jeongguk doesn't ever sleep.
ok, maybe that's an exaggeration. but it's incredibly difficult for him to sleep. he lays awake for hours and hours, twisting and turning, eyes refusing to shut as he stares into the darkness. even when he closes his eyes, it doesn’t bring him any satisfaction; his heart still pounds loudly in his ears, he still feels uneasy, and he never gets tired, so he prefers to keep them open.
it's the noise that keeps him up, he knows. moving from the quiet countryside to the big city was a major change in every aspect of jeongguk's life. he's still adapting to the new lifestyle and setting, growing accustomed to the hustle and bustle, and busy bodies and faster pace. but in particular, the sounds of the city are the thing that jeongguk feels the most.
laying in his bed at night, he used to be able to hear himself think. every thought was a resonating pulse through his body, a reminder that he's still there, still alive, and that he's alright. he'd liked that feeling because even when everything else seemed impossible, he could just lay there and breathe and his mind would clear and he'd feel at peace.
but here in the city, it's different. his thoughts become jumbled as the noises from the streets, the cars driving by, and people still awake at ungodly hours invade every nook and cranny of his head. they fill him up with anxiety and a sense of restlessness. they seem to suffocate him, scratching at the cracks in his skull and the holes in his lungs. they trap him inside his worries and his fears, echo like a broken record that jeongguk doesn’t know how to turn off, and no matter how hard he tries, he can't block them out.
at least, not on his own.
there's a small metallic sound, like something hitting his window and jeongguk stirs in his bed, legs curling up to his chest as he pulls the blankets up a little more. his eyes flit over to the curtains and he wonders if he's imagining things, finally losing it after weeks of this insanity. he's afraid, maybe, but also curious when the sound comes again.
gathering his courage, he sits up, pushs the blankets away and slides his feet over the side of his bed. he stands slowly and walks over, drawing the curtains back and peering outside. at first, the street down below appears empty and jeongguk begins to think he really had imagined the sound. but then a flash of color alerts jeongguk to the culprit: his friend taehyung is standing by the tree in his yard, bright orange hair illuminated by the light from the street lamps. he has a handful of pebbles held up, but when he sees that jeongguk has noticed him, he drops them and waves violently.
jeongguk starts to wave back but then he's struck by the absurdity of the situation and he falters, pretending instead to be interested in a lock of hair he's only just now realized was sticking out. not that he knows why it’s really important, after all, why would taehyung even care if his hair is messed up? after another moment, he opens the window, flinching when taehyung calls up to him.
"jeongguk! i was wondering how long it would take for you to notice me. i considered getting bigger rocks, but i also didn't want to break your window so-" jeongguk quickly interrupts.
"not so loud," he hisses, aware that a light shade of pink might be coloring his cheeks and he doesn't know why. "do you want to wake up the whole neighborhood?" taehyung gives him a sheepish grin in reply before gesturing to the front door. he mouths something and it takes jeongguk a few seconds to understand that he's asking to be let in. he nods, mouths back, "yeah, hold on. i'll be right down."
he closes the window and hurries to his bedroom door, opening it as quietly as possible. he first peeks out in the direction of his parents room to make sure they're asleep and then he tiptoes through the hallway, down the stairs, and to the front door.
it only occurs to him as he reaches for the knob that this still makes no sense. why is he even letting taehyung in his house in the middle of the night when he should be sleeping and taehyung should be sleeping and what is he even doing here in the first place?
he opens the door anyway.
"thanks," taehyung whispers, shivering as he steps inside. "it was kind of chilly out there." he allows jeongguk to lead him silently back up the stairs, and once they’re in the safety of jeongguk’s room, he slips off his coat and throws it onto the floor.
“what are you doing here?” jeongguk asks. he slips back under the blankets, the trip to fetch his friend seeming to have leached all the heat out of him. he doesn’t complain when taehyung climbs into the bed beside him.
“i wanted to see you,” taehyung says, but maybe he spoke without thinking because he suddenly blushes and his expression morphs into something that jeongguk believes could be embarrassment. “i-i mean, i heard you telling jimin in class earlier that you have trouble sleeping and so i came to keep you company.” but that explanation doesn’t seem to satisfy him either and he ends up huffing and disappearing further under the blankets. “whatever, i just felt like it.”
jeongguk isn’t sure why, but for some reason, he finds this answer so abominably cute that it only takes half a second before he’s cuddling up against taehyung, arms finding their way around taehyung’s waist as he presses his face into the crook of taehyung’s neck. taehyung stiffens but then relaxes immediately after and his own arms wrap around jeongguk’s shoulders.
“thank you for coming,” jeongguk says. it’s so quiet he almost thinks he might not have said it but taehyung is smiling showing that he heard and jeongguk’s heart involuntarily skips a beat. he reacts subconsciously, leaning up to press his lips against taehyung’s. he sees taehyung’s eyes widen, and then his mind catches up with him and quicker than it had taken for him to perform the action, he squeaks and pulls back, apologies falling off his tongue. “s-sorry, i shouldn’t have- i just-”
to his surprise, taehyung cuts him off by leaning back in and capturing his mouth. he kisses him gently, tastes sweet like bubblegum and mint, and jeongguk clings to front of his t-shirt. when the kiss ends, jeongguk rests his head on taehyung’s chest and taehyung brushes fingers through jeongguk’s hair.
taehyung begins humming something softly, a tune perhaps, or maybe nothing at all, but it’s a soothing sound that lulls jeongguk’s eyelids into closing, his breathing becoming slower. he feels at home for the first time since he moved, here in taehyung’s arms. it’s a warmth and a sense of closeness that jeongguk thinks he would have forgotten.
he tries to murmur another thanks, but his mouth doesn’t seem to want to move anymore and his whole body feels heavy. is he falling asleep? all he knows is that he missed this feeling.
jeongguk’s last thought before sleep takes him is that maybe he doesn’t mind living in the city, if he can fall asleep like this.