the railing is cold under his fingertips. flashing lights exploded on the expanse of the starry night before his eyes. fireworks, festive, and fun. things that jeon jeongguk are supposed to feel at the moment because it is new year’s eve and everyone loves new year’s. jimin loves new year’s. he always speaks about how he wants to spend the new year eve with someone he loves, at the rooftop of the lotte world hotel. but he is not there. among all these people who matters none, jeongguk can’t find him.
of course jimin is not there.
“always breaking your promise,” jeongguk mumbles under his breath. it’s not venom dripping on his voice, though. only sadness, ironic sadness because there is a smile on his lips and a derisive laugh escaping the chapped tiers.
it went like this: they met, fell in love, and they killed each other.
jeongguk is sure that if he could turn back the time, it would still be that way. some things just do not mean to happen, their relationship is one of those things.
this does not mean to happen either, if he hadnt’t met jimin and fell for his smile in the new year’s eve from the previous year. this will not happen: the wind beating his shirt, the monsters clawing his insides, and the urge to touch the fireworks.
people are counting down now. they sound so happy. it must be good to feel something. it must be good to enjoy the beauty of the fireworks as they go in a faster pace now, filling the whole sky in blinding lights and deafening booms.
everything goes in slow motion, this feels just like last year.
new year’s wish. if it’s really true, jeongguk would believe in gods for today only and pray that he would not feel like this anymore in the following year. he is not sure he could live another day feeling this way.
there is a loud bang. the biggest firework.
“they are going overboard this year--” an old lady starts to say, only to be interrupted by another bang and a crash.
“hey, ma’am, get out of the way!” he remembers shouting that and moving to stand in front of the woman before the scorching heat closing in towards them. must be a stray firework, and he just walked his way into it. fuck. this will hurt.
only a second later does he realize that the pain never comes. the heat stops before it hits his skin and everything around has stopped.
the lady still has her mouth open in the middle of a scream, people are stopped where they are scrambling around to avoid the exploding firework, and there are even pieces of confetti stopping in the blank air.
jeongguk is still trying to make sense of everything, being the only one who can move amidst the freezing state of the surrounding. the silence is eerie, the sense of nothingness dawns on him, and there is a small thought about this being the end of the world and how unlucky he is to be trapped in the void, when a flicker of computerized text appearing before his eyes.
it looks like a dialog box on visual games and there is a small ‘15’ counting down on the corner of the box. he has 15 seconds to make a choice.
> load previous autosave: january 1, 2016 <
it is absurd.
jeongguk has played enough visual reality game to know this dialogue prompt box. as if he is really going to be thrown back in time if he chooses the second option. life is not a game you can redo every time you regret something and jeongguk has learnt it the hard way.
but what if this is real?
jeongguk is not even high. it is only when he is high or drunk that he wishes to turn back the time and fix everything he couldn’t. it is only when he can’t think straight that he is reminded of jimin and it still hurts. it is not supposed to hurt anymore. people come and go, it is totally common.
what if it can be avoided?
there is no more time to think. the second is ticking down so fast. five four three two…
jeongguk hits the second option.
the next time he opens his eyes, he is not in the rooftop anymore. he is not even in an open space. the room is fairly small and full of people, something jeongguk has grown to loathe. his personal space is being invaded, he knows that much from the feeling of heat against him and the weight on top of his lap.
he can barely register the familiarity of the lips pressed against him, the taste of alcohol mixing with the hint of sweetness from apple candy. the fingers locked in his hair is soothing, calming the fire inside his belly. and he is not even realizing that he is returning the kiss just as passionately until the person pulls away. pink, swollen lips greeted jeongguk’s eyes at first, curling into a sheepish smile, before he sees jimin’s eyes. gentle and warm and shy.
jeongguk feels his heart clenches in his chest. from how much he missed this. missed everything about this moment. everything feels so real and it feels like a blessing. something he does not deserve to feel for a second time. yet here he is, in the same exact position he was the first time it happened.
the party was forgotten to him the moment he spotted the blonde haired shortie among the people partying. the guy must be from another university, for he has never seen him before. he was too focused on him that he didn’t realize when jimin caught his gaze and slowly walked his way towards him, whispering something about helping him fool his ex before he got a lapful of park jimin.
“oh my god, I’ve never thought I’d really do this,” the male giggled, cheeks flushing an adorable shade of pink.
jimin must have realized that jeongguk was not responding to him, not even seem to be there anymore. he has his gaze fixed on jimin, trying to convince himself that the object of his fantasy was really there, kissing him right when the clock strike twelve.
“you are not high aren’t you? let’s get out of here. I’ll make it up to you.”
that’s the last thing jimin whispered to him before he is dragged up from the couch. red solo cup knocked out from his hand and suddenly he is freed from the suffocating room. yet he still can’t breathe. the guy was just that breathtaking.
jimin was laughing when they ran out of the house, only stopping to catch his breath later on as he dragged jeongguk to an alley. real romantic, to spend the first few minutes of new year in a dark, secluded alley, jeongguk had thought then.
it is not romantic, but it is something.
jimin was leaning against the rough surface of the graffitied wall behind him, still chuckling into his fist, while jeongguk towered over him. the moment jimin stopped and their gazes locked, jeongguk found himself unable to tear his attention away. that’s just how fucking addictive park jimin was ever since the first taste he got.
“what are you going to do if I actually lied and it never happened. that there was no ex, that I just wanted to kiss you?”
jeongguk watched jimin’s lips moving, all coy and suggestive. but there was still sadness behind those eyes covered by grey contacts. he knew that jimin was lying about lying.
but he knew flirting when he saw one, and jimin was not being so subtle about it. all lip-biting and hooded eyes and the next thing he knew was that they were already kissing again, his hand inside jimin’s shirt while the smaller man clutched against him for dear life, breathing deep from arousal.
jimin was the beginning of his 2016.
when jeongguk opens his eyes next and finds himself in the comfort of his bed with jimin curled up against him he knows that he has fucked up. who the hell repeats the same mistake when he is given a second chance? jeon jeongguk, obviously.
if it goes exactly the same way as before, he would wake up way later to a post-it stuck on his forehead, courtesy of jimin. he would call the number scribbled on it and they would go on a date that ended up in another great-bomb sex. they would fall, crashing hard headfirst.
it is so selfish of him when he gets a small desire inside him to just repeat it all over again, to see if maybe he can save them from the heartbreak this time so that they could make it right. after all, he must be getting this second chance for a reason.
but what if the reason is to remove himself from jimin’s life for good?
as he spreads himself out on the bed, he could still remember the voices, the saturated colors, the feeling of his heart clawing out of his chest when he got the call. it was a november, cold just starting to climb through his veins and cellphone cold on his hold as he picks up a call from an unknown number.
he recognized the voice. he had heard it so many times when jimin had called his best friend using loudspeaker, the voice filled with sunshine and warmth. except this time, it is void of emotions. cold and lifeless. jeongguk figured out that he deserved that much.
“mm,” he affirmed hurriedly, not sounding like he wanted to talk to jeongguk at all.
“what do you want?”
“jimin,” taehyung started. jeongguk’s heart clenched at the mention of the name. after so long trying to avoid it and the name still stung him like a poison. but what he heard next was even worse. “his heart gave up.”
“the fuck?” he frowned. despite not having a clue about this, what he heard could not be good. this uneasy feeling could not be good.
