crowded dance floor was good cover. He made it all the way out the door and half a block down the street before he felt a hand on his arm.

He turned around fast, arm flailing, and smacked Taehyung square in the jaw. Taehyung gasped and sat down on the sidewalk.

“Fuck! Oh shit! I’m so sorry. I thought you were one of that fucker’s friends coming after me. Shit. Are you ok?” He knelt down beside him and pulled his hand gently away from his face, cradling his other cheek.

Taehyung stared up at him with wide eyes. “Ow. You’ve got an arm on you.”

“Yeah, two of them. Please stand up. We have to go. It’s not safe.”

“Chill. That place is crazy. We’ll be fine.”

Taehyung stood, his hands still on his face, jaw working.

“If I had been one of his friends, I think you’d be fine right now. My face hurts,” he said, pulling out his phone. “I’m texting Yoongi and telling him we’re heading back to the apartment. Night’s over.”

When he didn’t move fast enough, Jungkook grabbed him by the arm and steered him along as he texted. To their left was a square dark with oaks and street lights that didn’t illuminate anything but a few leaves around them, no one in sight, all quiet churches and dark businesses. Jungkook didn’t feel safe.

“Sorry about that,” Taehyung said, eyes still glued to his phone. “Maybe I shouldn’t have, I don’t know, made a scene back there, or something.”

“Taehyung, all you do is make scenes. Don’t blame yourself for this one. For the record, I’m sorry I agreed to come out to the bar when I don’t have a fake and put everyone’s evenings at risk.”

Taehyung slid his phone in his pocket and kept pace with Jungkook, glancing back every few feet.

“Shit,” he said, “Do you think Jimin’s ok?”

“Namjoon’s there,” Jungkook said, “I’ve seen him overpower two giant trucker types at once before. He’s a smart fighter. Jimin’ll be fine.”

“Can we slow down? No one’s following us. You’re kind of freaking out.”

“I wanna get home—” He tripped and fell flat on his face.

“Jungkook? Oh my god, Jungkook, please get up. Please don’t have just knocked yourself out.”

“I’m ok,” Jungkook muttered, muffled against the sidewalk, “Just gonna chill down here and nurse my ego for a bit.”

“Sounds fun. I’ll join you.” Taehyung lay down beside him, cuddled up with his head on his back, pressed tight to his side, one arm slung over his lower back, joining the weight of alcohol in his core.

“Comfortable?” Jungkook asked as he felt Taehyung tangle one leg in between his.

“Yeah. You?”

Jungkook took stock. The ground was warm and hard, and it stung. Taehyung was warmer, but soft, all t-shirt material and soft skin with a little give, not to heavy. One of his knees burned. His hands and one of his forearms burned. His chin and one toe hurt. The alcohol made it easy for him to close his eyes and let his weight sink closer to the asphalt, all muscles relaxing. “Hell yeah. Super comfy.”

Taehyung giggled, shoved a head under one of his shoulders, and rolled him limply onto his back so he could curl across his front.

He looked down towards Taehyung and found his face inches away, his hair falling sideways off his forehead, ugly yellow-grey in the streetlights. He was silent, one lip between his teeth, eyes wide and flickering between Jungkook’s. His fingers traced slowly up the side of his neck. Jungkook pulled him up closer by the shoulders and pressed his mouth gently to Taehyung’s soft bottom lip. It was every bit at delectably soft as he’d imagined. Taehyung gasped, tensing and clutching, and Jungkook brought his other arm over, the stinging one, and pulled him right on top of himself. Taehyung moaned quietly and licked gently down between his lips.

Jungkook felt a knee between his thighs, one bony hip against his crotch, and pulled his knees up to press his leg against Taehyung’s ass, who moaned quick and quiet, cut off and ignored.

“How’d you get so pretty, kid?” Taehyung asked, and Jungkook snorted.

“Don’t call me that, sweetheart.”

Taehyung hips twitched and he sucked a heavy breath in past his teeth. Jungkook sat up quickly, got his arms under Taehyung’s legs, and stood up. Taehyung’s legs squeezed around his sides. “Fuck.”

“You like being carried around, babe?” His arms threatened to start shaking, though, so he pressed Taehyung up against a brick wall and sucked roughly at his throat.

Taehyung bucked against him, arms tight and painful around his neck. “Take me home, Kookie. I wanna get your dick down my throat.”

 

Halfway though getting his soul sucked out through his dick Jungkook had a moment of clarity as Taehyung took a break to drink water. First, he realized that he was sobering up a bit, which was a relief. Second was that he’d been flirting with Jimin all day, but it wasn’t Jimin down there sucking on him like he needed his cum to survive.

He muttered, “Jimin,” distractedly, just as Taehyung deep-throated him again. Terrible timing. Taehyung froze, then pulled off immediately.

“Did you just fucking call me Jimin?”

Jungkook snickered. “No, actually. I just remembered that he existed, and that having you sucking me off on my couch is kind of a plot twist after flirting with him all day.”

Taehyung giggled. “He’s gonna be so pissed at me. He should have known I was going to win, though. I never lose this shit.”

“Never lose…what?”

“Later,” Taehyung promised, and then went back to swallowing down his dick tongue working hot along the underside. Jungkook was ok with later.

Later meant thirty minutes later, in his bed, with Taehyung kneeling over him thrusting two fingers into his own ass, and Jungkook’s hands were tied to the headboard.

“I fucking win. Jimin and I came up with a contest in the Coffee Fox before you got there. Whoever gets your dick in their ass first wins.”

What?

“I win,” Taehyung said, and sat down on Jungkook’s oversensitive dick in one fast slide. Jungkook back locked up, arms yanking at the headboard. He choked. When he could finally open his eyes and bend his neck to look, Taehyung was hunched over on his chest, whimpering, long high whines punctuated with sobs. Jungkook badly wanted to reach down and run a hand through his hair, or pull his face up so he could see it, kiss him till his stopped crying. He yanked at the restraints on his wrists.

“Taehyung, baby, look at me.”

Taehyung slowly brought his head up, eyes tight and leaking tears, mouth set in a rectangular grimace. He choked out another sob and wiped his wet face off on Jungkook’s chest, who groaned.

“Dude, gross. Fuck. Are you okay?”

“Hurts. Shouldn’t have…done that. I’ll be okay. Just give me a minute. Didn’t prep enough.”

“For the love of all that is good and holy, please untie me.”

“Can’t reach. Wait a minute? I really don’t think I can move right now.”

“Ok. It’s ok, Taehyung. Just. Take care of yourself, ok?”

“Yeah. I do that to my dildo all the time, but I think you’re bigger.”

And now Jungkook was imagining Taehyung fucking himself hard and fast on a dildo. His dick twitched. “Fuck.”

Taehyung pushed himself upright, all his weight heavy on Jungkook’s chest. He wiggled his hips in tiny circles and made a sound that could have been either from pain or pleasure. Jungkook tensed up, mouth falling open.

“Baby, don’t hurt yourself.”

Taehyung gritted out, “I like it when it hurts,” and dragged his body slowly upwards, shaking. “Next time you’re gonna fuck me so hard I can’t move.”

Jungkook worried he would slam himself back down again, but he slid on nice and easy, bottoming out with a blissed expression, his head tipped back towards the ceiling. The heat was delicious. Taehyung cackled a little maniacally, tears still running down his face. “There it is,” he said, and finally started moving faster. Jungkook groaned and gripped the restraints on his hands, his eyes closed.

“You want me to untie those?” Taehyung said, voice low and raw.

“Don’t fucking stop.”

He giggled and bounced faster, abs tense, thighs working. Jungkook braced his feet against the sheets and started thrusting up to meet him. Taehyung spine arched. His moans sounded strangled, his beautiful lips red against his open mouth. His tears had smeared black down his cheeks. He made the most beautiful desperate throaty noises and Jungkook wanted to hear them drawn out and loud.

“I changed my mind. Untie me.”

“Don’t want to. Not done,” Taehyung gasped, shifting back a little and then thrashing and grinding, frantically crying out. Jungkook stopped cooperating, stilling his hips on the bed. Taehyung just growled, swore, and started doing all the work again, now that he knew how to get to his prostate.

“Fuck! Just untie me!”

“Can’t...stop…Nearly…there.”

“Taehyung!” He thrust brutally back up into him. Taehyung’s body stilled and he just sat there above him and took it, panting and grabbing Jungkook’s knees behind him for something to hang onto.

“Please touch me,” he begged.

“I’m fucking tied up, bitch!”

Taehyung eyes shot open. He gave a high bark of laughter, and then came messily all over Jungkook’s stomach. He flopped into it.

“Taehyung, oh gross. Now we’re both nasty.”

Taehyung hummed contentedly.

“Untie me, you fucker. Untie me right now so I can fucking get off.”

“I already got you off once this evening.”

Jungkook ground his hard-on deep into Taehyung, who gave a tiny moan and bit Jungkook’s ear. Jungkook nearly cried from frustration. “This isn’t fucking fair. Taehyung, untie me, please, so I can deal with this myself since you’re not going to do it.”

“Who says I’m not going to do it?”

“Then fucking untie me!”

Taehyung reached one hand leisurely up, felt around, and then very slowly tugged the knots loose. He had barely a second of warning as Jungkook tensed under him before he’d flipped them both over and started thrusting powerfully, taking full advantage of how far he could push Taehyung’s legs back to get in deep and hard.

And if Jungkook had thought Taehyung looked beautiful riding his dick, it was nothing to the way he arched against the mattress, eyes shut tight and lips hanging open, sweating and writhing with oversensitivity, his hair splayed out off his forehead, just taking it. His cheek was still swollen where Jungkook had accidentally slapped him, and he moaned shamelessly when Jungkook bent down to kiss it.

Jungkook came watching that under him, Taehyung’s nose scrunched and his eyes squeezed tight, twitching and keening through clenched teeth, skin shining with sweat. He pulled out and cleaned up, throwing out his condom. Taehyung blinked sleepily up at him as he walked back to bed.

“Did not think you had that in you,” he murmured. “I thought you’d be, like, painfully vanilla.”

Jungkook didn’t know if he should be insulted or not. “I like watching people enjoy themselves. Whatever you’re into is ok with me.”

“I loved it when you called me a bitch. Will you hit me and call me a whore next time?”

“…No.”

“Would you come out to a horse barn with me and have pony sex?”

“Hell fucking no. That is so illegal, and so morally questionable on so many levels, and it sounds about as fun as living inside a horror movie.”

Taehyung giggled. “It would fucking hurt too.”

“Aaaaaaa-I don’t want to think about this anymore. Here’s something I do want to think about. You and Jimin having a contest over my dick like you assume I’ll be totally up for it.”

“You were. You just had sex with me. You would have had sex with Jimin.”

“Fine. Okay. Yes. Luckily for you, I was.”

“We would have given up if you weren’t up for it. Might have taken a couple weeks, but we would have. We know the rules. It’s not like we haven’t done this before.”

“What? You do it to other people? How fucking often do you do this?”

“A lot.”

Jungkook went to the bathroom to take a piss and think about things. Flattering, sure, but he’d never seriously considered having no-string-attached sex with anyone until just that day, and now he had, and he felt a little set up, a little used, like half of Jimin’s and Taehyung’s attraction towards him might’ve just been competition while Jungkook naively went along with whatever because he didn’t want to act like the baby of the group.

When he came back to bed, Taehyung shuffled his back into Jungkook’s chest, fit their hips together, and pulled Jungkook’s arm over his body. Jungkook struggled with the other arm.

“Never spooned before?” Taehyung asked, the smirk obvious in his tone.

Jungkook gritted his teeth. “I have. It was awkward. Don’t remember what I did.”

“Put it under the pillow under my head.”

“Kay.”

There were several beats of silence while Jungkook shuffled minutely, trying to get comfortable.

“Are you mad at me?” Taehyung asked sleepily.

He sighed. “A little. I’ll get over it.”

“I wanna do this again. A lot.”

“Okay,” Jungkook said, even though he felt a prickle of unease, and pressed a soft kiss right under Taehyung’s hair at the top of his neck, barely giving a thought to how domestic that was. He drifted off to sleep, unaware of Taehyung lying abruptly wide awake with his eyes open in front of him.

 

Jimin got over it fairly quickly. He showed up in the apartment and smacked Taehyung with a pillow a few times while Jungkook flushed red and hid behind his Snapchat feed for a little while. Nothing interesting. Kris Wu at a college party getting turnt, Zitao at a college party getting turnt, Baekhyun at a college party getting turnt with Chanyeol, Jess hanging out with friends in the library, singing Disney and tossing snack wrappers at each other. He felt a twinge of loneliness. He watched her story whenever it came up, but it’d been months since she last sent a snap just to him.

His current, very new, very strange friends were currently engaging in a cushion battle over who sat on his dick the night before. Not something he’d ever had to worry about with friends before.

At The Bar Bar that night, Jimin stopped dancing with Taehyung long enough to ask Jungkook out on a date.

“After that shit you two pulled yesterday? I don’t know if Taehyung told you, but I wasn’t ok with that. I’m not sure you’re serious.”

“Fuck. I’m sorry.” He looked adorably distressed, lip pulled into his mouth.

“I’ll go on a date with you.”

His face lit up. “Really?”

“Yeah, but only because I feel bad for fucking Taehyung after I’d been hanging on you all day, so I think we’re even. And you’re cute.”

 

Over a week later, Taehyung came down to Jungkook’s apartment to help him prepare for the date.

