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the weather in busan

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“today we’re… about forty kilometers east of where we were supposed to be because this idiot can’t read a map.”

“who uses actual physical maps in this day and age -”

“today we’re in boseong. you may know it from green tea, green tea plantations… foods infused with green tea… green tea...”

“don’t drag the place while we’re still here , suga-hyung.”

“it’s not my fault that’s what you hear about it. however, we’re seated at the mountainside, and i wish you could see this -”

jungkook presses the earbuds further into his ears in an attempt to block out the sounds of the city, the impatient traffic and someone yelling into their phone in the back of the bus. he slumps against the window, closes his eyes, concentrates on the voice flowing in - suga’s voice as he talks about boseong and the drive there some more, before v takes over.

it’s a sunday afternoon, and jungkook regrets so much being here on this crowded stuffy bus instead of the quiet of his studio apartment. usually he wakes up slowly, gets a mug of coffee, confuses it with paint water at least twice. he sits on the newspaper-covered floor and paints freely and without purpose while listening to this two-hour segment on this little radio channel with a constantly slightly bad frequency. that’s his sunday afternoon, usually.

but instead he’s here, and he’s here because he had a meeting with a gallery owner who’s considering him for the upcoming exhibition - he wanted to have brunch, who the fuck has brunch, at a place specifically designed for brunch and for making jungkook cry with literally everything on the menu over his budget - he’s an artist, for fuck’s sake, he’s not swimming in money. he had a bagel and just sort of accepted that tonight’s dinner is going to be an old pack of instant ramen while listening to the guy tell him about all the ways he has to change himself and his artwork before he can fit in with the exhibition. so that’s his sunday afternoon, currently.

he happened upon this channel by accident a few months ago. he’d been hanging out with jimin and hoseok who’d apparently recently emerged from a conspiracy theory marathon; they told him about ghost channels, stations that broadcast with seemingly no one there. when jungkook was alone he started turning the channels, just fucking around, not really expecting to find a mystery.

he did, sort of. just not the one he’d been looking for.

he heard a laugh on a splintering frequency, and sure, of course it chilled him a little bit, he’d been looking for ghosts and now there was eerie laughter on his radio - but then the person started talking, and it was the opposite of chilling.

it was - incredibly soothing, immediately. jungkook remembers stopping everything and just sitting and listening. he didn’t really even know what the person was talking about, but he liked how he talked about it. it was such a deep voice, mostly an even calm lull, except for when he broke into that odd but pleasant laugh, all hard consonants stuck in the back of the throat. jungkook liked how he slurred his words in places and the noises he made in between thoughts.

it was because of that voice that jungkook turned to the channel again next week; wanting to hear it again, wanting a confirmation - is it really as soothing as it felt the first time? (it is.)

it’s a strange little segment, but the whole frequency seems to be a little strange so it fits. it’s a sort of travel log - the two hosts, suga and v as he learned, travel around south korea, visiting bigger cities but also small towns and villages that sometimes aren’t even on the map. the show is often so unpredictable and sort of all over the place that jungkook guesses it’s at least partly unscripted - but that’s what makes it fun, that's what made him fall in love with it. their spontaneous banter and wild-flowing conversation. 

jungkook likes them both, likes their dynamic - they seem close, seem like real friends and not just co-hosts; jungkook supposes you have to be close to be able to do this sort of thing. to be constantly on the move with another person. they broadcast from the back of their van on sundays and talk about places; v writes riddles, usually opens the segment with one - jungkook’s pretty sure they aren’t meant to be solved because he never comes back to them.

jungkook likes them both but he really, really likes suga. his voice and the way he talks, the way he describes things. it makes him feel okay. and that’s a luxury these days, to feel okay.

if he had a chance, he’d tell them how they’ve helped him, how important their show is to him. but suga and v are, essentially, ghosts. they obviously use aliases, and jungkook can’t find anything on them or their show, and at some point you just have to stop before your behavior turns stalkerish.