“you didn’t know?”
what should he fucking know when jimin never told him anything? always shutting his mouth and retreating into his protection shell whenever jeongguk was so close to figure out the real person behind all the smiles and gentle touches.
taehyung’s voice sounded like a noisy background music in an old film as he started telling him about the condition of jimin’s heart and how it started to pain him these past few weeks, specifically, “after jeongguk fucked his life over.”
“he is dying, jeon. thank you very much.”
is it possible for someone to die from heartbreak?
this morning is the first time he ever sees jimin again in his sober state, looking like he jumped right out of jeongguk’s dream. it must be guilt as well, this time, he concluded, even as he reaches out to stroke the blonde’s hair out of his face, his touch fleeting and gentle over the smooth skin, barely touching him, but enough to shake jimin awake. the long eyelashes flutter open and suddenly they are staring at each other.
park jimin is so fucking beautiful.
“g’morning, sorry I passed out here,” the lad mumbles sleepily, unaware of the raven eyes studying his every movement as he stirs and yawns.
like it is so natural for him to be like this around a one night stand, jimin is all over him a second later, his plump lips feel so good, so right, against jeongguk’s and he wishes he could stay this for a little longer. and he totally will, if only his conscience is not nagging him right now, to the point that he finally pushes the confounded lad away.
“not okay?” jimin asks.
this time, as jeongguk got to the point of capturing jimin’s chin with his fingers and rubbing his thumb over jimin’s lower lip, he figured that everything should not be repeated. countless of times, he had mulled over the possibility of them not ever meeting in the first place and if he would be able to save jimin that way.
so he does what he thinks is best in this situation. he pushes jimin away, swallowing the bitter taste on his tongue when a flash of pain and shame crossed jimin’s soft features.
“sorry, park jimin. I… actually have a girlfriend.”
the universe works in a crazy way. people passing by your lives every day, some are easier to forget than others. some stay in the corner of your memories, demanding to be noticed at every breathing moment.
how naive of jeongguk to think that he won’t have to see the other male anymore after he severed the connection from their first meeting.
he could stop fate from leading them into being fuck buddies after their first meeting and jeongguk thanks it for that. but when he feels like fate is not going to fuck him over in his second two thousand and sixteen, she betrays him. because fate is also the one who brings park jimin barreling in through the door of his dance studio.
in an universe where jimin and jeongguk are not dating for the sake of fucking, of course they are partnered up as the instructors for this intermediate dancing class jeongguk has been eyeing since forever.
“what the fuck, hyung? I thought you are giving me the authority to deal with this class alone like fucking finally? after three years? and now you are pairing me up with--” he gesticulates at the blonde who is currently standing awkwardly in the middle of the room where jeongguk had left him a minute ago while dragging hoseok away out of the room. they are standing at the doorway now, with the new guy stealing a few glances at them from the mirror.
it took jeongguk three weeks to get over jimin in this new universe and it only takes a minute for jung hoseok to ruin it all.
“his name is park jimin and he is a junior in performance art, contemporary dance, to be specific,” hoseok chirps his explanation, not even a least bit bothered the confrontation. “so he is basically your senior? behave, jeon! it’s not just you who’s good at dancing!”
“I don’t have a say in this, do I?” he grits out, stubborn.
“yep! as far as I’m concerned, you need the money.”
hoseok’s word hits home and jeongguk’s head is throbbing by the time he walks into the room again. jimin looks smaller than the last time he saw him. courtesy of the oversized ugly sweater he is wearing with leaves only half of his fingers peeking out of the sleeves. it’s fucking adorable and jeongguk hates it.
they don’t talk about their escapade on the new year’s eve, but he knows that jimin recognizes him. and both of them don’t want as much as to graze the topic.
“so, you dance well?”
jimin looks offended for a second. “I might not be an expert in hip-hop, but I used to take a class too and I’m good enough. I can show you a demo if you want.”
jeongguk lets him.
the room is filled with the beats of a song jeongguk doesn’t know as he watches jimin like a hawk. three months of dating (or just being a thing, close enough) and he never knew that jimin danced this well, and now he ought to find out as a stranger.
just how much he had missed out?
unlike jeongguk’s sharp and powerful movements, jimin’s moves are smooth and precise. there is a hint of low and teasing whisper to come and catch him, drawing jeongguk in with every beat that he didn’t even realize when the song is ending and they are just standing there in silence, his eyes locked with jimin’s through the mirror. this is a whole new level of flirting.
jeongguk knows that it will be another mistake he will regret at the end of the year, but this time too, he lets jimin dance his way back into his life.
it is april and the air starts to get stifling. people start wearing fewer layers of clothes and love is not in the air anymore, thank god.
“jeon fucking jeongguk, I swear to god if you bail this time, I’m going to fucking castrate you. fuckin brat.”
jeongguk gapes when min yoongi aka the intimidating small guy march into the room just when he and jimin were wrapping up for the day. min yoongi works in a publishing house a couple blocks away from the dance studio and it is kinda flattering for the hyung to bother coming for jeongguk after the nth time he bails from coming to his shows.
yoongi is a part-time DJ who holds shows at some small pubs on good days. jeongguk and hoseok used to be his so-called hype men until he made it all big by himself.
“I said I’m coming!” jeongguk yells in defense as the hyung crowds into his space to corner him. yoongi might be half a head shorter than he is, but he is one of the people jeongguk is glad to be on the good side of.
“good, cause hoseok sold a few tickets to some girls saying that you’d be there and it’d be a fraud if you don’t.”
jimin laughs from where he is watching, attracting yoongi’s attention to him at once, in which he quickly offers a kind of condolence. “he is probably busy with his girlfriend.”
“what girlfriend, jeongguk is not capable of making--”
jeongguk hastily cuts yoongi off from spilling his beans. unknowingly digging his grave deeper. “I think jimin hyung should come too, hyung? would you mind?”
jeongguk remembers this time of the year in the last two thousand and sixteen where he ended up bailing on yoongi yet again. yoongi gave up on him afterwards. everyone gave up on him.
because at this point of time, last lifetime, jeongguk and jimin would be together already. they would be trapped in their own world, too busy exploring each other to notice everyone else. maybe that’s why they were bound to end so quickly. something that burns too brightly always has its light snuffed out faster.
jeongguk burned, and jimin was the fire that ignited him.
“can you… stop for a moment?” jimin said through his stuttered breathing. he was heaving from where he was pressed against the wall, a hand stuffed inside his pants and fingers buried inside him, hastily stretching him out while jeongguk is mouthing along his neck like he wants to eat jimin up right there. “I need to… ah-” he bit his lower lip to stifle the high pitched moan threatening to erupt from his throat the moment those fingers hit a spot inside him, draining him out of his fights.
“you need to what, hyung? why stop in the middle of a sentence?”
jimin could feel the smirk against his skin. this little shit.
“I got a class in ten minutes? I told you I need to pass this class.”
that’s right. the class. they hadn’t planned this when jeongguk came over to his campus to give him the jacket he had left at his place the previous night. it went alright, all harmless until they were left alone at the empty classroom and jeongguk just couldn’t keep his hands away from jimin. not after the event from last night where they had come to yoongi’s show for the drinks and left just after a few songs because they ‘had something more important to do in bed’. it was all laughter and fun. it was exhilarating.
and this was the phase where they were intoxicated with each other the most.
jimin wasn’t expecting compliance, so the loss was heavy on him when he was set down, the heat of jeongguk’s mouth was not anywhere close to his skin anymore and the fingers leaving him empty, throbbing with needs.
