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nightloop memos

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Jungkook perceived love through all five senses even before knowing the word and what it meant.

The all-too sweet fondant gives his six year old self a sugar rush. The smell of lavenders perforate his nose more strongly than usual. He hears the crooning of a record that his Father chose; a song that isn't exactly appropriate for a six year old's birthday party yet enjoyed by the adults. There are certainly more adults than children in such a celebration.

Yellows and reds explode in his vision like fireworks every time the song plays. He re-focuses on his slice of cake, the plate something the staff took out from the special cabinet. Hand-painted by some artist, or this is what Jungkook hears. He doesn't really know what it means.

Touch and sight went hand in hand when he sees him.

The newcomer to his birthday party filled with unfamiliar faces is wearing a crisp white shirt completely buttoned up, highlighting his face more. Jungkook may be young, but he's smart, he's always been told he is. The song coincides with the person so well: Angel.

"Darling," His Mother says sweetly as she stands in front of where he is sitting, hand on the angel's shoulder, "This is your Seokjin-hyung. He was in South Korea the past months, but he came home specifically to meet you and greet you a happy birthday. Won't you introduce yourself?"

Jungkook's lived here all his life, and he has never seen Seokjin. A hand extends to his, and he automatically places the fork down.

Seokjin smiles at him, towering over Jungkook that he has to look up. "Nice to finally meet you." 

Jungkook is young, but when he was much younger, his parents brought him to a neurologist. 

Chromesthesia. They tell him that it is fascinating, that he will for sure be gifted in music due to this. He sees color in music and sounds, not necessarily voices.

Seokjin said five words to him and Jungkook's entire world became engulfed in color.

Later, they bring out another birthday cake. Everyone sings him a happy birthday, the mishmash of voices giving Jungkook a headache from the different colors popping here and there. 

Adults who he assume are Seokjin's parents stand in watch beside his Mother while she records the occasion. Seokjin stands beside him, clapping softly and not singing. Jungkook looks at him, the only area where he can rest his eyes and not get assaulted by splashes of hues. 

Jungkook blows the candles out and makes a wish.

He wishes for silence when he needs it, he wishes for explosions when he least expects it, and he wishes that maybe, the angel is the one providing him those moments.

Turning a year older brings to him changes similar to crashing waves. 

Jungkook discovers that his neurologist is a liar. Classical music bores him to death, the colors too light and pale and soft. Of course, he dutifully learns the stringed instruments since it is one of the few times he can spend time with his angel. 

He breezes through instruments and music sheets easily, the pattern easy to learn with the aid of his disability. Jungkook referred to it once out loud with that term and his Mother burst into tears. He doesn't really understand why since that is what all the pamphlets in the clinic say. He does apologize though, flowers he made the gardener pick for him presented to her as if he did all the work.

Back to topic, Jungkook's neurologist is a liar. Classical music does not help; it makes him want to sleep. But rap and rock? Jungkook sees fire and feels energy, the type of thing he discovers he thrives in. 

Somewhere in the Southeastern region, among lavender fields, vineyards, and massive country houses, Jungkook subverts the scenery by trading Bach for Biggie Smalls. 

Besides Seokjin, he also meets Park Jimin. 

Jimin lives a good twenty minutes away yet he never seems to disappear from Seokjin's side. Always dragging the oldest and forcing Seokjin to play him something while he practice his ballet routines, or whatever excuse Jimin comes up with to steal Seokjin away after every violin class. Class doesn't even permit him to speak with the other, robbing Jungkook of his opportunities to befriend Seokjin.

Their violin lessons are held in either Jungkook or Seokjin's houses, sometimes out in the garden when their instructor feels like it. Jungkook particularly hates those days, the environment and the music a snooze fest for him.

One day, they hold lessons at those exact conditions. Jungkook is about ready to bound up his room where he can indulge in interesting things, like playing Tekken or watching anime. He's holding the violin by its neck and doesn't bother returning it in the case when unfamiliar yellow hues dance on what is a familiar path back to the house.

"Jungkook, I was asked by your Mother to stay for afternoon tea. Show me the way?" 

Radiant and warm, that's how Seokjin says it. Jungkook pauses and turns around to the other. "You're talking to me?" 

"Well, who else?" 

Their instructor left minutes ago, racing to another upper class family's country home in the endless stretch of purple for lessons. Jungkook is still looking up, and it makes him wish for time to stop. Jungkook is growing and Seokjin is too. He sincerely wishes to catch up soon.

"Uh, okay then, Jin." 

It makes Seokjin pause, looking at Jungkook weirdly. "Jin?"

"Your name is too hard to say."

"Not even going to call me hyung?"

"Why should I?"

As they exchange words, the yellows become brighter and more vibrant. It reminds Jungkook of the marigolds that the house staff cultivate in springtime.

"To be polite, Jungkook." Seokjin says, laughing.

A sea of marigolds. It's what Seokjin's laughter looks like.

It is all Jungkook could think about while sitting in another part of the house's many gardens, listening with half an ear as Seokjin entertains his Mother with stories of his travels. He picks up from the conversation that Seokjin is a big fan of art, some Pablo Picasso guy.

When Seokjin leaves, he asks his Mother if he could get a board and brush. By night time, Jungkook's fingers are covered in acrylic paint and on his blank canvas are marigolds that look more similar to cabbages.

Jungkook does not understand why he cannot go with Seokjin to the city when Jimin is allowed to. They tell him he's too young to understand, but Jungkook knows that Jimin is too.

Another day of lessons, and Jungkook is ready to fall over and beg Seokjin to stay with him instead. Or at least bring him along.

Their violin lessons end too quickly when most days it drags on and on. One minute Seokjin is playing Beethoven and the next he's packing up and ready to leave. Jimin, the smug little spawn of Satan, is waiting for the oldest outside the courtyard. 

Jimin enters the Jeon household, charming and polite to Jungkook's mother and a terror to the youngest. She leaves the three of them alone by the foyer, telling Jimin and Seokjin to have fun and be safe. Jungkook tries one last time to ask her if he could go with them only to get the same response.

The moment she disappears, Jimin sets his eyes on Jungkook and laughs.

"Enjoy your cartoons squirt." He teases Jungkook relentlessly, lording his and Seokjin's closeness over Jungkook's head every chance he gets. 

"Jimin, stop bullying Jungkook and let's go." Seokjin says this but he doesn't look back. "We'll be late if you keep this up."

Always forward, only ever towards the sun, and never on Jungkook. He once again curses the circumstances that led to him being born five years late. 

Jimin doesn't even deserve to stand next to Seokjin; the other could barely play the piano! And yet, Seokjin chooses Jimin as his friend and only because they are closer in age.

Jungkook could be playing Seokjin's favorite, Ave Maria on the violin, with eyes closed and using his toes but he'll never be enough.

Jimin snickers one last time, eyes mischievous. His dyed blonde hair irritates Jungkook so much.

Maybe he could sneak into the Parks' vineyard and set Jimin's ballet shoes on fire, then he'll see who the emotional one is.

"You're the youngest in your family, and you don't even want to get into the business. How will you ever make Seokjin-hyung happy?"

Feeling feisty, Jungkook opens his mouth to let Jimin have a piece of his mind. "Watch me. I'll be able to!"

He sucks back the tears because god damn it, will he really be able to? All Jungkook knows is how to make beats and sing about stuff he sees on the news or storybooks. 

"Keep dreaming!" Jimin bounds up to Seokjin, sticking his tongue out at Jungkook one last time. 

The glare of the morning sun highlights them, tweed coats and shiny leather shoes all ready for the opera.

Jungkook remains standing by the door and watches them disappear off into the lavender fields, once again alone. 

Seokjin turns twelve and receives the birthday gift of a lifetime from his doting parents. 

His celebration is held indoors in their manor, December bringing a chill in the air that would hinder the festivities. The food served is Korean, such stark contrast from the house's interior and its design.

Once again, the party is populated by adults dressed in luxurious finery. Jungkook, Jimin, and Seokjin are the only children and Jimin still monopolizes all the attention that Seokjin could've been giving Jungkook too. Jimin sits between them, regaling Seokjin about how he's going to be the star in a recital. Jungkook tunes them out and scowls the entire time.

In the coat room where he left his stuffy trench is Jungkook's gift to Seokjin. There is no way he was going to attend empty handed. He'll patiently wait for his opportunity and steal the older away while everyone is busy peacocking their wealth and what plans they have for Christmas. 

Dinner comes to an end and with it the big reveal.

A work of art is Seokjin's birthday present. Blues and browns and burnt tones depict a boy holding a pipe with a wreath of flowers around his head. 

Unlike the gasping guests and the celebrant himself standing up in shock, Jungkook does not see the appeal of it. He's more entranced by Seokjin's wide eyes and hands covering his mouth to suppress a gasp. 

"Garçon à la pipe," Seokjin breathes out, "Is this for me?" 

There's a round of applause and Jungkook feels more out of place. Seokjin steps away from his chair, encircles the long dining table to where his parents are standing with the painting at the head of the table, and hugs them. 

"It's by Pablo Picasso," Jimin says proudly as if he's the one who received it. "I heard it cost Uncle a hundred million dollars."

The number doesn't faze Jungkook's seven year old brain. "Okay, so?"

Jimin rolls his eyes at Jungkook's ignorance. "So you and your little painting has nothing against this. Save yourself from the embarrassment." 

Jungkook blushes, full attention now at the other older than him just by two years. "How do you know about that?!"

"You don't exactly lock your bedroom door," Jimin spares him a side-eye and a curl of his upper lip before looking back at the heartwarming familial scene with adoration towards the birthday boy, "I saw it and it doesn't hold a candle to this so just give it up."

"You snooped through my stuff?!"

"Oh, please. Your Mom wanted me to check on you to ask if you wanted to join us on a trip to the local market, but I was too horrified so I told them you said no." Jimin moves away with ease when Jungkook moves to kick him on the ankle. 

The rest of the night trickle down so slowly that Jungkook falls asleep and wakes up in a guest bedroom. The clock tells him that it's twenty minutes till midnight, and this wakes him like no other. Parties like these give the adults an excuse to drink the night away, their chatter instantly reaching him while he exits the unfamiliar room. 

He makes his way back downstairs, just in time to find Seokjin assisting the Parks with their outerwear already worn. "Happy birthday again, Seokjin. You are an absolute delight." The Park matriarch gushes, pinching his cheek. 

Jimin is pouting, face a bit puffy from being awoken. "Can't I just stay the night here?" He whines. Jungkook snickers to himself, watching as Jimin's parents ignore their only son. 

This is it. Jungkook's opportunity couldn't have come at a better time. 

Seokjin spots him first. "Jungkook? You're awake?" 

Running towards the other as quick as his short legs could take, Jungkook grabs his hand and says, "Come on before he comes back!"

"What- Who?!"


They run through the house, feet stomping against hardwood floors. The sound makes him see red; exhilaration and thrill pumping in his veins. Stopping at the door of the coat room, Jungkook finally lets go of Seokjin's hand. 

Seokjin is panting, not used to physical activities. Jungkook on the other hand is only grinning, turning the knob in excitement. 

"Jungkook, what do you want?" Seokjin asks between pants, his full bangs sticking to his forehead. The person in question doesn't answer, only motions for Seokjin to follow him inside while he steps into the windowless room filled with racks of fabric. 

It's easy for him to find the square board covered in brown paper bag tied with twine; it's the only thing not wearable and sitting on the floor nearby his and his parents' clothes. Jungkook runs toward it, picking it up and placing it behind his back. He's not an idiot, he knows Seokjin can see it, but he tries.

"Jin, I made you something for your birthday."

The word choice confuses Seokjin, eyebrow raised and standing in front of the other. He's gotten so used to Jungkook calling him Jin now, the nickname something he has associated with Jungkook. "Made?"

Jungkook presents it to him with arms outstretched and a toothy smile.

"Happy birthday, Jin!"

Seokjin accepts, head tilted and still skeptical. He scans the gift all over, the weight of it on his hands giving him an idea of what the present is.

"Unwrap it!"

Sighing, Seokjin complies. 

Paper being torn shouldn't give Jungkook this much excitement and yet it does. Seokjin's expression shifts quickly. It goes from hesitant, surprise, shock, wonder, and lastly, he looks up at it with a smile so beautiful it reminds Jungkook of the song playing the first time he met the other. 

Angel. Definitely an angel.

"A painting for me?"

Jungkook nods in affirmation. Seokjin scans it once again, stopping at the lower right corner where Jungkook wrote the title for his first ever piece.

"Laughter? What does laughter have to do with a vase of marigolds?"

"It's your laughter, Jin. You sound like a garden of yellow flowers when you laugh." Jungkook explains simply. 

For him, it is what it is. Seokjin's giggle, his laughter, and even the way he chuckles has marigolds blooming right in front of Jungkook's eyes. 

Seokjin lets out a breath that sounds like he's been holding it in for too long. He clutches the painting closer to his chest, arms cradling it protectively from the rest of the world. 

"I never received art specifically made for me." Seokjin sounds dreamy, like he just discovered something others never heard of. "I've always just been given what is painted for others."

Jungkook's childish brain interprets this in the simplest, and quite possibly, the best way possible. "Then if you like it, I'll keep creating for you! I'll make you music and more paintings and maybe I can even write too!"

Seokjin giggles at that, positively charmed. "Would you now? I'm thankful though, Jungkookie. This might just be the best present I have received."

Feeling prideful and arrogant, Jungkook couldn't help asking, "Even better than the one earlier?"

"Of course. Boy with the pipe was made with an unknown model, but this is something you made with me specifically in mind. There is no higher honor, really." 

Jungkook sees shades of blue so light twinkling from each word. He discovers later in spring that Seokjin's words of gratefulness resemble blue irises. 

In six years time, Jungkook articulates the colors he sees through music.

Like an ouroboros eating its own tail, Jungkook starts writing songs about what he sees whenever he hears sound. He fills the art studio and the house in general with paintings such as trees all in varying hues of green entitled Jimin when he is literally seeing jealousy, and of course the flowers. 

One day, among a sea of yellow and orange flowers, Jungkook adds a camellia. 

He doesn't know when or how it started. Seokjin just turned to him one day, another afternoon of violin lessons spent in the gardens, and Jungkook saw pink and red. 

A quick scan of his paintings evoke emotions in him that he realizes has been there all along. Pink and red were always there, even when he wasn't aware.

Love has been with him since the beginning.

Seokjin’s been stuck on Brahms’ Intermezzo far longer than expected that Jungkook has the tune memorized. Jungkook’s still in his schoolboy uniform, book bag by his side. The sun is about to set, and soon, Seokjin can be free from the clutches of his evil piano teacher. 

“Jungkook-ah!” His mom shouts from inside the house, “Change into fresh clothes!”

Jungkook huffs in annoyance but complies. He did play soccer with the other boys before getting in the 1937 Cadillac Phaeton that was Jungkook’s grandfather’s. Ever since he decided to attend school, one of the farmhands, Boseong has taken up the responsibility to drop off and pick up Jungkook from school. Just so happens that their family did not have normal middle-class cars, and his mother forbade Boseong from using the Italian ones, so now they are going through his grandfather’s collection of vintage automobiles. 

Jungkook goes through several flights of stairs and hallways to get to his room. He has an electric piano by the side, an acoustic and electric guitar, and a drum set as well. Comic books fill his shelves, and so do several action figures, movie tapes, and music CDs.

The one thing in Jungkook’s room that can be considered as “personal” and not just a hobby, is the lone picture frame by his bedside table. It's a picture of him during his 6th birthday with Seokjin who was eleven at the time. 

Presently, fourteen year old Jungkook snickers at the memory. He thinks to himself that he’s always got a good head on him, already thinking in advance at such a young age. 

After getting dressed, Jungkook hurriedly exits his room but not without grabbing the plain brown drawstring bag on his bed. His mom and the people in their house has stopped telling him that he should not run inside the house since Jungkook never listened, especially when it concerns Seokjin. 

Once outside, he’s delighted to hear that Seokjin is still trying to his best to play Intermezzo.

Jungkook heads straight to the fields of lavender slowly being bathed by the setting sun’s orange glow.

Just up ahead, there’s a lonesome tree perfect for lounging around in the afternoons. A hammock that has been there for years is Jungkook’s second favorite thing in the farm. This is where he lazes around and where all the magic happens for him; the perfect spot to sprawl in and see the entirety of the farm and the two looming houses. Jungkook can’t really see that far ahead, but the figure running his way can only be Seokjin. 

Jungkook hurriedly opens his bag, taking out a CD player and a headset. He places the headset over his ears, throws the bag by his feet, hugs the CD player to his chest, and closes his eyes. He doesn’t press play, simply pretends to sleep and waits. 

He hears Seokjin approaching, so close to him now. The approaching footsteps halt right in front of him, and a shadow looms. “Jungkook, you’ve been doing this since you were six.” Jungkook does not relent. Keeping his eyes closed, he listens to the familiar drag of the wooden stool.

Now that Jungkook is growing rapidly each day, Seokjin has decided to leave a lone stool underneath the tree for moments like this.

Jungkook groans in surprise at the sudden weight on his chest. He opens his eyes to see Seokjin with his arms on Jungkook’s stomach, right cheek resting on his outer arm, and gaze directed at him. 

“You’re heavy!” Jungkook complains. He doesn’t move though, careful to not hit Seokjin.

Instead, Jungkook settles by running his hands through Seokjin’s hair. “You dyed it back to black already?” He doesn’t even try to hide his disappointment. Seokjin and blonde hair was something that felt like a personal attack to Jungkook’s heart, and the other emotions a young boy like him deals with.

"I’m not attending university as a platinum blonde; like the walking, eccentric, film major stereotype personified.”

Right. University.

Jungkook has hated that word ever since it became attached to Seokjin. Last year, Seokjin traveled to the big city and fell in love with the looming buildings and lifestyle of college kids. He’s Seokjin, so of course he gets accepted. A beautiful face that speaks three languages and delicate fingers that play multiple classical instruments; Seokjin is going to be popular, a Parisian, and Jungkook hates it all. What’s more is that Seokjin will be studying film. Next thing he knows Seokjin will be attending shows in Montmartre and dating celebrities.

Seokjin reaches his hand to smooth the crease forming between Jungkook’s eyebrows, “I’ll write you letters. Many letters.”

It makes Jungkook roll his eyes. He swats the hand away, pouting at the older boy. “This isn’t the 1800s. Just text me or something.” Seokjin laughs and takes the headset from Jungkook to place it on his ears. “So what are we listening to today?”

The question makes Jungkook fumble for a bit. He’s been waiting to do this since he had the idea, which really, was only last night but he’s still excited and nervous at the same time. “It’s more of a who, than a what.” 


Jungkook presses play. He instantly recognizes the tune although instead of the saxophone and trumpet at the beginning of the song, it’s a piano. 

Someday, when I’m awfully low

When the world is cold

I will feel a glow just thinking of you

Jungkook’s singing voice fills his ears. He is actually singing; singing a song that Seokjin adores and not rapping some cypher he saw on YouTube. Jungkook’s half sitting on the hammock, looking at him with such a soft and fond expression on his face. Jungkook opens his mouth, mouthing the lyrics perfectly aligned with the recorded version. It dawns on him that this is the first time he is hearing Jungkook sing properly. Seokjin’s always told him he has the potential to be a great balladist someday, but Jungkook prefers rap and rock and rhyming verses dripping with venom. 

Yes, you're lovely, with your smile so warm

And your cheeks so soft

Seokjin averts his eyes. He stares off far away because he is not going to do this right now. Jungkook doesn’t allow him though. He places his hand behind Seokjin’s neck, blunt nails grazing the skin there. They stay like that until the song finishes, and Seokjin still refuses to look at him. The same hands remove the headset from his ears, placing it somewhere on his side.

“Do you like my goodbye present?” 

“Why do you make it seem like you’re about to die?” Seokjin counters, voice strained and tears threatening to fall blurring his vision. He’s still not looking.

“You love it,” Jungkook grins toothily, “You do, right?”

Seokjin finally turns to him, eyes still watery. He manages a weak glare and a scoff. “Of course I do.”

“Enough to make you cry right?” 

Seokjin doesn’t understand why Jungkook has to point out the obvious. “Yes.” 

“Do I have a cool voice?”

“You have a wonderful voice.”

“Will you marry me?” If it wasn’t for the fact that Jungkook’s been pestering Seokjin about marriage since he was six years old, this would shock him.

“You’re a literal baby. Ask me again when you’re 18.” It’s his usual answer whenever Jungkook asks, holding his age over the other.

(“And when he finally turns 18 and runs to you demanding your hand in marriage, what are you going to do then?” Seokjin’s mother asks, a cigarette perpetually placed between her lips. 

“Nothing. He’ll get over it.” Seokjin did not have time for gossip, but he remains seated for afternoon tea with his mom and Mrs. Jeon who giggles. He should be practicing his violin, not indulging them.

“Ah, he’s just like his father. The Jeon men always fall for the first person they find pretty.” Mrs. Jeon looks nostalgic, probably remembering her own childhood. Seokjin looked to his mother for help, who only shrugs at her youngest son. “She’s not lying. We’ve known each other since childhood. The moment he saw her, he knew she was the one.”)

Present Day

[8 Years Later]

Jungkook awakes with his cheek pressed on a broad shoulder.

Inside the moving car, only the engine's humming is heard. The darkness amplifies the fact that he is leaving and will soon be on a chartered plane flying to Korea without Seokjin accompanying him.

The reminder of this has him squirming closer to his husband, arms that were crossed over his chest unfolding to wrap around Seokjin's waist and pulling him impossibly closer. 

Seokjin only sighs, gaze not moving from what he's reading on his phone. He does start having a hard time scrolling what with his right arm being trapped in Jungkook's embrace. 

It gets to a point that he can't scroll anymore, so Seokjin readies himself to tell Jungkook off, when he feels the other drawing circles on Seokjin's left side with his thumb.

The action softens him up instantly, has him closing his phone and taking it with his left to place it on the car door's side pocket. 

"May I remind you that this was your idea." Seokjin finally says, still sounding a little huffy than how he imagined it would come off as. 

Jungkook grumbles, face burrowing further into his shoulder and almost digging on his chest. His hair has been freshly cut, short and showing off his chiseled face. Seokjin's sure by the time they meet again it'll be long and curling at the ends. 

"My idea," Jungkook finally moves his head to look at Seokjin while he speaks, "Is that you were coming with me." 

"I have a nine to five job." Seokjin retorts. "I can't be running around the world with you when I'm earning money the way regular people do."

Jungkook only snorts, rolling his eyes at Seokjin. "Baby, I pay the bills."

Seokjin tries to hold the mask of indifference up, but he knows his lips are already curling. "So what? If you ever fall off the grid I'll at least still have my job to sustain me."

The sparkle in Jungkook's eyes whenever they banter like this gives Seokjin a metaphorical whiplash. Four years of marriage and it still feels like it was just yesterday.

Jungkook eyes the ring on Seokjin's finger, an obnoxious, princess cut, blue diamond set on a silver band. "With your hobbies and spending habits? I don't think you'll be, as you say it, sustained." 

"And that is exactly why you're going into this little adventure for your new album. How are you going to keep me pleased with no checks coming in?" 

They stare each other down, and it's not even a minute and the two of them are already laughing. 

Jungkook runs his hand up Seokjin's entire left side, stopping to cup his cheek and pulling him down for a kiss. Finally allowing him movement, Seokjin moves his own arms to encircle it around Jungkook's neck. Jungkook usually kisses him like he's on a mission to take Seokjin's breath away, but this time it's only soft. 

A press of lips once, a nip to Seokjin's bottom lip, and Jungkook is pulling away. Seokjin misses him already. 

"Come with me, Jin." Jungkook presses their foreheads together, speaking the words into almost non-existent space. "Late night sessions in obscure studios. Just you and me. Maybe a quick one on a couch if you're feeling up to it." Jungkook raises his brows suggestively at the last part, earning him a light slap on the chest.

"I already told you my answer weeks ago and it won't change."

Weeks ago, Jungkook finally decided to start on his second album. He insists that it won't be an album, but that's what his manager, their label, and Seokjin start calling it. It's kept hush because of course, news that JJK releasing a new album will basically be a field day for the press. 

Fans have been hungry for a new release from the most dominant artist on the charts and of the decade. The full-length debut album Jungkook released at 18 years old continue to receive critical acclaim and praise despite it being four years ago.

To work on this project, Jungkook chose to return to his roots: Asia. Studios and producers have already been contacted; all they need now is his presence. There's no time frame as to when it'll end, but Jungkook's manager insists, no, pleads on six months maximum work.

Truthfully speaking, it's not like they need the money. 

Between the family business, the trust funds, and several bank accounts set up for them, the money Jungkook earns from making music is change at best. 

"Enlighten me, what will you be up to while I'm gone?" Jungkook's question disrupt Seokjin's train of thoughts. He didn't even realize that Jungkook pushed the leather seats of the car down, laying on his back while Seokjin's on his chest. 

"My job, obviously." 

Jungkook gives him a look that conveys his disbelief. 

"Film festivals, fashion shows, gallery openings, and maybe a trip to Morocco." The last has Jungkook gasping, making Seokjin giggle. 

"Without me?"

"You'll be with me in spirit. Your credit cards, that is." 

Jungkook does not take offense. In fact, he smiles at this. "Yes, of course. Spoil yourself silly for me, will you?"

Seokjin hums in agreement, this time the one dipping down to initiate a second kiss. "I'll send you letters." He mumbles against Jungkook's mouth, coaxing the other into something more than just a peck.

Jungkook obliges him, he always does. "This isn't the 1800s just text me or something." 

The car finally comes to a stop. Seokjin is quick to get himself off his husband's person, straightening out his midnight green silk shirt and running a hand through his hair. Jungkook doesn't bother, spending his last few minutes with Seokjin burning the image of the other in his mind. 

They are parked at an area around the airport where Jungkook wouldn't have to walk in public but the bodyguard sitting at the front still takes caution and tells them to wait while he goes down first. 

Jungkook takes hold of Seokjin's hand once, clasping their fingers tightly. The car door on his side opens wide, their bodyguard waiting for him to exit. "Off to work now, honey. Last chance to join me?" 

Seokjin smiles at him, always an angelic face but words dripping in sarcasm. "Don't you have our bills to pay, baby?" 

Chapter Text


It is how they communicate, literally and figuratively. Seokjin insists on conversations with an app called Slowly, a letter sender program where you receive a digital letter depending on the location of you and the other person.

The number of days it takes for Jungkook to know what is happening in his husband's life is currently at three days, the distance of Asia and Europe a wide berth.

Jungkook always complains about it, instant messaging a prospect Seokjin likes to pretend doesn’t exist. He does love the letters, each word from Seokjin poetic. Seokjin always makes them worth it. Jungkook could be holding a concert and he would stop the show if he gets a letter in the middle of one.

Seokjin wants a love that moves in slow motion. How fitting for the two of them that Jungkook has been loving him his entire life.


Dear Jungkook,

By the time this letter reaches you, you would already be in Seoul. Tell me, do they still sell overpriced banana nutella crepes there in Myeongdong? I've always liked those. I remember eating them right after we got strawberry milk at the street-side cafe near our hostel, and you complained the entire time about your teeth aching and I only laughed and did not get mad due to the sugar rush. As I write you this letter, my lesson plans glare at me. When you read this letter, I will be in Paris for an auction. I trust you are reading this the moment it reaches you.

This morning, I ate the same. My lavender oat milk latte is perfect as usual, and Mrs. Langley made pain au chocolat using your favorite: Valrhona. I found it odd since she knows I prefer Callebaut, and then it dawned on me why when instead of my usual records spinning on the turntable, it was your album ruining my beautiful morning routine. I use the word ruin lightly, don't you get all hurt now. I found it funny at first that Mrs. Langley probably misses you so much she took the time to dig through my collection for the limited edition vinyl press of Une Serie. Realization dawns on me as Philosykos plays that she put it on not because she misses you, but because she thinks I am missing you. Perhaps the thought of missing you is making me miss you. I won't say it though. I know how you are. You'll get on the next plane going back home if I so much as hint my yearning for you.

I don't miss you, alright? I don't. Maybe in a month I will. You'll never know. Focus on your album and your writing. Enjoy the solo travel and don't forget to eat properly. Don't spoil everything though, I would love to hear your stories through the songs. I have not yet ended the paragraph but I think I'm taking my words back. I still won't say it though. 

We were wrong about the secrecy. I opened my news app and the first thing I saw was a photo of you exiting Incheon International. Or was that a PR move Manager Kim forgot to tell me? It wasn't the Music & Entertainment section even, it was top news. You're that important to other people? Never ceases to amaze me, really.

I don't know how I should end this letter. People would give their kisses and hugs, send all their love, and at times a promise. I don't have any of those to say. I'm withholding the endearments until I am able to say it to you with my own mouth. I'll end this at: I'm thinking of you as much as you're thinking of me. Take your time and come home not-so-soon. Let this yearning linger for half a year, and you'll see how much I truly am (not) missing you when you're back in my arms.

Forever yours,



Jungkook reads the letter inside his small hostel room just a few minutes away from the Myeongdong center. He can always count on Seokjin to give him beautiful imagery, halfway across the world and all that. It's nighttime and he woke up an hour ago, showered, and got dressed. A private car will be picking him up in thirty minutes time if they arrive early to take him to the studio. Seokjin doesn't deserve a reply that comes from Jungkook tapping in word vomit on his phone while inside a moving vehicle. He could work first and reply later but that would mean it'll take longer for Seokjin to receive it. His husband is fine waiting. Jungkook isn't. The decision is very easy to make.

Myeongdong is a peach, Seokjin would say all the time whenever they are here. Pink sunlight and hazy morning dust similar to the fuzz. If it's a peach in the morning, then it's definitely a grape at night. He walks through the streets with his AirPods in to tune out the unnecessary noise. The last thing Jungkook needs are colors suddenly exploding in his vision. He listens to 4:44, letting the album’s flow soothe his eyes into a burnt yet tolerable orange.

The banana nutella crepe stand still exists, and the street-side cafe no bigger than a bathroom still sells strawberry milk. Jungkook takes a seat at the very same spot they were at almost two years ago. The crepe is easy to finish due to how thin it is. Seokjin is right about them being overpriced. He drinks up the strawberry milk, the liquid going down his throat smoothly.

Manager Kim's messages are starting to pour in. Where are you, we are on our way, and please be ready. Jungkook ignores all of them and begins typing on Slowly.


Hi babe. 

Guess where I am? You can't answer that since this would take three days for you to see. I could iMessage you but I know you won't give me the pleasure of an instant response so I'll just tell you. I'm in the street-side cafe with the strawberry milk. They have upgraded their plastic cups now. The logo is very cute and minimalist you would absolutely love it. I bought banana nutella crepes too.

It wasn't a PR stunt. I'm a worldwide superstar, of course I'm important. Aren't you proud? That's me being sarcastic by the way. You know I hate the attention (unless it is coming from you). I mean, you're my husband. There's only so much my ego can take. 

I always forget that Une Serie got a vinyl print. Eighteen year old me was so pretentious, album title and tracklist and all that. I remember how you looked the first time I made you listen to it. You were so excited when I hit play on track 01. muguet and you expected jazz but instead heard my synthesizer.

It's alright baby. I'll say all the endearments you don't want to admit for the both of us. I miss you. I love you. I wish you were here with me. I wish I was there with you. I'll take a note out of your book and copy you. I won't call you by your name until we're together again. I'll save it for when I come running back into your arms (although I'm betting it will be you doing the running, you're romantic like that. It's okay though. I'm here to catch you anytime). I'll whisper it into your ear, and you'll shiver at the sound of it because you do miss me. You missed me so much that hearing your name from my lips is enough to get you weak in the knees.

Yours since I could remember,



The call from Manager Kim comes through ten minutes after Jungkook hits send. He decides to spare the man the panic attack and starts walking back to the hostel. Jungkook keeps his head up, the black mask and hat keeping his face shielded. He locks eyes with someone and they pause to gape at him. He keeps on walking, normally and without rush.

The rented van in front of the hostel comes into view, and Manager Kim spots him instantly. He's unsure if it's because Manager Kim has been with him for so long or he is just recognizable despite how plainly he dresses. He gets rushed inside the van, no lectures or berating coming from the other. He only disappeared for fifteen minutes, it's forgivable. Jungkook will be giving the company an album that will sell out and top the charts worldwide, so it's forgivable. Manager Kim will finally be able to get his third vacation house out in Portofino, so all shall be forgiven.

Jungkook keeps his pods in his ear. Manager Kim is busy on his own phone. The driver starts the car and he is once again waiting to be somewhere. Waiting for flights, waiting for cars, waiting for concerts, and most importantly, waiting to come home. Jungkook doesn’t have anything to keep him occupied from all this waiting. He needs the inspiration if he wants to write this album.

Visiting several studios and cities is supposed to tickle the creative part in his brain to start writing. He's been in Seoul for three days yet his thoughts are all filled with Seokjin. Missing Seokjin on the daily, that's his brand. Jungkook realizes he only liked the idea of traveling while songwriting because he pictured Seokjin with him.

Jin. Jin. Jin.

The effect of never leaving Seokjin's side for four years is giving Jungkook withdrawal symptoms like no other.

This is why you wanted me to leave. You recognized that I was getting too dependent. You knew I was losing my sense of self, and you knew I didn't care, so you send me here to the other side of the world.

The car halts in front of a club with a line so long it spans the other side of the street. A fun and vibrant place aimed at millennials with too much money to spend so they blow it on expensive VIP tables to be secluded from the common folk. At the second floor of the open air club where the rooms worth millions of won for a night is Jung Hoseok's studio. When Jungkook asked him four years ago why he mixed the two together, Hoseok smiled at him blindingly and said, "So when I come up with a bop while in the studio I can play it for a crowd easily."

Jungkook's simple get up of a black oversized shirt and gray cotton pants doesn't stop the stares. The bouncer at the front letting him and Manager Kim through the VIP line only encourages the curiosity of everyone in the vicinity. With his phone on his left hand, Jungkook increases the volume of his music to the max. He hates clubs, and he hates drinking too. Chromesthesia keeps him doped up twenty four seven, he doesn't need any type of substance to see stars. Jungkook will try anything once, that's his motto in life. Once, then never again. Drugs, cigarettes, alcohol, and people too. He'll try anything he fancies once then never again. Hoseok is a good friend though, one of the few who understands his vision well, so he'll put up with the noise and overall discomfort being here brings him.

The last time Jungkook was here, Une Serie was still in development. Hoseok is not the first person to hear his music, but he is the first A-lister to take notice of it. A song he uploaded on his SoundCloud without second thought was played in this very club. It became his first album's lead single, and arguably, Jungkook's most popular song. Months after a sudden onslaught of popularity, Jungkook flew to Seoul and met Hoseok. Here in this very place is where he produced almost all of Une Serie's songs, and outside the hallway of Hopeworld Studio is where Jungkook received an international call from Seokjin for the first time. The phone call became the missing piece Une Serie needed to bridge the gap between the A and B side tracks. Seokjin's monologue is forever immortalized by the youngest artist to win album of the year. It's one of the many reasons Seokjin despises calling him.

Jungkook removes his AirPods and knocks on the door before turning the knob open. Hopeworld Studio resembles any regular one on the inside. It's a small room with four square walls with wallpaper resembling wood. There's a lone black leather couch near the door, the only spot where visitors can sit in wait. The place is built with only Hoseok in mind. Among all the other studios Jungkook has been to, Hopeworld is one of his favorites. Hoseok only wants to make music, no frivolities needed. He'd call Hopeworld his humble beginnings but J-Hope is a household name to purveyors of music and dance. The world-renowned DJ backing Jungkook up with his debut album is not a shining example for 'humble beginnings.'

Besides Seokjin, Hoseok is someone whose words Jungkook enjoys hearing. When he told Hoseok the first time they met in person that he sounded like sunflower fields and yellow daisies, the older stared at Jungkook in awe for a good minute. He laughs, a color that rivals Seokjin in brightness. "We're going to be great friends, JJK."

Hoseok greets him with a hug, the grin on his face familiar and welcoming. "JJK! Its been so long!"

“You’re finally gracing all of us with new music, huh?” Hoseok ruffles his hair, arm around Jungkook’s neck. “The world has waited enough.”

Jungkook grimaces inwardly at the mention of it. The idea of making music manifested in his brain with Seokjin in mind. He wanted late nights at the studio, looping songs for Seokjin to hear. He wanted to sing into the mic while looking across Seokjin, separated by soundproof glass and only a few feet apart. He imagined Seokjin with him here in Seoul, high on sugar and holding his hand despite his husband’s aversion towards public displays of affection. Because Jungkook can take one look at Seokjin and write a hundred songs based solely on every curve of his lips, and it’s an unfair advantage to other musicians. Other musicians can only dream of having a muse like Seokjin.

This is also the problem. Jungkook writes love songs, but JJK doesn’t sing them. His discography is described as a narration of encompassing tales, a total of ten songs that has been ruminated and analyzed a thousand different ways. JJK doesn’t sing about love unless it is about Jin, and to sing about life, he can’t be held down Seokjin’s side even if that’s what he wants.

“Four years has been a long time.” Jungkook lets himself be dragged down to the couch. “Let’s talk first about you, Hoseok-hyung. I heard the US tour was a success.”

Hoseok lets him go in favor of digging in his pocket for his phone. “Of course it was. Who do you think you’re talking to? I can finally show you this beat I received from some producer in Tokyo. You’re going to love his stuff! It’s exactly right up your alley, JK.”

Another thing Jungkook likes about the DJ is his continuous quest for new talent and how he passes them down to his successful colleagues and/or friends. Hoseok calls it good karma. Jungkook thinks he’s just an overall nice guy.

“Already down to business?” Jungkook asks jokingly. Hoseok pauses, eyeing him in worry. “Since when did you label music as business? Didn’t you used to say you’re only in it for fun?”

A side effect of his chromesthesia is it practically makes Jungkook a mind reader. People are mad? He sees shades of red. People are sad? Blues pop up in his field of vision. Worry? A blue and green splattering similar to what currently surrounds Hoseok.

Jungkook waits for the inevitable, That’s what you get for marrying so young. Or, You settled down too quickly and now you know nothing except being a married man.

What he hears instead is, “You need to go out more, Jungkook-ah. So this is why Seokjin-sshi sent you here.”

“Did Jin tell you something?”

“Not really. Just that one of my most memorable moments of you was when you were here recording the final songs for the first album and you received a call from him. You just up and left. 12 hours later you sent me the completed songs along with Amore. I’m telling you, if I could go back in time, it would be to listen to Amore again for the first time.”

The last sentence resonates with him. People say that about Amore all the time. Imagine what it was like for him to hear it directly in his ear, in real time, while he is oceans away from Seokjin calling and asking him to come back.

“I know you love him a lot, but you also love the music. Come on, man. You disappeared for four years without any new release. Your list of accolades on your Wikipedia profile is longer than your discography. Don’t drift away from the scene where you excel.”

Jungkook takes it all in. He’s aware of everything Hoseok said. He does love the music. He loves making the colors he sees come alive through music sheets and beats. He loves performing for the fans. Concerts are something else, an experience Jungkook akins to shooting something straight into his system. A live crowd shouting back his lyrics to him? LSD can’t ever compare.

“You’re right.” A sigh. “You’re right, hyung. The music is important to me. It’s just overwhelming for me to be away from home so suddenly.”

“You mean away from Seokjin-sshi.” Hoseok teases, his laughter easing the tension away. “I understand though. He’s.. something else.” It is Jungkook’s turn to laugh when he hears that.

Seokjin’s monologue to Jungkook in Amore is a contrast to the man he married. From the perfect hair, designer clothes, haughty air about him, and resting scowl, the Seokjin in reality contradicts the Seokjin from the sixth track of Jungkook’s debut album.

“Tell me about the producer from Tokyo.” Jungkook steers the subject away easily. “I’ll be flying to Japan soon, maybe I can meet up with him.”

Jungkook receives a pat on the back. Sitting here with Hoseok makes him feel as if he never left. “He calls himself RM. I’ll hook you up with his details.”

Une Serie

track 06. amore

listen. is this thing on? are you listening? hmmm. i know you are. you're always listening. always here for me. i think. jungkook-ah. they gave me something here in my grad party. they call it pink chanels. apparently it’s ecstasy. i feel enlightened. i want to tell you something. you know. you know how i feel towards you right? i told you ill only say it once a year. on your birthdays. you know what i mean. that word. those words you whisper to me, moan to me, tell me over breakfast like it's nothing. can i hear it? can you tell me? say it for me please. tell me im the only one even when i know im not. cause. cause i dont really care when you're with other people. i know im the only one. i think you ruined me jungkook-ah. you indulged my arrogance and my standards and now you have me thinking nobody will compare to you. can you come here? pick me up. i know you're on the other side of the world. i dont really give two shits about that. come here right now and pick me up from this party. i want to feel something. i want to— you know i dont think i care. i dont really care. i need you to come pick me up from this stupid party and fuck me. that's what i need from you. somebody just heard me. fuck you, stay away from me. im talking to my husband. where was i? jungkook-ah. pick me up. right now.

Jungkook’s album choice for the day is Ventura. Years of living with chromesthesia and it still surprises him how the world changes when he covers his ears with earphones, headsets, and in this case, his trusty AirPods.

Three days has passed since he met Hoseok in Hopeworld Studio. Sitting here in a hipster cafe at a secluded part in Myeongdong at the empty 2nd floor on a weekday morning, Jungkook decides to write. He didn’t need to be nostalgic about banana nutella crepes and strawberry milk drinks, especially when his tastes have changed. Memories with Seokjin have been made, no need to dwell on them.

Peering outside through the cafe’s glass windows, Jungkook realizes that Myeongdong is not a peach. It is gray, drab, and filled with tourists. The food is overpriced, and when it gets cold, cigarette smoke curls up into the atmosphere coming from people chasing warmth.

Sighing, Jungkook picks up his pen and starts writing. He’ll preserve the memory of pastel skies and a filtered worldview in song form instead. Seokjin has a particularly soft spot for Seoul, always insisting on staying in hostels and eating the same egg toast for breakfast instead of their usual five star luxury hotels; they even have an apartment up in Gangnam and Hannam. There is something about Seoul that has Seokjin wanting to be normal. He makes a mental note to change hotels. He’s sick of eating bread and egg everyday.

When night time comes, Jungkook settles under the thick white blanket of his suite’s queen-sized bed. He gets in bed with damp hair and a fluffy bathrobe, phone in hand and waiting for the Slowly app notification he has been waiting for ever since he sent his reply to Seokjin.

He watches the seconds go down until it’s zero, clicking on the letter the moment it becomes available.


My Dearest Other Half,

I do not miss you.

With all my regards,



Jungkook blink and started scrolling the screen to no avail. Five words. He waited for three days to receive five words from Seokjin. Does he really think Jungkook would just take this lying down?



I know you do.

Missing you too,


P.S: Watch out for the headlines in three days time ;) Love you lots.

The ceremony was filled with lilies, lilies of the valley, and mexican orange flowers. A summer wedding in Greece in the middle of the sea and Mount Pelion where fig trees hang overhead. The guest list is filled with important names, the champagne bottles popped innumerable, and everywhere they turn all Jungkook and Seokjin hear is congratulations.

A perfect occasion happening in the most enchanting places and Jungkook manages to convince Seokjin to run away with him down to an open air bar in the village overlooking the side of the mountain.

The expensive suits are hanging in the car while the driver waits on them, traded for light fabrics of cerulean and peach button downs. Jungkook thinks the blue suits Seokjin well, especially since he dyed his hair back to black again. It’s starting to feel like tradition for the older to color his hair the natural way when big things happen. Big things such as marrying your neighbor, a guy five years younger and currently the world’s most talked about artist because of one song he uploaded on SoundCloud that became popular.

Today, they got married. In a couple of months, Seokjin will graduate from college.

For every mimosa he downs, Seokjin gets less uptight and redder. Jungkook enjoys the grazing platter, perfectly buzzed simply by looking at his husband. Husband. The word makes him giggle out loud. It catches Seokjin’s attention while he has a green olive pressed to his yellow stained lips.

“What’s funny?” Seokjin asks before plopping the leftover olive between his fingers into his mouth.

“Nothing. Just thinking of today.” Jungkook takes a cracker and spreads blue cheese on it with the accompanying fork. Seokjin gives him a weird look.

“You don’t eat the crackers.”

“I do though?” As if proving his point, Jungkook eats the entire thing in one go.

“That’s not what I mean. You don’t eat the crackers because they are not worth it.” Seokjin picks up another olive and leans forward on his seat to show Jungkook who is sitting across from him. “Only things that matter should be given attention. You have the privilege to choose, use it wisely.”

Jungkook hums and stabs a salami with his fork. “Is that your life motto?”

“Obviously.” Seokjin probably would emphasize that sentence with a snort. He’s Kim Seokjin though, always prim and proper, so he doesn’t. Jungkook’s brain pauses at the realization that Seokjin isn’t of his last name anymore.

“Do I matter then?”

Seokjin may carry himself with the air of a regal prince, but even royals roll their eyes. “Jungkook, I just married you. Don’t you think this answers the question?” The smile on his face is blinding, and so is the diamond adorning Seokjin’s ring finger that he looks at with contentment.

“Jin, why did you take my last name?” A question that has been running through Jungkook’s mind ever since Seokjin said yes is finally out in the open. He wanted to ask from the beginning why Seokjin agreed so easily to take Jeon as his new surname when Jungkook’s mother asked him to. “I know your parents wanted you to keep being a Kim. You didn’t have to change it.”

Another glass of mimosa is downed. “You really want me to be sappy here in public while I’m on the verge of drunkenness?” Seokjin gigges despite the slurred words. He doesn’t give Jungkook time to answer. “Because I want it. Simple as that.”

The salami Jungkook was supposed to eat is completely forgotten at this point. Not now that Seokjin’s cheeks are red because of the amount of mimosas he drank. Not now because when Seokjin said those words, there is a hint of pride in his voice. Especially not when the words are a shade of lavender that resemble the fields they grew up in.

“Because you are worth it. You took one look at me during your birthday party and decided right then and there that I was worthy.” Seokjin’s eyes are gazing at him with such fondness, a look only reserved when it’s the two of them and in a private space. “I just want to make you happy too, Jungkook-ah.”

Jungkook’s not sure if he is going blind at the sight of so many marigolds and lavenders in his vision. Breath hitching, he manages to say, “Fuck. You’re really mine now, aren’t you?”

Seokjin’s twinkling laughter is engraved to Jungkook’s senses at this point. It is something he has perceived through sound and sight. Yet every time he hears it, Jungkook acts as if he has never heard such a thing. Seokjin traces the droplets of water from the glasses of alcohol on the wooden table while looking straight into Jungkook’s eyes. “The question is, are you mine as much as I am yours?”

Jungkook knows what Seokjin is really asking underneath an innocent question. The heaviness of his stare pierces him, and he knows the mood has shifted by the way the springtime vibrancy of the hues coloring their post-wedding escapade morph into winter. Jungkook seeks his hand, the touch electric.

He cushions the palm of Seokjin’s hand with his own, the back pressed on the table. The pads of Seokjin’s fingers wet his, a cold touch that evaporates just as quickly. With his thumb, Jungkook soothes him by drawing random circles on his skin.

“I am, Jin. I’ve been giving you parts of me since the beginning; you’ve always had me.”

u/choisyalovebot • 32m •



im walking down this familiar road

memories come up to me

cutting to scenes of you and me

on this pavement where you held my hand the first time

maybe it was how happy we were

it didnt register in my head clearly

naturally is what i thought. how old lovers roll in bed to stay

good morning love

how was your sleep

once more, let's face the day?

moving here was something i actually

envisioned. if its with you i would.

sky pink and air hazy

out of your mouth the words

oh, just like peaches

never saw it the old way since




     fruitbaskt 28m


          somnolentnova Now

           help what does this mean it’s 2 AM here i jwu

Chapter Text

A cup of coffee is placed on Seokjin’s desk inside the faculty room. His spot in the small office is kept clean and devoid of any personal belongings except for a snake plant in a black concrete pot speckled in tiny white dots and a limited edition candle from Diptyque called Rose Delight. 

Pulling on the chair matching the table’s wooden polish, Seokjin takes a seat and places his hydroflask down filled with his own coffee. Mrs. Langley makes his coffee for him perfectly; from grinding beans, to brewing it in a Bialetti, and sweetening it with lavender syrup and oat milk. When he has work, the drink is poured to his black hydroflask and left at the kitchen for Seokjin to easily grab. 

The film department’s faculty staff is small but amicable. They are mostly old professionals with brown coats weathered by the climate, and they all know each other just like how they know Seokjin brings his own coffee and lunch to work. This only means that the cup steaming white clouds into the air is left by a stranger. He picks it up, nimble fingers sliding through the rim, and sniffs. Seokjin immediately grimaces. Whole milk. Definitely someone who does not know him. 

Mondays make Seokjin listless compared to any other day. There is a contrast between the literal beginning of it versus the early morning sun rising up the sky. Seokjin did not awoke early, no, he was still up and about at one in the morning, sitting at the back of a car and holding a rare Georgia O’Keeffe painting he bought from the auction in the city. The ride back to the countryside manor that usually takes half an hour should be his opportunity for sleep, but Seokjin instead eyes the latest addition to his collection. He thought about Jungkook. His husband would probably like it because he showed interest in one of her works back when they were in a museum in Boston, the roses and larkspurs inspiring him to fill their hotel room with it. Or maybe because Seokjin wanted the painting badly, so Jungkook enacted the closest thing to it. 

Placing the cup down, Seokjin pushed it to the side and began eating. Besides him, a fellow professor also eats in silence in the air conditioned room. A woman in her mid-50s who always listen to the same artist again and again without earphones and whose overcoat smells as if she is perpetually brushing against thyme and rosemary. Seokjin doesn’t complain about the music, Los Indios Tabajaras a favorite of his as well. One time, she did listen to a different artist. Not even the entire discography, just one song that evoked the same feeling as her favorite duo’s violaõ. 

“It sounds like the first time I listened to María Elena, back in the days when I dated a woman of the same name,” She says while dabbing on her eyes and sniffling, “What a wonderful musician this boy is. Whoever it is for, he must really love them.”

Riviera Boys, track number seven of Une Serie, played in the faculty room the entire afternoon that day. Seokjin didn’t mind; it’s his favorite off the album as well. 

A song written while Jungkook looks over Seokjin’s shoulder, mesmerized by the short documentary he was watching for his final class of the semester. Seokjin would tell him to leave, but it’s those rare occasions he was able to come home to the South from the city.

For me, color is ecstasy, and everything but ecstasy is vanity.

The sea is the element of love. The Greeks say so. Aphrodite emerged from the water.

Jungkook gasps during these quotes, brightly exclaiming, “He is just like me!” 

“Should we go down to the coastline then?” Seokjin asks, this time the one resting his cheek on Jungkook’s shoulder as he writes a song. He loves Jungkook like this; inspired and beautiful and brimming with intelligence. Jungkook would pause, twirl his pen between his fingers, and answer with, “I’ll be too distracted.”

“By what exactly? The birds?”

“No, not the birds. Uncle Yanco is right; the sea is the element of love, and I’d be too enamored with it and you.” 

So Jungkook writes it like that. In Seokjin’s bedroom, on Seokjin’s bed, while Seokjin lay on his stomach, reciting the color blue in every language and adjective he can for Jungkook.

“Azul, aoi, umi, verdigris, the sky when it is clear. Is this helping you see it?” Seokjin raises a brow at the dopey smile Jungkook is giving him instead of writing. He asks again, “Can you see it?”


“You’re lying.”

The soft smile and gentle eyes doesn’t falter. “I am.” 

“What are you seeing then?”

“Loads of pinks and reds.”

The pausing of Puedes Creerlo distracts Seokjin more than when it was playing. Looking up from his balanced lunch, his companion in the room lightens up when their eyes meet. “Someone left that for you.”

He knows what she is referring to, so instead of playing dumb, Seokjin gets to the point. “Do you know who it is?”

“A man from the language department. He prepared it so meticulously too. He must be in love with you, Mr. Kim.” 

Seokjin wonders about that. How much care can be put into a cup of coffee using the faculty’s coffee machine and its bleached filters? His nose wrinkles at the thought of it. 

The next day during lunch break, Seokjin receives tea. He takes one look at the popular yellow tag hanging on the end of the teabag and ignores it for the rest of the day. 

At the third day, on a particularly tiring Wednesday wherein Seokjin had to go through lectures until two in the afternoon, another ‘gift’ presents itself on his desk. This time instead of drinks, there is an energy bar with a pink post-it note taped on the front. 

Profoundly enchanted by the flowing complexity in you.

Seokjin picks it up, rereading the sentence over and over again. He thinks with glee, ‘Keats? Oh, he is a linguist, alright.’ The note itself is charming and would have made his heart flutter if it wasn’t attached to an energy bar of all things. He eats it on the way home while reading the supposedly leaked lyrics to Jungkook’s new song.

I’m coming home soon. 

Seokjin bites into the energy bar to cover the grin on his face. Jungkook must already be in Narita if he’s following through with the schedule. Their home comes into view, a huge property a few miles further the resort town where the college he teaches at is located. It isn’t as big as the family house he grew up in, but it is large enough for him, Jungkook, Mrs. Langley, and her husband who doubles as their driver and groundskeeper. The car stops at the entrance, zooming away to the garage when Seokjin gets out. He feels strangely sentimental, a rare emotion. His linguist admirer must be really good at their job with how much their words affected him. 

Stepping inside the house, Seokjin pockets the empty snack packet and takes his phone. The last time he called Jungkook was so long ago, and yet he is on Seokjin’s favorites list of contacts along with Jimin. The call goes straight to voicemail. Seokjin imagines what face Jungkook would make when he finds out he missed a call from him. 

He keeps the phone pressed to his right ear, feet taking him to the kitchen. “I hope you listen well. I don’t like repeating myself. An artist I’ve been eyeing is holding an exhibit in Reijinsha, and I want a couple of pieces. You don’t have to personally pick it up, I can send Manager Kim my list. Since you’re there already, take the extra mile and visit Kyoto. Pick me up some wagashi, and oh! My students this year in a particular class are so nice. Buy tons of omamori, around twenty. I’ll give it to them when the next semester start. You obviously can’t leave Kyoto without buying me my favorite hand cream from Yojiya. I won’t let you back in this house if you forget that one. And lastly,” Seokjin finally gets to sit down in his usual seat in the middle of the kitchen and dining room where the smell of tonight’s dinner entice his senses, “I told you already. Come home not-so-soon. No endearments for you. Goodbye now.” 

The moment Seokjin moves to end the call, another comes through. Rolling his eyes at Jungkook’s predictability and impatience, he lets the device ring, taking his time moving around the kitchen to sit on the round wooden table. He waits for it to ring some more, until there are only two left and it would stop. At the last one, he finally picks up.

“Your inability to last long oozes even into non-sexual circumstances?” 

Seokjin’s opening remarks are always clever. Calls to him are special, every word said should leave impact. He prides himself on being intelligent and witty, always snarky and on the verge of rude. It is terribly offensive, yes, and is an indication to how light he actually feels.

See if this was any other person, they would be taken aback. Jungkook though, his Jungkook, has as much fire, if not more, when it comes to spitting words. “And the insistence to delete the Morocco trip two years ago from your memory humors me.”

Two years ago, they took a trip to Marrakesh with good intentions. Seokjin doesn’t remember much except the ceiling and being on his back, his knees, and the many other ways he found himself in courtesy of Jungkook’s doing. The thought makes his throat dry. 

“Funny that you keep bringing up your most iconic moment. Singular.”

“Stop teasing. Tell me what I want to hear and I’ll hang up. Unless you want to keep talking, in which I don’t blame you. We both know how mouthy you can get.”

“Jungkook, I’m a teacher. Of course I talk a lot. It comes with the package.”

The changing of the subject is Jungkook’s responsibility because if it was up to Seokjin, they will end up bantering all night. “I saw a video about my song on the Internet that was amusing.”

A bread basket is placed in front of him alongside small plates filled with goat cheese, and olive oil. Seokjin pulls it toward him with his free hand. He picks up the bread knife and spreads both condiment on a sliced focaccia. “Tell me then, and make it interesting.” 

“Something about, if you put your phone under your pillow while playing this certain audio, that’s what it sounds like to lay on my chest while I sing.”

Seokjin brings the bread to his mouth and takes a bite. The crunching sound is just as satisfying as the taste. 

Jungkook continues on. “I’ll send you the video, and I want you to try doing it.”

“I see no point in doing that since I know what it’s like firsthand.”

“Which is exactly why you should try it. I just want to know if it’s accurate.”

“What song is it?”

“Well, they have everything. I don’t know how they edited it to make it acapella, but the fans did. So.. Riviera Boys?”

Seokjin’s already standing up from his chair. He gestures to Mrs. Langley that he’s going upstairs and he’ll be back in a bit, to which she just grins in a knowing manner. Seokjin rolls his eyes. “Alright, send it. I’ll hang up now to participate in your little experiment.”

“You’ll call back?” The tone of worry has him smiling. 

Jungkook knows he will, and yet he says, “Maybe.”

There are a lot of things Seokjin doesn’t tell Jungkook. Thoughts and ruminations he keeps to himself, holding them close because he thinks it’s too much. He doesn’t do it to be secretive, or because he likes keeping Jungkook at arm’s length despite the tanlines on his occupied ring finger. 

Jungkook calls him a romantic, and he’s right. Jungkook says, I love you, and Seokjin only says, I know, the exception being when it is the first of September. Because Seokjin does know Jungkook loves him, and even when he says he’ll never leave, the thought of it happening one day is at the back of Seokjin’s mind. The idea of Jungkook’s feelings toward him being endless leave him speechless. He doesn’t say this out loud, or else Jungkook would insist it’s factual and not an idea. They can’t both be dreamers, so Seokjin lets Jungkook love him wholly, lets him do what he wants, while he stays grounded in reality. 

A message notification makes itself known while Seokjin climbs up the stairs and walks the hallway to the master bedroom. Entering the room, he hurriedly grabs a pillow from the bed and drops down on the couch at the other side of the room. Once he’s laying down, he opens the message and the link Jungkook sent.

If you put your phone under your pillow while playing this audio, it’s what it would sound like to lay on JJK’s chest while he sings, is what the text on the video says. Seokjin presses play and places it under the fluffy white pillow. It’s verse two of Riviera Boys, and if it’s his favorite song, then this is his favorite part.


and you come home bringing the air of a parisian, and suddenly you could play brahms on the piano perfectly

i wonder to myself is there someone in the city you think of dearly

your hair is back to blonde, when last time it was pink similar to dusk

i was hoping you are missing me the way i do, but its obvious in your movement that you have already adjust

im just a riviera boy, always waiting for you. just your holiday destination, the one you remember fondly when its hot

you tell me your friends smoke pot

and here i am sitting by the coastlines, still smelling like lavender

i dont want to be just your summer ender

because i wish you see me as home


The sound causes vibrations up his ears, mimicking the way it sounds when Seokjin is lying down on Jungkook’s chest and mumbling songs to him. He does it a lot, especially when he was still here doing nothing, lazing around the house while Seokjin works on lesson plans. He would come home in work clothes, trousers and button ups in neutral and muted tones along with a tie he would loosen up only when he’s finally in the bedroom. Jungkook would usually be in the art or music studio, sometimes he just falls asleep out in the garden all day in a hammock, but when Seokjin comes home from work he would always be waiting in bed with arms open.

He’s pressing the call button on Jungkook’s contact name before he knows it, aversion to international calls be damned. Unlike him, Jungkook picks up on the first ring.

“Just like me?”

Seokjin smooths his fingers down the tie he is wearing, still tight around the collar of his white dress shirt. “A bit.”

“Really? I thought you would say it’s nothing like the real thing.”

“They edited it really well.” Seokjin moves to finally loosen his tie. “All it is missing is your moving chest.” He says this offhandedly, busy with leaning up and removing his tie with one hand. “Or your hands. You like carding it through my hair when you do.”

The piece of fabric finally comes undone. Pulling it off, Seokjin lets out a groan at the loss of pressure against his neck. 

“Babe,” Jungkook suddenly says, “What are you doing?”

Seokjin pauses. He purses his lips, thinking if he should say the first thing that came to mind. 

“Taking my clothes off.”

He hears shifting from the other end of the line. He can picture perfectly in his head how Jungkook must be sitting in a hotel chair, heard that sentence, and proceeded to jump into bed. He probably dimmed the lights too.

“Which piece?” Jungkook’s voice sounds deeper, more intimate. His bedroom voice. 

Seokjin stifles his laughter. “My tie, Jungkook-ah.”

“Too tight?”

“Yeah. It’s the gray, Gucci, one.” Seokjin wraps said fabric around his knuckles. If his other hand was free, he would’ve secured it instead of letting it hang around his hand loosely. “You know, the one with the little color block at the top of it.” 

The silence at the other end of the line speaks louder than anything Jungkook could’ve said. “Does it still work over the phone? Do you see colors even when I’m not there?”

“Yeah. I do.” 

“Well? Tell me. What do you see?”

Jungkook grumbles. “Neon, fucking, red.”

Seokjin doesn’t hold back his laugh this time. He lets it out of him, loud and squeaky with a touch of fond, and he falls back down on the pillow with his eyes on the tie. It’s the same one he used on Jungkook before; binding his wrists together and tying it on the bed posts. 

“You have such a good memory, Jungkook-ah.”

“You caused me misery with that tie for hours. How could I forget it?”

“You were the one who couldn’t keep his hands to himself. God, I still remember the panic I felt when that director almost caught us in the bathroom. You deserved it.”

Cannes Film Festival 2017. Their first public outing as a budding film critic, and a worldwide superstar. They were just married a year ago that time, still in the honeymoon phase that to this day Jungkook insists never went away. Jungkook’s world tour was about to start in a week, and Seokjin promised to be with him, delaying the offered position as professor of film just for a few more months. 

“Hey,” The sudden gentle tone comes as a surprise, “I miss you. I really do.” A static pause. “Thanks for answering my call.”

The slow blinking of Seokjin’s eyes and a sigh is pulled out of him easily. Maybe he does miss Jungkook, and maybe, he can be a little bit warmer and affectionate due to the distance. Adjustments to his attitude should be made accordingly. 

“You’re on the phone with me already,” Seokjin says, “Why are you making me listen to an edited version of you singing?”

Jungkook laughs. Seokjin knows he is licking his lips and adjusting himself in bed. “Any song requests?” 

“How about your newest one? The supposed leak with the hidden message Twitter wouldn’t stop talking about.”

“Okay. But wait, have you eaten dinner yet? Don’t let me keep you from it. I’ll call later when you are rested.”

“I don’t want to waste more money on international calls,” is what Seokjin reasons out. It’s two in the morning in Tokyo, and he’s sure Jungkook is tired. “You should be the one resting.” 

The situation feels a bit odd for him. Lying down on the couch, just came home from work, and calling his husband who is on the other side of the world. The longing and yearning is actually getting to him, when he was the one teasing Jungkook about it in the first place. Jungkook is right; he is a romantic. This distance between them was supposed to do Jungkook good, and he does seem like he is doing well. Seokjin didn’t take himself as being the one feeling this… miserable. 

Seokjin can count on one hand how many times he allowed himself to be vulnerable with Jungkook.

One, the week before he left for university.

Two, the day Jungkook asked him to marry him for the thousandth time, and the one time he replied with a yes.

Three, when they escaped their wedding reception and headed down to a local bar, getting drunk on mimosas. 

Four, during his graduation party and he rolled on molly for the first time, when he called Jungkook to pick him up. 

Five, Jungkook’s concert in Tokyo, and Seokjin realized that he loves Jungkook as much as the other does. 

He realizes that Jungkook is singing the new song, Nectarine. He waits for Jungkook to finish, eyes closed and heart thumping in his chest. This is why he doesn’t like being affectionate, physically and verbally, because of how overwhelming it is.

“You still there?”

“Jungkook-ah,” Seokjin whispers into the phone pressed against his ear, “I wish you can sing to me in person soon.”

A hitching breath. “Oh, babe.” Jungkook sounds so fond, voice airy and light. He chuckles, and if he was here like Seokjin wanted him to be, it would’ve been accompanied with a kiss to his forehead. “I miss you too. Gonna finish this album quickly, I promise.” 

“Okay.” Seokjin turns to the side, transferring the phone to his other ear. “Don’t forget the vinyl press.”

“I won’t. After all, it’s the only way you’ll listen to it. And babe. I love you by the way.”

Me too. More than you know, more than I will ever say. 

“I know.”

The car Jungkook was riding in arrive first to the event hall. He texts Seokjin this, and doesn’t receive a reply. He doesn’t mind, they will see each other soon. He enters the place and a hush falls. He’s not used to the attention, but years of practice and forced mingling with high society has simmered down the nervousness. He tries to focus, thinking good thoughts, and doing his best to reduce the crowd’s chatter to background noise. He gets whisked away by Director Shin, the man of the hour and party host. 

Their conversation is one-sided, more of the man than of an actual topic. It’s easy for him to pretend he is listening. He scans for Seokjin from time to time, his patience running thin. If it wasn’t for Seokjin’s insistence that he should say yes to this invitation, he wouldn’t be here. Jungkook’s first world tour for his debut album kicks off in a week, and here he is rubbing elbows with Hollywood A-Listers. 

Then he sees him across the room. The suit, despite it being something Jungkook has seen earlier, his hands running down the fabric of it from Seokjin’s broad shoulders to his tapered waist, looks different every time they move closer to each other. It's as if the more steps they take to meet in the middle of this crowded room, the more his eyes get unaccustomed to the sight of it. 

Closer now. 

A few more feet.

There you are. 

“Ah, Mr. Shin! Just the man I wanted to see!”

Jungkook’s conversation partner laughs jovially, shaking the hand of Seokjin’s companion. Seokjin stands to the side, perfect posture and a champagne flute in hand. He has a polite, barely there smile, eyes gazing on Jungkook and Director Shin with passing interest. Jungkook feels a bit hurt with how easily his husband can pretend he doesn’t know him.

“Mr. Fujiyama! I’m so glad you could come,” Shin glances at Seokjin, his eyebrows rising at the other, “And with beautiful company too.” 

Fujiyama laughs that one off. “This is Kim Seokjin, one of my old apprentices when he was still a student. He is the genius who helped me with the music on your film.”

Seokjin moves with grace. Jungkook has seen him do this a thousand times since childhood. He transfers the flute glass on one hand, extends the other for a handshake, and says, “A pleasure.”

Absolutely beautiful.

Shin must feel the same. He gapes for a while, clears his throat, and adjusts his blazer before taking the offered hand. “The pleasure is all mine, Kim Seokjin.” Shin gestures to Jungkook, and he can tell the other didn’t really want to shift the attention on him. “You must already know this man; JJK. After all, you and Mr. Fujiyama chose his music for my movie.”

Seokjin’s smile widens just a bit when he turns to Jungkook, hand in mid-air and waiting to be acknowledged.

It’s their first public outing in the same function. The movie scene is usually Seokjin’s crowd, and if it wasn’t for the entirety of Une Serie being in Shin’s film, Jungkook wouldn’t be invited. As far as anyone knows, this is the first time the superstar will meet Kim Seokjin, a fresh graduate of university with an ethereal face and a degree in film.

Impressions must be made. 

Jungkook takes the hand, turns it over his palm, and brings it to his lips. He kisses the fingers of the man he married, he feels pride swell in him at the sight of the blue diamond on the ring finger. He keeps his eyes on Seokjin the entire time, and he lets his lips linger. 

“I heard you’re a big fan.”

Jungkook sees how Seokjin’s throat bobs, an action only he notices. He’s seen it happen whenever Seokjin’s heart is pounding and when he does not want to admit it. He’s still holding Seokjin’s hand.

“You can say that.” A hitching of breath, his voice a bit higher than usual, and an iron grip on his emotions. Seokjin’s never one to get flustered in front of anyone, but this is new territory. This is a place where they have to meet and move as their other personas and not each other’s husband. Jungkook takes it all in. 

