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Can You Give Me My Breath Back

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Kismet may or may not have decided to play cupid once again. He would have thought things could start less dramatically, but Jungkook should have seen it coming. After all, it was unlikely that he spent the rest of his life untamed.

Jungkook was just changing into his jersey when Taehyung came, cursing lightly and angrily banging on one of the lockers.

“Don’t bother,” he said, slumping on one of the benches. “The rink is taken again today.”

Before Jungkook could reply, Taehyung had got up and adapted a higher tone. “You're free for the rest of the day, boys,” he announced, “Practice is cancelled today.”

The team members grumbled but it was obvious they were relieved. Kim Taehyung was a pretty amiable person until he was put on ice. He then became ‘demon-hyung’ as the inmates—how Jungkook used to refer to his teammates—called him. The cutthroat Taehyung then became unbearable, training their asses off, shouting orders around and accepting no slackers. He became even worse especially with the national championship being ‘around the corner’. Though, Taehyung’s definition of ‘around the corner’ was a bit subjective—to him, it meant three months away.

Jungkook put his skates back in his locker and approached Taehyung who was still moping and groaning on the bench.

“Aren’t you going to do something about this?” Jungkook asked cautiously. He was surprised Taehyung was so passive about the situation; it had been a month now.

“You think I haven’t tried?” Taehyung glared at him. “Every time I go there to talk to him, I get so tongue-tied and I end up apologizing instead.”

Taehyung sighed and Jungkook pressed his mouth into a thin dissatisfied line. Kim Taehyung, the ruthless Left Wing of their team, had been smitten with the new student—with Peachy Butt for over a month now. And Jungkook had had it to the limit.

“Fuck it, Taehyung. You're such a wuss.”

A mildly-offended Taehyung gasped. “Fuck you, Jungkook. You try talking to someone with that ethereal beauty and if you don’t stutter and reconsider your entire existence then come at my face like that all you want.”

“At least the first thing I tell him wouldn’t be ‘I want to suck your dick’.”

Taehyung threw the towel at him.

“Fine, Jeon-I-Can-Do-Everything-Jungkook, show me how you’ll manage.” Taehyung shrugged indifferently. Indifferently for Taehyung translated into daringly nonetheless.

Jungkook gave him a dead stare and crumpled the towel. “Well maybe I would. Then you'd have to eat your words and for a month, you'd not give me extra laps for coming late to practice.”

Taehyung smirked. “If you fail to negotiate, you do my laundry for a month and you get five more laps if you call me Tae in front of the team.”

He was about to object but then he thought nothing could go wrong. Worst case scenario: he would have to find a new, more position-compromising nickname for Tae. It was an easy task nonetheless. He would approach Peachy Butt, nicely ask him and his comrades not to use the rink on said practice times then leave. It wasn’t rocket-science.

With a transparent smile, Jungkook pushed his way through the students and to the ice rink.

Jungkook had kind of also had it with Peachy Butt. The guy got his way with everything; with their professors, with the Dean, with the students—male and female alike—and with Jungkook's friends. He was good-looking alright, but Jungkook wasn’t a potato either … and like hell he got any of those privileges that shortie got.

He almost bumped into a girl as he forced the door open. Luckily for him, there were few people there.

“Hey!” he called out, marching to the rink and forcing the skater to a halt.

Okay, maybe Jungkook was a bit ticked off that he would have to strike that ‘nicely’ out of his plan.

By the time Jungkook had reached the side of the rink, so had the skater. Peachy Butt greeted him with a smile just as peachy, and for a second Jungkook’s heart stuttered and he forgot why he came in the first place.

“Heyy,” Peachy Butt had one damn eye-smile. Jungkook had to fight. He had to fight a lot of things once he came face-to-face with the scene—Peachy Butt’s latching tee, Peachy Butt’s silky slightly-sweaty bubblegum hair, Peachy Butt’s sweat beads gliding against his smooth skin, Peachy Butt’s rosy-with-effort cheeks, Peachy Butt’s wet full pliant lips and most of all, Peachy Butt’s tight pants that wouldn’t leave much to Jungkook's imagination.

“Listen, Park fucking Jimin,” Jungkook leaned in, hissing. Jimin's smile started to fade out; he looked confused. “We ha—"

“Jimin,” a voice interfered and Jimin turned around instantly. “Is Jungkook flirting with you?” It was Taemin, national ice-skating champion who was only still at their university because he was doing his masters.

Taemin coolly eyed Jungkook, a hint of a smirk playing at the corner of his lips and his eyes spoke a silent ‘I dare you’. He had his skates slung over one shoulder and his bag in his other hand; Taemin was already leaving. But of course, he couldn’t miss out on that little fiasco.

Lee Taemin was an urban legend; he was Mr. Everybody Wants to Score Me. Jungkook wasn’t going to judge; he would have given it a shot had Taemin not been dating Kim Jongin—another urban legend that more than once threatened Jungkook's Alpha Male position in the university. Luckily for Jungkook, Jongin had graduated last year.

Jimin laughed and Jungkook wanted to bang his head against the wall. Some people started to gather around them, seemingly, amused.

“No, Hyung. I don’t think Jungkookie here is flirting with me.” Jimin turned around, too gracefully, and smiled again at Jungkook. This time it was mischievous, playful even. Jungkook didn’t like that. “Or were you?”

Jungkook sneered. “Listen. I don’t want to start shit here, but we have a tournament in three months and we kinda need this rink.” He said decisively yet he couldn’t keep Jimin's stare.

“Oh,” Jimin said. It sounded serene, too serene. “Your captain didn’t say anything about that.”

“Well, yea. Our captain is an idiot in love,” Jungkook commented snidely.

Jimin's eyebrows creased in confusion.

“Jungkook,” Taemin began, smiling. “Taehyung was here minutes ago and when I asked him if he needed to practice, he said no.”

Jungkook considered taking a swing at his pretty face. Lee Taemin was the devil. He knew exactly what was happening—he knew about Taehyung’s crush on Jimin; he knew about how Jungkook hated (as Jungkook decided to label his feeling) Jimin and he waited for them both to come clean. Taemin kept playing on their nerves, diplomatically and courteously so—almost annoyingly so.

“Babe, you coming?” a voice called from behind. Taemin's eyes were the first to react, since, after all, that sultry babe was for him.

“In a second,”

“It’s okay. I can handle it.” Jimin reassured Taemin, a hand falling lightly to the latter’s chest as he smiled. Jungkook had to stifle the impulse to roll his eyes.

“You're not going to miss out on Hoseok’s party tomorrow, are you?” Taemin asked.

Jimin shook his head, assuring Taemin he would be there. And just like that, Taemin wheeled away, sparing a knowing smile at Jungkook.

He didn’t get it. Jungkook couldn’t for the life in him understand why Taemin was treating Jimin as the prized student of his whom he wouldn’t give away for anyone even if hell froze over. Yet, he was specifically wary of Jungkook—Jungkook, who never once showed the slightest interest in approaching Peachy Butt. There were a lot of people with smoking asses on campus.

Okay, maybe Jungkook's reputation didn’t leave Taemin much choice. But what could he do?

“So,” Jimin leaned on the dasher-board, “Jungkookie—”

“Jungkook.” Jungkook smiled forcefully, heart sworn not to be swayed by Jimin's charms.

Jimin bent down to get a bottle of water and a towel, eyeing Jungkook all the way till he sat on the bleachers.

“Your captain, Kim Taehyung, he’s such a nice guy,”

A million reply to Jimin's attempt at a civil conversation flitted through Jungkook's mind. He decided it wasn’t worth it because any reply would hurt Taehyung more than it would hurt Jimin.

“He is.”

At that, they seemed to fall into some deep staring contest, Jimin taking off his skates and Jungkook looming a meter away with crossed arms.

“You seem to be putting a lot of effort into asking for your rink back. Did someone dare you into it or something?” Jimin was the first to break. It sounded like a joke yet it managed to get on Jungkook's nerves. Jungkook had a particularly short fuse when it came down to Jimin. “So, if you’ve something to say, just say it.”

Jungkook's eyebrows arched. “I don’t know how it went back in your school but I'm guessing you're used to having things go your way.”

Jimin’s hands halted halfway stuffing his things in his bag. He tilted his head and smiled at Jungkook. “No, Jungkook, you're confusing me for you.”

Jimin took his bag and walked till he was standing in front of Jungkook, the latter becoming all the more aware of the older’s petit stature. “Look, I'm trying to be friendly here but you're not helping me at all.”