“are you sure you want to attend classes like this?” jeongguk asked, a smile masked behind the regretful sigh as he stepped away.
it only took a beat before jimin had his fingers clutching at the front of jeongguk’s letterman jacket, drawing him back in.
“just wreck me. make it quick.”
jimin ended up missing that class, barely passing it with a ‘C’. while jeongguk gave up his social life for jimin, jimin was giving up his position at the top of the performance art department. it was worth it, he thought.
this time, they are still laughing, but not in their own world anymore. it is like a magnetic force drawing jeongguk to jimin that he can’t help but to be close to jimin without intending to. there’s just something in the way jimin talks, the way he laughs when he stumbles one of their dance moves, and the way he whines for jeongguk to stop teasing him about his height.
there is a saying about how some people are better when they are not together. jeongguk concludes that this is the case. at this moment, he can see that jimin shines the brightest when he laughs. even more than his afterglow state after a long night of sex.
“I can’t believe you are more of a lightweight than I am.”
jeongguk can hear jimin’s voice through the buzzing in his head, but he doesn’t really know where it comes from. one second they are still inside the bbq restaurant where yoongi is treating them after the show and the next second, jeongguk can feel jimin’s hand around his waist, supporting him as they walk down the street.
the moment he feels himself blinking the haziness away from his system, he is sitting in the cab, pressed up against jimin for support. the elder doesn’t seem to mind or shy away from it.
“oh fuck, my head's gonna combust,” he hisses, pressing the heel of his palm onto his eye while jimin cradles his head to his shoulder.
“guess alcohol and headache do not go well together. you should’ve known that better!” jimin murmurs in a scolding tone. concern dripping from his voice even though jeongguk could see a hint of amusement swimming in the latter’s eyes.
the trip to jeongguk’s dorm takes a lot longer than it usually does, and it leaves rooms for conversations. there goes his attempts to avoid this kind of space with jimin. even as they have sessions together, he always makes sure that someone else is with them or that they always talk with movements instead of words. but now, in his vulnerable state where he can’t put on his walls around him, he is not so sure anymore.
“jeongguk, I’ve been wondering for a while--” there it goes. “did you know me? before we met that time at the new year’s party?”
they never talked about this. it’s like a silent agreement, and that’s why jeongguk is caught off guard here, lifting his head from where it’s cushioned on jimin’s shoulder to peer up at the elder.
yes I did. more than you could imagine. “what do you mean?”
“it’s just… the way you look at me, that time,” jimin starts, holding jeongguk’s gaze in his own and nibbling on his lower lip for a beat too long until jeongguk has to make a small inquiring sound. “listen, I’m still feeling bad for your girlfriend and I know this is absurd, but there’s this something that made me think you also wanted something more…”
“yeah? just cut to the chase, jimin,” jeongguk snaps.
“you look at me like...” he finally breathes out,” like you’ve missed me forever.”
as soon as summer holiday started, no one heard about jeongguk and jimin anymore.
their summer was marked by the heat above their heads, sands under their feet, and saltwater licking their tanning skin. they spent the month living in jeon’s vacation house in busan in return to cleaning the whole house. easy deal. no one expected jeongguk’s family to be this rich when jeongguk was always complaining about needing extra money.
the first time jeongguk confessed to jimin that he loved him, the firecracker held in his hands dropped into the damp sand and snuffed out cold.
“you meant that?” jimin asked softly, as if his voice could break the moment of serenity between them. the moment where jeongguk had his deep gaze locked against his own and where everything felt more vivid than ever, making jimin felt self-conscious under the stare.
“I do. I think I love you?”
jimin didn’t return the confession and instead silenced jeongguk up with a kiss, knocking the three sticks of firecrackers from jeongguk’s hands.
“you meant that?” that was jimin’s only response when jeongguk asked him to join their crew in the beach trip.
it has seemed like an absurd decision since jeongguk is practically craving his own tombstone now, atop of his finished gravehole. he only has hoseok to blame.
“I do. I mean, if you want.”
there’s not much discussion anymore after that and jimin turns up on the day of the trip, bringing kim taehyung with him. all long legs and bright grin.
“nice to meetcha, jeon! jimin talks a lot about you--” taehyung is cut off by a yelp when jimin interrupts him by stomping on his feet.
taehyung’s smile is too bright and he laughs too much, but there is a small sense of happiness swelling inside his chest that at least he gets to meet kim taehyung in a different way the second time around.
it is only proven to be a mistake to take jimin along in this beach trip on the last night of their visit.
all of them have been engaged in a game, a non-alcoholic game this time. board games are a piece of cake, but jeongguk must have really lost his touch . or it is just becoming a problem for him whenever min yoongi is involved because that hyung could always see through his tricks and put off his fire before he can start burning his way through the board games. “take down the biggest little shit first,” he said. and then he killed jimin’s.
(“for your information, this house belongs to my family and how could you kick out the--”
“for your information, I don’t fucking care, jeon. take your ass outside because I and taehyung are gonna sleep in your hella giant bed!” yoongi sounds ecstatic, too happy for jeongguk’s liking. and taehyung is cheering in the background, tipsy.
fuck min yoongi, really.
also when did yoongi and taehyung get so close together? this never happened last time.)
so that leads them to this situation where they have to sleep outside in a tent. this is the first time jeongguk has ever been kicked out of his own place - for someone who’s born with silver spoon in his mouth and being treated with respect and hesitance from everyone even his own friends; but trust these friends not to do that to him. it is good for them that the air is warm enough that they are sweating under their thin sleeping shirts and not freezing like they thought they would.
“I literally joined to have a good time and I’m feeling attacked right now,” jimin murmured, sinking deeper into his sleeping bag.
“that’s not how the meme goes. no, park, you can’t ruin a good meme.”
it is still hot by midnight and it is hard to sleep. the moment their eyes locked and jeongguk offers a mischievous smile, they suddenly find their way out of their sleeping bags and halfway across the beach, running towards the nearest 24/7 convenience store for the cold drinks and popsicles.
jimin is splayed out on the sand, warm breeze caressing his hair and popsicle stick held in between his teeth, moving as he talks in between laughter.
“this is a kind of accomplishment, that I could get punished together with the great jeon jeongguk who always wins.”
jeongguk scoffs. “yeah? the both times I’ve ever lost this year, I always end up hanging out with you though.”
“maybe it’s fate bringing you to me.”
sometimes jimin talks as if he is telling a story, a heartbreaking fairytale with cacophony of sweet and sad melodies. and when he does, jeongguk can only stare at him until he breaks out of his small trance and laughs it off, but it never happens this time. he still has the sincere look in his eyes when he tilts his head to peer up at jeongguk, a flash of longing disappears just as soon as it came.
“this might sound stupid, but I’ve always wanted to befriend you. know you better and all. I hate to think that you are distancing yourself from me because of what we did a few months ago - which I’m still ashamed of, by the way - and I’m also still sorry for your girlfriend--”
“jimin,” jeongguk has to interrupt this time. “there is no girlfriend. I lied.”
the silence dawns on them again. this time, though, jeongguk doesn’t keep it for long as he reaches out to take the ice cream stick away from jimin’s lips, replacing it with his own lips as he dives down for a kiss.
their first real kiss is marked by the taste of strawberry on jimin’s mouth and the chilly night breeze blowing into their baggy shirts.
jimin is flushed on the cheeks by the time he pulls away, seems to be on disbelief by this whole situation, but at least he doesn’t seem to mind about it. still, it doesn’t stop jeongguk’s mind from short-circuiting and he babbles for a second too long.
