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Prove Me Otherwise

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“Jeon Jungkook?” you ask, striding towards the only figure in the waiting room. The guy in question is standing, busy studying the enormous sculpture at the far end of the hall but his head slowly turns at the sound of his name.

His eyes are wide when they meet yours, nervous, and you falter a little at how young he looks. Was this really the new intern the company had assigned to you? A face like his looked like it belonged in a schoolyard. Were they sending you high school students now?

“How old are you?” you ask, voice a little incredulous, realizing a second too late how rude that probably sounded.

“Uh, t-twenty one-” he stutters, eyes darting away from yours as he takes a careful step back. He wrings his hands in front of him, a light blush appearing on his cheeks, “Sorry?”

One of your brows lifts in surprise.

So, not a boy then.

A man.

It’s only then that you think to let your eyes leave his face and examine the body attached to it. Had you done so earlier you may have been able to hold your tongue, given he filled out his suit in a way no boy would ever have been able to, his suit doing little to hide the broad shoulders, strong arms and tight thighs it encased.

For the first time you consider the formal work attire your company expects, a real shame. In this case, you really wouldn’t be opposed to seeing just a little more skin.

Your eyes widen a little, the thought surprising you. That you find him attractive, and dare you say it, cute, alone confounds you. You couldn’t recall the last time you’d harbored such-

Enough.

A man he may well be but he was still your new intern, and not to mention three years younger than you. You had no business checking him out, even if he was a confusing combination of the most adorable yet appealing man you’d ever seen. You frown, pushing those thoughts to the back of your mind before forcing yourself to take a deep breath, regaining your professionalism.

“No, it’s me who should apologise. You look very young for your age and for a second, I thought management had decided to send me a boy.” You don’t miss his slight flinch at the word and while you could, perhaps, have used an alternative word, he was going to need to be built of tougher stuff if he was going to endure his time here.

After all, he’d be interning for one of the largest magazines in the state, Mardelle and serving under you; the youngest head editor in your industry at just 24, and you hadn’t reached such esteem by being nice, exactly. Your standards were high, expecting nothing but the best from your employees. Anything less would see them walking.

In light of that, it probably isn’t that surprisingly to know that when it came to interns, the turnover tended to be quite quick. In fact, this Jeon Jungkook was actually the third intern your company had hired…this month.

It was a lot but you didn’t have time for incompetence; the magazine couldn’t afford to wait around for anyone.

Not even for you.

It wasn’t your fault if the workload was too much for those last three editor wannabes. Sure, Maggie had suggested you could have been more considerate and supportive but they hadn’t been able to finish even half of their tasks, what did management expect? You weren’t going to coddle anyone. There was no time.

“I see,” he still avoids your eyes.

“Indeed.”

He was shy.

You frown, thinking of your loud and busy and chaotic office.

You let out an inaudible sigh. He wouldn’t last long.

It was a shame really, you think, as your eyes rake down his form once more, Maggie would have been appreciative of some new eye candy and it did mean you would have to finish those sketches for the cover yourself for the special art edition coming up in a month.

That meant you could say goodbye to your already barely existent social life for the next few weeks.

You exhale, already tired just thinking about it.

Better to get this over and done with as quickly as possible then.

“If you’ll follow me.”

You turn on your heel and stalk back up the corridor, not bothering to see if he follows. Either way, you didn’t really care. The sooner he was out of your hair, the better.

But he does follow you.

He follows you into your office. Follows you as you direct him to the small desk in one corner. And then, he follows all of your instructions.

Every.

Single.

One.

He finishes any task you assign him. Without complaining. Without slacking. Instead, he accepts each request with a gentle nod before he ducks his head and sets about completing it, working diligently for hours on end.

Days fly by and Jungkook returns every day. You’re surprised each morning when you waltz into your office, expecting the room to be bare, only to find him already typing away on his computer, piles of paperwork spread out across his desk.

You give him extra tasks and errands to see if you can break him, like you had with the others, but he finishes everything.

And not only that but he finishes everything perfectly.

Days turn into weeks and you find that, in addition to his writing abilities, he’s also a talented artist. A skill you quickly put to use, letting him work alongside you in the sketching of the designs. He’s attentive, respectful and knows when to speak up and voice his questions and when to remain silent.

It isn’t long until you realise you respect him, admire him even. You could even see a little of yourself in him. After all, you were no stranger to hard work and long hours. It’s how you got to be where you are now.

He doesn’t disappoint you. While he does make occasional errors, he apologises sincerely and then he learns. He never repeats the same mistake twice.

And the whole office loves him.

He’s still relatively shy, rarely meeting your eye, nor does he speak all that much, but he smiles politely at everyone and most, if not all, of the women, and even some of the men, are completely enamored by him, dubbing him the ‘office sweetheart’.