“P-prepare? I’m ready, I think. It’s not for another two hours. We’re just eating dinner and then going to watch a movie in the Lucas, and I’m not dressing up for that. I don’t care if there’s real gold in the ceiling. I refuse to dress up for a movie.”

“Jungkook. Sweet, small, adorably inexperienced Jungkook—”

“I will fucking kick you out.”

“—there is more to dressing for dates than ‘fancy,’ or ‘casual.’ That outfit won’t cut it.”

“The fuck? It’s a t-shirt and shorts! I’m gonna wear a cool hat!”

Taehyung snorted. “A cool hat. I’m going to go through your closet again. I already have several ideas in mind.” Taehyung was obviously one of those people who looked through other people’s bathroom cabinets, and since he’d been over in Jungkook’s apartment nearly every day since they’d hooked up, he not only knew which drawer Jungkook kept his socks in, but could also find the strainer in his kitchen faster than he could, and knew exactly how many partly-empty painkiller bottles he kept in his medicine cabinet.

“Have you ever been on a date, Kookie?”

“Yes,” he said, through gritted teeth.

“Mmm, Daddy drove you to prom, did he?” Taehyung said, throwing a pair of pants on the bed, and then the only other pair. Jungkook kept quiet about it being way too hot for long pants.

“Daddy drove me to prom four years in a row with a different girl every time.”

Taehyung whispered, “prom slut,” under his arm.

“It pays to be a sweet, cute, friendly kid. My best friend was a girl.”

“Pretty cute. Ever been on a date with a guy you actually wanted to impress?”

“Yeah. Kind of.”

“And what did you wear?”

“Clothes.”

“Not good enough! This is a date! Dates are about feeling good about yourself! If you want the full experience you dress like you expect someone to have a camera pointed at you! Jimin is going to be staring at your body all evening! Dress like it!” He started pawing through Jungkook’s shirt draw, pulling out each one, unfolding it, staring at it, and then tossing it on the floor. Jungkook flinched as each one hit the ground.

“You’re folding all of those later.”

“Haha, no I’m not. I’m doing you a favor. You’re lucky you have me in your corner because I know Jimin and I know what he likes to see. Would you mind too terribly if I tore massive holes in the knees of your jeans?”

“Taehyung, its so hot.”

“You’re wearing skinny jeans.”

“I only have two pairs. Please do not tear holes in my clothes.”

“I might have to. I’d give you my pants but he’d recognize them.”

“I probably wear a bigger size than you anyway.”

Taehyung glared at him. “We’re the same height.”

“I have more muscle mass.”

“I have. So many muscles. Have you seen my abs? I’m fucking proud of these! Don’t be so mean!”

“Wrestle me right now and see who wins.”

“Oh, baby, maybe later, but you’ve got a date with another man coming up.”

Jungkook put his head in his hands.

“Honestly, Kookie, you act so much like a straight boy I forget you’re gay half the time.”

“Wow. Stereotypes.”

“I love stereotypes. I find them fascinating. They’re a very human form of identification, both of yourself and others. People conform to them almost automatically. Watching people divide up their own worlds with really trivial shit like mannerisms and the stores people shop at is really cool.”

“I thought stereotypes were bad.”

“Sure, they’re bad for people who don’t fit them, or fit into what the majority has decided are ‘bad’ ones. Doesn’t make them any less important to how people find each other in society, or fun to watch. Just look at us. All our friends are fucking Asian and most of us have taken piano lessons. Stereotypes. Now where was I? Jeans. Which pair would you rather I tear holes in?”

“Don’t tear holes in my clothes.”

“That wasn’t your choice. I’m asking which one.” Taehyung’s face was devilish.

“The black ones. They’re not as nice.”

Taehyung murmured, “you are so whipped,” and disappeared into the kitchen. He returned a few minutes later with artfully ripped knees. And thighs. Jungkook fell right down on the floor next to the pile of shirts he’d just folded. “My pants! I can’t wear those in public!”

“You can, you will, and you’ll look fucking hot doing it. I’m not done with you.”

After Taehyung had gone through every shirt Jungkook owned, he had two tanks and a t-shirt sitting on the bed, standing over them critically. “And you’re sure there are no other shirts in this apartment.”

“No, none at all. Oh wait, just my ugly step-shirt locked in the attic, but it couldn’t possibly be her.”

“Was that a Cinderella reference?”

“Yes.”

“That’s adorable. Do you refer to all your shirts as female?”

“What? No! They’re shirts!”

“No more shirts? None at all?”

“You’d know better than me. You’ve dug through this apartment more recently than I have.”

“Oh yeah, I’ve been meaning to ask. Why the tampons under the bathroom sink?”

“You should always keep spare pads and tampons in your house. It should be common courtesy. They’re important, like toilet paper and pain killer.”

“Never mind. You are gay.”

“Just because I don’t consider the needs of women as abnormal? I keep tampons in my apartment because my best friend in high school was a girl! How many times do I need to tell you this!”

“All the past tense. Aren’t you friends anymore?”

“No.”

Taehyung seemed to decide that he didn’t want to have serious talk. “Dude, I don’t think this date is gonna go well. Your clothes don’t really fit his aesthetic.”

“Oh my fucking god, I have heard the world ‘aesthetic’ more times in the past two weeks than I have ever heard it in my entire life. Fucking artists. You’re gonna kill me. It’s going to become engrained. I’m going to start fucking using the word ‘aesthetic.’ My high-school-self will be so ashamed.”

“Yeah? Best to leave that shit in the dust anyway.”

“Not all of us hated high school, Taehyung.”

“Wear this t-shirt. It’s the closest we’re gonna get. If only you could wear that one long-sleeve one you have. Or a sweater. A sweater would fix this.”

“It is the first week of September and we’re in Georgia. Jeans are pushing it. Are you going to make me wear real shoes too?”

“Fuck yeah. Luckily, you have black vans, so shoes won’t be a problem. Put all these on. And these briefs. Why do you own Calvin Kleins?”

Jungkook blushed. “They make me feel hot.”

“There it is! This is the kind of shit you wear on dates! Do you have any other clothes you wear when you want to feel hot?”

“…I have a leather jacket.”

“You’re so cute. What a bad boy. One of these days I’m going to make you wear just the Calvin’s and the jacket and I’m gonna ride you again.”

If Jungkook wasn’t very familiar with the feeling of his dick getting interested in something, he would never have thought that would turn him on.

“But it’s too hot for a leather jacket, so that’s not happening.”

Jungkook changed, pointedly not looking at Taehyung sprawled out on the bed and enjoying the show. When he had the full ensemble on, plus a watch, he turned to Taehyung and opened is arms. “Dressed for my date now. Can I go back to watching the Food Network?”

“Oh we’re not done. Do you have any eyeliner?”

“No.”

“I’m going up to my room. I’ll be back down in a minute.”

Jungkook gave up and let him do his makeup without complaint, just a little eyeliner and concealer. He insisted on watching Chopped at the same time. Then he let him do his hair.

“I’m going to go wash it off.”

“If you come back here with that stuff messed up, I will draw on your couch with this lipstick.”

“What color is the lipstick?”

“Pink. Why?”

“Put it on.”

Taehyung raised his eyebrows and walked to the bathroom with Jungkook to use the mirror. He turned towards him, lips shiny-pink and delicate, and Jungkook gently grabbed his chin with one hand, staring at them, the way they curved, the way they matched his soft skin and lilac hair. He met Taehyung’s eyes with a practiced smolder. Taehyung leaned a little towards him, lips parting a little as he took a deep breath.

Jungkook had to touch, and Taehyung’s tongue flicked wet over the pad of thumb when it brushed the damp pink of his lips. “So pretty,” he murmured. Taehyung swayed closer for a moment, one hand coming out to gently brush against Jungkook’s raised arm, and then he pulled away.

“Jimin is going to pass out when he sees you.”

Jungkook glanced back at himself in the mirror. “Yeah. I look hot. Thanks.”

“You look like you’ve put in an effort. I think Jimin would have been kind of put off if you showed up looking normal while he went all out.”

“I’ve never worn makeup before. I don’t want to give him the impression that I’m going to keep doing this.”

“Why not? You look hot.”

“I don’t know how. And how do I not fuck it up now that I’m wearing it?”

“Don’t rub your face and don’t cry.”

 

Jungkook and Jimin ate at a different hipstery Asian fusion place than the one he’d been to with Taehyung. “I think its run by the same people,” Jimin said.

“Do they own both the Foxy coffee shops too?”

“What? Maybe? That’d be pretty funny.”

They’d ended up dressed almost exactly alike, black ripped pants and a dark grey shirt. Jimin’s was a tank. Jungkook laughed out loud when he saw him. Jimin dragged his attention away from Jungkook’s eyeliner long enough to mumble “huh?” and Jungkook spilled right there that Taehyung had dressed him and had apparently hit Jimin’s date style perfectly on the head. Taehyung smacked him and stomped off.

“How does Taehyung even know how you dress for dates?” Jungkook asked, halfway through a plate of the most delicious egg roles he’d ever eaten.

“I guess he’s watched me prepare for them enough times. It’s not like he’s been on a date in years.”

“Really? He was getting super passionate about the dating experience back there.”

“What a weirdo. He doesn’t do dates. He’ll go out with someone as long as he knows he’ll get laid at the end of the evening, and I don’t think that counts. I’ve been asking him on dates for two years now. No luck.”

Jungkook sighed.

“Wait, you’re not considering asking him out, are you?”

“Not anymore.”

“Man, I don’t blame you. Fuck, he’s so attractive. I’ll settle for friends with benefits though. He’s hot and really fun, but I get the feeling he’d suck in a relationship. He knows it too.”

Jungkook pouted. “He’s just. He’s like, fluffy and purple.”

Jimin laughed out loud, eyes nearly shut. “You like the princess look, huh? Wait till you see him when it gets cold and he starts wearing huge knit sweaters.”

Jungkook fell over on the booth seat.

“This is such weird date conversation,” Jimin said when he resurfaced, “I wanna talk about you.”

“Oh good, my favorite subject.”

It didn’t take them long to find out that their only common interests were alcohol and Taehyung.

“Seriously? You’ve never heard of Chrome Sparks?”

Jungkook said “I understand that that phrase is in English, but that’s as far as I’ve gotten.”

“Chrome Sparks is so fun to listen to when you’re high!”

“I listen to Kid Cudi.”

“Typical. We’ll have to change that.”

And Jungkook, who had always assumed that a lack of common interests was an automatic ticket to really bad conversation and boring dates, was pleasantly surprised. It was very different from Taehyung, where Taehyung rambled while Jungkook occasionally had to pull him off the sides of buildings. Jimin had plenty to say, always took Jungkook’s input into account, and asked plenty of leading questions to keep both sides of the conversation going. He also introduced him to bubble tea. Jungkook ordered two at the restaurant and one to go.

Jimin didn’t try to hold his hand on the walk to the Lucas, an old, luxurious theater with all the lights out front and all the gilt edges and chandeliers inside. Jungkook had seen an opera here once, probably for school, and he watched performances from the music festival there every year. They also loved to play classic movies.

Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Jimin said, reading the marquee. “You’ve never seen this, right?”

Jungkook shook his head. “You’re a movie buff, aren’t you?”

“Oh yeah.”

“Fuck. This is going to be a serious, emotionally engaging movie without car chases or hot villains, isn’t it?”

“It’s Audrey Hepburn.”

“Oh, fancy. Didn’t know I was signing up for this.”

He sipped his bubble tea thoughtfully, then turned and found Jimin staring right at where his lips wrapped around the straw. “What if I don’t like it,” he asked, teasing.

“Then I will have no desire to ask you for a second date,” Jimin replied, though Jungkook found it easy to call his bluff with the way he was staring, eyes hooded, the corners of his mouth turned up just a little, just enough to make his neutral expression look slightly lecherous. Jungkook played with the rim of the straw with his tongue and teeth, just to see what would happen. Jimin looked at his mouth, then looked at his eyes. Jungkook released the straw and waited for a reaction.

Jimin glided smoothly up into his space, hands coming up to grasp his sides under his elbows, and pulled the straw into his mouth with his tongue. His thumbs rubbed distracting circles over Jungkook’s chest. Jungkook leaned into it, watching the boba travel up the straw into Jimin’s mouth.

They were still standing in the middle of the crowd trickling in to watch the movie. Jungkook’s face flashed bright red. Jimin let the straw go, huffed out a laugh at Jungkook’s wide-eyed, flushed face, then rested his palms on either side of Jungkook’s jaw and kissed him gently, chaste and entirely too sweet for the eye-fucking they’d just finished. Just one quick, warm press that was every bit as sweet and romantic as any first kiss between two people should be. Jungkook felt a little wobbly.

“You’re too fucking cute,” Jimin murmured.

Jungkook tried to resist being adorably bashful and failed. Jimin pulled him in for the warmest, firmest hug he’d ever felt.

“Do we have to watch the movie?” Jungkook said, quietly, into Jimin’s shoulder. “Can’t we just go back to your apartment and hug it out for a few hours?”

“No way, we’re gonna watch this, but maybe I’ll hold your hand the whole time. You should have told me you were a sucker for romantic shit.”

“I like chick flicks and Nicholas Sparks too.”

“Fuck, you’re adorable. I’m not even going to question your taste in film. You act like such a bro all the time and then you pull this shit.”

Jungkook pulled away, face flaming, and noticed a few people staring. “Let’s go get our fucking seats before I die of shame.”

“Ok, cutie.”

