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telling namjoon his house is haunted goes exactly like yoongi had thought it would. in namjoon’s studio, on a tired afternoon in mid-september, the kind where they mostly sit around conversing lazily instead of working; the kind where yoongi is on his fourth cup of iced coffee and namjoon comments, not for the first time that week, or that month, for that matter, on how exhausted he seems lately.

“my house is haunted,” yoongi says simply.

namjoon stares at him. yoongi watches him arrive to the only logical solution: that yoongi is using some kind of exclusively metaphorical language that no one except for pretentious university professors and kim namjoon uses.

“memories can feel like ghosts in a way,” he says, nodding, and then proceeds into a very one-sided conversation about how everything is temporary and the pointlessness of life. 

yoongi has witnessed namjoon’s various states of existential crisis countless of times. he listens absent-mindedly, tracing a drop of water sliding down the side of his cup with his fingertip.

“anyway, the ghost,” he cuts in before namjoon can start proving that god is dead or some shit, “is called jungkook, he’s unfortunately not a metaphor for the past, and he’s making my life a living hell. would you like to meet him?”

 

--

 

yoongi met jeon jungkook a month into moving to seoul. weird stuff had been happening since the beginning: first of all, the second-floor apartment was suspiciously affordable, but yoongi wasn’t about to question it, being, frankly speaking, broke as fuck; second of all, the apartment was always cold, some spots being colder than the rest of the house; and third of all, there were the noises.

mostly at night, the clanking of cabinet doors and something that sounded like footsteps; sometimes, eerie laughter from a distance; and more than once, yoongi could swear he heard a voice singing along with him in the shower. when it happened the second time, yoongi stared at the tiled wall blankly, and resignedly accepted that he was finally descending into madness.

however, he soon learned that there was no correlation between his declining mental health and the weird occurrences, as the cause to his problems turned out to be the bratty ghost of a nineteen-year-old boy.

it went like this: yoongi came home from the studio on a fairly normal day in early august, tired out of his mind, thinking about how much he just wanted to collapse into bed and not get up unless the situation absolutely demanded it, like if the room spontaneously combusted, which 1. was not completely unlikely, and 2. might still not be enough to make him get up.

he opened the bedroom door and found himself looking at a stranger, which was already weird - but there was also the fact that rather than sitting on top of his bed, the boy was hovering half a meter above it as if suspended in the air, casually in a cross-legged position, and regarding yoongi with a weirdly critical stare.

“hyung, i’ve been haunting you for a month now, and you still haven’t noticed? no exorcists, ouija boards, not even a little bit of freaking out? what’s wrong with you?”

yoongi stared. he stared. then, wordlessly, he backed out of the room, and pulled the door back shut.

“really? you’re still ignoring me?” suddenly something very cold went through him; it was like walking through an ice block, or being refrigerated - it was hard to explain, but it made yoongi’s entire body shiver. he looked up, and the ghost was in front of him, having slid through both the bedroom door and yoongi. “i swear, i got the most disappointing person ever to be stuck with. i’m a ghost, i’m literally dead, and you’re not even gonna scream?”

“is this what happens when i go thirty-six hours on only black coffee and no sleep,” yoongi mumbled.

the ghost looked both incredulous and amazed, folding his arms and cocking his head in a way that made the brown hair on his forehead bounce a little bit. it looked very real. yoongi couldn’t take his eyes off it.

“you worry me, dude.“ the ghost craned his neck to look around. “what do i have to... here.”

before yoongi could register it, one of his coats had sprung off the coat rack, flown through the air, and hit him square in the face. he did scream, then, but only a little bit, and only because he stumbled and fell backwards on his ass.

the ghost laughed, the sound loud and lively for a dead person, but the weirdest thing was that yoongi remembered hearing it before.

“that was real, right?” the ghost was grinning.

“you’re going to explain,” yoongi said from the floor, tossing the coat aside, “and i’m going to get a drink.”

thank fuck for his habit of always keeping some soju around. jungkook followed right behind him into the kitchen, but yoongi refused to acknowledge him until he had downed a shot. then he turned to the ghost, really taking him in; he really was an actual, real-live ghost, pale, a little bit see-through, hovering cross-legged in the air. he was definitely more attractive than the creepy movie ghosts with long, black hair and missing limbs. he was young, with pretty eyes, a plump lower lip, and brown hair that curled on his forehead; he was dressed like a modern college kid would, in torn jeans and a white t-shirt, wiry muscles evident underneath.

on an impulse, yoongi swung an arm at him. it went through him like he wasn’t there, and there was the weird, overwhelmingly cold sensation again. the ghost flashed him a smile. yoongi took another shot.

“i have some questions, casper,” he said, pointing at the ghost with the shot glass, before pouring another.

the ghost frowned. “it’s jungkook.”

“okay, jungkook.” he tilted his head to throw back the shot. he poured another. “so. you’re dead, you’re real and i’m not hallucinating. i haven’t been hallucinating for the past month.”

“that is correct,” jungkook said, nodding.

“well, fuck me.”

“that’s a bit straight-forward,” the ghost cocked his head, “i think we should slow down a bit.”

“what am i supposed to do about this,” yoongi said blankly, “call the ghostbusters?”

“you don’t have to do anything,” jungkook said, “except maybe stop walking the bedroom-bathroom distance naked, because i’m like, seeing everything, y’know, and i just told you we should take it slow, right?”

yoongi opened his mouth, then gave up and closed it.

“we need house rules,” he concluded weakly, and reached for another bottle of alcohol.

when yoongi woke up at the kitchen table the next morning, surrounded by three empty bottles of soju, he thought it had been a weird, alcohol-induced dream for good five seconds. then jungkook popped out of the kitchen wall, causing yoongi to bump his knee against the table leg and knock over a bottle.

“you’re still here,” he mumbled.

“probably for all eternity,” the ghost said cheerfully, and yoongi lowered his forehead on the table.

 

--

 

yoongi used to live alone before coming to seoul. he got his first apartment when he was fifteen, and he’s been alone since. he likes it that way. it’s peaceful and he likes having time for himself. namjoon would say that all he has is time for himself since he doesn’t have any friends, but - well.

it was supposed to be like that this time, too, when he moved to the capital to work at namjoon’s recording studio and to make songs. instead of peace and quiet, he got the apartment with the resident asshole of a ghost that keeps him awake at nights by singing medleys of tv-show theme songs and breaks all his plates trying to levitate them from one room to the next.

namjoon and jungkook get along surprisingly well. surprisingly, because jungkook is a little shit, as proved by the fact that when yoongi brings namjoon over, the first thing they see are the words GET OUT all over yoongi’s living room wall in something red.

“that prick,” yoongi groans and proceeds to explain to namjoon that jungkook loves the dramatics, and he’s about as harmless as casper the friendly ghost, if casper was less friendly and more of an asshole.

