(They say everyone thinks of their past loves before their marriage.)
“Jungkook! Jin-hyung! Look this way!”
Jungkook barely manages to glance in the direction of the voice before the flash goes off, blinding him for a moment. He feels a familiar arm hold him gently by the waist, pulling him closer to the solid line of the body next to him.
Seokjin squishes his cheek against Jungkook’s as the shutter clicks again, and Jungkook feels his own mouth helplessly stretch itself into a goofy smile, as it tends to do whenever he is around Seokjin.
Jimin grins at them from behind the camera, lowering the device to check the shot. “Oh, this is such a pretty one!” he exclaims, shooting them another delighted smile. “Taehyung-ah look how nice this one came out -”
Jimin ducks back into the apartment in search of Taehyung, who is probably the only sober one left among them. Jungkook is on his second glass of champagne, maybe third (??), and it is certainly starting to hit him. He feels it settle inside him, warm and fizzy, softening the edges of the world and making all the colours glow brighter. Or maybe it’s just the fairy lights someone has strung around their balcony.
Seokjin is like a furnace next to him, steadily radiating heat, and Jungkook turns around to stare at him properly - because if Seokjin is around, it’s a shame to not be looking at him, and Jungkook is not about to deprive himself of the finer joys of life.
Seokjin raises an eyebrow at him, a hand still splayed across Jungkook’s waist. “Something on your mind?” he asks, eyes sparkling, hair a little wild, and Jungkook sort of zones out, congratulating himself on his superior taste in men. Seokjin has unbuttoned the top three buttons of his shirt, exposing that dip in between his collarbones that drives Jungkook a little insane whenever he sees it.
(It’s the perfect place for kisses, and it makes Seokjin blush so prettily all the way from the tips of his ears to the smooth skin of his chest, a shy trail of pink chasing the path of Jungkook’s lips on his skin.)
“My eyes are up here,” Seokjin quips, with a pat on Jungkook’s butt, pulling him closer into the circle of his arms.
“Mhm they’re nice eyes,” Jungkook answers, warm and buzzed and giddy and doing fucking great for himself in the arms of the prettiest man in the world, “but your boobs are nicer.”
He giggles when Seokjin mimes a karate-chop at his neck, nearly spilling his champagne before Seokjin plucks the glass out of his hand.
“Hey- I was drinking that!” Jungkook protests, as Seokjin throws his head back and downs the rest of the glass, the long column of his throat working as he swallows.
“You’ve had enough for now,” Seokjin says, holding the now-empty glass gently by the stem. “I know that look - one more glass and you’ll start spacing out and contemplating the meaning of life, and we can’t have that tonight. I need you to stay the way you are right now - happy, sociable, buzzed -”
“- thirsty for your banging bod?”
“Let’s not pretend that has anything to do with the alcohol,” Seokjin huffs, letting Jungkook wind his arms around his neck. “You’re only marrying me for my body, huh?”
“Don’t be silly,” Jungkook smiles sweetly, “I didn’t have to marry you for that.”
“Are you calling me easy, you brat?”
“I’ll call you whatever you want if you let me kiss you right now.”
“How scandalous!” Seokjin gasps, snickering as he leans away from Jungkook’s attempts to kiss him. “I’ll have you know that I’m saving these lips for marriage,” he sniffs, tossing his head to a side. “Only my husband shall - stop, begone!” he yells, bending almost impossibly backwards “- only my husband shall taste the nectar of these lips,” he proclaims, as Jungkook tries to hold him still enough to plant a sloppy kiss on his lips that barely lands at the corner of his mouth, while Seokjin laughs and laughs and makes a fuss.
“God, please at least wait until we leave,” comes Yoongi’s voice from the balcony door, and Jungkook straightens up almost comically fast, somehow still shy about being thotty in front of his Yoongi hyung. Seokjin has no such compunctions as he takes his own sweet time, dramatically talking about how Yoongi just saved him from being ravished before marriage.
“Oh please,” Yoongi rolls his eyes, “like you have any chastity left to be protected.”
Seokjin winks at him.
Maybe that’s another reason Jungkook is oddly shy with Seokjin around Yoongi. Seokjin and Yoongi had dated for a few weeks in college, and had been roommates for much much longer; but realised very quickly that they really were just good friends, their easy intimacy wasn’t the result of something romantic at all.
Jungkook knows all this. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop his brain from fixating on the fact that Seokjin and Yoongi have kissed. At least once. He doesn’t know how many times in total. He doesn’t know if people keep count of that sort of thing.
