"we're eating meat tonight—!"
yoongi looks up from his laptop screen, eyes hurting. namjoon has a cheeky smile on his face as he throws yoongi an envelope and closes the door behind him. it's heavier than last, the envelope, and a smile immediately breaks through yoongi's sour expression. "— told you following him to the tracks was the right move."
there's not a lot of space to be shared in yoongi's too small of a dorm room, so namjoon props himself on yoongi's too small of a bed, poking his shoulder with the tip of his toes. "don't get too cocky, hyung." yoongi rolls his eyes, knowing what's coming. "spider-man isn't worth your life." it isn't the first time namjoon tells him those same exact words. he's been repeating them ever since the first picture yoongi had taken of the newly-introduced superhero (two years ago, and he had carelessly propped himself out of a window to take the picture that would later be on the front page of many internet portals. they ate meat for months).
"he's worth the cash," and his laptop is put on the floor as yoongi goes through the money. it's enough to keep him well fed for at least a month this time. newspapers are getting more greedy for pictures of things a regular person wouldn't be able to snap with their phone — like spider-man dangling through darkened tunnels to rescue railway workers from getting gruesomely squashed by an oncoming train. it was a foreseeable accident, and it just took seven and a half days of avoiding being killed himself to happen. "— have you checked the news lately?"
it's a business, yoongi likes to think, although it's mostly searching the internet for possible, future accidents and hoping spider-man is doing the same somewhere. differently from those avenging the universe, most of what seoul's friendly neighbourhood hero does is helping lost strays and old ahjummas to cross busy streets in myeongdong. "that bridge site is all we have," namjoon sighs, eyes stuck to his phone screen, probably going through food delivery apps. "are we going to hell for hoping someone eventually falls off of it?"
yoongi snorts. "probably."
"well," he clicks his tongue, maybe considering the prospects of their choices, then hums. "— samgyeopsal?"
— it's too many hours later and yoongi has lost his bed to a snorting namjoon. the a.m. slowly approaches, but he's not tired. there are classes in the morning, and his whole body smells of samgyeopsal, but he leaves like that, camera around his neck, stretching his limbs to wake himself up. nighttime is a good time to catch spider-man in some more casual, less threatening situations, against pretty neon backdrops that make the pictures look stunningly odd, like from a comic book. once, he had spent an hour watching him jump around buildings just because. infatuation, namjoon, the psychology major, says. practice, yoongi, photography major, retorts.
he checks social media for sightings on the train. @spideygifs has tweeted a blurred picture of the superhero buying fish cakes in hongdae. yoongi wonders briefly if there are pictures of captain america buying cheeseburgers in manhattan. you're so ridiculously lame, spidey. he changes trains fairly quickly before stations close, and then he's climbing out the steps on the busier side of hongdae. buskers and street vendors are still all out, and groups of teenagers hang around past bedtime. yoongi stops after walking a few blocks, to wait. it's a chilly november night, and there's heavy fogginess settling in. yoongi looks through his viewfinder, seeing black, the karaoke lights faded in the mist. "ah, for god's sake," he huffs, looking around. there's a building with an emergency ladder somewhere — he's seen photos taken from it.
climbing it isn't easy. yoongi is no sportsman, and halfway up his arms start to burn from the effort. there's also the possibility that spider-man has left already — it is no good weather for publicity. yoongi stops, jeans sodden from whatever greasy stuff is stuck to the ladder, fingers cold and white on the knuckles. it is, ultimately, a fucking dumb idea. he sighs, closing his eyes and touching his forehead on one of the steps, disappointed with himself. maybe he is infatuated, after all.
"— i'm so sorry, auntie—" the voice echoes up the walls of the building, boyish and apologetic and hushed. "i — i won't do it again, i — no! it isn't a girl, it's—" the excuses carry on for a few minutes. yoongi dares to look over his shoulders, and it is another fucking dumb idea, for his glasses slide down his nose and off his face they go. of course. the boy on the phone stops talking, then says, more kindly: "i'll be home soon, go to bed, auntie." another small pause. "— do you need a hand?"
yoongi huffs, pressing his eyes closed. "no, not really, kid." his pride complains, hurt, as he sounds so obviously strained from effort. "doing mighty fine on my—"
but there's a sudden whoosh, and the air shifts with movement — so close, yoongi flinches, holding tighter. then his eyes find what supposedly are spider eyes, white and unseeing (but seeing of everything at the same time). yoongi swallows, feeling his cheeks heat up involuntarily. he's been close to spider-man — just not this close. not enough to be seen. "i do reckon you need help, ahjussi," there's a smirk in his tone, yoongi can tell. he glares, out of spite.
"i do reckon you just got grounded," he's content in discerning a hint of a scowl under the mask. spider-kid crawls (slides, walks, yoongi doesn't know) on the tips of his toes and fingers across the wall, until he's close enough yoongi can feel the heat coming from his body(suit), and close enough to gently slide yoongi's glasses back in place. the laws of gravity and physics hold no place there, it seems. at least not on his side of the wall. yoongi feels himself burn all the way down his chest. he groans, displeased with his lack of poise. "look — i'm leaving, okay, have a nice night."
a skinny, red finger points to the camera hanging from yoongi's neck. "are you here for me or for the idols recording down the street?" there's a strange honesty, and maybe a bit of eagerness in his muffled voice. so that's why hongdae is packed. idols. well, partially. there's also the kid in the spider suit. "it's hard to tell, you look like—"
"i'm not after anyone," yoongi's sharpness isn't missed, because the boy within the suit seems to laugh, holding his hands up in the air as if apologizing, dangling from his feet. yoongi looks the other way, surly. the ladder creaks, probably from his weight. it's an ominous kind of noise. it isn't missed, either.
"i'm your friendly neighbourhood spider-man," the sentence sounds absolutely ludicrous when the boy says it, with awkward enthusiasm. he's definitely young, yoongi can tell. spider-man(boy) holds the ladder, and it stops creaking altogether. "it's my duty to help, ahjussi."
he stares at the boy's masked face for a moment. then, he sighs, swallowing embarrassment, defeated, clearing his throat. "yeah, whatever." he starts descending the steps carefully with the aid provided by the boy hero, and it's going fairly well — until the ladder gives out an ugly metallic sound and yoongi feels the moment when it comes loose off its hinges all the way in his bones. his stomach flutters, his eyes shut close, and then, and then, and then — he's not falling. his body feels rigid, webs sticky against the fabric of his clothes. spider-man slowly and safely lowers him back to the ground. when he jumps down and stands just a step or two away, yoongi can see he's a good head taller, and that the ladder behind him sways weakly, held by the threads of web.
"— aren't you going to," spider-man shrugs, and then scratches the back of his neck. "thank me or something?"
"thank you or something." it makes him laugh, and yoongi feels suddenly self-conscious. his heart is still beating too fast from the almost-fall, and he's trying hard to stop himself from trembling and wondering if spider-man ever sticks around after helping the unlucky human beings out of their unluckiness. "— shouldn't you be getting home?"
"shit, yes," a combination of quick movements grabs a backpack from out of a corner of the alley, and a jacket, and a pair of boots the boy quickly dresses over the suit. "thanks, ahjussi."
"i'm not old—"
"don't go climbing ladders to take pictures of pretty girls, now," he says it as if it's a lesson yoongi has to learn, already mid-air, and before yoongi can voice any disapproval, he's off, swinging himself out of the alley and into the nothingness above. it takes a minute or two for yoongi to stop staring at the point where he vanished, half-hoping he'd come back — not for sappy reasons, but because the webs that saved his ass from major breakage are also keeping his arms unable to move whatsoever.
"hey, siri," he sighs, and his phone chirps cheerfully from within his pocket. "call me a taxi, will you?"
