There are a lot of things that Jungkook expected from his junior year of college. General stress. Student debt. Committing to cooking his own meals for about three weeks before deciding he’s okay with mac and cheese and eggs on toast if it means he gets to sit down as soon as he gets home and not move for the rest of the night.
He did not expect to be stuck in a hospital room for 2 days before he was even able to go buy the mac and cheese that would sustain him for the next several months.
His whole body hurts, his ribs are bruised, he’s mildly concussed, and his toes poke out of the lurid pink cast. Taehyung has pouted Jungkook into letting him pick the color and then promptly lost that privilege forever.
It’s going well.
"We’d like to keep you overnight again," the doctor is saying. He’s a handsome man, smooth skin and kind eyes and funny fingers that are flipping cleanly through the papers on the clipboard attached to the end of Jungkook’s hospital bed. "We don’t have any reason to believe things might go wrong, Jungkook, but there are a few things I’d like to keep my eye on."
Slowly, Jungkook chews through that. Yesterday he got hit by a car, a nice one as far as Jungkook can remember before someone’s moment of distraction ended up with Jungkook sprawled out on the road and whole lot of panic. Someone called an ambulance while he was passed out in the streets, and he should probably be happy no one tried to move him in case his spine was broken or something equally terrible, but it’s hard to be thankful when that’s just another expense he’s going to have to pay. He’s on his own insurance, one for students that covers what it needs to cover. The bare minimum.
Taehyung is in the room, a crumpled paper bag from Panera clutched in his hands, a sandwich and some soup for Jungkook that have long since been eaten and are now threatening to make a reappearance. When they make eye contact, Taehyung’s face is blank, worried. "Should you…?" He frowns, because he already knows the answer to the question he hasn’t managed to ask. "Your parents…?"
Jungkook is frowning now, too. "No." It’s immediate. It’s annoying how appealing the idea is, but Jungkook has made too many promises, most of them to himself, and the thought of throwing all of that out the window has his insides churning. He slowly looks at the doctor. Jungkook knew his name once, probably. Now he’s just someone else that Jungkook has to deal with to get where he needs to go. Home. "What would happen if I don’t stay overnight?"
The doctor sighs, looking at his clipboard again, like he already expected this question. "There are some test results that are borderline and that worries me," he says. "We want to clear up any questions by observing you one more night and running a few more tests to make sure everything is okay. You have a concussion that worries me. You’re still on a lot of pain medication." He looks up at Jungkook. "I’d feel more comfortable if you stayed, but if you want to leave, legally we can’t stop you."
Jungkook chews on the inside of his mouth at he thinks. "How much does it cost for another night?"
"Honestly, it depends on your insurance."
Taehyung snorts. "So a shit ton." Taehyung has the same insurance as Jungkook. He knows.
"I encourage you to think about your health and safety before the cost," the doctor tells him firmly.
"You’re in healthcare, so I imagine you would." Jungkook is tired, injured, and already in debt. He thinks he can be forgiven for being somewhat impolite.
(He’ll feel bad about it later. It’ll hit him three days later in the middle of the night and he won’t be able to sleep for a while because he was rude to someone who wanted to help, but otherwise, there won’t be any consequences unless his mother finds out.)
He ends up staying the night. He’s not sure what that means for him long term, money wise, but he’d rather not be at home if there’s a serious complication. He definitely doesn’t want Taehyung to come in and check on him and find his dead body in their apartment. It’s better that he stays, probably. Even if his empty pockets are crying.
In the morning, before they release him, Jungkook meets the man who hit him with his car.
His name is Min Yoongi. The only reasons Jungkook knows this is because it’s one of the first things they told him after he woke up.
"There’s a Min Yoongi waiting outside for you," they had said, a little after the doctor had caught him up on what was going on, on why his leg was in a cast and why it hurt to breath and why he felt he had. Well. Gotten hit by a car.
"Min Yoongi?" Jungkook had had a brief moment of panic. "Is that someone I should know?"
"He’s the guy who hit you," Taehyung told him, mouth in a thin line.
Jungkook had grimaced. "Oh."
He hadn’t ended up seeing Yoongi.
Today he’s too tired to be upset.
Also, he heard that the man would be bringing coffee, and that’s a very good incentive to be forgiving.
Jungkook isn’t sure what he’s expecting to feel when he sees the person who put him in the hospital and dug his little debt-hole a little deeper. Probably something close to bitterness. But when Min Yoongi shows up at his door, a little frantic, his clothing a little mussed, like he’d been running, and a carefully crafted deadpan, Jungkook forgets to be angry altogether. The tips of Yoongi’s hair that is poking out of his beanie are fired with bleach, and he doesn’t look like someone who would own the expensive care that Jungkook knows hit him, but then Jungkook sees the Rolex glittering on his wrist, shortly before seeing the tray of coffee he’s holding in his hand. It’s not from the hospital cafeteria, which is good because that stuff is shit. It’s from the expensive café down the street that sells the bread that Jungkook will save up to buy for Taehyung on his birthday because it makes him cry actual tears of joy.
"Sorry," Yoongi says. His voice is low, more gruff than Jungkook would have expected. "I was at work when I called to check in and they said you were being released today and…" He looks down at the coffee in his hand like he’s confused about what it’s doing there. "Do you drink coffee?"
"Yeah," Jungkook answers awkwardly. He usually drinks the instant shit out of Taehyung’s machine at home, because it’s cheap, and he’s lazy, and no one has time for the stuff. But whatever Yoongi has smells likes something Jungkook wants to consume immediately. "Any coffee. All coffee."
Yoongi smiles, kind of tight around his eyes, and when he steps further into the room it’s clear he’s uncomfortable. Still, he gives Jungkook the coffee politely, waiting a moment while Jungkook finds the energy to reach forward and take it, smiling gratefully.
"Thanks, Jungkook says, still smiling. He’s too tired to be shy.
Yoongi blinks for a moment before coughing awkwardly to the side. "Sure."
It’s quiet for a moment. Jungkook barely notices, happily drinking his coffee. Yoongi doesn’t know how Jungkook takes it, so it seems like he shot for somewhere in the middle, which suits Jungkook just fine. He’s not picky.
"I—" Yoongi starts before abruptly cutting himself off. Jungkook thinks he might have been about to say sorry. "I’m Min Yoongi," he finishes instead. He holds out his hand. His Rolex gleams under the fluorescent lighting.
Jungkook reaches out to take his hand, and his skin is littered with scratches and his nails are kind of dirty and he hadn’t showered for two days before the accident. He almost doesn’t want to touch Yoongi, like he’ll make him dirtier. Except that that’s stupid, and Jungkook doesn’t actually care right now, so he does it anyway. "I know." He tries to shake Yoongi’s hand firmly, but his body hurts and he’s so tired. He does his best.
Yoongi is quiet for a moment, trying to formulate an answer before Jungkook takes pity on him.
"I’m Jungkook," he offers.
"I know," Yoongi returns, maybe smiling. His fingers are tapping rhythmically against his leg. He’s nervous. Jungkook wonders if he’s this hesitant with strangers all the time. Has Jungkook found a kindred spirit?
Of course, Jungkook has never hit someone with his car, stranger or otherwise, so it’s probably a different situation than when he’s trying to small talk in the elevator.
But Jungkook is on pain medication, so instead of letting things pitter off into something unsalvageable, he holds up his drink. "Thanks, again," he says softly. "The coffee here is no good."
"Oh, I know." Yoongi rolls his eyes. "Seokjin always complains, but then I tried it once and now I understand."
"Oh, ah…" Yoongi blinks. "Your doctor. We’re friends."
His doctor’s name is Seokjin. Jungkook files that away for later. "That’s…" weird. "How?"
Yoongi scratches the back of his neck. He looks really young. Jungkook wonders how someone so young wears a Rolex. "Our career paths crossed once, a long time ago."
"Are you in the medical field?" Something about the scratch, bruised knees sticking out of the holes in Yoongi’s jeans and the way his beanie is slightly crooked on his head doesn’t really scream "health care professional."
Yoongi seems to think the same thing because he laughs, a real laugh, showing small teeth and all his gums, and he looks even younger, even less intimidating.
Right when Yoongi looks like he’s about to answer Jungkook’s questions, there’s a small knock on the door. "Jungkookie?" Taehyung asks, poking his head into the room. His eyes narrow when they land on Yoongi, and Jungkook sees some good natured animosity there on his behalf. "I’m here to take you home." His car keys dangle from his fingers.
"Oh." Good. Jungkook looks at Yoongi.
Yoongi looks at Jungkook. "I’m really sorry, kid," he says softly.
"It’s okay," Jungkook says back, and he means it.
Jungkook fully expects not to see Yoongi ever again. He also expects to be in debt for the rest of this life.
He’s wrong on both accounts.
It’s three days after he’s released from the hospital when Jungkook gets the Letter. The hospital’s logo on the front almost makes him break out in hives, but then he remembers that getting that taken care of would cost more money that he doesn’t have and he stops the hives by sheer force of will.
"Tae!" he calls from his position on the couch. The doctor -- Seokjin, Jungkook feels like it’s important he should remember -- told him not to go to class until Monday, so he’s been lying on the couch watching Netflix for three days while Taehyung low-key waits on him hand and foot. Jungkook tries not to take advantage, especially because he knows that Taehyung really does worry so much, but when he tried going up the stairs by himself and Taehyung threw a huge fit, Jungkook finally had to let himself be taken care of.
Taehyung pokes his head out into the living room from the hallway, his study hat carefully perched atop his head. It’s an ugly, neon-blue, furry monstrosity, but if Taehyung says it keeps him zen while trying to work on Bio, then Jungkook won’t judge him. "Yeah? You need something?"
"The letter opener and some moral support." Jungkook holds the envelope up so that Taehyung can see it. The logo is a promise of misery.
Taehyung hums with understanding. "The Letter?"
Jungkook sighs. "The Letter."
"Ah." Taehyung taps decisively on the doorjamb and carefully takes his ridiculous hat off of his hair. His hair sticks right to his scalp but he doesn’t seem to mind. "I’ll be right there."
The letter opener is a fake katana, complete with a sheath and a wooden stand, and it makes Jungkook almost feel better when he slices viciously through the cheap envelope. His heart is heavy when he slips the paper out and opens it cautiously, like it might bite him if he moves too quickly. Don’t spook the crippling debt, Jungkook, he tells himself. It might multiply when he’s not looking.
Summary of Services.
Jungkook’s throat goes dry.
There’s a part of himself that doesn’t even want to look at what exactly was done to him, like maybe if he lives in ignorance the big number at the end will hurt less, but he fores himself to read it like it’s some morbid challenge.
There are a lot of zeroes.
Altogether too many. There’s the ambulance, zero zero, the surgery for his leg, zero zero, all of the tests they ran, zero zero, staying in the hospital overnight for two nights, zero zero zero. The miniscule number his insurance covers. Not enough zeroes there. Jungkook feels his heart seizing up, his hands almost ripping through the paper because he’s holding on for dear life.
Behind him, Taehyung reads, whistling appreciatively. "Shit, they fucked you up." He sounds worried, almost angry, but even knowing that his words are out of something closer to righteous indignation than any sort of mockery, Jungkook still wilts a little.
"Fuck." He sets the paper down in his lap and covers his eyes with his hand. He feels a headache coming on. "What the hell am I going to do?" he groans.
Jungkook feels the paper being tugged gently out of his hands, and he lets his head fall back dramatically on the arm of the couch while Taehyung further acquaints himself with Jungkook’s pathetic lot in life.
"This is…" Taehyung starts slowly, "a lot of zeroes."
"Thanks, Tae, I hadn’t noticed," Jungkook snips, frustrated at the situation more than at Taehyung. "Maybe I…" he chews on his lower lip, grimacing. "Do you think I should call my parents?" he asks, voice small.
Taehyung makes a strange noise. "Well," he says. His voice sounds weird. "Probably not."
"I don’t know...I don’t know how I’m going to pay for this and for college." He runs his hand tiredly down his face. "I...if I don’t ask then I won’t be able to stay but if I do ask…" They’ll make him leave. That was their deal. If he could convince them he could do it on his own, they’d let him. Otherwise, he has to go home.
Everything feels uncomfortably lose-lose.
Jungkook will not cry.
He takes a deep breath. "How much is the total?" he asks his roommate, looking up at where Taehyung is carefully reading through the papers held haphazardly in his long fingers. "I can...I don’t know, I can budget. I can be a hermit. I’ll live in a fucking box." He can do it. He’s been through shitty situations before. He refuses to lose. "What’s the number?"