You can still remember the first time you’d actually greeted him with a “Good morning, Jungkook” when you’d strolled into your office rather than your usual “did you finish X or Y last night?” His head had snapped up so quickly from where he’d been busy pulling out something from his bottom draw, and you’d heard a loud, and rather painful thump.

“G-good morning, (Y/N),” he’d said, discreetly trying to rub his knee behind his desk, unable to hide his surprise. Or shock. Shock was probably more accurate.

You’d felt uncomfortable seeing it. It could have also been guilt. Just how rude of a person were you to warrant such an astonished response at a simple greeting?

When you’d felt your cheeks start to heat you’d quickly finished taking your jacket off before scampering over to check your emails, eager to have a computer between the two of you so he wouldn’t be able to see.

You’d almost talked yourself out of greeting him again but then you’d braved a peek around you’re the edge of your desktop and seen the smile on his face. It was small, barely negligible, but it was there. It wasn’t as big as the ones he gave the rest of the staff but it was something and there was something about it that made your heart warm at the sight.

Needles to say, he’d been just as surprised the next morning when you’d greeted him a second time. You’d even smiled. Maggie, who’d happened to be walking by your office at the time, almost had an aneurysm at the sight. She’d pulled you aside later and pressed her hand to your forehead with a mocking concern, wondering if you were feeling all right. You hadn’t appreciated that, nor the laughter that had ensued at your responding frown and then had continued for the rest of the day whenever she caught your eye. But despite her amusement, you continued to greet him at the start of all the days that followed.

Things seemed to change after that.

You were kinder. You were polite, asked rather than demanded, were assertive instead of controlling. This time it was Jungkook who seemed to be in an ever-present state of awe. While amazed, you could still see the slightest hint of wariness in his eyes, as if he expected you to go back to your initial ways at any moment. Almost as if your kindness was another one of your tests, and he was counting down the hours until you became a disinterested and demanding boss once more.

But you never did.

With time, the wariness disappeared and his smiles grew more genuine. He began to come out from his shell, talking and responding more. His posture became more relaxed and he seemed more at ease. He even began initiating conversations, seeking your opinion for things he never used to. You even joked around, discussing subjects that weren’t work-related.

You could barely recognize yourself, at this friendly stranger that had overtaken your body. But you just wanted to see him smile. You wanted to be the reason for his smile.

Every now and then you still snuck glances at him, watching him with wonder. You still couldn’t believe he’d stayed. That he continued to stay.

Eventually, he became comfortable enough to call you out on it.

“You know,” he begun one Tuesday afternoon, his hand waving the pencil he held in your direction, “sometimes you still look at me as if you expect me to leave.”

“Why don’t you?” you ask, shifting in your seat so you can see him around your computer. It’s a question you’d wanted to ask about a hundred million times over the past few months yet had never felt brave enough to voice.

“Why would I?”

“It’s not exactly an… easy internship,” you begin.

“No thanks to you,” he grins. Even though you know he’s joking you can’t help but feel a small twinge of guilt. You really hadn’t made it a very pleasant experience for him. You swallow as your mouth forms your next words.

“I know I’m not easy to work with.” You can’t look at him so you return your focus to your computer, maneuvering yourself gently so you’re back to sitting directly behind it. Your heart thumps loudly in your chest and you wish you didn’t feel so on edge. You want him to disagree with you, but there’s no reason why he would. You really weren’t easy to work with.

“I know why you did what you did, (Y/N). I don’t blame you for it. In fact, if anything, I’m grateful to you. I didn’t want easy. If you hadn’t tested me, I would have not grown or been inspired or driven enough to work so hard and achieved all that I have already. You know what you want, so you acted accordingly. It’s not wrong to have expectations. I’m just glad I was able to be what you were looking for.”

Something clenches in your stomach at his words and you exhale a little harshly. You hadn’t been expecting that.

“You’re better,” you admit behind the safety of your screen, “you’re better than anything I was looking for.”

You’re unsure why the words sound so… meaningful as they leave your lips. Like they hold something precious.

There’s a beat of silence and you’re almost tempted to peek at him when you hear a gentle, “thank you”.

“I’m sure you’ll be taking my job eventually,” you say, trying to regain some control, to tame the thundering in your chest.

There’s a soft sound and woosh of air that might be a laugh, “Hardly.”

Neither of you say anything for a long time after that. Nothing but the sounds of gentle taps on keyboards and scribbles of pencil on paper can be heard for close to an hour.

Surprisingly, it’s Jungkook who eventually breaks the silence.

“You surprised me too.”

Your heart is pounding in your ears and you don’t answer, his tone causing any words to catch at the back of your throat. The words feel heavy as they settle on your skin.

You didn’t want to ask for clarification.

For the first time since the day you’d met him, you’re suddenly reminded of how attractive you find him, even more so now that you knew him, but more importantly, you have to remind yourself that he is still your intern.

