“He’s here.” A soft but firm kick to Yoongi’s arm; when he looks up at Hoseok’s eager nodding towards the entrance, he redirects his attention back to putting plates into the bottom shelf. He doesn’t have to look. He knows, okay.
This ‘he’ in question is – it’s kind of a domino story. See, a friend of Yoongi’s friend Jin heard from another friend about Jin’s parents’ hip little vegan restaurant that’s apparently all the rage right now amongst university students. This friend, obviously intrigued, came over to check it out with his friend one breezy spring afternoon, who turned out to be none other than Kim Namjoon, who happens to be in Yoongi’s sparing but tightly knit network of friends. Like, what a fucking coincidence. (“What a fucking coincidence!” Hoseok’s voice rings in his head.) From there, introductions happened swiftly and easily: a pat on the back from Namjoon, a smile from The Guy, an order of rigatoni peperonata to settle it all, and now Yoongi has a name, a face, and a major he can’t seem to remember to forget.
“Taehyung, my man.” Hoseok’s voice chimes over the counter and the gentle din of customers around them. Rush hour – almost. The place hasn’t filled up quite yet, so Yoongi has maybe twenty more minutes of a normal heart rate and a straight head. It’s his least favourite time, but a time Taehyung chooses to always drop by. That, and really fiery red afternoons, when the music’s softer and the people are sleepier. Yoongi straightens up just as Taehyung leans over the other cash register where Hoseok is. As usual, he’s all easy smiles and warm laughter and lightly tousled brown hair. Today’s threads features a huge cream tee that would slip over one shoulder if not for it dipping down so low to reveal his collarbones and a dangerously tantalising preview of his chest. Not that Yoongi is really affected.
“Back for more?” Hoseok’s asking.
“You know me and my lust for greenery,” Yoongi hears him say. He hands the customer their change.
“You’re a weird one,” Hoseok comments, but it’s friendly, and Taehyung laughs, turning over to Yoongi.
“Hey, Yoongi,” he greets.
“Do you not have a filter around your mouth?” Yoongi asks.
“Barely.” Taehyung doesn’t miss a beat. “Disappears completely in the face of vegans, though.”
Yoongi grins and looks away, tending to the next person in line.
Hoseok clicks his tongue. “Watch that mouth, pretty boy.”
“I’m just here for the flavour,” Taehyung states. “And – well.” Taehyung tilts his head, and Yoongi has eyes along the circumference of his head, so he absolutely feels Taehyung’s eyes pointedly drilling heart-shaped holes into his skull. In turn, Yoongi pointedly focuses on getting the right bills for the customer.
“Great,” Hoseok says. “You’re totally welcome to flirt when I’m not looking. Or listening. Or here.”
Yoongi doesn’t miss Hoseok’s mumbled it’s been two weeks, God as he waves over a waiting customer and Taehyung saunters to Yoongi’s side to get a closer look at the menu board. Indeed, it’s been two whole weeks since their first encounter. Taehyung’s been here two consecutive weeks in a row, multiple times at that, and yet for some reason he still manages to forget everything on the menu. It’s not a very extensive list, honestly, and Yoongi harbours suspicion that he’s doing it on purpose. He chooses not to overthink it too much, though.
“So.” Yoongi places his hands on the counter and meets Taehyung’s (big brown sparkling diamond) eyes. “What’ll it be today?”
Taehyung hums, chin in hand, lazily scanning the overhead menu. “I don’t know…”
Slowly, he drifts down and stops at Yoongi’s face.
Yoongi’s world implodes. Trust Taehyung to choose literally the worst possible moment to pull out a flirty exchange. “Me,” he repeats, hoping his voice doesn’t come out all trembly.
“Mm-hm.” Taehyung nods, beaming. “I would like one serving of you. Piping hot.” The bastard has the gall to lean in, and Yoongi coughs.
Yeah. Taehyung’s “ulterior motives” aren’t exactly ulterior.
And Yoongi isn’t exactly as smooth as he thinks he is.
See, in his head he pictures him getting back with a carefully constructed bon mot, but, well, Kim Taehyung kind of makes it impossible to do so.
Kim Taehyung with his big, huge nose and big, huge eyes and cutely wide lips and a nice broad chest and big, huge hands with sturdy long fingers and an uncanny but fitting fashion sense and a strange way with words and seriously the best goddamn side-profile since –
Yoongi could quite shamelessly go on forever.
Maybe this Literature major has managed to weaken him in his knobbly knees. And maybe, just maybe, he’s totally okay with that. Maybe it’s just loneliness. Who knows. Who goddamn knows.
What he does know is that this is, undoubtedly, a crush, and a pretty show-stopping one at that, and also a divergence from the script of his otherwise vanilla life because he hasn’t exactly had Real Strong Feelings for anyone since the eleventh grade, but here he is in his second year of Interior Architecture getting absolutely whipped by some guy who talks too loud sometimes and pulls off wearing berets in 2016 and somehow, for some fucking reason, he wasn’t the first one to fall. Oh, no. Kim Taehyung, Lit hottie supreme with this volatile sex-god-slash-puppy-loving streak that’s strangely attractive, began the pursuit. And actually wants to bone him. Or, well, hold his hand, at the very least.
And over the course of a few weeks, between bad pick-up lines and beautiful lighting, Yoongi kind of wants him to, too.
He figures it could be a fun little thing. Plus, he had realised sometime down the road, isn’t that half of what university’s all about? The people? The bonds?
Yoongi snaps out of his own thoughts. “You’re gonna hold up the queue.”
Taehyung looks over one shoulder, then back at Yoongi. “There is no queue.”
“Can I get you as a takeaway, then?”
Yoongi starts walking over to Hoseok’s side.
“Okay, okay, okay.” Taehyung lets loose a barking giggle, and, God, that’s precious. “Okay. I’ll have the campanelle with almonds and pepper. Thank you. Sorry, you just looked extra edible today.”
Did he say precious? He meant fucking unfair. Heat spreads all across Yoongi’s ears and neck like butter on a frying pan as he punches in the order. “Would you like anything else with that?” He can barely hear himself over all the blood rushing into his head.
Taehyung is amused. And has a crush. “Why are you being so polite?”
Yoongi is flustered. And also has a crush. He simply waits.
“I’ll get water,” Taehyung says. “Still.”
“Still water and campanelle with roasted red peppers and almonds, comin’ up. Your order will t –”
“Take about twenty-five minutes. I know. I got you.”
“Impressive,” Yoongi deadpans. “You ever considered waitering?”
“Nah, not really,” Taehyung muses, rubbing his chin. “Not ever. Never. But when I was in my junior year of high school, I was totally set on being a Starbucks barista. Convinced myself it was the way to go. How gay was that?”
Yoongi’s cheeks twitch into a half-smile as he lets out an undignified snort. Taehyung looks so damn pleased with his reaction it kind of makes Yoongi want to take his smile back. Or grab the collar of his shirt and start making out with him over the counter right here and now. At face value, he’d either be really good or super sloppy. Yoongi dotes on really, really good. Mm – well – maybe bordering on sloppy…
“Food establishments give off that kinda vibe, don’t they,” Yoongi says, stopping the train of his thoughts from going at full-speed into Sin City.
“Totally. Gays these days. Gosh.”
“The end is near,” Yoongi agrees solemnly. Out of the corner of his eye he spots a customer queuing up to pay. “Okay, I kinda have to ignore you now.”
“Oh, like you don’t do that often enough?”
“You know what I mean.” In a split second of courage and recklessness, Yoongi files away years of possible regret and adds, “This time I’m doing it against my will.”