Taehyung laughs, a little manically. "Zero."
That stings a little, that Taehyung would treat this like a joke when he knows what this sort of thing means for Jungkook. Jungkook scowls. "I know there are a lot of zeroes, Tae, but what is the total?"
Taehyung laughs again. "Jungkook, it’s zero." He flips the paper around.
Jungkook doesn’t even read it, just stares at Taehyung trying to figure out what he means. "Huh?"
"Jungkook." Taehyung is shaking his head in disbelief. "Jungkook, the hospital says that everything is paid off." One finger comes around and taps at the bottom of the page. "The total is zero."
Jungkook snatches the Letter from Taehyung’s hands, full of some weird mixture of insane hope and horrific dread even as Taehyung is grinning like an idiot. "Jungkook!" Taehyung says, as Jungkook stares at the bottom number. He’s bouncing up and down. "Jungkook, you’re free!"
Ambulance, zero zero, the surgery, zero zero, tests, zero zero.
Three zeroes, technically. $0.00. The total is zero point zero zero. It’s right there on the page, under the official hospital logo.
"It’s a Christmas miracle," Taehyung says in wonder.
"It’s August," Jungkook says dully, flipping the paper over like the back might have small print. It’s all a joke at your literal expense, lol, pay us in full using money from the organs you sell on the black market. "There has to be some kind of mistake."
"Jungkook," Taehyung says slowly again, like he’s talking to a child. "Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth, dude. Accept the official document saying that you’re free to hobble through life on your gimpy leg with only the normal amount of student debt."
But Jungkook is already digging through his pajama pants to pull out his cell phone. "What’s the number for the hospital?" he asks.
Taehyung blinks once, twice, and then sighs. "I’ll go find it."
Jungkook waits patiently while Taehyung rifles around through the papers strewn over the kitchen table, entering the phone number with fumbling fingers. He feels oddly numb.
Press 2 for billing. Beep. "Hello," someone chirps. "How can I help you?"
"Hi," he says, as politely as he can when he’s so listless. "My name is Jeon Jungkook. I’m calling about my hospital bill?" He gives her his invoice number, rattling it off a hair too quickly. He wants to get this over with. He wants them to tell him it’s a mistake so he can know what’s really happening and then plan out his entire college career around how much of a ditch he’s dug himself into.
The secretary’s voice turns a little more guarded when she hears his tone of voice, which Jungkook can connect with. He doesn’t want to talk about his bill either. "Let me pull up your file." He hears her clicking on her computer, the loud clacking of her fingers against the keyboard, click click, and then a low hum as she reads. "Jeon Jungkook?" she clarifies again.
"Yes, ma’am." He clears his throat. "I just got my summary of services and it says that everything is paid for? I think there’s a mistake."
Taehyung sighs again at his side. "I think you should just accept your brief stint of good luck and let it happen."
Jungkook isn’t paying him any attention.
The woman on the phone clicks around a little more. "It looks like everything is in order," she says after a moment.
Jungkook blinks. "What."
"Other than what your insurance covers," she says slowly, reading through his file, "everything else was paid in full on the morning of your release."
"What?" Jungkook’s brain stops firing. "I didn’t pay anything. I was still high on pain medication."
"Well." the lady does not sound amused. "It seems as though one...Min Yoongi paid for you."
Jungkook’s jaw drops. "In full?" That’s so much money. Who has that money just lying around? What the fuck.
Had Yoongi already paid his bills when he stopped in with his expensive coffee and his Rolex and his ratty beanie and his deep fucking voice? Did he just not say anything? Jungkook has been freaking out about this for days. Had Yoongi known? "What the fuck."
"Um," says the lady from the billing office.
"Sorry," he apologizes. "Are you sure?"
"We keep very good records, sir," she tells him pointedly. "Your file says that everything is paid off, and it says that Min Yoongi made it happen." Her voice is wry. "I encourage you not to think too hard about someone wiping out your bill."
"I…" He swallows. "Thank you." He hangs up.
Taehyung is still waiting, sitting on the arm on the couch. "Well?" he asks after a moment of Jungkook staring blankly, disbelievingly, at the wall.
Jungkook looks up at him. "I…" He swallows. "My bill has been paid in full."
Taehyung whistles, barely containing his grin. "You have a guardian angel."
"Yeah." Jungkook looks at the paper, still sitting in his lap. "I guess I do."
He owes Min Yoongi so much coffee.
It takes a while, a day or two, before Jungkook decides what to do.
He calls Yoongi.
Well, first he calls his doctor. "Hello, Kim Seokjin?" Jungkook asks, after being on hold for hell knows how long at the front desk for him to be connected.
"This is he," says a strong voice, vaguely familiar. Jungkook barely remembers what this guy looks like other than tall and handsome, he was so dazed before. "Who is this?"
"My name is Jeon Jungkook," Jungkook introduces. He seems to be introducing himself a lot these days, to a lot of official people. It's stressful and Jungkook would be plenty happy if he never had to again. "I was a patient of yours earlier this week."
"Of course, I remember." Seokjin's voice is kind, barely frantic at all, despite the fact that the secretary at the front desk told Jungkook at least three times that the doctor was busy today. Jungkook barely managed to catch him between appointments. "Is anything wrong? Are there any complications?"
"Oh, uh, no sir, everything is fine." He coughs awkwardly. "I'm calling more because of a personal reason? I know that's not at all what this line is for. I apologize in advance. It will never happen again." His words are pitched too high with nerves.
The doctor doesn't seem offended. "How can I help?"
"Yoongi mentioned that he knew you personally, when he visited," Jungkook says. "I'm trying to get ahold of him but the hospital can't give me his number."
Seokjin is quiet for a moment. Jungkook can hear the bustle of the hospital, and that's the only thing that tells Jungkook the call hasn't been cut off. "May I ask why?"
"Of course." Jungkook clears his throat again to get his voice down to a normal octave. "He paid like, all of my bills. I want to thank him with...I don't know." What do you give someone who has that kind of money to throw around? "I just want to thank him. Or, let him know that I know and appreciate what he did, you know?" He's rambling, just a little. On the precipice of a full on word vomit, so he clamps his mouth shut.
"You want to pay him back?" Seokjin laughs. "Oh, god, Yoongi would hate that."
Jungkook's heart sinks. "So you won't give me his number?"
"You're kidding," Seokjin says, amused. "Of course, I will. I live to see him suffer." His laughter dies down. "It's about time someone recognized what a good guy he is, anyway."
And so Jungkook calls the number he had hastily scribbled down on a napkin, fingers fumbling as Seokjin rattles something off almost too quickly for Jungkook to catch.
Whoever answers is almost certainly not Min Yoongi. "Hello?" someone practically sings, voice high and lilting. "This is Min Yoongi's office."
"Oh, uh." Seokjin hadn't given Yoongi's personal number, then. Maybe Seokjin didn't trust him, which is understandable. Jungkook probably should have expected it, except now he's caught off guard. "I...um, my name is Jeon Jungkook." The old standard. "I'm looking for Min Yoongi."
"Do you have an appointment?" the man asks.
"For a phone call?" Jungkook asks incredulously, before realizing he's probably being rather rude. "Ah, sorry. I don't have an appointment. I just wanted to talk with him."
"I'm afraid, in that case, that I won't be able to connect you to him," is the answer, apologetic in a way that's carefully crafted to be genuine. "Would you like to leave a message? He's in a meeting right now, but I'm sure he'll do his best to get back to you quickly."
Who the fuck is this guy? A part of Jungkook wants to say no, thank you and hang up. He's done his best. But then he thinks of all those zeroes. "Yes, I'd like to leave a message."
Jeon Jungkook would like to thank you for paying his debt (?)
Jungkook goes about his day with shaky hands after that phone call. He's able to hobble around the apartment on his own now, is going to be able to go back to classes soon, although he's not sure how he's going to get around the school grounds all day when walking for longer than 15 minutes makes him kind of dizzy. He's not taking the pain medications as regularly, but he'd rather be in class with a clear head, so that's out.
He has other things to think about than Min Yoongi.
About three hours after Jungkook calls Yoongi's office, his phone beeps.
For a moment, he doesn't bother looking at it, thinking it's his mom's typical Sunday check-in. He tends to screen those messages until he's emotionally prepared. It's only when he remembers that Taehyung went out to the store and has a bad habit of forgetting what they ran out of that he digs his phone out of his pocket.
Jungkook, this is Yoongi
I got your message
For a moment, Jungkook frowns, because he's not sure how to reply to that, but he sees the three dots pop up, stop, pop up again, so Jungkook waits, adding Yoongi into his contacts. Tapping his toes. Yoongi sure takes a long time.
You don't have to thank me
you paid thousands of dollars.
i'm 100% sure i need to thank you.
I hit you with my car
Me paying thousands of dollars is my own apology
This is true, that Yoongi is the one who caused all of the damage that Jungkook was indebted to the hospital for fixing, but even still, Jungkook doesn't know too many people who would drop that much money on one person all at once.
And not even tell Jungkook about it, like he wouldn't find out. Ridiculous.
if that's the case i owe you expensive coffee
since you supplied me with my only not shitty caffeine there
You absolutely do not owe me expensive coffee
thousands of dollars or an expensive coffee
i'm not letting you off the hook for both.
Jungkook would sooner swallow a lemon than be this forward with a stranger in real life, but the phone is a nice barrier, and Jungkook is trying to do the right thing.
The three dots appear again. Disappear. Bubble up. Stop. It's three minutes before Jungkook gets an answer.
Regularly priced coffee is fine
Jungkook grins. It's a tiny victory.
i'll text you the address.
It's kind of a hassle to get to the café. Most of a hassle than usual at least, what with Jungkook trying to lug his enormous leg down the street. He hasn't gotten a ton of practice going long distance with the crutches. The first couple of days he tried not to use them because his ribs still ached whenever he tried, but after a while he realized that it aches even just to breathe, and getting around is worth more than the slight increase of pain. He’s sweaty by the time he gets to the coffee shop, feeling the drops trickle down the crease of his spine under where his backpack is pressed against his shirt. He’s purposefully worn darker clothing so that no one will be able to see the sweat marks, but it doesn’t do him any favors in the heat of late summer.
Min Yoongi is, apparently, rich as hell. Maybe he’s never seen a sweat mark in his whole life.
It probably wasn’t a great idea to bring Yoongi here. It’s a college place, filled with guys with beanies and tattooes and nose piercings and girls with brightly colored hair and second day makeup and everyone is wearing their pajamas even though it’s the afternoon. If Jungkook had a dollar for every eye bag in that café he’d be able to pay for his overpriced drink seven times over.
But when Jungkook gets there and Yoongi looks up at the chime of the door, already sitting at a booth by the window, he looks more like a college kid than a...whatever he is. His Rolex is still glittering on his wrist, but the graphic on his t-shirt is cracked and faded, and there's ink on his fingers, presumably from the pen he sets down on the table when Jungkook walks up to him. He smiles, eyes squinting because the sun is too bright in the window beside him. "Hello." There's a notebook full of neat handwriting, literally full. There's barely any space left, even in the margins. Jungkook sees a drawing of a dog in the corner before Yoongi politely folds it closed.
"Good morning." It takes him a moment to arrange his crutches against the side of the booth in a way so that they won't fall, and it takes him another moment to slide into the seat and haul his leg under the table in a way that it's not a complete and total inconvenience, and by the end of those moments his face is a little red and everything is a little awkward. He's pretty sure he kicked Yoongi with cast, but the older man is polite enough not to say anything. "Sorry, I'm kind of late. It took longer than expected to walk here."
Yoongi blinks. "You walked all the way here?"
"It's really not that far," Jungkook promises him, picking up the menu from behind the condiments on the table, even though he knows exactly what he's getting. He needs something to look at that's not Yoongi, because every time they make eye contact Jungkook feels all twitchy. "I don't have a car, so I have to get used to walking with the crutches anyway."
"Do you walk to school?" Yoongi's menu is forgotten on the table beside him, and Jungkook watches him mess with a sugar packet out of the corner of his eye. Yoongi has nice hands. "Have you been walking all week?"
"Uh." I've been too injured to go. "I go back on Monday." Jungkook tries to run a hand through his hair and only realizes he's wearing a beanie when his fingers meet fabric. He nervously takes it off to cover his mistake before imagining what his hair looks like and shoving the hat back on. "It's only like, the second week of classes, and my friends have been taking notes and stuff." He scratches his neck. "The teachers have been really helpful and understanding."
Yoongi hums, lips pursing. "Do any of your friends have a car?" he asks pointedly.
