— this is probably the most astounding piece of news we've ever shared (jungkook raises his head, intrigued, pencil in hand), but it appears, ladies and gentlemen, and you're seeing images live right now (dark, just dark, starryless, space), it appears, yes, that our moon is gone (the pencil falls, jungkook stands, stumbling towards the window) (there's nothing on the above).
it is the silence that wakes him up. jungkook raises his head, vision still blurry with sleep, eyelids heavy. there's dried drool on his cheek, and his face is wrinkled from the fabric of his sweater. the classroom is empty, if not for the formulas spread on the board. it' is not the first time he's fallen asleep during lectures (nighttime is often spent staring through a telescope — it's been six months, now, since the night of . the oceans have almost come to a stop altogether, and the breeze is permanently stoic and heavy, even in winter). jungkook yawns loudly, stretching his arms. the clock says it’s nearly five in the afternoon outside. it's only when he turns to leave that he realises there's someone else there, sitting a few chairs behind him. their eyes meet, but for half a second only, as jungkook looks away quickly. “— was it too boring?”
the unexpected question is made in low, husky tones, a mumble more than a sentence, as if saying words isn't familiar. jungkook feels himself flush with embarrassment. he shrugs, not knowing what to say. “i don't think math is going to bring the moon back, that's all,” he replies, after a moment.
the soft huff makes him look up to the stranger again, to features pale and white-washed, to unkempt, mismatched clothing, and eyes dark and bored behind round glasses. “i don't think so, either,” a smile adorns the sentence. jungkook nods, but finds nothing else to say, feet already moving towards the door, awkwardly. “— what do you think will?”
he stops by the threshold, not knowing how to reply for a moment or two. their eyes meet again, from a good distance this time. “nothing,” jungkook finally says, monotone. “i think it found something better to do.”
a smile makes pale pink lips curl, and the boy nods, blonde fringe falling over eyes. there’s nothing else to be said, so jungkook leaves, feeling — atypical.
he places the telescope at the eastern corner of the tallest building at the university, an uncalled coldness falling softly around him. jungkook pulls the hood of his sweatshirt over his head, blowing hot air into closed hands. the sky is mostly starryless— seoul’s skies have always been opaque, but once you lose the moon, sky above feels pointless . jungkook looks up, still. “you come here often,” the voice startles him the slightest, and he turns, reddening. it’s true that the key to the door belongs to one of the janitors that jungkook pays to get ahold of — so getting caught isn’t ideal. the boy is familiar, though, wrapped in a scarf that seems too big for his body. it’s bright yellow. jungkook clears his throat.
“— i have— permission,” he lies, stuttering, mostly because the other seems older, maybe an upperclassman.
“i come here a lot, too,” a smile graces soft features. jungkook feels himself blush. in the bated lights of nearby buildings, his hair is just weakly coloured like the faded gold of a super moon. “well, on occasion.”
“you were in my class that other day, too,” jungkook finds himself able to say, getting a nod in return. it’s somewhat worrying how jungkook forgot such uncanny sort of boy. “— what’s your name?”
there’s a pause, a slight raising of eyebrows, a glimpse of confusion in the boy’s face. then he speaks, lips forming syllables in a pretty way: “min yoongi.” the boy with a name walks closer, and jungkook observes the way he walks, hands in pockets, and jungkook observes the way yoongi touches his telescope, looking through it, long, bony fingers adjusting the focus. there’s something rather outlandish about the way min yoongi is . “what are you trying to see?” then a small, excited oh . “i see mars.”
“yeah, you can see it around this time of the year,” jungkook looks up again, seeing nothing but the void above. the air feels stuffy, but he shivers, cold. he looks down again, at yoongi’s profile, pointlessly staring at the way the corner of his lips curl. “i’m jeon jungkook, i’m in— astronomy.”
“astronomy,” the word is repeated, as if foreign. yoongi looks at him, stepping back, giving him space. jungkook takes a step closer, closing one of his eyes to better see through the lenses. the dim shape of a reddish planet is a bit unfocused. his heart races the slightest, breath getting caught in his lungs. in opposition, he’s standing only sixty million kilometers away— and jungkook’s arm raises a bit, fingers reaching, as if he could, somehow, touch. a soft sound of the rustle of fabric reminds him he’s not alone. jungkook swallows, standing back again, red cheeks like mars’ surface. “sorry, i—”
“i met someone like you once,” yoongi huffs. “he was in love with the sky, too.”