(he never tells namjoon.)
december first starts murky, the sun barely trying to come out, only blotches of weak sunlight illuminating the frozen sidewalks as yoongi lazily waits for the bus that'll take him to class. it's not a good day for classes. it's a good day for duvets and sleeping past the limit of what's acceptable in the eyes of their frayed society — so about nineteen hours (except namjoon, knowingly, had called exactly three minutes after his alarm rang and reminded yoongi rather briskly of how much they're paying for tuition). so he waits — yawning and stretching and muttering complaints like an old man. ahjussi.
a bus stops, then, forcing yoongi to look up, finding, to his despair, that not only it isn't the one he's waiting for, but that there's also a huge picture of a cartoon-like spider-man staring at him, the posterboy of seoul's police force. "— he's cool, right?"
it's a boy who says it, features hidden under a hoodie too big, only the tip of his nose and the rims of his glasses visible, big headphones hanging on his neck. yoongi huffs as the bus takes off, spider-man along with it. "he's a show off."
"— ah," there's surprise in his voice, and he turns to look at yoongi, frown in place. his brown hair is slightly tousled, and the eyes behind the glasses are pretty-like. "but he — he saves a lot of people — right?" the shy, anxious stammering makes him look younger, but yoongi can see the university tag on his backpack.
(and unintentionally keeps me fed.) "yeah," he nods, not wanting to sound so bitter. being the damsel in distress has been taking a toll on yoongi. not the damsel part, the distress one. "he does."
"yeah," the boy repeats, a smile full of white, white (a bit over-sized, like a bunny's) teeth gracing his features, making him look humble and smug all at once. he looks happy with himself, like a puppy being praised after peeing in the correct place. it's — sorta cute. yoongi looks away. maybe he's going to say something else, but yoongi's bus finally arrive, and there's an awkward moment where they both stand, and they both pretend the small conversation never happened, until they're standing next to each other on the moving vehicle, and the boy asks: "— yonsei?"
"ah," another smile. "me too." it's not that yoongi doesn't want to talk. it's just that he prefers to keep to himself. the attention of boys that look so — nice — often makes him nervous. they ride in silence, then, swaying, elbows sometimes touching. yoongi goes back to his phone, as a way to distract himself. it lasts not over a minute. "— you take pictures, that's dope—"
probably he overlooked as yoongi went through the last shots he needs to edit (there's a particularly pretty one, in which the hero looks like an acrobat above the crowded traffic). he hides the phone right away, shoving it in his pocket. "yeah, i— it's practice, for class." he swallows, uncomfortable. "i'm in photography."
"i'm in jungkook," but the boy reddens visibly, almost surprised with himself. yoongi snorts, and a girl sitting next to them giggles. jungkook's voice is way smaller when he speaks again. "i mean — i'm in — i'm in physics." he presses his eyes together, nose crunched. "my name is jungkook, j-jeon jungkook."
"yeah, i figured that part out." there's expectation in the way the boy looks at him, then. yoongi sighs. "min yoongi."
"can i—," jungkook bites his bottom lip, looking down. "do you think i can look through your pictures?" the bus halts, and yoongi realizes they're already there. a small group of people makes for the exit. jungkook tags along, holding on his backpack straps as a kid going to middle school.
"i don't really like sharing them, sorry," yoongi says over his shoulder, starting to walk towards the arts complex. "they're — kind of private." and they're also on newspapers, which would immediately tell on min yoongi's rather surreptitious pastime. "for class."
jungkook doesn't say anything for a bit, but yoongi can tell he's still following — until he stops, getting behind, one, two, three steps. "i'm— friends with spider-man," yoongi stops too, attention grabbed all at once. he turns, eyebrows raised, curious. jungkook still holds onto his straps. "i could get you some photos— sunbae?"
people push past them as they stand in the middle of the courtyard, and yoongi can't help but stare. he doesn't truly believe jungkook — but also doesn't know why the boy would lie. they met literally twenty minutes ago. so he takes his phone out of his pocket and walks towards jungkook, offering it to him. "i'll text you." the number is saved as jeon jungkook (phys because the whole thing doesn't fit and jungkook is apparently too nervous to fix it. "tell your friend his sticky webs ruined a very nice jacket — he'll understand." jungkook scoffs, smiling to the ground, cheeks red again. yoongi walks away, feeling oddly lucky. he also smiles to the ground as he walks, but fakes a cough so no one happens to see it.
(he does tell namjoon this time.)
(it goes like: "— you what?"
namjoon has his mouth stuffed with tuna sandwhich, eyes wide. "i met someone who knows spider-man," he repeats, lowering his voice. when namjoon starts with everyone knows spider-man, yoongi adds, taking a bite of his own sandwhich, too: "really knows."
"hyung," namjoon cleans his mouth with the back of his hand, sitting back. "we sell his unauthorized pictures. that's — that's morally wrong." when yoongi glares, he continues, putting the food down. "okay, i can see the hypocrisy in what i just said, but it is nevertheless reprehensible behaviour when you think about it—"
"carl jung again?" yoongi points out, and namjoon looks down, muttering a small maybe. "besides, he might like them. he might even — i don't know, pose." the idea is on the comical side, and they both snort, shaking their heads. still, yoongi can't properly swallow his food, body slightly hot. "if he tells me to stop, i will."
"he's friendly neighbourhood spider-man, hyung," namjoon sighs, still an air of mild disapproval about him. "if anything, he'll pay you for it.")
his fingers fumble with the screen of his phone, typing and untyping words. it's been a week since he met jungkook — and aside from seeing him once studying in one of the libraries (and quickly walking the other way, bothered by the weirdness of their acquaintance), there hasn't been any contact whatsoever. finding a nice way to bring back the topic of spider-man is harder than he thought. i'm stuck in an elevator, do you think your friend can come and help me? not only is a blunt lie but also requires being saved (again). i need money to pay off student loans, can spider-man pose for me? is just too goddamn embarrassing. yoongi inhales slowly.
(23:48) hello, this is min yoongi. we met the other day.
it's late — too late to text someone you barely know, at least. however, a reply comes not only half a second later.
(23:48) hi, sunbae!
the exclamation point makes the sentence sound exactly like what yoongi remembers of jungkook's over-enthusiastic tone. he feels heat down his neck as he waits for jungkook to finish adding another sentence: (23:49) send me your location. yoongi frowns, dubious.
(23:50) you'll see.
namjoon is snoring softly in a sleeping bag beside yoongi's bed. it's not an uncommon sight, as he tends to spend more time at the dorms than at his own place. still, somehow yoongi doesn't want whatever jungkook's doing to get to namjoon just yet. if he's a crazy stalker, just one of them loses their organs in some creepy alleyway. so yoongi gets up quietly, pulling jeans over pajamas bottoms and a jacket big enough to hide his 2005 pokémon t-shirt. he hasn't grown much since. i'm in front of dorm c, he types as he rides the elevator alone. the street is eerily quiet, and biting cold. it's some sort of miracle it hasn't snowed yet. yoongi looks around, blowing steam onto his hands to keep them warm. maybe he should have walked somewhere else. maybe he should just go to bed and stop believing good looking geeks from the physics department.
"hey—!" yoongi flinches, almost coiling, heart racing. spider-man hangs upside down from a web, looking cheery, if anything. yoongi feels flustered all at once. "oh — did i just scare you? look, i'm so sorry, sir—" and he lowers himself down until he's standing, hands gesturing wildly. "i didn't mean to, really."
"it's fine," yoongi steps back, providing a bigger space between them. "it's — fine."
"jungkook," the hero starts, stammering a bit. "jungkook told me about your jacket." yoongi scoffs. spider-man messes around with the backpack on his back, fumbling with its contents until he finds some cash. he offers the crinkled bills to yoongi. "that's — not a lot, but enough for some dry cleaning."
the gesture throws him off. yoongi stares at the boy, then down at the money. "you don't have to."