“Oh my gosh.” A slow, pleasantly hopeful smile breaks out on Taehyung’s face, and he places a hand on his chest. “That’s, like, the nicest thing you’ve said to me since we met.”
Yoongi makes shooing motions, failing to ignore hot embarrassment flooding his cheeks once more. “Off you go.”
“I could pretend I didn’t hear you and you could pretend you never said that?”
Taehyung hums, deep, and it tickles Yoongi’s chest. “God, you get cuter and cuter every time I see you.”
Yoongi remembers the very obvious double-take Taehyung did when he first laid eyes on him.
It was his second shift at the restaurant – a Saturday afternoon, probably three or four, bursting with red and orange. He’d been tired and sulky all day, spilling things too much and smashing cabinet doors too hard, brooding over the less than impressive grade he had gotten on a project he’d poured his blood, sweat, and tears into. Frankly, it was not his best fucking day.
Enter Kim Taehyung.
Trailing close behind Namjoon, donning a large, navy blue overcoat that’s perhaps a little bit too warm for the weather, a black turtleneck, and black shoes – and not a single strand of hair out of place. Straight out of a two-page spread of a fashion magazine. Yoongi couldn’t help but stare, despite himself.
He had caught Yoongi’s gaze, just briefly, but the way he comically jerked his head back around and sent his hair flying off with wide eyes – not even trying to hide it, not even ashamed – so different from his deceivingly hard gaze from before, made Yoongi unable to look away. And then he smiled, all silky smooth, as if he hadn’t just gotten whiplash, and Yoongi’s breath gets caught in his chest. It was at that moment that Yoongi decided to never look at him ever again, at this near-surreal (attractive) man, but then the guy had to come up to him. He just had to.
“Hey,” he had said. “Cute uniform.”
His voice – dizzyingly deep. Like ravines. Yoongi looked down at his dark green apron, then back up at Taehyung. “It’s… a company standard.”
He had grinned. “I’m Taehyung, by the way. But you can call me any time.”
Yoongi remembers getting weirded out, then bursting out laughing in reflex (remembers Namjoon and Hoseok looking over curiously and Taehyung staring in puzzled amazement) and wondering what kind of a fucking person would do that, is this – is this some kind of joke? This some gag reel I missed out on?
“Nothing of the sort.” Taehyung had shaken his head, slightly nonplussed. “Just your run-off-the-mill impromptu confession.”
Yoongi had eyed him wordlessly – impromptu, what the hell, fuck he’s even more handsome up close – before stalking off into the kitchen to put away the stack of dirty plates in his arms. When he came back out he had expected this Taehyung to be gone, but he wasn’t. He was still standing near the counter, speaking to Hoseok with Namjoon next to him, four o’clock light catching one side of his face just right. Yoongi’s ears burned when he flashed him another smile, kind of childish around the edges.
It was hard for Taehyung to leave Yoongi’s mind after that day.
“Fuck life and everything holy in it.”
Yoongi hears the huffing thump and sigh of Hoseok’s beat-up duffel bag as it falls to its umpteenth death onto the floor near the coat-hanger. Poor thing.
“Dude, that thing literally doesn’t wanna live anymore.” Yoongi tugs at the door key. Shit’s jammed. This campus has five tennis courts and one of the best arts facilities in the country and yet here he is battling rusty locks. Fuckin’ hell.
A faint, distracted, “What?” from the kitchenette and the sound of cabinet doors opening and closing. Yoongi catches a glimpse of Hoseok’s face, splotched with a dark shade of Annoyed, as he walks past him.
“Your dank duffel bag.” Yoongi pulls out his phone and makes himself comfortable on the sofa. Five Messenger texts from Kim “Multi-Texter” Taehyung. Wow. That’s about five less than usual.
“It’s fine,” Hoseok snaps, crunching unnecessarily harshly into an apple. “You know what’s not? That goddamn deadline.”
Yoongi hums, recalling Hoseok’s brief, incoherent explosion about his dance professor’s ridiculous demands on the way back from class. “Shit’s fucked.”
“Now that’s an understatement,” he scoffs. “He’s always changing shit up. Always. Probably gets off on it. I hate him. Hate.”
dude. that pasta i ordered
that’s some life-changing vegan shit right there
wanna hang some time?
“Has he – has he never been a dance student?” Hoseok continues shrilly. “Does he not feel human emotions or – or understand how much shit we have to swim through every day? Is he… like… a sadist at heart? Does he even have a heart?”
Yoongi offers a shrug. “Beats me.”
how you get so fly
pretty good right??
You changed decagon’s nickname to Closet Vegan.
“He’s damn fuckin’ lucky to have me in that class.” Hoseok lets out a single, mocking laugh. “Who else would kiss his nasty ass but me? I’m a go-getter. A martyr. I don’t kiss ass for bullshit deadlines. I don’t wipe his feet for – for this.”
“And – okay, here’s the worst thing –”
why do you gotta out me like that
how you get so fly
technically you outed urseld since the day you entered that restaurant and came back for more
): im not a closet vegan :(
and look man the food’s not the only reason i go to that hipster nest
ur the most delicious thing there and i don’t even know it for sure yet
What the fuck did he do in his past life to deserve such a forward young man in hot pursuit of him?
He settles for a:
how you get so fly
“some time” = ?
“–fucked all of us over, not just me, and – yeah, you know what, you’re not even listening. It’s fine! It’s chill, it’s cool. I’m actually feeling a lot better, almost, so thanks.”
“Sorry, sorry,” Yoongi says. “Kinda busy.”
Hoseok hums, somewhat disapprovingly. “Aren’t we all.”
“Look, buster, I’m actually scoring some, so leave me be.”
how’s next sunday sound
“Scoring some?” Hoseok’s raises an eyebrow, skeptical, and he hops off the mini bar. “Fuck off.”
i know this cake place thats not gona burn holes in our wallets
“He knows a cake place,” Yoongi reads, just as Hoseok waddles towards him, face slightly brighter than before.
“Fuck off, is that pretty boy? Are you finally getting in there?”
how you get so fly
sounds good. 4pm ok with you?
Hoseok drops to his knees behind the armrest and hooks his head over Yoongi’s shoulder, then promptly bursts out laughing, right into his eardrums. “Closet vegan?”
“What’s yours? What’s... okay, know what, I’m not even gonna ask.”
even a second is golden when i’m with u
i was like shoudl i reply with that cheesy one-liner orrrrrr.. and decided agaist it for a second but i absolutely had to use it on you
alright so 4pm next sunday at painapp can’t wait!!!!!!!!! i’ll show u all my fav pastries <3
how you get so fly
“Shit… why can’t I get someone as cute as that on my dick?”
“He has his moments.”
“The fuck’s a…” Hoseok squints. “Painapp?”
how you get so fly
the cake/bread shop
“Oh, like bon appetit,” Yoongi marvels.
it’s a few mins away by taxi i’ll text u the address later
how you get so fly
pain = bread en francais
en francais = in french
how you get so fly
i knew that
Hoseok gives him a sidelong glance. “No, you don’t.”
“Yes, I do.”
“You don’t speak a lick of French.”
“Seokseok, I know more things than you think.”
sure ya do
“You don’t even like cake that much.”
Yoongi shrugs. “Maybe the cakes there are different.”
“My, my.” Hoseok sighs. “The things love can do to you.” Yoongi rolls his eyes. The pressure of Hoseok’s chin on his shoulder disappears when he rises to his feet, stretching. “Okay, I’m spent. I’m gonna go nap and hope I die in my sleep! My God, I hate him, Yoongi, I really do. What time’s it?”