“i’m not— in love,” jungkook sniffs, shifting on his weight. “you can’t love something like that.”
“ah.” and something of the likes of bittersweetness stains yoongi’s face. “yeah, i guess not.”
the conversation dies, giving way to living awkwardness. jungkook can’t shake the overbearing feeling of familiarity in yoongi’s persona, an odd attraction to the way he exists. he figures it’s one of those things, where you fall in love with people on the subway, for a split of a second, because your eyes met briefly— but then it ends, a clean cut in red strings, and you’re left feeling both good and empty all at once. jungkook sighs, moving to grab his backpack. “i have some warm cheongju ,” he offers, voice more quiet than he’d like, a bit embarrassed he brings alcohol to his night endeavours. “— would you like some?” yoongi only nods, standing still. the cap of the thermic tumbler serves as a small glass. yoongi’s fingers are freezing when he reaches to hold it. jungkook doesn’t comment on it. the warmth of the beverage heats inner parts of his body, and they take turns looking through the telescope, jungkook pointing out stars, yoongi commenting on the hues of colours in them. “— it got tired, didn’t it,’ jungkook assumes, at some point, yawning, just mildly drunk. the moon , he wants to say, but forgets. “of us.”
“maybe,” yoongi seems to swallow, cheeks fully blushed from the rice wine. it’s a contrast to his snowy skin, even though jungkook can barely see him now, as the night grows deeper, and lights are turned off, and slumber moves in across the city. “— or maybe it got stolen.”
their eyes meet, and jungkook raises his eyebrows, amused. he laughs, then, hitting his head on the balustrade they’re sitting against, and that makes yoongi laugh, too, nervously, maybe, and his hands hover, unsure if it’s okay to touch. jungkook presses his fingers on the forming bump, eyes slightly closed, groaning and chuckling all at once. “maybe it got stolen,” he nods, grinning. the darkness surrounding them makes it hard for jungkook to see, so when he moves a little, it startles him how close they are, as their legs touch, their arms— and they’re strangers, it shouldn’t be this way. he forces himself up, then, too quickly, vision faltering a bit. “i guess it’s late.”
with his phone’s lantern, jungkook dismounts his telescope, carefully packing it up again, collecting all the things he’s thrown around. yoongi stands, after a while, wavering on his heels. “thank you for the company,” he says, after a moment. jungkook feels his neck heat up. he wishes, briefly, that there was still a breeze. everything seems too loud in the quietness of the nights, especially his heartbeat. maybe yoongi can hear it.
“— yeah, sure,” and it isn’t what he wants to say, but it is what leaves his mouth, hesitantly. in the light of his lantern, yoongi’s a ghost, sheer white, dark eyes glimmering. jungkook puts it out with shaky hands, shoving the phone in his pocket. “see you around— sunbae .”
he knows the rooftop too well, even in the dark, and the key is still hanging from the lock left in there. the inside light draws a streak of yellow on the floor, lighting up yoongi’s legs. jungkook looks over his shoulder, mouth agape, maybe to ask for yoongi’s phone number, maybe to say something utterly stupid. it’s yoongi who finds his voice first. “i don’t think it got tired of you,” he says, earnestly. “that’s— impossible.” when jungkook doesn’t say anything, taken aback, yoongi smiles. “i’ll give the keys back if you want to.”
“— thanks.” and so, regretfully, jungkook turns away, descending steps towards the ground.
(“hyung,” he calls, and seokjin turns, listening. “do you know anyone called min yoongi?” a frown follows, as seokjin seems to think. “not really.” it’s been a few days already. he isn’t purposely looking for yoongi, just— curious. when seokjin wonders why, jungkook just shrugs it off, just a sunbae i met, thought he might have been in your year .)
there’s an exhibition in the arts department that jungkook is curious about. he finds his way there on a late evening, a murky thing of a cold friday. there’s not a lot of people at that time, most of them hiding behind masks, as the air sets over the city like a block of cement, polluted and heavy. jungkook pulls down his own mask, breathing in. clair de lune , it’s the exhibition’s title, and it plays over the speakers. a collection of artwork about the moon that has vanished into the horizon. there’s a life-sized spacesuit at the entrance, mimicking the one worn by neil armstrong all those years ago. jungkook’s fingers linger on the coarse fabric before he steps away.
votre âme est un paysage choisi , says the first piece, and jungkook can’t read french, but it doesn’t remove any of its beauty. he stares at the details of the painted moon, the hues of blues and purples, trying to recall from memory if those were ever its true colours. it hasn’t been that long . he sighs, turning, and it’s turning he sees the glimpse of snowy hair hidden under a hoodie, glasses round, jeans ripped at the seams and at the knees. yoongi has just walked in, eyes analysing the astronaut by the door, too. “it won’t move,” jungkook says, then, loud enough to be heard from a few meters of distance.
