Jungkook had been on approximately three truly terrible dates in his life. The first was back in high school, his first date with a guy after realizing that hey, he liked dudes too. Unfortunately, this guy was probably the worst first date for a young kid who had just had a Bisexual Awakening, because he decided to tell Jungkook after dinner that he didn’t actually like guys, he just wanted to get a free meal. Seventeen year old Jungkook had just blinked at him while he left him with the bill and bolted. (Not only that, but he then had to sit behind him in his classes for the rest of the year. He even had the gall to ask Jungkook to borrow a pencil one time.)
The second was in his first year of college, with a guy who was so attractive that Jungkook’s mouth went dry every time he was near him. Unfortunately, he was also studying to be a mortician, and at one point during their walk through the nearby park, right about when they were passing by a fountain, he asked Jungkook if he would be willing to lie in a cold bath for a while and lie very still during sex. Jungkook took one look at the guy and bolted in the opposite direction, nearly tripping over his own feet in his haste to get the hell away.
The third was with a girl only a month after the last terrible date, although the bad aspect of that date was entirely his fault. It was on this date that he realized he was far more attracted to the waiter at the restaurant with the perky ass and plump lips than the poor girl sitting across from him. The date itself ended with the girl politely excusing herself after he’d knocked his glass of water over for the third time while ogling their waiter, and he’d never felt more ashamed in his life. (His shame evaporated pretty quickly once the waiter took him out behind the restaurant and kissed him until his lips were numb, but that was a different story entirely.)
He’d had three truly terrible dates in his life, but none of those came even close to the one he was walking back home from after having escaped through the bathroom window of a fancy Italian restaurant.
It had been the ninth in a series of blind dates that Taehyung set him up on in an attempt to get him “back in the game” after his horrible breakup earlier that year. The past eight had all been with mildly odd people who were nice enough, but this guy. This ninth guy, who Taehyung had swore up and down that Jungkook would love, and that they were perfect for each other, drove Jungkook to actually escape to the bathroom and climb out the damn window, tearing a hole in his best pants in the process. Jungkook thought he’d never find a person worse than the necrophiliac mortician until today.
The date started off normal enough. The guy was very fit, with arms that made his mouth water and a sculpted face that belonged on a billboard. He had a nice voice, and offered to take Jungkook out to a very nice Italian restaurant a few miles away from campus. So far, so good.
That lasted about five seconds.
He knew something was off the minute his date ignored the glasses of water on their table, instead pulling out a large clear bottle with what seemed to be pickles floating inside it.
“You’re not going to actually drink the water here, are you?” he asked Jungkook, taking a swig out of his pickle bottle.
“Is there, um,” Jungkook said slowly, his eyes fixated on the pickle floating around, slightly distorted by the glass and making the water appear a rusty green. “Is there something wrong with the water here?”
His date gaped at him. “It’s riddled with toxins, Jungkook! You won’t believe what people will put into their bodies.”
The next twenty minutes were devoted to explaining the various ways that filtered tap water is slowly killing everyone, and the only way to avoid said slow painful water-induced death is to drink copious amounts of protein shakes and do “pickle cleanses.”
Jungkook wanted to ask how adding a whole pickle to a bottle of tap water somehow made it less poisonous, but it was at that moment that his date decided to open his mouth again.
“Not to mention, pickle cleanses do wonders for your nether regions.”
Jungkook choked on his regular tap water, holding his hand up to his face to hide the dribbles running down his chin. “What?” he spluttered.
“Yeah, it’s really amazing. I’ve been performing wonderfully as of late, and there’s even a visible difference.” His date, seemingly oblivious to Jungkook’s disbelief, grinned and leaned forward, making Jungkook lean backwards. “I’ll show you in the bathroom later.”
“Oh,” Jungkook started, pushing his chair away from the table, “my god.” Just then, though, their waitress returned, all perky voice and swishy ponytail, and Jungkook sat back down, his fingers gripping his knees while he watched his date go through the menu and tell him every little thing that could potentially destroy his body.
Finally, he simply couldn’t take it anymore and got to his feet again, interrupting a long-winded explanation of kale protein shakes, and said that he was going to go to the bathroom.
