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come across the kitchen to me

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Jungkook hates to think of himself as a jealous person.

“You’re always so warm, it’s ridiculous,” he hears Jimin mutter, and he can see that Jimin’s side is pressed firmly against Hoseok’s where they’re sprawled on the sofa.

“It’s the thousand suns that burn inside me,” Hoseok replies with confidence, grinning smugly.

Not jealous, Jungkook repeats to himself, as he watches Hoseok and Jimin snuggle on the couch. Not jealous, no reason to be jealous, not jealous.

“Thanks for this,” Jimin says, settling the blanket over the two of them. “I hate when Yoongi works late and it’s just me in our apartment alone.”

“Too many horror movies,” Hoseok declares, bumping Jimin with his hip. “That’s why we’re watching a romantic drama. So you stop thinking you’re gonna get home invaded while your boyfriend is away.”

Jungkook nods in agreement from the kitchen, and he feels like he needs to shake himself. Jimin and Yoongi, love at first sight and together for three years now, talk about marriage like it’s a foregone conclusion. They’re the couple everyone makes heart eyes at, but only behind their backs, because they don’t need to know that everyone sees them as Couple Goals. It would only fuel their insufferable happiness.

Jungkook almost lets out an audible groan at his own ridiculousness. He does not need to be jealous of Jimin. He has no right to be jealous of Jimin. Why the fuck is he jealous of Jimin for sitting pressed against Hoseok.

Jungkook’s roommate. On Jungkook’s sofa. Under Jungkook’s roof. The audacity.

“Kook, is that the microwave?”

Jimin’s voice snaps Jungkook out of his train of thought, and he suddenly realises that high-pitched whining isn’t actually his blood boiling but is in fact coming from the small kitchen appliance behind him.

“Got it, hang on,” Jungkook replies, fetching the fresh bag of popcorn and nearly burning himself on the steam that comes rushing out of the bag.

“Jungkook?" Hoseok calls with concern in response to Jungkook’s yelp, and Jungkook waves him off.

“I’m fine,” he insists, pouring the popcorn into a bowl and bringing it over to the lounge.

“Let me see,” Hoseok says, and he doesn’t wait for a response before he takes Jungkook’s free hand gently in his own, turning it over as he checks for burns.

Jungkook’s chest bubbles nervously at the touch, Hoseok’s long slender fingers holding his own as though he might break them.

Hoseok is always yelling and shouting and breaking into song and dance. He’s the first to laugh, the first to scream, the loudest and brightest of their group of friends. Why is he always so focused, so gentle, around Jungkook? Why does he do this to Jungkook’s heart? It’s unfair that Jungkook has to live like this.

He never really chose to live with Hoseok. They were matched up on Roommate Finder when country boy Jungkook started university in Seoul and needed somewhere to live.

“Ok,” Hoseok affirms, letting go of Jungkook’s hand. Jungkook feels the loss of touch like day against night. “No scars on the golden boy. We’re in the clear.”

Jimin laughs, and as Jungkook settles onto the couch, Jimin throws the blanket across Hoseok’s lap so that it reaches across the three of them.

Jimin leans back against Hoseok’s right side, and Jungkook watches for a second, not jealous, before it occurs to him there’s no reason he can’t do the same. He folds his legs beneath him, leans into Hoseok’s left, and feels a pleasantly warm sensation rush through him as Hoseok stretches an arm around him.

Hoseok, Jungkook’s roommate, who Jungkook is not dating and has no claim over.

Not jealous, Jungkook insists to himself again.

The movie begins. 

“It’s just two days,” Jungkook laughs from where he’s sprawled on Hoseok’s bed. Hoseok’s mattress cost about twice the price of Jungkook’s, and his bed is infinitely more comfortable. Probably cleaner, too. “Why do you think I’m going to die without you?”

“Because I’ve seen the way you eat when I’m not here,” Hoseok replies with a grin, and then holds up a white shirt. “This one?”

Jungkook nods enthusiastically. “Yeah, that’s the one I meant. It makes your collarbones really sharp.”

“Is that a thing?” Hoseok asks, confused, as he folds the shirt away into overnight bag. Jungkook smiles slyly.

“You’re all dancer slender. You have to work your assets, hyung.”

“Jungkook, you know I’m going to a wedding, not a meat market right?”

“I know. But single people always pick up at weddings.”