“Uhh.” Yoongi glances at the time on his phone. “Four twenty-ish. And –” He whips his head around towards Hoseok, shooting him a look, “– don’t die in your sleep, please. I’m gonna have to look at your corpse and bring the bad news.”
“Ha-ha. Sorry. I won’t. Don’t start sexting on my couch. Wake me up for dinner if I don’t, okay?”
how you get so fly
that was a goodbye kiss because my assignment beckons
how you get so fly
alright go do your thing
aww i was hoping you’d tell me to stay :(
how you get so fly
stop hoping :(
you are mean
Closet Vegan changed your nickname to mean yoongi.
You changed your own nickname to ♡mean yoongi♡.
go do your work
ok see ya when i see ya babe
may our paths croissant again
you are so not funny
Now left staring at the chat screen, Yoongi drowns in the bubbling giddiness in his limbs.
He has a date.
He tries saying it out loud, just to be sure. And then he smacks himself, just to be sure.
The smile that bares his teeth is out of his control. “Huh.”
That’s pretty cool, he supposes.
The second time they met, it was on another afternoon. Yoongi had had pink eye and Taehyung had cracked up at his sunglasses.
“You look great, sweetie.”
“Just know I’m not that asswipe that voluntarily wears sunglasses indoors.”
“Nah, I know.” Taehyung had smiled. “You’re that cutie that wears sunglasses indoors.”
Yoongi’s opinions on things are rarely ever definite. Apart from music, which he can say with absolute conviction that he loves it, he often hovers in the middle ground between Yes and No. He has a whole system of liking and disliking things founded by his view of the world as being impermanent and fleeting. According to him, things change, and therefore opinions change, so he doesn’t see the point of claiming something to heart. It makes a lot sense. Too much sense for it to not be a more popular way of thinking.
Take the student lounge, for example. A place of woe where most flock to blissfully ignore their assignments and pretend that their lives aren’t kicking them up the asshole, if for just one second. Yet a place of productivity, too, because while you have the procrastinators and the oblivious, you also have the hard-workers, the responsible ones. Yoongi can’t say that he hates the place, because the couches are comfortable and the air’s always somehow at the perfect temperature no matter what kind of weather is outside, but he can’t say that he loves it either, because everyone just seems to be in a constant state of disrepair. Even the hard-workers.
Today’s representative is Kim Namjoon, International Relations major by morning and Japanese Studies minor by early evening, currently in a less-than flattering shape (frizzy hair, hollow eyes, dry, cracked lips) researching about – about god-knows-what. Namjoon had plonked down onto the seat mumbling something about doing some work here if you guys don’t mind thanks without so much as an explanation and promptly became mute. But Yoongi doesn’t particularly care enough. Across from Namjoon, he noncommittally squints at the upside-down title of the unopened hardback book next to his laptop – Embracing Defeat. How relatable.
Next to Yoongi is Hoseok, who’s in a different state of struggling but struggling all the same, busy wrestling with a burrito that’s falling apart between his fingers. The squelching noises it’s producing makes Yoongi slightly concerned about what’s really in it.
“Would you stop that,” he demands, weakly.
Hoseok takes a piece of lettuce (is that lettuce?) that has fallen onto his plate and stuffs it back into the burrito. “Mm?”
A shiver creeps up Yoongi’s spine when a thick dollop of sour cream dribbles down from one end and plops onto the plate.
“What?” Hoseok looks up briefly, eyes unfocused. Yoongi shakes his head and returns to his game on his phone. He only has thirty seconds left until the timer runs out and he’s not even close to getting all seventy-five red gems.
“Could you guys – stop talking for a second?” Namjoon pleads, voice cracking from being unused for a full hour.
“We weren’t even talking,” Yoongi says.
Namjoon shoots him a tired glare, then narrows his eyes at Hoseok’s burrito. “That’s the saddest fucking burrito I’ve ever seen.”
“It’s crumbling,” Hoseok says, solemnly.
“I didn’t even know they made burritos,” Namjoon muses.
“Fucking can you eat?” Yoongi cries, because Hoseok’s squelching it around again and it’s ruining his game.
“Sorry,” Hoseok says. “It’s, like, falling apart. Sorry. I’ll eat it. It’s – I’m struggling to put it in my mouth. Do you want some?”
Yoongi slaps Hoseok’s wrist that’s getting dangerously close to his face. A fanfare of failure resounding softly from his phone indicates that he has failed the level. He glowers at the screen, dejected.
“That’s a no, then.” Hoseok retracts his burrito, then goes in for a big bite, pushing out half the contents onto his plate. Under all that sour cream, the lettuce, meat, and whatever the fuck else was in that thing looks like a gloopy, uniform mass of nothing.
Yoongi gets a phantom taste in his mouth and swears off of student lounge burrito for life.
“Great,” Namjoon mumbles suddenly, slumping back into his seat. “Internet’s gone. Wonderful. Not like I have to do more research or anything.” He draws out a groan. “Tell me, Zeus, where did I go wrong.” He rubs his eyes, sighing heavily, spectacles perched precariously atop his head. He reaches over to his flask, almost knocking it over, and peers inside. “Shit, my tea’s all gone.”
“Tea’s all gone, tea’s all gone,” Hoseok sings, muffled through his full mouth.
Namjoon looks at Yoongi like it’s painful. “How you doin’?” he asks, in that weirdly fatherly way that he sometimes unconsciously does. “What’s up with you?”
Hoseok turns to him, appalled. “What? You have everything up with you.”
“Indulge me,” Namjoon says. “Please. Make me forget about my woes.”
“Well.” Hoseok puts his burrito down then leans into Yoongi without warning. “For starters, this absolute charmer –” He drapes an arm around Yoongi’s shoulder, “– has scored himself a date. Haven’t you?” Yoongi tries to wrench himself away from Hoseok’s greasy grip on his cheeks and fails, because unfortunately, Hoseok is stronger than he looks.
Namjoon’s weary eyes widen. “Seriously?”
Yoongi pinches Hoseok’s thigh, and he lets go of Yoongi’s cheeks with a wail of pain, but his gangly limbs stay stubbornly wrapped around him.
“Wow. Who is it?” Namjoon watches Yoongi disdainfully wipe oil off of his cheeks with the back of his hand. “Should I feel offended that you didn’t tell me?”
“It’s not –”
“It’s Kim Taehyung,” Hoseok cuts in, slapping Yoongi’s chest for good measure. “Can you believe it?”
Namjoon’s jaw drops in a laugh, face brightening significantly. “Really? No. That Taehyung? Novel nerd Taehyung? Really handsome Taehyung?”
Yoongi groans inwardly. Hoseok waggles his eyebrows.
“Huh…” Namjoon gives him a once-over. “You and him… a bit unusual… but not unlikely. I can see it.”
“It's just – one date.” Yoongi musters all his strength to give Hoseok a violent nudge, and this time he lets go, albeit a little bit upset. “Like, who knows, you know?”
Hoseok gasps, placing a hand over his mouth. “Do you mean to tell me – that all those times you two were at the restaurant making out with each other's gazes... weren't dates?”
Yoongi gives him a dirty look. Hoseok smiles sweetly.
“Making out with each other’s gazes?” Namjoon echoes.
Right at that moment, Yoongi’s phone pings in his hand. He looks down at it.
Well, whaddya know.
Like some kind of coincidence only Taehyung could pull off, Yoongi has received a text from the man himself.
Hoseok is immediately on his case, but Yoongi turns his phone away. “Is that him?”
“I don’t know.”