Jungkook was glad Jimin didn’t hold his hand till they were sitting in their seats. That would just have felt needy and entirely too familiar. The lights went down and Jimin picked Jungkook’s hand up out of his lap and laced his fingers through Jungkook’s, real casual.

“uhh, isn’t this song the one about the river out to Skidaway Island?”

“’Moon River’? Famous jazz standard written for this movie by the great lyricist Johnny Mercer? Yes, its about the stupid little creek in the marsh out by Skidaway.”

Jungkook snickered. Wider than a mile, the lyrics say. The river itself was less than a mile long, barely a blip on the map otherwise covered in enormous snaking rivers and wide brackish savannas. It wasn’t nearly as beautiful as some of the other stretches of marsh between the islands. Jimin pressed his lips to the back of Jungkook’s hand.

Throughout the entire movie, Jungkook watched Holly Golightly, an ex-farmgirl socialite, run from love, chase men for their money, and get herself into trouble by being weird and unpredictable. Her apartment neighbor fell in love with her. At one point they went off for a day to do interesting things that they’d never done before. Jungkook was reminded strongly of Taehyung dragging him around Savannah.

By the end of the movie, Holly Golightly stopped being afraid of love, started caring, and she and the neighbor got together. Cute. Audrey Hepburn was gorgeous. Her neighbor was classically dashing and nice to look at. There was a cute cat involved. Jimin kissed him in the middle of the lobby when he said he enjoyed it.

“Now what?” Jungkook asked when they emerged onto the brightly dim nighttime streets.

“We could go home. We could go out for a drink.”

“Oh right, because that went so well last time. What I’m asking, is if this is one of those dates where you kiss me at the front door and then we carefully plan a second date, or is this the kind of date where you take me home and fuck me? What kind of relationship are we setting up here?”

Jimin laughed. “Jeez. I hadn’t thought that far into it.”

“Ok then, did you intend for this to be casual or serious?”

“Definitely casual.”

“Then take me home and fuck me.”

Jimin offered an arm. “Right this way, sugar.”

Jimin’s dorm was nice, lots of storyboards and potted pants lying around. His bed was nicer. The way he fingered Jungkook slow and deep when he learned he’d never had a good experience bottoming before was nicer still. And even Jimin’s roommate busting in as they cuddled up to go to sleep later didn’t effect how wonderful it felt to drift off with someone placing lazy kisses in his hair.

 

“I fucking hate that movie,” Taehyung said later, lying with his feet in Jungkook’s lap and his arms over his head, shirt riding distractingly up over the lower curve of his abs. They’d just gotten back from a walk down to the Coffee Fox and Taehyung’s illustration homework was spread out all over the living room. Jungkook could stare at them all day, scenes and characters, old haunted mansions and rainy landscapes. An old sea captain shared the page with a goofy sixties greaser and a futuristic secretary.

“You hate Breakfast at Tiffany’s? Why? Audrey seems a little too familiar, does she?”

“Fuck you. She’s exactly like me. But she’s a fucking classic Manic Pixie Dream Girl, which doesn’t automatically discredit the character, mind you, but then they fucking hand her to the man at the end of the movie like her whole philosophy was completely stupid and irrelevant, like it was inevitable that she falls in love and lets herself get tied down at the end. I fucking hate it. I loved that character so much, and I had to watch her get destroyed.”

“Some would classify that as character development and maturity.”

“Fuck those people. She’s a Manic Pixie Dream Girl. One of the requirements of those characters is a conveniently under-developed backstory. They’re meant to be the easy, perfect answer to a sensitive young man’s lost soul. They’re empty. I hate looking at one and seeing myself, especially when it makes so much sense. I won’t be anyone’s Manic Pixie Dream Girl. I’ve got my own problems.”

He pulled his feet off Jungkook’s lap and curled up into a scowling ball against the couch’s armrest. “I’m tired of always being some kind of trope. Class clown, token gay kid, the problem cousin. I don’t want Manic Pixie Dream Girl on that list too.”

Jungkook didn’t know what to say, so he went back to staring at the TV. Taehyung scratched away at his sketchbook for a solid thirty minutes before either of them said a word. “Hey Jungkook, I drew you as a girl.” He turned the sketchbook around. There was Jungkook sitting on a couch with long hair, a thinner jawline, and a dress.

“Wow. That really looks like me.”

“You’re so pretty.”

“Thanks.”

“I meant my drawing.”

“Oh. Not…thanks?”

“Let’s go somewhere,” Taehyung said quietly, his chin propped up on his knees. He stared up at Jungkook through purple bangs. “I wanna go somewhere with you.”

“Foxy?”

“Rome.”

Jungkook stared at him for a moment, blinking.

“I don’t know. Can we go drink coffee in the Paris Market or something?”

“Yeah. Let’s do that.”

They ended up boarding a tricked out hearse with the roof extended upwards so people could hang out the top, a Savannah ghost tour. “Most haunted city in the United States,” Taehyung snickered, “Behind New Orleans and St. Augustine. Wonder why they’re all in the South.”

“Civil war,” Jungkook said. “When General Sherman marched through the south, he stopped at Savannah.”

“Ah. I bet other cities disagree anyway.”

Sure enough, most of the stories had to do with confederate soldiers or slave holders hanging out in old buildings causing trouble. A couple pirates haunted the Pirate House Restaurant, a couple immigrant women from the early years of the city appeared in the squares.

Jungkook hadn’t seen the city from a slowly circling touring vehicle since he was a kid. He hung out the window, legs kicking distractedly at the window by his feet, and watched the ancient brick houses and equally ancient twisting oak trees roll by. There was a slight breeze, and Jungkook could hear the familiar sharp rustling and cracking of palm fronds in the dark squares. Jungkook could see why someone would fall in love with such a beautiful, peaceful city. Pedi-cabs drove by, bearded men on bikes dragging chariot-like seats behind them.

Taehyung seemed rather subdued. He threw things at pedestrians, giggling, and kept up a constant low commentary about the ghosts, pulling faces and messing with the kid sulking beside his parents across the aisle.

“You ok?” Jungkook asked when Taehyung rested his head on his shoulder, one hand fiddling with the brim of Jungkook’s snapback

Taehyung giggled. “I’m lovely, thanks. You seem kinda down though.”

Jungkook shrugged. “I feel bad for upsetting you earlier.”

Taehyung got off his shoulder and set his head on Jungkook’s elbow up on the edge of the car. “It’s ok. I can handle it. Everyone’s gotta be upset sometimes. Don’t worry about it.”

“You’re quiet too though.”

Taehyung turned his head towards the street and sighed. “Long day. I’m feeling anxious already. Got a mediocre grade on an art project. Ran out of food money. Don’t know how I’m going to get more. I’m hungry.”

Jungkook sat up a little. “Were you going to do anything about that?”

“I don’t know. I could always ask mom for money. She’d give it to me.”

“Do that. You need to eat.”

“I don’t want to. I want to be independent. I need a job, but I don’t want to work.”

“I’m gonna take you to dinner.”

“No no. I’ll call my mom.”

He produced a phone from his jeans, something with a very pink and teal case, and Jungkook realized he’d never seen Taehyung’s phone before. The screen was shattered, and Jungkook was honestly not surprised. He called his mom right in the middle of the the tour guide’s rambling story about some young woman and a dead baby.

“Mom? Ow. Yeah, I’m still alive. You’re still picking up my rent, remember? Yeah, yeah.” He tapping the side of the car for a minute, giggling along with something his mom was telling him. “Hey Mom, I ran out of food money and I need help.” He was quiet for long while. Then murmured. “Thanks. I love you. Yeah. Sorry. Love you too. Bye.” And hung up.

“First time we’ve talked since school started!” Taehyung said.

“Taehyung, I worry about you.”

“I worry about you too.”

“About me? What’s to worry about?”

“The stupid Savannah Bee Company and how terrible you look whenever you come home.”

Jungkook couldn’t stop the wave of anguish. “Oh god, I hate that place. I never want to eat honey again. I’ve started avoiding the aisle with honey in the grocery store. I threw out the bottle of Tennessee Honey Jack Daniels that Namjoon bought me. I’ve developed a new fear of bees.”

“Holy shit, Jungkook, this is getting bad. I guess I shouldn’t tell you that I was planning to watch the Bee Movie with you tonight.”

“Holy fuck you wouldn’t do that to me, Taehyung.”

Taehyung burst out laughing, the familiar surprisingly deep rumble interrupting the tour. Everyone in the car turned and stared. He quickly slapped a hand over his mouth and Jungkook snickered into his arm. The kid Taehyung had been bothering was smirking viciously over his shoulder. Taehyung threw an empty coke cup at him.

“Mom’s getting money to me tomorrow, so I just have to hold out till then.”

“Nope. I’m buying you dinner.”

“I won’t let you.”

“I owe you anyway.”

“I don’t care.”

“Friends don’t let friends go hungry.”

They got kicked off the tour by the graveyard when Taehyung started smacking him and yelling “No food! No food!” at the top of his voice.

“Damn field full of cement blocks is fucking closed,” Taehyung grumbled, staring through the high, wrought iron fence. “Let’s jump over.” He found an area under a low-hanging tree and struggled up the narrow bars.

“Taehyung, get the fuck down! We’ll get fucking arrested!”

“They won’t catch us,” Taehyung said, and then landed on the other side of the fence and pressed himself right up close to where Jungkook clung to the bars, face inches away. “Well isn’t this romantic,” Taehyung said, eyes glinting in the dim street lamp. “Come catch me, baby.” He sprinted off between the ancient, towering tombstones and brick paths. Jungkook crouched on the sidewalk for a moment, whining in panic, and then backed up and launched himself up the fence, parkour style, and dropped smoothly onto the other side. Much easier than Taehyung had made it look. He sprinted off after him.

Taehyung was waiting for him crouched behind a low mausoleum aged with lichen and black moss. He pulled Jungkook right down on top of him. “I saw you clear that fence. Holy shit, that was hot. Like you were floating. God damn. Flex for me, let me feel those arms.”

Jungkook was already flexing to hold himself up, splayed over Taehyung, who ran his hands up under his shirt and moaned loudly, stroking his abs. “Fuckin humidity. You’re already all sweaty. I am all for switching this from a bros date to a friends with benefits date if you’re up for it.”

“No fucking way. Fear is a major turn off for me and I’m so scared of security right now. The police station is on this fucking block! They’re so serious about trespassing in this place. We’re going to get arrested forever. Mom will make me live at home!”

“Baby,” Taehyung cooed, hiking Jungkook’s shirt up under his armpits and continuing the slow, firm strokes down his chest. “Mama can’t take care of you forever.”

Jungkook sputtered. His mom hadn’t paid a dime towards his survival in three years until she agreed to help him pay rent until he could pay her back. “Do you have any fucking idea how illegal this is?”

“Your mom will make you live at home. Most of the time I forget how young you are.”

“I’m less than two fucking years younger than you!”

“I’ve been living away from home for two years. It makes a difference. You’ve still got mommy close by. You’re so cute. There’s a reason we all call you kid, you know.”

Jungkook sat up. “Fuck you. Did you think about what will happen to you if you get arrested? Has it even crossed your mind? Neither of us are kids anymore. We’re adults, and they’ll arrest us like adults. I’ll lose the two fucking jobs that I need to survive. You’ll lose your scholarship. For christ’s sake, Taehyung, I’m the kid? I’ve been forced to be independent since I was sixteen and Mom couldn’t afford to feed me anymore, and its been fucking hard, and all you fucks can do is act like I’m some adorable kid. Look who’s talking. You’re in a fucking art college and you ask your mom for food money, you shit.” He stood and walked towards the gate.

He didn’t expect Taehyung to come after him, but he did, grabbing his arm and yanking him behind a tombstone.

“Get off.”

“You’re walking straight towards the cameras,” Taehyung whispered.

Jungkook murmured “fuck,” and then put his face in his hands.

“I’m sorry.”

Taehyung had crumpled himself up against the tombstone, knees to his chest, still gripping Jungkook’s wrist. “I didn’t know. I’m sorry.”

“How do we get out of here?”

Taehyung swallowed and took a deep breath. “Same place we came in. Jungkook…” He gripped Jungkook’s wrist a little tighter. Jungkook could just barely see him in the light of distant streetlamps, his face striped with black shadows, but he could see Taehyung avoiding his gaze, lips dangerously turned down.

“Wait, are you—? Don’t cry,” Jungkook said.

Taehyung nodded and bit his lip. Jungkook’s anger dissolved, leaving him distressed and tired. Taehyung’s hair hung in his eyes, and the way he blinked quickly and rubbed his eyes like a child was completely heartbreaking.

“I’m sorry,” Jungkook murmured, and pulled Taehyung awkwardly into his lap. Taehyung laughed a little as Jungkook shuffled around, and a sob escaped. “Jeez, Taehyung. I’m so sorry.”

Taehyung took a couple deep breaths and pressed his face to the side of Jungkook’s head. “I didn’t know any of that. I thought you were just… I’ve had such a bad day, Kookie. I fucked up. I know I’m hard to be around. I’m so sorry.”

Jungkook nuzzled his hair affectionately. “You don’t suck. I love having you around. If I didn’t have you around I probably would have collapsed under stress by now.”

“I’m definitely the kid in this friendship.”

Jungkook rolled them both sideways to lie on the grass. “You know why I’m always surprised you have a mom? You remind me of Peter Pan.”

