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“You need to turn left at the lights.”

 

“That’ll take us way longer. I’m going straight.”

 

Maps says turn left.”

 

“Yeah, and I’m ignoring them.”

 

“You do this every time. Why do I even bother?”

 

Seokjin makes a sound like a dying pterodactyl (or at least, the sound they make in Jurassic Park) and leans forward over the front console. He waves his poorly-bandaged hand in between Yoongi and Hoseok. “Save the domestic for later. I don’t care how you get to the ER, just get there. Run the red lights if you have to, Yoongi—my hand fucking hurts.”

 

“Really?” Yoongi says, eyes widening comically at him in the rearview mirror. Seokjin sticks his tongue out in retaliation. Namjoon pulls Seokjin back into his seat and re-adjusts his seatbelt like a fretting mother. Seokjin pouts, but he loves it.

 

Hoseok’s phone robotically chirps that they’re five minutes away but Seokjin ignores it. He can’t think past how much hand is throbbing. He just needs some hot hospital intern to assure him that he didn’t, in fact, break his thumb playing Mario Kart and that it’s all just some big misunderstanding and hey, here’s some hospital grade painkillers, enjoy your Friday night!

 

But the way his hand is burning like it’s trying to detach itself from Seokjin’s body tells him otherwise. 

 

“This is such bullshit,” he pouts.

 

“It could have happened to anyone,” Namjoon says solemnly. Yoongi parks the car and they all get out with a heavy sigh, like someone drunk called them at 4am and asked for a ride home from the other side of the city. 

 

“Namjoon,” Yoongi says from up ahead. “He broke his thumb playing a video game.”

 

“Hey,” Seokjin hisses. “Keep your voice down. And it wasn’t even my fault! Hoseok was the one who dropped that fucking banana peel on the last lap. What else was I supposed to do?”

 

Yoongi opens the door for a family of four and smiles gently at the little girl with a pink cast on her arm and tear tracks on her cheeks, but when he looks back at Seokjin his face is wiped of emotion. “I don’t know,” he deadpans. “Let him win? Use a regular amount of force on the controller?”

 

“You’re just whipped,” Seokjin sniffs. “Too sensitive for the game. There’s no loyalty or love in Mario Kart. Only loss, betrayal and sweet, sweet victory.”

 

“You scare me sometimes,” says Namjoon.

 

“Good.”

 

Namjoon shakes his head and goes up to the desk with Yoongi to handle the paperwork. Seokjin said they needed to because he injured his writing hand, but he didn’t, and they all know that, but they also know that indulging Seokjin when he’s injured and petty is easier than fighting him.

 

Seokjin looks around the crowded waiting room, searching for Hoseok’s neon jacket. He’s nowhere to be found. Seokjin pulls out his phone and opens their chat. 

 

Thank god he didn’t hurt his good hand.

 

Seokjin (10:51pm)

where are you

why have you deserted me 

hobi im scared and alone and halfway to death

 

He sees the typing bubble pop up but he barrels on, chuckling to himself as he takes a seat in the far corner.

 

Seokjin (10:52pm)

Hobi please i dont have much time the doctors said its fatal

I left you everything in the will, dont tell the others

 

Hobi (10:52pm)

I went to the toilet????

Also there are bleeding people everywhere i cant sit w/ you sorry

 

Seokjin (10:53pm)

Did i say i left you everything

I meant nothing

 

Hobi (10:53pm)

.。*゚+.*.。(❁´◡`❁)。.。:+*

 

Seokjin is about to attack Hoseok with an essay of weapon emojis as best he can with one set of fingers, when Namjoon jogs up to him with a paper cup and open palm. He crouches down in front of Seokjin.

 

“The nurse said it’s pretty busy but someone will come over soon, and you should take these in the meantime.” He drops two white pills into Seokjin’s waiting hand. “Also, Yoongi-hyung and I are getting snacks. Want anything?”

 

Seokjin tosses the pills back and finishes the water in one go. He hopes this is the strong shit.

 

“Surprise me,” he sighs, like these are the last hours of his life. Namjoon pats his knee with a laugh and tells him they’ll be back soon.