Maybe this secret relationship thing isn’t such a bad idea. 

The hydroflask filled with his usual lavender oat milk latte is instead brimming with cold brew. Seokjin’s glad it’s exam week, and that he only had to arrive to class in time, hand over the examination papers, and sit on the table in front. He drowns his bad mood with bitter coffee, and curses himself from last night for being a sap. 

After hanging up the call with Jungkook, he ate dinner, took a bath, and laid down their bed in melancholy. He mushed his face in the pillow while using his phone to stream Une Serie beginning from track one to ten. When he reached track eight Shrine Hunting, after hurriedly skipping on Amore, Seokjin sucked it up and logged into Twitter. 

The tweets he receive everyday never fail to amuse him.


Replying to @uneserie
give me your user bitch its been 4 yrs god


Replying to @uneserie
cant twitter suspend this account please


Replying to @uneserie
so how much do you want for this user?


Replying to @uneserie
how was it even possible to get this user months before the album was released...


Of course he was able to snatch @uneserie away; he knew the album name before anyone else. He keeps the account empty, no layout and a single tweet that stan Twitter likes recycling over and over.


guess who is getting hitched to jjk 💍😂👈🏻✌🏻


It has over a hundred thousand retweets and likes. Besides the supposedly funny quote tweets to that particular post, he usually just gets bullied for the username. They think he’s inactive, but little do they know Seokjin opens the account from time to time, clicking on people’s profiles, watching concert fancams, and edits. 

Users @prodjjk, @ jkpickmeup, and @ GrammyJeon are some of his favorite accounts. They always make the best edits. The community has been making noise, everyone excited ever since Nectarine was leaked. Seokjin spent at least five hours, up until the wee hours of the morning, scrolling on Twitter and looking at his husband through the screen of his phone. By the time he woke up, Seokjin logs out the account, deletes the app, and bounds down the stairs for breakfast late by thirty minutes to his usual schedule. He’s never entertaining Jungkook’s late night thoughts ever again. 

When the last student hands him the paper and fills out of the room, Seokjin collapses on top of the desk with a groan. He picks apart the pros and cons of clocking out early to get some much needed sleep at home. The papers he need to mark and read over remind him he should get started with them soon. Film students without fail write in analytical and lengthy essays, almost always having to use extra papers to answer simple questions. 

Deciding that it wouldn’t hurt to stay in the room a little bit longer, he opens his phone and sets an alarm for twenty minutes. Sleep comes to him easy, his head cradled by his crossed arms on the desk, his responsibility of papers to mark on his left. 

Except the alarm doesn’t ring on time, and when Seokjin opens his eyes, he feels better than ever. It only means one thing: he overslept. A slumped form makes itself known to him. There’s another person in the room with him, hunched over and asleep on the student desk in front of him. He’s dressed in all black, coat fluttering near his knees. There’s a paper cup with coffee stains on the table beside the stranger’s head alongside a bookbag, and lastly, the one that catches his attention, an energy bar similar to what he received the other day.

Seokjin stands up quickly, not bothering to hide the scraping noise of the chair. He gathers his belongings; shoving papers in his own leather bookbag, and grabbing his hydroflask. He encircles around the desk, and rushes to the door. 

“Keep it down.”

Seokjin pauses on his tracks, blinking at the handle in surprise because of the deep voice. He scoffs, letting his irritation seep away from him before turning around to face the stranger. 

Exhale, billion dollar smile, and a fluttering of eyelashes. Seokjin turns around and regards the other man. “I apologize for the noise.” 

The stranger is surprisingly young. He expected someone older, with graying hair and wrinkles around their eyes. This person nods at his apology, his glasses reflecting the light seeping in the window. The paleness of his skin and the dark ensemble remind Seokjin of winters, like he came here in the room and brought the season with him. 

“It’s fine, Professor. I just thought you would extend me the same courtesy when I let you sleep the hours away when I could’ve been holding class.”

The revelation makes Seokjin falter. “Oh, I’m so sorry then. I didn’t expect to sleep that long. I’m sincerely sorry—..?”

“Min Yoongi. I teach philology. And you don’t have to apologize for that. My students were definitely happy about the exam being rescheduled.” 

Seokjin couldn’t help the bubble of laughter at the statement. “I’m sure.” His eyes move to the energy bar Yoongi has. It prompts the other to do the same, who lets out a sigh. 

“I promise I’m not a stalker.”

“I didn’t say anything.” Seokjin is now fully facing him. He’s curious about the other, this stranger who gave him a cheap snack, coffee, tea, and a quote from Keats. “Not to mention, I doubt a stalker would be, as you said, enchanted with my complexity.”

“Still,” Yoongi says, “I apologize for indulging on the double-take I did when I found you here. I didn’t expect art to come to me.”

Seokjin is positively amused, grinning and feeling good about such pretentious description directed to him. “Are you calling me a museum?”

“With how lost in reverie you were? Yes.” 

They laugh at the same time after staring at each other in silence. “Oh, you’re funny.” Seokjin wheezes, allowing himself to be a bit less graceful than he usually presents. “Didier Maleuvre? You’re so amusing.”

“And you’re brilliant. You caught on that?”

“I wouldn’t have if you didn’t mention the word reverie.” Seokjin’s already walking towards him, sitting on the chair next to Yoongi. “So, are you just full of quotes or can you converse normally?”

Seokjin sits comfortably at the upper box row of the concert hall with the rest of Jungkook’s screaming fans. He’s dressed down in a gray shirt that might be Jungkook’s, he’s unsure, and black skinny jeans. It’s the second to the last concert of the world tour, and out of all the 62 shows, this would be Seokjin’s second time sitting with the crowd. He usually stays backstage, falling asleep in a soundproof room to be woken up by a Jungkook filled with adrenaline from the show. Sometimes, he wakes up in Jungkook’s arms carrying him to the car, inside the car itself, or back in the hotel already. When he cannot be bothered to attend the shows, Seokjin simply stays in the hotel room, waiting until Jungkook comes back. 

The first time he watched, he was standing at the very front. He couldn’t focus much on the show, people shoving at each other and fansites with their humongous cameras distracting him. This feels better for him despite how far he is from the stage. There’s also him not telling Jungkook that he’s here. As far as Jungkook knows, Seokjin is at their suite watching documentaries on Netflix and ordering several bottles of wine. He feels a bit excited, curious on how the show will go down. He’s not even dreading hearing his distorted and reverbed voice when the Amore interlude plays. Here, he’s no one. Jungkook wouldn’t keep shooting glances at one particular side of the crowd like the first time, which raised a lot of suspicion from fans and the news when it first happened.

It starts on time, lights dimming and fans screaming. The upper box crowd is respectful, keeping to their seats and only thumping their feet in excitement. He notices some glances, most likely due to his face, but no one approaches him. 

The setlist is obviously short, but the production and show itself is worth it.

It feels surreal. 

He’s sitting so far away from Jungkook when they've been close their entire life. This is the first time he’s seeing him from such a distance, to be the one looking over in awe while the other shines. 

He’s perfect. A born performer. Seokjin knows he’s good at a lot of things, especially the arts, but this is something else. He should have done this more often, feeling regretful of the shows he missed. There’s a certain heart clenching, stomach dropping, emotion he is experiencing right now. 

Jungkook singing to him versus JJK singing to them. 

It’s overwhelming.

Everyone here loves him. Seokjin reckons some probably love his husband more than he could ever do. He sees it, understands why. He’s always been easy to love. 

“I think,” Jungkook’s voice bounces around the stadium, “Everyone knows this is my favorite track on the album.”

The crowd responds back enthusiastically. Seokjin can see on the LED screen his husband’s blinding smile. He’s dressed in a black silk suit, making him look older than his actual age. He looks so different on stage versus sleeping next to Seokjin. 

“It’s not even me singing.” Jungkook’s giggle has everyone cooing fondly. Seokjin tries to not roll his eyes.

The lights are replaced by a single spotlight focused on Jungkook. He places a finger to his lips in hush. 



Is this thing on?


The backlight disappears. Darkness envelops the entire place, replaced by neon blue lighting. A shiver goes down Seokjin’s spine. The crowd is silent.


Are you listening?



It fills his ears along with the fans humming in tandem to Amore. Jungkook’s form is only highlighted by the blue of the stage lights. Seokjin’s voicemail plays out without interruption. If he wasn’t so entranced and rooted on the spot by the intensity of how it sounds, he would be amused at how everyone just knows that Amore is the moment of silence in his shows.

When it finishes, the lights return, and Jungkook is seated in front of a grand piano. This at least Seokjin knows about. Brahms’ Intermezzo. The intermission piece just before Riviera Boys. Of course, Jungkook will sing the only love song he has written for Seokjin by introducing it with the piano piece Seokjin struggled with the most. It takes him back to lavender fields, paintings of flowers and sometimes trees, and the unending will-you-marry-mes. He notices some of the people around him are crying, and Seokjin lets his ego get the best of him.

It’s for me. 

All for me. 

Jungkook-ah, I can’t believe you sometimes.

The stage design for Riviera Boys confuses people a lot. There’s a bed, and the large screen shows a VCR of the coastline. Seokjin knows exactly why it’s like that. 

Maybe it’s the adrenaline brought by the show, or the influence of the fans surrounding him, but by the end of it, Seokjin misses him already. 

He walks out of the venue with his heart thumping and head spinning. Seokjin thinks he just fell in love for the second time. Falls for the same person. Or, he has finally fallen so deep, crashing down on waves and headfirst to the ocean floor. It rattles him, the certainty he gets knowing Jungkook feels the same way. This feeling of an endless summer romance.

He hails a cab back to the hotel. When he arrives, he doesn’t go back to their room. Instead, Seokjin heads to the hotel bar at the lower floors. He needs a drink, needs something to soothe the damning realizations he’s had. 

That’s how Jungkook finds him, drunk and red in the face sitting on a bar stool while flirting with the bartender. Seokjin can’t even see the guy, too shit faced to see properly. 

“Let’s go, I’m bringing you up.” Seokjin hears Jungkook say, pulling on his arm and helping him get out of his seat. Seokjin obliges easily. He clings to Jungkook’s side, linking arms and walking back to the elevator. 

“You got nice arms.” He comments, squeezing Jungkook’s bicep. The sentence comes out garbled due to a hiccup. Seokjin covers his mouth and Jungkook shakes his head in amusement. 

“I’ve never seen you drink this much.” Jungkook presses the button to their floor, and when the metal doors close, moves his head to look at Seokjin’s face who meets his gaze only to turn away quickly. “Did anything happen?”

The alcohol in his system turns Seokjin into a walking Freudian slip. “Watched your show.” 

“You did?” Jungkook’s tone of surprise has Seokjin imagining him with wide eyes. He doesn’t need to look to know he is right. “Why didn’t you tell me?”

“Cause I know you’d be weird about it.”

“Well… how was it?”

“I’m a JJK stan now.”

Jungkook bursts in laughter, body shaking. Seokjin side eyes him, feeling the vibration of the other’s body through their linked arms. 

“I’ll take it as a sign that I did a good job.”

“You did a great job. Wonderful. You are so talented.”

Seokjin gets nudged by Jungkook’s elbow. “Drunk you is surprisingly honest.”

“I’m always honest.”

“No you aren’t. You're blunt, but you always hold your tongue.”

The elevator stops. They exit, and Seokjin allows Jungkook to lead the way. He’s thankful he has Jungkook to lean on when he gets like this. He would have no idea how to go back if it wasn’t for his husband. The label makes him shake his head in disbelief. Jungkook watches him and couldn’t help the grin on his lips at Seokjin’s antics.

“Jungkook-ah,” Seokjin says while Jungkook pushes the door to their room, “I can’t believe I’m married to you.”


The door clicks shut. They refuse to let go of each other.

“I’m married to JJK.”

“Hell yes you are, Jin.” The tone of pride makes Seokjin giggle. Jungkook sits him down on the bed while he bends down to untie the laces of Seokjin’s sneakers for him. “Did the bartender give you anything besides alcohol? You’re acting so different.”

“They didn’t.” 

Jungkook continues removing his shoes. Seokjin stares at Jungkook’s dyed red hair. It has grown long to the point of half being red and the top black. It weirdly suits him. 

Seokjin mumbles the words reserved for Jungkook’s birthdays without much thought. It has Jungkook freezing, leaving Seokjin with one shoe on and the other off. 

“Did you just—”

“Don’t make me repeat myself.”

Jungkook stares at him in awe. When he says, “Why so suddenly?” Seokjin recognizes the scratchy quality of the other’s voice. He feels a bit guilty now, having Jungkook take care of him when he must be exhausted.

Seokjin ignores the question. He gestures for his other shoe to be removed. “Cause I do. Just wanted you to know.” Jungkook just stares up at him, unmoving and unblinking. Seokjin takes the matter with his own hands and kicks off his shoe with his sock-clad foot. He falls to the bed, moving around so his head is cushioned by the pillows placed near the headboard. Seokjin waits for the inevitable, and he isn’t disappointed. 

The lights are dimmed, the bed dips, arms wrap around his waist, and a kiss pressed to the back of his neck. He smiles at the physical touch, the closeness making him feel giddy. He was just watching Jungkook earlier from a distance, and now the gap is closed. He feels like the luckiest person in the world. 

Seokjin pinches Jungkook’s arm, poking at the skin. “You have such nice arms.”

The answer is said right to his ear. “Jin, you said the same thing earlier.” 

“And I’m married to the person attached to these arms.”

“You said that too.”

“Married to JJK. What the fuck…” Seokjin hits the top of Jungkook’s arms, slapping both hands on it. “If I sell your personal information to the media I would amass a fortune.”

“Oh, would you now?” Jungkook sounds so delighted. They both know Seokjin will regret everything when he wakes up and tell Jungkook to pretend nothing happened, so Jungkook enjoys this new side of his husband, and Seokjin lets himself babble about selling JJK’s unreleased tracks to companies or the tabloid. Jungkook simply agrees, even going so far as to goad him into doing it.

It’s a late realization for Seokjin that Jungkook was not as surprised as he thought he would be when he said those words of endearment. There’s a part of him that is admittedly insecure about it, of how Jungkook must want to hear it all the time but he doesn’t pester Seokjin in fear of sounding clingy.

He suddenly becomes fully aware of what it means.

Jungkook says I love you because he does. He doesn’t do it to get a response, or to validate how he feels toward Seokjin.

I love you. Full stop. That is all there is to it. 

And if his reciprocation, his response to it is done through lingering gazes and intimate touch, or even just being here in a foreign bed yet encased in familiar arms, then yes, Seokjin loves him just as much.

Chapter Text

The squiggly and clumsily done ink on the ventral side of Jungkook’s upper arm, just a shy above his elbow crease, is a crescent moon. 

It’s his very first tattoo among many, said arm gaining more each year until it transforms into a sleeve, but right now, fifteen year old Jungkook smiles down at it proudly. 

Similar to every other teenager who gets a tattoo before their legal age, Jungkook had it done by a friend in their room while music from a band called The Click Five plays.

The songs are nice, bursts of blue similar to a chlorinated pool clouding his vision on the exaggerated guitar and drums solos. It almost distracts him from the inking process.

It burned, hurting more than what the Internet said it would, but it wasn’t that bad. 

The person doing the tattoo is a friend from school. Ever since Jungkook started attending the nearest public school, he’s been adding many things on the list of things he wants accomplished.

tattoo sleeve

download garageband

make a soundcloud account

learn how to play the electric guitar

grow hair out (fucking jimin called me a helmet head again)

finish playing skyrim

marry jin

The last one isn’t even part of his to-be-accomplished. Jungkook sees it as a to-do. 

The letters Seokjin sent him while he’s in the big city and studying in university end up crumpled from the numerous times Jungkook has read them. He spilled milk on one, and he sulked for days, sending Seokjin double, triple, and quadruple paragraphs about how much he dislikes having to wait for the letters like some heroine in a Jane Austen novel only to conclude his rant with: I like the little doodles you add on the margins though so I’ll stick with this outdated bullshit until you’re back. 

Seokjin draws random doodles on the letters he sends Jungkook. There’s a recurring theme of celestial bodies, and when Jungkook tells him this, Seokjin writes him back with words dripping in so much sarcasm that if Jungkook closed his eyes, he could hear Seokjin’s ironic laugh. The doodles were simple line art of stars, clouds, sometimes a planet which is usually Saturn, and of course, the moon. 

I like drawing them because I can simply look up and know you’re underneath the same sky.

When Jungkook read that certain line, he jumped into bed, grabbed his phone, and sent Seokjin a block of text containing nothing but marry-me’s. 

It was how he spilled milk on the letter in the first place. His excitement had him kicking his desk without noticing, and when it spilled all over, staining the carpet in his room the staff painstakingly keeps in tip-top condition, Jungkook’s excitement took a hit. 

There’s a lot of happenstances that lead to him wanting to get a tattoo of the stuff Seokjin drew, but his aspiring tattoo artist friend tells him Saturn is too complicated. 

“You’re not going to get good business with that attitude.”

“JK, bro, we’re fifteen. I had to beg my sister to get me this tattoo gun, and that was a week ago.”

“Okay, fine. What can you do?”

“I don’t know, the cloud?”

“That’s lame as hell!”

“You’re an asshole!” Looking down at the blurry picture on Jungkook’s phone of hand-drawn stars and the like, the other adds, “I can also do the sun or the moon I guess.”

“Jin and the moon.” Jungkook mumbles to himself, repeating Seokjin’s name and the latter repeatedly. Turning to his friend, Jungkook pulls up the sleeve of his denim jacket and gestures on the spot he wants it at. “Poetic and pretentious enough. Alright, let’s get to it.”

The night after he gets it done, when his mother saw and scolded him about unsanitary tattoo practices and that if he wanted to get one so badly she can take him to a reputable artist, Jungkook snaps a picture to show Seokjin, corny caption and all.

I like that I remind you of the sky. I love that you’re reminded of me wherever you go.

Jungkook doesn’t hit send. He lays down in bed instead, mind working fast and contemplating the pros and cons of pushing through with it. 

Growing older has made him more in tune with the world. 

The feelings he holds for Seokjin has evolved drastically, taking all forms and names and ruling over him. He understands now the implications, why Seokjin catches himself every time he laughs a bit too much at something Jungkook says or does when he was still here in endless lavender fields and followed by Jungkook’s unrelenting gaze.

Jungkook doesn’t need to ask to know that Seokjin thinks he’ll get over the silly little crush he has for the older soon enough. 

Still, the last thing he wants is to make Seokjin uncomfortable, so he deletes the text and the photo, tosses his phone somewhere over his bed, and grumbles into the pillow. 

What a waste of pretty words. 

Days pass and soon enough, the end of the month is concluded by Jungkook uploading his first song on SoundCloud.


my friend can’t tattoo planets.wav



All the texts never sent, and all the words he wanted to say with his own voice ever since then became songs. 

Jungkook isn’t sure when he started liking music more than painting, but soon enough it went from being an outlet to becoming something he truly enjoyed.

The idea of having his feelings immortalized like this, to have the music reflect the colors he sees when he felt them the first time, was euphoric. 

In a way, he felt as if he was keeping a diary; only to be opened by his eternal muse when the right time comes.

He doesn’t stop with the marry-me’s though. 

The saying about how cities don’t sleep is embodied by Seoul all year-round. 

Specifically, Myeongdong. 

South Korea is seven hours ahead of what Jungkook and Seokjin call home. 

This time difference is the sole reason Jungkook decided to celebrate his birthday back here in their roots. It’s a bonus that Seokjin likes Seoul so much. He becomes softer, more malleable and laidback. 

The effect it has on Seokjin reaches him.

Jungkook despises crowds. Besides the noise, pushing, and shoving, there is also the unwanted side effect of his chromesthesia catching him off guard with every sudden sound. 

Not with Seokjin though.

The morning they arrived at the entrance of their hostel, Seokjin looked around and said, “Myeongdong is a peach, hm?”

The salmon pink filter it is bathed with through Jungkook’s eyes has yet to lift away. 

It’s an hour before midnight, and Myeongdong is still very much alive. 

Jungkook feels the same. 

In an hour, he’ll officially be eighteen. 

“Jin, this is the fifth Innisfree we’re entering, and all we do is take the free sheet masks and exit through the other side. Just buy something, please.” Jungkook complains with an exaggerated whine. 

Seokjin pauses, a step ahead of him and already accepting the free sheet mask handed to him as he steps into the entrance of the massive store. 

Jungkook catches up and stands beside him.

No other city in the world gets to see Seokjin like this; bright-eyed, hair down, and in casual clothes. 

The two of them blend perfectly with the crowd, and in this little point in time, Jungkook gets to pretend they are a pair of normal young adults having a fun night out. 

“It’s part of the fun tourists do! Since when did you become the uptight one?” Seokjin teases, bumping his shoulder with Jungkook’s own. 

Jungkook sighs, unconsciously pouting and making Seokjin laugh.

“I didn’t miss out on my final year’s first week of classes just for you to be a spoilsport.”

The sentence brings him back to reality. Seokjin’s graduating college soon. He doesn’t ask Jungkook about his plans for the future, and he is grateful for it since he himself does not know the answer, but it’s just another reminder that every time Jungkook thinks he caught up, Seokjin manages to remind him that he has yet to physically catch up.

They enter the store. It’s massive and painted in the signature green and white all the other stores lining the street also has. Seokjin’s head swivels around to linger on shelves lined with skincare. He acts like he hasn’t seen the same products, and Jungkook trails behind him and simply watches. 

Jungkook takes back his earlier thoughts of how they blend in with Seoul’s crowd.

A week ago Seokjin dyed his lilac hair back to black. He reasoned that he didn’t want to stand out, but Jungkook thinks him standing out doesn’t have anything to do with what color his hair is. The clothes he is currently wearing drown him, another contrast to how Seokjin’s normal clothes are all tailored and perfectly fitted. 

It’s a combination that has Jungkook wishing the separate beds in their hostel room is only one. 

He checks the time on his phone to distract himself. 

Forty more minutes till midnight.

They spend more time than necessary inside the store, and Jungkook is starting to actually sulk about how Seokjin seems to not care that it’s almost his birthday. He’s not expecting any kind of surprise, much less a gift; Seokjin’s just not that type of person even when he evokes the feeling from others. 

Once outside, Seokjin doesn’t stop to even look back if Jungkook is still following him. It makes Jungkook pout, his walking pace now languid, and he keeps his hands inside the pockets of his coat for a semblance of warmth. 

The pathway and the people never seem to end, and soon, Jungkook sinks so deep in his sour mood that the pink filter of Myeongdong dissolves to be replaced by bursts of neon colors, forcing him to keep his head down to block out the noise. 

Jungkook continues walking, simply waiting until it gets too much. 

It always does.

Then, it doesn’t. 

The hustle and bustle remain, but the warm hands covering his cold ears is something new. He finally looks up from his shoes to meet Seokjin whose lips hold a small smile. He leans in, and for a second, Jungkook thought he was going to be kissed right here. Instead, Seokjin bends down, lifts up one palm covering Jungkook’s ear, and whispers, “Happy birthday, Jungkook-ah.”

And suddenly, like some kind of repressed memory that you become aware of when you need it, Jungkook remembers the first time they met. 

He was six and it was at his birthday party. Seokjin was the only person not singing, the only person whose proximity he can rest his eyes on to not get assaulted by color and sound.

He remembers wishing for silence when he needs it.

Seokjin is quiet, back to standing in front of him now and hands covering his ears again.

He remembers wishing for explosions when he least expects it.

Seokjin laughs, and Jungkook should be used to it, but the marigolds growing right in front of his vision still take him by surprise. 

And lastly, he remembers wishing Seokjin was the one who will provide it for him.

“I can’t believe you’re an adult now. Feels like it was only yesterday when I came home and the first thing my parents did was drag me to some kid’s birthday party.” Seokjin’s hand moves to pinch his cheeks, chuckling while he does so. “I didn’t buy you a present because it felt insincere to get you one while using my parents’ money. You know how I feel about it. Hyung promises to make up for all your birthdays when he gets a proper job.”

Jungkook is quick to say, “Don’t need one.” 

His own hands move up to hold Seokjin’s own, forcing their fingers to intertwine. He watches Seokjin glance between him and their joined hands pressed on each side of Jungkook’s face, a sigh escaping those lips in surrender. 

Jungkook was supposed to do this at a textbook romantic place. His initial plan was to book their hotel in Nami Island and bring this topic up when midnight strikes. But Seokjin took over and changed everything up from their hotel to the itinerary, resulting in him unknowingly ruining Jungkook’s confidence on getting a positive response when he pops the question. 

They’re in a corner by the street, a little less crowded compared to the main block, and Jungkook thinks to himself there is no better time than the present.

“You said to ask you again when I’m eighteen.” 

Seokjin freezes, eyes widening and limbs going slack. Jungkook tightens his grip on Seokjin’s hand, refusing to let go. 

“I’m asking now.”

Jungkook prays to whichever deity is listening that his sincerity reaches Seokjin. He’s getting tired of trying to catch up, and he’s too ambitious to remain still and go with the flow. 

Seokjin stands straighter, quickly gaining back his footing. He laughs again, soft and with a tinge of disbelief. Jungkook tries not to show his worry when an amused expression take over Seokjin’s features.

“No, you aren’t.”

This time, it’s Jungkook who is confused. He expected the no, but the two words that followed stamps a big question mark in his mind. He expected to be rejected, or worse, not be taken seriously. When he was going over all the ways this would go down, he focused on the negative and tried not to think positively. 

Expecting an instantaneous yes is something he doesn't dare believe in because frankly, there is nothing going on between them, or for them, except their childhood memories and Jungkook’s unrelenting pestering of Seokjin. 


“You said you’re asking now but you didn’t even ask me anything. Am I supposed to blindly agree to whatever you say now that you’re eighteen?”

Jungkook’s mask of calm and cool cracks. “You know what I mean.” He says, trying his best to remain on track.

Seokjin raises a brow in challenge, tries to pull his hands away from Jungkook’s who refused to let the one thing he has a hold on also slip away. Scoffing, Seokjin says in a mocking voice, “You asked me repeatedly for twelve years and you can’t find it in you to say it now?”

“Jin, I’m not playing around.” Jungkook glowers, reading the situation for what he believes it is. 

The tense moment melts away quickly when Seokjin brings his arms down and Jungkook automatically follows by putting their still joined hands inside his black coat. 

They’ve never held hands like this, never even kissed, yet this dance felt familiar. 

“Ask me,” Seokjin whispers, “I want you to ask me, and I want you to mean it.”

Thoughts of why make me spell it out when you’ll just say no and I always mean it remain as thoughts. He doesn’t voice it out loud and instead does what he is told.

“Will you—”

“You’re just going to bulldoze through it? Gee, how romantic.”

Snorting at being cut off, Jungkook holds back his tongue again, a rant already forming on how Seokjin is the one who bulldozed his plans in the first place. 

Sighing, Jungkook closes his mouth and only stares at Seokjin who is still grinning at him. He finally becomes aware of their surroundings: they’re standing outside a 1000 won shop and the corner next to it where Jungkook is positioned leads to an alley where people are smoking while on their phones.

“Kim Seokjin, fattest ass I’ve ever seen—”

Seokjin gasps at the crudeness and once again tries to unravel his fingers away from Jungkook’s only to stop when the younger continues on. 

“Ah, Jin, this is only a formality, isn’t it?” Jungkook teases, prolonging his supposed declaration of intent simply to see how Seokjin would react. “Were you waiting this entire time to see if I would pop the question again?”

Jungkook secretly laughs at the uncharacteristic look on Seokjin’s face due to his cajoling. He’s obviously holding himself back, respecting the fact that it’s Jungkook’s birthday and he shouldn’t be too harsh. 

“Hey,” Jungkook’s voice is soft and low, qualities afforded to them thanks to their proximity, “I know it’s my special day and all, but you don’t have to indulge me about it.” 

It’s his last offer of an out to Seokjin before the dive; one last reminder that when he asks this time, he not only means it but can now act on it. 

“Will you marry me?”

Jungkook wonders why he ever thought Seokjin is the epitome of perfect manners and class. He realizes right then and there that Seokjin has everyone fooled, because a well-mannered person would at least give a warning before this.

There is no gasp of surprise, tears, or jumping into each other’s arms.

Seokjin pretends to think about it, shrugs, and simply says, “Okay.”

They sleep in separate beds and with the lights off. 

Jungkook glances at Seokjin’s turned back illuminated only by the moonlight peeking through the thin material of their hostel room’s curtains. 

The events from earlier refuse to leave him alone. After basically agreeing to marry Jungkook, saying yes to signing his life away with someone who isn’t even his boyfriend, Seokjin said, “I’m tired. Let’s go back now.” 

It does not feel real. 

“Are you asleep?” Jungkook asks in a normal tone. There’s no reply, prompting a sigh from him. He’s about to settle more comfortably on his pillow when he hears a grumbled, “What now?”

“You’re still awake?”

“If I wasn’t, would I be talking to you right now?” Seokjin remains on his side, voice bouncing off the thin walls. 

For someone who agreed to marry someone they weren’t in a prior relationship with, Seokjin acts like what transpired was only him deciding what to eat for breakfast.

“Can I sleep beside you?” 

The air conditioner’s humming fills the silence.

Rather than replying, Seokjin noisily moves his head further to the edge of his lone pillow and pulls the duvet higher up his face. 

Jungkook jumps out of his bed with lightning speed. The floor thuds as his bare feet touch the cold ground, and it echoes everywhere. He wastes no time pulling back the thick blanket and sliding right next to Seokjin. 

They’ve never done this sort of thing before, but Jungkook cautiously rolling on his side to rest next to Seokjin feels natural. 

“Don’t you dare hog the blanket or I’ll kick you off my bed.” Seokjin mumbles. 

Jungkook laughs at the threat, his breath fanning Seokjin’s neck causing the other to move away further. 

“If you want me to keep you warm you can say it.”

“I didn’t say anything.”

“It’s really fine, you know? I mean, being your boyfriend and all that.” The label makes Jungkook grin widely, followed by an uncontrollable giggle. 

“You are not my boyfriend.” Seokjin snaps. “We’re getting married, so act like it.”

Jungkook can’t see it, but he’s sure Seokjin’s ears are red. 

The words evoke colors of love for him. 

He acts on it by moving closer and snaking an arm around Seokjin’s torso. “This okay?” He doesn’t dare touch him, not yet, so Jungkook lets the palm of his hand rest on the bed.

Seokjin turns around to face Jungkook’s chest. His arms are folded close to him and eyes closed. He moves his body downwards, legs curling in. 

It doesn’t stop there.

In this position, the top of Seokjin’s head presents itself for Jungkook to look down on. He notices how the utmost lateral part of Seokjin’s bangs are a tad bit longer than the rest. 

Seokjin lays his forehead on Jungkook’s chest, and when Jungkook hears a sigh from the older that can’t be anything but content, he finally lets out the breath he didn’t know he was holding in.

“Isn’t the point of marriage being able to do whatever we want to each other without asking?” Seokjin’s huffy tone is muted, his lips moving against Jungkook’s shirt. He hears it and literally feels it, but it’s not sinking in. 

The years spent imagining moments like this or every time he held himself back, has been rewarded. He wraps Seokjin in his arms, tight and breathtaking, his hands fisted, head buried on the side of Seokjin’s neck. 

Seokjin chuckles. Jungkook realizes he’s crying silently, and that the comforting hand running up and down his back belongs to the person he’s been chasing all his life. 

“Honestly,” Seokjin sighs, “You like me too much.” 

Jungkook grumbles through his tears, mouth pursed and laying on the space of Seokjin’s collarbone. “That’s because I love you.”

“Don’t say that so easily!” Seokjin hits his shoulder, and Jungkook’s response is to hold him tighter. “Also, let me breathe! Trust me, I’m not going anywhere.” 

“You definitely aren’t.”

Just for good measure, Jungkook asks, “You know I’m never letting you go, right?”

“How am I supposed to go around Seoul now?” Seokjin shots back sarcastically.

“Holding my hand or over my shoulder, take your pick.”

Seokjin remains the same, continues being unnecessarily mean and sassing him whenever he can.

Jungkook would say they as a whole changed, but he’s always loved the other, so there is nothing new in that department. 

There is something he notices though. 

He expects Seokjin to say stuff along the lines of, keep getting on my nerves and we’re coming home with a cancelled engagement, or not even married yet and you’re making me want to get a divorce already

Whenever Jungkook crosses the line, intentionally or not, Seokjin would level a stare of disbelief towards his direction, sigh, and shake his head. He doesn’t let go of Jungkook’s hand, nor does he pull back. Seokjin just stands there, annoyed and irritated, but beside him.

No more running, catching up, or wondering whether he will ever stand by the other’s side. 

They’re sitting outside the terrace of a cafe, spending the day leisurely and still in Myeongdong. Seokjin refuses to go anywhere else when he is usually the one cracking down on Jungkook for being uncultured. 

Jungkook’s playing footsie with him, and Seokjin only rolls his eyes and keeps his attention toward his cup of green tea, tag being blown by the wind every now and then, while he reads a school required reading pocketbook. 

The thought of being content living like this crosses Jungkook’s mind multiple times a day. He’s always been outspoken about wanting to travel, make music, and experience different colors, but this leisurely movement in a fast-paced city with Seokjin is appealing to him. 

They can live off their trust funds, center their days around each other, and not think of anything else. Jungkook keeps such thoughts to himself. He can already imagine what Seokjin’s reaction would be if he says it out loud. 

“I’m surprised you’re not rushing me.” Seokjin says the same time he flips a page on his book. He doesn’t look up.

Jungkook sees pale blue emanate from the other. Confused, he blurts out, “What are you worried about?”

Seokjin finally meets his eye, brows furrowed together in surprise. “How did you— oh yes. How could I forget your mind reading ability.”

Jungkook leans his body closer to the table, hands itching to carry the weight of Seokjin’s own. “You’re all blue.”

Seokjin glares, and when he says, “Shut it,” the blue quickly shifts to red that Jungkook sees purple. 

“I mean, we have forever to talk about your worries.” Jungkook offers. He smiles, hoping it shows his encouragement. He wants Seokjin to start seeing how mature he is actually handling this compared to his admittedly childish actions. “I’m all ears.”

The paperback book shuts with a snap. Seokjin brushes his bangs away from his eyes before saying, “I imagined we would be fucking right after you asked. I expected we would at least have done something that night.”

Jungkook chokes on air and feels heat rise on his cheeks. He clears his throat and tries to calm down at the unexpected confrontation. He presses the back of his hand against his mouth, watching the atmosphere color into something he’s never seen before. 

The embarrassment on Jungkook’s face lighten up Seokjin’s mood. He opens his book and covers half his face with it, eyes crinkling in mischief. “My husband is such a gentleman.”

It’s the first time Seokjin refers to him as such, and Jungkook unintentionally kicks his ankle in shock. Seokjin only laughs, uninhibited and twinkling. Jungkook receives a kick back, and Seokjin goes back to reading.

“Good to know you’re still a baby under all the bravado.”

“We haven’t even kissed yet.” Jungkook retorts with a hiss, animosity covering up how even just thinking about it makes his palms sweat and shake. 

“I mean,” Seokjin flips another page, “You are welcome to. I have not been kissed in a while, actually.” 

“In a while?!”

Seokjin blinks up at him, faux innocent. “Would you like to change that?” Grinning widely, Seokjin closes his book again but this time places it down the table. “Do it here, right now.”

“Here?!” Jungkook squeaks. He looks around, and the terrace is empty except for the two of them, the inside filled with people minding their own business. “Are you—”

“Yes, I’m serious. Do you want to kiss me or, as you put it, wait until forever to get around it?” Seokjin brushes his hair back, slouches on his chair, and sighs exaggeratedly. “Or did I agree to a passionless marriage?” He does the perfect rendition of someone bemoaning their boring husband, and the last thing Jungkook needs are the clementine-colored wisps coating Seokjin’s amusement and merciless teasing. 

As a last attempt to save himself, he says, “You do it then.” 

Seokjin only smiles, unaffected and uncaring. Between the two of them, Jungkook is the competitive one, the person who gets provoked into doing things he usually wouldn’t do. He knows this, has been aware of it since childhood, his main antagonist being Jimin and usually over Seokjin. Deep inside, he knows there is nothing he can say to get Seokjin angry and acting based on taunts. 

Jungkook sulks in his seat, and Seokjin smiles knowing he’s won. 

He steals the gasp of air coming from Seokjin’s mouth with his own, the action mirroring winter when the season takes hold of every huff and puff from the dropping temperature. 

On the other hand, unlike the cold, Seokjin is warm and toasty, his skin protected by a thick sweater and thicker cotton pants. Jungkook’s get-up mirrors his, and if this was a different life, their current situation plays straight out of a young adult college drama. 

They are huddled on the side of Seokjin’s bed, the older’s back pressed on the wall and his parted legs making way for Jungkook to kneel in front of as he hold Seokjin’s face with both hands and repeatedly take his breath away.

Jungkook doesn’t remember how they arrived at this point. All that is in his mind is tomorrow they are going back home, and he’ll be damned if he doesn’t at least get anything done besides holding hands. 

Seokjin’s hands stay on Jungkook’s sides, his fingers pressing on tanned skin and pulling close every time Jungkook dives back to kiss him some more.

“We have an early flight.” Seokjin reminds him as soon as Jungkook’s mouth leave his, “Let’s sleep now.” 

Let’s sleep now.

Jungkook loves hearing Seokjin speak in collective.

Seokjin pushes him down the bed, forcing Jungkook’s head on the pillow. He lays beside him and pulls up the duvet. Jungkook acts difficult by invading Seokjin’s space and wrapping his arms around the other’s waist. It’s instinctive now, and he can’t remember a time when he wasn’t attached to Seokjin in any way possible.

Whispering right into Seokjin’s ear, he says  “We can miss it. There is no rush.” He gets ignored. Seokjin’s back remain facing him.

Jungkook repeats what Seokjin told him a few nights ago. “Aren’t we marrying each other so we can kiss whenever we want?” He punctuates his point by kissing the back of Seokjin’s neck that instantly colors red.

It’s much like Jungkook’s world these days; an unending neon hue even in broad daylight, almost blinding him. 

“The thought of kissing gave you an aneurysm the other day.” Seokjin scoffs.

Jungkook hums in agreement with the statement, cuddling deeper into Seokjin’s side. He already misses Seokjin’s pillowy lips, and how his tongue tastes similar to the unfinished sponge cake layered in strawberries and cream left on the small, round, table in their room. 

Oh, right. The cake. 

It comes back to Jungkook now how they broke the awkwardness. He plucked the whole strawberry decorating his slice of cake, something they bought to take home from a nearby bakery, and bit into it. 

The sugary fruit juice drips down his throat and some on his lips, and when he catches Seokjin staring a bit longer than what is considered normal, all the shyness and embarrassment evaporates from him. 

There was a bit of confectionery sugar dusting Seokjin’s upper lip from taking a mouthful of the cake. Jungkook laughed inwardly and asked himself why there was any weird feeling about kissing Seokjin in the first place.

Back to the present, Jungkook trails a pathway of kisses back and forth Seokjin’s nape and to his ear. The squirming reaction he gets makes him giggle, and it earns him a well-deserved elbow blow to the stomach.

“I’ll call the house up, tell them we need the jet.” Jungkook suggests, rubbing his cheek soothingly on Seokjin’s clothed shoulder. “Let’s extend our honeymoon too while we’re at it.”

“Honeymoons happen after the wedding. Plus, jet fuel contributes to climate change.”

“Are you going to lecture me about greenhouse gases? You? The person who is chartered to and from the estate and uni?”

Seokjin turns to face him, glare apparent even with the lights turned off. They stare at each other for a while, Seokjin mellowing right in front of Jungkook’s eyes. 

With a sigh, Seokjin wraps his arms around Jungkook’s neck. His fingers card through Jungkook’s hair growing long every day. “You’re so irresponsible. Are you marrying me so I can take care of you?” 

No, Jungkook thinks, It’s for these moments where you suddenly act sweet. 

Like you’ve been in love with me your entire life too.

Seokjin moves closer, about to kiss him based on how his eyes are trained on Jungkook’s mouth, only for him to pull back. He does a good job of pretending he wasn’t just about to do it, movement slow and graceful.

Jungkook’s fine with it, used with being the one trailing after Seokjin. 

“I’m marrying you for your money.” Jungkook announces seriously. 

Seokjin copies him, nodding in agreement. “I’m also marrying you for your money.”

“Give me a kiss.”

Seokjin makes a show of closing his eyes. “No, I’m going to sleep.”

“So? Give me a kiss.”

“Is this your retaliation for what I said?”

“Hm, maybe.”

“I should have never said anything then.”

“I thought you didn’t want to be stuck in a passionless marriage, Jin.”

Seokjin opens one eye and quickly closes it again. “Is this supposed to be passionate? You and me in a cheap hostel making out like teenagers—”

“Let’s extend the vacation then. We can go to the countryside and, I don’t know, fuck in the stables.”

That one makes Seokjin laugh, the unbridled and hiccuping type of laughter he only does in private, where he shakes and his cheeks redden from how much he’s laughing. 

“You’ll bend over stacks of hay for me?” Seokjin asks, brows raised in wait. Jungkook doesn’t disappoint. He nods enthusiastically, and leans over to pepper Seokjin’s temples with kisses.

“You’re uppity and shit, but I know you’ll allow me to have my way.” Jungkook would never dream of saying stuff like this a few weeks ago. 

Seokjin agreeing to marry him is starting to get to his head, and he’s unsure if it will ever leave.

“We have a perfectly good bed right here. I would rather soft sheets than dirtying my knees in a barn, Jungkook-ah.”

Jungkook is already moving to hover on top of Seokjin, arms resting on the side of the other’s head. “Jin, you should just say so—”

Seokjin pushes his face away to the side, palmar surface of his hand covering Jungkook’s mouth. “I said go to sleep, you unromantic brat.”

“I’m romantic! I write you love songs, I paint you sappy shit, and I have your doodles tattooed on my skin. What more can I do that I haven’t yet?”

Reminded of all those things, Seokjin calms down and lets Jungkook rest his body on top of him without a fight. 

“And you know what?” Jungkook starts to say while looking at Seokjin with intent and determination, “I’ll keep doing it. I’ll set the standard so high you’ll compare everyone else to me.”

“I certainly hope so since we are getting married.”

“Trust me. I love you,” Seokjin makes a noise of complaint and before he gets to cut him off again about how he shouldn’t say it so easily, Jungkook continues on, “You’re my number one, alright? Always been, always will be. I’ll make you happy, I promise. I’ll make sure being the one for you is worth it.”

Jungkook watched Seokjin blink slowly, out of sleepiness and also an action unique to him whenever he is content and pleased. His response of, “You’re so corny,” only proves to him that Seokjin does like it when he’s corny.

“You’re marrying a musician, what else do you expect?”

Without much surprise, their family takes over the planning part of their upcoming union.

Seokjin’s parents laugh and shake their heads at the news. They’ve been expecting it, and Seokjin smiles politely at the excitement from Jungkook’s family. 

They are back home now, no more casual clothes or making out in each other’s bed.

Jimin’s reaction to the news was fury personified, and Jungkook enjoyed every single minute of it. The shock, widened eyes, snarl towards his direction, and a look of desperation towards Seokjin, waiting for him to say Jungkook is joking. 

Seokjin needed to go away again and back to school. He allows Jungkook to kiss him on the cheek before he boards the helicopter. Jimin, insistent on dropping him off as well, looks away with arms crossed over his chest. 

“Come back soon.” Jungkook spells out the words right against Seokjin’s skin, so close to where he really wants his mouth to be. Seokjin smiles, patient and back to normal, none of the recklessness or teasing. Letting some of his childishness slip through, he adds, “Don’t look at other people, okay?”

Seokjin nods in acquiescence. 

In broad daylight, Jungkook finally meets the color of Seokjin’s emotions for him. To his surprise, it’s brown, reminiscent of caramelized sugar. Bubbling and then crystallizing just as quickly, the specks of it blending with the light.

It suits Seokjin. Jungkook swears he can almost taste it in the air. 

“I won’t mind though, if you do that I mean.”

It makes Jungkook pause, veins freezing and suddenly feeling scared. “What are you talking about?”

“Don’t worry.” Seokjin takes his hand and squeezes. It’s supposed to elate Jungkook since he’s usually the one initiating physical affection, but it only serves to stoke the fear growing in him. “I’m just saying, if you want to look around while I’m gone, I’m not forbidding it.”

“Why would I? You’re all I want and need.” 

Seokjin shakes his head, obviously disapproving of Jungkook’s choice of words. “Don’t make your entire personality revolve around liking me; I’ll get bored easily.” 

Before he could voice out his questions and the simmering anger dashed with everything that scares him about what Seokjin said, Jimin breaks them apart with a wide smile directed only towards the eldest. 

“I’ll miss you the best, hyung.” Jimin kisses him on the cheek, smothering and a loud smack that has Jungkook forgetting quickly what Seokjin said to him. 

Jimin receives a hug back, but when they let go, Jungkook feels pride swell in him when Seokjin looks for his gaze one last time. He mouths, Bye, and Jungkook does the same. 

Winter is almost over, and despite this, everybody managed to dress up as they exit cars and pool inside the restaurant located in the city and far away from where they usually reside closer to the hidden forest and fields with their big houses and lands.

The location is magnificent with amber lights glowing amidst the dark street. It’s reminiscent of fairy tales, when the hero and his band of companions stumble into a cottage where fairies fill their cups with ambrosia and plates with berries and cheese.

Here, the tall flutes of glass slosh with wine from Madeira, and the silverware are carried to their tables by servers in courses. There is more concern for the theatrical ambiance than the food, with their white linen set tables alight with candles encased in glass cube containers and imported ylang ylang wafting through the air from the open double doors leading to the outside terrace overlooking the entire countryside.

It was organized by the Kim and Jeon family heads, and thus, mostly for them. Jungkook drinks glass after glass of wine, adjusting the tightness of the necktie he was forced into every time he tips his head back for the drink. 

Seokjin on the other hand is laughing jovially with the adults, entertaining their suggestions on where the ceremony should be held. It irritates him that even when they are literally about to get married, the one sitting next to Seokjin is Jimin, whose hair is dyed an ash blonde and pushed back earning him compliments from everyone in the room. Jungkook’s mother tuts at his long hair until he gives in and gets it cut short. 

Jimin’s arm is hanging over the edge of Seokjin’s chair, fingers massaging the other’s nape, and Jungkook knows it is intentional due to the smirks Jimin keeps shooting toward his direction. 

“I always knew it was either going to be Jungkook or Jimin, Seokjin-ah.” Some adult whose name Jungkook doesn’t bother remembering giggles. 

Jimin sighs in exaggeration, and Seokjin chuckles goodnaturedly. “Does that make me predictable? You wound me.” 

“Don’t worry, Auntie. I also thought it was going to be me.” Jimin’s announcement makes the people around them laugh, and Jungkook motions for a server to refill his wine glass. He contemplates just asking for the entire bottle.

“It was always just me and Seokjin-hyung, you know. We did everything together, especially ones concerning first times.” 

The revelation earns him some titters. Jungkook is already getting up from his seat and mumbling, “Excuse me.” 

“Well, why don’t I introduce you to my niece, Jimin-ah?” 

“Oh, uh—”

Serves you right, you asshole.

Jungkook ends up outside the veranda glaring at the view and sitting on the marble bench. His elbows rest on his thighs, hands clasped together and resting between his legs.

He hates that everyone is making his business theirs, and he especially hates Jimin still managing to get into his nerves after all these years.

We did everything together, especially ones concerning first times.

It isn’t surprising, but the confirmation that it was with Jimin of all people, makes him feel small. Jungkook feels like the things he brushed off as a child are now prodding at him, stuff that did not make sense suddenly do, and all the memories of Jimin laughing at him when Jungkook couldn’t hang out with them rears its ugly head. 

Leather shoes clicking against the concrete make itself known to his ears. Jungkook doesn’t need to look to know it’s Seokjin. He sits on the same bench Jungkook is sitting on, settling on the edge of the seat with his shoulder brushing Jungkook’s back.

“It was a long time ago,” Seokjin begins to say, “It doesn’t mean anything at all.”

Seokjin scoots closer, resting his head on Jungkook’s shoulder. It surprises the younger but he doesn’t show his reaction.

“Stop pouting and come back inside.” 

Scowling, Jungkook snarls out, “Aren’t you supposed to be trying to get back into my good graces?”

Seokjin doesn’t stifle the automatic chuckle of disbelief it prompts out of him. “What, for Jimin telling everyone we used to make out at his family’s gallery? Or in the theaters when the lights dim?” 

“Wow, thanks for this information I obviously didn’t need to hear.”

Jungkook moves away, forcing Seokjin to lift his head.

Undeterred, Seokjin encircles his arms around Jungkook’s waist and lays his chin atop the shoulder of his sulking fiancé. 

“Wait until you hear about what we got up to in the ballet studio.”

Jungkook glares at him, the amused expression on Seokjin’s face not helping his case. “Stop it.”

“Make me.”

He looks down at Seokjin through his lashes, wondering if Seokjin is aware of how much influence he holds over Jungkook or not. His pretty eyes and his lips pouting all contribute to Jungkook’s undoing. 

Sighing in defeat, he bends down to kiss Seokjin for the second time since he came back. He’s been coming back for the weekends under the guise of wedding preparations. Jungkook lets him say those excuses; they always end up in his or Seokjin’s bed watching movies Seokjin needs to write essays on, or with his tongue down Seokjin’s throat anyway.

He teases Seokjin by pulling back the last minute before the other could deepen the kiss, earning him a rare whine. It makes all the anger and jealousy dissolve from his body.

“Tell me about the artist who reached out to you.”

Jungkook rolls his eyes. “I could have told you all about it if only you replied to my texts.” 

“Well, I’m here now, so hurry and tell me.”

“He’s the one who sampled Mozart. The only—”

“Ah, the only DJ I like.”

“Yup, him. He likes my stuff, asked me to send a couple more. He wants to meet me in his studio in Seoul, but I told him I’m getting married in a month.”

“You’ll meet him after?”


Seokjin inhales in the cold air, exhaling slowly and rubbing his cheek against Jungkook’s cashmere dinner jacket. “Have I ever told you how much I like that about you?” 

Jungkook turns his body sideways to face Seokjin better who refuses to let his hold on Jungkook’s waist go, only adjusting with him and tightening his grip too. 

“You never tell me you like me. I’ve never even heard you say you love me.”

“Okay. I do.”

“I know.”


“You love it.”

“Yes, but as I was saying, I like that you’re selfish with your freedom. It’s my favorite quality of you.” Removing one of his arms holding Jungkook, Seokjin continues and lists off one by one on his fingers the following: “Your tattoos, music, and your art. I like that we’re different, and I like that you don’t care. I like that you want to live by doing those things. And, in a way, I like that you love me but you love all those things too; that among all of those pursuits, you still manage to find space for me in your life.”

The noise inside the restaurant is distant from where they are seated. The vastness of the land feels small compared to how Seokjin makes Jungkook feel. He takes Seokjin’s hand, entwines their fingers together, and eyes the unblemished skin of Seokjin’s ring finger. He cannot wait for tanlines the shape of a gold band to be there soon. 

“Is this what you mean the last time? When you said you don’t mind me looking around?”

Seokjin nods. At this moment, there’s no need to beat around the bush. “The last thing I want is to hinder you. You’re so young, Jungkook-ah. There is so much in life I know you want to see, and you being monogamous to me will only stifle that potential to grow. I want you to keep evolving; I want you to always be chasing the best version of yourself, because when people reach the top, they become stagnant, and the only way from there is down. Truthfully, it’s a very selfish wish under the guise of letting you bend our vows of faithfulness.”

Seokjin’s soft expression shifts to one more characteristic of him; all cheek and tact. “I want you always changing, and I want to be the one you come home to after; the person who gets to benefit the most from it.”

Jungkook hears laughter, and he realizes Seokjin is trying to pull his hand away, complaining about how tight he is gripping the other’s hand. 

He realizes he’s been holding in his breath, and he’s so blinded by myriads of colors he guesses this is what seeing dying stars must be like. 

The final breath, the swan song, and the last missing piece he was too scared to look or ask for.

Seokjin does love him.

It’s all the reassurance he ever needed and could ask for.

It’s the kind of thing his imagination couldn’t even come up with, for it was too impossible to even daydream about. It’s a feeling straight out of the many poetry books Seokjin likes to quote to make his essays fancier:

I have dreamed of you so much that you are no longer real.

But Seokjin is real. 

He’s here, breathing and trying to escape from the hold Jungkook has on his fingers, accompanied by twinkling laughter and brighter eyes. 

In a fit of nostalgia, Jungkook remembers the electric buzzing of a cheap tattoo gun against his skin inking Seokjin’s drawing of the moon on his arm.

Seokjin says it’s all downhill when you’re at the top, and so Jungkook longed for the moon. And now that the moon is within his grasp, orbiting his being in the shape of the one, arms around him and refusing to let go, then Jungkook has no other choice but to vie for the stars. 

Maybe, it’s why Seokjin doesn’t like saying I love you. Those three words are too simple and mundane to explain the tenderness and fragility exemplified not only by the beating of his chest but by his entire being. 

It’s almost insulting to say it to Seokjin, the scope of it not encompassing enough the magnitude of this, this, this.

Of everything.

“Well, say something,” Seokjin complains, “You’re being awfully quiet.”

“You know I love you, right?”

We can never fall, not when I’ll forever be trying to explain how much I do love you. 

“At least tell me something I don’t know.”

A flurry of I love yous.

A series of it.

This is only the beginning. 

[An Excerpt From JJK’s first interview with i-D]

IV: Now, why ‘une serie’? What’s the reason behind the name of your debut album, and unarguably, the best album of the decade (chuckles)?

V: (JJK’s eyes move to the ceiling in thought, and unconsciously, he moves his middle and pointer finger across his lips and chin back and forth) Well, in the most simplest terms, it’s a series (laughs). You can take it apart depending on your viewpoint. A series on life, a series of experiences, or a series of scenarios pieced together to tell one big story. But you know, that’s too pretentious. I just wanted it to be a statement, that this is the beginning. It’s the start of my career as a musician, and if it’ll be the last, then it’s a series on it’s own.

VI: Hopefully it’s not the last (worry crosses the face of the journalist, transitioning into them and JJK laughing together)Your fans take it as a series of love letters on life and people, mayhaps even wishful thinking of it being from you to them, so tell us, is it a series for you or for someone special?

VII: Are you asking about my love life? 

VIII: Well, since you put it that way, yes I am (laughs)

IX: I think (a pause. JJK is very careful with his words), you can’t write stuff like this when you aren’t in love. With anything, really. I’ve read about how the album is praised for having a mature viewpoint or having a worldly look despite my age, and it has everything to do with love, you know? You must love what you’re doing. You must love the music. You must be in love with people, cities, ambiances, and structures, to be able to write about them. If you aren’t, well, you just half-ass the process. You tend to romanticize it, or find the world too bleak. But when you’re in love, the truest kind, you see it for all it is: the cracks, the things you or they or that lack, and despite it all, you still filter it in this certain hue, because you love it. (laughs) I tend to talk too much, so as an apology, sure, I’m in love. Every artist has their muse. Mine’s (redacted as per the wishes of JJK’s management). Any musician or poet or whatever can only dream about finding someone like him.

Ask any person in a long-term relationship what they think about fighting with their significant other, and you’ll get varying replies. Yet, the consensus remains that fights are healthy and needed. 

It opens you up towards each other in ways you would never expect. Fights can get messy and ugly, yes, but when you get through it, the end result is worth it. Seeing each other in said messy and ugly states breaks this vision of perfection people tend to keep up.

For Jungkook and Seokjin, it’s also the same.

Jungkook arrives at another film fest gala with another different date hanging off his arm. They’re a singer whose song used in the movie something he worked on exclusively, and for a lack of a better description, they have grown close.

His date’s bad qualities outweigh the good, but Jungkook enjoys their company and that is enough.

Seokjin arrived thirty minutes earlier with his film school mentors, all serious with their monochrome tailored suits and glasses. Jungkook doesn’t even remember the last time Seokjin dyed his hair a color other than black. He misses the days Seokjin would leave the estate to university with electric blue hair only to come back a month later with a head of pastel pink.

With Jungkook’s world tour finished, his own bright red hair is now only colored on the tips, his roots overshadowing it. 

In the banquet hall, the post-festival party plays out just before the real after-party. Jungkook and his date are approached by the director who greets them, big name celebrities, with enthusiasm. He rushes them over who he refers to as his friends, and Jungkook is once again standing in front of Seokjin as an acquaintance and peer.

Jungkook remembers the man as Fujiyama, who thinks he introduced him and Seokjin. The man says, “You’re everywhere these days, JJK. And always accompanied by the best!”

His date giggles at the compliment, and Jungkook swears he sees the corners of Seokjin’s mouth turn upside down from the polite smile for a second.

Not that he’s watching his supposed film circle friend a little too closely. 

Seokjin instantly catches on to what will happen next.

Fujiyama turns toward his way, about to introduce him to Jungkook’s date, and before he is able to, Seokjin is already moving away and saying, “I need to take an important call. I’ll catch up with you all later.” Fujiyama looks confused but is quick to agree, telling Seokjin to hurry back.

Seokjin walks past Jungkook, shoulders and back set in a straight line with his hands inside the pockets of his suit pants. 

Green, like when summer comes and envelops the land in its warmth.

Jungkook enjoys the palette of emotion coming off Seokjin.

Truthfully, they haven’t seen each other in a month. 

Jungkook, hopping around studios in different cities to collaborate with different artists as a producer and songwriter. Seokjin, attending film festivals left and right with his hair growing longer each time Jungkook manages to find a photo of him in the background from online news articles. 

In all honesty, they have not spoken in a month.

It was bound to create tension.

Fights make the heart grow fonder, but what Jungkook enjoys the most, and Seokjin too even though he won’t admit it, is the making up part of it. 

They especially love bringing it to the bedroom where all the fighting ends and they wake up the next morning with everything right. 

Except this time around, it’s the longest they have gone not speaking to each other. 

And what makes the situation more unique, is that Seokjin is the one obviously seething in anger. He doesn’t show it, never bold with it, but Jungkook woke up today with a text message from Seokjin saying:

Will I be seeing you?

You know where.

The last time Jungkook received a text from Seokjin was during his 17th birthday. 

That was almost three years ago.

It’s usually him doing the chasing, the one trying to figure out where in any of Seokjin’s thirty four properties his husband must be hiding at. That is, if he was even in the same continent. 

Seokjin’s dramatic like that, and Jungkook loves it; enjoys every single second of it. He likes knocking at the door and knowing Seokjin is grinning on the other side, downplaying it into a glare for the sake of theatrics when he turns the knob. As much as Jungkook loves the chase, Seokjin lives for the thrill of being found. 

Unlike all those other times, this time around, Jungkook was the one who packed his bags. He was still sweet about it, says, “I love you baby but I can’t fucking stand you right now,” before being driven to the airport with Manager Kim.

They asked him where, he said anywhere, and Jungkook wakes up in New York with a schedule filled with the intention of acquainting him with every celebrity he used to roll his eyes at.

Jungkook grins inwardly. He wonders how long they can keep this up. With his hand resting on the back of his date’s waist, Jungkook discreetly peeks around to see where Seokjin is running off to.

He instantly falters upon meeting Seokjin’s eyes. 

Seokjin’s already standing at the other end of the room, still donning the same aloof and no nonsense figure. 

The expression on Seokjin’s face betrays all the posturing. 

Even from a distance, behind the thick lenses and thin frame of Seokjin’s prescription glasses, Jungkook makes out the curling of his brows, the shining and pearlescent wetness kissing the rim of his eyes, and the absurd pout on his lips.

Seokjin turns around quickly, bumps into someone whose eyes widen at him in surprise. By the movement of the stranger’s lips, he’s asking Seokjin if he’s okay. Seokjin brushes him off with a nod and keeps on walking, and the stranger, just like Jungkook, are left behind watching him in awe and mesmerization.

Jungkook gives in so easily. All fantasies of savoring it until the very end are long gone and replaced with the want to make everything right again.

Yes, Seokjin never texts. Though he does once in a blue moon.

Yes, Seokjin is always getting mad at him and instigating their fights, but he’s also very easy to make up with.

He’s never seen Seokjin cry.

When they were younger, and Seokjin’s favorite riding horse passed away, he comforted Jungkook and Jimin when he was supposed to be the one bawling his eyes out. 

Jungkook makes up an excuse and detaches himself from his date. They call him, asking what is wrong, but he ignores them completely. He can’t even see anyone or anything in the room anymore. 

Everything is grey and a consuming dark blue.

Jungkook bumps into someone. Upon turning, he recognizes it to be the same guy Seokjin bumped into earlier. He mumbles an insincere apology, and maintains his stride.

Distantly, he hears someone say, “God, these stuck-up people! Are you okay, Taehyung? Everyone here seems bent on shoving you.”

“Ah, it’s fine, really.”

“Shut it! You’ll make it big someday, then you can bump into people without apologizing properly too like these jerks!”

Jungkook ignores them, all focus solely on finding Seokjin. Exiting the banquet hall, he goes straight to the most predictable place in the vicinity: the terrace. 

It’s nearing nighttime, the sun setting in the horizon and turning the sky in the prettiest of colors. Jungkook sees none of it, gives zero fucks about it or anything else at this moment except for finding Seokjin and making everything okay again. 

He’s thankful Seokjin is there, back to him and sitting on a granite bench. It reminds him of their engagement party, and how it was him in Seokjin’s situation. It says a lot about what Seokjin must be feeling right now. He likes hiding in elaborate places, loves making Jungkook work for it, so for him to act predictable can only mean he’s moving on pure instinct.

Jungkook shuts the double doors with a thud, finds time to turn the lock from the inside, and when Seokjin looks up from the noise, his gaze follows Jungkook who moves from the entrance and in front of Seokjin, body bending down and taking hold of the other’s face.

Seokjin doesn’t shy away or tries to hide. He stares at Jungkook unblinkingly, unshed tears and all. 

They stay like that for a while, just staring at each other. Jungkook soothes him as best as he could, the only way he knows how because Seokjin taught it to him. He swipes his thumbs on the skin underneath Seokjin’s glasses, soft smile on his lips and remaining quiet. 

It’s Seokjin who breaks the silence by saying, “Tell your bitch I don’t like them.”

Jungkook bites his lip to stifle his laughter. He nods obediently, and with it, Seokjin glares at him, allowing the tears to trail a wet path down his cheeks.

“When are you coming back, Jungkook?”

The combination of the unexpected statements and questions along with his sorrowful tone break Jungkook’s heart. At this point, if Seokjin asks him in this voice to never leave again, he’ll agree without even thinking about it.

“I’ll come home with you right now if you want.”

“Your luggage is still in your hotel room.”


“It’s a seven hour flight. Plus, I don’t want to ride a public plane.”

“I’ll make some calls while on the way to the airport, how about that?”

He doesn’t stop comforting Seokjin with the light fluttering touches, but inwardly, Jungkook’s stomach is flipping at suddenly being the one taking care of the other. It’s usually Seokjin, always him actually, the one who babies Jungkook and acts his age. This new discovery is something he could get used to, hopes to whichever deity listening he’s doing a good job.

“You’re okay leaving?”

“I should be the one asking. I don’t care about shit like this, but I know you do, so are you okay with leaving?”

Seokjin wraps his fingers around Jungkook’s wrists, just holding on and his head craning up to look into his husband’s eyes. “Yeah. I don’t want to be here anymore.” Hesitantly, he adds, “Can you take care of it?”

Unspoken between them, another question arises.

Can you take care of me too?

“Of course, I will.”

“Alright. Thank you.” 

Jungkook leans down, kisses Seokjin on the forehead, and says, “You’re welcome. You don’t need to ever worry, yeah? As I said before, you’re my number one. Jeon Seokjin is my number one.”

Up in the air and enclosed within the aircraft, Jungkook lays down on the reclined bed with Seokjin curled up on top of him, his head resting on Jungkook’s bicep.

Seokjin is wrapped in a thin, brown and red blanket. He’s sleeping soundly, no turbulence or other people around to make noise. His hair is down, glasses folded and inside their case. 

Jungkook on the other hand has buds covering his ears, listening to the most unconventional of songs in his library: classical music. He shared one of the buds with Seokjin earlier while he was still awake, the Berlin Philharmonic’s rendition of the music from The Nutcracker lulling Seokjin to sleep. 

Right now, Jungkook’s on his phone. He’s holding it right in front of his face with both hands, careful not to hit Seokjin or do anything to wake him. He’s tapping on the keyboard so fast, words pouring out of him as if they were water. He’s already thinking of ways he can layer Divertissement: Chocolate and Coffee over the beat Hoseok sent him some weeks ago alongside the lyrics he is coming up with. 

It’s never going public. 

Songs for Seokjin are something he has yet to learn to be unselfish about. 

Someday, he’d like to come up with an album that flows similar to a playlist, something you loop during the nighttime as memos of the moments from here and there. 

Not right now though. Someday, but not now. 

He takes a pause from the songwriting to look at Seokjin. 

Consciousness of being able to kiss the other anytime he wants versus acting on the urge still manages to baffle him. 

Jungkook ultimately closes his phone, the screen going dark with a click. The light and airy pastel colors from the music bathe Seokjin in such a pretty light that right now, he just wants to savor the moment. 

He can already hear the unending buzzing of his phone when they land. Manager Kim must be pulling his hair out wondering where Jungkook has run off to.

Carding his fingers through Seokjin’s hair, he starts humming to the music. He still dislikes classics as a whole, but he appreciates the craft and artistry in them.

The colors remind him of home, when he was forced to learn instruments he didn’t care about but pretended to so he could impress the person currently in his grasp.

I love you still does not seem sincere enough.

Chapter Text

Fotonatsu was set to fail before the cast was announced to the general public. A lot of comments were made but the most prominent are these two arguments: one, it’s an asian rendition of Call Me By Your Name and two, it was concerned more with aesthetics than actual substance. The cast was supposedly star-studded until the Internet trashed the premise. The script is passed around until it falls into the hands of an unknown director from Seoul, the kind who doesn’t care what others think and simply wants to make a good movie. With no interested A-lister, the casting crew settled for fresh faces, allowing for a more diverse pool of choice compared to the typical Hollywood casting. Instead of shaping a famous actor into the role, the characters of the story molded the rookie cast into its image. 

Raw emotion, brilliant pacing, and a hidden gem. These are just some of the many phrases thrown around after Fotonatsu premiered. 

As quick as social media trashed Fotonatsu, it was just as fast that they fell in love with the new actor on the block who played the main character: Kim Taehyung. 

Kim Taehyung became a household name overnight. His filmography section on Wikipedia only had two credits: one as an extra on an international hit by Director Shin Ilpyo and Fotonatsu. Taehyung’s personal life and background is the stuff of coming-of-age manuscripts: a boy who lived in a strawberry farm with his grandparents, grew up watching film noir on VHS tapes, and listening to vinyl records. He attended university with a full-ride scholarship majoring in the theatrical arts. Most importantly, Taehyung had no connections hinting on nepotism or a scandal. It’s a rags-to-riches epic that articles about the young actor never forget to mention. 

From riding a tractor in the farm to being chartered by a private plane, Taehyung’s life has taken a 180. He sticks with his old manager, a senior in university whose roster of stars begin and end with him. 

The offers come of course. Big agencies and seasoned managers all clamor for a cut of his fame. Taehyung sticks with what he knows and who he trusts. 

Soon enough, he wins an award.

There’s nothing groundbreaking about it.

He’s not the youngest to win it, nor will he be the last to take it home. He is no once-in-a-lifetime young prodigy. Hell, he’s not even the first Asian man to win it. 

Manager Moon tells him it is a big deal. He won Best Actor at a Western award show in his first major film, a movie everyone thought was going to fail. He is seen as its savior.