"with great power comes great responsability," he says, pushing the money against yoongi's chest. "i'm responsible — for your jacket, i guess." spider-man clears his throat. "although i did kind of save you."
yoongi finally holds the money, feeling ashamed of himself. somehow, admitting he makes money off of spider-man and the daily tragedies that surround him doesn't seem like a good thing now. "— do you want churros?" the question sort of rolls out of his tongue, unabashed. "there's a place near here, they're open twenty-four hours."
"by the 7/11," spider-man says, and yoongi kind of want to take a picture of him like that, with a battered backpack hanging from his shoulder while he puts on the yellow jacket he's just taken from it. "yeah, i — i'd like a churro."
"you can take off your mask, if you want," yoongi tries as they start walking, but the boy just laughs, and suddenly he's up in the air.
"you can try and keep up, ahjussi—!"
"i'm regular—!” yoongi shouts after him, steps hurrying just a bit before giving up trying to catch the now barely visible hero way ahead. he walks alone for maybe a minute and or two, but the whooshing sound gets to him again, and light feet land on the sidewalk not a second later. yoongi glances sideway at him. "how old are you?"
"—are you a reporter?"
"no," he likes to think their eyes meet, but yoongi can't be sure, so he looks away, suddenly too aware of how odd they must look to whoever's peeking from their windows. "i — do sell my stuff to newspapers. i'm guessing your friend have told you."
"you mean, me?" it's not reprimand he hears in spider-boy's voice, but mostly excitement. it buzzes through the muffled timbre, and it feels like he talks through a smile. yoongi blushes. "it makes me feel like a — model guinea pig."
"i'm sorry," he chuckles, and a group of tourists pass by them, speaking in convulated english, phones pointing. spider-man turns and waves, tell mr. stark hello for me, americans! (he says it in korean, and it makes yoongi laugh). they get to the churros stand, yoongi pays for the both of them. he sits by the curb. the boy jumps onto a noraebang sign attached to the building. when yoongi looks up, all he can see is red feet dangling, the lights too bright bliding him from anything else. "so— how old are you?"
"old enough to fight crime, sir," the voice is meant to be stern, but it's obvious his mouth is stuffed with churros. "you?"
"older," he's pretty sure whatever the boy is, it isn't on the realms of being an adult. "how do you know jungkook?"
a small pause, and the noise of paper wrapping being crumped. "he knows me," the reply is said on a much softer voice, familiarity all around it. "from before."
"before you were — what, a mutant?"
"sorta," spider-man lands stylishly next to yoongi, waving awkwardly to a group of girls looking slightly drunk that call out for him. "wasn't born like this, though." yoongi sees the girls stumble and giggle. when the boy speaks again, it's to shout: "hey, ladies, take care going home now—" their flirty laughter echoes louder.
"you can go and help them," yoongi offers, sensing the distress in the hero's demeanor. "isn't that what you do?"
there's a moment there where yoongi looks up, catching the profile under the mask. maybe it's just his way of imprinting his own feelings onto someone else — but the boy looks almost forlorn. "yeah," he nods, after a second or two, hands in the pockets of his yellow jacket, sighing. "that's what i do." he takes a few steps onto the street, then turns. "thanks for the churro."
"take care, ahjussi."
they both wave weakly, and it's funny to watch as spider-man sort of hoards the girls down the street, carrying their bags on his shoulders, bowing and asking them nicely not to touch his butt, please. yoongi stays out for longer than he should, hopeful, perhaps, for something. something doesn't really happen, and when yoongi gets back home, he smells of dew and frying oil — but it's almost fine.
"you," namjoon stops rather dramatically. yoongi tries his best to keep on slurping on his noodles, cheeks so obviously reddening by the second. "you went out on a churro date with spider-man."
he chokes, coughing, forcing the lump of food down his throat. "it was not a churro date," he says once he's able to breathe again. "i shouldn't have told you."
"we're on a business together," namjoon retorts, then lowers his voice, looking around. "a questionable business but—"
"we don't do anything bad," yoongi shrugs, quickly drinking the remaining soup from his dish. "you stalk him, i take pictures, we get the profit." he sighs at his empty plate. "we also sometimes hope too much for the worst, but we're only human."
"we're going straight to whatever concept of hell there is in the hypothetical afterlife," namjoon's tone is somber. yoongi snorts, standing up to put his tray away. they're in one of the university's cafeterias, the one closer to namjoon's classrooms. it's full of people coming and going, mostly all of them looking somewhat worried with the upcoming exams. namjoon has started studying — he started weeks before. yoongi's room is covered in paper and notes from psychology classes he never attended. "how's he like?"
"very young," yoongi replies as they find their way through the mass of students. "i think he's a teenager."
"that's highly unlikely, seeing teenagers barely ever rebel in our society," sometimes future-psychologist kim namjoon makes an appearance, and yoongi rolls his eyes, smiling. "i'm just saying, it is not always—"
but then yoongi spots jeon jungkook, big old red sweatshirt making him look larger than he is, backpack hanging from his shoulder, a bitten straw between his lips. it hits yoongi he's just too pretty looking — girls stare and vaguely try to cross his way, and he apologizes profusely everytime one happens to actually bump their arms together. he looks mildly sleepy, even though it's way past noon. namjoon is still saying something when jungkook looks up, meeting yoongi's curious eyes, and a smile brightens up his features. "sunbae—!" he calls, waving. yoongi blinks, feeling the glare of girls. he looks behind his shoulder for a second, just to be sure.
"hey," his voice comes out sorta weak as jungkook quickly walks their way in easy-going steps.
"didn't know you came all the way here for lunch," it's weird how familiar jungkook sounds, as if they've known each other for a while. they have only spoken once. "i would have—" he halts, blushing at the words unspoken. he looks at namjoon. "hi, i'm — i'm jungkook."
"namjoon," namjoon nods, eyeing yoongi rather indiscreetly. "first year?"
a small nod follows. "—physics."
"smart," the whole conversation is odd and yoongi wants it to end. he clears his throat. namjoon takes the hint, thankfully. "well, i gotta get going. i'll meet you later, hyung—" yoongi waves, jungkook follows his movement. they watch namjoon leave, swaying on their feet lightly. the girls are still staring, now slightly crossed at the attention jungkook seems to be giving someone else.
"do you want to get a coffee?" jungkook asks, then, before time drags too much. yoongi wants to laugh, but holds back, pointing to the iced coffee jungkook is still holding, plastic cup half empty. jungkook's eyes follow his movements, and he turns bright red a second later. "this isn't mine."
the expression on jungkook's face combined with the trenchant lie make yoongi scoff, and he has to admit jungkook's — endearing. "i could use a coffee." he does have a class starting in twenty minutes across the campus, but somehow he can't even remember if it was important or not. probably not (definitely yes, namjoon's voice tells him) (definitely yes). "don't you have class, though?"
"lab, at three," jungkook looks at the screen of his phone. it flashes with two-thirty-seven. "i can be late—"
"another day," yoongi decides, then, because he can't afford to have another person wasting their tuition money away, too. "i have your phone number."
"yeah," there's disappointment in jungkook's eyes, but his expression is still cheery. "we can— yeah." a few seconds drag by, yoongi staring at jungkook (he notices the mole under his lips, and the scar on his cheek, and how the hairs on his eyebrows are uncombed), jungkook staring at the floor. then his eyes lift, meeting yoongi's, lips opening to say something, maybe, and they're so — red. but someone calls out his name, a group of students, their lab coats making them look more important and older than they probably are. you're going to miss intro, they say loud enough to reach them. "i need to go, sunbae," jungkook bows politely, embarrassed maybe, and yoongi nods, watching him quickly join the group.
jungkook's popular, yoongi reckons, with the girls and with his class. handsome like that, it isn't really a surprise. they don't really know each other, it's pointless to think — hope — for anything other than being acquaintances, people you meet by chance, and then proceed to forget. he's younger, too, at least three years. yoongi sighs, shaking his head, feeling rather silly.
however, he's not halfway across the campus when his phone stirs.