“— they did a good job,” yoongi says after a moment, meeting jungkook’s stare. “i thought i’d see you here.”
“yeah, i— like art.” it isn’t completely true, but jungkook thinks i like the moon sounds too childish. he’s twenty-one, not six. yoongi doesn’t seem to mind his answer, or hear it, as his eyes find the pieces all over then, hanging on walls, exposed. they widen, as if surprised. “i guess you like it, too.”
“yeah,” he mumbles, stepping further in, stopping closer to jungkook, and to the painting he had been analysing. yoongi’s fingers touch the paint, despite the signs asking visitors not to touch the artwork. “they put colours in it.” the sentence is said absentmindedly, and jungkook understands it isn’t commentary, just a thought that rolled out of a tongue. yoongi’s nose is red, possibly from the cold.
they walk around together, but in silence, so maybe not together , just— side by side. yoongi touches everything he can reach, muttering sentences, some jungkook can graps, some others that sound like dead languages. somehow he doesn’t look older that night. “how old are you?” the question is posed in front of an eclipse, pretty in magentas and glittering gold. yoongi looks back at him, the paleness of his skin contrasting to the colourful background.
“older than you,” he smiles, and jungkook huffs, muttering i know that much . “probably.”
“you look young,” jungkook comments, hands gesturing vaguely towards the whole of yoongi’s assemblance. it makes yoongi smile as he walks even further into the exhibit, his eyes wandering about. they look forlorn, for some reason. nostalgic, maybe. jungkook watches him, unmoving. yoongi stops in front of a wall piece, tall and mighty. jungkook hasn’t seen that one before. it depicts space as it is— a dark void, infinite in its bleeding corners. jungkook approaches yoongi carefully, stopping by his side. there’s only the silhouette of a lonely astronaut in the middle of it, adrift, possibly, forgotten, maybe. jungkook swallows, feeling a lump go down his throat, and his eyes get suddenly watery. yoongi seems to notice. “— sorry, i—,” jungkook sniffs, embarrassed, starting to turn away. he can’t tell what affected him so much, but something did. you’re a romantic , seokjin often said, all those months ago, rolling his eyes. you stare at that moon of yours as if it’d stare back . “i guess i’m a bit tired.”
he moves to wipe the reckless tears with the back of his hand, but stiffens when yoongi touches his cheeks instead, thumbs rubbing the skin, and cold, cold, cold. he’s just a bit shorter, and looking up like this, the angles on his face look just slightly sharper, eyes darker. the black background and hoodie makes his hair so light. their eyes meet again, then, and yoongi seems to notice his actions aren’t normal . he stops, bringing his hands away from jungkook’s face. “i just—,” he stutters, lips pouty. “reflex.”
“do you want to get something to drink, sunbae?”
it’s not something jungkook does— asking someone out so bluntly. but somehow, there’s a gravitational pull towards yoongi and the faint red of his face. he’s curious . yoongi presses his lips together, looking back at the astronaut for a second, before nodding. into the moonless night they step, then, walking the poorly lit alleyways that make up the neighbourhood, not talking. the stall they stop buy is empty, and they sit at a corner, the ahjumma running it filling their cups with soju . yoongi pulls his hoodie down, blonde hair unkempt. “thanks for buying,” he grins, and it makes jungkook huff, looking away. “i don’t have any money.”
“it’s fine,” the old television perched at the corner of the counter shows images of the moon long gone, and a reporter seems to be interviewing scholars over it. yoongi follows his gaze. the bottom line says earth’s axis is shifting at impressive speed . it doesn’t surprise him. days have been slowly getting shorter, too. “it’s weird without it, isn’t it?”
“— do you miss it that much?”
“yeah,” jungkook admits, taking another shot of his drink, eyes pressed together. when he opens them again, yoongi’s adorned with phosphenes. he sniffs. “i wanted to go to space when i was young.”