(“did you really have to empty the entire can of tomato sauce that i bought yesterday,” yoongi asks, scrubbing at the wall with a rag because apparently while jungkook can use his powers to splay tomato sauce all over the wall, he can’t use them to clean up.

“i worked hard on that,” jungkook pouts, showing zero signs of remorse.)

from the first moment, namjoon was nothing but wildly open-minded to the idea of a supernatural being residing in yoongi’s home. yoongi knew he would be excited. he asks jungkook a million questions and doesn’t even seem put off by the fact that most of jungkook’s answers are about as enlightening as “dying? i don’t know dude, wasn’t nice i think”.

jungkook hovers mid-air in his signature cross-legged position and marvels at namjoon’s haircut and the fact that he owns a recording studio. the idiots seem to be mutually impressed with each other, yoongi observes from a safe distance, as the two put together are even more of a hazard than normally.

yoongi does learn something new, thanks to namjoon’s enthusiasm to test every theory and idea that pops up in that huge brain of his: if you try to take a picture of jungkook, you’ll get a blurry, distorted shape that vaguely resembles a person. sometimes, but not always, electronics won’t work around jungkook. jungkook doesn’t actually sit on stuff. he hovers close to the surface, and if he’s not paying attention, he’ll sink through the couch.

things yoongi already knew from being stuck with him for nearly two months: jungkook’s a brat who loves pranks. he likes to wake up yoongi by literally sliding through him, which is kind of like getting cold water thrown on you, only worse. when jungkook feels strong emotions, the cabinet doors swing open and the tables shake, although he also does that simply when he wants attention. his voice has an eerie, haunting quality to it, evident when he laughs or sings. sometimes, when he sings, yoongi gets goosebumps all over his arms.

“i didn’t think you’d have such a cool friend, hyung,” jungkook says later when namjoon’s gone home. “you should bring more people over, just being with you is dull. sometimes i feel like i might die all over again because you’re so boring.”

yoongi merely rolls his eyes. “go haunt someone else, then.”

“you know i can’t leave this place.” jungkook pouts. the face he’s making really reminds yoongi that the boy is four years younger than him. “i was alone here before you came. i had no one to talk to. you should have some sympathy.”

“maybe i should move out,” yoongi muses, and there isn’t real weight on the words, but for a while, jungkook looks almost panicked.

“don’t move out,” he says hurriedly, “don’t... leave me here.”

yoongi looks at him, surprised. jungkook fidgets. yoongi wonders if ghosts can blush.

“i’m not going to,” he says slowly. then, “you like me that much, huh?”

jungkook shoots him an unimpressed glare and summons up a gust of wind that messes up yoongi’s hair.

 

--

 

house rules:

yoongi

  1. won’t call an exorcist
  2. won’t watch ghost movies (they aren’t accurate)
  3. won’t sing the ghostbusters theme song under his breath every time jungkook pisses him off (he keeps breaking rule number three).

jungkook

  1. won’t watch yoongi when he’s showering or otherwise naked
  2. won’t make noise in the middle of the night
  3. won’t break yoongi’s shit (he keeps breaking rules number two and three).

 

--

 

yoongi thinks jungkook is bad at being a ghost. he didn’t even notice he was being haunted for a month - and what kind of a lame ass ghost uses tomato sauce to write threats on his wall? what kind of a ghost keeps asking yoongi personal questions about himself, like he’s interested? what kind of a ghost makes yoongi’s clothes fly around like they are invisible actors in a play to cheer him up when he’s having a bad day?

and really, what kind of a ghost doesn’t really feel like a ghost at all? jungkook is always waiting for him when he gets home from work, eager to know how his day went and what he did at the studio, also asking about namjoon, and yoongi finds himself easily venting to him.

then follows the part where he finds out what jungkook’s been up to while he was working (and possibly damage control). sometimes it’s pulling out all of yoongi’s sheets and blankets to assemble a fort. sometimes it’s singing so loudly it freaks out the upstairs neighbor’s five cats and yoongi gets an angry note slipped under his door.

and, well, sometimes yoongi sits in the haphazardly built blanket fort and watches reruns of friends with jungkook. sometimes he folds an airplane out of the angry note and jungkook makes it fly all over the room.

jungkook is so, so bad at being a ghost. yoongi isn’t supposed to laugh this much with someone who’s haunting him.

 

--

 

the thing about jungkook’s laugh - yoongi has thought about this a lot, recently - is that it sounds like a melody that you’re sure you’ve heard before, but can’t remember where. it reminds yoongi of a piano playing a beautiful and melancholic tune somewhere a little bit far away. he sort of wants to write it down, turn it into notes.

he goes to the studio with a sheet full of messily written notes and the working title haunting and plays it through on the piano when namjoon’s away. it doesn’t sound completely right yet.

he wonders, briefly, if jungkook would sing it if he wrote up lyrics. he doesn’t know if it’s possible to get his voice on record, or if it would be a bundle of garbled sounds and static. maybe he’ll try.

namjoon comes in and catches the last few bars.

“i didn’t know you were working on something,” he says, raising a brow.

“it’s unfinished,” yoongi mumbles, and shoves the papers into his bag.

 

--

 

“hyung,” jungkook says when yoongi comes home, “it’s almost christmas, isn’t it?”

it’s snowing outside. yoongi sheds his overcoat and shakes the snow out of his hair with one hand.

“yeah,” he says, “in a week.”

when jungkook doesn’t say anything, yoongi looks up at him. the ghost looks lost in thought, head tilted absent-mindedly, like he’s gone somewhere else.

“it’s weird,” he says, “i used to really like christmas. i liked the city and how they put up all the lights. and i liked the snow. and how the people were happier and warmer and kinder. when i walked through the city, it didn’t feel like i was alone.”

it’s the first time jungkook really talks about his life before death.

yoongi has never cared much about christmas; he gives a phone call to his parents, maybe grabs a drink with namjoon if he’s around, but other than that, he doesn’t bother. which is why it’s weird that on christmas eve, he goes out and gets a small tree and a bunch of colorful lights, and afterwards walks around a bit, snapping pictures of the crowded streets and the colorful storefronts.

“i’m not done,” he says upon coming home, before jungkook can say anything. he lowers his carryings on the floor and goes back out. he re-enters, carrying a plastic bucket full of snow in each hand.