(14:58) i never skipped class
(14:58) in my entire life
it's an invitation, yoongi recognizes the queue. he stops walking, feeling his chest staining with heat. he can't skip class, but he can, maybe, push the invitation towards something else, like — (15:00) want to come to my class instead?
so it's half an hour later and jungkook is staring through the viewfinder of one of yoongi's cameras, looking fascinated at the dull walls of the lecture hall. "what's your lecture about?" he asks, clicking a few shots as the students come in small groups. yoongi flips through his planner lazily, and jungkook takes pictures of his every move.
"photography in journalism," he makes a face at the lens. it makes jungkook laugh. "what was your lab about?"
"quantum open systems at the nanoscale," the camera is given back. yoongi raises his eyebrows at all the words jungkook says, distracted by the sheer — normalcy of his tone. "mostly the correlation between particles." jungkook notices the stare. "it's boring, really—"
"aren't you too young to be studying — quantum-things?"
there's moment of quietness between them, and jungkook opens his mouth several times to say things, but nothing comes out; yoongi waits, too curious. finally, after scrunching his nose in distress and letting out a sigh, jungkook stands, bows profusely and says, apologetically: "i'm a first year — in post-grad," yoongi blinks, dumbfounded. "i was — able to skip a few years and, i mean, graduate, and — it's just —" yoongi feels thoroughly aghast. he looks down at the hands that still hold his camera, and feels incompetent. jungkook stammers: "i — you're talented—"
"it's fine, you don't have to make me feel better," he knows he's blushing, so he looks away. it's not jungkook's fault he's smart, anyway. it just feels weird as he's — younger and an upperclassman. "you—"
however, the professor arrives, and yoongi's sentence gets lost as he asks people for silence. it's a three-hour lecture, and he's sure jungkook will want to leave, he shouldn't even have asked for him to come in the first place. yoongi sits back against his chair, inhaling, embarrassed. there's nothing there for him, just a young boy overly excited with the idea of friendship. he glances at jungkook, who is holding his chin against his knuckles, elbows on the desk, eyes wide and curious at the slides the professor starts presenting. sometimes he nibbles on his bottom lip, pointy tip of his canine poking the flesh in concentration. sometimes his eyebrows raise, surprised at some piece of information that is given to him. it's really hard not to stare (and yoongi thinks, in hindsight and briefly, that he's never been in love, and how would it feel to be, and how vague and flimsy it is to stare at someone somehow imagining things that could be, but won't) (and then he also thinks he spends too much time with namjoon). "—yours, isn't it?"
he missed the moment jungkook looked back at him, or his full sentence, but he diverts his eyes to the images on the screen, vision turvy for a second or two. it's his. spider-man flung in full glory atop the buildings in namdaemun with his backpack and yellow jacket, taken a few weeks back, after the hero saved a few builders from a collapsing scaffolding. yoongi feels rather self-conscious all at once, as the professor analyzes the composition of his shot. jungkook gives him the thumbs up happily. he can't help but smile, too, staring at his own piece of work. you can see not only the heroic aspects of the shot, but also the boyhood in the masked hero, the professor rambles, laser pen pointing to the details of the backpack. he's a student, maybe, someone like you— and yoongi stops smiling altogether.
jungkook is still unaware of yoongi's stare, infatuated with the lesson and the picture on the projection screen. his backpack is at the foot of his chair, coloured the same ordinary, sturdy denim. hundreds of students carry the same jansports one, but they're not spider-man's. spider-man's has a keychain dangling from his, and it often gets missed in shots — a dog tag, silvery, kind of rusted. yoongi never really paid attention to it, not like it is a defining factor in devising spider-man's identity. he wouldn't be so dumb as to leave the dog tag. but he's not always with his backpack, so — it is very carefully, and very slowly that yoongi pulls jungkook's backpack towards him with his foot. for an extremely exciting moment, he thinks he's at the brink of certain gold — but then jungkook grabs the straps, pulling it closer to him, smiling when their eyes meet. "i can't stay any longer," he whispers, face close. yoongi's heart beats at an impressive speed. "thank you for inviting me, sunbae," yoongi nods, mute. the honorific is all wrong but he can't seem to find a voice to say it. "well, i — later."
a few heads turn when jungkook leaves through the side door. yoongi watches him, but the dim lights of the classroom and the way he carries his backpack don't really let him discern anything. he sighs. maybe he's overthinking. the picture on the screen isn't his anymore, and he scribbles on blank papers, making silly connections between things.
similar — body structure
similar voice, maybe?
when the professor signals the end of the lecture, yoongi realizes he's barely paid attention to anything that was said. it's already dark outside, and he textes namjoon he'll see him later. to be fair, he isn't keen to discuss the topic of his own possible lunacy. we're running out of money, namjoon texts back, and he agrees, the few bills in his wallet looking lonely. still, yoongi stops at a convenience store, buying noodles, sitting at the corner window to eat. it isn't long before someone knocks on the glass, startling him. the face of spider-man is sort of blurred from the fog, but he waves, the yellow jacket and backpack hanging from his shoulder.
"are you stalking me?" he asks, when the superhero walks in.
"no," the boy scoffs, but nervously. yoongi strains his ears, trying to pick up the same lyrical hues he finds in jungkook's voice. "— just passing by," he grabs a bag of kumara chips. "buying these chips."
yoongi can't help but laugh. "fighting crime looks tough."
"i do fight crime, sir," spider-man says a little bit too forcefully, sitting next to yoongi. he sounds mildly in distress. "i mean — there's a lot of danger out there—"
"did they leave you out of the avengers?"
a small pause, and spider-boy leans back, looking down. when he speaks again, his voice is somewhat small and contained. "i'm too young, they're saying." then he starts, shaking his hands vaguely. "but it's alright, i mean, there's — there are things to do here as well, i'm friendly—"
"— neighbourhood spider-man, yeah, i think i got that," yoongi glances at him, and then at the backpack hanging from his shoulder. the dog tag is there, but yoongi can't read the words engraved on it. he doesn't comment on it, though. "you don't look busy tonight."
"i thought i— would— you know—," he speaks in convoluted words, touching his neck, looking completely flustered. "find you, and— not because— i mean— your pictures—"
"so you were stalking me," yoongi points out, but feels his cheeks heating up, suddenly aware of their odd proximity. he sits back, distancing himself from the superhero. "i can take your pictures." he shrugs. the opportunity is too good to be passed.
"i don't do a lot of — heroic things," he sighs, mild frustration staining the colour of his words. it isn't true, though. although criminality isn't truly a problem in the very safe streets of seoul, spider-man has been able to avoid the death of a few in freak accidents. "but, i mean, you — you take really nice photographs."
"jungkook seems to like them, too," yoongi hints, wishing he could see if the features on the face behind the mask respond in any way. there's not a lot in his demeanor that tells yoongi anything.
"are you friends, sir?"
"i don't know, probably not, just met him," a hum is all he gets in return, followed by some vague mumbling he can't really comprehend (sometimes, long enough, don't need to, i mean). the clerk is eyeing them rather suspiciously, so yoongi finishes his food, and pays for the hero's kumara chips. you don't have to, i have cash, he stammers, dropping about a hundred coins out from the back pocket of his backpack, and it takes them about ten minutes to gather all of them again. outside, the street is slowly emptying as the weather grows nastier with cold, frost starting to bite at the tip of fingers. "aren't you cold — wearing only that?"
"well — no," spider-man seems to smile, showing off his outfit cheerfully. even with the oversized jacket, it does cling to his form quite — nicely. yoongi looks the other way, sniffing. "mr. stark made it, it keeps you quite toasty."
"how's mr. stark in real life?"