Taehyung snorted. “Yeah, that’s about right. Perpetual playful child who won’t grow up and leads all sorts of bizarre adventures. At least it’s better than being Audrey.” He rolled off Jungkook but stayed close to his side, staring up at the starless city sky.

“We’re in a graveyard,” Jungkook snorted.

“It’s a nice place to be.”

“Sure.”

 

The next afternoon, Jimin picked Jungkook up after a very trying morning of dealing with his honey-obsessed manager and no fewer than twelve families with small children trying to grab glass objects off high shelves. He took him on a tour of City Market art galleries, airy little nooks so different than the literal hole-in-the-ground bar Jungkook worked in, that it was hard to believe they were only a block away, things he heard of but never bothered to visit.

“SCAD art?” he asked as they entered the little mall-like space with art galleries instead of stores.

“No, local artists. People who actually make a living with this. I’m betting a lot of these pieces are multiple thousands of dollars. This is art collector material.”

Some galleries brimmed with beautiful paintings of the way afternoon light played off the Forsyth fountain or the stretching limbs of a sprawling oak, covered in dangling mosses, impressionist paintings. Other galleries were Gullah Geechee artwork, in tribute to and created by the local people, freed slaves that set themselves up on the sea islands and created works of brilliant color.

He loved the photography of landmarks and trees, that particular low-country style of architecture that people came to Savannah and Charleston to see.

He stopped in front of one particular painting of River Street, seen from the opposite shore at night, the old warehouses on the river walk lit up for tourists, the shops and restaurants gleaming against the dark water, the gold-roofed dome on the courthouse glinting, Savannah as if a Venetian canal. He felt a deep swell of pride.

“I’ve never seen the city like this,” he told Jimin.

“Do you think its inaccurate?” he asked.

Jungkook shrugged. “Might be more accurate than what I see, actually. It’s beautiful. I let my own hang-ups get in the way of actually appreciating what I have living here. That’s how I became friends with Taehyung, you know. He said he was going to introduce me to my own city.”

“I heard about that,” Jimin laughed, “I think he was very proud that he could do that for you. Did he succeed?”

“Yeah. He keeps doing it too. I might actually love living here by the end of the year, especially if he keeps talking about how shitty his high school was and how bland life is up in Maryland where he lives.”

“Don’t get me wrong,” Jimin said, “I love living in New York, the state, not the city. But this place is better. How’s Taehyung doing by the way? Like, did he seem weird yesterday?”

“Yeah, he was kind of off yesterday.”

Jimin pursed his lips thoughtfully. “How so?”

“Said he’d had a bad day. Went on a rant about how much he hates Breakfast at Tiffany’s. Got a bad grade on a project, ran out of food money. We went on a ghost tour. Then he dragged me into the graveyard at night and I may have yelled at him a bit. He may have, um, cried, just a little. Why do you ask?”

Jimin stared at the bottom of the painting. “I yelled at him yesterday too. He was over at my place after class and I was trying to do homework. He wouldn’t stop complaining about getting a fucking B on his art project, which is a good fucking grade, from what I’ve heard about that class. I snapped.”

“Oh, shit.”

“Yeah. He left after that, and he only looked a little annoyed, but I know he’s touchy about how distracting his personality can be, which is what I yelled at him about, so I felt terrible the rest of the day.”

Jungkook wondered how often they accidentally acted like Taehyung’s mom and ex-boyfriend, teachers and friends, and made him feel like his personality was a problem. “Now I feel terrible too.”

“Why’d you yell at him?”

“He was acting really careless and then making fun of me for being a kid. I hate it when you guys do that.”

Jimin’s eyebrows furrowed. “You do?”

Jungkook hesitated. “Yeah. You all treat me like I’m so much younger and so, like, naïve and inexperienced, or something, and its frustrating because…” he glanced up at Jimin’s beautiful eyes and cut off. “Um. I’ve always been the oldest out of my friends because I was the oldest in my class in school, so I’m used to being seen as the most mature, not the least, and… Well, Namjoon and I think you all act like spoiled kids. Especially you and Taehyung.”

“What?” Jimin sat up a little, looking upset.

“Ah no, that came out weird. It’s just… Namjoon never went to college, and I’m not going to, and we’ve both been struggling to make enough money to even fucking eat for years now. And we see a bunch of crazy people going to an art college, of all things, all the time, like they’ll never have to worry about the same shit we do. You and Taehyung just happen to be close to the weird as fuck SCAD stereotype that we’ve been mocking.”

“You make fun of me?”

“No. Jimin. You’re awesome. I’m on a fucking date with you. I think you’re great. That’s not the point. I’ve been fending for myself for four years now, which is more than any of you can say, but everyone still treats me like the child in the group. The only person who’s struggled more than I have is Namjoon, and he’s the only one I’m actually ok with calling me ‘kid,’ even if I give him a hard time for it.”

“You could have just told me.”

“I just did. That was me telling you.”

“But I’ve been calling you kid for weeks now.”

Jungkook groaned and dropped his head into his hands. “I’m always so worried nobody will take me seriously.”

“Of course I’ll take you seriously.”

“Yeah, I know. I’m sorry.”

Jimin shuffled closer and pulled Jungkook into a hug, knocking their foreheads together and turning it into a mid-gallery cuddle. Jungkook blushed again. “I’ll try to stop. No promises, though. I have a younger brother so some of its engrained. No offense, but you look young. Whenever we do stuff, you’re always the one who still isn’t legal or who hasn’t had sex more than once or twice.”

“There is so much more to being an adult than sex and alcohol.”

“I know. But I don’t actually have to act like an adult yet, so its easy to forget.”

That night Jimin asked Jungkook to fuck him, and though it felt a little like being pacified, he couldn’t really watch Jimin moan mindlessly as he twisted in the sheets and still honestly complain.

“Watch a movie with me,” Jimin murmured into his shoulder afterwards.

“What movie?” Jungkook asked, thinking of things like Fast 7 or Stepbrothers.

“I feel like watching Miyazaki.”

Jungkook giggled. “What’s that?”

“Ugh, I keep forgetting you’re not a nerd. Haven’t you ever watched anime?”

“Does Dragon Ball Z count?”

“Actually, kind of. Yes. But everyone and their mother has seen that.”

“Is Miya-whatever more obscure or something?”

Jimin gave him a withering look. “Not at all. He’s won tons of awards. Like Oscars and shit.”

“Damn.”

“He’s a world class director. His works are classics. Have you ever heard of Spirited Away?”

Jungkook figured that sounded a little familiar. “Maybe?”

“We’re watching that. You’re probably going to think its weird.”

Jungkook sighed and pulled himself upright as Jimin set up the computer and then cuddled up against his chest.

“It’s in English. I thought obscure animes were in Japanese.”

“It’s dubbed really well. All his movies are. One was dubbed by Miley Cyrus’s little sister or something. They’re not obscure. Like at all.”

“Huh. Well, excuse me for being a culture-less American.”

“That’s something that bothers me about America,” Jimin whined. “We’re so dominated by our own pop culture that its practically socially faux pas to be interested in anything from other counties until its accepted into American entertainment, which isn’t valid.”

“Shh, I wanna hear the pretty music.”

The movie was weird. From the minute the Chihiro and her family walked through the tunnel, to the moment when the river dragon guy pushed her towards her parents and told her not to look back, Jungkook just stared at the screen with his mouth hanging open.

“Look,” Jimin said when she emerged on the other side of the tunnel. Their car was filled with dust and covered in leaves. “All the red paint has peeled off the building and its covered in vines. The road has grown in and the trees are closer to the road. That little nub in the middle of the path was a concrete statue when they went in. They’ve been gone for somewhere between fifteen and thirty years.”

Jungkook felt the weirdest lump in his throat. The credits rolled. Jimin let sit there in silence and digest the movie until they finished.

“Did you like it?”

“Can we watch it again?”

Jimin smiled widely and crawled heavily over Jungkook, pinning him to the bed. “His movies are why I’m majoring in animation. I’m glad you liked that.”

“There are more? Can we watch another one?”

“It’s nearly two in the morning. Let’s do that tomorrow.”

They slept with Jimin curled up against Jungkook’s shoulder, hands clasped tight in the sheets, and Jungkook felt comfortable in ways he never felt alone in his apartment. Going back to the Bee Company the next day didn’t even seem that bad.

 

October crept up on them, the days turning pleasant instead of scorching, and Taehyung practically moved in. He learned to pick the lock on the door, and more often than not, Jungkook would wake up or come home to find Taehyung on his couch, sleeping, or painting his toenails a lurid green, or sometimes doing homework. “Your apartment is nicer than mine,” he claimed, “and I miss living in a dorm with lots of people around.” His presence was enough to erase any anxiety lingering from work, taking him out of his own life and dropping him into a world where typeface aesthetic and the difference between red-orange and burnt-orange actually mattered, and a cheerful face always snuggled with him until he smiled again. It was almost like having a boyfriend.

Work dragged. The bar was nice when Namjoon or one of Yoongi’s crew was there, but the Bee Company felt like a blot in the middle of his day. If he hadn’t needed the meager hours of pay, he would have quit. He felt like he could only stack so many jars of hand cream before he cracked. Coming home to Taehyung in his living room was a blessed breath of chaos after fighting store entropy all day, restacking unstacked stacks, placing inventory back in its proper spot, rearranging disrupted displays, and dealing with careless, overly casual customers.

“You’ve gotta be a good salesman,” his manager said to him one day, pulling him into the back for a pep talk. “Sell the products, don’t just handle them. Make people want to buy it. Be obnoxious.”

Jungkook bit back a, “you’d know all about being obnoxious, wouldn’t you?” he went home and fell onto Taehyung’s lap and let him sketch a tattoo sleeve in thin black marker down his arm for nearly two hours. It took days to wash off. People at the bar loved it. The Bee Company made him wear long sleeves until it went away.

Taehyung appeared in his bedroom one midafternoon as he was changing out of his Bee Company outfit and into a graphic tee with the definition of the work “Fuck” on it, and threw open all the windows in his apartment.

His hair was orange.

“There’s a nice breeze.”

“Holy shit, your hair isn’t purple.”

“Jimin and I did it yesterday. Halloween is coming up, you know. Thought I’d start celebrating early.”

He looked bright, and somehow older. Jungkook just stared at him for a few minutes until he skipped forward and got very close to his face, grabbing some of Jungkook’s bangs and holding them close to his own. “Orange and black. Halloween colors.”

“You look like a fox,” Jungkook said, and Taehyung smiled.

“A mischievous trickster, I am.”

Jungkook went back to pulling his pants on. “Speaking of tropes, why are foxes always portrayed at mischievous tricksters? I mean, they’re playful, but where does it come from.”

“Native American folktales always portrayed them as trickster spirits. Japanese folktales called them kitsune, and they could shapeshift and cause trouble. It’s just how cultures have always seen them. I’d say its less of a trope and more of an archetype.”

“You know everything, dude.”

“Nah. I don’t know calculus or politics. I just know really random fun shit and then some philosophy. Science is fun too, because then you can argue with stupid people.”

“That’s not fun.”

“Really? I love arguing with stupid people. There is no better way to feel good about yourself than arguing with stupid people.” He wandered out the door as if he didn’t realize he was moving.

“Or its just frustrating and sad.”

“You’re not doing it right,” he yelled from inside the bathroom. Jungkook looked through the doorway and saw him examining his orange hair in the mirror, lip between his teeth. “Oh yeah, I remember why I came in here.”

“Why’s that?”

“I need help carrying a futon up to my room.”

So Jungkook, in work clothes, helped Taehyung carry a very large box and mattress up three flights of stairs.

“I’ve never been in your apartment before,” Jungkook panted as Taehyung fiddled with the keys.

“That’s because it sucks.” He swung the door open and they entered.

At first glance, Jungkook thought it was completely empty. Then he noticed the stack of boxes open along the wall, spilling books and art supplies.

“Along the far wall,” Taehyung ordered. “Tomorrow I’m gonna get a coffee table and a couple cheap target chairs. Will you help me assemble this thing?”

Jungkook was too busy exploring Taehyung’s apartment, pulling open all the kitchen cabinets and the fridge to find them nearly empty. He ran past Taehyung, who was sitting on the floor staring at the futon’s assembly instructions, and into his bedroom. There was a pillow and a sleeping bag on the floor and several piles of clothes.

“You have fucking nothing in here!”

“Well the place didn’t come with furniture, and I don’t have any money.”

“Why don’t you live on campus?”

“Housing and a meal plan is actually a lot more expensive. I’d like to get a roommate here too to help with costs. I invited Jimin, but he was already set up. People never want to room with me for some reason. I think I’ve figured this out. Do you have a screw driver?”

Jungkook got up and down more than Taehyung for once, running around the empty apartment to look at things, like the full box of manga, or his makeup-filled bathroom cabinets. After he got over the emptiness, there were a lot of personal Taehyung touches everywhere. He’d drawn a cartoon character on the bathroom mirror in that pink lipstick. There were two cactuses sitting in the living room window, and the whole wall around the door was covered in drawing projects.

“Taehyung, you sleep on the floor,” Jungkook said, halfway through screwing the legs onto the frame. “Why didn’t you tell me? I’d help you.”

“You do. I sleep on your couch almost every single night, even when you don’t notice.”

“Oh.”

“I’d like to sleep in your bed though,” He said, and winked.

“You do.”

“I’ve only slept in your bed twice.”

Once the futon was complete, Taehyung slung an afghan across it, made tea, stripped to his boxers and the dead stag t-shirt Jungkook remembered from their first afternoon as friends, and curled up on it looking right at home. “My first furniture,” he sighed happily, and blew on his tea.