“now, the weather,” suga says just as jungkook gets off the bus. “the weather in boseong is… waiting for something. the sky keeps darkening like a bruise and it just makes you want the rain to fall, because you know it’s going to happen. sounds irritating, right? makes you feel like you’re waiting for something, too. maybe not the rain. something you don’t know about yet.”

jungkook’s favorite part is when suga does the weather. it’s not a real weather report by any means. sometimes suga says, it’s cold and i’m annoyed, and that’s it. sometimes he talks about it so poetically it sounds like he’s really talking about something else. whichever it is, it’s personal, it’s him. and, well, jungkook supposes - he likes suga as a person.

“this has been the weather in boseong. it’s not where we were supposed to be, but - i think sometimes that’s okay. we’re not where we planned, but we’re okay, right? next week, namwon, if v learns to read a map.”

 

/

 

“what’s this?” hoseok asks, pointing chopsticks at a canvas standing up from a landfill of crumpled newspaper by the window. “a commission you’re working on?”

the spot in the exhibition went, unsurprisingly, to an abstract artist who’d already had way more exposure. when he told jimin, his friend promptly announced they’re coming over to cook, because while jungkook may be a struggling artist, he won’t be a starving artist on their watch.

jungkook’s learned to just accept their kindness. it’s either this or lending him money, and he won’t take their money.

“no, it’s just… for me.” he worries his bottom lip. “it’s boseong.”

jimin gives him a look across the table.

“have you been to boseong?”

sometimes suga says, i wish you could see this… and then he describes the view in his own, cryptically poetic way. and jungkook does see it. he transfers the picture suga paints onto canvas. of course it’s not accurate, like, realistically. it’s more about the feeling of it.

he’s never been to any of these places, and never will at this rate - sometimes he can’t afford to take the bus back home;, he’s not exactly traveling the world, here. but suga and v are giving him glimpses of the world outside of busan. at least he’s experiencing it this way.

“the radio show with suga and v,” he says, “the one where they travel around? they were in boseong last week.”

“ahhh,” jimin says with an enlightened look on his face. “which one of them were you in love with?”

“what -” jungkook stares at jimin, who only quirks an eyebrow. he snaps his mouth shut. “i’m not in love with either of them, i don’t even know them -”

“suga, it was suga,” hoseok so helpfully interjects. jimin grins. jungkook is shocked and offended. the warmth he feels on his face is the steam from the bulgogi.

“i’m not. i don’t even know what he looks like.”

hoseok shrugs. looks at him like it’s obvious.

“you’re in love with a voice.”

while jungkook’s still trying to figure out what that means, jimin and hoseok go on casually conversing over the food.

“which one does the riddles? that part’s fun. i like solving them.”

“they aren’t meant to be solved,” jungkook mumbles distractedly. “they are nonsensical. there to set the mood.”

“then how come i’ve solved, like, three of them?” jimin challenges. “a golden star sticker with the glue worn off, a ballet version of magic mike, every adam sandler movie but adam sandler is replaced by a fancy office chair.”

“what,” jungkook says. jimin shrugs.

“i don’t remember how the riddles went, but those are the correct answers.”

“you should try selling your radio show paintings,” hoseok nods towards boseong. “it’s beautiful.”

 

/

 

“namwon is known as the city of love. which kind of bums me out because i’m here with this guy.”

“we’re staying in a love hotel.”

“we are not. stop giving people the wrong idea, v.”

“what’s the right idea? that you’re desperately single and will accept calls from interested guys and gals?”

“exactly. please give a call, my number is 82708 -”

“that’s my number! stop giving out my number on national radio!”

“as i was saying, namwon is called the city of love. v will now do a dramatic reading of the well-known love story associated with the city of namwon.”

“i will do no such thing. it’s a story about a woman tortured by a dude because she wouldn’t sleep with him. there’s too much emphasis on her chastity and how that’s what kept her loyal to her true love. it’s not a great story. shrek is a better love story.”

“v will now recite the plot of shrek as he remembers it.”

“that i can do. buckle up, and don’t be alarmed if your broadcast suddenly cuts off because this is totally unplanned and they may have to do that.”

