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Jeon Jeongguk and the mysterious 'gay vibe'

Chapter Text

“What's up, Chim?“

“Will you come pick up Tae? Like right now?“

“Why? Something wrong? What happened? Did he have another breakdown over the thought of grass having feelings?“

“Uh...no, but we might've watched the documentary on Ted Bundy and now he doesn't wanna walk back alone but I sure as hell am not walking him to your place and then going back alone myself! So come pick him up please?“

Jeongguk sighed and looked across the table at his date apologetically.

“It's literally 2 pm, there's people outside...like everywhere! I –” another sigh “ I really can't right now.”

The girl, whose name he'd shamefully already forgotten was tapping her acrylic nails on the table, which was driving him nuts but he was trying this new approach this month where calmness was key to a happy and healthy life so he pretended not to care.

“Ugh – can't you just...like...it'll take you 30 minutes max! I can't deal with this right now, Guk, he's talking about all the people on campus who could secretly be serial killers and he's honestly kind of making sense and it's scaring me and I need to listen to whale sounds to calm down but someone thinks whale sounds are haunting, which they are absolutely not, Tae, but whatever and he won't let me play them and I am dyiiiing, Jeongguk! Pick up your responsibility!”

The thought of Taehyung spiraling into conspiracy theories about all the people on campus made him chuckle lightly but then he remembered the last time Tae was too scared to walk back from Jimins alone, which as it turned out was justified in the form of Tae having acquired a stalker, who was now thankfully far faaaar away and also had a restraining order.

Tap – tap – tap –

“Okay, fine. I'll be there in 5. See ya.”

The girl looked up raising an eyebrow but didn't seem very surprised.

“Uh – sorry, I just...uh – I gotta...take care of something. We can like...reschedule, if –“

“It's fine. This wasn't going well anyways, you can just say so. I'm honestly surprised you even said yes, when I asked you out.” she replied while waving towards a waitress.

“Huh...why?”

Jeongguk knew that he might not be the most approachable guy in his class but he didn't think his image was very intimidating or disinterested towards his peers.
True, most of his friends had different majors and therefore he didn't hang out with his classmates that much but who in their right mind would ever deny a pretty girl a date?!

“I kinda got a gay vibe from you, ya know?”

No, Jeongguk didn't know. A what now?! What even was a gay vibe? What about him gave that impression? Why would she even ask him out then?!

The girl studied his expression and finally let a small smile slip past her cold blue eyes. She seemed to pity him a little.

“Don't worry about it too much, just a feeling I had. Doesn't matter now, does it? Also, I got this” she gave the waitress her card and now actually managed a whole smile
“since I asked and all.”

Jeongguk was still mute and just stared at her with wide eyes, probably looking like a deer caught in head lights. It was only when the girl started laughing that he realized he should probably respond but nothing past “ok” would slip his lips.

“Really, it's fine. Don't worry 'bout it. Didn't you have somewhere to be?” she pointed at his phone still clutched in his hand tightly and gave him another warm smile.

“Right” he nodded absentmindedly.

“Oh yeah right, yes! I – uh – I should go” He put on his jacket hastily and threw the purple scarf that had been last years Christmas present from Taehyung around his neck
“Yeah, so...bye? Oh and thanks for – uh – yeah, the coffee...um...bye?”

She started laughing again and gave him a little wave as he turned around and dashed towards the door while covering his burning ears.

God damn it. Why couldn't he just converse like a normal human being? Why make saying goodbye so fucking awkward?! It's not like he had really enjoyed the date or wanted to see her again but leaving with a good impression would've still been nice. She seemed kind enough to have as a friend...though she probably thought of him as a weirdo now who said uh and yeah way too many times in one sentence.

He remembered that he still didn't know her name.

__________________________________________________________________

 

“And then I remembered that Yoongi once said that he plays 'Worms' as a kind of stress therapy and that he imagines them as the people surrounding him and when I asked if he ever though of me while shooting a worm he just snickered and now I am seriously doubting his sense of humor and more importantly his freaking humanity!
Like wouldn't it be so easy for him to be a serial killer? No wait! It would be even easier for Jin oh my god! With his looks he lures people in and then BAM – dead!”

Tae had been rambling on like this for the past 10 minutes ever since Jeongguk had opened Jimins door.

He now kinda wished to have never opened the doors to hell.

When Jimin said that it was bad, Jeongguk hadn't thought it was “suspecting-all-of-their-friends-of-being-serial-killers” bad. Nevertheless he had to suppress a smile while Taehyung was talking his ears off.

Whenever he talked himself into a rage without considering anything other than his thoughts, Jeongguk felt like a very special part of Taehyungs life since he had to feel very comfortable to shut off his brain to mouth filter entirely.