“I swear to god, park jimin. if it’s your turn to say that you are already taken this time, I’m gonna--”
but jimin doesn’t do that, he only pulls jeongguk down for another kiss, one without any surprise and hitched breath this time. in the midst of the hazy thoughts inside his head, there is only a small voice of his conscience reprimanding him for fucking this up once again.
jeongguk pushes it into a forgotten corner of his head.
jeongguk starts wondering about his life decisions because, really, what could go wrong from building relationship with jimin once again? aside from breaking his heart again and being the cause of his heart failure, maybe.
at this point of time, he already gives up trying not to involve park jimin into his life once again.
the epiphany strikes in the middle of june.
summer dance classes are hectic because everyone signed up for a pastime activity during summer holiday and even though jeongguk hates it, he still has responsibilities. his responsibility number one comes in the form of coming to the studio three hours behind his first schedule to clean up the room
only to find out a certain someone already occupying it.
he hears the tunes of the song - pin up girl, what the heck is this, ballet? - before he sees the person. half the lights in the studio are lit up and in the middle of the room, park jimin is moving fluidly along to the gentle melody of the song. his eyes shut and his expression tranquil.
jeongguk is not sure how long he has been staring from the doorframe until the song stops and before he realized it, the living sin is staring at him through the mirror. his breathing is still laboured from the dance, but an accomplished smile drawn across his lips, as if he knows that jeongguk has been watching him all along.
“hey, sorry for using the room without scheduling it. I need to practice for a test.”
‘you’re beautiful’ almost slips out of his lips, already hanging on the tip of his tongue and swallowed at the last minute as he stutters out, “don’t mind.”
jimin smiles at him.
it’s not like they have been awkward since that last day of their beach trip (they have), maybe it’s just jimin who’s too busy with his summer classes (not really, they always meet at least three hours a day), or jeongguk is a pussy (this one might be correct).
“do you wanna grab breakfast? I’m famished.”
so, once again, it’s jimin who has to make an advance.
jeongguk was never one to say his affections out loud. he chose to keep it down to the point where it burst in various color, spilling out of his lips in the form of tired mumbles or shy confession. that, as jimin would say, only happened once in a blue moon.
it should not be a problem, if only jimin wasn’t so different.
jimin was all words. shameless I love you dropped here and there casually, and jeongguk would usually not take it seriously. because jimin was all words. he said that to everyone. his ‘I love you’s are not reserved only for jeongguk and it shouldn’t be a big deal. maybe it was a problem of technicalities, because they were technically not dating and jimin’s not limited to share his affections with only jeongguk. jeongguk shouldn’t be pissed off about it, right?
it was a normal occasion too, to wake up to jimin already chirping into the phone, ending the call with his usual silent laughter and an “I love you, taetae! don’t be so lonely without me!”
he was sitting on the edge of the bed, a too-big shirt barely covering him to the thighs, and a bright smile on his lips. jeongguk always thought that the sight was even more beautiful than when jimin crawled back to his side. a sigh falling from his lips before he pressed a single kiss on top of his lips - probably thinking that jeongguk was still asleep.
“I love you.”
the words still lingered atop his lips even as jimin was long gone.
it was a morning in the beginning of july, where jeongguk realized that jimin was probably happier without him.
“why are you staring?”
the voice brings him back from the small moment of deep thought and flashback he randomly had. he blinks a few times, registering the surrounding and pulled back into the moment, where he had grabbed jimin to have breakfast together in a nearest cafe. this is a different universe, a different jimin. get it together.
“you always have this kind of look whenever you’re thinking hard. brows all furrowed and looking funny,” jimin says, an amused yet concerned look drawn on his face as he extended his hand to poke jeongguk between the eyebrows.
with a snort, jeongguk caught his hand by the wrist. “I can’t take you seriously when you’re looking like this, hyung,” he said, ignoring the puzzled look in the elder’s face as he leaned in and captures jimin’s lips in a quick kiss, tongue swiping over the plump lips and tasting the sweet taste of melted marshmallow that was staining the top of jimin’s lips just seconds before.
jimin sputters, almost dropping the cup of hot chocolate he is holding. this is the second time they kissed after they came back from holiday and if he thought it was a dream before, this just proves him wrong.
“I can’t believe you just did a parody of that drama scene on me, this is so cheesy,” jimin mumbles to himself while fanning his face to get rid of the heat.
usually jeongguk would be the one who did this, calling the latter cheesy and then shying away from any other attempt for PDA. so this is how he also realizes that this is not quite the same relationship as the one they had in the past and perhaps this chance was made for him to fix everything. he can’t lose jimin the same way.
so, bye bye shyness.
“I’m also about to ask you out, by the way,” jeongguk says, looking at jimin straight in the eyes.
this time, though, he didn’t catch jimin off guard. as if the latter has already figured out that this line will come out sooner or later. the adorable flush of pink still stays on jimin’s cheeks nonetheless.
“I can’t believe you made us official at freaking 7AM in a cheap breakfast restaurant, when we’re hungover as fuck and I’m not in my greatest condition but,” jimin starts blabbering, only stopping when he reaches out to grab jeongguk’s hand. “what a perfect time, jeonggukkie. took you long enough.”
long enough, indeed. took me more than a year for this.
it only feels even more real when jimin shows up at jeongguk’s department one day. the blonde looks out of place among the eccentric people in the pure art department, and even more, when he enters the studio and jeongguk only realizes a little later.
he is in the middle of splattering ink into the shape onto a human-sized canvas in front of him. colors decorating the blank space in deliberate droplets and splotches. blue, green, and yellow are also staining the length of his bare arms, thank god he has taken off his shirt earlier, replacing it with a tank.
the moment he decided that he’s done for the day, that’ when he notices jimin. the lad jumps from where he is sitting on the corner of the room, like a deer caught in headlights.
“holy shit-- how long have you been sitting there?”
“uh, an hour? give or take.”
jimin looks so out of place in the middle of the mess of the studio. studio art students are not very neat, especially when it is nearing the finals week where deadlines are back to back and ready to eat them up.
suddenly feeling self-conscious, jeongguk grabs a towel perched on a stool, trying to rub the drying paint from his arms and face. he ends up smearing the substance more than it’s already spread because of the dirty towel, cursing silently to himself.
“hey, chill, you look pretty good this way too,” jimin says with a hint of amusement in his tone as he walks towards jeongguk, a clean towel in his hand.
he makes jeongguk sit on a chair and starts cleaning his face with the wet towel, at least as much as he could do. all that jeongguk can think of is how he could ruin jimin’s white shirt with just a touch. like how his touch ruined jimin.
“I honestly thought you’d be in the dance department,” jimin is the one who breaks the silence again later on. jeongguk’s face is already all clean, he knows that, yet jimin is not letting him go.
“ah, you know I can’t cover a lot of dance area like you do. I only took hoseok hyung’s dance classes.”
“oh-” jimin’s face falls for a second before he forces a smile on his face, probably just to block his real concerns from jeongguk. “I just realized how much I don’t know about you.”
at this, jeongguk finally sighs, reaching out to grab jimin by the shirt to pull him closer. there is not much stain for the paint is mostly dried already, though it’s not like they can save jimin’s white shirt anymore the moment jimin plants himself on jeongguk’s lap and throws himself bodily at the younger, face tucked in the crook of jeongguk’s neck and jeongguk wonders how he is not exploding right now.