Hoseok turns to Namjoon. “It’s him.”
can’t wait for sunday !!!!!!!!!!!!!
Taehyung sent an image.
Yoongi raises a brow. He leans back into his seat and opens it.
It’s a grainy close-up of the top half of Taehyung’s face, eyes mid-blink, bangs pulled up in a tiny ponytail.
Yoongi honestly didn’t know what to expect, but he isn’t really surprised.
that’s so ugly
uhhhh say that to the last three guys i talked to on grindr?? they loved it
Grindr. There is absolutely no reason to not believe that Taehyung owns a Grindr account. That's gotta be true. Him and Grindr are a very likely combination.
then again they were really into foreheads… so idk
Yoongi lets out a laugh. Nasty shit.
send me a nicer picture next time like the gentleman you make yourself out to be
of COURSE goodness this is but a warm-up
i got plenty saved up for u just u wait ♡
my god. ur putting me off m
“I knew it!”
Yoongi freezes midway upon typing his message when Hoseok’s voice explodes into his ears. Shit, he accidentally sent it. He clicks his tongue. “Fuck off.”
“I saw a pic.” Hoseok remains unfazed and smug. He knows Yoongi’s mostly bark and almost no bite. “He’s sending you nudes now, huh?”
“You think you’re so damn funny.”
“Nudes?” Namjoon clicks his tongue. “Bad Yoongi.”
“See, now I’m gonna have to kill both of you,” Yoongi says.
“Taehyung wouldn’t like that,” Hoseok says.
“I don’t care, I just want you two out of my life.”
Hoseok flicks Yoongi’s earlobe. “I bet pretty boy’s super touchy. Too bad you’re a literal pole.”
“Why don’t you go make out with him, then.”
“A nice pole, though. Real sturdy. Bony.”
Namjoon hums. “Tae’s an overgrown koala. It’s kinda cute. You can’t hate him.”
Tae the Overgrown Koala. Yoongi fights to not think about Taehyung’s chest and shoulders and long, long legs and huge hands and subsequently fails.
“We’ll see,” he mumbles.
“But – for real, though,” Hoseok says. “Do the two of you do nudes?”
Is the word Yoongi has settled on when describing Taehyung.
The guy’s everywhere – manifesting himself in shower thoughts, late-night working thoughts, eating thoughts, falling asleep thoughts, waking up thoughts, going grocery shopping thoughts, classroom thoughts, dick thoughts –
Everywhere. Absolutely everywhere.
This morning he manifests himself as a grinning reflection in Yoongi’s soup. Yoongi leans all the way back and stabs into the liquid with his spoon. Some splashes onto the table. Maybe it was overkill for him to do that, but this is – this is ridiculous.
Hoseok stares at him weirdly. “You okay?”
Yoongi purses his lips. Looks up at him. “No.”
“If it’s about the soup, don’t blame me,” Hoseok says. “I made it at six this morning. Like an idiot. Also, I think the sausage was three days past its expiration date.”
Yoongi’s mood sours.
“Hey, I ate them, too,” Hoseok consoles. “We’re even.”
Yoongi miserably traces soupy circles onto the table with the spoon. He wonders what kind of shapes Taehyung would trace onto tables. “I can’t stop thinking about him.”
Hoseok tilts his head. “Who?”
Maybe Taehyung traces squares.
“Oh,” Hoseok realises, then grins. “That’s because you have a cruuush.”
Yoongi purses his lips. He feels like he’s going into overdrive, having all these thoughts rushing in. Having Taehyung rushing in. “He’s a good guy,” he says. “He’s caring, he’s funny, he talks a lot… man, like, I dunno. Fuck.” He pushes his bangs up with the heels of his hands, sighing. “He’s goddamn attractive.”
“Yeah, guy looks like he models part-time. Shit, maybe he does.” Hoseok lets out a laugh. “Man… you’re so fucked.”
“He dresses weird, but everything suits him,” Yoongi says. “Smells good, too. Like – like a perfume aisle but in a good way. I don’t feel sick when I smell him, you know? Sometimes he smells like my grandma, which should be weird, but it’s nice.”
Hoseok slurps his soup noisily. “Fucked.”
Yoongi can’t quite decide if Sunday afternoon came around too quickly or took way too much of its sweet time.
For the first time in a few years, Yoongi felt the apprehension of meeting up with someone eat away at his insides. It was so intense that he had to push down the urge to puke twice – once while picking out clothes to wear and once again during the fifteen-minute taxi drive to the designated place.
Pain Appetit is located at the part of the city Yoongi likes to silently call The Edge. The Edge harbours shops and stores and restaurants that are, in essence, nice – nicer than the mild drabness of the area where he and thousands of fellow students occupy – but just not scenic enough to belong in the glass and glitz of the uptown. With its pink-and-white accents, dainty flower pots, and the comforting smell of warm bread, Pain Appetit fits right in there. Quite an unusual choice for university students, frankly, but since when was Kim Taehyung ever usual? When Yoongi steps out of the vehicle, he takes note of the cobblestone pavement under his feet and the gaggle of middle-aged women lounging underneath the umbrella-covered tables outside the shop.
In keeping with lifelong habits, he had turned up ten minutes early for the rendezvous. By then, the nausea had dissipated and was replaced with a nipping in his chest. He stands himself right by the patisserie’s window and sends a quick update to Hoseok. Seconds later his phone pings to an emoji of an eggplant, a tongue, water, and, despite the scowl that adorns his face, he manages to feel a little bit calmer. A little bit. He turns to face the window and gently tugs strands of his hair this way and that, then pats the top of his head down. He purses his lips at his black distressed sweater. Maybe he should’ve worn something less… like this? Is it too drab for this place? But it’s not like he’s dressed in all black. And considering his wardrobe is almost entirely made up of monochrome colours, he wouldn’t have had a lot of choices in the first place, anyway. Oh, maybe he should’ve put his hair up. No, that’s stupid, he never does that normally. He licks his lips and feels the chapped surface. Shit, did he put on lip balm beforehand? He does it again; he can’t taste it there – ah, shit. Whatever. Maybe he’ll get some water later, or something. It's fine. Fuck it.
He turns back around and heaves a sigh.
It’s a nice day, just perfectly shy of being too bright, and a little breezy. The wind picks up then, lifting skirts and scattering leaves, and Yoongi’s gaze follows a trail of dried leaves skitter curlicues along the cobblestone (maybe he should’ve taken some more money with him?), promptly stopping in front of a pair of sneakers and legs clad in black wide pants.
He looks up to a gentle face and bright eyes.
“Early bird,” Taehyung greets. Yoongi’s heart lurches in relief.
He shrugs and hopes it doesn’t look like a seizure. “Old habits die hard.”
“You look good.”
He lowers his gaze, briefly. “Thanks.” He takes note of the glasses Taehyung’s wearing, flushing when he says, “You too.”
Taehyung’s smile grows impossibly brighter. “Shall we?”
A breath in. “Lead the way.” And out.
Inside, the ever-present smell of bread only intensifies along with the quiet bustle of customers around them. It makes Yoongi think of a grandmother’s loving home, or a gingerbread house of sorts. The only thing missing is the crackling fireplace and an oversized rocking chair. Taehyung chooses a seat next to the wooden staircase leading up to the second floor, where laughter and shouts of joy drift down from, and settles across Yoongi.
Yoongi takes a gander at his outfit, at the way it sags against his lanky frame just right. “A bit warm for turtlenecks?”
“Hm? Not at all.” Taehyung tugs at the cuff. “It’s thinner than it looks. You’re the one with the black sweater.”
Yoongi shrugs. “Thinner than it looks.”