And even if just like Jimin he complained about it from time to time he'd always secretly enjoy being victim of Taehyungs brain farts.
...That sounded better in his head.

“Tae, you know that Yoongi's got no time for going around campus murdering even if he wanted to and that Jin cried the last time he accidentally stepped on a snail and organized a whole ass funeral for it?”

“Hm...yeah, I guess you're right...” Taehyung mumbled though his eyes still seemed far away and Jeongguk could tell his brain was providing him with a lot more imagery of mind – fucking possibilities on how their friends could be murderers.

“Well it could be you that lures people in with his looks as well...” Taehyung thought out loud.

Jeongguk stopped walking.

“Wh – wait what?! Tae, you're really going off the deep end now...”

At that Tae turned around and with one step was suddenly breathing Jeongguks air. His left index finger was tapping Jeongguks chest with every word.

“Just – tap – accept – tap – it – tap”.

After the incredulous look he gave Taehyung the latter got into Jeongguks space even more almost head butting him.

“You – tap – are – tap – very – tap – handsome – tap.” Following that statement Tae broke into a huge box shaped smile.
“And you know what they say: If looks could kill...”

“I don't think you're using that right, Tae.” Jeongguk replied while trying not to giggle and to simultaneously cover his possibly bright red ears with his scarf.

He never knew how to handle compliments, especially if they were about something he wasn't confident in and his looks were one of those things. It's not like he thought of himself as ugly but also just not as particularly...striking. He also had a knack for comparing himself to others.

“And if looks could kill, living with you would have surely ended my existence long ago.”

For that Taehyung elbowed his ribs.

“Just accept my compliment with a 'thank you'. Don't make this about me, headass!” but Jeongguk could see a sly smile playing at the corners of Taehyungs mouth.

“How did we get from serial killers to killer looks anyways? You know what, I think I'd be able to walk back from Jimins alone now thanks to that amazing change of topic.”

Tae just giggled as Jeongguk sighed very deeply and took out the keys to their shared apartment, which they were standing right in front of.

“Well that's just fucking great, isn't it. Maybe I should've just called you while you walked back alone, then I wouldn't have made a fool of myself in front of my date.”

He took off his shoes, jacket and scarf once inside and disposed of them somewhere near the entrance. They had planned on buying a coat rack at the start of their first semester but over the course of two years never got around to actually doing it.

Taehyung trailed behind Jeongguk and soon collapsed on the couch next to him.

“So...I take it, it didn't go that well?” he asked and almost sounded sorry for interrupting what hadn't been a good date anyways, but Tae didn't need to know that.

...On the other hand he could never lie to Tae straight in the face.

“Nah...but it wasn't that great to begin with. We didn't really have anything to talk about...or we did but...things just weren't going smoothly I guess.”

“That sucks.”

“I guess so.”

They were both looking at the black TV screen bathing in the warmth of the apartment. The sounds of their glass glockenspiel that they'd hung out in their second semester were echoing through the front door and making them both very sleepy.

“Tae?”

“Mhm?”

“Do I give off a gay vibe?”

For a moment there was no reaction and Jeongguk feared that Taehyung had fallen asleep and he wouldn't be able to rest until his question was answered but then he turned his head and presented Jeongguk with that box shaped smile once again.

“What even is that, Gukkie?”

“I don't know...just...well, apparently I'd given this girl from today a 'gay vibe'.”

Taehyungs expression turned a bit more serious and Jeongguk could feel his undivided attention on himself.

“Well do I give you a gay vibe, Guk?”

Jeongguk stared at Taehyungs rainbow headband and his we're queer, we're filled with existential fear T-shirt.

“Okay, pretend that's not there!” Tae said as he followed Jeongguks eyes.

“I don't know...no? I guess? Maybe? Ugh, I really don't know, Tae. That's why I asked!”

Taehyung laughed and ruffled Jeongguks hair.

“I don't think such a thing exists, Guk. Don't worry about it. If it bothers you that much, you can have one of my definitely not straight pins and cross out the not. How about that?”

Jeongguk huffed and shook his head at Tae, who was still laughing.

“It's not about that. You know it isn't.”

“Okay, then what's it about?” Tae asked back to a more serious tone, always knowing how to act around Jeongguk and his ever seeming mood swings, adapting to it like a chameleon.

“I don't know.” he let out a frustrated sigh. It wasn't the thought of a stranger thinking he was gay that was bothering him. It was more the thought of a stranger knowing something about him that he apparently didn't. Something that gave off a 'vibe'.

“Hey, it's okay, Gukkie. You don't have to know, okay? Let's just...let's just play some Mario Kart and cook some lasagna later and watch a good movie and you can think about it, okay? You can tell me when you've found an answer. Or not. Whatever. It's fine. Don't worry too much.”

