Jungkook stumbles out of his room bleary-eyed, barely conscious, and definitely regretting everything he’s done in the last twelve hours.
He feels a bit like he’s been hit head-on by a truck and left stranded on the side of the road to suffer. His eyes are crusted shut. His mouth tastes like something crawled into it, lived to a ripe old age, and died. It feels like someone is trying to jackhammer straight into his skull. He can tell by the way the sunlight seems insistent on stabbing through his eyeballs to his retinas that it must be way, way too early, and he’s not entirely sure how he got home last night but it must have been a wild ride.
All in all, not one of his better mornings.
When he’s more alive and can actually form a coherent string of words, he’s going to give Jimin and Taehyung hell. Not that he’s sure yet that they’re directly responsible for him being in this state, but every disaster in his life can be traced back in some way to them. He just has to figure out how.
Right now, though, he needs a glass of water, some painkillers, and to get the fuck back to sleep.
He wanders blindly towards the kitchen for some water, letting muscle memory guide him around in lieu of functioning brain cells through the hallway, the living room, and—right into the kitchen counter. Which is… a lot closer than he remembers it being, and a lot softer too. Because, he slowly realizes as he stares blankly in front of him and the light slowly filters through his eyelids, he’s not in his kitchen, and this isn’t a counter.
It’s a couch.
This is not where his couch is supposed to be.
This is not his apartment.
“Oh fuck,” Jungkook hisses, suddenly realizing with a creeping dread where he must be.
The place looks, as far as he can remember it, exactly like the house he’d arrived at last night for the party. Not that he can say he paid much attention to the room before immediately trying to get drunk off his mind, but he paid enough to say with at least eighty percent certainty that it’s the same house. A bit messier, sure, but definitely within the margin of error for his mental approximation of what the place would probably look like after a bunch of people stampede through it.
It’s as good as confirmed the moment he looks down and sees—
There’s a boy sleeping on the couch he nearly tripped over, almost huddled into a ball with his hands tucked between his thighs. Even as compromised as he was last night, the boy is pretty in a way that makes something light up in the back of Jungkook’s brain. Good or bad, he isn’t sure yet. The morning light hits him just so; he looks peaceful dwarfed in an oversized hoodie and sweats, his body rising and falling to his slow breaths. The blue of his hair is striking against his pale skin, but looks so, so soft. Jungkook vaguely recalls threading his fingers through that exact shade of blue, moaning along with a wet hot pressure against his skin.
God, it’s too early and he’s too hungover to deal with this right now.
Jungkook stares anyways. The boy’s hoodie inexplicably starts wiggling, and Jungkook nearly jumps as the head of a small brown puppy emerges from the boy’s chest– which, wow. That’s adorable and Jungkook’s frazzled brain does not know how to process it.
The puppy blinks at him, sniffing the air testily.
“It’s okay, puppy,” Jungkook whispers. “I’m a friend. I was just leaving. Please don’t start barking.”
The puppy yawns.
“Okay, cool. Good boy. Or good girl, I don’t know what you identify as. Not that it’s any of my business, and you’re a dog so you probably don’t care. I’m, uh, just going to go now.”
The puppy sniffs but loses interest, tucking itself under the boy’s chin and settling back to sleep.
Jungkook, having successfully negotiated with the puppy, tiptoes across the room, eyes fixed on the couch the entire time to make sure the boy doesn’t wake up and the puppy doesn’t change its mind about causing a scene. By the time he reaches the door, he realizes that he doesn’t have any shoes, and has to tiptoe all the way back to the room he woke up in to find them. They’re next to the bed, probably taken off when he passed out. His wallet is lying on the sheets, where it must have fallen out of his pocket, and he quickly makes a grab for that too.
The walk of shame is even worse the second time. His heels are too clunky and loud against the hardwood floor and Jungkook constantly feels one step away from waking up everyone in the house, especially the ridiculously cute blue-haired boy. It’s an agonizing minute that feels much, much longer.
The door was definitely not that far before, he swears.
By some miracle, he makes it out without alerting anyone or setting the puppy on himself. The moment he closes the door, he sprints down the porch steps and down the street.
His phone is dead, which sucks because he has no idea where he is and now he has to somehow figure it out through… however people figured out where they were before modern technology. Triangulation, or looking at the stars, or something. He doesn’t know. There aren’t any stars out right now anyways. He might as well die without his phone.
Thankfully, he vaguely recognizes this neighborhood; most of the houses on the street are rented out to college kids, so he can’t be that far away from campus. Once he finds his way there, it’s a matter of catching a bus and trying not to feel like shit as the bus rocks his already rattled brain around.
His roommate is still asleep by the time he stumbles through the door, so he has a blessed moment of peace in his apartment as he gets a glass of water and swallows down an entire night’s worth of bad breath and bad decisions. It’s still too early to deal with anything right now, so Jungkook makes a beeline for his bed, plugs his phone into its charger, and collapses onto his sheets.
He wakes up some time later, just as confused as he was when he woke up the first time today but mercifully less hungover. He doesn’t know exactly how much later it is, just that the sun isn’t searing into his retinas anymore. His mouth tastes disgusting and acidic and dry from alcohol and sleep and he should probably clean himself up and get out of his old clothes, but he’s too weak to move so he just rolls over and checks his phone instead.
He has a mind-boggling amount of missed messages and calls from last night and as early as five in the morning, mostly from Jimin and Taehyung. The newest one is from Kyungjae. Can we please talk? it reads from the preview on his lock screen. Jungkook ignores it, instead swiping one of Jimin and Taehyung’s notifications and unlocking his phone, scrolling as far up as he can through his missed messages.
j u n g k o o k
there u go
keep it up
proud of u
where did u go
why wont u answer hyugn’s calls
pick up pla
The messages continue on like that for a while, becoming increasingly panicked and incomprehensible over time until around midnight, when Jungkook notices they’re suddenly not.
Whoever you are.
Please do something about these guys, they’re super drunk and loud and they keep crying for you. It’s very uncomfortable for everyone.
Nevermind, the small one just puked in my hydrangeas. Gonna call a cab and get these jokers out of here before they hurt themselves.
Well, that explains why Jungkook couldn’t find the two of them halfway through the party. He shouldn’t be surprised, though; neither of them knows their limits, whether it’s alcohol or trying to cram a semester’s worth of work into one night because they left it all until the last minute. There’s a break in messages until morning, which, judging by the time stamps, was probably around when Jungkook was trying to get home.
please tell me you got home safe last night
why are you still not answering my calls?
are you dead?
please don’t be dead
jungkook please respond!!!
i think jimin hyung is going to do something drastic if you don’t!!!
my phone died last night and i just got home
YOURE NOT DEAD
r u ok??
what happened last night??
im trying to figure that out myself
we’re coming over
Jungkook groans and tosses his phone away. He lies in his bed for a while, staring at the ceiling, thinking about the night before and trying to sort his through his memory for something salvageable.
Things he knows for sure certain happened last night: there was a party. Jimin and Taehyung dragged him there to, in their words, find a pretty boy to hook up with and forget his own breakup. Jungkook was skeptical but went anyways, if only for free alcohol. He maybe had one too many drinks along the way. Jimin and Taehyung disappeared at some point. He found a pretty boy. He ended up in an empty room and made out with said pretty boy, who had blue hair and a satin jacket that felt nice under his fingers. He started crying in the middle of making out with the pretty boy. The boy was very confused. The boy told him to lie down and rest.
And that must be how he woke up in said boy’s bed, in his house, hungover and confused.
Jungkook rolls over, buries his face into his pillow, and screams.
His phone keeps ringing in the meantime, reminding him that he’s going to have to face Jimin and Taehyung eventually. With that thought haunting him, he drags himself to the bathroom to wash his face and try to turn himself into a decent human being before they show up.
Unsurprisingly, he looks terrible. His face is puffy from crying, and every time he blinks feels heavy. His eyes are still a bit bloodshot. His hair sticks out in all directions, clumped and suspiciously sticky in some places. There’s a huge, unmistakable bruise on his neck.
He pokes at it.
Yep. It’s a hickey.
It’s a miracle anyone let him walk around the city looking like this.
He feels just as awful as he looks, so he brushes his teeth, turns on the water in the shower to the hottest setting, and spends the next ten minutes trying to wash any evidence of last night off his skin. The hickey doesn’t come off no matter what he does, nor does his face look any less swollen, but he comes out feeling cleaner, if no more prepared to deal with life.
How to get rid of hickey, he googles as he lies back in his bed. Then, How to forget things without alcohol. After googling, What do I do if I made out with a really hot guy and would probably do it again except I made a complete fool out of myself and lowkey want to die, he gives up and screams some more into his pillow.
Recounting the entire night out loud to Jimin and Taehyung is, definitely not to his surprise, worse. Not just because it’s Jimin and Taehyung he’s talking to and they’re likely to make fun of him just as quickly as they are to comfort him, but because retelling everything that happened to him out loud forces him to confront what a huge disaster his life actually is.
So much so, Jungkook spends some time seriously considering writing a book called, What Not to Do When Trying to Get Over a Bad Breakup. Maybe to warn other people, but mostly to warn himself.
Chapter One: make out with a random guy at a party.
Chapter Two: cry while making out with a random guy at a party.
That’s it. That’s the whole book. Because if anyone can call themselves an expert in What Not to Do When Trying to Get Over a Bad Breakup, it would be Jungkook, who has managed to do these very exact things in his unfortunate attempt to stop thinking about how very tragically single he is.
“You’re being dramatic,” says Jimin. “Was he a good kisser, at least?”
“I– what? I don’t know. I guess. What?”
Jimin shrugs. “Well, like, you cried in the middle of it. So either he was really mind-blowingly good, or he was existentially bad.”
Jungkook thinks about it seriously. Kissing the boy had felt… nice. Maybe too nice. He kissed like he wanted Jungkook. Part of him thought about doing it again when he saw him cuddled up to his puppy. Overall, he was probably a good kisser, but Jungkook was also drunk enough at the time that he can’t trust himself to make that kind of judgment. “I guess it was… more good than bad?”
“Would you do it again?”
“I would probably throw myself off the nearest cliff before I ever embarrass myself like that again,” Jungkook says as sincerely as possible.
“Was he hot?” Taehyung chimes in.
“What is this, an interrogation?”
Taehyung swats him lightly. “Answer the question, it’s important.”
“Look, I don’t know. I… I guess he was cute,” Jungkook ventures. “He had a puppy.”
Jimin nods solemnly. “Having a dog is like, an automatic plus one hotness. Plus two if it’s a rescue or a puppy.”
“He sounds like a nice guy too, so that’s an extra plus one. So he’s like, at least a three out of ten,” Taehyung says. “I mean, he let you drunk cry on him and tried to help you even though you’re complete strangers, right? It was probably weirder for him than it was for you, but he still stuck around.”
The thought doesn’t help Jungkook very much.
“Plus, he has a dog,” Taehyung adds.
“He seems like a keeper,” Jimin agrees.
“Anyone would seem like a keeper after Kyungjae.”
Jimin’s face immediately falls. He and Taehyung exchange a worried glance. “Hey,” he says. “We didn’t mean—”
“No,” says Jungkook, “it’s okay. It’s just…”
“You want to talk about it?”
Jungkook shakes his head. “He’s just a jerk. I shouldn’t even be thinking about him anymore.”
“That’s right,” says Taehyung. “Kyungjae didn’t deserve you. You deserve someone who’s nice, cute, has a puppy—”
“Keeping my standards high, obviously.”
“Don’t forget good kisser,” says Jimin.
“Right,” Jungkook says dryly.
His hickey fades. He manages to push the affair to the back of his mind once school starts piling up on him and he’s left with a fuckton of projects to deal with. It’s much easier to forget anything when he’s swamped with work and pulling all nighters just to make sure his animation assignments are done. It’s almost amazing, how much he manages to finish when single-mindedly devoted to his work.
And then he catches a flash of baby blue hair out of the corner of his eye as he’s walking to class, and everything immediately comes flooding back to him. His heart stutters. It can’t be, he thinks, not here. Not now.
Against his better judgment, he tries to find that shade of blue again in the crowd. Purely just to make sure he’s not going crazy and starting to see things, he tells himself. It’s hard to miss; the boy stands out in his all-black outfit, so dark it might as well absorb any light that hits it, even before Jungkook sees his hair.
There’s no mistaking it: it’s Him, with a capital H.
“Oh fuck me,” Jungkook hisses. “Don’t look now, but that’s him next to the art building. Fuck. Hide me.”
Jimin and Taehyung, being as deaf as they are, immediately turn to look at Him at the same exact time.
“Oh my god,” says Jimin. “That’s him? That’s the guy you made out with?”
“Yes, please, say that louder for the people in the back,” Jungkook whines. “Can you please stop staring at him?”
“You made out with Min Yoongi?”
Min Yoongi must have incredible hearing, because even from this distance his head jerks up from his phone like he just heard someone calling out his name, eyes wandering around in their direction. Jungkook squeaks, stealing Jimin’s hat and ducking behind Taehyung, trying to keep his head as low as possible and praying to any god that will listen to him in this moment that Yoongi doesn’t see him.
And then, because Jungkook has terrible friends and needs to find better ones as soon as he gets out of this, Taehyung starts waving. “Oh! He’s looking at us. I think he saw you.”
“I hate you,” Jungkook says, trying to keep his voice low while also injecting as much righteous indignation as possible into his words. “I hate both of you. I told you not to look. Now look what you’ve done. I’m going to die now.”
“Don’t worry, Yoongi-sunbaenim is a nice guy. He wouldn’t hurt you,” Jimin says brightly.
Jungkook groans. “I hate this. I hate you. I hate everything. It’s just my luck that you know the guy single-handedly responsible for the most embarrassing night of my life because why wouldn’t you? The universe has it out for me.”
“It’s not that bad,” says Taehyung. “You just cried on him a little. You could have, like, shit your pants or something. That would be pretty shitty—literally.”
“Oh my god, please stop talking.”
Maybe it wouldn’t have been so bad if Jungkook had cried a little, in Taehyung’s words. The problem is, he’d had a full on breakdown in front of Yoongi, and being as drunk as he was, proceeded to tell Yoongi everything about his sad life. How he dated Kyungjae for months, but the man never seemed to want to call him his boyfriend or be seen out in public with him, like Jungkook was a dirty little secret. How Jungkook put his heart and soul into the relationship, relishing those brief moments of intimacy and kindness when nobody was looking, only for Kyungjae to push him away the second they weren’t alone.
Jungkook told him how, in the end, Kyungjae shoved him away when his brother walked in on them kissing, how he denied everything, yelled at Jungkook and tried to make it seem like he would never touch someone like him, never be like him. Someone gay. Jungkook even told him how he’d gone home crying that night and hasn’t seen or spoken to Kyungjae since.