Taehyung lets out a small laugh. “Touché.” He crosses his arms over the table. “So.” He smiles. “How are you today?”
It sets in at that very moment that they are on a date. A date, in Yoongi’s books, often promises romantic deeds. So, the problem becomes: what the fuck is he supposed to do now? He can totally play it off as a casual, no-strings-attached kind of thing, ease his nerves a little, but that’s ultimately an incredibly stupid idea. He knows there’s more to them, so there’s zero reason why he should try to play this off as a friendly thing, unless he really, really hates himself. Maybe he’s supposed to be more romantic about this? First of all, how the fuck does he go about doing that? Heck, maybe playing footsies is up on the unwritten agenda, who knows. Maybe he should just answer his goddamn question first. Aw, shit, should he reply all flirty? Drop a stupid one-liner? Set the mood or something? Is that how this works?
Fuck – whatever.
“Busy,” he says, sighs. What the hell ever. Nothing has to be a big deal if it isn’t. “As is everyone else, probably.”
Taehyung hums. “Ain’t that the truth. Seems like I haven’t had a break since… high school. Well. No. But you get what I mean. I really haven’t been able to find time.”
“Mm. But, well, we live and make do.”
“True. Sometimes we just gotta... not do work, y’know?” Taehyung picks up the menu in front of him and opens it up.
“All work and no play and all that jazz,” Yoongi agrees, doing the same.
“Precisely.” Taehyung smiles, flipping through the menu. “Okay, so, the deal with this place, right,” he says, “is they have the best cream cheese bagels, but the worst cheesecake.”
“Ah.” When Yoongi realises that Taehyung isn’t going to continue speaking, he adds, “The swiss roll sounds good. Green tea cake, too.”
“Delectable choices,” Taehyung approves. “Get them both.”
“Delectable,” Yoongi echoes.
“What? Oh, my bad. Great choices.”
“What does delectable even mean?”
“Delicious. It means delicious.” Taehyung actually looks affronted. “Come on, man, this is ninth grade vocab.”
“Oh, my bad,” Yoongi mimics.
“Pfft, shut up.” Taehyung laughs softly, scanning the menu some more. After a bit of pondering (and some mumbling), he raises his hand, and a waiter comes over.
“Afternoon, guys.” The waiter smiles, warm. “Ready to order?”
Taehyung gets a strawberry-banana milkshake and two cream cheese bagels. Yoongi settles on the green tea cake and some coffee.
“Would you like that iced?” the waiter asks.
“Some sugar, then?”
“No, thank you.”
“Alrighty. So that’s green tea cake and black coffee for you and a strawberry-banana milkshake and two cream cheese bagels for your friend. Yes?”
Friend. Yoongi nods; Taehyung chirps out a, “Yes.”
“Great. Let me take your menus off you…”
Blindly handing the waiter the menu, Taehyung shoots Yoongi a look that borders between admiration and disgust.
“I like it black,” Yoongi informs, amused, when the waiter has gone.
“It, y’know. Wakes me up.”
“Oh, I think it could wake up just about anyone with how fucking horrendous it tastes.”
“Hey, it’s a classic,” Yoongi says. “I believe in the classics.”
“Fair. And I believe in having tastebuds.”
Yoongi grins. “Fair.”
And Taehyung giggles. And it’s easy.
Their order comes later on dainty wooden plates and dainty wooden forks. They don’t start eating quite yet, however, because Taehyung’s too engrossed in his anecdote about squirrels and Yoongi’s too engrossed in him being too engrossed, and trying to imagine him as a seven-year-old stumbling around in the park with three squirrels trailing close behind like some twist of the Pied Piper.
Perk 1 of Getting Together with Taehyung: Amazing Tales. The anecdote was chucklesome at best, but still Yoongi was sent into guffaws, falling for Taehyung’s gift in the art of storytelling, for the way he'd make different voices for the people involved, the way he'd contort his face to mimic the way his mom chastised him for playing around with wild animals, and the way he’d embellish his inner monologues with chunky words. Yoongi thinks he can listen to him talk all sunrise and sunset and he wouldn’t quite get tired of it, finds that he doesn’t even mind the chunky words – it’d be annoying and overkill otherwise, but not with Taehyung. With Taehyung, it’s just right.
Their laughs are slowly lapsing into subdued giggles, Taehyung having ended yet another anecdote, when he abruptly halts.
Yoongi watches him. “What?” He’s not slow to react to Taehyung’s suddenly rigid shoulders and the crumpling of his face. Yoongi begins to smile, thinking of passing it off as a joke of sorts. “Is it my –”
But the words barely leave his mouth when a new voice, unheard of before, comes from behind him:
“Taehyung. I thought that was you with the glasses.”
Peculiarly, the hairs on Yoongi’s neck rise. He casts one last confused look at Taehyung, then turns, slowly, coming face to face with an unfamiliar figure. What Yoongi notices first is the person’s incredibly straight face bereft of warmth or affection.
Yoongi hears a quiet, “Hey, Jimin.”
Hm. The name, like the face, rings no bells. To Taehyung’s (and Yoongi’s) discomfiture, Jimin does not return Taehyung’s greeting; his eyes sweep over to cast Yoongi a glance instead. Yoongi nods a timid hello, expecting Jimin to offer an acknowledgement of sorts, maybe a smile back, but all he receives is a stony once-over that adorns every inch of Jimin’s otherwise delicate face.
…Okay. Well, maybe he’s not the friendly type. Yoongi’s had his fair share of –
“So that’s how you’re dealing with it, huh.”
Yoongi’s face freezes. With the corners of his mouth turned down ever so slightly, Jimin looks back at Taehyung. Taehyung’s lips turn hard. The statement is clearly not directed at Yoongi, but it sends venom creeping through his veins all the same.
Alright. Okay. There’s – something about these waters. Yoongi’s seen enough movies. In a world of inside jokes and inside conversations that sentence could quite literally signify anything. For now, the meaning’s lost on him, but all he knows for certain at this point is that whatever the fuck this Jimin just uttered had forcibly ripped open an old door in Taehyung’s life.
And this, he figures, is the part where he’d pretend to not have eyes or ears. Silently, he sips at his coffee and takes a bite out of the green tea cake, focusing his gaze on the edge of the table where Taehyung’s fingers are. Nothing he can do but watch the carpet unfold.
“Well, y’know,” Taehyung says over a lopsided laugh. Yoongi imagines what kind of expression he’d have on. “To each their own and whatnot. How have you been?”
“I’m alright,” Jimin utters. “Peachy.”
“Oh, that’s good.” Taehyung’s fingers start drumming. “Peachy’s – good. Sometimes peachy’s enough. You know?”
What follows their limited exchange are five heavy beats of silence that feel like five centuries. Yoongi reckons he’s accidentally landed smack dab in the middle of whatever shit-storm’s going on between the two. A broken love, he presumes, from bits and pieces. Oh, boy. He steals a glance at Taehyung from atop his mug; poor guy looks like he’s trying not to show anyone that he’s holding in the biggest, most uncomfortable pee of his life. He almost laughs. Almost. Mostly he’s just incredibly confused and incredibly ill at ease. Shit, ow, hot coffee.
“Okay, well,” comes Jimin’s voice. “Enjoy yourselves.”
“Will do,” Taehyung manages. “See you.”
Yoongi counts it as a blessing when Jimin doesn’t spare him another glance before walking away, leaving behind the scent of fresh cologne in his wake.
Taehyung tugs the sleeves of his sweater, expression unreadable. There’s a new film over his face that wasn’t there before. “Okay,” he says. “Cool. That was – whatever.” He clears his throat, and the film is gone. “Anyway.”