“I didn’t come here to make friends. I came here to take our rink back.” Jungkook emphasized.

Jimin seemed to be only capable of smiling. “Why are you so hostile with me?”

“Because you're an ass.” Jungkook offered with a grin.

Jimin smiled and looked at the ground. For the sake of his sanity, Jungkook decided to overlook the hurt in Jimin's smile. “But you don’t know me.”

“And I'd like to keep the status quo.”

In that beat of silence, a glint flickered in Jimin's eyes. “Afraid you're gonna like it?”

Jungkook put his tongue in his cheek then clicked it. He could only come up with one solution.

“I’ll fight you for the rink, is that ok?”

Jimin staggered back. “What?” he took another step back defensively, halfway in, halfway out of his jacket. “There is no chance in hell I'm fighting you!”

For some reason, Jungkook felt like laughing. His best attempt at bravado resulted in a smile. His words, however, resolved in a laugh-tinged tone. “I meant we’ll play something, like a bet. If I win, whenever Tae shows up and fails to do anything but gawk at you, you'll wrap up and let us have the rink, sparing me the secondhand embarrassment.”

Jimin seemed to ponder. He took a step towards Jungkook. “As I said, you seem willing to go to such lengths for that rink.”

Jungkook smirked and took a step forward in turn, having height play in his favour. “I just don’t like losing.”

“And if you lose, what do I get?” Jimin asked bemusedly.

“Whatever you want.” Jungkook replied decisively. Jungkook was a lot of things, but he didn’t bluff. He couldn’t come up with any sport or challenge where he could possibly lose to Jimin, hence, that ‘whatever you want’ would remain in the realm of theory, unexplored.

“Whatever?” Jimin challenged.

“Whatever.” Jungkook confirmed.

Jimin’s finger reached to his lips, putting on a pensive face. “So you're willing to take your captain’s place in sucking my dick for one stupid rink, I see.”

Jungkook's first instinct was to shout ‘what the fuck’. Taehyung’s sex-life was none of his concern but considering Taehyung’s repetitive misadventures with Peachy Butt, he had to question the credibility in Jimin's words.

Jimin laughed. “It’s a joke, come on.”

Seemingly, Jungkook had been holding his breath.

Despite Jungkook's amusement, he narrowed his eyes. “So?”

Jimin kept Jungkook’s daring stare levelled; he didn’t look in the slightest unnerved. “You seem confident.” He hit Jungkook's chest lightly and passed him by. Jungkook only watched.

Once Jimin was at the door, he turned around. “You know, Jungkookie, if you’d been nicer, I was going to bargain with you, letting you off way too easily. I wasn’t going to show up at whatever time you guys wanted to practice, for free.” Jimin's smile started becoming a smirk. “But since you're being like this, you're on, baby.”

Jungkook tried to consider a guy buried in his muffler and beanie being a threat. He failed miserably, making the mistake of underestimating Jimin. “Your pick then.”

“Speed skating.” Jimin beamed, lifting up his chin.

That was easy. Jungkook shrugged and started to turn around but Jimin's voice called out to him once again.

“But if you lose—”

“I'm not going to lose.” Half turning, Jungkook interrupted rather sharply.

If,” Jimin emphasized, still smiling. He suddenly stopped talking, his smile only growing wider. Jungkook cocked an eyebrow, urging Jimin on. At last, Jimin laughed and Jungkook was willing to cut his ears off. There wasn’t a single un-cute thing about Park Jimin and he hated that. Jungkook hated that he couldn’t have a single reason to dislike Jimin apart from wanting to dislike him.

“Never mind that. Guess you'll have to find out yourself.” Jimin winked and started leaving.

Jungkook stood frozen for a few seconds, trying to make sense of what he had just heard. Obviously, Jimin hadn’t been around long enough to know who Jungkook really was.

Or so he thought.

 

♥♥♥

 

He was just before the main gate, already late enough, when he realized his pass wasn’t with him. Jungkook cursed his stupidity for not double-checking before leaving his dorm. He might have left it at Yugyeom’s too. He got his phone out to check the incoming message.

Sorry I made you stay with me last night, couldn’t have made it without you. I’ll talk to Lisa, don’t worry. It had read.

He smiled to himself and felt little less shitty about his situation.

He thought Lisa couldn’t possibly be more cross with him so he decided to head back to his school and skip practice for the day. The only thing that could have bothered Jungkook was that he would be abandoning his friend there, perhaps even ruining their routine since he would be without a partner, again. But not this time. Yugyeom wasn’t alone.

The problem of having to remember where he had left his pass still stood—if he hoped to ever show up for practice for the matter. Jungkook didn’t fool around for the day and he was so darn sure it was in his backpack. It was barely before midnight and it was snowing; his day was long, yet he was running an eighteen-minute journey back to campus.

He cursed Taehyung when he got a cramp while running.

For someone who had spent so much time on ice, Jungkook sure hated the snow. It reminded him of highschool, a period of his life that he wasn’t such a big fan of.

He hoped he wouldn’t meet anyone on his way to the ice-rink; Jungkook would rather avoid explaining why he was so out-of-breath and running frantically as if for his life. The doors weren’t locked and he could hear some lamenting jazz music mingling with a violin as he drew closer.

Jungkook had been a bad kid. Albeit it wasn’t Christmas yet, Santa held a grudge against Jeon Jungkook ever since he was a kid and performed a practical joke on Taehyung. So naturally, his wish wouldn’t be granted; of course he would run into someone.

Correction: of course he would run into Jimin.

Alone, Jimin was skating in that dimly-lit rink. He had a red silk blindfold covering his eyes as he skated, entranced and high on something only felt by him. Jungkook could only stop and stare. He didn’t know much about figure-skating but he couldn’t remember ever seeing a performance that emotionally and physically rapturous. Starting from Jimin's soulful expression, to the way his hands fluidly moved, to the way his body flowed, becoming one with the tunes filling the place—everything held Jungkook utterly rapt. Such flexibility, such grace and such stamina were absurd.

He did a jump, another with less rotation on perfectly landing the previous one—Jimin’s skates seemed to only be capable of making contact with the ice for about two seconds before gaining momentum and jumping higher this time. If Jungkook's maths skills didn’t fail him, Jimin had spun three rotations in midair, syncing with the time signature of the song’s climax. He didn’t land as gracefully, but he was able to play it off—as though that little mishap had been deliberate. The tunes seemed to grow more urgent although Jungkook could tell it was the end of the piece, Jimin was spinning in a sitting position—for almost ten seconds he was. He finalized by drawing more into himself, as if he could fade with the music tapering into oblivion.

Only when the music stopped and the heavily-breathing Jimin was about to remove the blindfold did Jungkook remember to breathe.

Still overwhelmed, he blew out a long impressed whistle, finally drawing Jimin's attention to him.

Seemingly, Jimin wasn’t just done and his surprise didn’t last long. Jimin smirked and glided as though he would start from square one just as the music started playing another piece—one that Jungkook was familiar with; probably Lai’s Love Story.

And it was as if Jimin's beckoning hands and fingers had propelled him on, Jungkook, enchanted, drew closer to the dasher-board.

Jimin didn’t break eye-contact with Jungkook all the while he faced him. Jungkook wondered what kind of program had the skater’s face facing one direction alone. He wasn’t sure if it was Jimin hitting all those notes, or all those notes hitting Jimin. Or worse: Jimin's performance hitting parts of him—in him. One thing he was sure of though, if seduction took human form, it would certainly be Park Jimin.

 All along the performance, Jimin's expression screamed ‘come and get it’. And in turn, Jungkook's smile was composed; the impressed in him didn’t abandon the superior glint in his eyes that had people falling for him left and right. It would take more than just one Peachy Butt for him to get flustered.

Jimin finished, swaying all the way to where Jungkook stood. Jungkook whose eyes brazenly checked every inch of Jimin's body out.

“Is this the part where you’d want to kiss me?” Jimin's slightly breathless voice was lethal, pure inebriation. And Jungkook was more that intoxicated.

“Understatement.” Jungkook said, eyes unsubtly lingering way too long on Jimin's lips; he wanted Jimin to notice. Jeon Jungkook had a change in plans. “This is the part where I realize I want to fuck you.”

Jungkook didn’t even mind his shameless disclosure or his vulgar word-choice. And he could see Jimin being amused rather than affronted. He kept his eyes levelled; Jungkook needed more eye-porn.

“Truth for your truth, then.” Low and seductive, whispered Jimin. Jungkook was silent so Jimin carried on. “I think you're really attractive. But I still wouldn’t sleep with you even if you were the last guy on earth, Jungkookie.”