All while his snot ran onto Yoongi’s shirt.
And Yoongi– he just listened. He listened to Jungkook and instead of leaving Jungkook the fuck alone to deal with his problems, he hugged him and stroked his hair and let Jungkook ruin his really nice satin jacket. Even while Jungkook was being the most shameless human to ever grace the planet, he said, “Fuck that guy, he’s an asshole and you deserve better than some loser who’s stuck in his grandmother’s closet,” and didn’t even mind that they were no longer making out.
Yoongi might apparently be a nice guy, but still. Jungkook worked very hard to forget that entire night ever happened, please and thanks.
“Are you just going to hide there until he leaves?” asks Jimin, peering around Taehyung.
“You have class in three minutes.”
“My answer is still yes.”
“What if he stays there all day?” asks Taehyung.
Jungkook‘s hands fist in Taehyung’s and Jimin’s shirts to hold them in place with him, tight enough that Taehyung will definitely complain about wrinkles later. “Then you will stay here and suffer with me.”
Thankfully, that’s not necessary. Min Yoongi is joined shortly by another guy who looks unnaturally happy to see him. They talk for a bit and then head off somewhere together in, to Jungkook’s relief, the opposite direction. Jungkook watches the entire exchange from over Taehyung’s shoulder and notices with great clarity that the two are awfully touchy.
He shrivels a bit once they’re out of sight, and Jimin throws him a knowing look.
His phone pings at exactly 3:43 in the morning.
Jungkook isn’t a light sleeper by any definition, but somehow—somehow—the sound wakes him up, followed by a few more rapid fire texts, so insistent that Jungkook groans and reaches blindly for his phone. There’s no plausible reason for anyone to be texting him this late, unless it’s Jimin somehow managing to lock himself out of his apartment and not being able to contact his landlord again or Taehyung setting his kitchen on fire. Annoyed, he unlocks his phone without even looking at the screen.
i jnow you probbably hate me but i wantt osee you again jsut once
i just miss uou babe
ill leave ypu aline after i oromise
Is he drunk? Jungkook wonders to himself as he squints at his phone. Or just stupid? How can someone be this dense?
Either way, he’s too tired and irritated to even consider responding to that, even if he wanted to. Doesn’t really know what to say to get him off his back anyways. If Kyungjae can’t read the very obvious signs Jungkook is leaving, he probably won’t understand it in words either. Instead, he goes into his contacts, blocks the number—something he should have done a long, long time ago—and goes the fuck back to sleep.
What do I do with a clingy ex bf who doesn’t understand any hints and won’t leave me alone, he googles once he’s awake.
He ends up spending way too long reading through the results, and emerges significantly more paranoid. It feels like the relationship equivalent of self-diagnosing through WebMD, where instead of diagnosing himself with cancer, he has a tumor called Possibly Stalker Ex Boyfriend instead.
Hyperbole aside, he really needs to get his shit together.
At the same time, he kind of just wants to lie under his bedsheets and wait for everything to work itself out on its own. Maybe if he just ignores his problems long enough, Kyungjae will just go away. Jungkook has never been a master of confrontation; if he could, he’d get someone else to fix everything for him instead. Or at least tell him, step by step and probably in written form, what to do, because Jungkook sure as hell doesn’t know.
“You should check out OATH,” Jimin tells him cryptically. “It’s in the student union, two doors past the bookstore. They’ll know how to help you. If they don’t, Tae and I can go beat him up for you.”
“Hopefully that won’t be necessary,” Jungkook says.
OATH, as Jungkook finds out from the frosted bit of the large glass wall, stands for Open Arms Tutoring and Help, which is just as descriptive as it is non-descriptive.
It’s a pretty discreet space, tucked quietly in between the Information Center and the student government offices. It seems open and friendly, but distinctly administrative in function. Like one of those rooms companies will put in their offices to make themselves look modern and accommodating instead of the hellholes of capitalism they really are. There are some tables and couches off to the side where people are chatting or working, and some other rooms further in, which still doesn’t explain to Jungkook why he’s here.
The front desk is unmanned—though there is a suspiciously half-empty basket of condoms on the counter—so he just stands there for a few minutes and looks around, at a loss for what to do. He’s not even sure what to ask if there were someone to help him.
“Hey,” comes a very familiar voice. “Do you need something?”
What the fuck, Jungkook thinks, before making direct eye contact with Min Yoongi—who, to his credit, looks surprised to see Jungkook, but not nearly as horrified as Jungkook is.
He also looks very, very pretty.
“Um,” Jungkook starts. He knows he’s staring, and it’s not subtle. Yoongi is hugging a stack of papers to his chest and he’s wearing a pair of thick-rimmed glasses that match his tousled hair and Jungkook is not exactly equipped to deal with this right now because glasses are not allowed to look that good on anyone. “I don’t know? Probably.”
Yoongi raises an eyebrow at that.
Jungkook clears his throat. “My friend told me I should come here. I guess to… talk?”
“Sure, I can talk,” Yoongi says with a polite smile. Immediately, a thousand little sirens start going off in Jungkook’s head. “Why don’t you take a seat? I’ll put this stuff away and be right with you.”
“Okay,” Jungkook says awkwardly, and finds a corner of a sofa where he can watch Yoongi shuffle behind the desk. When he’s sure Yoongi can’t see him, he takes out his phone.
min yoongi is here
wow what a coincidence
it must be fate
you did this on purpose didn’t you
i hate you
“Here,” says Yoongi’s voice from above him. The way Jungkook turns off his phone in a panic is definitely not suspicious, but Yoongi doesn’t seem to mind. He hands a cup of something towards Jungkook, which Jungkook accepts with a thanks; it’s warm and smells like coffee in a strangely comforting way.
Jungkook takes a sip and immediately recoils.
Yoongi laughs. “Sorry. It’s a bit bitter,” he adds a little too late. “You don’t have to drink it if you don’t want to. It’s just what we happen to have here.”
“I’m not a big coffee drinker,” Jungkook admits as he gingerly sets the drink down on the table in front of him. “It’s more like something I tolerate to survive. But… thank you.”
Yoongi nods and settles down next to Jungkook, his own coffee between his hands, his fingers laced around the cup as he brings it to his lips for a testing sip. He’s a lot closer than Jungkook expected him to be; in a way, it feels closer than when they were kissing and pressed against each other. More intimate.
“How have you been? Have you been holding up okay?” asks Yoongi.
“Yes!” Jungkook says too quickly. “Um, I mean. I’m glad you’re worried about me, but I’m fine. School has been busy but my classes aren’t too hard, and– yeah.”
“That’s good. I’m happy to hear you’re doing well,” Yoongi says, easily breezing past the metaphorical elephant in the room with more grace than Jungkook has ever possessed. “I realize we were never properly introduced before. I’m Yoongi.”
I know, Jungkook thinks. “Jungkook. I… sorry about, uh, you know. I don’t usually go crying on people at parties.”
“I’ll take your word for it,” Yoongi says with a smile, just enough that it makes his eyes wrinkle a little. “I’ve been wanting to apologize too. I feel like I took advantage of you.”
“What? No, no! Not at all.” Jungkook waves his hands frantically. “Really, I made it seem a lot worse than it was. It… it was really nice of you try to make me feel better. It helped a little, I think.”
Yoongi smiles wider. He flashes his gums when he does. “Oh, thank god. I thought I was being so creepy, making out with you when you were trying to get over another guy and then making you sleep in my bed while you were still drunk.” His nose scrunches. “God, it sounds worse saying it out loud. I didn’t even realize how forward I was being until my housemates wouldn’t stop giving me shit for it.”
“I… I don’t think it’s creepy. Mostly I was just so embarrassed I didn’t think about it. My friends have been holding it over me too,” Jungkook says.
“God, friends are the worst.”
Jungkook giggles. “One of them, Jimin—he’s the one who told me to come here, except, uh, it might have been a dumb prank because I don’t really know why I’m here? Or what is here?”
“Oh, OATH? It’s kind of my baby,” Yoongi says, his face immediately lighting up at the topic as he sets his coffee down in front of him. “We help out LGBTQ+ students in need of any counseling or support, though we pretty much try to help everyone.”
Well. If anyone needs help, it’s probably Jungkook with his disaster of a life. “I had no idea we had something like that on campus.”
“Well,” says Yoongi, “it’s a bit vague because we had to be discreet. The school didn’t have any organized support for LGBTQ+ students when I started here, so I spent a year with my friends trying to get the school to approve one. I wanted to make a place where anyone could feel safe asking for help while also being a platform for spreading awareness.”
“Wow, that’s—” Nice, his brain automatically supplies, because that seems to be the main word he associates with Min Yoongi at this point, but it seems almost condescending to say after seeing Yoongi practically glowing. “—that’s so cool. But isn’t it like, pretty scary being so… open?”
Yoongi shrugs. “It was at first. People still curse at me sometimes, and the school isn’t always as supportive as you want it to be.”
“What about now?”
“It’s easier for sure,” Yoongi says. “After a point, I just realized—someone has to put themselves out there, be visible, so that people like you and me know it’s okay to be who they are. So why not me?”
Jungkook could think of a few reasons why not. For one, he’s only ever come out to his closest friends—and that’s because they were already out—and his previous hookups after they made the first move. He hasn’t even told his parents, or his brother. The thought of being as open as Yoongi is makes him feel terrified for him.
Yoongi’s eyes are kind as he continues, “I think that’s why I kept thinking about your story. You had someone in your life who told you it’s not okay to be yourself, and I wanted to fix that.”
“Oh,” Jungkook says quietly. Yoongi is so different from Kyungjae, he can’t help but think. Kyungjae wouldn’t even let himself walk less than an arm’s length next to Jungkook, too paranoid of being seen together or standing out. Kyungjae wouldn’t kiss him without looking over Jungkook’s shoulder at the same time to make sure nobody was watching. But Yoongi is the kind of boy who makes out with other boys at parties and isn’t ashamed of it. Yoongi doesn’t care if the world knows he makes out with other boys.
“When I woke up that morning, I regretted not giving you my number. There was so much I wanted to say,” Yoongi continues, watching Jungkook carefully as he does. “So, if you ever need anyone to talk to, here’s my number.”
Yoongi reaches into his pocket and—to Jungkook’s confusion—hands him a business card.
Jungkook turns the card over in his hand. Min Yoongi, it says on the front, with Genius Lab and a number underneath. On the back, there’s a little doodle of a curly-haired puppy scratched in pen.
“I forgot I did that,” says Yoongi, his cheeks coloring a little. “I didn’t mean to give you that one.”
“It’s cute. I want this one,” Jungkook says, laughing when Yoongi fails to snatch it out of his hands and gives him a defeated look. Yoongi ends up laughing too, and it makes Jungkook’s chest squeeze a little.
Min Yoongi is the kind of boy who kisses other boys and draws cute doodles of his dog on the back of business cards, and Jungkook kind of likes it.
I’m sorry for my texts. Please stop ignoring me, the message reads. I just want to talk.
Jungkook sighs and closes Instagram. He knows he shouldn’t have opened the message in the first place, but his curiosity got the best of him after seeing the word sorry; now he’s left Kyungjae on read and will probably get more messages asking him why soon enough.
He doesn’t want to talk. He feels like he’s made that abundantly clear; if not with his refusal to reply, then by blocking his number. Jimin and Taehyung keep telling him they’ll fight with his ex themselves to make sure he never comes near Jungkook or tries to contact him again, but Jungkook just wants to forget he exists altogether. He wants to just put it all behind him, and—maybe talking to Kyungjae will help, but he doesn’t think he’s ready for that yet.
Instead, he takes out the card Yoongi gave him, and makes an impulsive decision.
Hey Jungkook, what’s up?
i dont want to bother you out of the blue but
do you remember my ex?
You’re not bothering me at all
Of course I do
i kind of lied about everything being okay earlier?
my ex keeps asking to talk to me and explain himself
idk i don’t think he has anything to explain and i don’t really want to talk to him but
he keeps texting me and calling me
when i blocked him he tried to message me on instagram
clearly he’s not going to stop and i just feel weird about all of it so…
maybe i should? give him a chance?
this is kind of dumb now that i’m talking about it
Hey, I don’t think it’s dumb
It’s okay if you don’t want to talk to him
You don’t owe him anything, you know
Even if he’s your ex
I can’t tell you what you should do, but if you want my opinion
You don’t have to give him a chance
But it might help you to put it behind you if you talk things out
do you think that’s a good idea?
i’ve been ghosting him for weeks
i’m kind of scared to talk to him again
It’s up to you of course
But if you don’t want to meet him alone, I can come with you
Sometimes it’s easier with someone else there
um i’ll think about it
Let me know what you decide?
yeah i will
sorry for bothering you like this
Like I said, you’re not bothering me
If you want to talk to somebody, don’t be afraid to text me
They meet at a coffee shop close to campus. Jungkook chose one with outdoor seating, where they won’t disturb as many of the shop’s patrons if things start getting heated. He doesn’t trust himself not to start yelling—or more likely, crying—and he doesn’t know if Yoongi is planning on sitting quietly, either. He doesn’t know what Yoongi is going to do at all, honestly, but he figures it’s probably easier to get kicked out of a place if they’re already outside.
Yoongi has already claimed a table out front by the time Jungkook gets there. He’s watching people walk by—probably watching out for someone who might be Kyungjae, Jungkook thinks—and smiles as he sees Jungkook. It would feel almost like a date if Jungkook weren’t completely terrified.
“How are you feeling?” he asks when Jungkook approaches him.
“Nervous,” says Jungkook. “I’ve been better, but– I can do this.”
Yoongi nods. He slides a paper hot cup towards him. “I, uh, got this hot chocolate for you. I didn’t know what you would want but you said before that you didn’t like coffee, so.”
“Oh, I love hot chocolate. How did you know?” Jungkook says, surprised.
Yoongi smiles. “Just a lucky guess.”
“You didn’t have to buy me anything, but– um, yeah, caffeine would probably make me more jittery than I am already.”
He wraps his hands around the cup, drawing the heat from it into his skin. It’s still hot enough that he figures Yoongi hasn’t been waiting for him for too long. Yoongi’s taken the lid off of his own drink to let it cool, and Jungkook can see the steam curling angrily over the black liquid inside the cup.
Yoongi would be one to take his coffee black, he thinks. He doesn’t know that much about Yoongi, but this feels like the least surprising thing he’s learned so far.
He takes a sip of his hot chocolate, careful to not burn his tongue, and sighs happily.
“I’m glad you like it,” Yoongi says, watching his reaction closely. “I was worried you might not, and then I’d look lame and probably creepy for buying you a drink you didn’t want.”
Jungkook giggles. “I like sweet things the most. I could never drink coffee without it being at least half cream—definitely not black like yours. That can’t be good for you.”