"— american," a shrug follows, and both of them laugh. for a second, yoongi thinks he can hear jungkook's cheery laughter, too. maybe he's starting to get paranoid. "do you want to go with me somewhere?" he clears his throat. "— for pictures, i mean." it takes yoongi a second to reply, too eager to get shots he won't have to almost die to take it. he starts saying something about lens and darkness and changing, but then the sudden pull comes and yoongi yelps, blood vanishing from his face as the buildings become just blurry, starlit forms. "sorry, this is just— faster—"
being carried by the waist above the skyline is a very strange, possibly life-threatening situation (definitely life-threatening). the knowledge that there's nothing else avoiding his certain and horrifying death but the boy's arm isn't reassuring — not for the whole eight seconds their flight lasts until their feet are touching solid ground again. they are at a rooftop, yoongi notices — one of those city gardens companies design atop their buildings to pretend there's green space in the ever growing city. it smells like dew and the remaining of cigarettes and the pollution that sits over seoul. yoongi swallows the saliva accumulating in his mouth, taste hindering. "don't — ever do this again," he slurs, palm against the wall to try and help his jelly legs hold him up. he's certain the horizon is slightly crooked.
spider-man clears his throat, hands hovering, but not touching. "we kinda have to go down, sir," yoongi groans, appalled. "shit, i'm so sorry, i — i didn't mean to — i mean, i thought—" finally his hands hold onto yoongi's sides, red fingers touching fabric, bringing yoongi slowly towards a nearby wooden bench. he opens his backpack, taking out a can of soda. yoongi accepts it wordlessly. "i thought— i mean—"
"i'm alright," he finally says, exhaling. "just — some warning would be nice." he wonders if the boy behind the mask blushes as crimson as the color of his suit. he looks embarrassed, head down and forlorn. "friendly tip."
"okay," spider-man sits beside him, still appearing quite upset. he sighs. "the view — is nice."
yoongi looks, finally. nighttime is of the deepest blue around them, and seoul's sky is starryless — but the lights of the city, blinking and of different colors, make it a whole galaxy of their own. the glassy buildings, all tightly cramped together, are mirrors of each other, endless universes of light reflected for miles. "do you come here a lot?"
"yeah," a nod. "it's — quiet." it is quiet, just not quieter. yoongi can faintly hear sirens, and the occasional honk from the street level, but he reckons spider-boy doesn't really mean those things. yoongi glances at him, staring straight ahead, then down at his backpack, the dog tag hanging from the side. "i thought you'd like — for pictures."
it's an alluding kind of opening, yoongi thinks. he just can't figure out why would the super-hero take interest in his pictures, considering there are tons of other photographers out there, too. besides, they don't know each other well enough for i thought you'd like comments. then again, not for churro dates either. "i sell the pictures i take of you," yoongi finds himself in need of saying. "and i get a lot of money for some of them. i don't share the money — i just spend it. i — track possible accidents and i stalk the sites until something bad happens." he says it hoping for a negative reaction, aiming for it, maybe, unknowingly. "i'm not doing favors to anyone, i just — get money." the boy in the suit doesn't really say anything. he's still has the blue air about him. "you do something good, i just—" use you. "i'm sorry."
spider-man finally stands, walking towards the edge and the void, and yoongi thinks for a moment he'll jump and disappear. he sits there, instead, legs hanging out, looking up at the dark blue darkness above them. yoongi reaches for his camera, because it is simply too good of a shot. "— i'm kinda useless myself, aren't i," the boy says then, chuckling. "i don't really do anything." he doesn't turn when yoongi takes the first picture, maybe he doesn't hear the shutter. "i'm a so-called superhero, but i only help ahjummas cross the street."
yoongi sighs, standing up too, approaching the railing. he doesn't like heights that much, so his steps are much smaller. he stands with his back against it, then, looking the opposite way. "you're more important to the city than you think," yoongi reasons. spider-man looks at him. "it's not just saving people, it's — giving them something to hope for," the stare is enough to make him blush. he clears his throat, messing with the configurations on his camera to pretend he's unaffected. "in case of impeding alien domination, i mean—"
that makes him laugh, and yoongi watches as his head is thrown back, and the sound that is uncannily familiar, boyish and slightly loud, much like jeon jungkook's. "i won't let any aliens get to you, ahjussi," he says, shoulders still shaking. then he coughs, hands waving. "i mean— to the city—"
"don't go falling in love, now," yoongi says jokingly, and spider-man seems to flinch.
"yeah, no, i— i'm not, no—" he rambles, looking completely flustered, until his voice and excuses die out. yoongi looks away promptly. the silence that hangs around them is suddenly filled with the heavyness of awareness.
some coughing, some pretending to look at the time on his watch and yoongi pushes himself off from the railing, walking towards his backpack. he puts the camera in as carefully as he can with jittery hands, not really paying attention to what he's doing. his fingers are cold from the dropping temperature. "i guess i need to go home," he says, face still rather hot.
"ah, sure, are you — okay with jumping?"
"— not really."
jumping isn't great. it isn't great at all — even knowing spider-man won't let him fall, yoongi hates it. he quickly mumbles a goodbye with teary eyes, legs faint once again, waving, if you need me i'm around, take care ahjussi, thank you for taking me there, see you. the walk to his dorm is the longest of his life. namjoon isn't there when he arrives, probably sleeping at his own apartment due to yoongi's obvious absence. his bed is messy and unmade and yoongi barely strips out of his clothes before the cellphone in his backpack rings. he sighs, slightly annoyed, searching for it halfheartedly, thinking namjoon has been messing up with his ringtones. "— 'ellou?" he mumbles, eyes closed, feeling the pillow too soft under his head. probably namjoon. slumber weights on his eyelids, and he welcomes it.
"— who is this?" the voice is female, sounding unsure.
"min yoongi," he yawns.
"oh," she says, taken aback. "that is jeon jungkook's phone, are you with him by any chance? this is his aunt."
"no, this—" and then it hits him, like a rock to the side of his head, a very painful and solid one, and lightheadedness makes spots float in front of his eyes when yoongi sits up too fast, phone falling on the bed, not his phone, grabbing the backpack. his is black, jansport. jungkook's is dark denim, jansport. the dog tag hangs from the side. he took the wrong one. his belly suddenly hurts. the voice calls to him from the fallen phone. "hi, i'm sorry, i— think jungkook has my backpack and i've got his— i—we go to the same university, he knows where i live—"
"that's alright, i'll let him know," the woman says, with a sigh. "he'll be home anytime soon, it's past curfew." spider-man has a curfew. "i'll let him know you have his phone." yoongi swallows. "is it min yoongi you said?" he hums in agreement. "he'll probably call you, then— have a good night."
yoongi sits on the bed for too long, phone still against his ear, eyes staring into nothing in particular, mute. the sound of his heart beating is too loud. jeon jungkook's spider-man. he wonders if jungkook is somewhere out there, freaking out, too. he can't unlock jungkook's phone to send himself a message — and to be fair, he doesn't know what to say. jeon jungkook's spider-man. he looks at the backpack, then, but doesn't find it in himself to pry it open. he inhales, keeping the air inside his lungs, eyes lingering towards the closed window, wondering if spider-man is just outside.
jeon jungkook's spider-man.