“I’m gonna take a picture to commemorate this,” Jungkook said.

“Ooh! Snapchat it!”

“So you’re gonna get more furniture soon?”

“Yeah. I might hit up Goodwill or the Salvation Army or whoever does that stuff and get a cheap dresser or bookshelf. Table and cheap chairs. Maybe I’ll steal one of those tall stools from an art room so I can eat at the kitchen counter.”

“Hold on, how do you suddenly have so much money?”

Taehyung looked intently at his tea for a moment, then said, “Some rich guy mistook me for a prostitute yesterday. I thought he’d figure out that I wasn’t pretty quick, so I told him a full night with me cost five-hundred dollars. He bought it. I have five-hundred dollars more than usual today. Well, four-hundred after that futon.”

“Taehyung, the things that happen to you…”

“I really hope I don’t have any STDs.”

“Good lord.”

“Worth it. I have a futon now. I’m gonna have to go get Jimin to fuck me tonight to get my game back together, though. He was terrible. Worst night I’ve had in a really long time. He was so bad.”

“How often do you and Jimin fuck?”

“What? Like, once every other week or something? Sometimes more. Why?”

Jungkook fiddled with the back of the futon for a moment. “We’ve been on, like, five dates now, and I still have no idea what our relationship is supposed to be.”

Taehyung shrugged. “Does it have to be anything specific? Just do what you’re both comfortable with.

“I have no idea.”

“Don’t ask me. I know nothing about this. I’ve only ever dated one person, and I don’t date people anymore. That’s how that went.”

“Who’d you date?”

“Some guy in high school.”

“ooooh, is that why—”

“There are many reasons why I hated high school,” Taehyung said, “He’s just one of them.”

Jungkook didn’t know how to continue the conversation after that. He noticed weird light patterns playing across white paint on the back of the counter. “Did you do something to the wall over there?”

“I think I drew a backwards fairytale in white crayon back there when I was high a few weeks ago. I kind of want to get a black light and see what I drew, but I also kind of don’t want to find out. It probably just looks like I let a five-year-old loose in here with a crayon and a challenge to fuck shit up.” He sipped his tea and stared around the nearly empty apartment. Jungkook thought he saw the perpetually cheery and excited expression slip a bit. “Sometimes my life feels like a war zone. Me vs. my own destructive tendencies. Everything I own eventually gets destroyed or turned into an art project.”

“I was beginning to wonder if you even realized how recklessly hyperactive you are all the time.”

Taehyung laughed, looking embarrassed. “You’re so honest. Everyone but you and Jimin beats around the bush like its something they shouldn’t talk about.”

“Even Yoongi?”

“He never mentions it, beating around the bush or otherwise, but I can tell he enjoys it, so that’s fine. I don’t think Hoseok’s even noticed. He’s the same way I am, only, like, softer.”

He rolled over sideways and plopped his head into Jungkook’s lap, orange hair laying it shiny streaks across his pants. “I know I’m nuts. I like it, most of the time. Other people, not so much. My teachers got my mom to get me on Adderall in high school, not because there was any definitive proof that I had trouble focusing, but because they literally wanted to medicate my personality. It felt like I was in someone else’s head all the time. I hated it, but every time I didn’t take it they could tell, and they’d give me shit for it.”

Jungkook ignored how Taehyung’s fingers were picking at his ripped jeans like he was plucking a violin as he spoke, and threaded his fingers into Taehyung’s hair, scratching gently. Taehyung’s eyes slid closed.

“Once I told a teacher I hated taking that shit, that it made me feel sick and angry, and I lost weight and my grades dropped when I was on it, and he said ‘well everyone else’s grades drop when you’re not on it,’ like that justified anything.”

Jungkook imagined a stoic, focused, miserable Taehyung, sitting in the back of a classroom where everyone else considered him a nuisance, where every piece of his personality was treated as a flaw, and all his resistance was reduced to stubborn, childish insubordination. He felt absurdly protective.

“I don’t blame you for hating high school.”

“I started dyeing my hair just so I could continue being an obnoxious little shit even when I couldn’t mentally make myself do anything stupid or distracting.”

“Do you even have ADHD?”

“Who knows. I think I just have a lot of energy and no brain to body filter. Does it even matter?”

“No,” Jungkook answered emphatically. Taehyung smiled a little. His fingers wiggled into the tear on Jungkook’s thigh and just stayed there, cool against his skin. Jungkook pulled the afghan up to cover his shoulders. They had a quiet moment just long enough for it to feel sweet and comfortable, and then Taehyung rolled abruptly off his lap and onto the floor.

“I want alcohol. Can we go back to your room?”

“I’ve got work in an hour.”

“It’s at a bar! Have one drink with me. You’re not a lightweight, are you?”

“I’m average. Taehyung, at least put your pants on before you leave.”

He didn’t. Jungkook had to deal with long bare legs running around his kitchen and boxers with emojis all over them.

“I’m gonna mix my own drink.”

“Do you know any?”

“I’m gonna make it up as I go along. What’s this?”

“Cointreau. Tastes like oranges.”

“Some of that, some vodka, do you have any lemons?”

“Oh that’s just a lemon drop martini.” He got him some lemons.

“I’m making something else now,” Taehyung said, and refused the lemons. He dumped a little of every slightly citrusy liquor Jungkook owned into a glass and sipped it. “Fuckin nasty.”

“Well obviously. That incredibly unbalanced. How fucking sour does that taste?”

“It’s awful.”

Jungkook sighed, poured a tiny glass of Cointreau, and threw a large chunk of very bitter dark chocolate into it. “Try this.”

Jungkook sipped happily. The drink matched his orange hair and dark eyes.

“Here. You can have mine,” Taehyung said.

He was still pants-less and drinking in Jungkook’s apartment when he left, and he was pants-less and passed out on the couch at 4:00 am when Jungkook returned, curled up and shivering. “You could have used the bed,” Jungkook said. He picked him up off the couch with a grunt and stumbled into his room. He lay him down as gently as possible. Taehyung stirred and rolled over, sighing. Jungkook got his pajamas on and brushed his teeth, and then climbed in beside him. It was a full-sized bed. Technically there was plenty of room for both of them. Taehyung rolled right up into his side and latched on anyway.

“Taehyung?” Jungkook murmured.

“Cold,” he whined, and shoved his frigid fingers right up Jungkook’s shirt. Jungkook gasped and flinched when the fingers ran gently down by his side and tucked in under him. Taehyung hummed happily, lifted his head, and placed one sloppy and very confusing kiss on Jungkook’s jaw. Then he fell asleep. Jungkook lay awake a little while, warm and wanting, until Taehyung’s breathing lulled him to sleep.

 

School got busier as the semester went on, and though he saw Taehyung all the time, he was usually locked into a sketchbook or ready to take a nap. Sometimes they’d both have free time and Taehyung would make his day by dragging him off somewhere in the city to a cute coffee shop or a SCAD gallery. He met all of his professors and modelled for a portrait drawing class once, just because they needed someone when he and Taehyung showed up, and he was the only person who didn’t want to practice sketching.

“It helps that you’re hot,” Taehyung told him afterwards. Jungkook felt hot. He felt like his face might burn off from blushing so hard under the shrewd gaze of fifteen artists with their pencils for about an hour. He’d seen some of the works. Not all of them had been flattering.

“My nose isn’t that big, is it?”

“It’s not that big.”

“I’m gonna wear one of those face masks that doctors wear for the rest of my life.”

Taehyung showed him his own sketch, a photo-perfect picture of himself looking nervous and shy, which was how he’d felt in real life, but that definitely hadn’t been the face he was wearing.

“You know my face really well, don’t you?”

“I like your face. I spend a lot of time staring at it.”

Jungkook blushed again.

Though his friendship with Taehyung felt stronger by the day, his dates with Jimin had trickled to a halt, since any time Jimin had free was usually right when Jungkook had a shift at the bar. They flirted there on the weekends, but he had started depending on Jimin’s Snapchat story for news almost as much as his high school friends. It felt like summer again, no one but Namjoon for company.

Jimin turned twenty-one, and Jungkook couldn’t celebrate with him. He saw him briefly as they passed through The Bar Bar, and Jimin gave him a huge kiss as Taehyung cheered. It was the third bar of ten the entire crew wanted to hit, so soon they left, taking Namjoon with them, and Jungkook felt so lonely and young that Victoria noticed and sent him home early.

One afternoon, Amber turned up at the Bee Company to invite him to the Halloween party she and Luna were throwing. “Jimin said he’d kill me if I didn’t invite you, but jokes on him, you were already on the list. Boy doesn’t have enough faith in me.”

Which meant he needed a costume.

“I don’t know,” Taehyung said later, sprawled out on the couch and twirling his own hair between his fingers, watching the way it caught the light. “I’m so completely swamped with illustration right now that I wasn’t even going to get a costume. Maybe I’ll go as a ketchup bottle or something. You could be a bunch of fries.”

“No. Taehyung, your hair is orange! Use that. Be a leprechaun or a fox or something.”

Taehyung sat up fast, nearly knocking his computer to the floor. “I wanna wear one of those super sexy girl’s costumes. Maybe I’ll be a French maid or something.”

“I bet those costumes are super uncomfortable.”

“You’d want to see me wearing one though, wouldn’t you?”

“Uhh….”

“You should wear one too.”

“Why on earth would I do that?”

“Because Jimin will be there, and I know it’s been a while since you two have hooked up. Don’t you want him chasing your tail?”

“I’m not wearing a girl’s costume. Those things look really uncomfortable. And cold.”

 

On Halloween night, Jungkook stood in front of the mirror in a cop costume with leather pants, a sleeveless uniform shirt, the hat, a baton, and handcuffs. He heard the door open. “Taehyung?”

“I brought makeup!” he responded, and walked into the bathrooms wearing a frilly, low-cut, mini maid’s outfit, completely with fishnet stockings, a bow in his hair, a lacy choker, and little fingerless white gloves with black ribbons. His make-up looked a little more pronounced than usual.

“Holy fuck, Taehyung. Jimin’s gonna be all over you. How the hell am I supposed to compete with that?”

“I don’t know, but when I wear the five-inch stilettos I feel sexy AF. I came here to do your make-up. You look good, by the way. Those arms. Wow. And the leather pants. I wouldn’t worry too much. Now please hold still while I put all this shit on you.”

Jungkook stood patiently and watched Taehyung’s wide eyes as he rubbed foundation onto his cheeks. “I’ve got some sunglasses you should wear with this, cutie,” Taehyung murmured.

“You’re wearing that goddamn pink lipstick.”

Taehyung smiled flirtatiously. “I know what you like, officer. Don’t smile. It’ll mess me up.”

“I’m starting to think I’d rather go home with you.”

Taehyung smiled thoughtfully. “Hm. Eyeliner. Close your eyes.”

Jungkook didn’t know what to make of that, and Taehyung remained silent until he’d finished with eye makeup. “What if we lured Jimin into a threesome?”

And that really shouldn’t have given Jungkook such an adrenaline punch, but it did. “Oh fuck. That’s such a good idea.”

“It won’t take much. We’ll just both flirt with him all night and then get him to take us home. His dorm is the nicest and he has the best toys.”

“What? He has toys?”

“Tons.”

“Why didn’t he fucking tell me?”

“Wait, he hasn’t used toys with you yet?”

“We’ve only fucked three times! He pulled out a vibrator once.”

“Nice. Did he use the purple one or the blue one?”

“…The pink, blue, and yellow striped one.”

“Oh damn. That sounds snazzy. When I get one I want it to be as cool as that.”

“I really suspected you’d have a vibrator already.”

“I’m broke! It’s at the top of my wish list for the next time some rich guy thinks I’m a hooker though. I really want one. You’re walking me there, sugar. I’m gonna need your arm to lean on.”

“Wait, we’re walking? Down Broughton? Like this?”

“We’re meeting Yoongi and everyone else in City Market, and then they’re driving us down.”

“That’s like half a mile. That’s a really long way to go in heels. Are you sure you don’t want to bring an extra pair of shoes?”

“No. I am strong. I shall endure.” Taehyung was spinning around the living room to make the costume skirt fluff out, and Jungkook kept getting very enticing glances of something light pink at the top of his thighs. The back of his dress was lace-up

He tried to focus. “Even girls who…um, wear heels all the time don’t like walking distances that long. My best friend in high school always brought extra shoes.”

Taehyung stopped spinning. “I don’t have any other shoes that look good with these tights. And am I ever going to learn this girl’s name? Why aren’t you friends anymore?”

Jungkook sighed. “Her name is Jess. When I came out she stopped talking to me.”

“Damn. Homophobia sucks.”

“She wasn’t homophobic,” Jungkook said, even then hating to hear someone criticize her. She’d always been his partner in crime. “She wanted to date me. I think our entire friendship was just her trying to date me, and after I came out she didn’t see the point anymore and gave up.”

Taehyung fiddled with the edge of his skirt looking taken aback. “I’m sorry. At least now you know?”

Jungkook snorted. “Sometimes I miss her. She’s up in Atlanta for college, though.”

Taehyung looked uncharacteristically sad, so Jungkook ushered him upstairs to grab his shoes. He came back down, five-inch velvet pumps clomping on the stairs, and shoved a wallet and a tube of lipstick in Jungkook’s back pocket. “Since this dress doesn’t have any storage,” he said, and then looped his arm through Jungkook’s.