Taehyung doesn’t forget to thank everyone who brought him there: his grandparents, his professors in university, his manager, Fotonatsu’s director and his co-actors, and of course, his fans. 

The next role Taehyung signs on is a science fiction romance entitled Somnolent Nova that Manager Moon describes as, “Cloud Atlas but it’s not three hours long.”

The description shifts into “Cloud Atlas except it’s going to bag every award in the Academy, Taehyung-ah!” during post-production.

When people talk about how Taehyung rose from an unknown actor into the world class celebrity he currently is, they always trace it back on his second win of Best Actor. 

First person of color to be nominated Best Actor.

First person of color to win Best Actor.


The last person who won Best Actor two years in a row was someone white. 

For Taehyung, everything changed five hours before the awarding ceremony. 

He never liked staying in America.

In fact, Taehyung hates staying anywhere else besides the countryside and his grandparents’ farm. The apartment under his name in Hannam-dong is close to bare except for a bed and fully-equipped bathroom. 

His fame rid him of any privacy. Instead of the cozy Airbnb he showed Manager Moon, she booked two rooms in a fancy five star hotel for both of them. Manager Moon accompanies him into the expensive suite while she bunks at a smaller deluxe room a few floors down. Taehyung complained that the room is big enough for a family of six. Manager Moon ignored him. 

Five hours before Taehyung made history was when everything began. 

The penthouse suite in a five star hotel room should be devoid of noise. Or this is what Taehyung expected. 

A ruckus was happening right outside the white double doors of his room, gold handles and everything. When he presses his ear against the wood, he manages to make out a, “—sincerest apologies, Mr. Kim.”

The last name has him perking up. Quietly, Taehyung turns the handle and peeks out just in time to catch the back of a head with black hair. The man is wearing a pale blue fuzzy sweater. His cream colored-pants pool around his ankles, feet cradled by casual leather brown sandals. He has one hand inside the pocket of his pants, the other holding a thick grey coat over his arm. 

Surrounding him are hotel employees carrying travel bags with a familiar luxury brand monogram as its design. There is no suitcase or plastic luggage in sight. Next to him is a man dressed more formally: suit, gold-rimmed glasses, and white gloves. 

Taehyung continues watching until they turn over at the end of the hallway where he catches a glimpse of Mr. Kim. 

His face is expressionless. He doesn’t spare any of the people around him a glance. 

But he does. 

For a split second, Mr. Kim’s eyes flick to where Taehyung’s door is slightly ajar and staring right at him. 

Taehyung swore the other’s eyebrow rose when he saw him. 

He spent a good ten minutes contemplating on it. It took him five more to do what he was going to in the first place: eat lunch in one of the restaurants of the hotel. 

Taehyung may dislike having no privacy or the fancy hotels but fancy food? The one thing he lets himself spend mindlessly on. 

Manager Moon booked the fancy, private, dining booth for him where Taehyung can personally meet the chef. He comes up the maître d' who tells him, “We are sorry Mr. Kim. There was a mistake in seating arrangements. We have taken it upon ourselves to arrange another booth for you. Your bill will be on the house as a show of our sorry.”

It sticks with Taehyung. 

He remembers the man from earlier, another Mr. Kim, and how he received the sincerest of apologies instead of a measly sorry. 

Taehyung leaves the man hanging for a while. He stares unblinkingly until the other is sweating. He’s not really pissed off, and there are bigger matters in the world, yet for some reason this has rubbed him the wrong way. 

He sighs, makes sure to inject as much disappointment in it as possible, and opens his mouth to tell the maître d' it is fine when he is cut off.

“I don’t mind sharing the booth.” 

Melodious and clear like bells ringing in the snow. 

Turning, Taehyung comes face to face with Mr. Kim. He’s still wearing the same clothes from earlier instead this time around, prescription glasses shield his eyes. 

Mr. Kim raises a fine brow. He looks amused. “Unless you don’t want to.” 

At the back of his mind, Taehyung hears someone in a voice similar to Manager Moon say, Please, Taehyung. You’re a world famous celebrity now. You can’t just enter a convenience store because you wanted a slushie!

They end up sharing the booth. 

Sitting inside it, Taehyung was glad with the turn of events.

The table is rectangular and big; the room bigger. There’s some expensive painting he doesn’t recognize decorating the wall. Mr. Kim recognizes it though. He hears him mutter, “So this is where they put it. What a shame.”

They sit across each other. No menus were handed, nor were they needed. Taehyung is an actor, a fucking good one, and so he acts. 

He sits straight with his arms folded across his chest. His curly hair covers his eyes (cherubic and reminiscent of gods, according to the magazines). This gives him the perfect opportunity to size Mr. Kim up. 

Taehyung has no idea who he is. 

He has one elbow propped on the table, his chin resting on his open palm. His eyes are downcast and following the tip of his finger drawing random shapes or perhaps letters on the flat surface. The corner of his lips are slightly upturned. Taehyung’s unsure if he is aware of it or not.

It is Mr. Kim who breaks the silence by saying, “I like your films.”

So he knows who I am.

Taehyung lets out a polite chuckle in response. “I only have three under my belt.” 

He doesn’t add, And I was barely in the first one.

“I like all of them. I saw SomNova last spring and it stood out among everything else. The Palme d’Or is well-deserved.”

The statement dawns on Taehyung. How did this man manage to watch it so early? Rather than being stuck wondering, Taehyung asks straight out, “Are you a reporter?”

Mr. Kim gives him an offended and horrified look. “God, no. I’m only a spectator.”

Taehyung doesn’t believe him. If Mr. Kim told him he is also an actor, Taehyung wouldn’t question it. He has the looks and aura of someone important. In front of him like this, Taehyung keeps forgetting he is important too.

“It’s impolite that I know your name when you don’t know mine.” The hand drawing on the table extend towards Taehyung. “I’m Kim Seokjin.”

Taehyung takes his hand. 

He’s cared for. 

Kim Seokjin’s hand is soft and smooth. There is no blemish, no sign of ever lifting his finger for anything. 

A gleam catches him off guard. He doesn’t know why he only noticed it now. Perhaps he was ignoring it on purpose? It didn’t matter. It has Taehyung’s full attention now.

On Seokjin’s ring finger is a gleaming blue diamond.

It’s haughty. It demands the audience to come have a look.

Taehyung lets his hand go. 

“What do you do?” He goes back to acting. He acts bored, like the question was only said to make sure conversation flows. 

“I teach film.”

The answer makes sense.

Taehyung’s not stupid though. He saw Kim Seokjin on the same floor as he is, and he’s sitting across Taehyung now in the most expensive booth of a ridiculously grand hotel. The rock on his finger must cost a fortune too. 

Kim Seokjin belongs here. 

Taehyung always felt unsure of his place despite the world making room for him in this opulent space. 

“Are you here for the awards ceremony?”

Seokjin nods. 

He moves slowly. 

Like water.

Like he has all the time in the world. 

“Congratulations in advance.” Seokjin smiles at him fully. 

Taehyung has been subjected to such stares before. Somehow, the admiration and belief coming from someone like Seokjin, his idea of Seokjin, feels different. 

Lunch becomes an interesting affair. 

The food is good.

Conversation with Seokjin is exquisite.

Taehyung catches on quickly that his companion is more interested with his thoughts than who Taehyung is. 

Seokjin asks him a lot about what he thinks of this and that movie. He asks Taehyung about the other nominated films, not of the actors and actresses. He asks what made him choose Somnolent Nova, or what he feels about Fotonatsu’s success.

There is no gushing about his past or his background.

Nothing mentioned or asked about his personal life even. 

Fotonatsu and Somnolent Nova being box office hits shown worldwide where everyone has gotten a glimpse of him does not compare to baring his mind to Seokjin like this.

Their conversation isn’t one-sided. 

Taehyung is just as interested about what Seokjin thinks. 

In the beginning, Taehyung cared about what people thought of him. He learned swiftly that it didn’t matter. He knows he’s good, he knows he is kind. The only opinion on his work that mattered was his. 

He hasn’t felt self-conscious in a long time. 

He wanted Seokjin to like him.

Not just his films.

They simmer down during dessert. Well, Seokjin did. He asks Taehyung if he can check his phone for a while, says he was too engrossed talking he ignored said device when it vibrated in his pocket. Taehyung shrugs and does the same.

Taehyung checks a news website. He’s expecting to see the awards ceremony topping the headlines.


Underground producer RM shares a snippet of a new JJK song on his Instagram! Fans are going wild over this teaser, and once again ever since the announcement of his comeback a month ago, the hottest musician of the millenia is trending on all social media—

Click to read more

“How is he top news when the ceremony is a few hours away?”

Taehyung looks away from his phone and on Seokjin who has leaned over the table, dessert plate pushed to the side, and peering down Taehyung’s phone. 

He dislikes it when people invade his privacy, much less strangers he met an hour ago. Seokjin is looking up at him. His eyes are big and questioning, waiting for Taehyung’s reaction. 

Taehyung lets it go. 

“He’s JJK.” 

Simple as that.

Taehyung knows his place in the world. 

Seokjin returns to the article. 

The photo they used is in black and white, probably screencapped from RM’s story, and shows the expanse of JJK’s back. He’s wearing a jacket and sitting in front of a synthesizer. The famous tattoos on his right hand are the only indication that it’s him. 

“Is he really more important?” Seokjin wonders. 

Taehyung laughs. “Of course.” He eyes Seokjin in curiosity. “There’s a best actor, actress, and picture every year. JJK’s last album was years ago.”

“You’re a fan?” 

“I’m a casual listener.” 

It’s a half truth. 

Taehyung’s most played song in his music library is riviera boys followed by amore. 

“Are you not?” 

It is rarer to find someone who isn’t a fan of the world’s most popular soloist. 

Seokjin sighs and goes back to sitting properly. He pulls on his dessert plate and stabs the lone whole strawberry adorning the top with his cake fork. 

“Casual listener.” 

Taehyung remembers seeing JJK a few years back in a film festival. It was intimidating to even be near the guy. He’s younger than Taehyung and definitely more successful. The public barely knows anything about the superstar, only that he was a SoundCloud artist based somewhere in Europe before the fame, the awards, and the record breaking hits. He disappeared for four years and announced a new album in the making last month. 

The world is waiting with bated breath.

It is definitely more important and noteworthy compared to some Western award show.

Best Actor.

Kim Taehyung.

Two times in a row in two years.

They talk about what he is wearing, gushing over how handsome he is. The camera shows his usually stoic face breaking out into his signature boxy grin. The rest of Somnolent Nova’s cast are standing and applauding. 

When he walks up the stage and gets handed his trophy, exactly similar to the one sitting on the top shelf of his grandparents’ display cabinet, Taehyung looks at the crowd and feels it.

The shift in the air is palpable. 

He’s not just any minority who rised above the ranks anymore. He always hated being boxed in that label. He’s won this very same award twice, and with the same damn hunger as when he began, Taehyung knows he will do more. 

They wait for his acceptance speech. 

He takes a deep breath.

“I’ll be honest: I thought that if I won tonight, I wouldn’t have anything new to say since I stood here at this same spot a year ago.”

The crowd cheers him on. They laugh and clap, smiling in ways Taehyung can’t discern if it’s genuine or for the camera.

“My grandparents who are back home watching; your grandson did it again!”

The cheers became so loud it’s now ringing in his ears.

“To Manager Moon who is still stuck with me, my castmates and the staff of Somnolent Nova, especially Director Fujiyama, and the fans: thank you.” 

It’s almost a carbon copy of what Taehyung said last year. They know he doesn’t talk much, and it’s obvious that the host and audience are getting ready to settle down. 

Except Taehyung remains standing there, long fingers wrapped around the mic stand and something else crossing his expression.

The news will talk of his two peat feat, but it’s his speech that will break social media and gossip sites. 

Taehyung shifts from English into Korean. 

“And to the person who congratulated me in advance…” Taehyung trails off. He stares right at the camera. His hair is styled in a way that it doesn’t cover his eyes but frames his chiseled face in the most attractive manner. “I can thank you now without sounding arrogant. Seokjin-ah, let’s go out for a drink sometime.”

Twitter goes up in flames. 

Fans and casual onlookers alike debate whether Kim Taehyung said date or drink. They talk about how it’s such a grand gesture. Tweets such as, find you a man who asks you out while he breaks a record and wins best actor for the second time in a row fill up the social media site’s hashtags. 

At the end of the day it didn’t matter. 

The only thing that did is the question: who is Seokjin? 

Stubbornness with holding on to what he knows and resistance to change are traits Taehyung is aware dominate his character. 

He’s always weaseling his way out of some good old self-reflection by reasoning out that his job description asks of him to pretend to be someone else. The least he could do separate from it is preserve who he is.

South Korea’s countryside is worlds different from where he is at the moment. 

Visually and almost everything else. 

According to the website he has bookmarked on his phone, the place is what you would call a resort town. The travel agency handled everything he needed to get here. Besides that, Taehyung didn’t ask for anything else.

No accommodations, itinerary, or even a meal. The car that picked him up from the nearest airport dropped him off a coffeehouse near the ports. He didn’t bother going inside, only taking pictures on his phone for his Instragam. He has one brown luggage by his feet. He wasn’t sure how to dress for the weather, deciding on doing his clothes shopping here when he gets to experience the place firsthand. 

He’s here now. The plain white button up he chose made of thin material and brown shorts are a good choice. The black sunglasses resting on the bridge of his nose work double ways: shielding his eyes from the sun and dissuading the onlookers. Taehyung’s illusions of the hype around him dying only after a week of the awards are crushed every time he catches someone trying to take a picture of him. 

His own phone stays inside his pocket. He doesn't need it, not when a vintage car stops at the other end of the street. The glossy brown paint of the automobile blends with the landscape. The driver stays inside, and when the door at the back opens, out comes the person Taehyung traveled halfway across the world for. 

Compared to how Taehyung first met him, the other is dressed in beige slacks, a white polo, and looking every bit the professor he said he is.

Seokjin comes up to him with a polite smile. All ideas of formality die when Seokjin presses his cheek to Taehyung’s. 

Pulling back, Seokjin’s smile widens.

“You’re ridiculously spontaneous, aren’t you?”

It takes him a few seconds to get back his bearings. Difference in societal and cultural norms aside, the person doing it himself is the main cause of his surprise.

Clearing his throat, Taehyung returns back the smile. “I gave you a two days notice.”

Taehyung did. 

Seokjin turns silent. He then purses his lips together, obviously holding back laughter. Taehyung wouldn’t mind if he did laugh. 

A two days notice is laughable because they literally met a week ago.

Taehyung looked Seokjin up and immediately found his name on a school website. Listed as a faculty of the film department, he knew he was on the right track. With no plans at all, he phones the university administration, on Seokjin’s timezone of course, and asks for him.

A part of him was worried he got the wrong person. Taehyung was moving on instinct. After the awards ceremony, they did get a drink. Seokjin mentions he’ll return home in the morning without saying where it is.

There’s no other word he can think of to describe why he was doing all this until it hit him.

When that same melodious voice said, “Hello. Who is this?” he understood what it was.

He always loved movies. He likes pretending to be someone else while keeping who he really is. The ability to live different lives and cast it away by the end of the day is like magic to him. As the grandson of farmers, they expected the same of him. Instead of conforming to those expectations, he relentlessly chased his dreams. It wasn’t about being a star or winning an award; he just wanted to do it, wanted to be the person he envisioned himself becoming.

“I love acting.” Taehyung tells Manager Moon when she was still simply Moon Ayoung and they were introduced in an alumni party. “There’s nothing else to it.”

And there it was. 

The same feeling but in the form of Kim Seokjin. 

After Seokjin spoke, Taehyung asked, “Will you let me sleep on your couch?”

He lied easily. He’s a good liar. He tells Seokjin the trip to wherever it was Seokjin lives was planned months ago. It was a serendipitous coincidence his newfound friend was from there. Seokjin was quick to agree, ever gracious and well-mannered. He was convinced though that Taehyung was lying about actually going.

It seems Seokjin only believed him now that Taehyung is standing in front of him, eyes taking in Seokjin on a backdrop of boats lining the glimmering port. 

Seokjin carries his luggage for him and leads him to the car. He places it at the front beside the driver while the two of them sit at the back. 

The car ride is quiet. Seokjin is content letting his visitor enjoy the view. 

It shifts from the port, the city proper, and outside of it. The car goes through a country road lined by trees, mountains seen from a great distance, and fields of green and other colors similar to a pastel afternoon sky. 

The car windows are down. The breeze is strong and messing up their hair. Seokjin is staring out with his arm propped on the edge and palm cradling his chin. It reminds Taehyung of their first meeting. He glances to the side, meeting Taehyung’s gaze on him.

“You’ll love it here. Nothing compares to this place.”

Their knees and thighs are touching. Taehyung’s bare skin against Seokjin’s clothed one. 

Taehyung has never wanted to reach out so badly. 

The manor, because it is too big to be called a house, is a living and breathing marvel. 

They drove on a deserted road, turning left from where other houses loom over the distance. 

A gate bordered by two columns separates the canopy of thin trees and trimmed hedges. It opened automatically, and as they drove straight, Taehyung took his time to actually look.

The trees seem to take each space of the long and trivial driveway. They stop in front of the house. It is less showy and leaned more on comfy. Taehyung was expecting something that resembled something like the Parthenon. What instead stood before him is a relatively small for its description chateau made of stone and a blue-grey roof. Getting to the double door entrance, one needs to ascend a flight of stairs elevating the house away from the grounds. Behind them is a fountain, the water splashing creating sounds that enhance the atmosphere. 

Seokjin, still holding Taehyung’s luggage, stands beside him while he gazes at what Seokjin calls his home. 

“It was not like this when I first saw it,” Seokjin began, “And even in that state, I fell in love with it. After the restoration, I actually missed how it used to look.” 

“So it’s one of those abandoned and rotting chateaus in architectural magazines?”

Seokjin nods, amused that Taehyung guessed correctly. “Yes, exactly.”

“Don’t tell me you live here by yourself.” 

Seokjin takes too long to answer. He’s still staring at the house, bits of wistfulness and some longing playing on his features. He turns those eyes on Taehyung, and when he speaks, he does it with a tone dripping in affection. “I live with my husband.” 

He waits for Taehyung’s reaction. Seokjin doesn’t give him time to act surprised. 

“Is he some rich old fart with oil money or something?”

As intended, Seokjin laughs; uninhibited and none of the control he keeps up. “My colleague in the university said the exact same thing when he came here last week.”

“And what was your answer?”

“That my husband and I are both rich farts who came from money.”

Taehyung guessed as much. “Will I be meeting him?”

“He’s not here.”

“Where is he then?”

“Working and making us more money.”

Entering, Taehyung did not expect the place to be lived in. He thought it would begin with polished floors and end in impeccably clean surfaces. Seokjin opens a wooden shoe cabinet and hands him a pair of house slippers after asking for his size. They bound up the stairs, more modest than what he imagined, and Seokjin points at one door saying, “That’s where the housekeeper and her husband, the driver, stay.” 

They move through a different hallway. On the walls hang different paintings that has Taehyung doing double takes when he notices a familiar artists’ style.

Seokjin tours him around, gesturing here and there.

Music room.

Music studio.

“Yes, there’s a difference Taehyung!” 

Art studio.

There’s a gaming room, a gym, and a home theater. He points to where the bathrooms are too. Seokjin’s room is in the middle of another hallway. 

Turning, they stop at a dead end.

“This is yours. It’s the nearest to where I’ll be. If you don’t like it you can move to another room. Maybe the couch as you asked.”

“I’m already intruding. I won’t ask that of you.”

“If you say so. I left work early for you so I need to get a lot of things done. I’ll meet you during dinner?” 

I left work early for you.

Taehyung is free to dream about those words spilling from another context. 

“Yeah. The jetlag is catching up on me.” 

The luggage is placed at one side of the room and left unopened. Taehyung lays down the large bed, limbs away from his body and staring at the white ceiling where a chandelier hangs in the middle. 

There are no photos of his husband. 

He at least expected a frame or two. 

It has him restless, fatigue due to the long and arduous travel be damned. 

Taehyung cannot begin to imagine what Seokjin’s other half looks like. He’s thinking of someone older, with showing lines and a stern face. He reckons they would smell like musk and resinous oud, a person who puts too much gel in their hair rather than pomade. He imagines someone old enough to be mistaken as Seokjin’s father. 

Without any basis on who the man might be, Taehyung already thinks him arrogant. 

And absurdly confident in his relationship with Seokjin. 

Dinner happened in the kitchen. 

Taehyung thought it would be a grand affair underneath teardrop lighting and whatnot. Instead, what he got is Seokjin in a silk green pajama set spreading olive oil on freshly baked bread and tea with honey. There’s a graze platter and wine, delighting Taehyung to no end. 

When Seokjin asked him if he’s excited to go sightseeing, he had to act once again.

Truthfully speaking, Taehyung thinks this is already better than whatever tourist sight he’ll end up at. The two of them eating under plain amber lighting, the doors leading to the garden imparting floral notes in the air, and elbows on the table leaning toward each other discussing things they love: film, art, and music. It seems whatever the other mentions, the other adores as well. 

After shared enthusiasm over a certain film, they end up in the home theater while Masculin Féminin plays. 

Taehyung wishes he can enjoy the moment fully. He can’t help overthinking everything.

Does your husband dislike your interests?

Can you not talk to him about it because he doesn’t see the appeal the way I do? 

Taehyung swears he’s not a homewrecker. 

He is simply enamored.

They’ve seen the film too many times at different points in life that conversation in between didn’t bother them.

“What’s he like?” Taehyung prods on. Acting nonchalant is second nature to him.

Seokjin keeps his attention on the movie, eyes not swayed from the screen. “Who?” 

“Your husband.”

“Are you more interested in him than me?” It’s a teasing response.

If this was in another world, another time and place, it would be flirtatious. They would be in a cinema instead of a home theater, sharing greasy popcorn and caloric soda, and Taehyung’s palm would be sweating trying to find the courage to hold Seokjin’s hand.

“I’m interested in your taste.”

Seokjin hums. “I don’t believe in types, but if I did, then he doesn’t fit it.”

“Let’s say you do. What’s your type then? And why doesn’t he check off?”

Finally, Seokjin ignores the movie and gives Taehyung his full attention. “Someone’s chatty. Wine made your tongue lose?”

Taehyung blushes. He bites his lip and chuckles. “I already told you. You interest me.” Even he is aware he is laying it on thick.

Seokjin only rolls his eyes, grinning and entertaining Taehyung’s questions. “If I believed in types, they would be,” His eyes move from the top of Taehyung’s head down his chest. “Someone like you.”

That should have made Taehyung feel like he’s won.

It doesn’t though.

Not yet.

“My husband on the other hand is our complete opposite. He never pretended to be interested in my hobbies or my likes.” Seokjin laughs softly, fingers unconsciously playing with the hair tucked behind his ear. “I never really talked about him with anyone.”

“Why? Nobody asks?”

“I don’t have many friends around my age.”

“I’m your friend.” Taehyung bumps their shoulders together, offering a comforting smile. They’re the same in that department as well. “Go on.” 

Call it self-inflicted torture. Taehyung wanted to hear more. The picture of who the other man is in this house remains muddy in his head. Maybe when Taehyung gets the whole image, guilt would finally seep into him for desiring someone he shouldn’t.

“Do you have any tattoos?”

The random question takes him off-guard. “I don’t.”

Holding his right arm out, Seokjin traces the entire length of it with his third and fourth finger, creating ripples on the silk fabric. “He has random drawings I did tattooed on him. On his forearm are lilies of the valley and mexican oranges. They were the flowers used in the wedding.”

“He’s sentimental.”


“I don’t think you are.”

Seokjin shrugs and returns his attention to the movie. “I don’t think so.”

The words left unsaid are clear as day in Taehyung’s mind.

“He’s good for me.”

Taehyung does leave the house to look around. Every morning, he rides the car with Seokjin. He gets dropped off to wherever destination he chooses, then he wishes Seokjin good luck with work. He takes pictures and uploads them on his Instagram story and feed. People are asking him where he is, Manager Moon included who lectures him about keeping a low profile but also telling him to enjoy his break. 

He likes the slow life. He enjoys it better with the endless money in his bank account. He has taken to sitting on streetside cafes with a book on one hand and a pair of old black headphones covering his ears plugged into a CD player. 

There are flower markets all over. He charms the sellers with a boxy grin and a regaling line of, “It’s for someone I like.” 

Come afternoon and the car will be waiting for him at the same spot he was dropped off.

Everyday he’d present different kinds of blooms to Seokjin wrapped in newspaper. Seokjin’s expression of delight tugs at his chest. 

Holding the arrangement of baby’s breath and lavender close to his chest, Seokjin asks, “Enjoying yourself?”

Taehyung nods. He’s honestly getting used to it.

“There’s going to be a storm tonight.” Seokjin mentions. “We should eat dinner before it gets dark. Power interruptions are the norm around here.”

Outside the car windows, the sky remains clear.

In comparison to the outside where thunder and lightning occasionally brighten the land, inside the house it’s the candles that do.

Seokjin was knocking at Taehyung’s door in five minutes after the electricity died. He places an ivory taper candle on a ceramic holder next to his bed, lights it with a matchstick, and sighs when the light floods his face.

Taehyung left a window open. There’s no rain coming in thankfully. 

“Sorry about this. I’ll be honest I’ve been so used to this happening that I have actually enjoyed it, but you’re probably better off at a nice hotel.”

The smoke curling around the room smelled like baby powder; clean, fresh, and like rolling around linen. 

Taehyung shakes his head and sits up on the bed. He was once again listening to music on his CD player before the interruption. The headset now lay discarded on his side.

“Are you kicking me out, Seokjin-ah?”

Seokjin laughs at that. He sits next to Taehyung with some distance. 

Taehyung with his feet planted on the ground while Seokjin’s are stretched in front of him, toes poking Taehyung’s thighs.

“What do you do when this happens?” 

Seokjin crosses his arms over his chest, eyes going to the ceiling in deep thought. “My husband would bring out the violin and play tunes. We felt like we were in the medieval age or something.”

“And when he isn’t here?”

“Don’t know. This is the first time it happened without him around. Can you play instruments?”

“I can do twinkle twinkle on the violin.”

A strong gust of wind rushes in from the open window.

The flame on the candle only bends.

Taehyung moves to sit next to Seokjin. He copies his stance of legs stretched in front and back against the footboard. 

“What do you like listening to when it’s like this?”

Rather than answering straight up, Seokjin hums the tune of a piece Taehyung is sure he’s familiar with but can’t name. 

“Ave Maria. We play it together; him on the violin and me on the piano.”

“So he does like classical music.”

Seokjin guffaws at that. “No, he doesn’t. He only plays to indulge me.” Seokjin moves his legs, folding and hugging them to his chest. “We took lessons together when we were children. He was too prodigious for nursery rhymes, but he also didn’t care about the hard, technical, pieces. For some reason, he thought Ave Maria was my favorite. He was only interested in playing that for a while. He played it so much it did become my favorite.”

It’s the longest Seokjin spoke about his personal life. 

A sigh escape Seokjin’s lips. He buries his face on his knees. “Sorry for oversharing.” He tries to cover it up with an embarrassed chuckle. Even in the darkness and with only a lone candle lighting the room, Taehyung can see the redness of Seokjin’s ear. 

“I already told you; I like hearing you talk.” Focusing on one thing Seokjin mentioned, he brings it up and asks, “You’re childhood sweethearts?”


“I imagined someone older.”

“He’s younger. He was always by my side.”

Seokjin turns his head. He’s looking up while Taehyung is looking down at him through his lashes. 

When Taehyung holds their gaze, Seokjin is the one who looks away. He goes back to hiding his face on his knees. 

The thunder rumbles and another strike of lightning casts a shadow in the room. 

“Seokjin-ah, you’re not used to being alone?”

“I am. But I miss him. I hope he comes home soon.”

The wind finally snuffs out the candle. 

Darkness swallows the room including shadows. 

Taehyung moves closer to Seokjin, their shoulders touching. He waits for his eyes to adjust to the darkness. 

“Are you scared of the dark?” Seokjin asks, trying to lighten the mood. 

Taehyung shakes his head. 



“I asked if you’re scared.”

Finally, things appear clearer to him. Seokjin is looking somewhere from behind him. 

“Do you have night blindness?”

“Oh. Yeah, I do.”

If he recalls how he ended up in this position, Taehyung wouldn’t even lie or make up an excuse. It’s too simple: he’s just moving on instinct. He moves closer to Seokjin until their faces are only an inch away. If either of them moved, their lips would touch. 

Seokjin blinks, zero reaction on the sudden proximity. His soft breathing fan over Taehyung’s upper lip. 

Taehyung selfishly traces the curve of Seokjin’s lips and each brush of his eyelashes against his skin every time he blinks. For some reason, he can tell Seokjin won’t get mad if he goes for it. 

A hand presses on his chest. Taehyung looks down at it. Seokjin doesn’t push him, just rests it there. 

“We’re in an open relationship,” Seokjin tells him. “But I don’t yield to it.”

Oh so he is aware of my intentions.

The scoff and the judgment in Taehyung’s tone is too late to be reigned in. “So he leaves you here while he gets to fuck around and you can’t? That’s unfair.”

Seokjin shakes his head quickly. “Every decision is something that began with me.”

“Then why not?” Out of the adrenaline rush comes confidence. “You adore me. I know you know I’m here because of you. What’s the problem?”

The hand on his chest doesn’t push him away but it does retract to rest on Seokjin’s side, on the inches of space between the both of them Taehyung isn’t intruding on. 

“He’ll get pouty and sad and he will hate you.” 

It’s a childish excuse fitting of someone who Taehyung imagines must be childish as well. He sighs and leaves Seokjin alone.

Taehyung slumps down the bed, his body curling on Seokjin’s side. 

“You love him.”

“I wouldn’t be with him if I didn’t, would I?”

Taehyung doesn’t accept defeat but he curses the timing of it all. 

“How younger is he?”

“Five years.”

Taehyung clicks his tongue. “I lost to a fetus.”

Seokjin’s loud laughter mixes with the storm. “You’re young, famous, and handsome. I’m sure you’ll get over me soon.” 

“Aren’t you childhood friends?”

“Yes, I mentioned that.”

Burying his face against Seokjin’s side, Taehyung mumbles more to himself than to Seokjin, “Then how come he never got over you?”

The top floor penthouse apartment party is in full swing. Despite being rich and famous in their own way, every celebrity walking pass can’t help but glance at one end of the room where couches form a makeshift private circle. 

They do double takes when they get a glimpse of the tattoo sleeve as popular as the person who has it. 

Jungkook has his back turned from the party scene. His right arm is resting on top of the couch, hand hanging off the shoulder of a model. He’s squished between one guy, the bassist of some band, and a girl, the model. They know him well to not offer him any alcohol or drugs, not even a joint. The music playing is enough to get him high. 

He came here with RM, the two of them getting along really well after many sessions in the studio. The producer is on another couch sitting across him, his ear getting talked off by a wannabe singer heiress. Their eyes meet, and Jungkook couldn’t help chuckling at RM’s dead eyes directed at him before turning back to his conversation partner and nodding appropriately. 

After RM’s post on Instagram with him, everyone suddenly wants to work with the producer. 

This Tokyo rooftop party is another Jungkook was invited to that he was going to turn down but thought was a great opportunity for his new friend. Jungkook reckons that after this, when Manager Kim picks the two of them up, RM would swear off other mainstream celebrities and stick to his underground roots. 

Inside his pocket, Jungkook’s phone vibrates. He ignores it. It’s probably Manager Kim calling to ask what time he and RM are leaving. 

When the person beside RM was whisked away, he stands up and motions for Jungkook to follow. He tries not to laugh some more, gets a “See you around JK,” from the two people sitting beside him and a kiss on his cheek that he ignores. 

Walking through the crowd, RM sighs and mumbles, “Congrats. You’ll be the last pop artist I’ll produce for.”

“You think I make pop music?”

Outside of the apartment and standing in the hallway waiting for the private elevator, RM rolls his eyes. “Please. I just want to sleep for a week. Did you tell Manager Kim we’re on our way out?” 

“Shit, not yet.” 

Fishing his phone out from the pocket of his jeans, Jungkook’s blood rushes to his head.

The elevator dings and opens. RM waits for his companion to move who is left frozen on the spot and staring at his phone.

It’s almost two in the morning, Japan Standard Time. It’s eight hours ahead from where home is. Two hours ago, when it was midnight for Jungkook and four in the afternoon for Seokjin, he left Jungkook a missed call.

“Earth to JK?”

Swallowing the lump in his throat, Jungkook tries to keep the excitement down. “Can you call Manager Kim? I’ll send you his number. There’s an emergency at home.”

Thankfully, RM doesn’t question him. He respects the walls Jungkook keeps up regarding his personal life.

Jungkook treads the situation carefully. He doesn’t call back immediately. Instead, he types out what he hopes is a thoughtful and innocent message.

I was out with a co-worker and friend. It’s 1:58 am here. Is there anything wrong?

Exiting the elevator to the basement parking, Jungkook pulls the bucket hat lower and dons the black face mask he keeps inside his other pocket. The parking lot may be quiet, but paparazzi has proven time and time again that like insects and bugs, they exist everywhere. Beside him, he hears RM talking to Manager Kim on the phone.

He waits for his text message to be read. Even though Seokjin doesn’t reply, he’s always quick to view them. 

Soon enough, a heavily tinted black van stops in front of them. Manager Kim pulls the door open from the inside, and they hurriedly get in. The car starts, exits the building, and drives through the almost empty roads. The buildings and billboards provide an ambiance rivaling Jungkook’s chromesthesia. 

They drop RM off his place. Jungkook takes a moment to say goodbye, a one-arm hug and a “See you in the studio,” exchanged between them. 

Jungkook is restless. 

He tries to watch the scenery out the car, or open random apps on his phone. He’s drumming his fingernails against the car window loud enough that Manager Kim gives him a look of confusion. He shrugs it off and settles on playing with the zippers of his jacket. 

It seems even during these times, Seokjin hits the perfect timing.

The car halts in another basement parking, this time at his hotel. He thanks Manager Kim and tells him goodnight, waits for the private elevator, and opens his phone just in time for the Delivered status of his message to change into Read

Jungkook waits impatiently. 

He gets off his floor and presses the keycard of his suite on the scanner. It locks behind him with a beep, lights automatically turning on. Instead of the bed or the couch, he sits down on the desk chair and parts away the curtains to reveal the Tokyo skyline.

Rolling his eyes at Seokjin’s need to appear that he isn’t needy, Jungkook takes it upon himself to call back.

Placing it on his ear, he immediately hears Seokjin saying, “This can wait tomorrow.”

Weird. He’s not being mean.

“It’s already a new day for me.”

On the other end of the line, he hears music playing. Recalling Seokjin’s schedule, he must be waiting for dinner or he already ate. Tomorrow is the weekend and a rest day for Seokjin too. 

“Two phone calls in a month? You must be missing me badly.” He teases. There’s no scoff or mocking laughter from Seokjin. All Jungkook receives is more silence. Playing it off with a chuckle, he continues on. “Babe, you’re starting to scare me.” 

“I ate dinner already.” Seokjin says. “And right now I’m in our room.”

Confused, Jungkook decides to go along with it. “Okay. I’m glad you’re eating on time.”

“I’m here in our room because—” A sigh. “I have a guest over, Jungkook. He’s been here for a couple of days.”

It’s something new, sure. Jungkook knows that Seokjin’s best friend is Jimin, but the latter rarely comes over. He prefers stealing Seokjin away and bringing him in his own house than staying somewhere Jungkook co-owns. All of Seokjin’s other friends are way older who he only meets in film festivals and whatnot. He’s unsure where this is going because frankly, he’s glad Seokjin is making friends. 

“He’s staying here at one of the guest rooms.”

“That’s nice. Where’d you meet him?” He tries to convey his support with how he talks. Still, something like this doesn’t warrant a call. There’s a conclusion brewing at the back of his mind he refuses to accept.

“I met him last week in America. When I went to the awards show. There was a storm last night. You know how it is with the weather around here. Power was gone for a few hours.”

Despite all the bluntness and cutting words Seokjin possess, he knows exactly how to leave people hanging when he’s avoiding something. 

“Why are you—” Jungkook pauses. He can hear the irritation in his own voice seeping through. Restarting, he takes a breath and tries again. “Is there a problem?”

“He wanted to kiss me.”

When writers use fancy descriptions such as veins turning into ice, the whole world getting turned upside down, or gravity disappearing and tilting people off the planet’s axis, Jungkook found it hard to understand. He was more of a visual learner. 



Shades and hues and various tones blind him.

He feels it everywhere; fills his senses with dread, his intestines churning, and his fingernails digging crescent moons into his palm where his hand unconsciously closes into a fist. 

“I didn’t let him. I wanted— I needed you to know.” 

The unbridled laughter pouring from him comes out shaky and defensive. “Okay. Uh, alright. Who the f— do I know him?”

“I don’t know.”

“Then tell me who it is.”

“Are you angry?”

He laughs again, this time in disbelief. Jungkook’s eyes roam around his room. He’s sure he doesn’t keep anything important in it. If he decides to jump on the next flight going home, he wouldn’t be amiss of any important object. 

“You know exactly what I’m feeling right now. You didn’t have to ask that.” Jungkook gritted out. 

Seokjin sighs and lets him seethe. If he wasn’t drowning in his emotions, he would appreciate the space Seokjin is giving him to process this more. 

Jungkook closes his eyes and presses his lips together. He has his face buried in his arms resting on the desk in front of him. The call doesn’t end. The music plays continuously on Seokjin’s end.

“Did he fuck you?”

“No.” Seokjin sounds like he expected the question. 

Feeling bitter, Jungkook snaps back quickly, “What, did you fuck him?”

“Jungkook, don’t. And for the record, no.”

The patience and understanding shines through Seokjin’s underlying vulnerability. 

“I’m sorry,” is what Jungkook manages to say. “I’m sorry for being like this.”

Sorry for enjoying all the benefits of our arrangement. Sorry for acting like you’re not allowed to do it too. 

He tries to find the right words to back up his train of thoughts but he’s too tense to think clearly. He wants to mention that this never happened before, that Seokjin never cared or looked at other people. Granted, they were stuck by each other’s side after his first world tour years ago, but this is all new to him. 

Jungkook wishes he came up with something more rational, but all he’s able to get out is, “You can do whatever you want. I’m not— I won’t stop you. But it doesn’t mean I’m okay with it.”

“That’s very selfish of you, hm?”

This time it’s Jungkook who is sighing. “Sorry, but you know how I am.”

“I do. You’re possessive and crazy.”

When Jungkook snorts and rolls his eyes, it’s out of humor this time. “Do I have to apologize for that too?”

“You don’t need to. It might be unhealthy but that’s just human nature. Anyone who says they never experienced jealousy is lying.”

“Yeah, okay, but who is it? Give me the name.”

Seokjin’s laughter calms him. The marigolds take over the blinding green and red. It’s almost like medicine, a balm soothing and coaxing him into a state of calm. 

“No. You’ll just obsess over it and scrutinize every little thing.”

Seokjin is right. Doesn’t mean Jungkook is happy about being kept in the dark. 

“When is he leaving?”

“You want me to kick him out?”


The marigolds furl and uncurl right in front of his eyes. 

It shifts his mood. Well, if competitiveness is considered as a lighter one. He hasn’t felt like this in such a long time. Only one person ever made him feel like this over Seokjin, and he’s surpassed that person when Seokjin agreed to marry him. 

“He’s nice. A really good friend. You shouldn’t worry about anything.”

“I trust you but I don’t trust him. Who tries to kiss someone taken? Do you need a bigger diamond on your ring finger or something?”

“I did tell him about... you know.”

Jungkook stands up from the desk chair and drops down the bed. “I hate him. Tell him I despise him and that I’ll be writing a diss track about him.”

“You are so childish. And he doesn’t know who you are. I mean, he’s doesn’t know who I’m actually married to.” 

Resting on the side, Jungkook whines out, “I wanna come home. I wanna meet him.”

“You just want to intimidate him.”

“Oh wow, how did you guess that?”

Just like that he feels okay again.

They feel okay again.

Jungkook tells himself that whoever has fallen under Seokjin’s spell doesn’t stand a chance and that a little competition never hurt.

“He won’t be intimidated by you. I doubt it.”

Jungkook takes it for what it sounds like: a challenge. “He should be.”

“Now that my conscience is clear, I’m going to hang up. You should get some rest.”

It is Jungkook’s turn to feel bad when he hears that. “Please don’t ever feel guilty. I’m going to whine and bitch about it but please don’t feel like you can’t do things because of me.” 

“Alright, I have one last thing to say then I’m hanging up.”

Groaning, Jungkook starts expecting the worst. “What?”

“For being so understanding and mature, I have something for you.”

Jungkook perks up immediately. “Yeah? What is it?” He’s already leaning over the bedside table to turn the lights off and the lampshade on. 

“You’re a pervert. I just wanted to tell you that I love you.” 

The universe seems intent on taking Jungkook by surprise. He feels dizzy but due to another reason. He’s grinning widely, hand clutching his shirt where his heart is pounding against his chest. 

“I know.”

Seokjin gasps. “So it has come to this…”

He’s so happy. He just wants to go home already. When this high dies down he’ll probably go down the hotel gym and box his anger away with whoever is fawning over Seokjin, but right now, all Jungkook can see is bubbling caramel hues that only ever come up during his birthdays. 

“I love you too. So fucking much.”

Of all the ways he could have found out who the person currently in his house with his husband is, Jungkook did not ever imagine it would be through Hoseok. 

Since he’s still in Tokyo and Hoseok is in Seoul, they share the same timezone. He wakes up around one in the afternoon with the sun shining through the floor to ceiling windows. 

The first thing he does is order room service. He mumbles his order through the service phone while rubbing the sleep off his eyes. He checks his phone to pass time. Hoseok’s contact name on the screen with several messages greeting him.

The messages themselves are more surprising. There’s an image attachment; a screenshot of an Instagram post that has Jungkook blinking at it several times. He’s fully awake now and sitting up in bed. The text Hoseok sent is something he wonders about as well.

i follow the actor kim taehyung on insta and i saw him post this

isn’t this your house???

Admittedly, the picture is nice.

It’s captured through a disposable camera and shot in a way where the sunlight hits just right. The unmistakable garden filled with lilies of the valley and mexican oranges are the most prevalent ones among all the other blooms. 

Muguet and choisya.

The flowers tattooed on his arm.

The same flowers during his and Seokjin’s wedding.

The first and second tracks in une serie.

Jungkook’s initial reaction of surprise dissolves into laughter. 

He remembers him now.

Kim Taehyung.

An actor.

Of course it’s an actor.

Its been so long since he wrote something dripping in venom and unapologetically shady. 

Jungkook jumps out of bed. He was supposed to laze around today, but the ideas running in his head demand to be written down. Maybe he’ll use the score in Kim Taehyung’s movies and slow them down? Add in some reverse and reverb to keep it spicy. 

This is the inspiration he needed. 

The bell rings.

Swinging the door open, Jungkook tips his server generously. He’s in such a good mood. He thinks to himself that he didn’t need to be sent so far away from home to be inspired after all.

The hits simply write themselves.

Chapter Text

IMDb: 8.9/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

An elusive photographer who stays out of the public eye agrees on an exclusive interview with an unknown journalist looking for his big break. They travel to South Korea’s countryside for the interview only to find out they were old neighbors and childhood friends, rekindling a tiny flame that continued burning throughout the years.


Somnolent Nova
IMDb: 9.4/10
Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

A man who lives on the moon wakes up to a knock on his door and is given a planet. Together, they create the land, the sky, and the sea while discovering what it means to be human and to love.

“I’ll be honest: I thought that if I won tonight, I wouldn’t have anything new to say since I stood here at this same spot a year ago. My grandparents who are back home watching; your grandson did it again! To Manager Moon who is still stuck with me, my castmates and the staff of Somnolent Nova, especially Director Fujiyama, and the fans: thank you. And to the person who congratulated me in advance… I can thank you now without sounding arrogant. Seokjin-ah, let’s go out for a drink sometime.”

The press of a button. 

“Seokjin-ah, let’s go out for a drink sometime.”

A sigh.

Tearing his gaze away from his phone, a text conversation with his mother asking if he and his celebrity friend Jungkook are getting dinner in their house, Namjoon can’t help but sigh again. 

Sitting across him in front of the desktop computer on a rolling chair, face expressionless and fingers running back and forth over the corner of his lips and chin, is Jungkook who has been repeating Kim Taehyung’s acceptance speech from when he won Best Actor for the second time in a row, for the umpteenth time.

Namjoon liked Fotonatsu in an objective manner. Personally, he adored Somnolent Nova. He thinks Kim Taehyung deserves his accolades. Hearing his speech over and over though, repeating the particular part where he asks Seokjin-ah for a drink, is frankly getting on his nerves.

“Are you eating dinner with me?”

A mumbled “Sure,” is what he receives in response. 

It has been less than a month since Namjoon met Jungkook. The overwhelming intimidation simmered down after a few days. 

The distinction of Jungkook, a young twenty something making music, versus JJK, a worldwide superstar, is a thread easy to unravel if one takes the time to actually get to know him. 

Jungkook is cool. He likes anime and manga. He likes video games. He’s nice, polite, and unexpectedly intelligent. He gets the philosophical references that roll off Namjoon’s tongue so easily, the thoughts and ideas a foundation of his vocabulary. 

Separating a normal young adult to the superstar is easy. The hard part is when the latter seeps into the former and you’re reminded that he is the same person. 

Jungkook may be sitting inside Namjoon’s small studio in a white hoodie, checkered pajama bottoms, and an army tag necklace dangling around his neck, but he is also the person who put out the most critically-acclaimed album of the century. 

Namjoon wishes he was exaggerating with that last part.

The talent humming under his fingers and the immense creativity can be oppressive. Namjoon can only imagine how his peers must feel about him. Discouraged, probably. A feeling of never being able to catch up. 

Jungkook is one of those rare and blessed artists with a faithful fanbase, mainstream love, and the freedom to make whatever type of music he wants. People who shit on popular things can’t even hate on him properly; everyone simply likes him. Namjoon expected that such popularity can either make JJK arrogant or closed-off. He’s pleased to find out he is neither.

The interest Jungkook is exhibiting on Kim Taehyung is new.

Another interesting thing about Jungkook is how picky he actually is with music. He doesn’t believe in reviews, or what people consider to be essential albums or legendary musicians. The only thing he truly cares about, regarding music, is what he likes. 

There’s a quote from an interview Jungkook did before that stuck with Namjoon. It was what pushed him into where he is now: an underground producer in Tokyo.

Jungkook was asked what sustains him regarding making music. His answer was: “People listen to music all the time. Our whole lives in fact. I just want to listen to music I like, and what I like is the music I make.”

To put it simply, Jungkook mostly ignores everybody else. Other celebrities, other singers, or other producers too. 

The obsession, Namjoon thinks it is turning into one, with Kim Taehyung is therefore something new and noteworthy.

Deciding that they will get nowhere if he doesn’t ask, Namjoon sucks in a breath, exhales, and goes for it. “What’s the deal with Kim Taehyung?”

The acceptance speech of Kim Taehyung’s award plays again. As it does, Jungkook moves around the rolling chair. 

“Muted hues.” Jungkook suddenly says. “Blue and yellow. He’s thankful for the award.”

“Seokjin-ah, let’s go out for a drink sometime.”

Jungkook pauses the video. 

“Red like wine.” His tone remains controlled. It takes a 180 when he adds, “How smooth of him.”

Namjoon won’t lie. He’s now more confused than he was before. He voices it out. “I don’t understand.”

Jungkook turns back to the screen, chair rolling against the carpeted floor of Namjoon’s humble studio.

“What do you think Kim Taehyung meant? The last part of his speech.” Jungkook’s tone is levelled. The question sounds genuinely curious.

Namjoon scratches the back of his head and stares at the screen, paused on a close-up of Kim Taehyung’s smoldering eyes and the slight upturn curl on the side of his lips. “He means what he said, I guess? He’s asking someone out for a drink.”

“Do you think he got around to doing that?”

“I don’t really know. Kim Taehyung is a very private celebrity.”

“Really? He’s somewhere in Europe right now based on his Instagram posts.”

The last bit is something Namjoon actually knows. Like the rest of the enamored world, he follows Kim Taehyung on social media. He was among the many millions who liked the recently uploaded set of aesthetically taken photos, probably captured with a disposable camera and developed, of his recent travels. 

Namjoon takes his phone out to make sure. Jungkook leans back on the chair. He stretches his arms up, the sleeves of his hoodie falling to reveal a sliver of skin covered in the iconic tattoos everyone talked about in its first unveiling.

Now that he is looking closely at the uploaded photos, the more confused he gets. He believes he understands a bit more now, but it is still not connecting. There is something Jungkook is not saying outright. 

“He uploaded a photo of muguet and choisya.” The singular nouns Namjoon uses doesn’t do the photo justice. It’s more of a garden. No one would be able to make the connection unless they know what they are looking for. 

Jungkook turns on the chair once more to face him. His eyes are lidded, an unreadable smile on his lips. “My muguets and choisya.” Jungkook lets out a sigh. Chastising. He clicks his tongue for good measure. 

“He probably doesn’t mean it, but it makes me feel insulted.” Jungkook says, crossing his arms over his chest. “It’s like he’s reaching out and mocking me, showing off that he’s there while I’m here.”

A conclusion dawns on Namjoon. Something unbelievable and quite impossible.

No way, right? 

“Namjoon.” Jungkook stares at him deeply. “Let’s finish this album. I need to hurry up and come home.”

Park Jimin is a man of many accomplishments. 

A dancer, an heir to a massive fortune, a good education, and a beautiful face. 

Among all these, Park Jimin is also a liar. He doesn’t lie to improve his image; he already has a perfectly good one, more than enough even. He lies as a defense mechanism. To his family, his family’s friends, and most importantly, himself. 

Jimin once thought he would be the one to slot a gold band into Seokjin’s ring finger. He imagined a glamorous life where Seokjin takes his last name, or he takes Seokjin’s, maybe they would even hyphenate it. No matter what anyone says or thinks, Jimin saw Seokjin first. They met first and took each others’ first times. It’s his arm Seokjin holds when they stroll around art galleries, whether it be the Park family’s privately owned ones, or in the wings of museums they donated money to. He’s the one who dried the tears on Seokjin’s cheeks when he is driven by emotion from every play, opera, and recital they attended. 

They fit together.

Picture perfect and magnetic.

Despite their age gap, to Jimin it felt like they’re the only ones who were there for each other. As starry-eyed children wherein Jimin dances and Seokjin plays the piano, to spiteful teenagers who spoke in a dead language so the adults wouldn’t understand. Where Seokjin disliked using his parents’ money to give gifts to others, Jimin had no qualms about it. He would shower Seokjin in everything he thinks pretty, and it worked out perfectly well because they are so alike in taste and opinion. Seokjin is ethereal. He is always so controlled. He’s charming with his wit and humor while also gorgeous. 

Jimin lived in a bubble where he thought he’s the only one who saw this beauty in Seokjin. He ignored the other children around his age his parents tried introducing to him, sticking like glue by Seokjin’s side. 

When Seokjin was eleven and he was eight, he left for a while. “To South Korea,” his parents explained to their youngest child throwing a tantrum about his Seokjin-hyung going away, “his grandparents want him to experience life there.” Seokjin came home and the first thing that happened was he got whisked off to some six year old’s birthday party. 

The Jeons are important. They had more money, notoriety, and their youngest son Jungkook was touted as a genius. 

Seokjin told him all about it. 

“He sees colors when he hears sound, Jimin-ah. Isn’t that amazing?”

“That must be irritating, hyung. All those people singing happy birthday to him.”

“I could tell he hated it so I kept quiet.”

Jungkook has always been transparent. His emotions play on his face like water. You can tell when he’s angry or upset. And Jimin could tell very clearly that Jungkook loved Seokjin ever since. He knows it firsthand; he has the same look on his face whenever he stares at the eldest. 

The youngest Jeon was the first person to ever make Jimin feel smaller than he already was. He was content being himself around Seokjin. He didn’t need to put on a polite tone and a fake smile unlike when he is around other people. He only ever had to be himself and it was enough. 

Seokjin didn’t explicitly say anything but Jimin spent so much time with him, observing and taking him in, that he could tell admiration when he saw it. Jungkook excelled in the areas Jimin and Seokjin held interest and fascination for. He was quick to realize the genius moniker wasn’t simply a case of parents boasting about their child. Whether it be music, art, language or literature, Jungkook did it better than them. In another world, Jimin would admire him for it. Here in this reality, he couldn't, never did found it in him to have positive feelings about this. 

Seokjin accepted Jimin for who he was; he didn’t expect anything. Jimin is a good dancer, but he isn’t the best in the world. Jimin is smart but not in everything. Jungkook went above and beyond expectations. He dazzled so brightly it was intimidating. The turning point of all this is that Jungkook did all those things for two reasons: out of his own volition and for Seokjin. 

Paintings and music sheets of complicated notes even Seokjin could not grasp were played for him by someone five years younger than him, who has the world by their feet, all for him.

Jimin doesn’t blame Seokjin for holding affection toward Jungkook.

It was inevitable.

If only Jimin didn’t feel the same way towards Seokjin too.

So he made the most of their time. He knew more than anyone how serious Jungkook was with all the childish, “Will you marry me someday, Jin?” that comes out of his mouth. He knew someday Seokjin would say yes. 

He did.

It hurt but Jimin wasn’t heartbroken. He already accepted defeat years ago. He was out of the game the moment he called Seokjin his hyung and cemented himself as Seokjin’s best friend. Jungkook never treated Seokjin that way; it was always with the intention of someday winning his love.

He lost but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Jimin loves Seokjin more. The only obstacle was Seokjin loves Jungkook the most.

The sun is basking the Earth in all its glory. Its rays wrap around all living beings. The air is cold despite the glare of the sun, and out here in the garden of the Jeon manor, a looming structure off a private road and land, all these weather nuances culminate in the most perfect balance. 

Jimin stares directly at the sun through his heavily tinted shades.

Sitting across him is the actor Kim Taehyung.

He’s not fazed. Celebrities are nothing compared to the snooty shipping heiresses and pharmaceutical heirs he superficially call friends. They too do not scare him. The only person he cares about is the owner of this estate. Well, he and said person’s husband.

Seokjin left them alone out in the gardens to answer a phone call. It concerns his work in the university. Jimin couldn’t help quipping up, “If you were mine, you wouldn't have to work a single day hyungie.” Seokjin only shook his head. “You know it’s not like that, Jimin-ah.”

Now it’s only the two of them here sitting in silence. The round glass tabletop is littered with snacks and tea. 

Seokjin is taking too long.

Jimin groans, impatient. His head dangles over the top of the chair, neck elongated similar to a swan and exposed. Taehyung is quietly eating a Victoria sandwich. Jimin is aware of what Seokjin is trying to do. He has this need for the people in his life to get along, and since hell will freeze over before he and Jungkook start becoming amicable with each other, Seokjin expects his best friend to welcome his new friend. 

Looking over at Taehyung, Jimin covers his mouth to stop the scoff threatening to escape from him. He knows exactly why Kim Taehyung is here. He can imagine how it went down: Seokjin being his usual charming self, Kim Taehyung getting absolutely smitten, and now he’s here across the world traversing comfort zones and barriers for a chance with Seokjin that will never come. He has seen the speech though. Very daring of Taehyung, Jimin thinks. He wonders if Jungkook has seen it. Jimin feels wicked satisfaction with that thought. Jungkook has always been so easy to rile up, especially when it concerns Seokjin. Jimin was told beforehand that Taehyung doesn’t know who Seokjin is married to. It makes everything more interesting, pushing him to fly all the way here on a whim just for a front-row view of all the simmering drama. 

“I saw your speech.” Jimin spoke up. “Bold of you to ask hyung out for all the world to see.”

Taehyung regards Jimin with unreadable eyes. Or maybe it’s because he is squinting from the sunlight. 

“What did you mean by what you said earlier?” 

The question isn’t surprising. Jimin knew the moment he let his tongue slip it stayed in Taehyung’s mind. Jimin imagines him and Seokjin are fascinating to outsiders. Taehyung hasn’t even met Jungkook yet. 

Jimin stares right at Taehyung. The shades help the persona he projects. He smiles, lips tight and taut over his face. “It means exactly what it is. If Seokjin-hyung ended up with me he won’t be worrying about a thing.” 

He won’t be here waiting for that brat to come home.

“Did you two date?”

Jimin hates that question. Even Jungkook had the mind to not ask him that. He can forgive Taehyung though. He knows nothing about them or how deeply intertwined Jimin and Seokjin are. 

“Does it really matter? He’s already won over by someone else.”

Date, dating, or dated were labels he never bothered with Seokjin. It was simple enough to them. He is Seokjin’s Jimin. They held hands when they needed the support. They kissed whenever the atmosphere felt right, and it always did. They rolled around in bed, other places too, when the affection they craved couldn’t be satisfied with the pressing of lips. Those days are long gone; only fond memories of their teenage years.

“So you know who he is.”

Jimin gasps. “You don’t?” Lying comes to him as easy as breathing. 

“Just bits and pieces.”

Taehyung waits for Jimin to spill. He doesn’t. 

“Even if you know, nothing will change. You’re too late,” Jimin’s eyes instantly follow the figure approaching them from behind Taehyung. He grins and raises both his arms, waving at Seokjin. Without moving his gaze he tells Taehyung, “And I was too early.”

When Jimin leaves, he presses a kiss on the corner of Seokjin’s lips, his arms around Seokjin’s neck, fingers playing with the older’s hair. 

“I love you, hyungie. Come visit me next time, yeah?” 

Seokjin hugs him back tightly. 

Once upon a time, all they had was each other. Then along came Jungkook, a single causality that changed everything. The only way Jimin or Taehyung or anyone else could have gotten Seokjin was if Jungkook never came into their life. 

All other outcomes would have been possible if it wasn’t for Jungkook.


What a shame.

“I’ll come. Always take care of yourself. Please. For me.” Seokjin reminds him. 

There’s a deeper meaning behind it. Seokjin is leveraging himself so Jimin won’t ruin himself again, for Jimin to stop succumbing to the dark parts of his mind. 

It’s a story for another day. 

Right now, all Jimin cares about is having his world in his arms. He sighs, dramatic and drawn out. “Okay. For you I will.”

Behind Seokjin stands Taehyung awkwardly watching them. 

Outsiders will never understand. 

After releasing Seokjin, he holds his hand out for Taehyung to shake. “Take care of him. He means everything to me.” Seokjin laughs at the line. He thinks Jimin is joking. If only he knew how significant he is to Jimin’s very existence.

Taehyung nods. They’ve come to an understanding these past days Jimin stayed over. Not in friendly terms but at an agreement. “I will.” 

The determination in his eyes is inspiring, reminds him of another brat hopelessly in love with Seokjin. It reminds Jimin of Jungkook, and at one point when he thought he had a chance, himself. 

Maybe, just maybe, someone has finally come to give Jungkook a run for his money.

Seokjin places his hands on both of their shoulders. “I’m glad you two got along.” 

Before he gets in the car that will drive him to the airport, Jimin gives one last hug to Seokjin. He leans closer and only for the two of them to hear, whispers, “Do you see Jungkookie in him, hyung? I promise I won’t tell.”

Jimin’s breath hitches when Seokjin’s lips, soft and plump and his most striking feature, presses on the curve of his ear. “There’s only one Jungkook in the world, and he’s mine the way I’m only his.”

[5 years ago]

Jimin knew that the day Seokjin leaves for Seoul with Jungkook to celebrate the latter’s 18th birthday is the day he loses Seokjin forever. 

He jumped into the driver's seat of one of his many cars, a gaudy lamborghini coated front to back with pagan gold candy paint, and arrived at the Kim’s family estate demanding where Seokjin is. 

“He’s out riding,” one of the many nameless staff tells him. 

Jimin practically grew up in this place. He stays here more than he does his own house. He gets back in the car and heads for the stables. The sun is setting and Jimin is running out of time. He doesn’t even know what he’ll say once he comes face to face with Seokjin. 

The stablehand is quick with helping Jimin climb up the horse he always rode. He can’t think, can’t hear anything else. He urges the animal to go faster.

For the first time in his life, Jimin is the one catching up to Seokjin. He gets closer and closer toward the direction of the sun.

Finally, he sees Seokjin.

He’s unmoving.

Jimin realizes Seokjin is looking back at him. He’s there all this time and that he stopped to wait for him. 

“Seokjin-hyung.” Saying his name has never been this painful. “You’re going to Seoul with Jungkook?”

Seokjin laughs. His hand is petting the top of his horse’s head. “Did you really come all the way here to ask me that?” 

“Hyung, please. Please be serious. Are you going to Seoul with Jungkook? On his birthday?”

Jimin is getting desperate. He knew this day would come. He just never expected it to happen this quick. 

Seokjin only sighs and nods. 

“What about university? You’re in your last year. Can you really be missing any classes?” Jimin asks to buy time.

Seokjin allows him.

“It’s fine. It’s only the first week. Our Jungkook’s birthday is more important.”

“Hyung, you know what this means. It’s his 18th birthday.” The lowness of Jimin’s voice does not mask the trembling mess he is becoming. “He’s going to ask you that question and you’ll have to give him an answer.”

“What difference does it make? He’s been asking his entire life.”

Jimin couldn’t help himself anymore. He shouts, “You’re now in the position to say yes! And fuck, hyung, I love you. I love you and you’re leaving tomorrow, and when you come back, he’ll have you forever.” The tears running down his face fall down his tightly fisted hands holding on to the reins. 

“You can’t own people, Jimin-ah.” Seokjin slips easily into the comforting tone he uses whenever Jimin gets like this. The difference this time around, the reason why he is upset is also the one trying to console him. 

“Stop pretending to be a reasonable adult! The moment you say yes, you’ll belong to him!”

The tension is palpable in the air. The breeze blows and combs its fingers through their hair. 

Finally, Seokjin’s serene expression changes. Pain fills those brown orbs, he bites his bottom lip, and his eyebrows slope downwards. He looks away. “I’m sorry.”

Jimin should be the bigger person. He should tell Seokjin he shouldn’t be apologizing for his choice. 

It only drives the knife deeper that this, his selfishness and cunning, is why he’s not the one who will get the happy ending.

Seokjin lets him cry. He doesn’t come closer. Jimin is glad for that. He would never be able to stop if Seokjin does. 

“You’re saying yes, huh?”

“I am.” 

The affirmation itself hurts, but what pushes the final nail to the coffin is how even when Seokjin is so obviously sorry, looks and feels guilty, admitting that he will say yes outloud lights up his face so beautifully. 

Taehyung exits the guest bedroom one certain morning and wonders if he’s still asleep. He’s sure that when he went to sleep last night, the outside of his room did not look like this.

The entire hallway is lined with white roses. It takes up every corner that it’s almost as if they took root right there. Besides the roses, purple wisteria hang from the ceiling. The wisterias dot every space of the high ceiling, tricking observers into thinking they are in a tunnel. 

It’s currently the middle of spring. 

If cyclones had an eye, then the estate must be the central region of the season. 

This must be where spring begins and ends. 

Walking along the hallway, the light slipping in through the enormous glass windows are muted by the wisteria. There must be an open window somewhere seeing how it is slowly swaying with the wind. 

Extending his arm out, the white petals kiss the pads of Taehyung’s fingers. Bringing his hand up his face, even from a distance, the domineering scent of roses invade his senses.

Rounding around the hallway, Taehyung sees Seokjin. He steps back instantly and peers over instead. Seokjin’s back is to him, head tilted upwards and gazing at the ceiling. A plucked white rose free of thorns is held between his fingers along with a sealed catalog envelope, the limb hanging passively by his side. His other arm is raised and touching the most proximate ends of the wisteria.

Only when Seokjin lowers his arm does Taehyung makes his presence known.

Seokjin turns around as Taehyung walks up to him.

A smile welcomes him, the kind that reaches Seokjin’s eyes. 

“Good morning.” Seokjin greets. His eyes roam around the exterior before going back to Taehyung until the other is standing beside him. “I hope you’re not allergic.”

Taehyung’s hands are inside his pockets. His hair is getting really long. Unlike when he was under the watchful eye of Manager Moon who makes sure his hair is not too long and not too short, always perfect, the ends are starting to naturally cover his eyes. 

“What’s the occasion?” 

Seokjin hums. He raises the rose and envelope to his chest, keeping it close to where the apex of his heart is. “I was wondering about the same thing.”

The statement leads Taehyung into realizing this is the work of that person.

Seokjin’s other half. 

His husband. 

The faceless man whose presence suffocates and imposes itself in every corner of this house. 

The flowers work as a double-edged sword. 

It’s for Seokjin and him. 

A serenade for the former, and a taunt for the latter. The weight of this grand gesture is meant to crush him. 

Seokjin rips open the envelope, dips his hand inside, and takes out a vinyl record covered in transparent plastic. There is a typewritten note on a plain, light pink, high quality paper taped on the center. Taehyung doesn’t bother hiding his curiosity and reads it along with Seokjin.

Taehyung averts his eyes quickly.

The words are cutting.

It feels like a knife is being pointed at him. His throat constricts. 

Seokjin’s reaction is to quickly turn the record around and with it the note. 

“Breakfast?” Seokjin asks to clear the heavy air surrounding them.

Looking at him, Taehyung traces the blush across his cheeks. If Taehyung reaches his hand out, he reckons the red-tinted skin will be warm. 

“Taehyung.” His name falling from Seokjin’s mouth sounds foreign. “What are you doing?”

The knuckles on Taehyung’s left hand are brushing against Seokjin’s cheek, just below his eyes.

It’s the physical manifestation of a Freudian slip. 

He plays it off perfectly with squinting eyes and a stable tone. “There’s a fallen eyelash.” He pretends to swipe it to the side, smiling when his knuckles run across the length of Seokjin’s cheek going to the most lateral end. “All gone now.”

Seokjin doesn’t believe him but plays along, automatically whispering, “Thank you.” 

Mimicking Seokjin’s earlier question, Taehyung repeats, “Breakfast?”

Later in the day when Seokjin leaves for work and Taehyung is laid down the garden on a blanket, curls spread around his head like a halo and holding a stack of binded papers as cover from the sun, he reaches out for his phone and types the most informal response to Manager Moon. He takes a peek again at the cover of the script he finally picked up at the post office the other day. 

The script is one of the many sent to Manager Moon for Taehyung to peruse. He trusts his agent to know exactly what he looks for in movies, the reason why he refuses to branch out and find a bigger team to manage him. The script mailed to him is very unique to say the least. No big studio backing, no funding, and not even a director.


Hinoki Honey

Written by: M— Y——, PhD


The story is very normal: best friends with that eternal what-if looming over their heads. There is something emotional and raw about the ambiguity. The turning point of Hinoki Honey’s plot is when one of the main characters leaves and the other finally realizes their feelings.

It’s quite like reality.

It is a very old story.

There is no other version of stories like these.

Someone always has to leave first.

His bags are already packed before the sun sets. He at least wants to make the last night special so he makes his way into the kitchen. Mrs. Langley helps tie a red and orange printed silk scarf to push his hair back. 

The sound inside the room is similar to a busy restaurant kitchen. There are only two of them doing all the work at the same time but they managed to get a lot of things done.

In the middle of chopping red and green peppers, the door to the kitchen is pushed open. 

Taehyung stops what he is doing and turns around. 

Seokjin is leaning by the doorway, arms around his chest, and in his usual get up. Reading glasses on his nose, long black hair stopping at the nape of his neck, and a crisp white shirt, black tie, and black trousers. The sleeves of the dress shirt are pushed back revealing the plain black leather watch strapped on his wrist. 

For the second time today Seokjin asks him, “What are you doing?”

And this time instead of phrasing something as a question Taehyung answers with, “Dinner.”

Seokjin walks up to him and stands by his side watching him cook.