(he doesn't tell namjoon.)
jungkook is nowhere to be seen for more than a week. even when yoongi ventures into the unknown territory of the science building, there's not a trace of the prodigy boy anywhere. namjoon questions him about his phone, to which yoongi replies weakly he's forgotten somewhere and it hasn't been returned yet — he keeps staring at the cracked screen of jungkook's phone, though, hoping for some sort of contact, until it completely runs out of battery ("do you have a samsung charger i can borrow?" he casually asks a classmate, the next day). social media is quiet about the super-hero, too. no sightings, no late-night fish cakes in hongdae, no stopping car crashes before they happen.
on the ninth night, the screen of jungkook's phone lights up with an incoming call. auntie, it says on the screen, and it's way past two in the morning. yoongi's heart sinks all the way down his chest, falling through his ribcage. he's been up studying for his own finals, back curved over theory of colours, and maybe jungkook knows. "hello?"
someone's breath hitches, then jungkook's voice comes through: "i— hi," he stammers. "i'm—sorry, it's late, i—"
"it's fine," they're talking in sentences that don't really make sense. yoongi doesn't know what exactly is fine. "— i just need my phone back." jungkook seems to ready to say something, maybe splutter a few more uneasy syllables, but yoongi's faster. "eighth floor, fifth window from the left. it's unlocked."
a quiet, still moment. "— okay." twenty minutes roll by, and yoongi thinks he's learned every detail of his window sill by heart. the knock on his door startles him. jungkook has very red cheeks, and messy, messy hair. his clothes are those of a normal twenty-something years old, no superhero suit, no spider webs. yoongi's backpack hangs from his shoulder. "i didn't — i thought it'd be polite to come through the door."
"they don't let visitors in after midnight," yoongi points out, stepping behind to allow jungkook's entrance. he smells of shampoo, sweet and clean all at once.
"i might have—bypassed," jungkook mumbles, looking around the room. he gently puts the backpack on yoongi's bed. "thank you for not telling anyone."
weirdly enough, it never crossed yoongi's mind, not after — spending time with the surprisingly nice superhero. the money he'd get out of a scoop like that wouldn't truly make him that happy, no matter how much meat he eats (which isn't a lot these days, all things considered). he walks closer to jungkook, offering him his desk chair. jungkook sits. "i won't tell," he finds his phone inside his backpack, charged, a few dozens of misscalls on the screen. jungkook has taken his phone from the desk as well, looking through the messages. yoongi notices the metal bracelets around his wrists. "— are those for your— thing?" somehow acknowledging out loud that jungkook is spider-man is harder than previously thought of.
"ah, yes," jungkook nods. "web-shooters," he pulls the sleeves of his jacket further up. "i don't have organic webs, so i made these—" he offers the palm of his hand, and yoongi reaches for it, pressing at the center round shape. nothing really comes out of it. "you need a bit of strenght to activate it, since the web fluid is pressurized at about 300psi, i—" he notices yoongi's blank expression. "well, i—"
"only a science major could have created a device like that, i guess," yoongi shrugs, quickly pulling his hand back. jungkook's skin is too soft. the comment makes jungkook blush all over again. "why would you disappear?"
jungkook shakes his head. "i thought you'd—," tell on me, yoongi expects. "not talk to me anymore." the prettiness about him seems to be highlighted when he's embarrassed. yoongi has a hard time not looking at the colour on his neck, how it's reddish, then the softest pink, disappearing into the collar of the sweatshirt he's wearing underneath his jacket. his canines pick on the corners of his lip, nervously, and it's just strinkingly attractive. yoongi inhales sharply, catching himself before it gets too much. there's some sort of tension between them, it is fairly tangible in the way it stirs the air. you're infatuated, namjoon often says. and jungkook — all lanky limbs and youthful angles — looks just as distress over his own perceptions of the things hanging around them. "i'm spider-man." yoongi scoffs. "and i— saw you, before, taking pictures, months ago—" he stands, only to sit down again. "i'm not good at this, sunbae."
"i'm not your— hyung is better," a pause. "— what do you mean you saw me?"
"i thought you were — really coodloking— i mean, cool, and," yoongi presses his lips together, tingling down the tips of his fingers, body overheating despite the cold. "good— you know—" jungkook seems to suffer to put words together, absolutely discombobulated, words muddled and unhinged. yoongi just feels ennerved — in a good way.
and maybe, maybe jungkook was going to finish his scattered sentences, but the door swings open, startling the both of them, and a very tired looking namjoon, still smelling faintly of alcohol, comes in, dragging his feet. "i'm so wasted, i—" he stops in his tracks, seeing jungkook, possibly how discomposed they look. "i'm— also probably not supposed to be here."
"i'm leaving—!" jungkook stands very quickly, looking down. "thanks for my phone, hyung—" he bows a few times, and stumbles on the foot of yoongi's bed before grabbing his backpack. "i'll— just go, right—"
before yoongi can even say anything, he's vanished, much like spider-man does, and both him and namjoon are left staring at the open door. yoongi still feels oddly bubbly inside. namjoon closes the door softly, then raises his eyebrows playfully at yoongi. "getting visits past curfew, hyung?" he stretches, and there's a huge stain of wine on the side of his shirt. "edgy."
"you're a visit past curfew," yoongi points out. namjoon shrugs, they know me. "freud get-together?"
"burrhus frederic skinner," namjoon pulls the shirt out from his body, sniffing it before tossing it on the floor with a face. yoongi goes back to his desk, looking through colour theories he has already forgotten about. "radical behaviorism is a thing, hyung." yoongi just snorts, listening to the shuffling of fabric as namjoon probably lays down on his bed. "— are you going to tell me why pretty physics boy was here?"
"you're drunk, you won't remember," yoongi looks over his shoulder when no replies come, and sure enough namjoon looks fast asleep, gap between his lips, breathing softly.
(it's a few days later, and his phone stirs on the desk. it echoes faintly in the semi-empty classroom. most students have left for winter break already. christmas is just a couple of days away.
(16:48) i'm thinking of spending some time out tomorrow
(16:48) if you want to come and take pictures
yoongi smiles involuntarily, typing too quickly: (16:50) ahjummas to rescue?
(16:51) probably lots of them
(16:51) i'll see you tomorrow then
(16:52) it's a date
(16:52) i mean not a DATE just you know
(16:53) date as in december twenty-third not a date date
(16:54) got you jungkook
(16:56) see you)
it is not a date, but yoongi finds himself staring at his reflection on the mirror, painfully aware that his hair is a bigger mess than he is. it has grown too wild, black like oil, and now it sticks in weird angles. his face is too common, his eyes too small. "you look good," namjoon comments over his shoulder, and yoongi rolls his eyes. "spider-man is in gangnam," he shows the timeline of his twitter account full of blurred pictures of the hero. "something went down at a jewelry store earlier." he hasn't seen jungkook in days, not since the day in his apartment. the thought of doing so makes him jittery, for some reason.
"yeah, i'm on it," he allows himself one last look at the mirror, at his clothes too dark, skin too fair. he's so common. "i don't know what time i'll be home."
"i have early dynamics, will crash," namjoon pats his back as he walks towards the door. "smuggle a diamond if you can, hyung—!"
"that's morally wrong," yoongi smirks, hearing namjoon laugh as he closes the door. given the chance, he will probably smuggle a diamond (he's alright, but he's also starving).
social media provides him entertainment on the train, as he sways lightly, and the videos from the cctv footage show the moment jungkook awkwardly arrives at the jewelry store, clearly at loss about what to do with his hands, holding a pose for a second before seemingly sighing and going into business mode. the tagline on the video reads kid hero known as spider-man tries to stop a robbery. yoongi scoffs at the condescending tone. jungkook single-handedly stoppped five criminals from actually committing a crime — but the most viewed videoclips are from his somewhat artless beginning, repeated in constant loop.
he's late to get there, the ordeal is far over, but there are tons of police cars, and people, and gangnam is a mess of christmas lights and led lights from tall, fancy buildings, and sirens, and flashes. yoongi sees jungkook almost right away, just a few meters from the train station entrance, not spider-man, but the boy, waiting, colours on his face stained red, blue, red, blue. "i'm sorry, i'm late," he apologizes, pushing past the curious crowd. jungkook stirs, and their eyes meet. "thought you'd be—," yoongi gestures vaguely to the skyscrappers. "up there."
"ah," jungkook seems to blush, but maybe it's just the striking reds from everywhere. it's a good colour on him. "no, just— thought we could—," he's mumbling, and yoongi is pretty certain now he is dashing crimson. "— eat something, i mean, together." his eyes seem to find yoongi's camera bag, and he adds: "and take pictures, later."