 

Seokjin leans his head back against the wall and slips his eyes closed, trying to focus on the smell of bleach and the noise of people rushing in and out the doors of the waiting room, nurses calling out and doctors responding to frantic calls. It’s been ten seconds and the medicine still hasn’t kicked in yet; he’s feeling very sorry for himself. 

 

Some time later, he hears voices coming closer to him and cracks one eye open. He tries to keep his face neutral when he sees a guy with bright blue hair and an extravagant silk robe fussing over another guy he can’t really see, blocked by a massive pamphlet display.  

 

“—here and wait, I’ll go get the paperwork and find Jiminie,” Blue-Hair says. 

 

“Okay, thanks,” comes the soft response from behind the pamphlets. Seokjin opens his other eye and sits up. Pamphlet boy comes into view and Seokjin has to fight to keep his expression neutral.

 

Here’s the situation:

 

  1. Pamphlet boy is wearing a tight white t-shirt which doesn’t leave anything to the imagination—seriously, Seokjin could use his abs as an eye test, they’re so clear.
  2. He’s also wearing hot pink striped pyjamas pants with bunnies printed all over them (extremely cute).
  3. His hair is black and curly and gorgeous and he has huge, brown eyes that Seokjin just wants to stare into for 24 hours without break.
  4. There is blood all over his shirt and he’s got tissues coming out of each nostril (which should look stupid, but it looks oddly endearing. Is that weird? That’s a bit weird).
  5. He is now sitting in the seat next to Seokjin.

 

Seokjin straightens up and covers his injured hand as subtly as possible.

 

“Rough night?” he asks casually, like they’re at a bar and Seokjin gets paid to give sad people unsolicited life advice.

 

The guy jolts and turns to look at him, then he jolts again and almost falls off his chair. 

 

“Woah, hey, it’s okay,” laughs Seokjin. “I’m not going to eat you.”

 

“Sorry,” Pyjama Boy says. Hmm, no that’s not strong enough. Pyjama… prince? Bloody T-shirt Competition? No, damn, that one’s just gross. “I didn’t see you there.”

 

“You didn’t see me?” Seokjin says, aghast. “Me?”

 

The guy looks helplessly lost. “Um, yeah. Sorry.”

 

Seokjin takes pity on him. “That’s okay, I’ll forgive you this time.”

 

There’s an awkward silence amidst the chaos around them but Seokjin is really bored and he wants to keep his attention off his hand while the meds work their magic. Plus, this guy is really cute and he’s nothing if not an opportunist.

 

“I’m Seokjin,” he announces.

 

“Oh,” the guy blinks. “I’m Jungkook?”

 

“You sound surprised about that.”

 

“Sorry I’m just not used to ho—guys. People. Talking to me here.” Jungkook coughs into his fist but he winces when it jolts his nose. It doesn’t look entirely straight. Seokjin squints at it. 

 

“What happened to you?” he asks. “Did you get into a fist fight with Hugh Hefner?”

 

“What?”

 

“Blue hair. Tall. Wearing a bathrobe in public.” 

 

Jungkook narrows his eyes but then he sits back and laughs brightly. Maybe he usually scrunches his nose when he does, because once again he cuts himself off and holds his nose with fretting fingertips. “That’s my roommate. And no, I didn’t fight him but…”

 

Seokjin leans in. “Go on.”

 

“I was... in a fight,” Jungkook says slowly. He nods like he’s convincing himself and his demeanour changes from shy to smug and indifferent. He puffs his chest out. Seokjin does not look at it. “I got into a street fight. I didn’t—you know, I didn’t want to have to resort to violence—but I was cornered. I didn’t have a choice.” He sighs heavily and shakes his head like he’s been dealt a great injustice. The serious look he’s going for is unfortunately ruined by the tissues dangling from his nose, but Seokjin indulges him.

 

“That’s so brave of you,” he says earnestly. 

 

Jungkook looks up at him with wide eyes before schooling his expression back into something cocky, smirking and leaning back in the shitty plastic chair that creaks and wobbles a bit under the pressure. He manspreads to the maximum and crosses his arms over his chest.

 

“Yeah, it’s whatever,” he shrugs. “I did what I had to do.”

 

Seokjin holds back a snort of laughter. Jungkook is obviously lying—his fists look like they’ve never been in a fight and he’s wearing his fucking pyjamas —but it’s still cute. Bloody t-shirt and all. 