After a few minutes he disappears and comes back not with a bottle of wine but soju.

Taehyung laughs and shakes his head at the familiar label. “So you do drink soju like everyone else.” 

Seokjin leans on his back against the counter.

Taehyung is done with all the preparations. He’s dutifully stirring the pot while he keeps his gaze on Seokjin.

“You’re making Korean food. And do you really think I’m that much of a snob? Take me to a night market for street food and you’ll see.”

“Then we should go to one.” 

Seokjin doesn't reply. He only tips his head back and guzzles down more soju. 

“If you give me your hand,” Taehyung starts to say in the most conversational way, “We’ll go everywhere and nowhere.” 

How poetic.

How vague.

Seokjin hums. “There will be bloodshed.” A consolatory smile is offered to him. “I dislike being uprooted from everything I know. You’re the same as me.”

Taehyung agrees. Coming here and yearning for the other man like this, standing so close to him, cooking him dinner in his kitchen; these are things all new. It’s exciting and also painful but it is the most spontaneous thing he has done. He only ever acts wild and different on the silver screen, not reality. 

“I like dreamers.” This final statement from Seokjin reminds Taehyung of the note he received this morning. 

When Taehyung says, “I’m leaving tomorrow,” Seokjin’s expression doesn’t change.

Later, when they finish supper and bound up the stairs to their rooms, Taehyung walks behind Seokjin and tries to burn this view of the other in his brain. He lets himself wonder.

Does Seokjin laying down resemble how he looks standing and walking? 

Do his neat clothes ever get rumpled? 

What does he remove first? Reading glasses, necktie, or watch? 

They say goodnight to each other. Seokjin says he’ll go with Taehyung to the airport. He’ll miss work for him. He doesn’t bother declining when it is what he was hoping for. 

The sun comes too quickly. 

One minute he was arriving here in the estate with two things in mind: either win Seokjin over or move on from his schoolboy crush. Discovering he is married pushed him to the second agenda, but here he is now loading his luggage in the trunk of the car and heart hammering in his chest. 

Taehyung is leaving more deeply in love than ever. 

Inside the car, Seokjin sits on the opposite end. 

“I was sent a great script by a budding writer. I liked it a lot.”

Seokjin’s eyes shine in interest. “Who is directing?”

“No one. It’s independent in every sense of the word.”

“Well, if you need help I know people who can be of service. But I’m sure anyone would be interested in directing something you want to act in. Humor me though. What is it about?”

“Unrequited love.”

Seokjin blinks at him once, twice, then he smiles. “You have a penchant for the romantic genre.”

Taehyung’s not sure about that. “Is unrequited love supposed to be romantic? It’s more of drama and tragedy.”

“Then if it is, I won’t be surprised if you bag the awards again.”

Taehyung’s head tilts to the side in confusion. “I was expecting you’ll say that the critics will get tired of me since I’m always acting in romance.”

“They won’t. Like you said, unrequited love isn’t even about love. It’s more of melancholy and sorrow. The critics believe profound and genuine love is idiotic. You’ll do well.”

Arriving at the airport, Seokjin doesn’t get out of the car. The driver helps Taehyung put his luggage on a cart. When they finish, the car window rolls down and Taehyung bends his body, arms resting on the sill and face so close to Seokjin’s own that the economy of their breaths become one. 

“Will you miss me?” Taehyung boldly asks. 

Seokjin deters him. “I’m sure we’ll see each other again.”

Taehyung looks both left and right. The airport isn’t exactly crowded. People get to this part of the country usually by train and not by plane. Maybe even a boat. It’s small and with few people milling around. 

“Can I kiss you?”

Seokjin doesn’t look surprised. He raises a fine brow and looks Taehyung straight in the eye. “Depends. Where do you want to do it?”


It is not said but there is a difference between where do you want to do it and where will you do it. Seokjin doesn’t agree outright which tells Taehyung everything; loud and clear. 

“I will only allow it if I want it.”

Taehyung wants to map Seokjin out with his mouth rather than his eyes. 

“Right here.” 

Taehyung’s fingers brush the area he is referring to. 

Seokjin smiles and closes his eyes.

This man’s beauty is brutal. 

Yet, when Taehyung once again remembers each letter, each syllable, and each word on the letter Seokjin received along with wisterias hanging on the ceiling, white roses filling every corner of the house, and the unknown vinyl record it was attached to, he can tell Seokjin is tender.

He’s been mulling something in his head for quite a while now. It comes crashing down on him at this very moment.

A great writer once said, When I fall in love, it will be forever.

Spending time with Seokjin in such close proximity, he has already absorbed some qualities from the other.

That’s how love lasts forever, Taehyung believes, when you carry their mannerisms, opinions, and thoughts with you, ingraining it in your pathos. Taehyung wants to know what are the parts of Seokjin he gained from that other person. 

Taehyung leans forward and kisses Kim Seokjin for the first time.

My love,

Have you known beforehand that this is the life you wanted? You who is the embodiment of everything beautiful in the classical sense? Did you always have a predilection for the nitty gritty, a preference for pierced and tattooed rockstars falling all over your feet? Does it thrill you that someone can love you this much? Is it because I’m impulsive, but when I have you underneath me and fucking you into the bed that’s when I’m in control the most, and you lose all semblance of it?

Across oceans and over the hills, with our ring hanging off the chain around my neck; I’m coming for you again.

P.S: I know his name.

All of Seokjin’s composure died when Taehyung turned his back and entered the airport. The other is very intense, a trait he is aware of and something he likes to weaponize with or without intent. 

He really likes Taehyung.

Not in any other sense except for platonic. 

He likes that Taehyung respects the fact that Seokjin can only offer friendship. 

Still, Seokjin can see it. He can see himself developing feelings for the other if timing and circumstances were different. 

Maybe if he was 17 years early.

The entire ride from the airport going back home goes by so quickly it’s only when the car is passing through the driveway that Seokjin finally notices the black and heavily tinted van parked in front of the doorstep. He realizes his hands are clasped together and on his lap like he is in prayer. 

The van is familiar. 

Seokjin’s heart threatens to beat out of his ribcage. There can only be one person who gets driven around in such a vehicle. 

The car hasn’t come to a full stop and he’s already unlocking the door and jumping out. He takes long strides toward the door, almost running. Seokjin pushes the double door entrance and this time, without wasting time, runs on the polished floor and into the place he knows the person he is looking for will be. He runs through the vastness of the house, passing corridors, lefts and rights, and at last, stepping out and into the garden.

A strong breeze.

The blistering springtime sun.

Mexican orange flowers and lilies of the valley frame the scenery. 

When you go deeper in the garden, there’s a fountain acting as the starting point of two separate pathways. If you choose to go left, it leads you to the rose bushes, or whatever variant of flora is being cultivated depending on the season. The right path on the other hand ends with a rusting white chair against the backdrop of a concrete wall crawling with flowering vines and a rectangular garden pond dotted by lotus. 

Seokjin is usually found at the right path, and his husband at the left.

This time around they don’t bother with the hide-and-seek. 

Jungkook is simply standing right there with his back on Seokjin and his hands inside the pocket of his jeans.

The first thing Seokjin notices is how long his hair has grown, a testament of their time apart.

An electric feeling starts at the pit of his stomach traveling all over his body. It takes over him like he’s possessed.

Turn around.

You said you’re always ready to catch me.

It’s either Seokjin said that outloud or Jungkook has impeccable timing. It didn’t really matter. 

Jungkook turns around and it is the still turning point of the world. 

Seokjin sees firsthand how Jungkook takes in the sight of him. He waits for the observation to be over. He’s starting to fidget, and Seokjin never fidgets. He tries his best to remain rooted. 

Jungkook’s arms stretch away from his body and toward Seokjin. His fingers gesture for Seokjin to move, a come-hither motion that has Seokjin’s mouth dry. A quick quirk of his brow has it disappearing under his bangs. With a honeyed voice, he spoke. 

“Come here.”

If it was any other day, Seokjin would shake his head in mirth. Maybe even walk away just so Jungkook would run after him. 

Today is not that day.

Seokjin wills his legs to slow down. His body feels heavy and gravity is ready to pull itself under his feet. He still has the mind to find it irritating that Jungkook remains standing there with arms wide open instead of meeting him halfway. 

The initiative is what matters, Seokjin supposes.

He fits right here in this space.

A contrary really, because when Jungkook wraps him in a hug like this, space ceases to exist between them.

Strong arms capable of lifting him when needed around his waist, fingers lifting up the fabric of his shirt and his entire palm splaying on the skin of his lower back, Jungkook pressing a kiss to his hairline, then on to his forehead.

“You’re wearing my clothes.”

Seokjin feels every syllable play on Jungkook’s lips right against the shell of his ear.

Jungkook giggles, the sound losing volume as he outlines the distance down Seokjin’s jaw and his neck. The grip he has on Seokjin’s lower back travels upwards, hitching the sweater higher and higher. 

With his hands balled into fists, Seokjin hits him on the chest and pushes the other off him. “Not here, you brute.”

“Then where?” The question is finished and emphasized through the cultivation of bruises on Seokjin’s neck. 

Red now, blooming overnight, then purple tomorrow. Jungkook leaves marks like he’s writing a formulaic musical sheet. 

First, exposition. 

It begins with a light kiss, then his tongue. It makes Seokjin shiver every single time. 

Second, development.

He bites and nips with his teeth, still gentle, never hard. Harshness is reserved for later when he is puckering his lips and sucking down on skin with the intent to break blood vessels. 

This is where Seokjin has to grip Jungkook’s biceps, blunt nails digging on the leather jacket. Seokjin bites down on his lip because he thinks it is insane and absolutely indecent of him if he voices out how much Jungkook makes him feel out here in the open. 

“Jin.” Jungkook purrs his name. For the first time in months. Jungkook didn’t lie when he wrote that letter; hearing his name is enough to get him weak in the knees. “I missed you so much.” 

And lastly, the third movement: recapitulation.

It’s time to wrap everything up. Seokjin gets ready to disengage. He’s already straightening his posture and choosing mind over matter. 

“Not yet.” Jungkook mumbles, the phrase thick with want. 

Seokjin stills and waits. 

Jungkook grins in delight. “You’re so good for me. Can we—?” 

The glare Seokjin gives him isn’t as effective due to his disheveled state. “I said not here.” 

Right underneath Seokjin’s jaw where turtlenecks are not an option for cover up, Jungkook eyes the splashes of red in satisfaction. Little to nothing distress or vex Seokjin, the hickeys honestly don’t despite him voicing out before that he finds it juvenile, but it’s the hiding-it part he dislikes. 

“That’s really the first thing you want to do now that you’re back?”

Jungkook grips his waist and the air stops beating against his bare skin, covered again by the black cashmere sweater. Jungkook observes him in a way he reserves toward puzzles; trying to elucidate the shape of its edges and how each piece fits into one big picture. 

“I think it’s weirder that we haven’t seen each other in months and you’d rather we talk first, fuck later.”

Rather than giving in to Jungkook’s immature manipulation, Seokjin holds back the urge of rolling his eyes and takes control of the situation. He removes Jungkook’s hold on him, that earns him an instant whine and pout, links their arms together, and directs Jungkook to walk with him back inside the house.

They must be a sight to behold. 

JJK, so recognizable in his leather jacket and dark skinny jeans, and him with a similar black sweater, cream paperbag pants, and his neck looking like he’s been bitten by a wild animal. 

Jungkook stops walking. Seokjin’s about to tell him to stop being difficult but he gets cut off.

“Tell me now. Is Kim Taehyung here?”

The amused smile on Seokjin’s face meant to dissuade the sudden change in atmosphere feels cheeky to Jungkook. 

“You’re both so interested in each other. Are you sure you aren’t after him?”’

Jungkook scoffs in disbelief. “Do you think that will get a rise out of me? Try harder.” He unlinks their arms and entwines their hands together. “There’s a reason I like wearing knuckle rings but never our wedding band.” He brings their joined hands up, turns it over so the back of Seokjin’s own face his, and kisses the protruding bones. “If I ever get in some kind of fight, I don’t want blood on it.” 

The aforementioned ring hangs on a silver chain around Jungkook’s neck hidden underneath his shirts. Seokjin’s gaze drops down to where he knows it rests: exactly between Jungkook’s collarbones. 

“You’re getting into fights now?”

“With how everyone is trying to steal you away, I wouldn’t put it past happening.”

Except for his middle finger and thumb, thick silver metallic rings wrap themselves around Jungkook’s fingers. Its presence is felt not only visually but sensually as well, the coldness of it pressing on Seokjin’s palm.

Seokjin rubs soothing circles with his thumb on Jungkook’s skin. “You’re so tense and on edge.” The scowl he receives as a reply has Seokjin sighing. “Taehyung left. We drove him to the airport earlier.” 

The acknowledgment of this comes in the form of Jungkook scoffing. When he feels, he lets it get to him. The wide eyes and raised brows along with the hold on Seokjin’s hand tightens. 

“It’s for the best.” Seokjin assures him. “Jimin was a menace enough to him.”

“What do you mean?”

“Jimin visited a few days ago.” Seokjin explains. “They actually got along well.”

A snort from Jungkook. “Of course they would. Losers find comfort in each other.”

Seokjin is half-offended and half-charmed. Jungkook’s crassness tends to do that to him. Still, he clicks his tongue and chides him for it. “They’re important to me as you are, Jungkook. Don’t talk about my friends like that.”

“But that’s the thing isn’t it?” Jungkook keeps his feet planted on the ground. He refuses to move. Not his body, nor his eyes. Or his attention. “I’m not your friend. I’m your husband.” 

[4 years ago]

The bass that was once reverberating against the walls now sound as if it’s playing right atop Seokjin’s head, switching volumes on his left and right ear. The music is circling around his head, tickling his ears, and the hair on his arms rising.

Accompanying this is a rotating strobe light switching colors so quickly it’s starting to blend in his vision. They pop and bloom, their sudden saturation or change in hue going along perfectly with the music.

“It’s good, right?” Someone asks him with a giggle. They’re standing right beside him but their voice sounds so far away. 

He unconsciously realizes he has been running his fingers all over his hair this entire time, and he isn’t being gentle either. He’s never heard the song playing, but he can tell it’s close to that one perfect moment. It won’t stop crooning on his right ear, going up his head, massaging his skull, and pounding ever so gently. 

The person next to him comes closer and shouts over the music, “It’s even better while having sex!” 

They disappear off with a giggle, and Seokjin is left standing there at some corner of this house party he was dragged to by his classmates. 

He recalls how he got here in the first place. 

Next week, Seokjin and his batch are finally graduating. This is basically their last week as college students. Like any other young adult in university, he’s been to numerous college parties. He usually spends it sitting down on the couch either sharing a joint with someone or passing it to another across the table. He’s never dabbled in the party drug scene, not even the harder ones, but tonight is kind of special.

If assuredness and self-confidence is measured in scale, Seokjin’s would break. He doesn’t box himself in ideas or stereotypes. He trusts himself enough to let loose for his graduation party.

You only graduate college once.

Or, something like that.

At least, it’s what he thinks when Seokjin pops a half-pill of molly and downs it with a passed around red cup filled with iced cold water. 

He stumbles into the bathroom and comes face to face with himself. 

The image has him blinking and squinting.

His hair is still purple, the same last minute dye job he had. It’s messy and some loose strands are falling over his forehead. 

The upper half of his white polo is completely unbuttoned, revealing his collarbones down the middle of his sternum. 

There is glitter around his eyes, his lids glossy with a pink sheen. 

Every time he turns his head, the fluorescent bathroom lighting catches on the sparkle like stars and it makes him giggle childishly. 

The sharpness of his cheekbones are accentuated with champagne peach highlighter smoothed on the highest points. 

His lips are so red he actually rubs the back of his hand over them to make sure it’s natural and not lipgloss or blood. 

Seokjin is a vision.

He covers his mouth with his hands to try and control the grin replacing his usually composed expression. 

Something iridescent catches his attention.

The blue diamond cushioned on his ring finger winks at him through the mirror. 

It brings him back to reality for a while.

He’s not just Kim Seokjin, a film student about to graduate or a spoiled rich boy living off a trust fund and several bank accounts named after him. The privacy of his family’s fortune grants him the bliss of staying out the spotlight. It’s not really a secret that the people on listicles labeled as the richest barely scrape the surface of their world. 

As Jimin used to always say, “Outsiders will never understand us, hyung.” 

He usually doesn’t let anyone influence him, but Jimin is right. He doesn’t regret the moments he spent in university, and he’ll cherish the memories, but he always actively avoided being attached to people who will never understand.

Seokjin hums to himself and thinks about how absurd his life is at times. 

Nothing more ridiculous though than the ring on his finger. 

Kim Seokjin, 23 years old, married to someone five years younger. Someone he left behind when he went away to university. Someone he expected to eventually outgrow him like everyone else who falls for him and wants to be his friend, when they realize he’s stubborn and doesn’t care about humbling himself; that Seokjin knows he’s pretty and rich and is unapologetic about it. 

The person in the mirror is staring back at him with eyes blown wide. His hands are laying on his neck, thumbs resting on his windpipe and making his breath hitch when he presses down a little bit harder. His fingers are massaging the sides of his neck, and it’s helping him steady his breathing enough to enjoy the effects of the drug to his body and brain without inhibition and fear.

“Doesn’t matter right now.” Seokjin whispers to himself. 

Nothing matters right now except for how he feels and the music.


He wishes Jungkook was here.

He’s a hundred percent sure this is the type of scene Jungkook will thrive in.

For a few minutes, Seokjin loses himself in memories he keeps buried out of fear he’ll get sentimental and dwell on them. He thinks back on what happened some weeks prior to this very moment, when Jungkook left for Seoul to record his album.

(It’s a weekend. 

The two of them are walking towards the helipad of Jungkook’s family manor where the helicopter taking Seokjin back to university always awaits. Jungkook insisted on wrapping his arm around Seokjin’s waist and helping him walk. 

Jungkook, with his newly dyed cherry red hair and tanned skin, asks him with wide eyes, “Jin, are you sure you’re okay? Should I go with you?” His hand caressing Seokjin’s lower back that was meant to be comforting, something that was innocent, has changed after what transpired the night before. 

Seokjin glares and pushes Jungkook off him. “We had sex, not a boxing match.”

The giddy, embarrassed, and playful grin Jungkook displays on his face is something Seokjin would miss when the younger gets over the novelty of them sleeping together. 

“With the way you were, it might as well be.” Jungkook snickers. 

“It wasn’t even that good.” 

Jungkook takes hold of Seokjin’s wrists, an action parallel to what he did last night, and presses it to his chest. He leans closer, nosing on the side of Seokjin’s jaw and eyes half-lidded as he traces along it. He lets go of one of Seokjin’s wrist to shamelessly pull down Seokjin’s brown sweater and white shirt underneath, revealing his shoulder. 

Pressing a kiss on the unblemished skin, he mumbles against it, “Is that so?” His hands travel upwards to massage Seokjin’s scalp. 

Seokjin’s gaze follows Jungkook’s own who refuses to look back, too busy with the image of Seokjin’s blonde hair interweaving on his fingers. Jungkook pulls back and studies Seokjin’s face.

With a tilt of his head to the side, Jungkook asks, “Then why are you trembling?”

The words of the stranger from earlier come back and haunt him. 

“It’s even better while having sex!”

Seokjin recovers his bearings, gets out of the toilet, and back into the loud music, a room where bodies are gyrating against each other and the blinding lights make him stumble. 

He has no idea how he ended up in the middle of where people are dancing. 

A stranger is grinding on him.


Unfamiliar hands around his waist as he grinds on someone. He bends his knees and drops to the floor.


Lips attached on his neck. 

This one catches his attention. He angles his head away and sends whoever it is the stink eye. The stranger looks confused, and Seokjin discovers he is more awful and snobby when on molly when his upper lip curls in disgust, his palm covering his neck and walking away.

Granted, it felt good. 

It just felt weird. Different. 

Okay. Back to dancing.

Getting handsy is okay. Dancing with strangers is fine. The next time someone tries kissing or marking him though, he’s going to leave. It’s what Seokjin tells himself. Just the thought of someone who isn’t Jungkook leaving something on him makes his skin crawl. 


Someone tries again.

Seokjin ends up outside the bathroom. He sighed in frustration when he first turned the knob and realized it was locked. His back is leaning against the wall while squinting at his phone. 

In all honesty, he can barely see.

The number he’s looking for is easy to find though.

Phone app.


He clicks the number below Jimin’s. 

Pressing the phone on his left ear, he closes his eyes and waits. 

Seokjin cannot believe Jungkook is not picking up and that his call is going to voicemail. 

“Listen. Is this thing on?” Seokjin mumbles. He brings his other hand up to cover his right ear. It did not help lessen the pounding music. He can barely hear what he’s saying. “Are you listening?”

He goes off into a monologue. The bathroom door opens and the person who comes out stares at him in awe. They clear their throat and smirk at him. Seokjin raises a brow in question. The song playing is almost over, granting the people in the house a few seconds of peace. 

“You don’t have to beg whoever that is to bend you over, baby. I’m right here.” 

Staring at the stranger in bewilderment, Seokjin mutters to the voicemail still unsent, “Somebody just heard me. Fuck you, stay away from me. I’m talking to my husband.” He turns around and ignores the guffawing noise the stranger makes. “Where was I? Jungkook-ah. Pick me up. Right now.”

Seokjin had no idea what he was expecting.

Despite his demands for Jungkook to come home and get him, realistically, it’s obviously not happening. 

The last thing he imagined to happen was Jimin showing up.

Jimin helps him out of the house and into his car. 

Seokjin’s still too out of it to recall the hows and whats. 

He supposes what matters is the now. 

The drug refuses to let him sleep. He doesn’t feel tired either.

Tomorrow, he’ll definitely crash and stay in for god knows how long. 

Right now, the afterglow has him jumping out of bed and walking over the nearest window pouring sunlight in the room. 

The view from wherever he is surprises him. 

He’s still in the city.

The door opens and he whips his head to find Jimin carrying a tray of food. 

“Hyung.” Jimin’s dulcet tone is something he thoroughly missed. They haven’t been alone like this ever since he returned from Seoul with Jungkook after the latter’s birthday. “Come back to bed.” 

Seokjin nods. Sitting down in the middle of the bed, he attentively watches Jimin lay down the tray containing two cups and a bowl of fruit. Jimin asks him to scoot over and he obliges. 

“Where are we?” 

Jimin picks up the plate holding a steaming cup of tea and hands it to Seokjin. “One of your apartments.”

Eyebrows furrowing in confusion, Seokjin scrutinizes the modern industrial-style bedroom they are in more closely. “I don’t remember owning something like this.” 

Jimin waits for Seokjin to take a sip of his tea. 

It’s only when Seokjin places the cup back down the tray that he invades the other’s space by resting the side of his head on the broad shoulder. 

“It’s Jungkook’s.” Jimin picks up a strawberry and before popping it in his mouth, adds, “He’s the one who called and told me to pick you up. I was going to take you to my own place but he demanded to have you here.”

The emotion playing on Seokjin’s face tells Jimin exactly what he’s going to ask next so he beats him to it.

“You’re married to him, hyungie.” Jimin rubs his cheek against Seokjin’s shoulder. He’s still wearing the same clothes from last night. “Everything he owns is yours as well.”

Jimin buries his face deeper into Seokjin’s side. 

They haven’t talked in so long. He’s not a dreamer but the part where they grow apart from each other is something Seokjin never knew would come. 

Laying his hand on top of Jimin’s head, he asks, “Are you still mad at me?”

Jimin grunts. “Kind of.” 

“What do I need to do for you to forgive me?”

“Break off your marriage.”

Seokjin chuckles at the expected answer. “At least you’re honest.”

Jimin takes his hand where the ring Jungkook gave him is. “Nothing will really change your mind?”

“Unless Jungkook decides to suddenly divorce me, then no.”

Crashing down from a drug-induced euphoria and answering questions that cut deep does not shake Seokjin; forever stoic and serene, angelic yet cold. 

At times like this, Jimin thinks Seokjin is too pragmatic for his own good.

“Seokjin-hyung.” Jimin turns the band of the ring left and right but doesn’t pull it off. “I think, for you, if it’s for you— I’ll kill him if he hurts you.”

It’s a statement dripping with devotion and promise.

Seokjin’s responding smile is airy and doesn’t reach his eyes. “Good thing he won’t.”

Hours pass by with the two of them laying in bed and the breakfast tray on the floor.

Jimin’s head rests on Seokjin’s chest while the other continuously runs his fingers over Jimin’s hair.

It conveys all the unsaid and unnecessary apologies.

They talk about what Jimin is up to lately, ballet recitals and partying, and what Seokjin will do once he graduates. They only rise up from the bed when Seokjin expresses his need for a shower. 

“Jimin-ah, can you do me a favor and find me clothes to change into?” 

“The wardrobes are empty, hyung. I’ll go down and shop for you, hm? We’re already in the city anyway.”

Seokjin nods and absentmindedly pats Jimin’s cheek before walking past him. “Thank you. And be careful.”

He has been here for hours now.

Dusk is slowly ebbing into full nighttime and he has yet to explore the apartment. 

It takes him ten minutes to figure out where the bathroom is. The shower is encased in a glass box that fogs up when Seokjin turns the water heater into lukewarm. The bodywash and shampoo are both free of fragrance, leaving him feeling cleaner than ever. When he steps out, wet feet padding across marble tiles and dripping water everywhere, he pulls open one of the many cabinets under the sink for a towel. He ends up with a thick, white, fluffy bathrobe and a face towel draped over his head. 

Exiting the bathroom, the marble tiles turn into dark cherry wood.

Everywhere he turns, the city skyline greets him. The glass windows show him the expanse of what money can buy while also exposing him to anyone who looks.

Rubbing the towel on his hair, Seokjin contemplates on something he hasn’t done in a long time.

Prior to finding his talent in the piano, Seokjin learned the violin with Jungkook and ballet with Jimin. It was easy for him to realize the piano is where he excels the most in his own terms.

Hesitantly, he starts moving his body to the tune in his head. 

A formal dance and not something borne from a drug-induced haze.

 A step to the left, a glide of his right, and moving again in a square. He leaves the towel hanging on his head and includes his hands in the shadow dance. 

One, two, arabesque. 

Three, four, pirouette.

His movement is butchered and so is his stance, nevertheless Seokjin’s exhale is followed by twinkling laughter. His feet touch the ground fully, and the sudden dizziness from not having eaten anything the entire day makes him stumble. 

The imperfectness tips his elation over the edge, resulting in the rare sound of his unique chortling drawn out of his body. 

Catching a glimpse of himself on the glass window, Seokjin’s entire demeanor changes when he sees what is behind him.

Or, to be more accurate, who.

Swallowing down the gasp caught in his throat, Seokjin addresses the reflection on the window. “When did you arrive?”

Jungkook continues standing there. Even without looking at him directly or up close, Seokjin can clearly see his pupils blown wide.

“While you were in the shower.” 

Jungkook’s hands rise up in tandem only to stop when it’s leveled with his chest. He doesn’t seem to know what to do with them. He pushes his hair back and sticks his hands inside the pocket of his dark blue hoodie. 

It’s those rare moments when Jungkook’s age shows.

At least two or three months have passed since they married each other. The physical aspect of their relationship is ridiculously chaste, the only time they slept together was before Jungkook left to record his album. 

Seokjin sometimes forgets how vulnerable and innocent Jungkook can be. 

“I’m here now.” Jungkook’s voice pulls Seokjin away from his reverie. “Sorry I took so long.” 


The simple question catches Jungkook off-guard. “Why… what?”

“Why did you come home?”

“Because you told me to? You left me,” Jungkook stresses out the me and emphasizes it when he points a finger to himself. “A crazy voicemail demanding I pick you up while I was at the other side of the world.”

Seokjin sighs and crosses his arms across his chest. “You didn’t have to come.” 

Jungkook lets out a broken laugh of incredulousness. He turns to the side, his tongue poking the side of his cheek. Then, he shifts his stance, looks down his feet, and back to Seokjin. Irritation is basically coming off him in waves.

“I was really high. It was a spur of the moment thing. You should go back to Seoul.”

Taken in another context, the explanation would’ve been polite, embarrassed even. Seokjin’s deadpan expression and no-nonsense voice tugs at Jungkook’s chest. 

“Why the fuck are you being awful?” 

Seokjin blinks in surprise at the venomous tone. Jungkook is glaring at him, contemptuous and mouth downturned.

“You wanted to see me and I came running. Now you’re telling me to leave? What is your problem?” Jungkook’s anger flickers, dejectedness replacing the volatile aura surrounding him. “I’m happy to be here because I want to see you. I was really happy that you wanted to see me too, so why are you acting like I’m a burden?”

Stepping a little closer, Seokjin notices the words unsaid right there in Jungkook’s face. The dark circles around his eyes, the pale skin, and the heaviness on his shoulders. 

He’s tired. It’s an ungodly long flight from Seoul to here. 

It’s exactly why Seokjin is telling him he shouldn't have. The fact that Jungkook dropped everything to be here doesn't sit right with him.

Seokjin makes a mental note to be careful with his words next time. 

Right now, he has a husband to console.

Seokjin comes closer to the other and tugs on his arm. Jungkook doesn’t budge and keeps his hands inside the pocket of his hoodie. 

“Jungkookie.” Seokjin bites his bottom lip and tries pulling on his arm again. “I’m sorry.” 

Jungkook glances at him. He’s still glaring and pouting except there is now a glimmer of hope in those eyes.

“I’m delighted that you are here.” Seokjin’s hand travels down the length of Jungkook’s arm, down his forearm, and around his wrist. Not meeting any resistance, he pulls and holds the other’s hand. “I just— dislike grand gestures.”

Scoffing, Jungkook rolls his eyes, glances sideways, and back to Seokjin. “And now you’re lying to my face.”

“I don’t—”

“Black Swan.” Jungkook snaps at him.

Seokjin hates getting interrupted when he’s speaking. He only sighs and waits for Jungkook to continue.

“Jimin booked the Louvre for a night and you guys watched a private screening of Black Swan at exactly midnight. It was all you talked about for weeks, that it was so fun sitting down on bean bags while the movie projects on the walls, surrounded by art and all that bullshit. It was my fucking birthday that day, Jin.”

The memory flashes in Seokjin’s head in perfect clarity. He and Jimin were so excited for the film, and he expected them to attend its premiere at a film festival only for the younger to drag him to the Louvre before midnight. In the Room of the Caryatids was where they watched it, the movie playing against the ancient walls through a projector while he and Jimin lay down on the mattresses in the middle of the room. 

The nostalgia must be obvious on his face, Seokjin realizes, when Jungkook pulls him closer to his chest by tugging on his hand. “Sometimes—,” Jungkook remarks. All emotion on his face is removed, leaving him blank and unreadable. “Sometimes I wonder: do you actually like me?”

The hurt from it bleeds into Seokjin. 

He knows he needs to be tender and delicate.

This is what scares him the most.

Jungkook loved him all this time without him having to reciprocate or express how much he loves him too. What if they don’t fit? What if they don’t speak the same love language? What if Jungkook realizes Seokjin isn’t as special as he thinks he is, that he is also just as hopelessly in love with him?

The space between them ceases to exist. Jungkook shapes them into his bidding. He moves Seokjin’s arms to wrap around his waist while his own go around Seokjin’s shoulders. Jungkook’s cheek is pressed on the side of Seokjin’s head, right against the towel still hanging over him.

“You know,” Jungkook pauses to chuckle lowly, a whisper despite the quiet surrounding them. “I don’t think you’re aware but whenever you think too deeply it shows on your face.” 

A kiss on Seokjin’s scalp, pressed right above his ear. “Sorry. That was mean. I know you love me.”

Seokjin buries his face on the other’s chest. “What are we even doing?”

“Well, you could’ve just said you were happy to see me.”

Seokjin closed his fist and hit Jungkook in the middle of his back. “I did.”

“After you told me to leave.”

“Dropping everything you’re doing isn’t romantic to me. It’s not a grand gesture, it—” Seokjin’s eyes flutter close as he lets himself be honest over something he himself feels awful about. “It suffocates me.”

“Even when you’re the one asking?”

“Especially when it’s me.”

They stay like that for a while. Seokjin notices how Jungkook is swaying them from side to side while humming an unknown tune under his breath. 

“I realized something.” Jungkook states. 

“That my hair is purple?”

They crack up at Seokjin’s sarcasm. 

Another kiss on his head from Jungkook.

Still swaying, side to side and in a circle.

“I understood I love you when I saw you dancing for the first time.”

For a simple statement, it sounds so heavy and feels so loaded.

“I wondered what you were up to when we weren’t learning the violin together. One day, I decided to follow you around.” 

Seokjin hums and nods. “A stalker. Of course, I should’ve known.”

“Let me finish.”


“I went to your house. You had ballet with Jimin and you guys fought because you told him you weren’t really interested in it anymore, that you were quitting the lessons to spend more time on the piano. He stormed out, threw his shoes in the car and screamed at his driver to take him home. You were left in the studio and I was peering from the window. You danced the routine you were learning with Jimin despite saying you were quitting. You were so beautiful, and I understood Jimin’s devastation. Then you sat down for ten minutes on the floor; unmoving. I realized you were crying when you stood up and wiped your cheeks. I ran back home just in time to meet you again for violin. I don’t know if you remember but I asked you something. I asked you how do people know when it’s time to quit.”

Seokjin does remember. His answer to the question is still the same. “When you don’t love it anymore.”

“But you loved dancing. You still went to recitals and watched every ballet-related Hollywood film, even the animated ones. Do you remember what else you said?”

Seokjin does. He always will. “When you don’t love it enough.”

Jungkook says his name. All adoration and reverence. “I’m never quitting you. You’ll have to kill me before I leave you alone.”

The lilted laughter Seokjin produces has Jungkook grumbling.

Seokjin steps back a bit and holds Jungkook’s face with one hand. His fingers are digging on Jungkook’s cheek, puffing his cheeks and lips. “You and Jimin said almost the same thing.” 

At the mention of the other, Jungkook’s eyes narrow. Seokjin kisses the profanity he knows Jungkook will be barking out and watches in fascination at how quickly his husband melts. 

The clearing of a throat makes them turn toward the source. 

Jimin raises his arms, hands holding several paper bags and some even hanging on his wrists. “Got you clothes, hyung.” He regards Jungkook with an eye roll who does the same. 

Seokjin kisses him again, whispers, “Be nice,” and bounds up to Jimin who automatically looks away at the display of affection. 

“I only needed a shirt and pants, maybe a coat, not an entire wardrobe, Jiminie.” Seokjin tells him. 

Jimin tuts and leads Seokjin back to the bedroom. “Nonsense, hyung. You’ll love everything I got you, promise.” Jimin’s hand rests at the small of Seokjin’s back. 

Seokjin turns around and catches Jungkook’s eye who immediately raises a brow at him, arms crossed over his chest and obviously annoyed. Seokjin shoots him a cheeky smile and mouths the words, I’ll be back.

Same jet and the same hotel yet different rooms and different cars containing them.

The birthday of Director Fujiyama Takashi takes Jungkook and Seokjin to Taipei.

Seokjin, his beloved apprentice, and Jungkook, one of the director’s many celebrity friends.

Actors, actresses, singers, models, and media tycoons are all in attendance. 

It hasn’t even been a week since Jungkook is back and their social calendar is already demanding their time and presence. 

Jimin has been invited in lieu of his parents who are beloved and generous patrons of everything art and film. He turns it down, citing schedule differences. 

Jungkook fails to hide his giddiness with Jimin's absence. 

When they first received the invitation, Jungkook tells him with a grin, “Hoseok-hyung is excited to see you again.”

Seokjin fully reads over the letter, eyebrows raising up when he reads the part about a charity auction for Director Fujiyama’s birthday. “I do enjoy Hoseok’s company.” 

The list of items for auction takes up Seokjin’s attention, eyes gleaming in interest. Looking over Seokjin’s shoulder, Jungkook skims through the list too. “Anything you’re interested in?”

“The book in SomNova. Or one of Director Fujiyama’s paintings.” Seokjin taps at it on the list then changes the topic by asking, “It’s the same day as your album shoot right?”

Jungkook already stopped listening after hearing SomNova. He doesn’t need to ask Seokjin about who he thinks will be in the party. 

“I’ll reschedule it. I’ll accompany you.”

Seokjin looks amused. “JJK cannot be seen with an unknown date. Find someone else.” 

They both end up dateless. 

Seokjin arrives first. He steps out in a white suit, a black, sheer, see-through mesh top teases the wandering gaze of his collarbones and sternum, dipping down to tease. The outside of the location is empty except for the guards by the double doors asking for the invitations. Seokjin takes his time to admire the grandiosity of the National Theater. 

The air is cold, the night sky empty, and yet he is thrilled and enamored.

Ascending up the steps, a voice saying his name stops him. 


Seokjin suddenly doesn't know what to do with his hands. He smooths his palm down the front of his white coat and turns around.

The smile he gives is genuine. “Taehyung.” 

Taehyung doesn't move. He remains standing there at the bottom of the steps. It gives Seokjin time to study him. His hair is dyed a honey brown and he’s wearing a crisp black suit that makes him look sharper than usual.

“It's been a month.” Taehyung proclaims. “You should have told me you were coming.” 

“What’s the point if I did?”

“Then I would’ve had time to ask you to be my date.” 

Seokjin weighs the pros and cons of that idea. 

Taehyung doesn’t let him think. He walks to where Seokjin is and offers his arm. 

“Is this necessary?” 

Taehyung nods, mirthful. “Only until the entrance.” 

Sighing, Seokjin accepts and takes the proffered arm. “Alright, then.” 

They walk slowly, both looking straight and not toward each other. 

“I don’t want people to talk about us.” Seokjin admits. “I dislike gossip and the spotlight.”

Taehyung chuckles. “It wouldn't be hard to connect the dots for others though. Kim Seokjin, a friend of Director Fujiyama, and Seokjin-ah, the one I asked out for a drink during my acceptance speech.”

Seokjin sighs at the reminder. “I knew you would be here and I still came. I’m prepared for that part.”

“Oh? What will you say?”

“We are very good friends.”

Taehyung hums. “Did that excuse placate your husband?”

The reminder of Jungkook makes Seokjin’s facade slip. 

They finally arrive at the top of the steps.

Before he lets go, Seokjin says, “Taehyung. If you hold affection for me, you wouldn't cause me trouble tonight.”

Truthfully, Seokjin didn't want to say those statements. He’s usually very tolerant and deflective, including how he deals with Taehyung’s blatant flirting and endless propositions.

The difference tonight brings is that Jungkook is here and the younger’s capacity for patience when it concerns Seokjin is the size of an ant. 

He isn’t naive to not realize what Jungkook, Taehyung, and him being in the same room may cause.

Taehyung leans closer to his face and eyes the spot where he kissed Seokjin prior to leaving that day. “Can I—”


Taehyung’s audacity and Jungkook’s temper will collide and the resulting picture will not be pretty. 

The heavens must have decided on Seokjin for tonight’s running gag. 

He pours everything into controlling his expression and reactions, nonchalant and polite, as he sits down the round table he’s assigned on.

On his left is Director Shin and his date, a rising actress who is in talks to star in his new movie. On his right is Moon Ayoung, the woman who manages Taehyung. Sitting beside Manager Moon on her right is Taehyung. Across from Seokjin, the other with a blank face and the one next to said person smiling sunnily, are Jungkook and Hoseok. 

Manager Moon and Director Shin are talking animatedly with each other. 

Hoseok is entertaining the actress who keeps trying to make conversation with Jungkook who replies in clipped sentences. 

At one point, Manager Moon turns toward Seokjin. She probably thought he is feeling awkward and out-of-place since they are the only two who are unknown to the public eye and work behind the scenes.

She extends her hand out after introducing herself to him and Seokjin shakes it. “Kim Seokjin. I teach film in university.” 

This catches the attention of the actress who exclaims, “Seokjin?” She glances at Taehyung and back to him. “You’re—?”

“We are very good friends.” Taehyung interjects, giving her a charming smile. 

Director Shin laughs heartily. “You look better every time we meet in these events, Seokjin-sshi.”

At the questioning look from Manager Moon, and the side-eye she gives Taehyung, she asks curiously, “You are integrated in this scene?”

“Director Fujiyama was my mentor.”

Seokjin hopes the prying ends here. 

Director Shin only pushes on and mentions, “During the days when Fujiyama preferred sticking to musical scores and not directing, he and Seokjin-sshi helped in one of my works.” He then turns to Jungkook and nods his head, wistful and reminiscing of the past. “It’s how we also became acquainted with Jungkook-sshi. The music in that movie composed entirely of his une serie album.”

Manager Moon’s eyes widened at him. 

Seokjin watches Jungkook smile and nod in agreement. He picks up the glass of red wine set in front of him and raises it toward Seokjin’s direction in a toast. “Seokjin-sshi’s impeccable taste match his beautiful face.” The table erupts in good-natured laughter. He doesn’t break eye contact with Seokjin as he drinks the thick red liquid, the rim pressing on his mouth. 

“I agree, Jungkook-sshi. I think Seokjin-ah deserves all the praise.” Taehyung says, eyes only on Seokjin and no one else.

Seokjin reckons he should’ve become an actor too. He laughs, short but enough, and a grateful smile appears on his face. “It’s a pleasure to be complimented by the likes of you two.” 

Taehyung’s boxy grin is triumphant. Seokjin catches Jungkook scoffing and taking another gulp of his wine.

Hoseok directs the conversation into another topic and Seokjin reminds himself to get the DJ an impressive birthday present for how much of a lifesaver he is being. 

This gives Seokjin the chance to excuse himself. He finds the bathroom in no time.

The lighting in the bathroom is a cross between orange and white. Seokjin leans on the marble counter and examines his face in the mirror. He recalls the scene from earlier and watches as his pupils blow up and a faint blush color his cheeks. He closes his eyes, head falling down and sighing. 

He’s not doing a good job keeping appearances up like he thought he was. 

Seokjin turns the faucet on.

Gathering water on his open palms, he lets it overflow and tip over.

Bending lower, he submerges his face on the cold liquid. He lets it wash away all the warmth on his face and the trembling of his fingers. He would’ve stayed like this longer, eyes closed and letting the water drip down his face, if it wasn’t for the door banging and leather shoes clacking against the polished floor. 

Opening his eyes, Seokjin stares right at Jungkook who is walking up to him with his hands inside the pocket of his tailored black pants. He stops in front of Seokjin and produces a neatly folded white handkerchief that he raises up in silent question. 

Seokjin lets out a shallow breath in concession. 

Jungkook holds him steady by cradling the back of Seokjin’s head and his neck with one hand. He dabs the handkerchief gently on Seokjin’s face without a word. 

Seokjin focuses on the tattoos scattered along Jungkook’s hand. His fingers are covered in silver rings except for the middle. The silver chain bracelet hanging on his wrist matches the priceless heirloom watch on his left.

When Jungkook moves to dab on Seokjin’s chin, his hand holding Seokjin’s head follows.

Jungkook’s thumb rests on the corner of Seokjin’s mouth while his fingers press down on the slender neck. 

The marks Jungkook sucked on the bare skin are long gone. 

“I thought he didn't know.” Jungkook mutters.

Seokjin shakes his head. “He doesn’t.”

“He is effortlessly getting on my nerves.”

“You need to stop glaring at everything in your line of sight.” 


Seokjin smiles in satisfaction. He pokes his tongue out between his lips and pushes the muscle against Jungkook’s thumb. “If you play nice, I’ll be nicer.”

The hitching of breath and the bobbing of Jungkook’s throat is agreement enough. “Shit. Okay. I’ll be on my best behavior, I promise.” 

Taking advantage of Jungkook’s malleability is something Seokjin rarely resorts to but whenever he does, it always works like a charm.

“I have a gift for you.” Jungkook tells him, excited and unwilling to spill. “You’ll see later.”

Seokjin exits the bathroom first but not before prying a whining Jungkook who’d rather make out in the bathroom stalls off of him. 

Standing outside the hallway is Taehyung whose back is leaning on the wall. 

Seokjin’s getting tired of all these solo confrontations. Jungkook gives zero care about their relationship being exposed to the public. Seokjin knows better than to let that happen. A young, bachelor, superstar is the image Jungkook needs to keep up, and he’ll do everything to keep it that way. He wants his name and their relationship to remain private no matter what it takes.

“Is Jungkook-sshi in there?”

“I didn’t see him. Probably inside the stalls.” 

Taehyung mulls over Seokjin’s reply, shrugging after a few seconds. He scratches the back of his head and admits, “He’s intimidating.”

Choosing his words and actions carefully, Seokjin decides to nod in agreement. “Aren’t you a fan?”

“Casual listener.”

“Oh yes, that’s the phrase you used.”

Seokjin starts walking and he’s thankful Taehyung follows suit, their strides matching and echoing on the walls. 

The heavy gaze Taehyung bestows on him feels uncomfortable. His dark eyes follow Seokjin’s every move and he feels exposed, or about to be. 

The night is still long and brimming with possibilities. 

The party goes the way Taehyung expected it and more. 

There was a montage showing Director Fujiyama’s films, including when he worked exclusively in musical scores. Photos of Seokjin popped up here and there. Taehyung’s eyes widen in surprise at the numerous hair colors Seokjin has adorned in the pictures. It appears to be from when he was still in university seeing as the photographs morph into him joining the esteemed Director in formal red carpet shots with his hair going into perpetual black.

After the montage was a special showcase of the musical scores in his films performed by a live orchestra. 

During this time, Taehyung’s attention instantly fell on Seokjin who was absolutely enamored.

The other’s brown eyes sparkle under teardrop chandelier lighting, his plush lips stained red by wine exhaling every now and then, like the music is taking his breath away. 

Taehyung is seated with his back facing the stage, and unlike the other guests, doesn’t move. He‘s content letting the music serve as the background noise while he memorizes this image of Seokjin in his mind.

The crowd once again claps when a segment ends.

“I have a surprise for everyone.” Director Fujiyama’s deep baritone announces. “It’s a birthday gift to me and everyone who attended. An artist whose music has always been inspiring to everyone, no matter who they are and their age, it is my honor to present Jeon Jungkook-sshi, better known as JJK to the world, performing with the violin.”

Gasps and wide eyes can be seen on everyone’s face, including Seokjin’s whose lips part open. This prompts Taehyung to finally, literally, face the music and the stage.

The lights dim and when the backlight centers its blinding white at the person standing on the stage, the room darkens.

The orchestra stands behind in the shadows, ready to accompany the star of the hour. 

Jungkook, no, JJK, did not go through a wardrobe change, but his hair pushed back to reveal the hidden undercut changes his image drastically. The black blazer he was wearing is nowhere to be seen, and the sleeves of his white polo undershirt are bunched up to his elbows, showing the tattoo sleeve on his right arm. 

He raises the violin that he has been so crudely holding by the neck up and rests it on his shoulder. His piercing eyes looking straight into the crowd tells of how used he is with performing.

The storm brought upon by his stare disappears when he closes said orbs. 

The smirk on his lips linger. 

The orchestra begins the song, an ominous and almost macabre sound similar to an organ.

There is airiness from the piano keys, and the missing piece, the main violin played skillfully by none other than Jungkook bodying the song.

He’s performing muguet on the violin. 

The tune is familiar to anyone who has listened to une serie

It’s ingrained in the minds of everyone who has looped the album. 

This violin version accentuates the opulence seething underneath the original. The lyrics, despite none of it being sung, bleeds in the melancholic croon of the stringed instrument. 

The song basically talks about a life Taehyung always thought he would never understand. 

The shortness of life made dreadfully longer by having too much money in your hands, enough to extend your time in this world. 

Taehyung’s mind brings up memories of his time with Seokjin. The house that is too big for four people, the kitchen, the garden whose entrance greets you with numerous lilies of the valley and mexican orange flowers, and the fields further from the land where one can lay down until the sun joins you in your rest. 

Beside him, Manager Moon is singing the lyrics under her breath in time with the beat.

On his left, the DJ Jung Hoseok is smiling proudly. His peering must be noticeable because Hoseok leans closer to him and says, “Muguet is his best song, but that’s probably my bias as its co-producer.”

The song ends and another one begins. 

From track one muguet to track two choisya, the suffocating and haunting beginning has shifted into something smoky and noir.

Jungkook plays choisya in low scale, enhancing the visual of a jazz club, smoke curling in a stuffy room yet the crowd lively, red lipstick, and a tradition immortalized by the great pioneers of rhythm and blues.

The audience is captivated and obviously having fun. The orchestrater himself seems to be feeling the same way. He’s grinning and enjoying himself, nose scrunching every now and then.

And then, Jungkook stares toward their direction, his attention directed somewhere past Taehyung.

Following the invisible path, the beginnings of a realization too absurd to be true starts forming in Taehyung’s mind. 

Taehyung imagines that if Seokjin were wearing his glasses, the glassiness of his eyes would be less prominent. Seokjin isn’t the only one though. There are others openly patting their eyes dry or aggressively wiping them away. 

Taehyung wants to get up from his chair and shield Seokjin’s ears for some reason. 

Once again, the song ends and another one begins. 

Except this time, it’s a piece as old as time. 

Ave Maria on the violin. 

The beginning did not give it away. 

It could’ve been anything.

A sweet and calm start, how golden winking stars must sound while reflected on a quiet lake.

There is no stage change, no props added, nor were there any in the first place. 

Realization dawns when the octaves begin their teasing in the first movement.

The vibrations and sudden cut is executed flawlessly. 

The expression on Jungkook’s face is hard to decipher. His eyes are hard and brows narrowed. There’s a stiffness to his jaw. Still, the technicality and emotion he manages to pour into it is nothing short of genius.

“Ave Maria. We play it together; him on the violin and me on the piano.”

Jungkook turns his body a little bit to the side. This angle gives a perfect view of his bow arm moving back and forth. The tattoos on his forearm are on display for everyone to see, the black ink running over his skin in the shape of flowers. 

“On his forearm are lilies of the valley and mexican oranges. They were the flowers used in the wedding.”

The estate.

The garden.

The tattoos.

The need for secrecy.

Eyes flickering back to Seokjin, the look on his face confirms everything. He’s not even trying to hide it.

So this is how you look when you’re in love.

Bottom lip caught between his teeth, the corners of his eyes crinkling, and an unbelievable restraint to stop more emotions from pouring.

Seokjin discreetly looks down his lap for a while, Taehyung can imagine a sound of disbelief escaping from him. He looks back up again, and when Jungkook finishes, Seokjin is among the first of many shooting up from his seat and giving the man a standing ovation.

In the english version of Ave Maria, the last lines before the repeating of the titular, it repeats somberly: pray for us sinners, now and at the hour of our death.

The second half of the party will begin in an hour.

Guests move to the theater hall where the charity auction will begin. 

The people on Taehyung’s table have all paired up based on their interests. The young actress has her arm encircled with Manager Moon’s and extolling her own virtues on why Manager Moon should represent her. Seokjin is sandwiched between Hoseok and Director Shin, the three of them the most excited about the auction. 

Seokjin had asked him to walk with them. He shook his head no and told them he’ll catch up later.

Taehyung rarely smokes. He’s more of a social than habitual smoker. Being here though with these people, it’s easy to walk up to someone, showcase his charm, and ask for a stick or two. Or three. And a lighter too.

The hallways of the National Theater are of course smaller than where they were prior. Nevertheless, it is only when Taehyung is outside does he catch his breath. The restrained calm of his face doesn’t match the rush of cognizance taking over his veins. 

First came denial. It’s just too much of a coincidence. Too much of a fucking fairytale romance to be the truth. 

Then, there is Seokjin.

And his heart clenches.

Because if anyone deserves this grand romance Taehyung unearthed, then it’s definitely Seokjin.

There is also the note that morning when spring devastated the estate. Everything suddenly makes sense and Taehyung now understands why when Park Jimin talks about Seokjin and his husband in the same breath, unfairness colors his face and his voice. 

Taehyung ends up pushing see-through double doors leading to a balcony that isn’t empty. 

The occupant before him swivels to the sound of Taehyung entering and disturbing his peace. 

It’s a comical moment for Taehyung to realize that he deserves all those awards for being an actor because if he wasn’t, then he would be grimacing at the sight of Jeon Jungkook leaning on the balcony edge. He would’ve slammed the door shut and found another spot. 

Jungkook raises a brow in greeting. 

Taehyung nods in return.

P.S: I know his name.

The cigarette sticks and lighter he’s carrying in his pocket weighs him down. 

Walking toward the edge of the balcony and stopping when he is standing on the side opposite Jungkook, he keeps his stance as it is: shoulders straight and hands inside his pockets, fingers fiddling with the coldness of the lighter.

Time ticks and Taehyung takes out one stick and expertly lights it. He asks Jungkook if he wants one who shrugs and holds his hand out. Taehyung hands him the lighter and cigarette while he takes a puff from his own. 

“What are you doing out here, Jungkook-sshi?”

The crackling sound from the burn of rolling paper and leaf is amplified by the silence prior to Jungkook responding to his question.

“Too many colors.” Jungkook blows a heavy load of smoke into the cold darkness. “Needed some peace and quiet.”

“Ah, yes. Your synesthesia. How do you handle it in concerts?”

A flat laugh. More of a snort, really. “I have no choice but to push through.”

Taehyung doesn't know what else to say. A part of him wants to see Jungkook break the facade. The arrogance and snobbish attitude probably doesn't encompass how much Jungkook despises him. 


I hate you just as much.

Jungkook ashes the cigarette on the stone ledge. “I’ll be going first, Taehyung-sshi.”

Fuck it.

“Jungkook-sshi. I don’t think I’ve mentioned it yet but I’m a fan of your music.”

The look Jungkook gives him has Taehyung laughing inwardly. Compared to Seokjin, the musician has zero control over his facial expression. He can guess what’s running through Jungkook’s mind just from the expression alone.

Taehyung wonders for a moment if Seokjin told him to behave, to not be so obvious of what they are hiding when if anyone simply looked, the truth would be staring right back in plain sight.

“I’ve seen your movies. You’re a good actor.” The last sentence is surprisingly honest. He knows where to give credit. It should’ve made Taehyung smug except it only has him wanting to provoke Jungkook more.

Jungkook bids him goodbye again and resumes walking back to the door. He’s already pushing on the glass when Taehyung throws his cigarette over the edge of the balcony and outright asks what he already knows the answer to.

“Jeon Jungkook-sshi.”

A standstill.

“Are you his husband?”

The question is a last minute idea. Taehyung has no expectations on how Jungkook would react. 

Jungkook’s first reaction is a chuckle. An indifferent and empty sound at the audacity of the question.

Facing each other again, he appears contemplative. He glances up at the sky before going back down, lips parted and the corners lifted in amusement. 

Then, he sighs. 

Tilting his head to the side, Jungkook answers the question rhetorically. 

“And if I am?”

Chapter Text

[December 2014]
unreleased — winter equinox interlude.wav

It’s raining.

Last year it was sunny. 

The year before that and prior to it was all snow and crackling fire while huddled in a fireplace. 

Seokjin likes the variety. 

The water droplets falling against the window of his solo hotel room and over the mountainous town lulls Seokjin into sleeping the day away. 

Holidays for the Kims has always been spent with the Jeons and Parks. The inn they are staying at has been fully reserved for the three families. All of the young ones get their own room even though each has two or more beds. The entrance and exit of the inn leads straight out into the bustling streets filled with tourists and street food vendors.

They arrived here in Taipei at dawn. It took an hour and a half drive up the mountains of Jiufen and more until they settled. 

The thing about traveling alongside their families, parents with too much time and money in their hands, is that one doesn't think about the return plane tickets. The private jet is right there, and if someone feels bored and finds the chosen destination lackluster, they can always call the correct people up and be flying to another country in no time. Seokjin overheard his older siblings decided on flying to Osaka tomorrow because their little kids wanted a white Christmas. 

Seokjin’s fine here.

In all honesty, he absolutely loves it. 

He’s imagining rain and wet wood, getting lost in a sea of people while his senses get assaulted by petrichor, smoke coming from grilled sausages on the left side of the street and taro soup cooked in giant pots on the right. 

Right now Seokjin is content laying in bed on his side; dripping wet hair (dyed ash blonde and striking) cradled by a towel, a thick and fluffy white bathrobe shielding his body from the cold air conditioner, and watching the sky and the earth get blanketed by the downpour. 

He traces the outline of his lips with his pointer finger, feeling the chapness from the change in weather and the strain that comes with being in the air for hours.

Sighing at having to move from his leisurely position, Seokjin reaches for the tin can of rose and mint salve Jimin gave him before he disappeared in his own room with a promise to pick Seokjin up when he recovers from the jetlag. 

Seokjin thinks he should get some sleep too but he’s been asleep the entire ride, both in the plane and car. The only thing holding him back from jumping and getting dressed to explore by himself is the cozy and calm weather demanding he move slow.

The knock on the door elicits an uncharacteristic groan from Seokjin.

He gives it a minute.

More knocking.

Another sigh from Seokjin.

He pushes himself off the bed and checks through the eyehole on who it might be.

His visitor is someone he expected and at the same time not. 

Jungkook is dramatic and likes springing up his wild ideas during romantic and spontaneous ungodly hours, not when it’s still daylight.

Seokjin opens the door and gets a good look at the other looking at him with wide eyes. 

The last time Seokjin saw Jungkook was during his 17th birthday party. 

A lot seems to have changed since then. 

For starters, his hair is dyed a deep red. It’s a shade of burgundy, black roots almost peeking. Half is brushed back while the rest falls into place right on his eyebrow. Second, the lone, plain, black studs occupying his earlobes. 


Not everything apparently.

Jungkook still refuses to call him hyung or even properly say his name. 

It has been eleven years and this is the one thing Jungkook remains bullheaded about.

“I’m gonna go out. Wanna come with me?”

Seokjin sighs and leans against the doorframe, arms crossed over his chest. He notices how Jungkook’s eyes immediately follow how the bathrobe teases the expanse of his bare chest. Seokjin ignores it, smiling in amusement at the blush rising up Jungkook’s face.

“To do what?”

“Well!” Jungkook squeaks, he clears his throat quickly before proceeding, clearly embarrassed. “I want to take pictures. I know you like street food. Let’s go together?”

Seokjin purses his lips, careful on not letting the fondness bleed through. He will never say it outloud, because there will be chaos if he does, but this is one of the reasons their differences has Seokjin secretly craving Jungkook's company. 

If this was Jimin standing in front of him, the answer to his question would go like this: We can go to the tea house, Seokjin-hyung. I’ll call someone up and they can get us a table. Or we can take a look around and find some obscure prints and baubles! 

He likes it when Jungkook remembers him. He likes that he’s part of the equation. He’s not an afterthought, nor is he the priority. 

Jungkook has synesthesia yet when it comes to Seokjin he sees things in black and white.

For good measure, Seokjin asks, “What if I say no?”

Jungkook only blinks at him, a confused smile accompanying it. “That’s okay. I’ll go ahead if you don’t feel up to it.”

And there it is.

Simple as that.

Jungkook himself probably isn’t aware that he already knows how to love Seokjin the way Seokjin wants to be loved. 

Jungkook can take his pictures, Seokjin can and will stuff himself full of peanut butter ice cream, and it is something they can have fun doing by themselves, yet the experience becomes elevated when in each other’s company. 

Seokjin likes to think of it as something that adds quality to life. 

It’s a trait befitting the promise of forever.

“I’ll go with you.” Seokjin gets off the doorframe and offers Jungkook a reassuring smile. “Will you wait for a while?” 

“I will.” Cheekily, Jungkook adds, “I’m used to it. Been waiting for you my entire life.”

Seokjin snorts and shuts the door.

It’s unfair and balanced, Seokjin believes, that Jungkook has this worry in the back of his mind that he needs to catch up and win Seokjin over when he always knows what to say.

They traverse the crowded and narrow streets with arms linked. 

Ten minutes of being outside, while Seokjin is waiting in line for his taro soup, Jungkook complained about forgetting his earphones and the myriad of colors assaulting him. Seokjin asked if he wanted to go somewhere quiet, and Jungkook shot down the idea. He is quick to suggest Seokjin keep him grounded, and now here they are. 

Watching Jungkook take pictures of the famous tea house, Seokjin snorts inwardly at the ingenious plan. His limbs follow Jungkook’s every move such as now.

Seokjin adjusts his raincoat, the only shield he has from the rain.

Another snap of Jungkook’s camera.

“Jungkookie, I’m sure you aren’t dizzy anymore, hm?”

“You let Jimin hold your hand and I can’t even walk arm in arm with you?”

Seokjin sighs. Being away and in university has given him an out from these childish outbursts. 

“Stop comparing yourself with Jimin.” 

Jungkook lowers the camera and gives Seokjin a scalding glare. “Hard not to when you always choose him over me.”

Patience has always been Seokjin’s strong suit. It matches well with Jungkook’s temperament. This one issue though is something Seokjin does not want to bother explaining. He only sighs and levels an indifferent stare at the other.

“Is it because of my age?”

Surprise attacks, surprises in general, are Seokjin’s greatest weakness.

Jungkook hangs the camera strap around his neck and gives Seokjin his full attention. “I know what you’re thinking. You think I’m young and you shouldn't react at all. You think I’ll say stuff like I know what I’m doing and you don’t have to worry about our age gap. Well, you’re not the only one, you know? I also don’t want you to feel uncomfortable being with me, so I try my best to keep this shit PG-13.”

The speech takes Seokjin off-guard. He doesn’t take the high road and settles for a low blow. “You’re only seventeen. Stop talking as if we are both waiting for the same thing.”

Seokjin learns another change in Jungkook. He doesn’t bite the bait unlike before when that usually shut him up. Seokjin bringing up the future’s ambiguity and how there is a chance it will not pan out the way Jungkook wants is usually enough to drive Jungkook into crying and dropping the subject.

Right now, Jungkook is only staring back at him, unimpressed. 

“Next year. I’m asking you on my birthday. Midnight on the dot.” Jungkook announces, serious and somber. “Be ready.”

The confidence is impressive. 

Seokjin is unsure yet what he will say when Jungkook does ask. He does not want to disappoint Jungkook at all, or hurt his feelings. It’s the last thing Seokjin wants to do. 


There is this nagging feeling in his mind, the what if— what if choosing Jungkook, shackling themselves together and throwing away the key, is another form of hurting him too? 

Seokjin can take the hurt. He can take the disappointment. He won’t do that to Jungkook, not when he’s so good and has the universe to offer.

“Wanna get milk tea?” Jungkook is smiling at him, tugging on his arm.

The smile is comforting. 

Seokjin wonders how Jungkook does this; know his limits, their boundaries, and when to step back or be more forward.

He lets himself be dragged away, allowing Jungkook to take the lead. 

I think I already know my answer.

[October 2015]

“—strung and mounted by Cartier, the Cowdray is one of nature’s greatest gift to man: natural saltwater oyster pearls coming from aristocratic provenance. Its color put others to shame, boasting of the rarest of rare grey pearls with hues of pink, purple, and green. Starting at one million US dollars, the floor is now open.”

Several paddles shot up in the air immediately. The bid increment increases by a hundred thousand every time, and the audience’s decisions interest Jungkook who is standing and watching  the commotion at the back. 

Some don’t raise their paddles after an increase, others are obviously starting to become agitated when the price hit two million. There are those who only raised their paddles at a certain amount and never do so again. 

Jungkook doesn’t bother keeping his eyes on the spotlight where the jewelry is displayed to entice buyers. He can inspect it later, or better yet, when it is around the neck of the person he is giving it to. He came here with the intention of taking the necklace home, and he knows with great confidence it will be done.

After all, money has never been an issue. 

Especially if it is for his intended. 

The representative bidding for Jungkook in the crowd keeps the paddle up in every turn. 

The entire affair is formal, actually. He explained his reservations of being the bidder to his representative who only smiled at him and said in a clipped tone, “Only the Americans do it in a… crude manner.” 

Jungkook wondered for a minute or two what they thought of him.

Freshly eighteen years old with bright red hair dressed in a hoodie and ripped jeans coming in their office announcing his intention to obtain a certain piece of jewelry.

“Three and a half million dollars!”

He reckons they find him young and reckless.

The red lollipop he has been sucking on since earlier has significantly reduced in size. He takes hold of the stick, removing it from his mouth with a pop. 

Jungkook finds auctions so horribly boring, filled with nothing but fleeting dull colors.

It’s simply rich people passing around their possessions and labeling it as worth this and that much. 

Seokjin on the other hand likes it, even prefers being on the floor and bidding himself. Jungkook had to make sure he wasn’t accidentally bidding against Seokjin today for anything, and luckily for him, his fiancé is too preoccupied with his exams in university.

Standing beside Jungkook is another representative of him for the auction, the one in charge of relaying his messages to the one on the floor. 

Jungkook sighs loudly, getting impatient.

There are only three bidders left. His representative, an older gentleman wearing a tuxedo suit that had Jungkook cracking up at the first glance, and a woman with a wide-brimmed hat wearing a pantsuit in a color that reminds him of Jimin’s lamborghini. 

While entertaining at first, it was obvious the other two aren’t keen on backing off.

Clicking his tongue, Jungkook mutters to the representative beside him, “I’m leaving. Tell them to hurry up. I want to return home today and it’s an 18-hour flight.”

The representative nods curtly. “Yes, Master Jeon.” They take out a radio transceiver and commands the floor representative to, “Sweep it.”

Jungkook places the lollipop back in his mouth and busies himself with plugging his ears with earphones. The classical music playing in the auction hall has him craving for a nap or two. 

The last thing Jungkook hears before clicking play on his paused music is the hammer dropping and the auctioneer announcing, “For five million US dollars, the Cowdray pearls are sold to buyer 613!”

The sound of boxing gloves raining down the punching bag rivals the stormy weather outside the estate. 

Adrenaline obtained while being this focused numbs the senses. 

No colors and no sound.

Nothing except aching muscles.

Every hit, every landing punch, the heaviness of the glove around the hand, and the tightness caused by swelling. 

Boxing quiets Jungkook’s mind into a lull.

It didn’t even matter that he’s barely seeing the bag anymore, his long black hair matted with sweat against his forehead hindering his vision.

It’s only over until his system dictates its surrender. 

When he does stop, there is ringing in his ears. It swallows up his shallow breathing and the sound of footsteps from another person entering the dark gymnasium. 

Jungkook’s forehead rests against the bag, eyes closed and waiting for the ringing to go away. His loose black shirt clings to his body, also drenched in sweat. He has no idea how long he has been here.

Opening his eyes, the one thing he immediately notices is the light. The downpour outside doesn’t permit any sunlight but the artificial lighting overhead does more than enough. 

“Who were you thinking about to be punching so intensely?”

The familiar voice has him whipping his head towards the direction of where it came from.

Seokjin is sitting on the small set of stairs leading down their home gymnasium. He’s wearing a brown leather coat Jungkook knows firsthand feels similar to butter. His back is against the wall while his long legs are stretched out in front of him. He’s on his phone, reading or perhaps watching something.

The gym floor is covered by black padding, and Jungkook drags himself over it to get where Seokjin is. 

When Jungkook gets there, he plops down on the floor before the last step, one leg raised and bent, the other extending away from his body. His back faces Seokjin, and he waits patiently. 

They’ve been married for so long. 

Have known each other their entire life.

Acting and moving around Seokjin is second nature to him at this point. 

Jungkook rests his elbow atop his raised knee. He’s still panting. He remembers to answer Seokjin’s question. 

“Tall. Curly hair. Actor.”

Seokjin’s response is a resounding hum. 

A hand rests on Jungkook’s shoulder. He glances at it, catches a glimpse of the diamond he gave Seokjin on his ring finger. 

Seokjin’s hand travels up over the side of his head, unmindful of Jungkook’s sticky and sweaty skin and hair. They’ve rolled around in more after all.

Jungkook’s hair is gathered up and away from his face. He hears Seokjin move until his feet, already in house slippers, are planted on either side of Jungkook’s body. Seokjin’s phone is laid down and his other hand joins the one holding Jungkook’s hair back. 