 

/

 

he imagines lots of things about suga. he imagines he talks in pout. he imagines him looking perpetually a little bit sleepy, but imagines his eyes sharp and attentive, the kind that always perceive, analyze, and criticize. he imagines him probably pretty tall. he sounds tall, somehow.

he tries to imagine how he looks when he does that throaty little laugh, but can’t. he must have a nice smile.

if there is such a thing, jungkook is totally in love with a voice. with a ghost. with a faceless entity who only exists on radio waves.

the weather in namwon, according to suga, is remembering a moment when you were really happy, and wondering why you don’t realize just how happy you are until it’s a memory. it’s the feeling of chasing something but dreading the moment you catch it because you’re not sure you know how to hold onto it. and windy, it’s windy there.

 

/

 

“where are we headed, again?”

yoongi glances up from the note he’s typing in preparation for the next show - thoughts floating through his head, this is how i felt right then. taehyung is just a voice in the depths of the van. yoongi, leaning against the side of it, lowers his phone.

“you don’t even know where we’re going?” he asks incredulously. “no wonder we’re lost all the time.”

“um, wrong,” taehyung says. there’s a worrying crash. yoongi doesn’t want to know what broke, he just wants to get going. “we’re lost all the time because you won’t invest in a navigator. like i get that we’re saving money and data but half the time we end up using google maps anyway. and when we’re in the middle of nowhere and have no internet. that’s when we’re fucked.”

“i’ll add it to the list of things we need,” yoongi rolls his eyes. “i’ll send it to seokjin. maybe if he’s feeling benign, the company will pay.”

“the navigator better be above the portable coffee maker on that list.”

“in your dreams. i’d rather die lost in the middle of the woods and have myself one last cup of coffee than spend another week on the road without a coffee maker.”

taehyung pokes his head out of the open door.

“oh, you will. you will die in the woods,” he promises ominously.

“you done?” yoongi raises an eyebrow. “you done with your twenty bags? can we go?”

“you really don’t like namwon, do you.” taehyung hops out of the van, hauls the sliding door shut with both hands. “is it because it’s the city of lovers and it’s making you reflect on how remarkably alone you are?"

“i’m adding ‘new co-host’ to the list as we speak,” yoongi returns flatly, and holds out his palms. “keys. i’m driving.”

it’s not that there’s anything wrong with namwon. he feels better in some places, less good in others. there’s nothing more to it. some places feel closer to home, while other places couldn’t be further from it. and it’s got nothing to do with the distance between daegu and them.

“we’re going to yangsan,” he tells taehyung, starting the car, tossing him the sloppily folded map that looks like it’s seen some shit. “it’s north of busan. do not lead me astray.”

“why can’t we go to busan?” taehyung whines airily while wrestling the gigantic map open on the front seat. “i want to see the sea.”

“you’ve seen the sea a hundred times.” yoongi shakes his head quietly. “what else is there in busan?”

 

/

 

“i’m here.” jungkook clutches the phone to his ear and his fabric-sheathed portfolio bag to his side as he does his best to dance around people walking way too slowly on the sidewalk. “i’m here, i’m out of the meeting, are you near? can you pick me up?”

“i’m still at work,” jimin says apologetically, “didn’t your meeting start at two? that was fast. how did it go? tell me now.”

“nope, you’re gonna have to wait,” jungkook sing-songs, “that’s what you get for having a day job with steady income.”

“someone’s cocky,” jimin laughs, “so i’m guessing congratulations?”

“well, yeah,” jungkook grins, “but i’ll tell both you and hobi properly later.” jimin starts screeching really high. or it could be one of his daycare kids. honestly, jungkook’s not sure. “i’ll get home, don’t worry. i’ll get the bus.”

jimin’s crying now. again, could be one of his daycare kids. you just can’t know. jungkook lets him get back to his shift, pockets his phone, dodges around a corner -

and promptly bumps into someone’s person.

“oh!” he goes, and drops his paintings. the person he missiled into staggers back a step from the impact. he’s about to start apologizing profusely, but then the person says:

“i’m so sorry. are you okay? you dropped your - oh, this is heavy - your, uh -”

he’s picking up jungkook’s portfolio bag and normally jungkook would be rushing to take it out of his hands, thank him, and flee the scene, but now - he finds himself frozen as the guy straightens up, blinks up at jungkook, sort of confused and slightly alarmed, understandably so because jungkook is not, like, exhibiting very human-like behavior right now.