Jungkook shrugged nonchalantly. He wasn’t used to rejections but it was okay since he wasn’t lacking in that particular department after all. Maybe one day he would regret not having asked why.

“Tomorrow, you be prepared to lose your bet.” Jungkook said as he started turning around and heading to the door.

There was a few beats of silence before Jimin called out to him. On turning around, Jungkook saw Jimin throwing him something from where he stood next to the bleachers. He caught it midair with one hand.

“I believe this is yours,” Jimin was smiling.

It was his pass.

“Thanks.” He wouldn’t lose his composure; Jungkook kept his cool all the way to his dorm.

 

♥♥♥

 

Jungkook could hardly get any sleep.

He watched the hours slipping away, his ears unable to mute neither the clock’s persistent ticking nor Taehyung’s loud snoring—so annoying that even an angry pillow thrown couldn’t interrupt. For the first time in years, Jungkook was out of his bed at 5 A.M., making the biggest cup of coffee he could manage.

On freshening up, he knelt down by Taehyung’s bed.

“Hyung,” he whispered. “Wake up.”

When Taehyung still wouldn’t move, Jungkook took a deep breath and shouted Taehyung’s name this time. All Taehyung did was stretch one hand out, looking for something but ending up hitting Jungkook's face multiple times.

“What are you doing? Wake up.” Jungkook said, prying his face away from Taehyung’s hands that could possibly damage his face at this point.

“I'm looking for the snooze button. Let me sleep.” Taehyung replied drowsily.

“There’s a cute dog I have with me.”

One of Taehyung’s eyes fluttered open. Sadly, his eyes registered a bluffing Jungkook and no cute dogs. He rolled over in bed, giving Jungkook his back and pulling up the blanket to cover his face.

Jungkook smiled to himself. “Park Jimin is stretching with tight pants down there.”

That was sufficient to make Taehyung dart up in bed. His hair was a mess; he was a mess. In his flustered mess, Taehyung bolted to the bathroom.

Jungkook laughed, left him a note then left the room.

 

He didn’t know which room was Jimin's, but he guessed he shared it with Taemin.

This was how it went. 6 A.M., nervous like a boyfriend on a first date, Jeon Jungkook with his messenger bag slung over his shoulder was knocking Lee Taemin’s and Park Jimin’s door.

Even after three knocks Jungkook still received no reply.

On the fourth one, Taemin opened.

Jungkook thought this wasn’t the Taemin he knew. He was smiling his customary smile, wearing a big jersey and no pants. His face was a bit flushed and his hair looked disheveled—worse than Taehyung’s that morning.

He fixed Jungkook with his eyes. “Yes?”

Translation: you must have a fucking death-wish knocking on my door at the early hour.

Taemin might have been smiling but Jungkook didn’t miss the annoyance.

“Is Jimin here?”

Taemin threw a look over his shoulder. “Haven’t seen him since yesterday.” He was about to close the door but Jungkook's hand held it open.

He arched his eyebrows, demanding an explanation.

Taemin sighed. “Look for him at the rink. See you later.”

This time, he did close the door.

 

As a kid, Jungkook hated not figuring something out—perhaps that was what contributed to how he hated losing. People were enigmas; years and years of socializing enabled him to be a bit of an expert in figuring them out. Yet, there he was, lacking sleep thinking about some guy.

The rink was closed. Sighing, he sat on the ice accumulating near the door, legs childishly stretched out and head lolled back. Jungkook closed his eyes and he felt peaceful. Albeit he didn’t like snow, he never felt as serene. He was so used to the noise, to people being around him, to chaos that the tranquility of a cold October morning was enough to make him at one.

“It’s the weekend yet you’re up early. I'm impressed.”

Jungkook opened his eyes. Jimin was standing before him, holding out an extra cup of coffee. Jungkook smiled and took it.

Jimin sat beside him; he almost fell down but adjusted before Jungkook could catch him. Jungkook mourned for his missed chance to touch Jimin's butt.

“It’s from Taehyung by the way. I didn’t know what kind of coffee you like.” Jimin began.

“Please tell me I don’t have to suffer from another episode of secondhand embarrassment.” Jungkook said good-naturedly. He was picturing a recently-woken-up Taehyung in the cafeteria, cold and slightly drowsy in some weird pants, getting flustered on seeing Jimin there. He imagined cheesy pick-up lines and slipped numbers on napkins.

Jimin laughed. He rolled up his sleeve and held his arm up. “Well, he might or might not have ‘written down’ his number for me. I'd say it’s an upgrade from last time.”

Jungkook shook his head once he saw Taehyung’s number in black ink against Jimin's white forearm. Embarrassed, he began sipping at his coffee.

“He’s not usually like this,”

“Hey,” Jimin slapped Jungkook's chest lightly, drawing his attention. “I like the guy. You're a jerk for being embarrassed of him. Taehyung is an amazing guy.”

“He is.” Jungkook found himself smiling warmly. “You’ve no idea.”

He could feel Jimin's gaze boring into him as he pretended to be focused on drinking his coffee. Jungkook thought it was the night that had those kind of conversations—that made people raw and open and willing to share, that warmed them. But at that instant, he was willing to rectify. It wasn’t about the time of the day, it was about the person.

“I'm sorry for being such an asshole.” Jungkook mumbled.

“What?” Jimin leaned closer, perking up his ear. “I couldn’t hear that.”

Jungkook looked at him from the corner of his eyes, feeling his smile to the heart.

“It’s cool, really.” Jimin brushed it off.

“You still don’t want to sleep with me?”

Jimin laughed, so hard and so sincerely that his upper body was flung back. “Nope.”

He scrunched up his nose and looked onwards once again. “Was worth the shot, can't blame me.”

Jimin got up and brushed his clothes. Jungkook liked the view from where he sat down.

Jimin's hands stopped midway brushing off the snow. “You're totally checking out my ass,”

He laughed. “Yup.”

To his surprise, Jimin laughed. He fished out some keys from his pocket and grabbed his bag. “Don’t tell Taemin-hyung that I have the keys to the rink. He’d kill me if he finds out.”

“I don’t think the keys would be on hyung’s mind any time soon.” Jungkook commented and he could see Jimin's subtle smile at that.

He was opening the door when Jungkook noticed Jimin was basically in the same clothes he was in the day before.

“You stayed out yesterday?” he asked casually.

“Aha,” he pushed the door open. “Hyung kinda needed the room so I crashed at Hobi’s.” Jungkook could have sworn, at that second, Jimin had thrown him an indecipherable look.

“And you still don’t want to sleep with me.” Jungkook stated, incredulous.

Jimin fully turned around to him. “I don’t want a fling and you don’t want a relation. You and I want two different things.”

Jungkook's mind started spinning. He was about to reply when Jimin proceeded walking. “Tae should be here now, where is he?”

He was still staring at Jimin's back as the latter left him momentarily mute. Jungkook eventually managed to get out of the cloud of confusion. He took off his jacket, sat down on one of the bleachers and started putting on his skates. Jimin followed suit.

“Nice skates,”

“Thank—” Jimin stopped midsentence, throwing Jungkook a dirty look. Jungkook thought he could die if he didn’t start laughing but he somehow managed to turn it into an awkward cough.

Jimin resumed putting on his skates and Jungkook’s eyes kept following them, at least till the latter caught him. Even Jimin's socks were cute.

He stood upright, lips pressed. “Huh.”

“What?” Jungkook asked, barely hiding his amusement.

“You're thinking what I do is stupid.” He put his hands on his hips. “You're thinking this is lame, that, you, a hockey-player, is much more refined than to figure-skate.”

“…no,” Jungkook thought it was rather impressive: how on top of all Jimin's talents, he could also read minds.

“Huh.” He turned around and started warming up in the rink. After a while of staring at Jimin whilst he stretched, Jungkook was soon doing the same thing.

“Four laps. You switch places to the inside when you reach that side of the rink,” Jimin explained, gesturing towards the left half of the rink. He smirked and looked deeply into Jungkook's eyes. “Your captain should be here to witness your defeat.”

Jungkook interlaced his hands behind his back and started circling around Jimin, scrutinizing him. “Dream on, shortie.”

After a minute or so, they were all set.

Seventy seconds. Seventy seconds were all it took to change Jungkook's outlook on a few things in his life and give him a change of heart. The first ten seconds, Jimin had a head-start; Jungkook didn’t expect to be falling short. The last ten seconds were hell for him because Jimin was catching up. The last two seconds were when he was seeing Jimin's back.