“astronaut jeon jungkook,” yoongi smiles. “sounds good.”
“what did you want to be, sunbae?”
a short pause. yoongi sips his drink, slowly. “less lonely.” they’re sitting close together, jungkook realises, once again, as if leaving space between their bodies isn’t ideal. jungkook doesn’t remember feeling this captivated by someone before, with the sort of lure that makes things flutter inside his stomach. yoongi’s eyes are staring at nothing in particular, opaque like the sky above. jungkook’s eyes lingers on the shape of his nose, the sleepiness in his eyelids, his mouth— then he startles, looking away. “what’s wrong?”
“nothing, i—,” and he takes another shot of soju, throat burning nicely. alcohol is liquid confidence, but jungkook can’t look into yoongi’s eyes as the words escape him. their hands are close enough to touch on the table. jungkook wonders if he could ever have a one night stand without falling in love. probably not. “are you cold?”
“a bit,” yoongi shrugs. “i’m used to it.”
jungkook wraps his fingers around yoongi’s wrist then, pulling him closer. “if we sit together—,” he stutters, flustered. yoongi nods, their bodies colliding, sides against sides. jungkook removes one of the sleeves of his jacket, only to pull it over yoongi’s shoulders. “you don’t want to get sick.”
“— i guess not.”
they sit in silence, then, and jungkook regrets being so oddly smitten. they don’t know each other for such intimacy, despite the feeling of familiarity that exists between them. it might not be mutual , he reminds himself, pressing his eyes together, biting lips. yoongi’s body doesn’t get any warmer. finally, he sighs, shaking his head, apologetic. “sorry, i— i don’t know what i’m doing,” jungkook admits, voice faint, heart speeding up. “i don’t want to make you uncomfortable, i— should go—” he takes off his jacket completely, wrapping it against yoongi’s shoulder as he stands. “keep that, for the— keep it, it’s fine.”
he knocks the empty bottle of soju on the table as he stumbles around, and yoongi watches him, eyebrows raised, darker than his hair. jungkook apologises, bowing, leaving bills on the counter to pay for the drinks, walking away too fast, fast enough yoongi doesn’t have time to follow.
(“so you just left,” seokjin mumbles sleepy, when jungkook crawls into his bed, an hour later, complaining, embarrassed, laying on top of the blankets. “you could have been out having sex and not bothering me—” “ hyung! ” and seokjin chuckles. it’s near two in the morning. jungkook wonders if yoongi’s still at the stand. “i wasn’t— i wasn’t going to have sex.” a sarcastic huff follows, and jungkook pokes seokjin’s side harder than he should. “alright, alright,” seokjin groans, pushing him away. “just ask him out again,” he offers. “if he’s into you— he’ll say yes.” jungkook nods to no one in particular.)
he sees yoongi again a few weeks later, when he arrives for one of his afternoon lectures. yoongi’s sitting exactly where he was the first time they met, wearing jungkook’s jacket. yellow is a good colour on him. jungkook stops, staring. yoongi sits up, staring back. if he’s into you, he’ll say yes . jungkook braves through the nervousness that consumes his inner parts, and forces himself to sit on the vacated spot near yoongi. “hello,” it’s difficult to speak. jungkook feels himself flush. “i’m,” sorry, i’m very sorry . “it’s nice to see you, sunbae.”
“i’m wearing your jacket,” yoongi looks down at his body. “i hope you don’t mind.”
“no, it— it looks good on you.” they smile at each other, and it feels rather silly. the lecture hall fills in, the professor joining them later. we’re seeing star structures today , he says with a certain monotone voice. the room is taken by a rush of notebooks and laptops and the clicking of pens and the sighs of boredom. jungkook joins them, yoongi doesn’t. “aren’t you going to—”
“ah,” yoongi doesn’t seem too bothered. “i have a good memory.”
and so the hour and a half the lecture lasts, yoongi doesn’t make any annotations, eyes focused on the slides the professor goes through, just as jungkook’s eyes are focused on his eyelashes, and his lips, and his nose. it’s dangerous, to be glancing so openly, sometimes looking away, smiling to himself. jungkook draws planets on his battered notebook, barely hearing about quantum stars and mass formulas. he feels giddy . “sunbae,” he leans in at some point, feeling the slight arrhythmia that takes a hold of his heart. yoongi stirs, turning the slightest. “do you want to go out to drink with me?”
yoongi sniffs, expression unchanging. “— are you going to leave again?”
