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life comes at you fast

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Jungkook first heard about Min Yoongi from Lee Seokmin.

“Ugh, are you taking Intro to Music Production? The TA is the worst,” Seokmin said, shuddering. “He’s a brutal grader and he has no sense of humor.” He leaned over Jungkook’s lap to grab a handful of chips out of the bag. “I worked my ass off and I just barely passed. And he didn’t like my jokes.”

“So he’s a tough grader with good taste,” Jungkook said, and then Seokmin kicked him, and from there it devolved into a wrestling match and Jungkook didn’t think about hardass TA Min Yoongi until his first day of class.

Seokmin was right. Min Yoongi had no sense of humor. He was never late to class and he made a point of noticing if anyone else was late, he always hid deep in his oversized clothes, peering out behind overgrown bangs. He never spoke except to give firm, clipped corrections. Sometimes he just wrote “no” on Jungkook’s assignments.

Jungkook never had less than perfect marks in his music classes, and Min Yoongi had taken points off every assignment Jungkook had handed in. And the worst part was that he was right. He’d caught all the bits of the compositions and assignments that had bothered Jungkook, the things that never seemed quite right to his perfectionist mind, and Min Yoongi highlighted them, sometimes literally, with brief dismissals that felt like stings in Jungkook’s heart. Music Production was the bane of Jungkook’s existence. It kept him up at night, working in a frenzy to create the exact right thing that would make TA Min smile. Nod. Grunt in approval. Prove he was human.

If there was something that could crack Min Yoongi’s shell, Jungkook hadn’t found it.

Seokmin was good friends with this guy Soonyoung, who Jungkook kind of knew from hanging around at the dance studio. Soonyoung had this big apartment that he lived in with a million roommates and they were constantly throwing parties. Jungkook was never sure exactly how many guys lived there because there always seemed to be someone new coming or going. Soonyoung was having a party to celebrate...Jungkook thought it might have been his cat’s birthday or something? Whatever it was, there was a party, Seokmin was dragging him along, and all Jungkook cared about was shaking his ass to some loud music and drinking way too much soju.

When he got to the party, it was packed. Seokmin immediately bailed on him, which Jungkook expected, and he was left to squeeze his way through to the kitchen to find out where all the alcohol was. The kitchen was the usual mess of people, too loud and too hot. Jungkook started making a beeline for the bottles lined up on the counter, but then-- he saw something that made him stop cold.

At first, Jungkook thought he was imagining him. Too much homework rotting his brain or something, but no, there he was, TA Min, in all his stonefaced glory. He was dressed a little nicer than he usually did for class, in a form-fitting black button-up and jeans, silver accessories on his wrists and hands. He was chugging back a glass of soju that he’d poured from a mostly-empty bottle. He didn’t even look drunk, of course, because he wasn’t human. He was talking to someone Jungkook didn’t recognize who wasn’t one of the guys who sometimes lived here. Jungkook didn’t want to be seen, so he very stealthily scrunched down and ducked into the hallway just outside the entrance to the kitchen. A few people gave him weird looks, so maybe he wasn’t being that stealthy, but at least TA Min hadn’t seen him.

“..nah, I’ll just grab a beer,” Jungkook heard him say -- he’d have recognized that low, gravelly voice anywhere -- “you know how he gets with booze.”

The other guy said something that was drowned out by a burst of noise from the kitchen and then, not three seconds later, TA Min emerged, carrying a fresh glass of soju and a beer. Jungkook froze, plastered in a half-crouch against the wall, trying not to breathe. He was wearing all black and the hallway was dark, it was unlikely that Min Yoongi would spot him, right? Or know who he was? Stealth mode, Jungkook chanted to himself. Stealth mode, stealth mode, stealth mode. It seemed to have worked, because TA Min didn’t look twice at him, just passed by and went right into the living room. A few people crowded behind him on their way through, and Jungkook quickly joined the back of the crowd, following TA Min into the living room.

It was full of people, all talking and laughing in clumps. A steady beat radiated from a speaker somewhere, some idol group song that had become popular recently. Jungkook recognized some of the people here, but he wasn’t great at just walking up to people and talking, so he didn’t bother trying to join any of the conversations. He didn’t think he could really be stealth anymore, but he still tried to hang back close to the door and watch what TA Min did at parties. Eating souls, maybe. Drinking the blood of the innocent.

On one of the couches, there was a bright-faced guy talking to Soonyoung, laughing loudly and gesturing with his hands. Jungkook noticed him because he was the kind of person you noticed, someone you just wanted to get to know by looking at them. He had a pretty, smiling face and kind eyes. To Jungkook’s surprise, TA Min was headed straight for him. Jungkook hoped he wasn’t really going to eat this guy’s soul, he seemed nice.

But no, the pretty, smiling man looked up at TA Min, who was standing in front of him and holding out the beer, and smiled...brighter? He lit up and smiled harder and Jungkook couldn’t hear him well, but it looked like he said “Thank you, baby.” What the fuck?