“You are uncomfortably taller than me now,” Jungkook said, looking up almost half a foot to Taehyung’s face. Taehyung smiled and practically skipped down the stairs, astoundingly steady on the heels. His legs looked amazing.

“Taehyung, did you wax?”

“Yup. Everything.”

He really was shameless. Jungkook could feel his face burning the full twenty minutes down to city market, a closed off, cobbled street full of flowers, cute stores and bars on the edge of a wide park with fountains. SCAD students swamped the area, rambling groups of slutty little dresses and obscure pop-culture references. Taehyung was definitely no longer the most unusual thing in sight, though he got many appreciative stares. He had not stopped beaming the entire way there. They found Yoongi wearing a Scooby-doo costume. Namjoon had dressed like Eminem, Hoseok and Krystal like Calvin and Hobbes. Victoria was Iron man, and Seokjin was Pepper Potts.

Jimin was a…was that a green cape with wings emblazoned on it? Boots, white pants and shirt, tan jacket, and leather straps cris-crossing his entire frame. Jungkook had no idea.

“Levi!” Taehyung yelled. “Holy shit that cosplay is excellent!”

“I’m Mikasa, dammit. Can’t you see the red scarf?”

“I have no idea who you are,” Jungkook admitted.

“Holy shit, have you never seen Attack on Titan?”

“Oh. No. I’ve heard of it though.” He’d heard the geeks in high school raving about it in the lunchroom.

“Ok, we’ll have to fix that.”

“Add it to the list,” Jungkook said, eyeing the way Jimin’s hand had already snuck under the edge of Taehyung’s skirt.

“Wait for the party, Mikasa.”

“How are your feet doing?” Jungkook asked as they got in the van.

“For a while it was only searing pain and a steadily intensifying numbness in my muscles, and I was pretty sure I could handle it, but then we reached the cobblestones and now I think most of the bones in my feet are broken.”

“Ok. Glad to hear you so cheerful despite your crippling injuries.”

Jimin climbed into the other seat beside Jungkook and immediately started poking his thighs. “Dude. These are firm as fuck. Nice leather pants. You should wear these all the time.”

Jungkook giggled and slung one leg over Jimin’s lap.

“Oh, so it’s going to be one of those nights, huh,” Yoongi said from the front seat.

“With these two looking like they do? Oh yeah,” Jimin said. Taehyung and Jungkook’s eyes met. All according to plan.

Yoongi gave Taehyung and Jungkook a long once-over, then turned back to the road muttering “sluts” affectionately.

Luna and Amber, dressed as Mario and Luigi, had rented out the entire top floor of a bar. “HOW?” Taehyung yelled.

“We got club funding,” Amber said, from where she was crouched inside a modified children’s bicycle on the floor, now made to look like a Mario kart. Her fake mustache was a little crooked. “I can see right up your skirt from down here. Quite an eyeful. Nice panties.”

Taehyung grinned brightly and made no move to cover himself. Jungkook eyed the edge of the skirt with increased curiosity. Taehyung practically skipped off in those heels. Jungkook followed, hands out bracingly in case he tipped over. Jimin turned up out of nowhere, green cape and tan jacket gone, and holy shit his costume was sexy. He could see it now. The way those leather straps stretched across his muscles was absolutely sinful. He had two solo cups in hand, and gave one to Jungkook.

“What about me?” Taehyung yelled over the music.

“Go get your own!” Jimin yelled. Taehyung huffed in disgust and stomped off.

They spent a good hour taking part in a Smash Bros tournament on a huge screen on one side of the room. Amber won, but Jungkook got far enough to be proud. He hadn’t seen Taehyung in quite a while. Jimin had gotten knocked out sooner than him, so Jungkook walked back to the dance floor to find him, rounded the dance circle Hoseok was easily dominating with a really cool popping routine, and found Jimin on the other side, his hips working to the beat.

“Finally alone,” Jimin said, sultry, and then louder and giggly when Jungkook had to lean way into it to hear him. “How’ve you been, babe?”

“Fucking tired as shit. The Bee Company sucks!”

Jimin grabbed the hem of his pants and pulled him onto the dance floor. “Dance it off! I like that hat on you.”

Jungkook smiled and did his best to dance with a nearly full cup of…something orange…in his hand. As always, Jimin moved like lazy smoke, like ice melting, like his body was made of air. And whatever the orange stuff was must have been strong, because half a cup in, and Jungkook’s senses were already warping. He hadn’t seen Taehyung in a while and wondered if he’d forgotten the plan, but didn’t care much. He could tell this evening would end well no matter who took him home.

Jimin slid closer. Jungkook had never quite appreciated that they were the same height before Jimin finally stepped all the way forward, and without anyone having to crouch or stand on their toes, they were standing forehead to forehead, elbow to elbow, hips to hips, and everything lined up as they finally kissed. The dancing turned to slow grinding. When Jimin grabbed his ass, Jungkook shuddered and pulled his head back to gasp. Jimin kissed wetly up his neck to his ear and slid his hands into Jungkook’s back pockets.

“Jimin, gotta…Jimin...Jimin, I’ve gotta…”

“What do you want, sweetheart,” he breathed into his ear.

“I gotta take a piss. I’ll be right back.”

“God damn it, Kookie.”

Jungkook snickered. “Nature calls. I drank way too much of that orange shit super fast, and two whole water bottles after going to the gym earlier.”

After using the tiny, gross bathroom, he found Namjoon sitting listlessly at the bar, watching Luna and Amber getting underfoot in their tiny karts. “Hey kid,” he said, resting a heavy paw on Jungkook’s shoulder, “remember this summer when we spent so much time mocking SCAD students and kids who go to college for being naïve, playful idiots with huge piles of debt and no future, and how college parties were just people being stupid and college was just people being stupid and how they didn’t know how to drink or really party or be adults and all that shit?”

“Uh, yeah, I guess so.”

“It’s been, what, three months? Look where we are. A fucking college Halloween party. I think,” Namjoon raised his own cup of orange to his lips for a long swig, squinting around at all the scantily clad game design and animation students, “I think we were just jealous.”

“You are such an old man. Stop maudlin and go pick up some girl in Wonder Woman lingerie.”

“SCAD girls are scary. Some of them will hit you if you flirt with them. I don’t get it.”

“If I get laid tonight and you don’t, you will never hear the end of it from me.” Namjoon glared, finished his drink, and then stood and wandered into the crowd.

Jungkook made his way back to the dance floor, stumbling slightly in the half light. The alcohol had made its way around, the room smelled like weed, and disgustingly horny couples littered the room, grinding against the walls or practically fucking on the dance floor. He even saw some costumes as quality as Taehyung’s, curtesy of the fashion majors, maybe. Someone knocked his hat crooked and he couldn’t be bothered to fix it.

After stumbling through the crowd for a while, he finally found Jimin with a beautiful boy in a little black dress and fishnets clutched tight in front of him, the shoes gone. Jimin’s hand hiked up one side of Taehyung’s fluffy skirts, exposing the frilly white layers underneath, and the wide, lacy side of what looked like little pink boy shorts against slick, tan skin. Jimin had his mouth turned into Taehyung’s ear, whispering, and Taehyung’s eyes were shut tight, his head limp on Jimin’s shoulder, hands clutching at Jimin’s arm, the back of his neck. Jimin’s hand moved over his hipbone, lowering the skirt a little, and then pushed it back up. Jungkook saw the edge of Taehyung’s hard-on shamelessly filling the front of the pink shorts.

He stepped forward breathlessly and grabbed it, fingers low enough to feel his balls. Taehyung jumped, head snapping back, and moaned loudly enough for Jungkook to hear it over the music. Jimin looked up, surprised, saw who it was, and then smirked wickedly. Jungkook smiled back and kissed him messily over Taehyung’s shoulder. He felt Taehyung turn his head to look at them, his hips still jumping into Jungkook’s grip.

“Koo-kookie,” he whined.

Jungkook pulled away from Jimin and looked back down at Taehyung, sagging against Jimin’s strong arms. “Call us both ‘sir,’ baby girl.”

Taehyung’s eyes widened. Jungkook felt his knees give out. He rushed to help Jimin hold him up.

“Should I call you ‘officer,’ then?” Jimin asked.

Jungkook snickered. “Hell yes.”

“Fuck,” Taehyung groaned. Jungkook slid a hand back over his cock and squeezed gently. Taehyung’s forehead knocked against Jungkook’s shoulder. He just stood there, rocking a little to the music, palming Taehyung through his silky pink boy shorts. He realized he’d been staring blankly over Jimin’s shoulder for a few minutes and blinked, moving them to his eyes.

“Looking a little distracted there, officer.”

“Shut the fuck up.” He leaned in for another kiss and let Taehyung rut frantically against his hand for a minute while he kissed Jimin slow and deep.

It’s not that Jungkook forgot that there were people surrounding them, bumping into them and possibly staring at the way Taehyung was sandwiched and writhing between them, he just really didn’t care.

Yoongi showed up at one point, and joined the grind train behind Jimin, who looked back over his shoulder with a grin, then smirked wickedly and began moving his hips with a fury, grinding like a stripper. Taehyung seized a little against Jungkook, eyes flying open and hips twitching restlessly. Yoongi just laughed and snapped the costume straps across his ass. Jimin jumped and blushed a little.

Jimin went to go fetch them all a round of shots, and left Taehyung gripping Jungkook’s shoulders and rocking steadily against him as Jungkook gripped his ass under all the fluffy layers, kneading and pushing. He looked wrecked already, eyes glazed, hands shaking, a fine sheen of sweat making his skin dewy.

“So pretty, baby girl,” Jungkook murmured, and finally took the chance to bite his pretty, light pink lips, rub his own lips against them, lick to get the taste of lipstick on his mouth. Taehyung moaned low, a little too far gone to properly kiss back while also shifting his dick against the fly of Jungkook’s pants, through the layers.

Jimin returned with shots. The speed and efficiency with which Taehyung grabbed his and knocked it back showed that he was much more lucid than he let on.

“Dude, when do you guys wanna get out of here?” Jimin asked.

“That threesome’s happening then?” Jungkook asked.

“Aw, yeah. High five,” Taehyung said.

“Wait, did you fuckers plan this?” Jimin asked. Jungkook and Taehyung nodded.

“Let’s stay for a bit. It’s only been, like, two hours, and this party is awesome. We’ve gotta make it at least three,” Taehyung said. “Jungkook, can you get your hand back on my dick?”

“That’s not what you’re supposed to be calling me.”

“Can you feel me up in the middle of this here dance floor please, Sir?”

“There you go,” Jungkook said, and snaked a hand down between them, Taehyung immediately groaned and buried his head in Jungkook’s shoulder. Jimin let out a low whistle and then lined up behind him, kissing gently over his neck. He took charge of the dancing, keeping them moving so they weren’t just standing awkwardly in the middle of all the other groups of friends and couples. People stared enough as it was.

After a few minutes of lazy groping and Taehyung’s fingers digging hard into Jungkook’s shoulders, Jungkook felt Jimin’s hands lift the hem of Taehyung’s panties up and push them down. Jungkook finally wrapped his hand fully around Taehyung’s dick and stroked slowly over it. His eyes flickered through the drunken, oblivious crowd around them. Jimin was smirking evilly as Taehyung practically vibrated with tension. “You’re a bit of an exhibitionist, aren’t you?” Jungkook said in his ear, loud over the pounding music.

“I’m a little bit of just about everything you can name,” Taehyung groaned back, breath hitching. Jungkook teased until he was entirely too nervous to continue, which took a while, Jimin holding Taehyung upright.

“Fuck everything. We gotta get out of here,” Jimin yelled.

Jungkook nodded and began pulling Taehyung off the dance floor. “Where are your shoes, babe?”

“Under the bar.”

“Jimin?”

“On it.”

Jungkook stood near the door and waited for him, Taehyung sucking on his neck and grinding his hips against Jungkook’s thigh, whimpering. Namjoon, now with at least three woman hanging off his arms, gave him a salute. Jimin turned back up with the shoes and kissed Jungkook as his hand slid over Taehyung’s ass. When he pulled away, Jungkook got a good view of Namjoon giving him a huge dimpled smirk and two thumbs up. He left the building grinning.

Seokjin, the sober sitter, drove them to Jimin’s place, bitching about his Pepper Potts heels all the way. Jungkook sat up front with him and let him rant, giggling and making jokes about his ginger wig. Just as they pulled up to Jimin’s apartment, Taehyung gasped a few times, then made a very pornographic moan in the back and both Jungkook and Seokjin turned to stare.

Taehyung was laying limply in Jimin’s arms, his hands over his face. Jimin looked very caught-in-the-act with one hand up the front of Taehyung’s skirt.

“Jesus Christ. Not again. Why always in my car, Jimin?” Seokjin said. “You can’t wait to you’ve got him inside? Get him out before he drips cum everywhere. That stuff did not wash out of my car seats last time.”

“What?” Jungkook yelped, and then cackled.

Taehyung chuckled weakly.

“Get the keys out of my back pocket,” Jimin said, carrying Taehyung out of the car. He had a first story room, so he carried Taehyung all the way to the door.

“Left my shoes in Seokjin’s car,” Taehyung whimpered.

“And I left my cape. We have bigger issues to worry about.”

Jungkook shuffled with the keys as Jimin pinned Taehyung against the wall and reached back under his skirt. Taehyung’s moans turned high and frantic, and he knocked his head back against the wall.

“What are you doing?” Jungkook asked.