“listen. we have been dating for like… what? barely two weeks? you still got a lot of things to learn, jimin.”
jimin hums noncommittally, lips pressed against jeongguk’s neck.
“are you going to tell me everything? no lie?”
“everything.” and that is already a lie by itself
because there is no way jeongguk can tell him everything. like how he memorized every birthmark in jimin’s body, mapped them all with his lips and remembered them all better than he would remember his textbook.
how he had forgotten to learn the basic part of jimin’s life - his heart problem, the program he takes in his department, the change of heart he is having as he fell out love with jeongguk.
but he still remembers clearly when jimin asked this back then.
“I just realized how much we don’t know about each other,” jimin said out of the blue, in the middle of an underground rap concert jeongguk took him to. he got extra ticket, so why not? he thought, and regretted it the moment he saw how uncomfortable and confused jimin was for the whole show, obviously trying too hard to enjoy the performance.
the other audiences were screaming and jumping around them, reek of sweat and alcohol, while the bass was too loud even for jeongguk’s ears. but he heard jimin. he just refused to face his problem.
jeongguk didn’t even realize when jimin whispered something to his ear and slipped away from his spot next to him. the moment he realized, the show was almost over and it took jeongguk ten minutes to find jimin drinking at the bar, a weirdly-dyed pink haired man sitting next to him.
“oh, jeongguk!” jimin looked relieved when he spotted him. “this is seokjin.”
kim seokjin, jeongguk only remembered him vaguely from that new year’s party. jimin had called the guy his ex, but then jeongguk dismissed the idea completely when jimin said he lied just to flirt with jeongguk.
the guy looked friendly and jimin looked genuinely happy to be there, even happier than when he was in the middle of the cheering crowds with jeongguk earlier. for a split second, jeongguk could feel a venomous feeling bubbling in his chest. he wanted to rip the smile off the man. he wanted to be pissed off at the man, yet he was only pissed off that jimin looked so happy to meet him.
“jimin, let’s go home,” he interrupted another laugh that came from jimin’s mouth, perplexing both of them for a second. but jimin complied.
they had their first fight that night, jimin looking more frustrated than angry, because jeongguk was being so passive-aggressive about it he could die -- quoted from jimin himself.
“you said that he wasn’t really your ex last time!” jeongguk snapped at last, a childish kind of possessiveness dripping in his tone and he was not even ashamed by it.
jimin just stayed silent for the rest of the ride home, sinking into the passenger seat and gazing out of the window, away from jeongguk. the car was filled with silence, so it was hard to miss when jimin mumbled into his palm.
“I wish you knew more about me than this, jeon.”
“so, you are saying that you’ve been dating for a month, and you two never had sex?” hoseok casually restates what jeongguk just had been telling him, not even minding the fact that jeongguk just sputters out his coffee, flustered.
some people throw a glance at the commotion came from jeongguk coughing out the coffee that went down the other pipe. it’s a good thing that the cafe is fairly empty and that they know the owner of the cafe, enough for the guy - kim namjoon - to throw them a single, knowing look and a shake of his head.
“what the fuck- don’t say it out loud, will you?”
“no, but really! I didn’t expect this coming from you. jeon jeongguk, really?” hoseok finally breaks into his typical bright grin, mirth swimming in his eyes, totally liking the fact that after all his failed tricks to fluster jeongguk in the past, it only takes a park jimin to make him go red every time now.
“besides, we already had sex the first time we met, I told you that,” jeongguk mutters under his breath, throwing his gaze out of the window and deciding that he’s had enough of ‘heart-to-heart’ talk he expected to have with someone who’s three years older than him. what did he expect, really?
it’s not like their relationship is not intimate. there could have been occasions that lead to sex, all those not-so-innocent cuddles and making out up to the second base. it is an understatement to say that jeongguk is deprived and he craves the heat of jimin’s body against his bare skin.
but around this time in the previous universe, this was the month where everything went down the drain.
“why do you like hurting me?”
the confrontation was not something that jeongguk hadn’t seen coming. all they have been doing when they met are either making out or fighting, or both. finals week was also around the corner and even though it didn’t stop them last time this happened, it became an excuse.
that evening, jeongguk was already pissed as he is that he didn’t really take it into consideration to listen to jimin anymore.
how could he not, when he came to visit jimin’s dorm earlier that day only to see the guy passing out with his head cushioned on seokjin’s lap? and to find out right there that seokjin had become jimin’s roommate. roommate and ex. in a position that even jeongguk had never seen jimin using him for, so vulnerable and trusting.
he didn’t even remember what he said to seokjin, but it must be something bad, considering how fuming jimin looked when he barged into his room that night.
jeongguk only lifted his gaze briefly from his computer to look at the latter before he let his gaze and attention stray again.
“I don’t remember hurting you, jimin.”
“you hurt seokjin hyung, you are hurting me too. and you are not even answering to my texts. it’s been a week, jeongguk. you disappeared and you came back just to be rude to seokjin hyung?”
“yeah? maybe you should’ve told me that taehyung moved out and you’re living with your ex now?”
“seokjin hyung needed a place to live for a while! tae didn’t even move out? if you had answered my calls or texts, I could’ve told you, jeon jeongguk!” jimin looked like he was on the verge of tears. jeongguk could hear it from his voice, even when he was in his passive aggressive state, refusing to look at jimin.
he was being petty, he knew that much, but not at that time. not when all he could see was red and he couldn’t hear properly from the rush of jealousy thrumming in his ears.
“what do you want now?” jimin finally asked, his voice shaking.
at this, jeongguk finally got up from his seat to face jimin properly now. “I don’t know, jimin. what do you think? maybe you should get away from your seokjin hyung.”
“yeah, you told him that. ‘get away from my boyfriend”, really, jeongguk?” jimin didn’t even look cornered with the way jeongguk towered over him, he faced the boy with a stern gaze of his own, before a derisive laugh fell from his lips. “we are not even boyfriends. you have no right to do that.”
funny thing anger was, to push everything down until they all was spiralling down the drain. and it influenced jeongguk too, the anger got to him that he saw red when he grabbed jimin’s hands, pulling him closer not for a kiss like he’d do usually. bringing their faces close, he whispered near jimin’s lips, watching how something broke inside the male’s eyes.
“is this how you wanna play, park jimin? I’m game.”
jeongguk doesn’t remember how it happened exactly, but ever since that fight, jeongguk found himself on several dates with girls he doesn’t even remember the names. somehow a ‘thing’ became ‘fuck buddies’ and once fuck buddies get tired of each other and find someone else, that’s the end of it, that’s the unspoken rule.
that was the end of them, for their egos were too big for them to find their ways to each other anymore.
jeongguk is not sure if it’s a pang of guilt or regret he is still having whenever he remembers about the fight. it is there every time he closes his eyes on bad days, seeing it replaying like a broken video record on the back of his eyelids--how the anger dissipated from jimin’s eyes and replaced by hurt and realization.
realization that what they had might be nothing for jeongguk, while it was not the case.
“so, what was it that you wanted to talk about, jeongguk? I thought you wanna talk?” and just like that, hoseok’s voice snapped him out of his silent moment. he’s been doing that a lot lately and he doesn’t really feel like explaining today.
“just wanted to talk about jimin--” he says simply as he returns his gaze back to the elder, only to see that two other heads already joined them in the table. and that’s none other than jimin himself, plus kim taehyung.
“about me?” jimin blinks.
jeongguk notices that he must have had zoned out for a little too long, considering that jimin and taehyung already had their own drinks, and jimin is looking at him with his usual concerned look now.