“i’m— no,” jungkook blushes as their eyes meet. “i’m not the moon.”
something seems to hurt the atoms that make up yoongi’s pupils, as they blow and retract, dark, dark, dark. he pales, more than before, he looks away. jungkook is unsure if he’s said something wrong, but after another handful of seconds, yoongi nods. “yeah, i want to go out to drink with you.” if he’s into you, he’ll say yes . jungkook smiles too widely, and he hides it, turning the other way.
they buy bottles of soju at a convenience store at the corner of the campus, later on. jungkook does, anyway, as yoongi mutters something about not having his credit card on him. a similar food stall welcomes them, smelling of spicy rice cakes, which jungkook orders a portion of. they talk about the lesson for a while, yoongi being able to recite every word said by the professor, amused at how people are so interested in what makes a star . “they’re pretty,” jungkook reasons, tone already draggy after his third glass. “we’re attracted to pretty things.” yoongi’s cheeks are flushed as he licks red sauce from the side of his fingers. it makes jungkook cough, throat suddenly too dry. “we— are.”
“you’re blushing,” yoongi points out, reaching for the napkin holder. jungkook exhales hot air. “maybe you had enough soju for a night, jungkook,” the poking of his ribs make jungkook breaks out into faint laughter.
“it’s early,” and it is, to be fair, only past nine. jungkook gestures for one of the attendants to bring them another round of food. “it’s a date, it should— it should last longer.”
at this, yoongi pauses, putting his glass down slowly. the sense of melancholy seems to wrap itself around him again, and again jungkook wonders if he’s said the wrong thing. if he’s into you, he’ll say yes . but maybe he doesn’t — maybe jungkook is just someone younger with a lot of expectations, who falls in love whimsically fast. i’m not in love . yoongi breathes in, smiling. “do you want to go see the stars later?” he asks, then, and it surprises him. it isn’t what he expects. “not on the rooftop.”
“— yeah,” jungkook answers, weakly. they’re close, close, very close, orbiting each other, eyes meeting halfway. the spell is broken by the attendant, who arrives with another set of warm food. they both bow cheerily, thanking her, matching hues of red under their skin. when she’s gone, jungkook sniffs, pouring them more soju. “i’d like to see the stars.”
the planetarium is open overnight these days. come see the moon , the sign says, inviting, even though the whole building is empty. jungkook stumbles a bit, the soju making his body heavy and slow. yoongi seems to waver, too, so they grab onto each other for balance, hands on waists and bones and arms and wrists. yoongi feels soft, and small, and cold, cold, cold. the projection hall is empty, chairs forgotten, silent. jungkook looks up, steps slowing down until he comes to a halt. the vast extension of the galaxy awaits above, and his fingers raise, wanting to touch. something grows heavy inside his chest. the moon, the moon and its brightness, suspended in the sky that isn’t the sky. yoongi holds his hand, this time. jungkook stirs, bewildered. “come on,” yoongi says softly. “let’s stargaze.”
the floor isn’t comfortable, unlike the chairs, but it feels more natural that way, as if they could hear the sounds of the outside world instead of the hum of computers and air-conditioning systems. jungkook inhales, not able to say words, the constellations spread inside of him and above. it’s a full moon, in that sky, and it lits everything. he turns his head, glancing at yoongi for a moment, only to find his eyes. “i wish it hadn’t gotten tired of us,” he mutters, slurring the slightest.
“that’s impossible,” yoongi tells him almost fondly. “not of you.” jungkook touches the hair that falls over yoongi’s eyes, pushing it away gently. the tips of his fingers linger, following the contours of his face. “jungkook—”
“sunbae,” jungkook feels his body burn, in a good way. the light of a fabricated moon gives him angles and shadows too pretty. yoongi is all— pretty. he swallows, fingers trembling. he pulls away, then, fearful of what the beating of his heart means. “what’s your favorite constellation?”
“virgo,” yoongi replies right away, looking up again, eyes glimmering. “over there.”
jungkook looks up too, but it’s harder to find, and he doesn’t, not until yoongi points it out, their bodies very close, holding onto jungkook’s fingers to draw the virgo shape in the air. mine is pisces , jungkook smiles, even though he still fails at finding it, having yoongi pointing it out for him, holding his fingers still. they both laugh, drawing constellations of their own, under the light of a moon that doesn’t exist. when their arms get tired, their fingers are still entwined. none pulls away. “do you always come here?”