October third, 6:58 A.M., was when Jungkook tasted defeat for the second time in his life.

Looking at a triumphant Jimin and at a Taehyung who had just entered the scene, Jungkook clicked his tongue. Jimin was if smugness had a face.

“Punishment time, Golden Quarterback.”

Jungkook was biting at his lower lip. He had lost. But at what cost. “So now what? I’ve to be your slave or something?”

Taehyung came to a stop next to Jimin. “You owe me 6000 won, TaeTae.”

Jungkook didn’t know what shocked him more, that Jimin had just called Taehyung ‘TaeTae’ or the fact they had bet on him. To top it off, Taehyung, silently as he sucked on his straw, started fishing out his wallet.

“You're smiling,” Jungkook noted, not unbitterly.

“So,” Taehyung started, fully grinning as he high-fived Jimin. “Five more laps today?”

“You bet on me,” Jungkook emphasized with his hands in the air.

“Yea,” Taehyung shrugged innocently. “On you, not against you.”

Feeling defeated, Jungkook pouted and slumped against the cold floor, watching the new buddies chat happily. Their conversation seemed to be carried out in a manner that was Taehyung talking and Jimin genuinely laughing. Even Taehyung was casually touching Jimin now.

“The rink is ours, Kook. Don’t be late to practice.” Taehyung was shouting through the distance as he waved. “I’ve to go see Jin-hyung now.” He basically bolted through the door on making an innocently impish expression, leaving Jungkook on his feet with eyes wide open and an agape jaw. Jimin was once again laughing.

Jimin leaned to the board and started taking off his skates.

“Assistant Professor Seokjin… wow.” He muttered to himself. “Now that even you can't top.”

Jimin scrunched his nose up and mimicked what Jungkook had just said in a childish way. “You're a bitter loser, Jungkookie.”

“You just got lucky with those stupid socks and pretty skates of yours.” Jungkook sighed.

Jimin's jaw clenched and he walked till he reached Jungkook. He jabbed one finger in Jungkook's chest while holding the skates in his other hand. “That’s it, Jeon Jungkook. You lost and you'll learn how to respect figure-skaters.” Jimin’s familiar tenderness was now compromised by the fierceness burning in his eyes. “I’m going to teach you a much more mature way of ice-skating.”

Jungkook could only gaze on; he didn’t say a word back.

After long, long beats, Jimin's voice dropped and so did his finger. “By the time I'm done with you, you’ll have fallen in love with figure-skating.”

Jungkook wasn’t sure if he was hearing his walls go up or go down. He finally broke the spell, turning around to leave.

“Where are you going?” Jimin called out to him.

“Leaving,” he slung his bag over his shoulder. “Walking away before I do something stupid.”

 

Luckily for him, Taehyung wasn’t at their room when he was back; he wouldn’t want a confrontation and he needed some time to sort out his life. He felt mentally and physically drained and he was willing to sleep till party-time.

 

♥♥♥

 

Jungkook thought it would take a boisterous fraternity house with deafening music and bustling energy to get his head back in the game. Jung Hoseok threw the best parties yet it wasn’t helping; not this time. He honestly tried to get Jimin out of his head but that pair of black leather pants haunted him all the while—while he chatted, while he drank, while he danced. No, specifically while they danced together. Or to phrase it better, while Jimin with that semi-wild expression grinded his ass dangerously close to Jungkook's package. He should have figured someone as fluid with skates would be just as fluid without them. He left the main room just in time when Taehyung was—probably—about to start an orgy.

Jungkook needed to escape the noise, especially that raising a ruckus in his head and that starting a fire in his heart. For an easier life, he chose to pretend the fire was due to drinking so much.

He was languidly leaning on the handrail of the porch, drinking as he watched Jimin talking to Jongin from where he stood. In that lightening, under the ivory light of the moon and with that complementary background bringing Jimin's beauty more into focus, Jimin was still making him hold his breath.

“He’s gorgeous, don’t you think?” a voice called him out of dreamland.

Taemin leaned on the railing as well, a drink in hand. He looked wild as ever. “It’s weird to see your tongue not in someone’s throat in one of Hobi’s parties.”

Jungkook laughed. “I'm trying something new.”

They fell into the comfortable silence, each focusing on only one person.

“Congratulations on your degree,” Jungkook said, truly meaning it.

“Thanks.” Taemin nudged him after a moment, demanding his attention. “It’s weird getting a congratulations from you.”

“I am a nice guy, hyung.” Jungkook's smile this time was lopsided.

“I know. That might be the only reason why I don’t verbally beat you up each time I see you.” Taemin chuckled.

He sighed. Jongin and Jimin seemed to be in tune; the former was demonstrating a move and Jimin was focused on having it down. Everyone had their way of expressing their passion, Jimin's was by his body. He was in his element once he started moving to a beat—a beat heard by everyone or solely him.

Park Jimin's entire existence exuded passion.

“Do you enjoy being on ice? I know it’s a strange question, but you guys seem so—” he groped for words, “whole there. I don’t think we’re like that putting on our gears and being there in the rink.”

Taemin smiled. Taemin's smiles left your mind spinning; was he amused or was he mocking you—that was the question. “You must have drunk too much tonight, Jungkook-ah.”

Jungkook almost regretted opening his mouth but Taemin wasn’t just done. He had always been the one to tease him, but he wasn’t a bad guy. Someone who could fall in love could never be a bad guy.

“The first person I fell for was the worst of them all,” Taemin began heatedly, smiling heavenwards at the memory. Jungkook wished he, too, could smile at the same memory. “He used to dance and our first meeting was basically a fight. I used to hate his guts and I kinda bullied him,” he giggled a bit at that, “he had that cocky attitude as if he owned the place, you know. He thought figure-skating was easy and that it wasn’t something you could get passionate about—like someone I know here.”

Jungkook smiled. “What happened then?”

Taemin laughed. “Nothing. We fell in love, dated for years and he had just proposed.”

Astonished and finally connecting the dots, he turned to Taemin and half-hugged him. “Fucking hell, hyung. Congratulations!”

Once free, Taemin shrugged. “You're actually the first person I’ve told. I've not even told Jimin yet.”

He looked a bit sad making the last remark.

“I'm sure he’ll be happy for you.”

Taemin only smiled. He was leaving when he hesitated at the trespass. “You know, when you're this sincere, I like you better. I bet everyone that matters likes you better in that light.”

It was as if Jungkook were having an inside joke with himself; Taemin exited and Jungkook was shaking his head, laughing. Jongin was saying something and Jimin was suddenly overly happy, hugging Jongin and saying something repeatedly. Guess Taemin's job was over now. Jungkook still smiled to himself; Jimin was a happy virus and he was contagious. As he started getting lost in thought once again, he could spot Mingyu and Yugyeom down there too.

“Yugyeom-ah, Mingyu-ah!” he called out and they both looked up. “Make sure I don’t fall on either of you.” He said and just like that he was jumping the storey difference, landing gracefully in the space they had just made for him, greeted by an uproar of laughter.

“How did you even?” Mingyu began, confused and awed at the same time. He hit Yugyeom, demanding an explanation but the latter only shrugged conspiratorially.

Jungkook could only laugh, heading towards Jimin who was just done hugging Taemin. He could hear Yugyeom calling out to him but he decided to ignore him. Jongin was stealing Taemin away and Jimin’s eyes finally found Jungkook.

He made sure he was wearing his cocky smile all while he sauntered to the amused Jimin but almost comically, he tripped over his feet and fell before Jimin.

He could hear the infamous laugh. “What are you doing?”

“Falling for you, obviously.” Jungkook then realized maybe he had drunk too much.

He was laughing again and Jungkook straightened up. “You're so cheesy.”

Something hit his head and he turned around, nursing his head and ready to fight someone. “What the hell!” he glared at Yugyeom, also known as the person who had just thrown an empty can at the back of Jungkook's head.

“I said,” Yugyeom was smiling, “Lisa said she’d kill you if she saw you and she’s with Rosé in there,” he jerked a thumb over his shoulder, pointing at the main room where Taehyung had indeed started an orgy. “So I’d start making use of those long legs if I were you.”

“I liked you better when you were crying over your breakup.” Jungkook teased and Yugyeom gave him a dirty look.

“You're a dick, Jungkook.” Yugyeom retaliated. “We made up just so you know. Can't believe I almost thanked you.” Yugyeom was about to banter with Jungkook when luckily for him, Bambam had already drawn both, Yugyeom’s attention and head on kissing him.