 

“So uh,” Jungkook continues. “What happened to you?”

 

“Oh, you know.” Seokjin waves his free hand about. “Freak accident.”

 

Jungkook abandons all pretenses of being a self-assured street fighter and looks at the huge bandage on Seokjin’s hand in horrified wonder. “Oh my god,” he gasps, “did you lose all your fingers? Where did you put them? You know you’re meant to keep them, right? Can I see them?” He starts to trip over his words in his excitement and Seokjin has to use all his mental strength not to coo at him.

 

“Uh-uh.” He moves his hand away like Jungkook might reach out for it. “I’m not showing you.”

 

“Why not?” Jungkook pouts.

 

He’s about to say something like you have to earn it but it feels a little sleazy considering the setting, but then he thinks the medication starts to kick in, or maybe he has no self control, so he’s about to say it anyway when the prophesied Hot Intern pops up in front of them. He’s wearing the white coat (tick), his face is angelic (double tick), and his hair is artfully swept off his forehead like he’s not working in one of the most stressful environments there is (bonus points). Seokjin’s attention stutters, but Hot Intern is only looking at Jungkook. Normally Seokjin would feel jaded about that, but you know what? He gets it.

 

“What did you do this time, Jungkookie?” Hot Intern sighs. Jungkook whips around to look at him and his eyes shake like he’s been caught stealing something. “Was it the s—”

 

“Street fighting?” Seokjin interjects. “I hear he’s a streetfighter. Hi.” He holds out his good hand. “I’m Kim Seokjin. I, too, am injured and in need of medical attention.”

 

Hot Intern looks him up and down, smiles sweetly and says, “Someone will be with you soon”, and then he turns back to Jungkook.

 

“It’s fine, Jimin-hyung, I’m fine,” Jungkook says hurriedly. “Don’t worry about me, go and treat other people—look! That person is bleeding!” 

 

Jimin doesn’t look. “You’re bleeding.”

 

“As am I,” Seokjin sings; the medication has kicked in; he feels like a noodle, but in a good way. 

 

“He lost all his fingers in a freak accident,” Jungkook supplies, seemingly desperate for the attention to be moved off him. Seokjin is happy to oblige.

 

He starts weaving an elaborate story about his night, one where he’s a functioning adult that goes rock-climbing for fun and sustained a serious injury through an act of heroism instead of the truth: that he’s a soggy excuse for a 27 year old who landed himself in the ER playing Nintendo.

 

Truth be told, Seokjin isn’t sure how much sense his story is making. He just heard his mouth refer to the climbing handholds as ‘lumpy potato nuggets’ because he’s only ever been rock-climbing once in his life and the memory is fifteen years old and hazy, even without the medication fizzing between his ears and making his smile all wide and loose. 

 

The people sitting nearby keep shooting him disgruntled looks; he’s probably talking super loudly but he doesn’t give a fuuuuuuccckkk.

 

A mother sitting two seats away looks at him in horror and stands up with her child to move across the room. Did he say that out loud? “Oops,” Seokjin sighs. “Anyway. No more fingers for me.” He makes a flat sound like someone just gave a wrong answer on a game show.

 

Jimin crouches down in front of him. “How many painkillers did you take, Seokjin-ssi?”

 

“Well I’d count on my fingers but I only have five!” he cries. 

 

“You took more than five?” Jimin hisses. His face turns stormy and he stands up to leave but Seokjin grabs him with his free hand and whines.

 

“No don’t go, it was a joke! Light comedy! I swallowed the normal amount.” Seokjin pauses to snort; Jimin still looks unamused but his mouth twitches at the corner. “Please Jimin-ssi, don’t leave us unsupervised. What if Jungkook tries to fight me?”

 

Jungkook jolts. “Why would I do that?!”

 

“Because you’re a streetfighter!” Seokjin whispers at him urgently, but he breaks character for a second to wink and tap the side of his nose with his index finger.

 

Jimin breathes very slowly out of his nose. “Are you here with anyone, Seokjin-ssi?”

 

“Yeah they’re—” Seokjin flaps his arms about “—filling out snacks and eating paperwork.”