Yoongi looks mildly affronted by that. “I need this to survive.”
“Is life even worth living at that point?” Jungkook teases.
Yoongi laughs, unrestrained, and Jungkook is struck by how his eyes scrunch up into little crescents and how tiny his teeth are. Yoongi looks ready to say something else, but his eyes flick towards something behind Jungkook and his expression quickly drops, to Jungkook’s disappointment. “Is that him?” he asks, motioning with his chin.
Jungkook turns to look and immediately regrets it when he stares straight at Kyungjae.
He looks pretty much as Jungkook expected: his hair is a little longer, a little more frayed, and the bags under his eyes are a little bit darker than usual, but he looks more or less the same as Jungkook remembers him while at the same time, feels almost like a complete stranger. Even Yoongi, whom Jungkook has only seen a few times, feels more familiar in comparison.
Seeing him again is… surreal. Jungkook expected to feel something. Anger, maybe sadness or guilt. Instead, he doesn’t really feel much of anything as he looks at Kyungjae. It’s all very underwhelming.
They’d only been dating for four months and maybe Jungkook had been a little desperate for a boyfriend—it wasn’t love. They never got to that point, and Jungkook is glad Kyungjae revealed his true feelings before they did. But he did put aside a lot of his own time for Kyungjae, going out of his way to meet even when he had other things, other more important things to do.
In retrospect, Jungkook hadn’t even cried that night because he was broken up over Kyungjae. He was just angry at himself for being stupid enough to let himself be strung along, and angry at Kyungjae for just being plain stupid. Thinking about it now, seeing Kyungjae’s face and hearing his voice for the first time since they broke up, just makes him feel—nothing.
“Hi,” says Kyungjae. “Sorry I’m late. Professor wouldn’t let us out of class on time.”
“It’s fine,” Jungkook says. He can see Yoongi watching carefully out of the corner of his eye. “Are you going to get anything?”
Kyungjae starts to shake his head but freezes as he notices Yoongi sitting beside him. “Who’s this?” he asks, bristling as he gives Yoongi a long, calculating look. “Is this why you haven’t been answering my messages? Because you already found someone else?”
“I’m just here for moral support. Don’t mind me,” says Yoongi. He stares Kyungjae right in the eyes, takes a big gulp of his burning hot black coffee, and doesn’t even flinch.
“He’s my friend,” Jungkook says firmly. If making out with a guy can count as being friends. Then again, if sleeping with Kyungjae occasionally made them boyfriends, maybe it does. “Not that it matters to you, since you made it perfectly clear where we stand when you acted like I was nothing to you the moment someone looked your way.”
Kyungjae opens his mouth, staring between them indignantly, but no sound comes out.
“Anyways,” Jungkook says, crossing his arms, “you wanted to talk. I’m here, so let’s talk.”
He feels a lot stronger than he expected to. The jittery nervousness has faded into something more resolute. Beside him, Yoongi looks relaxed and unaffected, but when Jungkook looks over at him, their eyes meet, and he can see the question burning in his eyes: are you okay?
“Uh.” Kyungjae takes a seat across from them. His eyes narrow at Yoongi, who just stares back levelly at him. “How… have you been?”
“Fine,” Jungkook says.
“Good. That’s good. Um—”
“Kyungjae.” Jungkook sighs. “Don’t make this more difficult than it is. I didn’t come here to talk about my day, and I can’t say I care about yours, so let’s get to the point.”
“Right.” He coughs. “What happened that day. It wasn’t supposed to– to be like that. I told you my family didn’t know about… this.”
“That you were fucking a man?”
He winces; whether at having to face the truth or at Jungkook’s crudeness, Jungkook doesn’t know. “Yeah. That. You know my parents don’t know about… me. What was I supposed to do?”
“You didn’t have to push me and swear at me and call me a– a fucking f—” He chokes on the word and scowls. “You know what you said.”
“I panicked, okay? Hyung was right there and you wouldn’t get off of me—”
“So it’s my fault?” Jungkook hadn’t been angry seeing Kyungjae, but something hot burns in the pit of his gut now. “I didn’t bring myself over to your home while your parents were out and say it was okay. I didn’t shove your hand down my pants. I wasn’t the only person in the relationship.”
“I didn’t say that! But it shouldn’t have happened in the first place,” says Kyungjae. “We went too far, you wouldn’t stop. It’s not like I wanted to hurt you, but—”
“Just… stop. I don’t care what your excuse is.”
His hands fist into the jeans on his thighs and he feels himself trembling with what must be anger. Disappointment. Months of repressed frustration. Something grazes his hand and he looks down, sees Yoongi’s fingers brushing against his own, thumbing at his skin reassuringly. He’s warm, solid.
He takes a deep breath.
Kyungjae runs a hand through his hair. “This isn’t how I wanted this to go. I don’t want to fight you. If you could just… let me explain.”
“Fine,” Jungkook says, too tired to refuse.
Kyungjae takes a long breath, glances at Yoongi once more, and Yoongi just raises an eyebrow back at him. He looks down at the table instead. “My parents are helping put me through school—they’re paying for my tuition, letting me live with them, everything. The only condition is that I don’t get into any trouble or do anything they disapprove of. If they knew I was—” He struggles to even say the word. “—with a man, I’d lose everything. My brother hasn’t said anything to them yet, but I haven’t been able to sleep. Every day I can’t stop thinking about what would happen if he told them. If you knew how much this has been eating at me—”
“You… no,” Jungkook cuts in. “You don’t get to be the only victim here. You keep making excuses and blaming other people—blaming me, even—but you haven’t told me sorry once.” Kyungjae opens his mouth, but Jungkook stops him. “And don’t tell me sorry now, because I know all you want to do is save your own ass. From the beginning you made it clear that it was never about us, it was about you. I understand if you didn’t want your parents to find out, and I don’t want you to be kicked out for something you can’t control, either. It would have been fine if you didn’t want anyone to know, if you wanted to keep it between us because you were scared—hell, I get scared too—but even when we were alone you never once tried. It was just about what you wanted, what you could get out of me, because you could. I was just an accessory to your… your gay awakening, or whatever, and I’m done being used like that.”
Kyungjae looks thoroughly miffed. “I– that’s not—”
Jungkook sighs. “Look, Kyungjae, I don’t think you’re a bad guy. I’m sure we could be friends, even. But you need to work through your own issues before you drag other people into them.”
“I… I’m sorry,” Kyungjae says, eyes not quite meeting Jungkook's anymore.
“I’m sorry too,” says Jungkook, and he means it. He doesn’t feel frustrated anymore, just… sad. Because Kyungjae did have a valid reason to act out the way he did, to be afraid. Jungkook was just unfortunate to get caught in the crossfire but in the end, he would be terrified too. “For what it’s worth, I hope you and your family will learn to accept you as you are someday.”
Kyungjae offers him a shaky smile. “Thanks.”
“Good luck,” Jungkook says. “Maybe we can talk again sometime. But please, for the love of god, stop texting me.”
Kyungjae nods, and Jungkook takes it as his cue to leave, scooting out of his chair and getting up. Yoongi stays sitting at the table. He leans towards Kyungjae, who stiffens. “I volunteer with OATH, if you’ve ever heard of it. We offer free counseling and help on campus to LGBTQ+ students who are in need of support. Maybe you should drop by sometime,” he says, and then slides him a card before getting up to follow Jungkook.
“Thanks,” Jungkook says once they’re out of earshot. “For being there.”
Yoongi shrugs. “That was all you.”
“You gave me the push,” Jungkook argues back. “I probably would’ve just kept ignoring him.”
He can feel Yoongi watching him out the corner of his eye. “What are you going to do now?”
Jungkook lets his eyes drift to the sidewalk passing beneath them as they walk together. “I don’t have any plans for the rest of the day. Are you busy?”
They round the corner of the block. Yoongi’s steps easily fall into sync with his own. Jungkook doesn’t know exactly where they’re going or if Yoongi wants him around, but he feels like he’s coming down from a high and he doesn’t want to be alone just yet.
It’s weird. He thought he’d feel liberated, telling Kyungjae off, laying everything he’s pent up over the past few weeks on him. He’d gone over different scenarios in his head whenever he was alone with his own thoughts, scenarios where he said all the right things and felt vindicated at the end. While he is glad it’s over, a loud part of him is wondering: what now? Where does he go from here?
“I’ve got a project I’m finishing up on, so I was planning on heading to my studio.”
“Oh,” Jungkook says, trying not to feel disappointed. It’s not like Yoongi came to hang out with him, anyways. “You have a studio? Wait, what do you do?”
“I major in music production,” says Yoongi. And then, like he can read Jungkook’s mood, asks, “You want to see? It’s a just few blocks away. We can walk there.”
“Uh– are you sure? I’m not going to distract you from your work, or anything?”
“Nah. I need a second opinion anyways. Come on,” says Yoongi, steering him across an intersection. “Anyways, I call it a studio, but don’t get your hopes up. One of my housemates, Namjoon, also majors in music, so we converted the garage. Nothing fancy, and we could never get the acoustics to not suck, but it gets the job done.”
“So you– you’re working on a song?”
“Yeah, sort of,” Yoongi says. “A friend of mine is trying to put together demos to send to labels, but she’s better at singing than producing so she asked me to help. I kind of owe her for featuring on one of my own tracks anyways.”
“Your tracks? Do you sing?”
Yoongi doesn’t have the kind of voice Jungkook would associate with a singer; rather, there’s a gravelly quality to his voice that seems too rough and unpolished for recordings. Yoongi seems to agree. His laugh sounds a bit like a cat hacking up furballs, which is– unique. “No way. You don’t want to hear me sing. I rap, sometimes, but it’s more of a cathartic thing. Mostly, I like to make beats.”
“That’s—” Jungkook’s brain short-circuited somewhere around trying to imagine Yoongi rapping. He’s got a bit of that easy swagger in his gait that makes him figure he must have the attitude down, at least. “You ever release your raps?”
“Sure, I’ll send you my SoundCloud. A lot of it is shit, though, because I was a dumb angsty teenager, but it’s funny to look back on now when you’re not thinking about how nobody understands you all the time.”
“What do you write about now, then?”
“Mostly just whatever I feel like. I try to write something new every day or so, and a lot of it is about like, a dog I saw that day and how it made me feel. Shit that happened to me that I want to remember.”
“Oh,” says Jungkook. “You think today you’ll write a song about what an ass Kyungjae is, then?”
“Maybe,” says Yoongi, holding back a smile. “Maybe I’ll write a song about you. Who knows.”
Jungkook almost trips over the flat sidewalk. “What… what would you write about me?”
Yoongi glances at Jungkook long enough that Jungkook can’t pretend anymore. He’s definitely blushing, but there’s… something warm about being under Yoongi’s gaze. Something nice. “I guess we’ll see,” he says.
A blurry brown mound of fur comes racing full throttle at Yoongi the moment he unlocks the door. Yoongi laughs in delight as his puppy circles around his ankles, nipping and yipping at him happily until Yoongi picks it up and lets it lick his face. Jungkook isn’t sure who’s happier to see the other—Yoongi or his puppy—but their enthusiasm is contagious.
“This is Holly,” says Yoongi as he sets the puppy down and lets it check Jungkook out. Holly sniffs at Jungkook for a moment, before barking and pawing at him. “He likes you.”
“I like him too,” Jungkook says, crouching down to let Holly jump at him and leave wet kisses all over his face. He giggles as Holly tries to climb up him and whines until Jungkook picks him up. “Gosh, you’re so cute. I’m going to steal you when your dad isn’t looking.”
“You can fucking try,” Yoongi says, but there’s no threat in his voice. When Jungkook glances up at him, Yoongi is staring at Holly with the softest, fondest smile, and for a moment he is viciously, inexplicably envious of how clearly loved the tiny little puppy is.
Jungkook has never really had any meaningful relationships in his life and definitely can’t say he knows what a meaningful relationship is, but he wants to be looked at like that one day: with unrestrained, unconditional adoration. He wants to look at someone like that one day. It never bothered him before, when he was unsure of his own sexuality and trying to figure it out with boys who were equally as confused, but now he wants—something more.
If Kyungjae had ever looked at him like that, even once, things would have been so much different.
He sets Holly down. The puppy’s entire butt wiggles as he shuffles behind Yoongi, who leads them to the studio. “This is Genius Lab,” Yoongi says as he opens the door to the garage. “It’s kind of a mess. Namjoon is always tripping over shit in here and leaves it to me to pick up after him.”
“Wow,” Jungkook says in lieu of a better word. It looks like how he imagines a music studio would be. The place is packed with electronics. There are two sets of almost everything in opposite parts of the room, both with very expensive looking equipment. Jungkook spots a few instruments: two keyboards, an electric and an acoustic guitar, and most questionably, a gayageum, which Holly sniffs at with great interest.
“That was… an experiment,” Yoongi explains when he notices Jungkook staring. “Namjoon wanted to see if learning to play a traditional instrument could help bring more authentically eastern sounds into his music, but he broke two strings and nearly took out his own eye before he actually learned anything.”
Yoongi shrugs. He rolls out a chair from one desk to the other, motions for Jungkook to sit, and starts booting up his computer. “Namjoon is a certified genius, but he’s as good at breaking things as he is at making music. I always tell him not to touch shit if he doesn’t have to.”
“I’m kind of afraid of touching anything myself,” Jungkook says as he sits in the chair. “It all looks expensive.”
“More or less. I took a gap year after high school to save some money. A lot of this is what I saved up to buy.”
Horrified, Jungkook folds his hands neatly in his lap to avoid any unnecessary contact with anything else in the room. There are a few figures throughout that he doesn’t really recognize, but he can tell they’re collectibles, so they’re probably worth something. A few posters on the wall; he spots an Epik High one hanging above Yoongi’s space. Yoongi’s desk is mostly small trinkets which, upon closer inspection, are mostly Kumamon memorabilia.
Yoongi settles in his chair when his computer finishes booting up. Holly jumps into his lap without hesitation and curls up there, preening when Yoongi starts to pet him. Jungkook pretends he’s not staring at how long and slim his fingers are when they scratch at Holly’s ears. They look at home here, in Yoongi’s garage studio, and Jungkook is trying very hard not to feel like he’s intruding.
Instead, he watches Yoongi’s face as he clicks through stuff on his computer, eventually opening a program with an obscene amount of buttons. “Let me show you what I’m working on,” Yoongi says. “It’s just a demo, though, so it’s pretty rough. You can tell me if you don’t like it.”
Yoongi navigates through the program’s menu with a practiced ease. Jungkook doesn’t understand what he’s looking at, at all. “I bet you’re one of those people who say they aren’t good at stuff while secretly being a genius.”
Yoongi barks out a laugh. “I guess I had to earn the name Genius Lab somehow,” he says and presses play. Jungkook waits for the song to filter in through the speakers.