Jimin was giving him a funny look and he had to look away. He peered into the room and he could see Lisa; she seemed to be enjoying her time. He then averted his eyes to Jimin and said, “I'd say do me a favour and hide me but you wouldn’t be able to hide even a small bunny.”

He wasn’t going for a joke but Jimin was doing his full-body fling. Jungkook noticed whenever the guy got in the slightest shy, he would pull his sleeves down and enshroud his baby hands. Drunk Jungkook was having a harder time around Jimin than normal sleep-with-me Jungkook.

Jimin fell down to his butt rather too cutely on the ground; he was a bit tipsy. “Gymnastics, huh? And a rival school too.”

“Yea, it’s fun.” Jungkook started stretching. “It’s not just you who’s flexible here.”

Jimin was laughing.

“So does Tae know about your little secret here, Jungkookie?”

“It’s not a secret.” Jungkook lied.

“It’s a secret if no one knows.”

He narrowed his eyes. “Well you know.”

“I can't believe this.” Jimin laughed again. “I can't believe you're actually ashamed that you care about something—that something makes you happy.”

For a second there, Jungkook was lost. And he was almost happy Lisa’s eyes had finally found him.

“Whoops.”

Before he could say something else, Jungkook pulled Jimin's hand and despite the latter’s half-assed objections, he started making his way through the crowd and to Hoseok’s off-limits room. He passed Taehyung who was, miraculously, still decently clothed and marginally sober. Taehyung threw something at them, shouting ‘safe sex, kids’. He loved how Jimin's hand felt in his.

What Jeon Jungkook had in mind: taking Jimin to Hoseok’s room, slamming him against the door and kissing him till he could no longer know anything but how to moan Jungkook's name.

What Jungkook actually ended up doing: taking Jimin to Hoseok’s room, slamming the door shut and sitting on bed while watching Jimin stand at the door.

He was surprised to realize he was fully grinning.

“That took an unexpected turn.” Jimin said and held up what Taehyung had thrown. Jungkook shrugged. He started examining the condom. “Okay wow, does this even belong to Taehyung? Please tell me I didn’t pass up on an offer that big. Can't I go out tell him I changed my mind?”

Jungkook laughed so hard he was flat on his back on the bed.

“You're missing out on a lot of things,” Jungkook said suggestively.

“Not as big, I'm sure.”

Without getting up and with eyes shut, Jungkook threw one of the pillows at Jimin. Seconds later, his eyes fluttered open at Jimin hitting him full force with the same pillow. “Hey, bully someone your size.” Jimin was saying as he hit Jungkook over and over again.

Jungkook gripped Jimin's wrists and pulled him into bed, the fallen pillow untended-to on the floor and Jimin's hands pinned to either sides of his head on the mattress. “You're the one hitting me, hyung.” Jungkook said in a low tone, really, really looking into Jimin's eyes as he hovered on top of him. The way his peachy hair was fanned out on the pillow, exposing his forehead; the way his eyes smiled, screaming a million thing at the same time and leaving Jungkook guessing; the way the silent challenge in his eyes held Jungkook’s eyes captives and refused to let his gaze wander. Jungkook by then could probably tell how many breaths Jimin inhaled in a second; he could finally recognize what the space between two breaths was all about.

After what seemed like an eternity, Jungkook rolled over to his back, setting Jimin free.

There was a loud banging against the door, mingling with drunken laughter.

“It’s taken!” Jungkook shouted. The banging grew progressively louder so he got off bed and opened the door, his hand blocking what little space the door allowed. “We’re kinda busy here.” He said menacingly then slammed the door shut, not heeding Soonyoung’s objections. Soonyoung was shouting something mean but he didn’t scare Jungkook; although the short pink-haired guy who was furiously making out with Soonyoung out there did.

“So, Monday, 8 A.M. at the rink?” Jungkook asked, leaning on the door. He was eager to leave because he didn’t trust himself around Jimin. Especially when the latter had a pretty pink flush blossoming across his cheeks.

“Actually,” Jimin sat up in bed. “I'm not practicing tomorrow. I'm taking some time off.”

Jungkook was sober enough to read Jimin's expression.

He started fidgeting with his sweater’s sleeves, not meeting Jungkook's eyes. “I don’t have to sweat it since I'm not participating in the pair-skating championship anyways.”

“You don’t have a partner?” Jungkook asked, smiling.

Jimin didn’t reply.

He shrugged. “I’ll do it.”

Jimin eyed him askance.

He rolled his eyes. “I mean if I have to, then I would rather skate as your partner. It can't be that hard.”

Translation: I can't bear the thought that you’ll quit something you like, but being the asshole that I am, I’ll make it sound as if I have to.

“You know nothing about figure-skating.” Jimin challenged.

“My coach is hot so I trust he’ll be one perfectly fine teacher.” He winked and almost cringed at his lameass attempt at flirting.

Jimin was laughing. “How are you so popular with those bad flirting skills?”

Jungkook exaggerated an air-kiss and exited dramatically, feeling rejuvenated and ready to party again.

 

 

Jungkook's night was a blur of strong shots and faraway conversations, a montage of hot making-out sessions with random strangers and a lot of cheering and coaxing into doing stupid challenges.

He woke up in a bed that wasn’t his yet somehow always managing to end up in. He was naked under the sheets and his head throbbed. He knew the empty side of the bed didn’t have Jimin in it and that alone was enough to make him slump back into bed.

“Yugyeom-ah!” he called out.

“Yea?” Yugyeom's voice came from the bathroom.

Jungkook closed his eyes and pinched the bridge of his nose. “We did it again.”

There was a second of silence. “I know.” He could hear the faucet running and he could picture Yugyeom's smile. “I was there.”

So much for trying something new.

He just hoped he wouldn’t run into Bambam as he left Yugyeom’s room. Jungkook knew he and Yugyeom understood it meant nothing, however recurring; but ha, try explaining that to an angry boyfriend showering Jungkook with a string of profanities spat in a language Jungkook didn’t even speak.

More to the fact that there was a different variable to the formula of sleeping around this time. Jungkook congratulated himself for being the jerk of the week; he was going to celebrate that by plummeting into the shithole of self-pity.

It was still early and he tried to make little noise as he left. Few things intimidated Jeon Jungkook but once he was in the main hallway, he came face to face with one of them: Min Yoongi.

Min Yoongi was the definition of ‘small but powerful’. He was doing his double major and not once had he failed to make Jungkook sweat despite hardly reaching to Jungkook's shoulder. The scene usually went like this: Jungkook was fooling around, doing his walk-of-shame early in the morning and running into a dedicated grumpy I'm-Awake-But-At-What-Cost clad in oversized tees and ripped jeans, someone whose theme colour was black. Min Yoongi was a name that made you stop; respected, loved and feared. They never said a word to each other, but Yoongi’s dead stare always spat fire and said ‘I'm so judging you’ and Jungkook was beyond conscious of it.

They locked eyes and Jungkook halted, unable to walk.

Enter Park Jimin.

Now you'd think it would take a Park Jimin carrying a box of fresh muffins to make Min Yoongi look like the least intimidating person this side of the universe. He couldn’t come up with any scenario where these two could know each other. He looked and all he could think of was Hades and Persephone. It wouldn’t be a surprise if Min Yoongi turned out to be the ruler of the underworld; he sure gave those vibes. However, Jungkook was past analyzing; his critical-thinking skills sucked anyways.

Few things registered at the same time. One: Jimin was there. Two: Jungkook shouldn’t be there. Three: Jungkook was still in yesterday’s clothes. Four: Jimin couldn’t continue on wearing sweaters with long sleeves. And five: Could he pull a Naruto-run past that duo without Jimin recognizing his face?

He might have taken too long considering that Naruto-run option; Jimin had seen him.

Yoongi was still talking, Jimin only locked eyes while smiling at Jungkook who tried to smile back. Jimin didn’t say a word and neither did Jungkook, and so, he passed him by.

 

♥♥♥

 

There existed twenty-four hours in a day, that is a fact—but to Jungkook, time stretched interminably. He kept consistently messing up during practice, Taehyung kept shouting at his ass to focus. The number of times he had dropped Yugyeom made even Lisa genuinely concerned. His ultimate mission was avoiding Jimin at all cost—till at least he tested the waters on Monday and saw Jimin's general attitude towards him.

Although Jungkook was at the rink at eight sharp, Jimin had already been there. He greeted him with his familiar smile and Jungkook's heart let out a little sigh of relief at that.

“What are you doing?” Jimin asked while Jungkook was putting on his skates.