Your intern.

Nothing more.

Even though you were starting to wish for just that, for more.

“Thank you,” you whisper eventually. Much too late and you can’t bear to look at him so you excuse yourself and hide in the conference room for the rest of the day, ignoring the way his looks linger whenever he walks past.

Things change once more after that.

Your smiles became a little more guarded. You become hyper aware of what you’ve labeled the ‘professional line’ and dedicate a lot of effort towards actively not crossing it. Even so, you’re conscious that Jungkook sneaks glances at you and you only know because you’re stealing looks right back. Every time your gazes collide, the both of you always quickly look away, with exchanges of any sort now leaving your cheeks a constant flush of pink. You feel foolish but you just can’t stop.

Sketching drafts becomes a tense affair, the air strung tight whenever you draw side by side on the set-up outlining desks, aware of even the slightest of flicks of his wrists. You don’t know whether you’re grateful or distraught that he always decides to roll his shirt up to his elbows, exposing his toned forearms, something you always have to force yourself to ignore. It’s always then that you realize how tall he is, how well you would fit into his arms, how safe you would feel in them.

He never comments on the change in dynamics and neither do you.

But you can feel it. You can feel something building.

Something builds each day as you walk into your office and see him sitting at his tidy desk. Every time he smiles at you, looks at you, thanks you, asks for your opinion, points out a mistake you’d overlooked or brings you your favourite coffee. It progresses. It was growing and you were afraid of the day that whatever it was would snap.

Even Maggie corners you on your way to retrieve your lunch from the staff fridge one afternoon.

“Be careful,” she’d warned.

“Of what?”

“You know what,” and then she’d sauntered off again. The encounter had unsettled you (because you were certain your other co-workers were likely to have also noticed) but you couldn’t help yourself.

You lit up at the sight of your intern. You couldn’t describe the feeling you experienced whenever you made him laugh. You were practically lost whenever he was sick at home or away for his compulsory professional development meetings, wondering how you ever managed to do anything without him.

You were starting to lose sleep.

You knew Jungkook had noticed the bags under your eyes becoming more defined, but despite his disapproving, contemplative frowns he never said anything.

It wasn’t until you woke up to Jungkook’s voice, having fallen asleep at your desk one thursday morning, his hand gently nudging your shoulder, that he seemed to have had enough.

“This needs to stop,” he says, sinking into the chair on the other side of your desk after he places your coffee in front of you. Your grateful smile quickly disappears at his words, hands clenching around the hot take-away cup.

“I mean it,” he leans forward, refusing to let you look away, “What are you doing? Why aren’t you taking care of yourself? Why aren’t you sleeping?”

“I’m fine,” you bring the coffee closer to your face, “my neighbours have been renovating, that’s all.”

Jungkook purses his lips.

“The renovations stopped a week ago.”

“What, you-” you can’t help the blush from spreading across your cheeks when you’re caught in your lie.

“I’m your assistant intern, (Y/N). It’s my job to know.” He doesn’t look impressed.

“I don’t know what to tell you, Jungkook,” you say, because you really had no idea.

He doesn’t reply and you stare at him over you coffee cup, watching him watch you. As it always does, your heart stutters at his scrutiny, at his attention and you can feel the blush deepening on your cheeks. You bite the inside of your mouth to stop yourself from saying something stupid, and your eyes drift down, taking another long gulp of your coffee.

Jungkook seems to come to some kind of a decision because he pushes himself to his feet without a word, giving you a small nod and then returns to his desk. However, a couple of minutes later, just before he leaves the room, he turns around briefly to say, “take care of yourself, (Y/N), it’s important.” He’s gone before you can reply and while you’re thankful, his lack of presence letting you breath more easily, there’s a lump of disappointment lodged at the back of your throat and you’re not quite sure why. As with most things, you choose not to think about it.

The rest of the day seems to go by quickly, albeit a lot more tense than your average day. Jungkook seems guarded when he returns but he doesn’t say anything more on the topic.

And so you think that’s that.

It’s only when you put on your jacket at the end of the day, grabbing the pile of drafts that Jungkook had organized for you from your desk and move to leave your office, most of the staff having already left, that a hand suddenly appears over your shoulder, slamming the door shut again.

You startle at the sound, air leaving your mouth in a surprised gasp, and then freeze as you feel him hovering close behind you. You can feel his warm breath on the back of your neck, your eyes fixated on the familiar forearm to your right.

“J-Jungkook?” you stutter. But you knew what was happening. You can sense it from the thickness of the air. This was it. Whatever had been building was finally cracking. There’s a rush of something down your spine and you can’t suppress a shiver.

“I- I’m sorry,” he removes his hand but doesn’t move away, “I just- we need, can we talk?”

“Can’t it wait till tomorrow?” Somehow your voice stays level. Now that the moment was here, you felt nervous. Beyond nervous. If your hands weren’t clenching the stack of papers as tightly as they were, you knew they’d be shaking.