“you can make it snow, right?” he cocks an eyebrow, holding a bucket at jungkook.

he watches as the expression on jungkook’s face shifts slowly from surprised to something so purely happy and excited, and he feels his heart beat a little bit faster.

the snow rises from the bucket, in small chunks, until it’s all the way up in the ceiling above their heads; then it explodes into thousands of pieces, and it’s snowing all over the living room. it’s going to be a bitch to clean up the water, but yoongi watches jungkook, who’s laughing and spinning around in the air a little bit, and he isn’t even mad.

the second bucket ends up being dumped over yoongi, which, he sort of knew was coming.

later, they set up the tree and put up the lights. jungkook tries to help, but ends up blowing a light bulb, and yoongi tells him to just stay put. he doesn’t, of course, but in the end, yoongi thinks they did a pretty decent job. the tree, maybe a little bit messy but still pretty, sits in the corner next to the couch. the red and green lights line the living room walls. there’s a string of fairy lights wrapped around yoongi, too. for the festivity, jungkook had said.

“try not to mess up my phone with your ghost energy, i have something to show you,” yoongi says, and swipes through the pictures he took in the city. they even include a selfie with the mall santa (“i elbowed a kid to get this one”). jungkook makes small gasping noises - it’s pretty adorable - and laughs at the selfie. when he gets to the video, he presses play, and watches jungkook out of the corner of his eye rather than the phone screen.

“what was the name?” the mall santa asks leaning off the camera to catch the name.

“jungkook,” comes yoongi’s voice.

“jungkook,” the santa talks at the camera, “your friend told me you couldn’t be here this christmas, but that’s alright. the christmas magic will reach you, wherever you are. i believe you’ve been good this year?”

“actually, he’s pretty much a pain in my ass,” says yoongi behind the camera. the santa breaks into laughter.

“that’s what he says, but between us, i think he cares about you a lot. that is one of the greatest things to have, jungkook. a friend who loves you. i wish you all the peace and happiness, and a merry, merry christmas.”

the video cuts out. yoongi puts the phone away. he’s sort of nervous to look at jungkook, who’s quiet at his shoulder.

“you did all this for me,” jungkook says, and yoongi looks at him properly, finally; the ghost isn’t looking at him, his gaze fixed somewhere above yoongi’s shoulder. he’s worrying his bottom lip between his teeth and looking strangely soft. “i’m not even alive.”

weakly, yoongi shrugs one shoulder.

“but you’re still real,” he says, “you still matter.”

for a confusing while, yoongi thinks jungkook might start crying. he’s not even sure if ghosts can cry. he mildly panics, because what is he supposed to do if jungkook starts crying, when he can’t even touch him? but then, a small smirk pulls at jungkook’s lips, and yoongi knows he’s about to be a brat.

“so, you love me?”

yoongi groans. “please -“

“santa said so.”

“i knew you would fixate on that,” yoongi sighs and does a shitty job at suppressing his smile.

 

--

 

“you’re getting really attached to that ghost of yours, aren’t you?” namjoon comments out of the blue one january afternoon in the studio.

yoongi whips his head around to look at his friend, but namjoon is looking at the computer screen. yoongi bets he isn’t really even working.

“i’m not attached,” yoongi denies automatically.

“uh-huh,” namjoon merely says. it’s incredibly dissatisfying. yoongi narrows his eyes at his profile.

“why do you think so?”

“i don’t know if you’ve noticed it yourself,” namjoon says, and turns to look at yoongi, grinning in a way that makes yoongi think he’s being made fun of, “but you don’t complain about him anymore.”

“yeah, i do.”

“sure. he sang songs from tangled until three a.m. again,” namjoon says in the shittiest imitation of yoongi’s voice he’s ever heard, “by the way, his voice is really good. he is so talented and i love listening to him sing as i’m falling asleep in my bed at night.”

“i never said that.” yoongi feels his goddamn traitor face heat up.

“say what you want, hyung,” namjoon says, “to me it looks like you’re happier than before.”

yoongi decides he definitely doesn’t need to know about the song yoongi’s working on, that’s so obviously inspired by the ghost.

fucking namjoon. yoongi can’t stop thinking about it as he returns home that evening. he’s not attached. he’s okay with jungkook now, he’s like a roommate he didn’t sign up for, an annoying, bratty roommate who doesn’t pay rent, but he’s not -

“hyung.”

he feels something icy on his cheek, and when he turns around, he finds himself staring into jungkook’s doe eyes, startlingly close, their faces inches apart.

“what are you doing,” yoongi manages, somehow unable to look away.

“i kissed your cheek,” jungkook declares, and smiles, that slightly cocky smile which means he’s especially satisfied with himself. “welcome home.”

“you,” yoongi starts, and then stumbles a little bit as he moves backwards, making a slightly unstable 180 degrees towards the bedroom, “i’m. need to take a nap.”

how is it that when he raps, the words flow out effortlessly, but he stumbles with his words around the ghost of a nineteen-year-old boy who does awful, cheesy stuff like trying to kiss his cheek when he obviously can’t. yoongi doesn’t get himself sometimes.

 

--

 

it’s almost spring. the sun is getting warmer and the snow is almost all gone. yoongi feels like he’s older than before, and jungkook’s still the same. the song is still unfinished.

“why are you here?” yoongi asks one evening, sitting on the floor with his back against the couch and his legs stretched in front of him, the notebook in his lap filled with crossed out lyrics.

“hmm?” jungkook cocks his head in the way that makes his hair fall in his eyes. yoongi has found the small movement is kind of enthralling to him for some reason. “why are you asking that now?”

behind yoongi’s back, the curtains are open. the light of the setting sun has the living room painted in soft yellows, and jungkook caught directly in it. in sunlight, it’s more obvious that jungkook isn’t alive. the light passes through him, making him look like a mirage, something that disappears when you try to touch it. yoongi knows he isn’t going to disappear; it will feel like sticking his hand into a pile of snow.

shrugging one shoulder, he says, “because i’ve never asked before.”

when jungkook made his entire kitchen turn upside down, the table and chairs sticking to the ceiling, yoongi had said, “god, why are you here”. when jungkook made every single lightbulb blow up simultaneously just to see if he could do it, yoongi had said, “why are you here”. but he hasn’t asked him, in the serious sense.

jungkook looks at him, and yoongi wonders if his eyes look the same as when he was alive. they are the most vivid part of him.

“i don’t remember,” he says, a slow frown appearing on his face, “i don’t remember dying. i think i used to remember, but now... everything before my death is getting fuzzier.”

yoongi closes the notebook.

“what do you remember?” he asks.

jungkook considers for a while, chewing on his lower lip like he does when he’s in thought, eyes searching for something like he’s trying hard to remember.

“i wasn’t born here,” he says finally, “i was born in busan. i came here when i was seventeen. i ran away from home. i remember that part.”

he goes silent for a while. yoongi waits.

“i remember the first christmas after i came here. but after that, it gets... i don’t know if i lived in this apartment. i don’t remember... dying. i just remember being dead.”

he meets yoongi’s eyes. he looks troubled and sad and yoongi doesn’t like it.

“it’s okay if you don’t remember,” he says, but jungkook doesn’t seem convinced.

he’s uncharacteristically silent. then, a small smile forms on his face.