Tae was still ruffling his hair or more like petting his hair now and Jeongguk allowed himself to let go of the thought that had been occupying his mind the whole afternoon.

“Sounds good.”

“Bet I can beat your ass with Toad today.”

“Ha! In your dreams, you mushroom lover!”

Chapter Text

Taehyung joined his friend group at their usual table in the uni cafeteria with a tray filled to the brim with food. He set it down between himself and Jimin.

“Huh, where did Jeongguk go?”

He could've sworn that his roommate came to the cafeteria with him. Maybe he had been day dreaming. Jeongguk seemed to make a lot more appearances in his daydreams recently.

Ever since that conversation about his gay vibe and seeing his best friend so completely lost, Taehyung had been harboring dangerous thoughts and small hopes.

It's not like he had been happy about Jeongguks obvious dilemma. He was feeling extremely sorry for him and his initial thought was to comfort and reassure him, that all he needed to be sure of was him being a human.

He himself always thought of human as his only real label even if he liked to parade the “queer agenda” around campus proudly. But that was more for everyone else and not for himself.

But now that his roommate had shown the tiniest confusion about his sexuality he – for whatever reason – badly needed to know what that was in Jeongguks case.

Maybe it was a kind of narcissistic desire.

When Taehyung had met Jeongguk late in high school he was – truth be told – very attracted to him and the thought of this attraction being one-sided didn't even cross his mind. He didn't necessarily think of Jeongguk as gay, just as an attractive human who also found Taehyung to be an attractive human and who maybe wanted to make good use of that attraction.

He was a little taken aback when Jeongguk mentioned how it would feel weird for him to hold hands with another dude in a conversation with some friends. But then he quickly accepted the fact that this boy was not gonna be on his radar and therefore instead became best friends with him.

Also the hand holding thing was bullshit since Jeongguk held hands with Taehyung plenty. However it always felt very non-assertive and more like a reflex at this point so Taehyung never thought much of it.

But now...this small part of him wanted Jeongguk to feel the same attraction he had felt in the beginning just because. Wouldn't that make things even? Maybe then he wouldn't feel guilty whenever Jeongguk sneaked into his (day)dreams.

“Jeonggukkie? I think he said something about a classmate of his and left.” Jimin supplied an answer to his initial question.

“He went to see his date again ~ “ Jin added in a sing-song tone and a wiggle of his eyebrows.

“His date? From last week? That girl?”

“Whoa calm down, tiger. I thought you went through the possessive stage in high school, Tae.” It sounded scolding but Yoongi had a teasing smile playing at his features.

“First of all I'm not possessive – “ groans of protest “ – and second of all I'm just asking 'cause he said it didn't go that well.”

Taehyung already felt a headache approaching. He did go through a possessive little shit stage in high school and made a conscious effort to not repeat that period of time he'd like to erase from everyone's memories.

“Well, maybe JK thinks second time is a charm.” Namjoon spoke up for the first time since Tae had sat down.

Jimin sighed.
“Babe, that's not how it goes...”

Hoseok started laughing and Jin took out a small memo pad, which seemed to encompass all of Namjoons slip-ups that proved the 148 IQ monster was still just a mere human. Seokjin always said he had one for everyone in their friend group but Taehyung had only ever seen one for Namjoon.

As he pointed this out a heated discussion about fairness erupted between his friends and Namjoon complained about being bullied while Hoseok argued that it'd only be fair to document their friend's stupid moments since he seemed to have absorbed their intelligence from them for himself.

Taehyung giggled when Jimin rolled his eyes and tried to play mediator and for the rest of the day his approaching headache was banished.

 

__________________________________________________________________

The rattling of keys woke Taehyung up from his late afternoon nap. He had had a fantastic dream about bunny astronauts on the moon and them building a bunny space station with a flag of Jeongguks face.

A dream worth telling said boy.

Jeongguk opened the door once he found the right key, threw his jacket and shoes to the ground as he kicked the door back shut and spotted Taehyung on the couch.

“'Sup.”

“'Sup to you, too. How was your day?” He was dying to talk about his dream before it escaped his mind but he was a good friend who pretended to be interested in Jeongguks stories first.

“Yeah, was alright. Had a presentation today. I think the professor was happy but he's hard to read so I dunno really. Oh and I met up with Chaeyoung again.”

“That girl from last week? Your date?”

Taehyung hoped he sounded as nonchalant as he wanted to. He was not possessive, no no no.

“Mhm.” Jeongguk plopped down on the couch next to Tae and turned on their old PlayStation.

“Cool...cool, cool, cool, cool, cool, cool – “

“Tae, stop acting like Jake Peralta! If you wanna know then just ask.”