“I’m not looking to pick up,” Hoseok groans, the way he always does when they have this conversation. He throws a scarf at Jungkook in protest.

“I don’t get why you’re so set on staying single,” Jungkook replies. He doesn’t know what answer he’s hoping for. It’s not like Hoseok is about to say, you, Jungkook, I’m pining madly for you and I could never consider another. Its possible Jungkook brings it up only to torture himself. Its possible Jungkook secretly has masochistic tendencies.

“I have to focus on my degree,” Hoseok says stiltedly, turning abruptly to delve deeper into his wardrobe. He always turns into a robot when Jungkook leads him down this line of questioning. Jungkook figures he’s just self-conscious.

“Last year and all that, I know,” Jungkook tells him, his head falling back onto Hoseok’s pillow. He has a great view of Hoseok’s thighs while Hoseok rummages for the right jacket.

Honestly, he’s not sure why he’s trying to help Hoseok look attractive for his cousin’s wedding back in Gwangju. It’s a horrible war inside him. On the one hand, he wants the best for Hoseok, wants everyone to see how beautiful Hoseok is, to appreciate him, to lust after him, the way Hoseok deserves.

On the other, the thought of some sleazy guy sidling up to Hoseok and slipping him his number makes something grind angrily inside of Jungkook. The idea of a stranger plying him with champagne all night, taking Hoseok by the hand, sneaking a kiss outside the venue…

“Jungkook, are you ok?” Hoseok asks, and Jungkook realises Hoseok is staring at him. He has Hoseok’s pillow clutched in one hand, gripped tight to the point that his fingers have lost circulation.

“Fine,” Jungkook replies in a strangled voice. Get a grip, JK, you pathetic loser.

“Right,” Hoseok says with uncertainty. “I’m going to jump in the shower. You’re not going anywhere, are you?”

“Not today,” Jungkook tells him, reaching for Hoseok’s doona and pulling it over him. “You’re leaving me. This is my bed now.”

“Sure,” Hoseok smiles, leaning over to ruffle Jungkook’s hair. His fingers trail gently over Jungkook’s scalp, and Jungkook has to supress a shiver. When they’d first met, the hair ruffling had been boisterous, almost violent, two brothers playing rough. These days it was always soft and gentle, more like a caress. It set Jungkook on fire, but there was no universe in which he ever wanted it to stop.

“I’ll only be gone one night, Kook. Don’t burn the place down.”

Jungkook laughs, a forced laugh.

He’s already burning.

*

Setting the smoke alarm off at 5am on a Sunday was really not on Jungkook’s list of things to start the day with.

He hadn’t slept all night, studying for his finals. Gamjajeon had seemed like a fine idea, from behind his sleep-deprived, caffeinated veil. He’d forgotten that he honestly did not have the attention span for the fine art of the potato pancake.

When Hoseok emerges from his bedroom, it’s to the sight of Jungkook standing on the kitchen table bare-chested and in his rabbit print pyjama pants, waving a dishtowel under the smoke alarm to try and get it to stop.

“Should I ask?” Hoseok mutters, his voice deep and scratchy from sleep, and Jungkook stills as he takes in the vision of Hoseok, his eyes a little bleary and his hair a mess, in just a muscle tank and black (is that silk?) boxers.

Sleepy Hoseok is something Jungkook has seen many times in the two years they’ve lived together in their Hongdae apartment. What had once been something he’d found amusing was now a source of almost physical pain. He wants to jump off the table and straight onto Hoseok. He wants to devour him. Fuck the gamjajeon.

“Uh,” Jungkook starts, and thankfully the incessant high-pitched beeping shuts itself off. “You want breakfast?”

“I want sleep,” Hoseok replies, one hand running through his messy fringe to remove it from his eyes. His gaze catches on the stove-top. “You can’t cook, haven’t we established this?”

“Conclusively,” Jungkook agree forlornly, and Hoseok laughs, the sound slow and stretched out like a Sunday morning should be.

“Get down. I’ll cook.”

He holds a hand out to Jungkook, and Jungkook crouches down and reaches to accept it. But instead, Hoseok’s hand slips round Jungkook’s waist, and he hoists Jungkook down using only one arm and his hip.

“What the fuck,” Jungkook murmurs in awe, blinking. “You should not be able to manhandle me like that.”

God damn, he thinks to himself. He will definitely need a cold shower later.