“well, i think my purpose for being here is to make your life difficult, hyung,” he says.

yoongi reaches behind his neck, grabs a pillow and flings it at jungkook. it goes through his right shoulder and bounces off the floor, but it’s the thought that counts. jungkook laughs as he floats away, but yoongi feels like there’s something sad in the air. it feels like cold morning fog on his skin. 

 

--

 

the apartment has grown so cold that yoongi has to wear two sweaters at all times. on top of that, he hasn’t seen jungkook in three days. it’s been... quiet. the cabinet doors are staying shut and his furniture is staying where it’s supposed to be. the place almost seems like a normal, free-of-haunting apartment with a heating problem. yoongi doesn’t like it.

he stands around in his living room, hands tucked under his armpits for warmth, and calls out to jungkook.

“i know you’re here, brat,” he says, raising his voice, “so come on out, we have to talk.”

he looks around, but the ghost boy doesn’t appear. he sighs, shifts around a little bit.

“listen, i don’t care if i have to get a damn ouija board to get a hold of you. i will do it, and it will be ridiculous, and you’re going to laugh so hard you’ll give yourself away anyway, so you might as well come out now.”

jungkook does. yoongi doesn’t see where he comes from, but when he turns, jungkook is standing in front of him. yoongi feels his heart jump. slightly translucent, emitting a little bit of a ghostly glow, but jungkook looks probably the most solid yoongi’s ever seen him. he looks almost solid enough to touch and actually feel skin. yoongi reaches out a hand; his fingers almost brush jungkook’s forearm , but he stops before they do. it’s not going to happen.

“kook,” he says, “what’s wrong?” then, jokingly in order to lighten the mood, “you’re turning this entire place into a giant freezer.”

“i can’t help it,” jungkook says, “i don’t want to, but i don’t know how to control it, i can’t -“

“hey, hey.” yoongi actually goes to grab jungkook, then, before he can stop himself; his fingers slip through his arm, and it’s so cold he has to bite down a yelp. “it’s okay. just tell me what’s wrong.”

jungkook looks at him and bites down on his lower lip.

“it’s getting harder and harder,” he says, “to remember anything about my life. i’m not sure if i had siblings. i don’t remember who my best friend was. it’s like i’m fading away.”

“you’re not fading away,” yoongi says. “i’ll help you look into your past, if you want.”

“but that’s also,” jungkook drops his gaze, “what i’m scared of.”

yoongi frowns. “why are you scared?”

the dim lightbulb above them flickers. yoongi turns his face towards it, and when he looks back down, jungkook is looking at him again, dark eyes intense and serious and alive in a way they shouldn’t be. it sort of takes his breath away.

“if i remember what happened, i think i might disappear. yoongi. i don’t want to disappear.”

 

--

 

it’s four a.m. and yoongi’s still browsing the internet, trying to find something that would help jungkook. anything on what binds ghosts to this plane of existence. if he could find anything useful on ghosts, period, it would be a start.

the problem with the world wide web is that, well, it’s full of bullshit. he closes a site that claims that ghosts can’t enter the room if there’s a line of salt in the doorway (not true, he once tried it in a desperate attempt to keep jungkook away from his bedroom in the mornings, and all it got him was the usual ice cold wake-up and jungkook calling him a fool) and sighs, leaning back in his chair and stretching. he concludes that people on the internet have never actually had a ghost in their house.

the computer screen flickers; a bunch of error windows pop up, and then the screen goes black.

“kook,” he calls exasperatedly, “didn’t i tell you not to come close, you’re fucking up my work.”

“what are you doing, hyung,” jungkook whines, hovering behind yoongi, cross-legged and shoulders drawn, hands holding his ankles. “what’s more important than me?”

i’m doing this for you, yoongi doesn’t say.

“scat,” he says instead, making a waving motion with his hand.

jungkook narrows his eyes and makes sure that every single closet and drawer in yoongi’s room swings open before he floats away.

 

--

 

“behold,” namjoon says as soon as yoongi enters the studio, and jabs a pink post-it note at yoongi’s chest. it sticks to his jumper. yoongi frowns down at it.

“what’s this?”

“a possible answer to your questions,” namjoon says and leans his face on his palm, smiling, “park jimin.”

“never heard of him,” yoongi says and detaches the note from his chest.

park jimin, it says in namjoon’s graceful handwriting, and then a phone number.

“he’s an old classmate,” namjoon explains, “i just recently reconnected with him because he moved back to seoul. we went out for drinks, and, well, i might’ve mentioned one of my friends having a ghost? i mean, how does one not mention something like that, right?”

yoongi merely cocks a brow, and namjoon carries on.

“anyway, when i told him about it, i expected him to kind of laugh it off, but instead he said, i used to have one too. so, i started asking him about it, and yeah, long story short, he knows more than you so you should call him.”

yoongi regards namjoon with an incredulous stare.

“and you believe him? just like that?”

namjoon smiles. “if you knew him, you’d believe him, too. he’s not the type of person to just make stuff up. go on, just give him a call. what do you have to lose?”

yoongi is still suspicious, but he calls the number the next day. park jimin’s voice is high and clear and he sounds like a fifteen-year-old rather than twenty-something.

“this may sound weird, and i already regret doing this,” yoongi says, “but namjoon said you might be able to help? with... a ghost related thing?”

“ah,” jimin says, “you’re the friend with the ghost problem! yes, you could say i’m familiar with the situation.”

yoongi shifts his weight from one foot to the other. he feels sort of awkward and ridiculous. jimin, on the other hand, sounds casual, like they’re talking about yoongi’s broken kitchen faucet.

“you want to get rid of your ghost?”

“no,” yoongi says, “i want to make sure he stays.”

 

--

 

park jimin comes over the next saturday. he’s shorter than yoongi, with a pretty face, bright orange hair and a brighter smile. almost immediately after meeting him, yoongi finds himself thinking that he sort of understands what namjoon was talking about when he said if you knew him.

“oh, it’s cold,” jimin comments upon entering the living room. ”because of him?”

“it’s because he’s sad and scared,” yoongi says without thinking about it.

jimin looks at him and smiles a little bit. something about his eyes gives off an understanding, sympathetic vibe.

“can i meet him?”

“i’m warning you, he’s a brat,” yoongi says, and then, raising his voice, “oi, kook! i know you’re watching. get your ghost ass here.”

jungkook responds by sending a pillow at yoongi before coming out of the opposite wall. yoongi catches it without missing a beat.

“this is the resident malefactor, jungkook,” yoongi introduces, gesturing between the ghost and jimin halfheartedly, “jungkook, this is jimin. he’s here to help, so don’t be a dick.”

“that’s cool, you can send stuff flying.” jimin sounds genuinely excited. “what about a person? can you lift him into the air?”