“are… you okay?” he asks again as jungkook just fucking stands there and stares.

jungkook looks to the side. at what is most definitely a broadcasting van parked at the curb. then back at the guy, whose eyebrows are steadily inclining towards his hairline, who’s still holding onto jungkook’s paintings.

maybe it’s embarrassing how quickly jungkook recognized his voice. how deeply it’s been engraved into him, how he’d probably be able to pick it out from a whole sea of voices.

“you’re suga,” he tells the guy. then he immediately wants to die because no fucking shit, he’s pretty sure suga knows he’s suga.

he’s suga.

he’s the ghost without a face on a radio wave.

except that he evidently has a face and jungkook can’t stop looking at it.

“yoongi-hyung?” another guy steps out of the van. that voice is incredibly recognizable to jungkook, too.

yoongi?

how are they here?

is this happening?

“holy shit,” is what comes out of jungkook’s mouth next, “i was so wrong about you being tall.”

there’s a befuddled pause. then v cracks up by the van. suga - yoongi? - stares up at him with his mouth hanging slightly open. somehow, instead of that’s rude or fuck off, he says:

“you listen to our show?”

he seems honestly confused about that.

“i - do i - every week.” jungkook is stuttering, he is aware , but he can’t help it because this is all so weird, and it’s a lot, suga has a face, and it’s, well - he was wrong about the tall thing but he was right about some other things like the eyes and the pout, and some things he couldn’t have imagined if he’d tried. like how absolutely pretty he is. jungkook gestures with his hands uselessly. “you - you’re holding my -”

he actually wants to explain his paintings to them, something like, you’re actually holding your own voice painted on canvas and paper holy shit i just got a spot in an exhibition thanks to these paintings thanks to you

but he finds it hard to form words efficiently and suga thinks he only wants them back, gently pressing the bag at jungkook’s chest.

“ah. your -”

“- paintings.”

“paintings,” suga repeats, and it’s so odd that he has to look up at jungkook, in a way; but on the other hand, jungkook’s thinking… of course, of course he’s this height. “right.”

jungkook fidgets nervously, tucks the bag under his arm.

“you’re doing a show from busan?”

obviously he’s flustered, but he has no idea why suga also seems dazed almost, staring at him like he’s got paint on his face - shit, that’s entirely plausible, he probably has paint on his face.

“well,” suga clears his throat, and casts a lazy cat-eyed glare at v who’s abandoned the van to join them. “it turns out we’re tremendously off course again.”

“maps,” v says to jungkook solemnly as if that one word is self-explanatory. v is also objectively very good-looking. “he insists on using paper maps. who uses maps anymore?”

“no one uses maps,” jungkook says. suga gives him a disbelieving look. then he keeps looking at jungkook who’s looking at v but doesn’t fail to notice out of the corner of his eye.

i was telling him,” v continues, “that since we’re here, we might as well do the show from busan. he didn’t want to do that. things got pretty heated. i tore up the map. he stormed off to find somewhere to get over-caffeinated and probably also to get a new map from a boutique in the 18th century when they still used maps. bam! enter you. a person in busan… who most probably… knows about coffee shops around here?”

“he’s probably busy, tae,” suga mumbles. fuck, what, are they asking him to show them to a coffee shop? jungkook’s never too busy for this.

“i’m not busy,” jungkook bites his lip, curls his fingers around the portfolio bag. “actually, if you’ll let me, i’d really like to buy you coffee? it’s, um. i hope this doesn’t sound weird but you’ve really helped me a lot and it’s sort of… thanks to you that i may have gotten a breakthrough of sorts today? i’d just really like to thank you guys.”

“that sounds great, doesn’t it, yoongi-hyung?” v slaps yoongi on the back. “let’s do it! lead the way you precious human being with an impeccable taste in radio shows.”

there’s something wrong with this day. this day is like a dream that keeps going and going and getting more blatantly unrealistic. it’s a good dream, sure, but it feels like an alternate reality where jungkook just gets into exhibitions and gets coffee with the ghosts who have been making things less shitty for him for months.

they walk, suga at his side and v apparently choosing to hang behind them. jungkook feels the overwhelming need to talk, to use every chance he gets to tell them things, which in retrospect is probably a bad idea and making him come across as annoying because once he’s into a topic he talks so fast he stumbles over his words and stutters and it’s not cool at all.

but suga doesn’t look annoyed in the least, he keeps glancing at jungkook with wide eyes and smiling when jungkook smiles like he’s actually paying attention.