Yoongi’s right; it is rough. But Jungkook likes that it’s almost stripped down to the essentials. The song itself is just bare-bones instrumentals with a melody layered over it to guide the singer, but every element seems carefully deliberate and Jungkook can already imagine how it might sound as a fully fleshed out song.
“That was… really good,” Jungkook says once the last notes fade.
“You don’t have to be nice about it,” says Yoongi, amused. “It’s rough.”
“No! I mean, it is, but it’s amazing that it’s something you made. Is it going to be a real song?”
Yoongi shrugs. “I guess it depends on how the demo is received. Maybe.”
“It should,” says Jungkook. “I just think it’s like magic.”
“Magic,” Yoongi echoes in amusement.
“Yeah, like you press a few buttons and—” Jungkook waves his arms. “—voila.”
Yoongi laughs. “I wish it worked like that.”
“Well, to me it looks like that. How do you do it? Like, how do you put all these sounds together? It looks so complicated.”
The corner of Yoongi’s lip curls. “You wanna try?”
“Sure,” says Yoongi. “Come here.”
Jungkook rolls his chair closer to the desk, and Yoongi slides out of his way. Using the mouse, Yoongi points out various parts of the program’s interface to Jungkook, getting him up to speed with the tools that he’s going to need, and then showing him the various tech he has around his desk. Most of the more professional tools, Yoongi explains, he has to go to school to use since they’re too expensive, but he shows Jungkook his Maschine—the very first piece he invested in when he saved up enough.
It’s a lot—Jungkook can’t imagine understanding what all of the buttons on Yoongi’s desk do, let alone trying to teach someone else what they do, and that’s even before delving into any music theory.
“It’s okay if you didn’t get all of that,” Yoongi says, as if reading his mind. “A lot of it comes to you as you start using it. Just try it out and see what happens.”
“Okay,” says Jungkook. He’s kind of scared to click around carelessly, in case he breaks Yoongi’s computer, but Yoongi guides him through the steps, explaining everything clearly and simply.
Yoongi lights up when explaining the music process the same way he did when he was talking about OATH. It’s not the softness he gets when he looks at Holly, but a fervor that tells him it’s Yoongi’s life, that he lives and breathes it. It’s mesmerizing, to hear him talk, to watch his hands and mouth move. Yoongi is a good teacher, the kind who wants to pass on his knowledge about something he loves, and Jungkook finds himself earnestly listening and wanting to make something good for him.
Making a basic beat turns out to be easy when he has Yoongi to show him what everything is and how to use it. At first, Yoongi takes control, putting things together at Jungkook’s request, but he soon finds himself playing around with the program on his own, adding in new instruments on top of the bass and drums. He has something that sounds like a solid minute of music some time later, and while it doesn’t sound nearly as good as what Yoongi made, Jungkook is still satisfied with himself.
Somehow, in between, they ended up closer, practically shoulder to shoulder. Jungkook can feel the body heat radiating off of Yoongi, can faintly smell his shampoo—if he turns his head, he’ll get a mouthful of Yoongi’s hair. He should move, probably, but Yoongi doesn’t seem to mind their proximity—doesn’t seem to have noticed—so he doesn’t.
“You’re a natural at this,” says Yoongi, sitting back enough for Jungkook to breathe.
“I think so too. Maybe I’ll switch majors from animation to music.”
“Hey, don’t get too ahead of yourself. The music department can only handle so much talent, you know, and I’ve already filled half that quota.”
“What about the other half?”
“That’s for Namjoon,” Yoongi says, grinning.
“Well, you and Namjoon better watch out then.”
“Oh, is that a threat?”
Jungkook grins back at him. “It’s a suggestion.”
Holly has fallen asleep in Yoongi’s lap in the meantime, twitching every once in a while. Jungkook goes to save the most recent version of his song when he notices the clock in the corner of the screen and freezes. He blinks and wipes at his eyes, certain his brain is fucking with him, and checks it again. The numbers on the screen don’t change.
It’s been hours. When did that happen?
“Oh shit, I didn’t realize it was getting late,” he says. Without any windows in the room, it’s impossible to tell what time it is. Time just seems to pass differently in here. He barely even remembers meeting Kyungjae earlier, almost like it didn’t even happen.
“It’s like, already almost seven.”
“Really?” Yoongi checks his phone for the time, and then gets distracted by some texts.
He’d been hoping to work on the song some more, but it feels like he’s imposed enough at this point. He shouldn’t feel disappointed about that, because he’s spent more than enough time here, but he does. “I didn’t mean to distract you from your work.”
“It’s fine. It’s not that urgent.” Yoongi waves him off. “Are you hungry?”
“Um, a little. I’ll probably grab food when I head home. Which I should do now, since I’ve kept you from your work long enough.”
“Nah. Namjoon ordered some takeout when he got home since Seokjin is out of town and we can’t survive without him. You should stick around.”
“I…” Jungkook is slightly overwhelmed by how little Yoongi seems to care about how much Jungkook has inconvenienced him today. “Why?”
“Well, Hoseok says he isn’t coming back tonight, so he ordered more food than we needed, and you need to eat, so it makes sense.”
Jungkook supposes when it’s said like that, it does make sense. But—“I– I mean, aren’t you sick of me yet? First you helped me confront my ex, and then you let me into your house, and then you let me mess around with your stuff instead of working. I’ve been taking up all your time.”
Yoongi pauses. He considers it for a long moment, much longer than necessary, as if everything Jungkook just told him is completely new to him. Jungkook is suddenly terrified that Yoongi is mentally cataloguing every one of their interactions and deciding that Jungkook really isn’t worth all his time, because– well, he probably isn’t.
Finally, Yoongi just shrugs. “If I were sick of you, I would just kick you out. Do you want me to be sick of you?”
“‘Kay then,” says Yoongi. “I hope you don’t mind Chinese.”
As promised, Yoongi sends him a SoundCloud link. Jungkook spends the next week and a half going through it as he works on his animation projects, and ends up distracted more often than not.
The music starts out amateur, rough. Yoongi mostly samples tracks from other artists. But eventually they become more experimental, and then more polished, gradually evolving into something Jungkook would probably listen to on his own.
It’s all so… personal. Yoongi wasn’t kidding about being an angsty teen, but there’s something else to it. In his older tracks, he raps about being misunderstood by his parents, being picked on for being different, being too overwhelmed to go outside for days. There’s an anger to it, a rawness as he wonders why he’s different, why can’t he be like everyone else, and Jungkook– feels it.
He has fewer tracks from the last few years, but they mellow out. There’s a period where he’s confused, wondering where he’s going in life, what the point of it all is. A track where he begs his parents to support his dreams. Eventually, it’s less bleak: Yoongi starts to rap about pushing through fear, of being uncertain but following his own dreams to the end. Of wanting to help those who are just as confused as he was.
He’s not afraid to admit he teared up a few times.
Jungkook blinks in confusion as the music disappears. Jimin is standing over him, holding his earbuds with a frown.
“I’ve been calling your name for ages. Everyone in the library keeps shushing me and the security guard on this floor looks ready to kick my ass. He’s glaring at me like I murdered his family,” he says, crossing his arms. “What the hell are you listening to?”
Jungkook considers telling him, but something stops him. Yoongi never told him not to share his music with anyone; hell, he has it posted online for anyone to listen to. But it feels like– like Yoongi trusted him with this. Like it means something. Or maybe Jungkook just wants it to mean something. Because Jungkook has told Yoongi about his own problems, and in return, Yoongi is willingly opening up and giving a part of himself to Jungkook. Telling him, it’s okay. No matter what happened, it’s okay.
Jungkook wants to protect that part of Yoongi.
He shakes his head. “Nothing,” he says, but that’s not right, because it’s not nothing. “It’s… something Yoongi-sunbaenim showed me.”
“Yoongi?” Jimin says, eyebrows disappearing into his hair. “Min Yoongi?”
Jimin narrows his eyes. “I didn’t know you two were talking.”
“You’re the one who sent me to him in the first place,” Jungkook mutters. “We met, but we’ve been… texting, mostly.”
“Texting? You don’t even text me back half the time. I have to physically track you down to make sure you’re still alive. What do you even talk about?”
Jungkook shrugs. Most days, they talk about whatever. Yoongi texts him whenever his latest track is giving him a hard time or his inspiration has run low, and Jungkook sends him terrible lyrics in return. Or, Jungkook will toss Yoongi an idea for his painting class and Yoongi will give his opinion, and they’ll somehow end up discussing their favorite animated movies and their merits.
The other day, Jungkook took a picture of a bichon frise he saw on the street that reminded him of his dog back at home and showed it to Yoongi, lamenting how much he missed his dog, and Yoongi started sending him a new photo of Holly once a day. Today, it was a picture of Holly in a cartoonishly cute hoodie.
“Just… stuff,” Jungkook says.
“Stuff,” Jimin echoes, unimpressed.
“Yeah, I mean. It‘s just texting.” He shrugs again.
“Have you kissed yet?”
Jungkook chokes on air. “No! Why would you say that?”
“Hm,” Jimin says. “You’re being awfully sketchy about this. Do you like him, then?”
“What?” He feels himself flushing, his body betraying himself. “No? I don’t know?”
“Do you think he likes you?”
Jungkook thinks about how Yoongi smiled at his puppy. How when their takeout arrived, Yoongi had smiled at Namjoon with that same soft adoration and Jungkook wondered what it took for Yoongi to smile at someone like that. “We’ve made out before, so I think he’s at least… physically attracted to me?”
“Aw, the baby has a crush,” Jimin coos. “Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone except Tae.”
Jungkook buries his head in his arms, trying to hide his overheating cheeks and burying his denials.
how do you feel about meat?
That’s a suspiciously random question
Is meat supposed to be a euphemism for something?
you know what i mean!!
Meat can mean a lot of things
why are you like this…
i meant like beef or pork!!!
I like all kinds of Meat
Including beef and pork
I am very Pro Meat
ugh ok you’re just going to be like this
i wanted to treat you to a meal
as a thank you
for helping me before and letting me mess with your music stuff and also for feeding me
Like I said before it’s nbd
But I won’t say no to free Meat
can you stop emphasizing meat like that it’s starting to creep me out
What’s wrong with the word Meat?
you sound like a dirty ass old man when you say it
i get it
you like boys
do u want a trophy
You should respect your elders, boy
no more meat for you
Yoongi sends him a photo a moment later. It’s a picture of Holly, staring up at the camera with his paws in a begging stance. Jungkook immediately hates himself for cooing.
you’re not going to bribe me with puppies
please tell holly he is a good boy and pet him for me though
Yoongi sends him another photo. This time, it’s a selfie with his cheek pressed against his puppy’s fur. Both of them are pouting at the camera. With Yoongi in an oversized sweater with bedhead, Jungkook isn’t sure which of them looks more cuddly.
It’s a date
It’s a date.
Jungkook shouldn’t be freaking out over those words—Yoongi probably didn’t even mean them that way—but he is. It’s ridiculous. He’s freaking out about the idea of Yoongi potentially seeing Jungkook as dateable, in spite of the fact they’ve made out before—or maybe because of it?
He shakes his head. Jimin’s teasing is just messing with him. Jimin has him thinking unnecessarily about whether or not Yoongi might like him, which is why Jungkook is reading way more deeply into this than he should be.
That makes sense.
He does not have a crush on Yoongi.
Jungkook texts Yoongi the address of his favorite BBQ place and definitely tries not to think too hard about it. He catches his reflection on his screen when he turns his phone off and nearly throws his phone across the room. Was he really thinking of going out looking like this? With his baggy shirt and uncombed hair and massive dark circles?
This is not a date, he reminds himself as he scours his room for clothing that’s been worn no more than once since he last did laundry. This is just him caring about how he presents himself to the world, like any well-adjusted human being. Which he definitely is.
It takes him longer than he cares to admit, but he eventually settles on a fitted shirt and jeans, along with a denim jacket that he feels conveys just the right amount of casual he’s going for. Yoongi meets him outside the restaurant—early again, Jungkook notes—and smiles so wide once he sees him that Jungkook is pretty sure he made the right choice.
“Hey,” says Yoongi. “Nice jacket.”
“Thanks,” says Jungkook. “Yours too.”
Yoongi is wearing a dark ensemble that Jungkook is quickly becoming familiar with. Muted hues, usually dark or black. The leather jacket—that’s definitely new. Definitely well-fitted, well-worn. It looks good on him.
Not a date, Jungkook tells himself again.
Yoongi holds the door open for him, and they head inside and get seated. The place is cozier than most barbecue restaurants, which is why Jungkook likes it—it’s got a hole-in-the-wall atmosphere, though it’s fairly popular among both high school and college students and usually bustling around mealtimes. He comes here enough with Jimin and Taehyung that he’s just about memorized the prices. The smell sticks to his clothes and sinks into his hair for hours, but the food is always worth it.
A waitress comes by with water to take their order. Jungkook insists on Yoongi choosing what he wants because he’s treating Yoongi, though Yoongi insists otherwise for the same reason. The waitress watches it happen for a bit, completely unimpressed, and then decides to come back later.
Ultimately, Yoongi acquiesces first. Jungkook tries not to feel too triumphant.
Jungkook is about to say something when an older lady comes by the table. He recognizes her vaguely as the restaurant’s co-owner. He’s seen her husband around, too.
“Yoongi-yah!” she says warmly, to Jungkook’s surprise. “I haven’t seen you boys in ages.”
“Sorry, we’ve been so busy with school,” Yoongi says apologetically, smiling up at her with the same warmth. “I’ve missed you, though. You look lovely as always. How are the grandkids?”
She beams at him. “The oldest is starting school this year. You’re graduating soon, aren’t you?” Yoongi nods. “Gosh, time goes by so quickly. I remember when Seokjinnie was still in his second year. You were all so cute back then.”
“I’m still cute now, aren’t I?”
She laughs, delighted. “You’re growing more handsome by the day. Don’t tell Seokjin I said that, though.”
“My lips are sealed.”
Yoongi makes a notion of zipping his lips. It earns him a giggle. “Good,” she says. “And who’s this? Your boyfriend?”
Jungkook, in the middle of taking a sip of water, chokes.
Yoongi turns immediately, looking alarmed and then concerned, and it just makes Jungkook choke even more gracelessly. He pounds his chest, trying to get himself to stop coughing, and swallows some more water when he’s sure he won’t choke on it. “I’m okay,” he wheezes out, clearing his throat with as much dignity as he can muster. Which is to say, none.
“Are you sure, honey?”
“Uh, anyways. We’re friends,” Yoongi says, and Jungkook tries not to wonder why he’s disappointed by that, since this is not a date. “This is Jungkook. Jungkook, this is Grandma Min. Not my grandma, but close enough.”
“Hello,” Jungkook says politely.