“i’ve tried,” jungkook sighs, “but i’ve only managed to lift him a couple of inches. hyung should lose some weight, don’t you think?”

yoongi can already tell they’re going to get along. he rolls his eyes.

 

--

 

jimin tells his story over some coffee in the living room. yoongi had a feeling it wasn’t going to be a happy story - ghost stories rarely are, he supposes.

back where he lived in busan, jimin had a ghost in his apartment. the ghost’s name was taehyung and he was around the same age as jungkook. he hadn’t been around for long, so he was new to the whole being dead thing, and he was lonely and confused and he used to accidentally cause power outages and make windows freeze over.

but ultimately, he was kind, bright and bubbly, and they became friends quickly. taehyung loved hearing about the world outside, and jimin loved gossiping with him.

“i didn’t want him to go,” jimin says, eyes cast downwards at the coffee. “it may be selfish, but... honestly, i didn’t.”

“but he disappeared?” jungkook asks. he’s captivated by the story, leaning forward, and yoongi thinks that were he breathing, he would be holding his breath. yoongi remembers how lost and scared he had looked under the flickering light.

“i like to phrase it like moved on,” jimin says, looking up again, “but honestly? i don’t know what’s out there. i don’t know where he went, or where he is now.”

“how did it happen?” yoongi asks.

“it was gradual,” jimin says, “he started fading, losing his memories. he said it felt like losing himself, like slowly fading out of existence. it became harder for him to keep a visible form. towards the end, it was just his voice, sometimes. this is how ghosts turn into poltergeists: they linger without knowing their purpose.”

yoongi swallows. he’s squeezing his hands into fists so tightly that his knuckles are turning white. he unclenches them. jungkook, on his right, looks like a statue.

“so i found out what had happened to him. how he died. the only way was to make him face it. after that, he went away, and i never saw him again. i don’t know if... if he had the choice to stay. if he had some say in it. but i think that even then, he would’ve chosen to go. he didn’t really belong here, in the end. and i don’t hold anything against him, but i... i still miss him.”

jimin finishes his story, and all three of them are quiet. the heater whirs in the corner, and outside, the pitter-patter of the rain against the window. yoongi wants to say something to jungkook, but the words won’t come to him.

“i’m sorry,” jimin says, “i don’t think i was of any help. i think instead of hope i gave you more hopelessness.”

“it’s okay,” jungkook says, “at least i know now. what’s going to happen.”

“you might find a way to stay. maybe, if you really don’t want to, you won’t have to go.” yoongi knows jimin is trying his best to make jungkook feel better, and jungkook nods, but the sadness in the air isn’t going away.

“hey,” yoongi says as jimin’s leaving. jimin turns to him, hand on the doorknob. yoongi feels awkward saying this, but he says it anyway. “taehyung. i think he’s at peace now. i think he’s okay.”

jimin grins at him. when he smiles, it reaches all the way to his eyes.

“thank you for saying that.”

 

--

 

three days after jimin’s visit, the apartment is still cold. it makes yoongi’s chest ache, because it means jungkook is still sad and scared.

“i’m going to lose myself eventually,” jungkook says, staring absently down at his hands and turning them like he’s expecting them to completely fade out of view. “then i will either become an angry, restless presence or go somewhere else... go where? a place like heaven? or hell? or will i just disappear?”

yoongi feels like he needs namjoon, suddenly. he would undoubtedly have something profound to say. but because yoongi isn’t namjoon, what he does is karate chop jungkook on the top of his head. it goes clean through his upper body. jungkook looks up at him, surprised.

“we will figure this out,” yoongi says firmly, “i will do everything. i won’t let you opt out so easily.”

jungkook looks at him with a strange sort of look in his eyes. then, a lopsided smile appears on his face; it’s not nearly as big and cocky as it should be, but it’s something.

“you like me that much, huh?” he repeats yoongi’s own words from ages ago at him.

“brat.” yoongi doesn’t work all that hard at suppressing his smile. “god help me, i do, actually.”

 

--

 

yoongi does everything. he talks to jimin and namjoon, who refer him to some people, but they don’t know how to help. he searches the internet and goes to the library, but he can’t find anything he hasn’t already tried. and all the while, yoongi can feel time running out.

jungkook is forgetting more and more details. he forgets he ran away from home. he forgets where home was. yoongi keeps reminding him, but it never sticks with him.

one night, yoongi wakes up to jungkook repeating “hyung, hyung” in his ear, and the familiar coldness washing through his body.

“kook,” he mumbles, getting up on his elbows, “what is it? you okay?”

“i’m fading,” jungkook says, and when yoongi looks at him, he knows he’s right; when jungkook used to be sharp, slightly see-through, he is definitely dimmer now, and yoongi can see the closet behind him clearly. “i can feel myself fading, and i’m trying to stop it, but it’s taking a lot of energy to just -“

“look at me.” when jungkook rambles on, he sits up straight to get closer to him, and raises his voice. “look at me, kook.”

jungkook looks at him. even with his dim appearance, his eyes still seem like they have a light of their own. yoongi breathes in and then out. his hands are clutching the sheets under him.

“calm down,” he says, and it’s for the both of them. “you’re still here. you’re still with me. focus on me.”

jungkook still looks scared, but he nods, never taking his eyes off yoongi, and yoongi has never wished he could touch him more than he does now. he lets out a shaky breath. the exterior slips, just a little bit.

“jungkook,” he says, even though he’s not even sure what he’s going to say next.

still, jungkook looks like he understands, somehow.

“it’s okay, hyung,” he says, “i’ll hold on for you. you can go back to sleep.”

“if you’re not there when i wake up, i’m going to kick your ghost ass,” yoongi says, and jungkook laughs, the haunting, melodic sound. yoongi closes his eyes and presses it deep into his memory.

“lie down with me,” he asks, and although technically not possible, jungkook humors him, settling on his side close to yoongi.

yoongi rolls over to face him. the sheets don’t crease under jungkook, and he’s worryingly see-through, but despite that, it’s almost real enough. it’s almost enough to imagine jungkook actually there, in his physical body, lying next to yoongi.

“stay with me,” yoongi murmurs, partially muffled by the pillow. sleep is taking over.

and it’s selfish, just like jimin said.

“i really wish i had known you earlier,” jungkook whispers, and it’s the last thing yoongi hears, “i really, really wish that.”

when yoongi wakes up in the morning, jungkook is gone. he panics, heart racing in his chest.

“kook?” he calls, scrambling out of bed. his leg gets caught in the blanket and he kicks it away, cursing. “jungkook? are you here?”

the apartment is silent. yoongi goes through each room, calling out to jungkook, but there’s no trace of the ghost. jungkook has disappeared before. he’s been gone for three days straight, but this is different. yoongi stands in the middle of his living room, barefoot and clad in boxers and a t-shirt, and he’s not cold. he can’t feel jungkook.