(Jungkook used to, when he had just started going out with Seokjin. A little counter in his head that went “Kissed Seokjin one time”, “Kissed Seokjin twi-thrice, ok, kissed Seokjin three times - ok now it’s four!”, and so on, until he made the mistake of telling Seokjin about it somewhere around kiss number 26.)
(Seokjin, after he finished laughing, made sure to kiss him so thoroughly he forgot how to count.)
“The food just arrived, come inside, you’re meant to be hosting us,” Yoongi says, before slipping back in.
“Guess he’s right,” Seokjin sighs, reaching over to fix - oh. The flower crown on Jungkook’s head.
“I almost forgot I was still wearing it,” Jungkook breathes. “Oh god, what if I had dropped it somewhere?!”
“Then I’d make you another,” Seokjin answers simply, like there is nothing else he would rather be doing in his life than making flower crowns for Jungkook. “It has served its purpose anyway.”
“I don’t care, I’m gonna keep it forever,” Jungkook frowns, reaching up to softly feel the petals on his head. “I’m going to go to work like this. I’m never taking this off.”
“I’m going to keep you forever,” Seokjin says, quickly leaning in to kiss his nose.
“Well, duh.” Jungkook grins, and grabs Seokjin’s hand, letting their rings click together. Then he says - “I’m hungry.”
“Come on, my Prince,” Seokjin says, pulling him back into the apartment by their joined hands, “your feast and troupe of jesters await.”
Jungkook raises his sword and slashes through all the evil weeds as Seokjin follows closely behind him, blasting away all their enemies with his laser gun. They’re a great team, the Bulletproof Boyscouts, the two of them against the world.
“Come on, hyung, we’re almost at the mountain of Doom. Once we cross it, we will be safe!”
Seokjin nods, sticking his elbows out to perfect his stance, looking cooler than Jungkook ever will.
“You go first, I’ll cover you.”
“Hurry, Jungkook! They’re closing in on us!”
Jungkook immediately jumps into action, scrambling up the bars of the ladder to the slide as fast as he can, feet finding the footholds almost effortlessly. When he reaches the topmost rung, he twists around to look at Seokjin, who is still on the ground with his back pressed to the ladder.
“Jin-hyung! I made it to the top, come on!”
Seokjin immediately doubles over like he has been shot, dropping to his knees in the grass.
“Hyung! Are you okay?”
“I’ve been hit by a freeze ray,” Seokjin gasps, holding his chest. “I can’t move unless someone unfreezes me.”
“Oh, okay, I’ll just -”
Seokjin checks his watch and looks at Jungkook with wide eyes. “No! There are only 30 seconds left. It’s too late for me.”
“Save yourself, Jungkook! Go down the slide, I’ll hold them off!”
“No, not without you!” Jungkook yells back, clambering back down the ladder. He is not as fast while going down, but they have only 30 seconds, so he doesn’t have time to be scared.
“What are you doing?! I told you to save yourself!”
“I’m not leaving you behind,” Jungkook says, dropping to his knees beside Seokjin in the tall grass and tapping his chest to unfreeze him. Seokjin immediately springs into action, hauling Jungkook up from the grass and pushing him back up on the ladder.
“Go go go go go go -!”
Jungkook scales the ladder again, heart racing in his chest, sweaty palms curling around metal. He nearly loses his footing on the second-last rung, but Seokjin steadies him, and boosts him over the edge.
“10 seconds left, take my hand!” Seokjin yells, and Jungkook does.
Seokjin pulls himself over the edge, and scrambles into position next to Jungkook.
“Let’s go!” Jungkook yells, and they push themselves forward.
They go down the slide together with a loud cheer, cutting through the air with a whoosh - two happy and victorious heroes in their dusty jeans and beat up sneakers, with their laughter ringing out and their hands clasped together.
“That was fun,” Jungkook sighs, when they’re lying together on a patch of grass and staring at the bits of the sky peeking out through the leaves and branches above them. Seokjin always comes up with the best plots for their adventures. It’s from all the books he keeps reading. Jungkook isn’t too fond of reading himself, and the stories are much more fun when he can enact them with Seokjin anyway.
Seokjin turns his head to grin at him. “It was so much fun, my heart was beating so fast when we were climbing up the slide.”
“It was the best part!” Jungkook says, smiling back. “What happened in the book, after they crossed the Mountain of Doom?”
“They returned home, and got married, and lived happily ever after. They went on many more adventures together.”
“Oh.” Jungkook scratches a bug bite on his arm. “How long is ever after?”
“It’s the longest time you can imagine. It’s so long that it almost never ends.”
“Wow,” Jungkook breathes. “It sounds nice to be able to go on adventures with your best friend for that long. Mom always asks me to come home too soon,” he pouts.