Seokjin makes quick work of tying the wet and curling strands. 

The motion of his fingers is intimate and tranquil. 

It’s familiar. 

“You put a ring on me and yet you still burn as if I’ll slip right through your fingers.” Seokjin leans forward, closer until he is wrapping his arms around Jungkook’s neck and pulling him to his chest. “I don’t think I’ll ever get used to it.”

“And you know you can always tell me to shut up and I will. Yet here we are.”

Seokjin doesn’t respond. He only reaches out to remove the bright red gloves still on Jungkook’s hands. He throws one at the side, then makes quick work of removing the other, face right next to Jungkook’s and chin resting on his shoulder. 

“I think you like it.” Jungkook whispers to his ear. 

“Like what?”

“How I burn for you.”

“And you always become sappier after months of songwriting.”

The remaining glove joins the other on the floor. Seokjin brings up Jungkook’s hand closer to his face. The cloth covering his knuckles is thick and tight. 

“Be careful.” Seokjin takes his time unraveling the wrapping. “Whether it be writing songs, playing instruments, making art—” 

A dramatic pause. 

An exhale of breath.

“Or on me.”

Jungkook chuckles. He moves his body around until his left forearm is resting on Seokjin’s thigh. 

“This hand and these fingers are worth billions.”

A sigh from Seokjin.

The wrap falls down. 

Jungkook is now fully facing him and holding his other hand up to be unwrapped. 

“Taehyung should have never known the truth, Jungkook.”

“It’s not my fault he’s smarter than I thought he was. Plus, I doubt he’ll talk.”

“Still. I would’ve preferred it if he was kept in the dark about you.”

Surprise clouds Jungkook’s expression. He straightens up and backs aways a bit. “About me? Are you embarrassed of me?”

“I’m not arguing with you. You know that’s not what I meant.”

Jungkook glares. 

Seokjin is made of eternal patience.

“I understand why we keep it out of the public eye, but not with that guy. Not when he’s been here in our house shooting heart eyes in your direction. Mrs. Langley told me all about it.”

The way Jungkook refers to Taehyung, refusing to even say his name, has Seokjin holding back laughter. His reaction must be obvious because Jungkook crosses his arms over his chest and continues glaring at him. 

Seokjin takes his husband’s face between his thumb and forefinger, and his scowl along with the puffed cheeks and pout drives Seokjin into a giggle fit. 

“You’re so cute. Never change, hm?”

“Are you saying you’ll remain in contact with him?” Though muffled due to Seokjin still holding him, the curve of Jungkook’s brows is enough to get the message across.

“I believe that’s what friends do.”

“He wants to fuck you!”

The fluttering of Seokjin’s eyelashes against his cheeks is enough to distract Jungkook for a second. In the back of his mind, he is acutely aware and has firsthand experience of why Kim Taehyung is smitten.

“Jungkookie.” Seokjin says his name with a lilt. “Stop it.”

Jungkook swears his heart skipped a beat. “Okay.” Bright eyes widen, expression contorted in absolute captivation. “I’m sorry.”

Pleased, Seokjin rewards him with a kiss to his forehead. He lets go of Jungkook’s face in favor of resting it on his husband’s cheek. “Good. Now, tea?”

[4 years ago] 


Seokjin is happy.

Pure unadulterated bliss. 

This must be what people mean when they say that with love, all is right in the world. 

He woke up today with the sun everywhere. 

The private, cliffside, 1300 square meter beach villa he decided on for the honeymoon is indeed a good choice, but the person beside him is what has him feeling content. 

Not this place and not the heavy rock on his finger. Jungkook asleep beside him, his naked upper body entangled between pristine white sheets, and unruly hair spread on the pillow like a halo is what makes this moment.

Well, Jungkook and the million dollar pearl necklace hanging on his neck fastened through a diamond clasp helps too. 

It was unfair how Jungkook sprung up the gift to him last night when Seokjin didn’t bother getting Jungkook anything. 

Seokjin was sitting in the living room looking over the list of activities they can do in the resort while waiting for the hotel staff to finish bringing in their luggage. Jungkook was helping because of course he does, then he runs up to Seokjin, kisses the top of his head, drops a familiar velvetine red box beside him and simply said, “Almost forgot about this. Love you.”

He opened it and felt the breath knocked out of his lungs. When Seokjin looked up, Jungkook only laughed at his reaction and brushed him off with the flick of a wrist and a wave of his hand. “I know you didn’t get me anything. Don’t worry, Jin. I don’t really care.”

Coming in one of the two rooms in the enormous villa, Seokjin watched Jungkook interact and charm the hotel staff while they hung clothes and placed shoes in the closet. He announced in the language only they understood, “I care that I didn’t get you anything.” 

Jungkook gets this glint in his eyes and sends the staff away with a generous tip. 

Next thing Seokjin knew, their clothes were on the floor and the only thing touching his skin are Jungkook’s hands, his mouth, and the pearls.

This moment has Seokjin entertaining thoughts of leaving everything behind. To him, this means foregoing his career, going to sleep and waking up in the morning knowing he is making money without lifting a finger, and hedonistically living life. He’s sure he’ll grow bored and end up stagnant living like that, so the fantasy bursts quickly. Moments such as these are after all more memorable and meaningful when you have another reality to return to.

Seokjin sits up in bed and softly sighs. 

He never doubted his decision.

He already made his mind up before Seoul.

And he’s glad it turned out exactly as he imagined it would be. 

His legs are already moving to get up and away from the bed, his toes almost touching the floor, when an arm wraps around his waist and pulls him back. 

“Where do you think you’re going?” 

The question send shivers down his spine, syllables and words accompanied by a warm breath fanning his bare skin. He’s arranged in a way that Jungkook easily tucks him under his chin, back pressed against Jungkook’s chest when Seokjin awoke with their positions reversed. 

“There are things I’ve been looking forward doing today.” Seokjin declares. 

“Such as what?”

“Cooking classes.”

Jungkook snorts and only pulls Seokjin closer.

Seokjin traces the skin of Jungkook’s unblemished forearm. He wonders what tattoos will appear there. “Weren’t you fascinated with the reclined elevator? We can ride it then take a walk down the beach.”

“Not interested.”

Seokjin is glad his back is turned or else Jungkook will see him rolling his eyes. “We’re in a great place and I don’t want to waste it.”

“Honestly, when you said you’re the one arranging the honeymoon, I was expecting you’d get an Airbnb like last time.”

“So you’d rather we stay cooped up inside all-day?”

“Actually, yes. I’d like that. In fact, I would love to do nothing other than stay in.” Jungkook’s lips trace the shell of Seokjin’s ear, whispering, “Or inside you.”

Seokjin’s immediate response is slapping Jungkook’s thigh who only cackles in glee. 

“You’re insatiable.”

“I’m not the one who jumped his husband last night while there were other people around!”

The term turns Seokjin red. He wishes he’ll get over the newness of being referred to as such.

The hand resting on Seokjin’s waist travels up his chest, fingertips trailing over his skin and giving him goosebumps. It stops upon reaching its destination, the expanse of Jungkook’s palm around his neck and resting atop the necklace has Seokjin breathing heavily.

“You like it?”

Jungkook fiddles with the necklace, rolling each bead around with one finger.

“Love it.”

Seokjin removes the hand around his neck and turns around facing Jungkook. He lets it drop back his waist while he lays his head on the pillow. 

Jungkook has one brow raised and a smirk. “Ah, so the way to get you to say that word is through extravagant gifts. Got it.”

“Hate to break it to you but you married someone materialistic.”

Jungkook slips down the bed and presses his mouth right between Seokjin’s collarbones. “It suits you.”

Seokjin flicks Jungkook’s ear, the lobes now donning multiple holes, the usual hoops removed. “Maybe we should take some beads out and have it reconstituted into earrings. I remember reading somewhere they did that before putting all 42 pearls back.”

“Mm, I love it when you say we even when the decision is up to you. Hate to break it to you though; I think pearl earrings are ugly.”

Seokjin pulls on Jungkook’s ear, grunting out, “Then why buy me pearls?”

“They remind me of you.”

“You said it’s ugly.”

“It doesn’t fit my taste. On you though... that’s a different story.”

Seokjin huddles closer. “Tell me then.”

“Unlike diamonds or rubies,” Jungkook grasps the hand where Seokjin’s ring rests, “Natural pearls require no cutting or polishing. They come into the world as they are: lustrous, resilient, and strong.”

Jungkook wraps his fingers around Seokjin’s wrist. His gaze remained on Seokjin’s face. A soft smile makes its way on his lips. 


Their bodies have been rolling around this bed since last night. Nevertheless, when Jungkook pulls Seokjin closer right now, arms around his waist and a light kiss on his shoulder, a shift in the air becomes so tangible Seokjin is left with no choice but to voice out his thoughts.

Tracing the moles on Jungkook’s back, Seokjin ponders out loud, “I really don’t understand how one person can feel this much towards me. We’ve known each other our entire lives, and your devotion is clearly not going away anytime soon, however, I cannot shake away the worry that someone better is out there for you and you never bothered looking because I was the nearest pretty thing you first saw.”

“Jin.” Jungkook drawls. Seokjin is well-versed with this type of tone in his voice. “You give people too much credit.”

Jungkook laughs and throws his leg over Seokjin’s to fully drape himself over the other. “Not to be super pessimistic, but the world is full of shitty people. I found the most ideal for me early on in life and in close proximity, is that such a bad thing?” 

This early morning conversation has turned tumultuous. 

Seokjin loves and hates it at the same time. He’s resigned himself on being the grounded one, not the dreamer. 

Jungkook is shaping him up to be the opposite.

“The man I have chased my entire life is beautiful, intelligent, and talented.” Jungkook continues, “He’s tough and at the same time gentle. He understands me; loves me the way I want to be loved and knows how to keep me in line.”

The sudden squeeze on his ass has Seokjin yelping, an uncharacteristic curse coming out of him that has Jungkook throwing his head back in laughter.

“And with an ass like this? Why would I let you go? I’m not an idiot.”

For someone praised because of his eloquence, Seokjin is at a loss for words. 

Several minutes pass in silence.

Seokjin needs to, no, wants to at least say something.

“I’m fine with staying in today. If you want, we can stay in this bed for the entire week.”

“Alright, tell me. Are you really looking forward to those cooking classes?”

Seokjin instantly nods. 

Jungkook lets out a long-suffering sigh.

Hesitantly, Seokjin admits, “It’s a couples activity. I thought it’d be fun.”

Jungkook pulls away, grabbing Seokjin by the shoulders. “Really?” The sparkle and excitement in his eyes reminds Seokjin of when Jungkook was naive and couldn't find the guts to hold a conversation with him. “A couple thing? You and me?” 

Seokjin nods again in confirmation.

“Why didn’t you say so!” Jungkook jumps out of bed in excitement. “I’m in. We’ll do it together. I’m coming with you.”

Seokjin watches him run out and disappear into the bathroom. He cannot believe this is his life now. He allows himself a wide grin as he stares up the ceiling. 

Though it may be a pipe dream, Seokjin wishes Jungkook stays the same way forever; giddy and finding happiness in everything they do. It won’t be long until all the remaining awkwardness and starry-eyed glances get chipped away when Jungkook matures more, but for now, he’ll enjoy this bliss and the pedestal he is on.

The red tea filling the porcelain cup reflects back the smile on Seokjin’s face. He is sure he’s the only one who sees the strain in the corners. 

The occasions happening lately have been testing Seokjin’s limits. 

There is Jungkook’s early return, meeting Taehyung in Director Fujiyama’s birthday party, Taehyung discovering the truth about who he is married to, and the latest one is currently sitting across him while Jungkook is between them. 

The round table is set up for the afternoon. A pot of apple tea with hibiscus imparting it’s ruby color, jam-filled sandwiches, cheese, and fruit. 

Next to Seokjin’s plate is a gorgeous bouquet of white lilies, not lilies of the valley, wrapped in brown paper and held together using twine thread. 

Jungkook has his arms crossed over his chest, slouching on the chair, one leg resting on top of his thigh, and pretty much the very picture of insolence. 

They are right at the entrance of the garden where a roof shields them from the continuous rain.

Seokjin commends his visitor for withstanding the displeased expression on Jungkook’s face that he doesn't bother concealing. 

Jungkook side-eyes their visitor, scoffing in disbelief. “Is this going to become a regular occurrence? Me meeting the men chasing after you? At this point they should all just form a club.”

“Jungkookie, if you can’t be amicable you are free to leave.”

Jungkook pouts, grabs the sandwich nearest the visitor, and eats it.

Seokjin counts to three in his head and addresses the man in front of him. 

“So, Min Yoongi-sshi, to what do I owe the pleasure of your visit?” 

Unannounced visit.” Jungkook interjects. 

Seokjin’s polite and pleasant smile does not falter. 

Yoongi places his own cup down and clears his throat. “I’ll get to the point since I don’t have much time left to spare. I’m taking a leave from the university, Seokjin-sshi. I wanted to personally say my goodbyes.”

This is the last thing Seokjin expected Yoongi to say. He blinks in surprise at the other who sighs and smiles in apology.

“I’m leaving tonight and coming to Tokyo as an on-set advisor for Fujiyama Takashi’s newest film.”

“His newest film? You mean, Hinoki Honey?”

It is Yoongi’s turn to be taken aback. A memory seems to pass over him and he’s lighting up. “I forgot you are his apprentice.”

“Were. Past tense. I don’t dabble in that area anymore.”

“Why not? I’m sure you’ll do well in film production, the way you excel in every endeavor.”

Jungkook grumbles in agreement. “Of course he does.” 

Seokjin appreciates the sentiments. He chooses to ignore Jungkook’s comments and keeps his attention on Yoongi. “I can’t possibly teach the theoretical part and work in the battlefield at the same time. But don’t get me wrong Yoongi-sshi, I’m sure you can make it work.”

Yoongi seems to hesitate. His finger outlines the rim of the teacup. “If I can do it, then so can you.” His striking eyes meet Seokjin’s head-on. “It’s mine. I wrote Hinoki Honey.”

Although fleeting, the surge of happiness Seokjin feels for Yoongi bubbles. “Yoongi! Really? I’m so proud of you. Now I have more reason to be excited for it, knowing it is yours.”

Yoongi’s normally pale and impenetrable countenance fills with color. His cheeks heat up, and he scratches the back of his neck. The dropping of formalities made Seokjin’s congratulations all the more sincere.

“Thank you, Seokjin-sshi. I’m still having a hard time wrapping my head around it.”

A flash of cherubic locks, a chiseled face, and intense eyes cross Seokjin’s mind. “Your first script-to-screen will star one of the world’s most famous; I’d think I’m dreaming too.”

Yoongi tilts his head to the side. His eyebrows are drawn downwards. He blinks rapidly and opens and closes his mouth, unsure of how to word his question. “How do you— I understand your closeness with the Director, but how do you know it will star Kim Taehyung?”

Seokjin plays it off with a chuckle. He sips his tea and wonders how to continue. 

Jungkook’s pettiness takes over at the most perfect time. “Oh, you didn’t know? He’s your fellow club member.”

Yoongi finally glances at Jungkook. “What—”

Seokjin takes the disruption in stride and pivots it in his favor into changing the topic. “I’m really excited for you. We should keep in contact; you need to tell me everything.”

Jungkook’s glower is now directed at him. Seokjin can practically hear him saying, Your friends can reach you anytime while I can’t?

“You should come and visit the set. We aren’t looking for another advisor but I’m sure the Director will be glad to have his favorite student around.”

The smile on Seokjin’s face is starting to become genuine. “I’ll keep that in mind, Yoongi-sshi.” 

Jungkook picks up the tall glass of iced coffee in front of him and whirs the glass straw around the cup’s circumference noisily. 

“Who is producing? Any investors that may influence your vision?”

Yoongi casts Jungkook one last scrutinizing stare. Despite the dubious and ominous phrases thrown around, Yoongi seems more than willing on not interacting with Jungkook. 

“I doubt they will bother the shoot. A Fujiyama film starring Kim Taehyung is enough to generate revenue.” Yoongi picks out a sandwich, the remaining one near him Jungkook didn’t take. “Park Entertainment has always been liberal regarding artistic directions.”

Yoongi eats the sandwich nonchalantly. 

Seokjin looks down his lap and waits for the outburst.

“Babe.” The term of endearment rolls off Jungkook’s tongue smoothly. He stands up and pats Seokjin’s shoulder. “Come find me when you’re done.” 

Before he leaves, Jungkook smiles at Yoongi, stoney and devoid of what the expression normally meant. “It was nice meeting you, Min Yoongi.”

Seokjin waits until Jungkook’s footsteps stop echoing. He takes his time composing himself. If he is lucky, Yoongi probably has no idea who Jungkook is.

“Holy shit, Seokjin-sshi.”

Or not. 

“The last thing I expected I’d do today is have tea with JJK in the flesh.” 

Seokjin tries to laugh it off. “I’m sure there have been far stranger circumstances.”

“You do not have to answer, but I’m curious: are you sleeping with him?”

Seokjin finds the question perfectly reasonable. If he was in Yoongi’s shoes, he would also be wondering the same thing. 

Long, slim, fingers pick up the teacup. The taste of soaked apple slices and hibiscus brought together through golden tea leaves burst on Seokjin’s tongue. “I’m married to him.” 

It’s pride. 

His husband may be prone to childishness and immature whims, but there is nothing Seokjin hates more than the idea of him not being important to Jungkook. It’s what he tries so hard to keep under wraps because Jungkook will indulge it, fan the flames of it, and Seokjin is fine having it surface during rare times like this than encouraged. 

“Ah, so that is why. I assume he’s nicer to people who don’t turn up on your doorstep with flowers?”

The tension in the atmosphere lessens. 

Seokjin is reminded of why he became friends with Yoongi in the first place. 

He allows his composure to fall, the friendly and social creature in him emerging. “He is, I promise. He’s been… going through scenarios like this lately.”

“You mean meeting men chasing after you?” Yoongi smirks, recalling Jungkook’s vehemence over the subject matter.

“Are you after me?” Seokjin counters. It amuses him how Yoongi crumbles and blushes. 

“Not after discovering who the final boss is.”

They crack up laughing at the same time. 

Seokjin wishes Jungkook stayed. He’d be delighted hearing Yoongi say that.

“Actually, the one I’m after, don’t get me wrong it’s the entire crew and not only me, is him. JJK. They want him to do the theme song for Hinoki Honey. They’ve been trying to reach him for days now.”

In a week, Jungkook’s shoot for the jacket of his second album will begin. Seokjin’s not very familiar with the detailed itinerary, but even he knows there can be something cleared up to make way for a theme song. 

Jungkook must have rejected it. Or he instructed Manager Kim to turn down all project and collaboration offers. 

On the contrary, there is no chance of him agreeing now that he has knowledge of the people behind the scenes.

Hinoki Honey written by Min Yoongi, starring Kim Taehyung, and backed by Park Entertainment, one of the many business ventures in the portfolio of Jimin’s family. 

“Should I ask him directly?” 

Yoongi’s eyes widen. “Why would you do that?”

Seokjin shrugs. “I would love to see my husband sing the theme song for a movie I know for a fact will be good. And you’re my friend, aren’t you? If I have the means to help then I’ll do anything I can for you.”

Yoongi studies Seokjin subsequently. He toys with his teacup, eyes falling on it, then back at Seokjin again. “No wonder he has to fend off admirers.” Yoongi murmurs. “I’d be a fool to turn down your offer.”

Seokjin glows at the response. “Anything you have in mind?”

“I’ll have a softcopy of the script sent to you. I’m imagining something similar to Riviera Boys.”

“You’re a fan, Yoongi-sshi? I did not expect that.”

“Isn’t it rarer to not be one?”

Thinking back, Taehyung also said the same thing.

“I’m amazed you’re taking this revelation so well.”

Yoongi snorts. “Believe me, I’m not. Inwardly my guts are doing somersaults and I’ve been screaming inside my head since he sat down next to me.”

Seokjin is familiar with the feeling, he knows it very well. 

He feels the same way. 

Jungkook doesn’t have to know that though.

Expensive things and luxurious experiences define Seokjin’s physical form. 

Whenever he sits down somewhere in the humongous estate he calls home, either the sun or rain greeting him from a window, he cannot help but be thankful. 

Albeit it is what he has known his entire life, there is a difference between easily getting his heart’s desires and finding himself in want. 

Wanting is different.

Wanting means there is a chance he will not obtain it. 

Take away the glimmering diamonds and everything else money can buy and Seokjin will even deign to call himself simple.

This is a first, Seokjin thinks, asking Jungkook for a favor and wondering if he will be rejected or receive an affirmative. 

Yoongi has been gone for hours now. 

Things are back to normal.

They’re in bed and he’s going over lesson plans while Jungkook is watching a movie on his iPad, head leaning on Seokjin’s shoulder.

Seokjin plans to take this on with finality so Jungkook will have no choice but to agree.

“There’s something I want.”

Jungkook knows too that if Seokjin wants something he will simply get it. 

Voicing it out is rare.

Jungkook closes his gadget and settles himself on his stomach, laying on top of Seokjin who is sitting up in bed. He looks up at Seokjin, eyes sparkling and definitely interested.

“What is it?”

Jungkook is so eager to please it almost makes him guilty.


Not really.

Seokjin holds his notebook up and it covers half his face, only showing his eyes. “It’s only something you can do.” 

“I’ll do it!”

“You won’t even ask what it is?”

Jungkook shakes his head and it causes his hair to follow the movement. Seokjin holds the notebook with one hand and brushes back Jungkook’s hair who happily grins up at him. Jungkook lays the side of his head down Seokjin’s lap, sighing in contentment. 

The soothing affection Seokjin bestows continues for a while before he speaks. He makes sure to dig his fingers on Jungkook's nape, and when he is sure Jungkook is relaxed and pliant, brings up the matter he’s been trying to find the words for. 

“I want to see your music in Hinoki Honey’s soundtrack.”

Jungkook’s eyes fly open. 

Seokjin watches him carefully.

Those dark eyes are directed on him, and Jungkook’s hand stops his ministrations by wrapping his fingers around Seokjin’s wrist. “That’s what you want?”

If Seokjin shows any sign of uncertainty, Jungkook will for sure capitalize on it. Seokjin can see it happening in his head: Jungkook will prolong this, definitely argue about it while using every textbook reaction such as pouting and whining. 

Jungkook’s all grown up and not the shy boy he used to be. If he was still the old Jungkook, he’d already be agreeing in a heartbeat.

“It’s a lucrative trade-off. You’ll be singing the theme song for the hottest movie of the season and you’re also releasing your album soon. It’s a win-win situation. Unless you truly do not want to.”

“No, I—”

Seokjin easily pulls his hand back, flips a page on his notebook, and pretends to read. “I understand.” 

No sooner than a minute and the object is plucked off his hands and thrown on the floor.

“Jin, I’ll do it.” Jungkook lets out a groan and slots his head beside Seokjin’s waist. His voice is muffled when he says, “You treat your friends so nicely.”

“Am I not nice to you?”

“You are but you’re married to me. You can’t be just nice.

Jungkook pouts at him. Seokjin only stares back. It elicits another grumble from Jungkook who falls back down Seokjin’s lap.

“I’ll go with you then. To wherever it is you need to be when you make the theme song.”

This proposal catch Jungkook’s attention and interest. “Wherever?”


“What if they ask me to come down in Tokyo? You’ll leave work behind and join me?”

“I will.”

The mole on Jungkook’s bottom lip makes an appearance. He’s smiling widely, showing all of his teeth, and nose scrunching. “You’ll be with me in the studio?”

“Yes, but you have to make sure your album is already underway. Don’t get too lost in daydreams and think about that first.”

“It’s fine. After the jacket shoot, the album will go in production and they’ll send me back a prototype. Then we can go to Tokyo and…” Trailing off, Jungkook wiggles his eyebrows suggestively. “Honeymoon part two?”


New JJK Song Confirmed For Hinoki Honey

As if the announcement of JJK’s second studio album isn’t enough, it has been confirmed that the superstar will be in charge of the theme song in the movie scene’s most anticipated film of the season and possibly the year: Hinoki Honey, starring two-time Academy winner Kim Taehyung and directed by living legend Director Fujiyama Takashi. Everyone’s favorite solo artist has worked on film soundtracks before as a songwriter or producer. His critically-acclaimed first studio album, une serie, has been a prominent feature in movies ever since it first came out. This is the first time JJK will actually produce and sing the title theme of a movie. Anticipation is high, and we are all excited!

Click to read more.





A mysterious and anonymous blog appeared at exactly midnight containing illicitly taken photos of the limelight’s most beloved and powerful celebrities. Rockstar JJK and the film world’s darling Kim Taehyung were pictured alone outside a dark balcony in Taipei’s National Hall during Director Fujiyama Takashi’s highly-exclusive birthday party while sharing a cigarette. The photos show the two to be intimate, smiling and looking like old friends, or perhaps… lovers? Is this relationship with Kim Taehyung the reason why JJK agreed on singing Hinoki Honey’s theme song? How romantic! The pair have broken records in their respective careers, winning awards left and right, and setting the gold standard in their work. This collision between the royalty of the music and film industry are already winning the hearts (and ire) of fans online! 

Check out these tweets below and tell us what you think!


if that man is really dating j*k i’m going to put my head in an oven


i support taehyung in everything 🥺 i’m so happy for them!!!


y’all saying they are cute are something else. if this is really true sorry we are not the same i’m not gonna be able to eat for weeks


you guys need to stop giving this attention and instead focus on the comeback. it’s not even a scandal. jk is a grown man he can date whoever he wants. 


better kim taehyung than that model he was seen with! a win for the gays once again ☝️😎


omg YAAAAS they actually look so good together tf?! now i won’t have crazy delusions about my *** dating jk

Replying to @somnolentnova

Replying to @sugarplumelegy
my prof in uni 😖 i have this wild theory he knows jjk bc he has copies of jk’s old soundcloud tracks when it was deleted before he became famous but i guess now i just sound crazy 😷

Chapter Text

The portrait of a man who resembles Seokjin even at his young age of eleven stares back at him.

The man is unabashedly handsome with a regal air surrounding him. He’s wearing a pinstripe suit while sitting down on a golden ornate chair. His arm rests on one leg leaning forward while the elbow of his other arm is on the edge of a small round table. The table has a golden cage on top of it with the gate open. His lips are barely upturned, eyes cold and boring right at the viewer. 

Underneath the painting in a gold-plated inscription are the words:


His Excellency Kim Yongseok, xxth President of South Korea

(Painted by Kim Jinri, National Artist and The First Lady)


Seokjin’s gaze turns toward the person whose gloved hand he is holding. 

Kim Jinri, his grandmother, is smiling fondly at the painting. 

Despite her age and the lines on her face, her hair remains dark as the night and arranged in a chignon. The collar necklace she is wearing is made entirely of diamonds while sapphire teardrop earrings dot her ears.

“They had to change the inscription a day later.” Her head swivels to the man standing next to her, hands behind his back, and round glasses perched on his nose. “Didn’t you, Park Sungmin-sshi?”

“Yes.” He chuckles. “I can still remember how angry you were about it as if it was yesterday.”

Sensing the question burning on her grandson’s tongue, Seokjin’s grandmother tells him out of her own accord for she knows how polite he is to interrupt. “They only put my title as the first lady, little prince.” Her nickname for Seokjin never fails to bring the young one warmth in his chest. “As if my career became second place the moment I married your grandfather.”

Eyes twinkling, she adds, “As if I was not the one who put him in such a position.”

They continue on the private tour of the museum.

Seokjin discovers his past every step of the way, down to where history began. 

Park Sungmin takes it upon himself to explain each time they stop. Paintings of magnificent estates, the world-famous palace, baubles and trinkets protected by bulletproof glass, and portraits of people whose features Seokjin inherited one way or another; defined jawlines, beautiful eyes, and full mouths. 

The entire wing of the museum consisted of what Seokjin has come to realize is his family’s history, his own story. 

“It must be mentioned, young master, that this is your grandmother’s line.”

Sungmin’s words earn him a snort from Jinri. “I was waiting for you to say that, or else I would have forgotten about a certain hefty donation, Sungmin-ah.”

They laugh together. They are old friends who have been joined at the hip since their childhood, according to his grandmother.

“Your grandfather may have been the president, Seokjin, but do not forget that you are descended from kings. He was an ordinary man until he met me.”

“Jinri-ah.” Sungmin chides. “You still talk about your husband this way. You never really change.”

She clicks her tongue. “I won’t have my grandson making the same mistakes like his father.”

Sungmin gives Seokjin an apologetic look. The older man must be thinking he wouldn’t like his grandmother talking about his mother in such ways. Seokjin only diverts the topic by asking, “How did he make you say yes then, grandmother?”

She sighs, long and drawn out. She smiles at him, patient and filled with pride. This smile of hers has only ever been directed to him and at times, his grandfather. 

“When your grandfather pursued me, he was only a member of the senate. I told him the only way I’m accepting his proposal is if he gives me this nation.” 

“And Yongseok-sshi did.” Sungmin laughs loudly when Jinri rolls her eyes. 

The three of them eat lunch together in a private hall in the museum. Seokjin finds footing with Sungmin when he discovers the man is actually Jimin’s grandfather. Jinri teases him that she has a better grandson, that Seokjin is dutiful and agreed to stay with them here in South Korea unlike his own. She brings up her other grandchildren, Seokjin’s siblings, and how they are wretched and should be written off from their cut of the inheritance. 

Seokjin pondered about that. He thought he was the only one coming and staying here for a while because his siblings are too busy with their own lives, that he is the youngest among all of them and it is his duty. His older brothers and sisters are either working for their many businesses or starting families of their own after all. 

After lunch and bidding farewell to Park Sungmin, the two Kims make their way out of the museum. Seokjin once again notices the men following them from a distance wearing suits and earpieces. They are everywhere in his grandparents’ house, a humongous estate in the countryside, and always follows him wherever he goes. He never asked about them, but he thinks this is the perfect time to do so.

“Grandmother, why do you have guards?”

Footsteps halting, she regards Seokjin with incredulousness. Her perfect eyebrows are hunched together, lips downturned. 

“Because I am important. You are too. Does your mother not have bodyguards assigned to you?” At the shake of Seokjin's head, Jinri scoffs. “I shouldn’t have placed such expectations on your mother in the first place. I will be having a word with your parents about this.” 

They resume walking, and when Seokjin asks another question he has been wondering about since the beginning, Jinri doesn’t falter. 

“Why do you hate mother?”

“She is not worthy to be part of our family, Seokjin. Your grandfather may have come from nothing but he became something. For me. For this family. In our world, influence is the currency. An outsider can only be considered if they at least try to understand how we work. The thing is, they rarely do.”

Seokjin thinks of his mother who he looks nothing of. Just like how he resembles his father and grandparents the most, his siblings are almost carbon copies of her. He always thought of her as glamorous and doting, young at heart and dedicated to herself. He thinks of his father who is always away for business, and how each of his siblings followed his footsteps. 

“Tell me, little prince.” His grandmother’s voice pulls him away from his thoughts. “What has your mother told you about marriage?”

Seokjin blinks rapidly. He feels silly relaying this to her.

“The most important thing is you love each other?”

Jinri tuts at him. “Now, aren’t you glad you are here with us? An adult can finally tell you the truth and not those dreamy musings your mother harbors. There is no such thing as love between two as the most important factor. Remember this: you ask for love and the world, for more, and for nothing less.”

Seokjin nods despite not fully understanding what she means.

“Promise me, Seokjin-ah. You will marry someone worthy. Do not let an outsider sink their claws in our family if they have nothing to offer you.”

He nods once. “I promise, grandmother.”

She smiles and chuckles. “What a good grandson you are. Heaven knows what went wrong with your father. He doesn’t even know his greatest accomplishment is you.”

Everything is dark green and shades of red in the Kim family’s ancestral home.

Hanok is the word Kim Yongseok says when he hears his youngest grandchild string along nouns and adjectives when he tries to ask about the stories that bloomed within the boundary of evergreen grass up to the tiled clay roofs— giwa

Secret passageways, hidden ponds beyond innocent backdoors, several walkways leading to the forest, and narrow alleys where Seokjin once caught a worker smoking. 

There is so much to uncover, a secret world and ecosystem lying in the ends of South Korea’s northernmost provinces.

Seokjin wakes up here and the choices laid out for him are endless that he never wants to leave, wants to explore every single nook and cranny, to trace the source and flow of each body of water he comes across whenever he ends up lost. Getting lost is not scary here, not when the men in suits and earpieces roaming the grounds always find him within ten minutes. 

Along the way, Seokjin meets an old couple while he hangs around in the kitchen. He was watching the cooks prepare mochi in what he’s told is the labor-intensive but traditional way. They pound the rice in a deep wooden drum, and he watches and waits, until it becomes sticky and someone takes over. A small truck stops in front of the open-air entrance where crates filled to the brim with crops stick out from the back. 

They don’t fuss over him like everyone else did when he first arrived or when he runs into them during his explorations. 

The two of them help each other get the crates out of the truck, and Seokjin guesses this must be the norm because no one pauses to help them. They do it slowly amidst grunts and groans, laughing together when a certain box is a bit heavier than the rest. 

“Do you like strawberries?” One of them asks him, an open face and a kind smile that had Seokjin nodding his head in affirmation without a second thought. 

They take a carton of bright red strawberries covered in thin plastic from one of the crates and hands it to him. 

“Try each one differently. As a shake, with cream, in a pastry, or by itself. Strawberries are delicious no matter which way you try it.”

The other one proudly nods in agreement. “We produce the best strawberries in the region!”

Seokjin could only nod, thank them properly, and place it beside him. He continued watching them remove everything from the truck, which is only then that the other people in the kitchen rushed to bring it inside. 

“Are you enjoying it here?” They asked Seokjin.

He nods, this time with vigor. He loves it here. 

“It must be lonely having no one your age around.” 

Seokjin doesn’t mind that. When he first came here, it did disappoint him for a bit. He was hoping to have someone to play with, perhaps even someone normal and unlike him, but everyone in the estate is older and taller with no business playing around with someone so much younger than them. 

“What do you do for fun here?”

Seokjin talks about exploring the grounds. He talks about reading the books in his grandfather’s library or sitting next to his grandmother while she sketches the rustle and fall of trees and their leaves, practicing his violin and receiving encouragement or a tut whenever he misses a note. 

“Lives of young masters are so different! Other children would rather watch television or cartoons!”

The couple comes again the following day. 

This time, Seokjin has a book of poetry in the original Japanese text laying on his lap. The title reads, Manyoshu, and while he turns over a page regarding rain, is suddenly asked, “Do you like movies?”

They don’t wait for his reply. The crates of fruit and vegetables are already being sorted, and on their hand is a canvas bag filled with blu-ray copies of animated movies. 

Seokjin is too polite to say he isn’t interested. He thanks them and receives another bag, and this time instead of strawberries, he is given pomegranates. The fruit is familiar, reminding Seokjin of home and soaking the sun in the many gardens of the place where he was born, red juice bursting on his tongue and painting his lips red. He thanks them for the second time.

At night during that same day, Seokjin lays the tapes on his bed to decide on what to watch. He’s only doing it because he knows that if the couple comes back again tomorrow, they would definitely ask him about it. Every title is made for children and general audiences, except for one slim case tucked between Disney classics, inconspicuous and most probably there by accident. 

There is no printed cover. Instead, black characters written on tape using a marker are on the front. 

Our favorite’s favorite.

It piques his interest. Compared to his bedroom at home, Seokjin’s quarters here does not come with a DVD player, nor a television. He drags himself to the hall where his grandfather’s office and his grandmother’s art studio is located. There’s another room he hasn’t bothered visiting: the theater. One of the guards doing their rounds spots him, and Seokjin asks them to set it up for him. They appear surprised over his interest but of course indulges him.

The book of poetry he has been going through remains on his side in case the movie bores him. 

It takes Seokjin by surprise that the title scene is not the same as what it says in the case. 

The movie is in black and white. It follows a woman who arrives in a barren island filled with fishermen. The people of the island are wary of her, and her spirit breaks at every turn, until a natural calamity occurs in the film’s climax. 

Seokjin’s poetry book is forgotten. 

Time slips away. 

He stares in awe at the screen, and the beating of his heart only calms down when the credits roll. 

The next day, Seokjin waits impatiently for the couple. They come later than they did the past two days. There are no crates to be carried down from the truck and given to the kitchen staff this time. 

“Do you like persimmons, young master?”

Seokjin ignores the question. “Do you have more films?”

They are taken aback by his sudden proactiveness. Chuckling, they give him the cart of persimmons and nod. “Have you watched everything?”

Seokjin shakes his head and repeats the question, this time with more accuracy. “Do you have anything else similar to the black and white one?”

One of them sighs at the other. “Did you slip in our honey’s CDs?”

“I must have.” They say sheepishly. Turning to Seokjin, they ask, “Are you interested, young master?”

Seokjin nods, eyes bright and excited. “Very. Do you have more?”

They leave and promise to come back tomorrow with their entire collection.

If Seokjin was not being outright asked by either of his grandparents to accompany them somewhere, he was found in the theater watching each film he has come in possession with.

There’s one about a ballerina set in the late 1940s that captures his heart and refused to let go that he couldn’t think about anything for days. A psychological thriller in the same era reminded him suspiciously of home. Another one is a war film with the same actress from the first one he watched. 

Sometimes his grandparents would join him, reminiscing about watching this and that when they were younger. Seokjin would whip his head in interest and ask about the culture of drive-in theaters, the cinema for the general populace, the theatrical stage, and even about award ceremonies.

“Is our little prince interested in becoming an actor?” His grandmother asks, suspicious. 

Seokjin thinks about it for a minute. “No, grandmother. I simply like observing.”

“Only observing?” This time it’s his grandfather who speaks. He’s always been kinder than his grandmother, comforting and generous despite the stern aura surrounding him.

“And learning too.” 

His grandmother sighs. “You’re going to end up teaching like your grandfather.”

Seokjin wanted to defend him, to remind his grandmother that his grandfather was once the most powerful man in the nation. He is quick to realize she wouldn’t care. 

He still likes exploring the estate and all the other things he did before discovering old movies, but Seokjin ends up loving it more than what he expected. He enjoys the silence that comes with it, loves the immersive fantasy brewing in his head and heart for that minimum hour and a half runtime. He loves deciphering the symbolism or trying to guess what may happen. The style and uniqueness of each director, the coming together of every production, and the escapism cocoons him in an invisible embrace he never knew he needed from this world. 

For the first time, he was the one watching and not the one being watched.

By his parents, his grandparents, the guards, or the staff. 

Seokjin is the one peeking in an alternate universe unannounced, and that should make him feel lonely, but he has never felt as free and without worry.

It ends too quickly. He’s being asked to come home, urgently.  

Seokjin is almost tempted to whine and beg, throw a tantrum, anything, just so they let him stay longer. He knows his grandparents would agree and allow him too.

He spoke with his mother over the phone the other day while it was nighttime for her. 

“Come home, amore mio.” She crooned. “You’re invited to a party. I promise you will adore the celebrant.”

Seokjin wanted to lash out. He wanted to remind her that he’s eleven, a fact every single adult in his life seems to have forgotten, everyone except for the kind couple who brought him fruits and introduced him to what he considers his safe space. 

“Alright, mother.”

Seokjin insists on waiting for the old couple before someone drives him to the airport. 

They arrive, glance at his clothes, and immediately understood he is leaving. Seokjin returns all the tapes they lent him, including Our favorite’s favorite.

“Thank you, young master. Our honey would be miffed if he discovers we lost all his tapes.”

It incites Seokjin’s curiosity. “You don’t own these?”

“We do, we do! Although our grandchild has laid claim over them. He will begin living with us starting tomorrow. It’s such a shame that you’re leaving today and won’t get the chance to meet him.”

Seokjin imagines this kind couple’s grandchild, their honey, a brilliant person. He must be, Seokjin thinks, because if it wasn’t for him, he wouldn’t have found out about the magic of movies and the solace it brings him. 

Whoever they are, Seokjin is forever grateful.

The couple gives him one last carton of fruit. It’s the first time they repeat it, always bringing him a different one each day.

“If you would’ve met him, we are sure you would be great friends. He loves strawberries and movies too.”

Seokjin accepts, thankful and with love. 

Inside the moving car, Seokjin falls asleep with the strawberry carton on his lap. The plastic is pulled back, berries missing, and his tongue once more acquainted with the sweetness.

Seokjin dreams of what could’ve happened if he didn’t have to leave. He dreams of watching films with the couple’s grandson. He dreams of translating the foreign ones to Korean in-real time so they can both enjoy it, and he dreams of this mysterious boy popping the strawberries in his mouth, in Seokjin’s mouth, and trying variants of it while they discuss the genius of old-world camera techniques. He dreams about a different future where they become best friends who, together, would discover more films and the secrets of the estate where crossroads can either lead to the mountains or the forest or perhaps even the ocean. He dreams they would grow old together and finally be allowed to bite into strawberries while guzzling down bubbly from champagne flutes. 

He dreams about the possibility of a future he chose instead of the one expected from him.

“What’s his name? Maybe someday we can meet.”

“It’s Taehyung-ah. Kim Taehyung.”

Seokjin wakes up, already at the hangar, and forgets the name of the boy.

“Marry me.”

“Not until you call me hyung.”

“Will you really?”


Seokjin runs and Jungkook chases. 

Through lavender fields and under the sun, Seokjin’s laughter rings in the air while Jungkook shouts the two words repeatedly. 

Suddenly, Seokjin stops. 

It allows Jungkook to catch up. 

Seokjin is staring forward, back on Jungkook. When the younger of the two sees what the commotion is about, Seokjin is running again. 

“Grandmother!” Seokjin shouts, the term filled with joy and excitement. 

Jungkook follows without a care towards the source of Seokjin’s happiness. 

At the edge where the roads and the fields meet, is a woman standing at the side of a vintage Rolls-Royce, dressed in a form-fitting black dress, and a wide brim hat shielding her from the heat. The gloves covering her hands reach up her elbows, said arms encircling around Seokjin and pulling him close.

“No wonder mother left for a few days.” Seokjin giggles. She laughs at their little inside joke.

Her attention shifts to Jungkook, and the heaviness of her gaze fills him with indiscernible embarrassment.

“And who are you?”

“J-Jeon Jungkook.” 

Kim Jinri hums and nods. She considers the young child for a second. “You resemble your grandfather, Jeon Jungkook.”

Seokjin’s head snaps to his grandmother. He says, “What?” the same time that Jungkook asks, “My grandfather?”

“He is one of the few men who I tolerated in this life of mine. Come, join us.” She extends her hand and Jungkook hesitantly accepts. 

In the Kim family’s garden, over a round table of barley tea and snacks in colorful packaging Jungkook has never seen, he sits next to Seokjin and across the older woman. He watches Seokjin tear open a packet of what looks to be sticks dipped in chocolate and automatically gets handed one. 

Staring at it in confusion, Jungkook mumbles, “Thank you, Jin.”

“Seokjin’s your hyung.” An amused smile is on Jinri’s face as she says this, the teacup covering her mouth but not the upturn of her lips. 

“That’s what I tell him, grandmother.” Seokjin bites into the stick and Jungkook copies him. He likes it a lot, holding his hand out to Seokjin for more. He gets handed two and he repeats the thanks.

“He’s not my hyung.” 

Jungkook’s voice is soft but high-pitched, innocent and with no malice. Despite this, the way he says it is firm and leaves no room for arguments.

Seokjin sighs while Jinri laughs. 

“Why is he not your hyung, little one?” Jinri asks, entertained and curious at the same time. 

Jungkook bites into what he makes out from the words on the box as pepero, the syllables foreign on his tongue along with the taste. He shyly glances at the person sitting next to him, whose eyes are looking anywhere but his, and Jungkook feels blood rush to his cheeks. 

Braving through the embarrassment, he answers, “Because I will marry him!”

Seokjin gasps, head swiveling to him then to his grandmother who has thrown her head back in laughter, her teacup placed down while her hand rests on her sternum. 

“Jungkook!” Seokjin hisses, his cheeks and ears red. “Ignore him, grandmother.”

“Why, Jin? Are you going to say no?”

Seokjin’s eyes widen at being cornered. He used to say yes to the childish question that sounded more like a statement. He finds Jungkook a cute kid, the fascination he has with Seokjin is something he brushed off as some uncanny attachment that will disappear as he grows older. 

“Ask me again when you’re eighteen, hm?” Seokjin’s safety net are those words. He reaches over and pats the top of Jungkook’s head. 

“Okay. I understand.” 

Watching the two, Jinri can see how her grandson instantly melts when Jungkook nods, naturally wide eyes full of trust. 

“Jungkook-sshi.” Jinri grabs the young boy’s attention while he is in the middle of asking Seokjin for another pepero stick. “Why do you want to marry my Seokjin?”

The question impacts the two differently. 

Seokjin never asked Jungkook why. 

Jungkook never really thought about it himself. He knows what marriage entails; he’s not touted a genius or young prodigy for nothing. What never came up to him is why Seokjin because to him, it is very simple. 

Who else will it be but Seokjin? 

“Jin has the prettiest colors.”

“That’s it?” Seokjin blurts out.

“Little prince, people have gotten married for less.” 

Ignoring the ambiguity of his grandmother, Seokjin instead says, “Jungkookie has chromesthesia.” He pinches the cheek of the other next to him, giggling when Jungkook groans but doesn’t push him away. “He sees marigolds when I laugh.”

“How very interesting.” 

Seokjin clamps down on the confusion threatening to show up on his face at his grandmother’s indulgence. He supposes she is being kinder because Jungkook is young and impressionable.

“And how did you know, Jeon Jungkook, that he is the one?” 

Jinri’s lidded eyes are focused on Jungkook. How she is looking and speaking with him is how one would talk to an adult and not a child. Seokjin is about to interrupt, lips already parted, when Jungkook responds.

Jungkook is straight to the point. Naive but honest. Pure and one hundred percent means it.

“The books say so. The written words reflect what I feel.”

At the silence, Jungkook looks between his two companions. “Is something wrong?”

Seokjin’s hand is back on his hair, ruffling it wildly and with more force, teasing and affectionate. “Is this why your tutors call you a genius? Your lovely way with words despite being a kid?”

Jungkook grips the other’s wrist with his fingers, trying his best to stop Seokjin from ruining his hair more than he already has. “Am not a kid!”

The hour passes with the three of them conversing in equal footing. Jinri does take time telling the two about what she brought from South Korea, especially Jungkook who seems to be very fascinated with them.

Someone comes to pick Jungkook up, saying, “It’s time for your lessons, young master.” He pouts and grumbles but does comply. 

He bid the Kims goodbye, and when Jinri hands him a box of chocolate pies, she conspiratorially tells him, “Hurry and grow, little one. I would love to see you be part of this family before I am gone.”

Silence dominates the two left behind. Someone comes to pour tea for Seokjin, and he knows he will be hearing things he doesn’t exactly know how to feel about.

The small wisps of air emanating from the cup comfort Seokjin while he waits for the inevitable. The wind playfully ruffles the lush meadows, its vibrant hue a contrast with Jinri and her obsidian color of choice for clothes. 

“The Jeons are not like us. They made their money on banking and mining, now electricity and telecommunications. It is safe to infer they control three-fourths of our home country without even being there, and more.” 

Seokjin knows this already, heard of this kind of talk when he has to be the adult while Jimin and Jungkook are lost in their petty little fights during dinner parties.

“Particularly,” Jinri continues, “The Jeon patriarch named his youngest grandchild to inherit 70% of his assets. All in his name. This is not including his mother’s side, whose fortune was made from all those island resorts they built in South Asia. He is set to receive almost everything as well.”

“Jungkook is heavily favored by his family.” Seokjin meets eye to eye with his grandmother. He smiles at her, not quite reaching his eyes. 

Jinri calls for someone to refill her empty cup. While the amber liquid being poured from a porcelain pot falls, she studies Seokjin intently. 

“And he favors you.”

Seokjin doesn’t react to the statement. He drinks his tea and ignores it. His silence is loud. 

“Lack of illustrious history aside, the Jeons are inarguably richer than us. Powerful than the common man and even those above. Unlike you, little prince, young master Jeon Jungkook-sshi is the heir to two different fortunes. After all, your mother has done nothing except drain our pockets.”

Seokjin can let his grandmother’s comments about his mother pass from one ear to the other. The insinuations she is giving though are a different story. 

“Grandmother.” Seokjin sets his cup down. “We’re barely teenagers. Jungkook will outgrow his fascination with me someday.”

“Only if you let it die down.”

Rebellious streaks are a phase Seokjin thinks will never happen to him. In this moment though, he wants nothing more than to get up from his chair and walk away. 

A part of him knows his grandmother is saying this because she doesn’t want him to turn up like her father even when he really cannot see what is wrong with his parents’ marriage. The other part screams at him that he is being used as the bridge between mixing their family and the Jeons’ fortune now that the opportunity has come up his grandmother’s radar. 

Seokjin wants to shout, What about me? What about how I feel?

Instead of causing a scene, Seokjin shakes it off with a laugh. He sounds rigid even to his own ears. He hates these moments when he is forced to be someone he isn’t yet.

“I’m sure my charm knows no bounds.” 

Seokjin watches his grandmother laugh and she ultimately drops the subject. She appears pleased, and he thinks that’s the only thing that matters right now. 

He wonders if this is it, the moment he has to grow and leave Neverland— if this is the moment he morphs from being the favorite grandchild to simply a pawn. For a minute he carries hatred towards Jungkook. It fills him with guilt and the emotion is gone within seconds. 

The sequence of events leading into this moment was cinematic. 

Pebbles thrown against windows coming outside from the darkness, hands entwined while running down magnificent and spiraling staircases, huddling in the backseat of a vintage car, giggling nonstop and silk pajamas rubbing against the other’s own; time stands still and each frame coalesce into wrapping them in a bubble.

The car is parked somewhere reserved for special visitors, where there’s a secret backdoor that leads inside the walls of the world’s most famous collections of art. 

Their Oxford shoes contrast with their sleepwear. It thunders against the floor while they run past paintings and sculptures, through wings and different halls. 

Their shadows are bigger and taller than their bodies, black strokes against pigments and marble. 

From the outside looking in, the exhilaration they are emitting is palpable. 

The viewpoint of these nightcrawlers is a room of sculptures and a mattress in the middle. There is no artificial source of light except the one coming from the projector on the floor beaming a blank white screen against the wall. Their pathway is lit by thoughtfully placed candelabrum. 

“Jimin, what is going on?” Seokjin asks in a whisper, eyes wide and bright. 

They plop on their front down the mattress. Jimin invades his space, arm around Seokjin’s waist. He’s uncompromising, pressing their sides together until even the air they breathe are shared. 

“I know our plan was to fly out later and watch Black Swan in the Venice premiere, but it’s already midnight, hyung. Might as well do it now.”

A soft kiss is pressed on his temple. 

Kisses between them once felt out of place, now the norm. 

Seokjin smiles at him sweetly. 

There’s a lingering thought in the back of his head that what he's doing is manipulation, that being a teenager allows him to enjoy touching and being touched. Purely speaking, down the barest of his bones, Seokjin simply likes feeling beautiful. That is, being kind and putting people at ease, whether it be out of honesty or politeness. 

It’s a warring idea in his head whenever there are silences like this because he does love Jimin.

He hasn’t defined yet what kind but he is sure he does. He’s highly aware of his emotions but putting them into words does not fully encapsulate his patterns of thinking. 

The film starts and it does a wonderful job distracting him from such thoughts.

At particular striking moments, they jump and react and seek each other. They mutter over its technical aspects and gasp alongside the storyline. 

By the end of it, Jimin produces a box of cigarettes, Chesterfield menthols, and for those brief minutes of lighting it up and blowing toxic clouds in the air, Seokjin worries more for the art over his health.

They lay down the mattress, strands of hair dyed a shade of fawn framing their faces similar to a halo, smoking and staring at the ceiling. It is oh so quiet and at the same time loud. The crackle of their cigarettes, every intake of breath, and an imaginary drum beating inside Seokjin’s head if there was music playing in the room accompanying this experience.



“Thank you.”

Jimin finds his hand. 

It is so very easy to hold each other like this.

Jimin blows a heavy puff of smoke in the atmosphere. His thumb is rubbing circles on the skin of Seokjin’s hand. 

“We won’t see each other much when you go to college next year.” Jimin turns to face him. “You’re still going, right?”

“Of course.”

There is a bit of silence before the conversation continues. Not because either of them finds it hard to speak with one another. They have always been free in voicing out their thoughts when it comes to the other.

“Are you going to become an actor after you graduate?”

“No. You know how shy I am.”

Jimin giggles and Seokjin follows suit. 

Seokjin’s eyes roam the room. In the morning, it will once again be filled with tourists. This microscopic experience is afforded to them thanks to money. Seokjin is going to university and study film for the fun of it because they have money. He finds himself gripping Jimin’s hand for comfort. 

“I’m doing it half-heartedly aren’t I?” Seokjin admits.

To Jimin.

To himself.

To the sculptures.

Their old ballet teacher ingrained a lesson within the two of them that didn’t have to do with the movement of feet and wrists. It’s these little things that confirm to Seokjin they are indeed best friends. Burdensome lessons when they were younger have become memories and spaces of introspection.

“First comes theory.” Jimin begins to say. 

They say the second part at the same time.

“Then goes practice.”

They remember a beautiful woman with the darkest head of hair in a bun, strict and gentle. “Ballet, and other forms of art, is a labor of love. First comes theory. You learn your terminology and your basic stances; yes, that is still theory. Then goes practice. Not practice with the barre, but living and performing it for others.”

It’s an inside joke between the both of them, a pinky promise made playfully during an early morning bicycle ride through the lavender fields while laughing and dreading the upcoming lessons later in the day.

I promise to never do things half-heartedly.

I promise to learn the theory. 

I promise to practice. 

Seokjin broke it first when he decided to quit and pursue other interests. He wasn’t following the first promise anyway.

Jimin wonders out loud. “Maybe you can teach. That’s practice and theory at the same time. You wouldn't be doing it half-heartedly then.”


On the ride back, they keep the windows down. The winds travel in the opposite direction, pushing their hair back. The roads are empty, and they had no qualms sticking their hand or head out the window without repercussion. The speed of the vehicle’s movement is a rush. The world is black and white, the only spot of color along the way being the lightness of their hair.

There has been a shift in the air since last winter. Seasons have passed. Thick coats and heavy sweaters have been exchanged for silk and airy shirts. 

Seokjin enjoys staying at home in the family estate the best whenever summer comes around. He can spend hours lounging in a hammock or laying down in the middle of lavender fields with only his dark sunglasses and portable radio as companions. 

This particular summer, Seokjin’s hair is blonde, the color of bright yellow corn ears. He’s spent so much time outside under the sun that it becomes lighter every passing day. 

He admittedly has nothing to do. He finished his internship last year with Fujiyama Takashi who absolutely adored him, and now he’s only waiting until he starts his final year and by the end of it, obtain his hard earned degree.

The only thing stopping Seokjin from melding his body with the land are his physiological needs. 

He woke up today at eight in the morning. He changed out of his sleepwear into a pink silk shirt and white denim shorts, placed his sunglasses over his eyes, and carried his radio with him to plop down outside in between tall blades of lavender and fell asleep to the local radio station playing Volta Jazz classics. 

He wakes up for the second time around eleven and remembers he didn’t bother eating breakfast.

The kitchen area in Seokjin’s house is surprisingly modest. It’s rustic and moderate in size. The appliances are high-end yet look like they came straight out of the old world. Drying herbs hang by the window sill, and the shelves are filled with preserves ranging from jam to kimchi. 

Unsurprisingly, it’s empty. His family are somewhere where there is sand and sparkling saltwater, and the staff are familiar enough with Seokjin to know he only asks them to cook during dinner. While he reaches for the heavy jar of peach preserves, he muses over how if Jimin was here, his brunch wouldn’t consist of toast and tea. Except Jimin isn’t here or there or anywhere at all; he’s traveling with his ballet company performing left, right, and center. Of course he invited Seokjin to come with him, but university has made him lethargic, twelve hours or more dedicated to sleeping the most appealing activity to Seokjin lately. 

In the middle of eating his toast smothered in peach jam while sitting on a round stool, Seokjin hears heavy footsteps thundering against the floor. He waits for whoever it is, placing the small golden fork down and straightening his back. 

He’s the one aware of somebody joining him in the kitchen but it is still him who ends up in shock. 

Seokjin is sure it has only been a few months since the winter holidays. 

Only a few months have passed since they last saw each other yet the person standing in front of him is unrecognizable. 

Jungkook regards him with raised brows and he acts so composed and cool Seokjin swears it’s not him. Jungkook is wearing a white dress shirt underneath a red, french terry, crewneck sweatshirt, the stiff collar peeking out. The white track shorts, black visor hat, and tennis shoes hints what he was probably up to before coming here. 

“Since when were you back, Jin?” Jungkook asks with a smile, eyes sparkling and skin tanned.

Seokjin blinks once, twice, then wills his tongue to move and for his mouth to part. “A week ago.”

Jungkook hums and walks toward the same spot Seokjin was at when he was picking what spread to use for his toast.

“What are you doing here, Jungkook?”

“Your cook makes the best preserves.”

“How do you even know that?”

Jungkook laughs under his breath. “I come here all the time to eat.”

It’s not surprising to hear. Their families treat each other’s houses as if it’s their own. 

Jungkook drops the jar of apricots down the table where Seokjin’s eating at. He stands at the edge of it across Seokjin, mutely asking for the other to hand him a plate, spoon, and bread. 

Seokjin finds the entire thing unsettling. 

Jungkook spreads too much jam on both sides of his bread. “You should’ve told me you were back.” 

Seokjin ignores the statement and asks, “Where were you?”

It’s Jungkook’s turn to appear confused. He pauses and studies Seokjin’s face for a good ten seconds. “Isn’t it obvious? I went down to the country club. Played tennis with a bunch of old white dudes.” 

“You have a tennis court at home.” 

It’s an understatement. The Jeons’ house is fancier and larger compared to any other country club around the vicinity. 

“There’s no one to play with at home.”

Jungkook slaps his bread close and doesn’t bother toasting it. He brings it up his mouth and bites down, eyes still on Seokjin. 

A lot of questions run through Seokjin’s mind. He tries his best organizing his thoughts. He buys time by resuming on eating his own makeshift breakfast. 

“I didn’t know you played tennis.” 

Jungkook was always introverted, a homebody if he’s being crude. Jungkook likes watching anime and playing video games or writing songs then making the notes come alive through his guitar. When he’s not doing those things, his cheeks and fingers or the front of his shirt are stained in paint. 

Instead of acknowledging the statement, Jungkook keeps his attention on Seokjin’s sandwich. He leans on the countertop, elbows resting on top. 

“Is that the only thing you're eating?”

“You don’t see anything else in front of me, do you?”

Jungkook only laughs at the sarcasm. “Why not ask the staff to fix something up for you?”

Seokjin takes a second too long to answer with, “I’m not that hungry.” 

Despite the simplicity, a knowing expression crossed Jungkook’s face. 

It’s rare for Seokjin’s entire family to not be around. He’s the only person in the large manor being taken care of, and he’d rather take care of himself than calling them up to help him. 

Jungkook finishes his sandwich and gets off the counter. He goes back to the shelves and reaches for the kimchi. 

“Do you like kimchi fried rice?” Jungkook turns around to look back at Seokjin in wait. 


Jungkook nods and moves around the kitchen efficiently and without second thought. He knows where to find this and that, like he’s the one who lives here and Seokjin is the visitor. He pulls the sleeves of his sweater up his forearms, and Seokjin realizes with surprise that the number of tattoos on his skin has increased since the last time he saw Jungkook. 

Seokjin can only watch with interest. He didn’t even realize there was already cooked rice hidden somewhere if he only looked for it. 

The kimchi cooks in the pan along with the rice and gochujang while Jungkook expertly chops green onions on a cutting board, swiftly dumping them in the pan with the side of the knife. There’s leftover bulgogi from what Seokjin ate last night that joins the sizzle. 

Soon, Jungkook turns off the heat, opens a cabinet, and brings out two plates and two sets of metal chopsticks. He rations the food in the plates, picks it up, and sets one in front of Seokjin, the other across the counter. He hands Seokjin the chopsticks who accepts it with a quiet thanks. 

Seokjin opens his mouth to say something, what he’ll actually say he’s unsure of, but Jungkook turns around and he is once again only facing Jungkook’s back stretched across the red sweater. He returns with two glass cups filled with ice cubes held in one hand while the other carries a pitcher of water with slices of lemon and mint swimming in it. 

Since when were you so capable?

The thought that has been floating in Seokjin’s mind shakes him. 

Jungkook fills both glasses with the water. He pushes one toward Seokjin with his fingers, the action giving Seokjin a clearer view of the tattoos on his hand. 

On the top of his middle finger is a plain heart lineart shaded in purple and around his ring finger an arrow, the tip pointing right towards the heart. 

Seokjin knows, clear as day, what the arrow means.

It’s the symbol for Sagittarius. 

Seokjin wills himself to look away but Jungkook already catches him. He chuckles softly and stretches his fingers. 

“Too presumptuous, Jin?”

Surely, Seokjin assures himself, there was a time when Jungkook was a head shorter than him. A time when Jungkook cried about every little thing when he doesn't get his way or if Jimin said something too mean. 

Surely there was a time Jungkook wasn’t this loud about his feelings and his intentions without actually saying anything.

Seokjin was just thinking about how the hands of a clock move so slowly whenever he’s back home, then here comes Jungkook, already seventeen, and he’s suddenly wondering where time has gone. 

Six, thirteen, seventeen.

It’s as if even nature itself is waiting with bated breath, counting down until Jungkook turns eighteen and asks Seokjin to give himself over to him. 

The thought of going back to an old way of life, where he persisted in only seeing Jungkook as his childhood friend, a neighbor, and a little kid, has faded away without Seokjin noticing.

“You should stop looking at me like that.” 

The sentence pulls Seokjin back to reality. He takes his chopsticks and picks up a piece of bulgogi. 

“Like what?” Seokjin asks nonchalantly. 

Jungkook regards him with amusement. “Like you want to marry me.” 

It takes Seokjin off-guard. 

Was he really?

“You have to wait a few more months.” Jungkook cheekily adds.

Seokjin’s thankful he did. It effectively diffuses the tension in his shoulders and the thickening atmosphere threatening to choke him. His retort is forgotten the moment it exits his mouth. Jungkook himself only laughs. 

The kimchi fried rice doesn't taste anything special. The kimchi by itself is good but that’s not really news to Seokjin since it’s his family’s cook who makes it. He ends up finishing everything. Jungkook even took a piece of his own bulgogi and casually placed it on Seokjin’s plate. He has never felt this satisfied and satiated. 

Seokjin ponders over how quick his world changed in a matter of minutes while Jungkook gathers their plates and takes the time to wash everything by hand in the sink. 


It’s a morose thing to admit but he always expected to end up with someone close in his circle. He sometimes thought about him and Jimin or another faceless person who he imagines he’ll meet during a fancy dinner party. When he is feeling particularly adventurous, he likes imagining getting hitched to someone his family would abhor. 

Love was the last thing on his mind.

Jungkook being the subject of such affections was something he wanted to avoid, his last feeble attempt to rebel against what everyone and even fate itself expects from him.

This is not how Seokjin expected to fall in love. 

He did not expect to feel flowers curling and unfurling in his stomach, butterflies hovering and the flap of their wings grazing against the wall of his abdomen every time he catches a glimpse or a peek of the ink decorating Jungkook’s skin. 

It is to say the least unapologetically anticlimactic. 

Seokjin believes that words without experience backing it are meaningless. Jungkook tells him he loves him, explicitly, profanely, and without shame, and Seokjin deflects because he doesn't feel it the way he believes it should be. 

Jungkook found it, Seokjin thinks, this perfect balance of domesticity and companionable silence, that he has been looking for. He sees it now, feels it so deeply in his bones, how loved he actually is, and how foolish he would be to turn his back on this.




JJK exits Narita International looking every bit the rockstar playboy he is! The superstar was obviously trying to be lowkey, a bucket hat and face mask matching his all-black attire. Despite this, his iconic tattoos are recognizable anywhere! A mere thirty minutes prior to his arrival, journalists and photographers clamored over Kim Taehyung, our favorite statuesque prince. Those who overstayed in the airport had the lucky opportunity to snap photos of JJK as well. Is this same-day arrival a mere coincidence, or is it lovers exiting one after another to not rouse suspicion? If it’s the latter, the effect is definitely the opposite!

Inside a moving and heavily tinted black van, a snort is heard from Taehyung as he reads over the article Manager Moon sent him along with a message asking him for the umpteenth time if he’s sure he isn’t telling her everything regarding his personal affairs. 

“I don’t care if you’re dating but this is JJK we are talking about!” is what she screeched at him over the phone when the first article about them came out. 

Taehyung saw the pictures and he read the article as well. He laughed at the description of them smiling and looking intimate. After all, he knows firsthand how untrue those statements are. 

Ever since then, a hundred and more articles insinuating something between him and Jungkook has plagued the tabloids, their supposed secret relationship gossip fodder for the masses. Everything from them wearing the same designer brands to his recent vacation in Europe speculated to be a cover-up of him visiting Jungkook’s hometown, Taehyung has never been under so much public scrutiny. Their fans online are either rejoicing or fighting. Numerous theories on Youtube, Twitter threads, and even edits are sent to him everyday by Manager Moon who Taehyung honestly thinks finds it entertaining and not as stressful as she claims it to be. 

Taehyung pays the situation no mind. He’s sure the rumor mill will soon find something else to entertain themselves with. The only good thing that has come out of the speculations is that it became an excuse for him to speak with Seokjin.

“He wants to sue for defamation of character.” Seokjin told him over the phone while laughing. 

“What about you, Seokjin-ah? You’re not bothered by it?”

“There’s no reason to be. Looking at the matter objectively, it’s free publicity. Plus, I actually find the entire thing amusing.”

More message notifications from Manager Moon shakes Taehyung away from his musings. It’s another article, this time from Vogue, comparing his airport fashion with Jungkook’s. They wax poetry over his choice of cotton and neutral palette of browns and whites versus Jungkook, his signature leather jacket, and all-black ensemble. Their solo projects become an afterthought, Hinoki Honey and Jungkook’s untitled second album only mentioned in passing. Franky, that is what ticks Taehyung off regarding this entire affair.

Taehyung closes his phone and throws it to the side in favor of picking up the script once crisp now filled with dog-eared pages, creases, and his own notes. 

Before losing himself once more in the world of Hinoki Honey, where Taehyung’s character is a brunette with hair pushed back so different from his crown of curls, he spares one last look at the passing city beyond the car windows and breathes in.

Hinoki Honey is set in your everyday mid-salary level apartment building. 

All granite and perfect rectangles. 

Besides the apartment where the majority of filming will happen, there is also a coffeeshop where one of the main characters works.

Headlines say, Hinoki Honey starring Kim Taehyung and Yamamoto Sen, the latter a rising star in Hollywood predicted to make waves after the film airs in festivals and cinemas. It says a lot how star-studded the film is and expected to be.

The characters of Hinoki Honey are not given names.

“Self-insertion in a realistic story hurts and it sells.” Yoongi explains to Seokjin when he asked if not giving the characters a name is a stylistic choice.

The plot on the other hand goes like this: Taehyung is playing as a coffeeshop employee who works the late night shifts. This character is older and never finished university. They stay in this apartment building where the electricity always dies at exactly five in the afternoon and returns after seven minutes. Whenever this happens, the character would go out their room and smoke. One day, while smoking and waiting for power to return, they meet their next-door neighbor, a college student who just recently moved in played by Yamamoto Sen. The two characters become best friends, and the student always tethers into this unwanted territory of expressing love towards the coffeeshop employee. The employee realizes they love the student more than the platonic sense right after they graduated, and they have to deal with the loss and bittersweet regret of the student moving on and away from the apartment building.