“what’s your name?” he asks sort of quietly at one point.

“jungkook,” jungkook tells him, his heart beating rabbit-fast as he watches him mouth the word silently like he’s memorizing. “jeon jungkook.”

“min yoongi,” he says, looking up at jungkook almost shyly as he says it, “my name is min yoongi.”

“and i’m kim taehyung,” v announces loudly behind them. “just, you know, reminding you that i’m here. please don’t think i’m telling you to stop, though, i’m living for this.”

 

/

 

jungkook checks out his face in the bathroom mirror at the coffee shop. there’s no paint on it.

taehyung leans across the table once yoongi’s in the bathroom in turn, and says with a meaningful sort of smile ghosting on his lips,

“if yoongi-hyung seems a bit quiet, please don’t think it’s because he’s cold or disinterested. he’s just overwhelmed.”

jungkook tilts his head.

“people don’t usually tell you they like your show?”

taehyung laughs. jungkook blinks. taehyung stops laughing.

“oh, you’re serious.” he wraps fingers around his iced latte and looks amused. “that doesn’t happen very often, no. no one listens to our show.” before jungkook can defend the show to its own host, he continues, more softly: “our channel is not exactly well-known, and our show is not very radio-friendly considering it’s on the radio. yoongi-hyung’s been struggling with feelings of self-doubt. he’s been questioning whether his voice is reaching anyone, whether he’s helping anyone this way. whether his work means anything to anyone.”

“he is,” jungkook breathes, sinking fingernails into his thighs, “it means a lot to me.”

“that’s why he’s overwhelmed.” taehyung leans back. he gestures at jungkook’s general being with a hand. “plus, he’s always had trouble acting normal around attractive people. i’m an exception, of course, because we’ve known each other since we were kids.”

“i -”

“what are you talking about?” yoongi slides into the seat next to taehyung, giving him an unimpressed look. “i saw your face from the distance and i could tell you were saying some shit.”

“oh, just about my riddles,” taehyung smiles smugly. “i was asking for jungkook’s help coming up with the next one.”

“are they solvable?” jungkook asks, ignoring the thing his heart keeps doing whenever yoongi’s around. “my friend claims the answer to the last one is ‘twenty-seven frilled lizards stacked on top of each other trying to buy beer at a gas station’.”

taehyung gasps.

“that’s exactly the correct answer! who is your friend, i think they might be my soulmate.”

yoongi meets eyes with jungkook over the table. he shakes his head minutely. jungkook grins.

 

/

 

back at the van, yoongi says:

“can you show me your paintings?”

taehyung’s leaning against the hood, on the phone with someone about something work-related - he’s saying the word navigator a lot - and yoongi and jungkook sit down on the edge where the side door slides open. jungkook unwraps the paintings with awfully steady hands for someone who’s actually really fucking nervous.

he hands them to yoongi one by one, piles them in his lap, and watches him study them, worrying his bottom lip. for a moment, yoongi doesn’t say anything. just looks at them, hands some of them back to jungkook to look at the first ones again.

“this is how it sounds when i talk about these places?” he asks finally. jungkook licks his lips.

“to me, at least,” he says, “yes.”

yoongi looks up at him. they’re close enough for their shoulders to touch. jungkook holds his breath.

“it’s beautiful,” yoongi says. he sounds like he can’t believe it.

“the way you talk about places,” jungkook whispers, “is beautiful.”

the three seconds they look at each other feel like three minutes. yoongi drops his gaze.

“is this namwon?”

jungkook looks down at the blue-hued painting on his thighs.

“how did you know?”

“i felt sad in namwon,” yoongi says in a low murmur, “and i… can see that here.”

jungkook takes a breath.

“well. i could hear it.” he knows they are here accidentally, and they might still be leaving, getting to their original destination in time for tomorrow’s broadcast, but - “you know… if you wanted to stay in busan, i could show you around. there are lots of beautiful things here.”

yoongi looks at him. there are indescribable things in his cat eyes. very gently, he takes the paintings on his lap, and places them on jungkook’s. he gets up. jungkook waits enveloped in nervous anticipation as yoongi walks to the front of the van. he says to taehyung:

“we’re doing the show from busan.”