“Okay, sooo...did you think second time's the charm ooooor...” Taehyung cringed as he repeated Namjoons words from earlier.

“I'm pretty sure you're not using that right.”

“Don't change the topic, Jeon Jeongguk!”

Said boy chuckled and handed Taehyung one of the controllers.

“Alright alright. I just – I thought about what she said a lot and instead of mulling it over in my head I decided to just ask what she meant since she seemed genuinely nice enough to talk to again, so...yeah.”

Taehyung wasn't convinced.

“And? Come on, don't make me beg for details!”

Another chuckle.

“And nothing. She said it was a spontaneous thought and that she should've kept it to herself since her perception of me has changed again apparently. We actually had a pretty decent conversation this time.”

Beep – beep – beep !

Taehyungs inner self protection sirens were going wild.

Abort mission – change topic !

“Cool...cool – Hey, bet I can beat you with Toad this time!”

“You never do, Tae! That's literally impossible!”

“Hmpf, try me.”

They played in silence for some time. Usually silence between them didn't bother Taehyung much. Most of the time it was even very comfortable. But now he felt it was suffocating him.

“Hey, do you wanna come to the film club again tomorrow? The funny dude from last time is gonna show his short film.”

Jeongguk loved coming to his film club meetings whenever they showed some of the members works. He always said it inspired him to do better and maybe even to gain the courage to someday show his own videos to people.

“Ah, I'm gonna see Chaeyoung tomorrow after classes.”

“Again?”

“Mhm.”

“Why?” Taehyung sounded too loud in his own ears. He wasn't possessive. This was just him being curious about his friend. He was like this with everyone.

“Because she's nice? What kind of question is that?” Jeongguk huffed out a laugh.

“I don't know...I just thought – I thought you talked about everything today?”

“Yeah and she's a nice girl with whom I had a nice conversation so we decided to meet up again tomorrow. I do have other friends you know?” Jeongguk chuckled again but he was raising his eyebrows questioningly at Taes wondering expression.

“I know that” a small pout made itself visible on Taehyungs face “tomorrow isn't that good anyways. Maybe I'll get asked out once I'm finally there alone.”

“Wha – Tae, don't go home with that Bogum guy. You know he gave me weird vibes last time, he might be one of those serial killers you keep talking about.”

“Well, vibes aren't that telling now, are they?” Taehyung shot back a little too sharp and he winced at his own tone.
“Sorry...I'm just tired I guess.”

Jeongguk furrowed his eyebrows and opened his mouth to say something but Taehyung didn't trust himself to stay calm after his small outburst of emotion so he quickly got up and mumbled something about going to bed early for a change.

He realized he was behaving childish and it painfully reminded him of his past high school self but he couldn't help it.

Something about the way his best friend had been affected by that girls statement last week had made all his resolve to only ever think of Jeongguk as just that – a best friend – crumble and he needed to quickly build up that wall again to ensure this relationship would work.

He couldn't let himself fall.

Not for Jeongguk.

Not now.

Not ever.

Chapter Text

Jeongguk felt bad lying to his friends.

“Does Jeongukkie have another date?” Hoseok squealed and the other boys wolf – whistled while he got up from their spot in the cafeteria.

“Shut up, Hobi! She's a friend.” See, technically he wasn't really lying. He just let his friends imply things, that he didn't necessarily correct. He had told them before that Chaeyoung was his friend but they'd always whistle or ruffle his hair and make comments about him coming of age.

He wouldn't actually mind it even if Chaeyoung was – truth be told – just a friend. But ever since their conversation about his “date” Taehyung had put some distance between them.

Maybe he was just being paranoid.

But he missed their daily Mario Kart sessions or their cooking evenings or the late night walks and coffee talks in between their classes.

Those things seemed to be cut short since three months ago. Taehyung said “hi” and “bye” whenever he came home or left and he also made sure to make two portions while cooking.

But he didn't tell him about his day. And he didn't ask about Jeongguks either. He also didn't tell Jeongguk when he'd cook, so that there was a warm meal on the counter when he came out of his room but he had to eat it alone.

So everytime the guys would be noisy about his so called “dates” with Chaeyoung his eyes immediately wandered to Taehyungs figure, which would be a little hunched over and smiling but without it reaching his eyes.

Jeongguk had a mixture of feelings about this. He didn't know what he was supposed to be feeling but the loneliness was driving him insane and when he felt that distance between him and Taehyung grow, then his heart clenched at the thought of them drifting apart.

“I just don't understand what's different now! Why won't he just talk to me, you know?”

Chaeyoung gave him a sympathetic look. They'd met up at her place this time. She was sharing a three bedroom apartment with friends, that was off campus and looked like it came straight out of a pinterest board.

“Well why don't you talk to him then?”