Seokjin hums in agreement.
“Jin-hyung, we should get married too!” Jungkook suddenly says, shooting up, eyes wide. “Then we can go on adventures together, ‘ever after’!”
Seokjin sits up as well, excited but apprehensive. “I think only grown-ups can get married, JK.”
Jungkook frowns. “We can do it too, the way we act out all the grown up adventures. We just need to know how to get married.”
“I will ask my mom,” Seokjin says. “We don’t have school this Wednesday, right? We can get married then.”
“Okay!” Jungkook cheers, clapping in excitement. “Race you to the swings!” he yells, before taking off like the wind.
“Hey! I wasn’t ready!” Seokjin protests, scrambling to catch up as Jungkook cackles in the distance.
Jimin is wasted.
“A toast to Jungkook and Seokjin!” he yells, for the third time that night, making Hoseok wince. Namjoon and Taehyung dutifully raise their glasses, because it’s Jimin and they are whipped. Neither of them actually have anything in their glasses though, because they ran out of the champagne and the soju ( and the extra bottle of soju that they ordered just in case) an hour ago, but it’s the thought that counts.
“I love you guys,” Jimin beams, clutching his chest, “and you guys love each other!”
“Hell yeah!” Seokjin cheers. They clink their glasses together and burst into giggles immediately, slapping each other's shoulders through breathless shrieking laughter.
“I’ll drink to that -” Yoongi warbles, and frowns intently at his empty glass, trying to remember how it works.
Jungkook doesn’t understand how Jimin and Seokjin are still going , alert and awake and full of energy even with an ungodly amount of alcohol, meat and carbs in them. Personally, he has tasked himself with a job more suited to his abilities and is steadily making his way through the last box of jajangmyeon, because if there is food in front of him he can’t just… not eat it.
“Jungkook-ah, leave it alone, we can have it as leftovers tomorrow.”
Jungkook continues to shovel cold fatty noodles into his mouth, because his mother may have raised a weeb and a fool but she did not raise a quitter.
“JK stop- stop eating!” Seokjin laughs, trying to wrestle the container away from him while several errant strands of noodles dangle from Jungkook’s mouth. Jungkook starts chewing faster.
“I can’t believe these two are engaged,” Namjoon sighs, and Jungkook immediately whips around, eyes narrowed.
“Why not?” he asks, after painfully swallowing a lump of half-chewed noodles.
“Uhh -” Namjoon says, intelligently. “I- ”
“What he means to say is that it’s hard to believe that you both are gonna be the first ones in the group to be all grown up and married,” Hoseok says, and Namjoon nods earnestly.
“Oh,” Jungkook says, and then frowns when he realises that Seokjin used the momentary distraction to take his noodles away. “Hyung!”
Later, after all their friends have peeled themselves off different pieces of furniture, hugged them goodbye, spent twenty more minutes looking for their keys and giggled in the hallway while trying to pull their shoes on, the door to their apartment finally shuts with a soft click.
Jungkook’s speakers are still blasting his playlist of girl group songs, so he changes it to something mellow for them to clean up to. Seokjin is already in the kitchen, scraping leftovers into Tupperware boxes, and Jungkook finds himself thinking back to the events of the night.
“Hyung, do you think it’s weird that we’re the first ones getting married?” he asks, carrying the glasses to the sink. Seokjin secures the lid with a satisfying snap.
“Ah JK, you’re still thinking about that?” he says, stacking the boxes. Jungkook pre-emptively opens the refrigerator door for him. “It’s not - ah thank you, love - it’s not a surprise to me at all, considering the sheer number of times you’ve asked me to marry you,” he adds, bending down to slide the boxes in.
Jungkook smacks his butt because he can.
A rudimentary (and incomplete) list, in no particular order, of all the times Jungkook has asked Seokjin to marry him, made in Jungkook’s head while he’s in the bathroom, peeing. (and before he gets into bed with his fiance) -
1. A few months ago on their way home from grocery shopping, when Jungkook sat up straight in the car and said “Oh no. I forgot the -” and Seokjin said “No, the yoghurt is in the other bag.” without even taking his eyes off the road.
2. When Jungkook woke up with a hangover to end all hangovers the day after Jimin’s birthday and saw a bowl of piping hot soup waiting for him in the kitchen. Seokjin wasn’t even there to hear him say it.
3. Five years ago, in a text to Seokjin at 2 am, because it was the night before Jungkook’s finals and he wanted to give up studying and become someone’s trophy husband. They weren’t even dating yet. Seokjin had replied “lmaooo” and then “mood.”