Jungkook laughs. "No one can drive me." Namjoon had offered to come pick Jungkook up at their apartments in the morning, but the class that Namjoon TAs starts at 8, and Jungkook can't imagine making him come get him in the middle of the day for however long it takes to heal. "Walking isn't too terrible." He ignores the way his legs ache. "I'm thinking about getting a bus pass but..."
The waitress comes, and Jungkook loses his train of thought as he orders his coffee off of rote memory. He splurges for a sandwich, too. He hasn't been out of the house in so long, he might as well live a little. He doesn't even look at the cost of Yoongi's piece of cake when he orders it. He doesn't have to pay his own medical bills. He can buy Yoongi a meal.
He's about to thank Yoongi again, but Yoongi cuts him off while Jungkook is still tucking the menu back where it belongs. "You really want to get on a bus with a huge cast?" Yoongi is frowning. His nose is scrunched up. He looks appalled. "That sounds awful."
"Well..." It does sound awful. It's definitely not something Jungkook wants to do. He doesn't want to walk to school and he doesn't even really want to have missed classes. But he sure as hell can't tell Yoongi that.
There's a weight in Yoongi's gaze that tells Jungkook he already knows.
Jungkook clears his throat. "I'll figure something out."
Yoongi's face is flat, and Jungkook wonders if maybe it's because Yoongi is trying very hard not to show something else, because when the waitress comes over and gives Yoongi and Jungkook their drinks and sets Yoongi's cake in front of him, he breaks out into a smile, all gums and small teeth, and Jungkook thinks back to when Yoongi visited him in the hospital and remembers seeing it there, too.
He looks a lot younger, when he smiles. Jungkook's not really sure how old Yoongi is, because the Rolex/ratty cardigan combo is really throwing him off. He doesn't really know anything about Yoongi, other than that he's important enough to have a secretary and his car is really nice and he has good taste in coffee.
"So, what do you do?" he asks eventually, slipping his hands down to rest in his lap so that Yoongi can't see the way they jitter nervously. Yoongi's own hands are unwrapping the silverware on the table. They're hands that match his voice, and Jungkook can see how they would be attractive, big and veiny with nice, long fingers. He can see how all of Yoongi would be attractive, if he can get through his nerves long enough to settle in on Yoongi's nose and mouth and eyes and jaw, but his eyes keep trailing to the hair that sticks up on Yoongi's head and the stain on the front of Yoongi's t-shirt and Jungkook is just kind of endeared.
Yoongi looks out the window just a moment before answering. "I'm a music producer."
For a moment, Jungkook doesn't know whether to perk up or to frown in confusion. "That’s so cool!" he says honestly, a little reverently. "I'm actually in school for music. I...didn't think that producers made that much money?" It was one of the major issues with his parents supporting his decision. It was one of the reasons Jungkook is getting in the habit of extreme budgeting.
Yoongi rests his chin on his hand and smiles at Jungkook, almost sleepily. "Usually they don't." His smile turns into a grin. "I'm pretty good, though."
"Anything I'd have heard?"
"Ah..." Yoongi rubs a hand over his neck. "Probably?" He shakes his head. "I work for a big company, but I'm a businessman, too. I get by alright." He pops a bite of chocolate cake into his mouth.
Jungkook thinks back to the bill he got. All those zeroes. "I'm sure."
"You should eat," Yoongi says suddenly, and it's only then that Jungkook remembers the sandwich on the table in front of him.
Yoongi waits patiently for Jungkook to chew and swallow before asking his next question. "What is it you do in music?"
Jungkook takes a drink of his coffee. It's not as good as the kind that Yoongi brought him at the hospital. He dumps in another packet of sugar to give his hands something to do. "I do a lot of things," he admits. "I'm interested in composition and production. I mostly am in vocal performance but..." he laughs. "I hate my voice lessons, so it's a struggle."
"If you want to be good, you need to practice."
"Yeah, I know." Jungkook sighs. "I would just rather be, like, creating stuff than working on old stuff. You know?" Pushing forward. He understands the necessity of good breathing and vowel shape and a clear head voice, but it's nothing new.
"You have to practice creating, too," Yoongi points out. "Nothing you make will sound good right away. Don't you practice production as well?"
"Of course." His first assignment had gone terribly wrong, too heavy in the backing track, bad mixing, and the second time everything was too sparse. He's found a happy medium now. "I can see the progress there, though."
"You should listen to recordings of yourself when you first started," Yoongi advises. "I'm sure you'll be able to hear a difference." He smiles. "You seem like a kid who works hard."
Jungkook doesn't know what to say to that, so he says a small thank you and takes another drink.
Somewhere between an awkward and a comfortable kind of quiet, honestly. Like Jungkook wants to say something and Yoongi wants to say something but they're both stuck because they're people who don't usually say anything. Comfortable with silence but wishing it wasn't there.
Jungkook takes another bite of his sandwich. "Is your car okay?"
Jungkook doesn't know what to do.
"I broke you and you're asking about my car?" Yoongi asks, amused. He shakes his head. "My car is fine, but it hit a person, so I haven't been driving it that much."
Jungkook thinks that Yoongi would have an adverse reaction if he apologized for getting hit by Yoongi's car, so he keeps his mouth shut.
Yoongi sighs, setting his fork down. "Please let me formally apologize for..." He grimaces. "Everything." He closes his eyes. "I...I almost wish you had sued me."
"Uh." Jungkook hadn't even thought about it. "Could I have done that?"
Yoongi blinks at him. "Yeah, and you would have won. Easily. I hit you with my car." He covers his mouth with his hand. Yoongi has a weird habit of being both emotive and blank at the same time. "I would have felt better if you would have sued me."
"That sounds like a lot of work," Jungkook says honestly. "And you paid for everything already. Why would I need to sue you?"
Yoongi looks down at his food. "I can't believe you're trying to buy me lunch."
"Coffee," Jungkook corrects. "It's not my fault you ordered dessert. That wasn't the deal."
"My apologies," Yoongi says with a laugh. "But I still won't ever be able to fix what I've done. It seems silly for you to try and pay me back."
"I..." Jungkook tugs at his bangs. "I wouldn't ever have been able to pay you back for the medical bills." He sighs unhappily. "I would never have asked but...honestly, I probably would have had to drop out of school." Return home and take up some kind of business degree and work in a cubicle. "So maybe the cake is just, like, a thank you."
"Well." Yoongi purses his lips. "You don't need to thank me."
Jungkook takes his fork and reaches over to take a bite off of Yoongi's plate. "Okay." He pops it in his mouth. "I'll take this back, then," he says through chocolate.
Yoongi smiles again. He pushes the plate into the middle of the table. "We can share."
Jungkook stays at the café long past when Yoongi needs to leave to return to work. A part of Jungkook suspects that Yoongi stayed longer than he should have, because he can't think of anyone he knows who has a lunch break that's over two hours long.
It's getting to be well into the afternoon now, and Jungkook has been using his open tab to keep himself caffeinated while he struggles through the homework and the notes and the assignments that have been delivered to his door over the past week. Some of his teachers were kind enough to wave some of the homework, but trying to teach himself music theory from Chanyeol's chicken scratch is hard enough without skimping out on the extra worksheets.
He contemplates buying something to go on his way out for dinner, but he has food at home and he's already spent enough money today, so he makes sure to leave a good tip before making his way up to the counter.
Jungkook is already pulling out his wallet. "I was at that table," he says, pointing over his shoulder as he rifles through to find his debit card. "How much was my total?"
The girl at the register is one that Jungkook recognizes. She's a dance major - she was in one of the dance classes Jungkook elected to take. Long hair and a no-shit attitude. Her name is Eunbi and Jungkook can't remember if they're friends or not.
She looks at her computer blankly. "Zero."
Jungkook blinks. "I'm sorry, I don't think I heard you right."
"Zero." She presses something on the screen. "The other guy at the table put everything on his card before you got here."
"Oh." Jungkook looks towards the door, like maybe Yoongi will be there still even though it's been hours. "That bastard."
The girl snorts. "I wouldn't be too mad," she teases. "Lord knows what I would do to get a free meal."
Realistically, Eunbi probably wouldn't let anyone pay for her in the first place, but Jungkook is too polite to contradict her. "I was supposed to be paying him back."
"You're in college." Eunbi prints off the receipt and hands it to Jungkook. Zero zero zero. "You should accept it when things are free. That's the way we live."
Another girl behind the bar laughs. "Nothing is ever free," she says. She's new. Jungkook hasn't learned her name. "Everyone wants something."
Jungkook looks at the slip of paper in his hand. The crutches dig into his armpits and his leg aches. "I think he just wants to feel better."
She raises her eyebrow. "Is that why he stayed here for over two hours?"
Eunbi looks Jungkook up and down. "Maybe he thinks you're cute."
Jungkook blinks incredulously. "I look like I got hit by a car." His face is puffy and scratched up and he can't really walk.
"People are attracted to all sorts of shit."
With a laugh, Jungkook folds up the receipt and sticks it in his pocket. "I'll take your word for it."
did i not say i was going to be treating you?
What time do you usually leave for school?
idk like 9:30? on mondays
do not avoid the subject
i’m trying to scold you.
i told you i would pay!
Don’t worry about walking to school on Monday
I took care of it
that sounds ominous.
i’m unhappy still -.-
"Jungkook, why is there are very nice looking man standing outside of a very nice looking car holding a sign with your name on it?"
"Uh." Jungkook pokes his head out of the bathroom, toothbrush still in his mouth. "What?"
Taehyung stands away from the window, already dressed in sweats and flip flops, and he gestures wildly. "Nice looking man. Nice looking car. Your name."
Jungkook rinses out his mouth and steps up to the window, and Taehyung is right. There is a nice looking man and there is a nice looking car, and that is definitely his name written very neatly on a piece of cardstock like this is an airport and Jungkook is looking for his taxi driver.
"Do you know him?" Taehyung asks.
"Uh. No." Jungkook is still in his boxers. He hastily throws on a pair of sweatpants, tugging them on over his cast. "I'll go see what's up," he says.
"Get me his number," Taehyung calls as Jungkook picks up his keys, adjusts his crutches, and walks out the door to the elevator.
When Jungkook gets down to the street, the man is still standing there, smiling. He's small, with a soft looking face and artfully styled hair. "Hello," he chirps. His voice is high. "Are you Jeon Jungkook?"
"Yes, I am...him. He. I am he." Jungkook is bewildered.
"I'm Jimin." He bows. "Yoongi sent me to drive you to school."
"Uh." Jungkook looks at the car behind Jimin. It's really nice, big and sleek, shiny black and expensive. "I don't know if that's necessary."
Jimin shrugs. "I'm already here." He grins. "Also, if that's your roommate who has been staring at me for the past ten minutes, he's welcome to come along, too."
Jungkook looks up at the window of their apartment, and sees a flutter of movement as Taehyung probably catapults himself backwards away from the glass and out of sight. "He would probably like to be included in the ride." Taehyung has a type, and Jimin definitely fits the bill - soft and cute, with a pretty smile. "He will flirt with you."
"I'll keep that in mind," Jimin says pleasantly.
"I..." Jungkook shakes his thoughts away. "Give us like, ten minutes."
"I'm early anyway," Jimin says cheerfully, pulling his phone out of his pocket. "I'm happy to wait."
Whenever Jungkook makes his way back up to the apartment, Taehyung is at the window again wearing a completely different outfit. Jungkook laughs. "Tae."
Taehyung looks at Jungkook over his shoulder. "What." He knows what. He's already picking at the hem of the button up he miraculously dug out of his closet. "I decided I should look nice for your first day back at school. It's a celebration."
"I haven't seen you wear pants that tight since middle school," Jungkook notes with a snort. "At least when you're not planning on getting drunk and hooking up in an alley."
"These pants have been nothing but good to me," Taehyung sniffs.
"They look like they hurt."
"You're hurting their feelings."
Jungkook grins. "I warned him you'd flirt with him."
Taehyung's eyes flit back outside again. "That's fine. It's better to be prepared, you know?" He looks at Jungkook excitedly. "What's his name?"
Taehyung coos. "What's his favorite color? What did he want to be as a child?"
"Ask him yourself." Jungkook throws Taehyung's backpack at him. "He's driving us to class."
"Jungkook," Taehyung says seriously. "I have never been thankful that you're an invalid, but I could kiss you for getting hit by that car."
"Inconsiderate," Jungkook chirps with a smile. "I told him ten minutes, but you can probably go down and talk to him while I get my stuff."
But Taehyung is setting his backpack down. "Do you need any help?" He's already moving towards the kitchen. "You haven't even eaten."