She got him there. Damn it.

“Because – because I – well because he...” sigh “because it feels like it'll change things. I don't know...it just feels so – so...”

“Meaningful? Life-changing? Transforming one might dare to say?”

“Shut up, I mean it! I feel like if I mention him being distant, then that'll...like...open a can of worms or something...” Jeongguk winced at that metaphor. It had such a negative sound.

“Look, Jeongguk. Hah, that rhymes!” He gave Chaeyoung a dirty look “Okay okay...do you actually want my honest opinion?”

The sudden change in her tone worried him slightly but they became friends because of her unfiltered honesty after all.

So he gave a small nod.

“Okay, keep in mind that I haven't actually met your Taehyung, so this –“

“He's not my Taehyung...” Jeongguk interrupted.

“Sure, Jan. Anyways, this is all speculation on my part, 'kay?”

Jeongguk nodded once more.

“To me it sounds like you have some unresolved...tension.”

“Well...we fight sometimes but isn't that normal for best friends and roommates? Don't you fight with Momo and Dahyun sometimes?”

Chaeyoung seemed to suppress a smile. Or more like a laugh. She awkwardly transformed it into a cough and pretended to be serious again.

“I mean more like – uh – romantic tension...”

Jeongguk felt his ears heat up and he quickly covered them with his hands. Unfortunately the blush crept to his cheeks and then his neck and suddenly his whole body felt as if it was on fire.

“I – uh – we – I don't think...uhm...this – I mean – we...” As if the stuttering wasn't bad enough already he felt tears prickling in his eyes and he really didn't want to cry right now, because what was there to cry about?

But as always his brain (or his heart?) wouldn't listen to him.

Chaeyoung stood up to sit right next to him and just put her arm around his shoulders, looking away from his tear-stained face.

So he could cry in peace.

Which he did.

What exactly about he didn't know yet.

__________________________________________________________________

Two hours later Jeongguk arrived back at their dorm.

The lights were out and it was freezing, so he figured Taehyung was still out and about somewhere. Usually he'd message him to see where he was...

He took out his phone and stared at the black screen.

Why shouldn't I message him? Nothing's actually changed...right?


From: Jeonggukkie
To: Taebear 23:21

Where u @?

He waited a few minutes for Taehyung to see the message. He went online for a second but the offline sign quickly returned and made Jeongguks heart clench once more.

He immediately reprimanded himself for feeling sad. Tae was probably just busy. And anyways it's not like he has to respond to Jeongguk everytime.

He doesn't owe him anything. He doesn't have any responsibility towards Jeongguk.

Sometimes I wish he did.

The realization had washed over him before but he had shut it down that time. He also couldn't place that emotion then.

But now he felt there was no going back. They had to talk about it and something was gonna change whether he wanted it to or not.

That's the thought he went to bed with.


From: Taehyung
To: Kookachu 00:16

Date night, don't wait up. Night.

Jeongguks heart didn't clench this time. It ached.

He really didn't need any more evidence. The only thing he needed was clarity and he knew that now he most definitely had to talk with Taehyung. Even if he was too late.

Oh god. If he was too late...

...he'd have to move out.

He might lose his best friend. His person really. Chaeyoung was right, he really was his Taehyung.

Jeongguk thought he'd used up all his tears before but he seemed to have a never-ending reservoir in his body.

He might lose him but it kind of felt like a loss already. Taehyung was already so distant, he might as well have moved out.

He realized his heart was racing and his hands were shaking. Once he let the first few tears flow he started sobbing and curled in on himself, hands gripping his purple pillow tightly.


From: Jeonggukkie
To: Taebear 00:25

Please come home.

Chapter Text

Taehyung sat opposite of Bogum who had invited him out for dinner after their club activities and tried to listen to said mans stories.

But somehow his mind slipped away everytime Bogum opened his mouth (maybe said mans two hour monologue was part of the reason) and his thoughts drifted to his apartment, which was probably icy cold at the moment and how Jeongguk would come home and freeze his (cute) ass off and how Jeongguk wouldn't have a home cooked meal on the counter and would probably eat some instant ramen and how Jeongguk probably sat on their couch alone and drove over the rainbow bridge as Princess Peach by himself and how Jeongguk...

“Dude, are you even listening?”

Taehyungs eyes focused on the man in front of him and he suddenly felt really bad for not paying attention to him. Bogum had invited him out on a date after all.

“Sorry, I – uh...I just thought that I forgot to feed my – uh...bunny.”

“Your bunny? There's actually people who keep bunnies as pets in college?” Bogum chuckled lightly but seemingly without ill intention.

“Ha-ha...yeah...but it's fine. It'll just have to feed itself.” He realized he sounded stiff and even a little bored but he was so tired. Tired from having his guard up literally all the damn time recently.