4. A week ago, holding on for dear life while he was getting his back blown out -
“Jungkook-ah did you die in there?” Seokjin yells, knocking on the bathroom door. “I have to pee.”
Jungkook quickly hits the flush and washes his hands. When he steps out, Seokjin looks up from his phone.
“All yours,” Jungkook says, gesturing to the bathroom behind him. And then, because he is still in his feels, he sort of stands there looking at the way the light hits Seokjin, thinking about how goddamn lucky he is.
Something of it must show on his face because Seokjin pauses in the doorway to look at him, and then carefully cups his face between his palms. Seokjin’s hands are warm, familiar and comforting - hands Jungkook has loved for longer than he can remember.
“Are you feeling gassy?” Seokjin asks, frowning at him. “I told you not to eat so much this late at night.”
“No - hyung I’m not- “ Jungkook splutters. “It’s not gas .”
Seokjin blinks at him like he’s not convinced. “The antacids are on the dresser,” he says, giving Jungkook a significant look, before he pats his cheek and goes into the bathroom.
When Jungkook was younger, he believed he would hear bells when he met the person he was destined to be with.
Well, technically he heard a high-pitched scream and a “watch out!!” before he fell face first onto the pavement - but then , finally, he saw Seokjin.
It was also the same moment he lost his first milk tooth, knocked out right there into the dirt after weeks of agonising over it, and he managed to scare the shit out of Seokjin when he smiled with his mouth full of blood.
(Jungkook likes to joke now that he fell for Seokjin a long time ago, and he has been waiting for Seokjin to catch up all this time. It’s only half a joke.)
That was also the first time Seokjin gave him a ride on his bicycle that was too big for them both, panicking the entire 3 minute ride to his home while Jungkook held on to Seokjin’s sweater, his martyred tooth clutched in his palm like a little spoil of war.
He wondered if his mom would get him a big bicycle like that someday.
After Seokjin’s mother patched him up, patted his head and gave him some mango flavoured candies to celebrate losing his first tooth, Seokjin gave him a ride back to his own home. It turned out to be only 5 minutes away, barely enough time for Jungkook to properly enjoy the feeling of watching the road turn into a dizzy blur below him. He slowly built up the courage to kick his sneakered feet in the air, and if he closed his eyes, he could almost convince himself that he was flying. It was the way the wind ruffled his hair, so different from when he was in a car; he could feel the 5pm sun on his skin as it turned the world around them golden. By the time Seokjin turned the corner to his street, he could feel his heart soaring, his little accident from before completely forgotten.
(Sometimes, Jungkook thinks a part of him never forgot that feeling of wonder, that simple breathless joy of watching the world turn golden from the backseat of Seokjin’s bicycle. Sometimes, Jungkook thinks, that’s what being in love with Seokjin feels like. Like going home on an autumn afternoon with the wind in your hair, unafraid of growing up.)
“Sorry about today,” Seokjin muttered sheepishly. “Be more alert on the streets, okay?”
“You were the one who hit me, you should be more careful!” Jungkook protested, and then hastily added, “hyung.”
“Hey! I rang the bell so many times,” Seokjin said, “couldn’t you hear?”
Jungkook is actively fighting sleep by the time Seokjin comes to bed.
“Did you brush your teeth?” Seokjin asks, sliding under the covers. Jungkook waits for Seokjin to settle down before he can throw a leg over him.
“Yep, I’m all minty fresh,” he replies, dragging his pillow closer. “Why, you have any special plans hyung?” Jungkook murmurs, waggling his eyebrows in a way that he knows will make Seokjin laugh. He gets interrupted midway by a massive yawn, which sort of dampens the seductive drawl he was going for, but Seokjin kisses him anyway, immeasurably fond.
“I thought you were saving these lips for marriage,” Jungkook says when they part, and Seokjin snorts, eyes crinkling in the way Jungkook loves.
“I was, so don’t go telling anyone.”
“My lips are sealed,” Jungkook says, and then - “Can I see your hand again?”
Seokjin blinks at him, and then draws out his hand from under the sheets and holds it up between them, because he knows what Jungkook really means. He always does.
The ring on Seokjin's finger shines softly as it catches the dim light of the table lamp. Just seeing it makes Jungkook smile. He aligns the matching pair on his hand with it so that they both quietly clink together, and then brings Seokjin’s hand to his lips so he can press a kiss to it.
“I don’t think this ring is going to be as easy to eat as the Cheeto one, JK,” Seokjin mutters, amused, and Jungkook rolls his eyes at him.
“It was all I had back then, okay?” he grumbles and Seokjin laughs.