Yoongi watches as Taehyung swipes a finger over some cream cheese from his bagel and pops it into his mouth.
“What?” he says, when he feels Yoongi’s eyes on him. Yoongi tucks his chin into his palm. Taehyung slurps at his milkshake, blinking guilelessly. Yoongi cocks an eyebrow. When he finishes, he makes a show of meticulously wiping his lips.
“You know what.”
Taehyung shrugs. “Maybe I don’t. And even if I do –”
“An old headache?”
“Man, you’re a smart one.”
Yoongi narrows his eyes, just the slightest bit.
Taehyung pinches the straw in between his fingers and shrugs, holding back a sigh. “Yeah. An old headache. An ex. No biggie.” He opens his mouth, nodding at Yoongi’s cake. Yoongi pierces into it and offers it to him.
No biggie. “I’ll take your words for it.”
He figures that Taehyung’ll tell him when he tells him and that it’s probably none of his business for now.
It does nothing to alleviate the incessant tugging feeling in his chest.
“Don’t stress, seriously,” Taehyung reassures.
“‘M not.” Yoongi takes another bite of the cake. It’s fucking delicious. “No biggie.”
“Just –” He falls silent as he chews, mulling over his words. Feels Taehyung’s presence ever more, for some reason. Looks into his big eyes and those ridiculously long lashes as if to remind himself how he’s right there for the taking, offering himself to him, but just how likely is this entire fucking thing? How likely are him and Taehyung going to happen? Were they even happening in the first place? There is no doubt in Yoongi’s mind now that whatever went down between Taehyung and this Jimin has not quite been resolved. It cannot be this simple.
Maybe – maybe he knows less about themselves than he had thought.
“Is it really okay for me to be around you?”
Taehyung’s answer is immediate. “Of course it is.”
So Yoongi, once again, takes his words for it.
“Okay,” he says.
“I mean, hey.” Taehyung has the same look he’d have on whenever he came over to the restaurant. “Who made the first move here?” He points to himself.
Yoongi snorts. “I got it.”
“That’s right, I did.” He leans in and flicks Yoongi’s chin. “And not for any old reason.”
Yoongi suddenly has a lot of trouble swallowing that piece of roll. “Mm, let me guess – you find me appealing and attractive enough to take out. Is that it?”
Taehyung shrugs, smiling. “You know what I mean. Point is that he’s not mine and I’m not his and you have nothing to worry about and – this bagel –” he picks up the bagel and sinks his teeth into it, eyes threatening to flutter shut, “– oh, mm – is fucking amazing. Holy shit. Want a bite?”
Yoongi does not, in fact, really know what he means, but whatever. What the fuck ever. Light and easy. Just a date. Just one date.
To Yoongi’s astonishment, Taehyung smacks his hand away when he tries to take the bagel. “What are you doing?” He sounds near incredulous.
“I –” Yoongi blinks. “The bagel?”
Taehyung clicks his tongue, frowning. “Let me,” he insists. “Say ahh.”
Yoongi hardens his jaw but leans in. Goddamnit. Taehyung hums when Yoongi takes a bite out of the proffered food, apparently satisfied.
Damn good. Yoongi’s heart is totally not lurching this way and that. “Creamy.”
“You have, ah, a little –” Taehyung gestures around his own mouth.
“I was gonna do it for you, all gentleman-like.” Taehyung shrugs and takes another mouthful. “I’ll save that for next time, I suppose.” He smiles around the bite, and it should look stupid, with the cream splodging out the sides of his lips and his cheeks filled out like inflated balloons, but it just looks – it looks fucking adorable and Yoongi didn’t mean to take his phone and snap a picture, honestly, it just happened.
Yoongi blinks. Lowers his phone. Sniffs and rubs his nose.
Taehyung brightens. “Is that your first picture of me?”
And he looks so goddamn shy and delighted that Yoongi momentarily forgets Jimin even happened.
Light and easy.
“Okay, okay, my turn.”
The sun is dipping into the honeyed horizon and washes amber all around them. The world starts to slow down, just a little, letting out a contented sigh as it gets ready for dusk. Yoongi had wanted to take a cab back to campus, seeing as it’s the fastest way to go, but Taehyung had insisted that they walk. In hindsight, Yoongi’s glad that Taehyung’s a stubborn shit, because the air is quite lovely. (Or maybe it’s just the way Taehyung beams, all gold and bright?)
“Dick-sized nose or nose-sized dick?”
Yoongi snorts out laughter. “What?”
Taehyung nudges him. “C’mon.”
“Uh…” Yoongi raises an arm to scratch through his hair, then drops it back to his side, and it knocks against Taehyung’s. “It’d depend on the size of the – you know.”
Taehyung taps his chin in thought. “Let’s say it’s your dick.”
“Okay, well, nose-sized dick it is.”
“What?! You’d have a micro-dick!”
“And you’d think having a five-inch nose is more convenient?”
Taehyung blinks at him. “Whoa. Seriously?”
“Goddamnit – stop.”
“You just willingly put out this information.”
“Oh, you’re disgusting. You planned this.”
Taehyung stops walking, veers off, and cups his hands around his mouth. “Here ye, here ye, Min Yoongi has a five-inch pe –” His announcement is cut short with choked-out laughter when Yoongi launches a dig into his side.
“Erect or –”
“I’m fucking leaving.”
“Wow, usually I’d get something like, ‘You fuckin’ nympho.’ I’m glad you’ve deviated from the norm.”
Deviated. Yoongi starts to laugh, but it gets caught in his throat when he feels two, three, four things just then: smooth, warm fingers against his wrist, tentative but determined, and then, a palm sliding down to meet his, clasping easily around it. Oh. Is it that part of the date already? He blinks down at their hands now entwined, not quite believing, then steals a glance at Taehyung, who steals a glance back. There’s low-burning embers in his irises in the second that their eyes meet, before they both look away: Yoongi straight ahead and Taehyung to the side.
The rush of blood to his head is almost deafening; Taehyung’s hands are truly as big as he had imagined. Taehyung coughs into his free fist and threads his fingers through Yoongi’s calloused own, tugging. And Yoongi lets him. Takes a breath in. Tries not to let his mind soar.
“So, I had a grand old time,” Taehyung says, after a few beats of silence. “Am still having a grand old time.”
“Those were some really good pastries.” Yoongi nods. “Thank you.”
“No problem. Learnt a lot more about you today than I thought I would.”
Breaking into a soft grin, Taehyung gives his hand a squeeze then gently swings their arms back and forth.
“Funny story,” Yoongi starts, and he isn’t even sure why. “Hoseok thinks we’re sending nudes.”
From the corner of his eyes he can see Taehyung lean slightly back and turn to him. “To each other?”
“I hid his phone charger later that night. He only found it yesterday.”
“Huh. See, like – I wouldn’t put it past him for thinking that.”
Yoongi blushes madly. “We’ve known each other for three weeks.”
The way Taehyung’s face twists into a dark smile leads him to regret his words. “We could always start –”
“Over my dead body.”
“Ooh, but I’m not into that.”
Yoongi futilely tries to tug his hand free of Taehyung’s grip, but this only makes Taehyung whine in protest and sidle up closer to him. He would struggle some more, but Taehyung’s got an arm around his waist, fingers resting just over his hipbone, and he smells faintly of lavender and the freshness of cologne. So he gives in. “I think you’ve said enough.”
Taehyung only giggles, boyish and playful. A reminder to Yoongi about how quick this guy’s switch can turn on and off.