“I’ll join you,” his date said, and Jungkook took a moment to mentally place a curse on not only Taehyung, but his entire line of future descendants. He’d been planning to use going to the bathroom as an excuse to slip out the front doors undetected, but now he had no choice but to actually follow his date into the far corner of the dimly lit restaurant, where a small plaque read “water closet.”
The restroom was obnoxiously fancy, with wide swirled granite sinks and high mirrors. The urinals had flower arrangements above them. His date disappeared into one of the stalls to “prepare himself” so Jungkook could “see the results of his pickle cleanse” and that’s when Jungkook’s eyes landed on the window on the opposite end of the room. It was above the soap dispenser, at just a low enough height that he could probably reach it if he jumped.
In hindsight, he probably could have just turned and walked out of the bathroom and out the front doors of the restaurant. In hindsight, that’s probably what he should have done. But he was here in a fancy restroom while a man was in a stall doing god-knows-what, and Jungkook needed to get the actual hell out of there, fast.
“Almost ready, Jungkook!”
His date’s voice was enough to send him running at the wall and jumping, kicking his legs wildly to hoist himself up, knocking the soap dispenser loose in the process. He flipped up the lock on the window and threw it open, wriggling through the space and tumbling headfirst into the tree right outside.
Which brought him to the present, a gaping hole in the right leg of his pants, exposing a good portion of his thigh to the frigid night air while he stomped to the bus stop.
His apartment building was about a ten minute bus ride away, and he spent the entire way over sending the gun emoji to Taehyung until his phone informed him that he was running low on memory.
The apartment he shared with his friend Seokjin was nice enough, a two bedroom space with a tiny kitchen and living room. Seokjin had been living there by himself until six months ago, when he offered for Jungkook to stay with him and help pay rent after Jungkook had to move out of the apartment he had with his ex. Seokjin was the oldest of his friends, but their living situation wasn’t awkward at all; sadly enough, their maturity levels were about the same.
He jammed his key into the lock and stormed inside, glancing over at the couch where a head of bright blue hair was poking out.
“Namjoon-hyung, are you ever in your own apartment?”
Namjoon, his mentor through college and certified Smart Friend™ turned and gave him a half wave. “The food here is always good.”
“You’re goddamn welcome,” Seokjin called from the kitchen, where he was undoubtedly making something delicious.
“Always appreciated!” Namjoon called back, and went back to relaxing, his criminally long legs draped over the armrest of the couch.
Jungkook tossed his keys on the table and hung his jacket up on the door, shaking his head. “You should just live here instead. It feels like you’re here more than I am.”
A hiss from a boiling pot of water sounded from the kitchen. “Please god no,” Seokjin said, poking his head around the cabinets. “I can’t deal with his snoring.”
Namjoon, pointedly ignoring Seokjin, threw his arm over the back of the couch and lifted his head up to look at Jungkook. “So, Kook, what’s with the pants? Didn’t you have a blind date today?”
His date, whom he was referring to as “Pickle Dick Guy” in his head, flashed in his mind and he shuddered, grimacing and shaking his head. “Uh. Yeah, that’s not gonna work out.”
“Why?” Namjoon asked. “Tae said he was perfect for you.”
Jungkook felt his phone buzzing, probably Taehyung’s response to the twenty texts full of gun emojis, and he gave Namjoon his most solemn expression. “Kim Taehyung is a goddamn liar sent from literal hell to torment my existence.”
“Whoa,” Namjoon said, his eyebrows shooting halfway up his forehead. “That bad, huh?”
Jungkook walked over and collapsed on the nearby armchair, his torn pants fluttering from how dramatically he’d done so, and sighed. “Hyung, this guy spent twenty minutes telling me about kale protein shakes. Then he spent another ten telling me I should join him on a pickle juice cleanse because it’s doing wonders for his dick--”
There was a clatter and a snorting sound from the kitchen, probably Seokjin laughing at Jungkook’s misery and dropping a spoon in the process.
“--and then he asked me if I wanted to see it. He cornered me in the bathroom so I climbed out the window and never looked back.”
“I’m so proud of you,” Seokjin told him after calming down his wheeze of a laugh.