“We don’t need them?” he asked, gesturing to the pair of skates.

Jimin blinked at him. “You do realize hockey and figure skates are structured differently,”

A beat. Stare and blink. “I knew that.”

Jimin rolled his eyes and looted something out of his bag. “Here. I figured this would happen so I asked Taehyung about your size.”

He hesitated for a second as the reality of Jimin's words dawned on him. “You didn’t… tell him?”

Jimin shook his head. “It’s your decision, not mine.” He urged Jungkook to take the skates. “If Tae doesn’t know about your gymnastics thingie, which has possibly been going on for years, then I figured you'd not want to tell him about this either.”

Jungkook looked at his brown practical skates and then at the white aesthetic ones Jimin was holding. He already missed the brown ugly ones.

He felt like he should explain to Jimin for some reason. “It’s just that he’s going to mock me, you know. It’s going to be like that one time when we were young—”

“It’s your problem, Jungkookie.” The interruption was rather harsh. Jimin gave Jungkook his back and started pacing.

“It’s not just about maintaining balance or spinning or landing,” Jimin started theorizing as Jungkook struggled with putting on the skates. “First, please go warm up in these and try to feel them. Focus on feeling the difference and not on going fast in them.”

Jungkook started doing laps as Jimin stood, arms folded, by the rink. The blade felt longer and the leather against his skin felt different.

“Not to stereotype, but the difference between the two skates can be summed up by the difference in the two sports,” he stole a glance at Jimin to realize he was smiling. “Your old ones are stiff, sharper and plastic. They focus on building you physically stronger. Your new ones tend to focus on making your movements more fluid. Prettier, you can say. Your blade now have an inside and an outside edge, each used for a different purpose. Try taking a sharp turn there like you'd do in hockey then try spinning.”

Jungkook was still struggling with them. He bet he could perfectly land most of the jumps Jimin did but not on ice—he and Yugyeom did similar elaborate jumps all the time. He did as Jimin asked and realized it was much harder to come to an abrupt stop without his skates, but spinning was a relatively easier task.

“In figure skating, it’s called a short program and not a routine—”

Irritated, Jungkook clicked his tongue; he had had it with Jimin's condescending attitude.

“I know that.” He interrupted sharply. He came to a halt just before Jimin and he could swear they were sharing the same breath. “There’re six common jumps from two categories: toe jumps like the toe loop, the flip, and the Lutz.” He felt relieved he actually did research before coming here. He had wanted to impress Jimin but somehow he was a bit defensive. “And edge jumps like all those cool names—the Salchow, loop, and the Axel.”

Jimin was looking him straight in the eye, not giving away any reaction. But Jungkook knew. He did impress him. He also wagered he at least fucked up pronouncing half of them even though he practiced how to beforehand.

“So much for someone who didn’t know figure-skaters use different skates.” Jimin pushed past him and skated to the centre of the rink.

Jungkook clicked his tongue. Jimin's general attitude towards him did change.

Jimin went on demonstrating. He showed him those ‘cool names’ in reality; Jungkook didn’t see much difference. After nearly an hour of Jimin explaining and demonstrating, Jungkook realized there was a huge difference between each of the six.

Wiping his face with his towel, Jimin approached Jungkook. “A Salchow is the easiest jump, then a toe loop then the loop jump. The Axel is the most treacherous and naturally have the highest score.” He threw the towel on the bag. “Not many skaters attempt it regularly, especially in the jump combinations. We’ll start with the basics then we’ll get to pair skating elements. You don’t have to push yourself, I'm not expecting much.” Jimin started skating to the other side of the rink.

“Fuck it!” Jungkook snapped. He didn’t know what offended him more: Jimin not expecting something from him or the way he had been treating him since the morning. It was enough to stop Jimin but not to make him turn around and face Jungkook. “You're the one who said they’d not sleep with me even if I was the last guy on earth. Yet you're here, giving me the cold shoulder for sleeping around.” Jungkook clenched his jaw once Jimin turned around, lips pressed and expression taut. “Why are you so angry with me?”

Jimin only looked at him coldly. That was someone wanting to say something but holding back for some reason. And the cold staring went on for longer than Jungkook could take.

“I won't be the guy you fuck on the sidelines.” Jimin said in a low tone yet it resonated in Jungkook's mind. Jimin glided till he was once again standing before Jungkook. Jungkook could hear him heaving as he stared him squarely in the eye. “You're empty, Jungkook. There isn’t a single thing you care about and you're trying to fill that emptiness by sleeping around, by ‘not caring’,” he made air quotations with his hands, “By fucking being someone you're fucking not.”

“I'm not pretending to be anything. You don’t even know me and here you are making assumptions—judging me!” Jungkook countered. He wasn’t trying to put on any bravados but somehow, somewhere along the road in the past few years, that became how he turned out.

“Fine.” Jimin said simply, throwing his hands up. “Name three things you care about.”

Jungkook tried to reply. He knew how to reply—he knew what to say but his mouth wouldn’t allow the words past his lips.

“Exactly.” Jimin laughed humourlessly. “You can't even admit to yourself that there are things that you care about. As if it’ll make you weak to admit you enjoy something or someone is gonna use it to hurt you, or mock you.”

This had been the closest thing to being hurt that Jungkook felt in years. And Jimin could see it as he stared deep into his eyes, almost all the way through his window to the core—to the soul.

Things Jungkook could do: bullshit his way out—hurt Jimin back.

Things Jungkook did: remain silent and silently avoid a direct kill.

Jimin drew a deep breath. Both of his hands reached to Jungkook's and he held them. “I'm not angry because you slept around,” Jimin's voice softened. “I'm angry because you're this amazing guy but you're determined to waste away.”

It wouldn’t take more than one lean-in to kiss him. Still, Jungkook wouldn’t—couldn’t.

Still, as he gazed at Jimin, he opted for the easiest way out.

“We’re not going out together so you can be jealous,” Jungkook said flatly.

“A, I'm not jealous. B, you can fuck around all you want. I don't care.” Jimin's tone was no less flat.

“Maybe I would.” Jungkook felt bitter.

“Fine.” Jimin said nonchalantly. “You're the one who’s missing out on a lot, Jungkook.” He let go of Jungkook's hands and skated away. “You're probably that guy who has cheesy playlists on their phone, the guy who serenades the person they love three in the morning.”

Jungkook started smiling and he saw it didn’t catch up to Jimin. He made a mental note to delete a certain playlist once he got off ice. “Maybe I am that guy,” Jungkook said. “But who are you?”

Albeit his question was mainly flirtatious, Jungkook truly needed an answer.

Jimin hadn’t smiled since the start of the day, not even when he turned around this time; he was still cold as ice. With a straight face and a steady voice, Jimin uttered Jungkook's verdict: six-months-to-life. “I'm the guy you're going to fall for.”

At Jungkook's arched disbelieving eyebrows, Jimin smirked and spun around again, carrying on his lesson.

Jungkook wasn’t really focused on Jimin's coaching for the next hour or so.

 

♥♥♥

 

Every night, from midnight till two in the morning—sometimes more, Jimin would be coaching Jungkook. On or off ice. They were at the rink, alone as usual. This time Jimin brought his laptop and they started watching an old tournament as Jimin was explaining pair-skating rules and techniques.

“I’m counting on the fact gymnastics had made your hands and legs equipped for jumps and lifts,” Jimin said. He was standing behind Jungkook who was sitting and he could swear Jimin’s breath being so close to his nape was deliberate; Jimin was enjoying torturing Jungkook. “I hope you were concentrated enough at what I’d just shown you.”

Jungkook flexed his muscles, got up and took a step back, studying Jimin with an amused smile. “Sorry. I always get distracted by the teacher.”

Jimin shook his head as he laughed silently and they headed back to the rink.

Their nights were a variation of ‘this is not where your hands should be touching,’ and ‘Jungkook, focus’. Jungkook thought the majority of the lifts were pretty sexual, yet he always managed to make them even more so. His hands on Jimin's waist, Jimin's thighs grazing his neck as Jungkook threw him in the air, Jimin’s butt over his head—what a heavenly view. Knuckles brushing, hands connecting, bodies touching, eyes lingering, breaths intensifying, hair teasing skin—it was as if he needed more images making him want Jimin more.

After five failed attempts at catching Jimin, Jungkook decided to focus on his moves and footwork meanwhile. Jungkook didn’t consider them to be such a failure, considering two of them ended up with Jimin falling on top of him and the last one had Jungkook toppling over Jimin. Jimin was flat on his back and Jungkook was lying half on top of him and half on ice, cheek touching the cold surface.