"take pictures later," yoongi nods. he's almost not worried about his empty wallet as jungkook grins, toothy and pretty. they go to a big chain coffee shop, possibly because everything in gangnam is horribly overpriced and none of them truly have the cash to spend on a nice dinner. not that they were going to have a nice dinner. it isn't a date. black coffee for both of them, a shared red velvet cake (yoongi lets jungkook eat most of it). "we can go to myeongdong later," yoongi suggests, stomach still complaining. jungkook, still happily chewing, hums in agreement. "so — rough night?"
it takes jungkook a moment to reply. "i don't know," he says, licking cream from the corner of his mouth. "it's really difficult sometimes," he scoffs, and yoongi feels something akin to pity curling around his heart. "i want to do great things, but — there's not a lot — it isn't that i want people to be in danger, it's just — i just think i could be doing more." he shrugs, nose red just like his cheeks, and maybe he's cold. yoongi grabs his phone again, quickly scanning the timeline of social medias, until he finds the link he's looking for. he slides the phone across the table. jungkook blinks. "what is—"
"that's a list of people you saved," yoongi explains. "normal people — everyday people. you think you don't do much, but there's not only one way of saving someone." jungkook seems to read the comments, which yoongi sometimes looks through, mostly mindlessly so, to keep track with how the public sees spider-man's image. his photos wouldn't be worth much if no one truly cared.
"spider-man helped me find my son's bycicle," jungkook chuckles. "i remember that one, i actually took the bike thinking it was stolen in the first place, had to give it back—" he carries on the story, smiling. yoongi stops listening, too busy staring. at some point jungkook looks up, finding yoongi's eyes, making him blush, too. "—thank you, hyung." somehow yoongi feels very self-conscious sitting there, with remarkably good-looking jeon jungkook, bearer of his biggest secret, being spoken to with such fondness. he looks away, sniffing, hands sort of randomly folding and unfolding a napkin.
"— let's go take pictures."
he takes pictures of jungkook as the college student he is, against the backdrop of an insane amount of lights from the buildings around them, steam forming in front of his face with every word he says (stories, mostly, from his somewhat awkward adventures) (the first time i woke up after being bitten, i actually broke my bed—) (—i think mr. stark is really cool, but he's getting older now). jungkook's absolutely talkative, grinning through his stories, and yoongi listens, and listens, viewfinder in place. when it's time for superhero instances, jungkook disappears into an alleyway, and yoongi follows slowly, watching him take off his clothes, complaining about the cold weather. he thinks, rather shamefully so, that he likes the bony hips on jungkook's body, and the way his collarbones look, and— the trashcan just appears out of nowhere, the noise it makes when yoongi kicks it loud. "you alright?" jungkook asks, still half undressed, eyebrows raised.
"yeah, dark— it's dark, can't see," yoongi mumbles, turning his back, embarrassed.
"hyung," jungkook calls excitedly after a moment or two. yoongi feels his entire body too hot, so he just hums in reply. "— we'll be going a lot higher tonight."
"we should just—" there's very little time to prepare himself, even less than before. he feels the strong grip on his waist, stomach dropping as his feet lose contact with the ground swiftly. the wind bites with frost, and yoongi's eyes hurt when he opens them. they're still mid-flight, if that's what it's called, halfway up a very tall building, hanging by a thread, literally. "warning—next time—!" he yells, hands grabbing onto jungkook's jacket.
"okay, hyung—!" jungkook's voice is full of joy. "hold tight." swinging between buildings is literally not meant for the likes of min yoongi. as soon as they reach a surface, yoongi walks swiftly towards the edge, pressing his eyes close, and hurls. "oh, no, ahjussi—" jungkook laughs, and yoongi shakes a hand, dismissively. "you just probably threw up on someone, just now."
"your fault," yoongi breathes heavily. he takes the water bottle jungkook offers him, and the mint gum, and then wonders if jungkook brought all those things knowingly. "thanks." it's horribly cold up there, thirty-something floors up, and the wind is nasty. jungkook puts his jacket over yoongi's shoulder, mumbling something about feeling pretty toasty. yoongi turns his back to the void, inhaling, finally opening his eyes. jungkook has pulled the mask off from his head, and he's still grinning. "you're enjoying seeing me suffer." a variety of no, not really, i'm not, hyung, leaves jungkook's lips, but they're completely meaningless and they both know it. yoongi finally cracks a smile, shuddering just the slightest. he's unsure if it's the cold or jungkook's — everything. "— can i take a picture of you like that?"
it makes jungkook stops mid-sentence, looking away, scratching the back of his head. "you're not selling it, are you?"
"no," yoongi promises, taking the camera off from his bag, looking through the viewfinder, adjusting the focus. jungkook seems utterly agitated, as if his limbs are unsure how to work all of a sudden. “i’m keeping it.”
"what do i do?" he asks, biting his lip. "should i—"
"nothing, you're perfect like that," the words sort of escape, awfully fast, and yoongi swallows, glad to have the camera hiding his face for at least another minute, if he can drag. the changes in jungkook's features are impossible to look away from. yoongi's heart beats in a strange discompass. "i mean — you're easy to shoot."
"don't go saying that to my enemies, hyung," jungkook says jokingly, and it makes yoongi laugh out of sheer second-hand embarrassment. it seems to fuel jungkook's confidence. he puts on his mask, pointing towards the antenna. "this — this is going to be the shot of the century, ahjussi—" yoongi watches him jump rather recklessly. "— i'll superhero pose, wait—" and superhero pose he does, and yoongi photographs it, changing his lens to get a better drawing of jungkook's sillhouette against the lights of the city. when he jumps close, yoongi finds himself enable to speak. jungkook looks through the photos, muttering oh man, dude that's a dope shot. "but—this is my favorite." it isn't jungkook in the picture, nor spider-man, but yoongi himself, at the lecture they both attended, looking sleepy and not camera ready. jungkook takes off his mask again, lip still between his teeth, and yoongi thinks he might always do that when nervous. he wants to look somewhere else. "i — you're really—"
normal, yoongi mutters, completing it for him, taking one or two steps away, going towards the backpacks they've forgotten. once again, the air hangs heavy with the recognition of — feelings. or something. yoongi tries not to think about it. "i'm ready to jump," and that's also something he tries not to think about. there's no such thing as being ready to jump a building. they both get their backpacks ready, and yoongi waits to be swooshed out of his feet, so it sends goosebumps down his spine when jungkook takes his hand gently. "whaoiing—?" he stammers, and he truly means what are you doing?, but somehow nervousness eats all his consonants.
"just trust me, hyung," jungkook seems to smile under his mask. he steps on the railing, urging yoongi to do the same. it takes some pulling. yoongi feels his entire body tremble like a tree. "you're shaking."
"i'm scared of heights," he forces the words out, shaky. his own fingers press against jungkook's. "can't you kick the door open and we get the elevator—"
"that's trespassing and it's a crime, ahjussi," jungkook uses his spider-man voice, stern and responsible all at once. then he adds, more gently: "— if you don't want to—"
"— i trust you."
it's all jungkook needs, it seems. he urges yoongi to look straight ahead, not down, pointing towards particular buildings, to the seoul tower way ahead, so much taller than they are, albeit small in the distance. yoongi feels himself getting slightly less uncomfortable, allowing jungkook to softly get a bit closer, wrapping yoongi's waist in webs. "i won't let you fall." and when they jump, for the three whole seconds before jungkook grabs onto him, yoongi thinks it's impossible to stop it now. he's falling head first into the concrete, metaphorically, hopefully not literally. jungkook swings them in air for less than a minute before easing them both down, until yoongi's standing, trembling the slightest still. jungkook hangs upside down from his own thread, swaying. "i'm going to go fight crime now, hyung—"
"yeah," yoongi nods. he puts his backpack down, breathing through his nose.