Conversation starts to dwindle as Yoongi’s heart grows, and they fall into a mutual quiet, exchanging few words with each other save for the occasional mundane commentary. They don’t let go until they get to the dorms, not even when Yoongi’s hand started to get clammy mere minutes in. Back at the campus, Taehyung doesn’t send him up to his room; they stop at the bottom of the staircase leading up to the dorms, say their goodbyes and thank you’s, and when they hug, Yoongi finds himself reluctant to part, reluctant to stop breathing in his scent. The little demon in his head reminds him of the event that unfolded earlier, of how Taehyung doesn’t quite belong to him (and maybe never will), and how this is probably a mistake of sorts, but all ebbs away when Taehyung takes his hand once more, with both hands this time, and rubs the pad of his thumb along the back of it – looking, simply looking, like he wants to do something but isn’t quite sure or is holding himself back, eyes so deep all of a sudden, and Yoongi watches, wonders, waits. But then Taehyung looks up, beams, says, “See you around, Yoongi,” and his hands slip away as he falls into a curtsy. And Yoongi snorts, musters a “See you,” and walks up the stairs, numb somewhat.
When he gets into the quiet room all he hears is his own unsteady, frantic heartbeat. He closes his eyes.
This time he doesn’t try to slow it down.
Yoongi doesn’t want to make a big deal out of today, honestly. Making things a Big Deal when it’s clearly open-ended never ends well. But when he’s under the covers, on his bed, in the dark and hush of 10:30 p.m, it’s kind of hard not to let his thoughts take him over and swamp him like some moonstruck loser. Min Yoongi is not a moonstruck loser, thanks very much. He’s a Pisces. He deals with it.
He deals with the fact that Taehyung’s hands were comforting in the way they were slightly longer than his and slender in all the right places, just shy of being completely square like his are. He deals with how Taehyung radiates warmth not just from his laughter and kind lips but from his entire body, deals with how he wears cologne and smells like it but also smells like fabric softener. Yoongi deals with how his heart swells at Taehyung’s beck and call, and how he always feels like he’s close to bursting whenever he sees or hears him.
...All in the least cheesy way possible, of course.
So maybe God is punishing him and making him take back his words about not being moonstruck because his phone dings loudly, too fucking loudly in this silence, to an incoming text message.
And, as God would have it, it’s from Taehyung.
good night ♡
Taehyung sent an image.
Of course it’s him. Ah, and a picture, too. Yoongi taps it open, conjuring up the dreadful loading icon. What kind of image has he created this ti –
Yoongi’s traitorous ears heat up, thoughts flushed away as he takes in the picture.
It’s of Taehyung, head resting against a pillow with a bright, close-lipped smile. A hand cupped gracefully around one cheek mushes one eye closed, and his hair is tousled across the pillow like some weird brown halo.
Fuck. That’s cute.
It is with almost no shame that Yoongi admires the picture for a while, thumbs hovering over the keypad, swallowing pride and prejudice and everything in between. No one around to judge him but himself. It's fine. It takes a bit, but he finally musters up enough life into his fingers to start typing out a response.
is this supposed to be your nice picture
why aren’t you asleep
the night is sstill young my love
could say the same for you, but i won’t
been thinkin of you
Yoongi takes in a breath (and a little bit of hope).
i’m pretty memorable if i do say so myself
ypu smelled really nice today
what colognedo you use
no idea. stole some from hoseok
i own my own bottle and i think it’s burberry
it was a gift but i rarely ever use it
well mine’s CK. probably as generic as generic can get
it's a classic
hope you enjoyed today
i mean it wsn’t like anything much but wasn’t painapp amazing
i did, i really did
i don’t even like bread and cake all that much but man
ten out of ten would eat at again?
what you said
what about me ♡
what would you rate me ♡
what are you uber
youre so not funny i just want a rating
a solid 7
a seven. out of ?????
this is ugly. i’ll take it but just know that it's ugly
well ok im gonna go to sleep now so good night
good night taehyung
ur my favourite person taehyung
you can’t leave until you say good night back you know the rules
see this is why youre stuck at a 7
OUT OF WHAT
i hope i dream of you but you die in it
Was that a dream?
Yoongi cracks his eyes open.
Is it morning?
Hoseok’s not here.
Was that a dream?
Like lead, like being led, Yoongi gropes for his phone underneath his pillow. Opens his messages – blinks at the violent onslaught of light – sees 4:03 am, briefly. Finds Taehyung’s name with his and the words that were exchanged. Not a dream, he thinks, blearily reading through the chat, screen burning his retinas. Selfie. Perfume. Not a dream. Opens Messenger, waits for it load. Looks at their chat history. No dreams.
He stuffs his phone back under and closes his eyes.
We’re not a dream.
Yoongi looks up momentarily from his bowl of cereal, noting the crusty specks of dried spit on the corners of Hoseok’s lips as he bounds into the kitchen. He doesn’t remember or hear him returning to bed. “When’d you get back?”
“Oh. Heh. Few hours ago.” Hoseok brightens at that, in a dazed, almost dreamy kind of way. “Sorry, I meant to tell you before I even left, but – man, Jackson and the boys were there – ah, I gotta tell you all about it later.”
Yoongi hums. Wherever Jackson Wang goes, the party follows.
“I’m more interested in that date of yours,” Hoseok chirps, busying himself with inspecting the sparse contents of the refrigerator. “How was it?” He falls into the chair in front of Yoongi with a carton of orange juice in hand.
“Are you not gonna eat?” Yoongi asks.
“I’ll get to it.”
“Suit yourself,” Yoongi says through a mouthful of cereal. “Uh. The date. I got green tea cake. Super good.”
“Hm. Never tried.”
“You should. It's amazing.” Yoongi slurps some milk, smacking his lips with a frown. “And then we came across his ex. And then we went home. Wait, no – first, he fed me his bagel, and then we went home.” He looks up at a wide-eyed Hoseok. “The end.”
“Wait – his ex?”
“Yeah. Dick-sized nose or nose-sized dick?”
“Taehyung and I played some sort of x-rated version of Would You Rather on the way back.”
Hoseok gives him a funny look from over the carton. “Interesting,” he says when he puts the drink down. “Can’t believe he fed you a bagel. That’s... yeah, no, actually, I can believe that, that’s totally what he would do. On the first date, too?” He grins giddily. “Man, but – his ex? Shit. That’s awkward. Was it awkward? What were they like?”
Yoongi thinks of Jimin’s cold, cold face. “I don’t think he liked me.”
Hoseok snorts. “Really.”
Yoongi takes another spoonful. “The guy took a look at me, said, ‘So that’s how you’re dealing with it,’ then looked back at Taehyung.”
“...Oh.” Hoseok raises his brows, smile completely gone. He lets out a puff of air. “Damn.”
The clock above the refrigerator ticks away.
“But, hey, an ex is an ex. You know?” Hoseok shrugs, taking another swig of juice. “If Taehyung’s going for you, means he’s totally over him. Ready to move on. Don't even break your head over it. Unless…” A frown flits across his forehead then, and he bites his lip, mulling over something. But then shakes his head, and the frown dissipates. “Nah. No way. Whatever.”
“Like, it’s fine,” Hoseok says, after a minute’s pause.
“Like, there’s nothing to be worried about. It’s in the past.”
“Yeah. I got it.”
“If anything, Taehyung’s probably –”
“Look, dude, I know.”
“Okay, okay. Good. Just making sure.”
Yoongi stirs at his milk. We’re not a dream.
“Tired?” Hoseok asks.
“I should be asking you that.”
“Then ask,” Hoseok says.