“Jungkook,” Jimin said from beneath him, voice slightly winded despite Jungkook's weight. “Your hand.”

Jungkook's eyes travelled down to his hand, suddenly becoming conscious it was on Jimin's dick. He managed to play it off, pulling it casually. It was almost comical how, despite so much experience, he still managed to get flustered around Jimin.

Small pepper wasn’t so small after all.

“Aren’t you going to get up?” Jimin asked after a few seconds.

“Naaah,” he looked at Jimin and made a thumbs up. “I'm comfortable here.”

Cue the giggle.

 

It didn’t matter how many times he watched Jimin skate, Jimin would still surprise him.

“Don’t take your eyes off me,” Jimin said, his finger tipping Jungkook's chin up. It was as though he became a different person on ice. The warm smile became a sexy smirk; the silent glint of challenge in his eyes became full-blown playful coaxing.

Jimin needn’t tell Jungkook not to take his eyes off him.

It was past three in the morning, Jungkook was on the ground, catching his breath as he watched Jimin take off his skates—about to hit the showers.

Jimin spared him a look. “What are you think—” he stopped midsentence on seeing Jungkook's innocent smile that hid not-so-innocent thoughts. “You're still thinking you want to…”

“Aha,” Jungkook replied, grin broadening. “Actually, wait a second. You're almost there.” he held up a finger and closed his eyes. “Ahhh.”

It was the towel thrown at his face this time. It was without bite though.

Jungkook caught the towel and smelled it, making sure to catch Jimin's eyes. “If you ever change your mind, know that my offer still stands.”

“Thanks,” Jimin got up, “but the answer is still a no.”

Jungkook wanted to sigh for the rest of his life.

But did the sexual-ache end there? Jungkook got his answer when an honest mistake led to a not-so-pure accident. Jungkook got to see Jimin's backside while the latter was showering. He would be lying if he said the experience wasn’t a soulful one. And he would also be lying if he couldn’t detect Jimin's impish smile on passing him by, wearing only a towel, after showering.

Park Jimin wasn’t so innocent after all. No matter what his cute socks said.

 

♥♥♥

 

It took three incidents for Jungkook to reach his breaking point.

Breaking point (n.)

The point of stress at which a person broke down.

Or alternatively: the point at which Jungkook was begging for sex.

 

Incident Number One: Moaning the Name of He Who Shall Not Be Named.

Jungkook knew his universe wouldn’t stop on its axis just because one ass—one divine otherworldly ass rejected him. He was in the middle of getting it off with his partner when he called out Jimin's name. Unfortunately for Jungkook, sex-logic wasn’t the same with girls; maybe it was due to the fact girls didn’t have dicks that they weren’t ruled by the dick-off rule. She didn’t wait till it was over. She had slapped Jungkook's face, pushed him off her and kicked his naked butt out of the room and into the hallway, throwing his clothes at his face.

And it didn’t end there.

He cursed his stupidity and was getting clothed in the empty hallway. It would take three doors to the left and he could finish what he started with said girl with Jimin. So, shirtless, he made his way to Jimin's door. Just as his hand was about to knock on Jimin's door, just as he was mustering his best flirtatious smile, he could see a small figure at the end of the hallway. Min Yoongi. He played it off as if he were scratching his neck. So much for playing it off.

Where was Jungkook going? He was going back.

Sure, yeah. It was absolutely natural for a half-naked Jungkook, standing with his clothes and shoes in a pile held to his chest, to be scratching his neck and admiring the ceiling 11 P.M. in front of Park Jimin's door. Of course Yoongi shouldn’t have been surprised and much less shocked.

It hit him then: how come science had come so far yet hadn’t invented an invisibility cloak?

He started heading back as Yoongi's amused eyes followed him.

 

 

Incident Number Two: When Your Bestfriend Is a Cockblock … Kinda.

Jimin had been running in Jungkook's mind and the situation had become out of his hand. They danced together, skated together, and they worked out together—figuratively and literally speaking. He was resolute on doing what it took to get into Jimin's pants that night. He bought a bottle of red wine (yes, he watched so many b&w movies he was that cliché) and headed to Jimin's room, making a lame speech in his mind. It sounded lively in Jimin's room yet that didn’t stop Jungkook from knocking. He was looking at his feet while he waited; he wanted to say his piece before meeting Jimin's eyes.

The door opened. He could hear Jimin's giggly melody, “Don’t—”

“Hyung, I—” he stopped short when he raised his head and saw Taehyung standing before him, with Jimin on his back. Confused, he quickly hid the bottle behind his back and smiled at Taehyung.

“Jungkookie,” Taehyung began, Jimin getting off his back and standing next to him. “What are you doing here?”

Welcoming you to hoe-island? Jungkook thought.

“I wanted to ask you something,” Jungkook began with a pensive face. He put a hand on Taehyung’s shoulder as he fumbled for a question. “Was the colour orange named after the fruit, or the fruit orange named after the colour?” he paused, “I mean, are oranges orange because of the colour, or orange is orange because of oranges?”

Taehyung opened his mouth to reply then shut it down. Jungkook could see Jimin stifling a smile and turning around.

“Hello, Jiminnie-hyung,” Jungkook said innocently as Taehyung contemplated his life and reconstructed his entire worldview. Jungkook was screaming on the outside.

“I have one for you too, Kookie,” Jimin said as he pulled Taehyung inside and leaned on the doorframe. “Would Pinocchio’s nose grow if he said his nose would grow?”

Jungkook's eyebrows creased.

“Goodnight, Jungkookie.” He said as he closed the door, leaving Jungkook feeling stupid for yet another reason.

 

 

Incident Number Three: War Flashbacks to that Dick-Pic Myth.

When Jungkook was a freshman, he got so drunk in one of the parties and he sent a dick-pic to the wrong contact. Now, imagine sending a dick-pic to either of your parents. Horrible. Jungkook had sent it to the Dean. Ever since that day and Bang Sihyuk wasn’t such a big fan of Jungkook.

He had written Jimin a flirty note. Jungkook had also made the mistake of trusting Taehyung to deliver it, albeit not directly telling him so. He had slipped it to Jimin's notes which he had borrowed earlier and asked Taehyung to give them back to Jimin. During lunch, Taehyung had casually said, “Kookie, I hope that note wasn’t important because I kinda left it with Jin-hyung’s notes in his office.”

Jungkook took less than three seconds to start running out of the cafeteria. For the first time, he hated his Timbs. Horror images flashed before his eyes of everything that could go wrong in his life; public embarrassment, nude shots of him, flirtation gone wrong—basically everything Jimin managed to witness one way or another in the past few weeks.

“People call me Jungkook, but tonight you’ll be calling me Mr. Spreading Legs.”

For the first time since Taehyung got together with Jin, Jungkook considered ratting them out if Taehyung couldn’t keep it in his pants during school hours.

He wasn’t sure if he had properly knocked on Jin’s door. When he opened the door, Jin looked up from his papers, smiling tenderly.

“Yes, Jungkook?” he asked, interlacing his hands and putting down his glasses.

Jungkook pretended he wasn’t panting. He looked behind him then closed the door. “Funny story,” he began, scratching the back of his neck. “I was in my room … minding my own business when I smelt fire and funny stuff. It turned out that the boys in the dorm next to ours were ruining the sheets and the curtains, burning them and all that messy juvenile stuff. You’ve gotta go there, the room is such a mess you—”

Jin was clearly trying not to laugh. He fiddled in one of the files and held up a slip of a paper, stopping Jungkook’s not-so-funny story.

Jungkook clamped his mouth shut, briefly closing his eyes as he felt the shame burning him up. He stepped forward, ready to take the note and make a run for it.

“And Taehyung said I make bad jokes and puns,” Jin joked.

Jungkook wasn’t sure what to say. Jin was his hyung, he was his bestfriend’s boyfriend but he was also his professor. Two plus two equaled he was fucked.

“Thanks, hyung.” He said as he took the paper. Jin merely acknowledged the thanks, studying Jungkook amusedly as he made his way to the door. Or for better phrasing, as he internally panicked while trying not to run and externally panic on leaving the room.

“What’s the name this time?”

Jungkook's hand stopped before the doorknob. He hesitated then thought it didn’t really matter. “Jimin. The Park Jimin.”

Cue the windshield laugh. Jungkook's smile followed.

“I hope this is the last time, Mr. Spreading Legs.”

Jungkook didn’t feel so bad leaving Jin’s office.