Jungkook rolls his eyes, throwing the papers sprawled out on his desk into his backpack haphazardly. "Just grab a couple of granola bars and an apple and go flirt. I'll be right down."
He's not surprised when he hears the door open and slam closed. With a grin, he goes out into the living room again and watches Taehyung burst out of the doors of their apartment building before trying to regain some sense of chill as he makes his way towards the car. Jimin doesn't look up from his phone, but Jungkook doesn't miss the small smile Jimin tries to hide when Taehyung casually leans against the tree on the sidewalk by where the car is parked.
By the time Jungkook meanders down to the street, Taehyung is talking to Jimin rather enthusiastically about his dog. "Do you ever think," Jungkook starts, once he's close enough to realize that Taehyung is showing Jimin pictures of Soonshim on his phone, "that it might be alarming, how many photos of your dog you have?"
Taehyung is about to reply with something smart, but Jimin plucks the phone from Taehyung's hand and swipes back through the folder of dog pictures. "I don't know," he says, holding it up for Jungkook to see. It's a picture of Soonshim curled up by the fireplace. "I think it's cute." He smiles. "I've always wanted a dog."
Taehyung looks at Jungkook smugly. "Jiminie and I can share, then."
"'Jiminie?'" Jungkook grins.
Jimin blushes, just a little, but they're not friends, so Jungkook won't tease him about it.
"So is this just for today?" Jungkook asks after Jimin helps him into the car and situates his crutches in the back seat. It's plenty big, downright spacious. Even Taehyung has plenty of leg room, and their backpacks and Jungkook's crutches are easily placed on the floor. Jungkook has his bad leg in Taehyung's lap. "I appreciate it a lot but--"
"I've been told to drive you to and from campus until your leg heals," Jimin answers simply, adjusting the heat as he pulls away from the side of the road and makes his way down the street.
"Really?" Taehyung asks excitedly.
"Really?" Jungkook isn't sure how he feels. "That seems like a lot of work."
Jimin laughs. Jungkook ignores the sound Taehyung makes. "Driving is my job. When I'm not here, I drive Yoongi around. You're much lower maintenance." Jimin rolls his eyes. "I have to constantly remind that man to behave, I swear."
"Doesn't he have places to be?" Jungkook attempts.
"He goes to work at 9." Jimin switches through the radio stations. Something jazzy and soft plays out of the speakers. "I'll just come here after I drop him off."
"Tuesday/Thursdays our classes start at 11," Taehyung points out, opening one of the granola bars he supposedly brought along for Jungkook.
"Then I'll go get a coffee. Even better."
"I'll go with you," Taehyung offers immediately. "If you need...coffee company. I will provide that for you."
"You're too kind," Jimin says casually, but Jungkook sees him smirking in the rearview mirror.
Jungkook slips his phone out of his pocket while Taehyung tries to control his heart eyes.
are you really going to send jimin to pick us up everyday?
thank you but it’s really not necessary!!!
I’m the reason you can barely walk
I don’t think that’s unreasonable
you already paid for everything.
There are more inconveniences than hospital bills
Would you rather hobble around for however long?
i just don’t want you to...
idk i don’t want you to think i haven’t forgiven you or something
Jungkook is waiting for Yoongi's response when he realizes that the car has stopped.
"Jungkook." Taehyung is trying to pick Jungkook's leg up off of his lap gently enough to not jostle the injury. "We're here."
Jimin is already climbing out of the driver's seat, coming around the front to open up Jungkook's door, picking up his crutches and holding out a hand to help Jungkook out. "Do you need any further help? I can carry something, if you need me to."
"No, thank you," Jungkook answers, even as Taehyung gives an enthusiastic yes, please. He takes Jimin's hand and scoots himself off of the leather seat, allows Taehyung to help him with his backpack and takes the crutches from Jimin, and doesn't check his phone until he gets to music theory and is waiting for his teacher to start droning on.
Maybe I just want to help you
Jungkook isn't sure why he didn't realize that he gave the hospital his home address as well. His parents are still listed as his next of kin. Jungkook doesn't hate his parents. He has no real reason to take them off.
But it does make things a little awkward.
"Jeon Jungkook," his mother chastises, voice tinny in the voicemail. "You had better call me or your father right now. I have a hospital bill in my hand."
His mom leaves voicemails rarely. Almost as rarely as Jungkook actually answers when his mom or dad call. Usually it's only if she actually has something to talk about -- "Your cousin is getting married. I need to know if you'd like to attend so I can RSVP." -- or if she's really lonely -- "Just calling to check in. Your father and I miss you. You don't need to call back."
It bothers Jungkook that he's so bitter. That he can feel himself slowly cutting them off from his life. He wants to be a good son, but it's hard sometimes. It's hard when he wants to call his dad for advice but knows all he'll hear is that he should come home, or when he's homesick and wants the support his mom used to give him that doesn't exist anymore. It's hard when he knows his parents don't think he can do it on his own.
Maybe he can't.
He hadn't meant to keep his injuries from them. At the beginning he hadn't wanted to tell them until he had a plan on how to pay off his debt because he didn't want to be pressured into accepting their help. Once the bills got paid, he had been so caught up in what was happening that he hadn't even thought about updating them. He doesn't remember the last time he accepted one of their calls.
"I don't know why you kept this from us," his mother is saying in her message. She sighs and Jungkook feels like a bad person. "Please call me." The message ends with a beep and Jungkook slumps in his seat.
He's not sure he really wants to have this conversation in the middle of the quad, but if he puts it off he knows he'll never do it. It's already been nearly three weeks since the accident. Jimin has been dutifully driving him to school with Taehyung tagging along and making a general spectacle of himself trying to gain the driver's favor. Two days ago he even sat in the passenger's seat. Jungkook hadn't minded the extra leg room but heaving himself out of the seat was somehow more difficult when he was alone. Taehyung returned to the backseat after that.
Yoongi has been a constant presence, though distant. They text often. It's graduated from thank you thank you thank you into...Jungkook isn't sure. Sometimes Jungkook will express a frustration with his classes or a teacher or, rarely, Taehyung, and Yoongi will answer with the kind of steady advice you'd expect from someone who has their shit together. Jungkook always feels a strange mixture of young and safe and kind of out of his league.
Other days, Yoongi will send him a picture of him at work, a picture of his computer screen, a snippet of audio, and Jungkook tries not to let on how impressed he is but he thinks he might stray a little too much into fangirling to be subtle. He's always loved music. That's why he fights so hard for it. And he doesn't know much, but Yoongi seems to be very good at his job.
The best times are when Yoongi sends Jungkook snippets of his day instead. That the barista got his order wrong and gave him a free brownie to make up for it. That he saw a dog named Dooly and was allowed to pet it. That he found a new reality television show and he hates that he loves it so much.
It feels comfortable.
Like they're friends.
Except that Jungkook owes him so much and Yoongi lives a life that Jungkook can't even imagine right now and everything is kind of unbalanced if you think about it too hard. Jungkook is both thrown off by it and indifferent towards it. His feelings are complicated.
He has no idea how to even start explaining that situation to his mother, but he presses the call back button anyway and just prays she won't ask.
The phone rings.
Jungkook takes a deep breath. "Hi, Mom."
"Jungkook!" Her voice is stern. "What is going on? This letter says that you were in the hospital for multiple days?" She sounds almost panicked and Jungkook feels like shit. "What happened?"
"I." Jungkook clears his throat. "I got hit by a car."
"It's okay, I'm okay," he placates. "I mean, I'm injured. My leg is broken. But I'm not dead or anything." Of course he's not dead. Stupid. "It was...about three weeks ago now."
"And you just decided not to tell us?" she scolds. Jungkook can almost see the way her eyes get wider, the way they always do when she's mad. "You were in the hospital, Jungkook. This letter says there was surgery. That's a big thing not to tell your parents."
A part of Jungkook wants to get snippy, because his parents effectively gave up their rights to be involved in his life when they told him he would have to get through college on his own if he didn't do what they wanted. They have no right to know anymore.
But they're his parents.
"Sorry," he says quietly.
She sighs again. He can picture her standing by the window of her bedroom, where she usually takes phone calls, rubbing the crease in her forehead. It's been so long since they've seen each other but Jungkook knows the image so well. His mom when she's frustrated. "Is all of your class stuff taken care of? Have you been resting at home?"
"I took a week off." Jungkook settles in as much as he can on the bench. He tries to keep his voice down and not look too uncomfortable. There's no where on campus that doesn't feel like it's in public, and the students walking around to get from class to class doesn't help, but the anonymity of being one of a hundred helps him feel less embarrassed even when he wants to hide under a rock. "I had a doctor's note and everything. Tae and some of my other friends kept me up to date on the assignments." Namjoon almost taught him a whole week of lectures from his music history course. Namjoon's not even in that class this semester and he still knows the information like the back of his hand.
"That's good." There's a pause. "Do you feel okay?"
"Yeah," he says truthfully. His leg aches when the weather gets kind of bad and it itches to hell and back, and his ribs ache pretty much all the time, and he gets tired really easily, but he's trying to wean himself off of the pain medication and he can get through a whole class without focusing on what hurts. "The leg is annoying." He hates being dependent on other people.
"That's good." Jungkook hates that things are so awkward between them but he doesn't know what to do about it.
He should have expected it, but he still panics when she says, "So, about the bill."
Inwardly, he groans. Outwardly, he tries not to groan and probably does a little bit anyway. "It's taken care of," he tries, voice soft. He wants to not have this conversation and he doesn't know why.
"I can see that." There's the crinkling of paper as his mother presumably looks at the letter from the hospital. "Thousands of dollars, paid off in a day." Her voice is suspicious. "How exactly did you manage that?"
Did you get involved in anything?
"It was Yoongi," he says after a moment. "It wasn't me."
"Yoongi? Who is Yoongi?"
"He's..." Jungkook grimaces. "He's the guy who hit me. He paid all the bills."
A long silence. "He has that kind of money?"
"Yeah." Probably more than that kind of money. "He's really nice and generous. He has someone give Tae and I rides to and from school and he...he's nice."
"And he pays all of your hospital bills?" There's something hidden under his mother's voice. "What about the physical therapy?"
"I...haven't thought that far," Jungkook admits. "I imagine he'll be paying for that, too." Yoongi hasn't mentioned it, but he's been very firm about paying for all of Jungkook's expenses so far. They're currently locked in an argument about Yoongi helping with Jungkook's rent since Jungkook's shifts at the café on campus had to be cut. "He's been very generous."
"Generous." She chews that word around for a moment. "And what do you do for him?"
"Um." Jungkook shifts on the uncomfortable bench. It's hard to tell if it's the bench that's uncomfortable or if it's just him. "I talk to him." That's true.
His mother is quiet. Jungkook can feel judgement from across city lines. "Jeon Jungkook," she says slowly. "Are you giving yourself to this man so he'll pay for you?"
"I." Jungkook blinks. He laughs. It sounds panicked. "What? No!"
"A wealthy man is paying this much money for you? He'd probably pay less if you sued him. All in one day means it was out of pocket."
"He felt bad, Mom! He hit me with a car!"
"And you stay in contact." She sniffs. "Jungkook, you don't need to go that far to prove yourself to us."
"I'm not...going anywhere?" Jungkook tries, mystified. "I'm not doing anything with Yoongi."
"No one is going to spend this much money on you if they don't want something," she informs him, like it's a rule. Like she knows anything. Maybe she does. "Are you honestly expecting me to believe that this rich, probably older, more established man is dropping thousands of dollars on you without any expectations?"
"Yes?" It sounds weak but it's the truth. "He's just a nice guy! He's taking care of me." As soon as it's out of his mouth, he knows it's probably not the best thing to say to help his case.
"Jungkook..." His mom sounds almost alarmingly sincere. "You don't have to give yourself away to make this dream work. Is it really worth that?"
"I...?" Jungkook doesn't know what to say. "I would never do that, Mom. You know that." Jungkook can't bring himself to even have sex, much less give it away for money without the incentive of feelings. "I'm not doing that." He's almost angry. She knows him. He would never.
"You can come home, baby, before it comes to that."
His stomach churns. "If I go home, I can't sing," he says flatly. "That's not worth it."
It's only after he's hung up that he realizes that might have hurt her.
is this jimin? it's jungkook.
tae gave me your number.
Yes, this is Jimin!
Do you need anything?
i'm not feeling very well.
would you be able to come pick me up?
tae will enjoy spending time alone with you on the way home later lol.
I can be there in about 20 minutes
Do you need anything? Or just straight home?
i don't really want to be alone rn.
not sure how much you can help with that lmao.