The second arc of the story is raw realism. The two characters begin a sexual relationship that only ends in heartbreak, not because they don’t love each other because they definitely do, Yoongi insists, the problem was how late this realization of their love for each other is. 

“How thoughtfully romantic of you.” Seokjin gets told off by the writer to not tease, and Seokjin assures him it is a compliment. 

The ending is subjugated melancholy. It hurts because it’s raw and real. The two characters do not end up together and they lose contact through the years. It boils down to being an experience one suddenly remembers like a strike of lighting in the middle of the night; stark, sudden, and all at once. 

Seokjin knows it’ll be a good film. 

He can already picture dabbing on the corners of his eyes, and if Jungkook agrees to watch it with him, his beloved would bawl his eyes out, take Seokjin’s hand into his tattooed one, and hold on to it tightly for the rest of the night. Jungkook would stare out a window, whether it be in the car, a hotel bedroom, or their own home’s balcony, and Seokjin would tell him softly, “It won’t happen to us, you know?” because those things affect Jungkook more than the average person, and he would kiss the side of Seokjin’s face and mumble something about colors and a conclusion of, “I’ll never be that kind of person. I will always love you, and I’ll always tell you, and I will never get tired of it.”

Seokjin keeps his hands inside the pockets of his coat, no ring in sight on his fingers. It should feel freeing, the heavy rock not weighing him down, but it only makes him feel more naked than ever. He eyes the building where Hinoki Honey is set, the hustle and bustle of staff waiting while certain scenes are meticulously being filmed happening in the background, and Seokjin is here standing in wait.

Beside him is Yoongi, draped in the same heavy coat and drab monochrome colors, continuously smoking and tapping his foot against the gravel. He has a copy of the script on his hands, the paper crumpled, stained with coffee, or yellowed by cigarette smoke. 

Yoongi is impatient and restless. He glances over Seokjin who is blissfully watching nothing unfold. He turns his full attention on Seokjin, his companion these past days on set. “I saw the press conference photos. The new JJK album sounds awfully exciting.”

Seokjin responds with a tilt of his head, attention remaining on the building. “ I haven’t seen anything.”

“It’s happening right now as we speak.”

“Well then. I hope it goes well.”

Yoongi drops the cigarette on the ground and stomps on it with the heel of his leather shoes. “He’s your husband.”

“I know that.” Seokjin, at last, spares Yoongi a glance. He looks amused, eyes twinkling behind his glasses, mouth curved in the ghost of a smile. “What do you want to hear me say, Yoongi?”

“Some interest? You arrive on set before I do, and sometimes you even leave later.”

Seokjin laughs. 

Jungkook has been complaining about the same thing. They’re staying at the same hotel, Seokjin on the penthouse floor while Jungkook is in some deluxe suite a couple floors down. It didn’t matter though. Jungkook would be hanging off him whenever possible. Seokjin wakes up in the morning and he has to remove Jungkook’s arm around his waist demanding he stay longer in bed, or at night when Seokjin comes back and Jungkook has his guitar out, randomly strumming notes while he records on his phone.

“You sound like you’re surprised I’m not taking advantage of being here and using it as an excuse to spend more time with him.”

Yoongi snorts. “That’s exactly what I expect.”

“I’m married to him. I’ll be with him forever. I don’t need to be by his side every waking moment.”

Yoongi considers this. He returns his attention towards the building where a couple of artificial lights in a particular room and floor are switched on. The horizon itself is slowly bleeding into orange while they speak and stand in wait. “Forever, huh? I didn’t take you for a romantic, Professor Kim.”

“A moment ago you were judging me, and now you’re teasing. Pick a side and settle on it, Professor Min.”

A grin overtook Yoongi’s face. Seokjin glances at him and rolls his eyes.

“Stop projecting your boredom on me, Yoongi-sshi. I for one am enjoying being here.”

Yoongi fumbles for another cigarette, the crumpled box of sky blue Mevius tempting Seokjin to ask for one. 

“We’re literally doing nothing.”

“You complained earlier about how Yamamoto Sen’s character has no earrings, and that your characters supposedly need them on.” 

“Right now we aren’t doing anything.”

“We can leave whenever we want. We’re no better than children who tug along with their parents on set.” 

Yoongi puffs out clouds of smoke and a resounding huff. “I’m not good with waiting.”

“I am.” Seokjin’s eyes brighten when they hear a shout of Cut!, and the actors along with the staff members exit the room they were filming in. 

Director Fujiyama pulls Yamamoto Sen to the side, the young star a vision despite the university hoodie, jeans, and dirty sneakers he is donning.

Then, there’s Taehyung.

Seokjin has been here for at least a month, arriving a week after Jungkook did. 

He still isn’t used to seeing Taehyung like this. 

Taehyung’s head of black curls has been tamed and pushed back, dyed a honey blonde with streaks of brown. The black liner the makeup artists retouch around his eyelids intensify his already piercing gaze. Said gaze spots Seokjin from below, and his untouchable aura dissolves. He waves, a small gesture that Seokjin returns with a smile. 

Yoongi’s stare boring holes right through him prompts him to ask, “What?”

“He really likes you.” 

“You say that everyday, Yoongi-sshi.”

“No wonder JJK was so testy when I showed up at your doorstep unannounced.”

“It’s weird hearing him called like that.” Seokjin removes his hands from his pockets, blowing air on his palms and rubbing them together. 

“What do you call him then?” Yoongi couldn’t resist adding, “Baby?”

Seokjin levels an unimpressed look on his companion. 

Taehyung bounds down the stairs and immediately receives compliments for a job well done. He thanks them all, albeit hastily. His attention is set on one person only. 


Sparing Yoongi one last look before Taehyung approaches him and Director Fujiyama whisks Yoongi away to review their last takes, Seokjin answers the earlier question. “Sometimes, baby. Most times, I call him my sugar daddy.”

Yoongi splutters, coughing out of shock and from his cigarette. 

Seokjin laughs and meets Taehyung halfway. 

It’s an opera comprising four acts.

First, they talk about how filming went down. The first act dictates how the rest of it goes. Taehyung is excited, talking about how he has finally found footing with his co-star. Before Seokjin knows it, the second act has begun. Their conversation leads them to the buffet tent. The third act is dinner itself. Sometimes breakfast, other times it’s lunch. Hinoki Honey is mostly set during the nighttime, so dinner it is for today. The fourth act is Taehyung asking him if he’s staying. There is no fifth act, because Seokjin shakes his head no and dutifully returns to his hotel. He promises to come back tomorrow, and Taehyung would let him without complaints, because Seokjin always makes good with his promises. 

At the hotel, another show’s curtain rises. This time, it has three acts. 

This particular opera features Jungkook. 

Seokjin stands outside his hotel room and hears music. He considers this as the overture. 

Pushing the door open, the music stops, Jungkook places his guitar down, and smiles at him. The first act is a back and forth between them about what happened with their days.

Seokjin remembers to ask, “How was the press conference?” 

Jungkook appears delighted that Seokjin knows about it. “Boring. Manager Kim banned them from asking about the rumors being spread so they instead pestered me about the name of the album.”

The second act consists of Seokjin joining Jungkook in bed. He would be on his phone scanning through the news. He relents toward his curiosity and looks up the photos from Jungkook’s press conference. He taps Jungkook on the shoulder, all while the other is strumming random notes on his guitar and writing them down on tissue papers.

“Hm? What is it?”

Seokjin shows his phone screen where a photo of Jungkook in a form-fitting suit, long black hair styled to fall perfectly over his face on is displayed. He’s photographed holding a microphone mid-speech, chain bracelets and rings eye-catching, tattoos stark against his skin.

“I like you in suits. You look really good here.”

Jungkook’s nose scrunches in glee at the compliment. “I was going to turn up in sweats.”

Seokjin clicks his tongue in annoyance. “Let’s give your stylist a raise.”

Jungkook continues watching over Seokjin’s shoulder while his photos are saved. Bumping Seokjin’s shoulder, he pouts and says, “The real thing is right here with you.”

“Hm, but I like JJK better.”


The third act is filled with noise. Jungkook snatches Seokjin’s phone away and throws it somewhere beyond their legs and places his guitar on the floor. He pulls Seokjin’s back to his chest, locking the other in place with his arms.

“Take that back!”

Seokjin pinches him in retaliation. “It’s the truth.”

“You don't mean that!”

“And if I do?”

Jungkook’s tight grip lessens. It allows Seokjin to crane his head to the side where he is met with Jungkook frowning at him. “Do you really like JJK better than me?”

“You’re the same person.” Seokjin gently reminds him, turning around fully so he can encircle his arms around Jungkook, until their foreheads are touching and he can watch up close every flicker of emotion in Jungkook’s eyes. 

“We aren’t and I know that. JJK is known worldwide and everyone says he deserves all this fame and fortune. Jeon Jungkook is 23 and got handed everything he didn’t ask for in the first place.” 

Seokjin feels his chest tighten. He doesn't want to say anything about how that is precisely why he likes his husband’s other persona a tiny bit more. 

“I adore both of them.”

“You can’t! You can only adore me.

Seokjin lays his hands on Jungkook’s chest and pushes him away. “Is there some kind of psychological underlying issue you have going on that I wasn’t aware of?”

Jungkook avoids his eyes. He pulls Seokjin again to his chest and buries his face in Seokjin’s hair. “Don’t know. You tell me.”

“I like both JJK and my husband, alright? Maybe I like another side of you more than I do the other, but it shouldn’t matter because it’s still you.”

“I don't care. I want you to only like me.”

Seokjin feels the fatigue seep into him, beginning from the end of his spine and going up the back of his neck. Sighing, Seokjin turns around and lets Jungkook rest his chin on his shoulder.

Jungkook is being quiet and not mumbling songs against his ear. He’s unmoving, which is another uncommon thing. Seokjin brushes it off and succumbs to sleep’s embrace. He’s falling down the precipice of total slumber when he feels the ghost of a whisper rather than hearing it.

“Sometimes you look at me and I feel like you detest me. It’s gone in an instant, and I know you love me, but I do wonder. It’s quick and might actually be just a trick of the light but the resentment sticks and it scares me.”

Jungkook is the youngest in his family. He’s the baby, the one favored without needing to do anything except be born into the role. He’s younger than Seokjin and Jimin, and yet becoming acquainted with the two has reduced him into a middle child. The divided attention, being left behind, and stepping aside when the situation calls for it. He has forgotten and gotten over these lapses in age and ranks in their complicated relationship throughout the years.

Standing beside Seokjin in front of Kim Jinri somehow reminds him of this fact, that there are secret conversations and stories hidden behind hands covering mouths in hushed whispers he is not aware of. 

He has won, Jungkook thinks. Seokjin’s hand is his, this entire wedding affair is because of them, and yet the way Seokjin bristles at the sight of his grandmother in what should be a day of celebration, has a voice whispering in his head that everything is not what it seems. 

The rose-colored lens he has donned since Seokjin said yes has made all the red flags only appear as flags. 

“Congratulations, both of you.” Jinri clasps her hands together, always covered by gloves, just like how she always has been in Jungkook’s memories of the past.

Seokjin is gracious. He thanks her. Jungkook does the same. They exchange smalltalk about what they would be up to after, how Seokjin’s university endeavours are going or Jungkook’s upcoming foray in the commercial music industry.

Jinri moves her head slightly in Seokjin's direction, eyes lidded, and she bestows a pleased smile on her grandchild. 

“I knew you would make the right decision.” 

Seokjin is frozen in place. Jungkook can see how he crumbles.

“You really are my grandson.”

The other attendees sweep her away for more inane conversations and peacocking of wealth. Her presence stays with them even though she is gone. 

Jungkook desperately wants to understand why Seokjin has this expression on his face screaming that he is going to run away any moment now. From their wedding, from everyone, from Jungkook.

“Jin, let’s leave this place.” 

If Seokjin is going to leave, Jungkook will follow him. 

Away from this place, this life, and even to the ends of the earth. The only way he will accept Seokjin leaving is if he brings Jungkook along. 

“And go where?” Seokjin regains his composure. He has one brow raised in question. 

“There’s a local bar somewhere in the village below. Come on, let’s go.”

Jungkook entwines their hands together, feels the cold metallic bands on their fingers meeting, and drags Seokjin away discreetly to the side. He can imagine Seokjin thinking this is another of his spontaneous plans or something he formulated beforehand in order to monopolize Seokjin for himself. 

The game of glossing over roughness is something Jungkook can play just as good as everyone else.

The nitty-gritty part of the music industry hovers over Jungkook while he is  sitting down on a chair and the hairstylist wraps each strand of his hair with foil. He hears bits and pieces of it from Manager Kim Talks of album pre-orders, appearances, interviews, statistics, and of course, the profit. Jungkook hears a number, the projected earnings from physical album sales alone, and his mind instantly wanders to what Seokjin gave him as a birthday present from years ago. It sits prettily in their garage alongside with the rest of his fleeting interests. The number isn’t intimidating to his ears despite what Manager Kim thinks. 

The person staring back at him in the mirror is wearing another suit. It’s different from what he wore yesterday but he sees no difference. The hoops in his ears, the makeup on his face, and his hair that will soon be the color of the sun. 

Seokjin’s words from last night haunt him.

“I like JJK better.”

He wonders if it is childish to be upset over it. He wonders if the tenseness of his jaw and his shoulders are worth it. A younger version of him would be in cloud nine by the mere fact that Seokjin likes him, even if it’s only a part of him. 

To Jeon Jungkook, JJK is one of the many facets of his personality. On the outside, JJK is the only one in the world, categorized in a different plane of existence among the rest. This disparity between how he views himself versus how the rest do bugs him in both good and bad ways.

Seokjin factoring in his opinion further murks the water. 

“You will make headlines all because of this simple change.” The stylist comments. It’s a statement instead of a question. They could’ve asked him why he suddenly decided on this change of appearance within such short notice sincd in the industry, the physical form is also business. 

Jungkook grants them a smile that doesn’t reach his eyes. He’s too moody to be chatty. 

There are looks directed his way from people who avert their eyes quickly when he catches them. He doesn’t need to ask to know from how they redden or giggle with others that they are bewitched by the gossip circulating around regarding him and Kim Taehyung. He is past the irritation the news incited from him. What keeps his fury alive is the awareness of who Kim Taehyung is truly enamored with. 

Jealousy is not a good look, Jungkook decides, reviewing the narrowing of his brows and the curling of his lip on the mirror. 

Manager Kim hands him a plain beige folder and a quick explanation of, “The interview questions for today’s press conference.” He leaves Jungkook alone and is back on his phone within seconds, more talks of business here and there echoing as he disappears from Jungkook’s peripheral vision.

There are cherished memories floating in the stream of Jungkook’s consciousness he can fish out easily, each one lighting up in different colors categorized in an organized fashion. Backstage set-ups like this are inane and lifeless, a wait of getting from point a to b; limbo. Closing his eyes, Jungkook becomes lost in remembering, or perhaps, dreaming. He can almost feel it on his fingertips, taste the air, and he floats in this reverie of what should have only been granted through divinity, of chasing after colors and learning which chord to play or what words can evoke a certain hue. 

It comforts Jungkook immensely. 

Come what may, he has already won, and he always will.

The plucking of strings and the shaking of a rattle instrument reach Seokjin’s ears despite it being played further from where he is. The cadence is painfully melancholic and at the same time pure. Yoongi tells anyone who would listen and on the footnotes of his manuscript that this is the song encapsulating Hinoki Honey with the utmost finesse. 

Always In My Heart.

The noise of the film crew is diluted along with the music, granting Seokjin’s companion silence. They’re in the back of the building, same from yesterday and all the other days, where a lone bench with it’s brown paint fading, faces out into the expanse of the city proper. 

It’s almost lunchtime. 

For Taehyung whose head is resting on Seokjin’s shoulder, asleep and arms crossed over his chest, it is midnight. 

Filming has been pushing the cast to their limits. There is a wrench thrown in their plans, a need to record somewhere else and flights being rebooked by agents deprived of sleep as much as their beloved stars.  

Seokjin enjoys the music and the breeze, the sun subdued and shining down peacefully. Glancing at the top of Taehyung’s head, he realizes he hasn’t gotten used to it yet. He expects to see dark hair and messy curls, not lightness and this performative 'do.  He doesn’t recall being in this position before with Taehyung when at the house, and yet the moment feels nostalgic. 

Despite all the buildings and lack of trees sprouting from the ground out of its own accord, Seokjin believes that if he closes his eyes and opens them again, he would be transported back to his grandparents’ estate in South Korea and once again be eleven years old. 

The actors were allowed a twenty minute break. Seokjin wasn’t even around the set when it happened. He was already sitting here with a book on hand, an old one filled with poetry that he decided to reread since he is here in said book’s birthplace. Taehyung found him and manages chatter for about five minutes before he fell asleep on Seokjin’s shoulder. 

Taehyung awakes. His lids are heavy. He slowly blinks away the fatigue. He meets Seokjin’s eyes, and despite the exhaustion, he manages to be this intense. He directs his attention to the book Seokjin is reading, cheek rubbing against the fabric of Seokjin’s wheat-colored cardigan. 

“What does that say?” Taehyung’s voice is gravelly, rumbling and hypnotic. 

Seokjin’s finger drags down the yellowed page of the book.

“A faint clap of thunder, clouded skies, perhaps rain will come. If so, will you stay here with me?”

Taehyung nods, an action he minimizes to avoid bumping into Seokjin’s jaw. “I will.”

There is more to the passage, an actual reply. Seokjin blinks at the page in surprise. Somehow, everything feels… different. The deep voice, the light brown hair, the deep eyes, and a mole on the nose. The exposed skin of Taehyung’s arms are smooth, his fingers devoid of any ring. No piercings, no chains, no leather. The intensity is so much different from what Seokjin will be able to recognize even if he were blind. 

Not Jungkook. 

The emotion starts at his belly and climbs up his throat, clawing itself against the walls of his windpipe, threatening to crush him. 

Seokjin cannot give this man what he wants.

He doesn’t know why he’s prolonging the hurt by indulging him. 

Taehyung moves away and rises from the chair. He stretches his arms and rubs the back of his neck, groaning. 

“I have to head back now. Seokjin-ah, I’ll see you later.”


Seokjin holds up his porcelain mask exquisitely well. 

If this was Jungkook, he would know there is something wrong in a heartbeat. 

The pangs of shame and guilt are replaced with an emotion Seokjin considers debasing. He hurriedly covers his face with the book and lets out an uncharacteristic giggle. He doesn’t need a mirror to see how red he has become. He waits for the pounding on his chest to settle down before he places the book down. 

Seokjin is once again reminiscing. 

The Kim family’s estate in the northern province of South Korea is spectacular. Seokjin’s love for it will never die. It’s where he discovered the magic of cinema and his insatiable thirst for exploration after all. He vaguely remembers getting lost and being found, the taste of strawberries on his tongue, the sound of water in an unassuming pond. He can perfectly imagine the scenery, hear the sound of the cicadas, and the wind ruffling the leaves of trees.

It’s one of the few memories Seokjin has that doesn’t include Jungkook in it.

Jungkook would clash with the environment. Seokjin can picture him watching the movement of the water below him from the safety of a bridge. His hair would be tied up using whatever string he finds lying around, and he would be dressed in black from head to toe. 

It hits him. That person is not Jungkook. 

Jungkook has the brightest smile and the biggest eyes, wide with excitement and lighting up even when Seokjin has driven him insane and he’s fuming mad at the other for whatever petty reason they fought about. They both like arguing. It’s not that deep, really. Jungkook likes metallic and bright colors, soft sweaters with the sleeves bunched up either when he plays tennis or the guitar. 

Seokjin acknowledges his wrong. He likes JJK, but he loves Jungkook. More than anyone, maybe more than himself. It doesn’t matter. 

He calms down enough to lay the book down his lap. 

His view is suddenly filled with Yoongi. He doesn’t jump in surprise but he does voice it out. 

“You came from nowhere.”

Yoongi shrugs. “We’re shooting in the film studio for the rest of today’s scenes. Van’s leaving in an hour. You riding with me, Professor?”

“Of course. Who else would I be with?”

A snort is what Seokjin hears before words. “I don’t know. Perhaps our dear lead?”

Seokjin chooses to ignore Yoongi in favor of getting up from the bench. They walk together in silence, an atmosphere replaced in an instant. 

“I overheard the interns tittering in excitement over a certain celebrity visiting the set this afternoon.”

“The actors in their presence aren’t enough?” 

A beat passes. 

“You know he’s coming, don’t you?”

“Of course.”

“Perhaps I should take an early leave today.”

Seokjin halts in his footsteps. He stifles back his laughter at Yoongi’s serious expression. “He’s alright with you.”

“The extent of how alright he is does not extend to the combination of me and Kim Taehyung being in the same vicinity.”

Seokjin chooses to forego words and react in the most dignified manner. He smiles and ignores the quip for the rest of the hour they needed to stay in the location. 

Later, when he piles in the van alongside Yoongi and other members of the staff, his phone vibrates in his pocket. It’s Manager Kim confirming Jungkook’s scheduled visit in the film studio they are currently headed and another from Taehyung saying they should have rode together. He disregards both messages in favor of the lively and pleasant conversation he has with Yoongi over the book keeping Seokjin’s interest.

The studio set is designed to be the characters’ old childhood bedrooms. The actors playing the younger version of the characters allow the main leads more rest. 

Seokjin becomes involved over a decision regarding the score. The music editor wants to mix the omnipresent croon of Always In My Heart together with the homogenous and modern Riviera Boys. The result is a stronger execution of the transition between past and present. Yoongi gives his approval, ultimately pleased with the result. There are pats on the back and praises, and then suddenly, Taehyung is also there, arm around Seokjin’s neck with the biggest smile on his face.

It’s easy for the rest to follow. 

Taehyung tells him, “You’re so good at this.” 

Seokjin is directed towards a couch somewhere far from all the action. The two of them are once again sitting side by side. Compared to earlier, they share Hinoki Honey’s script over a book of poetry. Taehyung convinces him to throw back lines with each other. Seokjin reasons that Taehyung should be practicing this instead with Yamamoto Sen. Taehyung brushes these off with a wave of his hand. 

Taehyung keeps his role of being the coffeeshop employee, the older between the two. Seokjin, left with no options nor a choice, reads over the lines of the college student. 

The scene is intimate without anything physical. This description can be used for several parts, the difference in this one is that this was the beginning of everything. The coffeeshop employee is a smoker, and they talk about how they cannot possibly date someone who does not smoke. The student airs their thoughts of how they aren’t one. The employee makes fun of them; shoulders bumping and playful teasing occur.

Seokjin doesn’t overthink his lines, simply reads them off and uses it as a reason to not look into Taehyung’s piercing stare. “At times I want to date you.”


“Sometimes when I’m so happy with you I look into your eyes and all I want to do is kiss you on the lips and not the top of your head. Dating you would allow me that privilege.”

Taehyung says his lines without reading the script. “I’m glad we aren’t dating then. I don’t want to be with someone who only wants to kiss me sometimes.”

The change in character, smooth and so believable, excites Seokjin. 

There’s a supposed pause. More smoking and bottom lips bitten. Taehyung watches this movement, the action written in the script and instinctive.

“I guess you’re right.”

Taehyung doesn’t continue. He breaks character and instead says, “Change roles with me. I’ll play the student.”

Seokjin decides to go with it and agrees.

The reason Taehyung has won two prestigious awards and more is because of this, Seokjin thinks, this rapid change in character and demeanour into a role he isn’t even playing. The cheeriness and teasing mood he radiates off as the employee is gone. It’s replaced by somberness, a worried and sincere protagonist taking place. 

“I want to kiss you right now.”

Seokjin would be lying if he says it did not affect him. He clears his throat and reads out the reply, this time, looking back. 

“No, you don’t.”

“Yes I do.” No pause, no comma. It is said in haste, with a burning fire accompanying it. 

The employee is supposedly shocked about this. They brush it off with a laugh. Seokjin does the same. He thinks for a moment about how he is exerting effort now. But then again… is he really?

“And what are you going to do about it?”

According to the script, the student replies with, Nothing. Taehyung is not doing anything. He’s too quiet, head tilted to the side and emotionless. There is a low amount of artificial lighting from where they are seated. It didn’t mean it was lacking. Taehyung's silhouette is stark on the wall behind him and next to them. 

Seokjin is minutely aware of a commotion happening in the background. 

The geometric principles dictate a hierarchy introducing each set of humans according to their beauty. This is one of the many aphorisms Seokjin retains from when he used to dance. 

Here where they are, situated in the back, the people upfront becomes their shadow. 

Here where they are, fiction bleeds into reality.

Passion, tenderness, and reckless desire are conveyed effortlessly and all at once. Taehyung wraps his fingers around Seokjin’s wrist. Seokjin is pulled closer, subjected underneath a gaze desperately trying to seize this moment. 

Taehyung moves in beat segments. He leans, leans, leans leans, leans. Then he pauses. Three seconds. 

Beyond the camera lens where personalities are highlighted and glamour projected, this act is not for the stage. If this were fiction, this love would endure. This is real life and so it will not.

The fictional version of Seokjin wouldn’t leave him hanging and go as far as to meet Taehyung halfway. He wouldn’t be unmoving, second-guessing whether Taehyung will really throw a heavy rock in this peaceful lake, causing ripples on the surface that will never end. He regains his bearings and lays a hand on Taehyung’s chest, just like the night the power went out. The only difference this time is Seokjin can see Taehyung clearly, no night blindness clouding his vision or ironically making light of the situation. 

He sees Taehyung. 

He perceives him. 

And the conclusion remains the same: not Jungkook. 

Only ever Jungkook. 

It doesn’t matter that he won’t feel anything if Taehyung does kiss him. It’s not Jungkook and so it does not matter; not worth it, unworthy of these tumultuous emotions it rouses from him.

There’s a gasp coming from the background.

Seokjin blinks at the hand grasping his shoulder and the tattoos causing him to shift his gaze upwards. He almost doesn’t recognize his husband.

The overheard light bounces off Jungkook’s hair, his blonde hair , mimicking a halo. It falls over his face perfectly, not a single strand out of place. He’s wearing a suit with a silk blue tie. He must have come here from after a press conference. 

Jungkook is looking at Taehyung, eyes murderous and jaw clenched. 

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing?” 

Taehyung only blinks up at him. “What do you think you’re doing?” 

The staff are staring, people huddling in groups, and Seokjin catches some discreetly recording them. He opens his mouth to tell the two to knock it off but gets cut off by Jungkook whose grip on his shoulder tightens, increasing the space between him and Taehyung.

“I don’t care about what you’re trying to do right in front of me, but I saw him try to push you away yet you still went for it. You don’t get to touch him if he doesn’t want to, do you understand?”

A part of Seokjin wonders if this is the wrong time to feel a rush of endearment towards his husband. 


Manager Kim runs toward the three of them, the panic readable on his face. 

Relief floods Seokjin that damage control is here. He hurriedly weighs the pros and cons of what he is about to do. Manager Kim stops midway, shouting at the people recording. Their phones disappear and Seokjin doesn’t waste time wrapping his fingers around Jungkook’s wrist.

“I’ll meet you in your car.” 

Seokjin watches Jungkook press his lips together in a thin line. He briskly nods and starts walking away, forcing Manager Kim to run after him with another shout of his name. Seokjin receives a hurried nod from the older man and he returns it just as quickly.

Manager Moon arrives at the scene, frantic and eyes wide. 

Taehyung turns away, angling his body so no one can read his lips or see his face. His eyebrows are hunched together, the worry obvious with how his hair is now pushed back and not diluting his expressions.

“I—” Taehyung begins to say. “Did I hurt you?”

It’s a hard question to answer when the one asking looks worse than what Seokjin is supposedly feeling. He shakes his head and offers a comforting smile to Taehyung. 

“I need to go, Taehyung.”

“Are you coming back?” Taehyung’s voice is strained. Pleading. He reaches out with his hand then immediately stops when he catches himself. “I fucked up, didn’t I?”

“You didn’t. We’re fine.” 

Seokjin glances behind Taehyung. Manager Kim is getting stopped by every passing staff member, probably journalists, for a comment. 

“I’ll see you soon.”

“Will your husband let you?”

Seokjin bites his lower lip to stop the snort he instinctively wants to let out. 

“He’s not how you think he is. He’s a good person.” 

The words unsaid are loud and clear. 

Taehyung sighs and nods. “Okay. Come back soon. I want to see you.” 

Among Seokjin’s scattered thoughts, the one repeating itself over and over, begging to be let out is, But you don’t need to. 

jjk catches kth kissing unknown staff of hinoki honey causing a ruckus on set
#hinoki honey #jjk #kth #taekook #scandal 


video link to #taekook scandal in #hinoki honey set


how dare kth cheat on my baby HE DESERVES BETTER


wow they’re actually dating i thought we were joking

everyone who sees this reply with the hashtags #JJKDeservesMore #KTHOut


bold of kth to kiss another man when jjk’s already the perfect boyfriend to exist #JJKDeservesBetter


these j*jk stans are so f*cking annoying the video doesn’t even show k*th kissing whoever that was


please stop giving this nonsense attention. jungkook literally just had a press conference hours ago? and he’s blonde?? hello?!?!


jwu TL in flames what’s up

JUNGKOOK BLONDE?!?!?! faints

omg aww he visited taehyung on set :]


The car quietly humming in the empty parking space at the back of the studio is boarded as discreetly as possible by the first passenger. After five minutes, another person appears with none of the subtlety the former exhibited. He pulls the car door open, enters the car, and slams the door loudly. 

From the outside, the car starts moving and begins its exit from the film studio and to its destination: the passengers’ hotel accommodations.

Inside, the tension in the air is palpable. 

Seokjin and Jungkook sit on opposite sides of the car. The  divider is pulled up, excusing them from the driver and providing much needed privacy. 

Silence between them is always a choice. This one is different. Seokjin is at a loss for words. Jungkook is too high-strung, hands closed in a fist and looking outside the heavily tinted window. 

Seokjin decides this is the time wherein actions are indeed much louder than words. He rarely resorts to this kind of solution. He scoots closer to Jungkook who ignores him. Seokjin’s fingers find Jungkook’s arm, wrapping around it and coaxing his attention. 

Words are particularly hard right now. Jungkook closes his eyes, inhales and exhales, then faces Seokjin. They would’ve never gotten anywhere if the both of them continue to keep being stubborn because unlike their petty little fights, wherein they argue for the sake of arguing, for the chase and mind-blowing make up sex afterwards, this is different. 

Jungkook permits Seokjin to shape them according to his liking. The hand on his arm moves to cup his cheek, thumb gently rubbing the skin underneath his eyes. He’s being comforted. Jungkook halts the ministrations by wrapping his fingers around Seokjin’s wrist, much like how Taehyung did it. He feels shallow victory surge in him over the fact that he gets to do what Taehyung can only ever dream about.

When Jungkook presses his mouth anywhere else beside Seokjin’s own, it makes Seokjin think of music. His lips are a different story.

Jungkook kisses him and Seokjin feels like he’s learning a new language. 

The insistence is similar to syntax being beaten into his subconscious until he learns. 

The unknown sounds, curling of tongue over certain words, the proper way to angle and open his mouth. Jungkook’s kisses teach him something new all the time; never modest and an unending chase of mastery. 

Kissing will always be foreign, Seokjin decides. It will never be his mother tongue, and kissing someone, Jungkook in particular, will forever be a translation. You cannot fully translate anything without the nuance and wordplays getting lost. 

The only thing you can do, as one should when trying to recieve, is feel.

Right now what Seokjin feels are the leather seats he is pressed against. The hands harshly gripping each side of his face, the desperation from the lips refusing to leave his own, and an unspoken repetitious plea of, You chose me. You’re mine. You chose me.

When they do pull away from each other, lungs begging for oxygen, the first thing Jungkook says is, “I’m sorry.”

Jungkook is silently panting, chest and shoulders heaving. His eyes are dark and drilling into Seokjin’s own. The blonde strands fall over his eyes, perfect eyebrows scrunched up, and his hold on Seokjin unrelenting. 

Seokjin doesn’t think he’s sorry at all. So he laughs and tucks Jungkook’s hair behind his ear only for it to once again fall out of place. 

“You’re not.”

“I’m sorry because I’m not sorry.”

Seokjin pats him on the chest. “Better.” He pushes Jungkook to the side who does so without resistance. 

Jungkook sighs and scoots back the end of the car, elbow resting on the window sill and the fingers of his closed first pressing on his lips. The numerous rings on his fingers are cold against his skin. 

Seokjin does the same. He fixes his hair, then he runs his hands down his clothes, smoothing out the creases. 

“I don’t know how you do it.” Jungkook mumbles. “You see those rumors about me with different people all the time. Sometimes it’s true, most of the time it’s not. You never ask me about them either. Does nothing truly shake you?”

“Jungkook, an arrangement I proposed for us does not affect me.” 

Venomous words are on the tip of Jungkook’s tongue. He’s learned that lashing out doesn't get to Seokjin either. “There’s a lot of things I want to say.”

“Say it then.” Seokjin glances outside the moving vehicle and back to Jungkook. “We still have time.”

“I want to say that… I’m going to stop benefiting from this open relationship. I could really care less. But it’s not like doing that will change how I feel about Kim Taehyung or every other person who wants you. I can’t really say I’ll stop, then expect you to cut ties with him simply because I’m jealous. It’s just— he’s different. You became different.”

“Different how?” Seokjin knows the answer already. He only wants Jungkook to say it for himself.

“It’s different because you never cared about other people before and right exactly when I left you suddenly did.” Jungkook grumbles and the way he says the following words indicate he’s been thinking about it a lot. “And he’s an actor. You like movies. You studied film and you teach it too. I can’t help but see how well-suited you guys are.”

They are nearing their destination. Seokjin always has to go first, and Jungkook will need to be dropped off somewhere more private.

Seokjin can keep quiet. He can also offer words of comfort. He can simply reach out and hold Jungkook’s hand, and Jungkook’s worries will melt away and bury themselves in the back of his head until they resurface when something else happens. 

Jungkook sighs again. He’s not expecting anything after admitting the truth. 

Seokjin wonders if this is what they call tough love.

“I agree with you.” 

The car is already slowing down. Jungkook waits for him to continue, his eyebrows drawn together and mouth downturned. 

“Taehyung suits me well.”

Jungkook opens his mouth for an instant retort. The car screeches to a halt. Seokjin’s already pushing the car door on his side open. 

“But you know,” He looks back at Jungkook with a smirk, eyes glazed and sensual. “You know I feel for you the most, right? You don’t just suit me well. You fit me better; because I like you better. You seem to keep forgetting that.”

Seokjin laughs at the complete turn of expression on Jungkook’s face. “And I really like it when you’re mean. Or an asshole. Because the truth is you’re very sweet, and you’re so in love with me I sometimes look at you and wonder if you’re real.” 

Glancing outside and making sure they are still relatively alone, Seokjin wraps his hand around Jungkook’s wrist, pulling him close until their faces are inches apart. “Your jealousy and possessiveness at least assures me you are. Real, I mean. Human.” His eyes drop down Jungkook’s parted lips, the other too stunned to shut them or respond. 

Seokjin grins, nose scrunching uncharacteristically. He presses a soft and fleeting kiss on the side of Jungkook’s mouth and looks him in the eye one last time. 

“I really like your new hair, Jungkook-ah.”

Seokjin steps out of the sharp suits and polite button-ups and trades it for one of Jungkook’s olive green vintage fleece sweaters and shorts. He keeps the leather shoes and boots inside the closet and slips into plain white sneakers. He sheds the more formal and cold version of himself away like snakeskin. He doesn’t touch the bottle that smells of sea salt and ozone. A mist of particles mimicking powder and hydrangeas instead envelop him, the scent strong on each side of his neck and the back of his wrists. 

This soft presentation of his is an orchestrated apology. Jungkook would see through him in an instant. Seokjin does plan to be sincere. It doesn’t hurt to improve his chances by doing everything he knows Jungkook loves even when his husband insists he likes everything. 

Seokjin arrives at the low-profile commercial building in a taxi. He converses with his driver in the city’s native language perfectly, and he gets asked if there is an emergency because he’s not riding the trains. He laughs and says he’s a foreigner, and he receives a grunt in return about how he should’ve known because only tourists ride cabs. He pays them more than what the meter states and makes his way inside. 

There’s no one manning the front desk. Passing through different doors and walking on the carpeted hallway, Seokjin hears people and feels bass against his feet. He enters where he knows Jungkook is. 

The studio is divided in two by a glass window. There’s a black leather couch and mini refrigerator in the lounge area, smaller and bare compared to the studio where even the walls are padded with panel foam. 

Jungkook’s sitting on a rolling chair in the most casual of clothes so different from his celebrity persona, a heather grey hoodie that covers his head and matching sweatpants, that if Seokjin closed his eyes and let himself imagine a different setting it would be easy to trick himself into thinking they are at home and not in a close to empty recording studio in Tokyo at two in the morning.

Seokjin doesn’t conceal himself or the noises he makes. He stands right where Jungkook can see him, and when he is noticed, raises his hand in a wave. He doesn’t wait for Jungkook to come up to him. He’s already turning the door knob and entering the studio proper when he sees Jungkook removing the headphones covering his ears and leaving it around his neck. 

“Hi.” Jungkook greets, blinking in confusion and surprise. “It’s two in the morning.”

“I know.” Seokjin stifles his laugh and instead takes his time closing the door. 

“And you’re here.”

It clicks shut.

“I am.” 

“Why?” Jungkook asks this even though he’s already extending one arm out as an invitation for Seokjin to come closer. 

It’s accepted quickly. Seokjin doesn’t linger or tease, nor does he complain when Jungkook pulls him down on his lap and against his chest. The chair creaks due to their combined weights, Jungkook angles them to the side so one arm is around Seokjin while the other remains on the MIDI in front of him.

Jungkook studies Seokjin’s face silently. Seokjin rests his hand on top of Jungkook’s head, feeling the material of the hoodie covering the blonde hair under his palm. Several strands poke out from underneath it and he doesn’t waste time twirling one around his finger. 

“You’re trying to apologize.” Jungkook concludes, face blank. 

“Is it working?” Seokjin is met with brown eyes rolling and the arm around him tightening.

“You know you don’t have to.”

Seokjin hums. “Yes, but.” His hand moves down to cup Jungkook’s jaw, fingers digging on sculpted bone structure. “I know you love it.”

Jungkook blushes and Seokjin is infinitely endeared that he ends up pressing a kiss on Jungkook’s lips. 

“My husband loves it when I spoil him.” Seokjin whispers. He giggles and lets go of Jungkook’s face in favor of tapping his shoulder. “Show me what you’re working on.”

“This is not healthy.” Jungkook whines. “We should actually talk about it instead of you coming here and being all up on me. It doesn't work like that.” 

Seokjin groans in exaggeration. “What is there to talk about?”

“The reason why you think you should be here.” 

“I’m here because it’s our thing.

Seokjin is highly aware that people who know them and that they are together wonders about this. 

What is it like when you two are alone?

What do you even do together?

How does this relationship work?

This is the answer to it. It’s nothing special. Beneath the lavish gifts and glamorous escapades, the one thing Seokjin enjoys doing with Jungkook that doesn’t have anything to do with his own life is this. He likes watching Jungkook work on his music, and he loves how when he has a comment or suggestion about something, his opinion is valued. Sometimes Jungkook indulges him too much, like when he lets Seokjin play the piano arrangement for a song instead of actually getting a professional. At times Seokjin raps on a random beat Hoseok sends over and Jungkook hypes him up even when he’s saying the most random lines. This is when they are most in love, and nobody has seen this side of theirs except for the other. It’s perhaps why they missed each other so much when Jungkook went away for his second album because Seokjin should have been there with him. 

“I know there is more to it.” Jungkook insists. “Talk to me. Please.” 

When Jungkook pleads, who is Seokjin to deny him? 

“You lost your cool in public for a reason I understand. I see the logistics of this entire situation clearly enough to know it doesn't guarantee any reaction or consolation from me. But I do want to console you. You’re mine and you’re upset and I just want you to feel secure that I’m still yours, okay? Always have, always will be.” 

Jungkook’s mouth opens and closes. He blinks rapidly at Seokjin who waits patiently for the other to process everything he was told. 

In the end, Jungkook grins, all teeth and crinkling eyes. “You love me so much.”

Seokjin sighs in fake exasperation. “And you’re so easy to please.”

“Yes, I am, which is why you should do it more often.”

It is so easy to dissolve in their own world where only the other exists and matters. 

Jungkook places the headphones over Seokjin’s ears, allowing him a peek into the rough beginnings of what will soon become Hinoki Honey’s theme. Seokjin listens intently while Jungkook joins their hand together, fingers swallowing the spaces between. 

“Did you listen to the new album?” Jungkook asks after Seokjin removes the headset and rests it around his neck.

“I did.”

“What do you think? Favorite track?”

“Hm. The first one.”

Jungkook bites his bottom lip. “You don’t like it?”

Seokjin scoffs, pushing Jungkook’s shoulder lightly. “Of course I do.” His hand lingers on Jungkook’s shoulder. He pretends to flick lint to the side before speaking again. “It feels very personal.”

“Because it is.” The determination in Jungkook’s voice is unmistakable. “There’s a piece of you from start to finish.”

“I guessed as much.”

“And that bothers you?”

Seokjin scoffs and cups Jungkook’s face with his palms. He rests his forehead against the other’s, their noses touching. The warmth and proximity pulls him into closing his eyes. He smiles when he feels Jungkook kiss his cheek. 

“It’s intimidating to think that soon, millions of people around the world will be listening to it. You’d be performing it in concerts and shooting music videos. There will be more interviews and press conferences too; all asking about what it means.”

“It doesn't matter. People place too much meaning on everything. Sometimes a lyric is just a lyric.”

“Yes, but.” Seokjin pulls away and opens his eyes. His thumbs rub circles on Jungkook’s cheeks, right against the skin underneath his eyes. “You’re you. The masses can’t help it. They’ll link every little thing you release with what they think they know.”

Jungkook raises a brow, a smirk forming on his lips. “Are you talking about the rumors surrounding me and Kim Taehyung?”

The unimpressed look Seokjin gives him spurs Jungkook on. He pulls Seokjin closer to his chest, lips trailing Seokjin’s neck, mumbling things without thinking of them twice. “You’d rather they wonder about you?”

Seokjin’s hands move to tangle in Jungkook’s hair. He fists the blonde strands and pulls Jungkook’s head back harshly. He only receives a wide grin in return. 

They stare at each other in silence. No words are needed between them. Seokjin is as cold as ice, and the wild glint in Jungkook’s eyes promises on starting a fire that will end up with them tumbling on top of the couch and less clothes.

Jungkook giggles, voice low and eyes dark. He reaches forward. Seokjin keeps him in place.

“I think I get it now. The thought that millions of people will listen to it and learn about how much I love you gets to you. They’ll hear about how I laid eyes on you that one faithful day during my birthday party and never looked away, how you let me fuck around but it’s you I come home to, and that if you ask me to jump I won’t stop until you allow me to rest.”

Seokjin finally lets go. He rolls his eyes and directs his gaze at the background. “You should’ve written a book instead if that’s how it is.”

“Yeah, well, I know you love it. Bet you’d get mad when I start touring again and I don’t point at you whenever I perform your favorite song ‘cause you’re petty like that.”

“Arrogant of you to assume I’m joining you on tour.”

They both know Seokjin will. He may not attend the shows itself, preferring to stay backstage or the hotels, but he’s always there. 

They are always there for each other.

There is a saying that describes their love well. 

He who watches the sea doesn’t know the sea. He who sits by the shore doesn’t know the sea. And he who comes only to look doesn’t know the sea. Only he who dives knows the sea.

Only Seokjin and Jungkook understand what this love is like. Only the two of them know how their world works. And there may be parts of their individual lives the other is unaware of or does not comprehend, yet it must be said that they too understand this well. 

The early morning goes on for them with Jungkook explaining bits and pieces of the new album. Seokjin listens intently and lights up whenever Jungkook mentions something that made its way in the lyrics that he didn't catch at first but is a reference to this and that. Seokjin tells his husband about the Riviera Boys and Always In My Heart remix that would be used in the film. Jungkook is absolutely delighted, calls Seokjin, “My genius baby,” and proceeds to remake this aforementioned remix because Seokjin wants to immerse himself in it for days on repeat.

They exit the studio hand in hand before the sun rises, the horizon still dark. Making up always gives them an incomparable high. Jungkook drags him towards the back where his car, a rarely used Maserati, is parked. It’s uncommon to spot JJK without his driver around and in a tinted van, making his personal automobile recognizable to the public. He helps Seokjin in the passenger seat who pushes the chair backwards. 

Once they are on the road, they listen again to Always In My Heart, and Jungkook sings lyrics he comes up with on the spot to go with the instrumental. 

Seokjin watches Jungkook drive with one hand, the other connected to Seokjin’s own, laying between them on the armrest. Seokjin himself is curled to his side, lulled by the song’s musical arrangement, Jungkook’s imaginative lyrics, and his soft humming. He likes Jungkook when he’s on stage, decked out in dark colors and his guitar hanging over his body. Seokjin surrenders and admits that he does love this Jungkook better, when he's carefree and singing only for him. 




Our favorite superstar is not getting a break! Yesterday afternoon, social media was flooded with a video circulating of Kim Taehyung in an altercation with rumored lover JJK when said actor was allegedly caught kissing a staff member from Hinoki Honey’s set. The fans’ sympathy towards JJK was enormous and overflowing, calling Kim Taehyung a cheater. Hours ago, around five in the morning, JJK was caught by paparazzi exiting one of the more obscure music studios in Tokyo hand in hand with a mysterious stranger. The juicy gossip does not end there because this stranger is confirmed by multiple sources to be the same person who Kim Taehyung was seen with in the video. Is this scandal deepening, or are we actually looking at this in a different angle?

Somewhere deep in the mountains of South Korea’s northernmost province, the Kim family’s matriarch sits in her office, listening to her secretary read an article talking about her beloved grandchild and grandson-in-law. 

The secretary stands straight in the middle of the tastefully decorated office. They are holding a tablet with both hands, reading loudly and clearly, the words discussing what the media is calling an affair,  from one of the more merciful tabloid websites. The glare of the screen reflects against the secretary’s face. 

Kim Jinri has her back on them. Attached to the wall behind her desk is a crackling fireplace. Above it is a family portrait she herself painted. It depicts her, her husband, and a young Seokjin who is sitting between them with the loveliest smile on his face. He’s always been a beautiful child, Jinri laments to herself, remembering the days of when Seokjin was younger and couldn't hide his emotions well. Jinri captures his serene countenance and that melancholic gleam in his eyes. Only eleven and he moved with the kind of gracefulness that cannot be taught, spoke in a manner that almost taunts people to not listen or do as he says, and a sadness inherited if you came from a world such as theirs.

Kim Jinri loves her grandchild more than anyone in this world. Because of this, she is cognizant of the turbulence running through his veins. 

She knows that Seokjin dreamt of defying his destiny. She knows Seokjin wanted to stray from the path he was born into. She knows Seokjin wishes he did not let fate take its course. 

This is the future Jinri and the rest of the family wanted for him, and Seokjin hated that in the end, despite all the excuses and fake politeness, he succumbed to it. Seokjin thinks he is weak for it, well, Jinri thinks it is her grandson’s fault that he allowed himself to be so in love.

It all worked out for everyone in the end. 

Seokjin got his happy ending and their world gets to keep Seokjin in her smothering embrace of duties and opulence. 

This is why when Jinri tells her assistant the following, she rightfully believes that this is duty as well. “Send word to our beloved little prince that he is being summoned.”

Again, Jinri loves Seokjin. She is doing this out of love and obligation, two things that she rarely allows to co-exist. As a painter herself, she understands Seokjin and Jungkook’s artistic pursuits. The agreement though did not entail all this scandal being aired for everyone to see. It threatens the invisible hand covering the eyes of the masses to be removed, and in their world where influence is the currency, it is privacy that supports its foundation. 

The secretary nods and voices their acquiescence. 

Jinri stops them from leaving with another reminder.

“Tell Seokjin playtime is over.” Jinri sighs and turns around her chair. On her desk is a photograph of Seokjin and Jungkook taken during their wedding from four years ago. Another sigh. “These… minor inconveniences they keep getting into are not worth it. Seokjin should know that better than anyone.”

Jinri’s index finger traces the edges of the photo frame. And for the sake of humor, she adds, “Didn’t the Jeon heir arrogantly sign away everything in his name to Seokjin in the event of death or separation?” 

The modern world learn about ballet through movies and not from seeing it with their own eyes. 

Jimin is part of the one percent, a wordplay he finds hilarious, who was expected to dance before he was even born. It is not something he saw through a small television screen and begged his parents for.

He has been told about his family history more than words of love, heard about his grandmother and his grandmother before that, then a set of grandparents, and so on and so forth way down the line until he’s sure his mother must be lying through her teeth whenever she entertains guests about these certain stories about how they are related to the Didelots. He has heard more jokes about how he is the perfect culmination of this art form, how malleable and ripe for the picking he must be. 

At four years old, Jimin learns the word deformed and thinks about it alongside the repetitive un, deux, trois, more than he speaks of mother or father . He would look down at his then chubby ankles, hear his mother laugh obnoxiously in the tea room, and listen as poisonous honey drip from her lips about how his ankle joints had been perfectly deformed and primed for perfection the moment he was born. This instilled fear and anxiety in him until he learned that danseurs do not dance en pointe as much compared to the women and his ankles do not need to accommodate the ungodly plantarflexion range expected of them. Instead he grew everyday to learn about how much he despised his family. 

And then he fell in love.

Not with dancing, no.

Jimin saw him walking the gravel pathway through the second floor windows of his dance school, lithe and breathtaking, the most beautiful person he has ever seen. He didn’t know children could look like that. He always thought he’d hit a certain age like those in the higher years of the school and hoped for the best on what face nature and time would bless him with. The older boy he saw didn’t need none of that, Jimin thought with envy and wonder. He remembers his mother’s words and it repeats in his head, an allegro of perfect, perfectly, perfection. 

He was entranced and put under a spell so heavy he finally relents and allows his mother to drag him to a dinner party hosted in one of the largest homes in the countryside. He gets forced in stuffy clothes and he doesn’t complain, all smiles and politeness, because his animosity only bubbles inside and kept tame by this boyish crush he developed over someone he only saw for the fraction of a semibreve.

Kim Seokjin. 

The apple of Jimin’s affections goes against every standard in a Balanchine production— the dancer is only a tool of the dance itself. Seokjin never blended in well among other people. He stood out even when he was sitting down, attracting attention left and right. It was impossible to peer through the small window allowing the other dancers a peek in the class Seokjin belonged in without their eyes gravitating towards him. He never danced in front, the teachers guiding him to  the back where they thought he would draw less attention and distraction. It only served to increase his allure. From the perfect arch of his foot to the hollowness of his palm, possessing such a pretty face was simply unfair. 

During one of the days when their classes were held together, their teacher assigned them together as a pair. Jimin was torn between throwing up and throwing confetti in the air. It leaned more on the former when, to Jimin’s horror, he elbowed Seokjin in the face. He apologized profusely, tears streaming down his face at the embarrassment. Seokjin only laughed, then he winced and cupped his reddening cheek. He soothed Jimin with a smile. Seokjin’s first words to him were, “It’s alright. We’re partners, aren’t we? We only have each other. You can hit me all you want.”

The rest was history.

Present day Park Jimin sits in his hotel bedroom with aspirin ointment soaking in his skin. His feet, where all this ointment is rubbed against, is wrapped with cling film, elastic bandages, a sock, and a heating pad. In that particular order. It’s a ritual after every performance or practice or class. The dance world is cutthroat, and Jimin is used to having the knife pointed at his throat that the occasional drop of blood does not bother him anymore. 

He’s performing again tomorrow. Another nineteenth-century classic. He finds it oh-so-boring. 

On the bedside table beside him from where he is sitting up in bed are numerous items. There is his phone that he placed on silent mode due to the continuous messages from his family prying him for information regarding the news that broke out about Seokjin and Jungkook. There’s a glass of water on a coaster, tickets from the local art museum in the city he is currently in, a couple of painkillers, more ointment, and photographs of Jeon Jungkook and Kim Taehyung from the balcony during Director Fujiyama’s birthday party, an event Jimin abstained from attending. 

Jimin sighs ruefully at the last item he has accounted for. He scolds himself for not throwing the pictures in the flame before wrapping his foot. Nevertheless, what’s done is done. He turns off the lampshade and settles properly in bed. Jimin closes his eyes and thinks about the butterfly effect.

See, Jimin has always protected Seokjin, and by extension, Jungkook as well. Illicit photographs and potential scandals are kept under the surface thanks to the large part his family plays in the industry. The one time Jimin lets an ambitious and financially starved paparazzo slip away on purpose, this is what happens. He was only late for ten minutes when the photographs went live for auction and got sold to the highest bidding gossip news source. 

Jimin dislikes the nineteenth-century productions. The Swan Lakes, Giselles, Sleeping Beauties, and The Nutcrackers are such rigid performances for him. 

And yet, everything is unfolding similar to a Tchaikovsky classic.

There is no story, yet there are many stories, many moods, many emotions, and many loves.

Chapter Text

“Young master Jeon.”

Two pairs of eyes are focused on the aforementioned person. One, beady and black, the other wide and brown.

“Young master Jeon,” The strict tone of the teacher doesn’t falter. “Do not wait until your Grandfather gets here.”

The child standing in the middle of the open field flinches. He’s clearly shaking, feet shuffling against lush green grass. He trembles as he holds the rifle up in the proper position as taught by their instructor. 

“We cannot leave if you are not able to shoot down seven consecutive clay pigeons, young master.”

As if to plant resentment and more tantrums in the child's heart, the gusts of wind remain strong and steady, sudden bursts causing the orange plastic discs setting off from a distance to fly haphazardly in the atmosphere, forcing him to follow through with his rifle only for the bullets to miss.

The pinched face from the child erupts and he screams after he misses every single one. He throws the rifle to the ground.

The instructor only sighs. 

The other person watching the scene glances up from his spot where he is sprawled on his stomach underneath the shade of a giant oak tree, hands busy with a handheld gaming device.

“Young master, as much as we all want to leave, we have been instructed to not move until you get all seven consecutive shots.”

The angered child turns blazing brown eyes toward the instructor who amazingly does not cower. 

“The wind is fucking up my shots!”

Sounds coming from the gaming device of the other spectator has him turning towards it. He points a finger at the other and says, “There was no wind when he did his! This is unfair!”

“Wind or not, will you be able to shoot all seven consecutively?”

An older gentleman wearing a perfectly fitting suit appears followed by three more personnel draped in black; his assistant and two bodyguards. 

The instructor suppresses their gasp in time and bows low while the child gapes, catches his bearings, and shuts his mouth.

“Answer me, Jeonghwan. Will you be able to shoot all seven consecutively without the wind, what term did you use, fucking up your shots?”

The child, Jeon Jeonghwan, stiffens. 

“I— I believe so, Grandfather.”

The man clicks his tongue. “You should have no room for doubt.” His eyes land on his youngest grandchild ignoring the commotion and continuously pressing the buttons on his device.

“Jungkook-ah. Come and take over your older brother’s place so you can finally take your rest.”

Jungkook instantly lays the device down and gets up. He walks toward the open field while his grandfather and attendants stand underneath the tree. The assistant picks up his gaming device. 

Jeonghwan watches his youngest brother, almost six years old, get handed a rifle bigger than him by their instructor. 

The weather is obviously in a terrible mood, ruffling everyone’s hair and the fabric of their clothes.

Their grandfather gives the go signal.


No matter where the wind takes the orange flying disc, whether it be up or down, left or right, they all fall to the ground courtesy of the bullets firing from Jungkook’s rifle. 

It is jaw-dropping and impressive for his audience. To Jungkook, it is a matter of seeing color burst at every shot. It’s too easy for him. He has a harder time learning hangul than this. He finishes all seven in no less than a minute.

Jeonghwan’s hand closes and tightens into a fist. He grits his teeth and looks at the ground. There is nothing worse for him than feeling inferior over his youngest brother.

A cry that reverberates in the air elicits an instinctive reaction from Jeonghwan to swivel his head up and locate the direction the morbid sound is coming from. His eyes widen and he gasps in shock as he spots the cause. 

There, a few meters away from where he and Jungkook are standing, is a dead bird bleeding and lifeless. 

An instant death. 

“Sorry.” Jungkook’s voice disrupts Jeonghwan from the carnage. “I thought it was a plastic one.”

“It is no problem, Jungkook-ah.”

Jeonghwan did not need to look to see the proud smile their grandfather is bestowing on his favorite. 

“Come, let us go back inside. Jeonghwan, stay with your instructor and clean up this mess.”

Jungkook carelessly drops his rifle to the ground. He walks past Jeonghwan who is more than a head taller than him. Jeonghwan’s gaze follows him, and with the wind pushing back Jungkook’s hair, Jeonghwan can see how his younger brother spares him a glance for a second, his eyes that supposedly see colors unimaginable by the normal human mind, empty and dead.

The summons arrived at 8:30 in the morning on the dot. South Korea calls for Seokjin to come back immediately. It is answered with affirmation, and by lunchtime, a plane that will take Seokjin directly to Yangyang International Airport awaits him. 

Seokjin makes the decision for Jungkook to stay. 

“Your career is important,” Seokjin kisses his cheek, melting the pout and stubbornness away, then rests his palms on top of Jungkook’s shoulder. “Focus on your album release. I’ll go home and deal with my family.”

“But I’m your family now,” Jungkook insists. He shakes Seokjin off him and instead entwines their fingers together. “And that means your family is my family too. We can face them together.”

How endearing, Seokjin thinks. 

Family is frankly a word Seokjin has never thought to associate with Jungkook. Family is kin, blood, teeth, and duty. Family is decided right from the beginning. Jungkook is a choice, and at times Seokjin feels an overwhelming sense of existential crisis on whether Jungkook is a choice or a circumstance, but then Jungkook takes his hand in his and wraps him in the word family, that Seokjin has no choice but to agree that yes, choosing Jungkook was decided on from the start. 

Jungkook is hitsuzen. 

Seokjin finds it hard to let go and say goodbye. He unconsciously tightens his hold on Jungkook’s palm, his fingernails digging on Jungkook’s skin. 

The moving car halts, and outside, the plane that will take Seokjin away waits. He wants to stay inside the car, wants to stay at home, and here is home; right beside Jungkook who Seokjin can see isn’t strong enough to decide for the both of them. If he so much as hints he doesn’t want to do this alone, Jungkook would easily throw everything away and choose him. 


Seokjin tilts his head in acknowledgement.

“I will throw everything away for you, you know?”

Jungkook says it so casually, eyes big and full of the stars. His blonde hair is tucked inside a beanie, he’s wearing a purple plaid shirt, and in another world Jungkook is enjoying his youth and his time, yet here he is waking up everyday for Seokjin and his art.

“I know.” 

Jungkook nods, seemingly satisfied. He kisses Seokjin, a soft press of lips and nothing more. His eyes remain open and on Seokjin. He moves his mouth from side to side, gliding against Seokjin’s own and lighting up nerves and impulses Seokjin didn’t know could be switched on from something this simple. Jungkook’s free hand comes up Seokjin’s cheek and stays there. 

A sigh. Jungkook’s hot breath fans over Seokjin.

“You’re not leaving me are you?”

Seokjin would have fumbled if he was a lesser man.

“Are you afraid of being left alone, Jungkookie?”

“No,” Jungkook chuckles lowly, the sound barely heard despite their closeness. “Because you won’t.”

“And why is that?” 

It’s supposed to come off as huffy. 

It doesn’t.

The corners of Jungkook’s mouth lift up into a smile. 

“Because you love me as much as I love you, don’t you?” Jungkook licks his lips and tries to shift the mood. “Promise me you’ll be back when my new album is out.”

“I promise, Jungkook-ah. I will be there at the airport right exactly when it drops at midnight.

Seokjin rolls his eyes when Jungkook holds his pinky finger out. He obliges, wrapping his own around Jungkook’s, and tapping their thumbs together.

Jungkook’s last words before Seokjin leaves is also a promise in itself.

“If you don’t, I will come for you, Jin. Wherever you may be.”

There is a cutthroat and menacing air in the atmosphere.

The Kim family’s estate in the mountains of South Korea does not loom unlike the manors written about in gothic literature. It’s a sloping piece of land; flat here, raised there, and bodies of water everywhere. It reminds Seokjin of violent goddesses with pasty faces, a serene smile, and lidded eyes. 

Seated inside the heavily tinted black car, Seokjin watches the small wooden heavy doors open up to reveal the inside. The outside is always unassuming and plain to outsiders. This simple gate and the high stone fence is almost a passing thought until you are driving on for miles and realize that the fence never ends, encompassing almost the entire side of the mountain.

Exiting the car, Seokjin is greeted by the wind ruffling his hair. Seokjin has traveled across the globe yet nothing compares to being here. The wind feels different, and there is a humming in the air that reminds him strangely of amore.

He can hear something twinkling, vibrating, and thrumming. He feels peaceful and wild at the same time. This is home and there is a chance he might meet hell. His hand tremors, and he closes his fist to avoid this outpouring weakness. He itches to hold another’s hand. He doesn’t know who. There is no face that comes to mind. It’s a testament to how clueless he is of what is to happen.

Seokjin wants to sink into the ground, rejoin the riverbeds, and wishfully think it will bring him back to shelter, in the little pond where Jungkook likes crouching over, watching koi and the lily pads as if they’re the most interesting thing in the world. He only ever looks up when Seokjin comes up to him, his head turning towards Seokjin like a magnet, and he would greet him with sparkling eyes and the brightest smile.


Kim Jinri stands outside the entrance of the main house. Not too shortly she is joined by a tall and beautiful woman whose hair is perfectly coiffed. Her assistant. 

“Grandmother.” Seokjin bows. 

Jinri gestures for him to come closer. Seokjin does, and as soon as he crosses over and leaves the vicinity of the car, he throws away a version of himself and becomes her favorite. Seokjin holds his arm out for his grandmother and she immediately follows. 

“This is Areum-sshi. She’s been serving me well.”

Seokjin bows to Areum who does the same. 

“Areum-sshi, you can leave now. My grandson is here.” 

Seokjin supposes he is indeed.

Here now.

The tenseness of his shoulders either goes unnoticed or ignored by his grandmother as they walk inside. 

Strangely enough, it doesn’t feel like anything changed. Low ceilings, paintings, plants, and natural lighting flooding in from glass windows that overlook the estate. Seokjin knows that if he stops and focuses, squint his eyes just right, he would be able to make out the zen garden and the sloping bridge above a Monet-esque pond. 

“Where’s grandfather?”

Jinri snorts. “In the university.”

“He’s never going to quit, is he?” Seokjin jokes fondly. His grandmother finds it infuriating that after all these years, he decided to settle and become a professor like his grandfather.

“Your grandfather isn’t a quitter. If you ask me, it’s because he likes the attention.”

Seokjin can imagine and understand the fascination. It’s not everyday a former president of the nation struts in to teach your class.

“Maybe I should visit him.”

“You just got here, little prince, and you already wish to leave?”

Seokjin laughs at the nickname he has not heard in years. “I’m not little anymore.”

Jinri hums and squeezes his arm. “You always will be to me. Always our favorite jewel on this crown, Kim Seokjin.”

The sapphire and diamond earrings Jinri dons catch the light. The glimmering stones fascinated him way back even when he was still young. Kim Seokjin likes these finely cut gems that catch attention wherever one goes.

He’s not that lulled yet, he thinks, when he remembers the pearl necklace Jeon Seokjin has.

“We got your favorite drink flown over yesterday,” Jinri quips.

“My favorite?”

“Those cubes of brown sugar with longan and dates you liked so much as a child.”

Seokjin makes an ah! sound upon recalling said drink. He doesn't remember the last time he had one of those, a lavender oat milk latte is his designated drink of choice now as an adult.

“I’ll take some when I return home. Jungkook would probably like it.”

The change in Seokjin’s tone is noticeable. Talking about Jungkook is one thing, but mentioning him in passing to his grandmother is different. He becomes softer, a bit shy, syllables slowly enunciated. 

Jinri makes a sound acknowledging the statement. If she deigned to give it more acknowledgement, it probably would manifest into a shrug.

“There’s someone here for you.”

Seokjin stops walking. Jinri glances at him and smiles in assurance at the confusion on the other’s face. 

“You have been alone for a while, haven’t you?”

Seokjin doesn’t think he is. In a way, it’s true, but he made due by spending time with Jungkook in Japan. 

“Who?” Seokjin plays along.

“Now, where is the fun in knowing?”

It definitely isn’t Jungkook, Seokjin guessed, or else his husband would not be blowing his phone up asking if he has landed or if he arrived safely in the Kim mountain manor.

“I don’t know why I’m here,” Seokjin admits. “I hope it’s because you miss me.”

“We always miss you, little prince.” The walls surrounding them can withstand storms and chaos yet Seokjin can hear the wind instigating the chiming of bells and leaves. “Leave everything beyond the gates and enjoy the present, hm?”

Seokjin is left behind in his childhood bedroom. He doesn’t remember it being this big. He assumed that returning here would make him realize how small everything was but here he is sitting on his bed and looking around such vast space. The double doors leading to the balcony are left open, silk curtains gently swaying and giving a different touch of ambience to the albeit wooden structure. He gets up and walks toward said balcony, wondering if memory would serve him right and that if he looks on, he’ll see majestic trees, grass beneath, and another body of water nearby. He’s stopped by a knock on the sliding door. It glides to the side, and Seokjin’s brown eyes widen in surprise at his visitor.

“Have I died without my knowing?” The visitor playfully asks. His grey suit, colorful hair, and striking silver earrings all demand attention while he stands right there by the entrance. “You’re looking at me as if I’m a ghost, hyung.

The name leaves Seokjin’s mouth in a dramatic fashion. 

Everything in this world is dramatic after all; orchestrated opulence at its finest.


Seokjin does not move from where he is standing, nor does he meet Jimin halfway. He simply stands there in the middle of the room and Jimin comes for him. 

“Grandmother Jinri is so dramatic isn’t she?” Jimin giggles, bumping Seokjin’s shoulder with his. He manipulates them down the bed, a thumping sound heard as they sit down. “She really had to drag us here without a word when she could’ve just sent an invitation like any normal person.”

There’s a lump lodged in Seokjin’s throat as he stares at Jimin. He cannot help but imagine how the pastels coloring the strands of his hair must look underneath a stagelight. 

No beautiful color cannot hide transgressions, and Seokjin is beautiful, but one thing he isn’t is a fool.

“I’ve read the article. Jimin-ah,” Seokjin blinks, the way he always does, slow and sensual. “Has hyung upset you this much?”

The smile on Jimin’s face falters for a second. 

“You can never upset me, hyung.”

“Then why am I here?”

Jimin sighs. He places his hands behind his back, palms flat on the bed. “If that was the case, then Jinri-sshi is the one protecting you, hyung. I am only here as a mere guest.”

“Is that so? Has my grandmother put you on her payroll now?”

“Hyung,” Jimin’s voice is lilted as he says the term he has used to refer to the other a thousand times in his existence. “There are lines you should not cross.” 

“You just said I cannot possibly upset you.”

“Not me, hyung, but you have upset the rest of the family.”

“Which has been done so conveniently by you, is it not?”

“Do you admit it then, Seokjin-hyung? Do you admit that you need my protection?”

The two stare at each other silently. The light coming from the windows creates angles on their faces enhancing features only visible to the other.

Seokjin finally admits, “Jungkook needs it more than I do.” 

“There’s your answer then.” Jimin falls down the bed flat on his back. “You are here because Jungkook needs protecting, and I have no care for him, so you are here because your family does not want you included in his shitshow.”

“Jungkook is also my family, Jimin-ah. What hurts him hurts me too.” 

“Do not blame me for things that are already over and done with.”

Seokjin closes his eyes for a bit and opens them again. Perhaps if he cared less for Jungkook. Perhaps if he did not love him. 

“How long am I supposed to stay here?”