 

/

 

yoongi [8:57]
hi this is yoongi
the radio guy

jeon jungkook [8:59]
idk i gave so many radio people my # today… which one are you…

yoongi [9:00]
the one who yawned and tripped over the curb

jeon jungkook [9:01]
oh…..wow
i didn’t think you would voluntarily bring that up

yoongi [9:01]
i know you saw it
it’s no use pretending you didn’t

jeon jungkook [9:02]
all cards on the table, i like your style

“so,” taehyung says, kicking the door finally closed after hauling all of his twenty bags into the motel room and yoongi pointedly not helping because taehyung needs to learn to travel light at some point. “you just suddenly decided you want to stay in busan after all, huh?”

yoongi attempts to shrug lying down on a bed.

“there’s nothing wrong with busan.”

“m-hm. i bet.” the mattress bounces as taehyung hops on. “you were staring at him the entire time.”

yoongi swallows. he lowers his phone onto his chest, and stares at the cracked ceiling.

“isn’t it so weird… that out of all the people, we met him?” if one thing had gone differently - if they had gotten out at the right exit, if yoongi hadn’t gone out to get coffee - they wouldn’t have met. they’d probably be in yangsan right now. the name jeon jungkook would mean nothing to yoongi and he would have no idea there is someone who… values their show so much and sees yoongi’s words so beautifully and makes something new with them. “it’s such a coincidence.”

taehyung hums low.

“or maybe more like fate?”

maybe.

“we’re going to leave, soon.”

“that’s not an obstacle. don’t let a chance pass you by just because it’s not immediately easy.”

what does it mean when someone smiles at you and it feels like a punch in the heart?

yoongi [10:02]
i was thinking we could go to the seaside tomorrow
for the broadcast

jeon jungkook [10:04]
sure thing! the seaside is my favorite place here
i can take you to a nice location

yoongi [10:08]
i dont think i can sleep

jeon jungkook [10:09]
me neither
do you want to go for a walk?

“i’m going for a walk,” yoongi announces, swinging his legs over the edge of the bed. taehyung’s an undefined mass under his blankets; his bedside light is on, though, and yoongi knows he’s writing notes for the show.

“have fun on your date,” comes a muffled voice.

 

/

 

“isn’t it kind of weird?” jungkook murmurs under the glow of street lamps. “that i sort of already know you… at least a little bit, while you don’t know me at all?”

“i wouldn’t say at all,” yoongi presses his teeth into his bottom lip. “i know some stuff.”

they walk sluggishly. it’s a bit chilly. it’s nice. it’s very nice, walking with him, now that yoongi is not as flustered. now that he knew to expect… this, jungkook. talking with him is very easy.

“what do you know?” jungkook tips his chin up as if in challenge. yoongi observes the dimples that appear on his cheeks when he smiles in a specific way.

“i know you’re a painter.”

“that’s an obvious one.”

“i know how you like your coffee. i know you overuse ellipses in your texts.” jungkook’s smile widens into a grin, white teeth peeking out. “i know what you do on sunday afternoons from twelve to two.”

“without context, that would be so creepy.”

“i know that you’re… kind,” yoongi murmurs, “and…”

“and?” jungkook prompts softly. yoongi shakes his head, forgoing whatever else he was going to say because he’s already struggling to keep his face from flushing.

“and that’s not enough,” he says, “tell me more about yourself.”

“there’s a lot to tell.”

“there’s a lot of road to walk.”

“i mistake my paint water for my coffee at least twice a week,” jungkook says. yoongi nods.

“an interesting choice for an opening fact. you feel that this summarizes you as a person?”

“very much so,” jungkook confirms. yoongi is feeling many things currently, some of which are: i want to get to know all of him. we are leaving in less than a week. it doesn’t matter because i can always come back. busan feels like a place close to home.

 

/

 

when yoongi laughs, jungkook gradually slows down, until he comes to a halt. yoongi tilts his head.

“that’s what it looks like,” the tip of his tongue wets his lips, “when you laugh.”

he looks incredibly soft in the street lights. yoongi’s heart is punching out of his chest and he doesn’t remember ever feeling like this before.