“Aren’t you handsome! It’s lovely to meet Yoongi’s friends,” says Grandma Min. “I was starting to worry he didn’t have any.” She sighs. “It would be nice if he brought a boyfriend home, though. Are you sure you don’t want to date Yoongi, dear? I’m sure you’d be cute together.”
“Grandma, you’re making him uncomfortable,” Yoongi says, but his ears look almost as red as Jungkook feels.
“Oh, I’m sorry,” she says, placing a hand on Jungkook’s shoulder. “But do think about it, won’t you?”
Yoongi looks mortified.
She leaves them to eat once their food arrives. Yoongi immediately pours himself a shot of soju and downs it before he tasks himself with setting up the grill, melting the fat and laying out the meat. Jungkook chews on some japchae, at a loss for what to do.
“Sorry about that,” Yoongi says. “She’s been bugging me to start dating again since I broke up with my last boyfriend like, two years ago.”
“It’s okay. So you come here often?” Jungkook asks conversationally, watching the meat sizzle in the oil.
“With my housemates. Seokjin worked here during his undergrad days. Everyone still knows him somehow, even though it’s been years. It’s like he’s some sort of urban legend among the staff. Whenever there’s a new waiter around they always stop and stare at him.” Yoongi wrinkles his nose. “He always says people remember him because he’s too handsome to forget.”
“At least half the people who return to OATH ask for him specifically,” Yoongi says. “He’s been proposed to by women and men.”
“Whoa, I have to meet him now.”
“He’s not that cool once you get to know him,” Yoongi says quickly. “Once he argues with you or tells you enough terrible dad jokes, the charm wears off fast.”
Jungkook grins. “He sounds like my kind of guy.”
Yoongi raises an eyebrow. “Really? Dad jokes are what get you going?”
“Yeah, aren’t people into that? Calling each other Daddy and stuff?”
Yoongi makes a face, nearly recoiling at the thought. “God, no. Are you?”
“Maybe I am.” Jungkook sticks his chin out. “What are going going to do about it? Kink shame me? Because I’m feeling kink shamed.”
“Maybe you would get along with Seokjin after all.” Yoongi shudders. “Or Namjoon. I think he’s into that stuff. I’ve accidentally seen his porn folder. You do not want to see his porn folder.”
Jungkook considers his own meeting with Namjoon in that context. They’d spoken briefly, but Namjoon had seemed smart and smooth, confident like Yoongi, but in a different way. “You seem really close to them,” he says.
“Yeah, that happens when you live together for four years,” Yoongi says. He turns the meat over methodically. “They’re a pain, but they’ve been with me through some shitty times and they’re my best friends.”
There’s that fond look again, Jungkook thinks. That look he suddenly understands as a kind of love.
“I wanna meet them some time,” he says.
“Trust me, you really don’t.”
“I’ve met Namjoon already,” Jungkook says. “He was cool.”
“Cool,” Yoongi echoes. “He’ll be happy to know you said that about him.”
Jungkook grins at him. “Don’t worry, you’re cool too.”
“I wasn’t worried. Of course I am,” Yoongi scoffs. He checks that the meat is done, and leaves the biggest piece on Jungkook’s rice before getting one for himself. Jungkook wants to complain but he has a feeling Yoongi will just shrug him off, so he just says a thanks.
Yoongi is cool in that way that he makes everything seem so natural for him. He listens and he helps without making it seem like a big deal, makes Jungkook feel like they’ve known each other forever when in reality, Jungkook doesn’t even know basic things like his birthday, or if he has siblings. Jungkook has listened to and analyzed enough of Yoongi’s lyrics that he knows that Yoongi struggled a lot with being open and accepting who he was in the past, but the Yoongi before him has always just been—him.
And there’s the Yoongi who’s taken care of Jungkook in that quiet way of his a couple times now, even without being asked, even without needing to. Who makes Jungkook feel validated no matter how silly he feels. Who loves his friends in his own way and makes Jungkook want to know more, more.
Yoongi is cool.
The conversation slows down from there, punctuated by Yoongi offering him food or vice versa. Jungkook learns Yoongi’s birthday, that he has an older brother he’s close to. That he had always thought of himself as a cat person until he adopted Holly after the local shelter took in a litter of puppies whose mother had died. That he grew up writing lyrics on every surface of his house and he’s not good at video games but he likes to play games without much action, like The Sims, and he doesn’t even do things everyone else does like locking his sims in the basement or deleting the ladder on his pool, which makes Jungkook think he might be a little crazy.
Jungkook responds with his own answers. He also has an older brother who is almost a decade older than him so they’ve never been that close, even though he calls Jungkook more often than their parents do. His parents got him a puppy when he was seven after he begged and begged. He used to draw all the time, but was too shy to do it around anyone else or show them his art in fear of being judged. He likes competitive multiplayer games and mains Widowmaker, though he hardly has time to play anymore and the Overwatch meta has gone to shit anyways.
They go back and forth for a while. It’s comfortable. Almost intimate.
“I listened to all of your music,” Jungkook says. He’d put off mentioning it because it’d felt almost voyeuristic to do so, but now it just feels right. Going with the flow.
“Did you?” Yoongi watches him over his bowl. “And?”
“And…” It’s good, he could say, because it is. I liked it. You’re so talented. You should make money off of this. Why aren’t you famous yet? But Yoongi is looking at him like– like he wants Jungkook to understand something deeper. “I really connected with it,” he settles with in the end. “A lot of what you said, I felt like you get it. I’ve never really talked about this before, but… my parents didn’t approve of me doing art. It’s cliché, but they didn’t think it was something that I had a future in, didn’t like me drawing or playing games or anything. I moved away because I knew I couldn’t do what I loved as long as I was with my family, but I could never understand why they could never just… support me and be happy for me, you know? It’s not like I was doing anything bad.”
Jungkook breathes. “And then I realized I liked boys and I just… I kept wondering why me. Why I was always the one who was different, why the people who were supposed to care about me didn’t understand. There wasn’t really anyone around me who would try, either. But you do.”
Yoongi quietly watches him as he talks. Jungkook can’t read his face, has no idea what he’s thinking or if Jungkook’s words mean anything to him, but he wants them to. Going through Yoongi’s music gave him an advantage, in a way, and it’s been weighing on him. Now, at least, he’s given Yoongi a part of himself too.
“Thank you,” Yoongi says. “That’s… really all I ever wanted to do with my music, with OATH—all of it. Namjoon, Hoseok, and Seokjin were all there when I thought I was alone, and I told myself, if I could make just one person out there feel a little less alone, it would be worth it.”
“It was,” Jungkook says. “You did.”
Yoongi smiles at him, and Jungkook feels warm.
i still can’t believe you paid for dinner
i was trying to treat you
Just call me hyung
As your hyung, it’s my responsibility to feed my dongsaengs
now i have to treat you again
You’re already treating me with your company
it’s not fair
just once ok??
Wanna go for coffee?
i mean like
an actual meal
with meat and shit
not black coffee that’s probably going to kill you before you’re 30
Coffee is an acceptable meal for a college student
how are you still alive??
They go get seafood next time. Yoongi ends up paying again; they nearly wrestle over the bill, nearly get kicked out. Jungkook insists on another meal, and then another, and somehow finds he doesn’t mind the excuse to see Yoongi again.
The end of the semester is quickly approaching, and with it, finals.
Jungkook spends long days on campus working on his end of the year projects, and then goes home and spends his nights studying for his non-major classes. He’s trying his best to be more proactive this semester; last year, he’d left all of his studying and projects for the last minute and had a meltdown trying to finish projects that he was supposed to have spent a month on within a span of a few days. Last semester, he’d lost track of time and only had a week until his deadlines once he’d realized. Now that his classes are starting to be less about tests and more about projects, he really can’t afford to slack off anymore.
He hasn’t gotten to the point where he’s starting to pull all-nighters yet, which is an immediate improvement.
He’s still tired, though.
Jimin and Taehyung make sure to drop by every other night to check that he’s not dead and to bring him food, which he’s pretty sure he’s going to be forever indebted to them for. The nights they aren’t there, they hound his roommate to watch Jungkook for them, and his roommate is just scared enough of them—specifically Jimin—to actually listen.
He doesn’t see Yoongi much, but they text. Yoongi is busy getting ready to graduate and preparing himself for whatever people do in the real world, and Jungkook really shouldn’t feel jealous but part of him wonders if Yoongi is going to keep in touch once he’s graduated and working at his internship. If Jungkook is still going to be worth his time.
He’s not sure if they’re friends, but he wants to talk to Yoongi. Wants to have his attention, but he would never admit that out loud.
He’s got other things to worry about, though. There’s a week until his first final, and it’s starting to feel horrifyingly real.
So far, he’s making steady progress on his final painting for his oil painting class, and feels a lot more confident in his exams than he’s ever been, which is a feeling he’s definitely not used to. Right now though, he’s stuck in front of one of the school computers trying to finish rigging his model for his 3D Modeling and Animation project. He’s not as far along as he would like to be; he’d written out goals for each day for the entire month, and he should be finished with the model by now and animating it, but when he started work on his animation he realized the rig was all wrong and he needed to redo it. So he’s been here for hours already, trying to get himself caught up.
It’s frustrating, he's ready to rip his hair out, but he needs to finish it, and finish it quickly so that he doesn't fall further behind than he already is. Everything feels like it's working against him, and he nearly bangs his head against the keyboard at how awful the school computers are when he hears his phone go off.
You free right now?
im kinda dying rn
trying to finish this thing for class
Where are you?
art building room 124
the computer room
are you going to keep me company?
I have food
i love you so much
He glances at the time and realizes it’s way too late, and then keeps checking it every minute wondering how far away Yoongi is. Yoongi shows up exactly seven minutes later, turning on the lights in the room and squinting as he walks in.
“How long have you been here?” he asks.
“Um, like, four or five hours?” He can already smell something delicious in the bag Yoongi is holding. “What did you bring?”
Yoongi walks over and sits down at the computer next to him, leaving the food between them. “Just some takeout,” he says as he reaches in for the styrofoam boxes and lays them out on the table. “You mentioned you were busy this week but I figured I’d check up on you.”
Jungkook’s stomach growls loudly as Yoongi opens up the boxes to reveal two separate orders of bibimbap and hands him a pair of wooden chopsticks. “You’re a lifesaver,” he says.
Yoongi smiles at him, settling back in his chair to eat. “How are your projects going?”
Jungkook shrugs around a mouthful of kimchi. It’s amazing how much better he feels once he has food inside of him. “I got one almost done, but this one is taking a lot longer because I have to redo part of it.”
“That’s rough,” Yoongi says. “Is that what you’re doing right now?”
“Yeah.” Jungkook turns his screen a little to show him. “We have to make a model of a character we designed and create a ten second animation that shows off the character’s personality. I haven’t gotten past the model, though, because I forgot how to rig properly.”
“I don’t know what that means, but it looks fucking cool. Like magic,” Yoongi says, leaning in closer to get a good look.
“Rigging is like, putting the skeleton and the joints in, see.” Jungkook messes around with the fingers, showing Yoongi how it moves. “The program can do it for you, but my professor is making us do everything manually because she’s a sadist.”
“I had a professor like that,” Yoongi says with a grimace. “Made us record all of our instruments ourselves instead of letting us use tools provided to us already. If we wanted electronic sounds, we’d have to make them ourselves. Now that I think about it, that’s when Namjoon got his gayageum.”
“That sounds like a lot of work,” Jungkook says. “I’m convinced school just exists to be as inconvenient as possible. Why are professors such hardasses? Why do finals have to exist?”
“To cull the weak,” Yoongi says grimly.
Jungkook laughs. “You’re so lucky you’re graduating. I still have two more years of this.”
“I suffered for four years. I deserve to graduate.”
Jungkook groans. “I can’t survive two more years of this. Just take me with you.”
Yoongi chuckles, low and rough. He sounds tired too, Jungkook notices. Yoongi has been working through his own projects, he knows, but doesn’t seem to mind them as much whenever he brings them up. Still, he must be at least a little bit stressed. “Honestly, graduating is pretty scary.”
“Yeah.” Yoongi shrugs. “All you really know for the first twenty years of your life is school, and then all of a sudden they throw you out there to be an adult and shit without so much as a, ‘good luck.’ It’s scary. Like, what am I doing? I think that’s part of the reason why Seokjin went straight to grad school.”
“What about you?”
“Maybe eventually,” Yoongi says. “Not right now though. I thought about it, but the part of me that isn’t scared is mostly just sick of school and wants to go out there already.” He chews on the end of his chopsticks a little. “At the same time, I don’t really want to leave OATH behind, either, but I guess that’s life.”
Jungkook hums sympathetically.
Yoongi grows quiet for a moment. “Speaking of OATH, your ex came by today.”
Jungkook, midway through chewing his bulgogi, has no idea what Yoongi is talking about. “Hn?”
“To OATH,” Yoongi explains, his face carefully neutral. “I saw him today.”
“Oh.” Huh. “How was he?”
Yoongi shrugs. “Hoseok talked to him. Looked like a fish out of water, but he seems to have taken your words to heart.”
Jungkook hadn’t really expected him to. In truth, he hadn’t thought much of Kyungjae since then. It feels strange to hear Yoongi talk about him. He doesn’t think he likes it. “That’s… good, I think. I might have been too harsh to him,” he muses. “I mean, a lot of it wasn’t his fault, even if he was a jerk to me.”
“You stood up for yourself,” says Yoongi. “Sure, maybe that’s not what he wanted to hear, but sometimes, we need to hear things that might hurt us. That’s how you know people care.”
Yoongi is good with words, he thinks; he always seems to know what to say. Or maybe he just knows what Jungkook wants to hear. “I’m glad you were there.”
Yoongi grins crookedly. “I don’t think you needed me, but he looked kind of scared of me. I should have expanded my work at OATH to include Ex Boyfriend Intimidation services.”
Jungkook laughs. Yoongi does look a little mean in his dark outfits with his sharp eyes, but it’s hard to imagine Yoongi scaring anyone after seeing him drowning in a hoodie with his tiny puppy or in thick glasses with his messy hair, unless he means to intimidate people through his sheer attractiveness. “Aren’t you a bit small for that?”
Yoongi frowns. “The hell does that mean?”
Ah. Jungkook must have hit a sore spot. “I mean like, you have pretty thin wrists.”
“The hell does that mean?”
“Well,” Jungkook says carefully, “intimidation is all about making someone else feel like they’d lose to you in a fight so that you can avoid a fight in the first place. I feel like if you punched someone, you would break.”
“I would not,” Yoongi scoffs. “You want to try it out? I’ll fight you right here.”
Jungkook grins and rolls up his sleeves to his elbows. “I could probably bench press you.”