“Dancer,” Hoseok grins, letting Jungkook go and stepping back. “It’s all about weight distribution. I don’t need your pig muscles when I have physics.”

“That’s hot,” Jungkook says, and then stills. That was not what he meant to say. Not in any universe was that meant to be spoken aloud. He feels heat rush to his cheeks. “I mean. Did you say you’d make the gamjajeon?”

Hoseok is staring at him, like he’s trying to figure out if he’d heard what he thought he heard. He shakes his head slightly, as if coming out of a dream.

“Yeah, sure,” Hoseok nods, sounding slightly off. He slips round to the stove-top, and then the spell is broken as he lets out a loud squawk, holding up the frying pan. Black tar sticks to it, still smoking lightly.

“Oi, what the hell did you do here Jungkook?” he exclaims, waving the frying pan. “You don’t deserve my cooking. Here, clean this.”

He practically throws the pan at Jungkook, before reaching for a clean one to start over with.

“What would do without me?” Hoseok huffs, and Jungkook rolls his eyes. But he still presses a quick hug to Hoseok’s back. Just a few seconds.

“Best roommate ever,” he mutters between Hoseok’s shoulder blades. “You’re going to make someone very happy some day.”

“Hmmm,” Hoseok sighs, and it vibrates through his back.

Should be me, Jungkook tries not to think. He fails.

*

There’s a guy chatting Hoseok up in the corner of their living room, and Jungkook wants to break something.

“Jungkook,” Yoongi’s voice says in his ear. “You have a problem.”

“I am aware,” Jungkook replies stiltedly. He never should have thrown an end of exams party. Now there are strangers crammed into his shoebox apartment drinking alcohol and stealing his roommate. “Who is he?”

“I didn’t mean him. I meant your jealousy,” Yoongi laughs. He holds out a beer to Jungkook who accepts. “Why don’t you just say something?”

Jungkook shakes his head, shifting where he leans against the wall so he can face Yoongi properly. “We’re roommates. Can you imagine how awkward it would be if I confessed? He’d have to avoid me in our own home. And then he’d move away, and I’d never see him again. Yoongi, oh my god, he won’t even be my friend anymore and-”

“Jesus, calm down,” Yoongi replies, slapping a hand across Jungkook’s mouth to stop him from talking. Jungkook retaliates by licking his palm, and Yoongi lets go with a hiss.

“I don’t get how things worked out so perfectly for you and Jimin,” Jungkook starts up again almost immediately. “Meanwhile, Sleazy McDoucheface is wooing Hoseok away from me.”

“Kook. He can’t woo someone away from you if that someone isn’t even with you.”

“Way to rub it in,” Jungkook sighs. “I mean, I knew it would happen at some point. He’s the most gorgeous human on the planet, he’s not going to stay single forever. I just. How am I supposed to be around this forever? Watching them fall more and more in love each day, in my own apartment.”

“I think you might be jumping the gun a little bit,” Yoongi tells him, and his voice has just the slightest of gentle touches to it. Jungkook’s known him long enough to know that Yoongi is trying to be sensitive. “You know how it worked out for me and Jimin? You know how we met?”

“He was your barista,” Jungkook nods, and Yoongi smiles.

“And I had to start drinking coffee every day so I had an excuse to see him. I could have just asked him out, but instead I spent a fuck ton of money and developed a concerning caffeine addiction until finally he got the balls to put his number on my cup. But I would have gone on forever like that if he hadn’t. Because I didn’t think there was any reason that it might work out, you know?”

It might have been the most he’s ever heard Yoongi say all in one go.

“But if it hadn’t, you could have found a new café. I don’t want to find a new home,” Jungkook replies. He knows what Yoongi is trying to tell him, but it’s not the same. There’s no way it’s the same.

Yoongi sighs. “Your loss, Jungkook.”

He moves away, catching Jimin around the waist as Jimin laughs with Tae over some shared joke. Jungkook watches as Yoongi presses a quick kiss to Jimin’s neck, and Jimin leans into the touch.

It makes Jungkook’s heart hurt.

*

There’s quiet in the apartment, after several hours of noise.

The gang had been over to celebrate the graduation of Namjoon, Seokjin and Hoseok, just a small gathering with chicken and soju. But Namjoon and Seokjin had taken Tae home an hour ago, and Jimin and Yoongi were now tangled together on the couch, fast asleep.