Actually, I probably can!
I'll see what I can do ;)
"Jimin?" Jungkook looks out the window and sees nothing familiar. The trees are well kept and all the lawns are so green it makes Jungkook remember the golf course next to his parents' house. "Where are we?"
The houses look too nice, like doll houses except designed by someone who is really into modern design. Everything is a perfect square, all harsh corners and glass, fitting oddly well in with the gardens carefully kept by the long ass driveways. Jungkook doesn't see a single car anywhere but he imagines they'd all be sparkly and nice and out of Jungkook's imaginable pay grade.
"This is where Yoongi lives," Jimin says casually, like Jungkook's heart doesn't start beating too hard to be healthy. He's grinning and Jungkook kind of wants to die.
"Jimin," Jungkook says slowly. "I am wearing a cardigan and my Timbs. I am not dressed to be within a mile-radius of this much money."
Jimin snorts. "It's really a toss-up as to whether Yoongi was even wearing pants when I called to let him know I was bringing you over. Trust me." Jimin pulls into the driveway. "You'll be fine."
Jungkook makes a sound in the back of his throat like he's being strangled and tries not to look like he's about to shit himself as Jimin inputs the code to unlock the gate and they're inside.
Jimin drives into the garage and it's not quite what Jungkook pictured. He imagined something like in Iron Man. Tony Stark's ridiculously expensive car collection, all shiny paint jobs in bright colors and sparkling white walls. Instead there are three cars, including the one Jimin drives. One of them is the one Jungkook is pretty sure hit him almost a month ago.
"Yoongi doesn't drive that one anymore," Jimin notes, getting out of the car and opening the door to help Jungkook. "Can't imagine I'd like to, either. He was really shaken up by the accident." He tuts. "I'm surprised he didn't offer to buy you a house. He was pacing his room whenever he wasn't waiting at the hospital for you."
Jungkook releases a heavy breath as Jimin hauls him out of the car and hands him his crutches. "I'm so glad he didn't buy me a house."
Jimin pauses. "That's probably why he likes you." He smiles. "He's probably thinking about it."
"He'd really better not," Jungkook presses. "How would I ever pay him back for that?"
"I don't think he wants you to," Jimin notes, helping Jungkook up the stairs to the door into the house. "He doesn't expect you to pay him back for the hospital bills. He's the one who caused them."
"What about the rides?" Jungkook demands. "He's talking about helping me with rent! He doesn't need to do any of that!"
"Well." Jimin ushers Jungkook through the door. "I did say he likes you."
Jungkook doesn't know why. He's a college student. He has nothing to offer. He looked like shit the first time they met, all puffy and high on medication. His mother's words ring through his head. Eunbi's words. "I have nothing to give him."
Jungkook's head snaps up, and there, at the end of the hallway, is Yoongi.
The inside of the house is more comfortable than Jungkook might have expected from how modern and clean the outside is. The hallway is painted a light brown, and there are pictures hung up on the wall of a lot of people Jungkook has never seen before. He thinks one of them might be a picture of Yoongi and the doctor that treated Jungkook in the hospital and one other man. Pictures of Yoongi and two older people, a man and a woman Jungkook assumes are his parents. Jungkook barely looks at them.
It's all tastefully designed, accents of dark red that complement the warm colored walls, and Jungkook doesn't know whether Yoongi did it himself or hired someone else, but it feels warm and natural.
Yoongi is wearing pajama pants and slippers.
His hair is combed, still blonde, his eyebrows dark, but otherwise, he looks a little bit of a mess. He has one hand in his oversized hoodie and the other one holds a neon green mug with a minimalist alien face drawn on one side.
"Which one of you is the college student?" Jimin chirps, taking his jacket off and hanging it over the coat rack. Jungkook doesn't know if he's ever actually seen a real coat rack.
"The one with crippling student loans," Jungkook says.
Yoongi squints at him. Opens his mouth.
"No," Jungkook interrupts.
Yoongi's mouth clicks shut.
"I'm taking my lunch break," Jimin says, walking down the hallway. "You have at least an hour before I'm back on the clock. Take as long as you'd like." He slaps Yoongi gently on the ass as he passes him and goes into the kitchen.
"The lack of professionalism is astonishing," Yoongi drawls to no one.
Jungkook is still standing by the door.
After a moment of them both trying to figure out something to say, Yoongi holds up his mug. "Do you want coffee?"
Jungkook sighs gratefully. "I would die for some coffee."
"Your music library is insane," Jungkook notes in awe. It takes up two large bookshelves on either side of his huge television, and Jungkook took a break from admiring the general splendor to run his hands over the mixture of old vinyls and cds. There are even some cassettes in a little basket. Jungkook hasn't seen a cassette player in years. "How long have you been working on this?"
"Some of these are from when I was a child," Yoongi admits. He's standing behind the big couch, elbows resting on the back of it, coffee in hand. Jungkook's own mug is warm in his hands. "A lot of them are gifts." He laughs. It's a nice sound. "Some of them I had to hunt for."
Jungkook had been worried he'd be uncomfortable, but this is the longest he's been in Yoongi's presence since their coffee...thing, and Jungkook hasn't thought that Yoongi was above him even once. Yoongi has an easy way of existing, where he knows where he is and welcomes other people into his space and doesn't care whether they accept it or not. It's hard to be intimidated when Yoongi is in his pajamas.
"Why is this shelf set aside?" Jungkook asks. There's a shelving unit set up on the wall, nailed in place, and besides a little baby cactus it's filled with albums. Almost all of them Jungkook recognizes. Some of them are his favorites. He wonders if these are Yoongi's favorites, too.
"Oh." Yoongi takes a sip of his coffee. "Those are albums I've worked on."
Jungkook's brain short circuits. "What?" he asks blankly.
Yoongi walks over and picks one of theM up, completely missing the alarms that are whirring in Jungkook's head. "I told you I was a music producer. These are some of the albums I've been the most involved in."
Jungkook snatches the album from Yoongi's hand. He recognizes it. Played it for a month straight when it came out. "You work with Genius Lab?" If it's true, Jungkook might burst into tears.
"Yeah." Yoongi raises his eyebrows, his little mouth falling open a little in surprise. Jungkook doesn't know what his face is doing but he's sure it's probably more intense than is necessary. "I own Genius Lab."
Jungkook is holding the album so tightly he's afraid he might crack the practice. "Are you fucking kidding me?"
"Uh." Yoongi looks off to the side awkwardly. "No?"
"Genius Lab is what made me want to pursue music," Jungkook says honestly. "And you own it?" He looks down at the credits on the back of the album. "You're Agust D?"
"I have..." Yoongi swallows, almost nervous, "many names." He takes a slow drink of his coffee. "I have a name as a producer and I have a name when I work as an artist. And then, like, my real name." He grimaces. "It's very confusing. But I don't really like people knowing who I am. It gets messy."
Jungkook raises an eyebrow. "You sing?" Of course he sings. Yoongi does fucking everything.
Yoongi just laughs. "Poorly," he answers."
Jungkook breathes a sigh of relief.
Jungkook blinks. "Excuse me."
Yoongi reaches up on the shelf again and pulls out another album, this one in just a paper sleeve. When he slides the CD out and holds it up to show Jungkook, the front reads Gloss. "This wasn't widely promoted or anything but--"
"Please tell me this isn't you, too," Jungkook begs. "I don't know if I can handle it if Gloss and Agust D and you are all the same person."
Yoongi purses his lips for a moment before shrugging. "It's okay if you don't like it. There's a reason it wasn't promoted a lot. It was never meant to make money."
"Didn't like it?" Jungkook asks incredulously. "Yoongi, Gloss is one of the most well-respected rappers on the scene right now!" He's almost angry. "People have been trying to figure out who he is for like, years!"
"Surprise." Jazz hands. "It's me."
"This is ridiculous." Jungkook stares at both of the CDs. "You can't be Agust D and Gloss and you, that's so confusing."
"Now you know how I afford the Rolex, though." Yoongi laughs, slipping the mixtape into the paper sleeve and setting it back on the shelf carefully, next to his cactus.
Jungkook stares at it blankly. "It was listening to that album that made me want to pursue music," he says listlessly, like he can't believe it himself. He remembers that night exactly, sitting in his old dumpy car listening to music with Taehyung, who was drunk to the point of falling asleep in the passenger's seat. He's glad that Taehyung wasn't awake, because crying alone in the middle of the night thinking about the future is embarrassing for anyone, but especially a high school boy. He still cries a little, when he listens to it and remembers. Gloss hadn’t had it easy. It was a strange kind of camaraderie, knowing that someone else had suffered and still managed to succeed in something that seems impossible. "My parents wanted me to do business."
"Business isn't a bad degree," Yoongi notes, settling back to lean against the wall behind him. "If you like it."
"I hate it." Jungkook scowls. "I hate even the idea of it."
"I'm in business, you know," Yoongi reminds him. "I'm a business owner. It's hard work, even if I love what I'm making."
"They wanted me to be an accountant," Jungkook says dully. "Or a pharmacist. Or something. Something practical. I doubt they would have been picky." It wasn't easy, the morning after his revelation, when he came bounding down the stairs because he finally knew what he wanted to do and his dad had shot the idea down before it even really fully formed. "I tried to wrap my mind around it for about a year and a half but..." He circles the rim of his coffee cup with his thumb, eyes far away. "This was the music program I applied for," he admits. Him and Taehyung had driven three hours without their parents knowing to audition. "When I got in, I thought...I don't know. I figured that meant something."
"It does." Yoongi tilts his head to the side, mug resting on his knee. "It's a good school. They don't just hand out spots in their music department."
"Acceptance rates are only 6%," Jungkook recites, laughing a little. It's bitter, but maybe that's just the coffee. "My parents weren't even proud of me."
Yoongi frowns. "You don't know that," he says. "They just..." He tries to think of the right thing to say. Jungkook can see that much on his face. "They love you," he says finally. "They want what's best for you."
Yeah, well." Jungkook sighs. "They cut me off financially and I haven't seen them since I left for college three years ago."
Yoongi looks stricken. "I'm sorry."
"It's fine." His leg is starting to ache. "Is it okay I take a seat?"
Yoongi jerks up to stand, helping Jungkook situate himself on the couch before taking the seat next to him, careful of his coffee.
"They gave me an ultimatum and never expected me to take it," Jungkook continues, once he's settled. He laughs. "I have to put myself through school if I want to go for music. Before I knew you were taking care of the medicals bills, I...I was going to have to ask them for help, and then..." He shakes his head. "By their rules, I would have to go home."
"But you're almost done?" Yoongi says incredulously. He's turned slightly to face Jungkook. This is the closest they've ever been "I mean, closer to the end than the beginning. You're a junior, right?"
"I worked out stuff with financial aid and jobs and everything but..." Jungkook shrugs. "It won't be their money that's wasted, I guess."
"I won't let that happen," Yoongi says earnestly.
Jungkook laughs. "You are not paying my student loans."
"It's not unmanageable or anything," Jungkook says. "Lots of budgeting. Don't get to eat out that much. Taehyung is from a wealthy family and thinks I don't notice when he buys the groceries when it should be my turn." He smiles fondly. "I don't get the like, little luxuries or anything, but it's not anything I can't live without."
"What would you buy?" Yoongi asks curiously. "If you had the money to spend? A vacation?"
Jungkook laughs, scratching his neck. "A vacation sounds nice but..." He thinks. "I had to sell all my games and consoles and stuff when I decided to go here. I'd probably buy something like that. Just for fun." He shrugs. "It's not worth trying to save the money up for, though. When I splurge, it's usually on food."
Yoongi smiles softly. "A true college student."
"Food is universal," Jungkook protests. "I'll be splurging on food when I'm older and less broke, too."
"I still splurge on food," Yoongi says. "I got some really good beef at the store the other day but I got excited and bought too much." He purses his lips and looks at Jungkook. "Have you eaten lunch yet?"
Jungkook is about to open his mouth when Jimin walks into the room.
"Boss," he says coyly, fluttering his eyelashes. "My lunch break is over." He smiles at Jungkook. "Should I take you home? Or back to school, or?"
Yoongi deflates and Jungkook tries not to notice.
"I think I'd like to stay, if that's alright," he says after a moment. He grins at Yoongi. "I think Yoongi is making lunch."
Jimin's smile grows a little broader. "Yoongi's never made me lunch."
"That's because you're on some weird diet I can't keep track of!" Yoongi snaps.
Jimin just laughs. "Sure." He grins at Jungkook. "I'll see you and Taehyung tomorrow morning then."