 

--

 

it isn’t until the next evening that jungkook appears. yoongi finishes brushing his teeth over the bathroom sink, and when he turns around, jungkook is there, in the doorway. a sigh escapes yoongi’s mouth, partially out of surprise, and partially out of relief.

“you look terrible, hyung,” the ghost comments, giving a lopsided smirk. yoongi hasn’t slept since he vanished.

“back at you,” he says. jungkook is dimmer than before, and yoongi can swear he sees him flicker, faster than a blink, like bad television picture. “where have you been? i looked everywhere. i thought you were gone.”

“i was here,” jungkook says, “i was around. i just couldn’t materialize. having a form and talking at the same time takes a lot of strength. even this is -“

he flickers more visibly, then.

“kook,” yoongi says, taking a step closer, “just hold on a while longer, i can figure something out -“

“i wanted to tell you something,” jungkook talks over him. his tone suggests he just wants yoongi to listen, and he says as much. “i don’t have long, so i want you to just listen.”

yoongi has a very bad feeling he knows what jungkook’s going to say. his nails dig into his palms.

“i know you tried. we both did. but i’m barely holding on. i’m losing more and more of myself, and... i don’t want to lose control. i don’t want to not remember who you are.” jungkook looks at him, biting down hard on his lip. yoongi feels like someone cut off his air. “i think i’m ready. i can take the next step, whatever it is. i have to go, for a while, but i’ll come back in a few days. to say goodbye.”

“no,” the strangled sound escapes yoongi’s throat before he can help it.

jungkook smiles, and it’s sad but genuine.

“i really like hyung. i know i gave you a hard time, but i really do. i wish i could’ve stayed with you longer.” he flickers once, twice. “i’ll see you soon.”

and then he’s gone, flickering out one last time. yoongi shuffles a few steps forward until he can lean on the doorframe for support. he leans his temple against the surface.

“you asshole,” he whispers, and then, a little bit louder in case jungkook’s listening, “you asshole. i like you too.”

 

--

 

jimin answers the phone on the second ring.

“i need it, jimin,” yoongi says simply.

there’s a few seconds of silence. then, a small sigh.

“i’ll have it ready in a couple of days and bring it over,” he says. “i’m sorry.”

it’s their arrangement. jimin would gather the information on jungkook and his death - the death certificate, news articles - and when the time came to use it, yoongi would call. yoongi had thought it best if he didn’t know until that moment.

he has a couple of days, and so he finishes the song. he records the piano at the studio and brings the recording home with him. he leaves it on the coffee table for when jungkook comes back, along with the handwritten sheet of music, where he scribbled down the final title and the lyrics. it’s just a couple of lines, but somehow it took him a long time to figure out what he wanted to say.

didn’t know you, but you’re what i missed

if you were to leave today, it would leave us unfinished

when he’s coming home the next evening, the music is playing. he can hear it all the way to the hallway. he stands behind the closed door and listens, for a while, with his forehead pressed against the surface.

jungkook is singing. it sounds better than he had thought. it sounds like the most beautiful thing in the world. his voice is soft and breathy and perfect. yoongi did create the song for him, but still he wasn’t prepared.

yoongi’s not sure how long he stands there, whether it’s seconds or minutes. it’s like the flow of time stops, momentarily. he wants to stay here forever. he feels like his heart is breaking.

 

--

 

jimin comes, his arm slung over a messenger bag. his hair is pink now.

“i’m not too late, am i?” he asks. yoongi knows he noticed the change in the room temperature.

“no,” yoongi says, “he’s here.”

 yoongi feels a small gust of wind at his side. it ruffles his shirt hem.

“i’m here,” he hears jungkook’s voice very close to his ear, and although yoongi can’t see him, it’s still calming, at least for a moment.

“hey jungkook,” jimin says, talking at the general direction of the voice, “it’s great to see you. hear you. i hate that this is why i’m here.”

“yeah. me too.”

it’s a rainy evening. maybe it’s fitting. yoongi doesn’t care for metaphors, but the rain might forever remind him of this evening.

“are you ready?” jimin asks the both of them. yoongi really isn’t.

“before we start, i just want to know,” jungkook’s voice says, “after i remember, will i have time? or should i say everything now?”

“you’ll have a moment,” jimin says, voice soft. yoongi briefly wonders what happened with taehyung in that moment.

“okay.” after a few seconds that feel like forever to yoongi, “i’m ready.”

jimin settles on the living room floor, legs folded under him. yoongi stands, his arms folded tightly. he can’t calm himself down enough to sit down. jimin pulls his detective work out of his bag.

“i’m starting from the beginning,” jimin says, pulling out a printed photo of a family, “you were born in busan, on september first in 1997. you had an older brother.”

next is a page with some handwritten notes and a cut out from a newspaper. yoongi is guessing it’s from the day he died. jimin sets them on the floor, turned away from himself.

“you came to seoul when you were seventeen. you ran away from home. you weren’t officially living anywhere during that time. you stayed with some friends, but i’m guessing you had a falling out, or something happened. this apartment was empty, and you ended up staying here, for at least a couple of months.”

the last piece of paper he sets on the floor is a death certificate.

“you died on the seventeenth of january, 2016,” he says softly. “you died of hypothermia. do you remember, jungkook?”

slowly, jungkook starts to materialize across from jimin. yoongi holds his breath. his heart thuds against his ribs. jungkook is sitting on his folded legs, mirroring jimin, leaning over the papers in front of him. his eyes are glued to the death certificate, unblinking.

yoongi watches as he gets sharper and clearer. he’s as clear as he was the day yoongi met him. then he’s clearer.

“i remember,” he says.  he’s barely see-through.

yoongi watches with wide eyes as he gets up. he turns to look at yoongi - and yoongi knows, for the first time, how he looked like when he was alive. jungkook is completely opaque. his skin is slightly tan. his hair is a rich shade of brown. his eyes are still the same, vivid and shining. his face is slightly flushed. yoongi has never seen anything so beautiful before.

“ah, yoongi,” jungkook says, lifting his arm towards yoongi, and yoongi’s feet are moving before he registers it.

he walks into jungkook’s outreached hand, and instead of sinking through his chest, jungkook’s fingers curl in the fabric of his shirt over his heart.

“oh,” jungkook whispers breathlessly, “i can feel it. your heart is beating so fast.”

yoongi makes a strangled sound, somewhere between a laugh and a groan. he runs his hands over jungkook’s biceps, his shoulders, until they find the back of his neck and stay there. jungkook is so solid, so real, and he’s still not warm but it doesn’t matter.

yoongi pulls jungkook’s head closer and presses their foreheads together.

“i have a lot of things i want to say to you,” he says, voice low and a little bit rough, “but right now, the only thing i can think of is that i don’t want you to go.”