“yeah,” yoongi nods. “it’s quiet.”
“like space,” and yoongi hums in agreement. jungkook’s thumb rub against the skin of yoongi’s hand, feeling its coldness. “i used to sing to the moon,” jungkook admits, embarrassed, giggling. “maybe it didn’t like it very much.”
“it did,” and jungkook turns to look at yoongi’s face again, how close it is. familiarity runs between them, static like electricity. we’ve known each other for a long time, haven’t we ? yoongi leans forward, just enough to touch the side of jungkook’s cheek with his nose. jungkook sighs, stuttery. “— sing for me again.”
the song comes out too breathy, because there’s a weight sitting on top of jungkook’s chest, invisible, but hefty. i sit on my bed and i think of you, it’s alright even if i can’t see you — the song is in japanese, a language jungkook hasn’t completely mastered, and he doesn’t know if yoongi can understand it, either, but it’s a song he likes, that he used to hum to the moon perched by the window, looking through the telescope, drawing it on sheets of paper. even though i want to see you so much, i’m waiting for you, don’t forget me . he watches as yoongi closes his eyes, head against jungkook’s shoulder, a hint of a smile on his face. the song gets hold back in jungkook’s throat. he should have asked permission before raising his body a little, propped by his elbow, and he should have asked permission before letting go of yoongi’s hand to touch the side of his face, and he should have asked permission to kiss him — but he didn’t, he doesn’t. yoongi’s hand grabs his waist, carefully, tentatively, as they slowly part lips, tongues meeting, slow and trying.
they kiss for what feels like a long time, because jungkook’s arm starts getting numb after a while, and his back hurts from the awkward position— so he pulls away, feeling yoongi lean forward. “sunbae,” he stares at yoongi’s moonlit features. “— are you the moon?”
“i think you had a lot to drink,” yoongi sniffs. “maybe we should go, it’s late.”
“come back with me, to— my place,” jungkook offers, tip of his nose touching the side of yoongi’s jawline. yoongi smells like spent gunpowder. it’s lunar, jungkook just knows. “— please.”
a sigh follows, then a nod. they stand, fingers gravitating towards each others, holding. jungkook’s house isn’t that far away, and his body is a nervous wreck. he’s taking the moon home. no— yoongi . he’s taking yoongi home. they fall into bed easily, limbs against each other, and kissing, kissing, kissing, tongues that taste like the bittersweetness of soju. it is late, by then. night heavy and still outside of the window. jungkook’s bed is too small for the both of them. yoongi falls asleep first, curled around the shape of jungkook, legs between his. jungkook falls in love first, shrinking to fit into yoongi’s arms, legs between his. he falls asleep not longer after.
(their breakfast is quiet, leftovers from a few days ago, that jungkook sniffs before offering. yoongi seems misplaced in the living room, too white against the dark clothes jungkook has lended him. the television is on, providing their silence with noise. species are starting to die due to the lack of nutrient flow , a reporter is saying, that is, of course, due to the disappearance of the moon, stealing us from ocean tides . behind her, the pacific ocean sits very still, glimmering like a lake, her hair unmoving, no breeze whatsoever. it’s an appalling sort of image. yoongi stops eating. “that sounds depressing,” seokjin says, walking into the kitchen, noticing yoongi’s presence a second later. “oh— hi, i’m kim seokjin.”
“this is yoongi sunbae,” jungkook informs him, glaring, but yoongi doesn’t seem to notice. he waves, putting his rice bowl down, eyes fixated on the screen. “we— he’s—”
“had a good night?” seokjin asks, feigning innocence, from behind the refrigerator door, and jungkook blushes profusely.
“yeah,” yoongi is the one to reply, absentmindedly, still staring at the television, dazed. jungkook follows his stare, watching the screen split in two, the before and the after, the waves crashing beautifully against rocks, and the stillness of a lifeless sea. “— it doesn’t look pretty now.” the commentary is made, once again, more to himself than to the others. “it looks sad.”
there’s a sadness in his voice that is overbearing. seokjin seems to notice, too, glancing at jungkook, getting a shrug in return. “well,” he starts, unsure. jungkook looks down at his feet. “i’m sure we’ll get used to it, it’s just— just the ocean.”
but it isn’t, is it? yoongi stands abruptly, i think i need to go , timbre hushed and blue, and while jungkook stutters ways to make him stay, there’s nothing that works. there are no goodbyes, just yoongi stepping out into the corridor, disappearing behind elevator doors, looking pained and confused and underdressed for the cold outside. you forgot my jacket , jungkook thinks, ache in his chest, cold, cold, cold.)