"Ah!" Jungkook remembers suddenly. "Will you still pick Taehyung up from school today? I can tell him to walk, but--"
"I can pick him up," Jimin answers quickly.
Yoongi snickers. "Jimin would love to pick Taehyung up."
Jimin casually flips Yoongi off and then leaves the two of them alone.
"Should I call you Gloss or Agust D now?" Jungkook asks.
Jungkook forgets why he was upset in the first place.
Three to five business days later, Jungkook checks his mail and sees a package he wasn't expecting.
Quietly, Jungkook turns his head to look at where Taehyung just walked in through the front door. He's sitting in the middle of the living room floor, casted leg awkwardly laying out. The lights aren't even on. Jungkook hadn't even realized the sun had set.
In front of his is bubblewrap and broken cardboard.
"Is that..." Taehyung squints in the dark, flipping the light on. "Is that a PS4?"
Jungkook looks back at the box. "Yeah," he says, disbelieving. There are four or five games on the floor beside it. Jungkook's hand is resting on Persona 5. He hasn't owned his own video games in three years.
Taehyung sets his bag down by the door and walks over, squatting down at Jungkook's side. "Yoongi?"
"I...guess?" Jungkook has no idea who else it would have been, except that he'd mentioned to Yoongi that this is what he would want. Yoongi hasn't said anything about it. This isn't something that's been affected because of Jungkook's injuries. The bills, the rent, the rides -- all of those things are things that are necessary since the accident.
Jungkook's leg doesn't keep him from owning a console.
Taehyung flops down, moving some of the games out of his way, picking one of them up and inspecting it for a moment with a considering look before setting it inside. "What are you thinking about?" he asks.
Jungkook's eyes are far away. "Do you think Yoongi wants something from me?"
"Well." Taehyung sighs. "It seems likely." He frowns. "I don't know Yoongi very well."
"Do you think he seems like the sort of person to have a sugar baby?" Jungkook asks worriedly.
Taehyung snorts. "Um. I mean, in that he could sustain a sugar baby, sure."
"I don't want to be a sugar baby," Jungkook says. "I don't want to accept these things and then he wants sex in return. Tae, I can't do that."
Slowly, Taehyung brings a hand up and places it on Jungkook's head. "You don't have to do that," he says carefully. "Even if that is what he wants, you can say no."
"I don't want him to want that!" Jungkook says miserably. "I want...I don't want that."
"I know." Taehyung wraps a hand around Jungkook's head and forcibly move it to rest on his shoulder. "You can't control it if that's what he wants."
"I just want him to..." Jungkook isn't sure what he wants. But if Yoongi wants that kind of relationship from him, and that's why he's sticking around, Jungkook would rather it end, even though the idea makes him hurt and he's not sure why. "I don't want him to want something I can't give him."
Taehyung chews on his lower lip. "He seems like a nice guy," he says slowly.
"He is." Jungkook slumps. "That's not the problem."
"I know it's not." Taehyung rubs Jungkook's back. "But I'm just saying, like..." He grimaces, trying to organize his words. "Maybe he doesn't want that? Maybe you're worried over nothing."
"Why would he buy me this?" Jungkook demands. "If he doesn't want anything?"
Taehyung shrugs. "I didn't say he doesn't want anything. He just might not want sex." He tilts his head to the side, the same way Yoongi did at his house the other day. Jungkook doesn't know why he's reminded of that, when this is a different situation, and Taehyung is a different person. "Everyone who loves anyone wants something."
Jungkook stiffens. "Who said anything about love?" he asks weakly.
"Baby," Taehyung says fondly, pinching Jungkook's cheek. "Everyone who likes anyone. I like you, and when I do things for you, I want you to like me back and be my friend and maybe give me affection." He shrugs again. "That's how it works. There's nothing wrong with that." Taehyung moves a game aside gently with his foot. "Maybe Yoongi just wants affection, too."
"That..." Jungkook swallows. "That doesn't sound bad."
"No." Taehyung smiles, running a hand through Jungkook's hair.
"That sounds nice," Jungkook says quietly.
"Good." Taehyung shifts, pulling Jungkook up off of his shoulder and looking at him very seriously. "Do you want to hook this up and play Witcher?"
Yoongi is standing in front of Jungkook's apartment building. "Good morning," he says casually, like he's supposed to be there at 9:30 on a random ass Wednesday. His black jeans have rips in them and his hair is clearly styled to be a mess. The only sign that he is not, in fact, a poor college student, is how white his shirt is under his jacket and the expensive car behind him. Jungkook hates that he looks for the Rolex but he loves that it's there.
"Good morning," Jungkook replies, trying not to sound surprised. "Come here...often?"
Yoongi laughs. "Jimin took the day off," he tells him, stepping aside as Jungkook comes closer to the car. "I figured it would be easier to just come get you myself instead of scrambling to call someone else."
Jungkook knows for a fact that Yoongi is usually at work by 9, but he also doesn't know what to do with that information. "Funny," he notes instead with a smile. "Taehyung told me he's skipping his classes today."
"Jimin did seem rather excited." Yoongi grins. "I wonder if there is a correlation." He goes to open the backdoor.
"Please don't chauffeur me," Jungkook begs, hiking his backpack up on his shoulder. "That's weird."
Wordlessly, Yoongi slide his hand across the car door and opens up the passenger's side instead. "I live to serve," he say solemnly, but his face can't hold it for too long before it breaks out into something softer. "Will there be enough room for your leg?"
"Something tells me your car has plenty of leg room," Jungkook answers, taking off his backpack and setting it on the ground before leaning his crutches carefully against the side of the car.
Yoongi presses a button and the chair slides back before reaching out a hand and helping Jungkook into the car like a princess at a ball, maintaining a polite distance.
"I'll fall," Jungkook warns, tottering a little, and Yoongi holds his hand a little tighter and puts his other one at Jungkook's waist until he's sitting in the car, leg situated and face a little red.
Carefully, Yoongi closes the car door. Jungkook watches him pick up Jungkook's bag and the crutches through the tinted window until Yoongi throws them gently in the back seat. He does not watch Yoongi walk around the car using the rearview mirror, and his eyes do not snap casually back to the front when Yoongi opens up the driver's side.
"Aren't you usually a work?" he asks, watching Yoongi's hand turn the key in the ignition. They're nice hands. Jungkook makes sure not to watch too closely.
Yoongi hums affirmatively. "It's not a super busy day," he admits. "I set my own schedule usually...I've been trying not to be at work so late recently, so I've been making sure to get there at a reasonable time." He shrugs, flipping through the radio. The system has shit that lights up and it looks high-tech and complicated and Jungkook is drooling. "I can lose an hour today, though." Yoongi smiles. "Maybe an hour and a half, if I go get a muffin or some shit."
"Can I skip class too and go get a muffin?" Jungkook laughs, but he means it. Only a little. Skipping when he's already behind sounds like an absolute disaster but also he really wants breakfast.
Breakfast with Yoongi sounds a lot better than sitting through a lecture.
"See if you can convince Jimin to let you skip class," Yoongi says. "I'm a responsible adult."
"And Jimin's not?"
Yoongi snorts. "No."
"Because Jimin told me you can barely remember to feed yourself," Jungkook teases. "He says he has to take care of you."
There's pink blooming on Yoongi's neck. "That's untrue," he says stiffly. "I lived on my own well before I hired Jimin." He huffs. "That kid is too familiar."
"It's probably because you let him bully you," Jungkook notes. "And you bully him back."
"It's a special relationship." Yoongi sighs but he's smiling. "If he does end up doing something with Taehyung I can guarantee you I'll get a really gross text about how cute their day was."
Jungkook snickers into his hand. "Taehyung has been moony eyed since the first day you sent Jimin over. You might be able to convince him to name his first child after you."
"Kim Yoongi." Yoongi considers it. "It would certainly be an honor."
"Yeah, you're right." He laughs. "If they get married Jimin would definitely win that battle." He chews on the inside of his mouth. "Getting him to name his child after me would probably be a harder sell."
"Oh, I don't know." Jungkook looks out the window. "He loves you a lot." Jimin talks about Yoongi often, and not always because Jungkook asks. "I think he might."
Yoongi doesn't reply, just makes a considering noise in the back of his throat as Jungkook's campus comes into view. "You'll have to direct me to the right building."
"Turn left by that big gray one," Jungkook says absently. He forgets how short of a drive it is. "Will you be here to pick me up?"
Yoongi nods. "Where and what time?"
"I probably get done with stuff before you get done with work," Jungkook notes reluctantly. "My last class ends a little before three." He thinks for a moment. "I might be able to ask Namjoon..."
"I'll be here," Yoongi says firmly. "It's not a problem." He pulls to the side of the road beside a building Jungkook waves him towards. "I'll pick you up...here? At three?"
Jungkook smiles. "Here works."
He's still smiling after Yoongi has helped him out of the car and he's still smiling in his lecture.
"It wasn't the same guy who usually drives you around this morning."
Jungkook looks up from his sandwich. "Hello to you, too."
Namjoon grins, sliding into the chair across from Jungkook's table. "What are you doing?"
"Studying," Jungkook says. "And trying to consume my sandwich in peace."
"How unfortunate." Namjoon puts down a banana in front of Jungkook and takes one of his chips. "I'm here to bother you."
"I'm a good kid, so I'll let you." He grins. "Yoongi brought me to school because Jimin went on a date with Taehyung and ditched me."
"Taehyung's priorities are in order." Namjoon whistles. "He's been talking about that guy non-stop for like..."
"Literally since they met?" Jungkook snorts. "Once he let Tae show him all of those pictures of Soonshim I knew it was love."
Namjoon makes a noise around the huge bite of food he just took. Jungkook thinks it was supposed to be a laugh. "Is Yoongi going to be picking you up later?" Namjoon asks, once he's swallowed and taken a huge drink of coffee to clear his throat. His fingers are jittery. Jungkook wonders what cup he's on.
"Yeah." Jungkook frowns. "Why?"
Namjoon shrugs, but it looks twitchy and suspicious. "I'd like to talk to him," he says finally, because Jungkook hasn't stopped staring.
"Namjoon," Jungkook groans. "You're not my dad."
"I'm kind of your dad!" he argues. "College is a delicate time! I raised your college self!"
"I raised my college self!" Jungkook rolls his eyes. "I already have a dad." He takes an aggressive bite of his sandwich.
Namjoon sniffs. "I maintain my right to vet your suitors."
"Okay, 1) he's not my suitor," Jungkook replies waspishly. "And 2) you're worse than Tae."
"Taehyung would be interrogating the shit out of this guy if he wasn't chasing ass right now," Namjoon points out, pushing his glasses up further on his nose. "So I have to interrogate twice as much."
"Don't scare him off." Jungkook pauses. "Actually, I'm not sure you could scare him off. I get the feeling he's a big deal." Namjoon is tall and intelligent, but he's as intimidating as a noodle unless someone pisses him off or he's in a rap battle or he's like, tutoring you in math and accidentally making you feel like an idiot. Which has happened. Jungkook doesn't want to talk about it.
"I'm a big deal in certain circles," Namjoon says primly, delicately opening his water bottle and spilling it all over his lap.
Jungkook laughs and tosses him a napkin. "Okay, dad." He leans his chin on his hand and watches Namjoon mop up the mess on his mess. "If you want to try and question my small, wealthy, generous friend in an attempt to ascertain his intentions, he'll be picking me up in front of Decker at three."
"Ascertain!" Namjoon looks up excitedly for a moment. "Good word."
"You're a mess."
Namjoon tosses his soggy napkin at Jungkook's head. "Aren't we all? At least I'm not broken."
Jungkook kicks his friend in the shin with his good leg. "I'm less broken than I was!" His ribs barely ache anymore. "And I got a PlayStation for my brokenness."
Namjoon snickers. "Don't think that was for your brokenness." He steals another one of Jungkook's chip. "Eat your banana."
Jungkook blinks. "Was that a euphemism?"
"No." Namjoon squints. "Maybe." He pushes his glasses up again. "I'm never sure anymore. Probably not."
"Keep your banana to yourself."
"You don't want my banana anyway," Namjoon teases, taking it back.
Jungkook grins. "It's probably got mold."
"My banana is very fresh." Namjoon takes a bite out of it and grimaces. "Bad imagery."
Jungkook thinks that Yoongi and Namjoon will get along rather well.
Namjoon is twice as twitchy at three o' clock when Yoongi smoothly slides up next to the curb. Jungkook is considering limited Namjoon's coffee intake, but it's difficult when the TAs get free reign of the coffee pot in the teacher's lounge and Namjoon is more likely to spend hundreds of dollars on coffee than he is to spend it on his text books.