“As long as Jinri-sshi demands it.”

A bird in a gilded cage, Seokjin thinks. 

“I understand, Jimin.” 

Jimin lets out a chuckle. He raises his arm and drags the back of his fingers across Seokjin’s cheek who only stares at him. 

“Love will tear us apart, don’t you agree?”




The tip regarding superstar JJK has been confirmed and verified by trusted experts and professionals: the rockstar who goes by the alias JJK is Jeon Jungkook, the third and youngest son of the Jeon family, who owns JE Group, one of the oldest and largest conglomerates in South Korea. 

JE Group’s long list of controls include (but are not limited to) JE Bank and South Korea’s primary electrical and telecommunication network. As if this is not mind-boggling enough, JJK is also the sole heir of the MYT Group’s subsidiary company MYT Hotels & Resorts through his mother's side (it is unconfirmed whether JJK is also set to inherit MYT Group’s other investments). 

With such an illustrious heritage, the public cannot help but wonder how organic JJK's growth in the music industry is. 

One thing is for sure: he loves to keep high-profile friends around! From models, A-list actors such as Kim Taehyung, and an undisclosed companion from one of his paparazzi sightings, JJK has never made so many headlines about his personal life! 

Click below to read more about our favorite enigmatic musician’s never before released backstory! 

Seokjin is the kind of person who believes that actions are better than words. 

He’s neither an optimist or a pessimist. To him, reality and rationality comes hand in hand. 

There is this pooling feeling of anxiety in his stomach, a sensation that is foreign, at every tick of the clock. There’s a metaphorical countdown ticking in his head, and rather than worrying over what can happen, Seokjin can only wait it out. Perhaps he would let out a sigh of relief when time is up. 

He already knows he will be breaking his promise to Jungkook. 

Seokjin doesn’t need to ask or speak up about it. 

They aren’t letting him go anytime soon. He doesn’t fight it out either.

What the hell can he do?

He wonders how Jungkook is feeling. Wonders if Jungkook hates him or is blaming Seokjin’s family. 

The hand holding Seokjin’s own is starting to become familiar. Smooth, soft, and smaller than his, yet it holds him like the other is the one who has power over him. Rough hands and fingertips hardened by guitar strings seem like a forgotten memory at this point. 

A droplet of rain hitting Seokjin’s face brings him back to reality. 

For a bit.

It’s raining today, dark clouds washing away the land. He’s sitting outside the balcony of his room with Jimin, watching the downpour. Jimin’s casually dressed and nonchalantly sipping on an iced americano in a glass cup. Jimin’s fuzzy grey sweater grows a patch of wetness from where he is laying the cup on his chest. Jimin’s legs are outstretched, feet resting on the ledge and covered by black socks. Seokjin can tell that under that layer of cloth is flesh beaten and bruised. 

“The rain reminds me of you.” Jimin says. “You always stop and stare in wonder at the sky when it rains.”

Seokjin shrugs. He does.

“Why is that, hyung?” Jimin turns to him, studying the elegance of Seokjin’s face. The length of his eyelashes, the slope of his nose, and the redness of his mouth. Jimin’s smiling unconsciously. He returns his gaze forward.

“I think that when it rains, it also does in other realities. I think in another world, I would be doing the same.”

Jimin giggles at the albeit childish admittance. 

“What do you think the alternate universe Kim Seokjin is doing?”

The corner of Seokjin’s eye twitches at that. 

Kim Seokjin.

It leaves a bitter taste in his mouth. 

“I don’t know.” Seokjin’s hold on Jimin’s hand loosens. Jimin doesn’t let him and only tightens his grip, pulling Seokjin a bit more closer. “I hope he’s happy.”

Jimin hums. The ice cubes in the glass cup slosh around the liquid noisily.

“Hyung, do you remember watching Black Swan when we were children?”

“I do.” A fond memory. Seokjin cannot help but smile. “It was such a long time ago, but I still remember what it was like.”

“We could do everything we wanted,” Jimin sighs, wistful. “The only problem we ever had was filling our days with things to do.”

Seokjin’s heart clenches. 

On the corner of the balcony near the entryway, is a small round table with a vase of roses. The smell suddenly seems so strong, and Seokjin crinkles his nose at it. He feels suffocated, and he glances at Jimin who is still staring afar. 

Seokjin has been used to extremes and no middle.

He blames Jungkook for this withdrawal-like pining clouding his sanity.

Jungkook ruined monotony for him forever.

And perhaps Seokjin is waiting for Jungkook to make good with his words. Sometimes, when he hears a sound around here, he whips his head expecting to see Jungkook’s brown eyes, maybe narrowed or blown wide in anger, and Seokjin will grin at him, all-teeth and gums. 

If that is the case, Seokjin hopes Jungkook is angry. He wishes he can see how Jungkook’s brows furrow, his jaw stiffening, and the way he would clench his fists. 

“Hyung,” Jimin taps on Seokjin’s hand with his thumb, “You’re smiling.”

“Am I?”

“You are. Always so pretty when you do.”

Seokjin acknowledges the compliment with a tilt of his head. 

The overbearing sweetness of the roses now feel welcome. 

The buzzing of Jungkook’s phone would not stop. He cannot exactly turn it off. He’s waiting for a certain name to pop up on the screen that isn’t Manager Kim. 

The text messages are sometimes interspersed with phone calls, which serve to irritate Jungkook more. He’s getting sick of opening his phone and seeing how the clock is slowly ticking down to midnight, and not a single sign of Seokjin is manifesting on the screen and his line of sight.

Jungkook stands outside the airport gate decked in all black, a cap over his head, and a face mask covering half of his face. 

Two minutes left until midnight.

Two minutes until his second studio album drops.

Two minutes remain and if Seokjin does not show up as he promised, then Jungkook would have no other choice but to find him.

Instead of a message from Seokjin who he has not heard from in a week, all Jungkook sees are messages of, Where are you Jungkook-sshi, Please come back to the hotel, and Your entire week is booked! Please come back and stop making this harder for us, Jungkook-sshi!

Jungkook scoffs and rolls his eyes at the last one. 

In all honesty, Jungkook is not an optimist. He was not raised that way. It’s either a clear yes, or a hard no

There is no room for doubt.

Jungkook knows Seokjin is not coming back. He’s only staying here to twist the knife deeper. He hopes Seokjin is listening then. He hopes Seokjin is waiting like millions of people across the entire globe to hear JJK’s second album. He prays Seokjin is waiting like how Jungkook is here standing outside Narita International. He doesn’t only wish; he wants Seokjin to listen to the first track again and think of him. 

Midnight comes and embraces the land.

Seokjin’s words loop repeatedly in Jungkook’s mind.

“I promise, Jungkook-ah. I will be there at the airport right exactly when it drops at midnight.

The thing is, and Jungkook believes this a hundred and one percent, Seokjin will never break a promise. He has… never failed Jungkook like this. 

Jungkook clicks his tongue. “Who is keeping you from me, Jin?” He whispers to himself.

Somewhere behind him, he hears his music being played and then quickly silenced by a passerby who hurriedly plugs in their earphones. 

A sigh of disappointment comes out from Jungkook. 

Hands inside the pocket of his pants with nothing but his phone and his wallet, Jungkook struts inside the airport. 

“I guess I have to keep my promise then,” Jungkook mumbles, tutting. “I’m coming for you.”

A fine porcelain teacup painted with lavender is placed down. Golden liquid swims inside, reflecting an indecipherable smile.

“He does not waste time,” Jinri says lightly.

Areum only nods her head at the statement. “I will update you at once when he lands at Incheon.”

Jinri sighs in exaggeration. “What a troublesome brat. Imagine if he was some poor little mutt, hm? He would have no time calling for a chartered plane, nor would he even have enough money to buy tickets.”

Areum bows. “My apologies, Jinri-nim. I was too late.”

Jinri waves her hand in dismissal. “It is already done. Nevertheless, we own the sky, and intel is just as useful. We have delayed him enough by blocking access to Yangyang International.” She takes another sip from her tea and glances at the clock on her office desk.

Almost one in the morning.

“You already know what to do.”

Areum bows once more and prepares to leave the room when Jinri stops her again.

“And since you will already be phoning the media, call up the Jung household while you’re at it. There is something that needs to be drafted before the sun rises.

[Several Years Ago]

Romance oubilée.

The crooning of the cello in the background strangely fits the atmosphere. Marriage for love is such a rare commodity in this kind of world, and so the esteemed lawyer sitting behind his mahogany desk is curious and at the same time compelled with the case presented to him on this very day.

Prenuptial agreements do not usually go as jovially as this. For his clients, these people who are richer than god himself, signing such an agreement does not play out like this.

On his left is Jeon Jungkook. Standing behind him is his grandfather, Jeon Jaemun. The barely eighteen year old boy is dressed casually, like he was dragged from playing tennis in the nearest country club. Everyone else aside from him is in formal attire.

On his right is Kim Seokjin. Standing behind him is his grandmother, Kim Jinri. Seokjin, in comparison to Jungkook, is polished and sleek. He offers the lawyer a polite smile and a tilt of the head. 

Jungkook’s eyes are only on Seokjin, dream-like and… in love. It’s the kind of thing that prenuptial agreements lack.

The lawyer clears his throat. Such beautiful beings are deadly like this. 

“Shall we move over to the division of assets in the event of marriage dissolution or mortality?” 

Jungkook clicks his tongue. “Do I really have to be here for this?”

Jeon Jaemun chuckles and lays his hand on his grandson’s shoulder. Kim Jinri’s lips are pulled up in a taut smile.

“Jungkook-ah this will be over soon,” Jaemun assures him. “Let’s not give our dear Lawyer Jung a hard time.” 

Seokjin sighs and crosses his arms. “Be serious.”

Jungkook shrugs, complacent. “Alright, Jin.” He turns to Lawyer Jung and doesn’t even take a second to make his decision. “Everything I own will be in Jin’s name.”

“I said be serious,” Seokjin hisses, glaring at his soon-to-be husband. “This is not a joke, Jungkook.”

“But it’s not a joke?” Jungkook smiles innocently. “Are you going to leave me?”

“What if I get rid of you for your money?”

“Killing me is mercy compared to leaving me.”

Jaemun interjects, “My grandson never doubts. If he says he will sign everything away, then all will be signed away.”

A snort is heard coming from Jinri. She doesn’t bother hiding it. “While I have no interjections over such a dazzling proposition… Jaemun-ah, are you sure you’re going to let your Jungkook sign away everything he has? In a way, everything you also have?”

Jaemun glances at the other and sighs. “Jinri, not everything falls into pieces. The children are obviously in love.”

Lawyer Jung studies how Seokjin mouths something at Jungkook who only raises his brows in challenge. Seokjin avoids his gaze after. 

Papers are read over and shuffled around, Lawyer Jung’s gaze behind gold-rimmed glasses steady. 

“Client Jeon Jungkook-sshi’s liquid assets include the following as stated: a 70% share of JE Group and 15% of MYT Group. Documents have been mailed to our firm that Jeon Jungkook-sshi’s grandparents from his maternal side signed their shares under Jeon Jungkook-sshi, turning him into the major stockholder of the company, with a 70% share. In total, Jeon Jungkook-sshi’s current estimated value in assets is around 308 billion US dollars. As the client has stated, all will be given over to his soon-to-be husband Kim Seokjin in case of separation or death.”

“Your math is wrong.”

Lawyer Jung quizzically stares up from the papers to find Jungkook staring at him blankly. “Pardon?”

Jungkook looks up at the ceiling and back to Lawyer Jung. “One of JE Group’s subsidiaries is JE Geo. I don’t particularly like gold bars, you see. The only thing they are good for is knowing their weight. Let’s assume seven tons, hm? Taking that into account, my value is around… 600 billion dollars, Lawyer Jung.”

Jaemun laughs loudly and says something along the lines of, “Seven tons? What is this humbleness for, Jungkook-ah?”

Understanding dawns on Lawyer Jung about why Jeon Jaemun is too carefree and nonchalant with his grandchild. It seems that behind all the casualty and heart eyes lies something else. 

“Right. 600 billion dollars is Jeon Jungkook-sshi’s estimated value.” 

Turning towards Seokjin, Lawyer Jung recites, “Client Kim Seokjin’s liquid assets include the following as stated: a 25% share of Shinhwa-Kim Company. Kim Seokjin-sshi is valued at 31.3 billion dollars. Kim Seokjin-sshi, what will be your decision regarding division of assets in case of dissolution and mortality?”

“Ten percent.”

Jungkook’s head snaps to Seokjin. “I don’t care about your money.” It should sound rude, but based on his tone and facial expression, it clearly shows Jungkook doesn’t.

“And I don’t care about yours,” is Seokjin’s curt reply. 

“If that is the case,” Jaemun suddenly interrupts, “Then how about an understanding, Seokjin-ah?”

Seokjin smiles at the old man. “What is your proposition, Jaemun-sshi?”

“You will forfeit all your inheritance once you become a Jeon.”

Jinri lets out a curse and points a finger at the Jeon patriarch . “The agreement is that they will join surnames, you old bastard.”

Jaemun patiently smiles. “We’re the same age, Jinri-ah.”

Before Jinri could open her mouth and fling another curse at Jaemun’s direction, Seokjin turns around his seat and says, “Grandmother, can you wait outside with Jaemun-sshi?”

Jinri grumbles and rolls her eyes. Jaemun holds his arm out, which Jinri ignores.

“Seokjin-ah, make the correct decision.”

The door, also made of mahogany, clicks shut, and right after the elders disappear, Jungkook quickly reaches over and takes Seokjin’s hand in his.

“What do you think?”

Seokjin doesn’t struggle and allows this little intimacy.

Lawyer Jung sees how Seokjin’s shoulders relax.

“Your parents asked me the same thing,” Seokjin huffs.

“And what did you tell them?”

“I said I’ll keep their suggestion in mind.”

Jungkook sighs and scratches the back of his head. 

“Lawyer Jung.”

“Yes, Jungkook-sshi?”

“If Jin gets the Jeon last name, then he will have to forfeit his inheritance. Is that what my grandfather wants?”

Lawyer Jung coughs and hurriedly covers his mouth. The Jeon brat, Lawyer Jung thinks, is really smarter than he seems.

“Seokjin-sshi will no longer be a Kim, yes.” Lawyer Jung explains. He quickly adds, “Your grandfather simply wants to protect your interests, Jungkook-sshi.”

“Isn’t that really dumb?” Seokjin complains. “I’d be married to him and have nothing, but if we divorce or he dies, then I get everything. It’s a convenience to me, especially if we compare our worth.”

Jungkook studies Seokjin carefully, his lips pursed into a thin line. Then, he smiles, a full-blown grin showing his teeth. 

“Jin will accept and become a Jeon. He will be removed from the Kim family inheritance while he is a Jeon. In the event of dissolution or mortality, he will get everything in my name and the opportunity to regain his shares from Shinhwa-Kim Company.”

“Jeon Jungkook-sshi, as your lawyer, I am obliged to tell you this arrangement does not benefit you at all. You gain nothing and you can potentially lose everything.”

Jungkook shrugs. He looks down at his and Seokjin’s joined hands. He sees the blue diamond on Seokjin’s ring finger. Not a sapphire, the signature of Seokjin’s family, yet still blue. Blue like the Jeon family colors. 

“I gain Jin,” Jungkook drawls, finger tracing the cut of the gem. “That’s everything.”

Lawyer Jung waits for Seokjin to cut him off, perhaps shake some sense into the other. Instead, Seokjin suppresses his laughter with the back of his hand. 

“Jungkook-ah, is it really seven tons of gold?”

“Nah. More like fifteen.”

Seokjin laughs loudly this time around. “Understood.” He sighs, closes his eyes and rubs on the side of the left orb. “Don’t ever give me a reason to leave you, you idiot.”

“As if I’ll let you,” Jungkook snorts.

Lawyer Jung thought it was one-sided. He imagined it’s some kind of understanding between the families, an arrangement the Kims would be a fool to decline. Lawyer Jung sees it now. It’s a mutual decision between the two parties. 

Professionally speaking, this drafted proposal is a big mistake. 

“I suppose,” Seokjin sighed dramatically. “It's been twelve years and I still haven’t been rid of you.”




The superstar’s newest album entitled nightloop memos has not left the mouths of anyone since its release. Everywhere one turns, all they see is JJK’s second studio album topping charts, but where is the star himself? Press conferences and more are being cancelled left and right because JJK has not shown up to any of these scheduled events. According to an insider, JJK’s manager himself has no idea where his A-list client is. 

This absence adds more fuel to the fire that is JJK’s string of scandals and headlines that are popping off lately. 

Wherever JJK may be, one thing is for sure: nightloop memos isn’t going anywhere!

[Several Years Ago]

Brown leather boots leave footprints on the muddy forest ground. 

It rained heavily the past few days, and now that the skies are clear, Jimin doesn’t waste time dragging Seokjin outside to go hunting. 

They probably look bewildering to outsiders; young kids dressed in browns, blacks, and dark greens, leather hats and gloves, and rifles on their hands. The hound dogs are asleep, and it didn’t really matter, because the piece of land this little forest is sitting on is owned by Jimin’s family, and their guards are surrounding the perimeter.

The sound of a gun that doesn’t belong to them penetrates their eardrums.

“What’s that?” Jimin raises his rifle, alert. 

Seokjin continues walking. 

Another shot is heard and Seokjin stills. He grabs Jimin by the arm and drags him behind a large tree.

“What is it, hyung?”

Seokjin puts his finger on his lips. He whispers, “We’re not alone.”

“Huh? Should we call the guards?”

Seokjin shakes his head. He motions for Jimin to peek and look forward. 

From a considerable distance, they make out two figures. The other towers over the smaller, his rifle pointed. He seems to be getting frustrated, because his next words are heard loud and clear by Seokjin and Jimin. 


Jimin gasps, hands going on Seokjin’s shoulder. He’s hiding behind the older, feeling scared and unsure of what to do.

“Hyung, isn’t that Jungkook’s older brother?”

“It is. Jeon Jeonghwan.” 

They watch as Jeonghwan loads his rifle and prepares to shoot. Upon a particular strike of sunlight, they realize that the person on the other end is Jungkook. He seems to have backed further in the clearing, his form now hidden by the trees.


Another gunshot. 

Jimin gasps and buries his face in Seokjin’s shoulder. 

Seokjin, whose face Jimin cannot see, hardens. He mutters, “That idiot Jeonghwan is scaring all the game.” 

“Hyung! Do you really think he will do it?”

If they were a bit closer, they would be able to see how Jeonghwan’s nostrils flare in anger, his entire body shaking, and sweat dripping down his forehead. 


Another shot.

“Seokjin-hyung,” Jimin grabs Seokjin’s arm and readies to pull him away from the scene. “Let’s go, hyung. We shouldn’t be here.”

“I’m warning you, Jungkook! This is the last one! If you don’t fuck off and leave, I will really k—”

Two screams are heard. 

One from Jeonghwan. 

The other from Jimin, whose eyes instinctively closed at the sound of a bullet leaving a rifle in such a short distance. 

Seconds pass, and upon opening his eyes, he realizes that the one who fired the shot is none other than Seokjin. 

Seokjin steps out of the tree and Jimin does as well with hesitation. Seokjin brings his arm down along with the rifle, and he shouts, “Sorry! I thought you were a rabbit!”

With Seokjin’s voice ringing in the atmosphere, Jungkook peers from behind a tree, his round eyes wide and full of surprise. 


Walking closer, Seokjin and Jimin are met by Jungkook halfway. 

“Finally found you!” Jungkook exclaims in excitement, completely unaffected by what transpired and the fact that his older brother is lying down on the ground in fetal position, arms covering his head and rifle forgotten on his side. 

Seokjin steps to the side and calls out, “Jeonghwan-ah, my apologies.”

It brings Jeonghwan back to reality, one eye peeking out. He seems to get his bearings back. He hurriedly stands up, scrambling for his rifle. He looks between the two newcomers who are looking back at him expectantly.

“Seokjin-hyung.” Jeonghwan greets. “Jimin.”

Jungkook settles himself beside Seokjin who cannot help but ruffle his hair. 

“Jeonghwan-ah, let’s go back together. It’s almost high noon.”

Unable to refuse, Jeonghwan nods and keeps his head low. 

“Let’s walk together, shall we?” Seokjin poses the question as a statement but it’s clearly an order. 

Jimin and Jungkook are left walking behind the two. The both of them do not bother catching up to their elders. 

Small branches and leaves crunch underneath their boots, and Jimin uses the heel of his rifle as a walking stick.

“Are you an idiot? Why didn’t you run and leave when he was on the fourth? Even the third?” Jimin asks Jungkook, the usual snark in his tone absent due to the happenings a few minutes ago. 

Jungkook, still so young and supposedly naive, only shrugs. “I wanted to see if he would really do it.”

“You’re crazy,” Jimin tsks. “What are you even doing here? You have no rifle with you.”

“I heard you and Jin are going hunting today.”

“Well now you ruined it.”

Jungkook pouts and glares at Jimin who continues on walking. “I just wanted to tag along!”

Jimin clicks his tongue. His typical irritation towards Jungkook resurfacing because of the disappearing adrenaline. 

“Be glad hyung saved you.”

Jungkook’s shoulders square up, his chest puffing out. Jimin glances at him and laughs at how childish he looks. 

“I don’t need saving. Besides,” Jungkook’s tone changed into something Jimin has not heard before. “Jeonghwan’s a bad shot. He cannot shoot for the life of him.”

Jimin’s head snaps to the side. His eyes narrow, wondering how the hell Jungkook can be this nonchalant when he was just shot at. 

Four times. 


Playing along, Jimin asks, “At least he gave you five chances.”

“That’s stupid,” Jungkook quickly replies. “He gave five chances because he knew he couldn’t do it in the first place.”

Jung Hoseok’s genre of choice is EDM and House but even he cannot deny the appeal of classical music.

Music fills the ice skating rink, where every rise and fall echo and demands to be felt. Still, the music does not hide the sound of gliding blades against ice and the puck hitting the net every now and then. 

Hoseok’s straw-colored hair flops on top of his head, recently cut and giving the DJ a boyish look. 

The heavy doors to the skating rink are pushed open. Hoseok can either look up from the puck he is steadily leading to the net with his hockey stick to see who they are, or keep his focus on getting another goal because he already knows who it is.

The newcomer walks on padded mats and then stops to lean at the block near the exit. Hoseok continues playing. After he shoots and the puck hits the net, he takes a deep breath and looks up.

“Orpheus by Liszt,” The person says. “A piece I actually enjoy.”

“You look like shit.”

Jungkook’s blonde hair is brassy. There are dark bags under his eyes. There’s a stain on his white hoodie like someone spilled orange juice on him. The plaid pajama bottoms do not match the Balenciaga sneakers, especially the cherry red duffle bag hanging off his shoulder.

Hoseok grips his hockey stick and points it at Jungkook’s direction like it’s an extra appendage to emphasize the incoming beration. 

“How dare you show your face in front of me looking like that? And after disappearing on Manager Kim too? Do you not give a shit anymore about your career?”

Jungkook smiles, unaffected. “Hoseok-hyung. I came here for a favor.”

Hoseok rolls his eyes. “Jungkook, you should do all of us a favor and follow through with your schedule. Everyone is wondering where the hell you are. You’re only making the tabloid write more bullshit the longer you run.”

Jungkook gives Hoseok a look that would deserve him a couple of hits with the hockey stick. 

“Hyung,” A tilt of the head. “Are you going to help me or not?”

“You’re a brat, you know that?”

“I do, hyung.”

They say that every single person on this planet is connected. It’s a small world after all. Nothing smaller though than the world of the elites. Hoseok’s father is a lawyer, and he is none other than the lawyer who helped draft Seokjin and Jungkook’s prenuptial agreement. It’s a simple coincidence Hoseok found Jungkook's music on Soundcloud all those years ago; they were bound to meet either way.

They drive through Seoul in Hoseok’s tinted yellow Lamborghini, the night sky dark and street lamps guiding the way.

“How long have you been in Seoul?” Hoseok asks, eyes on the road.

“Three days. I’ve been laying low.”

“Laying low isn’t applicable for superstars.” 

Jungkook leans back on his seat and crosses his arms. “How long do I have until the news break out?”

“I’ll give it two days.” Hoseok stops at a red light. “Get a publicist. If not for you, then for Manager Kim.”


Hoseok rolls his eyes at Jungkook’s impudence. He waits for the stoplight to go green before he speaks again. The roar of the engine soothes his nerves that Jungkook has been fraying since he arrived.

Jungkook clicks on the radio and is assaulted by his own voice. 

“Track number two, nectarine.” Jungkook lowers the volume and leaves the radio be. “How fitting that I’m in Seoul again.”

“Congratulations on the album. Another Grammy, I presume?”

“I don’t give a fuck about American awards.”

Hoseok laughs loudly and it lightens his mood. “JJK. You’re so testy. Are you going to spit it out or do we keep talking in circles?”

Buildings and endless roads are all Jungkook can see outside.

“Seokjin’s family took him.”


“He’s up there in the mountains where I’m apparently barred from entering.”

“Ah, of course. Gangwon Province is the Kim family’s domain.” Hoseok drums his fingers on the steering wheel and snorts. “Do you plan on infiltrating that fortress looking like that?”

“Don’t worry, hyung. I feel as shitty as I look.”

Hoseok swallows the lump in his throat. It’s time to drop the bomb on Jungkook.

“Father left three days ago. He went to Gangwon, as per the summons of Kim Jinri.”

Another red light.

The silence prompts Hoseok to glance over at Jungkook who has become deadly silent. 

“It’s probably nothing.” Hoseok’s own words sound like a lie to him. 

“Sure,” Jungkook’s smile doesn’t reach his eyes. “Nothing.”

Hoseok’s apartment is in the heart of Seoul. A glimmering high-rise that towers over the other buildings. It’s obnoxious and perfect, really. To not be seen is to go where people least expect it. The private elevator leads them to the top floor and right inside Hoseok’s apartment. It’s colorful like him, filled with figurines and the occasional obscure art print on the wall. The floor to ceiling glass windows give them a view of the skyline.

“Get some rest and fix yourself up,” Hoseok tells Jungkook. “Tomorrow, we’ll think about what to do.”

Jungkook thanks him as Hoseok leads him to one of the guest bedrooms. 

Once he is left alone, Jungkook throws his bag on the floor and drops down the bed. He stares at the ceiling blankly. His mind isn’t some jumbled mess. In fact, it’s too quiet. No sound, no color, no image, or memory to go by. 

He wonders if Seokjin is listening to him.

To his music.

He hopes he is.

Seokjin cannot decide if he likes South Korea or home better. He’s laying down the grass, unmindful of his light-colored clothes, and staring up at the blue sky without sunglasses. 

He’s stuck here.

Seokjin has accepted that.

He’s a cornered rook on the edge of the chessboard by bishops and knights, and no matter where he moves, death will surely follow. He has not felt this entrapped since he was a child, when he had no say and always had to nod and smile. 

His phone broke a couple days ago. Fell from the top of the stairs when one of the staff accidentally bumped into him. At least, he supposes, he has his radio with him. 

“And for today’s most requested song, here is 1:58 am in tokyo by JJK from his latest album, nightloop memos!”

Seokjin glances at the radio, beige and retro, and chuckles. Jungkook is right. He will follow him to the ends of the world if that’s where Seokjin would be found. 

It’s not only Jungkook he thinks about.

Seokjin’s sick of tea and wants his lavender latte. He wishes he can have the monotony of teaching in university again. To wake up at home, eat his breakfast and drink his coffee, go to work, and then come home before the sun sets. This is a different kind of solitude; forced and filled with fake assurances and smiles. 


Jimin’s voice calls him from afar.

Seokjin sighs and turns on his stomach. Jimin is waving him over from where he is standing. 

“It’s time for tea!”

He gets up and takes the radio with him. He turns it off for Jimin’s sake, although if Seokjin is being honest, he has not felt animosity towards Jimin like this before. It grows and curls in his stomach every passing day.

Reaching him, Jimin immediately links their arms together and drags him to another part of the grounds. 

They arrive at a spot where a round table is filled with porcelain teaware and a pastry stand. Jinri is already there, her head covered by a wide brim hat where some leaves had fallen. The tree shading them is unmoving. There isn’t much wind today. 

Seokjin and Jimin take their seats. 

Nobody bothers with small talk.

Seokjin picks up the ispahan with his fingers and bites without a care, letting the excess fall on the plate below him. Raspberries and cream fill his mouth, the sweetness giving him a rush that redirects his warring mentality into a quieter space. It’s a good distraction for a couple of minutes. 

Jinri waits for Seokjin to finish devouring the pastry. She waits for him to wash it down with green tea, and when he brings the cup down, that’s when she extends her arm across the table to hand him a folder. Maybe it’s their way of showing they still have a semblance of care for him. 

Seokjin makes a show of dusting his hands before taking it from his grandmother. 

Jimin shuffles around his seat and produces a purple cigarette box. He takes one stick out and presses it between his lips. It takes him three tries before the stick is lit and he’s inhaling a lungful of smoke then expelling it out to the sky above them.

Seokjin reads over the paper quickly. He doesn’t really need to. He already knew this was coming. 

“You want me to divorce my husband.” Seokjin plainly states. “You could have just mailed this to my house, grandmother.”

Jinri stares at her grandchild, the smile on her lips definitely not symbolizing what the expression is supposed to mean. 

“Read it again. Read it properly, Seokjin.”

So Seokjin does, and the words printed in front of him are too ridiculous. It has him laughing, slamming the folder shut, and leaving it down the table.

“This is obviously fake.” 

Seokjin holds his hand out to Jimin whose eyebrows shoot up in surprise. He gets handed a cigarette stick. Seokjin keeps it between his fingers and doesn’t light it yet.

“Grandmother, if you were going to scheme into making me sign this, you shouldn’t have gone this route. Jungkook is not, and he will never, be the one to initiate leaving me.” Seokjin laughs loudly at how stupid the words exiting his mouth sound. He taps the butt of the cigarette stick on the table, letting out small giggles at the prospect of what is given to him. “He’ll kill himself first before doing this.” Seokjin mutters, tone amused despite the morbidity of his words.

“You can believe whatever you want, little prince. Nothing will change the fact that this is real.”

“And I will say it again: Jungkook would never do this.” Seokjin snaps.

“Hyung, this is reality. No relationship or person is truly perfect. The love that you expect from Jungkook isn’t happening anymore.”

Seokjin’s eyes narrow at his best friend, the one he considers closest to him. “Park Jimin, if you’re in on this farce, I will hate you forever.”

Jimin’s head hangs low. When he raises it again, he’s looking at Seokjin in a way Seokjin never imagined possible. 


“Let me contact Jungkook. It’s our relationship, and if it will end, then I want him to tell me to my face.”

Seokjin hates how they’re silent. Jinri keeps drinking her tea and Jimin continues smoking. Seokjin’s back hits the chair with a thump. Jimin slides the lighter his way, and for the first time in years, Seokjin is lighting a cigarette up.

“I still don’t believe this is true. If not you two, then it’s Jungkook’s family. Perhaps his brothers who are bitter about their own inheritance.”

More silence.

Seokjin is starting to think this is how they will get to his head. He walks out on them, the folder tucked under his arm. He gets handed a new phone by one of the staff and he proceeds to lock himself in his room the entire day. A part of him berates himself for acting this way. A loose cannon. 

He stares at the screen of his phone blankly. He has no idea how he will reach Jungkook, so Seokjin does the most logical thing and Googles him.

There are articles about Jungkook that seem to pop up every hour following the same three trends: a.) his album, b.) his background, and c) wondering where the hell he is. 

The last one has Seokjin jumping up in bed. It’s a PR nightmare. No one knows where Jungkook is and the tabloids are having a field day writing gossip as if it’s the truth. 

Seokjin’s eyes land on the plain brown folder. He glares at it. He has never been this taunted in his life. He’s compelled to tear it to pieces or simply throw it in the fire. 


Something rotten in Seokjin whispers to him that he really should have seen this coming. 

He reasons out that there is nothing wrong. Everything was fine before he left. Then, he recalls all that has happened the past few months and Seokjin doubts.

Seokjin runs his hand over his face. He needs Jungkook to be here and tell him he’s an idiot for even considering that this is true. 

And then there’s something uglier that whispers to his ear, conspiratorially saying, This is your chance to live the life you only ever dreamed about.

A life he wondered about often when he was younger. Another reality that was covered and hidden by Jungkook’s hands. 

Seokjin feels sinful for considering it, guilt consuming him like flames. And yet when it spits him back out, the feeling remains. It’s only when something wet prods at Seokjin’s lip does he realize he’s crying. He brings his hand up his face, and his fingers come back wet. 

He should have never come here.

Seokjin was content living life with rose-tinted glasses perched on his nose, but the glare of the sun here is too much that he has no choice but to close his eyes. 

[Several Years Ago]

Fluttering bed sheets and curtains graze Seokjin’s body and the tip of his nose from where he is sitting bare feet on the grass.

The air smells of citrus and fresh linen. The open space of the backyard provides him light while the clementine trees canopy the scenery in color. There is no artificial music accompanying him except for the breeze.

An oof sound exits from him. He almost falls face first, but the body draping itself on him catches him just in time, arm wrapping around his waist and pulling him back. 

A kiss to his cheek, lips traveling up the side of his face to nibble on the shell of his ear, and laughter right against it when he complains and pushes on the hard chest.

“What?” Jungkook asks him, his legs resting in between Seokjin’s sides, trapping him. 

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, why are you stopping me?”

Seokjin feels his ears burn at the look Jungkook is giving him. “It’s laundry day.”

Jungkook bursts out in laughter. “I know. I helped hang all the blankets and curtains while you sat down and stared at the sky. I deserve kisses, don’t I?”

The tips of Jungkook’s hair are red. His world tour is over. Awards season is too. He has all the time in the world to do whatever he wants, yet here he is helping with laundry.

Seokjin has never met anyone this content with their life. 

Turning his body to the side, Seokjin grabs Jungkook’s face with his hands, prompting Jungkook to straighten up in wait. He bends down and kisses Jungkook, quick and chaste. Pulling back, Seokjin blinks at the younger who is grinning up at him. 

“Electric, right?” 

Seokjin shrugs. “Not really.”

Jungkook’s head tilts to the side, studying Seokjin. “I suppose. After all, you like it rough.”

Seokjin pretends it doesn’t affect him. He blankly stares back at Jungkook whose eyebrows are raised, waiting for Seokjin to overrule his statement. 

“What would make you leave me?”

“Nothing,” Jungkook quickly replies.

“It’s hypothetical.”

“I already told you. Nothing.”

Seokjin sighs. “You’re awful at this game. It’s a what-if scenario. Like… what if I realize this is not what I wanted.”

Jungkook is quiet. He actually ponders the question over. 

“What would you want?”

“I don’t know. Just not this.” 

“I think that’s the answer then.” Jungkook kisses his nose, nuzzles the side of Seokjin’s face, and keeps his hands on Seokjin’s waist. “You don’t know because you know there is nothing better than this, and you only want the best.”

Jungkook leans his forehead against Seokjin’s. His gaze is on Seokjin’s lips. 

“You’re so mine and you know it.” 

He looks up, sees Seokjin’s light brown eyes, and grins; arrogant, childish, and endearing at the same time.

Jungkook always does this thing where he grins before leaning in for a kiss. Like nothing in the world makes him happier than Seokjin does. 

“Maybe that’s all you need to know.”

if you share/like/rt those pics i will hardblock you

Replying to @nectarjjk
omg what pics???

Replying to @somnolentnova


truly wtf is going on with jk… i just hope he’s ok


i just know that headass tmz will post… waiting on it so i can report and block


jk has the worst management ever why the hell are they letting these tabloids post so much shit about him ESPECIALLY DURING HIS COMEBACK 

Replying to @solairejjk
isn’t it because he doesn’t have a publicist?

Replying to @solairejjk
i don’t think jjk’s management has anything to do with this especially since he went MIA without notice







It appears that the hunt for our favorite superstar has come to an end! JJK was spotted landing in Incheon International Airport and meeting with Jung Hoseok, also known as J-Hope, DJ and one of JJK’s closest industry friends. 

SO many questions SO little time!

What is JJK doing in Seoul? Why did he disappear in the first place? When will he come back? This article doesn’t need to be that long because we have the proof in pictures!

Fair is foul, and foul is fair.

There is no dramatic breaking and entering that happens. Not a single beep or honk, or the pounding of fists upon iron gates demanding he is let in. 

The less flashy car borrowed from Hoseok, a black Ferrari, hums in wait for the guards surrounding the perimeter to push open the gate and let him in. 

Jungkook rolled down the window, stared at the guard, and it was done.

While waiting, the light catches him, and his pupils constrict, lids narrowing in response. The rear-view mirror shows a fraction of his face: his freshly cut black hair and rows of long, dangling, earrings. With the gates now wide open, Jungkook drives inside. His hand grips the steering wheel, rings covering the spot where the finger meets the knuckle. 

Everything is a blur. 

He’s let inside the main house without resistance, the sunlit facade strangely foreboding. 

The person who has let him in bows to him. She’s dressed in black and white, reminding him of the assistants always following him as a child. 

“Jeon Jungkook-sshi,” She gestures with her hand to follow her. “Jinri-sshi is expecting you.”

The room he is led to is different from the rest of the house. It embraces its space, the high ceiling adding to that impression.

There’s Jimin sitting on a couch at the edge of the room, and in the middle is Jinri together with…

Jungkook only has eyes for Seokjin.

Seokjin has his back on Jungkook.

It did not matter.

It surely must have happened quickly yet it plays out to Jungkook in slow motion.

Seokjin’s arm and back muscles move fluidly while he signs something. He puts the pen down, and his next set of actions has Jungkook's jaw clenching and eyes widening in disbelief. The angle still allowed him to see without having to be near, how Seokjin twists and turns the blue diamond ring away from his finger. He holds it between his fingers for a few seconds before sliding it inside his pants' pocket.

Seokjin places his hands on the table, bare now, and stands up.

Lassitude whips Jungkook everywhere and nowhere. 

Seokjin turns, looks at him, and for the first time since Jungkook has laid eyes on him, Seokjin fumbles. Seokjin’s petal-like lips part, and he struggles to either keep them open or shut. He seems to have finally decided on what to say, and what he says is Jungkook’s name. 

Jungkook doesn’t leave him hanging. He says Seokjin’s name back. 

Seokjin’s shoulders heave. 

He must have said it then like what he spat out is something rotten. 

“Jungkook. Not here.” Seokjin hurries to say. “Let’s talk somewhere else.”

Jungkook laughs. From the corner of his eye, he sees Jimin tense up. He has not seen this color on Seokjin. Worry and fear, he guesses. The room blooms bloody roses when he hears his own voice. The laughter dies down and Jungkook says, “Of course. Keeping up appearances is still what you care about.”

Seokjin walks up to him then passes him when Jungkook doesn’t budge. He leads the way and Jungkook only follows. He’s so angry, consumed by rage and gritting his teeth. Everything is red, and it clouds his vision, rings in his ears, but when Seokjin cranes his neck backwards for a few seconds to check if he’s still following behind, his traitorous heart skips a beat.

Seokjin’s black hair has grown longer. Below the nape of his neck. The perfect length for Jungkook to run all five fingers through, to pull tightly on when he’s kissing down and across Seokjin’s back and breaking him apart.

Jungkook loves that entire ordeal, including and especially the aftermath. Breaking Seokjin down then putting him back together. His brain gets all mushy, limbs weak, and he falls into Jungkook’s arms, clinging to his side for hours.

Except, Jungkook doesn’t want to do that this time around. He’s too deprived of feeling to even consider bestowing retribution, much less forgiveness. 

They finally stop walking.

Seokjin slides the door and steps inside. He leaves it open for Jungkook who closes it silently. 

There’s a bed in the middle of the room and Seokjin sits on the edge. His back is ramrod straight, feet together, and hands on his lap, fingers clasped like he would fall on his knees in prayer anytime soon.

A sadistic part of Jungkook wishes Seokjin would do just that. 

To beg him for forgiveness. 

“You’re here,” is what Seokjin blurts out. He’s looking up at Jungkook with those big brown eyes of his, always sparkling no matter the situation. Seokjin probably doesn’t know it but he’s also unconsciously pouting at Jungkook. 

“You did not call.”


“You did not call me at all.”

“I believe that has nothing to do with—”

“I don’t care about what you believe in. You did not call nor did you come back. You made me chase you here, only to have it thrown to my face by your family and your best friend, that we are only running on borrowed time.”

Seokjin closes his eyes and sweeps his hands through them. He’s not crying, but he does look tired. 

“So this is it for us? It’s over just like this?” Jungkook’s voice echoes in the room. He has never wanted to claw his eyes out and throw them to the ground more than today. The colors popping up in his field of vision only serve to taunt him, echoing feelings he is already aware of. 

“Are you even sad about it?”

Jungkook’s latest question gets a rise out of Seokjin. The thing is, Seokjin works through emotions like he’s a boiling pot atop an electric stove. Before it spills and overflows, the heat is turned down and the mess prevented. 

“I can argue with you all day or I can provide you a solution.” Seokjin answers instead. 

Jungkook shifts on his feet and crosses his arms across his chest. He waits for Seokjin to continue.

“It’s only a piece of paper. It doesn’t have to go through. If needed, I’ll tear it to pieces and swallow it.”

The determination burning in Seokjin’s irises is beautiful. 

“Jungkook, I will—”

“What if I don’t want you to.”


“I don’t want you to fix it.”

Seokjin is completely taken aback. He stands up from the bed and stands in front of Jungkook. 

“You want us to get divorced? Is that what you are saying?”

“I’m only giving you what you wanted. Why sign it in the first place if that’s not what you were after?”

Seokjin presses on his temples with his thumb and forefinger. He mutters, “I was made to believe you signed it first.”

“And you believed that?” Jungkook laughs. “That says a lot about how much my words mean to you.”

Seokjin shakes his head and sighs. He keeps his hands to his sides. “I’m sorry. I will fix it. This is a minor circumstance.”

“It’s not for me,” Jungkook snorts. “You signed it. Just like that. You never questioned it. Simply signed your name there on that fucking paper, and you think this is a minor circumstance?”

“Tell me what you want me to do then.”

Seokjin’s voice is steady despite the obvious exhaustion. 

Jungkook thinks about the future.

Will he curse Seokjin’s name? Will he scream at the sky in regret? Will he take all this out on boxing or in music? Will he be able to sleep at night knowing this is the path he chose?

Hell if Jungkook knows the answer to those questions. 

You should have no room for doubt.

Jungkook cups Seokjin's face with one hand.

It’s sweet, Jungkook thinks, how Seokjin leans in and his eyes become heavy at this sudden display of affection. He keeps his palm on Seokjin’s cheek.

“I love you, you know.”

Jungkook enjoys this part. He says those three words and Seokjin’s breath hitches. His pupils dilate, and he trembles, looking for something to hold on to. It’s like he is programmed to react this way every single time he hears it. Like he’s always hearing it for the first time.

His thumb runs across the skin underneath Seokjin’s eye. He feels the bone underneath. If humans were to become more fragile than they already are, he would be able to pierce this part of Seokjin easily. 

Down to his neurovasculature and bones, Jungkook loves him.

Loves him so much he could sleep inside the cold of him.

This is how he becomes deathless in Seokjin’s life.

Walk the same tale over and over, that even though the house of cards they built has fallen, he would live on in Seokjin’s mind as the one who loves him the most.

Seokjin is cruel and Jungkook is a debased creature at his feet. 

Or perhaps Jungkook is the one who is. That is, selfish and petty, unreasonable and deaf. 

A man writing his own obituary. 

Promises are terms that are immune to circumstance and time, yet here he is chipping at it the same way an artist beats marble into submission. 

“I just wish you felt the same way.”

Lawyer Jung Hosung believes that a person’s morality dies the moment they enter law school. What little of it that is left if you’re also from that tiny one percent in the population. No lawyer is completely clean. There can only be two types of lawyers once they pass the bar: one who actively avoids evil and corruption (keyword: avoid), and one who takes life as it is. It must be said that the former usually becomes the latter in the end.

Practicing the law is a confidential and orchestrated dance. 

A good example would be the situation Lawyer Jung is currently in right now. He’s in a gentleman’s club where only graduates of his university who are also part of the same law firm can enter. That’s confidentiality. 

Jeon Jaemun called him to be here, offers Lawyer Jung a whiskey, neat, and is talking jovially about how law school was like back in his days. 

The laughter dies down. It always does. Jeon Jaemun reaches for something inside his pocket. A simple check. This is orchestrated.

“There is a favor I have to ask of you, Hosung-ah.” Jaemun follows Hosung’s gaze that ends on the piece of paper and chuckles. He slides it over the table. “This is not a bribe but a token of my gratitude.”

They both know it’s the same thing. 

“What can I do for a friend?”

Jaemun’s smile reaches his eyes. “It’s about what happened today this afternoon.” 

Hosung expected as much. He knew there is no way Jeon Jaemun would allow his grandson, the one who will get the biggest slice in the pie called JE Group, to do something reckless and ridiculous like signing off his entire inheritance because he's in-love. 

Hosung comes home pleasantly buzzed. He enters his office with a bit of a stumble. He takes it upon himself to edit the contract. Letting someone else do it would include more people knowing the changes that are about to take place. He prints it, reads over it, and then reads it again.

“Kim Seokjin will only be eligible to obtain Jeon Jungkook’s liquid shares if the one who initiated the dissolution is Jeon Jungkook. If an occasion arises that it is Kim Seokjin who has filed for divorce, the prenuptial agreement on the division of assets as approved by Jeon Jungkook will automatically be voided.” 

Chapter Text

[Several Years Ago]

The sound of a gunshot.

A dark starless sky blankets the countryside similar to what is described in macabre tales and terrors of the night. It was strange for the residents. The sky out here is usually twinkling and dotted by golden balls of hydrogen and helium. It is befitting for tonight’s circumstance.

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful boy who lived in a beautiful mansion.

He wore the fairest skin over flesh and bones, and a face whose blueprint was stolen from the angels and carved by devils. His face has been passed down from generations, a curse that enthralls and can control those delicate neurotransmitters in the brain that humans call love.

God remains fair.

You don’t inherit beauty without being stained with the ugly. 

The beautiful boy has defective eyes that cannot see in the dark, and his family’s humorous attempt to shelter him from this obstacle backfires. 

As do most fairy tales, there is always a monster, a villain, or a tempest. 

They live in the forest and their face is also an inheritance. His eyes carry the souls of his ancestors, and behind a rifle, they sometimes peer out and greet the outside world. 

But this is the charming and gruesome reality; people can both be beautiful and the monster, unbound by labels and stereotypes. Humans are fluid creatures nurtured by nature. They’re built to make choices and live out these choices as if they’re shedding skin. 

Seokjin lays down the forest ground and sees nothing. He feels the rush of endorphins all over his system, fighting to keep him from feeling. He hears his name being shouted and feet hitting the dirt to get to him. His last thought before he closes his eyes is that when he wakes up, he’d have to comfort Jungkook for almost killing him.

From the large window, Seokjin sees home. He’s lived there all his life. Looking at it from this distance, he realizes that he knows the twists and turns of the interior but he's never actually seen the whole exterior. He wasn’t aware the lavender fields extended that far, almost reaching his best friend’s own house. He’s sitting on the window’s seat, white marble like the walls and floors of the room. Not really a room. It’s more of a hall. 

The columns are made of marble too. They spiral up and into a high ceiling, creating an illusion of spaciousness. The chandeliers are rusty yet beautiful. They’re haunting; obtained and restored from expeditions of the Titanic and won from high stake auctions. Now, it hangs in this fortress the Jeons call their home. 

Seokjin wonders if this is his moment of enlightenment. 

He is outside, looking at the outside, and is highly aware of what happens inside. He’s now spending time being confined in walls he would never know about if circumstance didn’t drive him to it. After his recovery, he’ll leave and come back to his own space, with the knowledge of what it’s like on the other side. He knows he wouldn’t truly understand these ranks and hierarchy of normal society, but in this microcosm the layman calls the world of the elite, he’s starting to understand it. Bit by bit. One luxury at a time. 

Perhaps this is how people learn their place in the world, when you are awoken with an epiphany that something or someone out there occupies higher importance than you do. 

There’s a veil that glitters right in front of the eyes of children, and it’s so fragile that with a single tear, it unravels and reveals that it was all a filter and that the fundamentality of its beauty is in its deception.

In Seokjin’s case, it wasn’t a tear. It was a bullet to his leg. It pierced through skin, fat, and fascia, lodging itself in his body. His doctors have assured him numerous times he will be okay, physiologically and aesthetically. It seems that even ballistics are nothing in the face of money. 

He hears the sound of echoing footsteps bouncing against the walls. There really is no need for a room like this. The walls are bare and there isn’t even any sort of decorative plant. It’s just another structure built to be able to say one has the capacity to do so. Every sound and movement is therefore maximized. 

Seokjin wouldn’t say he was found. He likes staying in this room. The staff knows that. They probably think it’s because he gets to see home here. The real reason is simple. Nobody else cares to go here. This room does not hold any beginnings or ends. There is something melancholic and beautiful about being frozen in time.

The footsteps stop. Seokjin cranes his head back, swan-like neck stiff and his chin resting on his shoulder. 

It’s Jungkook. 

Seokjin never thought that gods could look this remorseful. He’s dressed in his riding gear. His black hair is messy. He looks like he threw his helmet and gloves on the floor as he made his way to the marble room. 

This is the first time Seokjin has seen him since… he doesn’t even remember the last time. Technically speaking, it was the night Jungkook shot him, but Seokjin couldn’t see anything at all in the dark, so he disregards that one. He was brought to the hospital where the lights are never turned off. He met Jungkook’s parents and his grandparents. His parents bowed to them despite their golden boy being the reason Seokjin was in the hospital. They paid for his bills and the treatment. They’re currently paying for his physical therapy. For their final act of goodwill, they invited Seokjin to stay with them. He’s been here for a month now. 

Seokjin waits for Jungkook to speak. He’s been waiting for this conversation to happen far too long. There’s no harm in waiting longer.

Jungkook walks up to him. He goes up the elevated portion of the room where Seokjin is at. He glances at the wheelchair, positioned close for Seokjin to grab at when he wants to leave. He stops a few steps away from Seokjin whose eyes never leave his. Up close, Seokjin can see the bags on his sun-kissed skin. 

“Jin.” Jungkook says his name like it’s the hardest thing he ever had to do.

“What is it?” Seokjin replies, neck still craned backwards. He finds it amusing that Jungkook remains resolute over his issues about calling Seokjin his hyung. 

“Can I come closer?”

Seokjin blinks in surprise. He didn’t expect that one. 


Jungkook walks until he’s looking down and Seokjin is staring up at him. Tears start forming at the corner of his eyes. Seokjin automatically wraps his fingers around Jungkook’s wrist, tugging him closer until he’s forcing Jungkook to sit next to him. Jungkook rubs his eyes with his free hand, the other maneuvering to entwine his and Seokjin’s together. 

“Grandfather said I should apologize,” Jungkook hiccups. 

Seokjin nods in understanding even though Jungkook cannot see it. He gets it. Jungkook’s family are the type to remind him that the world owes him nothing. 

“Hyung forgives you, Jungkookie.” 

“I haven’t said sorry yet.” 

Seokjin chuckles at the confusion on the younger’s features. His eyes are wet, nose red and sniffling. 

“No need. I know you are.”

Jungkook meets his eyes. It darts upwards, then to the side. Seokjin wonders what he’s seeing. He nods, tightens his hold on Seokjin’s hand and leans closer until his knee hits Seokjin’s own.

The voice in Seokjin’s head that sounds suspiciously like Jimin whispers to him, “You spoil him too much.”

“Did it hurt?” Jungkook’s voice is small. His other hand is laying between them, flat on the cushion of the window seat and mere inches away from Seokjin. 

Seokjin gazes down his lap. He’s wearing shorts because of the heat. The bandages wrapped around his right leg are visible. 


“Are you lying to make me feel better?”

“I’m not.” 

Jungkook cozies up to him. Seokjin lets him. Jungkook rests the side of his head on Seokjin’s shoulder. 

“…do you remember it?” Jungkook whispers.

“No,” Seokjin answers truthfully, “I don’t.”

“I shot you and you laid on the dirt and comforted me while I cried.” Jungkook says it like he’s spitting something poisonous out. 

“I did?” Seokjin doesn’t remember anything that night but it does sound like something he would do. 

“I’m really sorry,” Jungkook hiccups. He’s crying again. “I’m sorry. I’m a coward. I couldn’t do anything.”

Seokjin purses his lips together. 

“You’re literally still a child,” Seokjin reminds him, “Stop beating yourself up over things you don’t have the capacity to do yet.”

“But I could have killed you.”

Seokjin knows that. He doesn’t say anything, only wraps his arm around Jungkook’s heaving shoulders, and pats his head in comfort. 

“I never miss,” Jungkook turns to him. “This is the first time.”

“Well, thank goodness you did.” Seokjin teases. “I would be gone if you didn’t.”

The quiet takes over. He lets Jungkook cuddle up to him and cry on his shoulder. Seokjin doesn’t find his company grating. 

“Do you like staying here because you can see your house?” Jungkook suddenly asks, voice small. 

“Not really. I just like it.”

“There’s nothing to see here though.”

Seokjin hums. He traces the patterns on the marble with his eyes, something he doesn’t seem to get tired of doing. “Maybe that’s why I like it. It’s fun to imagine what can be hung here. I’m thinking Monet.”

“What about music?”

“Mendelssohn.” Seokjin is quick to say. “Schumann if I’m feeling under the weather.”

“Boring,” Jungkook grumbles. “But I’ll learn it for you.”

Jungkook buries himself deeper on Seokjin’s side. “You do need to marry me first if you want to own this place.”

Seokjin sputters and then laughs. 

“That again?”

Jungkook ignores him.

“Jungkook-ah,” Seokjin sighs, feeling soft over the other. “I’m torn between wanting you to grow up quickly so you can know more about the world… or if I want you to remain this starry-eyed.”

“But you’ll love me either way?” 

Seokjin doesn’t know. He never thought of it like that. 

Fact. Jungkook shot him blind in the dark because he came out from nowhere. The target was a deer. He dissapeared in the forest after an argument with Seokjin about matters they don’t remember. Seokjin came looking for him because of course he would. He never knew he couldn’t see at night but that didn’t stop him.

And… fact. There is nothing to forgive. Jungkook could have shot him somewhere fatal, or even did it bad enough that he had to lose his leg, but he would still comfort him. He’d allow Jungkook to sit right next to him here, apologize for all he’s worth, and Seokjin would accept it without a second thought. 

Once upon a time, there was a beautiful boy who lived in a beautiful mansion. 

He came into the forest and was shot down. 

The suspect is also a prince, and under the amber afternoon sun, one can barely tell if he was sent to smother the air off the beautiful boy or breathe life into him.

They sit on the windowsill. The two princes are folded into each other. A pair of wings shelter them from the outside world. The length of it spans the entire room, so that when people from the outside look in, they cannot tell where it begins and ends, or whose back it has sprouted from. 

[The Present]

The dark air-conditioned room’s only light source is the projector in the middle of the aisle. The screen shows a still from Marie Antoinette, the next one from The Virgin Suicides. 

“Sofia Coppola’s main criticism is that she has a certain type: blonde, waifish, and privileged. If you examine her works, her characters all share this socioeconomic background. It leads us to ask… is she capable of writing more diverse characters? Is she a one-hit wonder?”

Seokjin’s red laser pointer disappears. He’s standing at the back of the class, wearing a crisp suit, and glasses on his nose.

“If you ask me, Coppola is simply sticking to the golden rule of writing; write only about what you know. Through this, we can argue that Coppola’s filmography touches on the mind at another level. She can go as deep as she can, exploring themes connected to it. She can exploit those human emotions because she has the background down to a pat. Now, can someone tell me what are the emotions we can easily pinpoint in a Coppola film?”

Several students raise their hands. Seokjin randomly calls on someone among the many enthusiastic students.

“Loneliness, impostor syndrome, and girlhood.”

“Correct. Nobody does privileged sadness like Coppola does.”

The class laughs at the sarcasm and it makes Seokjin himself grin.

“We must mention that if the characters in her films come from a different background, the story will take a completely different turn. But they aren’t. They are one of the same. They’re Coppola herself. It gets to us because she gives a part of herself in every one of those characters. We are able to recognize humanity whether we are doing it on purpose or not. And perhaps that’s the lesson we will take home with us today: stick to what we know and grow from there.”

Wrapping up class is therapeutic for Seokjin. He tells his students goodbye while some stay behind to hang out in the room. Seokjin would be reading a book or on his laptop during the small breaks between his classes while drinking a cafe latte from the school cafeteria and pinching pieces off a cinnamon roll or glazed donut. 

The sun goes down and work is done. He exits the building and is met by the professors of the literature and film departments. The disparity in ages seem to not matter here. 

Ever since Seokjin’s weekdays stopped being a series of getting to point a then b, the other professors mustered up their courage and asked him to join them in what is dubbed pub nights. 

They resemble a murder of crows with their black billowing cloaks, thin frame glasses, and hats. They are a pretty loud group; a bunch of academics who graduated from the city and decided that they will teach in a resort town because… aesthetics. Seokjin doesn’t really have to talk much. He’s content listening or occasionally commenting, his quick wit and ability to joke in several languages, whether they be dead ones or not, makes his charm appear endless.

Tonight’s pub night brings them to a bar near the university premises. Students, professors, and school administrators alike frequent the said bar, especially since there really isn’t much to see in their town unless one exerts the effort to drive to the nearest city where there are classy and rowdy bars, cheap clubs, and high-end ones. 

It only took Seokjin a couple of weeks to get used to this. To someone pushing the door to the pub open and holding it until they are all inside, to removing his coat and hanging it on one of racks, ordering a pint of Guinness, and munching on fried food. Everything on the menu is fried, even dessert, and Seokjin never thought he would enjoy it and look forward to nights like this. He likes how the beer washes down the dryness of his throat and how fried oreos taste. He finds himself smoking later, Chesterfield cigarette stick hanging between his lips, and someone lighting it up for him. He usually doesn’t smoke, but it fits. He likes fitting in.


At the mention of his name, Seokjin’s head whips toward his companion smoking with him outside the bar. His accent is heavy, hair light and eyes lighter. 

“Your gaze…” They remove the cigarette from their lips and exhale the smoke out. “It reminds me of femme fatales up to no good.”

Seokjin laughs and rolls his eyes.


Seokjin takes a drag from his cigarette and wraps one arm across his chest. It’s quite cold today.

The language professor speaks up again. “You’re very beautiful, you know that?” 

Seokjin tilts his head to the side and blinks up at him. “Yes, I do.”

The man smiles. 

“If memory serves me right, you live around here.”

“You’re correct.”

“You didn’t before.”

Seokjin shrugs. “It’s easier to live near work.”

The man chuckles. His voice is deep, a baritone, scruffy yet smooth similar to melting chocolate. “I remember how you were. You were dropped off and picked up everyday. In different vintage cars no less. The expensive kind, not the ones you pick up in a parking dump.”

“Observant, aren’t you?” 

They laugh, and when they do, deep dimples appear on each side of their cheeks. 

“There is one thing I do remember with such clarity…” He points with his finger at his neck and grins at Seokjin. “Your lover is very possessive.”

Seokjin pauses. The sentence washes over him. He wasn’t aware teachers also test their colleagues.

“Past tense,” Seokjin declares.

It’s his companion’s turn to be taken aback. Then, he grins and laughs again. 

“I see.”

Seokjin doesn’t hide his eyes and openly stares at the other. Strong jaw, muscular build, and rough hands. His eyes are kind, a contrast to every sharp and pointy feature. 

Good enough. More than good, if Seokjin’s being honest. 

“Hm?” They raise their eyebrows in question at Seokjin’s heavy stare. “What is it, Professor Kim?”

To the other’s field of vision, what he sees is Kim Seokjin, staring him down so intimidatingly it can bring any man down to their knees. His hair, long and light brown, almost covers his eyes. His eyes are another category in itself. Pools of brown that can look innocent or sensual depending on how heavy his lids are, long lashes framing the orbs that kiss his skin at every blink. And speaking of kisses… the curve of Kim Seokjin’s mouth must be carved by the angels. 

“I don’t ask, Professor. I get asked.”

A smile that says it all appears on the other professor’s face: the gauntlet has been thrown and he accepts. 

He never needs man; he’s what man needs,” they say in their native language. 

Seokjin understands perfectly and he smiles in return. “Are you comparing my likeness to God?”

“God is violent and mysterious. Mortals think God makes them suffer for a greater purpose without questioning first if maybe it is their fault.” They smirk at Seokjin. “Are you going to make me suffer for no reason, Seokjin?”

Seokjin pretends to think about it. He’s… in his element. This is too easy.

“Humans wouldn’t need to endure all that suffering if they knew without doubt what they wanted.” Seokjin raises a brow. “Do you know what you want?”

An hour and thirty minutes pass. 

They have said goodbye to their colleagues and hung around to smoke some more. Seokjin allows the man to walk him back to where he lives, a townhouse around the area within walking distance. He wraps his hand around the man’s wrist and asks, “Coming?”

Another hour passes.

Perhaps several.

Seokjin’s laying on his bed with the covers drawn up to his chin. The heater is working fine but he’s sensitive to the cold, especially when the only barrier his naked body has against it are his bed sheets. The man he slept with joins him underneath the covers, his arm snaking around Seokjin’s waist. He rests his chin on Seokjin’s shoulder. 

The night lights shining from outside through the square window on the wall beside Seokjin’s bed bathe the room with a faint glow.

Seokjin has come down from the orgasm, his nerves now calm and not firing multiple impulses at once. He’s blinking blindly at the room, the light never enough against his night blindness.

This is the first time in six months that he slept with someone.

This is the first time in almost five years he slept with someone new. 


Seokjin wonders if he is going crazy.

Jin, did you fuck him out of spite?

Seokjin refuses to acknowledge who the voice belongs to, not when he’s in the arms of someone else. He can almost hear it whispered over his head or against his ear, the tone dripping in amusement. 

You’re so cute, thinking of me like this after being with someone else.

You’re still so mine, and you know it, don’t you?

A shudder goes through Seokjin’s body at the dark tone he is familiar with. Flames lick at his skin and battles against the coldness of his room, of the reality that it’s all in his head. There’s a part of him that wants to give in, let his body give up and for him to be on his knees, to beg to be possessed once more, beg for forgiveness and admit he wants to be held down and smothered in so much adoration that it suffocates him and drives him insane. A part of him is ready to promise that he won’t break anyone’s heart this time around.


His name is said directly to his ear that it makes him shiver.

“You’re cold.”

Bare limbs drape over him and pull him closer towards their warmth. He doesn’t protest. In fact he welcomes it. He turns around and entangles himself fully with the other, hands going around their neck and fingers playing with the short cropped hair.

“I am,” Seokjin mumbles, closing his eyes and preparing to doze off.

Then again, he wouldn’t have gotten to experience this if he stayed. 

Seokjin sits outside his balcony overlooking the town proper in a white polo with vertical blue stripes. It’s too big on him, the cuffs pooling over and sleeves drooping over his shoulder. His legs are bare and soaking up the sun, propped up on another chair. 

It’s Saturday.

Earlier, before the sun rose, he was kissed on the cheek goodbye by his… friend, before he left. Seokjin dragged himself up the stairs and fell asleep on his stomach, arms and legs spread all over the bed. He woke up to the sun burning through his eyelids and walked around the house with an uneven gait. 

On the floor is a sweater he is sure isn’t his and can only be someone else’s. Definitely the man who was just in his bed. It’s white with yellow daisies knitted on the front. It’s cute. He decides to dump it in the laundry basket and return it some other time.

Seokjin plants his feet on the ground and leans his arms on the black rails. He squints and tries to make out the locations surrounding his townhouse. There’s a bakery right in front of the street, their display lined with golden goods. Seokjin’s mouth waters at the memory of how good they are with butter and sugar. Beside the bakery is a post office, and in this digital and modern world, Seokjin finds that romantic. It’s not some dying establishment around here. He likes that. He likes that he found out he likes these kinds of things. 

The familiar jingle of a bell has Seokjin craning his head back. A golden retriever with the shiniest coat and kindest eyes trudges up to Seokjin. It immediately brings a smile to his face. The dog doesn’t bother him, only settles on her stomach right next to Seokjin. 

Seokjin leans down and rubs behind the dog’s ears with his fingers. 

“Andromeda,” Seokjin says. “Just you and me again today.” 

The dog glances at him with their big brown eyes. Seokjin snorts at the emotion he believes he can decipher. 

“Last night was a one time thing.”

Seokjin lays the upper half of his body on top of the table, his forearms cradling his head and face. For some reason, he feels how long his hair is in this position. The long and curling edges tickle his skin, strands gently moving with the wind. He adds another to-do in his growing list.

Grade papers, get groceries, return some calls and respond to certain emails, and now, cut his hair. 

It takes Seokjin thirty more minutes to be roused into a state of wakefulness. He stands up on his feet and stretches. He feels the movement of the fabric over his skin and the heaviness of a thin silver chain around his neck. He doesn’t look at it. He knows what it is and what it reminds him of.

The chain lays daintily in between Seokjin’s collarbones. The heavy stone it carries is a testament to its strength despite its fragile design. 

There are days when it feels like a collar around his neck. 

Today doesn’t seem to be that day.

Seokjin begrudgingly showers and gets dressed. His hair takes too long to dry. He bumps getting a haircut up his priority list. A small, brown, toothed comb that he found in one of his bags is what he uses to smooth the strands out. The comb is now a permanent fixture on his bathroom counter.

A thin, salmon pink, button-up, brown khaki shorts, white sliders, and Wayfarers is how Seokjin exits his apartment. He has a canvas bag with the university’s logo hanging on one shoulder. 

The town square is charming. The salon and farmer’s market are right across each other. There’s a cafe with more seats outside than inside, where people are actually drinking coffee and enjoying their day, spending it in leisure instead of in a hurry. It brings a smile to his face, this contentment in his chest he never knew could come from something so simple and considerably quaint.

Seokjin gets his haircut. It’s only supposed to be that, but then the person says this and that, and Seokjin found himself laughing and agreeing to whatever they suggested. He leisurely spends more hours inside the salon than what he originally intended. It pushes his plans a bit to the side but it doesn’t bother him. He exits and feels the air on his neck. Seokjin’s hair is as light as the sun, bleached blonde and forming a halo over his head, the color emphasizing the rosiness of his cheeks because of the heat. 

The last time he dyed his hair was when he was still in college. He catches sight of himself on the bakery shop window while he buys coffee buns and garlic bread. His own reflection takes him aback. He looks different. The surprised expression is in itself surprising. The curve of his brows and his mouth are all dripping with insinuation when he used to be as blank as marble statues.

Seokjin ends up sitting on the round ledge of a fountain. The fountain is located at the epicenter of the town square and honestly takes up too much space. Seokjin’s legs are stretched out, hands busy unwrapping a coffee bun so he can bite into it. Seokjin decides that this is the perfect time to check off the rest of his to-do.

He takes his phone out from his canvas bag, a new one, bought only a month ago. He has an unopened text message from Jimin for almost a week now. Seokjin clicks on it and finds digital tickets to a ballet performance. One of Jimin’s shows, Seokjin assumes. He ignores it and opens his emails instead. He switches to his personal account, his work email clean and everything dealt with. 

There are three unopened emails in Seokjin’s inbox. He opens the most innocent one, an email from the PR Manager of Hinoki Honey, inviting Seokjin to the big day. The movie premiere. Seokjin makes quick work on answering, a yes he will be attending, and a no he does not have a plus one.

The remaining two has Seokjin’s thumb hovering above the screen. He chooses based on which was delivered first. 

The contact name says Kim Taehyung, and the body simply says: Please let me see you. 