“You’re telling me you just walk out on people during a date?” Namjoon said, incredulous. “Even if they’re weird, that’s a little…”
“Yes, he does,” Seokjin said, rooting through the pantry for more spices while he talked. “It’s a timeless technique of removing yourself from a bad date, passed down from father to son, me to Jungkook.”
“Ignore him. He’s been telling everyone that he’s my dad lately,” Jungkook said without looking up from his phone. Sure enough, it had been Taehyung who was texting him.
“I’m offended,” Namjoon said, crossing his arms. “I thought I was like your dad.”
“Well, considering the fact that neither of you are my actual father, I don’t think you should read into it too much.”
why are u sending me guns!!!!!!!
that’s for setting me up with a guy who probably shoves protein powder up his ass
“you’ll love this guy kookie”
“he’s perfect for you kookie”
ummmm ur welcome!!!!!!
did u suck his kale flavored pickle dick?
or as i call it
i’m blocking ur number
Ignoring Taehyung’s subsequent apologetic memes, he set his phone down on his stomach and rejoined the conversation.
“Oh! Before I forget, do you guys have any plans for over the break?” Namjoon asked, looking between them eagerly, his dimples dotting either side of his smile.
“Besides jacking off?” Seokjin said, raising his eyebrows and staring pointedly at Jungkook.
“Shut up, hyung, like you didn’t use the whole roll of toilet paper last week by yourself!” Jungkook cried, his phone sliding onto the floor when he sat up in anger.
“I get nosebleeds in the morning, brat,” Seokjin retorted.
“You bleed jizz now?”
Namjoon coughed. “Uh.”
Jungkook and Seokjin looked back at Namjoon, both with sheepish grins. Ever since moving in together, they didn’t go a single day without antagonizing each other, but it was never with malicious intent. At least on Jungkook’s end, anyway. He swore Seokjin tried to poison his dinner once, but that was neither here nor there.
“Oh. Sorry, hyung,” Jungkook said. “Um, no, I don’t have plans.” To be honest, considering how badly that blind date had gone, and how much he just wasn’t clicking with anyone he tried to date since his breakup, Seokjin was probably not too far off the mark for what his winter break “plans” would be.
“Good,” Namjoon said. “Keep your schedule open, because me and Hoseok were talking, and I think we’re gonna invite a bunch of people to our timeshare for a couple weeks. You in?”
Seokjin slammed down his spatula onto the counter with more force than was necessary and gave Namjoon a hard stare. “You bought a timeshare?”
“No, me and Hoseok bought a timeshare. It was a joint investment.”
Jungkook blinked. “You’re supposed to be the smart one. How the hell did you get scammed into buying a timeshare?”
“It’s not a scam! It’s a...it’s…” Namjoon floundered for a bit and then crossed his arms. “The guy was very convincing, okay?”
“Wow,” Seokjin deadpanned. “So where is this timeshare? Incheon? Seongnam?”
“Actually, it’s in Okinawa. Why the hell would I get a timeshare that’s ten minutes away?”
“Why the hell would you get a timeshare at all?” demanded Seokjin.
“Look, we could stand around all day and argue about the details, but I’m offering you guys a two week vacation to Okinawa in a substantially large house on the beach.” Namjoon was sitting up now, on the defensive. “Are you in, or what?”
“Honestly, you had me at ‘vacation,’ hyung,” Jungkook said quickly, before Namjoon could change his mind. “I’m in.” After everything that had happened today, and over the course of the past six months, if there was one thing Jungkook needed, it was a vacation. Some time in another country would be good for him, he thought.
“Yeah, I’m in, too,” said Seokjin. “I’m just going to have to try and not think about the fact that my friend with an IQ of 148 got scammed into buying a goddamn timeshare.”
Namjoon grinned smugly and lifted himself off the couch, stretching out his lanky arms. “You can do that, hyung. But just know you’ll be doing that while you’re lying on the beach under the gorgeous sunshine.”
“Sounds good to me. There’s no other place I’d rather be viciously judging you for your life choices.”
“Who else is going?” Jungkook asked.
“Well, I invited you two, and obviously Hoseok is coming,” Namjoon began, holding up a finger for every name he gave. “And I can’t see Hoseok not inviting Yoongi or Taehyung. Some other people might tag along too, I dunno.”