Yoongi opens his mouth to speak, but his eyes fix onto Jungkook’s forearm and he just– stills. Inhales sharply. “Jesus, what did you eat to get those arms? I didn’t know animation was that rigorous.”
Jungkook laughs. He flexes his hand. “It isn’t. I just work out.”
“Right,” Yoongi says blankly. “Right, that’s a thing people do. What’s with the… the veins?”
“I dunno. I’m just veiny.”
“Veiny,” Yoongi mutters. “Jesus.”
“It’s kind of gross, right?”
“I don’t know if that’s the exact word I would use,” says Yoongi, tearing his eyes away from Jungkook’s arm. “Feels like I should be keeping you away from any sharp objects in case you touch something on accident and burst a vessel.”
Jungkook pokes at a particularly prominent vein along his forearm. “You still want to fight me, then?”
“I know your weak point now,” says Yoongi. “I could take you down with one paper cut.”
“I would be appalled that you would stoop so low, but you’re short enough that I’m not actually surprised.”
Yoongi cracks his knuckles and rolls us his own sleeves to reveal arms that are significantly less veiny than Jungkook’s. Yoongi’s hands are pretty veiny, though, Jungkook can’t help but notice. Veiny and large.
That… does not sound right.
“That’s it, bitch,” says Yoongi. “You’ve just signed your death wish.”
Jungkook passes his classes without a single meltdown and only one all-nighter.
Overall, he feels good about it.
Finishing the semester also reminds him that Yoongi is graduating, and he doesn’t really know if they’ll keep in touch. His high school friends had promised to keep in touch, but when Jungkook moved away for university the messages quickly started to become more sparse. He hasn’t heard from them in a year now. He doesn’t try contacting them anymore, since they stopped answering. It feels like he’s bothering them.
Yoongi invites him over to his studio the day after his last final, though he neglects to tell him why, and Jungkook feels distinctly like it’s a goodbye.
It’s weird, isn’t it? He met Yoongi just this semester and yet—
He wants to keep talking to Yoongi. He wants to know everything.
He clutches his canvas nervously in his hands as he rings Yoongi’s doorbell. His hands are clammy enough that he worries they’ll somehow bleed through the canvas and ruin his paints. He can hear Holly’s muffled barking from behind the door, and Yoongi saying something to him to calm him down, and then a click before the door opens.
“Jungkook,” Yoongi says, smiling. Holly rushes past him to greet Jungkook. “Hey.”
“Hyung,” Jungkook says, suddenly breathless. He shoves the canvas forward. “I, um, wanted to give you this.” Yoongi accepts it with both hands and turns it over to look at the painting. Jungkook’s art. “It’s okay if you don’t like it, but. It was my final piece for my oil painting class and I just… well, I wanted you to have it. To, um, congratulate you for graduating.”
“Me?” asks Yoongi. He stares at the painting with the kind of softness that makes Jungkook ache a little, trying to understand everything Jungkook poured into his work.
The challenge had been to utilize everything he’d learned that semester, and he knows it meant painting techniques, but Jungkook had immediately thought of Yoongi. Yoongi and the way he quietly takes care of others, the way he genuinely, passionately wants to teach others to love themselves. Jungkook wanted to capture the exact way Yoongi makes him feel, tried to capture that look.
Yoongi taught him how love is supposed to look.
Jungkook doesn’t know how to convey all of that in words, though, so he just nods and trusts that Yoongi will understand.
“It’s amazing,” Yoongi says. “You’re so talented, fuck. You’re going to go so far with this, and everyone is going to see how good you are. I’m so fucking happy you chose to pursue art instead of something you didn’t love, because I can feel how much you want this just by looking at your art.”
Jungkook feels warm.
Yoongi brushes a hand through his hair and huffs. “God, you’re going to make what I was going to give you look bad.”
“You were going to give me something?”
“Yeah,” Yoongi says, stepping back so Jungkook can walk inside. “In my studio. Now it’s gonna look like I’m copying you, though.”
Jungkook follows him to the garage, not at all sure what to expect. Yoongi lays his painting gently on a table along the way, promising to hang it up in his studio after showing his housemates, which makes Jungkook’s stomach do a little flip.
The studio is a little messier than Jungkook remembers it. “Things get hectic in here during finals,” is how Yoongi explains it, though he doesn’t have to because Jungkook honestly gets it. It’s a comfortable kind of messy, though. An organized chaos. The kind where Jungkook feels like he can understand the thought process behind it and retrace it.
There’s too much stuff littering Namjoon’s side of the floor to roll the other chair over—Yoongi refuses to clean it up because “he’ll never learn if someone cleans up after him”—so Yoongi gestures Jungkook into his seat and stands over him, one hand on the backrest, the other on his mouse. He wakes his computer up and starts navigating through his files, until he finds one called JK_YG.mp3 and hovers over it.
“It doesn’t have any vocals, or much of a melody, even, but– I guess you’ll see.”
Yoongi sounds nervous. Jungkook isn’t sure he’s ever seen Yoongi genuinely nervous about something. He’s always so put together. He presses opens the file, and Jungkook closes his eyes to listen.
It’s a song.
Not just any song, he soon realizes. It’s the song he made the last time he was here. Only it’s alive with instruments and so much better than he remembers it being. It’s like Yoongi took the notes straight out of Jungkook’s head and turned them into something real, something living and breathing. Something Jungkook didn’t even know it could be.
He realizes his mouth is gaping once the last note fades, at a complete loss for words.
Yoongi looks embarrassed for some inexplicable reason Jungkook doesn’t understand because that was beautiful. He scratches the back of his head. “You probably wanted to finish this yourself, but I wanted to make something and I guess I was thinking of you, because it turned out like this before I realized it was your song.”
Jungkook can’t ignore the way the flip in his stomach has migrated up into his chest, and is now doing full somersaults against his ribs.
Yoongi was thinking of him. Yoongi thinks about him.
Jungkook wants to kiss him.
Jungkook wants to kiss him until he’s the only thing Yoongi thinks about.
“I love it.” His voice cracks. “I love it so much. Thank you.” Thank you for thinking about me. For being there for me.
Yoongi smiles at him—all teeth, all gums. Jungkook has seen it plenty before, but he wants to burn this exact moment into his mind forever.
He listens to the track five more times, and then makes sure Yoongi sends it to him, and listens to it for the rest of the night before falling asleep to it.
“I wanted to ask you,” Yoongi says before he leaves that day, “if you would come to our graduation party?”
“Me?” Jungkook asks.
Yoongi scratches at his neck, looking somewhere beyond Jungkook’s head. “Yeah, but if you’re too busy or you don’t want to, it’s okay—”
“I’ll go,” says Jungkook.
Yoongi smiles, relieved. “It’s just a small thing with our friends. You can invite yours if you want.”
Jimin and Taehyung went back home immediately after finals to visit their families—together, for some reason, even though they’re from Busan and Daegu, respectively—and won’t be back for a week. Jungkook feels too awkward to invite anyone else, so he doesn’t, though Jimin and Taehyung seem especially devastated they can’t go.
i can’t believe this
im going to miss giving yoongi The Talk
what the hell are you talking about
if you break my baby boy’s heart ill cut you
why would you do that
bcos you L O V E him
and if he hurts you he will feel my wrath
just let us know ok
we can go double dragon on his ass
that’s right i am
i’m not in love with yoongi??
and he’s not in love with you either
he’s not though????
you didn’t even send a photo
jungkook you’re so pure
our sweet innocent child
he likes you for sure
he made out with you the moment he saw you
he helped you chase your ex away
he made you a freaking song and it was romantic as hell
he’s just nice
just go enjoy your party
it’s going to be fun and platonic
because we’re friends
dont forget about us when ur sucking face with ur boy all day ok?
as gandhi once said
bros before hos
even though yoongi is kind of a bro too
He arrives a little later than he means to, feeling stupidly nervous as he approaches the front door and rings the doorbell. There aren’t as many cars out on the street as he remembers there being the last time he came here for a party, but he hopes he isn’t the last person to arrive. He can hear music inside, loud enough that he isn’t sure if anyone can hear the doorbell, but a moment later a man with broad shoulders and an unfairly handsome face answers the door.
The man looks at him.
Jungkook holds his breath.
“Hey,” says the man, “how do you make a squid laugh?”
”Uh.” What? “Something about… tentacles?”
“Oh, good guess. You give it ten tickles,” the man says before bursting out into an uncontrollable squeaky laugh. “Get it?”
Jungkook smiles weakly.
The man laughs at his own joke for a bit longer before reigning himself in so suddenly Jungkook thinks he might get whiplash. “You must be Jungkook.”
“Um, yes,” Jungkook says dumbly.
“I’m Seokjin,” the man says, extending a hand out. Jungkook shakes it. “I’ve been dying to meet you.”
Jungkook blanks, completely at a loss for why someone who looks like that would want to meet him. “You… you have?”
“Of course,” Seokjin says pleasantly. “Yoongi talks about you all the time.”
Jungkook’s brain goes extra blank. “He does?”
Seokjin grins. “He didn’t mention how cute you are, though. I wonder why?”
“Uh,” says Jungkook. He doesn’t even know where to begin responding to that. “Can I come in?”
With a disarmingly wide smile, Seokjin motions him inside, but instead of leading him to the party he guides Jungkook by the arm down the hall to an empty room with a washing machine and dryer and a little puppy pad on the floor before closing the door. It’s dark. The dryer is whirring loudly beside him. Seokjin turns on the light and then turns on him.
Jungkook suddenly feels very, very nervous.
“You know, Jungkook,” he says, leaning against the door and blocking Jungkook’s only escape, “Yoongi is a nice guy.”
“Yeah,” says Jungkook warily. He knows that very well. What he doesn’t know is why he’s here.
“He’s had a rough time in the past. He has a big heart and likes to help everyone, but he has a hard time actually opening up to others and making meaningful friendships. We—me, Namjoon, and Hoseok—are his closest friends.”
Jungkook nods slowly.
“So—” Seokjin drags out the syllable. “We’ve been observing your friendship with him with, let’s say, great interest.”
“Okay.” Jungkook coughs. “Uh, I don’t really understand what’s going on.”
“I’ll just get to the point, then: you’re clearly special to Yoongi, and that’s not something just anyone can be.” Seokjin narrows his eyes at him. “I’m going to assume, for your sake, that you genuinely like him. So you better hold onto him. You better hold on tight.”
“I will,” Jungkook says, though he’s not a hundred percent sure why he’s agreeing or that this isn’t just a fever dream.
And then it clicks.
Seokjin is giving him The Talk.
“Wait. Hold on. Are you saying… Yoongi likes me? And you’ll think I’ll hurt him? Because he likes me?”
Seokjin looks at him skeptically for a moment, before his face softens a tiny bit and he pushes himself off the door. “You should talk to him yourself.”
That doesn’t answer anything. Jungkook has questions. He wants to ask so much. What does Yoongi say about me? What did you mean when you said he talks about me all the time? Why did you drag me to your laundry room to tell me this?
He doesn’t get the chance to ask anything, though, because he hears Yoongi’s voice behind the wall, mumbling, “Why is this light on?” a moment before the door opens.
Jungkook stares at Yoongi.
Yoongi stares back.
The dryer stops whirring.
Yoongi breaks the silence first. “What are you two doing in here?”
Jungkook panics, realizing it probably looks… bad, being stuck in a small enclosed space with Yoongi’s housemate, alone, and he doesn’t want Yoongi to think– what? That Jungkook was hiding away with Seokjin to hook up? Which matters because—
He likes Yoongi?
He wants Yoongi to like him?
“We were just chatting,” Seokjin says. “I wanted to get to know Jungkook a little better.”
“Uhuh,” says Yoongi. “And did you?”
“Let’s just say I got what I wanted,” says Seokjin.
That sounds bad, Jungkook thinks. It sounds so bad. It must sound bad to Yoongi too, because Yoongi’s face is very, very neutral, like the way Jungkook’s dad’s expression would go blank when he was disappointed. “Okay. Well, Hoseok is piss drunk right now, and I was going to put him to bed before he passed out, but he washed his sheets today.”
“Oh! I’ll get them for him,” says Seokjin. He hurries to pull the bedsheet out of the dryer, hefting it into his arms and throwing out the dryer lint. Jungkook watches it, feeling almost like he’s having a surreal out-of-body experience.
Then Seokjin leaves, closing the door behind him with one last wink towards Jungkook, and suddenly Jungkook and Yoongi are alone in the laundry room. Yoongi stares at the door, then at Jungkook.
“Um,” Jungkook starts, wanting to break the awkwardness, “he was just trying to talk to me. It wasn’t anything… weird.”
“In the laundry room?”
“Er, yeah. I don’t know, he kind of dragged me in here.”
“What did he say?”
Jungkook suddenly wishes he’d had the chance to down a few shots before getting forced in here. He wants to ask. Do you like me? Do you think about kissing me? But at the same time, he doesn’t want to know. He’s too scared to ask. Because if Yoongi says no, then it’s awkward. Then Jungkook would have to live with that rejection. He would never live it down.
He doesn’t want Yoongi to say no.
“He– he told me about how you guys are really close. And he cares about you a lot.”
“He did?” Yoongi looks puzzled. “Why would he tell you that?”
“Well,” Jungkook says softly, “I’m your friend too, now, so. I guess he wanted me to know.”
“I guess you should,” Yoongi says, to Jungkook’s surprise. He sighs and drops to the floor, back against the washing machine, and he motions for Jungkook to sit down too. Jungkook obeys. He stares at his own feet, waiting for Yoongi to say something, but a long moment passes by without a word. With Yoongi next to him, it’s almost oppressive.
“I really wanted to meet them, you know,” he says to break the silence.
Jungkook nods. “The way you talked about them—I could tell they were really special to you. That you love them.”
“I do,” says Yoongi.
“I… I want to know. More about you,” says Jungkook. “I’ll never be Seokjin or Namjoon or Hoseok, but. I want to know everything. I want to be there for you too. If you’d let me.”
Yoongi stares at the wall for a while. The heavy bass of whatever song is playing vibrates through the walls. Jungkook can feel every nerve in his body coiling up in anticipation. He wants this, he thinks. More than for Yoongi to like him back, he wants Yoongi to trust him. He wants to understand Yoongi. He doesn’t want Yoongi to just be some friend he made at school and lost touch with once he graduated.
Yoongi shifts a little. “You already know I had a hard time trying to get my parents to accept me.”
“They didn’t want me to study music, they didn’t like that I was gay, they didn’t think I was doing anything with my life because I spent all my time at home on my computer trying to make music to sell. We fought about it every day. By the time I moved out here with my boyfriend, we weren’t even speaking anymore. I was angry at everything all the time: my parents, myself, everyone. And then my boyfriend broke up with me, and suddenly I was– I was completely alone.”
Jungkook almost doesn’t dare breathe, in case he interrupts Yoongi.