“Dude...I don't think that bunnies can do that...can they?”

The look of concern on Bogums face brightened up his night a little and Taehyung felt a laugh escape his throat. Maybe this could go somewhere after all.


From: Jeongukkie
To: Taebear 23:21

Where u @?

Taehyung sighed at his phone. See, that was the problem with Jeongguk. Once he managed to ban the boy from his daydreams and get involved with the actual people around him, somehow Jeongguk always found a way to get back into the forefront of his mind.

It was like Jeongguk could feel Taehyung ignoring his thoughts about him and felt the need ro remind him that 'hey, I exist and you love me and you'll never not love me btw, have a good night' and Taehyung didn't know how to handle this.

He looked up at his date.

“Hey...isn't your place close by?”

Bogum nodded his head so hard that Taehyung thought he might crash into the table any moment.

“Well, then...let's go.”

 

__________________________________________________________________

After two more glasses of wine Taehyung had locked himself in Bogums bathroom. He was bored out of his mind and didn't actually know what drove him to go home with this man.

Also he didn't have a good excuse to leave, so now he was pondering over whether to pretend to be sick or to just get it over with and go back then. He really wasn't in the mood anymore though.

He took out his phone itching to message Jimin about the situation when Jeongguks message popped up at the top of chats. He hadn't answered him yet.


From: Taehyung
To: Kookachu 00:16

Date night, don't wait up. Night.

He thought about asking Jeongguk to call him and give him a good excuse to leave but then again he didn't want him to know the date was going shitty.

Jeongguk had had some amazing dates apparently so he should as well.

Right?

He felt guilty even though he didn't actually do anything.

It wasn't as if he owed Jeongguk anything? He didn't have any responsibility for him whatsoever right? So why did he still feel as if he just made a major mistake...

He got up and unlocked the door planning to just tell Bogum that this was nice and all but that it wasn't gonna work. At least not tonight.

“Hey, are you okay?” Speaking of the devil (this was his apartment after all).

Before Taehyung could respond his phone beeped once again.


From: Jeonggukkie
To: Taebear 00:25

Please come home.

“I – uh...I need to – I gotta leave! Sorry!” He almost knocked over a vase while grabbing his coat of the table and slipped into his shoes halfheartedly, still staring at his phone.

“Oh...uh...okay...can I – “

“NO, it's fine! I'll find my way, thanks and sorry and thanks for the food, sorry again! BYE!” He shouted over his shoulder as he was already out the door and flew down the stairs.

Jeongguk wasn't a scaredy-cat like him so being in the apartment alone had never been a big deal to him. He had also never begged Taehyung to come home so something must have happened.

Taehyung didn't even realize how fast he had sprinted across campus until he was at their dorm panting and almost doubling over from his stitches. He took a second to collect his breath and then unlocked the door.

He immediately heard Jeongguks sobs from the living room area and did another (impressing some would say) sprint to said boys room, which he found to be empty.

He turned around and saw Jeongguk in his room on his bed curled up into a fetus position, rocking back and forth while clutching the pillow that Taehyung had gifted him for Jeongguks last birthday.

“Gguk? Hey, Jeonggukkie, look at me.” Taehyung had sat down beside Jeongguk and put his hands on his shoulders forcing the younger to look into Taehyungs eyes.

“Breathe with me, okay? In –“ He inhaled deeply “– and out.” He exhaled while keeping his focus on Jeongguks eyes.

After a minute or two of breathing together Jeongguk seemed to have calmed down enough to speak.

“Did – did you just come back home after midnight alone?” He sniffled a little.

“Huh? Oh...hah...guess I did, huh? Now you don't need to pick me up from Jimins anymore.”

At that Jeongguks eyes filled with fresh tears.

“Ggukkie? Nooo no no what's wrong? Why – what did I – Jungoo, please talk to me!”

Jeongguk hiccuped before speaking.

“You – hiccup – you – hiccup – don't need me – hiccup – anymore...”

“What?! No I – sigh – I didn't mean it like that, Koo. Of course I didn't! I'll always need you...”

Jeongguk sniffled once more and then sat up so that he was positioned opposite of Taehyung.

“I think...I think we – can we...can we talk? ...Please?”

Chapter Text

Jeongguk woke up feeling more exhausted than when he went to sleep. His head was throbbing painfully and his throat was itching and he was sweaty and there was an arm wrapped around his front and –

There was an arm wrapped around his front!

He whipped his head around and accidentally booped Taehyungs nose with his own. Even though the other boy was still sleeping like a rock Jeongguk felt his face heat up at the proximity.

He's looked at Taehyung before and he's seen his face almost everyday for more than seven years but this was the first time he actually saw.