“Using his spunk as lube,” Jimin answered.

“Ok. No. You are not going to make him come again right now. Hands off.”

Jimin pouted at him. “No.”

“No?” Jungkook said, voice dangerous.

“No, officer?” Jimin guessed.

Jungkook threw Jimin’s keys at him and pushed him off Taehyung. “Good boy. Now unlock your own goddamn door.”

Jimin rushed to comply as Jungkook slid his tongue into Taehyung mouth.

“You takin charge, officer?” Taehyung breathed.

“Yeah.”

“I got jizz all over my dress,” Taehyung giggled.

“Dirty girl.”

“Fuck me, officer.”

Taehyung made it to the bedroom before he started trying to take his soiled dress off.

“Hold on. I got you,” Jimin said, and pulled the knot out, loosening the ribbons lacing the back together. Taehyung tugged it off and then sprawled across the bed wearing only the pink boy shorts, the lacy choker, an arm band, and the fishnet stockings. And the bow in his hair. It clashed oddly with his abs and strong thighs. Jimin flicked a couple small lamps and some string lights on, and Jungkook could see strips of white wetness glinting on Taehyung’s stomach and the tops of his legs. The front of his boy shorts were stained and already beginning to fill out again.

“Grab the headboard,” Jungkook said. Taehyung scrambled up the bed and stretched out on his back, his hands grasping the low strip of wood around the upper edge.

Jungkook straddled Taehyung’s chest and slapped the handcuffs around one of his wrists. Taehyung muttered, “Fuck,” and Jungkook smirked and looped the chain around a bar between the bedframe and the headboard and then tightened it around his other wrist.

Jimin climbed on right behind Jungkook and wrapped his arms around Jungkook’s waist, mouthing along his neck. With one hand he pulled the uniform shirt up over Jungkook’s abs. The other popped the button on his pants, unzipped his fly, and stroked into the front of his pants to press warmly against his dick. Taehyung watched, panting, under them, arms flexing against the handcuffs.

“Did you get naked?” Jungkook asked Jimin.

“Yes, officer.”

“Put the leather straps back on.”

“Shit,” Jimin said, and jumped off the bed.

Jungkook pulled the uniform shirt off over his head and knocked his hat off with it. He untangled it from the shirt and put it roughly back on. Taehyung moaned and squirmed. Jungkook shifted down to grind his crotch against Taehyung’s, black leather against light pink satin and smooth, tan abs striped with cum. He groaned and rocked down hard. Taehyung moaned behind clenched teeth.

Jimin shuffled around for a few minutes, giving Jungkook enough time to lick all the cum off Taehyung’s stomach and thighs and slowly pull the shorts over his thin hips, and then off his legs. He took his time feeling the smooth, waxed skin along the crease of his hips, close enough to tease. Then Jimin crawled back on the bed holding a long black pole.

“Spreader bar,” he said, and Taehyung groaned and spread his knees. Jimin strapped it on, and Jungkook slid off the bed to take off his pants and get a long look at Jimin, crisscrossed with leather straps, framing his chest, circling his thighs. Two crossed under his belt, right over his dick.

“Fuck, you look so hot,” he said, crawling back onto the bed and pinning Jimin down beside Taehyung to lick quickly into his mouth. Jimin tangled one hand in his hair and slid the other over his bare back, trying to control the kiss, and Jungkook growled, pressing harder and grabbing Jimin’s dick. Jimin gasped into his mouth and fought it, pressing up and tightening his hand in Jungkook’s hair.

“Don’t make me belt you to the bed beside Taehyung. I’ll fuckin do it.”

Jimin swallowed back a whimper and struggled, still trying to get on top and control it. Jungkook wrestled both of Jimin’s wrists into one of his hands and slammed them into the bed over his head, then bit into the solid muscle between his shoulder and neck, his other hand snaking down to roll Jimin’s balls in his hand. Jimin writhed, yelling, and his knees slid open, even as he tried to pull his hands out of Jungkook’s grip. But he was at an awkward angle, and Jungkook was stronger.

“You gonna behave, baby?”

“Yes, sir,” Jimin whispered brokenly.

Taehyung groaned. He’d shifted a little higher on the bed so he could put his head up a little and watch. Jungkook let him go, grabbed his fallen hat, and pulled it jauntily onto his head. Jimin didn’t move, just lay there with his arms over his head, panting and staring at the ceiling, his hands limp on the sheets.

“Did you—Did you just,” Taehyung gaped between Jungkook and Jimin, “Are you gonna top?”

“’Are you going to top,’ who, sweetheart.”

Taehyung snorted. “Officer.”

“Good girl.”

“Oh fuck, I like that way too much,” Taehyung said, going limp on the bed.

“Jimin, prep her.”

“Yes sir,” he said, and grabbed the lube off his desk. “sorry, officer.”

“I’ll let it slide.”

Jimin snickered and slid up beside Taehyung, slicked up his fingers, and reached between Taehyung’s spread knees to stick his middle finger right up into his hole with no warning or warm up. Taehyung made a gravelly sound deep in his throat and shut his eyes tight. Jimin stared heavily back at Jungkook, who was just enjoying the view, one hand working his dick.

“Well, officer? You gonna get to work too?”

Jungkook broke character and giggled a little. “Yeah, ok.” He grabbed the lube and Jimin got on his knees beside Taehyung, still managing to work a second finger into Taehyung.

The leather X’d twice over Jimin’s back and crossed on both sides from the top of his ass down over the curve to the outside of his strong legs where it met the belted straps around his thighs. Jungkook traced a finger slowly along where the leather met the skin of his ass, and Jimin’s head dropped onto his arms. Jungkook teased his entrance for a moment, and then pushed slowly inside.

“Jimin, why are you stopping,” Taehyung whimpered. “Don’t stop.”

Jimin growled. “What are you supposed to be calling me, bitch?”

Taehyung gasped, and yelped “Sir!”

“Jimin, what the fuck?” Jungkook said, freezing.

“Don’t worry. He likes it.”

Jungkook remembered that Taehyung had come when he called him a bitch when they’d had sex, and stored that information away for later thought, then continued thrusting gently into Jimin’s ass. His knees spread further apart on the sheets, inviting Jungkook to reach between his legs and grab his dick, so he did. With each slow stroke up Jimin’s dick, he could feel the leather straps crossed under his belt brush against his knuckles.

“So hot, Jiminie.”

Jimin moaned, arm muscles twitching as he worked inside Taehyung, who was gasping, mouth hanging open, frantic moans squeaking out high in his throat.

“My neighbors are gonna fucking kill me,” Jimin muttered into the sheets.

“Remember when they started blasting gospel music last time we did this?” Taehyung giggled.

“That was fuckin—oh god. Jungkook, officer, please do that again.”

Jungkook stroked another tight circle around Jimin’s sweet spot to watch all the muscles in his thighs tense. “Is Taehyung ready?” he asked.

“Couple minutes, officer. I just added the third finger.”

“Better hurry,” Jungkook murmured into Jimin’s lower back and added another finger. “You’re already pretty loose.”

“Must have sat on something this morning,” Jimin hissed out.

Jungkook worked his fingers deeper. He didn’t think he was very good at this yet, but the way Jimin practically purred whenever he scissored and twisted deeper had him focusing on finessing his movements, trying to draw his soft moans out into louder whines.

Taehyung’s orange hair had begun sticking to his forehead. Jungkook could see his arms tightening in the cheap handcuffs. His eyeliner had smeared a little and the bow was lopsided.

“He’s ready, officer,” Jimin grunted.

“You’re not though. Hold still for a minute.” He thrust a third finger in and twisted, spreading them apart, one thumb rubbing firmly against the skin behind his balls. Jimin panted. His hand stilled in Taehyung.

“Please, officer,” Taehyung begged.

“Get condoms,” Jungkook said, pulling his fingers out a wiping them on the sheets. “Like, four of em, just in case.”

Taehyung’s spreader bar rattled a little and Jungkook looked down to see squirming uncomfortably on the bed. “You ok?”

“Need something in me.”

Jungkook reached down and pushed three fingers in, thrusting gently, and Taehyung’s eyes fluttered shut. With his eyes still glued to Taehyung’s face, he lowered his head and sucked his dick into his mouth, still thrusting. His moans pitched higher and his head flopped backwards. Jungkook heard a condom packet ripping open, and Jimin spreading lube on his cock. Then another packet ripped open and Jimin gently pulled Jungkook’s briefs off, pushed his hips sideways so he could get to them, and rolled the condom on. Jungkook kept his eyes on Taehyung’s who was watching him suck him off under the spreader bar looking absolutely tortured.

Jimin spread freezing cold lube down Jungkook’s dick and Jungkook pulled off so fast he smacked the back of his head on the bar and knocked his hat off. “Ah! Fuck!”

Jimin giggled hysterically. “That’s what you get, bitch!”

“Fuck! So fucking cold! Ow, my head.”

Taehyung cackled.

“Fuck you both!”

“Yes, do that please. I’m gonna get soft up here,” Taehyung said, and then tacked “sir,” onto the end as an afterthought.

Jungkook extracted himself carefully and let Jimin line up behind Taehyung. He grabbed the spreader bar with one hand and pushed it roughly back, bending Taehyung in half. Taehyung’s handcuffs rattled against the bed. Jimin lined up and pushed in slowly and then immediately began slowly thrusting. Taehyung squirmed and grit his teeth, chest heaving. “Hurts?” Jimin asked.

“Yes…sir,” Taehyung said. Jimin didn’t slow, perfect dancer body rolls pushing into Taehyung like ripples on a lake.

“Good?”

“Yes sir,” Taehyung said, hissing. Jimin braced both hands on the spreader bar and held on, controlling the angle, and Jungkook admired the way his muscles locked out like they’d been molded there. Taehyung’s head tipped sideways onto one of his stretched arms. The lacy choker looked completely off-kilter.

Jungkook adjusted his hat, and then lined up behind Jimin. “Forward a bit,” he said, and Jimin pushed the spreader bar further, rising up higher onto this knees so Jungkook could get under him and sink in. He stopped rocking into Taehyung and just sat back onto Jungkook’s cock, nice and easy. Hot, tight heat swallowed him up, and his spine gave out. He collapsed against Jimin’s back, just clutching at the leather straps along the side of his chest and breathing. Jimin panted, arms shaking on the bar, thick muscles taught and straining, his head dropped below his arms. Taehyung whimpered and squirmed.

“You both good?” Jungkook asked.

“No sir,” Jimin whispered.

“Ok. Ok we can wait.”

“Can’t wait, officer.” Taehyung said.

Jungkook reached impatiently around Jimin and tugged at Taehyung’s cock, who moaned in earnest.

“You’re too nice to him, officer,” Jimin whimpered.

Jungkook kissed his shoulders gently. “You ok?”

“Yes sir. Please pull out mostly. I wanna try something.”

Jungkook slid out till only the tip remained. Jimin shuddered for a moment, and then shifted his hips backwards slowly onto Jungkook’s dick again, out of Taehyung. Taehyung whined, eyes trained on the top of Jimin’s head where it hung below the bar. Jimin rocked forward into Taehyung again, off of Jungkook, and then tentatively began a slow, filthy rolling motion perfectly between them, back onto Jungkook and forward into Taehyung. They both held absolutely still and watched Jimin work. Jungkook took his hands off Taehyung and put them on Jimin’s waist, sliding under the leather straps to feel his muscles tense as he moved with the grace of a whirlpool under his hands, pulling them both in. Pleasure pulsed pleasantly through Jungkook, up from the steady, careful rocking on his dick.

When Jungkook’s fingers slid softly across his abs, Jimin finally threw his head back, body arching, and Jungkook barely missed getting his nose broken, ducking to the side so Jimin’s head landed on his shoulder. He was flushed and sweating, absolutely wrecked, eyes shut, eyebrows pushed up and together, teeth clenched.

He wasn’t breathing well, little gasps slipping in and out when he could manage them past all the muscles coiling around his ribcage, both from holding Taehyung’s weight steady and shifting relentlessly in his little eddy between their bodies. Jungkook leaned forward and sucked on the bite he’d left in Jimin’s shoulder earlier, and Jimin moaned, high and sharp, cut off on his next gasp.

“Breath, baby.”

Jimin sobbed. His chest strained under the leather straps. Jungkook’s fingers ran lightly over Jimin’s nipples, and he choked, jerking hard into Taehyung, who yelped. He reestablished his pace and pushed forward, a little quicker. He leaned his weight forward onto the spreader bar a little, and Jungkook shuffled a little closer to stay in him and Jimin picked up speed, breathing a little easier and using that to push harder between them. Jungkook felt himself moan a little too, closing his eyes and focusing on the rolling pressure building so slowly. Jimin did not have enough leverage to punch with the speed Jungkook really needed, but that was fine. He could wait.

He opened his eyes and watched what little he could see of Taehyung over Jimin’s head, just his face and his arms stretched over his head. Jimin must have found Taehyung’s prostate, because he jolted beneath his spread legs and moaned breathlessly, his little mouth falling wide open.

“Taehyung, you’re beautiful,” Jungkook murmured, and he smiled.

“Taehyung,” Jimin gasped, “you look like a fucking slut.” Taehyung’s eyes fluttered and he moaned happily.

“Damn right I do. I feel like a fucking slut. But don’t be telling me that when you’re fucking yourself back on Jungkook like you need dick to survive. You’re ruined,” Taehyung was smirking up at him now, even as his body rocked against the mattress with every thrust, his voice low and crackling. “I’m not calling you ‘sir’ when you look like that.”