“That’s when I was at my lowest. I didn’t have any money after moving. Nobody wanted me. I just wanted to throw myself away. But I needed a place to stay, and they found me, and they took me in, and they just– accepted me. They told me I was okay the way I was. I didn’t believe them, at first, but they stuck by me even when I tried to push them away. Made me feel worth it.”
“You are,” Jungkook says emphatically.
Yoongi smiles at him. “That’s when I decided I needed OATH, to help others just as much as I needed help. Because it made me feel better too, in a way.” His eyes grow distant, his voice tight. “I started to talk to my parents again this year. We still aren’t close, and I know I’m not the perfect son, but they came to my commencement, and they told me– they said they were sorry. That they loved me. They were… proud of me.” He sniffs wetly, wipes at his face and looks surprised when his hand comes up damp. “Wow, I didn’t mean to get emotional. I– graduating was so important to me for four years. I wanted to prove them wrong so badly.”
He sniffs again. His eyes are shiny. Jungkook awkwardly wraps an arm around Yoongi’s shoulder and pulls him closer, against his side. Yoongi nuzzles his face a little into Jungkook’s shoulder, taking comfort in his warmth. Jungkook can feel his tears seep through his shirt. It’s just enough to wet his cheeks, but he cries more elegantly than Jungkook ever did; his tears look like little morning dewdrops on his eyelashes.
I like you, he thinks, so vividly. I like you when you’re honest. I like you when you’re you.
Yoongi doesn’t cry much, but he leaves his head on Jungkook’s shoulder for a little while longer. Long enough for Jungkook to think he maybe fell asleep on him, if it weren’t for his uneven breaths.
“I guess we’re even now,” says Yoongi with a chuckle, drawing away a little to pat at the damp spot on Jungkook’s shoulder.
“Thank you,” Jungkook says, fingers idly stroking the soft fabric covering Yoongi’s shoulder. “For telling me. For being so brave for me.”
Yoongi wipes the last of his tears away. “They’re the only ones who knew before now. That’s why,” he says. “They can be kind of overprotective of me. I don’t make friends easily, and they were all I had for a while.”
“You have me now, too,” says Jungkook.
“Yeah,” agrees Yoongi. “You’re special.”
They talk, shoulder to shoulder on the floor of the laundry room, for so long that Jungkook loses track of time. Jungkook tells him about his fears, about how he’s worried he and Yoongi will fall out of touch eventually, but Yoongi reassures him, tells him he’ll keep in touch. That Jungkook can come over any time, to work on more music or just hang out, and Jungkook makes him promise.
Yoongi never moves any further away, and Jungkook doesn’t dare move closer, but he feels an invisible push and pull against his body all the same.
Jungkook doesn’t know if it’s love or admiration, but he wants to be like this more, more. He wants to see Yoongi look at him with that adoration he has for the most important people in his life, wants Yoongi to talk about him with the same passion he pours into his music.
He hates that he’s too scared to ask.
When they emerge some time later, Namjoon is passed out on the couch. Only a few people are standing about idly, but it’s clear the party is already over. Seokjin shuffles around busily, picking up trash and snapping at people to clean up their messes before they leave or get the hell out of the way already. Jungkook sticks around to help clean, partly because Seokjin hands him a broom and tells him to put his “muscley” arms to good use, and mostly because he can hang out with Yoongi a little while longer.
“So,” Seokjin whispers as he watches Jungkook sweep up bits of broken glass, “did you two kiss?”
Jungkook rolls his eyes. “You would get along so well with my friends.”
“So that’s a no,” says Seokjin. “Why not?”
“Ugh,” says Jungkook. “I just– couldn’t do it. I couldn’t ask. But it’s okay. I… I realized a lot of important things today.”
Seokjin frowns at that, but lets him keep working.
He and Yoongi insist that he stay the night, but Jungkook declines. Yoongi offers to take him home instead; Jungkook tries to politely refuse, but ends up bullied into Seokjin’s car in the end.
The car ride is quiet. Jungkook watches the city pass them by, feeling oddly peaceful. It’s like one of those moments in a movie, he thinks, where a song plays in the background while a montage starts. He’s not sure what kind of movie this would be, but he hopes it has a happy ending, at least.
He wonders what Yoongi is thinking.
Jungkook expects Yoongi to just walk him to the door of the building, but he ends up following him up the stairs, all the way to his apartment. Yoongi watches over his shoulder as he unlocks his door, as if waiting for… something.
Jungkook steps through the door. Yoongi doesn’t follow him in. “Well, this is me,” he says, and cringes a bit at the cliché. “Thank you for taking me home. And for everything.”
Yoongi holds Jungkook’s hand between his own, staring Jungkook right in the eyes. “Text me,” he says. “I start my internship next week, so I might not reply quickly, but I will reply.”
“Okay,” says Jungkook. “As long as you send me pictures of Holly every day.”
“Promise,” says Yoongi. “Hoseok got him a new outfit the other day. I’ll show you tomorrow.”
They stare at each other from opposite sides of the door, not quite ready to leave. This would be the moment in the movie, Jungkook thinks, where he might kiss Yoongi goodnight and invite him inside. He wants to. He still remembers what Yoongi’s lips feel like on his own, all that time ago.
Yoongi’s eyes flicker down to his lips, as if reading his mind, and Jungkook wonders if he’s going to do it.
Instead, he says, “Goodnight,” while shyly brushing aside a strand of his faded silver-blue hair, and Jungkook feels struck by a sudden, overwhelming fondness.
“Are you sure it doesn’t look weird?” asks Jungkook. “It feels weird. Smells weird, too.”
“Trust me,” Jimin says as he continues spraying Jungkook’s hair. The strong artificial cherry fumes from the canned dye are starting to make Jungkook a little light-headed. “I would never do anything that was bad for you.”
“You look totally hot,” says Taehyung. “Now can you please sit still so I can do your makeup?”
Jungkook tries, but it’s hard not to cry when someone’s poking at his eye with a bunch of sharp objects. Taehyung nearly jabs his eye out trying to get eyeliner onto his waterline, and Jungkook seriously wonders if it’s worth the pain, especially when he starts coughing from the dye fumes and almost ends up stabbed again.
There’s no better way to celebrate summer than by going to the annual Pride Parade, Taehyung claims. Jungkook doesn’t have an argument against that, because he’s never experienced any part of Seoul’s Queer Culture Festival and wouldn’t know otherwise. He’s never been good with crowds and he definitely wouldn’t go to a parade on his own, but it’s hard to say no to Taehyung or Jimin once either has set his mind to something, and downright impossible if both have.
With Pride comes costumes and makeup, Taehyung said, and that’s how he’s here.
Taehyung brushes some bronzer lightly onto Jungkook’s cheekbones and around his face. They’ve been at this for thirty minutes, at least. Jungkook had asked him to keep things light and not be too dramatic, especially seeing the glitter on Jimin’s eyes, but it still feels like an obscene amount of makeup on his face. He’d passed on a costume—Jimin and Taehyung have some crazy matching glittery rainbow ensemble they found on eBay that looks a bit like a unicorn puked glitter up on a bunch of fabric—but conceded to the makeup.
“There,” says Taehyung, standing back to admire his work. “Wow, we’re good.”
“I feel like that scene in Princess Diaries where Mia gets a makeover,” says Jimin. "Like, you know Anne Hathaway is already gorgeous, but she just gets that extra, you know. Mwah." He imitates a chef's kiss.
“Yes,” Taehyung gasps. “I love that movie.”
“Can someone please hand me a mirror?” asks Jungkook.
He can barely recognize himself with his bright red hair, but he has to admit he does look good. All the time Taehyung spent on his face was put into making his skin look flawless, almost doll-like, and the eyeshadow is subtle enough to give his eyes more depth without being too much. It’s like someone took his body and replaced it with a version of himself that was genetically modified to be as beautiful as possible, and it’s frankly a little uncanny the more he looks.
He turns his face side to side, examining his jawline like he’s never seen it before. “Where did you even learn to do this?”
Taehyung preens. “It’s all raw talent, baby.”
“Fifty hours of research on YouTube, he means.”
Taehyung elbows Jimin. “Research means nothing without raw talent,” he says. “What do you think?”
“I think I look kinda hot.”
“You always look hot, though. This is more… sultry. Like you’re ready to go out there and seduce anyone who looks at you.”
Jungkook isn’t really interested in seducing anyone who looks at him, but the thought is nice nonetheless.
Jimin punches Taehyung’s shoulder lightly. “He’s not interested in seducing everyone. Just Min Yoongi.”
“Right,” says Taehyung, nodding. “Yoongi won’t be able to take his eyes off of you if he sees you like this.”
They stare at him when he doesn’t say anything. “Isn’t this the part where you act all shy and say you don’t want Yoongi to fall head over heels in love with you the moment he looks at you even though secretly you do?” prompts Jimin.
“Um,” says Jungkook. “Yeah. Right, wouldn’t want that.”
The two of them exchange a glance. “Is everything all right between you two?”
“Yeah, just fine?”
He checks his phone. He’d asked Yoongi if he was interested in coming, but he hasn’t gotten a reply yet. It doesn’t seem like Yoongi will, either. He hasn’t even received a photo of Holly today, even though Yoongi has kept his promise of sending one every day so far and he shouldn’t be worried about it because Yoongi probably just hasn’t had the chance to check his phone today. He has been slower to reply since his internship.
“Look at him,” Jimin whispers too loudly, “he’s pining.”
“Ah, the beauty of young love.” Taehyung sighs. “What I would give to be that pure and innocent again.”
“You were pure and innocent before?” asks Jimin. “What happened to you?”
Taehyung says something, but Jungkook is more occupied with double checking himself in his selfie camera than listening to the conversation devolve into their usual back and forth. He feels good, looking at himself, better than he has in a while, so he snaps a few photos. He doesn't take selfies often, but he's happy with them even without a filter, but he adds a subtle one for good measure in case he wants to post them. After a long moment of hesitation, he decides to send one to Yoongi.
He waits, but Yoongi doesn't respond.
He was worried he’d stand out too much, especially with Jimin and Taehyung next to him acting as human beacons, but people mostly just smile at them when they pass by and Jungkook quickly realizes these are mostly people just like him. Young, trying to embrace their sexualities and live their lives the way they want to. Most are dressed inconspicuously, though he does spot a few individuals who would give Jimin and Taehyung’s unicorn glitter puke a run for its money. A few even take selfies with them.
Jimin is carrying a sign that reads, If God Hates Gays Then Why Did He Make Me So Cute? that he turns towards a line of protestors, which earns a few shouts of approval. He flirts with the people around him easily while Taehyung chats everyone up, and Jungkook watches it all happen, feeling weirdly at ease even in the middle of the huge crowd.
Maybe too at ease.
He’s so at ease, even, that he doesn’t realize when they disappear from his side.
At first, he figures they’re probably just mingling with the crowd. It’s hard to miss them; their outfits are practically blinding in the sunlight, so he isn’t too worried as long as he can find them again whenever he wants to. But when he doesn’t see any trace of unicorn glitter puke, he starts to realize he might actually have lost them.
“Jimin?” he shouts, cupping his hands around his mouth. “Taehyung?”
It’s impossible to yell over the crowd, let alone hear anyone yell back, so he tries calling them.
He tries calling them both a second time, before giving up and sending them a stern text. They probably won’t notice it in the flurry of excitement, but surely they’ll notice him gone eventually.
A little more worried now, he tries to call Yoongi, but Yoongi doesn’t pick up either, and in some way that’s even worse. Yoongi hasn’t responded to his texts, isn’t responding to him now, and Jungkook suddenly just– needs him. The crowd is starting to become more suffocating now that he’s completely alone in it, bodies parting around him like water, and all he wants is for Yoongi to just answer him.
He stands there, letting the crowd part around him until a flatbed truck passes by, crawling at the same pace as the rest of the crowd and blasting some Nicki Minaj song at full volume. Everyone’s singing along, or at least trying to. The entire thing is decorated in every color of the rainbow, with some streamers and balloons and flags haphazardly thrown on without any care. It’s honestly one of the ugliest things he’s ever seen, and Jungkook’s absolute horror at the sight of it briefly eclipses his panic.
There’s a small group of people dancing on top of the truck bed, jumping and yelling for the crowd to join in with the music. Jungkook squints at them, wondering if he can convince them to let him on so he can get a better view of the crowd and find his asshole friends, before he catches a familiar glint of faded, bleached hair.
Somehow, in front of him, it’s Yoongi.
God, he’s never been so happy to see someone.
“Hyung!” he calls from the top of his lungs. It turns a few heads, but he doesn’t care about anything but the truck in front of him.
“Jungkook?” he hears Yoongi yell over the music and the cheering crowd. Yoongi leans over the side of the truck. “Are you here by yourself?”
“No, I got separated from my friends,” Jungkook yells back.
“You wanna come up here?”
Jungkook doesn’t even need to think; he nods. Yoongi stretches his hand out. The truck slows as he takes Yoongi’s hand and climbs on. Yoongi’s hands fall to his waist as the truck begins moving again, firm and warm and grounding. Up here, he can feel the beat of the music pulsing under his feet and up his body, into his ribcage, and he can see countless heads marching alongside them, behind them– everywhere.
Yoongi is staring at him when he finally steadies himself, and Jungkook finds his ears warming under his scrutiny. “Your hair,” he says.
Jungkook runs his fingers through his hair on impulse. He’d almost forgotten about it. “It’s temporary,” he says. “A spray. My friends made me do it for today.”
“Shame,” says Yoongi. “It looks good on you.”
Jungkook heats up even further at that. “Um, if you think so, maybe I’ll dye it for real. I’ve always had dark hair so I’ve been too scared to try something brighter.”
Yoongi smiles, and he’s suddenly so, so close. “I’d like that. I think it suits you.”
“Thanks,” Jungkook mumbles shyly, suddenly way too aware of Yoongi and how pink his lips are. Yoongi’s eyes are smudged with a subtle eyeshadow, his cheeks dusted with a highlight that shines with tiny iridescent sparkles when he moves, and he’s definitely wearing something on his lips that makes them look so good Jungkook wants to bite them. “You look really, really good,” he chokes out.
Yoongi grins at him, and he’s radiant.
Jungkook could probably stand there all day staring at Yoongi, but something suddenly crashes into Yoongi, yelling, “Hyung! Who’s the cutie?”
“Hoseok.” Yoongi rolls his eyes. “This is Jungkook. Jungkook, this is Hoseok, walking ball of sunshine.”
“Nice to meet you,” Jungkook says. Hoseok does fit the description; when Jungkook speaks he smiles so wide Jungkook wonders if he can be blinded by the light reflecting off of his teeth. He’s also handsome. Are all Yoongi’s friends handsome?