Namjoon was smart, but he was a horrible liar, and Jungkook caught the way he glanced away from Jungkook and bit his lip when he said ‘some other people.’” Before he could inquire further, Namjoon announced that he needed to get back to his own apartment to make sure his roommates didn’t leave the stove on, and bolted.
“Kim Namjoon!” Seokjin bellowed as the door slammed shut behind him. “I made you a share of dinner, you son of a bitch!”
Jungkook meandered over to the kitchen and patted Seokjin’s trembling shoulder in what he hoped was a consoling manner. “Don’t worry, Jin-hyung. Thanks to Pickle Dick Guy, I didn’t have dinner. I’ll eat it all.”
Seokjin looked at him, close to tears, and gripped his shoulder. “That’s my boy. Now go put some new pants on, I can see your underwear through that hole. ”
Come the following day, Jungkook completely forgot all about Namjoon’s evasiveness when Jungkook had asked who exactly would be joining them on their vacation, the stress of having to request that time off work overpowering every other thought in his head.
He was currently employed at a sports utility store near campus, which he and Taehyung had unaffectionately dubbed “Sports Hell.” The inside was like a warehouse, he had to wear a hideously garish yellow smock, and it was the same job he’d had since high school. Hell, indeed. His manager was a middle aged man who insisted on being called “Manager J.Y.” and tried way too hard to fit in with his mostly high school and college student run staff, yet somehow was also the most strict human being Jungkook had ever come in contact with in his life. Once, he caught Jungkook checking his phone on the sales floor, and told him that if he didn’t put his phone away, he’d be fired so fast that his “eyes would pop out, man.”
Needless to say, it was only after he’d been clocked in for three hours that he finally gathered up the courage to ask if he could take an entire two weeks off. He needed this vacation, though, dammit, and he’d get it one way or another.
“Um, Manager J.Y.?” Jungkook said hesitantly, adjusting his godawful smock and knocking on his manager’s office door.
“Come on in, dude.”
Furiously fighting back an eye roll, he slipped inside the office and shuffled his feet to the desk covered in lava lamps and dinosaur figures. “I have a favor to ask,” he said, sitting on the edge of the beanbag chair facing the desk.
“Lay it on me.”
“My winter break at school, it’s two weeks long and my friends invited me to go with them to Okinawa,” Jungkook began, watching his manager’s face carefully for any expression changes. So far so good, so he continued, “Could I take that time off to go?”
Manager J.Y. rubbed at his chin for an agonizingly long moment, and then nodded. “Yeah, sure. I think I can swing it. Go have fun, cool cat.”
Jungkook’s jaw almost dropped. His last time-off request had been for one day so that he could study for his finals, and Manager J.Y. had glared at him so intensely that he didn’t dare even ask to go home early for the next few months. Now he was asking for two whole weeks and he was acting as though it was no big deal? Something was fishy.
“Yeah, Jackson agreed to work seven days a week so we’ve got enough coverage.”
Shit. Poor Jackson. He always seemed to be working; there was a running joke throughout Sports Hell that Jackson actually lived in one of the tents in the camping section. Jungkook was usually one of the people who participated in those jokes, but now he actually felt bad about it.
He’d have to take him out to dinner one of these days or something.
Once Jungkook left his manager’s office, he ran into none other than Jackson himself, who was having a very animated conversation with his friend Yugyeom that Jungkook vaguely remembered from one of his classes. He’d been friends with Jaebum, who Jungkook had more than a tiny grudge against for reasons that may or may not have had a hand in causing the falling-out with his ex, but he was fine. He could be cool.
“Hey, Jungkook,” Jackson said when he saw him, hooking his thumb under the straps of his smock and grimacing. “Would you mind covering for me in a couple minutes? I need to take my lunch break soon or I might pass out in a pile of golf clubs again.”
“Yeah, no problem,” Jungkook said immediately, cursing his guilty conscience. He’d be doing Jackson favors for months, at this rate.
“Oh, Jungkook!” Yugyeom said, his face lighting up with recognition. “How have you been? It’s been forever!”
“I’ve been alright. You?”
“I’m just studying, mostly. It’s pretty boring.” He tilted his head to the side. “How’s Jimin? I haven’t heard from him in ages, either.”