Jimin growled and thrust faster. Jungkook had to grab onto his arms and suck air in through his nose, forehead pressing against his back.

Jimin wore out eventually, thrusts becoming gracefully erratic, his arms trembling with the weight of holding Taehyung up for so long. His head flopped forward and he moaned quick and distressed at the end of every breath.

Jungkook took over, grabbing Jimin’s hips and taking control, steering them and hunching Jimin over till he just collapsed on top of Taehyung in a panting heap, pressing the bar all the way into Taehyung’s chest, who gasped, wide-eyed, and moaned out loud. His stockinged legs framed Jimin’s leather-strapped back. Jungkook somehow found the bed through the mess of legs and bodies, braced his arms, and started threw all his weight into pounding into Jimin. Jimin keened and managed to get his legs under his hips enough to put himself at a good angle to keep pounding into Taehyung too.

“Not. Fucking. Enough.” Taehyung grunted. Jimin brought and hand up and smacked his ass. “Sir!”

“Good girl,” Jungkook said, giggling.

“Jiminie, sir, fuck me harder, please, please fuck me harder.”

“Can’t move…” Jimin groaned.

“That was amazing, Jiminie,” Jungkook murmured into his back. “The way you move is fucking beautiful. I could get high just watching you.”

Jimin moaned “Thank you, sir.”

Taehyung abruptly moaned louder. “Jimin, I’ve never, ugh. Fuck. I’ve never seen you so submissive. I can’t…It’s so hot. Jungkook, you don’t know how weird this is. He never bottoms for me. I never get to see this. I wanna…glare at me all you want, sir; I’m not gonna shut up. Jungkook, I wanna see you tie him to the bed and put a collar on him. I wanna see you fuck him with a ball gag and a blindfold.”

Jimin made a couple very odd noise somewhere between surprised, distressed, and hopelessly turned on.

“Yeah, whimper, Jiminie. Like a bitch in heat. Like the dirty slut I know you are—”

Jimin tightened frantically around Jungkook’s cock and for a moment Jungkook thought the world was ending, swallowed up by impossibly tight heat and a throaty, loud sound like moaning. He blinked his eyes open and realized that his elbows had given out and Jimin was whining under him. He gave a slow thrust. Jimin tightened up again, gasping with oversensitivity, and Jungkook realized he’d just come from Taehyung mocking him. Jungkook pushed himself up. Jimin had his face hidden in a gleefully grinning Taehyung’s chest.

“Get him off,” Taehyung said. “I can’t breath.”

Jungkook pulled out and carefully pulled Jimin’s limp, heavy body off of Taehyung’s, who groaned loudly and slowly lowered his feet back onto the sheets, grimacing. Jungkook got Jimin over Taehyung’s knee and let him flop over beside them to come down, eyes closed and breathing deeply.

Jungkook ripped his condom off, put another on, and straightened his hat, which made Taehyung giggle.

“Ready, ma’am?” Jungkook asked.

“Yes officer.”

He thrust fast and hard into Taehyung’s body, then stayed there deep and grabbed the spreader bar with one hand, pushing it experimentally forward to watch the way Taehyung’s eyes glazed over, and then punched forward at a rapid pace, heavy and hard. His hat fell off. Taehyung went mindless, moaning and yelling, eyes shut and mouth open, arms tight in the cuffs, wiggling to try to thrust back onto his cock, but between the cuffs and the spreader bar in Jungkook’s grip, he couldn’t move.

Jungkook had already been close when Jimin finished, and the pressure built quickly from there with beautiful Taehyung giving him eyes beneath him, the choker definitely twisted up, the bow almost all the way out of his hair. He closed his eyes and chased it until it washed over him. He hummed contentedly and rode it out slowly in Taehyung’s ass, then pulled out and stripped the condom off.

He crawled up over Jimin, who turned a little towards him, still blissed out and flushed red, and kissed him hungrily, sinking into it.

“Officer?” Taehyung asked, voice unusually high. “Hey, officer. Sir, either one of you. Please either get me off or let me free. Officer? Hey!”

Jimin and Jungkook smirked and continued kissing. Jimin made quiet, adorable noises when they kissed.

“Kookie!”

“That’s not what you’re supposed to call me.”

“Get me out of these cuffs.”

Jungkook smiled and kissed down the side of Jimin’s neck, grabbing the straps to haul him closer.

“Not that this isn’t hot, but it’s really not what I need right now. Let me out!”

“Call me sir.”

“You don’t fucking deserve it! Jungkook! Get me out.”

“Hey, this reminds me of something awfully similar that you did to me the first time we had sex. Does it remind you of when you tied me up and then wouldn’t let me go after you came?”

“I didn’t fucking do it for this long!” Taehyung shrieked. “I’m fucking dying! My dick hurts!”

“You already came once this evening,” Jimin said calmly, his hands running up and down Jungkook’s sides.

“I fucking hate you both! I hope you get abducted by aliens! I hope you trip on a cracked sidewalk and knock over a hot guy in the middle of crowded street, and I hope he gives you shit for it!”

Jungkook laughed. “Those are costume cuffs. You could totally get yourself out right now if you wanted too.”

Taehyung started fiddling frantically with the cuffs. It was obvious he’d never had costume cuffs as a child. While he was preoccupied with that, Jungkook slid between his legs and swallowed his cock as far down his throat as he could manage. Taehyung froze and moaned desperately while Jungkook shoved two fingers back up his ass and focused on giving him the best blowjob he’d ever attempted. Jimin pet Jungkook’s hair and then slid his hand slowly up to slip his fingers between Taehyung’s lips. Taehyung opened up wide, licking and sucking with those beautiful pink lips and his long clever tongue, eyes closed in concentration.

“You look like a ten-dollar whore, baby girl,” Jimin said, and Taehyung moaned throatily and sucked harder. “Jungkook, look at this.”

Jungkook pulled off long enough to murmur, “I am,” and then went back down on him. Taehyung’s hips bucked, and he came down Jungkook’s throat without warning. Jungkook swallowed, flinching, and then pulled off, trying not to gag. Taehyung went completely limp on the sheets, panting, his face slack.

Jimin wiped his hand off on the sheets and then un-cuffed Taehyung’s hands and massaged his wrists. Jungkook removed the spreader bar and carefully straightened his legs. Taehyung groaned and grimaced, legs twitching. “Really hurts,” he whispered.

“Lie still, sweetheart. We’ll take care of you,” Jungkook murmured, kissing his forehead. Jimin was already ambling to the bathroom with his leather straps and broad shoulders to get a wet washcloth. Jungkook removed the rest of Taehyung’s costume pieces and then cleaned Taehyung up as he watched Jimin do the same, maneuvering the maze of leather straps.

“That was awesome, guys,” Jimin said a few minutes later when they were curled around Taehyung, who had just opened his eyes and was blinking dazedly at the ceiling. “Go team.”

“I learned some weird shit about you two today,” Jungkook said.

“I’m going to be covered in bruises tomorrow,” Taehyung muttered.

“Wouldn’t be the first time,” Jimin said. “You make a good maid. Maybe you should come clean my apartment sometime.”

“Fuck you,” Taehyung said, slinging an arm over his face. “Go get eaten by a titan.”

Jimin giggled and met Jungkook’s eyes across Taehyung.

“That was hot AF, Jungkook. Where the fuck did you learn to take charge like that?”

“You’re both always so surprised. I’ve had sex before. I watch porn. I’m pretty confident. I’m not sure I’m the best at sex yet, but I feel like I can do the attitude.”

“Speaking of best at sex,” Taehyung said, glancing at Jimin, “You need an award. Way to make a weird position work for you. I thought I was gonna die watching you work yourself up on us like that.” Jimin smiled bashfully. “Now both of you shut up. I need to sleep.” They were quiet for all of ten seconds and Taehyung fell asleep.

“He’s adorable,” Jungkook giggled. “Look at that. He’s so quiet. He’s not making any weird faces.”

Jimin smiled softly across at him. “You’re adorable when you sleep too. So shut up and go to sleep. Don’t you have work tomorrow?”

“Not till the evening, but yeah. I’ll sleep. I take all I can get these days.”

“Goodnight, officer.”

Jungkook giggled again, and the fell asleep with his face in Taehyung’s shoulder and his hand clasped with Jimin’s over his stomach.

 

Thursday on November 3rd was a bit of a dead night at The Bar Bar. Namjoon and Jungkook both sat, leaning over the counter to chat.

“I’m going to get rid of cable,” Jungkook said.

“That’ll cut down costs a little bit. I did that last year. Have you thought about getting rid of your phone or internet too?”

Jungkook snorted. “I need those to survive. I think I can safely get rid of cable. I usually play video games with the TV anyway.”

“How much money do you spend on that?”

“Besides the electricity bill? Nothing anymore. I’ve gotten a couple new games for Christmas and stuff like that over the past two years, but I haven’t bought myself a new game in, like three years now.”

“At least you don’t have car insurance to deal with. And gas.”

“Holy shit, I really need a car. Don’t remind me.”

“You’re doing fine without one.”

“Oh yeah? You try to walk to and from the grocery store on a hot afternoon in the middle of summer with a shit ton of bags that you have to get into the fridge.”

“You have me. I’ll always drive you.”

“Maybe I can be a manager here. God knows the Bee Company is never going to promote me. I need to get out of that place. Maybe I should find a different secondary job, like the Coffee Fox or something.”

Namjoon snorted. “You want to be a hipster barista? Join the SCAD train? Start dressing like your hot boyfriend?”

Jungkook snickered. “Jimin’s my boyfriend yet, but damn he dresses well. I just might.”

“I’m kidding. I love those guys. The Coffee Fox is probably better than working at the Bee Company. You’re good at making drinks and obviously you think its fun. Maybe you’d increase their business and they’d pay you for it.”

Jungkook laughed.

“I’m not kidding. Your smile is something else, kid. Business picked up after you started working here.”

“Wait, what?”

“It did. Not by very much, but some people started coming more often, like that middle-aged woman that always parks herself at the end and talks loudly to her friends. Before you arrived she was a once-or-twice-a-week kind of patron. Now she’s here nearly every night. There are a few others. I know I’ve enjoyed working here a lot more since you showed up. You make good conversation. That’s important,” Namjoon said. Jungkook smiled bashfully.

“I’ll think about switching jobs. Don’t tell Taehyung. If I get the job, I want to see him flip out when he sees me behind the counter.”

Yoongi sidled up beside them. “Hey Namjoon. Jungkook, what’s this I hear about Jimin fucking two girls from the architecture department last night?”

Jungkook shrugged. “Hadn’t heard about it.”

Namjoon flinched. “Yikes. Thought you were dating him. I mean, I get Taehyung, but letting him sleep with other random people?”

“We just both sleep with other people.”

“Open relationship?” Yoongi asked.

“Not a relationship at all yet.”

Yoongi shook his head, frustrated. “Jungkook, you are dating the cutest, sweetest, kindest, sexiest man I have ever met, and you haven’t locked him down yet? What is wrong with you? Have some balls! Make some demands if you want to keep him.”

Jungkook cringed a little. “Don’t know if we’re there yet? I want to move things further, but I don’t know if he’d be up for that.”

“I have no fucking idea, but the limbo you two are in right now can’t be doing a lot for either of you.”

Jungkook wasn’t entirely sure what that meant, but thinking about his relationship with Jimin suddenly felt more stressful. When he got home that night he could barely get in bed fast enough, rolling Taehyung onto his back and snuggling into his shoulder, one leg thrown over his hips.

“Hard night at work, honey?”

“So fucking stressed.”

Taehyung hummed and started scratching gentle circles in Jungkook’s scalp. “Did you know that alligators can die of stress? They can’t effectively get rid of chemicals that stress produces. Be glad you’re not an alligator.”

“Pretty sure I wouldn’t have to work at the Bee Company if I was an alligator.”

Taehyung yawned. “Imagine if society was full of walking, talking animals, taking our jobs and owning businesses and shit. Maybe the world would be less racist if we had a bunch of different species.”

“Then the different species would just get all the hate. It has to get vented somewhere.”

“Hm. I hope that’s not true. I don’t think you’d be an alligator, though. I think you’d be a black bear or a badger or something.”

“I don’t think I’m fierce enough to be either of those things. You’d be a squirrel.”

“I accept that. Maybe you’d be a llama.”

“God no.”

“Black rat snake.”

“These keep getting worse.”

“Namjoon would be crow because they’re really smart. Yoongi would be something really grumpy, but pretty.”

“Poodle?”

“Oh god, yes. Seokjin’s a sparrow, Hoseok’s a Jack Russell, Jimin’s a fucking caribou or something.”

“What am I?”

“Hm.” Taehyung traced his fingers thoughtfully along Jungkook’s jaw and across his lips. “I suppose you’d probably hate it if I said a worker bee.”

“I would make you go sleep on the couch.”

Taehyung tilted his chin up to look at his face, and Jungkook could see the dim streetlight painting the planes his face in ugly yellow, his hair shining. He looked soft and ephemeral. “I might stick with bear. One of the smaller, less aggressive ones. What do you think you’d be?”

“I could get on board with being a bear. I get to hibernate in a warm cave half the year, right?”

“Yeah, but you’d be alone. I know you wouldn’t like that.”

Jungkook snorted. “That’s just accurate, though.”

“Not exactly,” Taehyung said, pulling him in close and snuggling into his hair. “Squirrels kind of hibernate, and I’d be warmer with you.”