"Do I need to worry about you exploding?" Jungkook asks, trying to take his backpack out of Namjoon's hands. He'd stolen it off of Jungkook's own back, and when Jungkook goes for it he holds it just out of reach and pretends not to notice. "You look like you're about to jump out of your skin."
"You're pretty twitchy yourself," Namjoon chirps, grinning at the car as Yoongi turns off the ignition. The windows are tinted so they can't see him, but Jungkook imagines Yoongi looks kind of confused at the random man passing Jungkook off like a bride at the altar.
That's weird. That's a weird analogy. Jungkook takes it back.
When the car door slams shut and Yoongi's blonde head pops up on the other side of the vehicle, Jungkook can almost feel Namjoon lean forward on his toes in anticipation. It's been a long time since Namjoon has been anywhere and not had the upper hand.
Jungkook can definitely feel the way Namjoon stands stock-still as soon as Yoongi rounds the corner and faces them, and when he looks Namjoon's face is completely slack. Jaw dropped and eyes dull. Processing processing processing.
"Um." He stares at Yoongi but his hand comes out and grabs Jungkook's arm like a lifeline. "What the fuck."
"Are you in awe of his beauty or something?" Jungkook asks waspishly, trying to pry Namjoon's hand off. The fingers just dig in tighter.
"Your sugar daddy," Namjoon starts, which is annoying because Yoongi is literally right there in front of them and can definitely hear, "is the owner of Genius Lab?"
"Namjoon, right?" Yoongi leans forward and reaches out for his hand, and Jungkook breathes a sigh of relief when Namjoon hastily releases his death grip to shake it. "You job shadowed one of my producers like..." Yoongi shuts his eyes tightly for a moment to remember. "Was it a month ago?"
"Six weeks," Namjoon corrects, mouth still slack. He's still shaking Yoongi's hand.
Yoongi looks both awkward and amused.
Jungkook puts a soft hand on Namjoon's to remind him to let go. "Namjoon is here to meet you, since you've been so generous after the accident."
Something flickers in the back of Yoongi's eyes, and the corners of his mouth pull backward into an awkward not-smile, and Jungkook wonders if he said the wrong thing. "You deserve to be taken care of," he says casually.
It makes Jungkook's stomach flutter in weird ways but it also makes his head hurt so he's not going to think about it. He can't think of anything to respond with. His hands grip the bars of his crutches with sweaty palms. "Namjoon is here to fight for my honor," he says instead.
Yoongi raises an eyebrow in alarm.
"I--no." Namjoon holds up a placating finger. "I just wanted...to make sure that my college son is surrounded by good people." He laughs, nervous. "That's all."
Yoongi grins. "Do I pass?"
"Is it true you wrote the entire Lost album in a week?"
Yoongi frowns a little. "I wrote the lyrics in a week," he says. "The composing took me longer, and editing the lyrics took a lot longer." He laughs. "I don't know why that rumor really exists but. I guess technically, yeah, I wrote it in a week."
"Can I come to the studio again?" Namjoon asks excitedly. "I'd love to talk with you about your process."
Honestly, a part of Jungkook would have expected Yoongi to be thrown slightly off kilter by the enthusiasm Namjoon is practically radiating. But there's a moment when Yoongi slips something on and the lines on his mouth soften and his shoulders stop slumping quite so much and Jungkook thinks he might have just seen the transition from Yoongi to Agust D in the flesh.
Yoongi's smile is smooth and professional and that does weird things to Jungkook, too. "Sure," he agrees. "One of our big artists is about to start production on another album. Just call ahead and say you're one of Jungkook's friends."
"I can't believe Jungkook is my in," Namjoon says in awe. "Bless you, my son."
"This turned out differently than expected," Jungkook says with a laugh. "Don't go home and cry about meeting your idol."
Namjoon grabs ahold of Jungkook's shoulder. "Don't ruin this for me," he begs.
"It's okay if you cry," Yoongi says. "I get it."
"I will not cry," Namjoon assures him. "And now I'm going to leave and call my mom." He hands Yoongi Jungkook's backpack. "I look forward to seeing you in the future. Please take care of my son."
Jungkook watches Namjoon run away, bewildered.
"I like him," Yoongi decides.
"I thought that you would." Jungkook grins. "Now let's go get a muffin. I've been thinking about it all day."
"Jeon Jungkook," Taehyung announces dramatically. "I'm in love."
Jungkook wipes crumbs from the extra muffin Yoongi bought him off of his mouth and looks over his shoulder at Taehyung, standing in the open doorway with a stupid grin on his face. Taehyung's hair is a mess and there is a stain on his shirt that might be mustard. "You're in love every other week."
"Incorrect." Taehyung throws his bag on the ground and vaults over the couch to plop down at Jungkook's side. "I'm infatuated and/or filled with lust every other week."
"You seem pretty lust-filled," Jungkook says, pausing his game. Taehyung is too excited. He won't be able to focus with Taehyung chatting his ear off. "Yesterday you were going on and on about the ass of the man who only shows you the back of his head during most of your encounters."
"I am lust-filled," Taehyung admits. "That's a once in a lifetime kind of ass, my friend." He holds his hands out in front of him, a far away look in his eye, like he's fondling Jimin in his head. "You only need to see it once and you know there will never be a better ass."
Jungkook laughs. "Gross."
"But I am also in love," Taehyung chirps, clinging onto Jungkook's arm. "He took me to the amusement park, Jungkook," he sighs dreamily. "He bought me a corndog and didn't even care when I dropped it on myself."
Jungkook picks at the wrapper of his muffin. "Sounds like a proper date."
"It was," Taehyung coos. "We rode on all the big rides together and his voice was almost gone by the end. He held my hand." He completely collapses into Jungkook's side. "He's perfect."
"Have you propositioned him yet?" Jungkook teases.
Taehyung jolts upright. "I would never," he says firmly. "Jimin is too pure."
"My love is pure," Taehyung corrects.
"My love has pureness in it." Taehyung frowns. "It's a component. My love for Jimin is like, probably at least 75% because of his personality."
It's been three weeks and Jungkook hasn't made a decision.
Yesterday was the first time he's seen his own leg in over nine weeks, and it's pale and hairy and weak and kind of sickly looking and there's a huge red scar from the surgery. Seeing his own leg look like that sent Jungkook into a panic.
"That's how it's supposed to look," Yoongi assured him, in the chair of the doctor's office. "You haven't used it, that's good. It's not going to be the peak of health."
"Yoongi is blunt but he's right." Seokjin put the x-ray up on the board. "It looks like it's healed cleanly. When if your first appointment with the physical therapist?"
Yoongi opened his mouth.
"Namjoon is driving me," Jungkook had said firmly.
And now he's here.
His doctor is a happy looking man, all cheekbones and sharp eyes and a smile that's so big it brightens a room. His hands are gentle but Jungkook is still uncomfortable looking at his bad leg.
The entire appointment has mostly been taking measurements. Jungkook hasn't been asking many questions, just replying half-heartedly to Hoseok's attempts at small talk, where are you from, what is your major, are you excited to be free of your leg coffin?
"Has Yoongi been appropriately nice to you?" Hoseok asks, carefully cradling the ankle of Jungkook's bad legs in his hands.
Jungkook has been spacing out until he hears Yoongi's name. "Huh?"
Hoseok laughs. "Yoongi. Has he been nice to you?"
"Uh, yes." Jungkook looks at Hoseok curiously. "You know him?"
"We went to school together," Hoseok says, writing down the measurement of Jungkook's calf into a chart on his clipboard. "I'm the one who introduced him and Seokjin, actually."
"They used to date, right?" Jungkook remembers the handsome doctor. He hasn't talked to him since he asked him for Yoongi's number, but Yoongi mentions him sometimes. Some of their pictures from when they were together are on Yoongi's walls. Vaguely, Jungkook thinks Hoseok might be the third person in one of those pictures, but it's hard to tell.
"They were the chillest couple I've ever seen," Hoseok remembers. "By the time they broke up nothing really changed." He pauses. "Well, the first month was really awkward. They got over it."
"That's good..." Jungkook purses his lips, watching Hoseok's hands as he organizes the stuff on his table. "Do they talk a lot?"
"We all keep in touch," Hoseok says. "Yoongi comes over to our house for dinner once a week."
Jungkook raises his eyebrows. "You and Seokjin? Do you live together?"
Hoseok blinks for a moment and laughs. "Yeah." He grins. "We're married."
Jungkook lets out a huff of air. "Oh." When he looks up again Hoseok is beaming at him.
"Were you worried?" he teases.
"Why would I be?" Jungkook asks stiffly.
"Hmmm." Hoseok caps his pen firmly and taps it against his chin. "I wonder."
And maybe Jungkook has thought about how different he is from Dr. Seokjin. Not as broad and not as put together and not as old and not as successful, and lord knows that the arts and medical care are two opposite sides of the spectrum, and maybe he was a little worried that Yoongi has a type. And maybe he was a little worried that that type isn't Jungkook.
And maybe he's a little worried that he's worried about it because he told himself not to be worried about Yoongi's anything.
Hoseok's smile is gentle. "Yoongi's a nice guy."
"I know," Jungkook pouts. He's been telling people that for weeks.
"He's the kind of guy you want hanging around." Hoseok takes the rolling desk with all of his instruments across the room and returns to his clipboard. "If you're ready for that, I mean."
"I'm never ready for anything," Jungkook admits.
"How refreshing." Hoseok laughs. "Guess you're ready for everything."
How do you feel about Thai food
It's not a hard question
i am pro-thai food.
why do you ask??
Uh because I'm taking you out for dinner?
To celebrate your leg's newfound freedom
you know most people ask first
I did ask
I asked if you liked Thai food
Jimin will pick you up at 6:30
is 7 hours enough turnaround yoongi
i'm very particular i have a skin care routine
If you're not here by 7 I'm ordering you shitty fancy food
The kind that is like two bites and some chocolate drizzle
And then I'll eat it
if i'm not pretty by then it's your fault
I can't imagine that being an issue
See you tonight Jungkook
Jungkook looks up in a panic. "Taehyung!"
Taehyung pops his head out of the bathroom, toothbrush hanging out of his mouth. "Yeah?"
"Is this a date?" Jungkook thrusts his phone forwards.
Carefully, Taehyung wipes his hand on his t-shirt and plucks the phone delicately out of Jungkook's grasp. "Yes," he says firmly. "That's what one might call a date."
Jungkook flops back on his bed. "Fuck." He throws an arm over his eyes. "What do I wear?"
"You look nice," Yoongi tells him when Jungkook walks up to the table.
Jungkook pulls the hem of his button down. It's light blue, one of Taehyung's because all Jungkook owns are t-shirts and hoodies and that one ratty dress shirt he used to wear for family dinners.
It's not a super nice restaurant. It's nicer than anywhere Jungkook would go on his own, one or two steps out of his price range, privately owned and rated well online. Probably. Jungkook is taking all of this information from the decor, what he knows about Yoongi, and what he was able to Google in the short amount of time from when he nagged Jimin into telling him the name of place and when he walked in the door.
Mostly he just wanted to know if wearing nice jeans was a valid decision.
"Yoongi isn't going to make you wear dress pants." Taehyung had laughed at Jungkook in his frenzy to get dressed. "I don't think Yoongi even owns dress pants."
"He owns dress pants," Jungkook said sadly. Yoongi owns several suits. Jungkook saw them in his closet once and has spent a lot of time trying not to think about Yoongi wearing them. "He just dresses like a teenager."
"You guys have so much in common," Taehyung noted with a grin. "Except that Yoongi owns dress pants."
So Jungkook is not wearing dress pants. He's wearing jeans without holes and they're a little tighter than might be professional but he doesn't really care, and other than the fact that his hair is actually brushed and his shirt is a real honest-to-God shirt, he looks exactly the same as always. Even the crutches.
Yoongi is getting up a little out of his chair to help Jungkook into his seat, but Jungkook is carefully held on one leg, setting the crutches against the side of the booth and slipping into his seat. "You look nice, too," he says after a moment of carefully adjusting his bad leg under the table. And it's true. Yoongi does look nice.
Yoongi looks like Yoongi.
He looks like he always does except that he looks like a Yoongi on a date. Messy, styled hair, sharp eyes, casual outfit. The date vibe might just be Jungkook, because he's almost certain he's seen Yoongi in this outfit before but something is different. Is he nervous?
Yoongi smiles at him and suddenly Jungkook can't think of anything else.