“been wondering about that a lot?” he says, and it comes out sounding like he’s been running.

“you know.” jungkook smiles. then he’s moving again. “once in a while.” yoongi catches up. jungkook looks down at his feet. “your smile is very pretty.” you’re very pretty, yoongi damn near says. “so i was right about that, too. i was really only wrong about you being tall.”

“i’m really not that short,” yoongi says, “but i’ll let you get away with it because you complimented my smile and i liked it. just this once.”

they must’ve walked for hours. yoongi is the opposite of tired, he feels awake and alive.

 

/

 

“oh,” jungkook stops on the sidewalk, surprise on his face. “this… is my apartment.”

yoongi glances at the brick building, and then back at jungkook.

“did it move or something? why are you surprised?”

jungkook looks amused and troubled at the same time.

“no, it’s just - i came back to my apartment, i didn’t even think about it - sorry, i can walk you back.” he shifts on his feet and rubs at the side of his neck. “you can also, um, come in if you want to… i just don’t want it to seem like this was a ploy to get you to come back to my place -”

yoongi huffs out a laugh.

“i promise you it doesn’t seem like that. i’m coming in.”

it was a joke, they were joking about it - but yoongi can’t help but feel a mixture of excitement and nervousness, his heart beating just a bit fast as jungkook lets them in.

“it’s not, like, great,” jungkook mumbles, “i’m, uh, a broke artist?”

“i live in a different shitty motel room every week,” yoongi reassures, “i love your place.”

he does instantly like the cosy little studio apartment; sorry about the newspaper, jungkook says, referring to the fact that a third of the floor is strewn with old paint-covered newspaper, but yoongi likes that detail, too.

“it’s very personal,” he murmurs, gravitating to the unfinished paintings after shedding his jacket and shoes, “you can immediately tell which are the most important things in your life. your art...” there are photos on the wall above the bed, polaroids with no frame. yoongi nods towards them. “your friends?”

jungkook nods. there’s a rustle as he steps into the newspaper-covered area. “jimin and hoseok. jimin’s the one who solves the riddles.” he has to meet taehyung, yoongi thinks. there is a tiny beat-up radio sitting on the floor in the midst of the easels.

“my show,” he murmurs, and it comes out unsure and hopeful.

“it really is,” jungkook says softly, “one of the most important things.”

yoongi worries his lip for a while.

“thank you,” he says quietly, “for saying those things. i… they mean a lot to me. i don’t think i can really… tell you how much.” he looks up, gives a small smile. “i know that i’m pretty bad with words for someone who talks for a living.”

“it’s okay. you don’t have to explain.” jungkook drifts close. he considers the unfinished painting with his head tilted. “you want your work to matter to people and… it matters to me. i hope that i can… do that too, one day. affect someone positively. maybe with the paintings of your voice. that would be fitting, right?” he draws a breath, shoulders rising and falling. “i hope people feel okay when they look at the paintings. because that’s how your voice makes me feel, always.”

he looks at yoongi, then, the expression on his face sort of caught off guard, eyes a bit wide, like he’d just now realized he was saying this out loud. it’s really nothing he didn’t tell them earlier, just worded differently, but he looks flustered about it now, and they’re alone, and, well.

“okay,” yoongi repeats, barely louder than a whisper.

“i… know it sounds like such an underwhelming word,” jungkook murmurs sheepishly, “like, just okay -”

“i know it’s not ‘just’,” yoongi licks his lips, turning to jungkook completely. “i know - what you mean, i... know.”

“if i paint busan how you describe it,” jungkook says quietly, “it won’t be a part of the exhibition. you can have busan.”

he says it as if yoongi has a choice, as if busan isn't going to stay with him either way -

yoongi takes half a step forward, stands on his tiptoes; angles his face, and very softly presses his mouth to jungkook’s. stays, for a few seconds, heartbeat loud in the silence, before rocking back, heels reuniting with the floor soundlessly. jungkook blinks, and yoongi wonders, for a terrifying second, if he completely misread everything -

and then jungkook presses him up against the wall, and kisses him deep and slow. his mouth is hot and wet and tastes like strawberries, maybe - it’s so, so nice, and jungkook feels good against him, under his hands. he pulls away when yoongi is dizzy; and then he kisses him again, and again.