“Oh! That Jungkook?” Hoseok says, earning him a jab with Yoongi’s elbow. He lets out an inappropriately loud squeal and clutches at his side. “Ow, what was that for?”
“Accident,” says Yoongi.
Hoseok pouts. He and Yoongi stare at each other, having a silent conversation, and Yoongi eventually sighs. “Jungkook,” Hoseok says, turning back to Jungkook, “How are you enjoying the parade so far?”
“It’s a lot, but I like it,” Jungkook answers. “I was kind of lost before I found you guys, though.”
Hoseok grins. “Well it’s a good thing you’re here now, because we were about to get the party started. Come on!”
Before Jungkook can protest, Hoseok hooks his fingers around his arm and drags him towards the back of the makeshift truck-bed-turned-float. There isn’t much room, given there are about half a dozen other people to maneuver around, and for stability he ends up grabbing Yoongi, who easily gets pulled along with him.
Namjoon and Seokjin are there already, moving along with the beat and trying to hype up the crowd. They smile at Jungkook when they see him, and even wider when they notice Yoongi with him too. Jungkook sends back his own tentative smile, before getting distracted by the view. From here, Jungkook can really see just how huge the crowd is; it seems to stream almost endlessly behind the truck.
It’s so much. It’s dizzying. He turns to Yoongi beside him, to try and anchor himself. “This is– so cool. Wow.”
“We should have done this from the beginning,” says Yoongi, reaching for Jungkook’s elbow to help steady him.
“I tried to text you.” Jungkook stares down at their point of contact. “I wanted to know if you would come.”
“I know, I told you that OATH was making a shitty float and you could hang with me.”
“You didn’t,” says Jungkook. Yoongi frowns. Jungkook pulls up his messages and shows him.
Yoongi furrows his eyebrows. “Shit, I was in such a hurry I must have missed the reply button. Shit, I’m so sorry, Jungkook.”
“It’s okay,” Jungkook says quietly, putting his phone away. “At least we found each other anyways.”
Yoongi smiles. “Yeah. I’m glad we found you. Don’t worry now and just have fun, okay?”
“C’mon! Let’s dance!” Hoseok screams at the crowd, who cheers back as a new song starts playing.
“Come on, hyung.” Jungkook grins. “Dance with me.”
Yoongi crosses his arms. “No way. I don’t dance.”
“Hyung,” Jungkook whines, holding both of Yoongi’s shoulders with his hands and trying to sway him. Yoongi stays standing there, steadfastly in place. “Fine, I’ll dance with the others. You’re no fun.”
Hoseok is more than happy to dance with him, and Jungkook is pleasantly surprised to find out he’s good. It devolves into a cramped dance competition between the two of them, right in the middle of the float, and then becomes a team effort—Hoseok and Seokjin versus Jungkook and Namjoon. There’s not nearly enough space for them, so it quickly devolves into chaos. Jungkook bumps into Namjoon who bumps into Seokjin who bumps into Yoongi, who backs up into someone Jungkook doesn’t recognize, and it’s stupid but Jungkook laughs anyways.
“We need a judge,” says Seokjin. “What’s the point of having a dance battle if no one wins?”
“Yoongi can judge,” says Namjoon.
“No way, he’s just going to pick Jungkook.”
“What the fuck,” says Yoongi. “What if I genuinely think Jungkook and Namjoon are better than you two?”
“Picking anyone but Hoseok as the winner means the judging is rigged, and we all know you’re not above cheating,” argues Seokjin.
“Yeah, but you’re on his team,” Namjoon protests.
“We can settle this easily,” says Hoseok. He turns to the crowd. “Who here thinks Seokjin and I won?”
The crowd cheers.
“Okay, what about Jungkook and Namjoon?”
The crowd cheers again, with no difference in enthusiasm.
“See?” Seokjin says. “The people have spoken.”
“The music was louder for the second cheer,” Namjoon argues. “This is just awful research practice.”
“I don’t think they care. They would cheer for anything,” says Yoongi. To the crowd, he yells, “Who thinks milk should be poured before cereal?” The crowd cheers. “See?”
“I pour my milk before cereal and I’m feeling so attacked right now,” says Jungkook.
In the end, they announce a tie. Nobody is happy about the result. Jungkook retires to stand by Yoongi while Seokjin and Namjoon have a mini face-off as a tiebreaker.
This isn’t at all how he imagined his day would go, but he’s happy he’s here.
“Are you having fun?” asks Yoongi. The corner of his lip is upturned. It’s horrifyingly attractive.
“Yes,” Jungkook says, breathless. His cheeks ache from laughing. He wishes he could bottle up this moment and keep it forever. “I still wish you would dance with me, though.”
The song fades from upbeat synthy pop into a ballad, one that Jungkook vaguely recognizes. Yoongi is staring intensely at a button on Jungkook’s shirt. “I’m not– I’m not good at dancing.”
“It’s okay, I’m not judging,” says Jungkook. He takes Yoongi’s hand and places it on his hip, watching Yoongi’s face carefully as he does. “Is this all right?”
Yoongi’s face is getting redder by the second, but he nods and takes Jungkook’s hand in his free hand. They sway together a little, not quite a slow dance, but Jungkook just feels good, feels warm being this close to Yoongi. Yoongi’s hand slowly rises from his hip to circle his neck.
“You’re so embarrassed,” says Jungkook. He can’t help but smile at Yoongi. “Is it that hard to dance with me?”
“It’s—” Yoongi buries his face in Jungkook’s shoulder. “It’s a lot.”
“But it’s okay?”
“Yes,” Yoongi mutters into his shoulder. “I just… really like you so. I’m dealing with a lot of things right now.”
Jungkook nearly avoids stepping on Yoongi’s foot. “You– really?”
He almost misses Yoongi’s quiet, “Yeah.”
“Like, like, like?”
Yoongi smacks him lightly. “Yes.”
“Holy shit,” Jungkook says. Yoongi draws away, alarmed. “How long?”
“I don’t know,” says Yoongi, flushing an endearing pink. “Since I first met you, probably. I don’t do one-night stands, you know, and definitely not drunk ones, but something about you made me want to try. Thought it would just be a one-time thing, but– you showed up again in my life and I kept wanting to try, and you turned out so lovely, I guess I just fell harder.”
Jungkook stares at him, trying to process Yoongi’s words. Yoongi shifts uncomfortably on his feet. “You don’t have to like me back—”
“I really want to kiss you right now, what the fuck.”
“Oh,” says Yoongi, lovely.
“Can I kiss you?”
Yoongi’s cheeks flush darker. He nods.
Jungkook leans in and Yoongi meets him halfway, and then Jungkook’s hands are cupping Yoongi’s jaw and Yoongi’s hands are wrapping around his shoulders and they’re holding onto each other tight. Yoongi’s lips are sticky-sweet against his own, his skin warm and soft underneath Jungkook’s hands, and it feels so right.
Hoseok and Namjoon and Seokjin start whooping loudly. The crowd around them bursts into a goading cheer. They’re probably going to end up over the internet tomorrow in any coverage of the parade, good or bad, but he doesn’t care at all. All he can think about in this moment is how Yoongi gasps into his mouth, how his lip tastes like cherry when Jungkook tugs it between his teeth.
They break apart, and Jungkook can’t stop smiling as Yoongi drags him back down for a quick peck, and then loops his arm around Jungkook’s shoulder and buries his face into Jungkook’s neck to hide his own smile. Jungkook grins triumphantly at the crowd, feeling a vertigo that has nothing to do with how high up he is. There’s a lightness in his chest and he can’t feel the ground beneath his feet, but Yoongi draws back looks at him and he feels—
He feels so loved.
They end up crammed in a tiny bar once the event starts winding down. The place is decorated with rainbow flags, and he can tell a bunch of others from the parade are hanging out here too.
Yoongi holds his hand, and doesn’t let it go. He doesn’t let go as they enter the bar, doesn’t let go as they slide into a booth and order drinks. Jungkook can’t stop smiling, feeling jittery throughout his entire body.
It’s a few drinks in when he realizes he’s completely forgotten about Jimin and Taehyung amidst the excitement. He has a million calls and messages from the both of them. They go from realizing he’s no longer with them, to freaking out about missing his calls, to freaking out about him missing their calls.
He dreads pressing dial.
Jimin picks up after two rings. “Jungkook! Jungkook, this is you, right? Not some guy who’s kidnapped you and stolen your phone?”
“It’s me,” Jungkook says. In the background, he hears Taehyung screaming his name.
“Where the hell are you? I swear we turned around for one second and suddenly you were gone.”
“Are you sure he hasn’t been kidnapped?” Taehyung says. His voice sounds a lot closer to the phone when he says, “Jungkook, if you’re being held against your will, blink twice.”
“That’s not how it works, dumbass,” says Jimin.
“I’m okay, guys,” says Jungkook. “I ran into Yoongi and his friends. We’re at a bar. I’ll text it to you.”
“You’re with Yoongi?”
Jimin is silent for a second. “Did you… kiss him?”
Jungkook hides his creeping smile behind his hand, even though he knows Jimin can’t see. “Yeah.”
Jimin shrieks, nearly rupturing Jungkook’s eardrum. He hangs up before Jimin does any permanent damage, and texts them his location. Beside him, Yoongi raises an eyebrow. Jungkook just shakes his head.
He sees Taehyung and Jimin walk through the door a little while later and waves them over. He’s relieved to see the unicorn glitter puke again, though a lot of Jimin’s makeup has rubbed off by now, and Taehyung doesn’t look much better. In the dim lighting of the bar, they look vaguely like deflated glittery unicorns now.
“Jungkook!” Jimin says tearfully, going in to wrap Jungkook in a tight hug along with Taehyung. “We were so worried—”
“You!” Namjoon shrieks suddenly, jumping out and pointing at Jimin. “You’re the one who ruined my hydrangeas!”
Jimin looks around him, then at Namjoon, then points to himself. “Me?”
“Yes, you! I’ve been growing them for three years, and you just puked on them!”
“Um…” Jimin’s eyes are wide. “Sorry?”
“Tell that to my hydrangeas, not me,” Namjoon says, and sulks back into his seat.
Jimin looks at Jungkook for answers. Jungkook shrugs.
“His hydrangeas are fine,” Yoongi says. “He hosed them down and they looked exactly the same as before.”
“Exactly the same? They were defiled,” Namjoon hisses. He stares into his drink and hiccups sadly. Next to him, Hoseok wraps a comforting arm around his shoulder.
“Oh god, he’s crying about the flowers again,” Seokjin says and downs his beer.
Jimin looks alarmed. “Again?”
“Don’t mind him.” Seokjin waves dismissively. “There’s nothing wrong with them.”
Namjoon shakes his head. “They look fine on the outside but who knows what kind of trauma—”
“You’re drunk,” says Yoongi. “Let’s take you home.”
Yoongi lets go of Jungkook’s hand, and Jungkook tries very hard not to complain. Jimin stands awkwardly to the side as Yoongi helps Namjoon stand up, looking as guilty as he is confused. Yoongi tosses Jungkook an apologetic look, but Jungkook smiles back.
“We’ll, uh, go too,” says Jimin, exchanging a bewildered glance with Taehyung. “To say sorry to the flowers.”
When Jungkook wakes up, Yoongi is lying next to him on his bed.
He blinks a few times, rubs his eyes, trying to make sure Yoongi is real in front of him. Yoongi‘s face is right there, beautifully peaceful in his sleep, his hair fanned out against the pillow. His mouth is a little bit open, blowing out little puffs of air every time he exhales. He’s lying on top of the sheets in the same clothes as yesterday, eyes smudged with day-old makeup. His arms are tucked between his thighs. Jungkook is endeared.
In between them, strangely enough, is Holly.
Oh. This is Yoongi’s bed.
This is Yoongi’s bed, in Yoongi’s room, in Yoongi’s house. A strange jolt of excitement runs through him at that. He lies there, staring at Yoongi’s face, how lovely and serene it is. Yoongi has blackout curtains in his room, but they’re drawn; the morning light hits his face perfectly, makes his skin look so soft and smooth and glowing. Jungkook is a little bit in awe.
Cautiously, he reaches out to tuck an errant strand of hair behind Yoongi’s ear, reveling in how soft it feels between his fingers. Tempted, he traces the shell of Yoongi’s ear, down his jawline, his neck, before drawing away.
Yoongi blinks at him slowly.
“G’morning,” he rasps sleepily. Jungkook shudders a little at the sound of it, deeper and scratchier than normal but no less devastating.
“Morning,” Jungkook says back. His mouth is dry. His breath tastes awful. But he feels good.
“What time is it?” Yoongi mumbles.
“Okay,” Yoongi says, and closes his eyes again. “You should go back to sleep.”
“‘Kay,” says Jungkook. He reaches an arm out, rests it on Yoongi’s hip. Yoongi hums and scoots a little bit closer, as much as he can with Holly in the way. Jungkook watches his chest rise and fall two, three times before he closes his own eyes.
When he wakes up again, Yoongi is staring at him.
Jungkook stares back. Yoongi’s eyes don’t waver. They’re so dark, so full, brimming with everything Yoongi doesn’t need to say in words, he can’t stop staring. The conscious part of Jungkook’s mind thinks, will probably always think, he wants Yoongi to look at him like this forever.
“See something you like?” he teases.
“Yeah,” Yoongi says. “Wanna kiss you.”
“Oh,” he breathes out. “My morning breath is awful though.”
“It’s okay. Mine is too.”
Jungkook wrinkles his nose and giggles. “Gross.”
He leans forward anyways. Yoongi meets him halfway.
It is gross, but Jungkook can’t help but want more anyways. “I wanna talk to you every day,” he says when he pulls away. “I want to paint how you make me feel. Make music with you. Know everything about you.”
“You can,” says Yoongi, reaching out to lace their fingers together and stroking his knuckles with his thumb. “I want that too.”
“Good,” Jungkook says. “You’re so nice to me.”
Yoongi laughs. Kisses his forehead. Jungkook smiles and lets his eyes fall closed.
What Not to Do When Trying to Get Over a Bad Breakup, by Jeon Jungkook:
Chapter Three: realize the guy is actually Min Yoongi, a great fucking person.
Chapter Four: kiss Min Yoongi again, while not drunk, without crying.
Chapter Five: kiss Min Yoongi all the time.
Jungkook still has to work on the rest, but he’s already got an epilogue in mind: live out the rest of his life happily with Min Yoongi and their three dogs in their beautiful beachside home, and kiss him every day.
“You want three dogs?” Yoongi asks.
“You don’t want three dogs?”
“I mean,” Yoongi says slowly, “why have three when you could have five? Or ten?”
Jungkook grins. “Shit, you’re right. You’re a genius.”
“Of course I am,” he says with a soft smile, the corner of his eyes crinkling as he looks at Jungkook, and Jungkook thinks, this is it.