"Does your leg hurt?" Yoongi asks curiously.
"Like a bitch." Jungkook is breathless.
Yoongi laughs and Jungkook realizes the reason he can't catch his breath.
He gives himself a stern talking to on the subject of controlling himself and not being gross and then he almost rips his napkin to shreds trying to free his silverware.
"Are you okay?" Yoongi is frowning, because Jungkook is often a mess but rarely does he let his messiness leak out into the opening world, and he's sitting there with part of napkin in both hands before he slowly sets it on the table in temporary defeat.
"Yeah, I'm..." Jungkook jerks his head a little to the side and laughs. "Sorry, I'm a little nervous." He frowns. "I'm, uh, not really sure why."
Yoongi's eyebrows go up, and his collarbones are a little pink, and Jungkook thinks he might have said too much. "I'm very intimidating," he jokes after a moment, quietly closing the menu he has in front of him.
Jungkook remembers he has no idea what he's going to order and thinks that's an excellent way to divert his eyes. "You say it like it's a joke," he whines playfully. "You really are sometimes."
When he looks up again, Yoongi is frowning. "Do I intimidate you?"
"Ah..." Jungkook tilts his head. "Sometimes." He smiles. "You have your shit together, you know? But I don't think...." He shakes his head. "You're a nice guy. I'm not afraid of you or anything." Smiles. "Also I'm like, twice your size."
Yoongi's frown becomes a grimace. "That is a gross overstatement. You've got like, a few inches on me and I'm pretty sure you wear lifts."
"Untrue!" Most of the time. "I could pick you up and carry you around in my pocket."
Whatever snarky thing Yoongi is about to say in response fades into nothing but a happy smile as the waitress comes to take their order. Her name tag says Seungwan. Jungkook doesn't bother stopping himself from rolling his eyes when Yoongi doesn't let him buy the cheapest thing on the menu and he laughs when Yoongi orders them tea on top of the soda Jungkook already ordered.
"You're showing off," Jungkook teases, finally successfully unrolling his napkin and putting it in his lap as the waitress puts their drinks on the table. "Tea and soda is overkill."
"You're young and starving, probably," Yoongi assures him. "Calories are the key to recovery."
Jungkook kicks Yoongi a little with his good leg. "Funny, my physical therapist didn't say anything about that."
"Hoseok is a questionable resource," Yoongi tells him. "Are you going to listen to Hoseok, who went to medical school, or me, who is buying your meal?"
"I'm a college student." Jungkook pretends to think about it. "I feel like this should be an easy question."
"Especially easy." Yoongi grins. "Since you like me better." He picks up his tea and wraps his lips around the straw.
"This is true." Jungkook purses his lips, trying to keep a straight face, but he smiles begrudgingly anyway. "I have to pay Hoseok for his advice, anyway. You give me yours for free."
Yoongi leans back in his chair, fingers spindly on the table in front of him. "That's what friends are for."
Up until now, Jungkook can't really say that he's made a decision. He's been letting things happen, because he likes the way they're happening, and he likes the way they could happen, and that's been fine. But he surprises himself when he hears the words, "Is that what we are?" and they're coming from his own mouth.
Yoongi looks confused.
"Friends?" Jungkook clarifies. "Are we friends?"
"I..." Yoongi clears his throat. "I would have hoped that we are?" He's frowning. "By now, I mean."
Jungkook bites his lip. "Do your friends usually offer to pay your student loans?" he asks quietly.
Slowly, Yoongi's mouth falls open, like he's about to say something. He squints. "No."
Jungkook stirs his tea absently with the straw. "So are you sure we're friends?"
"Can I be, like, embarrassingly straight-forward?" Jungkook asks after a second, because if he doesn't get this out right now he probably never will.
Yoongi blinks. "Go ahead."
Jungkook makes a distressed gesture with his hands. "I am," he starts choppily, seriously, "your sugar baby?"
Yoongi blinks again. "What."
"Because I really like you as a person, you know?" Jungkook says, almost in a panic. His leg kind of aches because he's tensed up all over. "Like, you're really nice and generous and talented and funny and your bitch-face endears me." That last part was too much. Jeon Jungkook, bring it back. "But if you're paying for all these things for me because you're guilty, I need you to know you can stop because I've forgiven you three times over." He frowns. "And then, if you're buying me all this shit because you think I'll give you sex in exchange, you can still stop, because I'm asexual and not interested." He pauses. "In that. I'm not interested in that."
Yoongi raises an eyebrow. "I didn't know you were ace."
"It's not a great conversation starter," Jungkook admits. "But you see the issue if that's, you know..." He tries to think of a delicate way to phrase it. "If that's the kind of arrangement you want." His face is red. He can feel how warm his cheeks are. He holds his head in his hands. "This is so embarrassing."
He feels a hand tugging on his wrist, and Yoongi carefully pulls Jungkook's hand away from his face. "You..." His face is red. "Wow. Okay." Yoongi coughs into his elbow. "This is not...the conversation I was expecting to have." He laughs.
Jungkook's ears are burning. "Sorry." He regrets his moment of gusto. He wants to sink into the vinyl of the booth.
"It's fine." Yoongi is easily just as red as Jungkook is. "Even if you don't want to have sex with me, I--oh, yes, hi."
The waitress is there. She's got their food in one hand. Her mouth is pressed tightly together, holding in something that's probably either laughter or disapproval. "Who ordered the Pad Thai?"
"That was me," Jungkook says. He's so warm he's going to explode. He can't look her in the face when she puts the plate down in front of him. "Thank you," he says politely.
"Thank you," Yoongi says, taking the plate out of her hands. "I...sorry."
"For what?" she says airily, but when she turns to leave Jungkook thinks he sees her snort.
They both stare at their plates.
Yoongi takes a deep breath. "Can I try that again?"
Jungkook nods. "Go ahead."
"Okay." Yoongi takes a moment to collect himself. "I don't care if you don't want sex," he says clearly. "I like you. I like spending time with. I just kind of want to, like...spend time with you and take care of you and maybe kiss you, if that's something you're okay with." He grimaces. "I...wasn't going to say anything."
"Uh." Jungkook swallows the large spoonful of food he just shoved into his mouth in an attempt to keep himself from making an unflattering noise. "Why?"
"You're..." Yoongi is grasping for the right words and Jungkook can connect with that. "We're in different places." He snorts. "And also I hit you with my car."
"Yeah." Jungkook laughs. "Yeah, that would put a damper on most relationships."
Yoongi runs a hand through his hair. The product makes it stick up straight and Jungkook thinks it's so cute he doesn't want to tell him. "I didn't want you to feel pressured into anything, or uncomfortable? I can make people uncomfortable."
"I'm not uncomfortable," Jungkook says. He thinks for a moment. "I mean, I am uncomfortable. But..." He shrugs. "That's not your fault."
"We're both uncomfortable." Yoongi awkwardly clears his throat again. "How did we get here. We were fine."
"I asked if I was your sugar baby." Jungkook laughs into his hand.
"Right, okay, no." Yoongi shakes his head. "You are not my sugar baby." He tilts his head, considering. "Unless you want to be?"
Jungkook blinks, grin slowly growing on his face. "What kind of things would that entail?"
Yoongi hums. "You would have to hold my hand sometimes," he says seriously. "And watch movies with me and talk to me about music and let me buy you things. And go to all those shitty parties with me -- just the ones I can't get out of, you know? So that they wouldn't be so bad."
Jungkook snorts. "I don't have a suit."
"I'll buy you one," Yoongi says, smiling like it's a joke. Jungkook knows he really would. "I'd let you borrow one of mine but I think they'd be too short."
"That doesn't sound so bad," Jungkook decides. "But I think that sounds an awful lot like a boyfriend."
"I think..." Yoongi swallows slowly, nervously, "that I would rather have a boyfriend than a sugar baby."
"I would rather be a boyfriend than a sugar baby," Jungkook agrees.
Yoongi smiles and it's like the sun comes out.
"I would like to make an amendment to the verbal contract, though."
"Do you not like hand holding?" Yoongi looks stricken.
"I like hand holding," Jungkook assures him. "I just want to pay for dessert."
They go to Dairy Queen and neither of them stop smiling.
"You know," Jungkook says, blotting at Yoongi's nose with a paper towel, "I should have known there would be casualties at any event that Taehyung and Jimin throw."
"This is a fucking wedding," Yoongi growls, but his face is pitiful and his lower lip is covered in dried blood. He looks like a sad child. "I didn't think I would be getting a broken nose at a wedding, even theirs."
Jungkook grins. "It's not broken," he says firmly. "A little bigger than usual, but it's not broken."
"Kiss it better," Yoongi says flatly.
"I don't want to taste snot and copper." Jungkook laughs. He kisses Yoongi's forehead and grimaces. "Why is there sand on your face?"
Yoongi scowls. "Probably because when Taehyung turned around and chucked his Wedding Bouquet from Hell at my actual face, I was caught unaware and faceplanted in the sand." He rolls his eyes, reaching up to hold the paper towel to his face as Jungkook digs around in the haphazard first-aid kit they found in the lifeguard's stand for something to wipe the blood. "This isn't a wedding. It's a college kid's spring break wet dream."
"If anyone was going to be barefoot at their wedding, it was going to be Taehyung," Jungkook says fondly, tearing the disinfectant wipe open. Yoongi obediently moves the towel. "It's not bleeding anymore," Jungkook notes, dabbing at Yoongi's nose. "I should have warned you that Taehyung had an arm on him."
"Who the fuck uses their bouquet as a projectile?" Yoongi pouts. "He's not even drunk yet, what the fuck."
Honestly, Jungkook should have assumed something was going to happen, when Taehyung produced a bouquet of horridly obnoxious flowers out of nowhere and said they were throwing it. "It's tradition," Taehyung had said. "We need to know who is going to get married next."
It's debatable as to whether or not Yoongi actually caught it.
"We've only been dating for two years," Yoongi pouts. "Just because Taehyung wants to have a million children at age 30 and Jimin's dearest dream is to be a dilf doesn't mean everyone wants to be married so fast."
Jungkook's mom has been asking about it, too. "When are you going to settle down?" she'd asked him, just the day before, while Jungkook watched Yoongi apply sunscreen like he wanted to blend in with the sand.
"I am settled down, Mom," Jungkook had answered, laughing. He isn't working for Yoongi, even though that had been what Yoongi wanted. He's working for an independent studio with Namjoon in production and marketing. Yoongi loaned Namjoon the money, but Jungkook doesn't think that it was cheating when Namjoon worked for Yoongi for over a year before Yoongi brought up the idea.
Jungkook freelances, sometimes. He had a collaboration with the mysterious Gloss this summer, unpromoted. Reviews said they were the biggest up-and-comers of the year, not that Jungkook checked.
Looking at Yoongi, Jungkook has to agree.
"I mean, settle down with, you know," his mother asked, "a house and a ring and a pre-nup."
Jungkook had laughed. "I don't think Yoongi and I will be getting a pre-nup."
"If that's what you want," she'd replied. Jungkook could hear her hiding her laughter. "I think you would be a love trophy wife."
Jungkook isn't sure why he's thinking about that at the moment, when he's mopping up snot and blood and the ocean is slightly too cold to swim in and it's not romantic at all.
"Have you thought about getting married before?" Jungkook asks Yoongi.
Yoongi sighs. "I would want a longish engagement," he says firmly, "because I would have to organize for my family to come into town, and I would want it to be in the summer, so that it could be outside. But in the evening, so that it's cooler and I don't have to worry about getting a sunburn."
Jungkook laughs, rubbing his fingers over the sunscreen grease on Yoongi's arm. "So you have thought about it."
For a moment, Yoongi doesn't say anything. Licks his lips. "Two years isn't a very long time."
"No," Jungkook admits.
Yoongi swallows. "I don't think..." He coughs. "If you know at two years, though, I don't know why you would wait any longer."
Jungkook raises an eyebrow.
"I'm not proposing to you when my nose is a football," Yoongi says petulantly. "I don't want that catalogued in your memory."
"Saving total amnesia, I think you're out of luck." Jungkook laughs. Warm. "It's probably tacky, anyway, to get engaged at someone's reception."
Yoongi nods. "I care a lot about society's expectations of me," he says briskly.
Jungkook leans forward, wipes the sand off of Yoongi's forehead, and kisses him between his eyebrows. "I know."
There's a ring hidden in Jungkook's underwear drawer, in the back under the Spongebob boxers Yoongi hates, gathering dust. Jungkook knows exactly why he's thinking about it.
Yoongi holds out his hand, and Jungkook takes it, and they walk together back to the ocean.