“you’re the moon, aren’t you?”
he isn’t drunk this time. the planetarium is once again empty, and it’s once again too many days later, days where jungkook counted hours, stitching the wound in his heart. it’d always come undone. yoongi is sitting in one of the chairs this time, staring up at the replacement moon. outside, it’s past three in the morning, and there’s no moon out. of course there isn’t . “yeah,” yoongi nods, not looking at him. “i made a mistake.”
jungkook exhales slowly, stepping closer until he can sit next to yoongi, who turns to look at him, finally. he’s still wearing jungkook’s black clothes, and they’re too thin. jungkook puts the woollen sweater on his lap. “don’t get sick,” he says, watching yoongi get dressed after a pause. “sunbae, i—”
“i’m not a student, you don’t have to call me that.”
“ hyung ,” jungkook tries, then. yoongi smiles, huffing. “why—”
why is the most difficult question to ask, maybe. when, they both know. where, it’s not important. how, perhaps science and magic and everything in between. but why, why bears feelings and wants and needs, and it is almost a farfetched idea that the moon is sentient enough to experience humanity. yet, there it is, the moon, in the gangly shape of min yoongi, sweater too big for him, bright yellow, because yellow fits him too well. “i was lonely,” yoongi replies after a while, playing with the sleeve of jungkook’s jacket. “you gave me love so easily, i— liked to hear you sing.”
“there’s seven billion of us,” jungkook chuckles at the insanity of that porcentage. he’s just one person, one, out of billions, who have looked at the moon over the course of millions of years. why, why, why. “i’m not special.” yoongi holds his hand, a gesture that startles jungkook, and he stutters a bit on his words, heart racing. “you’re— the special one.”
“no, i’m just a—”
“— celestial body.” they’re staring at each other, now. there’s a lot of longing in the air they breathe, and jungkook leans forward, leaping into yoongi’s space, noses touching before lips do, tongues warm, sweet. heartbreak suddenly floods the insides of jungkook’s chest, drenching his guts in silvery sadness. there’s a subtle understanding that yoongi can’t stay, not as a boy, not on the earth that misses him, it , so much. you’re special , yoongi murmurs, words given freely like kisses, and jungkook wraps his arms around him, not to take it any further, but to hug the bones and flesh that make the moon he’s in love with. the moon, the boy, jungkook doesn’t know anymore. “ hyung ,” he sniffs, feeling his eyes getting hot with tears. “i don’t want you to go.”
“astronaut jeon jungkook,” yoongi says, patting his back softly, a smile on his words. “you can come and see me one day.”
“what if that never happens?” it probably won’t .
“— i’ll still be there.” it’s painful, the way it happens. we still have a day , jungkook thinks, a whole day, a whole day, a whole day. “just look up.”
“do you want to go out to drink with me?”
yoongi laughs, his body shaking between jungkook’s arms. he nods, chin against jungkook’s shoulder. “yeah.” one last time .
they find yet another stall, a friendly ahjumma telling yoongi how pretty he is, and how sweet they are, and they collect enough food and bottles of soju to take to the han river, sitting at one of the many walkways, legs hanging over the smooth surface of the still water, talking about mundane things yoongi is curious about. there’s no breeze, still, but it’s cold, and they sit close together, yellow sweater against the jeans jacket jungkook is wearing, fur collar keeping him warm just like yoongi’s arm that is wrapped around him. jungkook wonders if this is what it’s like to be in love— if it is finding the dismal colours on the horizon (stained orange with the faint sunlight, but still gray and ugly) the most beautiful sight he’s ever seen. love , jungkook thinks, does it happen this fast? “what about the sun?” he asks at some point, curious. “is it—”
“we all are,” yoongi shrugs, blue smile on his face. “— i’m just too reckless.”
jungkook clinks their bottles together, leaning in to steal a kiss that tastes like soju. it happens this fast, yes . “hyung,” they drink, similarly scrunching their noses as the bitterness spreads before the sweet. “do you want to go back to my place?”