Simple and straight to the point. Seokjin almost wants to laugh because he ignored something so blunt for days. He taps out his response and stares at the last one. Seokjin purses his lips together. It’s from Yoongi. He already knows what the email will tell him; he’s been receiving various emails from Yoongi ever since the other decided to quit the university. 

Glancing up to the heavens, Seokjin is met with endless blue. He wonders what difference will it make if he reads this at night while blanketed by his comforter and the starry night sky. He makes his decision. He reads it. Seokjin sighs and stands up from the fountain’s edge. He walks home and drops his bag on the nearby couch. He fills Andromeda’s bowl with food and climbs up the wooden stairs up to his bedroom. 

Seokjin’s townhouse is extremely lacking in space compared to his previous lodgings. He likes it though, the fact that all this space is his. He strips and leaves his clothes on the floor, phone still on his hand. He makes his way towards the bathroom where a porcelain white clawfoot bathtub will catch the attention of anyone coming in. He fills the water up and opens his phone again. 

While waiting for the water to fill, Seokjin lets out a laugh, quiet yet loud because he’s the only one here. 

“Maybe you weren’t lying when you said you’ll never leave me alone.” 

The water fills. Seokjin leaves his phone on the floor and climbs in the tub. He sinks down until only the upper half of his face is visible. He hugs his legs to his chest and closes his eyes. 

The contents of Yoongi’s email plays out perfectly in his head, his imagination supplying him with visuals to accompany what he read.

He got into another fight.

Bruise under his eye.

He didn’t throw the first punch, so it’s not that hard to sweep. 

There are times when Seokjin thinks that Yoongi was hired as a publicist for him just so he can continuously hover in Seokjin’s life. Seokjin knows that isn’t true, and since he’s thinking of him anyway, then whether it was meant that way or not, it’s working.

“A club?” The paper straw to the iced cafe latte Seokjin was sipping from lies close to his lips. “In the city?”

He’s having lunch with some of the professors from the linguistics department, sans a certain person he shared his bed with. It’s not that they are avoiding each other, really. Or perhaps the man is, seeing as how he tried insinuating a repeat of that night and Seokjin blatantly turns him down.

“It’ll be fun, Professor! Aren’t you sick of the dingy pubs around here? It would be fun to go somewhere expensive for once!”

Seokjin bites his straw. He regrets it after remembering it’s made of paper. He looks at it, crumpled and with teeth marks. 

“I suppose.”

They cheer at his acceptance. 


“This Friday.”


Seokjin forgets about it quickly. He busies himself with grading papers and reading mountains of essays from his overly enthusiastic students who either wax poetry about Sofia Coppola or outright despise the director. 

Minutes, hours, and days pass by so quickly lately. 

Seokjin’s alone in the faculty room. He’s gotten used to it. The rest of the staff are easygoing and push off their workload, preferring to take early leaves. He’s quietly working, encoding grades on the small laptop in front of him. 

The door swings open, and Seokjin wouldn’t have bothered checking who it is if they didn’t say his name.

“Are you ready?” They ask.

Seokjin pauses and blinks at the person staring back at him. A colleague, no, a friend from the linguistics department.

“We brought out the family car so we can all fit.”

The conversation from a few days ago flash in Seokjin’s mind. 


The city.



They laugh. “You aren’t ready?”

“I’m still working.”

“But you are coming?”

“I have to go home and change. Take a shower.” Seokjin reasons. 

They hum in acknowledgement and shrug. “Okay, Professor Kim. We’ll be waiting for you.”

There's no escape.


Clubs are a territory Seokjin has no opinion about. Drinking in pubs is one thing, but going to an expensive club with young and rich twenty-somethings is an entirely different thing. He shifts on the couch he’s sitting on, his hand coming up his neck to adjust the black leather choker he wore. It’s cheap and something he doesn’t remember buying. It lays on his skin perfectly, the grip not too tight or loose. 

His co-workers are obviously enjoying themselves. They order drinks that are way over the budget of a university professor, and the semi-private area they’re at in the club must have cost money too. 

“Seokjin, you look so good with the blonde, did I tell you that?” One of them exclaims, their face red because of the alcohol. 

Seokjin smiles and nods. “Yes, you did.” 

“You can easily pass off as those pretty models hanging out with celebrities in the exclusive areas of this club,” another shouts over the loud music. 

That one leaves a sour taste in Seokjin's mouth. He picks up the pink fruity cocktail in front of him on the glass coffee table and busies himself with getting in as much alcohol as possible in his system. 

Seokjin thinks his tastes have changed. The cocktail feels bland and does nothing for him. He thought he would enjoy being here, a place where money is the anthem and otherworldly things happen under the table, but he somehow wishes he’s home instead, or in the pub downing cheap beer and watered down shots.

A lot has changed in five months.

The heaviness on Seokjin’s ring finger has gone away when in the beginning, he thought it never would. The tan lines around it are gone too, the color of his hands now equal on each side. 

Seokjin places the cocktail down and settles instead with the hard liquor poured on tiny shot glasses. He keeps to himself while the others drag each other on the dance floor. 

Another one of his colleagues remain seated on the couch with him, her thumbs flying across the screen of her phone that lights up her face. She must have noticed he’s staring, and that they’re the only ones here. She looks up and smiles, morose. Bitter.

“You should go and loosen up, Professor Kim.” 

“I could say the same for you.”

She laughs and shrugs. “Matrimony changed me.”

“You’re married?”

She nods, brown hair following her movement. She shows him the ring on her finger, a simple gold band that does what it’s supposed to do: tie you down and warn others that you’re taken.

“I really want to enjoy tonight, I do,” She huffs. “But my husband and I are not on good terms right now. It’s like if one suffers, we both have to suffer.”

Seokjin finds himself smiling at that. “Marriage is similar to passing a bill in court. There’s a dark underbelly that the public never sees. The only thing that matters in the end is if it goes through or not. Marriage is war, but the highest virtue is still humility. Just like the law.”

There’s a passing silence that is engulfed by the expression on the other’s face. She picks up one of the fruity cocktails, one of the untouched cups in front of her. 

“You’re married, aren’t you?”


She nods in understanding, eyebrows raising in acknowledgment. 

“Childhood sweethearts?”

“Yes. Something like that.”

She clicks her tongue and drinks. “They never do last. One person is always bound to change. Or look back. Or regret things. Perhaps wonder what life would be like if they kept looking and never settled so early.”

She produces a pack of cigarettes from her purse, and lights it up. She offers him one, and Seokjin accepts.

“Which one are you?” 

Seokjin takes his time. She lights up his cigarette stick for him. He almost blanches at how heavy the taste is. 

“I think the last one.”

“You think?”

“I’m not sure yet.”

She taps the ash carelessly on the floor. “What about them?”

“What do you mean?”

“What was their reason?”

Seokjin laughs, simply because he doesn’t know what to say. “I don’t know.”

“You must have an idea. You’re divorced after all.”

The word divorced is a loaded gun that fires at Seokjin and grazes him. It would pierce his heart and lungs if it was held by someone else.

“Aren’t you the one with the problems? Let us stop talking about me.”

She gives in easily. They toast and make peace, back to small talk and mundanity. Seokjin believes she’s a good wife.

And then Seokjin’s world spins. 

He’s always drinking more than he could handle. It’s either he leaves feeling nothing, or he feels everything. Seokjin’s bladder fills up and he stands up to look for the nearest bathroom. He brushes away the offered help, assuring his conversational partner he can handle himself. 

Seokjin doesn’t stagger or trip. He walks straight, albeit slowly. The nightclub is dark, flashes of artificial color here and there lighting up Seokjin’s way. 

Night blindness was never a problem for Seokjin. He grew up with all the lights shining his path when night fell. He lived in an enormous mansion situated in the middle of nowhere, and when storms caused chaos and disrupted power lines, there was always a hand guiding him in the dark. 

The club is designed similar to a flipped eight: infinite. The private rooms that cost an arm and a leg are all upstairs, accessible only by a private elevator. Seokjin is directed to the bathroom by one of the many security guards in the club. 

Seokjin noticed that even the bathroom is fancy. He moves quickly, eyes blinking rapidly and slowly adapting to the sudden brightness. He washes his hands and stares at himself in the mirror. The blonde does make him look younger.

As soon as Seokjin pushes the door, he feels as if the breath in his lungs has been sucked out and gravity was pulled under him.

Is this thing on?

Seokjin steps back into the club, the door closing quietly behind him. His own voice, despite it being distorted, reverbed, slowed, speaks to him through the sound-surround speakers.

The dark club and the lights popping every now and then has Seokjin thinking if this is what it’s like, to hear music and see color, to hear him speak and see something you cannot see from anyone else. 

Seokjin rests his back on the wall, palms flat against it. He sighs. Amore ends and a new song plays. It feels as if the magic spell has broken. The new song playing is for dancing. The artificial lights are almost gone, their bursts sporadic and following no pattern. Seokjin hangs his head down low. He should’ve asked for help. He doesn’t know how long this will take. 

He blinks at nothing, brown eyes that sparkle under the sun now dull and useless. He still remembers the first time he realized he couldn’t see in the dark. He remembers being shot down and laying on his back.

“Do you need help?” 

The sudden question surprises Seokjin. It doesn’t sink in to him at first, thinking it’s something his imagination conjured during this stressful moment. Seokjin turns his head to the side where the sound came from. He’s met by nothing. 

Seokjin feels the brush of a jacket against his arm. He moves away instinctively, and the voice speaks up again. 

“I only want to help you,” They continue, voice low. “That’s my arm. You can hold onto it and I’ll walk you back to wherever you want.”

Seokjin’s heartbeat quickens. He pushes himself off the wall and stands straighter. The stranger doesn’t leave him alone, nor does their arm fall to their side. Seokjin closes his eyes, this time the darkness of his own accord, and when he opens them again, he knows the stranger is still there. 

“Can I trust you?” Seokjin asks, testing the waters.

The stranger chuckles. “Do you really have a choice?”

Seokjin takes the offered arm and links it with his own, his hand settling on the stranger’s bicep. 

“Where to?” They ask.

Seokjin knows he cannot go back to his group after this. He contemplates for a few seconds. 

“I think I want to go home.”

“Your friends won’t mind you disappearing on them?”

“I’ll send them a message.”

Seokjin is led through the crowd steadily. At one point he stumbles and almost falls. The stranger catches him, and they end up walking with the stranger’s arm around Seokjin, his fingers digging into Seokjin’s shoulder. He hears how they grit their teeth with their next words. 

“What do you do now when this happens?”

“I rarely find myself in this kind of situation alone.”

“But you were. Standing alone at the side. In a crowded club. I don’t care if it doesn’t happen often anymore, because you just were, and a lot of things could’ve happened.”

Seokjin sighs. He doesn’t need the light to see this for what it is. He can be forgetful and perhaps not recognize who this voice belongs to, but fear instills something different in people. It doesn’t make you forget, and most importantly, it makes sure you remember.

And so Seokjin allows himself to be weaved out of the crowd and the club, because he knows these hands, and they have done this dance numerous times. 

The hold on him tightens and he does the same. 

A flower called bittersweet blooms in Seokjin’s chest, planting itself in his lungs and puncturing through it, growing steadfast among the bronchioles but not disrupting his breathing. Just enough for him to feel wetness at the corners of his eyes. 

The tears don’t fall. 

Instead of exiting from where he entered, they go through the back. 

It’s the parking lot, and it’s not exactly empty. 

Seokjin yelps in surprise at how quickly everything happens.

One moment he was still standing straight, eyes hazy and continuously adjusting, and then the next thing he knew the same jacket he’s been clinging to is now draped over his head. He’s pulled backward, against the other person’s chest, their arm now completely around him, hand on his head holding the jacket in place.

“Keep your head down,” they hurriedly say to him. 

Seokjin hears it then, the shouts, the screams, and camera shutters going off.

He nods in understanding, allowing the other to guide his path and away from the commotion.

It’s instinctive though, Seokjin’s eyes following the noise. He peeks up for a second, and he wishes he hadn’t. 

The number of people, paparazzi, in the parking lot makes him nauseous.

“JJK look here!”

“Jungkook!” They scream. “Jungkook, who are you with!” 

“What’s your name, sweetheart! Why are you with Jungkook!”

Their statements are posed as questions but it’s obvious they are only saying it to rile Jungkook up.

There’s a difference between knowing who it was through one sense alone versus being assaulted by it everywhere, their name being shouted over and over again. 

Seokjin could only keep his head down, the world still vague and dark, the flash of the cameras acting like lighthouses. Except, rather than being overcome with relief, a weird feeling curls in Seokjin’s stomach, a reflex that wants to rise up. 

Jungkook must know.

He always does.

His hand on Seokjin’s head pushes Seokjin deeper into his chest. The jacket creates a barrier between their skin, and perhaps if it wasn’t there, Jungkook’s fingers would be digging into Seokjin’s scalp as distraction and comfort. 

Seokjin feels someone who isn’t Jungkook touch him. His mouth curls in disgust at the feeling. It’s only when he leans his full weight and submits all control of walking with his own two feet to Jungkook, does Seokjin realize he has his own upper limbs bent on Jungkook’s chest, his hands balled into fists and resting on Jungkook’s sternum.

He hears someone shout for the crowds to move and disperse. Bouncers, probably.

It’s starting to become suffocating. The crowd seems to never end, a hydra that grows eight more heads when one is cut off. Seokjin is starting to panic, his breath becoming labored. The alcohol he drank earlier decided that this is the time to be absorbed by his cells, their effect making its way all throughout his nervous system. 

“Jungkook, don’t be selfish! Introduce us to your friend!”

“Are you a model? Actor? Singer? Just one smile for the camera, love!”

The walk to wherever Jungkook is taking him to seems to never end.

Someone touches him again. This time around, he flinches. The situation is too overwhelming and sudden for Seokjin to react. 

The sharks with cameras are starting to become brave. The adrenaline rush and excitement to see a celebrity and someone new on their arm precedes basic morality for these people. 

Unlike the fleeting touches from earlier wherein the paparazzi try to get his attention, someone grabs Seokjin. They pull his elbow, and it’s strong enough for him to move away from Jungkook’s grip on him. 

If Seokjin could see how it transpired, maybe he would have gasped along with the crowd, then see their bloodthirsty smiles at the scene, the same thought running through their heads: this will sell and make headlines.

Jungkook pivots his body to the side, pulling Seokjin back to him with one arm while the other catches the offending hand that grabbed Seokjin. Jungkook grips the person’s wrist, squeezing on flesh and bone.

“If you touch him again,” Jungkook growls out. “I’ll break your fingers.”

Jungkook lets them go. They fall down the concrete, whether it be out of dramatics or Jungkook making sure they end up there. 

They resume walking, pace faster this time around. Their purgatory-like situation finally ends. Seokjin is pushed inside a car. Jungkook adjusts the jacket around his head, making sure it covers Seokjin thoroughly away from the invasive lens of the camera. He tells Seokjin, “Don’t let them see you.”

The door on Seokjin’s side shuts. The side of Seokjin’s head hits the leather seats of the car. He grips the edges of the jacket, keeps his face down and covered. He shuts his eyes and prays to a higher being that this finally ends. He focuses on taking deep breaths, mentally counting from one to ten, then ten to one. He feels hot and cold at the same time. There’s sweat on his brow and the blasting air conditioner in the car doesn’t help.

Warm palms wrap around Seokjin’s balled fists, coaxing him to let the jacket go. He doesn’t, but it does allow the wandering appendage to sneak inside the tent he made from the jacket to cup his cheeks. He feels the familiar swiping motion of thumbs against his cheekbone. He realizes his cheeks are wet. He’s not sure if it’s sweat or if he cried. It could be both. 

Something heavy leans on Seokjin’s forehead. 

The warmth is now directly hitting him, a calming and familiar soft breathing that fans over his face. 

The familiarity of this position blows away the walls he built for whenever he is feeling weak.

Seokjin is the last person to admit to weakness, but if someone manages to climb walls you didn’t even know you had, then you have no choice but to make room for them. They leave a mark on you that cannot be removed. Their touch, their words, everything, engraved into you.

Opening his eyes, Seokjin is met with Jungkook’s own brown orbs, heavy-lidded and staring right into him. 

Seokjin realizes that the car they’re in is moving. He glances to the side and sees the driver behind the steering wheel and the street lights outside the window. 

“Good?” Jungkook asks in a whisper. 

Seokjin nods, allowing himself to be comforted by the only person who knows this side of him; the only person in the world who knows what to do when he becomes like this.

It starts out soft and gentle. A sweet caress. The music box lullaby before the carnage. 

Jungkook tells the driver to pull the divider up and they quickly comply. His full attention returns to Seokjin. 

“Heart feeling fine?” 

Seokjin nods.

“Mind not jumbled?”

Seokjin nods.

The crescendo comes in full throttle. 

Seokjin knows this.

Jungkook knows this too.

He will always reach out. He will always know what to do. He will always be lenient, then commanding. 

And they will always fall for each other a bit deeper, because they have done this before, and they will do it again.

Jungkook’s thumbs resting on the skin underneath Seokjin’s eyes move to the side, his palms cupping Seokjin’s face like he’s filling them with water from an oasis. 

“Where are you right now?”

The first question is always the hardest. 

Seokjin feels the silk-like grip become harder. He doesn’t mind. Never did. This is what he needs.

“I asked you a question.” Jungkook’s voice is smooth and still kind. “Open your mouth and use your words.”

Seokjin swallows. The corners of his lips are shaking. 

“Don’t make me ask again.”

“I’m in a moving vehicle.”

Jungkook doesn’t reward him. Not yet.

“What happened to you?”

“I—“ Even the thought of voicing it has Seokjin wanting to throw up. He needs to spit it out. He knows he can because Jungkook doesn’t mind these ugly parts of him. “I had a panic attack.”

“How did you fix it?”

“Breathing technique.”

“Did it work?”


Jungkook smiles and nods in acknowledgement. 

“Who am I?”

Seokjin… he used to love this part. It means it’s almost over, because this part is the easiest. He doesn’t know if he does anymore, not when it brings up memories that should’ve been buried.

“Jeon Jungkook.”

Another smile. 

He’s so beautiful, Seokjin thinks. 

Jungkook is a being sent by either god or the devil to be his other half. There is no separation or dissolution in heaven or in hell, not when you are bound to each other by the red string of fate, beings made from the same clay. 

Jungkook’s head tilts to the side. “And who are you?” 

Matrimony is a covenant made up of wild laws, secret histories, and savage acts. The blood from a married couple’s teeth and those drying under their nails can be washed away, but the fact that it has spilled does not. 

An outsider can never try to make sense of the fights, the feelings, and the magnitude of it all, because people are created from the image of god, and if there is one god, then no two people can perceive things the exact same way. 

Jungkook laid his eyes on Seokjin once and decided he’s the one. 

The aforementioned analogy about perception and divine providence does not apply, not when you’re one soul in different bodies.

“Jeon Seokjin.”

The car continues moving against the concrete, passing numerous street lamps and buildings. The scenery has yet to change into the one Seokjin is familiar and attributes home with. 

As soon as the spell breaks, Jungkook moves away from him, leaving Seokjin in the middle of the seat and blinking in confusion. Seokjin tentatively copies Jungkook, pushing himself to the side and leaning on the car door. 

Seokjin thinks he should make conversation. He’s not exactly sure what to say. He realizes what he should say, but before he could get the words out, Jungkook beats him to it. 

“Who were you with tonight?”

Whipping his head to the side, Seokjin is met with Jungkook who is looking straight at him. 

This is the first time he’s seeing Jungkook in five months. In person. His eyes snap to the side of Jungkook’s face. There are two, silver, metallic dots on his eyebrow. His hair is back to black, short and clean, reminding Seokjin of when he was younger. 

“You got your eyebrow pierced.” 

Jungkook raises the aforementioned brow. He doesn’t speak. Seokjin realizes it’s because he completely ignored what Jungkook asked him.

“Friends from work.” 

“I’m assuming it’s a special occasion?”

“Not really. They simply wanted to go out of town.”

“You do this often, then? Go out with your coworkers and drink?”

Seokjin nods. “It has been going on for a while, yes.”

Silence rules over them for a few seconds before Seokjin realizes the situation he’s in and he’s asking, “Where are we going?”

Jungkook glances at him. “I was hoping you could tell me.” He clicks a button on the side and the divider rolls down. He gestures for Seokjin to tell the driver his address who voices out his affirmation. Judging by the roads they are taking, it seems they are already making their way back to the resort town. 

“I know you’re renting a townhouse there,” Jungkook explains. “But I don’t know where exactly.”

Seokjin plays with his fingers. The atmosphere is awkward and tense. He’s not used to not knowing what to say or feel. The last time they saw each other was when Seokjin moved out of the house. He knows Jungkook did the same. The house is now empty, a marvel in the middle of nowhere. 

“What about you? Who were you with?” Seokjin asks.


Seokjin can imagine that if they did not meet tonight, Jungkook would be gracing the headlines tomorrow with someone else. 

Not that he reads them to be up-to-date. Jungkook is just… everywhere. It’s harder avoiding him these days in comparison to before when looking for him was the name of the game. 

“Why did you approach me in the club?” 

There’s a million other things Seokjin could’ve asked or can ask, but he settles with the one that rolls off his tongue the easiest. 

“What was I supposed to do? Leave you alone?” Jungkook shoots back. His tone remains indifferent. He settled comfortably in his seat, a sound of contentment exiting his lips. He props his elbow up on the car door, his chin resting on his open palm. He turns to Seokjin and raises one brow at him, his piercing following his movement. It’s intimidating, hypnotic, and Seokjin wants to berate himself for following the jewelry with his eyes.

An uncharacteristic pettiness rises in Seokjin. It’s probably the alcohol still running in his system speaking when he talks back to Jungkook, saying, “Yes, that’s what I want you to do.”

Seokjin’s not sure if he heard correctly, but what he hears is Jungkook mumbling under his breath, “You’re so fucking ungrateful.”

Seokjin blinks repeatedly in surprise as his brain slowly comprehends it. He lets out a sound that’s between a scoff and a laugh. 

“What did you just say to me?” 

Jungkook’s head tilts to the side. He smirks at Seokjin in challenge. He tongues the side of his cheek, mulling over his response and watching Seokjin who he tries not to squirm under the scrutiny. 

“I know you heard me.” Jungkook breezily admits. “But I’ll repeat it for you: you’re ungrateful.”

“Is this because of the prenup?” Seokjin can hear how his voice raise in volume, a rare occurrence because he always keeps his cool. “Is this about money?”

“Why is that the first thing you think of?” Jungkook mockingly asks. He raises both his brows in question, increasing the anger and something else brewing in Seokjin’s chest at this game Jungkook is playing at. “If that’s what you think I mean, then you really should reflect on it.”

Seokjin knows Jungkook is pushing his buttons on purpose. He wants to see Seokjin explode, and in a way, punish him for his transgressions. 

The past months flash in Seokjin’s mind.

The divorce, numerous papers, one-sided battles regarding legal procedures, packing his bags and leaving the house, Jungkook doing the same, and so much more. 

It exhausted Seokjin to his very being. He sat down in front of a table and faced Jungkook who was at the other end. Their lawyers shout and fight with each other but it was no use. 

Seokjin was to gain nothing and Jungkook will get everything back. What’s worse is that Seokjin couldn’t even change his name, and hasn't changed it yet. The process of changing his surname back to Kim is a long and arduous one that they both know is because of someone meddling into the affair of it all. Seokjin cannot gain a cent back from his own family, and there’s nothing left for him. 

Of course, his grandparents and his parents wouldn’t let him starve out on the streets. Yet there is something about it that makes him ache. He has nothing on his name when the name he legally has carries everything. 

So if Jungkook wants to be petty, then Seokjin will throw it back to him without remorse. He has nothing to lose because there is an endless abyss in Seokjin that isn’t closing anytime soon. 

“Because that’s what I wanted from you.” 

Seokjin doesn’t mean it. It hurts the moment he says it. He doesn’t know if it hurts more that Jungkook is unfazed, like he has come to that conclusion already before Seokjin himself had the chance to say it. 

It’s a low blow, but Seokjin adds, “Why do you think I left you?”

Jungkook only grins, teeth flashing and an amused snort coming out of him. 

“What was it you said… If needed, I’ll tear it to pieces and swallow it.” Jungkook laughs and shakes his head. “Your desperation resembles city skylines, you know? Stars trying to twinkle and make themselves known amidst all that light pollution. Smoke and charcoal; that’s your color when you’re desperate.” 

Sobriety returns to Seokjin in full-force. The whiplash of Jungkook helping and comforting him to now acting this way is enough to slap Seokjin back to reality.

Crossing his arms over his chest, Seokjin lets the stiffness of sitting up straight melt into leaning against the leather seats.

“Why are you punishing me? We’re living different lives now. Soon enough, even my last name will be separated from yours.”

Jungkook clicks his tongue. He tuts at Seokjin while shaking his head. 

“You think I’m punishing you? If I was, then you’d know.” Jungkook drawls. “You’d feel it too.” Jungkook smiles and it reaches his eyes. “Do you still remember what it was like when I did?”

Seokjin burns at the sudden shift in conversation. He tries to look anywhere but Jungkook. It caught him completely off-guard. He doesn’t know what else to say or do, so Seokjin pretends to not hear what was just said, and stares out the window. Surprisingly enough, they’re almost at his residence.

Feeling a little braver thanks to the familiar roads, Seokjin glances at Jungkook who was staring straight then immediately looks back. 

“You’re acting like a bratty teenager who skipped etiquette class.”

Jungkook shakes his head again. “Now, don’t turn this dynamic around on me. You hurt me badly, Jin. This is how it is now.”

Seokjin’s traitorous heart skips a beat at the mention of his name. For the first time in five months, he finally hears his name exit Jungkook’s mouth. It lights up his nerves and makes his skin prick, the brush of fabric against it enough to make him shudder in sensitivity. 

Licking his lips, Seokjin tentatively decides on handing out the olive branch. He’s almost home after all. He doesn’t want to go to sleep angry.

“Did I?” Seokjin asks.

“Did you what?”

“Hurt you badly.”

“You know you did.”

Seokjin nods. He doesn’t apologize even though that’s what he wants to do. The moment isn’t right. Seokjin wants to say it but he’s not ready, and he knows that Jungkook wants to hear it, but he doesn’t want to listen. 

The car stops. Seokjin sees his townhouse outside. The streetlamps are on, casting an amber glow on the narrow walkway leading to the one-door entrance. Jumgkook’s comment about him being ungrateful rings in his head.

“Thank you for helping me in the club and for the ride home.” 

He’s preparing to leave when Jungkook quips, “This is where you’re staying?”

Seokjin second guesses if he should deign Jungkook a reply or not. “Yes.”

Jungkook bends forward and peeks outside through the car windows. 

“I'm going now.”

The car doors are unlocked, and Seokjin pushes it open. He’s halfway outside when Jungkook asks, “Can I use your bathroom?”

The incredulousness of it all makes Seokjin scoff. The switch between protectiveness, caring, and then outright taunting him to now being polite is giving Seokjin a headache. 


Jungkook tells his driver to wait for him before he jumps out his side of the car and joins Seokjin on the empty and mist-filled street. He rounds around the front of the car, hands inside his pockets.

Seokjin easily produces his keys from his pants’ pocket. He feels Jungkook hover behind him, watching over Seokjin’s shoulder as he pushes in the heavy, antique, key into the door and pushes it open. 

The moment Seokjin steps foot into the apartment, he remembers something that he cannot believe he forgot about. He says, “Lock the door behind you!” before rushing inside and disappearing into the kitchen.

“What’s wrong?” Jungkook calls back to him, his tone remaining unbothered.

“I forgot to feed the baby!”

If Seokjin could see Jungkook, he would’ve seen how he freezes midway from closing the door. He could’ve seen how Jungkook’s eyes widen, then blazes wifh fury, and how he stomps his way to where Seokjin disappeared into.

“What the fuck do you mean by baby?” Jungkook snarls without thought.

And perhaps Seokjin meant for it to be interpreted that way as revenge. He blinks innocently at Jungkook. 

They’re both standing in the middle of the kitchen. 

In all honesty, they aren’t used to such small spaces. Running after each other in large and labyrinthine hallways while demanding answers are more their speed. 

Seokjin ignores Jungkook and rummages around the kitchen. 

“We’ve only been divorced for five months.” Jungkook states calmly. He regained his cool so quickly, Seokjin notes, a weird sense of pride bubbling in him. 

But some things never change, Seokjin thinks, mentally sighing. 

Like his endearment towards Jungkook for example.

“I’m talking about my neighbor’s dog.”

Numerous emotions play on Jungkook’s face. 

“A dog?”

“Yes, Jungkookie. A dog My neighbor is out of town and they asked me to dog-sit.”

Seokjin savors the effect it has on Jungkook. He wonders what Jungkook is seeing right now as they speak, what colors blossom in his vision as Seokjin finally mellows down and calls him by his name. 

As if on cue, Seokjin hears Andromeda running down the stairs and into the kitchen. She stops when she sees Jungkook. 

“She’s pretty useless,” Seokjin comments, watching Jungkook extend his hand towards the dog. “She’s friendly with everyone. A thief could climb up my window and Andromeda wouldn’t let out a single sound.”

“Andromeda, huh?” Jungkook chuckles. “What’s her breed?”

Seokjin leans over the kitchen counter. The doggy bowl on the floor filled and forgotten. He watches Jungkook kneel on the floor to pet Andromeda who seems to be enjoying the attention of a new human. 

“She’s a golden retriever.”

Jungkook lets out a loud laugh when Andromeda paws on him, her legs resting on his thighs. It makes Seokjin’s heart ache. It’s a scene straight out of a Hallmark movie. Snow will probably fall any second now, and the theme song would be an old Christmas jingle sung by a pop artist specially for the movie.

“I thought you were going to use the bathroom,” Seokjin reminds his visitor. 

The spell breaks for Jungkook too. He seems to realize where he is, who he’s with, and what he’s doing. He clears his throat and stands up from the floor. Seokjin gestures for Andromeda who happily comes up to him, her attention now stolen by the bowl on the floor filled with dog food.

“Right. Where is it?”

“There’s no guest bathroom. You can use mine. It’s upstairs. You wouldn’t miss it.”

Jungkook nods, turns around, and walks out of the kitchen.

Seokjin lets out a breath he didn’t know he was holding in. Looking down, he sees Andromeda looking at him with her big brown eyes. Seokjin feels ridiculous for talking to a dog, but he already let Jungkook inside his home, so what’s one more?

“Cute, isn’t he?” Seokjin snickers at the low bark Andromeda lets out. “You didn’t interrupt when I brought someone else before. I see how it is.”

Leaving the kitchen, Seokjin climbs up the narrow stairs. It’s made of wood, old and rickety, yet remains sturdy. The second floor of the townhouse resembles a studio apartment. It’s a space Seokjin isn’t used to occupying, but it’s more than enough to contain him, and he supposes that’s what matters.

As soon as he arrives at the top of the stairs, Jungkook exits the bathroom, paper towels clutched in his hand to dry them.

Before Seokjin could even contemplate on what to say, Jungkook beats him to it.

“You have my comb.”

Despite it being Seokjin’s house, the sudden statement makes him feel awkward standing there in the middle of the room. 


Jungkook disappears again into the bathroom to throw the paper towels away. He closes the door behind him. 

“My comb. If you look at the underside closely, you’ll see my initials embossed on it. It’s lame now but I got it when I was a kid, so.”

“If it’s yours, then why is it here?”

“What about you then? Why are you here?”

There’s silence. Jungkook’s eyes twinkle in anticipation underneath the cheap lighting. He’s already moving his arms, opening them in wait, and Seokjin hates him for it. 

Hates that Jungkook knows him so well. Hates that Jungkook knows what to say and what to do to break Seokjin down into pieces until he only has one thing left in him: wanting. 

It’s muscle memory, Seokjin thinks, trying to comfort himself, that when Jungkook does this he has no choice but to follow the movement. 

Five steps is all it takes for Seokjin to close the gap between them. Five steps to wrap his arms around Jungkook’s neck, fingers fisting his hair so he can angle their mouths together before smashing his own against Jungkook’s who laughs and mumbles, “Ungrateful and selfish, too.”

Five steps for five months is all it takes. 

Seokjin mentally laughs, high off the adrenaline rush. 

And Jungkook thinks he doesn’t feel a thing.

Jungkook steadies him, hands moving from Seokjin’s waist to his face. He holds Seokjin with both hands while kissing him. He chuckles in between the open-mouthed kisses, at Seokjin’s labored breathing and whines, and he knows he’s keening too, because kissing Seokjin incites sounds and produces color Jungkook hasn’t seen in five months.

“We’re still divorced,” Seokjin reminds him. He doesn’t finish his sentence, muffled by Jungkook’s tongue entering his mouth. Jungkook pulls back just as quickly, laughing when Seokjin chases after him.

“I know.” 

Jungkook leans forward and grazes his lips against Seokjin’s. He smiles when he feels Seokjin tremble, holding himself back to do more but not wanting to appear desperate in front of Jungkook.

Seokjin didn’t know people could change this much after only five months. He didn’t know Jungkook looks so different up close after five steps. He’s not used to the short hair, how it emphasizes his jaw and the mole under his bottom lip. He wants to know if Jungkook got any new tattoos as well underneath his jacket and shirt.

“And I still hate you,” Seokjin adds, proud of the fact that he does not sound breathless even though Jungkook has knocked the air out of his lungs ever since he came up to Seokjin in the club.

Jungkook kisses him again. Rough and unforgiving. He maneuvers the both of them around, until he falls on his back on the bed with Seokjin on top of him. Jungkook’s arms are now around Seokjin’s waist, keeping him in place while Seokjin’s hands are on either side of Jungkook’s head.

“I hate you too,” Jungkook says in between kissing Seokjin. 

It sounds fake. Too sensual and endeared to be true. This is probably what it sounded like to Jungkook when he said it. 

Seokjin stops Jungkook by grabbing his chin and holding him in place. 

“I hate you,” Seokjin repeats. “For punishing me over my decisions.”

Jungkook finds that amusing. He lets Seokjin know by cocking his eyebrow up. He rests his hands under Seokjin’s shirt, against his skin. 

“You want me for one thing and I’m here to give it to you. How is that a punishment?”

Saying what they are doing, or about to do, outloud brings Seokjin back down to earth. He hates him but he brought Jungkook here. He hates Jungkook but he’s here on Seokjin’s bed and underneath him. 

Jungkook must have sensed his hesitation and embarrassment. The filter lifts a little and he is quick to put a stop to it. He leans up, arms now on the bed, elbows supporting his upper body weight. He brings his lips to Seokjin’s ear to give him the offer he’s sure Seokjin cannot refuse. 

“I’ll do it how you like it,” Jungkook mumbles. One of his hands reached up to hold the back of Seokjin’s head. “Suck you off until you’re shaking then fuck you nice and deep.”

Seokjin’s response is breathlessness. It’s the last thing Jungkook needs to hear. There’s an invisible music page that only Jungkook is able to see. Whenever a certain sound comes out of Seokjin, it glows and jumps, and Jungkook wishes he can bottle or synthesize these feelings and hallucinations in a laboratory, because only Seokjin can get him this high. 

Back then, when they were still married, kissing and fucking was never boring. They could be cooped up in the same house and simply be in different rooms, Jungkook in the west wing and Seokjin in the east, but it was always exciting. 

Now that they aren’t together anymore, zero obligations toward each other but with a history that wouldn’t let them breathe without being reminded of the other, it’s… different. 

Seokjin removes his clothes and tugs at Jungkook’s own, grumbling at him to hurry up. Jungkook laughs at the impatience. Seokjin takes it upon himself to pull Jungkook’s jacket down and throw it on his bedroom floor because Jungkook is too busy kissing him. He pulls back to remove his shirt, and Seokjin watches, mouth dry, when he sees the tattoo sleeve so distinct and unique to Jungkook. 

Jungkook pulls Seokjin down with him and uses the moment to flip them over. He helps Seokjin with his tight jeans, tattooed hand wrapping around Seokjin’s ankle and tugging him forward. Seokjin’s hands go on each side of his head, hands grasping on the bed sheets.

“I saw it, you know?” Jungkook says conversationally. Seokjin moves forward, hand on the waistband of Jungkook’s black sweatpants. Jungkook swats his hands away, chuckling at the glare Seokjin gives him. 

“White sweater with daisies…” Jungkook’s words has Seokjin blinking in confusion, then in realization. Jungkook laughs and kisses Seokjin’s ankle, soft and sudden. “What was it like, baby?”

Seokjin bristles at the nickname. “Shut up,” He snarls at Jungkook. “You talk too much.”

“Yeah? Are you mad because I’m talking back to you now?”

Jungkook moans as his head is pulled back, Seokjin sitting up on the bed and his hand fisting Jungkook’s hair.

“Do I need to shut you up myself?” Seokjin demands. The grip he has on Jungkook’s hair is tight to the point of pain. Seokjin takes this as his chance to kiss Jungkook again, using it as a distraction to remove Jungkook’s pants who only scoff at the ministrations like he knew it was what Seokjin wanted to do. 

Everything Jungkook does is orchestrated musicality. He doesn’t miss a beat and pushes Seokjin down again. This time, he lays down the bed on his stomach and in between Seokjin’s legs. He holds Seokjin’s thighs, a squeeze earning him another impatient whine.

“I haven’t done anything and you’re already shaking.” Jungkook intently keeps his eyes on Seokjin who looks like he wants to look away but doesn’t simply because he doesn’t want Jungkook to gain the upper hand. The glare he’s giving Jungkook is overshadowed by the redness of his cheeks and lips. 

Keeping his eyes on Seokjin, Jungkook wraps his mouth on the head of Seokjin’s cock, the fabric of underwear pushing against his tongue and becoming wet. Seokjin throws his head back and lets out a sound accompanied by violet hues in Jungkook’s vision. 

Jungkook missed this so much. He missed these pretty and blinding purples that only come out when he’s making Seokjin feel this good.

He doesn’t bother removing the underwear Seokjin’s wearing. He continues mouthing at him, tracing his lips down the length and back. He grazes his finger on Seokjin’s balls, the new sensation earning Jungkook another fist to his hair. He enjoys the feeling of it for a moment before opening his eyes again.

“Are you going to cum for me from just this? You’re so easy.” Jungkook teases. The effect of his words on Seokjin has always been different when they’re like this. His hips jerk forward, begging to be touched without barriers and continuously. 

Jungkook sighs. He props one elbow up and leans his cheek on it. With his other hand, he runs his palm all over Seokjin’s still clothed cock. Jungkook presses down on the patch of wetness from his spit and Seokjin’s arousal with his thumb. He grins at the curse Seokjin let’s out. 

Seokjin’s not going to beg.

Not yet.


Jungkook knows exactly what to do to break him so good . He finally relents and tugs Seokjin’s underwear down. He doesn’t break eye contact. He swipes the tip of his tongue over his front teeth to gather saliva in his mouth. He spits on his palm and wraps his tattooed hand around Seokjin’s cock, jerking him with the confidence that can only come from knowing Seokjin’s body better than the back of his hand. 

Seokjin likes it when he palms him from the base to the tip, eliciting breathy whimpers and whines at the flick of a wrist. The stimulation is starting to get too much. Seokjin’s bottom lip has been bitten raw. He tries his best to keep his sounds to himself, wanting it to be his last rebellion, still denying Jungkook of what he has been deprived of for months.

“Look at me.”

Seokjin catches himself a second too late. He’s already doing it without even thinking twice. The drag of Jungkook’s hand slows down, reduced to lazy strokes. Seokjin’s almost afraid he would stop, but he’s also a bit glad for the change in pace. He’s so close he can almost taste it, feels it at the pit of his belly. 

Jungkook glows at Seokjin’s obedience. 

This is a dynamic exclusive for the four walls of a bedroom. Or whatever surface or space they found themselves in back then. Seokjin can push him around and say whatever he wants, do whatever he likes, but under Jungkook’s hands, he needs to give in and listen. It’s a mutual exchange of control, and it was one of the best things in their relationship. It’s a testament to how good it serves the both of them that it remains even when the divorce papers have been laid out and signed.

Seokjin can only resist for so long. The ball of fire licking on his nerves is forcing them into summation. He’s close. He’s fisting bed sheets, his thighs shaking just like how Jungkook said he would be doing, tears forming at the corners of his eyes from holding himself back. Jungkook’s pupils are blown wide, entranced at Seokjin’s control. He can’t wait for him to burst and cover the room with color. 

Jungkook’s thumb runs over the slit of Seokjin’s cock. It causes Seokjin to let go of his bottom lip, the sound that comes out of him unrestrained and heavenly. 

“Fuck! I’m-”

Jungkook keeps going. He’s still sprawled on the bed. The casualty of it and how easily he can make Seokjin spill lights something in him too. He wants to touch himself alongside Seokjin, but that can wait.

“Cum.” The nonchalant tone in Jungkook’s voice, like this is some afterthought while Seokjin’s about to reach the kind of high he’s been craving for, is the final push. He spills on Jungkook’s hand and himself. Jungkook’s  awestruck at the way Seokjin’s eyes stay on him because he hasn’t told him to look away, his plush lips parted, and a drawn out moan ringing in his ears and the room. 

Pink and purple rain in his vision. 

Seokjin always has the prettiest colors. 

While Seokjin remains blissed out, Jungkook takes this as the chance to rummage over the small drawer beside Seokjin’s bed. He finds the familiar bottle of lube they used to keep at home, and Jungkook almost wants to laugh at how familiar this is. He glances down and sees Seokjin with his eyes closed, blonde hair sticking to his sweaty forehead. Jungkook cages him between his arms, leaning down on Seokjin who moans as their skin touches. 

Jungkook kisses his jaw, uncaring of the sweat. He sucks a mark on Seokjin’s neck. Still uncaring. He keeps plucking red blooms on Seokjin’s skin until Seokjin’s coherent enough to mumble, “Stop leaving it where people can see.” 

Ignoring him, Jungkook instead guides Seokjin’s hand down, until blunt nails are grazing his stomach. Seokjin wraps his long fingers around Jungkook who groans at finally getting some friction on his hardness. He lets go of Seokjin’s wrist in favor of fumbling around with the bottle of lube. He squirts the coldness of it on his fingers and waits until they’re warm. He kisses Seokjin as a distraction, moaning into his mouth while Seokjin lazily jerks him off. 

At the brush of his forefinger against Seokjin’s entrance, Seokjin freezes. Jungkook moves back to look into Seokjin’s eyes. He kisses his cheek. 

“I can stop if you want me to.” 

How was Seokjin supposed to say no when he already felt a tease of it? Instead of answering, he lets go of Jungkook’s cock in favor of wrapping it around his wrist. He hears Jungkook mumble, “Fuck,” as he pushes himself down Jungkook’s finger. He moans at the stretch and digs his fingers on Jungkook’s pulse.

“You lied to me,” Seokjin complains while fucking himself on Jungkook’s finger. “You said you’d suck me off but you didn’t. Are you not going to fuck me too?”

The fucked out look on Seokjin’s face, his flushed skin, and sinful mouth does things to Jungkook.The momentary care and sweetness he was feeling is thrown out of the window. His mind becomes clouded with one single goal, eliminating anything else. 

He pumps his finger that’s inside Seokjin alongside every sink and grind. His middle finger makes itself known at every glide of his forefinger. Seokjin groans louder and brings himself down deeper. 

“Take your time,” Jungkook tells him. 

Seokjin grumbles at him, impatient. “Fuck off.”

Jungkook laughs and doesn’t hesitate anymore. He pushes two fingers in and it effectively shuts Seokjin up. Seokjin’s walls are tight around Jungkook’s finger. He helps Seokjin chase his pleasure and pushes deeper. He feels the resistance loosen up for him, allowing him to find the bundle of nerves located inside Seokjin easily. He crooks his fingers and presses down, and Seokjin’s pleasure emits out of him in waves and in the form of a long, drawn-out moan. Seokjin’s head drops down the pillow. His hold on Jungkook’s wrist loosens, and the rhythm of his hips stutter beautifully. Jungkook turns his fingers around inside Seokjin so his thumb is facing inward, allowing him to rub on Seokjin’s perineum while stretching him. 

At the addition of a third finger, that’s when Seokjin’s breath starts getting caught in his throat. Jungkook holds Seokjin’s hip down while he makes sure to rub at Seokjin’s prostate. His eyes flicker from Seokjin’s face down to where Seokjin’s body is swallowing his fingers up. He’s starting to get impatient. He needs to feel the delicious stretch and wetness around him.

“Condom?” Jungkook asks. 

Seokjin blinks at him, eyes hazy and unfocused. He gestures somewhere over his head. “Second compartment.”

Jungkook reaches for the drawer again and immediately sees the scattered packets of foil. His brows raise in question at the clutter. Seokjin is pristine and proper, and this extends toward his belongings. Someone rummaged through it and messed it all up, this Jungkook knows for sure. He rips the foil open with his teeth and puts the condom on. His eyebrows are drawn together, his mouth set in a frown.

“Hey,” Seokjin’s voice snaps Jungkook back to reality. He tilts his head to the side to study the expression on Jungkook’s face. He still looks lost, glowing from his orgasm and hungry for another. Jungkook must be acting so obviously for Seokjin to snap out of it. “You look like you want to fight with me instead of fucking me.”

Jungkook doesn’t want to ruin the moment. In all honesty, he thinks it’s fucked up that he’s here. He feels like a junkie down bad on withdrawals and Seokjin is the ecstasy he’s chasing. It’s a confusing situation because he knows they’re both still angry but sex makes them soft. 

“Do you want to continue?” Seokjin asks.

“Of course I do,” Jungkook snaps. 

“Then what are you waiting for?”

Jungkook doesn’t want to say it, he doesn’t even want to think about it. Realistically speaking, it’s not surprising that Seokjin is fucking other people, especially because he’s doing the same. 

He grabs Seokjin’s arm and with a display of strength that has gone over Seokjin’s head, he flips Seokjin to his stomach, his cheek pressing on the pillow and hard cock rubbing against the mattress. He’s about to complain when he feels the head of Jungkook’s cock against his entrance. He tenses in surprise but quickly forces himself to relax. He feels Jungkook’s hand touching him, running from his shoulder down the end of his spine and on the curve of his ass. Jungkook squeezes and it has Seokjin’s hips digging on the bed for friction on his almost painfully hard cock.

Seokjin hears Jungkook ask, “You remember your safeword?” 


“Say it to me.”


Jungkook pushes the tip of his cock inside Seokjin. Their breathing turns into sharp intakes of air. Seokjin grapples for the bed sheets while Jungkook makes a home for himself inside Seokjin’s body. He’s gripping Seokjin’s waist, watching his cock disappear inside Seokjin inch by inch. Seokjin’s moans are muffled by the pillow. 

This was supposed to be quick and dirty; hate sex that they’ll both regret right after it’s over. It was supposed to relieve the tension between them that never truly goes away. Instead of taking and taking, Jungkook takes his time.

“Baby, does it hurt?” slips out from Jungkook without a second thought. “Let me know if I can move.”

Seokjin must be in his feelings too. Instead of snapping at Jungkook, he cranes his head back and extends his arm out. 

Knowing what Seokjin wants from him through action alone, Jungkook leans down, careful not to push in. Seokjin’s arm wraps around Jungkook’s head, fingers running through Jungkook’s sweat-drenched strands. Jungkook’s moving his hips albeit languidly. His hips stutter and he pushes in more deeply in comparison to the pace he set. Seokjin’s gasp of surprise is soothed with soft pecks all over his face.

“You’re taking me so well,” Jungkook praises between his kisses. His distraction works, the tightness that clamps down on him relaxing to accommodate more of his size. He steadily pushes in, continually kissing Seokjin’s face until he catches the tip of Seokjin’s earlobe between his lips and tugs. 

Jungkook makes good on his words. He rolls his hips into Seokjin slowly, groaning as he goes deeper until he bottoms out and the whole of his throbbing length is nestled inside Seokjin. He doesn’t move. Instead, he sits back up on his knees, strong legs folded on either side of Seokjin. Jungkook lifts him up, hands around Seokjin’s waist, forcing his spine and back to arch under his ministrations.

“Move,” Seokjin says. “Move or I’ll do it myself.”

Jungkook grins and shakes his head although Seokjin can’t see him. He’s so feisty even when Jungkook’s dick is inside him. 

“Next time,” Jungkook promises. “You can use me all you want next time.” His thrusts are barely noticeable, slow and deep grinds that ensure he’s hitting Seokjin in places he didn’t know could be stimulated. 

“There’s no next time,” Seokjin tells him. He sounds adamant and sure about it. 

Jungkook doesn’t like that Seokjin’s still speaking coherently. He pulls out midway and pushes back in again. Seokjin gasps, and Jungkook couldn’t help but think, That’s more like it.

“Why not?” 

“Because we hate each other,” Seokjin’s reply is cut off by another thrust that shakes him completely. 

Jungkook’s getting sick of that word. 


He starts fucking Seokjin in the way he knows will reduce the other into incoherence. Seokjin’s voice becomes whiny and soft, unrecognizable from his usual indifference and snark. Jungkook has him right where he wants him. 

Seokjin is moaning into and desperately clutching his pillow. The tips of his blonde hair curl on the nape of his neck. Jungkook wants to smother him into his chest and bite down wherever he can. The want to watch Seokjin’s entire body tremble for him every time he pulls Seokjin down his cock and pound into him deeper is stronger though. 

Shifting his weight around, Jungkook presses Seokjin down on the bed. One of his hand’s now beside Seokjin’s head, the tattooed one on Seokjin’s shoulder. The new position allows him to fuck into Seokjin better, each drag of his cock against the wet and warm walls hits Seokjin’s prostate spot on. 

“Jungkook—!” Seokjin cries out. He doesn’t muffle himself anymore, probably because he can’t. 

“Yeah? What is it?” Jungkook rasps out, his movement precise and infallible. He can almost see it; that perfect moment where Seokjin cannot hold anything back and it tumbles from his mouth all at once. 

“Kook— fuck, you’re so—,” Seokjin lets out a sound that seems to be a mix between frustration and overstimulation. 

“I’m so what?”

Seokjin tells him what he wants to hear. Seokjin tells him that he's fucking him so good, and it makes him smug.

“Say you hate me now, Jin.” Jungkook’s hand moves from Seokjin’s shoulder to his neck. He doesn’t do anything, simply lays it there. He shifts his weight on one hand so he doesn’t end up pressing down on Seokjin’s neck. Unless that’s what he wants. 

He fucks Seokjin like he owns him. Once upon a time he did; owned Seokjin the same way Seokjin owned him. It fills him with satisfaction that this part of their lives hasn’t changed especially since everything has spiraled out of control. 

Jungkook stops. He’s breathing hard, and so is Seokjin. He lifts himself off Seokjin and sits on the heels of his feet. 

“Kook, why’d you stop?” Seokjin asks him, turning his head around to look at Jungkook. Licking his lips, Jungkook’s eyes fall on Seokjin’s ass. He slaps one cheek without a second thought, causing Seokjin to instinctively move away. He doesn’t get far, not with Jungkook’s cock still inside him. 

“I asked you to do something.” Jungkook simply says. He soothes the cheek with his palm. It amazes him how Seokjin’s skin turn red so easily.

“I didn’t hear you,” is Seokjin’s reply. He’s also catching his breath, and the way he stares at Jungkook tells him everything. 

"Tell me you hate me."

Seokjin tenses from head to toe. He shakes his head side to side, refusing to spit out what he has been repeatedly saying. The way he tightens around Jungkook and his grasp on the sheets tell Jungkook he's close. He resumes fucking into Seokjin, relishes over the pulsations on his cock and the rise and fall of Seokjin's chest. He's familiar with this. He knows the staccato of Seokjin's voice, how the grip he has on Jungkook refuses to let go.

"Are you gonna cum for me?" 

He doesn't need to ask. Jungkook knows he is. He focuses on pushing into Seokjin a certain way so that each thrust into his heat causes Seokjin's lower half to rub against the bedsheets. He knows he's fucking him through his second orgasm, and he grins in satisfaction that he made good on his word. It messes with his head how perfect Seokjin is for him, how much they fit each other. He remembers in a flash how he used to be overcome with pleasure and his hips loose rhythm and stutter because of how good everything feels. 

Seokjin pleads for him, and who is he to deny him?

"Come on," Jungkook encourages. "Give me one more, Jin." He purrs. 

The hand he has around Seokjin's neck squeezes in encouragement. If he does it harder, whether he does it on purpose to cut off Seokjin's breathing or not, it always leave a red spot on the sensitive skin.

Seokjin says his name again. He comes around Jungkook and loses all the balance he has on himself. 

Twice in under thirty minutes.

Jungkook cannot help but let pride bloom in his chest and manifest as a smirk on his lips. He focuses on chasing his own end. 

Seokjin voices out his sensitivity and overstimulation. Jungkook apologizes by running his hands on Seokjin's back, fingers going back to where they were gripping from the start: Seokjin's tiny waist. Seokjin lays his palms flat on the the bed and turns around to look at Jungkook. His pretty lips are parted, letting out little gasps at every push into him. 

"Give it to me," Jungkook hears Seokjin say. "Come and make a mess of me."

The stimuli builds up to the crescendo of an orgasm. 

Jungkook spills and his vision is filled with what he has been missing out on. 

It's similar to the colors he sees when he hears the beat to Amore. 

The groan of pleasure he lets out makes Seokjin jolt. 

It is mutualistic, and it nourishes and grows, how the other never fails to cause unstoppable lust shooting up their systems even after everything has been said and done. 

Jungkook falls on Seokjin's back. He's taking in gulps of air and Seokjin joins in to steal some more of it.

There's parasitism between them too.

Seokjin dives in for a kiss and mutters, "I really hate you."

Jungkook laughs and returns it with as much vigor. He grips Seokjin's hair, and he thinks that if Seokjin wants him losing air, he'll drag them down together for it. 

"I hate you too."

Time shatters and is put back together again.

Seokjin stops staring at the ceiling and gets out of bed. 

Only twenty minutes have passed but it feels like a lifetime. 

He drags himself through the cold floor. Upon second thought, he opens the small dresser in the room and produces a thin white comforter from the drawers. He places it on his head and wraps it around himself. He shivers at the warmth. 

Standing there in the middle of the room gives him a clear view of the balcony. The glass sliding door is left open. Jungkook is sitting outside, shirtless and in grey sweatpants he dug out from Seokjin’s closet. His elbows are resting on the railing. Seokjin can see wisps of smoke in the air.

Seokjin stands by the door, leaning on the end of the wall. 

“What are you smoking?” 

Jungkook doesn’t turn around. “Cigarettes.”

“Are you smoking a lot lately?”

“Only when I go out.”

Stepping out onto the balcony, Seokjin pulls the comforter tighter around him. He peers down and sees that the car that drove them here is still there. He stands there, his back on the rails while Jungkook continues smoking and looking out into the distance.

“We can’t do this again.”

There, Seokjin thinks, let this be the first drop of blood. 

“Do what?” Jungkook asks. The way he smokes is that he holds it between his third and fourth finger. He sucks, inhales, and his thumb ends up touching the corners of his mouth. 

“Sex. Talk. See each other.

Seokjin keeps his eyes on Jungkook, wary of whatever expression he may make. He doesn’t react. He waits for him to get angry or fight him about it.

“Why are you so quiet?” Seokjin whispers.

Jungkook ignores the question and asks his own. “Is this the kind of life you wanted?”

Seokjin doesn’t know the answer to that. Jungkook finally finishes his cigarette. He throws the butt out into the streets.

“I’m trying to find that out.”

Jungkook shrugs. “Fair.”

“Why didn’t you fight for me?” Seokjin prays the tremble in his voice is all in his head.

“I simply gave you what you wanted.”

“What I want and what I need are two very different things.”

Jungkook meets Seokjin’s gaze. He raises his head and juts his chin out. “Tell me you need me then.” 

“I don’t know that, Jungkookie.” Seokjin reasons. “I don’t know if I was with you because I wanted you, and I don’t know if I need you because I want you.”

“That’s the difference between you and me,” Jungkook drawls. “I didn’t need to leave to know what my feelings for you meant.”

Seokjin sighs. His head falls, face hidden. His cheek rests on the softness of the comforter. 

“Not everyone has the luxury to know. I’m not like you. I don’t see life for what it is and believe me, I wish I could, because then I wouldn’t have to second guess everything and think about what-ifs.”

“What are those what-ifs?”

Seokjin shrugs. “It’s… what-ifs are simply afterthoughts. I could live with having them. Something else has always bothered me.” Seokjin lifts his head up and smiles at Jungkook who is watching him with the same intensity he always has. “I think you have an idea what it is.”

“Your family,” Jungkook replies simply.

Seokjin nods. He adjusts the comforter around him.

“They wanted me for you,” Jungkook says slowly. “And you tried so hard to not want me yourself because it meant giving in to the future your family wanted for you.”

“Yes,” Seokjin affirms. “That’s… what I always felt.”

“Do you hate me then? Do you hate that you ended up loving me?”

“I don’t, but—”

Jungkook cuts him off, swift and indifferent. “You can’t put this on me. I did nothing but love you. It’s not my fault.” The last sentence lets slip a sadness and hurt that makes Seokjin bristle. “It’s not my fault you thought about those kinds of things, and I don’t deserve it. I don’t deserve being left alone like this.”

This is the breaking point.

Seokjin gets off the rails and envelopes Jungkook in a hug. He wraps his arms around Jungkook’s neck and pulls him to his chest. Jungkook quickly follows, arms going around Seokjin’s waist, his face pressed against the comforter. Seokjin’s hand finds his hair, and he runs his fingers through the short strands to soothe him.

“You don’t, Jungkookie. You don’t deserve it. I’m sorry.” Seokjin’s unsure if what he says next is a feeble attempt of comfort or if it’s the truth. It hurts either way. “And I don’t deserve you.”

“I still love you. But I can’t express it anymore. Not when it’s like this.” Jungkook confesses. “Not when you’re like this.”

Seokjin’s throat burns when he chuckles. “What love do you expect from me, Jungkook?”

“The kind that is selfish and cruel. I want you to want me and be greedy to the point that the people around us cannot stand the sight of us two together. I want you to want that so much that you’d spill blood for me.”

Seokjin takes a deep breath. He holds Jungkook’s face in his hands. The world fits in his palms so easily. He tilts Jungkook’s head up, and it’s beautiful how one person can contain the sky and the stars in their eyes. 

“But you want to be a bird, Jin. You want to test your wings and see how far you can go. I’ll give you your freedom. It doesn’t really matter to me because I know I chose well.” Jungkook’s hold on him tightens. He slips out of Seokjin's hold and buries his face into Seokjin until the comforter is shed away and he is able to press a kiss on the skin of Seokjin’s stomach. 

There’s a hidden meaning behind Jungkook’s oration. 

A phantom pain on his leg that he has not felt in years starts throbbing and letting itself known. 

That it will always be there.

And it will always be a part of him.

In their world, the clanking of bells and chimes are similar to chains. Whether they be studded with diamonds and sapphires or other stones, shackles all have the same function: to bind and restrain you down. It is all what a wedding ring is; a small, pretty, dainty thing that wards off other people who wishes to make a feast out of you. 

And he should have realized this sooner.

Love is a desire sustained by unfulfillment, and Jungkook has dined on his heart so long ago that Seokjin never realized he’s been living in his belly the entire time.

[Months Later]

Hong Haeil is a person who has come to terms with the mediocrity of his life early on.

He did well in high school and was able to attend one of the prestigious universities that was stereotypically  expected from Asian-Americans like him, opening doors and forging connections that he wouldn’t have gotten if he went anywhere else. Among the sons and daughters of CEOs and celebrities, he was normal. It wasn’t anything bad for him. He didn’t pay it any mind.

That is to say he doesn’t enjoy where he is currently at in his career. If it wasn’t for all those fine threads he has become entangled with, he wouldn’t be able to land his current job.

The difference between him and his peers remain. Some have started their own agencies or are handling A-list celebrities, yet here he is as an intern. He’s not complaing. It has been proven that for people like him in the food chain, rewards take time but is given to those who work hard. 

The TV station is busy. He makes his way through the crowd of people, his hold on the coffee tray steady. He greets everyone with a smile and they grin back. It’s an exciting day. 

One of the most popular celebrities on the planet agreed to an interview with their network. What’s more is that this superstar barely agrees to interviews. He’s been the subject of gossip since his rise to stardom. He was talked about when he laid low, and he is all people spoke of these past months.

JJK’s timeline is easy to navigate compared to others. He was only 18 year old who came out with his first album; one that earned several awards and accolades. He disappeared for a few years from the music scene after his world tour. He’s known as the paparazzi’s most hated and loved. His name sells out papers and garners millions of clicks, but he never really gave people a reason to until a year ago. From the rumors surrounding him and actor Kim Taehyung, to his zero promotion of his second album (which didn’t matter seeing as how well it did and is doing in the charts), and the exposure of his elite background… this interview is a big deal. 

Besides the fact that getting JJK on the network will pay for Haeil’s rent and groceries, he’s also a fan. There’s a saying that it’s rarer to meet someone who doesn’t like JJK versus those who follow him and his music. 

He hears, “Thank you, Haeil!” as he passes around the coffee.

There are two more left on his tray.

An iced americano and iced chamomile.

Haeil gulps and tries to calm down the butterflies fluttering in his stomach. He takes a few seconds to stand somewhere on the sidelines to smooth out his white dress shirt and reposition his ID. He clears his throat and prays he doesn’t mess this up.

It’s just drinks, Haeil reminds himself. Another part of him thinks, So JJK prefers tea. 

Haeil resumes walking. He first sees a pale man decked in black from head to toe, the thin metal frame of his reading glasses also black. He’s on his phone and standing behind an occupied rolling chair. The stylist fussing over the person seated in front of the vanity mirror is holding a straightening iron. 

Moving closer, Haeil sees him and immediately feels lightheaded. His knees become weak, and if it wasn’t for his will to not embarrass himself greater, he would have already stumbled and stammered.

JJK is… something else. 

His eyes are close, head tilted to the side. His lips are parted, and it doesn’t take a genius to tell he’s asleep. The contrast between his soft features and sharp jaw is breathtaking. He’s also wearing a white dress shirt; definitely expensive and tailor-made in comparison to Haeil’s that was bought online during a Black Friday sale. The first few buttons are open, showing his skin. The sleeves are pulled all the way down his wrists, hiding his tattoo sleeve. 

Haeil is starstruck.

He cannot believe people are capable of looking like this. 

The stylist is almost finished with her work. She purposely lets a strand of JJK’s hair curl and fall on his forehead.

Haeil approaches them and before he could speak, the man in black exclaims, “Finally!” He takes the iced americano from the tray and thanks Haeil who could only nod, still dizzy and unsure of left and right. The stylist is called by someone and they leave in a hurry, passing by Haeil who’s unsure if he should leave the iced tea on the desk.

The man standing must have noticed his fidgeting. He taps JJK on the shoulder. 

“Jungkook, your iced tea’s here.”

JJK wakes up slowly. His eyes flutter open and he blinks the sleepiness away. He glances to the side of where Haeil is standing and grabs for his drink without looking up. 

“Straw?” He asks, slowly shaking the drink in a circle. 

Haeil fumbles and picks up the straw on the tray. He hands it over and it’s received by JJK’s tattooed hand. 

“Thank you.” He mumbles. 

Haeil nods, unable to find his voice. JJK tears the paper covering away and plops it in his drink. Haeil takes it as his cue to leave. He turns around, but once he does, he knows he’ll regret it if he lets this opportunity come to past. 

He turns back around and says, “Can I get your autograph?”

The man chuckles at his breathlessness. It brings color to Haeil’s cheeks. He swallows the embarrassment down and instead looks at the mirror. JJK is staring straight at him. Haeil’s heart starts beating loudly against his chest, and he kind of regrets it now.

“I mean— if it’s okay of course! You don’t have to if you don’t want to!” 

JJK turns his entire body around. He’s still looking at Haeil. It intimidates him. 

“Where is it?” The man asks.


The man in black interjects, “What do you want him to sign?”

“Oh, I—“

“Yoongi.” JJK interrupts. He places his iced tea on the desk. “Go find something.”

The man, Yoongi, glares at JJK through the mirror. He sighs before turning around and leaving them alone.

“Ohmygod, thank you so much. I— I really shouldn’t loiter but I’m a fan! I have all your albums!”

JJK smirks at him. “I only have two.”

Haeil blushes. He knows he’ll be repeating this in his head later when he’s alone. He’d probably stare at the wall and wonder if this really happened.

“I listened to everything. Even your old SoundCloud releases! You’re—“ Haeil stops his tirade. The intensity he’s feeling doesn’t decrease. It sinks into him that he’s standing here interacting with someone supposedly out of reach.

“I’m what?”

“You’re—“ Haeil takes a deep breath. His grip on the coffee tray tightens. “Cool. You’re really cool.”

JJK smiles at him. He doesn’t just smile, he grins. Eyes crinkling, nose scrunching, and head tilting to the side. He licks his lips, casts his eyes down then back again. 

“Thank you.”

It’s the second time JJK says it to Haeil. This time around, it’s different. It’s genuine. It’s specifically for Haeil and not a faceless staff. 

“Paper and pen. Best I could come up with.”

Yoongi’s reappearance forces Haeil to step back. He hands it to JJK who snorts.

“Really? This is the best you could do?”

“Brat. This isn’t my real job. Be glad I’m actually entertaining your whims.”

JJK laughs at that. He folds the bond paper in half and goes to the desk. He signs it quickly and hands it to Haeil face down. 

“Come on,” Yoongi grumbles. “We need to do the test shots.”

JJK sighs and gets out of the chair. Haeil steps back some more and is amazed that he has to look up. He’s even more stunning like this. 

“What’s your name?” 

Haeil blinks in confusion. “Me?”

JJK raises a brow. They removed his eyebrow piercing and Hael believes that it’s a shame the stylists did.

“You know who I am and I know Yoongi. Of course I meant you.”

“I— Haeil. Hong Haeil.”

JJK nods. He grabs his iced tea from the vanity desk and takes a sip. He lets out a sound of satisfaction and smiles at Haeil once more.

“Hong Haeil,” He extends his tattooed arm towards Haeil. “I’m Jungkook.”

Haeil stares at the hand offered to him. He sputters and shakes it. “Nice to meet you!”

“Your hand’s warm.” JJK, no, Jungkook, says. He hasn’t let go. “Just like the color of your words.”

Yoongi usually walks behind Jungkook. 

It gives him this window of opportunity to study the younger man on different occasions. 

His shoulders are straight and he’s walking with a confidence that makes Yoongi think this interview may perhaps be a breeze. 

“What was that about?” Yoongi casually asks. 

He hears Jungkook hum. Usually, it means that he heard Yoongi but he has no intentions of speaking.

It seems today is indeed full of surprises because Jungkook takes the moment to glance at him, the hint of a smile on his face. He slows down, until he’s walking right next to Yoongi. 

“What do you think life would be like if you never saw a certain color again?”

The question is odd. Yoongi’s brows narrow in confusion. He does entertain it. He may be a publicist now but his foundation will always belong to languages.

“Perhaps it would be like you lost a limb?”

Jungkook shrugs. “Perhaps.” He returns to sipping his iced tea.

Yoongi gives up. Jungkook can be impossible to talk to if he wants to be. 

“You never talk to the staff. What’s different?”

“Have you been to the ocean on a good day?”

“…not really.”

“A lot of people tell me I’m cool.” Jungkook chuckles at that. He takes a moment to mull his words over. “He said it and I saw blue. Like the beach when the sun is out but there’s a breeze.”

Jungkook sighs.

Yoongi did not see that one coming. It’s the last thing he expected Jungkook to say. He gets this look on his face he’s never seen.

Or maybe he did before, back when things were different. His life for the last couple of months has changed. He doesn’t remember anymore what it was like to not be doing this. 

Maybe Jungkook did too. 



Move on.

“I’ve never seen that kind of color before,” Jungkook sounds and looks mesmerized. “Makes me miss the beach… and all the other things I’ve been missing out on.”