“me too,” jungkook says, “i have a lot to say, but all i’m thinking is that i can finally do this.”

he reaches up and places a cold hand on yoongi’s jaw; yoongi feels the cool press of his lips on his cheek, gentle but sure.

“you...” he mumbles, just like the last time, but unlike the last time, he now grabs jungkook’s face, and without hesitation, presses their lips together.

it’s definitely less gentle than jungkook had been, it feels bruising, and jungkook makes a small noise against his mouth, his fists grabbing yoongi’s shirt tightly. they kiss for what feels like forever and not enough time, all at once.

then, suddenly, without a warning, jungkook pulls away. yoongi’s eyes snap open to find jungkook watching him, eyes wide and intense and breathtaking, and it’s like everything else stops, right then.

“i love you,” jungkook says, and when yoongi blinks, he’s gone.  

his hands grasp at the air. slowly, they drop to his sides. yoongi stands, staring at the space jungkook left, breathing in and out through parted lips, chest heaving slightly but otherwise frozen. it feels like the aftermath of a storm. he doesn’t know when the tears fell, but they are sticky on his cheeks.

it takes a while for the world to start moving again. the sounds come back slowly. the heavy rain against the windowpane. jimin calling his name.

“yeah, i’m fine,” yoongi hears himself say, even though he’s not even sure if he was asked that.

 

--

 

sometimes yoongi talks to himself at the apartment. sometimes he finishes sentences with “...isn’t it?” and expects a reply. when he looks up and meets nothing but empty air and silence, he remembers that jungkook is gone; remembers that he isn’t coming back, this time.

sometimes he says the words under his breath, before he falls asleep or staring at his exhausted self in the bathroom mirror, because he didn’t get to say it back.

namjoon makes sure yoongi drags himself to work every morning, because he doesn’t think being holed up in the apartment is a good idea. jimin forces yoongi to hang out with him, as a “support group”. they’re trying their best to cheer him up and make him feel something again, and yoongi definitely doesn’t deserve them.

two weeks after jungkook went away, yoongi is returning from the studio and getting soaked in the rain because he forgot to bring an umbrella despite it being overcast the whole day. he gets more absent-minded when it rains.

he meets his upstairs neighbor outside the apartment building and nods at her curtly. she is holding a gigantic umbrella over her five leashed cats. yoongi raises his brow imperceptibly, but leaves it at that and swiftly moves past her, going to open the front door.

“you,” he hears the neighbor’s voice behind him. he turns enough to cast her a look, pointing a questioning index finger at himself. “yes, you. you live in that apartment below mine. the one with all the noise. i was going to leave a note, but i might as well tell you right here.”

yoongi frowns. he doesn’t feel like dealing with this bullshit right now. his place has been completely silent for two weeks.

“what is it?” his tone isn’t very polite, but he doesn’t give a shit.

“you’re not even home, and you leave your music on? it’s terribly, terribly loud, and it’s scaring alfons, ronnie, honey, baby and beatrice, and frankly i will have to file a complaint if -“

yoongi doesn’t catch the rest, because he’s already sprinting up the stairwell, the door still closing behind him by the time he reaches the top. he can hear it all the way to the first floor; the faint piano, the familiar melody that he buried somewhere in his drawer.

he runs up the second flight of stairs. the melody grows louder. this is the fastest he’s ever reached his door. he leans against it, catching his breath, hand clutching the doorknob but not turning it yet. behind the door, the song he titled unfinished is playing.

he breathes, closes his eyes tightly, and waits for it. that part in the song. it can’t be. could it be? jimin's words echo through his mind. maybe, if you really don’t want to, you won’t have to go.

and a voice joins the sound of the piano. a smooth, soft, breathy voice, beautiful and so, so familiar. can it be. can it be.

he opens the door, steps past the threshold. for a while, it seems like nothing’s changed. the music plays in the empty room. then, something icy against his cheek.

“welcome home.”

Chapter Text

“can i have a strawberry cone, please.”

“with sprinkles,” comes a voice right next to yoongi’s ear. yoongi prays the girl behind the counter preparing his ice cream doesn’t hear it. 

“with sprinkles,” he adds, flashing a smile when the girl casts him a look.

“you have to keep your voice down when there are people around,” yoongi says in a low voice after walking out of the store and into the sunny street. “disembodied voices usually freak people out, remember?”

“but i want to talk to you, hyung,” jungkook whines close to him. “you really expect me to be quiet the whole entire time we’re out?”

“i’m just trying to avoid what happened last time,” yoongi says into his ice cream, cocking an eyebrow, “that guy really thought god was talking to him. being mistaken for god was definitely not good for your ego. just - ah!”

to anyone watching, it would look like he just hit himself in the face with some strawberry ice cream. he hears a barely contained snicker close to his ear.

“jungkook, i swear to god,” he grumbles under his breath and wipes the ice cream off his face, glaring at the air on his left.

“you have sprinkles on your cheek,” the ghost whispers, laughter in his voice, “cute.”

yoongi shakes his head a little bit and tries to bite down a smile, not doing a very good job.

there aren’t a lot of people on the street despite it being sunny. some high schoolers on their phones outside a game store. a couple walking down the sidewalk hand in hand. a man in a suit, who jolts as if electrocuted and almost drops his suitcase as soon as he passes yoongi, which is how yoongi knows he just walked straight through jungkook.

“you did that on purpose,” yoongi accuses behind the ice cream.

“he seemed self-important,” comes jungkook’s voice, “and it’s funny.”

yoongi doesn’t bother arguing, because, yeah, it is pretty funny. he walks sluggishly, eats the last of the ice cream, and ignores jungkook who calls him a grandpa for being so slow. it’s mid-summer, it’s warm, and jungkook’s coolness feels good at his side. he likes the feeling of having time, not having to hurry, because jungkook doesn’t have a time limit anymore.

“movie?” yoongi asks when there are no people in immediate proximity.

he hears a hum. it sounds otherworldly, carrying a ghostly echo, like a note played on an old piano. it still makes the hairs on yoongi’s arms stand up.

“movie it is,” he says.

 

--

 

since jungkook came back - some three months ago - he’s not only bound to the apartment anymore, but to yoongi. this means that wherever yoongi goes, jungkook can go with him. yoongi’s not sure why, what changed; maybe he’s now haunting yoongi instead of the apartment. yoongi doesn’t mind being haunted. not when it makes jungkook so happy to be able to go places again.

in the darkness of the movie theater, jungkook can materialize on the seat next to yoongi without turning heads. no one is paying attention to the backrow, empty save for the two of them. it’s a movie about superheroes. the ones that jungkook likes. they’re fighting some guys. saving the world. yoongi thinks. he doesn’t really give a shit about the movie.

he’s watching jungkook, who looks the most solid when it’s dark. he’s glowing faintly around the edges, but it’s not that different from the glow of the silver screen. he looks astoundingly, painfully real. his eyes are fixed on the movie screen; he licks his lips, leaving the lower lip shiny, and even that looks real. yoongi feels like he’s in physical pain. all he can do is stare. when jungkook notices, he catches his lip between his teeth and gives yoongi a smile. yoongi smiles back.

when they walk home, it’s already dark. the streetlights are lit. yoongi wishes jungkook could materialize, that he could see him walking down the street with him, but it’s too risky. he’s still too obviously not of this world, and it would cause unnecessary hassle if people were to see him. yoongi used to joke about calling the ghostbusters. someone actually might.

he feels jungkook next to him, though. the fingers on his left hand are freezing, which means jungkook is holding his hand, which means his heart is fluttering, stupidly and incorrigibly.