 

“Okay, how about I see if a doctor is ready to see you, hm? Get that hand looked at.” Jimin looks at Jungkook with softer eyes. “I’ll go talk to Taehyungie okay? Stay here.” He ruffles Jungkook’s hair, ignoring the petulant scrunch of Jungkook’s beautiful, gorgeous honker he gets in response.

 

“Really, a magnificent nose,” Seokjin blurts. “Is that a genetic thing? You always had that?”

 

“Wow,” Jungkook laughs. His cheeks are such a pretty pink, even under the ugly fluorescents. “How many pills did you take?”

 

“If I told you that, I’d have to kiss you.”

 

Jungkook almost inhales the tissues in his nose with the force of his inhale, and he splutters for a second with shining eyes. “What?!”

 

“Kill you! Would have to—” Seokjin turns his thumb and pointer finger into a gun and shoots “—pew pew. Like that.”

 

Jungkook pretends to feel the impact of his bullets, but the movement jostles his nose. “Oh no, I think I’m bleeding again,” he says mournfully.

 

Seokjin is in love with him. He’s about to say so, but he’s cut off by a middle-aged doctor calling his name out from the main desk. Seokjin rises on surprisingly steady feet and smiles at Jungkook, bloody chin and all.

 

“See you on the other side.”

 

“Bye,” Jungkook says, muffled by the fresh tissues clogging his nose.

 

Seokjin pulls his phone out on the way to the radiology rooms and opens the group chat. 

 

 Seokjin (11:42pm)

going in for the surgery

If i die, i die

 

Hobi (11:42pm)

Noooo don’t die ur too sexy haha

 

Yoongi (11:43pm) 

see ya 

 

Namjoon (11:43pm)

don’t die we need a rematch!!!!

actually, take ur time - there’s two hot guys at the front desk

I’m gonna talk to one of them

 

 Seokjin (11:45pm)

joon….if i come back out and u have a hot boy’s phone number

I’ll know i’m dead

 

Yoongi (11:46pm)

he’s got a point

 

Namjoon (11:47pm)

ouch

 

Seokjin (11:47pm)

lov u

 

Turns out Seokjin’s thumb is sprained, not broken. The radiologist says he won’t know for sure for at least another twenty minutes but by the looks of it, the swelling isn’t severe enough for anything beyond soft tissue damage. Seokjin tries not to look disappointed; he was hoping for something a little more dramatic, even though he was deathly embarrassed when they first arrived.

 

What is he going to tell Jungkook, now? He’ll be paid dirt when his true identity is revealed. Seokjin drags his feet on his way back into the waiting room.

 

He finds his friends sitting near the entrance and Hoseok jumps up to meet him. 

 

“What did they say? Is it broken?” he asks frantically.

 

“No,” Seokjin pouts. “Probably just sprained. He said it’ll take like, twenty minutes to confirm, though.”

 

“Why do you sound disappointed?” Yoongi asks around a chocolate Pocky stick. Hoseok breaks off the half dangling from his lips and eats it himself. Yoongi barely even flinches. Gross.

 

Seokjin shrugs. “Where’s Namjoon?”

 

“Flirting with the bathrobe guy.”

 

Hey, Seokjin knows a bathrobe guy. He spins around to see Jungkook’s friend by the front desk, smiling coyly and standing very close to a flustered-looking Namjoon. It looks like a wolf luring in its prey for dinner. 

 

“Did I die?” Seokjin asks.

 

“Sadly not,” Yoongi says, winking at Seokjin’s indignant yelp. “Look at him go. I’m proud of our son. That guy is out of his league.”

 

“No he’s not,” Hoseok scoffs. “Namjoon is smart. He does pilates. He’s bendy and his chest is as solid as a brick wall.”

 

“When did you fall in love with Namjoon?” Yoongi asks through a pout.

 

“Ah, Yoongi-yah, you know Hobi’s type is exclusively skinny boys with pale thighs. I think you’re safe.”

 

“He’s right,” Hoseok coos, tumbling into Yoongi’s lap and kissing his nose. Yoongi looks quietly satisfied.

 

After a few minutes, Jungkook re-enters the waiting room with tape across the bridge of his nose and no blood on his face. He walks over to his friend and Namjoon, and Seokjin narrows his eyes at them, trying to lip-read. It doesn’t work.