Taehyungs eyelashes were pretty long and if Jeongguk would have moved just an inch closer he could've probably felt them on his cheek. The thought alone made him giddy and he needed to walk these feelings off or dance or shout or do something to calm down!

They hadn't talked the night before after all because Taehyung wanted Jeongguk to relax and collect his thoughts first, so they'd just settled on sleeping in Taes bed and talk in the morning over breakfast.

Jeongguk would make breakfast if that arm around his waist wasn't holding on so tight.

(He would never admit it but that arm was thrown over his front very lightly and was very easily removable.)

So he settled on staring at his Taehyung and counting the moles on his face.

He was at the one right below Taehyungs right eye when that eye abruptly opened and an embarrassingly high-pitched scream escaped his throat.

“Sorry” Taehyung mumbled, voice heavy with sleep still trying to lure him back into dreamland but he chuckled a little nevertheless.

“Didn't mean to scare you so early in the morning.” Taehyung had now opened both eyes and was blatantly staring at Jeongguk, a small smile playing at the corner of his lips.

“You didn't.”

“You screamed as if I just killed Iron Man though.”

“He'd literally obliterate you, so that's impossible!”

“Sure, tell yourself that. Whatever makes you happy.” Taehyung smiled brightly now.

“You –“ Jeongguk swallowed the rest of the sentence as he realized how saying “You make me happy” didn't sound quite as playful anymore as it did before.

A realization that the weight of Taehyungs arm was solidifying for him.

He cleared his throat painfully loud in the otherwise quiet room.

“Uhm – You want breakfast?”

Nice save, Jeon Jeongguk, nice save.

“Sure. Wanna go to the bakery?” Taehyung finally removed his arm (Jeongguk was already missing its warmth).

“Uh...I thought...maybe...we could – like – make some pancakes...or something?”

Oh my God, what are you, fucking five years old?! Speak normally, you idiot!

Jeongguks inner self was beating him up with a baseball bat when the sound of Taehyungs laugh traveled to his ears and made inner Jeongguk melt into a puddle.

Outer Jeongguk was totally unaffected. Of course.

“'Kay, then let's make some pancakes, Jeongukkie.” Taehyung said with a wide grin and shuffled out of bed with his hair still sticking up in all directions possible.

Jeongguk sat up a little dazed but as soon as Taehyung was out the door he quickly trailed behind him.

 

__________________________________________________________________

“So...um...about that talk?”

They had made the pancakes in pretty much insufferable silence after that relatively unawkward morning and Jeongguks heart rate had picked up rapidly while cooking.

Now they were sitting down on the sofa facing each other, with a plate of untouched pancakes on the small table next to them.

“Yes, Jeonggukkie?” Taehyung was smiling but it looked a little strained.

Jeongguk wanted to open his mouth to explain his breakdown the day before but the moment his lips parted he feared that his heart would leap out of his mouth.
His whole body felt as if it was rocking back and forth with his strong heartbeat.

Thankfully Taehyung seemed to notice his struggle and helped him organize his thoughts.

“Why do you think I don't need you anymore? At least that's what you said yesterday.”

Jeongguk swallowed down his anxiousness.

“I don't think you won't ever need me anymore. I just – I think...I fear that you won't want to...or at least not the way that I...” Jeongguks thoughts wandered faster than his words and an image of Taehyung rejecting him bore into his mind making him leave the sentence unfinished.

“Like I said last night, Gukkie, I will always need you in my life. If you weren't the most special person to me I would have never become your best friend after crushing on you in high school, dude. And I certainly would've never moved in with you, so please don't say –“

“You had a crush on me?”

Jeongguk thought he didn't hear correctly but Taehyungs pupils shook nervously as he realized what he'd just revealed.

“In high school, okay?! Is that all you just got from that?!”

Oh okay...so he's over me.

“Guk? Are you listening?”

Jeongguk hated the thought of Taehyung getting over his crush on him in high school because that meant that his feelings weren't as strong as Jeongguks right now and he also hated the fact that there were tears swimming in his eyes yet again and he hated that there was nothing he could do about it.

“Gukkie, why are you crying? What is it? You're not telling me something and it's hurting me to see you like this...” Taehyungs eyes were full of concern and sincerity, when Jeongguk looked up at his best friend.

Taehyung carefully took Jeongguks hand in his and was rubbing soothing circles into his palm with his thumb.

“Seriously, Guk. I worry about you...you've been so – so distant lately.”

That however struck a chord in Jeongguks brain (and heart) and he retracted his hand abruptly.

I've been distant?!”

Taehyung seemed surprised by the sharp tone and volume of Jeongguks voice.

“Me?! Who's been avoiding this apartment as if the plague was living here, huh?! You don't even tell me when you go out anymore! Actually, you don't tell me anything at all!”