 

--

 

yoongi is sort of, not really, dating a ghost. it’s complicated, really. let’s put it this way: were jungkook alive and in possession of a physical body, yoongi would absolutely, most definitely be dating him. he would date the fuck out of him. he would fuck the... okay. okay. it’s better to not think about the things he would do if jungkook had a physical body because 1. he doesn’t and 2. yoongi still has to be able to look him in the eye without blushing uncontrollably.

it might be comparable to being in love with an out of reach celebrity. or an abstract concept. that’s how namjoon so helpfully puts it, after hours in the studio, when they are sitting around and having a few drinks.

“you can admire it, but you can’t have sex with it,” he says, words slurred only slightly, pointing in yoongi’s general direction with his beer bottle.

“not with that attitude,” hoseok comments loudly, and he’s definitely had enough to drink. yoongi only met him a few weeks ago - one of namjoon’s old classmates, those seem to be popping up left and right recently - but he’s already made quite an indelible impression.

“how do you fuck a concept,” namjoon asks incredulously and turns his entire upper body to look at hoseok so jerkily that his beer almost spills.

yoongi is scared that hoseok might actually start explaining it. he is so, so glad that jungkook isn’t here witnessing this train wreck; usually yoongi makes him stay home when he goes to work, since having his ghost energies fuck with all the equipment in the studio would make it really hard to get actual work done. yoongi’s been wanting to show him the studio, though. he’s going to bring him here, some day, preferably when namjoon’s far, far away.

“why are we talking about this,” yoongi says, pained, “i don’t want to have sex with... this isn’t that kind of a relationship.”

“what kind of a relationship is it, exactly?” seokjin, namjoon’s roommate, asks, cocking his head curiously, his legs stretched out and resting in namjoon’s lap.

“the kind that’s none of your business,” yoongi shoots, and then gestures between seokjin and namjoon. “why don’t we talk about this relationship instead. you guys made any progress or what?”

seokjin goes slightly pink and namjoon is suddenly very occupied with his beer. although it’s a great way to make them shut up, yoongi wishes they would deal with their shit already, because he sees namjoon eight damn hours a day, and has had to witness him gradually falling for his roommate over the past few months, which has been so embarrassing he’s almost put his head through the console table a few times.

on the other hand, yoongi’s dumb heart skips a beat every time jungkook presses a ghostly kiss on the corner of his mouth, so maybe he’s not any better.

(the truth is, yoongi doesn’t have a name for it.

“true love,” hoseok suggests. “he did come back for you. literally back from the dead. if that’s not true love i don’t know what is.”

“he’s still dead,” namjoon points out.

“true. love.”)

 

--

 

things are definitely different. yoongi’s social circle has been growing thanks to namjoon, and he’s not entirely sure how he feels about that. not that there’s anything wrong with namjoon’s friends, he likes them, really, likes them enough to trust them with the whole ghost-in-his-apartment thing; it’s just that they were very quick to adopt the habit of turning up unannounced, uninvited, sometimes when yoongi isn’t even home. jungkook is equally to blame for that; he’s the one who keeps letting them in.

when yoongi comes home one evening after closing up the studio, the hallway is filled with the smell of something burning and the loud sound of people either screaming or laughing. odds are it’s both. yoongi wishes there was even a slight chance it’s not coming from his apartment, but who is he kidding. he takes a deep breath before opening the door.

it’s incredible. it’s like something straight out of a renaissance painting depicting hell. the kitchen is full of thick, grey smoke. seokjin is waving his arm forcefully at the disaster that used to be his kitchen, yelling, “DIDN’T I TELL YOU. DIDN’T I TELL YOU NOT TO MICROWAVE AN EGG”, which doesn’t make any fucking sense to yoongi. namjoon is standing around shirtless, although it’s hard to tell because he’s covered head to toe in the white foam from the fire extinguisher hoseok’s holding. yoongi wasn’t aware he had one. namjoon’s shirt on the floor looks like it was used to put out a fire. jimin is on the floor, laughing so hard it sounds like he’s dying. there’s foam everywhere. jungkook is floating above all their heads, saying, “do it again, do it again”, and yoongi doesn’t want to know what “it” is.

he takes back what he previously thought. there’s definitely something wrong with them.

(things have changed but some things are still the same. jungkook hits him in the face with a fistful of foam, and it reminds yoongi of last christmas, when they made it snow in the living room. jungkook is laughing, the way he was laughing then, the way that makes the glass doors of the cupboard resonate.)

 

--

 

jungkook is genuinely happy. the kind of happy where the apartment is rarely cold anymore, the kind of happy where yoongi wouldn’t be surprised if his smile really did make flowers grow. the kind of happy where yoongi can look at him and think, he belongs here with me, and not feel immensely selfish.

but:

sometimes it’s four in the morning and yoongi lies awake with his eyes closed and listens to jungkook sing, softly and quietly to not wake him up, and he wonders what kind of a decision, exactly, jungkook made. what he gave up. what will happen after all this, because while jungkook will stay the same, yoongi is going to be gone, some day.

he asks about it; asks where he went for those two weeks he was gone, but jungkook is vague about it. says he doesn’t remember much about it. says that he knows what he’s doing. the consequences of his actions.

(it is with the same disquieting ambiguity that he says to jimin, you don’t have to worry about taehyung, and then refuses to say any more.)

at night, jungkook lies down next to him, and yoongi finally says the words back at him. he’s been holding onto them for a long time. it feels terrifying. it feels like a weight off his chest, and it feels like they are doomed.

(the memory of kissing jungkook is forever etched into his mind. he can’t shake it, the feel of his cool lips on yoongi’s, his soft skin under yoongi’s hands, how he had leaned into the touch and held onto yoongi. yoongi is going to remember every last second of it, because it’s never going to happen again.)

but jungkook smiles, soft and happy, and it’s making flowers grow, if not literally then at least figuratively, in yoongi’s soul or whatever, so who cares about the impending doom. he feels terribly, helplessly fond.

right now, it’s summer. jungkook feels good next to him and he’s happy. they can go anywhere. he is friends with the weirdest group of people he’s ever met. he loves more than he has ever before in his life. things are alright.