“oh right, jeongguk was telling me about how you two aren’t having sex ye--”
“hoseok hyung!” he yells in mortification.
jimin’s eyes widened in surprise now and jeongguk knows that there will be more questions pouring out of those pouty lips if he didn’t drag the elder out now. so he does, ignoring hoseok and taehyung’s exclaims as he grabs jimin’s hand and drags him out of the coffee shop.
“what was that about?” jimin asks only when the flush has gone from jeongguk’s cheeks and they are halfway on their way to jeongguk’s dorm building. he already makes himself comfortable, falling in step with jeongguk with their hands laced together instead of being dragged.
“it was nothing, really. I shouldn’t have talked to hoseok hyung about it,” he mumbles.
“but you had that look again, jeongguk,” jimin sounds more demanding now, a pensive look in his visage in contrary to the playful look he imagined to be in jimin’s face every time they are touching the sex topic.
“what kind of look, though?” jeongguk clears his throat, finally moving to stand in front of jimin and cupping the smaller hands together in his hands. a bright smile plastered in his lips in order to assure the elder. “like the look you always have every time you’re cold? you didn’t even bring a scarf.”
jimin opens his mouth, only to let a breath smogged the air before his lips. a frown that’s still decorating his features says that he doesn’t want to move on from the topic yet, but then jeongguk is bringing his hands up to press a kiss on each of his knuckles and. it’s just something that jeon jeongguk does not do. so he breaks into a laugh, a small tinkling laughter with his eyes crinkling into a shy smile.
“you’re such a dummy.”
jeongguk is getting tugged into a false sense of security with all the things that happened around him. it feels like a blessing, a borrowed time, that he got to experience the bliss, the feeling of being loved and to have everyone by his side. he remembers this time of the year, the first snowfall and only having alcohol and random sex encounters to accompany his days. he was a loser.
and apparently, he is still a loser.
he had forgotten the three weeks he spent at the beginning of the year, trying to get rid of the new memories of park jimin and the feeling of the lad’s skin against his own. it is not so surprising that karma gets back to bite him in the ass.
karma, comes in the form of a dashing older girl with brunette hair.
it is another one of yoongi’s show and jimin is late to this one, so jeongguk has to sit alone at their circle sofa, with hoseok being the usual yoongi #1 hype man.
he didn’t see it coming when the girl suddenly blocks his view from the DJ table, her metallic blue dress hugging her hips tightly and her lips painted all red and pretty. this would be someone he’d hit on, back in the days where he is not committed to a certain guy, though.
“hey, it’s been long, jeongguk-ah,” the girl says, and before jeongguk could dig his brain for any name, she is kissing him on the lips.
“the fuck-” he gasps out, leaning away from the kiss only to have the girl nuzzling into the crook of his neck. the taste of lipsticks still stays in his lips even as he brushes them with the back of his hand.
she is giggling into his neck now, seemingly drunk.
“don’t you remember me, jeongguk? you asked me to be your girlfriend and then you disappeared. technically, I’m still your girlfriend, right?”
“look… uh,” jeongguk finally tries to explain, though only making himself more of an asshole by forgetting her name. “I was drunk that day, I think. you shouldn’t have taken it seriously, miss…?”
“you don’t even remember my name?” the brunette looks more disappointed than angered now. her eyes casted down with sadness. “ah, it’s juyeon, by the way. also, you took my first time so I thought it meant something but then you disappeared and… I guess I’m just stupid, huh?”
“no, no, I’m sorry. I didn’t know that-- fuck, I’m sorry,” he stammers.
juyeon only offers him a smile, eyes glazed with unshed tears. jeongguk doesn’t think he’d be able to forget the look when she turns around and leaves him. he can only breathe again right that second, only to find himself face to face with kim taehyung.
“well… jeon jeongguk, I’ve heard rumors about you being an asshole, but I didn’t know it’s to this extent,” taehyung says with a derisive smile. this is how he pictured taehyung to talk to him in the past, always so disdainful and unfriendly. but he had been friends with the hyung this time, and seeing that kind of look in taehyung’s eyes crushed his heart.
“so it’s true that you fucked with jimin when you still had a girlfriend, huh? and… eh, I heard she’s technically your girlfriend now.”
“you don’t know what you are talking about, tae. we are not--” before he could explain more, jimin interrupts by sitting next to him, bringing the sunshine with him from the whole day he spent outside.
his presence is calming jeongguk right there, as jimin tucks his face into the crook of jeongguk’s neck and whimpers his complain about being tired. while taehyung is still eyeing him with disapproval, mouthing something about how they should talk about it later.
they never talked about it.
it’s actually not much of a surprise that taehyung ended up talking to jimin first about it. jeongguk could guess that much from how the male has been avoiding him, even when they’re only meeting sporadically for the week due to mid term exams.
the only time he managed to corner jimin is at his dormitory, and only because he forgot that he has given jeongguk the spare key.
it should have been a normal occurrence where jimin will come home to jeongguk making himself at home, sprawled on the couch watching tv in the middle of jimin’s living room. but today jimin just stays still on the doorway, lips pinched together in dismay, and that’s enough to give jeongguk the looming feeling that jimin is finally done with him.
heaving a sigh, jeongguk gets up from his seat, making his way to jimin and cornering him against the closed door behind him, not leaving a space between them. their lips only a breath away from each other and it leaves jimin no other option than to look at jeongguk straight in the eyes.
“why?” jimin demands, faster than the question could ever leave jeongguk’s lips.
“that should be my question, why are you asking me when you’re the one who’ve been avoiding me?”
it’s funny, how this avoiding game keeps going even in this repeated universe.
“but why are you here? I thought your ex came back-- I thought you were waiting for her…” jimin trails off. the tough and demanding look he tries hard to keep in his face slowly crumbling with the weight of jeongguk gaze on him. jimin is never one for confrontation after all. jeongguk knows just how much he hates it.
“she’s not my ex, she’s just… someone I asked out when I was drunk. look, I’m an asshole, I know. I didn’t mean to hurt her but I thought after I lied to you about the girlfriend thing, I could really find one and--”
his rambling is cut mid-sentence as jimin silences him up with a kiss. jimin has his hands around jeongguk’s neck, pulling him down and keeping him from pulling away even when jeongguk is hesitating, and it’s not like jeongguk could bear it for too long, when he ends up melting into the kiss.
their panting breaths are mingled together as they pull away, jeongguk has his forehead pressed against him while jimin is avoiding his gaze.
“taehyung said she was your girlfriend, so… I just thought,” he stammers, guilt drawn on his lips. “I’m so embarrassed now. I thought I’d lose you because you’re so… sometimes you’re so sad, you keep thinking about someone else, right?”
“I’m always thinking about you only,” jeongguk admits. and that’s the truth.
“but you won’t let me touch you! sexually too!”
jimin has his cheeks flushed now at the confession and it takes a lot for jeongguk not to burst into laughter, and it must be clear in his face because jimin slaps his chest and pushes his away while grumbling something about throttling him. but there’s nothing but fondness in his smile as he trails along the elder when he walks away, finally engulfing his smaller frame inside his arms in a backhug.