 

/

 

jungkook’s never heard yoongi sound like this.

 

/

 

“help me set this up. hey.” a hand waves in front of his face. yoongi turns to taehyung, who’s giving him a fond-exasperated look. “you should tell me right now if you’re going to be any help at all or if you’re going to be looking at him the whole time.”

“him, probably,” yoongi says truthfully. taehyung groans quietly.

“yeah, no shit. still need help with the satellite dish, though.” it’s before noon and the shore is quiet and a bit cold. they are setting up the equipment and jungkook is walking back from the shoreline. he looks good with his wind-swept hair and the sea and the sun on his skin. “you came back pretty late, huh. or early?”

yoongi only scoffs noncommittally and climbs into the van.

“it was a long walk.”

“to his apartment?”

“nothing happened,” yoongi mumbles, fiddling with the headphones. the silence feels expectant. he sighs, corrects: “some things happened.”

he can, somehow, hear taehyung’s grin.

“i’m glad you’re not not doing anything about it. we’re going to find good things along the way, you know.” yoongi turns to look at him. taehyung’s picking at the controls, his focus seemingly elsewhere. “if you don’t hold onto them, then what’s the point?”

he has a habit of suddenly saying profound things out of the blue completely casually.

“i’m going to steal that from you,” yoongi quips, looping the headphones around his neck, “i’m going to use it on the show.”

“hey.” jungkook leans against the doorframe, looks up at yoongi with big eyes. “what do you think? do you like it here?”

“it’s nice,” yoongi murmurs, feels very warm at the way jungkook beams at him.

“we’re good to go,” taehyung says. “there’s a seat for you here, kook.”

“really?” jungkook’s eyes and mouth both make ring shapes. yoongi pats at the chair next to his. jungkook climbs in, and their van and equipment really aren’t very impressive, but he looks happy. he leans in close to whisper, “this is so cool, seeing you guys do this.”

“you don’t have to whisper,” yoongi says, fighting a smile. he can’t do a commentary if he’s constantly smiling. it’s terrible.

“we’ll be on air in…” taehyung’s holding up a hand and counting down from five with his fingers. his lips switch with a smile, and yoongi glances to his other side to find jungkook mimicking the gesture. good god, he’s so fucking cute. yoongi realizes this is going to be somewhat hard for him.

“here’s a riddle for you,” taehyung opens once they’re on air, mischief glinting in his eyes, “i have two legs, hearts for eyes, and a hand that needs holding. who am i?”

yoongi’s face heats up. there’s the slightest brush of a fingertip against his own, like the flutter of a feather, and yoongi doesn’t stop him when jungkook gently tangles their fingers as taehyung goes on to say, to the people who keep calling me, i don’t know how you figured out the rest of my number, but please stop, i’m elated to know at least three people listen to our show but i am not interested in shrek roleplay.

“- suga-hyung?” yoongi snaps his head up. taehyung’s looking at him with an amused eyebrow arched. “the weather, suga-hyung? or should i just play it’s raining men?”

“i could sing it if you want,” jungkook says.

“you sing?” yoongi asks in some kind of awe, into the mic and all.

“this broadcast is a mess,” taehyung says.

“as a fan, i think i should inform you that it usually is,” jungkook says.

“the weather,” yoongi sort of sighs, “the weather in busan is… serendipitous.” he’s got notes for this but they’re sitting inside his pocket. “it’s warm for a cold day. it’s a good weather… for something to take root and grow. i thought i’d seen the sea a million times, but… this is someone’s favorite place. it looks different… when you’re here with someone who loves it.” yoongi’s eyes focus in on jungkook. he smiles because he can’t help it. “turns out there are lots of beautiful things in busan.”

taehyung’s shaking his head in defeat. jungkook grins, wide and open.

he has the sudden foolhardy idea of asking jungkook to come with them. it’s not a serious thought. or maybe it is. who knows. they’ve got days. it feels like forever, right now, feels like only this moment matters.

“this has been the weather in busan. again, it’s not where we were supposed to be, but it’s also… exactly where we’re supposed to be.”