Yoongi rolls his eyes, smiling a little. “Tired?”
“So tired,” Hoseok answers. “I can’t believe I had two rounds of sex.” He puts up two fingers and shoves it across the table at Yoongi’s face. “Two.”
“I – yeah, you’re right.” Hoseok assents. “But, shit, I was so tired, I had a whole thing of Whiskey and you know how I am with fucking Whiskey, I’m pretty sure I fell asleep halfway through the second time and only woke up when I came.”
Yoongi makes a face, pushing his chair back and standing.
“But, man, it was like… wait, no, don’t leave me.”
Yoongi dumps the rest of his food in the sink. “I need to get started on my essay.”
“Poo. You’ll listen to my story later, right?”
“Don’t bother getting me lunch.”
Hoseok leans his chin against the top of the chair. “Promise?”
Yoongi walks away without another word. Hoseok’s “I’ll make you listen to every single little thing!” peals through the thin walls.
Their third meeting wasn’t so much of a meeting as it was a sharing of fleeting glances and quick greetings. Rush hour was a bitch that day. And yet, somehow, Yoongi still found the time to memorise the curve of Taehyung’s eyes and the dark rose of his lips.
Five-twenty p.m and eight paragraphs in, still going strong. Yoongi’s only had to take three pee breaks and two full breaks since he started this morning. He is making this essay his bitch.
On the other side of the spectrum, Hoseok’s given up on planning his choreo for a graded assignment tomorrow and decided to wing the end bit. “Spontaneity is the way to inner peace,” he had claimed a few hours ago before succumbing to the colourful world of the internet. He’d started off really loud, giggling his head off at god-knows-what (Vines, probably), but gradually quieted down and is now lying on his stomach, head on the foot of the bed, just one earphone in.
Yoongi taps away at his keyboard, humming somewhat distractedly. Hoseok has not spoken a word since he started his “break”. The fact that he said ‘Hey’ either means a) he’s about to tackle a touchy issue, or b) he’s about to announce he needs to go pee.
The bed creaks in protest of Hoseok’s shifting weight. “Fuckin’ bed,” he mumbles. “Um. Hey. Weird question. But do you think – just – y’know, hypothetically.”
“So… just – just very loosely.”
Yoongi frowns. “Mmm?”
Either Hoseok’s getting more creative with the way he’s announcing his need to relieve himself, or Yoongi’s about to deal with a sensitive issue.
He hears Hoseok take a breath in. “What if pretty boy’s still attached to his ex?”
Yoongi leans into his computer, mock-thinking hard about something, then resumes typing. Sensitive issue, it is. And, really – what an issue.
Hoseok’s oblivious, rattling on like he does. “Like, there’s that, which is probably the least likely of two things, but don’t you think that’s possible? Not that I’m trying to scare you,” he reassures hastily. “I’m just throwing things out. Or, the ex is still attached. Or – both. You know? Like –”
Not this. Anything but this. Yoongi doesn’t need to hear it. Is the last person to need or want to hear it.
Yoongi stops typing. Leans back into his chair. Drops his hands into his lap. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Hoseok trapping his bottom lip between his teeth, bracing himself for – for some sort of impact –
But Yoongi squints, cocks his head. “Do we use MLA or Chicago?”
He doesn’t need to hear it.
Hoseok blinks. “Uh...”
Yoongi faces him, staring pointedly. “Isn’t it usually MLA?”
“Um.” Hoseok frowns, clearly taken aback. “For liberal arts, yeah. Yo – uh. Not sure about – what faculty do you even fall in?”
“Mm, not sure.” Yoongi turns back to his laptop, drumming his fingers on it. Senses Hoseok’s questioning gaze on him and feels queasy and weird. “Should probably look that up first. Thanks.”
A slight pause. Then a quiet, unsure, “No problem, Yoongi.”
The guy means well, Yoongi knows. But sometimes things should just be left in the dark.
Yoongi hits the Return key.
What Taehyung does apart from flustering Yoongi to hell and back is take him out of his own place. He’s a challenge, a firework, a beeping time-bomb waltzing brazenly around, breathing in everyone and everything. Every touch he gives, every noise he makes, every glance he takes, every word he utters is deliberate, but not calculated. Sure, but not planned.
He’s an adventure.
Kim Taehyung is an adventure and Yoongi wants to delve into him.
Whatever Hoseok said about Taehyung being “still attached” doesn’t bother him anymore. That much. At least, he thinks it doesn’t. Maybe. Denial is the way to go, right?
He and Taehyung go on two more dates in the weeks following, finding time to somehow collectively ignore their respective workloads and to instead spend with each other.
There had been polite knocking on Yoongi’s door one late Sunday morning, and Yoongi, bleary-eyed, sleep-shocked, and definitely not expecting guests, had opened it. In front of him, all neat and bright and innately winsome, stood Taehyung, and in a split second of embarrassment and shock, Yoongi had slammed the door back in his face, but Taehyung wedged a foot in between the door and the frame and promptly asked him if he wanted to chill by the riverside and have some Coke or something not the drug kind just the drink kind, all in one breath. After a few dazed seconds of recollection (and silently wondering how the fuck he knew where his dorm room is), Yoongi tells him to give him a minute or ten.
That second date ended with Taehyung unwittingly kissing him on the cheek.
(“It was a mistake!”
“Shit, wording – I mean – no. It was not. It definitely was not a mistake to kiss you, it was just –” Taehyung sucked in a breath. “I wasn’t ready?”
“A mistake… I see. I’ll remember you.”
“Yoongi, please, you’re killing me here.”)
And then… their third date.
Their third date, Yoongi had had his breath stolen atop a crappy ferris wheel. All slow, all movie-like.
It fell on a Thursday afternoon, right after Yoongi’s shift at the restaurant. They had only been able to afford the entrance ticket and had just a little extra in their pockets for a single ride; the wheel seemed like the best out of the worst bunch.
Taehyung was large and everywhere, and so painfully patient Yoongi nearly cried. He couldn’t help the uneven sob of breath as he parted his lips for Taehyung to trace the roof of his mouth languidly, couldn’t fight the groan that escaped when Taehyung sucked on his lower lip. They came out of there looking too pink and dazed and kiss-swollen, but Taehyung only grinned, quiet, and kissed the tip of his ear and led them out of the park, hands woven warm around his, and things were fine. Were wonderful. Chest-pounding in the best way. They didn’t have any more money on them for the hot dog Taehyung really wanted, and the pout on his face (the pout Yoongi felt on his own lips just minutes ago) was enough to make Yoongi swear to himself to get him a hot dog at a later time.
It was particularly warm that day.
Things weren’t quite right, though. The niggling feeling doesn’t disappear from Yoongi, not completely. Unbidden, he sees Jimin in his mind, all icy stares and something like – something like jealousy, or anger, and maybe defeat. Maybe Jimin didn’t used to be like that. Maybe he isn’t at all. And that’s the thing: Yoongi doesn’t know him. To assume that he is a “crazy evil ex” as Hoseok had so eloquently put it during work earlier that day would be a nasty, unfair conclusion. Therefore, to assume that Jimin is out to kill Yoongi to somehow get back together with Taehyung would be equally nasty and unfair. And Taehyung doesn’t seem at all inclined to reopen that door, anyway; from what Yoongi can take out, he’s more than ready to move on, more than ready to forget about him. That fear on his face when he saw him? That was the face of I Want Out of That.
Except for the fact that Taehyung might take him to that haunted house they spotted on the way back from the amusement park, there’s little for Yoongi to worry about, really.
He's counting on the currents to be gentle with him.