it makes yoongi blush, and he huffs, touching the tip of his nose, nervous. “yeah.”
the trains are full of workers, looking displeased after another moonless night. someone listens to the news outloud, a few people paying attention to, thousands of sea creatures are showing up shores everywhere with the lack of tides, dead , yoongi looks down at his feet, whilst someone else comments, a few meters away, we’re losing minutes and hours, god knows what will happen to us . jungkook finds yoongi’s hand, pressing. “it’s fine,” he mumbles. yoongi nods, but he looks sick.
seokjin isn’t home anymore, left for work probably, and they drink some of the coffee he left before going to bed, and they don’t undress, because it’s not the point of it. yoongi wraps his arms around jungkook’s waist, bringing him closer, the soft sweater keeping them both warm. “i’m going to miss you,” he says, and his voice has the same timbre of a sad song. “astronaut jeon jungkook.”
“moon yoongi,” jungkook giggles, and yoongi chuckles, too, snuggling, lips against the crook of jungkook’s neck. i love you , he wants to say, but it’s difficult. he wants to say, but he thinks yoongi knows.
“— sing to me.” fly me to the moon , jungkook starts, making his voice lower and graver, and it makes yoongi laugh again, let me play among the stars, let me see what spring is like on a jupiter or mars — “i think they’re dreadful,” yoongi comments, and jungkook rolls his body until he’s facing him again, legs between legs, kisses on collarbones, song muttered. fill my heart with song, you are all i long for, all i worship and adore, in other words — “i love you.”
jungkook sighs, looking up, finding yoongi’s eyes. they’re goodbye eyes, and his voice has goodbye hues, and his hair is coloured like goodbye. “you know the song.”
“i know all the songs about me,” yoongi replies, smug, but his eyes are sad, sad, sad. he touches jungkook’s hair softly, fingers playing with it, carefully drawing his eyebrows, and the tip of his nose. “you should go to sleep.”
“it’s almost the afternoon, hyung,” jungkook mumbles, but he’s drowsy, too warm in yoongi’s arms. “i don’t want to sleep.”
“it’s easier if you sleep.”
yoongi hums a little thing of a tune, a lullaby maybe, and jungkook finds his eyelids heavy, and he wonders if this is what the moon gives them, the sleep ballads, the dreams, the nighttime songs that embrace humanity into slumber. he inhales, smelling all that spent gunpowder in yoongi’s lunar skin, and vanilla, and linen, and—
— there’s a breeze when jungkook wakes up, it ruffles his hair as the window is opened. it’s cold, colder than before. his room is dark, but not that enough that he can’t see, not dark enough like before the disappearance of the moon. he swallows. was it a dream? his phone is hidden under the pillows, forgotten, the battery almost dead. it’s past eight at night. jungkook sits up too fast, vision getting blurry at the corners. he can hear the television in the living room, the smell of seokjin’s food drifting through the door left ajar. we don’t know what caused the phenomenon or if it can happen again , someone is saying, but we’re surely glad to have our satellite back .
the moon outside is big and bright and glowing. there’s barely any clouds, as if they didn’t want to hide the beauty of it. jungkook inhales sharply, by the window. his fingers are cold, cold, cold. there’s an ache inside his chest that feels— atypical.
“it’s back,” seokjin’s voice says from the his door, following a soft knock. jungkook nods, not looking away from the moon. “i guess.”
“yeah,” his throat is dry. jungkook wants to cry, but he also doesn’t think it’d help. the moon is right there, so close, all those three hundred and eighty-four thousand kilometers. right around the corner , he can hear it in yoongi’s voice.
“— what about your— friend ?” the question is careful. jungkook feels himself blush. “min yoongi.” another pause. “just a one night stand kind of thing?”
“no,” he shakes his head, embarrassed. “no, he— left. abroad.”
“ah.” jungkook finally looks away from the moon. he notices the clothes yoongi was wearing, left on his bed, mingled with the sheets. seokjin walks closer, maybe unsure of what to say, probably noticing jungkook’s sadstruck expression. “i made kimchi stew.” it makes jungkook smile, and seokjin smiles, too, fingers touching the bedsheets, adjusting them. he offers jungkook a hand. “let’s eat, moon boy.”
“ astronaut , hyung,” jungkook corrects him, letting seokjin take him to the kitchen. “astronaut jeon jungkook.”