Both Jackson and Jungkook froze at the sound of Jimin’s name at the same time. Jackson gave his friend a tight-lipped urgent look, and Yugyeom’s eyes widened.
“Oh! I’m sorry. I, um.”
“No, it’s okay,” Jungkook said finally, tamping down the rush of Jimin Thoughts that entered his head involuntarily. “We broke up a while ago, but it’s not a big deal.”
Yugyeom looked stricken, not sure what to say, so Jackson jumped in, handing Jungkook his headset and patting him on the back. “I’m gonna go take my break. Thanks for covering for me, man.” He turned to Yugyeom and waved. “See ya.”
Grateful for an excuse to get away from that conversation, Jungkook held up the headset weakly. “I should get to work.”
“Right,” Yugyeom said, similarly relieved. “See you, Jungkook.”
He was scheduled to close the store that night, and for the next six hours, Jungkook couldn’t get Jimin’s stupid face out of his head. Normally when people would ask him ‘How’s Jimin?’ he would have responded with a huge grin, unable to hide his immense pride at being able to call Jimin his boyfriend, and tell people that Jimin was doing just great. Now that they were broken up, though, and he hadn’t even spoken to Jimin in six months, he had no way of knowing how he was doing. He could have moved to the other side of Korea, for all he knew.
I’m over it, I’m over it, he told himself while straightening rows of baseball bats, but as if to argue with him, an entire row fell clattering to the ground, some of them coming to a gentle stop at his feet.
So maybe he wasn’t over it. That was what vacations were for, though, right?
“Are you packed yet?” was the first thing Taehyung demanded after Jungkook answered his call the day before their trip. Jungkook had felt merciful and unblocked his friend’s number the other day, deeming him properly punished for his Pickle Dick Guy transgression, and Taehyung had been bombarding him with questions ever since.
“I’m working on it,” Jungkook replied, staring into the depths of his empty suitcase.
“He’s lying, Taehyung!” Seokjin called from the living room. “He hasn’t packed a damn thing!”
“Is that Jin-hyung? What’s he yelling about?” Taehyung asked.
“Oh, it’s nothing. He just fell in the toilet ass first and he’s been stuck there for a few hours,” Jungkook said, loudly enough that Seokjin would hear him. He ignored the offended squawks coming from outside his room and balanced his phone on his shoulder, holding it against his ear while he rummaged through his underwear drawer. “That’s not important, though. What are you bringing?”
“Just your basics. I stole all of Hoseok-hyung’s knockoff Tommy Bahama shirts from his room and hopefully I’ll be able to wear them for at least a couple days over there before he realizes and takes them back. After that, I figure I can just get by wearing by bathing suit everywhere.”
Jungkook shoved a handful of underwear and socks that he hoped very much were clean into his suitcase and rolled his eyes. “That’s great for you, but that doesn’t really help me decide what to bring.”
Taehyung huffed into the speaker. “And why the hell not? Unprotected sex is no joke, Kookie!”
“I don’t think I’m going to be sleeping with anyone in that house, Tae, so I’m really not worried.”
“You never know, I could have invited G-Dragon.”
“You’re never going to let that go, are you?” Jungkook sighed. He regretted a lot of things in his life, but accidentally letting slip to Taehyung that he had a massive crush on G-Dragon in junior high school is probably the one he regretted the most.
“Not until we’re both on our death beds,” Taehyung cackled. “But I’m being serious. You’re going to want to bring condoms. As many as you can fit in your suitcase. If possible, don’t pack anything else.”
“Goodbye, Taehyung,” Jungkook said, hanging up on his friend and going back to pretending to pack.
It didn’t matter what they were planning, or whatever Namjoon and Taehyung seemed to both know that Jungkook didn’t; there wasn’t anything on this earth that would make him desperate enough to actually and try to sleep with any of his friends. He couldn’t even picture it. Sure, he’d seen a couple of their dicks, but after being friends for as long as they had, it was inevitable. That didn’t mean he was going to suddenly want to fuck any of them, though.