"i can take you home, if you—"
"no, no more— swinging," he thinks jungkook's smiling. there's an issue with his heart, maybe, possibly, from the way it beats awkwardly, and the next thing he knows his hands are reaching forward, pulling jungkook's mask down just enough, holding onto the sides of his face, and the adrenaline running through his body turns into sheer electricity the moment he kisses jungkook, rather oddly as their lips don't truly match, but then — they truly do. jungkook's tongue is velvet, and fire, and sweetness, and their teeth clash, and yoongi thinks briefly why would anyone kiss any other way. jungkook leans towards him, eager and wanting, fingers grazing yoongi's hair — and then there's a snap and they're forcefully disrupted by jungkook finding himself on the floor, groaning. "shit— jungkook—"
distracted, pushed a thing here, dunno, jungkook mumbles, neck the color of his suit. he takes off his mask, standing, lips slightly wet, breathing heavily. "this was," he swallows, finding yoongi's eyes. "really good, i—" he stops, inhaling sharply. "i have a crush on you, sunbae, i mean, hyung." it's endearing how he misplaces his words, but still manages to keep yoongi's stare. "since — months, i— real luck you fell out of that ladder and— you're a really good kisser." the comment makes every bit of yoongi's body turn alight. he's completely and utterly flustered. "and you look so good— i—mean, i—" jungkook's eyes travel around yoongi's face. he sighs. "i really want to do that again."
and yoongi agrees, barely nodding, until they're kissing again. it's different — easier, maybe, not any less daunting. he's kissing jungkook, a boy, spider-man. there's the sort of tingle down his waist that makes him flinch, finally pulling back. "—you have crime to fight."
jungkook startles, looking towards the exit of the alleyway, where cars move past every once in a while, lights flickering. "— yeah," he nods weakly, looking somewhat dazed, pupils blown out. "but— myeongdong—"
"next time," yoongi shrugs, trying to find some way of putting himself back together. "ahjummas to rescue."
it makes jungkook scoff, agreeing. he quickly grabs his things, and yoongi returns the jacket he's been wearing. they still stand, stiffly, changing the weight on their feet. finally, jungkook grabs onto yoongi's neck, stealing one last kiss, lips too soft and too warm, and it ends as quickly as it happens, but it leaves yoongi more breathless than before. "ahjummas to rescue," he says, blowing out steam, putting the mask on again. "next time, ahjussi."
"for a date—!" and yoongi smirks as the words make jungkook misplace his webs and hit the side of the building, waving awkwardly, it's all good, rookie mistake, before disappearing somewhere else.
(next day, his pictures are everywhere, adorning good and bad headlines. his bank account feels hefty again. "how did you get so close—?" namjoon asks, the photograph zoomed in on his screen. yoongi chews on bulgogi, happily so. "did you buy a drone?" "no." "—so how?" "i took the elevator." namjoon stares for a second, then sighs, grabbing his own dish, mumbling: "you know, lying pathologically is something i constantly worry about—")
the soft-sounding words are muttered with slight distress, against yoongi's skin, and they make him shiver. they've been — kissing, mostly, finding yoongi's bed too small, possibly, considering very hard to breathe properly, definitely. jungkook halfheartedly pulls himself up, untangling his limbs from yoongi's, red all about him. "—spider-senses?" yoongi asks, raising eyebrows at the tousled boy. he's shirtless, chest stained pink, real bruises on the sides of his body from a particularly vicious car chase, two hickeys on his collarbones, already faded. it isn't uncommon that jungkook's fierce sense of justice often disrupts their — sleeping.
"yeah, but different," jungkook climbs out of bed, walking swiftly towards the window. it's almost dawn, yoongi reckons, by the way the sky is oddly colored. "real different." there's a hint of worry in the hues of his voice.
"in what way?"
"— i don't know." yoongi watches as jungkook starts looking around the room, finding his suit carelessly tucked under his backpack, starting to push his legs through the holes. "turn the tv on."
the channels flicker, throwing different coloured shades on the walls, and jungkook sits on the bed faintly when they finally find something. there's a huge round hole in the material of space over of what looks like new york city, and the footage shows the faces of scared civilians staring at it in disbelief. "oh no," yoongi says it too, mouth suddenly dry.
just then the door is unlocked, namjoon walking in briskly. "hyung, wake the fuck up, there are aliens—" there's absolutely no time to hide anything, and namjoon stops in his tracks, letting the door close behind him, eyes going from yoongi (still in bed, mostly naked), to jungkook (half-naked, spider suit hiding his otherwise naked legs), to the television (perched on a very unsteady pile of books), to jungkook again ("holy mother of—"), to yoongi again ("pretty physics boy is spider-man."). it all happens very fast. both jungkook and yoongi start mumbling words and excuses and explanations, but namjoon stops them, glaring at the tv. "aliens!"
jungkook resumes dressing up. "i need to go— contact mr. stark— i don't have a passport—" he looks disconcerted for a moment. "can i travel without a passport?" namjoon waves an impatient hand at jungkook, muttering is he really spider-man?, and yoongi tosses him a pillow. "hyung, i really— i really need to go."
there's a lot of yearning in jungkook's voice — the same one yoongi often hears when jungkooks talks about the things other heroes do, the ones that avenge the earth and save millions. you save plenty, is what yoongi always says, but he knows it doesn't necessarily make jungkook feel any better. "you can't be friendly neighbourhood spider-man if there isn't a neighbourhood, can you?" he shrugs, finally standing, and namjoon promptly vanishes to the corridor, saying something about bad wifi signals. jungkook's face is a mess of crossroads. "it's your job."
a phone starts vibrating somewhere in the deep ends of yoongi's sheets. the cracked screen shows a blocked number. jungkook doesn't pick up. "but— you." he grabs onto yoongi's shoulders, bringing him into a hug that is too tight. "hyung."
"we'll go for churros when you come back," yoongi says, cheerfully, voice muffled by jungkook's body. the phone starts stirring again. "mr. stark is still calling you."
"it's probably not him, he's really bad at korean," jungkook sniffs.
"— he'll learn."
"okay," they pull back, and jungkook looks at the television again. aliens, he mumbles, shaking his head, still not believing his eyes, or his senses. he pulls converses over his suited feet, and his yellow jacket, and yoongi finds his backpack for him. "i'll call them on the way— i don't know which way, i think the airport— i mean— i don't have a passport but maybe they'll let me through customs to save the world—?" he still finds a way to say a few words even after yoongi kisses him, but it's not a very long kiss. they both sigh in stuttery ways. "you'll be fine, right, ahjussi?" yoongi nods. "ah, this—" he quickly pulls his backpack open, hands searching for something. "these are for you, i made them, i though— i could teach you how—" the webshooters look new, and lighter than the ones jungkook uses. yoongi stares, taken aback. "just —for fun." the phone still rings, muted but stirring angrily in jungkook's hand. "i—," he seems to swallow. "i really like you, i mean— really."
yoongi inhales sharply, feelings pools of heat on his cheeks. he thinks, in hindsight and briefly, that he's never been in love before, and how now that the vague and flimsy idea of love possibly exists, he feels immediately at loss knowing how, well, perishable it is. he also thinks he definitely spends too much time with namjoon. "i—"
"you don't have to say anything, hyung," jungkook's fingers play with his mask, teeth biting flesh. "but when i come back, we could— you know."
"— what do you want me to say then?"
jungkook looks up from his hands, smirking. "go get 'em tiger?" it makes yoongi snort, smiling. the mask is already being pulled down, pretty features hidden under the layer of red. "i'll be home soon, hyung."
"i know," yoongi nods, the knot in his chest easying it up. it's jungkook. he's — young and reckless, and saving people it's just what he does. all the time, in every sense. he reaches up, adjusting the straps on his backpack. "go get 'em tiger."