He huffed out the remaining anger he had held inside these past couple of weeks and suddenly felt very weak and tired again.

“I thought...well, you've been hanging out with that girl and... so I didn't ...I wanted you to hang out with your other friends...I'm sorry.”

Jeongguk suddenly realized that Taehyung looked even more tired than he himself felt. He had dark circles under his eyes and his usual shiny complexion looked almost translucent. Great, now he felt bad for yelling at his best friend, even if he was yelling the truth.

It seemed as if Taehyung himself was going through something and Jeongguk was just too caught up in his own feelings to notice.

I'm a shit friend.

Inner Jeongguk took out the baseball bat once more.

“I'm sorry for shouting. I didn't mean for it to come out so...so...ugh.” He looked up at Taehyung and seeing the vulnerability on his best friends face, he felt like it was his turn to take Taehyungs hand in his and calm both of them down.

“I just missed you.”

A small fond smile formed on Taehyungs face after that mini confession.

“I missed you, too.” He almost happily exclaimed and took Jeongguks other hand in his unoccupied one, intertwining their fingers.

Jeongguk felt his ears heat up at that action but with no hands free to cover them, he had to suffer through the embarrassment.

He felt Taehyung still staring at him, so he tried to keep his eyes on their hands.

Now his whole face was heating up.

Could a persons head explode if there was too much blood running through it?

“So...we're good?” Tae broke the silence again.

Jeongguk didn't trust his voice, so he just nodded. With all the blood (adoration, astonishment, wonder, love) pumping through his brain right now, he felt a little light-headed.

Taehyung raised his voice again when Jeongguk didn't speak up.

“Aaaand you would tell me if...if you got a girlfriend, right?”

Jeongguks head shot up and he finally met Taehyungs unwavering eyes.

“Wha – Me? I don't – what?! Where did you...why...what?!”

“Well, because you've been hanging out with that gay-vibes-girl almost everyday...” A small pout was forming on Taehyungs lips.

“We're not together!”

Jeongguk would be embarrassed about the speed of light he answered with, if there wasn't a small ray of hope reflecting his own feeling swimming in Taehyungs eyes.

“Okay.”

“Okay.”

They couldn't help but giggle. So many questions were still floating around them unanswered and the tension had somehow build up again, so the only thing left to do was laugh.

Jeongguk felt a weight disappearing from his soul. He hadn't felt this light in weeks.

“Also I think a girlfriend's pretty much impossible at this point.” He huffed out after getting a grip of himself.

“Why?” Taehyung was still giggly and swinging their intertwined hands from side to side between them.

“After the whole gay-vibes thing and all...”

“Yeah?”

He cleared his throat.

“You...um you said – you said I could come back to you, if I found an answer for myself?”

“Mhm” Taehyung had stopped swinging their hands around but was now smiling at him so fondly that Jeongguk forgot how to breathe for a second.

“I – uh...I'm...I – “ deep breaths, Jeongguk, deep breaths “ – yeah.”

“Okay. That's great, Jeonggukkie!”

Taehyung didn't seem to need any further explanation and at this point Jeongguk was so light, he would probably take off if not for Taehyungs hands grounding him.

“Don't you – um – wanna like...know how I like...know?”

The eloquence, Jeongguk, wow, you are an intelligence beast!

Inner Jeongguk was beating him with the baseball bat again, but happily this time. The baseball bat felt more like an inflatable bat now.

“If you wanna tell me, you –“

“I like you!” Silence “dumbass.” added in a small voice.

For a second he thought he might have broken Taehyung. Said boy was staring at him blinking rapidly, opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water.

He started speaking just before the nerves of having ruined a perfect friendship could eat Jeongguk up though.

“You...Did you just call me a dumbass while confessing?”

The big glowing smile on Taehyungs face made all his worries disappear and all the anguish of the last weeks seemed incredibly unnecessary.

“I guess I did, huh? What're you gonna do about it, mushroom lover?”

Instead of a witty reply though, Jeongguk got lips on his lips and a hand in his hair and the other tightly holding his and suddenly they were lying on the floor breathless and tangled up in each other.

“This good enough of an answer?” Taehyung giggled.

“That's – I – yeah. Yeah, that's perfect.”

Another smack on his lips, softer than the last time and so so delicate that Jeongguk wanted to beat himself up for having missed out on this for the past seven years.

“So...just to clarify...date nights from now on only with me?” Jeongguk had meant for that to be a statement but it sounded more like a question.

“Yes, you dumbass. This mushroom lover's loyal as fuck.”

If they didn't stop smiling soon their faces would split in half. But Jeongguk could care less.

“So you're my boyfriend now?”

“I'd love that.”