 

Namjoon points at their group with a smile and a wave that Hoseok happily returns. Seokjin pretends he just got a text message. 

 

“Hey, guys.” Namjoon settles in between Seokjin and Yoongi, and Jungkook and his friend sit opposite them. “This is Taehyung and Jungkook.” Namjoon facilitates introductions but Seokjin refuses to take his eyes off his phone as he types gibberish into his notes app. Maybe if he doesn’t look at Jungkook he won’t—

 

“We’ve, uh. We’ve met actually. How’s your hand?”

 

Shit.

 

Seokjin is about to lie his way around the truth (as if the opinion of this hot stranger really matters) when Hoseok starts laughing and ruins everything.

 

“Oh yeah, how funny is it?” he asks Jungkook.

 

Jungkook does not look amused. In fact, he looks a bit upset. "I don’t think it’s cool to laugh about it. He must be in so much pain.”

 

“It’s just a sprain, he’ll get over it,” Yoongi says with a dismissive wave of his Pocky box.

 

Jungkook straightens up in his chair with a furrowed brow. “No, it’s not. He lost all his fingers?’

 

As always, Namjoon had piss-poor timing with his sip of Coke and it comes shooting of his mouth and a bit out of his nose, too. Taehyung procures some tissues out of nowhere and Namjoon takes them with a watery smile and a hiccup. Yoongi just calmly rubs his back as he coughs.

 

“The only thing hyung lost is the last round of Mario Kart, and his dignity,” he says.

 

“What?!” Jungkook says.

 

Seokjin makes a garbled noise. “Yoongi-yah don’t—” 

 

Yoongi doesn’t listen. “He sprained his thumb playing Mario Kart, dude.”

 

Jungkook’s shock is suddenly turned on Seokjin. “You told me it was a freak accident!” he cries accusingly.

 

“Yeah, well! You lied about being a street fighter!” Seokjin shoots back. “What’s the truth?!”

 

It’s Taehyung’s turn to laugh. All eyes turn to him. It takes a few seconds—the guy almost falls out of his seat from laughing so hard, making almost no noise and clapping like a seal in slow motion. “Oh Kookie,” he finally wheezes. “Street fighting?”

 

“It’s believable,” Jungkook huffs.

 

“You’re wearing pyjamas,” Yoongi points out.

 

“Wasn’t aware street fighters had a dress code,” Jungkook grumbles.

 

“Kookie y-you slipped in the shower,” Taehyung gets out, still laughing hard enough for tears to leak out the corners of his eyes. He turns to the group at large. “H-he was singing the Pokémon theme song and then—then there was this massive crash and I ran into the bathroom and he was naked in the bath with blood all over his face.”

 

Jungkook groans with his head between his knees. His ears and the back of his neck are tomato red.

 

Seokjin can relate; the nice, happy medication has worn off and he feels weirdly embarrassed and tired. That doesn’t stop him from snorting at Taehyung’s story and leaning forward to poke Jungkook’s knee.

 

“Very fearsome of you,” he comments when Jungkook finally sits back up.

 

“Yeah, you too,” Jungkook laughs softly and drags his palms down his cheeks. Their friends start raucously exchanging ER stories but Jungkook keeps his eyes on Seokjin. The scrutiny makes him feel a little prickly, but it's not a bad feeling.

 

“Which course was it?” Jungkook asks quietly. 

 

“You mean in Mario Kart?” Seokjin laughs. Jungkook nods. “Animal Crossing.”

 

Jungkook whistles lowly. “That’s cold.”

 

“I play to win.”

 

“Right, but you lost.” Jungkook cocks an eyebrow and Seokjin hates himself for thinking it’s attractive.

 

“And you busted your face trying to catch ‘em all in a bathtub. Guess we’re both losers.”

 

For a second Jungkook looks shocked, but then he tips his head back and laughs, high and bright and disgustingly endearing. “Yeah,” he says, still smiling at Seokjin with all his teeth. “I guess we are.”

 

Seokjin can’t help but smile back. His stomach is roiling and it has nothing to do with the ache in his hand or the hospital smell pervading his nostrils.

 

Ugh, he thinks, feeling his heart beat a little faster when Jungkook ducks his head. 

 

Gross.