 

 

The thing was, Jungkook had an ego as big as his … Timbs. He never would have thought his breaking point would be this humiliating. It made Taehyung’s first moves on Jimin sound like the most sophisticated, most elaborate and most experienced flirtation advances ever—as though Aphrodite had specially taught Taehyung the language of love. Aphrodite, yeah. If this were Greek mythology, Jimin, without the shadow of a doubt, would be Aphrodite.

Jungkook? Right now, he was Ares the moment Hephaestus caught him doing the deed with Aphrodite. Or maybe Cronus in the moment his balls were taken—quite literally.

If Jungkook ever thought people saying they lost sleep over someone was an unrealistic exaggeration, he had to take his words now. This was his second day without a wink of sleep. He was on edge and both of his practices didn’t go so well. And he was knocking on Jimin's door, praying to whatever gods existed that Taemin wouldn’t be there. Praying to Kim Jongin.

“This has to stop,” was the first thing he said once Jimin opened the door. Jimin was in his shorts and a very, very oversized T-shirt that was messing Jungkook up even more.

“It’s one in the morning, Kookie. What has to stop?” Jimin leaned on the doorframe, scratching his shin with his socked foot. This, too, had to stop.

Jungkook had developed a Park-Jimin-socks-fetish.

“Your ass is haunting me.” Jungkook stressed and started pacing like a madman in the hallway as Jimin started laughing. “I'm losing sleep thinking of you. Each time I see you, it’s hard to concentrate on anything. I’m fucking up in practice. I'm fucking up in class. I'm fucking up in fucking around. Your constant giggling is messing with me, your smile is messing with me, your ass that just would not quit is fucking messing with me. Your entire existence is fucking me up. I find your clothes very disturbing, like right now, would you mind taking that shirt off, fuck!” he was borderline hysteric saying the last sentence, coming to a stop a centimeter away from the giggling Jimin.

Jimin laughed and pushed his hair back. Jungkook was internally screaming. “But if I took off my shirt you’d be having more trouble.”

“Just once, hyung. That’s all I'm asking.” Jungkook whimpered.

“Can't you take no for an answer?” he was still laughing.

That was it. Faster than Jimin could react, Jungkook got down on his knees and clung to—no, hugged Jimin's legs.

“Sleep with me, Jiminnie-hyung.” He begged.

Jungkook didn’t think he had ever heard Jimin laugh as loudly or as heartily. Even the door was flung open. Jimin's hands went down to Jungkook's arms and he helped him up. He pulled Jungkook into the room and closed the door behind him.

“You're so desperate, Jeon Jungkook.” Jimin said with the corner of his mouth quirking up. Despite the small space lying between them, Jimin seemed unnerved. He trusted Jungkook too much. Jungkook didn’t even trust himself.

“Once and I’ll never ask you again,” Jungkook pressed.

“We both know that’s not true.” Park Jimin was a master of playing to the tunes of people’s hearts. He took a step forward, tilting his head in that flirtatious birdlike move of his. “And we both know I'm addictive.”

“What do I have to do?” Jungkook was speaking in a low tone, eyes flickering between Jimin's eyes and lips, lingering more on the latter. “Do I have to go through the twelve labours or something?”

“Your problem is that you don’t understand I don’t do one-night-stands.” Jimin's voice was just as low, just octaves sexier. He tiptoed till he reached Jungkook's ear. “And you don’t do commitments.”

Jungkook counted Jimin's breaths in his ear—three, four, five inhales and exhales till the playful pair of lips was safely away from his ears. Jimin backed away, sitting on bed.

“So that’s it? It’s about commitment?” Jungkook folded his arm and concentrated his weight on one leg. “I can commit.” He shrugged, suddenly not knowing what to do with his hands—to fold them, to touch his lips, to put them on his hips, to put them on Jimin's hips?

Jimin laughed. “Jungkook, you’ve slept around with more people than half of the people on campus combined.”

Jungkook tried to do the maths. The gist was Jimin was right.

“Come on, hyung.” Jungkook took a step forward. “I promise you’ll have fun.”

Jimin smirked. “Too confident.”

“Well I am good.” Jungkook forced a sexy face and Jimin laughed at the exaggerated attempt. “If you don’t like it, we can keep trying till you're satisfied with the service.”

Jimin smiled and pulled his legs up on bed. “Sorry, I don’t like fucking around with uncommitted assholes.”

“Uncommitted, huh?”

Jimin nodded.

“Okay. That’s a small price to pay for that ass.” Jungkook teased.

“Please,” Jimin counter-teased. “You'd not last two weeks without getting some action.”

“Fine.” Jungkook said, walking backwards to the door. “I’m going to prove to you I can do that and then you’d have run out of excuses for turning me down.”

“Goodnight, Jungkookie.” Jimin said as Jungkook was closing the door. “I hope your imagination can depict the details of my body correctly tonight.”

Jungkook hated this love-hate relationship. Yet, he was smiling.

 

♥♥♥

 

Despite his bluff, Jungkook didn’t expect the bet to be such a challenge. He thought being busy would take his mind off sex but that was wishful thinking. Learning how to truly skate was taking up almost all his free time. He even started practicing his moves alone—sometimes Taemin even coached him, claiming it was for Jimin's sake. The first week had been tolerable; the second was hell.

Being around Jimin was no less painful either. There was a reason why the majority of pair-skaters were dating; the sport was too intimate. Jungkook didn’t resort to sexy flirting; he was compensating by cheesy moves and even cheesier pick-up line.

On the tenth night, Jungkook had slipped.

He didn’t know how or when. He could remember late night and practice. He could remember Jimin being perfection and him loudly saying ‘didn’t know perfection could be so down to earth’ when Jimin was being too humble about his skills. He could remember Jimin almost taking away his knees on hitting them so hard after that mocking pick-up line. He could remember getting together later on with Yugyeom and the rest of their group and drinking too much.

Cut and fade to black.

When his mind started working again, he didn’t have any clothes on and it wasn’t Yugyeom that time—fortunately and unfortunately.

Not only had he lost the bet and his one chance with Jimin, but he thoroughly and thoroughly felt bad about it. Think war world III; think the apocalypse; think the end of the goddamn world—Jungkook's world at least. His guilty conscience wouldn’t have allowed him to lie to Jimin, but even then, Jimin had to find out in the worst way possible.

Jungkook had overslept and missed his set date with Jimin in the rink. He was already panicking on realizing there was a girl in bed with him and he needn’t another reason to shove him over the edge. He did the routine, waking said girl up on slipping out … international playboy played it off and slipped into the hall.

Enter Park Jimin.

At least Jungkook was fully clothed that time. Jimin smiled cozily and waved to him from across the hall; Jungkook started getting nervous. Karma was a bitch for a reason. He could see ‘1310’ on one of the doors, realizing a tad bit too late this was where Jimin's room was—why Jimin was there.

“Asshole.” Jimin punched Jungkook's shoulder playfully. “Why did you bail on me?”

Jungkook tried to smile. He tried to open his mouth to speak. His job was done when the girl’s voice chimed in.

“Jungkook-ah, you forgot your wallet.”

The three veteran emotions of betrayal crossed Jimin's face: confusion, realization and hurt. Jungkook closed his eyes and clenched his fist.

“Okay, I’ve to go meet Yoongi-hyung,” Jimin said, pushing past Jungkook with a thin smile on his face. “See you around, Jungkook.”

Even his voice was thin. His lovely lively voice. Jungkook willed his feet to move, his hand to reach for Jimin's but it didn’t compute. And he was left staring at where Jimin was standing.

 

♥♥♥

 

Of course because Jungkook's life had a kink for theatric drama, the situation had to be messier by the time he was knocking on Jimin's door, a heartfelt apology rehearsed thrice before heading there.

It wasn’t Jimin who opened the door, neither was it Taemin. It was some guy Jungkook couldn’t remember his name. Fun fact: Jungkook was sure he would never forget said guy’s name ever again after that moment.

Tall Shirtless Guy spoke, voice deep as Jungkook's guilt. “Can I help you?”

Jungkook looked icily at the guy. He peeked inside the room, looking for Jimin. He couldn’t even find him.

“Never mind,” Jungkook attempted at a smile. “I’ll come back later.”

Jungkook turned around and left, wondering whether it was dry anger or burning pain that hurt him so much. Repressed feelings he thought he had long abandoned were pushing their way through, surfacing again, just quadruple the intensity. He was sure of two things nonetheless.

One: He was the lowest of all scums if this was how Jimin felt two mornings ago.

Two: This—whatever this was, was not a game anymore.