There’s a beat and his voice is soft when it continues.

“You know it can’t.”

You didn’t know if you could do this now. You’d rather push it away. Suppress it. Post-pone it. But that wouldn’t be fair to him either. God, your head was a mess.

“Please turn around,” he says quietly. You take in a shaky breath.

You do as he says, slowly turning, pressing yourself back against the door, holding the drafts close to your chest to ensure that there’s still plenty of room between the two of you.

“Yes?” Your eyes are wide as you stare up at him.

His eyes are indecipherable, looking at you with an intensity that makes your breath hitch. He’s so close.

“Jungkook, you’re my intern.”

“Yes.”

He inches a fraction closer.

“And I-I’m your boss.”

“I’m aware.”

“We shouldn’t,” you almost plead, even though you knew it would be of no use. You both knew you’d been circling around each other for much too long. You could only evade something for so long. You were scared. Not of him. But of how much you realized you wanted this.

“I know.” He reaches for the drafts in your hands, gently pulling them from your grasp, setting them down on the cabinet beside the door.

“It’s not wise.”

“Nor smart,” he adds in the same breath.

“We can’t.” Your voice shakes, the amount of emotion you were feeling scaring you, overwhelming you. Had you ever been so aware of your breathing? Of your heart beating? Of Jungkook?

“You know that’s not an option anymore,” Jungkook says, sliding even closer, crowding you. He leans closer so your faces are only inches apart.

“What if-”

His hands reach up to gently cup your face, “It doesn’t matter.”

“And if-”

“(Y/N),” his thumbs slowly stroke your cheeks, “do you want this? Because if you don’t, you need to tell me now.”

You gulp, swallowing thickly, unable to tear your gaze away from his.

“What do you want?” he asks. As if with a mind of their own, your hands move to clench in the fabric of his shirt at the small of his back, tugging him closer. Jungkook’s gaze lowers to your lips and your stomach clenches, his voice a low murmur, “Do you want me to stop?”

You almost wish it wasn’t so but-

“…no.”

Jungkook’s chest shudders underneath your hands, and your heart stops at the brief smile that lifts the corners of his lips. He presses his forehead against yours, one hand reaching down to your waist pulling you flush against his body, stealing the air from your lungs.

“Good,” he lets out a small, relived laugh, as if he almost can’t believe it, voice a little hoarse when he repeats the word, “good.”

“Good?”

He hums affirmatively and your fingers tighten in his shirt.

“Jungkook,” you breath, inches away from his lips, “I’m so glad they hired you.”

“I’m so glad they hired me too,” he returns, “Even more glad you didn’t fire me.”

“How could I?”

And then he’s closing the last bit of space between you.

His kiss is everything you thought it would be and more. And man, was it worth the wait. It was like finally receiving rain after a decade of drought. Like him, it was a mixture of soft and hard, of gentle and heady, the perfect combination of heart-warming and heart-stopping. Your toes curl in pleasure; still astonished this was actually happening. When he pulls away, you chase his lips, not ready for him to stop, your hands, now wrapped around his neck, eagerly bringing him back to you. He doesn’t resist.

He grins into your kiss and your relish the sound he makes when you swipe your tongue along his full, bottom lip. You lose yourself in his kiss, his touch.

“Why the heck didn’t we cave sooner,” he says after goodness knows how long, breathing heavily. It could have been 5 minutes. It could have been an hour.

You were unbelievably gone for this man.

“We’re both very stubborn.”

He presses his forehead against yours once more, the slightest touch of concern lacing his features, his chest still trembling, “You’re sure you’re okay with this?”

“Completely.”

You don’t think you’ve ever been so sure of something.

“You won’t care what they think?”

You knew the office would have a field day but-

“Oh, let them talk.”

Jungkook’s smile is brilliant. Well, it is for the brief second you see it before you’re tugging him back, already impatient for his lips.

Even now, you can still barely recognize yourself. This version of yourself. But you didn’t care. You didn’t care as long as he never stopped kissing you like that, looking at you like that, smiling at you like that.

You tell human services the next morning and while they don’t approve, they have no choice but to let you fill out their forms. The office, as expected, is abuzz with the news but you pay it no mind. You’re too happy.

Once the paperwork is done, Jungkook, your boyfriend, leads you down the familiar hallway and waiting room, hands clasped tightly in yours, wearing the biggest smile, one you knew you wore too. As you pass the sculpture he had been gazing at that first day, you can’t help but wonder how you would have reacted if someone had told you back then that you would fall for your intern.

You smirk; you would have probably fired them on the spot. You had never thought anything like this could and would happen to someone like you.

But, you think as you stare up at Jungkook, his hand gently squeezing yours as he tugs you along, you’ve never been so happy to be wrong.