“so that’s what you’re worrying about?”
jimin squirms, trying to get away half-heartedly. though it’s not like he can do that when jeongguk has his breath heavy against the back of his earlobe and his lips mouthing against his pulse point. this is not something new in their relationship, but the way jeongguk’s hands are holding him, slipping under his shirt and trailing along his bare skin sends something heavy to his guts. a silent promise on what to come next.
it’s been too long that they both already forgotten their new year eve’s escapade, but jeongguk finds new pieces of memories for each second that passed.
he has jimin shirtless in the bed in no time, his body squeezing the smaller frame down into the bed, with jimin moaning about how he likes jeongguk’s weight on him and scratching on his nape every time his hips grind down just in the right way to make jimin choke on his breath.
they’re both hard and straining in their pants when jimin reaches a hand in between them, toying with the button of jeongguk’s pants. he’s just about to slip his fingers past the waistband when jeongguk caught his hand and pins it above his head, a playful smile on his lips as he kisses the complains away from jimin’s lips.
“take it slow, hyung. let me…”
he trails off as his mouth is suddenly busy mapping along the expanse of jimin’s body. all the ridges and curves, the birthmark on the male’s hipbone, a scar on the side of his knee. he takes his time reminding himself on how much he has missed out when he’s drowning himself in the guilt. and all this time, jimin has been waiting for him.
by the time he’s done and satisfied, jimin is a panting mess, a wet spot spreading on his briefs which jeongguk takes off quickly the next second.
“asshole… you’re really taking your time, huh? you weren’t kidding when you said you’re a control freak,” jimin wheezes, only to be interrupted by a whine knocked off his mouth when jeongguk suddenly takes him inside the wet warmth of his mouth.
jimin is thrashing in the bed, clawing on the sheet and squeezing the sides of jeongguk’s head with his thighs when jeongguk just won’t stop teasing him. he is on the verge of coming already and it’s just because of jeongguk’s mouth on his dick and his fingers stretching him out. a shudder travels through his body when jeongguk groans around him, seems to be liking the way jimin’s thighs flexed, and damn if it wasn’t hot.
“jeon—please. come up here, asshole. fuck me,” he demands, teeth sinking into his lower lip when he feels jeongguk’s fingers rubbing over his spot, already locating it some moments ago and not giving up on teasing jimin since then.
his body is so taut, muscles straining and cock weeping with the urge to release. and he almost screams when jeongguk finally pulls away, shedding his clothes off quickly.
that’s when they’re finally pressed together skin to skin. jimin almost cries with the pleasure running through his body from the sensation alone, even when he doesn’t have fingers inside him anymore. he appreciates the rest time when jeongguk kisses him languidly, swallowing his desperate pleas as he inches his legs around jeongguk’s waist and tries to rut against him.
“I missed you a lot, jimin-ah,” jeongguk suddenly whispers against his mouth.
that’s when jimin found himself focusing his gaze on the younger’s eyes again, finally catching his gaze and drowning in the depth. he is impatient, but it is nothing compared to the mixture of emotions he could catch in jeongguk’s eyes, choking him with the profound affections he have for the boy.
“I’m here… I’m here. I love you so much,” jimin stammers, eyes brimming with unshed tears as he cups jeongguk’s cheeks and pulls him into another kiss.
he never cried during sex for this reason. not that the sex itself is not that good. it almost drives him insane, when jeongguk finally snaps his hips forward and buries his erection deep inside, knocking a lewd moan past jimin’s lips.
it is a slow burn, the rocking of jeongguk’s hips against him, hitting him in all the right places. jimin is clawing along the broad expanse of the younger’s back, a pink line for every time jeongguk snaps his hips so suddenly and makes jimin yelp, a bead of precome dribbling down his cock. until the last time where he feels like he’s about to come, only to be edged by jeongguk’s fingers tight around the base of his cock, sending him into a dry orgasm that has his senses tingling.
jeongguk laughs when jimin screams in both frustration and pleasure, and jimin can’t help to break into a small giggle when he recovers. he smacks jeongguk on the head for the last time before he tightens his thighs around the male’s legs and flips them around. jeongguk looks so beautiful beneath him, all kind of wrecked and vulnerable, but still dominant with his hands on jimin’s hips in a bruising grip.
it’s a wild ride from there. jeongguk is canting his hips up in a faster pace, hips slapping against the underside of jimin’s ass and muted by the small pleasured noises coming up from jimin’s bitten lips. he only picks up his pace when jimin starts clenching around him again, milking his orgasm so fast that he couldn’t warn him when he comes, spurts of white filling jimin up and making the male groan in ecstasy.
jimin comes after two strokes of jeongguk’s hand, collapsing on top of the younger right away with his mouth searching his for a kiss.
they kiss lazily until they both come down from their high, until the tightness becomes unbearable that jeongguk is pulling out, but letting jimin stay on top of him.
“I’m happy that I got to meet you…” jimin murmurs against his chest when he’s on the verge of passing out.
jeongguk can’t help the smile spreading over his lips. he’s always been reduced into a soft mush whenever he is around jimin after all, even though the guilt is still tugging his heart whenever he thinks of how much he is taking this for granted. how unfair it is for jimin because jeongguk is leaving him with no other choice.
he is still up hours after that, just watching jimin sleep from this angle and running his fingers through the blonde locks. only when he feels tired enough that he leans in to nuzzle into the tufts of messy hair.
“if only we were like this from the beginning…”
it’s a vague memory. jeongguk thinks that he is awake, but he is too lazy to open his eyes. he could catch the brightness, the feeling of jimin’s soft skin against his own, and chapped lips softly caressing his own. he could feel jimin’s breath hitting his cheek when the elder shifted on top of him. eyes boring into his sleeping visage.
“but I still can’t give you the happiness you’re looking for, huh, jeongguk-ah?” he hears jimin’s soft, breathy voice. “who broke your heart? who is it that you are longing for?”
the questions hang heavy in the air like an ugly cloud before a thunderstorm. jeongguk is still too tired to open his eyes that he just grunts, apparently startling the latter that jimin scrambles away from him, muttering about being late to class and taking the warmth away from jeongguk’s body.
he falls into a dreamless sleep for the first time since the year started.
jeongguk opens his eyes, and the coldness is back in his system. it feels like being woken up from a long, long dream. every scenes and memories are playing in his mind as he blinks his eyes open, and then blurred out when he finally figured out where he is.
there are eyes staring down at him with concern, searing pain on his arm, and murmurs talking about him.
“are you alright, boy?” a man wearing security uniform is talking to him. “there was a stray firework this way and suddenly you fainted. does it hurt?”
he gestures to the part of jeongguk’s jacket with a smoky burning mark. jeongguk shakes his head and gets up from his position on the floor, still puzzled and dazed, until the memories coming together like a puzzle pieces and it clicks in his mind the moment he sees the flickering digital image floating before his face.
< failed to load autosave data >
“No, no nonono,” he chants, scrambling up more quickly that the crowd around him scrambled away, watching him as if he’s crazy.
he must be crazy, he thinks, because he is trying so hard to hold onto the new memories he had made and he knows that they are not just a fabrication of his imagination. not what his guilt made him to imagine.
just a few hours ago he was with jimin in his bed, they’re fine again, he had fixed everything that’s wrong from 2016. and now he’s back to the square one, where it’s all still ruined, where he and jimin never danced together or loved each other properly.
what a cruel thing to do, to make him dream of all that.
he realized that he’s been running in circle, because the security looks like he’s ready to call someone from his walkie talkie when he finally decided to dash away from the place. he ignores the call and runs all the way down the building.
what he realized, even without these jumbled memories inside his head, is that he can’t live in an universe with no jimin.
he arrived in jimin’s dorm building a little after one am. the people he passed by seem to be in festive mood and he doesn’t know if taehyung would be home, or if it’s jin. what kind of college students would be in their dorm room at this time of the year? jeongguk is not so sure either, but he’s already in front of the door when he realized that, knocking on the door frantically.
there’s no answer after waiting for a moment and jeongguk grows even more uneasy, because he has tried to call taehyung’s phone and he could hear the ringtone from behind the door. maybe taehyung should be a little more discreet with his ringtones if he wants to hide from jeongguk. he knows that this is the universe where taehyung absolutely hates him, after all.
