The sky is pink and the waves are a beautiful pastel in reflection of it. Seokjin’s hair ruffles with the soft breeze, the silence of the beach only broken by the sound of waves crashing against the shore, the distant cry of seagulls, and the soft snores of Jungkook laying down next to him on the checkered cloth they brought.
Seokjin seated with his knees to his chest, glances down at him. Jungkook lies face up in his semi wet board shorts, exhausted from swimming, mouth open and eyes closed tightly. Seokjin pulls out his phone to take a video as proof for the next time Jungkook claims he doesn’t snore.
A quick glance at his phone’s clock shows that it’s time to leave no matter how reluctant Seokjin might be.
It’s not as easy to get away these days. Seokjin needs to be extra concentrated for his masters degree and Jungkook’s third year in college is busier than ever. Gone are the days of escaping to whatever cafe is closest. Their schedules are too draining for early sunrise mountain hikes. There are no more drunk karaoke escapades either. Even a quick dinner get together with the rest of their friend group is difficult. So Seokjin cherishes days like this, where they can find a break in between their schedules and get away from the chaos for a while.
Seokjin stares at Jungkook’s face, mesmerized for a moment, before shaking him awake. Jungkook groans but refuses to open his eyes. Seokjin smiles deviously and picks up a handful of sand.
Waves crash, seagulls cry, and the air fills with the sound of Jungkook spluttering awake and Seokjin’s squeaky laughter.
It might be a bit weird that Seokjin is best friends with a guy 5 years younger than him but it’s been a decade and a half (though it feels like forever) since they first met that it’s just natural now.
They first met when Seokjin was 10 and Jungkook was 5. Jungkook’s family moved from Busan and into the house next door. Jungkook, doe eyed and shy, unexpectedly clung to Seokjin when they first met and refused to let go. He cried when they tried to take him away and Seokjin, a bit resigned, took Jungkook’s hand and said, “I guess he’s mine now.”
15 years later and in the back of Seokjin’s mind, it’s still true. Jungkook’s his. And he’s Jungkook’s. No need to think too deeply about it. It’s just how it is.
The drive back to the city is peaceful. They're singing along to Jungkook’s playlist as the sky darkens into the night and the stars come out one by one. In no time at all, nature gets replaced by concrete and glass and the blur of the city lights.
“Wanna get brunch tomorrow? You don't have class until the afternoon right?” Jungkook asks as they sit stuck in traffic.
“Sure. We could try that new cafe near my place.” The light turns green and the car joins in the sluggish crawl of people trying to go home, before they can cross the intersection the light turns red.
“Fuck this traffic.” Seokjin complains. “We should've left earlier. Driving during rush hour is hell.”
“I'm not the one who declared war by shoving sand in my mouth.”
“You wouldn't wake up! And I don't wanna hear anything from you. I'm pretty sure I still have sand in my hair.”
“Like I said. It's war.”
Seokjin snorts. He glances at Jungkook, whose eyes are crinkled at the corners, a self satisfied smirk on his lips, the traffic lights reflecting on his face. Seokjin clears his throat and quickly looks back at the road in front of him.
“I'll win next time.” Seokjin says. The car stereo starts playing a familiar tune and Seokjin’s hand immediately goes to turn the volume up.
“If there’s a next time-”
“Shhh.” Seokjin flaps his hand. “Sunmi’s singing.”
Jungkook laughs at Seokjin’s aggressive bopping. “The light’s green.”
Seokjin drive-dances to the soundtrack of Gashina and Jungkook's laughter. “You'll hurt your neck!”
“I don't care!”
Traffic makes them stop again just in time for the second chorus, much to Seokjin’s delight. He points a finger gun at a grinning Jungkook. Seokjin does the whole choreo seriously without breaking eye contact, making Jungkook laugh again. The car behind them honks loudly making Jungkook laugh harder. “Drive! Drive!”
Seokjin makes funny sounds as he sings the last instrumental dance break, speeding along the highway and leaving the car behind them stuck as the light turns red on them.
“You're crazy.” Jungkook says, wiping the corners of his eyes.
“You love it.” Seokjin throws a cheesy wink at him.
Jungkook’s smile turns soft. “Yeah. I do.”
Seokjin swallows as the air around them becomes heavy. The song ends, followed by ringing silence. Heartbeats pound before music fills the car.
Seokjin’s eyebrows furrow as he listens to the next song.
“You and your indie music.” He says. “Play Twice next.”
Jungkook rolls his eyes. “It's my playlist.”
“We just listened to Gashina. I'm hyped, I don't wanna listen to this depressing shit.”
Jungkook sighs. “Which Twice song?”
“All of them!” Seokjin stops. “Wait. Play my playlist instead.”
Jungkook pauses. “The weird ballad-rap-rock one?”
Seokjin tilts his head. “Uh yeah? Unless there's another Seokjin playlist on your phone I don't know about.”
Jungkook pauses again. “Right.”
“And don't call it weird! I'm a man of taste.”
“Sure you are.” Jungkook says, and the song in the car changes to a power ballad.
Seokjin glances at Jungkook suspiciously, trying to see if he's being sarcastic. He catches Jungkook’s eyes already staring at him. Jungkook gives him a small, fond, smile.
Seokjin’s chest feels so full, all he can do is smile back at Jungkook before focusing on the road.
They spend the rest of the ride in comfortable silence, occasionally singing along to the songs. It's nice. It always is when they're together.
“Today was nice.” Jungkook says as the car slows to a stop in front of his dorm building. “We should do it again soon.”
“You just can’t get enough of me huh.” Seokjin teases.
Jungkook rolls his eyes, a fond smile on his lips. “I just want free food.”
“Get out of my car.”
Jungkook laughs. He takes his phone out of the aux cord, one hand on the door handle. “See you tomorrow Hyung.”
Seokjin catches his eye. “Sleep well.”
“I'll dream of you.” Jungkook replies with a cheeky smile.
Seokjin rolls his eyes and gently pushes his shoulder. “Go already.”
Jungkook laughs but opens the door and steps outside. He leans in to look at Seokjin. “Drive safe. Text me when you get home.”
“As always.” Seokjin smiles at him. “Goodnight Jungkookie.”
“Goodnight hyung.” Jungkook replies, staring at him for a moment before smiling softly and closing the door.
Seokjin watches him get to the door of the apartment. Jungkook enters the code and holds the door open. He waves goodbye to Seokjin and is answered by a honk.
He steps in and as the door closes behind him, Seokjin drives away.
Jungkook disappears inside.
When they were younger, there was Jungkook’s roof. They’d climb on top and watch the stars. It was their spot. Now the roof is too far and they can’t really watch the stars these days but they still have each other and that’s all that matters.
Seokjin thinks, as he drives silently, about where they were and where they are now. He thinks, as the lights pass by him, that they’re heading somewhere new. Somewhere unexplored but somewhere exciting. His heart pounds and there’s a giddy smile on his face.
Tomorrow, he thinks, will be amazing.
Tomorrow, he grips the wheel tightly and thinks, it's a date.
It's a new start.