And then...if Jungkook hadn’t seen it with his own two eyes, he wouldn’t have believed it, but then...Min Yoongi, hardass, cranky, miserable Min Yoongi just melted. His eyes scrunched together and his cheeks puffed up and he smiled the biggest, widest gummy smile. He was looking at that nice man like there wasn’t anyone else in the universe. Jungkook couldn’t breathe. He wanted to take a picture of the moment, but he didn’t want to draw attention to himself.

Even more incredibly, the man on the couch didn’t act like anything was unusual. He went back to talking to Soonyoung, beer in hand. He shifted over slightly and reached out to grab TA Min by the hips, settling him into his lap, not breaking his conversation. It was both possessive and sweet and TA Min just allowed himself to be manhandled like it was no big deal. He seemed content to be on the guy’s lap, occasionally leaning over to whisper in his ear and giggle -- giggle! -- or drop comments here and there in the conversation. Soonyoung didn’t seem to notice that anything was wrong either, which made Jungkook feel vaguely betrayed for some reason.

“Hey,” Jungkook said to the girl next to him. “Do you know that guy talking to Soonyoung?”

“Jung Hoseok?” she asked, her brow wrinkled in confusion. “Or his boyfriend?”

“Umm, Jung Hoseok, I guess, thanks,” Jungkook said. Jung Hoseok, whoever he was, clearly had magical powers.

She looked at him sympathetically. “If you’re interested, he’s pretty obviously taken. They’re so cute together.”

Jungkook’s brain was reeling so hard from the idea of TA Min being somebody’s cute boyfriend that he almost didn’t hear his name being called.

“Jungkook-ssi?” that voice cut through the mumbled conversations and laughter around him. It cut through the thudding bass of the music. It cut through Jungkook’s own messy, tangled thoughts because that voice haunted him. It was in his nightmares. His own internal voice, the one that told him he was never quite good enough, had started to sound just like that. Jungkook turned slowly to face the couch and there was TA Min, still on Jung Hoseok’s lap, gesturing impatiently for him to come over. “Jungkook-ssi, a word?”

Fuck. Fuuuuuuck. Jungkook’s face felt hot. Had he been caught creeping? Was he going to get a lecture about his essay comparing recent developments in studio technologies? Jungkook slunk over to them, fiddling with the hem of his hoodie. “Me?” he asked, in an attempt to stall for time.

“Hyung, this poor kid,” Jung Hoseok said, laughing. “He looks like you’re going to eat him.”

“I’m not going to--” TA Min rolled his eyes. “Jungkook-ssi, don’t mind him, he’s being dramatic,” he said in a friendlier tone of voice than Jungkook had ever heard. “Hoseokie, this is the kid I was telling you about.”

“Jung Hoseok,” Hoseok turned the full power of his smile on Jungkook. “I’ve heard you’re quite the musical genius.”

“What,” Jungkook said. “Um, from him?” he asked, pointing at TA Min. It was incredibly rude, but he was too shocked to care. “But he hates me?”

For some reason, Jung Hoseok thought this was hilarious. He threw his head back and laughed as TA Min’s mouth dropped open. “Hyung, what did I tell you about taking on 8am classes. Oh my god.” He leaned over and dropped a kiss on TA Min’s cheek. “He’s the absolute worst in the mornings, it’s so cute.”

“Jungkook, I don’t hate you,” TA Min said, still sputtering. “I might be a little tough on you, sure, but it’s because you have so much potential.”

“Baby, you have to use your words,” Hoseok said. “Especially for your 8am classes.”

“Ugh,” TA Min said. “Fine.” He looked at Jungkook. “You’re a talented kid with the potential to be the best in the department. Don’t make me say it again.” He paused, then added “And you can call me hyung comfortably, okay?”

“S-sure, hyung,” Jungkook said, stumbling over it a little.

“Cute,” Hoseok said approvingly, looking back and forth between them. “I like him.” He squeezed his arms tighter around TA Min, who turned to look at him with a fond expression.

“You like everyone,” he said softly, his voice dripping with honey. “You even like me.” He leaned in and kissed Hoseok right on the nose.

Oh god. “I need a drink,” Jungkook announced. “I’m gonna get a drink. Or two. Four, maybe. Okay?” He stood up fast, slightly overbalanced, and corrected himself before he crashed into the girl he was talking to earlier. “Bye, hyung? Hyungs? Okay, bye.” Jungkook booked it out of there before they could respond, running back to the kitchen.

On the way there, he almost crashed into Seokmin, who was holding two beers and weaving his way through the crowd. “Gimme,” Jungkook said, grabbing one of the beers and chugging it. Without a word, Seokmin handed the other one over and Jungkook took it, pressing it against his forehead for a moment before drinking at am slightly slower pace. “You ok?” Seokmin asked, clearly amused.

Jungkook took a deep breath and grabbed Seokmin’s arm. “Listen,” he said. “You’re not going to believe what I just saw.”