Jungkook collects the last of the cups from the coffee table and brings them into the kitchen, where he finds Hoseok washing plates.

“How’s it feel?” Jungkook asks, and Hoseok beams at him.

“Weird,” he says, his voice just a little too loud with two people sleeping just metres away. “I mean, I don’t have to go to class ever again. In my life, Jungkook.”

Jungkook shushes him, gesturing over the island bench at the mint and blonde mass on the couch that is Yoongi and Jimin, and the two of them stifle a laugh. The clock on the microwave reads 2:55, and it’s always been slow.

“I meant to ask,” Jungkook says, leaning against the benchtop. “You haven’t mentioned any plans to move out.”

“You think I should?” Hoseok says absently, staring down at the sink as he scrubs bubbles into being. “I mean, this isn’t student housing, and the studio I’ll be teaching at is only a few subway stops away. Unless…” He pauses, hands motionless in the warm water. “Unless you want me to go?”

“Why would I want you to go?” Jungkook asks, his chest constricting at the thought. Don’t leave, don’t leave me, please don’t go.

“So you can get another student to live with. I’m going to have a job, I’ll be boring, I might get mad at you for making gamjajeon at 5am.”

“Hoseok, you should have been getting mad at me about that for the last two years,” Jungkook laughs. But Hoseok isn’t laughing, for some reason. It’s always terrifying to Jungkook, when Hoseok isn’t laughing.

“But I should,” Hoseok says, and it’s almost more to himself than to Jungkook, as if he’s trying to convince himself. He’s stopped cleaning, his soapy hands hanging by his side, dripping bubbles onto the kitchen floor. He looks small, anxious, wearing the same expression he gets when Jungkook suggests they ride a rollercoaster or rent a horror movie. Somewhere between scared and sick. “It would be the right thing to do.”

“The right thing? What does that mean? So I can live with some lame student?” Jungkook demands, and Hoseok shakes his head.

“No, not that. So I can stop- So I can stop feeling this way. So I can be a better person.”

“Hoseok, you’re kind of freaking me out,” Jungkook murmurs. “So you can stop feeling what way?”

He catches Hoseok’s gaze, and he’s not sure which of them has wider eyes right now, which of their hearts is racing faster.

“This way,” Hoseok almost whispers, and then he’s wrapping soapy hands in Jungkook’s shirt and pulling him in to a kiss. It’s soft, quiet, barely moving, and it seems the second Jungkook realises what’s going on, it’s over.

Jungkook feels part of himself break off, feels it stay on Hoseok’s lips even as Hoseok moves back. He doesn’t go far, instead his head falls against Jungkook’s chest.

“I’m so selfish, Jungkook,” Hoseok muffled voice says. “I’ll leave, I’m so sorry, I just wanted once to- ”

Jungkook won’t let him finish. Hoseok’s hands are still entwined in his t-shirt, and it takes only a second for Jungkook to tilt Hoseok’s chin up and lean into a second kiss. This time Jungkook isn’t frozen in shock, this time he feels everything, how soft Hoseok’s lips are, how fast his own blood races through his body, how Hoseok moves closer so their chests are pressed together and their heartbeats merge into a furious cascade.

“This is happening, right?” Hoseok says, pulling back to look at Jungkook in disbelief, and Jungkook nods furiously, not letting him get away as he tugs him back.

“I’ve wanted this forever,” Jungkook whispers against Hoseok’s lips, fingers trailing down Hoseok's arms. "Do you know how scared I was to say anything?"

Hoseok’s sharp intake of breath is his response before they’re entwined again.

“I fell in love with you,” Hoseok tells him in a minute, between kisses pressed to Jungkook’s neck, “About a month after we met.”

“Three weeks,” Jungkook replies with a grin, lifting Hoseok up and spinning him to set him down on the counter. “Thank god for Roommate Finder.”

Hoseok’s hands tangle in Jungkook’s hair. Hoseok’s legs tangle around Jungkook’s waist.

“Don’t leave,” Jungkook tells him, and kisses him with enough strength to force Hoseok to agree.

“Ok,” Hoseok nods, his pupils wide and cheeks flushed. “Ok, Jungkook. I’m all yours. For as long as you want.”

Jungkook rests their foreheads together, out of breath. “As long as I want?”

“Longer, even,” Hoseok tells him.

His smile is the sweetest thing Jungkook has ever seen.