“taehyung please, I know you hate me but I just want to ask something. I’ll leave after that,” he pleads to the door, feeling pathetic that he has to resort into this.
there are hesitant footsteps coming from behind the door and a jingling of keys before the door clicks open, along with the drop of jeongguk’s heart when he sees exactly who is opening the door for him.
jeongguk’s head just short-circuited right that second that the questions he had prepared on the way here dissipated into the air. he could only stare at the male before him, so so different from the jimin he remembers from a few hours ago when he was still deep in the safe zone made by his dream.
of course. it’s because that jimin loves him and this one fell out love with him long ago.
“what do you want?” jimin is the first to speak. “tae is out and he didn’t bring his phone. I don’t even know you’re close with him.”
jimin’s voice is dripping with ice, in contrast to the look of warmth swimming in his eyes when jeongguk finally found his courage to lock eyes with the male. he was wrong. jimin didn’t change at all. this is the same jimin, and god, how could he face him like this?
“I’m not. I just wanted to talk to him… about you,” he trails off at last.
jimin’s gaze is heavy on him, inquiring, waiting for him to elaborate. but the moment his eyes fall to jeongguk’s arm, he gasps out loud, tugging on jeongguk’s jacket to examine the torn part where the firework hit him earlier. it leaves a faint burning mark on his skin.
“you’re hurt! why are you not treating it properly?” still the soft-hearted park jimin as always, even to the person who broke his heart. “come in. I’ll treat your wound.”
jeongguk is ushered in so quickly that he lost his words in the middle of the hastiness. he is seated on the couch, while jimin runs to his room and comes back with a first aid kit. before long, they are sitting there in silence, jimin dabbing some kind of ointment over the reddish skin while jeongguk watching him.
“you’re not dying,” he blurts out at some point.
jimin looks up at him suddenly, a frown decorating his visage before an offended look crossed his face.
“do you think I’m dying because you left me? woah,” he laughs, a derisive tone dripped from his words as he shakes his head and giving the younger an incredulous look.
“no, shit. I didn’t mean that—I mean, taehyung told me that your heart…” he rubs the back of his neck, not sure on how to put it nicely because his earlier words seem to put jimin on edge, and he’s careful not to step his boundaries now.
“my heart gave up?” jimin finishes his sentence, while jeongguk just nods meekly.
jimin snorts, dropping jeongguk’s hand once he’s finished putting a light bandage over the wound. he looks pissed off.
“I’ve always had troubles with my heart, it’s just surfacing again because I’ve been overworking myself lately, but I’m good. I’m not dying, thankfully. too bad for you, huh?”
jeongguk is the offended one now, sitting upright from his position on the sofa and gives the latter a look. he makes to grab jimin’s hand only to be batted away, hitting right on his bandaged hand. jimin looks guilty for a flash second when he hisses from the pain.
“if I were so happy for your death, I wouldn’t be here by now.”
the silence is getting unbearable that jeongguk is losing the courage he had during the run earlier. he finally gets up from his seat, muttering something about going home and how this is all just a hopeless case. he shouldn’t have expected much from this anyway. the world is just punishing him now, right when he thought that he could be happy for once.
“wait, jeongguk,” jimin stops him before he could go out of the door. “if you’re still going to be like this, I don’t think I can do this anymore. working with you now is just going to stress the heck out of me. not to mention the breakup and—“ jimin is rambling now, and he is heaving for breath when jeongguk suddenly whips himself around, facing him on the doorway. jimin looks like he’s on the verge of a breakdown.
“I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that—“
“wait,” jeongguk interrupts him before jimin could take everything back. something is off. “you’re saying that we work together?”
jimin frowns. “what, it matters that little to you? we’ve been working together since february, that’s the only way we got together in the first place anyway, you asshole.”
“yeah, and then I think seokjin hyung came into the picture again and you know, you got so jealous and shitty you ruined everything,” that’s the end of hoseok’s explanation about what’s happening. jeongguk had dragged him out of his bed and into the diner, bribing him with a bowl of hangover soup in return to the story. hoseok had stared at him like he was crazy at first, but being hoseok, he still told him what he wanted to know.
what jeongguk found out is that the timelines of his first and second 2016 just crashed and mixed into one. there are details of the very toxic relationship he had with jimin up to the breakup, but there are also details from the second year he spent trying to fix everything. it’s all joined into a confusing mix inside jeongguk’s head, since he has pretty much forgotten the details of his ‘dream’. but it’s all real.
“boy’s been suffering a lot, jeonggukkie, but I know you did too,” hoseok says with a sigh. “why are you doing this to yourself?”
“acting indifferent, when you are still in love with him.”
he can’t even deny it. after all, he has never fallen out of love with jimin even when he restarted the year and fell in love with him all over again. the only problem is that, with how they broke up, he couldn’t even imagine them being together like before everything happened.
while he’s mulling over it once again like the pathetic guy he is, hoseok is already getting up from his seat, landing a rough slap on his shoulder and starts walking away.
“do however you see it right, jeonggukkie. your first shift this year is tomorrow at 2.”
it feels like a déjà vu, when he enters the dance studio to the sight of jimin dancing to a classical song (pin up girl, he still remembers). and just like the last time this happened, he is stunned on the doorway again, watching every fluid movements made by the dancer, until jimin stops with the last twirl. their eyes met on the mirror.
“hoseok hyung said that I’m not allowed to quit, so here I am. you are going to have to deal with me—“ jimin stops mid-sentence when jeongguk walks to him in long strides. he is too perplexed that when he turns around, he is gaping at the younger, the cute parted lips only makes jeongguk’s heart clenched with longing.
“hey, I’m jeongguk and I’m an asshole, it’s nice to meet you,” jeongguk says, extending his hand for a handshake.
jimin is confounded for a second, but he lifts his hand to accept the handshake. “jimin. and you’re being hella weird.”
jeongguk laughs, almost sheepishly. “I know, and I know that we can’t be alright. too much happened in short period of time and as much as I regret it, I don’t deserve you anymore. but can we start over again?”
it must be obvious that jeongguk has practiced the line over and over. jeongguk is not the type to say this type of thing out loud. and as if it’s not weird enough for himself already, jimin just has to break into laughter after a few painful seconds.
“have you found the person you were longing for, jeongguk?” jimin asks quietly.
it’s you. “nope.”
“oh-“ I missed you.
the unsaid words hang so thickly in the air between them for a moment until jimin finally sighs, letting his hand drops.
“let’s start over again, jeongguk-ah,” he says that instead.
this feels so much like a reset button, as if jeongguk is thrown back into the autosave world all over again. honestly, he doesn’t deserve this after all the things that happened, and how everything he did just end up hurting both of them in the end.
but as he stands in the middle of this room with jimin smiling to him like there’s no bad history in between them, he thinks that maybe it’s all worth the pain after all. jimin is worth the pain.
he still doesn’t know what will happen to him and jimin after this, but this feels like the third two thousand and sixteen being given to him.
jeongguk couldn’t ask for anything better.