Still, while he was going through the sea of white t-shirts and basketball shorts that he called a closet, he paused on the box of condoms, a fine layer of dust coating the outside. He hadn’t touched these since he angrily stole them from Jimin’s house while he’d been moving out. That was six months ago. The inhabitants of the vacation house aside, the prospect of finding someone during this two week long trip that would make bringing the box worth it was slim to none, so it was with a heavy heart that he did not take Taehyung’s advice, and left the box where it was. By the time he got to open it, it would probably be buried under enough dust bunnies to populate a burrow.
As if to add insult to injury, he found one of Jimin’s shirts hidden beneath a pile of discarded clothes that he’d been too lazy to put away. Scowling, he tossed it aside, only to accidentally throw it right into his suitcase. It was like the universe was trying its damndest to hit him with All Things Jimin right before he left, just to remind him exactly why he needed this vacation in the first place.
Maybe it was a foreboding sign that he couldn’t actually bring himself to take Jimin’s shirt out of his suitcase, placing his clothes on top of it instead, the striped sleeve poking out from underneath.
Whereas Jungkook managed to cram all of his things into one average sized suitcase, Seokjin somehow was bringing enough of his shit to fill five. Since he insisted on the bag containing his facial products to be in the front seat next to him, Jungkook was crammed in the back in between his other four suitcases, his own slowly crushing his thighs while he balanced it on his lap.
The plan was to meet the others at the airport at least three hours before the boarding time, to give them enough of a buffer period to get through security--god only knew what Taehyung might be trying to bring.
Seokjin and Jungkook were the second to arrive after Namjoon, who was already waiting for them outside security, and luckily all three of them had been able to go through with no issues. Jungkook knew it was only the calm before the storm, though, as an hour passed with still no sign of Hoseok, Yoongi, or Taehyung, who were supposed to arrive together in Hoseok’s truck.
Just when Namjoon was about to call them, Jungkook’s phone buzzed with a text from Yoongi.
sorry we’re late
tae tried to bring a giant bottle of lube in his carry-on
so now they’re screening him or something
it’ll probably be another 20 minutes so you guys should go on ahead
we’ll meet you at the gate
i’m going to strangle him with my bare hands
i’ll dispose of his body for you
Jungkook relayed the information to the others, Namjoon groaning in exasperation and Seokjin just shaking his head in disbelief.
“We were going to have to wait here anyway, I guess,” Seokjin said. “I’m sure they’ll make it on time. They’re only screening Taehyung, so the other three must’ve gotten through okay.”
“Three? Who else is with them?” Jungkook asked, and Namjoon’s eyes widened in panic.
“No one! Jin-hyung misspoke, didn’t you?” he said, his eyes boring into Seokjin’s.
Neither of them got the chance to say anything further, though, because it was at that moment that they heard a shout that sounded suspiciously like Taehyung yelling “‘cause they took my damn lube!” and Hoseok’s response, too far away to decipher.
Jungkook turned at the sound of Taehyung and Hoseok’s excited babbling and the rolling of their suitcases steadily approaching, Yoongi trailing behind them. Just then, though, amidst their chatter, he heard a noise. It was a noise that he used to think was directly correlated to the sun’s rays. A noise that he was convinced was the sole reason to get up in the morning. A noise that now made his blood run cold and his heart stop.
Jimin’s laugh was ringing out in between Hoseok and Taehyung, and then Jimin himself was standing right there, his laughter cut short and his smile fading from his lips almost immediately when he made eye contact with Jungkook.
His hair was still a soft black, partly concealed under a loosely worn beanie, and his face was still just as effortlessly beautiful. He was wearing shorts that showed off his calves and ever so slightly hugged his thighs, and Jungkook had to stop himself before he looked any further. Jimin looked good, which was infuriating. Why didn’t he look as distraught as Jungkook felt? Their breakup had destroyed him, but Jimin got to walk around still looking like a Greek god? Man, fuck that guy.
It was like time had stopped right there in the airport. Jimin and Jungkook were frozen solid, just glaring at each other at a ten foot distance while the rest of their friends watched nervously.
“Did, um,” Hoseok began quietly, “did no one tell them that they were both coming?”
Namjoon averted his eyes.
"Oops," Taehyung said.
“Fuck,” Seokjin hissed.
Yoongi dragged his suitcase behind him on his way to the waiting area outside their gate, announcing at full volume, “If anyone gets murdered before we get on this plane, I’m leaving all of you behind.”