“Mom texted me a picture when you were in the bathroom,” he says, reaching over to the bedside table to get his phone. “Here it is,” he smiles, turning the screen towards Jungkook.
Jungkook squints against the sudden brightness of the screen, and then gasps. “Hyung - it’s -”
“Yeah,” Seokjin smiles. “I didn’t think she’d still have it. She said she spent all day looking for it, ever since she heard the news.”
“Oh my god, I’m going to cry,” Jungkook says, carefully touching the screen to zoom in. “This is the best engagement gift ever.”
“No, don’t you dare cry,” Seokjin warns, taking the phone away. He stretches his arm to slide it back onto the table, and then gathers Jungkook close. “Love you,” he whispers into Jungkook’s hair, “thanks for being my best friend.”
“That’s gay,” Jungkook sniffles, crying a little anyway. He yawns again.
“Go to sleep, future-husband,” Seokjin says, rubbing big soothing circles into his back. “Many adventures to go on after you wake up.”
Jungkook hums, throwing his leg over Seokjin. “If Taehyung asks, we had lots and lots of enthusiastic love-making tonight.”
“Goodnight, then,” he says, and Seokjin turns off their bedside lamp. Jungkook is nearly asleep already, eyes heavy with the excitement of the day.
“I love you too,” he whispers, before he falls asleep, “ever after.”
On Wednesday morning, Jungkook shows up at Seokjin’s home in his favourite t-shirt and cleanest pair of jeans, his hair combed neatly to the side, clutching a piece of paper carefully to his chest.
Then to his immense dismay, he discovers that he is too young to be married, and yes, Seokjin is sure, he asked both his parents.
“But don’t worry, we can be engaged!” Seokjin says, before Jungkook’s lower lip can start to wobble.
“Yeah. It’s like a promise between two people, to stay together until they can get married. That’s us!”
Jungkook nods, cheering up again. “I am good at keeping promises.”
“Cool, me too,” Seokjin smiles.
Seokjin insists that they need rings to be engaged, so they open a bag of Cheetos which are shaped like loops, and carefully select the largest and crunchiest looking loops they can find as rings for each other. Jungkook accidentally eats his engagement ring before they can even make their promises, but luckily they manage to find an adequate replacement.
“I’ll go first if you want,” Seokjin offers, and Jungkook nods in relief. He isn’t as good with words as Seokjin is.
Seokjin clears his throat and holds Jungkook’s hand, careful not to crush their rings. “Thanks for being my best friend, JK. I promise to always play with you whenever you want, and tell you all the cool stories I read. You can ride on my bike and share my snacks, even though you try to steal them anyway.”
Jungkook giggles, and Seokjin smiles, pleased.
“I promise to be your best friend even when we are grown ups, and go on adventures with you, ever after,” he says, finishing with a solemn nod.
“Okay, my turn!” Jungkook announces, handing him the paper he brought. “It’s a drawing of us in the park,” he explains, pointing out the slide and their spot under the tree. “Mom says I’m getting better at drawing, so I promise to draw you many cool things. I know you don’t like bugs, so I’ll always get rid of them for you. I - I don’t know what else I can do, but I’ll promise to be your best friend as a grown up too, and we’ll go on adventures whenever we want!”
“Wow, Jungkook-ah,” Seokjin says, holding the drawing like it’s the most precious and fragile treasure. “It’s very good, JK. You’re the best artist ever.”
“I’m glad you like it,” Jungkook beams. “Can we eat the rings now?”
“Wait! We need to pose for pictures first!”
And so they stand side-by-side in front of the camera, proud to have completed their very official ceremony. Seokjin’s mother has been entrusted with the responsibility of taking their photograph, which she has gladly accepted.
“I’m sorry the flowers are not staying up too well,” Seokjin sighs, fixing a daisy to Jungkook’s hair with a borrowed hairclip. “I’ll make you a proper flower crown when I’m older.”
“It’s okay,” Jungkook assures him, trying not to move too much in fear of knocking loose another flower. He has never worn flowers in his hair before, so he is happy regardless. “It looks good, right?”
Seokjin nods earnestly. “You look very nice. I wish my hair was also long enough.” Jungkook grins.
“Alright boys, are you ready?” Mrs. Kim asks. “Jungkook, Seokjin - look this way! Smile!”
There’s the click of the shutter followed by a flash that makes Jungkook blink in surprise, but then Seokjin giggles next to him, showing off his ring to the camera, and Jungkook feels his own mouth helplessly stretch itself into a goofy smile.
(They say everyone thinks of their past loves before their marriage.
Jungkook has only ever loved one.)